Category Archives: Mint

Time Flies

It is said that as you get older time seems to go faster. It is also said that time flies when you’re having fun. I’m not sure which it is, and I suspect it is a combination of the two, but time sure does seem to be going quickly. Here it is well into June already and it  seems I have missed a lot of the things I should have written about. I thought I’d make this a catch up post.

Planting and weeding were two of our priorities in the last week of May and first week of June. My husband and I worked mostly together to do a thorough weeding of the entire garlic field. We spread it out over 5 or 6 days working 2 to 4 hours each day and it looked really good when it was finished. We are now just pulling big weeds as needed in the garlic. I have also spent time pulling weeds in the Prayer Garden, and devoted almost a full day to weeding the strawberry patch and asparagus. We have pretty much waged war on weeds and for now we seem to be winning the battle.

My husband has also spent a lot of time getting the garden planted. He started with the fifty tomato plants that he has grown from heirloom seed, as well as some green peppers, cabbage, and cucumbers.  We had our annual date to the local green house. The green house is one of the few places I enjoy shopping and usually I spend way too much money buying plants. This year there were only a few thing that we needed because my husband had started much of what we needed from seed. He picked out a couple of egg plants and some leeks and I bought a couple of rosemary plants but they were all out of culinary sage that I wanted. I did get a couple of Russian sage plants. Although they are not edible they should look nice in the prayer garden and the blossoms are said to attract butterflies. Maybe the bees will like them as well.


We had another swarm of bees. We watched the entire event. Above is the beginning when the group was starting to leave the hive.


It’s hard to make out in the above photo but all the little yellow spots against the green areas and all of the black spots against the blue sky are bees. They settled in a picturesque location nearby.


The flexibility of the  pine branches made it easy for my husband to slip a bucket up over the swarm. He then shook the branch while holding the bucket around the swarm. Nearly all of the bees fell into the bucket. He covered it with a lid and carried it to the empty hive.


He dumped the bees into the hive and put the inner cover on. He placed a piece of wood over the hole in the top of the inner cover to keep the bees inside. He went back to the pine tree and repeated the process to collect the bees that were left behind.

We watched the hive and saw bees gathering at the small slot in the side of the inner cover. This was a good indication that the queen was inside and the workers were going in to be with the queen.

It’s now about a week later and this hive along with our other 5 are all doing well.


The Irises are in full bloom in the Prayer Garden. When I was planting rosemary and sage the other day a lovely fragrance caught my attention. Since the Irises were the nearest blossoms I walked to them and took a sniff. Wow! Spicy-sweet. I then took a long deep breathe to fill myself with this wonderful scent. These have only been in place for a couple of years and have really just taken off this year. I always thought that Irises were planted for their showy flowers, and that is why I planted them. I never realized that they were aromatic as well.


I guess this just goes to show that we should take time to stop and smell the Irises. I’ll consider this a lesson learned.

Harvesting and watering are now our primary activities. Our asparagus crop was significantly affected by the wet weather this year and we harvested less than 50% of what we had last year. The strawberries are ripening and I have picked about 7 quarts so far. I am freezing them for now and will make jam with many of them when I have more time. I have also picked and dried oregano, spearmint and chocolate mint.

We are now having to water daily as we have gone from overly wet weather to overly dry. I think our last good rain was before Memorial Day, and the lack of rain plus the summerlike temperatures, equals very thirsty plants. This post explains our watering system on the farm. Since the farm is off grid watering takes a little more time and effort than just turning on a faucet.

While there are many other things going on here, there is much work to be done and precious little time to write about it, so until next time 🙂



Hint of Mint Soap (New and Improved)

“You have to write a post about your mint soap,” my husband has said this to me more than once in the past week. I gave him a bar of my latest batch to test last week and you can probably guess, he likes loves it.

