Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Freeze Frame

There has been a lot going on around here at The Essential Herbal for the last few weeks. Getting the magazine and orders out were quickly followed by a couple of days of the upper respiratory crud that's going around, and then we moved on to organizing the celebration of the magazine's anniversary (10!) and year end stuff.
Doesn't it just figure that even though we've been having a never-ending autumn here, the first chance I'd get to go play with the camera my daughter gave me would be on about the first frigid day outside?
The chickweed and cleavers that were happy and healthy yesterday, are mushy now. The nettles are also finally going to get a rest. The lilac bush that leafed out last week might have some time to straighten herself out.
There's a lot of interesting stuff along the edge of the yard.
The windbreak is made up of large conifer trees. They grow fast.
The douglas firs have shaggy cones that when young, confuse me because they look a lot like bag worms. Only when they mature am I certain that they are cones.
Concolor firs are a gorgeous blue-ish tint, and their terminal end looks like a flower.
I think this one loaded with cones is a canaan fir, but I'm not certain.
There are still some vitex berries on the tree out back. The birds have never eaten the berries before, but this year they had a few. Coincidentally, suddenly many of the women around me are needing these fruits, and of course the birds decide to enjoy them too. There were plenty for everyone, though. I will have to watch more closely to see if perhaps specific birds have arrived because of this plant that wasn't there 5 years ago or if they just developed a taste for it.

The horehound is unconcerned as the temperatures dip, and if I recall correctly, there will be some leaves through most of the winter for my teas and syrups. Last year was her first year in my border and although I don't like the taste much, it works very well on coughs and chesty issues.

The sage is wearing her winter coat. I harvested very heavily this year - twice! The leaves just kept pushing, and looking at the plant now one might wonder if any harvesting had taken place. The leaves were not this hairy in the summer.
This wee yard weed - I think veronica - is just starting to freeze at the tips of the tiny leaves.
Soon enough, everything will get a blanket of snow. There have been a few years when we've gotten no snow, but I suspect once this winter gets rolling it we'll forget all about how many people cut their trees in shorts this year. In '10, it didn't snow at all until February, and then we had some hum-dingers. That Nature, she keeps us guessing!


Anonymous said...

Hi Tina,

The weed you ID'd as veronica is actually henbit, Lamium amplexicaule, which is a member of the mint family. I enjoy your posts!


Tina Sams said...

It does look a lot like henbit at this magnification, but it has the teensy sky blue flowers - there just weren't any in this portion of the shot. We usually call it "baby blue eyes" around here, but there are a lot of plants that go by that name :-)
To be able to see the edges of the 1/4" leaves, I had to really blow it up, but I loved the way the ice was creeping in from the edges. My fingers felt the same way while I was taking the pictures.
Thanks for taking a look Hugh!


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