piranha: red origami crane (Default)
2011-06-23 06:21 am
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levisticum officinale

2 lovage umbels against a blue sky

not a native; originates in the iran/afghanistan area, but has been naturalised all over europe for centuries. it grows pretty tall -- mine is now in its 4th year, and it's >2m tall, so even though it's not very big in its 1st and 2nd years, it needs lots of room -- makes a nice yellow-green background plant. the leaves can be used as an herb, the roots as a vegetable, and the seeds as a spice much like fennel seed. it tastes strongly of celery (oddly, more so than celery itself), with a touch of anise. if you're familiar with "maggi", it tastes sorta kinda a bit like that, only... greener. the tea is anti-septic. supposedly it's also an aphrodisiac, but i cannot attest to that.

it's hard to find here; i've only ever seen it in one nursery (the same one where i got my wasabi).
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
2009-04-18 08:09 pm
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herb acquisition

the *poing* wanted to vegetate today, so i went by myself to hazelwood herb farm and looked at their early offerings.

  • wasabia japonica -- wasabi (mine got eaten by wildlife last year, *pout*, so we try again)
  • artemisia dracunculus 'sativa' -- french tarragon (hard winter killed mine)
  • myrrhis odorata -- sweet cicely (strong taste reminiscent of anise)
  • rumex scutatus -- buckler's sorrel (sharp, tangy lemon flavor)
  • levisticum officinale -- lovage (vaguely reminiscent of celer;, maggi)
  • monarda fistulosa -- wild bergamot (sweet, pungent, peppery, buttery)
  • marrubium vulgare -- white horehound (musky, bittersweet)
  • agastache foeniculum -- white anise hyssop (strong, sweet, anise/licorice)
  • borago officinalis -- borage (fresh, young cucumber)
  • valeriana officinalis -- valerian (tastes like wet, dirty socks; attracts rats)
  • galium verum -- lady's bedstraw (for dye)
  • thymus x citriodorus 'orange balsam' -- thyme (x orange)
  • thymus x citriodorus 'doone valley' -- creeping thyme (more lemony than lemon thyme)
  • lavandula x intermedia 'grosso' -- lavender (darkest blue-purple flowers of any of the french hybrids, very cold hardy)
  • lavandula x intermedia 'goldburg' -- lavender (creamy yellow & grey-blue, compact growth)
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
2008-09-03 09:25 pm
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dear lazyweb

1. those of you who have tried both cilantro and epazote, how similar do they taste? if cilantro tastes like soap to you, does epazote do as well?

2. in the subgenre "cowboys are gettin' it on" of my smut reading, the characters in texas and new mexico often have or make "queso". i used to think queso was just spanish for cheese (which it is), but they're very clearly not making cheese. google isn't very helpful. enlighten me?
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
2008-05-02 01:28 am
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flexing my green thumbs

plant haul from hazelwood herb farm:

  • angelica angelica archangelica. this gets HUGE, and i'll put it behind the figwort (which is also big, but not quite _as_ big). that's not the best place because there's not enough shade, but who knows, i might yet buy a tree for the front. i just wanted a ginormous plant, and i love its smell.
  • arugula eruca vesicaria sativa.
  • dill, 3 kinds: anethum graveolens bouquet, hercules, and tetra.
  • hummingbird sage salvia guarnatica.
  • lemon thyme thymus citriodorus variegata, since mine died last year.
  • ricola mint mentha x piperita 'swiss'.
  • shiso perilla frutescens. i'm going japanese. :) it's eaten with sashimi, and used in making umeboshi (pickled plum).
  • wasabi wasabia japonica !!!!! did i mention how excited i am about this? they will get their own little spot in the back under the apple tree in some new soil i'll buy, because they like it rich (and the entire backyard (minus my small beds) has no real topsoil), and they like it very shady. that's not the ideal growing condition, for that i'd need a gravel stream, but this is the next best thing. 


it was hard to stop because this early in the year they have lots of stuff i would like to buy, but i promised myself that i'd not buy more than i can plant, and the landlord's missile silo building has destroyed one of my beds already (though any day now i'll shovel that clear again. ghods, i am not looking forward to that what with the soil being clayey and heavy. i'm thinking of getting a truckload of good soil and covering the entire area around the back fence (using the fence itself to grow cucumbers and sweat peas. that's probably gonna remain a dream because it involves a lot of physical labour since that's not accessible other than by wheelbarrow.

what i really, really want is to make a pond in the back yard. *sigh*.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
2006-08-26 11:15 pm
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#8

makes it the last load of laundry in the washer. today was a productive if dull day; the landlords are away celebrating the wedding of their eldest, and we have the dog, and the laundry facilities. so that's what i spent most of the day doing, including hanging stuff on the line to dry. walked the dog, too, and deep-watered all the plants, ours and theirs (i want some rain!). and cooked a real dinner (pork tenderloin in korma sauce with noodles and cucumber salad -- my stout little cukes are very yummy this year). ha. i feel almost like a normal person.

and for once the novel that i thought should have won the hugo, did win it. spin by robert charles wilson (another fine canadian writer). the best book i've read yet this year.

