27 Nov


Turmeric has long been used in Ayurvedic medicine. This traditional Indian methodology uses plants for most of its healing and turmeric is often prescribed. Some recent research is now indicating that this particular spice may have been the “gold” given to the Christ child along with myrrh and frankincense by the Wise Men. It is currently being studied for its uses in irritable bowel syndrome, constipation, menstrual cramping, cognitive abilities, depression, heart health and its ability to inhibit a protein that is essential for tumor growth. Yet, something that most agree on is its function as an anti-inflammatory agent. And inflammation is present in a vast majority of diseases and disorders.

Fresh turmeric is available now and it can be found in many health food stores. It resembles ginger as it is a similar root with comparable growing needs. The bright orange roots are currently plump and firm and, while you may see it for sale for many months to come, they dry and shrivel as they age.

It’s best to purchase them now and toss them in the freezer. They need no extra preparation but can be merely placed in a freezer bag.

Turmeric is more bio-available to our bodies if it is prepared in specific ways. One is to ferment it. I like to add fresh (or frozen) turmeric to my fruit kvass. I cut it up as you would a carrot and add it in.

I wasn’t adding turmeric when I made the video here, but you can see all of the rest of the steps in the You Tube video on my home page. http://celestelongacre.com/making-fruit-and-beet-kvass-demonstration-by-celeste-longacre/

Another way to make turmeric more available to the body is to heat it in oil and add a dash of black pepper. I like to stir-fry an onion in coconut oil, then add a bit of goose fat and toss in some cut-up baked potatoes. Season with powdered turmeric, paprika and black pepper. Yum!

I have some home grown herbs and edible flowers for sale (great stocking stuffers) here: http://celestelongacre.com/buy-dried-herbs-edible-flowers/

And, my 360 page, $24 Love Signs book is a temporary bargain for only $15 here: http://celestelongacre.com/autographed-copies-love-signs-hardcover-book-available/

13 Sep

Freezing Broccoli

Farm stands and gardens are bountiful at this time of year. Harvests are flowing and farmers sell their produce at bargain prices. This is a great time to take advantage and get some things into the freezer. The veggies are truly fresh and, if you buy locally, you know where they come from.

All vegetables use up their nutrients to stay alive once they are picked. Some use them up faster than others and broccoli is one of the worst offenders. Some believe that within two days of the picking, broccoli has lost most of its nutrients. So if this vegetable is trucked far from where it was picked there is a good chance that it doesn’t have much left for you. A better idea is to buy it fresh from a local farm and get it right into the freezer.

I bought these two beautiful, big heads of broccoli from an organic farm for $7.20.

I washed them and cut them up. Then I put them in a steamer and steamed them for three minutes.

After the three minutes was up, I slid them into some ice water to cool them down, then spun off the extra water.

Next, I put them into pint Ziploc bags and marked them with the year. I repeated this process six times and ended up with six wonderful servings of broccoli that we will be eating this winter.

This broccoli not only has most of its nutrients intact, but each serving only cost me $1.20. The whole process also took me about 25 minutes. It is well worth the effort and economical, too.

25 Jul

Freezing Corn

For all of the things that I do in the summer, freezing corn is the biggest bang for the buck. It doesn’t take very long, it is reasonably priced and I get to enjoy beautiful sweet corn all year long.

I don’t grow corn myself as it is important to have a big “stand” to get good germination. Unlike other garden items, corn isn’t pollinated by the bees, but, rather, by the wind. Each silk goes to a specific kernel and needs to be pollinated individually. Corn also only takes six hours from when it is picked to turn from a sugar into a starch. So it’s important to process it early in the day.

I head down to my local organic farm after it opens. It’s about a twenty minute ride. I pick out about three dozen ears making sure that they were just picked. Once back home, I put some water on to boil and shuck the corn.

Placing six ears at a time in the water (you can also steam them if you prefer), I leave them in for three minutes.

When they come out, they go into ice water to cool them down.

Cutting the corn off of the cobs, I put it into a bowl, then into freezer bags. I usually get about eight quarts from 2 ½ dozen ears (we eat the rest).

Labeling it with the year, into the freezer it goes.

This whole process takes me about two hours. So for very little time and money, I get to add sweet corn to soups and stews all winter long. I often use only a quarter or third of a bag at a time. It is well worth it.

