Tag Archives: jill henderson

The Gift of Spice

SpicesJill Henderson ~ Show Me Oz

Food has the power to hurt or heal, depending on how it is grown and prepared.  In this week’s article, I have a bit of “spicy” history and 10 fantastic naturally healthy spice blends that you can make at home and share with friends using common home-grown organic herbs and spices, which are not only super yummy but super healthy, too! Continue reading

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Toxic Food for the Masses Part Three – Where Does Your Food Come From?

stop gmo signJill HendersonShow Me Oz

Excerpted from our new book:
Illuminati Agenda 21

In my last post, I talked in depth about how GMO crops and the food made from them contain a genetically-modified-protein that the body cannot break down into usable glycine, which is crucial for human health. And as bad as all this is, the troubles with GMOs doesn’t actually start in the gut – they begin in the environment in which they are grown, with the farmers that grow them and perhaps, even in your very own garden.

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Toxic Food for the Masses Part Two – The Gut & Fake Proteins

Jill HendersonShow Me Oz

Excerpted from our new book:
Illuminati Agenda 21

As I pointed out in Part One of this series on toxic food, it is quite apparent that there is more than a casual association between GM foods and adverse health effects across the board. This has been demonstrated time and time again by numerous independent studies from around the world. Despite the length of time on the open market, people either are still unaware of the dangers or they simply choose to believe the lies paid for by Monsanto and company and those of the corporate chemical industry shills that have been put in charge of the FDA and USDA.  But the real evidence of this deadly collusion is in the sudden dearth of leaky guts and bewildering levels of diseases that come with them, and the brave independent researchers and educators willing to put their careers on the line for the truth.

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Protect Yourself from Electromagnetic Radiation

Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

Over the last few weeks, I’ve shared with you just some of the damaging effects that disharmonic sounds and electromagnetic frequencies can have on the human body including sleep disturbances, anger, depression, ringing in the ears, headaches, memory loss, reduced fertility, and many others.  Today, I’d like to share a few tips on how you can start taking control of the EMF’s in your environment to protect your family from destructive levels of electromagnetic radiation (EMFs) starting right now! If you want to check out the damning report by the Navy Medical Research Institute, entitled, “Reported Biological Phenomena (Effects) and Some Clinical Manifestations Attributed to Microwave and Radio-Frequency Radiation”, then read on!
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Northern Saw-whet Owl

Northern Saw-whet Owl pastel copyright

This soft pastel painting was inspired by a lovely wilderness-filled summer haunted by the calls of a pair of these tiny “cat-faced” owls whose eyes seem to be the biggest part of their bodies.  Saw-whet owls are found throughout the United States and southern Canada but this little guy will feel right at home just about anywhere you want to hang him.  As a lover of birds in general, I have an especially soft spot for owls. This large 9×12 pastel painting fits into an 11×14 frame, but if you opt for a larger frame with plenty of matting this work of art will be the focal point of any room.  This original one-of-a-kind work of art can be yours for only $225.00 plus S&H.  Check out more of Jill’s work at https://foreverpetportraits.wordpress.com/ 

Poisoning the Elixir Part III-Water is Alive

river-2951997_640Excerpted from our new book: Illuminati Agenda 21: The Luciferian Plan to Destroy Creation

In Part I and II of this series on Water, we discovered how and why the earth’s water was being intentionally destroyed and poisoned by an elite cabal of eugenicists and industrialist polluters. And while they have tried hard to kill the living water, we’ve still got hope. Let’s be clear about this – water is not alive because it moves or stirs our souls, it is alive because it has its own memory and consciousness. Modern research on water memory didn’t really get going until Dr. Masaru Emoto, a Japanese researcher and author began working with vibrational energy, or what Emoto called “hado” in Japanese. In fact, Emoto described his work as “…the intrinsic vibratory pattern at the atomic level in all matter, the smallest unit of energy. Its basis is the energy of human consciousness”. Continue reading

Poisoning the Elixir Part II – Fluoride

tap water-2825771_640Excerpted from our new book: Illuminati Agenda 21: The Luciferian Plan to Destroy Creation

In Poisoning the Elixir Part I – Water, we delved into how fluoride came to be intentionally added to our drinking water as a means of disposing of industrial toxic waste and mind control. Not only is the addition of fluoride to drinking water ineffective, a massive body of evidence exists that proves that fluoride is extremely dangerous to human health, too. At the very minimum, consumption of fluoride in water has been shown to causes irreversible dental fluorosis, which now affects 32% of American children. This drug-induced condition permanently yellows, spots, and rots teeth starting at a very young age. Additionally, accumulation of fluoride in the bones and joints causes skeletal fluorosis, which is a permanent and incredibly painful condition that leads to severe arthritis, bone diseases, and bone cancer.  Continue reading

Poisoning the Elixir Part I – Water

california-1751455_960_720by Jill Henderson

Excerpted from our new book: Illuminati Agenda 21: The Luciferian Plan to Destroy Creation

Water has been sacred to mankind since the dawn of time as proven by the respect and even worship given to it by every religious philosophy and text in the world. The human body is made up of 75-85% water and without it, life on earth as we know it would end. We are only alive because water is alive. Yet, water all over the world – including the water we drink every single day – is being mindlessly polluted and willfully poisoned. Will this nightmare be the true downfall of mankind?

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New Book Release: Illuminati Agenda 21

Illuminati Agenda 21 tells the story of the age-old battle between Good and Evil. The first part of the tale identifies the Luciferian perpetrators, tracing their origins back to ancient Sumeria, and tracking their hegemony over mankind through Babylon, Egypt, the Holy Roman Empire, and on to their modern-day lair known as The City of London. 

Part two brings the battle into recent times, where the Illuminati’s Agenda 21 is quietly unfolding in an insidious creep towards global fascism and their long-awaited goal of a New World Secular Order, which threatens to strip us of our humanity, replace us with machines, and destroy all Creation.

I hope you will take a few minutes to check out this latest book, which I co-authored with my husband, Dean Henderson – a brilliant political analyst and economist and a noted international author and speaker.  While some of my readers may find this book a bit out of the norm for me in terms of subject matter, it delves deeply into those things that I hold dear, such as alternative healing, organic gardening and farming, real food, GMOs and seed saving, as well as my reverence for nature and the spirit of being human.

All of these things and much more are portrayed both in my writing and in this new book, which uncovers what many people in these troubled times feel in their gut – that the system is broken and that the powers that be don’t seem to care all that much about our, or anyone else’s suffering so long as they stay rich and powerful…

So if you are literally sick and tired and want to find out why, step inside and find out the truth that is being hidden from us and what you can do to change the world for the better.

Check out our new book on Amazon!

Wild Edible and Medicinal Spring Flowers

Redbud blossoms Jill HendersonJill Henderson – Show Me Oz

With the end of the Great Sleep, spring has asserted herself firmly in the Heart of the Ozarks.  The rising intensity of the sun entices all living things to join in the brief but joyous celebration of new beginnings. Big or small, spring provides the perfect opportunity to search for new and interesting native plants. Continue reading

Winter Sown Seedlings

2012 8-29 Seedlings (4)_thumb[7]By Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

Many gardeners know the benefits of planting crops, such as garlic, in the early fall and winter months, but did you know that many common herb, flower and vegetable seeds can be treated this way, too? Winter sowing is the age-old practice of planting seeds directly in the garden sometime between late fall and mid-winter. Because they are living organisms, seeds have the ability to sense the environment around them, which allows them to determine when weather conditions are just right for germination. As a result, winter sown seeds often germinate earlier, have higher rates of germination and have less problems with seedling diseases such as damping off. They also tend to grow faster and stronger than their indoor-sown counterparts, which allows gardeners to get a jump on the growing season.  Read more!

