Friday, October 1, 2010

Vista Garden Club V-I-G (Very Inspiring Gardeners) Season 1

Well, it is that time again!

I can't believe it has been a month since the debut episode of Season 1 of the Very Inspiring Gardeners video series that I am making for the Vista Garden Club (For those of you interested in joining the club - The Vista Garden Club meets in Southern California. The town of Vista is located in San Diego's beautiful North County and meets at noon on the first Friday of most months. See link for exact dates, info, meeting location, events, etc... & gosh, I hope to see you there!) In fact, the Vista Garden Club had its October 2010 meeting today and what were we all talking about? THE (weird) WEATHER! Monday had searing heat, (it was so hot the grapes dried to raisins on my vines!) Tuesday was hot but not as searing, Wednesday was cloudy with scattered showers and yesterday was full of steady rain, high winds, thunder and lightening. And today? Foggy this morning and now back to hot and dry this afternoon. All four seasons in one week... In between all the weather stories I showed this next video installment to the crowd...

In this video series I go around to great gardeners I know asking the question"what is your Garden inspiration".

...Episode 2 of the Very Inspiring Gardeners series features Theresa Loe of Living Homegrown Fresh who also happens to be an associate producer for the PBS gardening show called Growing a Greener World as well as one of my best friends in all the world, green or otherwise. Theresa is the author of The Herbal Home Companion, a tv presenter who has appeared on HGTV and DIY Network, a master food preserver who currently blogs for Burpee Home Gardens, as well as, for Growing a Greener World. Be sure to leave Theresa a comment on one or all of her many popular blogs that you saw her Inspirational video for the Vista Garden Club here on the Edgehill Herb Farm blog. She will be so excited that you stopped by...

Stay tuned! For the next exciting and inspiring episode - Coming this DECEMBER.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Fragrant Failure

La Reine Victoria Rose -Exquisite Bourbon scent

Fragrant Failure! What a beautiful color...
      A couple years ago a friend gave me a kit she bought online to distill perfume at home. I know the exorbitant cost of even the smallest tabletop distillers, so I was unsure what to say to such an unexpected gift. She then told me the kit was cheap and that I shouldn't worry about the cost. Relieved, I was then amused when I opened the box to find the most basic of contents; a canning jar, a cork with a hole in it that had a cap in the hole. A piece of copper pipe bent into a curlicue and another (stainless steel) pipe bent into a stand, two small amber vials with caps and a 1 inch length of plastic tubing. Also, should not forget to mention the mimeo type of copy quality "instruction book"that was included. The box touts the contents thusly, "PERFUME KIT - Capture your favorite fragrances, including the beautiful scents of your very own garden! Create:  Perfume . Hand Lotion . After Shave . Cologne . Scented Soap! Kit Contains: A decorative glass enfleurage- retort, a distillation condenser, practice ingredients (there were none of these in my kit), and a complete booklet of instructions to make exotic and valuable perfumes from your own garden. Use roses, lilacs, violets, juniper berries and balsam needles."
Note: The canning jar is called "a decorative glass enfleurage"! Wow. Who knew?
collecting La Reine Victoria for  distilling
heating the petals in the sun with the cork
I followed the instructions -honest!

the equipment set up and running

I used the kit for the first (and last) time yesterday and I'm calling my day a Fragrant Failure. I had to phone the kit's manufacturer twice to ask questions about the illegible and incoherent instructions and they were very nice, wanting to be helpful, but unable to talk intelligently about the kit they sell. To say I had a bad feeling about how the project would fare is an understatement but I forged ahead.  I collected a 1/2 pound of petals early in the day. I used a 1/4 pound of distilled water in the jar (One of my phone calls was about using water instead of lard, which is the only option offered in the paperwork. I pretended to be a vegan and asked where I could find instructions that did not use animal fats. The answer was to substitute water for the fat and proceed with the instructions. I did what I was told.)  I set up the equipment (no easy feat! It was tricky getting the stand to work.) I heated a pan of water on the stove, set the canning jar in the pan while keeping it attached to the copper piping on the stand on the counter and proceeded to heat the whole mess for the day. Nothing happened. Well, some steam was already in the jar from sitting in the sun for a few hours earlier but other than the rose petals wilting into the water in the jar, nothing happened. I finally called it a day and turned the whole thing off and left it to cool. This morning, dejected at the waste of 1/2 pound of perfectly wonderful and fragrant rose petals that I could have turned into freezer jam, I went to wash the "equipment" but first strained the water from the jar - Lo & Behold! A 1/2 pint of the most beautifully colored and wonderfully fragrant rose water was my reward. I haven't decided what I'm going to do with my "Fragrant Failure" but when I do, you can be sure I will report in.
It was a strange way to get the most amazing rose water ever. Now I will probably repeat my Fragrant Failure next year

