Indian Summer, Snails & Arrowroot

Indian Summer! 70 degrees in November is so unusual for us and it’s been a real gift. Somehow though, I still haven’t managed to get the outdoor chores done. I can relate to this little snail I found.
The last of the daffodils and garlic finally got planted yesterday. Why did I buy 140 garlic cloves? I got carried away at the garlic festival. I need to get out more, lol.
Arrowroot flour is a wonderful thing. I use it in equal parts to replace cornstarch in my cooking. It has a lot of nutritive value, is healing to the gut and it’s cost effective. I use it to thicken gravies and sauces and in puddings and custards. Making pudding from scratch is surprisingly easier, much healthier and more delicious than using boxed mixes. The cooking time is quicker and it sets up faster too.

Garden Update, Echinacea root tincture


Some of the trees are bare and I’m ankle deep in leaves.   Nights are cold and the days have been warm.  I’m watching the temperatures, hoping for more red peppers before the first frost. Cabbage will soon be sauerkraut.

I tinctured some Echinacea root today. This is a chunk of root from a 3 or 4 year old plant. What’s left will grow back nicely in the spring.
It’s best to use grain alcohol when tincturing roots or bark. There’s no need to dry the root first. It actually makes a superior tincture with fresh root. Wash the root well, cut and macerate the pieces and follow the same procedure I describe for the whole plant tincture.

The tomato patch is looking grim but the fruits are still ripening on the vines. There are still a few bright spots in the gardens.

This season is coming to an end but I’m still picking a few things every day.   This has been a wonderful year in the gardens and I’m already excited and making plans for the Spring.

Celebrating Fall in New England

Trees are brilliantly colored and within a a week or 2, the “peak” leaf peeping time will be here.  Cider donuts, pumpkin patches, apple picking….all part of fall in New England.   Baked beans are  in the oven, along with pumpkins and cinnamon apples. The house is filled with a warm, spicy smell.. so good to walk into from the crisp air outside.  Summer is swept away as front gardens, doorstops and entryways are being decorated  for Autumn. There is a festive, clean feel in the air.

I notice the Bittersweet vines are ready to be cut.  The berries are still green, verging on yellow.  They will soon turn colors… peach, orange and finally popping out in red,  echoing the trees. The vines are supple and easily formed into wreaths.  It’s a simple matter of cutting a long vine with lots of berries.  Form it into a circular shape and wind it and weave  it among itself to hold it.   Leave the leaves on or take them off, whatever suits.  Weave more vines into the wreath if a thicker wreath is wanted.   Secure it with a twisty tie if there is trouble maintaining the shape  while weaving the branches in.   Birds love the berries but they are poison for people.  It’s fun to watch the berries turn colors and open and become framed by their shell.  If  not in a winding mood,  the branches can be cut and  popped into a vase or laid in a basket, that looks pretty too.