Seed Saving for a Healthy Future with Juice Guru Steve Prussack

Jill HendersonI had a super fun time being interviewed recently by Juice Guru, Steve Prussack.  We talked about common seed saving mistakes, the differences between GMO, hybrid and heirloom seeds, why saving seed is an important aspect of healthy living and a critical component of any disaster preparedness plan; what botanical maturity has to do with saving seed; sprouting seeds for food and more!  Saving seed is so easy, anyone can learn how in less than 50 pages using my book, The Garden Seed Saving Guide!
Listen to the entire podcast free! 
https://juiceguru.com/radio/ep-64-seed-saving-healthy-future-jill-henderson/

Making Herbal Tinctures: Part II

Mortar and Pestel - Copyright 2012 Jill HendersonBy Jill HendersonShow Me Oz

Last week, in Making Herbal Tinctures: Part I, we discussed the different types of solvents (menstruum) used to make high-quality herbal tinctures, including alcohol such as vodka, Everclear, brandy, and wine, as well as non-alcohol solvents like vinegar and vegetable glycerin.   But choosing the right solvent is only a small part of the equation.  Indeed, measuring your ingredients properly is the critical key to creating reliable and consistent tinctures.

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Making Herbal Tinctures: Part I

By Jill HendersonShow Me Oz 

In the world of herbalism, tinctures are the star of the show.  For those who grow, gather or use herbs for healing purposes, learning to make tinctures is one of the most important – and easiest – skills to learn.  Unfortunately, many people believe that all they have to do to make a good tincture is to pour alcohol over herbs packed in a jar.  But the truth is, tinctures made this way are almost always inconsistent in their potency and effectiveness.   In this two-part series, we will examine the right way to make tinctures so that you can be assured of obtaining the best, most healing tinctures possible.

Brewing Up Opportunities

Wages

Jill Henderson ~ Show Me Oz
as seen in Acres USA July 2017 issue

It’s early Monday morning and head brewer Amy Fischer is standing on a step ladder in the back room of Wages Brewing Company carefully stirring a steaming vat of barley and wheat mash that will soon be fermented into a tasty batch of Whatknot Ale. After years of practicing and perfecting the craft of small-batch brewing at home, owner and brewer Phil Wages and his wife, Amber, officially opened their brewery and taproom in the small rural community of West Plains, Missouri, in early 2017. With an official population of just below 12,000 people, the last business most residents expected to pop up in town was a brewery, but for Phil Wages, it was the perfect opportunity. PDF

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Pink Ladybugs in the Garden

Pink Ladybug - Coleomegilla maculataJill Henderson ~ Show Me Oz ~

Gardeners are always facing new and interesting challenges when it comes to pest management.  The first line of defense includes correctly identifying the culprit so that the right measures can be taken to control it.  I was recently talking to a fellow gardener about organic control of blister beetles on tomatoes when I happened to mention being cautious about using any kind of pesticide for fear of killing the pink ladybugs that have spent the last several weeks feasting on the pollen of nearby pepper plants.  Her immediate response was that those pink ones were just another type of spotted cucumber beetle.  I understand her confusion.  I used to think that, too.

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Natural Beekeeping with Dr. Leo Sharashkin

Leo Sharashkin with honey comb.Jill Henderson ~ Show Me Oz
Acres USA May 2017 issue

If you have ever dreamed of keeping bees but found the process complicated, expensive, or the potential for losing your investment to disease and pests all too real, then you have never met Dr. Leo Sharashkin, a prominent wild bee enthusiast, educator, and apiarist who practices an ancient method of catching and keeping wild bees in specially-designed horizontal hives. If you have had the good fortune to meet Dr. Leo or to hear him speak to a room full of enthusiastic beekeepers or the crowd that inevitably gathers around his Horizontal Hive booth at grower’s conferences across the country, you already know that his encyclopedic knowledge of bees is boundless and the methods he uses to keep them, truly inspiring. Whether you are a budding beekeeper or an experience apiarist, you can keep happy and productive bees with less work and money than you ever imagined possible and do it in a sustainable, eco-friendly way.  Read more…safe PDF opens automatically

The Sweet Cicely Revival

1200px-Myrrhis_odorata_in_bloomJill Henderson ~ Show Me Oz ~

If you are a lover of kitchen or healing herbs, you have most likely heard of or read about Sweet Cicely, but have never seen it in person or grown it yourself.  The truth is that this lovely herb is rarely grown or used in America today, which is why I often refer to it as one of the “forgotten herbs”.  That being said, I think it is high time that herbalists and culinary artisans turn their attention back to this delicate beauty and return it to a place of honor in both the culinary and ornamental gardens of today.  (Feature image by Amanda Slater, Coventry, England – Sweet Cecily, CC BY-SA 2.0, edited,  https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4225926)

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The Roselle Zinger-Growing Hibiscus for Food, Profit & Fun

The Roselle Zinger Feb 17 Jill Henderson Acres USA

Jill Henderson
Acres USA – February 2017

What do you call a remarkably ornamental plant that produces an obscure yet desirable international commodity plus a wide array of useful products like seed meal, cooking oil, coffee alternative, fruity beverage, natural food coloring agent, organic pectin, medicinal herbage, and strong hemp-like fibers? Most English speaking people call this plant Roselle, but around the world it is known by many names including Rosa de Jamaica, Florida Cranberry, Red Sorrell, Jelly Okra, Karkadé, and Bissap (bee sap), just to name a few. But if you are a producer living in an area with a long growing season, you might wind up calling roselle a money maker. For such a desirable crop, most people in Europe and North America know roselle only by taste. That’s because it is the singular ingredient that gives Celestial Seasonings popular Red Zinger Herbal Tea its infamous berry-like “zing”. Yet, for all of its flavor and versatility, this tropical beauty is rarely grown in the home garden or in the fields of American farmers.  Read more…safe PDF opens automatically

Moon Shine: Herbs of the Night (part 3)

moon gardenJill Henderson ~ Show Me Oz
Now that you have an idea of the types of plants that can be grown in a moon garden, let’s get down to the bones! Start by selecting a location for your garden. It can be in a little used corner of the yard for privacy or meditation, or it can sit smack dab in the middle of the yard. For trip-free nighttime strolls be sure and allow plenty of room for pathways that are both wide and clear. And if you are not the type of person who really wants to wander in the yard at night, consider placing the garden near a porch or deck where it can be enjoyed in relative comfort and safety.

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Moon Shine: Herbs of the Night (part 2)

2016 8-16 MoonflowerJill Henderson ~ Show Me Oz ~ In last week’s post (see it here), I talked a little about the history and lore of moon gardens and how they have been used by lovers, philosophers and for religious and ceremonial purposes throughout the ages.  In this week’s post I will share with you a whole host of plants that will look fabulous in your very own moon garden – some of which might just surprise you!  So, let’s get started!