Vista Garden Club V-I-G (Very Inspiring Gardeners) Season 1

I am a proud member of The Vista Garden Club and this year, with the assistance of another member, I am in charge of something called "Inspiration", which amounts to a short little something presented at each meeting that is inspiring. Poems, and stories are the normal inspiration material, read to the group from the podium.  Unfortunately I got this brainy-idea that I wanted to film wonderful local gardeners in their gardens answering the question "What inspires you in the garden?". I wanted to "show" the club inspiration this year instead of "tell".
So off I went to see if I could make this happen (using my iphone no less!). The Apple Store was a big help getting me the correct adaptor to project my video onto the meeting room's big screen using the venue's projector. Sadly, what I did not know was that I needed an audio cord as well. Live and learn, huh?
      Next time!
Well, today I showed the first 2 1/2 minute video of episode I, season I V-I-G's (Very Inspiring Gardeners). My first guest was Julian Duval the Director of the The San Diego Botanic Garden (Formerly called Quail Botanical Gardens in Encinitas, CA) Of course, I muffed the job badly, having great video with no sound. Oh well, I punted and promised the encouraging crowd that I would correct the problem before the next episode. I am putting all the videos here on my blog as an archive for the club and for all the world to see. Hope you are inspired to garden too!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Eggs in Bells

My breakfast earlier this week of an Egg baked in a Tomato was an enormous hit over on facebook. Friend Frank sent me a picture of his attempt that looked so mouthwateringly good that I am awarding him a dozen of my eggs for his enthusiasm and job well done. Friend Larry reposted the whole recipe so his vegetarian kids would see it. I'm thrilled.
Breakfast today for me and my hubby may be as popular -we'll see. It is an adaptation of an Everyday Food Magazine recipe (The original can be found on page 69 of the June 2010 Issue #73). I think mine is just as good as theirs. What do you think?

Eggs in Bells!
(I cut only 3 slices out of a bell pepper for this dish and MS-EF cuts 4. This, believe it or not, makes a lot of difference (in my opinion) to the flavor of the dish. Also, I save the bell pepper tops and ends, chopped, to use in salad at lunch or in other dishes I make that day.) Around here, this serves 2.

1 red bell pepper cut into 3 rings
3 large eggs
2 green onions, chopped
1/2 -1 red chili pepper, chopped
1/2 an avocado, sliced -optional
3 slices of whole grain toast
dash olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat a griddle and put on a dab of olive oil. Lay the bell pepper rings on the hot griddle and sprinkle in some green onion and chili. Crack an egg into each ring, top with some more green onion and chili and season with salt and pepper. Cook 'til done turning once. Season again with salt and pepper and serve each on a piece of toast with avocado and the remainder of the onion and chili as garnish. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Eggs baked in Tomatoes

Breakfast today was one perfect egg, courtesy of my hen Rosemary, ( How do I know it was Rosemary? She's the only jumbo egg layer in my flock) baked in a glorious tomato that I harvested this morning. I have no idea what variety tomato this is since it volunteered itself just by my front door. Whatever variety it is, the fruit is enormous. I did not plant any beefsteak type tomatoes this year (and the tomatoes I did plant were pathetic failures!) I planted San Francisco Fogs which have medium sized fruits (or at least they were medium the year I got them to grow so well for me...) but this year they hemmed and hawed, spitting out sour, bitter little cherries that were good for nothing. At first I thought the plants were cherry tomatoes that were mismarked but now I think are just unhappy malcontents. I was going to tear the plants out, and enjoy doing it!
"Take that you ingrate!", I'd say. "After all I've done for you, water, feed, weed...this is how you repay me? You're outta here!"
But all of a sudden, sensing, I suppose, my mounting anger and their impending doom, they are growing again so I'll see if they "snap out of it" before I yank them.

Eggs baked in Tomatoes
An easy dish for one or for more- here's how:

All you will need is one beefsteak tomato and one large egg per person, freshly grated Parmesan cheese, ample freshly grated black pepper and fresh basil leaves. I like this because the only salt needed is already in the cheese and no oil or butter is necessary. Serve with toast. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees f.
  1. Cut off the top of the tomato and scoop out the seeds and pulp. (I am saving these bits for my salad dressing at lunch)
  2. Liberally pepper the inside of the tomato.
  3. Crack in the egg.
  4. Top with parmesan cheese.
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes.
  6. Top with torn fresh basil leaves.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

A couple months ago I had the opportunity to help my friend, Theresa Loe, during a TV shoot in her garden for the PBS gardening show called GROWING A GREENER WORLD. Have you seen it? I have, but not on my local PBS station since KPBS didn't buy this great show last year. (Tsk, Tsk, KPBS!) Your PBS station may not have bought it either, but never fear - posts complete episodes the day after they air nationwide for the rest of us to enjoy, learn and be inspired.

Early that day the cameraman asked if I could operate the third camera for them during the filming and I had a blast as" camera-girl" for a day.

My friend wasn't the only one on camera that day. Earlier in the year Theresa gave me a new chicken for my birthday (what a terrific friend!) and I named my new Buff Polish hen, Thyme. I live a couple hours away from my friend and due to our busy lives I haven't picked Thyme up yet and brought her to her new coop here at Edgehill Herb Farm, which meant Thyme was in the coop at my friend's house during the filming. Thyme is now a backup hen! A PBS extra chicken... When you see the episode, whether on TV or online, look for the blond hen in the coop that looks like Phyllis Diller - she's mine!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Soaps in a Hankie -New Gift Product

The latest item in the store is a two pack of soap wrapped in a vintage Hankie - freshly laundered and ironed (by yours truly) of course. Each hankie is unique...

This product joins our ever popular "3 soaps on a vintage saucer" gift set.

Handmade soap that is new and fresh combined with beautiful vintage items is recycling, repurposing, and redoing at its best. I say this calls for some rejoicing!

Hankie Soap Sets are $10.00 each

Vintage Saucer sets are $17.00 each

To order send an email to and we will send you an electronic order form...