26 May

Time to Finish Planting the Garden

It’s Memorial Day Weekend and it’s time to finish planting the vegetable garden. All the veggies that are sensitive to the cold can finally be planted. That includes tomatoes, eggplants, summer and winter squashes, beans, basil, cucumbers, melons and more. The soil gets prepared the same way that it did for the hardy vegetables.

First, I add my amendments; Azomite powder, organic alfalfa meal, kelp meal and compost or aged manure. I sprinkle the first three with a dusting on top then put on a good inch or two of compost or manure. Then I use a broad fork or pitchfork to gently loosen the soil, raking it flat at the end.

I never rototill or otherwise turn the soil. In nature, the leaves fall to the ground and decompose from the top down. This allows the worms and all the micro-organisms to keep their structures and pathways intact. When the soil is turned, it’s like a tornado hit this community and there are many casualties. It also exposes lots of weed seeds to the air for germination. A better garden and a bigger harvest occurs when the soil isn’t disturbed.

Summer and winter squashes, beans, basil, and cucumbers can be planted from seed right into the soil. You can hold off on the compost or aged manure to place on top of the seeds.

The squashes and the pole beans can be planted in circles resembling a volcano. Make a hill with a depression at the top to catch the rain. These hills should be about two feet in diameter and one to two feet apart. Place eight to ten squash seeds in each hill, planning to thin to three once they germinate. The pole beans can be planted more thickly, perhaps every inch or two. Cover with the compost.

The squashes will sprawl over the ground so be sure to plant them in a place that they can grow out from. The beans will need supports to climb.

Make a teepee out of six or eight bamboo stakes, tying it at the top. You will have to start the plants up the poles, but once started, they will continue growing up.

Cucumbers can be planted in two rows down the middle of a bed.

They will need a trellis or a fence on which to climb. You could put a couple of garden stakes at the edge of the bed and hang some chicken wire from a pole at the top. Planting nasturtiums right in the bed with the cukes helps to keep the cucumber beetle away. You could also buy some cucumber plants to get started and put in some seeds for a later crop.

Tomatoes, melons and eggplants should be purchased as young seedlings for planting.

Tomatoes are tricky. They used to be easy, but the blight has become almost universal and a big problem. They need to be fed very well to keep them strong. Give them lots of aged manure, kelp meal, worm castings and, ideally, some micorrhizial innoculant. If you are adventurous, you can also give them a fish head. Make sure that you bury it very deep so that it won’t attract animals.

Plant the tomatoes very deeply. They can develop roots along their stems so put them far down. Place the worm castings, kelp meal and micorrhizial innoculant right next to the roots. Take off any lower leaves and put some kind of tomato cage around them. It’s a good idea to tie them right up to the cage with muslin strips and put down a bit of mulch under them. The rain brings the blight up from the soil, splashing it on bottom leaves first and then up the plant. Any way that this can be avoided is good.

Another great thing about this particular Memorial Day Weekend is that the Moon is in the tremendously fertile sign of Cancer both Saturday and Sunday. So it is truly time to get planting!

I am teaching workshops from my home this summer. Visit http://celestelongacre.com/invitation-come-celestes-farm-learn/ for the details.

06 Apr

It’s Garden Time!

Here in the northeast there is still a bit of snow on the ground, but I suspect that it will be gone in a matter of days. Then the race to plant the garden is on! I have already recently planted some paprika seeds inside as well as a few “gem” marigolds and a bit of kale and Brussels sprouts.

I am also greening my seed potatoes by placing them in a northern window where they will get bright light but no Sun.

They will begin to put out some tight sprouts which will help to increase the harvest.

You need to have a really sunny southern window and/or a greenhouse to start plants that are sensitive to frost now. If plants don’t get enough Sun, they get leggy—they grow up too thin and will have a hard time supporting themselves. Leave the early starts to the nurseries if you don’t have a proper spot.

Yet, there is plenty that can be planted in the ground now. Peas and snow peas love the cold.

Once the soil has dried out some, I add my amendments; Azomite powder, organic alfalfa meal, kelp meal and compost or aged manure. I sprinkle the first three with a dusting on top then put on a good inch or two of compost or manure. Then I use a broad fork or pitchfork to gently loosen the soil, raking it flat at the end.

