Red Amaryllis - Day 247 - Haiku - My Entry for the “Natural Medicine Love it Up” Contest

in gratitudelog •  18 days ago

20190130_152516 - Blooming red amaryllis.jpg

Red amaryllis
In full bloom despite the cold
Living ray of hope

As much as I am over the recent cold, I really shouldn't complain, because interspersed amidst our prolonged freezes have been a number of sunny, and sometimes even mild days.

Then again, after two back-to-back periods of three full days that never got above freezing, with lows consistently in the teens, even some of our hardiest plants on the front porch are seeing some ill effects. Our star goji, that has laughed off the cold thus far, had several freeze-damaged leaves, though the majority still look fine.

I lost two of my purple sweet potato slips, as the window they were next to evidently didn't insulate them from the outside cold nearly well enough, and the others had several damaged leaves, which I pinched off this afternoon.

The good news, however, is there are lots more sprouts on the mother plant, so I will be starting more in a couple of days. I am really looking forward to seeing how well they will do for us here.

Today we had a predicted high of temperature of 42 degrees, but it actually got up to 52, albeit briefly.

As for our forecast low of 30 tonight, we reached 31 degrees around 11 PM, and the temperature has been steadily climbing ever since; it is currently 38 degrees out, at 2:23 AM. We are expected to get into the low forties, then dip back to 37 by 7 AM. This will be followed by a high of 45 degrees today, with a low of 37, then a full week with no freezing temperatures. Hooray!!!

I was pleased to note that, even though I've got the heat set considerably lower in the studio than I do in the main house, most of the plants there are doing quite well, and the purple tree collard cuttings are putting on even more growth.

Of the eighteen cuttings I started with, all but one are actively putting out new leaves, and even the one that isn't yet looks quite good. I am hoping for them all to survive and thrive.

20190128_190813 - Progress with Purple Tree Collards - 17 out of 18 putting on new leaves.jpg

As part of my effort to make our place and our lives more self-sustaining, and to be able to give more to my community at large, I have been seeking out more horseradish to plant, and lucked out and finally found fresh horseradish at two different stores, which appear to be two different varieties.

So tomorrow and Sunday (Groundhog Day in the U.S.), I will be planting two beds of horseradish to encircle our two Dunstan chestnut trees, in a combined effort to have lots of horseradish in the future, and to hopefully confer some of horseradish's protective properties to the chestnuts, so that they can grow and bear long into the future.

We originally planted three Dunstans: all three survived their first winter, but one died back to the ground almost immediately after leafing out. Two years later, the second tree failed, but it came back the following spring and now seems to be doing well. Only one of the three has appeared to be healthy from the beginning.

The Sprouts Farmer's Market where I found my second batch of horseradish also had celery root, aka celeriac, which is one of Marek's favorites, as it is quite commonly grown and used in Poland. So I bought one of those too, though I won't be growing it from the root, as I already have seed.

I'll be cutting this one up and freezing it to use in soups and other dishes. Yum.

I've also got organic garlic ready to plant, so I'll be planting it around some of our fruit trees, and planting Arctic winter peas, miner's lettuce, mache and other cold-hardy greens in the center, nearer the trunks.

I'm hoping to crowd out the weeds in favor of the shallower-rooted edibles, to help to keep their roots less exposed and cooler as it warms up, and the peas should help to give the trees a needed nitrogen boost come spring.

And, as these cold-tolerant varieties start to fail in the heat, I'll replace them with low-growing perennials such as alyssum, garden cress and strawberries, with the edge of the bed ringed with chives or garlic chives, to keep the grass and weeds at bay.

My goal is to increase the number of edible and flowering nectar plants on our place exponentially this year, both to being in pollinators, and to support the hive or two of bees I am planning to bring in this spring. We've had bee swarms start a hive in the bay window of our studio twice, in the past two successive years, so clearly we can sustain a hive if we prepare for them properly, and bring in healthy bees.

I've also got some Jerusalem artichokes ready to go into the ground, though I'm not completely certain where I will put them yet, but I'm leaning toward a spot between the black walnut seedlings I planted near the road a few years back, and the start of our actual orchard.

I am aware that once I plant them somewhere, I'll never be rid of them, so I want to make certain that it is in a place where I can mow all four sides if need be. But I am really looking forward to having enough of them to not only eat them ourselves, but to have enough to share with our animals, and to plant a few along the non-maintained roadsides on our travels.

Jerusalem artichokes, aka sunchokes, are an American native plant, and produce prodigious quantities of tubers for food. And honeybees and butterflies love the flowers as a nectar source.

