December 31, 2015

Balm :: my Hubby's Mustache mender

Recently my beloved was having an issue of dry skin under his mustache area and I just knew I could help him. So into the craft center I went, in a camper that is the kitchen, dining and living room area all rolled into one, and out came... his new Mustache Mender. 

This simple, but mighty balm works great for moisturizing the skin, and for styling that stache. Works on beards too! Just rub a small amount into needed area and style as usual. Make sure you get the mender to the surface of the skin...

I also added a few drops of essential oils, blended just right for that lovely but manly scent. Oils of Cedar and Cardamon would be a nice combo...

My husband really likes it, and guess what - it has worked. No more skin issues! Now he uses it every few days to help maintain things and keep his man fuzz nice and orderly. We plan to offer this balm through our esty shop, however if you are in a {DIY} mood here's the recipe:

Equal Parts: coconut oil, cocoa butter and bee's wax. Melt together over low heat, once melted, remove and add the essential oils of choice - no more than twelve total, per four ounces. Pour into a container of choice - balm tins or glass. Let Cool. Label and Date. 

Remember that herbal preparations such as balms, salves and oils generally have a shelf life of twelve to eighteen months. So please use it before then. Store in a cool, dry place. And if you desire something a little more firm in the mender, add a little more wax... small amounts at a time. 

December 24, 2015

Botanical Safety & Soured Rosemary Focaccia

While herbal home remedies are often considered safe, and I would have to agree, especially when placed along side most 'over the counter' pharmaceuticals. However, there remains a responsibility on the herbalist, to be educated in the area of contraindications and toxicity when working with botanical home remedies that simply can not be neglected.

“Considerable risks are ignored far too often, while theoretical risks are exaggerated as they are passed along.” ~ Jessie Hawkins, Advanced Botanical Medicine, Chapter Six – Vintage Remedies.

Although I do not feel qualified to share an indepth post on botanical safety and all of its faucets. I do feel comfortable sharing about the importance of being equipped and point out a direction to help find information that could be vital in caring for our families. Reliable information.

During my courses I gleaned the names of two 'pharmacovigilance reporting' groups – an adverse reaction reporting system that includes traditional remedies, herbal remedies and pharmaceuticals. While I am sure there are others out there, these two groups were specifically mentioned:

  • World Health Organization International Drug Monitoring Program
  • American Botanical Society

The class text also reminds the student to review the material subjectively, as reports may not be thorough. We should to be diligent to verify if the herb in question was correctly identified and/or if the dosage was correctly used, as well as other possible reasons for the known contraindications.

Let's take Rosemary ~ rosmarinus officinale ~ for an example, known for it abilities in carminative action, being an antioxidant and active in antimicrobial ability. Indicated for enhancing memory, topical wound healing and relieving headaches... however with rosemary there is a need of caution for use during pregnancy. This is due to the connection between the high oil content {type of} that is linked to birth defects in rats... you see, this information needs to be verified by an evidence base, reliable source and not just random places on the net. Including my own.

This doesn't mean that we can not use, nor enjoy the flavor of this lovely herbal remedy. But that we should exercise wisdom on when and how we use it. Like on Rosemary Focaccia Bread!

The Recipe: soured focaccia bread with rosemary & asiago cheese

  • 3 ¼ c flour – I use spelt, whole wheat or any combination of these along with rye
  • 3 ¼ c water – not hot, not cold
  • ¾ t yeast – or ¼ c sourdough starter
  • ¾ t salt – real, celtic or pink

Place all of these ingredients into a bowl, and mix well. Place the dough into an oiled container and seal with a lid. Let the dough sit in the fridge for at least 48 hours, however I opt to leave mine in for 72 hours. This takes some extra planning, but it's oh so worth it.

After the fermenting process, remove the dough from the fridge. Work out the soon to be focaccia with your fingers on a oiled cookie sheet, to your desired shaped. Remember that focaccia is a flat oven baked bread, similar to pizza. Then move on to the...

The Toppings: apply in order shown here

~ A light spray of Avocado Oil – spray pan and top of bread 
~ Shredded Asiago Cheese – sprinkle to desired thickness, this is really personal preferenc 
~ Add Rosemary – I used a couple tablespoons sprinkled about, again ~ preference 
~ Thin slices of Tomato – placed randomly across the top of your focaccia

Once your topping are in place and your focaccia is looking yummy, pop it into a preheated oven, at 350 for about 20 to 25 minutes. Or until bread crust is done, as time may vary.

A note on the dough: I have used this type for a few years now, it's easy, it's yummy, and it's healthier. If you google bucket bread or something like that, you will many variations and recipes. Have fun and enjoy!
~ Blessings!

