Drinking Wormwood Tea

wormwood

Drinking wormwood tea for the first time, was much anticipated, more than what I expected, and definitely did not disappoint. Having read that the Impressionist used to drink absinthe, knowing wormwood was used as part of the drink, and being an artist, it was almost an obligation to experience a part of what the masters experienced.

Van_Gogh_-_Still_Life_with_Absinthe

Van Gogh -Still Life with Absinthe

degas.absinthe-2

L’Absinthe-Degas

Wormwood does not make the whole absinthe drink, but is used along with other herbs in an alcohol base.  Making a tea with it, and using it for the anti-worm properties it has, was far different.  Apparently, it was used for this purpose as far back as the Roman days, so really it is doubly a taste of history.

absinthe art1

Of course there is warning saying you should not intake too much, which goes for all things, and can have adverse effects if overdone, so proceed with caution.

absinthe1

The unusual phrase attached to absinthe “chasing the green fairy”, now makes perfect sense to me.  Though it is implied that one hallucinates, I didn’t with a simple tea without any alcohol, but the very first ways my perceptions changed was that I became increasingly aware of the air around me. Light and airy, as if you became the substance of feathers.  There is a heightening of senses, and so you are more aware and look around (for the green fairy-not that you actually expected to find one-still being very much attached to your good senses) as if new to the world. A feeling of well being, is quite firm, but lasts only a few minutes, till you take your next sip.

For some reason I didn’t want to gulp it down, and lingered over it for well over half an hour, it being a leisure thing and experience by its nature.

One of the tragic things about being artistic is that often you are in a brew, tumultuously turning things over in your mind, searching at the depth of things and it can get quite serious and often you find yourself in a depressed state.  So when something like this light and airy feeling comes into your scope, the contrast makes you wonder, do un-depressed people feel like this all the time? Mmm…I am sure – not. It’s not the type/ sense of well being that makes you crave more, and thirst desperately or addictively for your next intake either, but more like an after dinner mint at the end of the week.

I made my tea quite mild, and mixed it half and half with green tea, and some sugar.  The first time it was very bitter, but in a good way like a tonic. The second time I didn’t dry it so long, for only about a week, so perhaps it was more mild than the first time, and I used also a pinch of fresh ground nutmeg, and I think that is what took the edge off the bitterness. It had a type of sweet and bitter thing going on. A real treat, definitely recommend.

absinthe1-2

gumballsabsinthesoap

Advertisements

A Natural Network

A natural network within the eggplant leaves.

A natural network shining through the eggplant leaves.

Amazed at the intricate network displayed through the sun and the leaves of this eggplant.

Curly patterning of eggplant leaves.

Curly patterning of eggplant leaves.

The perimeter curliness makes an interesting plant even before the benefits of the fruit.

Baby eggplants beginning to grow.

Baby eggplants beginning to grow.

After a rough beginning to spring with constant cloud, storms and cold, the first baby eggplants are finally peering out. These eggplants seem to be the sturdiest of the seedlings planted this year. Numerous other plantings went bad due to poor lighting, and insect problems which in turn led to black sooty mildew, which pretty much destroyed the bulk of seedling before their first true leaves, or shortly after starting to truly taking off. Oddly enough the lettuce is doing very well in these water bottles on the interior window sill, despite the high humidity. Although they aren’t as strong and sturdy as they could be if they were grown outdoors, they were still quite edible. Had I known lettuce was so easy to grow I would have planted them last year. It was quite enjoyable to taste different varieties, compared to the limited palate of the standard store varieties. And since we had plenty lettuce, of course experiments with salad dressings were par for the course, and even venturing into making home made mayo for the first time!  In so doing I discovered an excellent chef whom I highly recommend foodwishes.blogspot.ca . The taste in the store bought mayonnaise went years ago, and I simply stopped buying it altogether. After years of not tasting mayo, it was a special treat and the creaminess of homemade was beyond compare.

Lettuce growing in plastic water bottle.

Lettuce growing in plastic water bottle on window sill.

Natural Soap, Not so Natural – On Reading Codes

Although I imagined I purchased a Natural soap, upon closer look, I noticed a code stamped at the bottom of the bar that indicates the soap may not be so natural. It is confusing to say the least.  The code isn’t all that legible, and it is hard to tell if it is 5 digits with a letter or 6 digits. I am also unsure as to whether it is in fact a code or some sort of date or batch stamp. Seeing it has a 12 in it, it might indicate the year, however the rest of the numbers with the zero in the middle seem to defy it being a date.

natural soap stamp

The image below has been darkened to better show the stamp.

savon artisanal
fleurs de lavande
provence france

The full face of the soap below.

pur vegetal soap

According to some general common info on reading codes I found below:
5 digits – starting with 9 – produce grown organically
4 digits – starting with 3 or 4 – grown conventionally
5 digits – starting with 8 – produce genetically modified.
The soap appears to have 5 digits with as far as I can see a letter B, and it definitely looks like the number 8 at the head of it.  So, if it is a code, the produce has been genetically modified. It is really hard to tell which part has been modified, and at what process. I am confident that the soap is an improvement from the generic supermarket, which lately feels so crude and like sandpaper, but it is still quite perturbing not knowing for sure what is in the product exactly, or how it has been processed.
The next time I am at the market I will definitely have a closer look at the ingredient lists. I am continually learning. Now, I have a whole lot more of questions I need answering. This really doubles my resolve to making my own soap.