I first experimented with adding mint to soap last year.  The results were a nice soap but not really what I had hoped for. About two months ago I made another batch of mint soap and decided to boost the mint properties by using mint infused oils. I infused my dried spearmint leaves in water as I had in the previous batch. In addition I used sunflower oil that had been infused with spearmint and I put a tea bag with dried mint leaves in my oil mixture as they were heating and then cooling before being added to the lye mixture. I removed the tea bag before I blended the lye mixture with the oils. After mixing the oils and with the lye mixture I also mixed in the mint leaves that  had been infused in the water. The soap was in the molds for two days before being cut into bars and then it cured for six or seven weeks before we tested it.

I tried the new recipe first because my husband was still using up another bar of soap. My first impression was nice bar of soap – good lather- rinses off well. After my second or third use I began to detect a light mint scent. I also noticed a light refreshingly cool feeling on my skin as I rubbed the soap on. On the first day my husband showered with the soap he said, “it’s a nice soap.” When I asked him if he could smell or feel the mint he said, “Honestly, no.” The following day, after his shower my husband came to me,  “I really like the mint soap,” he said. “I could smell the mint and it feels really nice. You did a good job. You better blog about it.”

The fragrance and cooling effects are pleasantly subtle, the lather is nice and this is a hard bar of soap that will last a while and it is husband approved. Anyone interesting in purchasing this or any of my other products that can be found in my store can email me at and put soap in the subject line.



Mint Brownies

When I make brownies I usually use a box mix, whatever brand is cheapest,  sometimes it’s fudge brownie mix and sometimes it’s dark chocolate, but rather than just plain old brownies, I try to turn them into something special. In the past I’ve done this  by adding nuts, raisins or marsh mallows, or adding a peanut butter/ powdered sugar combination, or sometimes melting chocolate chips on top. Last week I decided to try something new.

I decided to make mint brownies. Instead of running to the internet for a recipe, like I would normally do when I want to try a new recipe, I went to my stash of dried herbs. Among the herbs that we grew and dried this year were both spearmint and chocolate mint. For brownies I decided to use chocolate mint. Using my fingers I crushed up some of the mint leaves until they were like powder. I then added about a teaspoon of the crushed mint to the dark chocolate brownie batter. Other than that I follow the directions on the box.

While the brownies were baking, my husband came in the kitchen and spotted the empty brownie box. “Yum” he said.

“But I added a surprise,” I said teasingly.

“I guess I’ll have to wait,” he pretended to sulk.

Then the detective in him took over and within a couple minutes I saw him sniffing around, “What’s that I smell?” he asked.

“What does it smell like?” I asked, testing his investigative skills.

“Mint,” he said with a bit of question in he voice.

I had hoped to gage his reaction when he tasted the brownies, but I felt forced to reveal the secret, “I made mint brownies.”

We waited until after dinner to try the brownies. The flavor was all that I hoped for. My husband compared them to Thin Mint Girl Scout cookies, and the flavor reminded me very much of Andes mints, those irresistible little chocolate mints wrapped in the green foil paper.

So if you are wondering how to use some of the mint that is threatening to take over your garden this is a simple recipe that will give you a great appreciation for your mint. If you are not yet growing your own mint then you may find it tempting when you hear that mint is fairly easy to grow. It requires at least a partially sunny area and moist but not overly wet soil. I have read that it can be grown as an indoor plant, it can be grown as a potted patio plant or grown in any garden. Some people may be reluctant to plant mint as it is know to be invasive. One option that is recommended is to put the mint plant in a deep pot and then plant the pot and all to restrict mint to certain area. My recommendation, if you want to restrict mint growth, is to harvest the outer edges of the plant by the roots, or dig up a portion or several portions of the mint plant and give it to a friend or several friends. You could also present them with this simple recipe.

1 box brownie mix

1 teaspoon dried mint leaved (crushed into powder)

Mix brownies as instructed on package then mix in mint leaves. Bake as instructed on brownie package.

🙂 Enjoy!!!