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Moon Shine: Herbs of the Night

Herb Borage flowering (4)Jill Henderson Show Me Oz:  Often associated with the mystical, moon gardens have been lighting up the night for thousands of years. Adored by lovers and philosophers, these midnight gardens were places of secrecy and silence, contemplation and meditation, ritual and ceremony. The moon has always given mankind a reason to look towards the heavens in search of answers and inspiration. The cool solid stillness of night is the perfect venue to relax and reflect. The moon garden provides just such a place. It is no wonder moon gardens have become not only a popular gardening theme, but a true place of peace. Continue reading

Meat of the Matter – Peace Valley Poultry Relies on Community, Innovation

meat-of-the-matter-peace-valley-poultryBy Jill Henderson
Acres USA Magazine March 2017

In the heart of the Missouri Ozarks the little village of Peace Valley wakes to another beautiful sunrise, revealing the rolling hills and hardwood forests that Jim and JudyJo Protiva call home. It is here in this small, but tightly-knit community that a former Grand Canyon guide and a Rocky Mountain Ranger decided to settle down to raise a family and grow food in a way that honored God’s creation to the fullest. Over the next 21 years, the Protivas turned their passion for clean, healthy food into Peace Valley Poultry; perhaps the oldest pastured poultry operation in the state. Read the entire article in PDF

Fenugreek: The Forgotten Herb

clip_image001Jill Henderson ~ Show Me Oz ~

When I first began gardening 25 years ago, the variety of garden seeds was extremely limited.  Heirloom vegetables were just beginning to make a come back and culinary herbs were seriously limited to a handful of the most popular types.  Today, the number of seed varieties available to the average gardener is mind-boggling, which is wonderful if you love to garden.  But for all the choices available to us, there is one small herb called fenugreek that is not only hard to come by, but one that has been almost entirely forgotten by gardeners, cooks, and herbalists in America.

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Eco-Alternative Farmsteading

Extra acreage has enabled the Townes to increase farm production.Real people growing real food.  “It’s all about protecting the land and bringing it back to health. Not just taking what we can get from it, but giving back to the system to keep it fed.” Emily Towne, Full Plate Farm.  Read more about Full Plate Farm in this article published in the January issue of Acres USA Magazine.
Read the entire article here.

Bald Eagles on the Rise

bald-eagleJill Henderson ~ Show Me Oz ~

Winter is one of the best times to see bald eagles in Missouri.  A few years back, on a winter day much like this one,  Dean and I spotted a pair of adult bald eagles circling lazily above our house on the warm rising thermals of a mid-winter day.  Their white head and tail feathers shone brightly against the clear blue sky.  Since we don’t often get to see them for long, we watched the pair with much excitement and within minutes, a darker sub-adult joined them.  We were thrilled to get a rare glimpse of this eagle family, especially since we were so far from the large lakes and rivers where the eagles prefer to congregate this time of year.

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A Bygone Bee Gum

Bygone Bee Gum - Image copyright Jill Henderson showmeoz.wordpress (4)

Jill Henderson ~ Show Me Oz

I love history. Particularly when  I find it in a far-flung or unexpected place.  Imagine my surprise when I stumbled across a tree with a huge hole in the side of it.  Of course, it’s not uncommon to find trees with natural cavities in them around these parts, but this particular breach was not made by nature or time, but by man – and for a very specific purpose.

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The Ozarks: No Place Like Home

Fall mosaic. Image copyright Jill Henderson showmeoz.wordpress.comJill Henderson ~ Show Me Oz

Today is one of those magical days that come about from time to time in the waning hours of November. The big winter sun hangs low in a crisp blue sky, warming the ageless rocks at my feet. The golden light of midday has taken on an ephemeral tenderness that highlights the sculpted edges of thousands of umber, scarlet and saffron-colored oak leaves whose active lives have come to the ultimate conclusion upon the bosom of the earth. In some sudden and mysterious way, they are no longer leaves, but individual pieces of a naturally fantastic jigsaw puzzle just waiting to be pieced together.

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Winter Seed Saving: Pumpkins and Squash

Butternut Squash with seeds. Copyright Jill Henderson

Jill HendersonShow Me Oz

With the holidays in full swing, the last thing people might be thinking of is gardening.  But trust me, the two go together like pumpkin pie and whipped cream!  In fact, if you grew your own pumpkins or squash this year and plan on using the sweet flesh to make delectable holiday pies, breads or savory dishes, now is the perfect time to save seed!

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Bamboo Goes Berserk

Bamboo Goes Berserk Copyright Jill Henderson showmeoz.wordpress.comJill Henderson ~ Show Me Oz ~

No matter how many years you’ve gardened, one day, you will wake up and say to yourself “Why on earth did I do that?!”  I know this is true because it’s happened to me and many gardeners I know.  Take, for example, the lovely, modest, tiny clump of what I believed to be switch cane (Arundinaria tecta), a small North American species of bamboo, that Dean and I found growing in the front yard (soon to be the vegetable garden) when we first moved here.   It looked to me like the native, well-behaved switch cane we had growing over yonder behind the shed, which has stayed pretty well put for going on 8 years or more.  So, we dug up the little clump, divided it and spaced it just so in a more appropriate spot.  Or so I thought…

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Using Seed Screens to Save Better Seed

Seed Saving sorting black-eyed peas using seed screens.  Image copyright Jill Henderson showmeoz.wordpress.comJill Henderson ~ Show Me Oz ~

Saving heirloom seeds is really pretty easy, even for the beginning seed saver.  Of course, you need to know a few things about how plants mate and produce seed early on, but once the seeds are harvested there are a few tricks that can help you save seeds that are much more likely to germinate quickly and grow well in the garden next spring.  Naturally, the first trick for saving seed is to harvest them at the right time.  The second trick is simply to clean and sort your seeds.  There are many ways to do this, but the fastest and easiest way to sort any kind of seed is by using a simple set of seed screens.

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Don’t Toss Those Mums!

Mums are often used to dress up seasonal displays.Jill Henderson ~ Show Me Oz ~

Every fall, big box stores and greenhouses everywhere display rack after rack of brightly blooming mums.  Ostensibly, the showy plants are used by homeowners and businesses to bring a little color to the ever-increasing drabness of fall and to pretty-up outdoor Halloween and Thanksgiving decorations.  Most people just drop the relatively inexpensive pre-potted plants into a larger, more decorative container for display and then forget them until they are deader than door nails.  That’s shame, because mums are actually hardy perennials that if given half a chance, will survive in the garden and provide you with colorful, showy blooms year after year!

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Stair Building 101–Flanking Stones

Stair building 101 Image copyright Jill Henderson showmeoz.wordpress.comJill Henderson ~ Show Me Oz ~

When you live on the side of a hill like I do, everything is either up or down.  There’s almost no flat, straight way to get anywhere.  When we first moved here, the entire site was denuded of nearly all low-growing vegetation and the earth was eroding and sliding down the hill with each rain.  As we developed the gardens around the house, it became obvious that we were going to need some stairs to make getting up and down a little less treacherous.  Six years later, we have four nifty sets of stairs entering and leaving our garden space.  If you have ever wanted to try your hand at building stairs but were worried about the outcome, I’m here to tell you it’s lots of hard work, but also much easier than you might think.

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Fall Leaves: Good for the Garden

2013 11-22 Fall MosaicBy Jill Henderson ~ Show Me Oz ~

The clear, cool days of fall are perfect for wrapping up last-minute garden chores, such as winterizing perennial herbs, flowers and shrubs.  It’s also a good time to cultivate existing garden beds or create new beds for spring planting.  But there’s one chore in the fall that not everyone looks forward to – raking leaves.  Sometimes there are so many leaves that homeowners spend weeks trying to get rid of the deepening piles.  But instead of raking and burning, or bagging leaves for the garbage, consider putting your fall leaves to use in the garden as a protective, nutrient-rich mulch.

How to Clean and Crack Black Walnuts

Black walnuts on the tree. Image copyright Jill Henderson showmeoz.wordpress.comJill Henderson ~ Show Me Oz ~

The Ozarks are blessed with an abundance of wild food, including the oh-so-delectable black walnut.  Each fall, the huge green fruits come crashing down into parks, yards, and a multitude of public spaces, making them easy game for any wild or urban forager.  Indeed, why pay $5 for a 4 ounce bag of nutmeats when you’ve got black walnut trees around?  That’s just nuts!  The problem most people face isn’t acquiring enough nuts to make it worth their while, it’s the cleaning, cracking and picking that really gets them.  So, if you’ve never done it before because you’ve heard how hard they are to deal with, I hope this post will make the cleaning, cracking and picking of black walnuts just a little bit easier.

