Mary Beekman is a four-year-old ghost who resides in The Beekman Mansion, and considers Brent and Josh her “imaginary friends.” Follow Mary Beekman’s Diary each week to learn what it’s like to be a young child in early 19th century America

There is a light mist falling this morning.  Mother is not happy.  We were going to work in the herb garden today.  The herbs need tending.  Some of the herbs are used for medicine, and some for seasoning our food and some we have because they smell pretty.   We need to weed them today and harvest the ones that are ready.  But the leaves cannot be too wet.  She said she would read to us (just the girls) about herbs while we waited for the sun to come out.  The book was very old.

*Sage is supposed to thrive only where “the woman rules.”

If you transplant parsley, it means bad luck.  So it has to be grown from seed, planted very deep, “for it must visit the ‘nether’ regions three times to obtain permission to grow in the earth.”

Hyssop will “avert the Evil Eye”

May apple will bring good fortune, if it is left untouched for three days, then soaked in warm water which is later sprinkled over the household and farm belongings.

Mother said she was not quite certain all these things were true.  She is a very sensible woman and I think she is not fooled too easily.  She then read to us from her receipt book about picking our herbs. We must gather them while in blossom.  If they go to seed, the strength goes into the seed.  That is why we check the herb garden each day.  We use the leaves of some herbs and the flowers of others.
I have a lot to learn before I will be ready to write my own receipt book.  I hope Josh and Brent are able to help me.

* Early American Herb Recipes by Alice Cooke Brown

by Mary Beekman

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