Monday, June 30, 2014

Tansy- Garden to Sachet

I've added a drawing of Tansy to my nature journal. 

I started this drawing last fall.....

but life has a way of interrupting these things. 

I grow Tansy in my garden to harvest the aromatic leaves for sachets. 

This is a recent photo of my very tall Tansy plants 
growing in my wildflower garden along with Sweet William,
 (in bloom now). 

Not only does Tansy have aromatic foliage, 
but it also has beautiful yellow button flowers. 
(photo taken last summer)

These bloom from July to October and can be harvested 
to create lovely dried flower arrangements and wreaths. 

Common Tansy (Tanacetum vulgare) is an upright perennial herb with strongly aromatic, fernlike green leaves whose aroma reminds some people of pine, others of camphor. Under favorable conditions, the plant may reach 5 feet, but 3 feet is more likely. 

The seed heads persist through winter and in spring drop to the ground to form a new generation. (It can also be divided.) Common Tansy is a native of Europe and Asia and was brought to this country by the Puritans in the 17th century and is now naturalized in much of Canada and the Untied States. 

Tansy is an old herb, used for many medicinal purposes, but today it is considered toxic and potentially fatal if consumed internally. The essential oils can irritate skin, causing contact dermatitis, and it is recommended that you wear gloves when handling Tansy. 

Tansy was a common strewing herb and has a great reputation for repelling ants and moths. 
For that reason, I use my harvest of tansy to create moth sachets and I also strew it about my shed to repel mice. It seems to work! 

Tansy is very easy to grow in all types of soil, but prefers moist, well-drained soil rich in organic matter. It grows so rampantly, that a better choice may be to put it in an area with poor soil to keep it within bounds. It will grow in sun to part shade and is best kept at the back of the border against a fence to keep it from flopping over in wind and rain. (I use stakes and twine to keep mine upright)

Extra Tansy can be a potassium-rich addition to the compost pile and can also be made into a tansy tea to water your houseplants. (A handful of leaves to a pint of boiling water)

Harvesting Tansy is simple. In the fall just cut the long stalks and place them on a tarp.

Then, wearing gloves, simply strip the leaves from the stalks and pile them in a large, open basket. Place the basket in a warm, dry room, away from direct sunlight and fluff the pile twice a day, or more,  allowing good air circulation. 

The leaves should dry within a week or so. I store them in a dry, dark place until ready to use. 

Separate the flowers and seed heads from the leaves. The darker colored heads are saved for seeds, the lighter colored ones are saved for dried flowers. 

When I am ready to use the dried leaves for sachets, wearing surgical or painter's gloves, I strip all the tiny leaves from the remaining stalks and crumple them until fine. 

I make a mix of half lavender and half tansy to create moth sachets. 

You can find seeds for growing Tansy Here.

Keep in mind that these are considered  invasive, but if you have a large area where nothing will grow, Tansy is a good choice. It is deer and pest proof, and is a good companion plant for raspberries, fruit trees, and some vegetables to control ants, aphids, squash bugs and various beetles and caterpillars. 


This is my 500th post! Thank you, Dear Friends for following my little blog. You have been there through good times and bad, let me share my crafts, cooking, decorating, writing, photos, and life with you - always being supportive and encouraging. I have learned so much from all of you and shared in your lives and creativity, and consider you all a part of my world. 

Thank you for being there. 
It means so much. 

You are the reason why. 


Thursday, June 26, 2014

Cottage Love - Good Fences

Come along with me and we will take a drive
around my little town for some Cottage Love. 

We start out on the appropriately named, Cottage Street
next to one of my very favorite cottages. 

Patriotic spirit reigns here. 

More patriotic spirit at this little charmer. 

I love the windows and tiny front porch.

The bright green window boxes
 and pretty light post give it flair.  

White picket fence, trim and bench 
set this sweet abode apart. 

A large 'picture window' looks out 
on a whimsical boxwood lined walkway.

A bit of gingerbread trim dresses up the peaked roof. 

Looking past the unfortunately placed telephone pole and hydrant, 
we see the most charming picket fence lined with roses and peonies. 

Pretty trees, red and green trimmed windows
 and matching porch rails 
give this cottage distinctive style. 

This 'newer' cottage with interesting roof-line 
and half moon windows is for sale. 

This cottage would look lovely with window boxes
 filled with flowers and a flower lined walkway.

I see potential.....

This delightful little cottage has it all; picket fence, arbor
sweet arched entry, trellis, and main street location.

Red door, trellis, Adirondack chair, and pretty little garden.
What's not to love?

A little white cat peers out the window
of a storybook cottage beneath tall trees.

I am in love with the cottage style door,
the tall windows and the unusual trim.

The green siding is also very nice.

This neat little cottage has a most welcoming front porch.

Patriotic pallet (what a cute idea!), rocking chairs,
and even a porch swing!

I could see myself spending a lovely summer afternoon here.

I do believe Hansel and Gretel live here.

I love the vine covered porch and the alpine fir.

The windows give this little cottage a bright outlook.

I can imagine the sweet bedrooms under the eaves.

A favorite cottage which I have featured before.

Is it the white lace curtains, the oval glassed door, the window boxes,
or the rose covered trellis that gives this cottage charm?

Perhaps all of the above!

White with blue trim, this recently updated cottage
 sports a hanging chair and a porch swing.

The old fashioned windows
and the letter 'B' on the door make it sweet.

Pretty colors with tree to match make this a welcoming entry.

