Monday, April 11, 2016

Your children need to be exposed to germs!

Yes, you read that right and this is one of the many reasons I raise my children on a farm. They need germs! Your children should be getting a decent amount of germ exposure. If not, your child's immune system cannot function properly. Immunizations are in fact the man made imitation of God's way of subtle exposure to germs to strengthen the immune system. So if doctors apply this thinking, why shouldn't you? However, in God's way of immune building, there are no needles involved. It's as simple as cleaning a chicken coop or climbing a tree. The facts speak for themselves here. As our society has become obsessed with cleanliness, our sickness has increased. I am speaking for the state of most of America; we are able to clearly obtain scientific data to back this up. Here (click here to read for your self) is one of many articles quoting the results of the study group, who published their findings in Science Magazine. It clearly shows the correlation of increased allergies and asthma to be directly linked to lack of exposure to germs such as you would find on a farm. The original article sites specifically the exposure to dust from cow manure. It produces a protein called A20 that prevents allergies! We as Americans have moved away from farming and living in agricultural settings. In turn, we are reducing our ability to strengthen our immune systems and are suffering for it. You should make it a point to let your children get outside and play. We purposely do not entertain our children with electronic babysitters so they will do what comes naturally to them, and that is to go outside and explore the creation around them.

  We know that when a child is exposing themselves to sunlight, they are getting vitamin D, a much needed nutrient. We also know that skin absorbs 70% of whatever is comes onto contact with. So are your children coming into contact with nature? Or are the lathered in plastic containing lotions, synthetically processed clothing, toxic soaps and shampoos, and constantly touching plastic and EMF carrying electronics? Do they go barefooted and play outside? Do you criticize them for getting dirty? Think about all the daily opportunities to encourage healthy living in your children. Do you do that? Or are you always worried about cleanliness and have sick children? Let them go play and have fun in nature, they way God designed them to learn and play. Do you have animals around? If not take them to a farm as often as possible and let them get dirty. Have them collect eggs and clean a chicken coop. God originally designed man to do these types of activities, and as the children are exposed to hard work, animals, and nature, they become healthier and happier people. Don't stop them from getting a little dirty; get outside with them to bond with them! Work in the dirt, milk a cow or goat, chase some chickens, grow a garden and do what God intended us to do and our families health will be better for it.
 God Bless

Using Essential Oils in Your Organic Garden, and How To Create A Sustainable Micro Eco-System (Homestead)

 I recently wrote an article for the Union Co. Mississippi Green Magazine and wanted to share it with those of you who are interested in natural homesteading.

