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Sunday, October 26, 2014

In the Garden and A Quick Handknit

We are vacillating between chilly and summer-like weather here in the foothills.  Winter usually sets in here sometime in December. This is bee balm that bloomed in June.
Bergamot, bee balm, horsemint are all names for Monarda didyma
I've been piddling in the garden beds a bit and gathering herbs for wintertime use.  This is the common herb mullein that I dry then use as a remedy for chest colds and coughs in general.  It works - true story below...

Several years ago Goodman and I both had the flu at the same time. It was rough to say the least and ended with really bad congestion and a wracking, seemingly endless cough.  A Cherokee friend told me that Native Americans had used wild mullein for centuries to help rid themselves of lung congestion.
Mullein, Verbascum thapsus
I had some on hand, so I immediately brewed us a batch of tea and added honey and lemon for flavor. Even though he was coughing his head off Goodman was doubtful it could help and wouldn't try it. A few days later he had to see a doctor and take a round of antibiotics. Ahem, I did not. ;)  Within hours I was better, and the cough was gone completely in a few days.  I'm convinced it's an uncommonly good herb to have on hand.  Nowadays, we both have a cup or two of mullein tea when we get a bad cough. I use 1-2 teaspoons of dried mullein per 8 ozs. of boiling water, let it steep for 15 minutes then add honey and lemon to taste.  Disclaimer:  I'm not a doctor so see your physician for any serious medical condition.
Sidenote:  The leaves of the mullein plant are large and very soft;  hence another name for mullein is Cowboy Toilet Paper - just sayin'.  o.O

I found a silly fox in my strawberry bed...

It somehow escaped from the hangin' tree in the backyard.  (Okay, it didn't really escape.)  If you'd like a quick-to-knit, fun scarf pattern, this one is it.  The free pattern is here.  Just scroll down the page at the site for the English version.

The June-bearing strawberry bed that I started anew back in the spring produced over eighty runners! (Yeah, I counted 'em, lol.)   I've rooted and potted some of them to make a few more beds for next year.  

We planted carrots this year for the first time.  Gardening experts say keeping the seeds moist for the first few weeks to a month is the key to germination.  I did that and, lo, they are growing.  I let them get to the size you see here then planted garlic between the rows of carrots.  By the time the garlic needs more room the carrots will be long gone giving them plenty of room to grow next season.

Okay, that's a wrap for this week in the foothills.  Leaving you with a photo of the cool split rail fence at the entrance of Cades Cove in the Great Smoky Mountains.

Talk to you soon the Good Lord willin'.

p.s.  Next Monday I'll be participating in the Around the World Blog Hop.  If you're not already committed and would like to participate please let me know, and I'll send you an invitation.
Shared at The Art of Home-Making Mondays,  Good Fences, FarmGirl Friday Blog Hop

36 comments:

  1. we had wild mullein in wisconsin, but i've never seen it grow here. i bet you could go into dried mullein business this winter!

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    1. Theresa, if mullein doesn't grow there I bet there is another indigenous herb that will do the same thing for a cough. Thanks for stopping by. :)

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  2. Oh Toni, I am smiling at your cute fox :) It is adorable!

    It was quite fascinating reading about the wild mullein. I will have to remember that. My husband, son, and me just got over a terrible bug that came with a cough and it took us about a month to be rid of it.

    Have a lovely week, sweet friend!

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    1. Thank you, Stephanie, I hope you can locate some mullein as it does truly help with a cough.

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  3. We had a wild mullein grow on our property and I was so excited but after much research, I found out our variety was good for nothing but repelling cockroaches :(

    Thanks for sharing your goings-on, etc.. You always share neat and fun tidbits!

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  4. Thank you, JES, That's too bad about your mullein. We've come to rely on it for coughs. Thanks for stopping by.

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  5. I had no idea that bee balm and horsemint were the same as bergamot. Is this the same bergamot that is in Earl Gray tea?

    Your carrots and strawberries look great. I am just now pulling up what is left of my summer garden. Lots of good peppers still out there!

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    1. Thank you, Kay. The bergamot that flavors Earl Grey tea is a sour orange that grows on trees like regular oranges. The one above is an herb, but I don't use it for anything. I just like the way it looks and the fact that it's a perennial. Thanks for stopping by. :)

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  6. That's nice ! I like the Bergamot !