December 17, 2015

{Advanced Herbal Medince} Five Reason's Not to Disregard Dosing

The topic of dosing can be a somewhat controversial subject among modern herbalist. Often times being one the biggest challenges for an herbalist to face. With the numerous herbal preparations, blend potentials and the various dosing guidelines – it could leave one wondering how to choose the best method for success. But the need to address dosing should not be ignored and here's why:

Five Reason's You Should Not Disregard Dosing:

  • The standardization of herbal remedies use what is called the '150 pound rule'. Meaning that the recommended doses on the bottle of a standardized supplement are for those individuals weighing an average of one hundred fifty pounds. This means if you weigh more or less than that weight, you will need to dose up or down for the herbal remedy to keep it's standardized effectiveness. 

  • Children offer a whole new complexity... for this reason, there are a variety of 'rules' known among herbalists regarding dosing. I personally am focused on two, attempting to commit them memory, as well as keeping them handy for reference. These are known as Clark's Rule and Freid's Rule... you can read more about pediatric dosing guidelines and the formula here. Freid's Rule – similar to Clark's – is for infants and small children, and states... “the child's age in months. Divide by 150, then multiply by the adult dose to arrive at the child's dose.” 

  • Counting drops doesn't always offer the same precise measurement and dose. This is because a drop can vary in remedy strength, due to dropper size and liquid viscosity. It's often fine for home use, with safe herbs. However, it's wise to remember that it is not precise and that drop dosing, when used. should be utilized in the metric system. 

  • No concern for the strength of a herbal remedy, or the quality of the herbal matter or even accurate dosing can result in either dangerous overdosing or inadequate usage. One factor at play here is the use of whole herbs vs. liquid extracts... whole herbs must first be broken down by the digestive system before they are available for the body to use. The bodies ability to break down the herb effects the bodies ability to absorb the supplement. This is just one element to consider when dosing and/or making preparations. 

  • The method of extraction is another important factor to consider in dosing, one reason for this is because using alcohol with water-soluble compounds, such as mucilage and tannins, creates a dilution in the alcohol. Resulting in a lower concentration or potency of our remedy. This in turn effects dosing...

Class also clued me in on this dosing tip: the number's on a standardized bottle of remedy, the ratios like 1:5 is better remembered as the second number equally 1 g of herb. So in a 1:5 ratio – a 5mL dose would result in 1 g of herb. I thought it meant something completely different, so I was grateful to learn the truth!

This post was inspired in part from chapter four of my Advance Herbal Medicine course with Vintage Remedies. If you would like to learn more about evidence based herbalism, blending and dosing along with other home remedies I would highly recommend taking any of their courses!

~ Blessings!

Stared w/: Strangers and Pilgrims on Earth - Homemaking Monday's #84

*This post contains affiliate links and any purchase made through these links blesses my home with a small commission, of which I am very thankful. You may also use the side bar graphic for a link to the Vintage Remedies home page. Also please refer to my side bar disclosure for more information regarding natural health and this blog. Thank you...

December 15, 2015

Low Cost Resources for Alternative Lighting

As I continue to journey along side these Amish homes, I am enjoying my small - but precious interactions with these families. In the midst of the moments I am blessed to be gleaning some priceless information too. Information that helps our learning curves and pocket books, and one of those priceless gleanings was the "Amish Store" – which in reality is just a little shop attached to the back of a home.

I am SO grateful that they have allowed us to shop there... priceless I say! Now in regards to off the grid lighting... which is something we are learning more about... the lantern is an Amish staple. Here they sell mostly Dietz lanterns and replacement globes, 'jar head' lamps, wicks and their globes. And every now and again I run across some candles and their accessories. 

Did you know they use lanterns as lights on the side of their buggies for night time 'driving'...

Low cost you say? Yes ~ I Answer!  Here's a Break Down from My Last Visit

Looking at my last receipt, I spent $4.00 for globes... $2.00 each. $3.00 for lamp heads with wick... $1.50 each and $7.50 for one small Dietz lantern. Please take a moment and look up the price of a small Dietz lantern online – the one I purchased from the Amish was less than half the price you would pay for it online.

In the past, I have purchased the next larger one, for only $10.00. A story – just after purchasing that blue lantern I was heading to town with a friend and we stopped at a gas station where they were selling that same lantern for $35.00. We just shook our head and mentally said no thank you. :)

However - I must admit, I am not too fond of the idea than these lanterns are made in China... 

Anyone out there know of a high quality American made lantern on the market?

So what are some other options?  Readers - what am I missing?