  Have you decided that now is the time to start avoiding chemicals in your lawn and garden? Have you discovered the power of nature in essential oils? Do you want to kick the chems, but not sure what could be used as a substitute for things like fertilizer, pest control, and disease control? I garden with 6 children in tow, and my first reason for gardening is their health. The foods offered in most stores are of course heavily sprayed with chemicals for pests, fertilized with chemicals, and even planted in the ground where pre-emergence herbicide granules are tilled into the soil. Some plants are even being genetically modified or injected to carry the pesticide in the plant, so they can say it isn't sprayed. Hmmm. Do you really want to consume that? At some point you should begin to wonder exactly how far this can go, before we, like the honey bees, get close to extinction. Did you know that in China, because the almond trees are injected with such potent pesticides and chemicals, the honey bee is almost extinct and people are now hired (or made) to hand pollenate the almond and fruit trees using q-tips and tooth brushes? Just how far can a society go before the damage is irreversable? As a child my father always told me, "The elevator goes all the way to the bottom floor, but it's up to you when you get off." I've decided to do just that. There is an awakening taking place. Millions of people are choosing to stop the madness and embrace the ideas of using the God-given natural forces in creation to better our lives. These organic and natural items are often at our fingertips, and usually very inexpensive. From composting to using essential oils there are so many options now available. I suggest you start now, doing simple things that will wean your home off the chemicals for a healthier lawn, garden, and family. I like to think of it as creating a micro-ecosystem of health in my own yard, a place of life and vitality!  It is more cost effective to begin looking at the home as an entire cycle rather than compartmentalize each aspect, such as gardening, animal care, ect…. Living green is done best when we can embrace the idea of all these aspects and make each work to support the other. It is what most are calling modern day homesteading. Creating your's can be done in small steps. When God made man, he put him right in the garden he created and there was not a chemical one for Adam to use, so he had to rely on natural and organic means of survival. My thoughts are this: if he can do it, we can too! It takes a little work to get started, but you will be greatly blessed by your efforts with loads of fresh, healthy fruits and veggies for you, your family, and your friends. The vitamin D you will be absorbing has now been shown to be a beneficial nutrient in the fight against cancer. Also consider this, your skin absorbs 70% of what ever it comes in contact with. This includes minerals and nutrients in the soil. Yes, you are actually soaking in vitamins and minerals when working outside in the dirt and sun through your skin. So, get outside and let those young'ins run barefooted; it's really good for them! Maybe the exact placement of mankind in a garden setting had a healthful purpose after all!
  Here are some things my family and I have put into action that work, save us tons of money, and are healthier options to typical store bought plants, fertilizers, and other chemicals. I hope you will be able to use these 'hands on' techniques to your benefit. Gardening was created by God to be done within a family/friend setting and really many hands make light work. If you can, get those you love on board to a healthier home life. 
 1- Start your own plants from seed or buy locally produced plants. They will be better acclimated to grow in the weather they are started in. Also many companies are spraying the tiny plants with chemicals known as  Neonicotinoids, that are outlawed in many countries. These chemicals are used to control aphids and other seedling killers, but are known to kill honey bees. My personal thoughts are if it 'kills' anything, I really don't want it around my family. Last I checked, Bonnie Plants inc. did not spray theirs with any insecticide. They are also semi-local, coming from Arkansas. They are an awesome southern plant company. You can call and ask them questions anytime, as I often do. Many New Albany and Oxford greenhouses and nurseries are the best growers as they are producing those things best suited to our region. We also need to support those local businesses first. Here are some other places and their web addresses where you can find awesome heirloom and hybrid seeds that I have always had good success with. I grow heirloom mostly, as I have seen the hybrids to be much weaker.
Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds:
Seed Savers Exchange:
Territorial Seed Co:
Totally Tomatoes:
For Fruit:
Arkansas Berry:
and for best prices on bulk supplies checkout
Angel Wings Nursery
in Byhalia, MS not on the web but located off Hwy 178 near the Victoria Exit. I know they start many of their own plants and do not have them shipped in.