the hugo winners.

oh, and i harvested some daucus carota seeds (wild carrot, or queen anne's lace), and mashed them up in the mortar to sniff what they smell like. mmmh! i have no idea how to describe that smell, but i like it a lot -- it's earthy, but not musty; more pungent, fresh, herbaceous, and a little bit spicy. daucus carota is one of the essential oils good for skin, especially irritations, and it's usually quite expensive (they're tiny seeds). i'm back thinking about building a still.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
2005-08-21 09:40 pm
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noticeable side effect

i am quite a bit more irritable.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
2005-08-14 11:59 pm
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accomplishments

all cats "advantaged" today. the shipment got here on friday already; much faster than i anticipated -- this is the first time i've ordered from this place, and i'm pleased (i also checked whether the meds are genuine, since there have apparently been lots of fakes popping up). universal pet meds out of winnipeg. cheap, fast, and reliable -- woowoo.

i am alas an idiot. i should've ordered enough to do the landlord's dog too, since they're never catching on themselves, and i feel so bad for the dog.

other than that, i did heaps and heaps of laundry on saturday, even though it was hideously hot and humid, which is pretty amazing. i'm not entirely sure whether to ascribe this to the sweatsock juice, but it's certainly unusual for me to be feeling energetic when the temp rises above 25°C, and i've been doing fine ever since i started taking the stuff, all the while it's been hot. here's hoping this holds. i like having energy to burn. oh, do i ever like it. it's NICE to not feel like i am moving through molasses.

i stopped taking my SSRI 3 days ago because i want to see how this stuff does on its own. i had a slight buzz today. usually when i forget to take my pills i get a buzz on the second day, and by the third it's pretty bad. so whatever else the stuff is doing, it's keeping down the buzz from SSRI withdrawal. another 2-3 weeks and the SSRI should mostly be out of my system. then the real test begins.

speaking of cats, there's a new little one around the outside feeding dishes, all black. *sigh*.

oh, and i have a new scale, which measures up to 500g in 0.1g increments. it can also do oz, lb, ozt, dwt, gn, ct, and pieces. ecstasy in weighing lies ahead!
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
2005-08-12 01:42 pm
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wondering

how old this building is:

click for ~68k of questionable decoration )

also, having random thoughts about the nature of symbols. too unformed to talk about as yet.

state of the herbal experiment:

not sedative! in fact, it feels slightly stimulating; my heart rate definitely goes up a little after consuming it. it tastes better warm than cold, alas, which makes drinking it right now difficult, since, you know, summer: already hot enough. maybe i'll experiment with adding some citrus. also maybe drink smaller portion more times a day. not like there is any idea of dosage here anyway, *sigh*. why don't they make small, cheap desktop gas chromatographs for amateur chemists? [1]

still, not having the sweaty sock experience with valerian. i can sort of smell why some people seem to experience it that way; the potential is clearly there for me too, but even when freshly compared (because sweaty socks are easily come by in this house), the valerian wins by several root lengths because of the aromatic overtones, which i like.

it could be that this is a feature of my european-bred nose -- i don't have anywhere near the abhorrence of strong body odours that north american peeps seem to have, and hey, i actively like the smell of horse manure (when it's not piled up in a stable and reeking of pure ammonia, that is).

[1] small, as it turns out, is entirely possible. they even make the damn things portable these days. wow. too cool. this site is fun because they let you put together your own. well, there is a gift to put on a wedding registry read by wealthy patrons. i mean, if one were to have a wedding. or wealthy patrons. which i'm not.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
2005-08-10 12:54 pm
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new experiment

today i've started fighting the depression with herbal power. not st. john's wort, that makes me very tired. but i've looked into this for quite some time now and made a list of all the herbs where there is some evidence that they might have some improving effect on mood and energy, and i'm gonna run a long test with them.

in this first batch we have:
damiana (turnera aphrodisiaca), flower & leaf extract
rhodiola (rhodiola rosea), root extract
linden (tilia vulgaris), blossoms
valerian (aleriana officinalis), root
vervain (verbena officinalis), leaves, tops
skullcap (scutellaria laterifolia), aerials
borage (borago officinalis), leaves & oil
balm (melissa officinalis), leaves
ginkgo (ginkgo biloba), powdered leaf extract

lavender (lavandula angustifolia), essential oil
rosemary (rosmarinus officinalis), essential oil
bergamot (citrus bergamia), essential oil

raw materials infused for 15 min in 2 cups of boiling water, extracts added afterwards, with a little fish oil (omega 3, don'cha know) as flavouring. well, actually honey as flavouring. essential oils sprinkled on the sacrificial goat, so as to perfume the room with aromatherapeutic goodness.

much to my surprise, the concoction actually tastes pretty good.

i am planning to drink this mix 3 times a day. if it makes me tired, i am gonna take out the plants also known as sedatives, one by one. if it does something good, i'm thinking of taking out one ingredient at a time to see whether that changes things. if it does nothing, i have a second batch to process.

right now i am feeling quite invigorated. i am ascribing that to the pleasant surprise of this not tasting like total crap. :)