  • Candles – I usually make them myself. I paid roughly $56.00 for a forty pound slab of beeswax and that has lasted me well over three years. And I use it for so many things... but I do need to consider a new source now that we have moved.
  • Solar Lights – okay this was a total splurge... I just purchased a small solar light and I am waiting for it to get here. It's my first. But my friend – the same one mentioned above – she has the same one I just ordered and I have seen it work. It's a great little light.
  • Flash Lights & Head Lamps – honestly, I don't pay much here either. If memory serves me correctly I think the most expensive flash light I purchased was $4.00 and the head lamp... it was $7.00. The cheapies last long enough and work just fine for our needs.

We have a great place to purchase replacement wicks for even a cheaper price than the "Amish Store"... but that resource is for another topic.

Finally, I wanted share a lighting idea that my friend uses in her home, she has a 'glass jar lamp' lit, setting on a corner shelf in her main room, and behind the lamp – is a mirror. This mirror reflects the light back into the center of the room. It is so warm and pretty, as well as functional.

~ Blessings!

December 10, 2015

Romanticizing the Amish

When I moved to this neck of the woods, right next to and among the Amish, I was just filled with giddy. Yes, I came with all sorts of grand ideas about them... most of which were romanticized by media of all sorts. Now that I have been here for little over a year I have come to an understanding that being Amish can mean a hundred different things and some of it does not look like “Saving Sarah Cain”. Sad but true.

Don't get me wrong, living here has taught me a lot about living an off grid life style, and about homesteading. And this experience I would not trade either... but imagine with me a slow drive down Amish Lane.

Plain clothes flapping in the breeze on the line, along the porch at the front of the house. Little ones running about with bonnets and straw hats... white signs of sell-ables at the end of each dirt drive. Chickens, cows, goats and sheep... rolling hills and the faint sound of the horse and buggy clopping down the road. Serene and beautiful. That is until you look in the back of the buggy and see a white Wal-Mart bag filled to the brim with Cheese Puffs and Mountain Dew. 

Yep – those neon green bottles where an image killer. They opened my eyes to see what was really going on beyond my 'romanticized' glasses. Upon closer interactions I have learned that being Amish doesn't always mean wholesome practices, homesteading or other wise. True - I wholeheartedly agree that there is a wealth of information one can learn from their culture and lifestyle... but I don't think one should accept the label of being Amish as meaning completely untouched from modern farming (and living) practices.

I have seen the use of pesticides, and knowing this I have had to work a little harder at learning how to ask the right questions. Taking the time to get to know my local food producers. Because I am an Englisher to them, I think there may always be an invisible wall, or at the very least a language barrier. But through this process comes the gleaning of information... 

Moses kept me there talking for about an hour, telling me of his father's hunting escapes and what they did when their dogs were snake bitten. Lydia, whom told us about the Amish store, sells eggs and shared with us her noodle making process and Abe, always pleasant and approachable. He sells us saw dust for our composting toilets for a dollar. :)

No more are they romanticized characters of my ideal dream life, but rather real souls with families and stories. With hurts and struggles just like the rest of us. With practices that I would love to learn more about and some – I will choose to leave out.

~ blessings!

November 28, 2015

What I have Learned from Learning to Milk a Cow

 It's been roughly seven months since Aleph was born, mama cow's first born and since that time I think I have finally earned my milk maid status.

 You see, growing up near my uncles farm exposed me to many an agrarian practices, but the actual milking he did...  which means that I 'knew' how to do it in theory. But knowing & doing are two different things. And life has a way of adding elements into your learning curves that you may not have been prepared for...

So as you read, please remember that I am by no means an expert in cattle nor of being a milk maid, but I am learning as I go, hands on style! Which is my favorite way to learn anyway...

What I have Learned from Learning to Milk a Cow:

