Nothing warms your heart and soul in the coldest depths of winter like knowing you are loved.
Well, that and perhaps a nice cup of hot , flavorful, tea...or a spicy dish from the winter garden.

Both of which you can have from Sage Hill Farms, or by getting busy now and planning a spring garden of your own.

We have talked a lot about composting, which is a major componet of healthy gardening.
Do you have a compost pile working? If so, congratulations! If not...it is always a good time to start.

Decomposition of organic materials takes place naturally in the woods and fields all around us.
Composting is the art and science of combining available organic waste so that they decompose to form a stable product.
Most organic materials can be composted, manures, (from cattle & poultry) grass clippings, leaves, sawdust and most kitchen waste-(vegetable and fruit peels, coffee and tea grinds and filters, and egg shells . (nothing cooked or bones, etc.)

The microorganisms that do much of the work of rapid composting need high temperatures, plenty of oxygen, and moisture. It works best between 110 and 130F.

The decomposing process is slowed down by anything that inhibits good aeration or the maintenance of high enough temperatures and sufficient moisture.

You can get as technical or as simple as you like when starting a compost pile...I prefere simple.

This will give you a "simple" view of what a "simple" compost pile will look like.

Start with a clean, grass free area on a spot of ground away from your neighbors view.....
Or if you prefere you can purchase compost bins, or you can build one from wood, cinder block, any number of sizes and shapes, again I do simple...on the ground in a spot behind my barn.
A good layer of grass clippings+a layer of leaves+a layer of kitchen waste+a layer of cow manure+another layer of leaves/clippings, etc. Anywhere from 3 to 7 feet high is good.
Using a regular garden hose water the pile until it is well moistened...then cover with a garden tarp for encouraging the heating-up process...your compost will actually cook from the center of the pile if you have provided enough aeration. (meaning the pile isn't so packed that it can't breathe.)
If the compost seems too dry, you may have to water it again from time to time...if it's too wet, uncover it on bright sunny day....it will let you know what it needs if you pay attention.

We turn our compost about every two weeks, this is a matter of preference, but it will need at least two to four turnings in a span of the winter, up until the spring planting time.

Over this span of time it will cook and break down to a rich, healthy soil that is the best you could ever hope for in growing food or landscape.
You will need no fertilizer, no weed or bug killers, if you become educated in using this type of composting....with just a minimum of care, healthy and beautiful gardening is so possible!

Now back to the month of "love".....and that cup of tea.

Planning something sweet and pretty for you special Valentine?

Some suggestions for your event; Book a small cozy evening at your local Tea Room, or a SpaDay treatment with your special other....look for spas that offer herbal and/or natural treatments or set your own beautiful table with your finest crystal and silver, purchase the most beautiful flowers you can find and make a loving simple dinner for two or for the family.

Here are some places to help you in your search for the best of ingredients for a lovely day to remember.

http://www.sagehillfarmsandvintagestore.com
(fresh herbal teas and seasonings for anyday sipping and cooking.)

http://www.flowers@EdenFlorist.com
(fresh flowers, top of the line service, and , inline pricing)

http://www.mylittletasteofitaly.com
(ah, you just have to experience it.)

http://www.rosesandteacups.com
(talk about a Valentine.......)

Lots of new material and some changes coming for the spring, so please stay tuned.
Let me know what you would like to see covered in this newsletter, I'm here to please.

From our farm to your table, we thank you so much.