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Yellow Birch Hobby Farm: Self-Reliant Homesteading

Erin Blegen's KitchenJill Henderson ~ Show Me Oz

I love being a writer because I get to meet and learn from extraordinary people like Erin and Josh Blegen. This young couple grow, raise, hunt, and wildcraft a huge percentage of their own food on their small farmstead in the small village of Grand Marais, Minnesota.  One way the Blegens make the most of the very short growing season found around the shores of Lake Superior, is by employing the hügelkultur method of gardening.

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Shiny Beetles, Square Tomatoes and Crafty Coons

Garden late summerJill Henderson ~ Show Me Oz

As we near the end of August I am so very thankful for a long and productive season in the garden.  February is when we begin to dream about this day – planting seeds, rooting cuttings, planning rows.  As always, a lot of work has gone into our small patch of organic Eden. Some days were happy, some were frustrating, others were just downright back-breaking.  But in the end, lessons are learned, food is abundant, feeling thankful is prevalent and many, many a dawn has been spent simply inhaling the beauty of a garden in full swing.  And so, as the gardening season here in Oz begins to wind down, I look back on the good, the bad, and the down right weird…

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Seed Saving Time: The Float Test

Tomato seed float test. Image copyright Jill Henderson Show Me Oz.wordpress.comJill HendersonShow Me Oz
Gardeners face many challenges throughout the year, but there is nothing quite as frustrating as planting seeds that don’t germinate well or at all.  You plant and wait.  And then wait some more. All the while precious weeks go by, delaying your carefully planned planting schedule and putting your future crops at risk. I have experienced this a number of times myself. That’s why I’d like to share with you what I’ve learned about the causes of poor germination and a simple test to help reduce the chances of it happening to you. Continue reading

Seed Saving Time: Watermelon

Saving watermelon seeds. Image copyright Jill Henderson showmeoz.wordpress.comJill HendersonShow Me Oz
Whether you like it seeded, juiced, sliced, cubed, or just straight off the rind, there’s almost nothing better on a hot summer day than a big ‘ol chunk of juicy-crisp, sweet-ripe, just-from-the-garden watermelon. M-mmm.  Of course, if you grew that melon in your own garden, the level of satisfaction rises even higher.  But if you really want to reach gardening nirvana, try harvesting a watermelon that you not only grew, but grew from seed you saved yourself.  And the best part? Saving your own watermelon seed is soooo dang easy!

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Parsley: More Than a Garnish

Curly parsley. Image via Wikimedia Commons No Copyright Via RanveigJill HendersonShow Me Oz
Parsley: That ambiguous and often frilly herb that many gardeners grow, but few actually use.  If you haven’t grown parsley yourself, you’ve surely bought it at least once or twice in your life to use as a garnish for dressing up platters or plates. Or, perhaps you’ve gone so far as to sprinkle it sparingly atop mashed potatoes or added a pinch here in there when making soup or stuffing.  And while many recipes call for at least a bit of fresh parsley, most people don’t go to the trouble – or worse yet, they use bland dried parsley from the grocery store.  (Egad!) If this sounds like you, I’m about to rock your kitchen and your herbal medicine chest by showing you that parsley is much more than a pretty garnish: it’s a virtual powerhouse of flavor and a game-changer for your health.  And best of all – it’s super easy to grow and use.

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Controlling Squash Bugs Organically–A Simple Solution

Squash Bug image by Katja Schulz from Washington, D. C., USA (Squash Bug) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia CommonsJill HendersonShow Me Oz
If you are like me, you love squash.  I particularly enjoy rich, meaty winter squash and every year I endeavor to have lots of them stored up for the winter larder. The only problem I have with growing squash are the dreaded squash bugs – SB’s for short.  And in last week’s article, I covered most of the traditional and non-traditional ways to control squash bugs organically, including growing the one species most resistant to the effects of squash bugs. And this week, I’m going to share with you a nifty trick that I came up with to very nearly (I don’t want to say entirely, as I am a humble gardener, after all) obliterate SB’s from my squash patch! And you can, too!

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Controlling Squash Bugs Organically

By Downtowngal - Own work, CC0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=49873322Jill HendersonShow Me Oz
Squash bugs. What a pain in the arse! Absolutely nothing in the natural world preys on them, their hard outer coverings resist even the most intense organic insecticides, the little buggers are masters at hiding their eggs, and they multiply faster than fleas. On top of that, they spread devastating squash plant diseases, have the uncanny ability to know when they are being stalked, and are eerily good at evasion.  If you do manage to get a hold of one, they emit a nasty, long-lasting stink that’s incredibly hard to entirely wash off.  But after a lifetime’s worth of battling this raunchy bug, I’ve learned how to live with them.  And this year, I came up with a new way to get the upper hand.

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Drying Herbs Fast, Easy and Free!

Freshly dried thyme the fast, easy and free way! Image copyright Jill HendersonJill HendersonShow Me Oz
As a gardener, backwoods herbalist, and foodie, I absolutely love my home-grown herbs.  They are so easy to care for and even easier to put away for the long run.  I freeze a few herbs like cilantro and basil pesto, but honestly, drying is the very best way to preserve the flavor and medicinal qualities of culinary herbs. Plus, if the electricity goes out – or you need to bug out – dried herbs are the best.  And drying homegrown herbs isn’t hard or time consuming, either.  And you don’t need to buy or build a fancy or expensive dehydrator to get the job done.  In fact, when you dry herbs my way, it’s fast, easy, and free.

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Squash and Cucumbers: All Flowers and No Fruit?

Winter squash flowering, but no fruit - yet! Copyright Jill HendersonJill Henderson Show Me Oz
It happens every year. The weather warms up, the rain comes at the right time, and the squash, cucumber and melon vines have finally taken off. At last, the small baby plants you’ve coddled all spring are literally sprawling all over the place and flowering for weeks now. Yet, not one single fruit is in sight. For years I went through the same thing – worrying and wondering what the heck I’d done wrong. Eventually, the fruit would come and I’d forget all about it.  But, it wasn’t until I started saving seed that I actually found the answer as to why I had all those flowers and no fruit.

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Itching for Summer – Dealing with Chiggers!


By Orrling and Tomer S (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commonsby Jill Henderson
Show Me Oz –Summer is a fabulous time to explore and hunt for wild edibles or to hike along a cool river, but people around these parts generally avoid venturing into overgrown and untamed places during the summer months because of the ticks and chiggers. How does one even begin to tell outsiders and visitors to our fair hills about the myriad of insects that inhabit our beloved Oz? I suppose if you’ve got a vicious sense of humor, you could just let them wade into the chest-deep grass and work it out later, because they’re not going to believe you anyway. Continue reading

Seed Saving Time: Radishes

Description Raphanus sativus, Wild Radish. Date August 03, 2002 Location Glen Canyon Park - San Francisco, California Photographer Franco Folini CC BY 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=722804Jill HendersonShow Me Oz – I don’t know about you, but our spring garden is never complete without at least a few rows of crisp, spicy radishes.  We love to put them in salads, on sandwiches and, of course, for snacking on while we weed!  Common radishes are super easy to grow, have few pests and diseases and can really tolerate the cold, wet weather of the early spring months.  Radishes are also among the easiest seeds to save, provided you follow a few simple rules.  As a bonus, by saving your own radish seeds you get to enjoy an entirely new round of tasty edibles in the form of the young green seedpods, which are a taste treat in their own right.  So don’t pull all your radishes just yet…

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Wild Walk: Heal-All (Prunella vulgaris)

Heal-All (Prunella vulgaris) plant in bloom.  Photo copyright Jill Henderson showmeoz.wordpress.comShow Me Oz – Sometimes the best “wild” medicine comes from plants that are decidedly not native, but rather naturalized and occasionally weedy. Plants like these are often considered to be invasive, undesirable weeds in cultivated fields and lawns across North America.  And yet, many of these non-natives are incredible edibles and natural healers that foragers and backwoods herbalists should take note of. Dandelions, dock and comfrey are all great examples of naturalized invasive herbs.  Another of these weedy invasive plants is a lesser-known little beauty with a plethora of common names, including Heal-All, Self-Heal and All-Heal among many others.  And if a name could say it all, this one definitely does.

