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Drying Herbs


I love gardening.

Actually, to be precise, I like viewing and harvesting.

Dirt under my fingernails and weeding in the hot sun are necessary evils that lead me to my end result ... viewing and harvesting.

There is nothing more serene and beautiful and inspiring to me than a well-laid, well-tended garden. It's as if all is well with the world. And if it isn't ... it doesn't matter. My family will be provided for.

Of particular fascination to me are herbs. They are so sensory. They flavor, they inspire, they heal ... their fragrance transcends time and place.

This year, I tried something new. Patio Herbs. I blogged about that earlier this season at Good Living Magazine. While small, it has been an everlasting summer delight to harvest these goodies and flavor our food.

"Early American Herb Recipes," by Alice Cooke Brown has been an inspiring read this summer. It is filled with authentic recipes used by 17th century through Civil War era housewives to concoct remedies for things like; jaundice, hysterics, coughs, sore throat, colic, consumption, toothache, and corns among others.

While nearly every household in Early America had an herb garden primarily to combat illness, they also used their herbs to flavor their food ... and if time permitted, allowed for beauty as well.

"If the housewife had time, energy and pride in matters of good grooming, she made her own cologne, perfume, pomade, soap, tooth powder, and tooth brushes. For the men in the family, she concocted shaving materials and lotions to promote the growth of hair."

Hmmm ... perhaps we should revisit those recipes again. All things old become new?

Perhaps. Smile.

As we enter the month of August, and for us here in the Northwest, summer for the first time, my mind starts to wander down the road of preservation. And the drying of summer herbs is on my list. To see details on drying herbs, visit Good Living Magazine.

So as we enter the dog days of summer and you pass by an herb field, a kitchen garden, or simply a basket full of herbs at the Farmer's Market, take a moment, a sniff ... and appreciate the beauty in these tiny leaves and vines.

"There is to me
A daintiness about these early flowers,
That touches me like poetry. They blow out
With such a simple loveliness among
The common herbs of pasture, and they breathe
Their lives so unobtrusively, like hearts
Whose beatings are too gentle for the world.

Would you be strong? Go follow up the plough;
Would be you be thoughtful? Study fields and flowers;
Would you be wise? Take on yourself a vow
To go to school in Nature's sunny bowers.
Fly from the city; nothing there can charm --
Seek wisdom, strength, and virtue on a farm."

J.L. Blake, "The Farmer's Every-day Book"

Image Source: Getty Images

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