(Sorry it is blurry - I had to snap this one quick)

Sometimes I had to take a rather quick photo
so as not to appear creepy :)

I wish I had captured this beauty in full.

I will have to go back and find it again.

I love the arched overhang by the front door and the beautiful windows.

The pretty arched gate, blooming shrubbery
 and unusual colors set this cottage apart.

A large chimney, picket fence with arbor,
lovely yellow paint, and tall firs give this cottage charm.

A large cottage garden with Quonset hut shed caught my eye.

A closer look reveals colorful trellises,
a bird feeder, and little windmill.

The residence is nearly hidden by flowering shrubs, vines and trees.

This darling shed with little garden
captured my imagination.

A newer cottage with neat stone wall and split cedar fence
charms us with two tone paint and trimmed shrubbery.

This recently painted, large cottage
still has the taped on window coverings.

Beautiful white trim is still being worked on.

I love the contrast of the dark porch support bases.


I hope you have enjoyed taking this cottage tour with me.

Which one is your favorite?

Linking with Good Fences @ The Run*A*Round* Ranch Report

Thank you, Theresa for hosting this fun meme!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

First Days of Summer

We've had a beautiful week 
for the first days of summer. 
Remember those magical days 
as a child, 
knowing the whole summer stretched out ahead,
with all the wonderful possibilities?

Watermelons, cook-outs, swimming, games of softball, tag, and  hide and seek.
Catching fireflies, fishing, building forts, picnics, running to catch the ice cream truck.
Popsicles, peaches, riding bikes or walking to the corner store to buy penny candy.
Spending all day at the beach, sand castles, bare feet, picking berries and flowers to take home.

I would take my little sketch pad 
and walk down the forest trail from my home, 
to the field at the edge of Syzinski's farm,
my faithful dog, Mittens, by my side. 

Sketch of Band-Tailed Pigeon

I would stay for hours, sketching, picking wildflowers, 
and eating the picnic lunch my Mother would pack. 

Just me and my dog. 

Wild Daisies and Columbia Lilies in Western WA
 I was always a nature child,
exploring the fields and woods around my home in rural Massachusetts.

My favorite flowers back then were the regal, spotted Tiger Lilies 
that seemed to grow everywhere. 

And here, I have found some wild lilies growing
3000 miles from my childhood home, 
a lovely surprise on a summer day. 

I still love to explore the fields and woods around my home.

Here is a plant you would never want to pick.

Aptly named 'Devil's Club', the stems are covered in vicious thorns.

This woodland plant is medicinal and grows in thick colonies
 along the side of the sloping hill below my house.

Another medicinal plant that grows wild here
is Foxglove (Digitalis). 

They love to colonize disturbed ground and can be found growing 
in abundance on old logging sites. 

Don't let its fairy-like bells fool you, though, 
these beauties are deadly poison. 

This tall woodland flower with spotted throats is called False Nettle. 
These are growing in a little wooded glen beside my driveway. 

Every summer when I walk to the gate to get my morning paper, 
I visit these dainty flowers on my way. 

This is their hidden home on a little mound by an ancient snag. 

Growing nearby are the tiny white and sometimes pink flowers of Siberian Lettuce, 

a relative of Miner's Lettuce and an important food source to early settlers, mostly loggers and miners.

I live in a former coal mining town that is no longer here.

We have found remnants of its history on our exploring expeditions.

An old iron and Purex bottle were found at the site of an old foundation.

Perfume bottles and cold cream jars were also found.
The jar with the cover was a gift from my sweet Sister-in-Law from New Hampshire
who found it on a similar exploration.

I love to think of the women who used these at the turn of the century.
There was once a hotel and several cottages
by the creek.
We found a rose blooming, a plum tree,
 and comfrey plants growing

Strange findings in the middle of the forest.

My youngest son found this coal cart wheel along the banks of the creek,
at the base of our little mountain.

It now rests quietly in retirement in front of the tool shed.

Made of iron and extremely heavy,
we used it as a portable tie out 'anchor'
for my children's ponies.

Here is my youngest daughter, Jennie with 'Dusty'.
'Freckles' stands in the background.

I would ride Freckles and Jennie would ride Dusty
as we went on adventures on the dirt roads and trails

The children grew up and the ponies lived out
their retirement here as pampered pets.

On a recent exploration I found this mossy rock placed on this old tree stump.

A mystery......who placed it there?
Probably my Mr., as he loves to leave little surprises for me.

I love to see what is blooming and growing on my daily excursions.

Here some blue berries of Oregon grape are ripening in the underbrush.
These are edible.

The Salmon Berries are also ripening -
named for their beautiful salmon color.

These are rather bland tasting, but a favorite of the birds.
I have watched fat-bellied Robins hovering like hummingbirds
just to pluck them from their slender branches.

The Red Elderberry are also ripe and the reason
 why the foothills are teeming with birds.

These are toxic to humans, but a favorite of the birds
 and grow in abundance here.

By season's end, every last berry will have been consumed.

Speaking of delicious berries - the blackberries are in bloom!

Visions of pies, cobblers and tarts are floating through my mind.

Of course, I never go anywhere without my faithful companions,
Champ and Whitey.

These golden summer days stretch out before me
like beautiful jewels on the necklace of time.

Like that child from long ago,
I wake up each morning excited
to experience each and every day.

Wishing you all lovely summer days
full of fun and exploration.

And plenty of watermelon seed fights :)

"There shall be eternal summer in a grateful heart"
- Celia Thaxter -

"How sweet I roamed from field to field,
and tasted all the summer's pride"
-William Blake -
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