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Wild Walk: Cream Wild Indigo

The creamy yellow pea-like flowers of Cream Wild Indigo. Photo Copyright Jill Henderson showmeoz.wordpress.com

Show Me Oz – Spring is in full swing here in Oz and the vast array of lovely wildflowers are blooming in quick procession.  Most of the delicate spring ephemerals like Trout Lily, Spring Beauty, and Bluets come and go so quickly that it is easy to miss them all together.  Thankfully, we have an ocean of natives to enjoy all season long.  One of my early spring favorites is the lovely Cream Wild Indigo, which blooms much longer than most spring flowers and puts on a show-stopping floral display fit for even the most refined garden.

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Flycatchers: The Gardener’s Friend

By Peter Wilton (Eastern Phoebe  Uploaded by Magnus Manske) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia CommonsShow Me Oz – People sometimes laugh when I tell them that I always know when spring is about to dawn on our Ozark homestead – even if it’s freezing outside.  It’s not the weather, or the slight budding of plants that clue me in.  And it’s not the warmth of the sun or my local weatherman, either.  No, the way I know that spring is on it’s way is when I hear the first shrill song of the Eastern Phoebe (Sayornis phoebe).  This slim, mousy-grey flycatcher with a creamy-colored belly and a big voice has a penchant for perching on low, leafless branches and compulsively wagging its long tail up and down.  And it’s one bird that every gardener should hope for.

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Seed Saving Time: Flowers and Pollination

2014 7-1 Straight Eight Cucumbers (2)Show Me Oz – No matter where you live in the country, you are either itching to get your hands in the dirt or are already in the garden digging, planting and dreaming! If you want to save seed this year, you have come to the right place! Because today we are talking about flowers and how they achieve pollination – and what those two things have to do with saving pure quality seed. Understanding these things not only helps you reap a larger harvest of fruits and vegetables to eat, but also ensures that the seeds you harvest from those fruits will come true in next year’s garden. So, let’s get right to it!

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A New Way to Grow Sweet Potatoes Slips

Starting sweet potato slips in pots.Show Me Oz – I have been growing my own sweet potatoes for years, but I always do it the same old way and with varied results.  The most common method of starting sweet potato slips is to root a whole sweet potato in a jar of water.  The sprouted shoots are then pulled off the mother tuber and rooted in potting soil before being set in the garden. (see Start Your Own Sweet Slips). Yet, I always seem to have trouble getting the tuber to root and send up enough shoots during the cold winter months to have the slips ready by planting time.  And I never seem to get enough slips.  So, this year I tried a new and very simple method of producing an abundance of sweet potato slips with a lot less fuss and muss.

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The Terrace Project: Year Five

2015 5-6 The berm garden (5)Show Me Oz – As I was searching for something to write about this week, I came upon two articles I wrote waaay back in 2012 about the twin terraces (or twin terrors, as I used to call them) that “grace” our small backyard.  When we first moved here, the two slopes were badly eroded and washing clay and rock against the house and down into the valley. It has been quite a challenge to tame the runoff, stabilize the soil, and grow something, anything at all, on these two steep clay hills, but a lot has changed in the last four years!

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Garden Time: Common Herb Diseases

2015 5-26 Oregano (1)By Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

Spring is prime time for buying, starting, propagating and transplanting herbs into the garden. However, should you find that one of your brand new store-bought herbs (or one you’ve just started or have been growing indoors over the winter) isn’t looking so hot,  take a moment to thoroughly inspect it for pests and diseases before introducing it to the garden.

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Garden Time: Watch Out for Early Garden Allies!

Box Turtle HatchlingShow Me Oz – Although ‘official’ spring has yet to arrive in Oz, the weather outside my door tells me it’s already here. As always, Dean and I are at it early and have already cultivated most of our garden and planted the first round of cold-hardy seeds. But while we’re hard at work cleaning up and organizing the yard and garden for the season to come, we are constantly on the lookout for sleepy, still-hibernating and just-hatching garden allies like frogs, toads, turtles, spiders, and all manner of beneficial insects and creatures that help us control insect pests in our organic garden!

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Wild Walk: Wild Blueberries

Wild Blueberry (Vaccinium stamineum) 2013 5-5 (9)Show Me Oz – The Ozarks are blessed with an abundance of wild food including delectable black walnuts, savory hickory nuts, sticky-sweet persimmons, juicy paw paws, tart wild black cherries, tart wild plums and serviceberries, nutritious black berries, wild grapes and delicate black raspberries. If you’ve spent much time here in Oz, you are almost certainly familiar with one or all of these wild foods and have probably spent your fair share of summer and fall afternoons gathering them by the bucketful. But there is one more wild Ozark delicacy that often escapes the notice (and the baskets) of many a wild forager: the wild blueberry. Continue reading

Nature Notes: Exploring the Great Sleep

Winter Landscape Copyright Jill Henderson-Show Me OzBy Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

I like to refer to winter as The Great Sleep, because although life outside the window pane seems dull and lifeless, it is anything but. Yet to find that elusive bit of life, one must go in search of it. Even this self-avowed nature freak has to remind herself of this from time to time. So today, I took a stroll through the woods with my eyes – and my senses – wide open.

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Ozark History: The First Inhabitants

osageShow Me Oz – Excerpted from the Introduction to my book, A Journey of Seasons: A Year in the Ozarks High Country

The Ozark “Mountains” are an anomaly – an island in a sea of plains, a bump in an otherwise flat road. When viewed from the air the folds and contours of the Ozarks resemble a human brain; an interesting comparison, since the Ozarks also represent one of the most ancient and diverse landscapes in North America.  Among the unique and dizzying array of flora and fauna, caves, sinkholes, crystal clear springs and toe-numbing rivers is a rich and tangled history of human habitation.

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Black Cumin: The Blessed Seed

AndreHolz at English Wikipedia [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia CommonsShow Me Oz – As a gardener, cook and herbal enthusiast, I am always on the lookout for new and interesting plants. Because my garden is relatively small, every single plant that makes it through the front gate either has to look fantastic, taste great or have useful healing properties.  One plant that fits all of my criteria is Nigella sativa – also known as the Blessed Seed.

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Seeds of Significance – OP Seed Sources

Saving-Cherokee-Pony-Peas_thumb.jpgJill Henderson – Show Me Oz

Today is one of those cold blustery winter days that give me a good reason not to go outside.  Instead, I’m cuddled up near the  wood stove  dreaming about seeds – wonderful, open-pollinated seeds devoid of genetic modification and over-hybridization.  My seed dreams consist entirely of varieties that are either tried-and-true open-pollinated heirlooms or rare and unusual varieties of open-pollinated fruits and vegetables.  Thankfully, those kinds of seeds don’t have to live only in my dreams because thousands of varieties of unique open-pollinated seeds are readily available to the home gardener – if you know where to look. Continue reading

Nature Notes: Milkweed, Monarchs and You!