I never rototill or otherwise turn the soil. In nature, the leaves fall to the ground and decompose from the top down. This allows the worms and all the micro-organisms to keep their structures and pathways intact. When the soil is turned, it’s like a tornado hit this community and there are many casualties. It also exposes lots of weed seeds to the air for germination. A better garden and a bigger harvest occurs when the soil isn’t disturbed.

With peas and snow peas, I get the bed ready, then I broadcast the seeds. This means that I throw them everywhere and not just in rows. In “Crockett’s Victory Garden,” James Crockett said, “If you are stingy with your peas, they will be stingy with you.” So I generally put out lots of peas. Then I push them an inch down with my fingers and dust some dirt over them. Peas need something to climb on, so I place some tomato cages into the ground and tie them together for support. A trellis, chicken wire or some sticks from the woods could also be used. Water well at the end and keep the top inch of soil wet until the plants emerge.

Lettuce can also go into the ground now.

I generally prepare an entire 10-12 foot bed, but only plant a couple of feet at a time. Lettuce gets bitter as it ages, so I like to have the sweet stuff instead. That’s why I plant a couple of feet every ten to fourteen days all summer long. This is another crop that I broadcast. I will save ½ inch of the compost or aged manure to throw on top of it once it is planted. Again, water well and keep the top wet until it shows itself. I give the initial thinnings to my chickens, but once the leaves are the size of a soup spoon, I bring them in to eat. Yum!

05 Mar

French Onion Soup

French onion soup is a perennial favorite. It’s rich, hardy and delicious. Ideally, the flavors are complex and well mixed—this occurs better if it is made the day before it is eaten.

My mother, who was of French descent, swore that real French onion soup was made with turkey stock. Most chefs use beef stock. I think that it can be delicious either way, but I do often choose my late November jars when given a choice. Here’s what is needed:

stock pot

2 pint jars home made soup stock

4 large onions

3 tablespoons butter

salt to taste


4 slices sourdough bread

mix of cheeses

serves 4

Put the stock pot on the stove with the butter in it. Warm the butter so that it is melted, then turn off the stove. Peel the onions, cut each in half, then slice thinly and add to the pot.

When all of the onions are in, turn the heat on medium-high and saute until they are soft turning them vigorously the whole time (about 15 minutes).

Add the stock and heat up to the boiling point.

Turn off the burner, let cool and refrigerate overnight.

The next day, take the 4 pieces of bread and cover with grated cheese (can be gruyere, cheddar, or parmesan or a combination). Traditionally, the soup is heated first and placed in the bowls. The bread is then placed on top and everything goes under the broiler until the cheese bubbles. Doing it this way, the bowls come out of the oven quite hot. If you will be serving children or need to take your soup to a pot luck, this may be a better option: Put the pieces of bread on a baking sheet and broil them until the cheese is melted. Heat the soup. Put one slice of bread in each bowl and cover with soup. Yum!

05 Jan

Make Your Own Best French Fries Ever

Who doesn’t like French fries? However, some of the ones available to us at the fast-food restaurants are made with pesticide laden potatoes and fats that are not good for us. Bad fats are really hard on the body and can contribute to illness. The solution? Make your own! The best, most delicious French fries can be yours if you purchase organic potatoes and fry them in good quality animal fats like those found at Fatworks. The evidence is mounting that true fats are actually good for us. But they need to come from sources that are clean and healthy. Fatworks fits this bill.

To make the fries: Cut three or four organic potatoes into thin fries. Pat dry with a paper towel.

Heat up some good quality fat (duck, goose, lard and tallow are the best) and drop them in. Keep the fat at a medium heat; don’t let it smoke. Stir occasionally. After fifteen to twenty-five minutes, they will turn a golden brown.

The time varies due to the temperature of the fat. Drain and place on paper towels. Serve with aoili or ketchup. Yum!

All of my favorites are foods that come from only the best sources. Vital Choice seafood harvests sustainably from pristine waters. If you click on the Shop button, you can go to Special Offers and get deep discounts. Wilderness Family Naturals offers gallons of Expeller Pressed Coconut Oil for under $45. Get a couple of friends to order with you and get free shipping. US Wellness Meats have the best sugar-free franks and liverwurst. They also periodically run terrific sales on ground beef. Sign up for their newsletter to stay informed. Paleo Valley Beef Sticks are not only from 100% grass-fed beef but they are also fermented. You can get a 20% discount by ordering them from here. Jilz Gluten Free Crackers are unbelievably good.

