Friday, November 29, 2013

The day after....

It was late last night by the time everyone left.  We had our traditional Thanksgiving meal.  Turkey with southern cornbread stuffing (the best stuffing EVER!), sweet potato souffle, garlic green beans (to die for!), corn, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry relish, homemade dinner rolls served with sorghum butter (my daughter is amazing!), apple butter and several home made freezer jams.    

Then there were the desserts.  Pumpkin cheesecake with salted caramel & pecans, raspberry-white chocolate cheesecake, pecan pie, pound cake, pumpkin pie, butterscotch pie, french silk pie, strawberry pie (fresh, not cooked!) and a variety of cookies...all made from scratch!

Having married children makes holidays more fun!  There are many more at my table and everyone helps to cook the meal...gone are the days when I did it all myself.  Because of all the help, I enjoyed it so much more.  Having recipes that can be cooked or prepped days in advance doesn't hurt either.

After our meal, we relaxed and spent several hours just enjoying each other.  It was loud, happy, and full of fun.  My grandson kept us all entertained.  I love my crazy family! I am so thankful to my Father for my family, they are the greatest gift I've ever been given. 

Then we turned to games.  We gathered around the table and played games until bedtime - way too much fun!  Today will be an easy day - lots of leftovers so I won't be cooking, and we will enjoy the time left with family before they return home this weekend.

I hope your day was filled with family and fun as well. 

 Relax and enjoy!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

I spent today baking.  As I watched the snow fall gently outside, I baked pies, rolls and more.  I enjoyed the fire in the fireplace that kept me toasty warm.  My niece got to play in the snow for the very first time...too much fun!

I'm looking forward to spending tomorrow with my family!  There will be 16 of us at the table this year. It should be a very fun day!

From Friday at 10:00 am until Monday at midnight, everything in my store will be 20% off!  The discount code for my readers is the word BLESSED! Might you consider doing some of your shopping with us at

May our Abba Father bless your family.... and may we all be thankful for Him!


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Flu & Cold Protection!

Many years ago, I was struggling with bronchitis and other respiratory and sinus issues.  My dear friend Donna poured off a small jar of her "terrible" tincture.  I took several tablespoons a day and it knocked that nasty stuff right out!  It worked better than the antibiotics I had tried.  It worked better than the sinus medications I had tried.  It just worked.

When I started making it for myself, I tweaked it a bit and thought I'd share it with you in the hopes that it helps your family as much as it has helped mine. I'm also sharing some links from my affiliate partners in case you have a hard time finding any of this locally.

What you will need:

Organic Horseradish root
Organic Ginger root
Organic Garlic
Organic Cayenne peppers
Organic Onions
Bragg's Organic Apple Cider Vinegar

It is very important to use organic products!  Why add more chemicals, pesticides or a GMO to a body you are trying to heal?

Donna's recipe was to take equal parts of the horseradish, ginger, garlic, cayenne and onions, chop them and cover with Bragg's.

I doubled the amount of garlic and cayenne because I have learned through the years that those have a powerful impact on my own family.  I used one cup chopped of the horseradish, ginger, and onions and 2 cups chopped of the garlic and cayenne.

I used my  mini food processor to chop everything but the horseradish. 

One cup of organic onions chopped and added to a half-gallon canning jar.  

These jars are my favorite size!  I have used them for everything..... the milk from our Jersey (so easy to sweep the cream off the top!),  Southern Syrup (commonly known as sweet tea!), storing dry goods (flour, sugar, pasta), making salad dressings for a crowd and more!  

Remember...we live on a farm and mice are a part of country life, especially when fields are being hayed, mowed or cultivated.  I try to keep my pantry as uninviting to mice as possible which means I try to keep everything in glass.  My hope is that if they find a way in they won't be tempted to stay for the food.  By the way, I have found that the best way to catch mice is to tuck a trap into an opened bag of Lays potato every time!

I also use these jars to make this tincture and my Jewelweed tincture. These two tinctures I always make in large quantities.

 Here I am working on 2 cups of garlic...

2 cups of cayenne peppers

The horseradish root is a bit much for my little chopper - it takes my large food processor.  I used to have a Kitchen Aid but it had a poor design and it was easy for liquid to leak out around the rim.  I passed that one on and have been very happy with my Cuisinart! It is the second most important kitchen tool I have!

First I peeled the horseradish root...

It was a bit much for the carrot peeler I used on the ginger I used a paring knife.

Then I chopped the root into medium size pieces and dropped then in the food processor with the steel blade.  I let it run till the horseradish root was shredded. Be prepared when you open the lid after processing!  It will definitely make your eyes water and open your sinuses!
I continued to add each item to the canning jars until they were 3/4 full.  Then I covered them with the Bragg's!  Bragg's contributes much to the health benefits of this tincture - not any old apple cider will do! 

