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Dave's Garden Articles: By Sharon Brown

Sunday, December 14, 2008

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Teasel
By Sharon Brown (Sharran)

The flowerheads of the wild teasel were once in great demand in New York state. Modern machinery has replaced the teasel, but cannot match the luxurious finish it imparts to woolen cloth.

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Tuesday, December 9, 2008

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Who invented veggie soups anyway??
By Sharon Brown (Sharran)

I wonder about a lot of things, most of them trivial, but now that the weather is getting a bit dreary, and heat is good wherever we find it, I've been fixated on vegetable soups. I like to know the source of the food I eat, so here are my thoughts on this warm comfort food.

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Friday, December 5, 2008

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So you don't like fruitcake...
By Sharon Brown (Sharran)

...and I don't blame you one bit! But before you turn the page on this article, I really do think you might enjoy this one.

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Tuesday, December 2, 2008

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Black Locust
By Sharon Brown (Sharran)

This is not one of my typical stories, but one that is important in its own way. It involves the relationship that developed between me and the black locust that grew in my mother's front yard.

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

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Under the Spreading Walnut Tree: Black Walnut
By Sharon Brown (Sharran)

There is nothing as soothing as the sound of a gentle rain on a tin roof. I know because I grew up with a tin roof over my head. The problem with that soothing memory is that it carries with it the thundering sound of walnuts bouncing around on the tin roof in the rainstorm, playing hopscotch until they landed in the garden outside my window.

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

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About Root Cellars
By Sharon Brown (Sharran)

In the beginning we dried fruit and vegetables, eventually we canned them for winter storage, then we froze them so that they could be enjoyed throughout several seasons. "Putting up" food was another term for winter storage, and for me it was the most troublesome of all the processes. I was the one who had to put all the food in the smelly, dark root cellar.

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

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Smartweed
By Sharon Brown (Sharran)

Whoever named this plant obviously did not allow for those of us who use words a little differently than he does. The name itself implies that if you partake of this plant, you will be increasing your intelligence. Right? Well, that's what I thought, too. Not so, says the wise man.

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Monday, October 20, 2008

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Plants: Magic and Mystery
By Sharon Brown (Sharran)

Thousands of years ago magical and mystical powers were ascribed to certain plants. It is no wonder, since today we still turn to plants for food, shelter, clothing, weapons, and even healing. The magic and mystical beliefs came from the plant's display of vital energy during its growth and seasonal rebirth. We might understand such events today, but there will always be an element of mystery in the first bloom of spring.

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

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Head Over Heels in Burdock
By Sharon Brown (Sharran)

A child's imagination will take her a very long way. But when that imagination is combined with travels with Aunt Bett, said child would have been wise if she had carried a first aid kit with her.

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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

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The Truth about Chicory
By Sharon Brown (Sharran)

The sun comes up and we blindly make our way to that first cup of morning sustenance. With the first sip, our eyes open slowly and we decide we might be able to make it through another day. There is nothing like that first cup of coffee, unless it is your first cup of chicory!

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Friday, September 12, 2008

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Little Kids and Seed Balls
By Sharon Brown (Sharran)

I loved to make mud pies, and even more I loved to make things with clay. There was plenty of both where I grew up, and sometimes the mud and clay were intermingled. When I accidentally added seeds to the mix, the rain of spring and the sunshine of summer often brought a nice surprise. This is a gardening project for little people, and maybe for big folks, too.

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Tuesday, September 9, 2008

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Snakeroot and Ol' Larrnce
By Sharon Brown (Sharran)

Ol' Larrnce wasn't anybody's fool. He grabbed that snake by the tail and twirled it a time or two over his head and slung it as far as he could sling it. And it just kept coming back.

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Tuesday, September 2, 2008

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A Story about Bouncing Bett
By Sharon Brown (Sharran)

Bouncing Bet must have been named after my great Aunt Bett. There was no doubt about it. One look at those tiny white flowers bouncing around in the sun all summer long and I could just see her five steps ahead of me bouncing up the mountainside. It never mattered how old she was, she always had white hair, and when she took that bonnet off, her white curls bounced in the sunshine.