My other goal for this weekend is to begin seeding our cold weather and early spring crops and flowers, along with some warm-weather varieties that need a longer growing time before being planted in the ground, and to transplant some of our plants that are in dire need of new soil and more room for their roots.

And who knows, maybe in-between I'll have the time to work on my series of ebooks on natural healing methods, natural remedies and better ways of taking care of ourselves, as well as taking the time to do some playing in the sunshine!

Wish me luck.

So how does this post relate to how I express love in my life? ALL of it comes from love. All of it.

I've loved plants and animals for as long as I can remember - long before I started school. My mom, dad, sisters and grandparents saw to that.

And I'm hardly alone. When we met, my husband had lots of plants in his apartment on Lake Seminole, and lining the headboard of his bed, in addition to two cats and several aquariums.

This is one of the things we bonded over.

And just yesterday, he called me from California and asked me if I was familiar with taro root, and if I wanted him to bring some back so we could plant it. Yes and yes.

He also asked me if I wanted any spiny chayote. Spiny chayote??? I used to grow smooth-skinned chayote in Florida, but I didn't even know that a spiny variety existed. Another obvious yes.

Why does he do it? Partly because he loves plants as much as I do, and also, because he loves me, and knows it makes me happy.

In the end, love is all. Everything else is illusion. The only thing you can take with you, in the end, is love.

I am dedicating this post to #naturalmedicine, and to further this project, half the liquid proceeds earned from my post will be transferred into its account.

The photos above were taken by me within the past few days with my Samsung Note 8 smartphone.

#haiku #tribegloballove #tarc #yah #ecotrain #thewritersblock #smg #ghsc #thirtydayhaikuchallenge #teamgood #steemsugars #teamgirlpowa #womenofsteemit #steemusa #qurator #steemitbasicincome #bethechange #chooselove #photography #neighbors #beauty #love #animals #dogs #rescue #adoption #spayandneuter #homesteading #permaculture #naturalhealing #dogrescue #dogsofsteemit #rabbits #animals #grace #poetry #philosophy #beablessing #naturalremedy #gratitude #abundance #give #family #peace #tranquility #giving #donating #philanthropy #naturalhealing #pets #cryptocurrency #culture #peacemaking #peacemaker #friendship, #warmth #self-respect #respect #allowing #sweetpotatoes #sweetpotatogreens #purplesweetpotato #purple #friedasstokespurple #horseradish #americanchestnut #dunstanchestnut

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I was in California and ate the smooth-skinned chayote a lot. It is so delicious and versatile. I never saw the spiny one either. I hope it is just as good.

You sure got lot of mileage out of a haiku post! I have been looking for poetry for freewrite and saw your title. I completely agree with your "living ray of hope" imagery. I remember these flowers from my time in the cold.

Good luck with all your starters and gardening to come. I am not in a position to be planting now and watch others doing it with longing. My mom always planted horseradish, but I do not think it was for the protective properties. She just made a great sauce out of it and also pickled it. Yum. Good memories :)


Yeah, I grew up in the L.A. area, and that's where I was living the first time I grew chayote. I've also grown it in Florida, but never (so far) in Tennessee. But I will be soon! ;-)

Haiku I've loved sine childhood, and early on in my Steemit journey I joined in with @brokemancode's 30 Day Haiku Challenge, and just kept basing most of my posts on haiku. My brain just loves the 5-7-5 pattern.

And yes, I'm primarily growing horseradish to eat, but at the same time, lots of people, especially in permaculture circles, swear by horseradish as giving all sorts of protection for the trees and shrubs it is planted with, up to and including birds leaving cherries and other small fruit alone when grown with horseradish at their base.

It seemed to me to be at least worth a try to see if horseradish would confer some immunity to my struggling chestnut trees, as they are known to be antifungal, but time will tell. At the very least, we should get a fair amount of horseradish out of the deal. ;-)


Haha! I remember big harvests of the stuff from my mom. When it go good it goes crazy! I will be really interested to see how this year turns out for you.

I did not know about the ant-fungal properties. That is a plus for me and my health issues. thank you for the tip :)


That's one of the most amazing things about horseradish, is that it is antimicrobial, antiviral and antifungal, all in one.

As are honey, garlic, turmeric and ginger, not to mention apple cider vinegar, which is why I included all of the above when I made my fire cider. And it explains why fire cider has always been so amazing at boosting the immune system and restoring health.

This time I'll include black seed (Nigella sativa), which shares those properties as well.

But for a quicker fix, that you can use without having to wait for weeks or months, mix equal parts raw unfiltered honey and apple cider vinegar, say a cup of each, and add 12 - 16 cloves of raw garlic, peeled, then blend together in a blender until the garlic is minced so finely as to become effectively part of the liquid.

