Monday, January 27, 2014

Anatomy of whatever kind of sinus cold this is

I caught a cold, which started with night-time mouth breathing and passages so dry you could ... well, they were very dry.

On the third day, I had a very low voice in the morning, but sneezed four times and otherwise felt fine. On the fourth, I sniffed some a few times. Each of these nights,  I was mouth-breathing and getting nasty dry all night. I took some echinacea and elderberry tinctures in water, but I was distracted by something else going on that day. On the fifth day, my nose turned into a faucet. I continued with the tinctures and the occasional Vitamin C tablets and used a lot of facial tissue. I made hot honey-lemon tea. Later I had just honey in water.

And then I did a thyme steam bath for my head.

I took about a cup or more of water, heated it in a small saucepan, and when it was simmering, I added about 2 teaspoons of thyme. Then I used a beach towel to make a tent so I got all the thyme steam from that pan. For about 10 minutes. I was bored. But it did feel good! Later in the day I took the thyme out of the water, heated the water again, and added that herb back in. Later in the day I did it again, but added another couple teaspoons of thyme. The sneezing has gone away. The phlegm is looser. The headache is milder. The nose-faucet has been GREATLY REDUCED.

That thyme is great stuff. Look it up. It could help you!

Monday, January 13, 2014

"and time passes ..."

That's what my mom would say when the leading lady and man would embrace very very closely and the screen faded to black.

Well, I have no excuse for  not talking to y'all. I hung my corn after I harvested it onto my tailgate, and for lo these many weeks it has dried in my front porch. Last week I took 30 or more cobs of corn off the cob. I carefully segregated deep, steely blue corn and deep winey-red corn, and got about a quart of each. The rest I just call "calico." They're all in big bulky wonderful quart canning jars to keep the mice from harvesting them. Damned mice.

I never thought that you could sort corn by color and be useful about it, since the mammal phenotypes [physical characteristics] can't be sorted that way. But when people I trusted said they "just threw out the yellow kernels," of their Indian corn, I had to know more.

Corn ain't mammals. If you do some research on how corn is pollinated, it makes sense. The short way to tell it is that pollen grains from the tassel of the corn fall onto individual corn silks. Each piece of silk leads to a place on the cob where a kernel can develop. One grain of pollen + one corn silk = one individual kernel. And when you think about all the successful pollination that has to take place to make ONE cob of corn, well that's just pretty cool. All the time I was shelling my corn, I kept thinking of that.

Of course there are drawbacks. One half block away is a field of what we used to call "field corn," and I now call "GMO corn." All the yellow kernels in my corn can be directly attributed the the pollen from that field getting to my corn's silk.

Where I live there are hundreds of thousands of acres of fields of corn. Where there isn't corn, they grow soybeans, and in the small percentage of fields where there isn't either, there may be alfalfa, wheat, or cattle grazing. So where do you plant your corn? It's a question. For anyone trying to raise a particular strain of corn, it's a BIG question.

Am I replanting my "blue" and "red" corn? Yessiree. I'm learning a lot.

Did I eat any of it this year? Well. The season for processing it got away from me and it dried on the stalk. This means I could use it for corn, but it won't be as good as cooked and dried corn will be. I haven't had the guts to try it in food or try to make cornmeal from it. Besides, I had helped a friend pick HER corn and SHE processed it and shared with me. So. Like. I kinda don't need to! Ha!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

When corn is treasure



Hanging indoors to dry.

Corn smut.
Possibly the best-looking ear, based on what I sorted the seed by.

No idea where this color came from, LOL

Moth Day Oct. 2

This is an Alfalfa looper, Autographica californica.

It is most common from southern British Columbia to southern Saskatchewan and south to the border with Mexico. This species is a generalist feeding on a wide variety of herbaceous plants, but appears to prefer legumes (Fabaceae) (alfalfa).
Adults frequently visit flowers for nectar in open meadow habitats during the day. They are most commonly collected during the night and come readily to lights. They have been collected at almost all times of the year, beginning in February and extending to the end of November.
It is mostly found in May, late July and late September.


This is a Lophocampa maculata, the Mottled tussock moth.

It ranges across southern Canada, western US, south in Appalachians to South Carolina, Kentucky. It likes deciduous forests. Adults (usually) fly from May to July and the tufted caterpillars are from July to September. They prefer leaves of poplar and willow, but also feed on alder, basswood, birch, maple, oak.

Beautiful mosaic on the lower border of its wings.

This one has a hammerhead pattern on it. Hard to know if that's a shape or a coloration. Very good-looking.
There were some I haven't identified!
... another bark-colored moth
This one was flitting around quite vigorously. So fast that I was simply lucky to get this good of a photo of it, about center.

Return of Moth Day, Oct.3

 Lined Sphinx Moth
 From the side, the Lined Sphinx Moth is also darned impressive. I don't know if those are markings or eyes.

 Lined Sphinx Moth from the back
 Virgin Tiger Moth. Doesn't really look like a virgin OR a tiger.

Assorted moths; it's a bad photo, only used to show the moth plethora.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Hairy monsters from Mars


Our first melon. The 2nd one was the same size. Not bad for not having much in the way of flesh. We have two more about 8 and 10 inches in diameter.

Hairy demons from Mars! ... Or the caterpillars of Milkweed tussock moths. Anything that can eat milkweed successfully is of interest to me, since I grow it. ... More correctly, I allow it to grow where it wants to. This is not always good for the garden, but can be, as we'll see later.
 Munch, much, chomp, chomp!

This is happening all over my garden because I planted cherry tomatoes. The cherry tomatoes are climbing the milkweed. I love that. I love that there are so many surprises in the garden. Every year it's something different.
Habaneros! I do not eat these. I do touch them briefly. Then I wash my hands thoroughly.
The grasshoppers LOVE the lovely hybrid sunflowers I gave them. Sigh. They must be delicious!