Daily Archives: October 14, 2012

The annual experiment: Harvesting, drying and freezing herbs

When one lives in a farming community, fall brings with it the frequent rumble of tractors and trailers passing by as they haul their harvest to the local grain elevator. It was that rumble and the threat of an imminent freeze that reminded me that it was high time to harvest my herb garden.Early this summer, as the herbs began to grow…

There is no exact science to harvesting, then drying or freezing herbs. To quote Janet Killborn Phillips, “There are no gardening mistakes,
only experiments.”
Every year, it’s a new experiment: which herbs to dry and which to freeze. Truthfully, the decision usually rests on time and patience¬† — neither of which I possess in great quantities.
There is also no routine to my process….otherwise, the herbs would freeze in the ground before I got around to begin cutting. I’m sure there is some expert herbalist out there who will argue this point but too bad for him or her. I was raised by a biologist who saw everything as an experiment. Maybe it would work. Maybe not. But it the end, it’s all a learning experience.
To give you an idea of how this ended up, here are some photos. Oh, and one more thing….baby food jars make excellent containers for dried herbs.
Mint waiting to be dried in the microwave
Lovage heading to the freezer

Oregano waiting to be dried in the microwave

Dried oregano and thyme to be crushed and placed in glass jars

 

From vintage Adidas Dragon to 2012’s Brooks GTS12: a retrospective

Here’s the thing about running shoes. Just when you find the pair you really really like, the company’s “experts” decide it’s time for a change. Ask any long time runner — change is not always a good thing. Back in the early 1980s when I first began running, there was a limited choice of running shoes. The science of running hadn’t yet delved into the complexities of pronation, cushioning, motion control, stability — not to mention the much contested minimalist/barefoot options.
Pity the poor newbie runners confronted by all those shoes. Even the old-timers shudder at the thought of having to replace old favorites.
It occurred to me recently that it was time to start searching for a new shoe. Sadly, Asics had finally decided to quit producing my long-time favorites, the GT2110. I knew this was coming — they’d long warned the shoe was “endangered.”
My search resulted in a sort 0f nostalgic retrospective of the many shoes I’ve run in over the years.
My first pair was a heavyweight faux leather shoe of no particular distinction. I remember them clearly — white with green stripes. They must have weighed at least 3 pounds each — triple the weight of my beloved ASICS.
Those lasted only until I discovered there were real shoes made for runners but as I remember, only men’s sizes were available. My second pair was the ultra cool tan nylon and suede Adidas Dragon, a shoe I would love to have again.

After that, there were a series of Brooks, Saucony, and a horrendous pair of Nikes that were so unbending that I developed the dreaded plantar fasciitis. A wonderful physical therapist took one look at the shoes and wrote a letter to the company insisting that they reimburse me the cost of the shoes.
More importantly, she taught my husband to massage the fascia from the heel to toes — a process so painful that my screams prompted our young daughters to beg their dad to stop. The massages and professional orthotics corrected the fasciitis, but convinced me that I needed a flexible shoe.
Somewhere along the way I discovered Asics, progressing from the Gel versions to my current GT2110.

None of the subsequent GT models have passed muster so it was only a matter of time before I had to face facts. Time to search for a replacement.
Note: Here is where two of my brothers — both of whom read Christopher McDougall‘s “Born to Run,” would lecture me about the futility of buying new shoes.
Okay, so sometimes I listen to them, but this is one of the times when I didn’t. Instead, I hightailed it to my favorite store — Dave’s Running, at their Findlay location. A look at the bottom of my shoes suggested that I overpronate and need something with cushioning and flexibility.
The result? Returning to a brand I once loved…Brooks…the Adrenaline GTS12. It has one thing my feet crave — a wide toe box.
And now…the breaking in has begun. Will these be my next favorites? Only time and mileage will tell.