Sunday, May 17, 2015

Healing Wounds Naturally On The Homestead

I always keep a jar of Comfrey oil on hand in our house, for wounds. It is one of the most powerful herbal remedies I have ever used/made. Comfrey is also called "Knit Flesh". Get it? It helps skin and other tissue including muscle, to grow back together quickly. I have been using in my home on little issues we humans have like cuts or something you didn't need to go to a Dr. for. Then we got a puppy. The dog being a playful puppy, got ahold of a loose chicken one day and gave her a slice down the back (all skin was off and muscle tissue was all that you could see). I was sure it would kill her. I didn't want to loose her, so I decided to try the comfrey oil and lay the skin in place where I could tell it went. Some muscle was still exposed under her wings and on her lower back. I soaked the girl completely and we made her a nesting box with food and water in our little brooding cage. I said to the children we should say a prayer for her and hope for the best. I really didn't expect her to make it. So we left her alone, you could tell she was in shock, and just daily brought her food and water. It was earlier in spring do new green grasses were coming up, so we gave her those as well. I checked on her in a week and the skin had grown back almost completely with very little muscle still showing. I poured the rest of the oil on her and checked back in another week. Viola! She was healed and only missing a few feathers after the second week check. We went ahead and left her in the brooder cage another week so she would be as good as new when we reintroduced her to the flock. I was so shocked I snapped a picture at the second week check so you can see for yourself exactly how good she looked, only missing a few feathers. She had almost no skin on her back at all! The kids were even very shocked. Of course the praying was just as important. I hope you may be able to plant and keep Comfrey on your homestead. It really helps for wounds when you don't have a vet around.
To make Comfrey Oil, simply gather from your plant or used dried herb. Fill a pint jar full of fresh herb or half full of dried herb. *Do not wash herb before using in oil, because you will introduce bacteria into the oil. You may want to add some Ginger for pain and Tumeric for calming immflamation. Cover completely with Organic Olive Oil and let sit in a crock pot with water half way up the jar. Simmer on low or keep warm for 48hrs. The oil needs to sit for about 48hrs to absorb all the healing properties from the Comfrey and any other herbs you added. *NO WATER can get into this oil or it will mold. It must remain oil only.  So when you pull out of the crock pot wipe jar completely. After that just strain out with a pillow case, sheet, or cheese clothe. Your oil can also be then turned into salves or used straight. This is an awesome skin oil that can be used for cuts, scrapes, bruises, and burns. Hope you found this helpful.


Monday, May 11, 2015

Make Your Own Survival - Homesteader's Soap Recipe *Milk Version Too!

  This is a repost of a previous one that I have updated and revised for ease and for newbies to my blog. It is one very important post for those just waking up to the reality that life throws curves and those that know how to handle it often do better than those that don't.
  It's very easy to make your own soap for survival and all you need is three basic ingredients and some utensils. This recipe is going to involve electricity but you can do it without it. I'm going to lay this out so it is as easy as possible for those who have never done it before and who cannot get to a class. I will be teaching how to make this basic soap in a class titled "Basic Soap Making for Survival With and Without Electricity" at the National Preppers and Survivalists Expo in Baton Rouge in March of 2017. If you can come, you can see how truly easy this can be and I'd love to have you!
  A lot of people out there would love to learn how to make a pure natural bar of soap and in a survival situation, you may need to make it yourself or do with out it. I have heard soldiers and others who were not able to get soap who placed it up there with food for one of the things they desired in a worst time.  I do have soap making kits available as well for those who would like the convenience of having all needed ingredients to come premeasured and together in one order.
  So here is my recipe for a basic plain ol' lye soap, free of nasty chemicals, fragrances, dyes, and preservatives. For those who are interested and would like to get started but don't know where to find ingredients, I have listed websites and put together a basic kit with a hand crafted, industrial strength mold you will never need to replace or worry about buying again. You can also use a plastic (very good grade) mold that will not melt. That is everything except a cooking pot, plastic or glass pitcher, good weighing scales, and stick blender that you can find at many retail stores. I put the kit together so it would be a little easier to get started and understand than when I first got started years ago for my own children's needs.
  Many of you have probably heard the "scare" tactics commercial soap companies used for years, that says lye or homemade soap is harsh or even dangerous. Well, that couldn't be further from the truth. ALL SOAP IS LYE SOAP. Many companies will disguise their soap's lye ingredient as Sodium Talloate or some other form used to describe the saponification process using lye and fats like tallow. Again even liquid soap is lye soap. Most liquid soap uses Potassium Hydroxide.
  Old fashion lye soap is probably THE VERY BEST SOAP you will ever use. Plain or Milk are the best. It is ALL we use in our house from hand washing to dishes. It NEVER breaks out our skin and NEVER over dries. With all the chemicals in commercial soaps, my children break out and itch constantly. So here is an all natural soap base that you can use to make many different versions. At first stick to the basic soap and master it. Then, when you're confident, add other ingredients like goats milk. We have a lot of skin issues and our homemade lye soap has NO CHEMICALS, and helps with our skin problems like eczema and acne. So here is my basic lye soap recipe that is Chemical Free and NOT Super Fatted. I have chosen to use more of an old fashion soap that is not super fatted because super fatted soaps usually do not set up right. They will separate and go rancid easily. They also do NOT clean as well. My basic soap is safe for even using on teeth in place of tooth paste. Although tooth paste sellers would probably disagree, because it will hurt their sales. For more on that topic, google the name Dr. Gerald F. Judd. You will be surprised at his findings, and how easy/cheap good dental care really is.
  I have studied the use and making of homemade soaps extensively, as well as making it for it our home and for business for about 12 years now. I am confident we have reduced our exposure to toxic chemicals and helped our skin heal from many issues. I know we have saved tons of money I the process. I love my basic soap and hope you will too.
  For those of you who would like to purchase a totally pure soap, instead of making it for yourself, you may find it here..

