GIVE GIFTS FROM YOUR GARDEN
In addition to feeding your family, friends and hungry people in your community, you can give some of the bounty from your garden as holiday gifts too--saving you lots of money while making your friends happy at the same time.
Dried Tarragon On the Counter--ready for cutting and putting in jars
If you are not an urban gardener, here is a suggestion for next year. Become one! Plant a bunch of tarragon. It grows like a weed and I speak from experience. It's a beautiful plant with delicate yellow flowers and a wonderful fragrance. The bees love it and so do people. Tarragon is a great spice for chicken and fish. It can also be used to made infusions in vinegar and oil for salads. Its fragrance is so great that it can be used in homemade soap, or simply in an open dish to refresh a room. Some people even make sachet pillows of tarragon.
Just before the first frost this year I yanked up the tarragon by its roots from my garden and hung it in the kitchen. (I remembered reading somewhere that you hang them upside down and so I did.) Thus I got to enjoy the fragrance as it was drying, and it looks nice hanging in your kitchen if you appreciate an old world charm. I let the plant dry for about 6 weeks. Then I took it down, cut it up into small pieces and put into small jars. (The jars with their labels cost $8.00 for 12, but if you start saving small jars now, you can have free jars next December.)
One Bunch of Tarragon Drying in the Kitchen
Below is a photo of the finished product. Tarragon in the store can cost as much as $5 a jar and it's not nearly as fresh and pretty and there are certainly no blossoms in it as there are in these. By the way, the blossoms are an added bonus. You can tell the recipient of your gift that if they rub the dried flower between their thumb and index finger they will have more than enough seeds to grow their own tarragon.
MAKE LUMINARIOS OF USED TIN CANS
If you have no herbs, here is a gift that you can make with children this weekend. In fact, I'm doing it myself.
1. Wash a used tin can.
2. Use a Christmas cookie cutter and trace a star with a magic marker on the tin can.
3. Use a hammer and nail to punch holes using the outline of the star as a guide.
4. (optional) punch two holes near the top of the can that are directly across from each other.
5. String wire through the holes and twist to make a handle.
6. Put a candle in the bottom of the can. (For little ones, use LED little candles.)
Note: For your garden you can use very large cans and put large citronella candles in them. [Loving Garland Green will be making these in the spring and selling them for one of our fundraisers. Again, we always strive to reuse resources and/or use renewable resources, thus following permaculture design principles.]
CRACK NUTS WITH THE CHILDREN
If you really want something fast and fun to do with children, call me at 972-571-4497. Loving Garland Green (nonprofit) is selling one pound bags of pecans for $5.00 and we deliver to Garland residents--even in the rain. These pecans are for cracking. If you want to put a little bit of old-fashioned into your holiday, there is nothing like sitting down before the fire and cracking nuts with your children and grandchildren. I daresay there are children today who don't even realize that nuts have shells or even where they come from. By the way, if you happen to be in one of our many Garland Parks this holiday season, take a close look at the trees. There's a good chance that at least one of them is a Texas Native Pecan. We have more than 8 pecan trees on the proposed site for our first Garland Community Garden at 4022 Naaman School Road.