Close up of Purple Milkweed flowers. Copyright Jill Henderson ShowMeOz.wordpress.comShow Me Oz

As a gardener and lover of nature, I garden with butterflies and beneficial insects in mind.  Yet, for all my efforts, the one North American butterfly that I have failed to lure to my garden is the bright and beautiful Monarch.  For years I thought the failure was mine, but the truth is that these icons of the butterfly world are in dire straights and their numbers are spiraling dangerously downward.  The good news is that there is something we can all do to help them – and all their colorful kin – to flourish once again.

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Winter Wonder: The Lenten Rose

Hellebores - copyright Jill Henderson ShowMeOz.wordpress (5)Show Me Oz

I have been gardening nearly all my adult life and have had the pleasure of knowing and growing many lovely flowering plants and shrubs.  But it was by sheer luck that I became acquainted with the hardy evergreen, Hellebores orientalis, more commonly referred to as the Lenten Rose.  These unique flowering perennials not only sport durable evergreen foliage and are easy to grow and maintain, but the softly delicate flowers appear at a the most unlikely time of the year.

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Seed Saving Time: Testing Germination Rates

 Testing seed quality and germination rates. showmeoz.wordpress.comShow Me Oz

Last week, I received my first spring seed catalog.  And while it’s a bit early for me to even think about ordering seed for next year, it is an early reminder to test some of the seed stock I currently have on hand. Checking the quality of the seed you save is just as important as saving it. After all, there’s nothing more disappointing than spending hours planting seeds that either germinates slowly, patchy, unevenly, or (gasp) not at all.  So, whether you save your own seed or lean heavily towards “accumulating” seed, you should be testing at least a portion of your stash every winter. Continue reading

Healthful Ginger for the Holidays

A spoonful of ginger.The Holiday Season is in full swing and with it comes an almost insane schedule of shopping, entertaining, special events and, of course, dining out and cooking for friends and family.  And while the holidays sure can be fun, they aren’t always so good for our health in terms of stress, lack of sleep, colds and flu and the good old-fashioned belly ache from eating way too much “good stuff”.   Luckily, the holidays are naturally festooned with some of the most potent healing herbs and spices in the world including cinnamon, cloves, allspice, nutmeg, and ginger – one of my all time favorites.  Not only does ginger taste great in a dizzying array of holiday dishes, it can also make you feel better when the holidays get the best of you.

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Don’t Sweat It!: Easy & Delicious Pie Crust

crustby Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

Of all the holiday celebrations, Thanksgiving is by far and away my favorite.  And anyone who knows me, also knows that I love me some dessert. In fact, pies are a particular weakness of mine.  I mean, who doesn’t love a sweet, crunchy, savory plate of unimaginable yumminess wrapped in a simple, flaky crust and slathered with a delectable topping?  Of course, if you are the one tasked with bringing the pies and aren’t feeling up to the task you might just be in stress-mode. But don’t sweat it.  In this week’s Show Me Oz, I’ll show you how to make a simply delicious pie (and crust!) that you can be proud of!

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Moonshine in Missouri

IMG_4301By Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

Quite a few years back, on a beautiful fall day just like this one, a bit of unpleasant news filtered down through our village grapevine. Apparently, an elderly and well-known gentleman in our little community had been arrested for bootlegging moonshine.  That the man in question made and sold corn whiskey was no secret to many in the surrounding area, for he had been doing it for the better part of his life and made little secret of it. Some of the first official reports claimed that this gentleman and his immediate family made and sold up to 9,000 gallons of moonshine each year.  And while that may sound like a lot of ‘shine, it didn’t come as a surprise to me or to anyone else living within a 100 mile radius, because this fella had a reputation for making absolutely top-notch hooch and everyone who drank alcohol wanted a jar of their very own.

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Wild Walk: Coral Mushrooms

Mushroom - Coral 2012 10-7 (3)by Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

Fall is here and we finally got enough rain to kick off the fall mushroom season.  Among the many foragable fungi available in the fall, my favorite are coral mushrooms.  Not only are corals super easy to identify, even for the novice mushroom hunter, but they are downright beautiful and oh, so good to eat.

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Sensational Sedum: Autumn Joy

Sedum Autumn Joy flowers turn a deep maroon color as fall arrives.By Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

Fall has finally arrived in our neck of the woods and the mild sunny days are punctuated by clear blue skies and a parade of technicolor foliage.  But for most gardeners, fall usually means that the garden is beginning to look a little rough around the edges.  Because our vegetable and herb gardens surround the house the last thing we want is to let things get too ragged looking.  Over the years we have grown various perennials around the perimeter of the garden in an attempt to screen and draw attention away from the less attractive bits.  Of the many varieties we’ve grown, our fall favorite is a lusty and beautiful sedum that is appropriately named “Autumn Joy”.

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Nature Notes: The Silent and Unseen

By Joshua Mayer (Flickr: Flying Squirrel on Roof) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commonsby Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

This story happened many moons ago in a garden we used to tend.  It was a sultry late summer morning and Dean and I were meandering through the garden discussing future chores.  We were having a nice walkabout, chatting and discussing one thing or another, and I suddenly turned to him and said, “Do you feel like someone is watching us?”  His perplexed look answered my question and should have set me straight, but I just couldn’t shake the strange feeling I’d had all summer long.  Someone or something had been watching me.

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Grow Pure Seed with Blossom Bags

IMG_4007by Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

Seed savers know that the key to obtaining pure seed is by controlling the pollination process.  Each species is made up of many varieties.  If two – or more! – of those varieties get too close to one another during flowering their seeds will not come true.  Of course, not all gardeners have the room to grow multiple varieties spaced far apart.  Sometimes, we just don’t know that we’d like to save a certain variety of seed in early spring and so we don’t pay any attention to the spacing requirements for purity.  If this sounds like you; have no fear!  Blossom bags are here to save the day!

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Essential Herbs: Basil

Classic Genovese basil ready to harvest.By Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

Summer just wouldn’t be summer without a plethora of lusty basil plants flourishing in the garden.  In fact, I love the sight, smell, and taste of these leafy annual herbs so much that I always over-plant in the spring and by mid-summer wind up with more basil than I need – or even know what to do with.  Yet, every spring when my husband asks me if I think we might just have too many basil starts, my reply is always the same… there’s no such thing as too much basil!

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Seed Saving Time: Harvesting Dry Seeds

Freshly harvested lettuce seed ready to be cleaned.By Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

For gardeners, the most rewarding part of the season is when the harvest begins and all those luscious fruits and veggies really start to add up.  For seed savers, that joy is doubled when, in a few short weeks after the fresh harvest begins, the handful of fruits or plants that are purposely left on the vine to mature begin to set seed.  After a long season of planning, cultivating, monitoring and harvesting the bounty of the garden, the reward is more than bountiful!

