Today was pruning day. This is the first year that I haven’t done major renovations on the plum tree. The pear tree also got a light pruning as well as the young fruit trees. The grapes got the usual treatment.

After a record-breaking hot and dry summer, this winter has been really wet. We had a week or so below freezing between Christmas and New Year, so hopefully that was sufficient for the plants that need it. Otherwise, temperatures have been pretty normal. January has been pretty mild.

Heather moved the herbs from row 1 of the garden to the south side of the house.

Good news from the beehive: so far, the bees have survived the winter! On warm sunny days such as today, they venture out of the hive.

I finally got around to addressing the coolant leak in the tractor last week. I decided to try the easy option first and pour a bottle of Bar’s head gasket sealant into the radiator. I’ve cycled the tractor through warm-up/cool down a few times, and the amount of steam coming out of the exhaust seems to be diminishing. I also changed out the milky engine oil. If this fix doesn’t work, I’ll have to take the engine apart and install a new head gasket.

I grow herbs because they make me happy. They are typically robust, fragrant, beneficial and evergreen. Herbs are my spirit animal.

My favorite way to use herbs is to go into the garden, harvest the herbs that look healthy, place them in my herb basket, then think about how to use them as I clean and mince them.

“Hi, I’m Heather’s herb basket!” (Ignore the grumpy old rutabaga on the right.)

Yesterday I planted my multi-sown beet starts and some Oregon Peas. It feels great to be able to put some things in the garden.

I also planted carrots in a self watering bucket. I’m hoping those are successful, because up until now, 100% of my carrot attempts have failed. Always hopeful.

Then today I labeled my herb garden. Half is culinary herbs and the other half are medicinal.

I’ve been using our herbs to make a salt and herb mixture that preserves the color and brightness of the herbs. Not sure what to call it.

I blend about 1-2 cups of herbs, 5 garlic cloves, add the zest and juice of one lemon, and 2-3 Tbs. salt. Sometimes kosher, sometimes gentile.