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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

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Aunt Bett, Church, and the Yarrow Experience
By Sharon Brown (Sharran)

This is one of the funniest Aunt Bett stories I will ever tell you. If you have ever laughed out loud at a most inappropriate time, you will surely understand the quandary I found myself in. A church service is a serious event, but in this one instance.....well, I might as well just take you with me on this little trip back to my twelfth year.

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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

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Shucky Beans, Granny Ninna and Aunt Bett
By Sharon Brown (Sharran)

It was my job to thread the beans one at a time on the long white cotton twine. That needle was longer than my fingers, but I knew that the beans would dry and all winter long my family could have shucky beans and cornbread for dinner. As long as I did everything right, nobody would ever go hungry. The grown ups told me so.

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Tuesday, August 5, 2008

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Watching Joe Pye Grow
By Sharon Brown (Sharran)

Joe Pye weed was one of those plants that I saw so often when I was growing up, it didn't have much meaning for me. It was taller than I was, and I knew butterflies liked it. I didn't pick it for its blooms because it was always covered with honeybees. I didn't even know its name. To tell you the truth, for many years I thought Joe Pye was the name of a child, not a plant.

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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

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Chicory chick, cha la cha la.....
By Sharon Brown (Sharran)

Now I am a chicory lover from way back, thanks to my great Aunt Bett and on the other family branch, my great Uncle Dock. It was truly a treat to be with either one of them for tall tales over a cup of chicory. As long as my mother didn't know.

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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

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Solomon's Seal
By Sharon Brown (Sharran)

When I was in sixth grade and studied world history, I came across a picture of the Lascaux Cave paintings. I was so excited to show it to Aunt Bett and explain to her that it was painted thousands of years ago. I had never been able to teach her anything that she didn't already know, but I was sure she had never seen the cave paintings. She looked very carefully and then she said, "Hmmmmm, wonder why they didn't paint any plants?"

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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

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Aunt Bett, Fennel, and the Lickrish Butterflies
By Sharon Brown (Sharran)

There are some things that we know for truth when we are children. We learn that things have names and those names are words and with them you talk to anybody who will listen. You would think any family in its right mind would correct a word misconception lest it prove to be an embarrassment to a child. What I want to know is who let me spend fifteen years of my life talking about lickrish butterflies?

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Friday, July 11, 2008

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The Mini Medicine Woman: Lamb's ears
By Sharon Brown (Sharran)

You would have thought people would understand that when a child is taught by a master, the child could become the master. Not so. There was only one Mountain Medicine Woman and that was Aunt Bett. No highly trained, intensely competent 8 year old was going to take her place.

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Tuesday, July 8, 2008

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Aunt Bett and the Great Mullein Story
By Sharon Brown (Sharran)

When we are very young and not yet wise in the ways of adults, we tend to see only what is in front of us. I knew at an early age the rights and wrongs, the goods and bads, and the coulds and could nots. Smoking was one of the wrongs, the bads, and the could nots. When I came upon Aunt Bett with smoke coming out of her mouth, I grabbed my asphidity bag and ran home.

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Thursday, July 3, 2008

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Planting a Garden in the Midnight Sun
By Sharon Brown (Sharran)

How on earth did someone from the mountains of Kentucky end up planting a garden on the Kenai Peninsula in Seward, Alaska? Well, there are some similarities: Alaska does have mountains, great glorious ones that are barren on top except for the goats and bears that live there. Here is the story of my incredible visit to Alaska, and what I found in that harshly beautiful land.

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Tuesday, July 1, 2008

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The Hawthorn: Mythological, Magical, or Medical
By Sharon Brown (Sharran)

It is unusual to find such a small tree surrounded by myth, legend and lore, but the Hawthorn has been around long enough to have earned many descriptions. It is edible, it is medicinal, and it is mentioned in literature that was written hundreds of years ago.

