This Spring my friend Sharon gave me 2 spice racks she was no longer using just about the time I was ready to organize my spice cupboard!  I love how clean and neat they look.  They can stand on a counter top but I decided they’d be perfect on the inside of the cupboard door.  Removing all the spice jars and spice tins from the shelves would make room for other things and less crowded cupboards are easier to maintain.

First I tried my old spice bottles and tins in the rack.

I originally had these spice jars in my cupboard
I originally had these spice jars in my cupboard

Wire spice rack
Wire spice rack

Even though the jars fit they were hard to get out.  I had a few simple jars from Cost Plus that fit perfectly so decided to go get 10 more at only .99 a piece.

I wanted to change to this type jar instead
I wanted to change to this type jar instead

Then made some labels for the jars.

Made labels with a label maker
Made labels with a label maker
Tools
Hammer and drill

Next got out the hammer and drill and made some holes and fastened the racks to the inside of the cupboard.  Thankfully I didn’t have to redo any in which I’m not always so lucky. 😮 (By the way, I recommend buying your own in-house hammer and drill so you don’t have to wait for your husband or a handyman to do simple the jobs – no waiting for them to have time or no arguing over which way to do it!)

Love the new clean look
Love the new clean look

Took awhile to get used to opening the cupboard with the racks on the other side.  But love the new clean look!  Thank you Sharon! :-)

Marjoram
Marjoram from planting to harvest

The journey of an herb – something I’ve been watching and learning over the last few years – I guess that would be decade.  I’ve decided the best bet for the Kelly house is outdoor herb pots – or big wooden barrels – since they keep the herbs contained and manageable.  I’ve tried planting herbs in raised beds, but certain ones, like Marjoram and Mint, tend to be invasive so better to take over a pot rather than a whole bed!

Since pictures tell the story best, I will let them to tell most of the story but being the wordy one that I am, I’ll add a few paragraphs too.

So, here’s what’s been happening so far with my herbs in 2015:

Pots Restained
Re-stained and ready to go

First, Stan re-stained the barrels and raised beds to look warm and fresh. Went to the local garden store for new herbs and flowers, although as you can see the Chives have wintered over again. Since they don’t stray from their corner in the raised bed, they get to stay there!

For pots this year I chose Rosemary, Oregano, Basil, Cilantro, Parsley and Marjoram since that’s what I use the most.  Last year I grew Lemon Thyme which ended up too lemony for me.  This year when looking for Thyme I didn’t see any that wasn’t Lemon so opted out.  In fact, I still have dried Thyme from last year which is still amazingly potent, and lemony, for cooking anyway.  I’m sure if there was once anything medicinal within, that has faded by now.  I’ve also experimented with Mint which is lovely and fragrant, but takes over the whole pot so also opted out with that one this year.  However, when I decide to explore tea and lemonade drinking a bit more, I will definitely return to mint because of its many benefits.  I envision a row of barrels.  But one step at a time.

Growing
Marjoram, Rosemary and Cilantro (by itself in the shallow pot on the right) – and Snapdragons for color!
June Herbs
Oregano, Parsley and Basil
IMG_3786
Growing, growing – looks like the Cilantro is getting too leggy
IMG_3788
Rosemary is off to a slow start but it’s always the one that lasts till winter!
Bringing the outside in - by the stove
Bringing the outside in – by the stove

Speaking of steps, once the herbs grow a bit, I like to cut some to bring into the kitchen so it’s handy for cooking.  My pots are on the patio and by the raised bed, so out of site out of mind.  I can see where small pots for the kitchen year round would be a good idea and may give that a go this year. We novices tend to use what it is at our fingertips.  But till then my little cuttings will do.  As Summer progresses with an abundance from the herb pots I cut a huge bunches for my mini-prep processor (mine is a Cuisinart), then let them dry a bit before I fill my spice jars.  This weekend I cut back my notoriously overgrown potted Marjoram and have filled an entire jar.  I wish I could share the fragrance that filled my kitchen with you but the internet hasn’t figured that one out yet.  It actually tastes and smells a lot like Oregano, coming from the same family and all, but a bit sweeter yet definitely stronger.  It’s great with egg dishes and soups!