   This basic soap has only 4 ingredients and leaves a wonderful smell behind if used in laundry. Lard, Lye, Water, and Peppermint Essential Oil. *You can use this basic recipe for any soap, milk as well. Just replace water with a milk (goat, cow, sheep, ect.). Also make sure the milk is frozen at least half way. The lye gets to be around 400 degrees, and will quickly cook the milk, so it MUST be partly frozen or you will have cheese, not a smooth milk for soap. I do also use this recipe with Organic fats other than lard. I do not use Coconut Oil as the base fat, because of the 'detergents' in it. If not using Lard, use Organic Fats like Coconut, Shea or Mango. Also a solid fat will render a better soap, do not use a liquid only as it will not set up.  Lard is cooked down without chemicals to render a tallow or fat usable. It is also what most homesteaders used for years and years. It really makes the best soap, plenty of suds, and hard bars that last for a LONG time. These bars will last about 4 to 6 times loner than a commercial bar! I am not kidding. They really go far and the lard is why. What about other oils? You can mix and match oils, but using a large amount of liquid oils with this recipe or any others will sometimes cause separation when trying to set up. I don't like having to babysit it. I want to walk away and not be surprised when I go back to check on it. You can use some liquid oils but not as the majority. Don't try changing the basic recipe until you have more experience. Then you could play with it a little, just so long as the total fat used is 3 lbs and 6oz total. I have put together a kit for those beginners who would like the industrial strength mold and ingredients all prepared in an easy to use and understand way..
  When getting started you should also wear apron, safety goggles and gloves to protect yourself and the product. Also lye gets very hot, so stainless steel or glass utensils are best. Very sturdy plastic will work, but with plastic there is always the risk of melting or small particles coming of into product. *Sturdy plastic only and pick utensils carefully to make sure they can hold up. When using metal for soap making, ONLY USE REAL STAINLESS STEEL. Other metals break down with lye exposure!
Utensils needed:
Steel shafted stick blender (In a survival situation you will be stirring a while, in place of the stick blender)
Steel Pot big enough for recipe ( for this recipe, 10 to 12in round and at least 4 inches deep)
Sturdy Plastic Pitcher that will not melt with high heat of lye
Stainless Steel Ladle
Kitchen Scale (Good One costs about $50 or more. A digital is not a must, and in a survival situation it will need precious batteries you could use elsewhere so I keep an old fashioned weighted scale in my kitchen I bought from the Amish)
Candy Thermometer (You do not have to have this, it helps but is not a must.)
Soap Mold (not thin plastic) A sturdy Tupperware like container or steel mold or dish will work. You can find them at crafter stores online. Mine is a 12 & 1/2in by 10in rectangle. Mine precuts bars by shaping into individual bars with a divider. If your mold doesn't individualize bars you will need to cut using a straight edge and good knife when soap is firm but still somewhat soft, like cutting a block of cheese. Make sure you can flip the big soap out of the mold to cut it. Make sure your mold will allow for this.
Basic Soap Ingredients:
This recipe makes fifteen 5oz bars, so it's a larger recipe than most people use. You may need to adjust based on your mold.
3 lbs & 6oz of Lard *(makes the best soap with a good price, regular coconut oil contains detergents I do not want on my skin or my family's)
9.5oz of Lye (Sodium Hydroxide)
24oz Water Or Frozen Milk (at least half way frozen)
2oz Peppermint Essential Oil
*Vinegar, this is must to stop a lye burn instantly if you get it on the skin. It is acidic and lye is alkaline so it stops the burn on contact. A jar of pickles will do in a pinch!