  Always check your local farmers market, nurseries, and green houses for plants as we should support our local community growers! Plants started and sold by local folks should also have become acclimated to the current weather, humidity, and so on and have the potential to do better than any grown in a huge greenhouse in other climates. Coming from other places can also bring diseases into your yard and garden that you didn't have before. For this reason I avoid buying plants, trees, and bushes from big corporate stores except for Bonnie Plants. If you cannot find a certain plant locally, try ordering from a nusery online that is near enough to you that the climate is similar. On ocassion I have bought a plant at a big store, but only if I can evaluate it very closely.
  After the season has begun producing it's fruit, don't forget to save your own seeds. Saving seeds from your own garden is very beneficial to stopping disease, because the more acclimated your seeds/plants become to your soil, the more disease resistant they naturally become to that enviroment. This is why disease resistant strains are becoming harder to find without hybridization. I recommend trying to start your own heirlooms and regrowing those from your own seed to produce a sturdy for your own garden. We as a people have culled the garden seed and plants to mainly store bought hybid varities that may introduce disease rather than adapting to become resistant to it in our own areas. It's much like the over-use of antibiotics. There needs to be bio-diversity in the garden to continue to allow nature to carry out it's designed ability to survive. Adapting to it's surrondings are important to how plants continue to live and evolve in an ever changing world. Too much domestication actually can produce weaker plants and could possibly contribute to the spread of disease because most of the plants are shipped in and not grown in the local area. A plant's DNA has the ability to unlock disease resistance, like 'turning on' a light switch. However, if not allowed to be used it will fade out to a degree. Much like the blind fish who live in deep sea caves. The information not being using on the DNA sequence is turned off, and then may become altogether unusable in the next generations.
  Simply put, the varities that are culled cannot be diverse enough to cover every disease, they also must be babied in order to live and produce food. This can also be very dangerous. When farmers and gardeners only plant a few varieties, certain diseases they are not resistant to can come through an area and easily wipe out a major portion of plants. All those that are not naturally resistant will die and could produce a famine. Think about the Irish potato famine. It does happen! We save and replant some of our own seeds every year to strengthen our own varieties. Some of these plants thrive, while others die. This is how certain varities grow even better, stronger, and learn to resist disease. It will become an asset to your garden to produce a seed/plant varity that will thrive in your own unique soil and weather conditions. You'll also save money this way. However, the only way this can be done is with heirloom types. Hybrids usually revert back to one parent type. So although we have grown both, I only save the heirloom seeds for next years replanting. Hybrids must be bought again each year for purity.
  2- Organic fertilizer is a lot cheaper and easier than you think. You can make your own organic soil if you are planning a  small garden, using raised beds, or container gardening. Mix 1/4 sand, 1/4 peat moss, 1/4 yard dirt, and 1/4 manure. You may want to add compost and lime to this to make it more nutritious. Work in supplements from the kitchen, such as powdered egg shells, milk, and coffee grinds, as you are able. You want to create that eco-system that is sustainable (mostly self supporting) by using what you have. Organic fertilizer is right at your finger tips. For instance, way before spring and summer I save every eggshell from every egg I crack. The shells either go crumbled to the chickens for the calcium and grit they need in their gizzard, or get dried out for plant fertilizer. This is a simple way to use what is right at my finger tips (free) without paying the high price of organic fertilizer. I set the eggshells outside to dry and then powder in the blender to add to my 'breakfast for the plants' recipe. It adds much needed calcium to the tomato, pepper and eggplants. I also use up the coffee grounds this way. Veggie scraps feed the chickens while the chickens feed us. By feeding them scraps and letting them free range, you can also drastically cut back a feed bill. I buy feed but only use it sparingly. If you have any animals, use them to turn up the dirt and poop right where your going to be planting. In the off season, plant something to draw them to the garden. This last fall, we fenced in our garden area, planted Winter Rye Grass, and turned the cows into our garden yard to "fertilize" the garden organically. Chickens can be used the same way. They love the cheap green things, so for them, we planted Lettuce, Turnip Greens, and Rye Grass. You can use Mustard Greens or Kale also. They are let out into the smaller unfenced garden planted with these greens, to "have at it". They have had a blast out there scratching and adding manure for us to till into the soil come spring. If you know of someone nearby who has animals you can always offer to clean out a barn or carry off a load of manure. We have made this a family project to do on weekends. Cow manure is best, because their complex stomach system breaks down the grass seed. Horses have a simple stomach and cannot breakdown the grass seed so make sure you use cow manure. Other wise you will be planting grass seed into your garden. These are a few very inexpensive ways to organically fertilize and begin your own organic eco-system.
  Lime is another all natural "must" in southern gardens. The soil in the Mississippi is usually very acidic, so you should consider adding some lime every year. It's natural (comes from mined lime stone) and very inexpensive. Another way to increase your crop production rate is to add bees to your yard. In many cases you can even have bees in a city or suburb. Check with your local extension office for any guidelines. I do know Mississippi offers a program to pay you back half of your investment if you set up a honey bee operation in the state. This is because our population of bees is extremly low. Their presence benefits the entire community and state by aiding crop production and farming. Interested in bees? Ask somone currently selling honey at the New Albany Farmers Market or contact the Mississippi Bees Keepers Association for more info at

*Here is the my recipe for 'Breakfast for the Plants' using all natural ingredients:
4 Cups Dried Oats (just what you eat for breakfast) put into blender to powder
1 Cup Epsom Salt
2 Cups Organic Sugar
12 to 18 dried Egg Shells, powdered
1/2 Cup dried and powdered used Coffee grinds
Mix into a gallon Jug and add 2 Tablespoons to soil at plant roots once a week. Mix into soil so roots arent directly touched and possibly burned by salts. If using on potted plants, use only 1 Tablespoon per weekly dose.

