Calendula officinalis. These are the easiest, most delightful plants to grow. I have had outstanding success growing Calendula from seed, as well as from transplants bought at the nursery. I started collecting and drying the flowers as soon as my plants began to bloom. Picking flowers encourages the plants to continue blooming instead of going to seed. After picking the flowers, I allow them to dry completely, then separate the dried petals and place them in a nice jar, tucked away from bright lights to preserve their rich orange color. My first batch of Calendula oil is currently in the making. The petals are steeping in an olive oil base; one part dried petals to two parts olive oil. The warmth of the sun releases their colorful medicinal properties into the oil. I will let this mixture steep for about two weeks. My goal for this batch is to make a small supply of Calendula Salve for my medicine chest.
Monday, April 9, 2012
|View of back area of property|
Thursday, April 5, 2012
Reading up on bees swarming, this is that time of year. We experienced a bee swarm just recently here at the Casita. Overnight a big bowlful of buzzing bees had gathered and formed a tight huddle under the old wooden bench in the back garden. This was not a good situation for Henry or me as we are constantly in that part of the garden, and so I called a good company that removes bees alive and intact. The beekeeper and his wife came to see the swarm in the afternoon. "A healthy bunch of honeybees" he said with a smile. The bees remained huddled, a handful of strays buzzing around. "Those girls are coming home to join the hive." Now I have never thought of honeybees as "the girls" but the hive is 99% female after all. We agreed, and I didn't mind if he took the bench as well, and so Mr. Beekeeper came back the next morning before dawn, as promised. When I woke up at 7 a.m. they were all gone, the bees, the beekeeper, and the bench. It's a good feeling, knowing that those honeybees are out there in a field or on a sunny hillside somewhere, free to build their hive without disturbance, and that there is a friendly beekeeper who watches over them.