Ideally, you want to let it age for at least a few days before using, to allow the flavors to meld, but you can use it immediately in a pinch. My advice is to stir a spoonful into a glass of water or juice.

Later, after it has aged, you can take it straight if you prefer, or even use it as the basis of a really outstanding salad dressing. In any case, always shake well before using, to make sure you're getting the most benefit possible.

The combination is even said to be great at eliminating candidiasis, though it isn't an overnight fix, but it's gentler than many of the chemical methods out there.

Here's you your greatly improved health! ;-)


Oh my goodness. Thank you for this great info, @crescendoofpeace. I am late to my replies and so glad to see this. Copying into my health folder now.

I have made something similar to your fire cider in the past and used it for salad dressing too. That is a wonderful flavor for medicine and I am so glad you reminded me!


You're welcome!

It's always my pleasure to share knowledge, and so often it is as you say . . . we already know, we simply need reminding.

And yes, fire cider is delicious when made properly, and I'll take that over antibiotics any day.

MRSA is no match for nature's bounty. ;-)

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Oh this is the SWEETEST love it up response!!! I must say I'm silly in love with my hubby this week. How cool he calls you about plants and your shared love of life and plants together... and love hearing your plant news AND.. awwww.. thanks for the NM love!! 💚💚💚💚💚💚💚💚💚💚💚💚💚💚💚💚💚

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You're welcome! I had fun with it, and I'm glad it resonated with you.

I consider myself beyond blessed to be sharing my life with a man who loves me, shows it, and is just so much fun to be around! We complement one another in our avowed goofiness. ;-)


Indeed... I feel the same. I never have as much fun as I'm with my man. 17 years together and still he is my fave person to be with
Its how it should be I suppose!

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Absolutely! I'm happy for you.

We've been together for about 12 1/2 years, and I'd still pick him, hands down. ;-)

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It's funny, but I actually bought the red amaryllis for him last year for Christmas . . . I bought him one red and one white, as those are the colors of the Polish flag.

Then they bloomed . . . both deep red. Oops. One was clearly marked wrong, but hey, I tried. ;-)

I had one in Florida that we both dearly loved . . . it was in a pot, but stayed outside all year, and came back every year like clockwork. It was even slightly fragrant, which is the first time I realized that some are indeed fragrant. Gorgeous flowers.

Great natural medicine in there and I can't wait to try them. I really enjoyed myself reading your blog

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Thank you!
Nice to know that it resonated with you.

The red amaryllis are pretty.

Have been getting the hang of sweet potatoes and last season would have been great if not for whatever burrowing critters ate most of them before I could. Suspect it was mostly mice, after digging up quite a few nests with the roots and stomping quite a few to death.

The secret is remembering they're tropical tubers and can't go in the ground before the soil temp reaches at least 55F. Also make sure the variety is appropriate for your growing season length.

They sprout slips better warm when about 80F. 1 April here in NE Oklahoma I start my slips on a heat mat using the old 3 toothpicks and a mason jar method with a insulating wrap around the jars and tissue stuffed in between to hold in as much heat as possible. The water will go bad quicker than you expect and be sure to keep it changed out often enough. After the slips get to about 10-inches I break them off and lay them in a pan of water (no heat mat) with only the top few leaves out of the water. Then you'll see a bunch of roots start all along the submerged portion of the slip. Again, make sure the water doesn't go bad.

After you get a lot of roots established at least a couple of inches long they're ready to go in the ground with just a couple of leaves exposed, if the soil is warm enough. They like very loose or sandy soil and work great in my deep mulch garden which allows me to dig them up with my hands alone.

Like all root crops, you don't want to give them a bunch of nitrogen which makes a lot of leaves and not as much root. Make sure the soil doesn't dry out and isn't wet for a long time.

The best part while waiting for fall harvest is that sweet potato leaves are tasty, nutritious and there are a bunch of them. They're great raw on salads and also cooked like you would spinach or chard.

Leave the roots in the ground until the soil temp drops to 60F and then its time to pull them. Let them sit out to air dry a few days and then just lightly brush off the loose dirt (don't wash). Store in a dark closet at about 65-70F and they keep really well.

Hope this helps.


The mice or voles will be less of an issue if you plant onions, garlic, chives or other alliums around the perimeter. French marigolds help as well.

Yes, sweet potato greens are awesome, and I've written about them before. I didn't realize they were edible until a few years ago, but now we enjoy them regularly, and I feed a fair amount to my animals as well.

I've been gardening organically for 30+ years, and sweet potatoes have frequently been a part of the mix. The only difference this time is that these are purple sweet potatoes, which I've been wanting to try for years. I've previously grown mostly Beauregard, which is an heirloom orange variety.