  3-Pest Control. Here are the things we have found very helpful at controling pests. For most garden plants such as tomatoes, we place a few marigold seeds betweeen each plant and that controls all tomato worms period. This works for peppers and eggplant pests as well. For ground and root problems, we have released beneficial nemetodes bought from Garden's Alive. These will actually help rid the soild of the root destroying nematodes. Chickens are one of the best pest control items you can use. They will scratch and search them out. Be it worms or creepy crawly bugs, they are not picky eaters! The best and most powerful pest control spray I have ever used is this one I make using essential oils and neem oil. I make it in the gallon spray jug and shake very well as I spray. It is as natural as you can get and safe for the children to use. This is a big deal because all my children like to learn to operate the sprayer. I want to know they are safe and allow them to feel welcomed to help me in the garden. Children need to feel loved and not shooed away, so using a natural spray is one way I can get their involvement and bond with them in the garden. This spray also seems to greatly help with blight and other diseases. I have no scientific study or evidence to back this up, but I have noticed to does seem to slow the progression of fungi on the tomato plants. Most all essential oils are naturally anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, and anti-viral. I am quite sure this is why using an essential oil formula is not only beneficial for repelling pests, but alsocontrolling diseases naturally. I swear by it! Spray at evening (after dinner) so the bees are not affected. At that time they have already returned to the hive for the night. Also spray the under side of leaves, as the bugs will 'hide' under there.

*Natrual Homemade Pest Repellent For Plants:
Fill jug with one gallon of warm water (not hot)
Add 1/2 teaspoon of dish washing liquid
.25 oz Lavender
.50 oz Citronella
2oz Neem Oil

Shake well as it needs to stay suspended during your spraying. Because oil and water do not mix, you have to shake it often in order to keep it suspended. Most suspension ingredients are chemicals and cannot be added without adding some amount of risk, so I find it no biggie to just shake it as I spray. If you find yourself wanting a purely organic bought item, you should give DE (Diatomeceous Earth) a try. It comes in powder form, like many other pesticides and must be sprinkled on. Diatomaceous Earth is an off white talc-like powder that is the fossilized remains of marine phytoplankton. When sprinkled on a bug that has an exoskeleton it compromises their waxy coating so that their innards turn into teeny tiny bug jerky. But it doesn't hurt mammals. We can eat it. It's in lots of grain based foods because lots of grains are stored with diatomaceous earth to keep the bugs from eating the grain. It must be ordered online, because I have not seen it any stores in Mississippi. Another wonderful product for bugs with an exoskeleton such as aphids, squash bugs, and beetles, there is an awesome product called Kleen Green Naturally Enzymes. Only availible online, it can also can used at a very diluted ratio of 1.5oz per 32oz (1 quart) of water. It should only be used on mature plants,
not newly sprouted seedlings as it could burn the young plant. It's like manure, an awesome natural product, but too much or used on tender plants could be harmful. I use it with our Lavender, Orange, or Fir Essential Oils as a household cleaner as well. It can also be used on animals for fleas, ticks, and mites. The website is For worms, catapillar and the like: I have only one word, Marigolds. We plant them all around and they have kept our garden FREE of bad worms on most all plants in the garden. I have a Youtube on this. Check out the channel Homestead Moma for exactly how we do this.
  You will also be needing to invest in a good natural/organic pest repellent for those people and animals you love. Here is a recipe you can use to make your own. Increase or decrease amount as you see fit.
*Natural Pest Repellent For People and Animals:
Using a dropper place the following essential oils into a roll on, small 2oz spray bottle, or dropper vial:
5 drops Lemon Grass, Lemon Eucalyptus, or Peppermint ( Your choice )
15 drops Citronella
5 drops Lavender

