Posts Tagged Plant

Bewitchingly Serious Moonlight

HeatherJ, this post is for you. You commented a while back that you were interested in knowing more about my homebrewing endeavors. I hope you find this information useful when deciding upon your brother-in-law’s Christmas present. Thank for reading and following my blog. I so appreciate you!

Did you know? Sweet Mother Nature, BEER IS ACTUALLY GOOD FOR YOU!

One reason I know this is because, back in my librarian days, I worked with a knowledgeable Catholic mother of nine (yes, nine!) children who extolled beers’ virtues for its milk producing capacity for breastfeeding Moms experiencing low milk supply. Of course, she was not advocating getting schnockered, but said having one beer a few days a week precisely timed around the breast-feeding schedule was not detrimental. Turns out, she was right not that I’m breastfeeding or anything.

A quote on a beer community forum site reads ” Beer is a wholesome liquor….it abounds with nourishment. ”

Dr. Benjamin Rush- American physician

Now working for a medical publishing company, I know physician testimonials are worth their weight in gold so I put on my librarian cap and did a little more research. It turns out moderate beer drinking benefits include: a stronger heart and bones; healthier kidneys and brain; reduced cancer, diabetes, and stroke risk; a boost in B vitamins; and a longer life. Heck yah, everybody grab a cold one!

It just so happens that the beer community forum I was visiting was that of MrBeer.com and since discovering it, I’ve decided that MR. BEER ROCKS!!

I decided to buy Mr. Beer’s Premium Gold kit for $59.95, plus $7.95 shipping and handling. This kit included everything one needs to brew and bottle two batches or four gallons of what turned out to be truly great tasting beer. This is what came with the  Premium Gold kit:

  • 1 Fermenter (2 GAL)
  • 2 Standard Booster™ Refills
  • 8 Bottles with Caps
  • 8 Labels
  • 1 Brewer’s Guide
  • 1 Set of Instructions
Of course, being the feminist I am, I had to make some minor adjustments to the kit when it arrived. (HeatherJ, your brother-in-law would not have to make these adjustments.)
Mr Beer Kit

That Would Be Ms. Beer  😉

Some words of advice before creating your first batch:

1) Read the directions

HeatherJ, I hope you found this informative and helpful in your decision-making process. And, finally there is an issue close to my heart that I hope you will agree is important to our health and the health of our children. So, for my friends reading, please take a moment to click the link and support Senator Gillibrand’s healthy food amendment.

And, when you’re done signing the petition, please take a moment to check out HeatherJ’s blog SoFull EATS. She is a phenomenal writer and she will have your mouth watering before you can say yummy in my tummy.

To Mother Earth,

Heather's Homegrown Signature

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Step 6: Keep Watering! To The Rescue

Thank goodness some more of the plants arrived from Gurney’s yesterday. Because if they hadn’t, I would not have seen the handy little guide that Gurney’s sends with all of its orders. I haven’t heard back from Gurney’s customer service, but I don’t need to now, thanks to the guide. So, Gurney’s, if you’re reading my blog (and I hope you subscribe), you don’t have to answer my email. THIS answered my question and eased my concerns:

Step 6 keep watering

Gurney’s GROW • IT • GUIDE
Easy Steps to Planting Nursery Stock

So, I’ll keep my faith in “The Stick” and pray it goes from this:

the stick

“The Stick”

To this:

seedless pink reliance grapes

Seedless Pink Reliance Grapes

Grow on, little stick. May the force be with you.

I’m happy to report that the Dwarf Tophat blueberry bush arrived yesterday along with the… mystery plants! Check it out. Time to soak for a couple hours, and then plant.

Blueberry and Mystery Plant

And The Mystery Plant Is….

Okay, so that’s the blueberry on the the left soaking. The plants soaking on the right are…

Here’s a hint, 300 times sweeter than sugar. I plan to start them outside now and bring them inside during the winter, if necessary. The leaves are sweetest when mature and temperatures are around 60 degrees F.

So, the mystery plants are…

You guessed it, Stevia plants, the natural sugar substitute.

The sweetener is best extracted by soaking the dried leaves in boiling water, squeezing them dry and removing them. The liquid can be stored in refrigerator and used as needed. The dried leaves are approximately 10 times as sweet as an equivalent weight of sugar (1/2 gram of dried leaves equals 5 grams of sugar).

According to Gurney’s, “it can be used in baking and to sweeten hot liquid such as coffee or tea—just chewing a few leaves is sure to knock out the worst sugar craving!”  Plus, and this precisely why I decided to grow it (after making sure it could be grown in zone 7), Stevia is a powerful antioxidant, which means it fights against cancer, as well as, the signs of aging!! Heck yah!!

I also decided to grow stevia because I read an article that said stevia has been used for centuries as a sweetener in Japan and many other countries around the world, but the FDA opposed its use in the United States because of big business and the competition it posed to the artificial sweetener industry, aspartame in particular.

The ban has since been lifted, but the stuff available at the grocery store (the white powder in the green bag that says Stevia on it) is an artificial “natural” sugar substitute; and I want natural natural sugar substitute. Plus, as the daughter of a self-employed portrait artist, when it comes to big business I’m all for giving the little guy a leg up.

Speaking of a leg up, the apartment complex facelift activities came to a halt for the day right smack at my balcony complete with scaffolding and a rudimentary pulley system. I must admit, it’s a bit tempting to go for a swing.

facelift scaffolding

Facelift Scaffolding Goes To Bed Outside My Door

But, it’s getting late and the plants have soaked enough, so it’s time to plant. In the next post, I’ll show you what the mystery plant looks like. They’re still in the box, so I don’t even know what they look like yet.  Oh, and just as I assured you in my very first blog post, the mystery plants are totally legal.

In 1995, the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act forced the FDA to permit the use of Stevia (as a dietary supplement only, not a food additive). And, in 2008, the FDA “gave no objection” to Coca Cola and Pepsi for use in their carbonated beverage products.

So, see? Perfectly legal. Now.

To Mother Earth,

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The Joy Of Growing

7 Day Growth

7 Day Growth

I’m immensely happy report to that my “reliable” Seedless Pink Reliance Grape is growing by the second. I took this picture last Friday, one week after planting it in an EarthBox container garden. It was right after a thunderstorm too, obviously, from all the water sitting atop the “mulch cover” as it is called by the folks at EarthBox. [Incidentally, that thunderstorm produced a lightening bolt that struck the very floor of the building I work in (the top), sending us all home early on a Friday! Thank you, Mother Earth!!]

This is what it looks like today. Amazing!

Proof Life Exists

Almost 2 Week Growth

(And by the looks of that retaining wall in the background, the building isn’t the only thing in need of a facelift. Whoa!)

There is even NEW growth on that one, as you can see.

buds on pink seedless grapevine

New Buds Even!

I couldn’t be happier with this plant. Now, the other plant has me a bit worried. “The Stick” (as it shall remain aptly named until I see proof that it deserves more prosperous nomenclature) is still a stick.  

the stick

“The Stick”

In fact, I’m worried enough that I emailed Gurney’s customer service today and referred them to my blog so they could check it out. I’m still waiting to hear back. That said, my optimism isn’t waning. I am hopeful Mother Earth will prevail.

To Mother Earth,

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