Herbs & Pet Peeves

Today is sunny and hot–87 degrees as I begin this post. Occasionally, there is a bit of a breeze, which helps a bit. I’m comfortable sitting in front of the fan sipping cold tea, but when I go outside, I quickly start to drip with sweat. I try to go outside as little as possible, but I do go out to check on the chicks and gather eggs, and I walked Hannah Joy down to the mailbox and back.

The chicks are still reluctant to wander far from their cages. They do go on top of the cages or next to them, but they run back in whenever an adult comes close. I assume that sooner or later they will find their courage and go out to enjoy the bigger world.

EJ has been picking peas from his garden, which we’ve been enjoying for meals. His other veggies are growing, but are not yet ready for harvest.

I’ve begun harvesting some of my herbs, which I then dry in the dehydrator. the dehydrator is in the hallway where it doesn’t warm the rest of the house. So far I’ve dried a bit of peppermint, spearmint, chocolate mint (which does, indeed have a chocolatey taste), sage, parsley, oregano, rosemary, tarragon, marjoram, and summer savory. I’ve never grown or used the last three, but I want to try them. In addition to using herbs in cooking, I also make them into teas. I just put some leaves–fresh or dried–in little tea bags and put them in hot water. I make EJ a variety of teas, often combining one or more herbs: borage, sage, lavender, mint, chamomile….I really enjoy making mint tea. When it cools down, I put it in a jar in the fridge so I can drink it cold. It’s a nice refreshing drink.

All of these herbs not only have culinary uses, but also medicinal. Many of them relieve respiratory trace conditions such as bronchitis, cough, colds, flu, colds, fever. Many are excellent natural antibiotics and build up the immune system. Some eliminate microbes and prevent the development of intestinal parasites. Some also help with diabetes, detoxify, weight-loss, insomnia, stress/anxiety, digestive problems, and so forth. I really want to get away from drugs and use medicinal herbs, which have fewer side effects and are less costly.

I also have been harvesting, little by little, lavender and borage flowers, which I also make into teas. I don’t dry these in the dehydrator. Instead, I have them on little racks that I hang from a window.

I have decided that next year I am going to plant edible flowers in my flower garden so they don’t take up garden boxes: I already have coneflowers, which are actually echinacea, but I will also plant the borage there, as well as daisies and some lavender. I have lavender growing down the driveway, but I’d prefer to have some up near the house.

I’ve also begun learning about edible wild plants. EJ knows more about them than I do and can help me. Also, I will do research. We have books, the Internet, and I have a phone app. Many of these “weeds” that people toss out–such as purslane and lamb’s quarters–are very nutritious. I know some edibles are growing on our property. Learning about them is my newest goal.

The world God has created is amazing.

Last week I walked Hannah Joy to the mailbox. Usually, I stop at the edge of the road to make sure no vehicles are coming before we go to the mailbox, but that day a large truck came by while we were already at the mailbox. It did not pull over to give us extra room. Fortunately, I held on to Hannah’s harness when I saw it approaching. The two vehicles rounded the curve. They were in the far lane, but Hannah started leaping. I was so glad to get back into the driveway. As we reentered the driveway, Hannah Joy saw a cigarette on the ground, which someone had probably thrown out their car window. I pulled on her leash to try to keep her from eating it, but I ended up tripping her and falling on the ground. Besides feeling stupid, my wrist, knee, and ankle hurt the rest of the day. I’m glad that is all I struggled with. I tend to hurt myself quite badly when I fall so I try to avoid it. I’m quite sure Hannah ate the cigarette while I was lying in the dirt.

As we walked back up the driveway, I grumbled a little bit about pet peeves. EJ ALWAYS pulls over into the far lane when he sees anyone at the edge of the road to give them extra space. I’m used to his consideration. What kind of jerk throws cigarettes out the window??? It could result in unintended consequences: Like a dog eating it and me falling. Or it could cause forest fires.

This got me to thinking about pet peeves. My biggest pet peeve involving pets doesn’t happen now because we live in the country. However, when we lived in a small town downstate, I used to take my then-dog Danny (who died of cancer in 2017) for walks every day. Danny LOVED the attention of people–and especially children–and he always pulled me over to them to get petted. However, he didn’t always get along with other dogs. He was ok with some and not ok with others so I always left plenty of room between us if we encountered another dog…just in case. I hate it when people walking their dog come right up to us without asking me if it is ok. Sometimes they’d say, “Don’t worry! My dog is very friendly.” That might be so, but they don’t know if MY dog is friendly. And there’s no telling how two strange dogs will react to each other. Once a lady approached us with her dog when we were camping. “Don’t worry! My dog is friendly!” she said. Our dogs took a dislike to each other and got into a brief fight. Not cool. It is polite and can solve a lot of problems if a person asks permission to approach with his/her dog.

In addition, EJ and I love to pet dogs we encounter on a walk or in a store. (Some stores allow pets, but we don’t take Hannah into stores because she is not social enough and is too protective of us.) However, we always ask the owner for permission. It’s polite, and almost always the owner says “Sure!” Once we asked a guy in a store if we could pet his dog, and he said no because it was his emotional support dog. We told him we totally understood. It is not a good idea to try to pet service/support dogs because they are working and shouldn’t be distracted. Distracting a service/support dog could have tragic consequences. We hadn’t seen any indication that the dog was a service dog or we wouldn’t have even asked.

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