Thursday, August 17, 2006

Elijah's Big Day....

Elijah is my youngest boy, for those of you who don't know... .gasp...I have 4 boys! He is my baby...well, actually they are all my babies...even that 6 foot, muscley, 24 year old (you know who you are!) Elijah tends to be extra cuddly and sweet - perhaps because he is the youngest and perhaps that is his personality. Oh, don't get me wrong - he is ALL boy as you shall soon see :) On the farm, we have a small corral with a chute and headgate which was used, I assume, by some previous owner for working cattle. We use it to examine cows, when we A.I. cows, when we have to do some medical procedure on animals that could squash us flat when riled and most importantly for our own personal rodeo days. This is where my boys start out on the back of a horse, being led around the corral at a slow pace while someone holds the reigns. Elijah was somewhere between the ages of 3 and 4 when he started in the corral. Last year he was turned loose in the corral - no one holding the reigns...just he and his horse...a heart stopping moment for Mom. Afterall, he was SO little and that horse looked SO big. But, as it is in the lives of little boys...he was longing for the open fields...he had dreams and visions of flying across the farm completely unfettered from Mom's safety net. Since Elijah weighs about 65 pounds dripping wet...I wasn't comfortable turning him loose on 45 acres so we settled for one of the smallest fields we have...half of the buck pen. I can only imagine how wonderful it felt to gallop across the field just like his big brothers! Looking at this side view, you can see that Elijah is not tall enough yet for his feet to fit into the stirrups - even when they are raised. How he manages to stay on that horse at a gallop is beyond me. I will confess publicly that I am no horsewoman although I enjoy a trail ride...with my feet planted firmly in the stirrups! Perhaps God has blessed us with a naturally gentle horse. Dusty has been wonderful for the boys but I have no doubt that he could win any barrel racing contest you chose to place him in...I have never seen such a fast little horse. In this next picture, Elijah is working on his reigning techniques. Can you see the smile on his face...I don't think it left him from the time he was turned loose until he dismounted. In the background, you can see one of our baby bucks. He will be leaving the farm in the next week or two - I have bartered him for organic berries and berry bushes! The fence line is the border of our property. Those are our neighbor's hay bales - they have been sitting there for a very long time (years). And finally, the face of one very tired but happy boy. This farm life is the only life that Elijah has ever known. He is happiest when outside... playing, searching out tadpoles (watch for an upcoming story) and reveling in the glory of God's creation. He almost always has a stick in one hand and never moves at a walk...that is not truly boy must be at a run, skip, hop and now...the most enjoyable of all...a gallop!

Friday, August 4, 2006

God's Gift of Mullein and more!

Mullein! One of my favorite plants! I grow an earache garden, a small bed filled with Mullein and St. John's Wort. Add a few other things and say good-bye to antibiotics for ear infections! I use both the leaves and the flowers of the Mullein plant for different medicines.

Join me as we explore some of the many uses of Mullein. The leaves are used mainly for respiratory problems. It is a wonderful expectorant. A long time ago they were harvested like tobacco and smoked - I don't , however, recommend this. I do recommend making a strong infusion using the dried leaves and sweetening it with honey. Sip this for chronic coughs and sore throats. I also tincture the fresh leaves and use for chronic respiratory problems...mainly for bronchitis in my family.

I also often combine Mullein with other expectorants like Elecampane, Anise or Thyme. Leaves should be harvested in the second year of the plant and it should be done before flowering. In the past, leaves were used to wrap fruits to preserve them...I don't know anyone who has tried this but I would love to hear from anyone who has had success with this. Mullein flowers are harvested individually every morning. It is a wee bit time consuming but well worth the time it takes. The flowers also have an expectorant action. They are especially good for those suffering with asthma, bronchitis, whooping cough and even tuberculosis.

To use the flowers, make an infusion and use it to gargle with for sore throat relief. You can also tincture the flowers and take for coughs. This has been very effective for my family to help break up the mucus and get it out of the respiratory tract. You can make a syrup from the flowers....or add it to other herbs for a wonderful cough syrup - I always add Mullein flowers to my horehound cough syrup. But my favorite use of Mullein flowers is to infuse them in oil.

I use olive oil and add the flowers of St. John's Wort and Calendula and several cloves of fresh crushed garlic. I strain this through cheesecloth when cool and bottle in a dark container with a dropper. This is the most effective cure for an earache or ear infection I have ever found. I wish I had known this when Jeremy was a toddler. He had many allergies - I knew dairy was one but I didn't know at the time that he was allergic to chemicals, dyes and preservative that are found in all foods from the grocery store. We battled months and months of constant ear infections. I bought an otoscope and my doctor taught me how to use it and how to diagnose an ear infection in hopes of reducing my many trips to the pediatrician (over 50 miles away at the time)...he ended up with tubes in his ears at the age of 3. Shortly after that I learned about Mullein.

Needless to say I began using this oil in my boys ears about 12 years ago and have not needed to use antibiotics for an ear infection since. If I have any doubt about what I see in the ear, I will take them to the doctor for a diagnosis....but I use the oil instead of the usual course of antibiotics and have great success. One of the best things about the oil is that it reduces pain on contact. I have found it most effective to hold the bottle of oil in my hands for 10 minutes or so until it is warm - this seems to bring the most comfort....then 2 or 3 drops in each ear canal several times a day has worked wonders for my family for 12 years now...I have used it to treat all of my children, myself and even my mother!

For those of you who are new to making hebal medicine and do not live close enough to take a class at my farm, watch my website .....I am working on, and have almost completed, a downloadable text version of my medicinal herb class which will be available for a fee. This will include over 40 pages of detailed instructions on how to make herbal medicines including infusions (oil and water) salves, tinctures, poultices and more! It will also cover 10 basic medicinal herbs (including Mullein!) with directions on how to grow them, harvest them and use them medicinally. It is filled with many of my favorite medicinal recipes! You will also be given a special email address where you can reach me for 30 days - I will be available to answer questions and give you support as you begin this wonderful journey into the world of herbal medicine!
Related Posts with Thumbnails