Sunday, September 30, 2012

Closer Look Project: Coastalplain Palafox

So far we can't get into our property farther than the front ditch.  Since we are pay-as-we-go folks, that will change as soon as we meet our next couple of goals.  For now, the camera and we are relegated to the roadside.

As I am able to get decent pics of the plants at the Farm, I'll post them here to sort of catalogue what's there and to teach myself the names of the wildflowers and grasses, etc.

This is the Coastalplain Palafox, Palafoxia integrifolia.  The plant is diminuitive and a bloom is only about thumb-sized or less.  I love the camera's ability to capture some macro shots so I can indulge in a closer study without ever having to pick one of the blooms.  The flowers appear as a tiny dot of pink among all the green grasses by the roadside, and there weren't many of these to be found when we were there a few days ago.

Have a great Sunday...and Happy Sukkot to all the tribe out there!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Sugarcane Plumegrass

Silken backlit Sugarcane Plumegrass, one of our native Floridian grasses.  More pics to come...

Herbal Tea Making

What's beautiful, tactile, fragrant, comforting, and healthful?  Handmade herbal mixes.  Today I mixed up a combination I've wanted to try for a long time.  It's more for medicinal than flavor purposes.  As I study herbalism, I tend toward ingredients that are time-honored medicinals, very safe, and mild.

Most infusions, made by pouring boiling water over the right amount of herbs, are best steeped in a non-reactive container such as enamel or glass.  I found just the right container one day for less than a dollar at a local thrift store...a Corning Ware enamel pot for percolating coffee right on the burner (non-electric).  It had a couple pieces missing, but the pot and top were in perfect condition so now it's my faithful mixed herb tea will hold around a quart of water in addition to the loose herbs, which is usually just right.

For a peek at the tea blend I made this time, good for such a range of health benefits, you can hop over to my herb blog at HerbinLiving...

I can't wait to make these from my own garden herbs some day...presently I'm ordering from herb suppliers.  What's up in your teapot these days?

Monday, September 24, 2012

Trying to Identify

Does anyone have any idea what this plant is??  I looked under native Florida grasses and wetland plants but had no success...they are from 2 to maybe 4 feet tall and are growing in a wet ditch in September in Charlotte County.

Thanks for any help you can offer in identifying them!  :-D


09/29/2012 Identified as Sugarcane Plumegrass, a native grass



These were found along the roadside at the farm in SW Florida in September.  Some were in full flush and others were a bit played out.  I will write about beautyberries as time allows, since they are said to make a wonderful mosquito and perhaps even flea and tick repellant...said to be safe and effective.  The whole plant has herbal uses.  The berries are edible but flavorless unless made into jelly.  That will be one of my experiments, as will be making the "repellant tea."  Had to share the shots before too many more weeks pass!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Realization Setting In

Went back out to the land on Friday to fill my soul up with something I can only describe as God's good pleasure.  Drink in the air, surround myself with sky and buzzing insects and the flight paths of overhead birds...

I snapped as many pics as my too-old camera batteries would allow.  Grasses, beautyberries on their way out for the year, water hemlock, lush water hyacinths in the wet ditch, innumerable palmettos and pines -- some a bit weatherworn and others bright with bottlebrushes of new growth.  And the heat, as always -- so hard to escape this time of year, so you just soak it in and it in turn soaks your clothing till all is humid.  Not everyone's idea of heaven on earth, but there's something honest and vital in it all.

I think it's finally sinking in, that we can access this land anytime.  That as far as stewardship, it's "ours" (though is any land ever actually owned by anyone but God Himself?  I tend toward the native American view that we're the caretakers, never the "owners").  I have this underlying mixture of disbelief, after all this waiting, and this deep well of joy seeping slowly upward.  I think the higher it rises within me, the more I believe this is actually happening.

Even the commonest plants stop me for a better look and I give them an eager audience.  I am so burned out of the fatigues and seeming pointlessness of urban life, although I recognize there is a paradise within every place we inhabit, that is of our own making...a "bloom where you're planted" reality.  I also recognize that there is a setting for some, definitely myself, that is not in its best element until there is quiet and sky and growing things and that I thrive like a happy little weed in those surroundings.  Or, to be esoteric about it, this "is my bliss."

Blissing and blessing...I am grateful!

I'll still stop for snapshots of the plant friends I make at our new place, the farm.  I've entitled past ones "palmetto prairie postcards" because that's the terrain term for that area, and I like to get playful with photos instead of simply documenting things with consistent realism.  Who knows, maybe some past creative play will recur in this years..things such as painting again, one of my unfinished majors in college gone now long years by the wayside.  At this time, our efforts will be directed in finding a way to get TO the land/farm, so there is more waiting.  But it's a nearer sort and one in which we can feel the momentum propelling us to something less elusive than much of the work we've put into necessary goals to get us to this point.

Where do you feel yourself most alive and at peace?   I understand that there can be peace in any situation, given God's hand holding ours.  And that any place here is temporary, subject to things much bigger than our own humanity.  What simple thing greeted you and made you smile?

I hope your week is good and full of natural beauty and many simple things that touch long-cherished hopes and joys!

Robbyn :)