Carob Brownies, Maca Chai, a Cold Day on the Boat, and the Gorgeous Clivia Miniata

These are the last of our garden flowers, gathered yesterday as we broke down the flower bed for winter.

Our garden sage and rosemary, simmering in water, made a healthful Ayurveda hair rinse.

We collected the last of the heirloom red morning glory seeds this weekend. They’re now all bagged and ready for next season’s planting.

Homemade chocolate, maca, coconut hemp milk chai really chased the chill from my bones yesterday. October is not time to be taking the boat out on Long Island Sound.

This is what a Clivia Miniata looks like in bloom. It’s positively gorgeous.

A super busy weekend in the garden. I think it’s safe to announce that we’ve finished, once and for all, the garden chores for this season.

Seeds were gathered from the annual flowers, including our heirloom morning glories, cosmos, impatiens, and sunflowers. I was able to grab one last bouquet before we cleaned everything away. All the potted geraniums were removed and composted, and the pots stored in the shed. Perennials were pruned, and the morning glory and clematis vines were removed from the arbor.

We gathered up the last of the garden sage and rosemary – I wish you could have experienced the fragrance of it – and I simmered it all in water overnight to make an Ayurveda hair rinse. I also made a few sage smudge sticks for cleaning the house in mid-winter.

So now, all efforts turn to indoor gardening. I rearranged the light banks to accommodate the growing banana trees, but it won’t be long until they’ve doubled in size, and a new plan must be hatched. I planted the mango pits that germinated in paper towels in small clay pots and placed them under the grow lights. I composted three of the Thailand banana seeds that rotted instead of germinating.

The big news is that a Clivia Miniata is on its way to us from Ohio! Well, this is big news to me. Clivia Miniata is a South Africa native lily that has always been my favorite house plant. I haven’t had one in years. I used to grow several varieties, harvest the seeds, and cultivate more. I had several varieties and several colors and sizes. An entire room in my old house was dedicated to Clivia cultivation. Pretty much I was obsessed.

Looking back, I now know that I was killing them with kindness. A Clivia will do best when it’s soundly neglected. Overwatering and overfeeding will lay a Clivia to waste. I was forever struggling with root rot. Eventually, I gave up. But recently, I’ve been getting fired up again, and yesterday, when I was pouting that I need a Clivia but am broke, my husband handed me his debit card (I’m SO grateful for him), and told me to order a gallon-size, classic orange Clivia from Hirt’s. The order was placed in five minutes. I’m a lucky girl.

Can’t wait to give the South African Clivia another try. Hirt’s is also selling inexpensive, 4-inch pots of a rarer yellow variety, which I plan to order soon. I envision a pot of yellow clivia at my desk. This time, I’ll plant Clivia in a very loose, well-draining potting mixture, and water infrequently. I’ll control the urge to nurture it to death. Clivia is a low-light plant. It’s perfectly happy never to feel the sun on its face.

Winter is the time to renew old indoor gardening interests. It keeps me somewhere on the spectrum of sanity until summer is back.

This was also a weekend of kitchen firsts. I made from-scratch carob brownies: my husband hogged them, then took two with him to work this morning. We took the boat out on Long Island Sound for a few hours yesterday morning, and came home chilled and sniffling in the afternoon. So I made a pot of chai, then was inspired to add carob and maca to it before frothing up coconut hemp milk and creating an amazing, frothy, creamy hot chai latte that chased the chill out of my bones.

October is not the time to be boating. We were freezing out there, and the water was dark and choppy. When we got home, my husband turned up the pellet stove, we wrapped ourselves in blankets, and I drank hot chai for hours.

Having said that, we agreed that we may take the boat out one more time in October or November before winterizing it. Because we’re completely crazy.

I’m just going to wait for that Clivia now.

Live in peace.

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