I've allowed them to sit for about 6 weeks now but 4 would have been plenty.  I will strain them off next weekend by pouring it into a stainless steel bowl through a strainer lined with butter muslin. Please don't use aluminum!

When we've been exposed to illness we use it as a preventative....just 1 or 2 tablespoons a day. But when we are sick, we take several tablespoons at a time throughout the day.  Some of my clan like the taste - and some don't.  I like it - it reminds me of dill pickles.

Do you have a favorite recipe that you use to keep your family healthy?  Would you consider sharing it with the rest of us?

Praying our Father blesses your family with good health all winter long!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Cattle Panel Chicken Coop - Part 2

The Tour!

Here is our completely wrapped chicken coop!
 The door is open...come on in! Notice the gap in tarps around the door.  As the weather has gotten colder, we have added a long tarp to keep the chill winds out.

This is the back wall of the coop.  The boys hung the nesting boxes in the middle. 

During cold weather we have two heat lamps that go on when we shut the girls in for the night at sunset. They are turned off just after dawn. They help keep the hens warm while helping to prevent their water from freezing!
Notice our 5 gallon bucket?

This  probably used to hold wheat or oats.  Now it is one of the components that keep the hen's water clean!  This is one of my favorite parts!  No more cleaning out nasty chicken waterers filled with poop!
 It sits on a board....
Josiah ran a short length of hose to another PVC pipe that had these...poultry watering nipples!  These are the other component to a continual supply of clean water! No more cleaning out poopy water! Can you tell that was not one of my favorite jobs?
Hens quickly learn to peck at them and when they do they get a drink!  Here Elijah has just pushed it so you can see the water beginning to come out.  It takes a few days for hens to convert so be sure to leave another supply of water until they get the hang of this.  Once they gets easier! You have a 5 gallon supply of clean drinking water - easy peasy!

They are easy to put into an inexpensive PVC pipe but if you would rather get it "finished" you can find it here!

Our feeder hangs below the nesting boxes.  We put it high enough that there isn't room for the girls to roost on it. We used a length of leftover PVC pipe - and it can be accessed from both sides.  When the weather is too nasty to go out, the girls still have fresh grass in their coop and a clean feeder for grain.

Add some lengths of pipe or branches for roosting and your house is complete!

I do believe I see some eggs in those boxes!

What does your chicken coop look like?


Friday, November 22, 2013

Cattle Panel Chicken Coop - Part 1

Several years ago, Josiah and I visited a friend's farm in Kentucky.  We were impressed with his chicken houses.  They were simple, quick to construct and easy to care for.  He was raising pastured chickens to butcher and sell - and others for eggs.  He had quite a few of these and was more than willing to share the "how to" information.

Last year we created one of our own.  The boys built ours for under $100.  We had a few of the things already but if you shopped carefully and watched for sales I think anyone could build one for right around $100.

I have a few pictures of the work in progress which I will post today, along with instructions.  Then you will get the grand tour of the finished product and some of the extras we installed to make our lives a little easier!

The basic plan for this coop is to use 2x6 boards on the sides and 2x4 boards on the front and back frame.  Josiah made his own modifications so I can't guarantee this is what he did.

You need to lay out your lumber and attach the 2 cattle panels to the 2x6s with 1.5 inch heavy duty fence staples.  IMPORTANT!  Be sure the ribs of the cattle panels are against the wood so you can attach the tarp (will get there shortly) with cable ties which will need to fit between the wood and the cattle panels.

You will then push the sides together which will cause the cattle panels to form a hoop. Then attach the front and back 2x4s. Here the boys have pushed the sides together and are working on adding the back board.

Here the front board is in place and additional support has been added in each corner.  This gives it stability as you pull it from place to place.  Josiah has also framed up an area for a door.

Here is a closeup of the corner supports.
This is a set of nesting boxes that I picked up for a song at a wonderful thrift store in Asheville, NC. We keep it full of hay and as long as we are diligent in keeping the hay clean, washing eggs rarely needs to happen.  The boards fold up and cover the entrances to the next boxes.  This keeps our girls out of the nests at night and helps to keep those nests clean.
 Hay going into the boxes!

Here is some additional support at the back.  This was not how our friend did it but he had a different set up for his nesting boxes.  Josiah is doing this so he can attach our nesting boxes to the support in the back of the coop and keep the boxes up off of the ground!

Did you know chickens could be afraid of heights? Evidently our hens are...silly girls!  Rarely do we find one in the top row of nests but it isn't unusual to find two hens sharing a nesting box on the bottom row. 

Josiah and Elijah then covered the coop with 1" heavy duty chicken wire.  This keeps our girls inside when we need them to be and keeps predators out..especially at night!  We've had a lot of coyotes this year - two almost every night! And we are seeing a lot of  foxes even in the day time!  Add to that our regular tussle with coons and opossums and you can see why we are working hard to keep our ladies safe!