Anyway, Lately in the morning I’ve been dicing up colorful peppers – red, green and yellow, sometimes, orange, throwing them into a skillet with about a tablespoon of olive oil, adding freshly dried oregano or marjoram and my dried parsley.  You can use fresh too, of course, but the flavors are even stronger so it depends on how much you like; then add 2 large eggs, preferably organic cage-free, freshly ground salt and pepper, cover and cook a bit; and then sprinkle feta cheese, diced garden tomato and fresh basil, cook a bit more while toasting one half of an English muffin. (You can scramble too, but I’ve been loving the sunny side up version these days.) Plate and serve with hot coffee and enjoy on the back patio.

I’d love to hear about what you like to grow and what you are learning along the way!

Wire spice rack - world market
My friend Sharon gave me 2 of these spice racks!

Next post – my new spice racks and spice jar organization project!

Bringing the Outside In!

Here’s a video of harvesting my mums and herbs just for fun! A follow up to my last post on gardening which you can view here if you haven’t read it already.

Latest gardening news: Besides cutting back the perennials and cleaning up the beds, I’m just about to plant some bulbs around the Kelly House. I’ve got my bulbs, bulp planter, and bag of bulb booster but it’s raining today. Dang. I hope it doesn’t freeze this week so I can get them in the ground in time. Guess you’ll have to come back next Spring to find out so to be continued I hope!!

Spring Color

I recently dug into my archives and pulled out SPRING COLOR, the title song to my 1993 recording project, dusted it off so I could upload it to this post.  Back when it was recorded, I only duplicated it on cassette tapes.  Recently my friend Andy converted it to an mp3 and emailed it to me – Thanks Andy!
Check out Spring Color on video made with my flip camera – got inspired by the new life of the season once again!

When I began to conjure up lyrics for this song, I remember walking along a dirt path at the edge of a farmer’s field in Springtime beneath the magnificent sky that stretches between both sets of mountains that surround the Treasure Valley. This particular year spring had come unusually early and I was almost afraid to trust it’s inception. Today as I meander near the Boise Train Depot overlooking the city, I notice last week’s snow still clings to the mountains even though it’s late April, but the parks are greening up and the tree buds are ready to sprout open. The breeze is nearly a soft 70 degrees as if Mother Nature has finally given us an overdue benediction of Spring, even though the first official day of the new season was almost a month ago. Of course, the forecast could change at a day’s notice and be 54 and rain again.  Oh well, as the saying goes, “April Showers bring May Flowers”.  Regardless, anticipation crescendos as the promise of more days like this one permeate the air accompanied by bird song and the flutter of wings! 

Last week on FaceBook both my cousins, Scott and Bruce, were trying to decide whether they could finally put away the snow shovels and tire chains!  Since they live in New Hampshire, my thought is as soon as they store the winter tools in the garage, attic or shed, a Northeaster will blow through in May and they’ll just have to dig ’em out again.  BUT if they are kept in plain sight where everyone can trip over them, this will ensure the uninterrupted continuance of Spring at least till June! For Summer Time they may get away with pushing them over to the side of the garage or shed, but then again, the trunk of the car till next Winter is better yet!

SPRING COLOR LYRICS 
April Colors / Early March  

Tell me what the chances are

that my April flowers bloom and star

with Spring color / how I love Spring color

 

Rather risky this early Spring

causing my heart and the birds to sing

or will Winter wind come claim everything with his icy fingers

and steal away Spring Color

 

Have you ever seen pristine virgin green

The color of my dreams – Spring Color

Purist angel white like blossoms in moonlight

Oh, the perfect sight –  Spring Color

 

If I could paint my innermost dreams

I’d have to start with the color of green

of the leaves on the trees at the earliest sight of Spring

I have a fancy that hope would be white

somewhat like the glow of warm candlelight

Angels in flight – you almost see them – not quite

 

Hopes and dreams are painted in Spring Color

Crystal clear in vision I become

I have come from underneath Winter’s frozen cover

In fertile soil, cleansing rain and sun

 

Purple rain clouds / Rich brown earth

Shades of yellow proclaim rebirth

Second chances just like the first

There’s reassurance in the appearing of Spring Color

Crystal clear rebirthing of my dreams

NancyKellyMusic C 1993