  First label pitcher as LYE PITCHER so no one will drink from it. Then begin by weighing fats (Lard) and place total amount of fats in pot on medium heat to melt. Let melt and place on an eye that is not hot to cool and wait on lye mixture. *In a survival situation, you will make the lye mixture (water and lye crystals) and then pour into solid lard, to melt it that way. You will most likely NOT have electricity so the heat of the lye water can melt the lard for you.

  Next, weigh and add water or partly frozen milk to pitcher, and place in sink surrounded by a little cold water. This will help cool down lye mixture quicker. *If using milk, it will be better to even place ice in water around pitcher to help the milk not curd. When using milk, it will turn light brown or orange, this is OK. It is because the lactose (milk sugar) is carmalizing. Then weigh and add lye to pitcher SLOWLY. Go slow so no splashing occurs. NEVER add any liquid such as water to lye crystals, because of the possible volcano like effect. (*This is what people were doing with the drain cleaner in the 80's that caused blindness. They ran the sink water onto the drain cleaner containing lye. It then erupted on them.*) Always add the lye to the liquid and stir slowly and then let sit to cool. I open my kitchen window to let fumes escape and turn on a box fan. Remember to keep your vinegar handy, just in case it splatters at anytime in the process.
Once cooled to a temp around 150 F or (*in a survival situation just make sure it's not steaming anymore*), you can then pour lye liquid into melted lard, or fats. Using your steel ladle to stir as you go.
 Once the lye liquid is all in the pot with lard, blend with steel shafted stick blender.
Once it's beginning to firm up a bit, (or temp is about 125 F) add your Peppermint Essential Oil and blend once more. KEEP YOUR FACE BACK. The Peppermint will produce a strong fume as it is incorporated into heated soap.

If I am in hurry, I don't use the thermometer for my basic lye, personal soap. If I'm making a specialty soap or for selling, I do. But for this recipe it isn't a must and in a survival situation you probably will not have one on hand. Just let soap get thick and creamy a bit before adding essential oils or heat could kill their volatile properties. After you've mixed in the Peppermint well, pour into mold. This is a big mold my husband welded for me. Make sure your mold is on a towel or some surface that will not scorch because the heat of soap will transfer to surface through the mold. Also it will be heavy, so think about how to pick it up and where to put it when your finished. Sturdy handles come in handy.

*You may want to decrease recipe (by making only half) if you have a smaller mold or increase if needed. Last but not least, *place out of the way of those who might think it is cake batter or pudding.* Lesson learned, I now put on the frig covered with a towel to set up. It will take about 12 to 24hrs to set up. Sometimes, the humidity in the air will cause this time to speed up or slow down. Like candy making, the weather really seems to effect the process. You will then need to slide soaps out from between dividers with GLOVES on. Lye is still caustic. Then set on a glass or plastic tray to cure for two weeks. Metals other than steel reacts with the caustic lye and will cause issues. After that your soap is ready to use.

*This was written for educational purposes and I am NOT responsible or liable for any damages, reactions or adverse effects from someone using this or any of my personal recipes. I am also not responsible for the product you create.* I urge you to be careful, and remember to try your first lye soap making without anyone else around. I hope you found this helpful! You can find our handmade soap at

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Recipes for Super Soap, Super Salve, and Ice Cubes - Use on Poison Ivy, Bites, & Stings!