Be sure to bend the ends of cut wires over that might pose a danger to your girls.  This took some time for the boys to make sure there weren't any places that might cut one of our hens if she brushed up against it.

Once the chicken wire was in place,  Josiah and Elijah covered the back of the coop with a tarp.  They then folded another tarp in half and put it over the back half of the "roof" of the coop.  We left it that way for the summer.  This provided wonderful ventilation but also some protection from rain.

Once the chill winds and lower temps began, we unfolded that top tarp so it covered the entire roof of the coop to keep them dry and warm.

Next post we'll take a tour of the inside of the finished coop!  Let me know if you have questions...I wish there were more pictures but the boys got busy building and the camera was forgotten!


Saturday, November 9, 2013

Medicinal Herb Class this Sunday and coming soon to...?

Just a reminder that this Sunday at 1:00, you can attend a class here on our farm that will teach you all the basics about herbal medicine, let you play with dozens of herbs and study 10 of them in depth.

You'll go home with a salve, a syrup and a tincture that you make in class along with my book Herbal Medicine Made Simple: The Art of Herbal Medicine from a Christian Perspective and the knowledge to make your own herbal remedies!

We only have 4 spots left so make your reservations today!

Just pop over here to read more and sign up for our Sunday class!

And for the first time ever,  Herbal Medicine Made Simple is hitting the road and heading to Virginia next month!  We've been invited to teach a class for a group in Virginia and we get to visit some very dear friends at the same time! More info coming soon!

What do you think about a traveling class?


Thursday, November 7, 2013

Life With Boys!

You just never know.... working in my kitchen...a quick glance up and look what walks by....


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Herbal Medicine Class This Sunday!

This Sunday I'll be teaching my last class of the year - well, unless someone books a private class for a group!

This Sunday at 1:00 pm I'll be teaching Herbal Medicine Made Simple: The Art of Herbal Medicine from a Christian Perspective!

This is my favorite class to teach!  I don't know if it is because I'm passionate about herbs or because I think it is so important for people to know how to take care of themselves...or just because it has saved me so much money over the last 30 years! 

You will learn to make a medicinal tea, a hot oil infusion, a salve (and take it home!), a decoction, a syrup (and take it home!), a poultice, a compress, a tincture (and take it home!), capsules and even colloidal silver...and you know how expensive that is in the local health food stores!

You'll be able to view many herbal books and take some time to learn about how to create something for you!

You can read all about it here. 

The class is already  half-full so make your reservations before we fill completely up!  Hope to see some of you here for a fun filled afternoon!


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Soap Class Fun!

I'm so blessed by my students!  Sunday was a fun, fun, FUN afternoon!  I always feel like I have made new friends after each class.  This past Sunday the ladies were fun, inquisitive, involved and just made my day!

For our first "simple" recipe, we made a new soap...yes..I confess..I have a compulsion to make new soap!  This time I had lots of help.  We made a peppermint soap with some crushed organic peppermint leaves.  This is the first time I've made a pure peppermint soap.  I do make a Peppermint Tea Tree soap for it's antibacterial qualities and I love it.  But there is something about the smell of peppermint at the holidays that just seems fit and proper. 

I wished there was a natural way to achieve a bright red - it is so tempting sometimes to go for the pretty colors but it just doesn't fit my family's desire to live as healthy and naturally as possible and to provide y'all with truly pure and natural products.  Each day we get a wee bit closer to our own goal and hope we are helping you get there too.  Chemical and artificial colorants definitely don't belong in my soaps!  However the bits of peppermint leaves are lovely don't you think?

Ladies...I'd say y'all did a fine job and it turned out beautifully!  My office smells heavenly and I'm in the mood to decorate and bake!  One of our favorites is Peppermint cookies and I'll post that recipe when I can.

 This peppermint soap will be ready the beginning of December!

For our second batch of soap, we made Double Mint soap.  We colored this soap with Spirulina which is an amazing nutrient filled with vitamins and minerals and composed of 65% amino acids, including the essential fatty acid gamma linolenic acid (GLA). It's a wonderful choice for nutritional reasons and definitely safe and healthy to use in coloring my soap!

We removed and colored a portion of our soap and then re-introduced it back into the pot in a specific way to induce a lovely swirl.

Ladies...what do you think?

I think she turned out lovely!  This color will fade as it cures so we experimented in class.  I doubled the amount of spirulina I normally use to see if this lovely green will stay a bit darker than normal.  We won't know for about a month if it worked.  This soap is made with peppermint and spearmint essential oils and smells so refreshing!

Thank you, students, for a lovely afternoon!  I enjoyed getting to know all of you, sharing our stories, sharing some herbal snacks and visiting together.  Sometimes it's just nice to have "mama time".  

You were certainly a blessing to me!

Happy soaping....and don't forget to contact me with any questions as you embark on your own soap making journey!

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