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Thursday, June 19, 2008

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PawPaws, Anyone??
By Sharon Brown (Sharran)

With a name like PawPaw, the fruit must have something incredible going for it. It took me awhile to try the fruit of the PawPaw tree, it's blooms have a nasty smell, and the fruit is nothing to look at. But after that first bite, ahhhhhhhh, the flavor.

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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

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Hepatica
By Sharon Brown (Sharran)

I was eleven years old before I scared Aunt Bett to death. Even my asphidity bag was no help when I stumbled upon something in the mountains that I was never supposed to even know about. But all's well that ends well, and not only did I learn a cure, but boy did I ever learn a lesson!

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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

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Remembering Plumbago
By Sharon Brown (Sharran)

I have always loved blue flowers. Spiderwort was my favorite until I stumbled upon a clearing in the mountains one day and discovered the beauty of Plumbago. I loved it for its sky blue color, but Aunt Bett had other ideas.

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Thursday, June 5, 2008

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Colors to Dye for.....
By Sharon Brown (Sharran)

I often think that I live in the wrong century; I straddle the fence between then and now. Of course it is much easier today to run to the store and pick up a package of red dye, than to go out in the fields and find pokeberries in order to make my own. But doesn't it make you feel especially good when you make something wonderful without having to purchase a thing?

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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

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A Black Garden
By Sharon Brown (Sharran)

I am definitely not a morbid person, but over the years I have always added a black plant to every garden, just for accent. This year I decided to see if I could find enough black blooming plants to create a more formal garden that was all black, using silver as the accent. This is what I came up with.....

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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

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Pass the Honey, Honey!
By Sharon Brown (Sharran)

It is the oldest sweet; it is one of the purest foods; it is mentioned in the Sumarian and Babylon cuneiform writings; the ancient Egyptians used it; Plato and Aristotle wrote of it; and it will not spoil. It is referred to as the golden nectar of the gods and it has been used to treat maladies for thousands of years.

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Wednesday, May 7, 2008

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Don't Pick the Trillium
By Sharon Brown (Sharran)

There is nothing more beautiful on an early spring morning than to come upon the lovely trillium, stretching her arms and raising her lovely face to catch a glimpse of the morning sun. But with all that beauty, it is the one thing that spoiled Aunt Bett's wedding day.

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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

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Bed Bugs, Plantago and Aunt Bett
By Sharon Brown (Sharran)

Of all the plants Aunt Bett and I gathered from the mountainside, Plantago was her favorite. It would cure most anything, she said. I didn't think it had much going for it as far as looks were concerned, except it came in two different sizes, fat and skinny. She called the fat one Broadleaf; the skinny one was Snakeweed. I made sure I wore my asphidity bag when we gathered the Snakeweed.

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Friday, April 4, 2008

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Aunt Bett, Bee Balm and Battling Bees
By Sharon Brown (Sharran)

Every journey up the mountain with Aunt Bett was an adventure. Gathering bee balm was one of the most exciting since we had to battle the hungry bees to get our fair share, not to mention the fact that the uniform for bee battling was never to be forgotten. This is the third in a series of stories about my great Aunt Bett, the mountain medicine woman.

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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

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Aunt Bett's Sure Cure for Croup: Hawkweed
By Sharon Brown (Sharran)

During all the years of following my Great Aunt Bett up the mountains of eastern Kentucky searching for one illusive plant after another, I never missed a trip with her. Well, until the year I was seven.....

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Saturday, December 15, 2007

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From Nature Back to Nature: Bird Feeders from Vines
By Sharon Brown (Sharran)

Do you trim away the excessive growth of invasive vining plants? I am sure you do if you live with wild grapevines, wisteria or honeysuckle. Do you stuff the trimmings into a plastic bag and send them away with the rest of your trash? Here is an idea for a great family project using those very same trimmings. Your kids and your fine feathered flying friends are going to love it, and it will last long after holiday decorations are stored away.

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