See Celeste’s Favorites page for more information about these wonderful foods!

11 Aug

Heirloom Tomatoes

One of everyone’s favorite garden vegetables is the tomato. Technically a fruit, tomatoes from the back yard are like manna from heaven. Sweet, juicy, delectable and indescribably delicious, a home grown tomato is like nothing else under the Sun. It’s often the main reason that people begin to garden.

Over the years, tomatoes have been bred to be larger, denser or more disease-resistant than their predecessors. Some have been designed to handle shipping and shelf life with ease. Yet, what is often missing in these modern identities is flavor. So, with increasing intensity, people have been turning to old fashioned or heirloom varieties.

I plant virtually all heirloom tomatoes. Yes, they are fussier to manage. Often they will get the blight. But sink your teeth into a truly ripe old fashioned tomato and the burst of flavor makes you not even mind the dribble of juice that is busy sliding down your cheek. Unbelievable! Outrageously rich! Orgasmic!


We are fortunate to have a quality nursery nearby that sells over one hundred different varieties of heirloom tomatoes. Names like “Blue Chocolate” and “Chocolate Stripe” imply a depth of velvety intensity unavailable in supermarket brands. “Mortgage Lifter” was given its calling after allowing the farmer to sell enough tomatoes to do just that. “Brandywine” and “Caspian Pink” with their potato-like leaves have been the favorite of chefs for quite a while. “San Marzanos” and “Black Plum” are super-thick and cook down into a hearty sauce more quickly. “Black Krim” takes my breath away.

Some farmers will even sell boxes of heirlooms in season. These are great to eat or can as is or as a garden delight to inspire and enhance winter menus. I consider these delectable items to be like “summer in a jar.”


So even if you didn’t plant any lovely heirloom goodies, find a farmer that did. If you were fortunate enough to put some in the ground yourself, let them get really red and soft to the touch before you pick them. Be prepared to have one of the best tomatoes of your life. Bon apetit!

05 Aug

Making Garlic Powder

Much of the garlic powder in the supermarket comes from China and its safety is uncertain. This is a great time of year to make your own. Farmers may give you a discount for a large purchase—it’s a good idea to ask. If you grow your own, even better.

After the garlic has been harvested and hung to dry for two or more weeks, it needs to be clipped and cleaned with the length of the roots shortened.


Sort through it and put aside the biggest and best ones to replant in October. Figure out how many to put aside to use as fresh—the garlic here only keeps until about February since our house is so dry in the winter. The rest get made into garlic powder that will keep for many months, if not years.

Slice off the top and the bottom of each clove and put it in a dehydrator overnight. This makes peeling the garlic a lot easier.

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Next, slice it in a food processor.

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Back into the dehydrator it goes.

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Keep the temperature under 110 degrees in order not to lose the healing qualities of the garlic. Because the temperature is so low, it takes a while to dry. I find seven days to be ideal, stirring it once or twice during the process. Once it is really dry, it can be placed in jars until it’s time to powder it.

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Powder it in a blender or a Nutribullet. If you strain it into the jars, you can return the larger pieces back to be made smaller. Garlic powder is delicious and nutritious and it makes excellent gifts.

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14 Jul

Putting Herbs Up for Future Use

Right now, most of us are enjoying the warmth of a balmy summer. Some may even have it way too hot. Plants are growing, reaching up and out to catch the rays of the Sun. Flowers are blooming and gardems are blossoming. Many use this time to read and rest and lie in the Sun. Others, however (like myself), are well aware that summer is fleeting and its bounty will be gone in a few short months. This is really the ideal time to plan and prepare for the colder months, especially in a northern climate.

Many of our favorite herbs and flowers have been used for decades to help us with our maladies. Mint has long held a reputation for settling stomachs when they are causing us distress. It’s handy to have a patch of it although you don’t want to put it anywhere near the rest of the garden because it will take over. We have it all by itself in a space where we can mow around it.


