Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Weeds: If You Can't Beat 'Em, Eat 'Em!

Several years ago, I earned a Master Gardener certificate through an excellent, on-line class via a state university.  But deep down, I know that I am just a weed farmer.

Everything grows so fast in an Alaskan summer that my property is overwhelmed by prolific “native plants” (which is the politically correct way to refer to weeds). I live the expression, "watching the grass grow."   My vegetable and flower plots wage  losing battles against nettles and horsetail. Dandelions proliferate everywhere. Sweet grass grows to 6 or 7 feet and then smothers everything near by.  We can't even find the ducks' eggs anymore.

This state of affairs used to bother me more until I made a concerted effort to learn about these plants.  As a result, I will never look at my property the same way again.  I still weed and weedwhack like a maniac, but I now appreciate some of this opportunistic vegetation for food and hair/skin care.   If you can't beat 'em, eat 'em, or pour them all over yourself.

Am I  justifying my overgrown yard?  Absolutely!  But, truly,  I have also gained immense respect for  the abundant vitamins, minerals, and flavors that lie at my feet..  Nowadays my husband encounters a demon scientist in the kitchen, conjuring up various teas and treatments that I test on him.  If he is still walking and talking the next day, that concoction is a keeper.  
Left to right:  raspberry, horsetail, nettle, fireweed, dandelion
Horsetail for hair and insecticide (how is that for a combo) and the rest for tea

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Kitchen Skin and Hair Care

The only thing that Laura Mercier and I have in common is our first name (although the lovely CEO was my next-door neighbor when I lived in a high rise in Houston,TX). I have never been one to purchase expensive cosmetics and have been appalled by the prices paid by friends and relatives for teeny, tiny tubes of La Mer creams and lotions.  So, with these disclosures, I promise never to offer cosmetic advice!  However, I love to have really clean hair and skin.  I revel in  the way my face feels after a professional facial.  So I am delighted to recreate that clean, smooth result with common kitchen ingredients (1- 3, that require less than 2 minutes to assemble and cost less than $12).  Below are 14 recipes.

Readers:  why NOT compare a home made application on one  side of your face and your favorite purchased item on the other, or alternate two procedures, for a week each? See what you think.