  Jewel Weed is the very best wild herb for Poison Ivy. It has been used topically for this and other skin ailments for centuries. Funny thing is they usually grow together. If you've studied at all on medicinal herbs there is an old idea called the Doctrine of Signatures. I believe this is about as true as you can get when really evaluating herbs in their natural surroundings. The idea of finding the "cure" right next to the cause is ironic to me. This happens a lot in the wild if you know what to look for and is proof of an Ultimate Intelligent Designer. So anyway, here are some really great uses for this weed as well as how to preserve it for later. Ok to start with, gather now for poison ivy, bug bites, and stings later. It is a weed that most people will discard from their flower beds. You can google it or search all the characteristics out in a Peterson's Field Guide if you need more confidence about what it looks like. I have a picture here, but it hasn't flowered yet. The flower is a delicate hanging yellow flower. It is also called a wild Impatient. So it grows best in shady areas. Yet you can find some in sunny spots.
  Soap: Use a basic lye soap recipe but substitute the liquid with a Jewel Weed puree. Add any other herbs you would like to this basic puree. I like Ginger (for pain), Turmeric (for inflammation), Cloves (anti-everything and for pain), and Plantain (draws sting and infection). So you're just using this as your liquid in the basic soap. Freeze up a bit before making the soap so it doesn't totally scorch with lye. Throw in your favorite skin healing essential oils for more power. If you would rather purchase a bar of ours click here.    

Homestead Moma’s Super Salve Tm

Any Salve Begins With The Right Herbs

Collect the following herbs:

Comfrey, also known as knit flesh. Actually regrows cells and works to rejuvenate the cells structure. Good on cuts, scrapes, bruising, and scares.

Cloves, an antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, antimicrobial, and antiseptic.

Wild or Domestic Ginger, for pain relief.

Plantain, for drawing out infection, swelling, thorns stingers, and the like.

Tumeric, although not wild, huge in helping to reduce inflammation and swelling.

Wild Winged Sumac, this increases the antibacterial content and healing power.

White Oak Bark, extremely helpful at healing infections, stopping bleeding, and tightening skin. High in astringent tannins. Very good at fighting infection.

 Salve: You’re going to fill a pint jar full of fresh and/or dry herbs and cover with oil. I prefer Organic Olive Oil. I load it full of as much herb as I can, but still leaving room for the oil. Simmer the pint jar full of herbs and Organic Olive Oil for 48hrs on low to warm, not hot in a crock pot half full of water. You could also use a pot of water on a very low burning wood stove. If it gets too hot, the heat will over cook the healing properties that are “active” at working on and aiding the healing process. So watch it. After 48 to 72 hrs of mild heat, strain through cloth and warm oil with equal amounts of bee's wax and 2 Tablespoons of Organic Coconut Oil. You’ll usually get 8oz of herbal oil from simmering a full pint. So that is about 8oz Organic Bee's Wax, 8oz Herbal Infused Oil, and 2 Tablespoons heaped of Organic Coconut Oil. Allow to blend and just before you pour into containers add your essential oils. I add 1 teaspoon of each Lavender, Peppermint, Tea Tree and Ylang Ylang. Litsea Cubeba is added at 2 teaspoons full. It is the ultimate antiviral and antifungal essential oil. It cannot be topped. Current studies have found it very effective in eliminating Athlete’s Foot. These are chosen for their skin healing and antibacterial properties. Pour into your containers ready for those you love to come in hollering about all those bumps, bruises, stings, and poison ivy. This will be a Super Healing Salve as long as you don't over heat it. Remember to simmer on low to warm throughout process. Again you can purchase at

  Jewel Weed Ice Cubes (not for eating)! You don't want to eat! It is like Poke Weed, and needs to have the tannins cooked and poured off. This is probably what makes it so potent against Poison Ivy. It is this "first cook and pour off" that helps the poison ivy subside. Though technically you don't cook it, you simmer it slow and low.  My friend let me weed her garden and shared her secret for instant summer Poison Ivy relief. All the Jewel Weed I could handle and one recipe I did not have. Ice Cubes ready to go from the freezer when those little people come calling. So easy, you just fill crock pot full of Jewel Weed and cover with all the water it will hold. Looks like you're cookin' turnip greens for dinner. Simmer on warm to low for 24hrs then strain off herb. Pour infused water into ice trays and freeze up cubes for later. After frozen, pop out and place into freezer bags and label so no one puts into their glass on sweet tea! Rub directly onto skin for any relief of outside drama: bites, stings, and Poison Ivy. Remember they are not to be eaten, but unless someone has an allergy to it, it shouldn't do harm if someone does put it in their mouth.
  Dry it for later use: simply lay out on a towel out of direct sunlight. Keep temps moderate. I just lay out on the dining room table. You can tie together and hang upside down like you see in pictures. I prefer to lay out so I can be sure it's not rotting. Move or toss around to keep aired out and keep the bottom from getting moldy. It dries out pretty quickly. Or you could use a dehydrator to use as a dry herb in later remedies. Herbs, just like foods, are always best the fresher they can be used. It seems to me they are more powerful in their healing abilities. However, dried herbs are very potent as well. When using dried herbs the average amount will be half of what you would use fresh, because they have now been concentrated as dried. Hope you found this helpful!

