In the garden…Aloe soap, harvesting grapevines for wreaths and a garden sale.

“ Gardens are not made by singing ‘Oh, how beautiful, and sitting in the shade.”

Rudyard Kipling

Haven’t been spending a lot of time in our garden lately. I have so many projects on my to do lists right now, it’s so overwhelming. We had a garden sale this month. Sold some plants, trees and gave some away too.

A customer came back to our garden sale to share a plant with us from her garden, this skinny cactus above. We learned something from her about one of our cactus we had, it is called a snake cactus. If the thorns poke you, what ever area the thorn goes into will paralyze and hurt you. Not for long, but you will have soreness for a couple days from it’s poison. This cactus here is not a snake cactus but it looks very similar to it.

There was a lot of clean up. When we were out traveling our garden got overgrown and messy. We had to cut back all the grapevines and clean up from Monsoon season. I made some wreaths with the grape vines, a tradition I do every year. Nothing gets wasted in our garden. Even the yardage gets tossed to the chickens. They love searching through all the leaves eating up little insects and ants. So good for them.

Grape clippings for new plants later.
When you make grapevine wreaths make sure to do it as soon as you cut the vines. You can also soak the vines to make them easier to shape.
I use the wreaths for different holidays. These two wreaths have all natural materials on them.

The aloe garden my kids made me years ago was overgrown. Twice a year we harvest the aloe from it. I’m still working on that. Even as I write this, it is still a mess out there.

The bird baths were really dirty. Everything got a good scrubbing and fresh water was added.

While cleaning out the birdbaths the birds up above watched me closely, probably wondering where I went away too when I was gone. Now I’m back and they are getting chubby once again from wild bird seeds I leave out for them every day. Looking back up to them I’m getting all kinds of ideas for new coloring pages. Lots of fun lines and shapes in those images I see working outside.

The pool is too cold for anyone to jump in now. We are in November. Not crazy cold, but cold enough to me. Our summer tree is now loosing it’s tiny leaves. They fall into the pool making confetti patterns. This part of the season our pool looks like a little lake with all the tiny bits of nature floating in it.

This photo was taken after we skimmed the pool of leaves.

My dollar store flowers bloomed. When I got back from the trip there they were to greet me. Remember when I bought them how sickly they looked, just a green plant struggling. Not the right flowers for our bees so I will have to find some for them later. That will be fun. When we grow flowers here in Arizona during the Winter we have to bring them in when temps drop at night to freezing. Or we cover them. It doesn’t happen a lot but we do have some nights that have freezing temps.

We are going into our months of cold and warm to cold again, an up and down kind of weather system where the mornings and evenings are cold and the middle of the day can get hot. An environment that is difficult to grow things in. I still have my indoor garden system that we are experimenting with. We have to hand pollinate of course, but so far everything is still holding strong and still alive. Even while we were away. Our friends were able to keep those plants alive.

I have Aloe soap to make from all the aloe we harvested and Aloe powder. The gel was frozen into ice cubes for the soap making later. The Aloe powder can be stored easier if you worry about electricity situations. All you have to do is add some distilled water to it to make a paste for face masks, for cuts and burns and even leave in conditioner for your hair, then rinse out after wards.

Aloe drying in the sun but you can also bake at 200F.
Dried aloe to be made into a powder later. We aren’t allergic to aloe, so make sure you aren’t before using anything. I’m kind of late on making the soap for Christmas gifts, it needs to cure for weeks.

We have prickly pear to harvest, to can for storage later, and honey to harvest as well. Plus we have Jasmine oil to make from our Jasmine vines. My husband has a tiny still to make essential oils with.

We use our honey for edible treats as well as healing. Sore throats, cold soars and burns. This is natural honey and we know where it comes from since we harvest it ourselves. There’s lots of fake honey out there so be careful.
Watching the bees create their own art.

What typically happens in the Winter here in our garden is me out there designing house plant terrariums, propagating houseplants from my garden inside, designing natural Christmas wreaths, and working on repairing and re-purposing old furniture I sale.

Looks like something snacked on my plant while I was away. This is an organic garden for you. I had to clip this plant back, it was starting to grow into the pool.

The garden will close down for awhile but we can still use what we have to save for those rainy days as they say. A Winter garden here in Arizona is mostly a place to sit out by the pool and read a nice book. Happy gardening adventures everyone.

But all who listen to me will live in peace, untroubled by fear of harm.

Proverbs 1:33