Hello From Tennessee
by Stephanie Tallent
The witty, funny, and informative letter from my husband and Beeyoutiful’s CEO, Steve, usually graces the opening pages of our catalog, but as Beeyoutiful continues to grow, Steve’s responsibilities have been expanding along with it. So, due to the burgeoning load he carries, the honor and privilege of sharing with you something from our lives and work has passed to me.
As I write, I have a cup of hot tea by my side and a blanket around my shoulders. The laptop is gently warming my legs, which are propped comfortably on the couch. It’s late at night and Steve and Noelle, our two-year-old, are asleep. I’m soaking in a few rare moments of peace and solitude.
Although fall is barely upon us, temperatures have dropped just enough at night to let us know cold weather is around the corner. Hot tea is one of the little treats I try to enjoy once or twice a day in the midst of the business of our lives. Noelle also loves tea so herbal teas are perfect for our mommy and daughter tea times. They’re caffeine-free and beneficial to her growing body and immune system. Sometimes Noelle even helps me fix a cup and take it to Daddy in his office as a surprise. Herbal teas are becoming part of our little family’s tradition and culture.
Page 4 of this catalog features a great article about herbal medicinal teas. With medicinal teas being a part of the backbone of our family’s medicine chest, I am especially grateful for the ease and convenience of individually bagged, high-quality herbal tea blends available from folks like Traditional Medicinals. We sweeten our herb teas with a bit of raw honey or with Beeyoutiful’s de-bittered liquid Stevia. Just a couple drops of Stevia is all it takes to gently enhance the flavor of a large mug of tea and the 1-ounce bottle lasts a surprisingly long time considering how much we use it around here.
This week, I reluctantly said goodbye to my summer garden. After a long season, it was time to rip the corn stalks, zucchini, squash, and pumpkin plants out and put them on my wanna-be compost pile. Still very much a novice gardener under some serious restraints- lack of space, not much money to spend on equipment and garden infrastructure, and a 50/50 natural mix of clay and rocks for soil- I routinely face a challenging garden situation. Nevertheless, for our family budget, I’m convinced that the best way for me to get the organic vegetables we need is to grow them ourselves.
Steve braces himself for the coming storm of work whenever I get that gardening-bug look on my face, babble about green houses, as well as soil, and weather conditions, and start pouring over heirloom seed catalogs. Alongside a country road near our house this past spring, we found an intact, abandoned roll of hay that had fallen off the back of someone’s truck. After waiting a couple of weeks to see if the owners would return to get it, we decided it was fair game and hauled the thing home. A $15 ancient tiller got a new lease on life thanks to the brilliant mechanical abilities of my brother. It wheezed out three small plots and churned a thick layer of hay into the top stratum of our rock/clay soil. After two years of doing my best with a measly compost pile and whatever natural, free resources are at hand (mostly leaves gathered from the woods and some grass clippings) I’m delighted to report that I have what can pass as a layer of topsoil. Instead of the pale, gray-toned clay we started with, the soil in snow a nutty brown color and in some places starting to look quite rich.
My summer garden this year had a few successes, some very disappointing failures, and a lovely surprise at the end. The cabbage became the favorite buffet of every worm and bug in the area and the creatures selfishly didn’t leave enough for us humans to enjoy. My tomatoes tried their best but were so poorly maintained (I can’t imagine whose fault that might have been?) they produced little more than some red garnish for a salad here and there. And I suspect the corn was offended over the soil I subjected it to. It grew barely more than three feet tall and produced such scrawny ears that they weren’t even worth the time to harvest.
The major disappointment of the year, though, came from what I thought would be my crowing achievement. In the plot I had set aside for zucchini, squash, pumpkins, watermelons, and cucumbers, a huge jungle grew, completely spilling over its assigned borders and tumbling down the hill through our yard. Pleased at first, I harvested and froze lots and lots of zucchini. Then disaster struck. My ne’er do well pumpkins cross-pollinated with every other plant in the vicinity. Instead of watermelons, we grew a bizarre, seedless hybrid that boasted of the juice and texture of a watermelon with a deceptive watermelon-ish exterior but the color and flavor of pumpkin. While I took solace in the few pumpkins that managed to develop into their intact pumpkin form, I had to banish to the compost pile every one of my weird but lovely amalagmations I dubbed Cantumpkins and Pumkimelons.
My experiment with heirloom Asian pole beans saved the season. Although, it too nearly ended in disaster when my rigged string support system collapsed, the beans themselves were so long they were almost the stuff of science fiction stories!
At Beeyoutiful, we’re always trying to add good products and make the catalog informative, but I’m particularly excited about this issue. Jessica Bischof, the author of a book to help people manage their thyroid and underlying issues, graciously agreed to write a series of articles for our customers. You’ll see from what she reports that millions of Americans have some degree of untreated or under-treated thyroid dysfunction. Even if you don’t have thyroid issues yourself, somebody close to you probably does. I’m starting my own journey towards thyroid and adrenal health and have been looking, not only for a safe thyroid supplement (see page 24), but also for a resource to help me understand health from top to bottom. Jessica’s article has helped me so much!
In an effort to communicate with you more effectively, we’re planning to start a monthly or bi-monthly e-mail newsletter. It will feature articles much like the catalog but also include coupon codes and featured products, as well as information about special package deals. If you want to receive the newsletter, please go to http://www.beeyoutiful.com/newsletter and enter your e-mail address. We promise never to spam your account or sell your e-mail address to anybody else.
The time has come for me to power-down my laptop, and myself, and join Steve and Noelle for some rest. May you and your families be blessed with peace and good health through the coming fall and winter months. Please contact us if there is any way we can help or encourage you and your family.
Until next time,