Pruning Basil & Other Things

I’m a little plant-happy this year…if you couldn’t tell.  Every morning, I make the girls their breakfast, brew some coffee, pour a mug, and head outside to water our little plants. I love morning sunshine. It’s a comfort.

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Our squash and pickling cucumbers are overflowing…I love all the green.  Bees are regular visitors to these plants, which makes me hopeful for a good crop. Fingers crossed.

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This little guy is our new addition–we have yet to name him.  With all of the fall stuff in the craft stores now, I couldn’t resist..you know I love fall.  Liv likes knowing he scares away any harm to the garden when we’re not around. :)

And we have some new herbal additions this week:

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First of all, I love this blue container. I found it at Walmart (where all the plants are from) for $3.98–yay! They had red ones too, in case red is your color… go get some before they sell out! Anyway, I bought one Orange Mint plant a few weeks ago, and it is quickly becoming a favorite of mine… Wow, this stuff smells incredible. Not so much minty as a rich, earthy citrus. I haven’t made tea with it yet, but I definitely plan to. When I went back yesterday to get the rest of the herbs, there was only one left. I did a happy dance (Liv is my witness). I’m glad mint is a weed… it will only boost my confidence in gardening. ;) Is that cheating..?

Next is Thai Basil…

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We bought this a few years ago for the first time, and it is delicious. Again, the aroma is amazing. Smaller leaves than traditional basil, but potent.  Three plants are in this pot. I had to prune these and fix them up a bit as they were already going to seed (which makes the plants lose flavor). I’ll show you what I did below.

I also made a little medley of some classics:

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I’ve never tried Boxwood Basil before, but it is cute. Tiny leaves, tight form, but the typical basil flavor and smell. Summer in a leaf. Good ole Rosemary…and Thyme and Oregano. I’m not a huge fan of either, but I’d like to try some recipes (besides spaghetti sauce!) with them. I love how simple, but lovely, herbs are.

Okay, so I’ve never been great at pruning my plants (yes, I’m still trying to figure out my rose bushes), but after looking it up, I finally know how to prune basil. It’s easy!

I wish I had taken “before” photos of the thai basil… But you can see how much I took off the top of these three plants–purple flowers as well as a few leaves. When you prune them like this, they use their energy to make more leaves instead of producing seeds (which will eventually shut your plant down for the season). Keep pruning, and the plant will continue to produce. Yay.

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So what you do is this:

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Trim above a pair of two leaves. Yup, that easy. And voila. Here’s a visual that also helped me.

We’re in the throes of summer, and it has been a happy season. Gardening aside, some other happenings going on in our little world lately:

* My dear dad had surgery this month, and now has a device that is blocking his awful back pain. He is like a new man! For the first time in eight years, I can smile when I respond to someone asking how he is doing. I am so happy for him, and relieved to see him be able to relax. I praise you, God!

*I turned 31 this week. Oh sure, I balk just like any other woman at aging ;) but the reality is that I’m grateful to close out this last year, and begin a new one. Birthdays are kind of like a fresh start, just like New Years. I like that. And it’s always fun to have a reason to celebrate with friends and family…and eat cake. :)

*I painted Livvy’s room, and sewed some curtains. It’s so much lighter and sweeter now… I’ll have to post some pics soon.

*I will be helping coordinate a MOPS group this fall (with a wonderful team), and have been busy with planning and organizing..not just the group stuff, but my own schedule! Doing this with two little ones running wild has been a good challenge for me. And it has reminded me I really love writing, communicating, assisting… Thoughts of my work life pre-kids have been popping up regularly. I’ve even dreamt about it the last couple of weeks. It feels good to be a part of a something that matters, that touches lives right in front of you. I’m enjoying it and pray this year is fruitful and exciting.

*A personal setback (and joy, too, really)  is that a dear friend of mine is moving to Rwanda to mentor and teach nursing students. She’s going to be amazing at it, and is fulfilling a dream… but I will miss her terribly. She’s the one who ran the race with me in June. Who is going to challenge me to do crazy things when she leaves..?

SusMinJumping to our doom into a mud pit below.  Did I really do this..? :) (See how she is all carefree and I’m totally freaked out?) I’m not looking forward to saying goodbye, but I’m excited for her!

So this has been kind of a random post, but that’s what’s been going on lately. Posting more regularly will hopefully be worked into my new schedule. ;) I owe Book of Lists bigtime…soon!  I hope you’re doing well and enjoying this sunny season, too.

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