Kitchen Garden

Alas, apartment-living.  You are the best when it comes to not mowing the lawn, replacing the water heater in an emergency, and requiring a down payment.  But you are the worst when it comes to gardening!  With little or no yard to speak of, and a hesitance to share my seedlings with grabby neighbors who might think our porch is their property, too – or worse, think it’s really fun to chuck terra cotta pots around at 2 a.m. on a Saturday night – I have to settle for a little kitchen garden until I get my own backyard.  That’ll be a victory garden, indeed.

love grows where my rosemary goes

I started the rosemary and the oregano seeds at the end of January, and in full sunlight on the counter all day they’re doing famously.  I need to read up on how to care for these so that they bring the most productive herb-age to our dinner table.  I think the oregano will be easy, but rosemary seems like a testy bitch.  Already all the seedlings are just growing on one side of the pot and the soil is turning white.  Hrm.

hello, wildfire

Here is the oregano.  It’s already plentiful and the leaves look like proper oregano leaves, just junior sized.  I hope I don’t have to replant it, just tear bits mercilessly from this little pot and it will grow back as tenaciously as it already has in the last two months.

welcome to the world, little basils!

I’m a terrible basil failure, or at least I have been in the past.  Of course, in the past I’ve kind of just sprinkled some seeds on some dirt and hoped for the best.  I watched some YouTube videos and ready some WikiHow articles and feel relatively confident that I can follow some easy instructions.  Growing basil from seed, you basically need to thin them out as soon as they’ve grown about 3/4″ high – then when they’ve grown their second set of leaves you have to pinch those off.  When your basil flowers you need to get rid of those.  Pulling sprigs off the outermost growth will help keep the plant bushy.  One time, I had a 7-inch tall basical that was only a stalk and a couple of leaves at the top.  I hung on to that thing for a year before I gave up… until now.  I can’t wait to see how they do this year – I will be vindicated.

I Spy With My Little Eye: The Herbal Revolution

Looking back, maybe that last entry was a little pessimistic.  Maybe I just needed to complain a bit so that I could complete all of the following yesterday:  grocery shopping (twice), living room tidying, cooking dinner, finishing a book and updating The BIG THAW website.  Now that the steam’s let off, I’ve got some energy for a really positive shout-out to Kathi Langelier at The Herbal Revolution.

I first met Kathi at the Handmade Holiday Fair in Biddeford in December.  We joked about how it’s always so expensive to travel in state and have to stay in a hotel if you want to be somewhere longer than just a day trip.  Then we volunteered each other our ‘spare spaces’ in our houses whenever one was longing for a change of scenery.

While I’m a ‘city girl,’ The Herbal Revolution quite naturally has its home in Lincolnville, ME, where excellent things grow in gardens and forests.  Kathi harvests and forages the herbs and plants needed for her products and makes good use of them without gross chemicals or stuff that makes my skin all red.


I am so excited! Click to buy this Halloween Costume for yourself!

The first product I bought from Kathi was the Better Than Botox clay mask ($9) which is more than a bang for your buck.  The jar itself is pretty sizable, but the contents are powder, not pre-mixed, so by adding your own water (or yogurt, lemon juice, tomato juice or whatever else works for you) you can get the consistency and longevity out of BTB that you’d like.  Above is a picture of me looking so excited for how great my skin would feel in a little bit.  The kelp powder tingles as there is mint and rosemary mixed in the clay and it has a very light, pleasant smell.  The mask also includes nutritional yeast for acne prone skin (that’s me!)  When I wash it off my face feels younger, fresher, and definitely more firm.  Yay to 10 minute, natural face lifts.

After making some Etsy sales last week and a Paypal balance burning a hole in my pocket I revisited The Herbal Revolution as a repeat customer.  I bought a St. John’s Wort oil (for pain relief in my bum!  Sciatica boo, herbal remedies yay) and a small pot of Rose Lotion.


A lotion by any other name wouldn't smell as sweet!

The Rose Lotion ($8) is light and smells exactly like you want it to.  Feminine, breezy and subtle.  The lotion itself is not pink, but a buttery yellow and that’s super refreshing.  Not all roses are pink, people!  And I don’t need any dye in my product to make me more convinced it has roses in it.  Kathi done good.  This little pot is portable and a tiny bit goes a long way (like a pea size for my whole face or two pea sizes for my leathery old man hands).


Pinched nerves don't stand a chance!

Kathi recommends using the St. John’s Wort oil ($12) with her St. John’s Wort tincture ($11)which (Thanks, Kathi!) she sent me as a special gift in my package.  Although it tastes herb-y I mix the tincture (20-30 drops) in green tea and apply the St. John’s Wort Oil to my rear end which, for any of you who know me, is constantly ache-y.  I’ve recently begun massage therapy and am retraining myself to sleep in a proper position but the St. John’s Wort battery combining forces with a heating pad don’t hurt, either!


St. John's Wort Tincture, $11

St. John’s Wort is also indicated for depression.  Mainers, I’m looking at you.  It’s been freezing cold for near three months now, fresh snowfall has lost its nostalgic charm and we’re playing the ‘can we make it to April with that much heating oil?’ game.  So:  you’re depressed.  Even if you don’t admit it I know you’re climbing in to bed with a book at 7pm and snoozing by 8.  I know you’re ordering delivery for the second time this week and it isn’t even Wednesday.  Depression has many relievers – this just happens to be my favorite one right now!  Also look at my awesome teacup in that picture up there.


Look at my awesome teacup. And that tincture for $11.

The St. John’s Wort Oil is distinctly herby but the odor is only apparent when you stick the vial up your nose (don’t do that).  Plus, after a few days the aroma is actually growing on me!


Babies and Springtime are the best.

I’m really quite psyched to have found something natural (and effective) right here in our home state.  Kathi’s products leave my skin feeling great and my derriere comfortably soothed.  I’ve got my eye on Calendula Oil next because I don’t think there is much of anything in this world that is more soothing than calendula.  Maybe it’s because all our Mommies used it on us as babies.  Maybe it’s because it smells distinctly and undeniably like Spring.  Either way you slice it, you’ll be hearing from me soon, lady.