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Why The Healthy Mom's Are Getting Fat

I hesitate to write this down, because people tend to twist the words of others when they don't like what is being said, but here goes nothin'. So I have seen myself at times and am now really seeing other healthy Mom's gaining weight, as most people do in there 30's. Many of us are watching closely what are families eat, and get a fair amount if exercise. So why are so many health conscious Mom's packing on the pounds? Well, I can tell you why this one thing isn't being mentioned, even whispered to consumers. It would hurt sales, especially those that rely on 'health guru and fad pushers'.
  I will speak from experience, observation, and medical research. Diets most healthy Mom's follow today are very high in fats and low in carbs. The one reason for the pound packing is a very simple but important thing doctors, guru's and those 'in the know' are not telling you. You must work like they worked if your going to eat like they ate.  WORK, did you get that? Most modern Americans cannot understand that our culture is totally void of that idea of what real work it takes to put food on the table. In order to give myself and my children a REAL perspective of this we grow, not everything, but a lot of our own food. It is very hard to get up and out in the garden, shell nuts, or pick and peel fruit. From weeding to hoeing, to harvest and canning, WE WORK. Probably not as much as they used to in the old days, or even as much as we need to be to equal a good aerobic workout. I just want to at least put forth the effort to try doing things different. I am not saying we are better than anyone else or that we have it all worked out. I am just trying to make some changes in our home to impart an understanding of good old fashioned work being what it really is, a good thing. Our bodies actually need it. Here's a good example: I spoke with a woman from the Caribbean recently who said her family, before industrialization, would harvest and make their family's own Coconut Oil and other products from the wild nature around them. I am sure not many people here in our country even know how to do something like that much less would exert that amount of energy to do it. We go through the check out with bags of nuts, real butter, yogurt, cheese and Coconut or Olive Oils. All are very healthy for someone like my Caribbean friend who from sun up to sun down NEEDED those life sustaining oils to carry her and her family through each day in the tropical heat. They had no sickness or disease what so ever. It isn't only what you eat, it's how you obtain it. My family has been blessed to be able to work together on some projects but nothing even on that scale. In a manner of speaking we Americans don't 'have' to work very hard to put food on the table, and that is our diet downfall. I do purposely garden with my children to show them many life lessons. It's work, and it's supposed to be. It's also a time in their lives they are making memories about things that will help them understand bigger FOOD and LIFE pictures.
 When we take for granted what ease of living can do, we suffer for it. I am just as guilty as the next guy, but resolved many years ago to change that. You should really think about not just the milk, cheese, or butter, but the "Who, What, How, When, and Where" also. Are you in that equation at all? That is really what it boils down to when diet is involved. Did you make that yogurt or butter? How many calories (or how much energy) would it take from you to feed your family a week supply of butter or yogurt if you or your family had to make it? Did you have to sweat for it? No one will argue that people through out time have had to work much harder without the ease of modern machines, to get food on the table. Whether you eat Paleo, Primal, or Makers Diet, you must recognize that many people are getting into eating the way of our ancestors, but NOT working like them. No matter your religion or beliefs, you cannot excape that fact. You do not have to be of any certain religion to look back on history and realize that WORK is the one single variable of the equation most of us are not putting in any more. All tribes of all peoples had to physically labor to provide food for their family and community. It was survival. It was also a good thing to bring people together and form bonds.