Mint is easy to dry. If you have a pilot light in your over, you can spread it out on a cookie sheet for a few days. If not, it’s best to hang it up on a porch or other breezy, dry place. I have it hanging in a cascade to dry in order to best take advantage of my hooks.


Blackberry leaves can be dried to use as a tea for diarrhea. These bushes are a weed here in New Hampshire so we let them grow on the perimeter of the property where we can keep them in check with the lawn mower.


An even better way to use the blackberry is to utilize the root. Wait until the fall when the energy of the plant has gone down into the root. Then dig it up and wash it off well. Cutting it into small chunks, place it in a jar with high proof vodka. It should be in a ratio of 1/3 root to 2/3 vodka. Set this in a sunny window for a couple of weeks, shaking often. Strain out the root pieces next and place the jar in a cool, dark place. A tablespoon or two of this can really help.

Thyme is a very healing plant. An elixir of this can be made from the flowering plant.


Put the stems, leaves and flowers in a pot. Cover with water. Set on the stove in a slow boil for several hours or unti the water is ½ to 2/3 gone. Strain out the thyme pieces and let cool down for a while. Add some raw honey while it is still partically warm and refrigerate. A tablespoon or two of this can ease a sore throat or help a cold or flu last a little bit shorter time.

Feverfew is an herb that can greatly help with headaches and many forms of inflammation. I have a bunch of it drying on my porch hanging from a small chain.


What sorts of things do you like to use? Get an herb book or two and see if you can put some away for the winter. In a short few months time, you will be ever so glad that you did.

17 May


Cutworms are my least favorite insect. I despise them more than mosquitoes, black flies or deer flies (a close second). They live under the soil during the day. Then they come up at night and take one bite of a plant right where that plant goes into the ground, killing it. Back down into the earth they go making it impossible for you to find them the next day. Their handiwork is very evident, though. You can plant a nice six pack of tomatoes one day and have nothing left six days later.

This is what they look like.

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When I come across one, I immediately feed it to my chickens.

There are a few things that you can do to limit their damage. Veggies that are broadcast or planted in rows can be surrounded by crushed eggshells. The cutworm is a soft-bodied insect and it would have a hard time maneuvering around in this environment.


When buying transplants like tomatoes, peppers, eggplant or anything else, it is wise to put a cutworm collar on the plant as you put it into the soil. This tomato plant has a tin foil one about one inch above the ground and one inch below.


This keeps the plant safe.

05 May

Time to Start Planting the Garden

As winter’s snows melt and birds begin their territorial morning songs, it’s time to get planting. Many plants need to wait until the soil and air truly warm up, but there are also others that don’t care. A complete list is available to you for free from this website at your request.

I have already planted peas, snow peas, beets, Swiss chard, lettuce, kale, potatoes, onions, green cabbage, red cabbage and Brussels sprouts. It took them a little longer to appear than normal which somewhat confused me. It has been extremely dry here and I was watering away so that the seeds could germinate. Then I got an email with a great article explaining “poor man’s fertilizer” (snow). It seems that snow as well as rain contains nitrogen which can help plants get started. After a rain, everybody showed up.

The lettuce is up and will need thinning soon.

The peas have made an appearance.


Asparagus is tantalizingly close to picking size.


Onion plants can be purchased and are usually better than onion sets.

The garlic that was planted in October is up and doing quite well.


My radicchio came back. I was surprised. I never got around to cleaning it out in the fall. Glad that I didn’t!


16 Feb

Winter Sowing

My friend, Jackie Caserta, told me that she had come across a very interesting idea about sowing seeds. A woman by the name of Trudi Davidoff claims that she sows many seeds outside in the winter. She says that they do better than any that she starts inside to later transplant into the garden. So I decided to give it a try.

This should be done only with cold-tolerant plants like the ones that can be planted before the danger of frost has passed. You need some take-out trays from a Chinese or Thai restaurant—the kind with the clear tops and black bottoms. Slit some holes in the bottoms and tops.


Put some masking tape on the bottom and label the future seedlings.


Fill 2/3 with some good quality potting soil. Plant your seeds.


Cover with about ¼ inch of soil and water well. Place the lid on and tape the sides down.Transfer outside onto a picnic table or into a garden bed.