All Food Grade, 100 % Pure Essential Oils are found by clicking here.
Mix all the essential oils with 1.75 oz of a liquid (organic is best) cooking oil and put into a small container to use while outside with the kiddos, grandkids, and other friends and family.   We also make and sell natural/organic pest repellents safe for people, planet, and animals. I designed them for my own children's use while working with me in the garden. We also use on them on our family and animals. You can purchse our natural pest repellents and/or these and other Food Grade essential oils from our webstore at They are certified pure and lab tested for top quality. I use what I sell, so I only sell the best for an affordable price! When using essential oils, be sure they are pure, or they will not be as effective as they should be. All companies promise purity, however lab work is the only way to be absolutely sure of what you're getting. Do be careful when using pure essential oils, and if you ever get them into the eye area, wipe with a food grade cooking oil to remove. Essential oils gravitate to fatty acids and therefore will be plunged deeper into the body if you wash with water. However, they will come out of the flesh or tissue if you use an oil to remove.
4- Disease Control. This is a tricky one for everyone in the gardening community. We have had great success with double planting. This was accidental one year, but as it turned out the fall crop seemed to be pretty large and the plants had much less disease (fungus) than the spring plants. They kept producing until frost killed them. Because the south is nothing more than a humid sweat box in spring and summer, we cannot expect anything less than some disease issues. So if succession planting (plant some now, then some later) is not a workable thing for you, try the organically approved spray Actinovate. This was recommended to us from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds as the very best. This will be our first year to use it but have heard nothing but great reviews. I do use sulfur (lightly) as a dust and use wood ashes (also lightly) from the wood burning stove when seedlings are still in my greenhouse as they are both natural bug repellents and help to control diseases as well. These two items are both full of micro-nutrients the plants can use. There are also a few natural copper sprays that come highly recommeded offered by Gardens Alive or found in you local garden section at the store. For an all natural recipe that cost little to nothin' and is a good preventative and moderate at deisease control try this.
*Baking Soda For Blight and other Diseases:
3 Tablespoons Baking Soda
1 Gallon Water
1 Tablespoon Liquid Cooking Oil
1/4 Teaspoon of Liquid Dish Soap

Mix all in a gallon sprayer shake well. You need to shake as you go to keep emulsified. Spray tops and undersides of leaves and until dripping. I find it best to spray for disease at night for best results, as that's when the humidity really works on the plants. Never spray in the heat of the day as the sun and chemical mix could scorch the plants.
5- Weed Control. Last but not least, weed control will also be a very important part of gardening. You can use an easy, cheap, and organic way to control your weeds by covering your garden (after plants are about 1 to 1&1/2 ft tall) with straw. The plants need the micronutrients in the dirt, so I do not advise straw bale gardening, but a thick 6 inch covering with straw will strangle out most weeds just as well as using a weed killer or plastic covering. Make sure to use straw and not hay as you will be planting grass seed into your garden. Mulch or compost around each plant or worked into the bed's top layer will also keep the weeds from choking out the plants and help hold water. If needing to control weeds in a very big area you can fill your gallon sprayer with vinegar and spray away, just as you would use a chemical spray. Vinegar is totally natural, very inexpensive, and effective at killing all plants. Just be careful not to get it on those plants you wish to keep. Another great form of weed control is good ole fashion work. Yes, you and those you love should get out and grow together, pull weeds together and make memories sweating together. You cannot buy that, and it's organic!
  If you would like to ask me any questions about gardening, homesteading, or using essential oils, you can contact me by going to our website, and using the 'Contact Us'
form. Follow our family's homesteading adventures and glean more organic gardeing tips by liking our FaceBook page, Homestead Moma. Signup for our email newsletter at or check out the You Tube channel for more tips, Homestead Moma  I hope your garden season is fabulous, fun, healthy, and blessed!