I believe the Bible when God said "cursed is the ground for thy sake" part of Genesis 3:17 and "In the sweat of thy face shall thy eat bread". Genesis 3:19a  Don't think that little bit of 'for thy sake' was meaningless. It is hard work bringing food to the table, but it is for our betterment and overall health that it is work. I have learned that going to the store really gives us a false idea that anything we desire can be obtained with very little effort. After having milked cows, made butter and cheese, grown gardens and so on, I realize that nature has it's way and you don't always get a 'full basket' so to speak. Connecting to your food supply and having a real understanding of the work and enjoyment it is, is reward enough to keep at it even when it's not all peachy. Most people will spend thousands of dollars to be apart of a sports team, but not really think about the family team. That family or community team WORK is what is missing today from our diets, as well as a dose of reality.
  When we shop at the stores, we are grabbing bags and bags of nuts that are full of 'good' fats, without having to exert any or very little energy to obtain that food. If you had to actually go gather, crack or shell them to eat them you would be burning calories to help offset the amount of fats you are getting, as well as spending precious time with people you love, or who are apart of your community. See it's a very important part of the food process to have to actually work to get it to your family. When you are not involved, not only may your health show for it in many ways, you may end up with having to choose from bad or worse options that you could have prevented by getting physically involved (dirty).
  Americans seem to avoid dirt and sweat like the plague. We have gotten a little to big for our britches so to speak. Both sweat and dirt are so good for you. People pay big bucks for them both. Clay and mud baths, as well as sauna rooms are found all over the world. Scientists and researchers gather soil daily to discover new and various types of micro organisms that are beneficial right from
the dirt we work hard to avoid. Many Pediatricians will tell you that if children were allowed to
play outside they would be healthier and have better immune systems, therefore also reducing
their need for antibiotics. Why aren't we listening? Is dirt really that bad? No, and it is almost
crazy how germ-a-phobic we as a nation have gotten, because as we have become more germ-a-phobic, we have also become sicker. Go figure. Many pharmaceutical medicines have their "Genesis" or beginnings in the soil. Studies for years now have shown that the skin absorbs about 70% of whatever it comes into contact with. The soil is loaded with vitamins, minerals, and micro organisms
that build up our immune systems for a robust health.
  At the time of the Revolutionary War, America was one of the tallest and healthiest groups of
people. We are now one of the shortest (a sign of poor nutrition), fattest, and sickest. The biggest change that we have had is to an industrialized (physically disconnected) diet. Also note that usually
with a change (decrease) in stature also comes a decrease in brain size. Hmmmm
 Ok, so is anyone getting it? We were hard wired, as well as the earth's soil, to work in providing the foods we and our family eat. Yes, actual physical work that is good for us. I hope you are getting the link here that is so very obvious. If God said to man, paraphrased from Genesis, " I am putting you here, in the garden and you have to work and toil in it 'for thy sake', and while your there your skin will even be able to absorb vitamins and minerals from the soil. Also you will be exerting energy while working, in order to remain healthy, as you harvest the food you eat.", why are we to be going about it any other way?
  I challenge as many of you as will listen, "get out and grow together". No diet guru, hospitals, or drugs needed. Before you or someone you love is another statistic. Remember it's what we were meant to do. It is hard, but SO worth it. You can start small, and just enjoy yourself. You don't have to grow/raise everything you eat, try a small garden. Learn as you go and be willing to mess up as you go. Find a friend or family member to do it with. Involve your children or grandchildren. You'll never forget the first time they say "Look what we did!" I LOVE working to grow and then harvesting that hard work with "them", my WONDERFUL CHILDREN! He who created us, put us in a garden, not a grocery store. I am not saying you cannot shop at grocery stores; this is a disclaimer so nobody can twist this message that way. I am just trying to encourage you to put your self where God originally put you, working in a garden, possibly with your family or those you care about and see if your overall health and happiness aren't the better for it.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