The seeds will germinate when the temperature and conditions are right. Keep an eye on them as the holes will have to be made bigger once the plants emerge and water will have to be added when needed. When it is time to transplant them, they will already be used to the outside temperatures.

Admittedly, this is an experiment for me. I have planted two types of lettuce, one broccoli and one Swiss chard in my containers. Stay tuned!

If you would like to read more about this technique, Ms Davidoff can be accessed at www.wintersown.org.

24 Jan

My Favorite Catalogs

catalogs 001

Seed catalogs are wonderful fonts of information and inspiration. Often, beautiful color pictures make the mouth water with anticipation and details are given about planting specifics and variety differences. And, they are free!

There are dozens—if not hundreds—of seed catalogs available. Companies like to entice consumers with platitudes like “easy to grow” or “award winner.” Yet, most catalogs also include detailed information about sowing times, plant care, fertilizing needs and more. It is well worth the time it takes to make a phone call to request a personal copy.

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Johnny’s Selected Seeds (877-564-6697) was my very first favorite. It’s an employee-owned company and it has gorgeous photos, extensive planting and culture information and lots of organic selections. Most varieties are detailed with full color pictures and it is easy to see their differences. Tools, row covers, heat mats, grow lights and carts fill out the basic format.

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Pinetree Garden Seeds (207-926-3400) shows pictures of the different varieties of vegetables and flowers. Planting information is also given as well as garden supplies and books. The prices of these seeds are quite reasonable and they sell some packets with smaller numbers of seeds. This catalog is perfect for a beginner gardener or for someone who has only a small area to plant.

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Seed Saver’s Exchange (563-382-5990) is full of heirloom, untreated, non-hybrid and non-GMO seeds. Each variety is old and has been lovingly saved by an individual. Their stories are part of their descriptions and it creates an enchanting catalog complete with outstanding photographs. Many of the varieties found here are truly unique.

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Seeds of Change (888-762-7333) is a company that deals only with organic seeds. Full color pictures accompany each variety with detailed descriptions of them all. Cooking tools, season extenders and containers round out the offerings.

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R.H. Shumway’s (800-342-9461) is an over-sized catalog with some color photos and many black and whites. They carry Packman broccoli which is supposedly one of the most nutritious varieties and can be hard to locate. They also sell mole chasers which is the best way to rid a garden of moles and voles.

catalogs 006

Fedco (207-426-0090) is a black and white catalog printed on newsprint. It’s the best one if you are ordering large amounts of seed as you can get them for a reasonable price. Orders must be placed on their web site or through the mail only. They also have an excellent number of soil amendments with detailed descriptions of their ingredients and uses.

06 Jan

A Fire in the Chicken Coop

Yesterday, around 6:30 AM, I went down to the chicken coop to open their door. It had been a very cold night so I shut the door to keep them warm. I thought that they would be ready to go out soon as their light had been on since 4 AM. When I opened the door, smoke poured out. I looked for cobwebs because they are flammable, but that wasn’t the problem. Smoke was pouring out from under their water heater.

I had put the water heater up on a double layer of bricks. If the water is too close to the wood chips, they get into the water and spoil it. So the water was quite elevated. However, the water heater didn’t have a bottom. During the course of the cool weather, the chickens had pushed wood chips under the heater to the point that it was full up to the hot element.


I threw out the water, removed the heater and grabbed a shovel that I keep nearby. There were actually live sparks in the wood chips. Luckily, there was a good several inches of frozen snow outside the door so I was able to just shovel the live chips into the banks. The fire had not yet engaged the coop’s floor and I was able to get all of the burning pieces outside.


I asked Bob to come down and look at it with fresh eyes to make sure that all of the live bits were removed. He agreed.

When I bought a new heater, I made sure that it had a bottom. This will keep any wood chips from getting anywhere near the element. Be advised if you have chickens or other animals that need their water kept warm. Look for heaters that have bottoms.


02 Dec

Getting the House Ready for Winter

We live in a lovely hand-made house that my husband, Bob, built. It’s an octagon with additions and it sits up on Sona tubes so that the air can blow under it in the summer.