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Buck: A Short Story (part two)

2001 - 11 - Peace Valley - Buck scenting the windThe continuation of a short story about our beloved lab, Buck, whose life was much too short.  Continued from Part One: 

He had around his neck a dirty old blue bandana that had been folded up like a collar and tied on when he was but a pup. That bandana was like an announcement that clearly said he belonged to someone. Probably one of the local Salish families here on the Rez. But whoever it was hadn’t noticed, or cared, that the puppy they’d strapped that thing to was not a puppy any more and now the damn thing was nearly choking him to death. It’s a wonder he could even swallow; that thing was so tight around there. Kinda irked me to see it, but he wasn’t yet sure of me and I thought twice about pissing off the wrong person. Continue reading

Buck: A Short Story (part one)

1993-1 - Gafield, AR - Buck see's snow for the first time! editBy Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

I wrote this short story many years ago.  Our beloved 12 year-old lab, Buck, lay dying on a pallet in the middle of our living room as Dean and I and Buck’s best buddy, Milo, comforted him until his time came.  It was sudden and wrenchingly painful and left us with a hole that could never be filled.   But even as we mourned, we laughed.  For Buck’s life, and ours with him – and with Milo – were joyous and filled with adventure, laughter and lots and lots of love.  This is a short story about a dog whose life was too short.  From my heart; in Buck’s voice.  This hasn’t been edited thoroughly on purpose.  Buck would want it that way.  I hope you enjoy. Continue reading

Make Your Own Garlic Braids in 10 Easy Steps

2014 6-30 How to braid garlic 2 (26)by Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

In my kitchen, garlic reigns supreme.  I use it for so many dishes that I like to joke that I put garlic in everything but dessert! Because we use so much fresh garlic, we always grow enough to last us all year.  The only problem with growing a ton of garlic is storing it in a way that saves space, preserves quality, and allows for quick and easy removal of bulbs that develop bad spots, bruises, or those that have begun to sprout.  To solve these problems I began braiding our garlic. With garlic braids, not only can I easily choose which bulbs need to be used first, but the long strands can be hung virtually anywhere and take up absolutely zero storage space on my shelves.  Of course, garlic braids look great and they make wonderful gifts, too.  So get your garlic on and let’s braid it in 10 easy steps!

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America’s Native Bamboo – Part II – Identification and Culture

2012 2-13 February Snow (15)by Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

In last week’s article, America’s Native Bamboo: History and Ecology, we learned that America was once home to massive colonies of native bamboo, better known as canebrakes. These lush cane forests played a critical role in the ecology of the regions they inhabited by filtering sediments, controlling erosion and providing food and shelter for many native animal and bird species. Cane also played an important role in the lives of the earliest inhabitants who valued it as a nutritional food plant and an important material used to fashion tools, weapons and lodging. In the early days of settlement, America’s native cane fields were first used to fatten cattle and then cleared for farmland. Today, a whopping 98% of America’s once-abundant native bamboo has been extirpated from the landscape. This week, I will discuss the ways in which native bamboos are being used in restoration projects and how we can help return them to their rightful place in nature and beautify the home landscape, all at the same time.

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America’s Native Bamboo – Part I – History and Ecology

Switch Cane copyright Jill Henderson showmeoz.wordpress.comby Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

Mention the word bamboo and most people in the Western world naturally think of panda bears, China and steamy exotic jungles. In fact, the majority of the 1,450 species of bamboo in the world do originate in countries located in South and Southeastern Asia, with a few scattered species in Saharan Africa and the very farthest regions of South America. In these places, native bamboo species can grow as dense as the thickest forest you can imagine and produce giant canes as big around as small trees, while others are as diminutive and slender as a clump of our native Big Bluestem.  In fact, bamboo is actually a grass belonging to the Poaceae or True Grass family. With over 10,000 recognized species, true grasses represent the fifth largest plant family on earth. Knowing this, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to find out that the United States has three very distinct native species of bamboo, known collectively as river cane.

Wild Walk: Monarda

Monardaby Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

There is nothing quite as enchanting as a chance encounter with a wild patch of flowering monarda. The electric colors of their shaggy, upright flowers light up the shady places they prefer; dazzling the unprepared eye. Once familiar with the sweet oregano-like scent of this delicately delectable herb one can often smell a colony of monarda long before seeing it. And if the scent doesn’t give it away, the sound of buzzing bees will.

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GMO’s Threaten Seed Savers

Seed really matters!by Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

There’s a wonderful feeling that comes over me when the garden I have planned and tended and nurtured finally begins to pay off.   Of course, I’m pleased with the success of producing food for my family, and I’m excited about the nutritious fruits and veggies that will grace my table for the entire year to come, but the best feeling of all is knowing what is (and isn’t) in or on the food we eat.  In years past that statement would have been all about chemical fertilizers and pesticides.  But these days, the threat of food crops infected with Genetically Modified Organisms is a major concern.   That’s why learning how to save seed is so crucial for organic gardeners and farmers.

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Lawnmowers and Strangers

lawnmower smBy Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

After a long summer of bashing against rocks, half buried stumps, and knee-deep grass the Ozarks finally killed our lawnmower.   We worked that machine pretty hard and despite regular maintenance, managed to break just about every part there was to break.

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Slow & Steady: Turtles in the Ozarks

IMG_8863by Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

When we first moved to the Ozarks it was a three-toed box turtle that inspired us to call our place Turtle Ridge Farm.  The first morning after moving in, we opened the front door to find a big box turtle sitting on the porch, smack dab in front of the door. The concrete porch isn’t all that high, but high enough to be difficult if you’re only 5” tall.

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Seed Saving Time: What’s in a Name?

The heart of every fruit is its seed.by Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

If you garden, I’ll bet you’ve talked to your plants before.  Don’t worry, I do it, too. It’s perfectly normal. Common even. People talk to all kinds of animate and sometimes inanimate things – they also give them names.  Take trees and fast cars, for example.  It doesn’t matter if anyone knows you talk to your plants or not, we’ll keep that our little secret.  But if you are a gardener trying to save pure seed, you’ll want to take those pet names and give them some botanical teeth!

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Garden Time: Walking Onions

Egyptian Walking onions in early spring beginning to set bulbils. Image copyright Jill Hendersonby Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

Growing up in the heart of Cajun and Creole country, I learned early on that no dish is truly complete unless it begins with a mess of sweet and savory onions.  Of course, when I began to garden it was only natural to want to grow my own.  But I soon found out that good cooking onions aren’t necessarily easy to grow. They come with very specific needs, including the perfect conditions for long-term storage, that I just couldn’t seem to provide.  For years I limited myself to the growing of onion chives and leeks to satisfy my need for easy-to-grow oniony flavor.  And then I found Egyptian walking onions.

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Seed Saving Time: Legumes

Snow peas will cross with snow, snap and shell peas.By Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz 

If you’re planning on saving some of your own seeds this summer, the very best time to start is before a single seed goes in the ground.  In fact, your seed saving efforts should begin with that catalog you’ve been perusing all winter.  In addition to a myriad of valuable information such as germination times, growth characteristics, suggested planting dates and so on, many seed catalogs now list each vegetable’s Latin botanical name, as well.  You know the one I’m talking about…those two  little words written in italics and perched between parenthesis can mean the difference between seed saving success or seed saving failure.

Demystifying Tomato Sizes

Demystifying-Tomato-Sizes-Poster.jpgBy Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

Have you ever perused a seed catalog looking for the perfect tomato and been a little confused by the size descriptions? I have. And as someone who recently has had to learn a whole lot about writing short variety descriptions, I appreciate what information I do get from seed packets and catalogs. But I also don’t have time to sift through all the varied ways that tomatoes are described in terms of size. What I needed a way to compare tomato sizes at a glance: Is tomato A bigger or smaller than tomato B? So, I set out to make some sense of all the numbers, weights, measurements and obscure descriptives for comparing various sizes of tomatoes.

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Harvesting and Using the Flowers of Herbs

2014 6-27 (11) Garden Walkby Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

After a long, cold winter, spring has finally arrived in my neck of the woods.  At long last, the dormant herbs in the garden have erupted in a wave of fresh green leaves that brighten the garden path.  And dotted here throughout, are winter hardy alliums, which will soon bear the very first herbal flowers of the season.  And while I will relish their beauty, herb flowers are more than just pretty – they are downright tasty, too.