No More Mastitis, Naturally

  Mastitis is a burden to both people and animals and this is how I have dealt with it naturally. I had severe swelling and pain in my breast that would not go away. I also had been on an antibiotic that did not help clear my infection, so I decided to try something else. I had already used a very similar version of this for chest colds in our home, so after reading that onions could possibly help, I whipped it up and in a matter of hours the pain was gone. I also made it into a salve for our milk cow which combined with peppermint helped us keep her clear from mastitis also. First I chopped an onion and sautéed it in liquid cooking oil, Safflower or Olive Oil. Once transparent, stop cooking. Let sit and cool a minute. While still warm, not hot enough to burn, but warm I wrapped in cheese cloth and placed on breast in bra. I stuck to chest with tape. Within about 30 minutes my pain was gone. I did leave on about two more hours to make sure all goodness was at work and absorbed.  I had no more pain, redness, swelling after that. Bam! It was gone. So then I just had to try on our cow.

   Now for Betsy our milk cow, who seemed to be getting mastitis lightly on and off around this same time. We had tried using utter injections of antibiotics. They did work, but we couldn't drink the milk for 5 days and I wondered if this couldn't be somehow causing her to become antibiotic resistant because it seemed the mastitis would return soon. So I cooked up some onions, chopped and sautéed again. This time about 2 or 3 and in more Safflower or Olive Oil so I would be able to have a good amount to use. I again cooked until onions were transparent and let sit until cool, and this time strained them from the oil. I added a little peppermint and basil essential oil to the onion oil. Only a few drops of each are enough, don't over do. Both of these are stimulating oils and will help the utter get things flowing. They are both very high in antibacterial and anti-viral properties. Peppermint will burn if you use too much so I made sure it wasn't.  Then to make a salve or "utter balm" I melted the same amount of bee's wax pellets as onion/peppermint oil. I then added 2 Tablespoons of Coconut Oil to the wax and onion oil to help it to spread softly onto utters or into hands. Poured all into a jar and kept in milking stall. We then used this as our milking balm instead of the other stuff bought over the counter. It kept her clear and no more antibiotic injections were needed.  I do remember her getting mastitis about 2 more times after I made it, but it would be when Husband was milking and he didn't like the minty feeling of the homemade stuff, so my daughter or I would just go back to using the homemade onion/peppermint balm and give a 'good massage' to her utter and it would clear back up no problem. This is just my own experience and now will use my onion/peppermint balm only for milking!

Saturday, February 7, 2015

It's here! Seed starting with "them"

This is the time of year when all of nature begins to look as if winter will never end. But it does, so now is the time we dive into seed starting. This year we are going to attempt another adventure in heirloom tomatoes, peppers, and more. We'll only be doing some of all we plant today. We'll start with a few that need to be started now, start a few more later on, and be ordering seeds for others we don't have.
 Here is the basic way we get started and to give you an idea of money needed, I'll detail cost as well. Today we began with 17 different types of heirloom tomatoes, about 5 different peppers, and only one type of eggplant. You may chose to change quantities up to suit your own home/needs. The total is 360 plants. We will end up adding a few more to these later, but to get all 8 of us in one room on a project that involves tiny seeds, water, and dirt, well you understand I'm sure. This was enough for starting us off. So today we are planting 5 trays of 72 pots/cells which total 360 plants. Some will die, so I always over plant! We spent a total of $35 for 5 Jiffy Pot Tray's. They are all natural and sturdy. Bingo! Each are about $7.00 for a 72 celled container. Seeds would run around $20, but we had saved ours so they were free. Even if you had to buy seeds, you may spend around $55. If you had to buy that many plants you would spend somewhere between $250 and $300. Depending on size and amount in plant tray. I have tried everyway, and looked at a lot of other ways to do seed starting. This is the way that works every time, leaves little to no mess, and is very economical. We've tried newspaper cups, forget it. They dissolve into nothing with water. And you have to find boxes made of plastic to put them in because cardboard also dissolves in water. We've tried little plastic cups. The plants out grow those quickly. We've tried putting seed into big soil trays. Dirt falls off roots and plants go into shock. Lots don't make it. So for many reasons this way is the winner for us.
 Once we are ready its a help to have scissors, duct tape, and a permanent marker handy. This keeps things flowing well as we try to remember what seeds are what, labeling and resealing seed packs.
First we label trays at the bottom per rows of 6. So like if there is going to be 18 of something it will take the space of three row of 6. This is so simple, just label the duct tape and place in front of rows. Next we simply fill with seeds and place trays on top of frig to sprout. Within a few days to a week, Viola! Baby plants then go onto a spot on a counter that will allow a plant light to be placed above them (about 6 to 12 inches) for getting them off to a good start. Total time family bonding, about 1hr. Total knowledge and memories made, immeasurable. We're looking forward to getting out and growing together! Ill be sharing our gardening experiences and how to's all through the season this year. For those interested in gardening with your' little ones, do it! If I can do it with 6, you can too! It's well worth passing down the skills we are having to reclaim. We'll be logging all these varities into our Family Garden Album 2015. They will have something to look at and get excited about until the tomatoes are ready to eat. When you think of giving the young people around you skills, think practically about how far those skills can take them. We are at a cross roads in our health, food supply and knowledge. One skill can feed all those issues. They cannot eat books, video games, musical instruments or fill in your blank here.  No food, no future. They are the future. Invest now!


Saturday, January 24, 2015

They are the future of food!