Thanks so much for your comment - I have no doubt it will help a lot if our less experienced growers, and I appreciate the time and effort you took to make it.

Hope you had an awesome Groundhog Day! ;-)

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Thanks for the pointers to keep the mice or voles out. I grow Japanese Red which have red/purple skin and light yellow to white flesh. They are soooo sweet that all I put on them is butter. They can be cooked any way you prefer. After ponderig the reply above, I think I'll post it on my steemit blog. Cheers.


Yeah, that's usually how I eat the Beauregards too, with just butter. Great variety. Now I'll have to try out the Japanese Red!

Gopher spurge is another plant that keeps out burrowing rodents, and does so over a wider area, but I usually stick with the alliums since I use a ton of them in my cooking.

I've also read that if you ring your fruit trees with chives, as the outer border of your mulch ring, they'll actually prevent grass and other weeds from invading the ring with their runners. Best of all, they're perennial, so they'll protect the borders for years.

I haven't done that yet, but that's part of my plan for this season, and if it works as advertised I'll definitely write about it, so that other gardeners can benefit as well. And, since we have lots of fruit trees to ring, I'll have plenty of chives and garlic chives to freeze, to dry, and to sell the extras. Win/win/win. ;-)

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Everything about this is pretty, the sweet little poem, the photo, your lovely plants... Well, the cold is not pretty but it will be over soon. Much love! 💚


Thank you for reading and leaving your lovely comment. ;-)

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Wooh! those reds looks awesome! Any relation to daffodils??

How will you cook those taro?

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Yes, in fact, daffodils are in the amaryllis family, which I wasn't aware of until you asked, so thanks for that!

And evidently they are hardly through Zone 7, my hardiness zone, so perhaps I can stop coddling them inside and simply plant them out, as I did in Florida.

As for how to cook taro, the usual instructions are to boil in water for 15 minutes, drain, cool and peel the roots, and either serve then with butter, or flatten with your hand and brown in oil or butter before serving.

To cook taro leaves, typically you boil in water for fifteen minutes, drain, then add coconut cream, simmer for another fifteen minutes until tender, and then serve.

Alternately, you can cook the taro into poi, the traditional Hawai'ian dish, which is how I became familiar with it. Boil the roots without peeling until they can be easily pierced with a fork. Drain, cool and peel the roots, then process in a food processor until smooth.

This is one finger poi. Adding more water will give you three finger poi.

An optional step is to slowly pour a layer of cool water on top of the poi, and allow it to rest in a cool room for a couple of days, which allows it to ferment, and imparts a sour taste that many people prefer.

Mind you, I've yet to grow or cook taro, though I've had it cooked for me a few times. Looking forward to doing so.

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Wow thanks for those instructions! I asked because we have taro chips in the Philippines, same with sweet potato chips.

You're welcome re:amaryllis.
Am not sure if we have those amaryllis here as i can remember the yellow ones we have before, they have similar stalks.
If they're like daffodils...yeah stop coddling them lols

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You're welcome! Hope they help.

Yeah, I love sweet potato chips too, and sweet potato fries . . . hoping we have a really good crop this year, as we're trying Stokes purple for the first time, and I'm building up my supply of sweet potato slips.

Have a great week and thanks again for your comment!

So much in this post. Everything as appealing as all those vegetables you're growing (best of luck with that).
I drool at the idea of having the land and the seeds or plants to grow all those edibles. That's only a dream for some. So, you're blessed.

Beautiful haiku and beautiful photograph to go with it.
I can't but admire those plants who challenge the cold winters and gives us inspiration to forget about the hardships they also bring.


Thanks for your lovely comment.

And yes, I spent a few decades growing in pots, or tiny plots that I could scrape together in rented spaces, so I know how very blessed we are.

It's amazing actually having the land to plant the orchard I've always wanted to plant. . . now if we can just get it fenced and irrigated properly, hopefully it will bear abundantly, and we can share the wealth. ;-)

I can't even imagine temperatures that low. Seriously. I freak out when it gets around 10 degrees celsius.... and you're talking temps below zero. For multiple days in a row....

Taro root is something that grows in the tropics and pacific islands, good luck trying to keep that alive over the winter.


Yeah, it's been really cold, but actually not as cold as usual . . . the past three winters all had a lowest temp of -3 degrees F., but this year our coldest temperature was 16 degrees F., or nineteen degrees warmer, so I'll take it.

As for keeping tropicals alive over the winter, I moved up to Tennessee from Florida, so I've been at it for a while now. And I had several friends growing taro in the Tampa Bay area where I lived.

My tropicals simply live inside with me, though hopefully by next winter, we'll have a proper tropical greenhouse for them, which should keep them a lot happier. Wish us luck.