So as not to appear as a maniacal woman with a scythe, this Fall I made the decision that I would harvest herbs out of the garden prior to an imminent freeze warning. I had started growing herbs over thirty years ago as they thrived on benign neglect and the heat and hot winds of Oklahoma and Kansas never seemed to fazed them. I have loved to cook with them and dream up different recipes and ways in which to use them. So this year I had determined to be ahead of the game over the weather.
I picked an early, leisurely morning before the sun hit to begin the process of cutting, grouping and washing herbs, pleased with myself. Armfuls of invigorating scents made way into the kitchen only to be intercepted by our resident felines, Bob and Sofia. They had great interest (knowing that I always grow their own special herb- cat nip) so they began rooting around the trailing edges of the herbs looking for their particular elixir.
Bob, however happened to catch hold of the scent and then latched onto the long, coarse, scratchy texture of the Lemon Grass- only to go absolutely wild over it. He was everywhere; on the counter, crawling up my pant leg and shirt tail, reaching over my shoulder to swipe at the waving lemony herb. At first it was humorous until he wouldn’t stop and I could not get any herb washed and set to dry because he kept attacking the Lemon Grass. Finally distracting him with some already dried catnip, I proceeded to work quickly, set up the drying process and find a “safe” area for the herbs to thoroughly dry for the next few days.
The laundry area seemed the best “safe” choice as we could shut the door keeping Bob out. The herbs would have air flow (no moisture from laundry as none done when appliances totally covered with herbs) and there would be no direct sunlight either. Easy enough? NO! Failing once to shut the pass through door, I heard rustling and then a cat making choking sounds and I had a vision of trying to perform the Heimlich maneuver on a Lemon Grass eating feline. Bob ran past me, gave a great cough, swallowed, blinked, calmed down and my possible first aid for cats moment was (fortunately) over.
The herbs were immediately transported to my studio and shut in the closet with the added barrier of a closed studio door! Today I labeled and packaged the now dried herbs for a winter’s supply of savories to give away or for kitchen use: Rosemary, Thyme, Oregano, Sage and Fennel. For soap making or herbal teas there are sweet scented ones like Lavender, Pineapple Sage, different mints and the “Lemons”; Thyme, Verbena and yes- Lemon Grass.
You are probably wondering if my feline “helpers” appeared this morning to observe, possibly aid or hinder. Certainly! However, armed with lots of catnip and quick efficiency we managed just fine! Enjoying the “Herbs of my labor”, Fall harvest at Green Heron Pond!