When your five year old thinks of his/her favorite food, do chemically-processed and GMO foods come to mind, such as chips, cokes, and candy? If so, why? Have you made it a priority to teach "them" about the lacing of the processed foods that is done to make them addicted? How about shutting down the technology for a while and getting out this spring with them and growing some really awesome foods! Do they know where flour comes from? Or that tomatoes come in more colors than red, as do watermelons? Have they ever tasted a fresh food they grew themselves? It really doesn't take much to invest in their future, giving them the skills and knowledge that will last a lifetime. Don't be afraid to learn with them. Be willing to make mistakes. It does require some time and a little sweat, but it will feed both body and soul. Isn't that how kids spell love anyway? TIME!When my children were younger, I started gardening with them in a backyard of a .25 acre lot. We had no idea how just working together in those days would bring us to where we are now. We grew everything from non-GMO corn, to tomatoes, squash, and melons. We became a family committed to a better way of thinking, eating, and living to keep ourselves healthy and have fun. It evolved as we learned more and more about our modern day food supply and we added in new things a little at a time. We began to go bigger and get more serious with each year, taking new steps toward being more food independent. We made mistakes, and experienced failures but were willing to accept that lots of things can happen when dealing with nature. It's a learning process and every year has been different. We learned to get creative to keep our children interested.
Now every year we grow much of our own foods, put 'em up for the winter, and have sooo many cool experiences no one can take away. We are "growing together"! Memories and skills are being sowed into the gardens of their hearts. We have a history in the garden and while we work, we sing, play, and discover with one another. We often go to school in the garden. We also have history and geography lessons right in the garden. We play "good bug, bad bug" and get a first-hand science demonstration at the same time!
"Where did this tomato plant come from? Where is Lithuania?"
"Is a praying mantis a good bug or bad bug?"
"What about this eggplant? Where did it come from? What kind of beetle is this?"
"Why do we need to water and weed?"
"How do the bee's make honey? So we eat bee throw up?" My children love to say "I love bee throw up!"  The learning is truly endless.
 One of our favorite things to do each winter, is drool over seed catalogs and make a detailed Family Garden Album for each year. We cut out pictures with descriptions and Days To Harvest Info of what we buy and are going to plant, then paste on paper. We slide these pages into a plastic covering and place it in a three ring binder. The kids have an art contest to see who can design the best "Garden Album" cover. Then we slide those into place in front and back of the binder to give that real creative family garden album feel. We fill pages by like-kinds category and label color tabs for each category, ie. tomatoes or corn. Then when its all full of our detailed crops, we will have a treasure of things to look at and info to turn when planning for summer. It gives them something to look forward to before summer and crops are actually here. It really helps when you've forgotten a lot of details about an item and you need to find out, such as when it should be ripening.
 My son has begun an organic strawberry patch that is giving us fresh fruit, for pennies on the dollar. My littlest girl has (unintentionally) bred a cross tomato that is Orange and weighs 2lbs. My oldest daughter has grown tomatoes from Germany and other places around the world. My other children have tasted the fruits of melons of all shapes and sizes that they helped to grow. What kinds of foods do they speak of or think of? They don't want to eat foods that could cause them potential illness or ruin the health they've been given. They are already concerned for their own food supply. That is an interesting thing. They are learning to "think" about what they eat. From raised beds to fruit trees and bushes, it's not too much work to put together a garden for "them" to work on now. Sowing the seeds of the future generations does matter. What will happen to human kind when our food supply is only mass produced and then distributed to us by others? Do you know history? How many people have starved to death on societies like that? They need now the skills that could one day keep them, and all man-kind, alive and healthy. They need to be able to make intelligent decisions about their own food and their future. No food, no future. It's kind of important.
Whether you're looking to go green, eat healthier, or avoid chemicals and harmful things in your diet, you can do it with "them". I challenge you to place a seed catalog in front of a child today and ask, "So, what would you like to grow?" Just watch their gears start turning, and see what ya'll can do together this year that will last for years to come. They are the future of our food supply! Give them the tools to grow into the creative, doers of tomorrow. Then when the harvest comes in, load up the tuck and take 'em to the local Farmer's Market to reap what they've sown. I want to encourage you to, let 'em get dirty and "Get out and grow together!" 
Can I eat this one? Pleeeease!

To nursery rhyme tune, "This is the way
we sow the seeds, sow the seeds, sow
the seeds."
Look what's for dinner!
6 yr old Seed Saver
What kind of chrysalis is this?
We ended up with about two hundred
African Horned Jelly Melon. They are
very, very thorny.

Growing "them"