For the winter, Bob puts leaves under the edges and seals it off with insulation and steel strips. This keeps us nice and toasty and makes it an easy house to heat.

house winter prep mache 003

house winter prep mache 006

He also covers the water line with evergreen branches. That way, we don’t have to worry about our water freezing even if it gets quite cold. Once is snows here, though, it generally stays on the ground until the spring. This gives us additional insulation over the water line and around the outskirts of the house as it comes down from the roof.

house winter prep mache 002

09 Oct

Saving Beet Greens

Leafy greens are really good for us. They are high in vitamins and minerals and provide lots of fiber as well. So it might be wise for us to save the greens when putting the beets in the root cellar.

Last year was the first time that I saved my beet greens. The days that I am putting the beets in the root cellar are already so packed with chores that I used to just feed them to the chickens. But last year I decided to throw some greens in the freezer. All winter long, I was really glad that I did.

The first time, I washed them, tore them into small pieces and then steamed them until they wilted turning them with tongs.

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Then I put them into some ice water and the water turned pink—I had just lost all my vitamins and minerals which are water-soluble. So the next time, I steamed them again but put them inside a bowl which I then put into another bowl of ice water. Problem solved!

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I let them cool, turning them several times and put them in a pint freezer bag, making it flat so that it would stack well.

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This year, I did the same thing with some kale and radicchio. I like to have these around for my bone broth soups. Adding leafy greens improves the vitamin and mineral content of the soup. I discovered over 30 years ago that if Bob and I have at least two servings of my homemade soup a week, we have no problems with our joints. If I forget, my knees bother me.

01 Oct

A New Way to Harvest Beets for the Root Cellar

I put my beets into the root cellar a different way this year. Last year, I had a problem getting the sand to dry and its wetness caused the beets and carrots to rot. Very disappointing. Never had happened before. The place I got my sand used to let me into their lot; I waited for a dry period and scooped the sand off the top of their mountains. Last fall, there was a new system. They put several bucket loads in a bin out front and asked me to take it from there. Alas, it was so wet!

My neighbor, Nancy, came to the rescue with a novel idea. She puts her beets and carrots in damp wood chips. It makes the buckets a lot less heavy than using sand so I decided to try it.

I pulled the beets, cut off the tops and let them sit in the Sun on the picnic table for an hour or so.

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Then I dampened some wood chips and put them at the bottom of a 5 gallon bucket (“Not sopping wet, just damp” she said.)

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Dusting the dirt off of the beets, I placed them on top of these chips but not touching each other.

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I covered these beets with more damp wood chips and repeated the process.

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Then I did it again.

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And again.

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And again.

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And again.

beet harvest & 080

And again until I was at the top of the bucket.

beet harvest & 082

I covered this with damp wood chips, put on the lid and placed it in my root cellar. It was so much lighter and easier to move than the ones with sand had been. I actually put all of the beets in the first picture into this 5 gallon bucket.

30 Aug

Tomato Juice

I was supposed to teach a canning class yesterday but not enough people signed up for it. I suspect that the weather was too nice—a beautiful late summer day. Since I had already ordered a box of organic tomatoes from my local farm, I decided to make some tomato juice. Read More

01 Jun


Purslane is a common garden weed that is probably the most nutritious item in your garden. It originally came from India and escaped into backyards everywhere. It has fourteen times the Omega-3 fatty acids of spinach as well as six times the vitamin E. Its betacarotene levels are seven times higher than carrots. Read More

07 May

Turmeric Sausage

Turmeric is really good for us. It’s active, healthy ingredient is curcumin which has been shown to be an antioxidant, anticancer, anti-inflammatory, respiratory system protector and immune system aid. There is a specific way to get the most out of turmeric. First, it’s properties come alive when it is heated. Secondly, a bit of fat like butter or coconut oil helps it to get assimilated. And third, a hint of black pepper also enhances it. Read More

23 Mar


Condiments have been part of our diets for a very long time. However, our ancestors, without access to refrigeration, fermented all of their condiments. Mayonnaise, ketchup, pickles, relishes and sauerkraut were routinely subjected to this form of preservation.

What they maybe didn’t know was that the fermentation of their condiments gave them tremendous health benefits. These dishes possess not only digestive enzymes, but lots of probiotics. By adding a bit of relish or mayo to their meals, they were gaining a better ability to digest them. And, they were populating their entire digestive tracts with helpful bacteria—the kind that keeps out the bad guys.