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  7. Hi Toni! Love the bright red flowers of bee balm. I need to plant some. Enjoyed reading about the mullein...I'm passing the info on to my daughter, our resident medical person who delights in natural ways of taking care of ourselves. Thanks for the info. Love all those strawberry runners!

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    1. Hi Deb! Those bee balm flowers remind me of Goodman's mother. She always had a beautiful stand of them near her garden. Thanks for stopping by. :)

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  8. I am so "into" edible wild plants! It was hard for me to leave the SE when that's the area I was studying, plus, well, it's been the home of my heart for a long time. :-) But, I adore monarda and also mullein. Have used monarda leaves for a homemade Earl Grey by blending half & half with black tea. Loved learning about your success with mullein leaves. It isn't a native plant species so I was a little surprised. Incidentally, I am now studying desert edible plants (gotta grow where you're planted! :-) ) Cute fox! :-) I'm a crocheter, and embroiderer as well as quilter. I never got into knitting, but I can appreciate the skill!

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    1. Hi Marie, I imagine my friend was thinking of the centuries since mullein was brought here from other places. :)

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  9. I wish I could recognize these wild plants used for medicine! I love bee balm, very pretty! Cade's cove is a beautiful place to visit. Great post, have a happy day!

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    1. Thank you Eileen. And thanks for stopping by.

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  10. i love natural remedies like that! that fox is cute! and i love the split rail :) oh, the blog hop sounds fun, would you mind sending me an invite?

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    1. Thank you, Tanya, your invitation has been sent. :)

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  11. Nice fence, common in your neck of the woods, isn't it. but I almost forgot to mention it because I LOVE that cute scarf! Off to get the pattern. Thanks for including the link.

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    1. Thank you, Judy, glad you liked the scarf.

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  12. thanks for the great fencery! :)

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  13. I prefer natural remedies over antibiotics too. thanks for the info.

    love your fence image and SMNP.

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  14. The wild mullein reminds me of something we call, Lambs Ear here, very soft, fuzzy leaves.
    Neat looking split rail fence.

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  15. I've seen fences in that style in Idaho.

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  16. I wonder if it's too late here north of Toronto to look for mullein now! Sounds like a miracle remedy.

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  17. I use natural remedies, love that fox shot! Great images!

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  18. I also use natural remedies for colds and the flu. The best about them (aside from being natural, of course) is they don't have side effects unlike antibiotics. ;-)
    The fox is lovely. Be careful or she'll eat your strawberries next year!

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  19. I had a huge garden this summer of bee balm. It was just beautiful. I have seen mullein grow all around the hollow here. I'm blessed to not have had any kind of respiratory illnesses since childhood so I'm not in need of it.

    It's predicted to snow here in southwest West Virginia today. It's cold enough to but I haven't seen any flurries yet. The wind is blowing and it's too cold for me already. The weather predictors are predicting another snowy, cold, wet winter. Not what I was hoping for.

    I love the fox scarf! I might have to make one for my little cousin. I think she would like that.

    Happy November!

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  20. I really enjoyed your post-especially about mullein-do you dry the leaves for the tea or the roots? thanks-love your fox-

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  21. Thanks for sharing!
    We have used thyme the same way. Thyme tea to ward off bronchitis and help a nasty cough seems to help my family. My kids like it in with a berry or fruity tea (1 tsp dried thyme wrapped in coffee filter and placed in a tea ball with one raspberry zinger tea bag will take care of 2 kiddos).

    Love the scarf! :)

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  22. I love the fox scarf! Thanks for sharing. I hope the weather stays warm, but they are predicting an Arctic blast the last of the week. Stay cozy!

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  23. Love the fox scarf ! it is so cold I may have to catch a real fox to wear around my neck to keep warm !

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  24. I had to come back and make another comment. You and I have so much in common! I am originally from Alabama. I love all things "old" and am so happy you enjoyed my post about my treasures. Being in the desert is an adjustment for me, though I do find it beautiful. But my heart in in the southeast, particularly the mountain foothills.

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  25. Wow! Glad I was browsing your archives here. So neat to hear about the old mullein tea remedy--and neater that it actually works!

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Thank you for your comments!