Midsummer Garden…In a Tea!

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Somewhere around January, we started to work on a new herbal tea recipe. We were craving sunshine, flowers, and long days in the garden. We initially had a working mantra of “Summer Dreaming” since that is exactly what we were doing: dreaming of Summer. We think we’ve created a winner–a midsummer day in a nice cup of tea!

This blend includes a whole garden of organic herbs: lemon balm, spearmint, ginkgo leaf, chamomile flowers, catnip, lemon verbena, lemongrass, peppermint, lavender flowers, orange peel, wild cherry bark, and red rose petals. While this tea has plenty of calming herbs and is caffeine free, it is so tasty with a little zip of peppermint and ginkgo leaf as to be invigorating too.

You can find this loose leaf tea with our other blends in the Raggedy Hen Farm shop–we’ve named it Midsummer Garden! 

Laundry on the Line

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It’s finally dry and warm enough to hang laundry on the line again!  For us, this one of the true harbingers of Spring. We so love the smell and feel of sheets, towels and clothes hung in the sunny air to dry! We’ve been experimenting with different homemade laundry soaps in our attempt to eliminate toxic chemicals from our little corner of the world. So far, our favorite is an adaptation of a recipe made with soap nuts, water, and essential oils.  We make our version in a large batch and like a citrus-y scent–we think it goes great with sun dried laundry!

Citrus Laundry Soap

Put 25-30 soap nuts in a large kettle or pan and add 1 gallon hot tap water. Put this on the stove and turn to medium high heat.  When the mixture starts to steam, turn the heat down to medium and let simmer for one hour.

Remove from heat and strain into a large glass jar (we use gallon jars like the ones used for cider or vinegar).

Add 10-15 drops each: grapefruit, sweet orange, and lemon essential oils. Put on a lid and shake carefully to combine.

This will keep for a couple months, but will likely need to be shaken a bit periodically.  We use about 1/4 cup per load of laundry. This can be combined with other detergents or soaps, if you’d like, but it works just fine on its own.

Winter Projects

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As we prepare for another “growing” year at Raggedy Hen Farm, we have a few projects on our list to tend to. On the horizon for this Spring: another hen house, possibly another top bar bee hive, and some cold frames for our soon-to-be-seedlings. Before purchasing new materials, we try to recycle or upcycle whenever possible and this usually means a trip to a nearby local treasure BRING Recycling!

Yesterday I had “cold frames” on my mind as I headed out dressed in my trusty down vest, scarf and fleece hat for an hour of perusing all the lumber, fixtures, pieces, parts, and containers. I had an idea of what I was looking for, but remained open to inspiration.  After picking up, turning over, and measuring, I came home with three thick wooden drawers and three glass windows that fit perfectly over the top:

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These should work nicely to put seedlings and plants in as we harden them off for outdoor life–serving as mini-greenhouses. The glass can also be used to provide a little extra warmth when tented over plants once they are in the ground, if need be. Someday, we hope to build a big greenhouse, but these should work just fine for now.  And, the price was right! Each glass window cost $3 and each drawer cost $2, so the entire project only set us back $15 and we used existing materials. The icing on the cake is BRING is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, providing community jobs and keeping all sorts of “treasures” out of the landfill.

Easy Chocolate Truffles

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Are you still looking for the perfect gift to share with the neighbors? Your child’s teacher? Or maybe you’re just craving a bit of holiday chocolate decadence. Our chocolate truffle recipe only has a few ingredients and, other than the time for chilling and shaping, they go together quite quickly.  And, like all our recipes, they are easily adaptable to your tastes!

Easy Chocolate Truffles

1 package semi-sweet chocolate chips (you can use mint, dark, milk, whatever you like!)

1 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (or try rum, hazelnut, orange, etc.)

1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt

cocoa powder, fine coconut, chopped nuts, sprinkles, etc. for rolling

Pour the chocolate chips in a medium sized glass bowl.  Heat the cream until just simmering in a saucepan over medium heat.  Pour the cream over the chocolate chips and then cover with plastic wrap and let sit and melt for about 10 minutes. Take the plastic off and whisk up the cream and chocolate mixture until smooth (this won’t take very long). Add the extract of choice and the salt and stir.  Pour into a pie pan or 8 inch square cake pan and let cool for about 10 minutes before covering with plastic wrap and refrigerating for at least 3 hours (can be overnight too)..

We use a teaspoon to scoop out 1 inch balls of the soft ganache. Roll in cocoa, chopped nuts, sprinkles, etc. shaping into balls.  Place on a parchment or waxed paper-lined baking sheet and refrigerate until set.  We store these in covered tins in the refrigerator.  They stay slightly soft and are oh, so rich and delicious!

 

Inspired by Rosemary…and Chocolate!

Inspired by Rosemary…and Chocolate!

We’ve created some brand new feel-goods just in time for the frosty weather…Our newest all-natural botanical bath salts are an invigorating blend of organic Rosemary & Grapefruit essential oils and organic powdered white Sage. We are so in love with … Continue reading