Monthly Archives: August 2017

A Great Weekend

The weather was perfect for the Saint Clair County Farm Museum Harvest Festival. Not too hot, not too cold, no rain, partly cloudy and light winds – the kind of weather you can really enjoy being outdoors, especially at the beautiful Goodells Park.


We set up our tent and tables early Friday morning and were immediately greeted and welcomed by people we had met at last years event. We enjoyed everyone stopping by and shopping. We talked about bee keeping and honey; growing, eating and peeling garlic; and we answered questions about soap making and which soap is our favorite and why. Even though attendance at this years event was low, interest in our products and what we were doing was high.

Garlic Peeler

We had lots of fun demonstrating the garlic peeler and many people found that they needed one.

Regrettably I didn’t get any photos of the antique farm equipment, that was being displayed and demonstrated, to share here.

I do want to send a shout out to Leslie from 107.1 Q Country radio. My husband met Leslie last year, but up until Saturday I only knew her voice on the radio. It was a pleasure to meet you Leslie.

IMG_3186 (2)

Another shout out goes to Lester the goose, who strolled nicely around the grounds with his friend Donna, letting strangers pet him and posing for pictures. I’m not really sure if Lester uses the internet but after seeing him walk  around on a leash it wouldn’t surprise me if he reads this and then shares it with all of his peeps on twitter.

As we get back to work, clipping, cleaning and sorting garlic to go to market, we want to say a great big “Thank You” to all of the wonderful people who we spent time with this weekend.

Harvest Days


This weekend you can find us at Saint Clair County Farm Museum Harvest Festival at Goodells Park in Goodells, MI. Find event details at the links below. On the facebook page you will need to scroll down a ways to see a schedule of event that will take place there this weekend. We will be selling soap and skin care products, garlic and various other items. If you make it out to the festival be sure to stop by and say “Hi”. We would love to see you there.

Gone Fishing

Recently we have been spending some of our evenings fishing in our pond. When we stocked the pond we wanted fish that were good for eating, so we chose catfish, perch and walleye. We also put in a few pike and lots of fathead minnows.

When we tell people that we have perch and walleye in our pond we get mixed reactions. Those, like me, who know little about fishing and fish habitat take us at our word. They have a simple “that’s nice” attitude about it, but it is not a big deal. More seasoned fishermen, however, have one of two reactions. Some are extremely interested in how we have accomplished this. They begin asking questions like how deep is the pond (20+ feet), what kind of structure have we put in it (piles of rocks), we talk about using the windmill for aeration and the sandy bottom in the beach area that provides habitat for perch to lay eggs. Other knowledgeable fishermen don’t believe us. “No Way!” is their reply when we say we have perch and walleye in the pond. It is their belief that ponds like our only support bass and blue gill.

After catching a 15″ walleye on two consecutive nights I decided I needed to start taking my camera with me while we were fishing. Since then all we have caught are perch. We have been catching perch as small as 2″

IMG_3112 This photo is a close-up of the small fish in the next photo. It is a bit deceiving.


We have also caught perch as large as 9″.


While catching a large fish is always exciting, catching the small ones is confirmation that the perch are reproducing in the pond. We have yet to catch a small walleye, so it may be that the environment is suitable for walleye to live but does not meet their needs for reproducing.

Now I did say that we have only caught perch since I started taking my camera along, but like every good fisherman I do have the story of the one that got away. We were catching only small perch that evening, so it was a shock when the large fish hit my hook. It hit hard and fast (as walleye do) and I caught only a glimpse of the fish as it neared the surface attached to my line. My husband immediately realized my shock. “Don’t panic” he said as he reached to help me set my drag. Then, as quickly as the fish was on my line, the line snapped and it was gone. That’s my story; a true story. I am not asking you to swallow it hook, line and sinker because a monster walleye already did.


Mystery Solved -Thank You Lisa!

Our Mystery Plant is a Mountain Mint. plant attracted my attention when I saw our honey bees heavily foraging in it. We are in a wildflower transition period where the blossoms on the Sweet Clover and Canadian Thistle are waning and the Golden Rod is just beginning to open. It seems the bees are foraging mostly on white clover which we have much of but we were happy to find something else that they loved.


My husband and I searched all of our plant reference books and several online data bases and were unable to identify this plant. The plant had grown up in an area where we had planted a wild flower seed mix several years ago. So I decided to go to what I assumed was the source. The wild flower seed mix we planted was from American Meadows . We first search their website and were unable to find any plant that resembled our mystery plant. I then decided to contact the company. I used the contact form on their website and included a picture of the plant I was trying to I.D. This was on Sunday. I received an automated reply that day saying they received my message and would try to respond within 48 hours.

My husband and I continued to search online wildflower data bases to no avail and on Monday I received an email from Lisa at American Meadows. She thought the plant in the photo was Yarrow. I replied immediately. At first glance the plant may look like Yarrow, but we also have Yarrow growing on the farm and there are several differences in the two plants. The flowers are different, but more noticeable is the difference in the leaf structure and I have never seen the bees visit Yarrow.

I sent Lisa a second photo of our mystery plant which showed the leaves more clearly. Lisa replied that same day. From this picture she could now see that the plant was not Yarrow. She could not identify the plant but if I could send a close up of the flowers she would “call in the troops” to help find our answer. On Wednesday I sent a couple more photos, described the light scent of the flowers and told her we lived in South-East Michigan.

Later that day I was surprised and excited to receive Lisa’s email. It read: “Success!

The plant is Mountain Mint, probably Pycnanthemum virginianum, which is the common species in Michigan. There is a related species that is much less common, called Pycnanthemum tenuifolium. The main difference is that P. virginianum has pubescent stems, whereas the stems of P. tenuifolium are glabrous (i.e., not hairy). I can’t see the stems well enough on your photos to tell whether the stems are pubescent or not.”

Lisa said her source of this information was a botanist here in Michigan.

I did an internet search and found photos of Mountain Mint and discovered that it was indeed what we had. I at first believed it was Pycnanthemum virginianum, the more common species. On Thursday after I read Lisa’s message a second time I began to question that. I didn’t remember this plant having hairy stems. On my next trip to the farm I confirmed this. The stems of our Mountain Mint are smooth. We have the less common of the two, Pycnanthemum tenuifolium. Common names for this plant are Narrow-leaved Mountain Mint,  Common Horsemint, and Slender Mountain Mint. My husband and I could not be more thrilled than to have this mystery solved. We will encourage this plant to spread and perhaps even propagate it.

This might go without saying but in a day and age where good customer service is hard to find I have to say that we greatly appreciate the help that we received from Lisa at American Meadows. She certainly could have determined that our plant was not something that came in the seeds we received from them an left us on our own. Instead she went the extra mile to help us solve the mystery. At this time we do not have a need to purchase wild flower seed but if we ever do we will return to American Meadows and perhaps if you decided to purchase wild flower seed you will consider them as well.



Stumped – Need Help Identifying Plant

Identifying plants and their usefulness is sort of a passion of mine and this plant has both my husband and I stumped. We have searched several plant I.D. books and online data bases and have yet to find out what it is. In addition to the photos below I can tell you that it has a very light fragrance and the honey bees and bumble bees love it.



Feel free to share this post on social media but please leave comments on this page as I will not see them on social media sites. Thank you for helping me solve this mystery.