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Fun in the Garden with Critters

Male Pileated WoodpeckerBy Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

Ahhh! Who doesn’t love a spring day? The birds are singing and the flowers are blooming and it’s just a beautiful free for all.  We’ve spent a lot of time in the garden recently, planting and weeding and the general stuff.  I was standing there in the garden, when a beautiful pileated woodpecker sailed by me and beyond, into the woods.  I suddenly thought of an interesting gardening experience from some years before – and in another garden. It involved a pileated woodpecker, a hollow tree, a mess of squirrels, and me.

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Don’t Let Your Garlic Die! Make the Most of Your Winter Stash

Don't let your stored garlic go to waste!by Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

Every summer, Dean and I spend a measurable amount of time harvesting, cleaning, curing, and braiding the organic garlic we produce in our garden.  We use garlic in almost every dish we prepare at home and often utilize its amazing curative powers, as well.  I like garlic braids because they are beautiful to look at and compact enough to hang in the kitchen pantry without cluttering things up.  But no matter how and in what conditions you store your garlic, there comes a time when the living bulbs begin to sprout and slowly rot. But you can salvage the wonderful flavor and medicinal properties of garlic before it’s too late…

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Garden Time: Starting Seeds Indoors (Part Two)

Are you starting seeds indoors? Enjoy Part Two of this in-depth two part series on how to start quality vegetable plants at home from our trusty archives!  Don’t forget to follow the blog for free via email, Facebook, Twitter or Word Press using the multiple options on the sidebar!

Garden Time: Starting Seeds Indoors (Part One)

An oldie, but a goodie from the Show Me Oz archives…

Why Save Seed? Patents in the Garden

Are your seeds patented?by Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

Another issue related to GMO’s is the patenting of life forms by the grain giants and the pharmaceutical industry. Make no mistake – the money to be made on the ownership of genetic patents is staggering. That’s why the big agriculture, chemical and pharma-giants like Cargill, Monsanto, Syngenta and DuPont are racing to patent plant genes – and not just the GMO’s they create, but all plants with any value – like the vegetable crops that you and I grow in our gardens.

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Why Save Seed? GMO’s and Your Garden

Don't let your garden become contaminated with GMO vegetables and fruits.by Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

Last week we discussed some of the more obvious reasons for saving your own seed: to be more self-sufficient and save money, to adapt varieties to the local environment, and to increase genetic diversity in food crops.  But, of course, I can’t talk about saving seeds without discussing Genetically Modified Organisms, (GMO’s) otherwise known as Franken-food.

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Why Save Seed? Selection & Genetic Diversity

Saving lettuce seed couldn't get any easier. Image copyright Jill Henderson ShowMeOz.wordpress.comby Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

I have been saving seed for almost 20 years.  What started out as a simple way to save a buck, quickly became a passion with very deep roots.  After all these years, it is exciting to see so many people interested in saving their own garden seed.  In fact, saving seed has become quite popular. But there are those who still think it’s just a fad – another hashtag in a world of buzzwords. And perhaps seed saving is just another trend in a long line of trends – like bacon everything, backyard chickens, and kale, but for those of us who have worked towards seed sovereignty and food freedom for years, an American seed saving fetish is just what this country needs!

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Rock Pickin’ Snow!

Rocks and snow.By Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

Even though we just had a string of lovely, sunny days, overall, it’s been a pretty gloomy winter here in Oz.  Early cold and snow, persistently cloudy skies, and a generous dose of downright gloomy days are enough to chase just about everyone indoors.  The temporary respite we just had will be followed by a weekend of snow and rain and who knows what else.  Despite all that, there are good reasons to get outside; and get movin’. My reason of late has been good ol’-fashioned rock pickin’ – a hillbilly pastime if there ever was one.

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Jill’s Herbal Diary: Herbs for Natural Hair Care

Straining an herbal oil infusion. Copyright Jill Henderson - ShowMeOz.wordpressBy Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

When I first started studying herbs and herbalism more than two decades ago, I was fascinated by the multitude of natural ingredients used to create herbal preparations.   The following article includes interesting tidbits of information, but is by no means a complete list of their attributes or actions.  Of course, a lot more could be said about each ingredient or recipe, yet these herbal tidbits might just inspire you to look for more ways to use a particular ingredient or to try some of them in a new way!  I haven’t adulterated my herbal diary notes to include my modern-day uses of herbs for natural hair and skin care, so please feel free to add your knowledge or share your thoughts and recipes with us! Enjoy!

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Winter Sowing: Get a Jump on Spring

2012 8-29 Seedlings (4)_thumb[7]By Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

Many gardeners know the benefits of planting crops, such as garlic, in the early fall and winter months, but did you know that many common herb, flower and vegetable seeds can be treated this way, too? Winter sowing is the age-old practice of planting seeds directly in the garden sometime between late fall and mid-winter. Because they are living organisms, seeds have the ability to sense the environment around them, which allows them to determine when weather conditions are just right for germination. As a result, winter sown seeds often germinate earlier, have higher rates of germination and have less problems with seedling diseases such as damping off. They also tend to grow faster and stronger than their indoor-sown counterparts, which allows gardeners to get a jump on the growing season.

One Woman’s Journey Through Oz

2002 - 5 - Caney Mountain Herb walk - vistasby Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

I am not an Ozarker by birth.  I was actually born in  the West, grew up in the Deep South, and spent 10 years or so roving about the Rocky Mountains of Western Montana and other points beyond.  I love them all.  But when the day came that I first laid my eyes upon the rocky and rolling hills and hollers of the Ozarks, something deep in my bones told me I was home.

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Seed Saving Time: Start with Quality Garden Seed

Pepper - Paprika (4)I’m always going on and on about why it is so important to focus our seed saving efforts on making sure that seeds are saved correctly.  Specifically, that seed savers learn to avoid cross-pollination between varieties within the same species.  If done wrong, your seeds won’t come true to type.  In practice, it is a small job that takes little time.  In terms of results, it means the difference between quality seed and failure.  But there are other ways to help ensure that the seeds you save will not only germinate and come true to type, but will thrive and produce abundantly in your garden.

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Happy New Year & Thank You…for Everything!

2013 3-22 Spring Snow (32)Happy New Year everyone!  What an amazing and sustaining year it has been!  The garden was prolific and insects few.  The fruits got fat and juicy and the seeds ripened.  Many rivers were run and lazy days spent in the woods or under the shade of ol’ Granddaddy oak.  Good friends and family gathered, stories were told, many were healed and songs were sung.

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Indian Bent Trees: History or Legend

Indian Bent Tree.  Copyright Jill Henderson

By Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

In the woods near my home is an unusual tree.  At some point in its long life the tree was bent into a distinctive L-shape.  The trunk is almost perfectly horizontal and nearly touches the ground, running almost five feet before making an abrupt 90 degree turn towards the heavens.  It’s a perfect place for two people to sit back and observe the forest hillside and all its goings on.  But it is much more than a handy bench – it is an ancient form of communication and a little-understood piece of Native American cultural history

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The Winter Herb Garden: Bring it In!

Potted oregano Copyright Jill Hendersonby Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

No matter how hard the bitter winds blow or how deep the snow gets, the avid gardener can still enjoy the sights, smells, and tastes of fresh home-grown herbs all winter long.  All you need is a few pots, some potting soil, and one or two relatively warm and sunny windowsills on which to perch them.  And while an indoor herb garden will likely produce less than those summer-grown herbs from the garden, they are still useful, flavorful and oh, so beautiful to look at.  In this week’s Show Me Oz we’ll talk about indoor herb gardens and how to grow your own, including special cultivars bred specifically to perform well in pots.

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