Read More

17 Mar

Bone Broth Soup

Bone broth soup is extremely good for us. I discovered over thirty years ago that if my husband, Bob, and I have two servings of my home made bone broth soup a week, we have no problems with our joints. If I forget, my knees really bother me. So we religiously eat and drink our soup.

An added benefit is the health of our bones. Last September, Bob sleep-walked off of our loft. He was 68 years old at the time and he fell an entire story. Yet, he broke nothing. Not one bone. He was, of course, bruised but he healed quickly. Read More

02 Mar

Book Launch

Welcome to the launch of my new book, “Celeste’s Garden Delights: Discover the Many Ways a Garden Can Nurture You.” It’s been a long time coming. From the day a year and a half ago when three different people asked me to write this book (the last one begging me) to the finished product, there has been much writing, re-writing and many decisions. How big? Which pictures? What to call it? Read More

23 Feb

Growing Onions

February is the month to begin planting onions. They are quite easy to grow from seeds if you have a sunny window. Get the best potting soil that you can find (ask at your local nursery) and fill the tray about 2/3 full of it. It’s a good idea to blend in some soil amendments like kelp meal or Azomite powder as well. Read More

09 Jan

Time to Buy Seeds

Seed catalogues are filling the mailboxes and it’s time to look through them and order your favorite varieties. There is actually quite a bit of information in these missives and you can learn a lot about gardening by spending time perusing them. Most will tell you how to grow different varieties, how long it takes for them to germinate and how much room you need to allow for proper spacing. Read More

24 Dec

Book Review–Heal Your Gut Cookbook

Book Review

The HEAL YOUR GUT cookbook

Nutrient-Dense Recipes for Intestinal Health Using the GAPS Diet

Hilary Boynton and Mary G. Brackett

Published by Chelsea Green Publishing, White River Junction, Vermont, 302 pages.

This is one unbelievably awesome book. It is brilliantly organized, beautifully photographed and very easy to understand. They start by telling Hilary and Mary’s stories—how they overcame incredibly debilitating gut issues utilizing diet. Stocking the pantry and larder come next followed by precise ways to ensure that you have essential ingredients through techniques. In this section, they discuss meat stock and bone broth soup, how to make crispy nuts, nut milk, nut flour, nut butter and nut crackers. Coconut and dairy are similarly analyzed and shown how to use (including how to make your own cultured cream or sour cream). Read More

09 Nov

Getting the Chicken Coop Ready for Winter

Chickens need a bit of different attention in the winter than they do in the summer. If you live in a cold climate, you must make sure that their water doesn’t freeze and they have the capacity to stay warm. As long as they are free from drafts, chickens can keep themselves warm even in very low temperatures. They fluff up their feathers and huddle next to each other on their roosts. Read More

31 Oct

Garden Clean-up, Fall Spinach & Lettuce

It’s important to clean up the garden in the fall. After the first hard frost, most plants will wilt and start to decompose. Getting them out of the vegetable patch and into the compost pile keeps the space clean and helps rid the area of unwanted bugs. Wearing gloves, pull all the plants out by their roots. Use a bucket to transport them to the compost. Any remaining weeds and leaves can also be removed at this time.

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07 Oct

Planting Mache

Mache is an extremely nutritious green that can be added to salads during the winter months. Here, in the northeastern U.S. where it is cold (and frozen), mache can be grown in a sunny window inside. This vegetable actually likes the cold—it won’t germinate until temperatures stay consistently below 70 degrees F. So it is best to wait until the weather is cold and plant it outside. Read More

02 Oct

Freezing Greens: Spinach, Beet Greens and Swiss Chard

This is a great time of year to preserve some of the abundant greens in the garden or at the Farmer’s Market. While these high-vitamin, high-mineral goodies can easily be found right now, it is a different story when the world outside is frozen or blanketed with snow. Greens add a good deal of vitamin A, calcium and iron to the diet; always best when consumed in food rather than in supplements. Read More

25 Sep

Time to Buy!

The Harvest Moon happens in September for a reason. Farmers everywhere (in the Northern Hemisphere) are gathering the fruits of their labor and stocking up their store shelves or bringing it to their Farmer’s Markets. Many will sell 25 or 50 pound bags of potatoes or onions that will keep all winter at bargain prices. Read More