Farmer’s Market – Natural Soaps

natural soaps

Natural soaps at the farmer’s market

Once you have tasted farmer’s market food, it is hard to go back to supermarkets.  You only realize how much you have been alienated from natural foods, when you have a comparison.  The experience of hand grown, and hand made, can really wake up the senses and make you feel like a vibrant human being responding to the natural beauty in creation, rather than a mono-toned droid of mass production. What a treat it was to get my hands on some natural soaps.  I and the vendor both delighted in the exquisiteness of natural fragrances, as she personally showed the wares. It felt  quite like having snuck into the cook’s kitchen. I got the lavender of course, the white speckled one wrapped in yellow ribbon in the middle. I think there maybe some oatmeal, or coconut in it also.  Delicate balances arrived at by the cooks hand, not by machine. The smell is so sensuous it’s incredible!  Makes you want to rub it all over and bask in it. Leaves you floating! And no worries about harmful effects.  How simple is that. Beautiful bouquet of lavenders at the far end.

Please also see my next blog:

natural-soap-not-so-natural-on-reading-codes for more info on reading soap codes:

A chef menu. Do they still wear those hats, I wonder.

Recollections of old Paris maybe.

farmers-market-hanging plants

It was hard to get a good shot here of the flooding light that created sharp contrasts, throwing the dark shaded areas into practical silhouettes.

Plants draped in the sun.

Farmers market-hanging-plants.

sumptuous reds

Sumptuous reds.

Neighbouring garden.

These were snapped on the way there, setting the tone for the day.  Well, it sure feels like summer!

LED Grow Light Experiments


Learning about DC, or Direct Current electricity, with my LED grow light experiments for growing vegetables indoors for winter.
Here are my first 3 home made arrays, or strips of 6-high intensity 3 volt each LED’s made from cut plastic strips from old clear, see through DVD cases.

Led lights are quite linear and focused and don’t spread the light too far, so many are needed to cover adequate area. The plus side is they are very low volts and do not consume a lot of power.


A pin was used to puncture the two holes through the plastic, matching the positive and negative LED connectors rather than one large hole for the bulb. This helped keep the bulbs in place without glue.

Foil was wrapped around to help reflect more light and to help keep wiring contained and tidy. Wiring connections to LED’s were soldered and then taped to make sure raw connections are kept from touching each other. A plastic strip placed on the back before the foil, also to cover and protect wiring.

A standard computer power supply was used as a power source to convert 120 V-AC (Alternating Current) household electricity to 12 V-DC electricity.
DC or Direct Current is the type of electricity that is used in solar power. The reason Alternating Current is used for the Hydro grid is because is has to supply many households and has to pump large voltages along it’s grid in order to travel or get to everyone, and then to cover everyone’s use. When solar power is used, it is used only for the consumption to and for one household, so less current and power is needed.

computer power supply color codes

Standard computer power supply wires are color coded to show their uses. Color codes have been upgraded only slightly over the years to accommodate more gadgets, but the basics are still there. Using any two of the ground (black) and the yellow wires connect to 12 volts that is needed. Connecting a wire from green to a black ground puts power on without a computer attached. It is important that there is something there to power before putting on the power. My standard power supply had a handy on off switch, so it wasn’t constantly on, and I didn’t have to always pull the plug.

I preserved my power supply and did no wire cutting, but used the pin connectors. By lightly coating and soldering the wire ends coming from the LED’s as capping, sometimes adding more bits of wire to make it slightly thicker at the end, wires would hold in the connector pin without slipping out. As I made a couple of arrays, two array wires together fit snuggly into one pin connector, and adding more wire wasn’t then that necessary, although soldering was, to stop frays and solidify the wire. All I had to do after soldering the ends was push the wire in snuggly without any special pin connectors. I connected only to the yellow (positive+) and ground (negative-) pins needed for 12V.


My resistor set up. I used a handy wizard tool to help me calculate the resistors from

led wizard
Mr. Andersen explains circuits the best on you tube.

Mr. Andersen circuits
Here is a homemade canopy experiment made from sample led strips, and foil from 2 simple cookie sheets together. Edge rims were cut off, and new foil rims were made bent and folded over. Slightly unbent they could slide in and out of each other to any length, and then completely bent to hold the position. This set up was lightweight.

Canopy unplugged, underside. White leds in center screwed onto light piece of flat wood covered with tin foil. Strips are simply taped. I wrapped the sheet foil around a pole to curve it a bit.

Light canopy, top. Wood was then attached and screwed onto foil by two hooks. Wires are pulled through the hooks and pulled through two more hooks screwed onto the underside of shelf. The canopy is plugged into the 12v power supply.


Plants are said to like the red waves more than blue, so I will be changing these to more red.
These lights are not strong enough for the lavender seedlings below, and I will need more. So I will keep experimenting. As you can see lights can get right up close without burning the plants.
Even though there is only one red strip its waves seem to carry further than the blue, and white, reflecting or touching over everything. The red hue can be seen in most of the photos above. Right now, with white, red and blue, and including clean halogen, my kitchen glows luminously with a warm sunset type coloring.

Posted a video on you tube channel, I’ll post it here also soon.

Sunday Sweets

Homemade lemon-berry or…Berry-lemon drink.  Had some left-over strawberries from the farmer’s market so I tossed them in with my freshly squeezed lemon drink which I drink to help me absorb iron, and for boredom relief from plain water drinking.  With a  fortune cookie, from the pack below, made a nice perk to the day. Tastes a little like a pineapple drink, you can hardly taste the lemon, except for a bit of tang.  Loved the color, had to take a snap.  When I started taking photos it was filled to the top, and I kept drinking while I was shooting.  Now, as I type the level is about two rings up.  Mmm…the sweetness lingers on the lips.

%d bloggers like this: