Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Plantain to the rescue...again!

I called a dear friend to ask about her trip to the beach.  She related to me that after leaving they made a stop to do some shopping.  In the store, she felt something on her cheek and wiped at it and felt like there might have been blood.  She asked the little one with her but was told "no blood" so she went on shopping.    

A bit later, she looked in a mirror and there was a large, red, hard spot on her cheek!  The weird thing is that she said her skin felt very rough, like elephant skin.  By the time she got home, and I called her several days later, this was moving down her neck.

Someone had suggested an activated charcoal poultice - but she didn't have any. (Something I recommend you keep on hand!). I asked her if she had tried a Plantain (Plantago major) poultice. She had not and was not sure what it was.  We were headed that way and I told her we would stop on our way home and help her search the yard for plantain.

I was surprised at how she looked - it was evidently a nasty bite and my thought was probably spider.  Perhaps when she felt blood, she had actually squished a small spider - ew!  It had spread fairly far down her neck also and was still a bright pink.

Plantain grows profusely here in east TN and Elijah quickly found a handful.  We left her with instructions on how to make a poultice and apply it.  (You can learn how to do the same with this post!)

I was happy to hear that there was immediate improvement with the first application and after several her symptoms were completely clear!

I continue to be amazed, even after three decades, at how effective our Father's gift of herbs can be.  Plantain has so many benefits! It is high in Vitamins A, B1, C and calcium.  You can pick the young leaves and add them to your salads! It is considered an anti-toxin, which explains it's effectiveness on biting and stinging pests.

It is also considered to have antibacterial, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory  properties...along with many others!  On our farm, we use it for compresses, poultices, in salves and in tinctures too.  I also use it in several of my soaps!  I am so grateful that it grows in abundance here in our area.

We try to keep it picked during the summer so we have a constant supply during the winter.  It does not disappear through the winter in our area but it does not grow much either.  I also don't want to have to go digging through the snow for it. 

Take a walk through your yard and look for Plantain now.  Begin picking a few leaves from each plant.  Bring them in and lay them out to dry.  I lay mine on cookie sheets covered with paper towels (small amount) or on my drying table which is set up in my hall at any given time during the year (large amount).  I just cleared the Jewelweed off of it and will now be filling it with Plantain.

If you aren't sure you have Plantain, or aren't sure you have identified the right plant, you can always purchase it here. Wherever you purchase it, make sure it is organic!  Anytime you are using herbs for medicinal or nutritional purposes, it really needs to be don't want to be adding unknown chemicals (fertilizers, weed killers etc.) into a medicinal or nutritional preparation.

Do you use Plantain and if so, what is your favorite use for Plantain?

Happy hunting!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Oops..forgot to mention how to get free stuff!

I meant to remind those interested in a class, for each hostage, friend, family member, etc. that signs up and attends a class, you get $10 in free product!  What a great way to spend an afternoon with friends and go home with a stash of free soap, salt scrubs, salves and more!

Just trying to help you get a jump start on your holiday shopping!


Last classes this year!

I've scheduled my last two classes for this year!

On November the 3rd, I will be teaching Soap Making Made Simple here on the farm.   We will start promptly at 1:00 and finish sometime between 5:00 and 6:00 depending on how fast y'all make soap! It is a fun class and you never know what might happen!

Thinking about making soap for gift giving this year? Come and join the class to learn how in one afternoon!  Make your own soap now and have it ready before the holidays.   Handcrafted artisan soap makes a wonderful gift for any occasion!

On November the 10th, I will be teaching Herbal Medicine Made Simple: The Art of Herbal Medicine from a Christian Perspective here on the farm. Again, we start promptly at 1:00 and finish sometime between 5:00 and 6:00.  You will learn to create every form of herbal medicine including capsules and colloidal silver.

Join us to learn how to fight the cold and flu season naturally and effectively.  Make your first tincture in class and take it home with you along with an herbal salve and syrup that you make and take!

As always, we will enjoy a yummy herbal snack and a bit of chocolate to get us through the afternoons!

Seating is limited to 12 students in each class and several have signed up already, so reserve your seat early!



Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Red sky in morning...

Remember that old saying? 

Red sky in morning, sailor take warning
Red sky at night, sailor's delight

Last week, I woke to a sky glowing with red at sunrise.  It was a magnificent display by our Father! And that old saying popped right into my mind.

I checked the weather and sure enough, rain was headed our way and it was bringing with it a cold front.

We've spent some time this last week winterizing the farm.  It is a bit early and certainly wasn't what we had planned but it needed to be done.  We put some other things on the back burner and got busy. Normally this is a November job here in east TN! 

We've closed up the greenhouse, dropped the sides for the last time, taken down the fan and plugged the hole with the plastic wrapped frame that goes there.  We have some weeds to take care of and she will be ready for spring!  Pots are washed and stacked for next year. It will be a spring oasis for me in February next year!

Bees now have their bottom board - helps them to keep warm and keeps cold drafts out.  Still need to do a few things in the hive but it was too cold for that at the time.  Josiah will work on that next time he is home on a warmer day!

The dog houses have come out from storage in the barn and are placed strategically to avoid wind this winter.  I don't know why our dogs don't like their dog houses - especially in the bitter cold.  Seems they would rather brave the cold weather than take cover in their houses or in the barn. 

Cats....not so much!  They head for the barn at the least little chill wind.

Two steers will be headed to the butcher shortly so we don't have to feed them through the winter.  A double blessing!

We spent some time getting the chicken house ready for winter winds.  The tarps have been lowered and zip tied to the frame.  Holes have been patched and a heat lamp hung near the roosts.  It makes quite a cozy home for the ladies.  Egg production is already gaining again.  Light has a lot to do with egg production but so does cold weather.  Too much energy keeping warm equals not enough energy for egg production!

Josiah made our chicken house for less than $100...and you can too!  It was built over a weekend and is based on a plan from a farmer friend we visited in Kentucky a few years ago.  Are you interested in a "how to" post?  Just let me know and I'll dig out the pictures!

The weather didn't cooperate last week for pictures of my new "big" surprise but the sun is shining again so look for that this week.

I'm thinking of changing my e-commerce site.  If you have one you love, please leave the name in the comments and let me know what you like!

Good thing we got busy last week...this morning there was ice on my windshield.  I.C.E. people!  In October!?!  Time to light a fire in the fireplace! 

Are you ready for winter?

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Life with Boys..

Look what walked into my room


...yes...there is a child in there.....


Monday, October 14, 2013

Menu Planning and More!

Today, after church, I spent a very enjoyable afternoon with some of my favorite young ladies!  I served some home made baked potato soup and apple enchiladas for lunch and then I taught them my method for menu planning as we sipped on lavender lemonade.

I've been using this system for over 20 years.  Throughout that time, I've tweaked it and made changes, created forms and tools and can now do two weeks of menu planning in about 30 minutes...and enjoy it!

My "want to try" recipes are no longer residing in a box under my love seat but are actually incorporated into my meals each month!

Menu planning saves me trips to the store, saves me money (lots of it!) and reduces my stress.  I think the hardest part of cooking supper is not the was always trying to figure out what to cook.

Part of the reason I offered to teach these ladies was to get their feedback on this system.  I did this for a group of young ladies about a year ago and made a few changes after getting some fresh ideas and opinions.  This time I learned how better to adapt my system for vegetarians.

When I get the new ideas in place....I plan on offering an e-book with instructions and all the forms and I am even considering putting a packet together for those who prefer to have things in hand.   

Which would y'all prefer? Are you e-book  fanatics or do you like hard copies you can touch?

Is menu planning something y'all could use some help with?

Also working on another "large" project that will be completed later this week.  Once I get pictures from Elijah, I'll share the news!

Oh...and brace yourself for another "life with boys post" just won't believe what I saw walking calmly through my house....I'd never seen anything like it in all my many years!

Sometimes I think I should just wear the camera around my neck!



Thursday, October 10, 2013

Lavender Lemonade (by request!)

Feeling a little stressed?  Kids making crazy?  Or making you crazy?  Missing summer already?

Try a tall cool glass of Lavender Lemonade...both for you and the kids!  This has been a favorite recipe of ours for many years.  I love it in the summertime but it is nice in the off season too.

Here is my recipe for regular Lemonade:

1 cup fresh organic lemon juice
3 cups spring water
1/2 cup sugar, or use stevia or honey instead!

You'll need about 4 lemons. Wash, slice and juice!

Pour sweetener (honey, stevia or sugar) into lemon juice and stir until dissolved.  Add water.  Mix thoroughly.  Pour over ice and enjoy! I used 6 packs of stevia.

Now...for the Lavender part.

Make tea with lavender buds!  Put 1 1/2 cups water in a sauce pan.  Bring almost to a boil.  Take off the heat and add 1/2 cup lavender buds.  Cover and let steep about 10 minutes.

Strain.  Throw the lavender buds on your compost heap.

Look at that beautiful lavender tea!  I saved a cup to have tonight at bedtime, I'll sleep like a baby!

Substitute one cup of water in the original recipe with one cup of your lavender tea so the recipe now looks like this:

Lavender Lemonade

1 cup fresh organic lemon juice
1 cup fresh lavender tea
2 cups spring water
1/2 cup sugar, or use stevia or honey instead!

It's a beautiful color!

I'm sipping this cup as I write.  As my boys used to say when they were little...yummy to my tummy!

Enjoy....and relax!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Life with Boys...

and their friends.

Delivered some clean socks to a certain room.....found this on the pillow.

Don't do Halloween.

Don't know.

Didn't ask.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

A Letter To My Oldest Son...and His Beautiful Bride!

This one's for you honey!

My oldest son is somewhat of a coffee aficionado.  Oh..he's many other things...a caring and loving son....a wonderful husband and an amazing dad....let me say that again...he is an amazing dad!

However, he LOVES his coffee and he knows how to use all those fancy words that sound like Greek to his tea loving mama...frappe..latte...macchiato...caramel...aaaahhhh...that's the one...caramel!

When he goes into a coffee shop he has a saying that he always uses to express to the barista  how much caramel he wants in his coffee...

"I want extra caramel.  I want enough caramel to kill a mortal man".  And he ain't kidding!

I have been known to purchase a bottle of said caramel (and I blush to think what I paid for 6 ounces!) to satisfy his deep obsession need for caramel in his coffee.

No more.

The ingredients in a variety of caramel sauces at the store read like a chemistry shop...corn syrup or even worse high fructose corn and diglycerides... flavors and colors...and the beat goes on.

No more. 

If we are going to eat something that isn't considered "healthy" food, we can at least use real food to make it.

Dear Oldest Son,

Honey...have I got a recipe for you.  I made this tonight in just about 5 minutes!  Easy peasy!

Put 1/2 stick of butter in a saucepan on the stove and melt it.
Add 1 cup packed brown sugar and stir into butter - keep heat on low.
Add a pinch of salt - the good stuff. Stir.
Add 2 tsp. vanilla extract (the real thing - not that fake stuff!)Stir.
Add 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream.  Organic is nice. Stir until you mix it in.

Get a whisk and turn up the heat...just a little.  Bring to a good simmer...just under a boil...stirring constantly.

Cook for about 5 minutes or until you see it beginning to get thick.

Turn off heat.

Pour into a pint jar and let cool. (It makes more than this but two of your brothers found it before I could find the camera!)

Spoon over ice this home churned vanilla! (I found one of your brothers doing this when I came back with the camera.  No names but he might have green eyes).
Spoon it into hot cocoa (my favorite!) or into your coffee.

Cap and put in refrigerator.

Think of all the money you'll save!

Do not ask your beautiful bride to make this every day!

You will want to thank me.

Bring me my grandbaby!

I love you,

PS  To his Beautiful are not required to make this every single day. I love you too!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Life with Boys!

 I've decided to start a new theme....Life with Boys.  I have 4 sons and I live on a farm.  Just one of those would be cause for constant hilarity but put them together and you just never know what you might find.

I won't be writing much on these posts. I believe the pictures will speak for themselves.

Know that when you see the title "Life with Boys" will be sure to have a giggle or two.

Here's the first one to start you off....

Yes...that is my refrigerator.


Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Breast Cancer Awareness Month - Put a Lid on Cancer!

Just a bit more information on the Tattler Company's Put a Lid on Cancer! campaign for the month of October which happens to be Breast Cancer Awareness Month!

The Official Press Release...

"On October 1, 2013, Tattler Reusable Canning Lids will begin a month-long campaign in support of Breast Cancer Awareness month.  We will be offering Special Edition TATTLER Reusable Canning Lids in the color PINK during the entire month.  More importantly we will be donating 35% of the sales proceeds from the PINK lids to the Women's Cancer Fund which provides financial assistance for supportive care, to women battling cancer, when other means have been exhausted.  We have researched and found this program to be very worthy and extremely beneficial to those who have sought support, and we encourage you to help us in our endeavor to help women battle this devastating disease."  

You can follow the links to learn more about the "Put a lid on cancer" campaign and the Women's Cancer Fund.  What a wonderful way to support and help women suffering from this disease!


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Tattler-tale Revistied for All You Canning Enthusiasts Out There!

 Are you a canning enthusiast?  I am.  I love to can the food I grow!  A few years ago I discovered Tattler Reusable Canning Lids.  I fell in love!

When my great grandma used to can they used re-usable glass lids.  I still have one.  I don't know the history of how that changed to the metal lids we have today.  However, several years ago I read that regular canning lids contain BPA in the coating of the lid - the part that touches your food.  So there I was...growing organic food, using filtered water and putting it in a jar with a lid that allowed BPA to come into contact with my wonderful organic veggies. 

Then I found Tattler lids.  I did the math and figured that by the time I re-used a lid 3 or 4 times (depending on which size) I hit the "free" zone.  I have used them for years now and still love them.  They are BPA free, guaranteed for life, and can be used over and over and over.... for decades! I just love these lids, the fact that my organic food stays organic, the fact that I'm not throwing away hundreds of metal lids each year and the fact that I am  now saving a lot of money! AND, I've never had a problem with them!

I even make large batches of soup and other delicious goodies and then can the extra!  This makes for a quick and easy meal for my sons when I'm not available to put dinner on the table!

You can get all the info in my original post which you can read here.

Recently I found out that they are doing something special for the next few days and I didn't want you to miss a bargain (and no I am not making a dime from this company- they don't have an affiliate program anymore...I just love the product!).

They are now producing a pretty pink lid and giving away 35% of the sales from those pretty pink lids to give women financial assistance as they battle cancer.Thirty.five.percent for the entire month of October!  I think that is pretty darn generous!  And boy are they pretty!  I didn't get them in time to do green beans this year but I think next year I'll use them for all of my strawberry and raspberry jams!

 I love the color and love the fact that I can help women suffering with breast cancer!

And...that is not all of the good news!  For the next couple of days they are having a huge sale! You can save 25% - 30% when you purchase certain quantities AND receive free shipping!  Such a deal!

Did you know that these lids are still made in the USA?  I love that part too!

Their website can tell you much more about the cancer fund for women, you can watch "how to" videos, read reviews and testimonials and more!  You can even purchase a sampler pack of 2 lids in each size for just a couple of dollars so you can try before you buy!

I'll never go back to metal lids again!

Do any of you use Tattler lids?

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