  • Create a Semi Quiet Area - that is dry and clean: it's more pleasant for mama cow and for you. We don't have a technical milk station... but we do have nice places to milk. Even with life happening all around you, this special place is where she receives her alfalfa and her milking. 
  • Hobble: even after months of milking, I still hobble - in the beginning it was for training her and safety for myself. Now I think it's more about the process and being consistent. Our hobble is just a simple lead style with a loop around her leg, in place above the hoof and below the fetlock joint. The hobble is then attached to a stable spot... in our case it's a stake.
  • Give Alfalfa: mama cow now comes from a far end field at the sound of the alfalfa bucket handle banging against the side of the bucket. It's rare to have to go fetch her and if we do she meets us more than half way. Alfalfa and her are tight, what can I say.
  • Keep it Clean, Warm and Dry: this means keep your dairy supplies clean, your water warm and your hands/her udder dry. The clean dairy supplies are a no brainer, your dealing with raw milk and lost of wonderful living micro buddies. Warm water is for cleaning her udder and depending on the season, her udder can get quite dirty. Dry hands and dry udder, this is for multiple reasons... obviously wet hands make milking interesting in a negative way and create the perfect environment for chapped surfaces. 
  • Don't Rush and Check your Mood: if your in a hurry, having a bad day and showing it, or just plain not in a pleasant mood. Mama cow knows it and I can guarantee you that your milk production {if not the whole experience} will be down. This may sound odd, but it's true... this cow knows what your mood is and if you don't check it, she will check her udder. 
  • Be Consistent: 5 a.m. and 5 p.m. That is milking time and she knows it! Now she can be flexible, but don't be surprised if she is standing at the gate staring at you as you prepare your milking accessories.
  • Show the Love: okay - so this one is an extra. But after milking and mama cow is off the hobble and just before I unclasp her lead, I scratch her 'spot' just behind the hump of her horns. She loves this and often times she nuzzles her head along my torso like a dog.
  • NOT a Pull: it's more of a downward squeeze, a succession of your fingers tightening around the teat down ward. With the base, near the bag being closed with your first finger and thumb as you begin. Definitely NOT a pull! Her tail and hooves will let you know it too.
  • Give yourself Time: for you and mama cow to learn each other. Seriously. When I first started to milk it took me almost an hour... now I am in and out in roughly twenty minutes. Maybe thirty if I include the clean up. But do give yourself time to develop a system and to learn...
  • Milking Muscles are Going to Happen: - as you go along, your gonna earn them. My forearms are solid and only getting stronger as I go. However in full disclosure, I have had to back off my milking nights because of my hand inflammation, and I really need to figure that out so I can get back in the swing of things. 

I have also learned that milking is work, but it's so rewarding and I would not trade my learning experiences for one single thing. As I am closing this post more and more things come to mind, but I will have to save those for another day.

~ Blessings!

November 23, 2015

Evidenced Based Learning w/ Vintage Remedies Black Friday Sale

Howdy! I wanted to get this post out as soon as I could, but beings that it was a long drive... sixteen hours on the road. {Thanksgiving in the north will be just what my heart needs. Snow. Pine trees. Long winding rivers. The warmth of the wood stove... and yes, Turkey.} I am little behind on sharing the news about the Vintage Remedies Black Friday Sale! Which actually starts tonight at midnight!

this post contains affilate links...

Some of you may have read a few of my posts regarding the herbalist learning I have enjoyed thru Vintage Remedies, but if you haven't - you can still find those posts in my side bar. Anyway this 'Black Friday Sale' has some great pricing and I am telling ya, if you have ever wanted to take any of the Vintage Remedies evidence based learning courses, now is the time!

Their - Black Friday Sale runs November 24 - Dec 2 -  and includes more than just the herbalist courses... take a little peek at what on sale:

  • ALL Intermediate courses (Aromatic Medicine, Aromatherapy, Herbalism, Botanical Pediatrics, and Botanical Skincare) will be only $165 (regular $215). 
  • Family Herbalist will be $100 off at only $395 (regular $495)! 
  • Master Herbalist is a whopping $200 off at $795 (regular $995)! 
  • And ALL of the resource books are discounted between 50% off and 85% off!  

Like I said. Those are great prices. The course I just completed was the Master Herbalist course, which is $200 off it's regular price... seriously that is a huge deal and worth every penny. Friends - your health and that of your family's is priceless.

My eyes are getting heavy, and I am ready to snuggle in for the night so I will leave with you two things - both of which will give you a taste of Vintage Remedies. The first is the FREE webinar replay on Essential Oil Ingestion - and the second is just in time for your holiday weekend: a FREE Thanksgiving menu and recipes download. I hope enjoy and utilized them both...

~ Blessings!

Sale fine print: these prices don't apply to previous purchases and the sale prices are only available between Nov 24th and Dec 2nd. At midnight (CST) Dec 2nd, the sale is gone for year. So hurry on over!

Affiliate Links: this post contains affiliate links and any purchase made through those links may result in a small commission. Thank you! You are also invited to use my banner in the side bar if you prefer.

November 21, 2015

A walk through an herb garden

I was able to spend some much needed time in the herb garden this week, I know I have said it before and I will probably say it another twenty times, Fall is my most favorite time of year. And a walk through the herb garden this time of year always brings such solace.

Would you take a turn about the garden with me?

There's Yarrow – achillea millefolium ~ a wonderful diaphoretic herb used for fevers. There is anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic properties, as well as being anti-microbial and astringent. A member of the Asteraceae family, of whom sensitivities have been reported. She also enjoys spreading beyond her boundaries and is happy to share just about any location in your garden... or lawn. 

I sat with Comfrey – symphytum officinale ~ that's her over there... for a little while, admiring the green of her leaves, given this fall season... capturing the little remaining blossoms that seem to bow or to curtsy as you get to know them. Anti-inflammatory and astringent, wonderful in the way of promoting cellular growth and proper scar formation... yes, Comfrey has been a friend of mine for many years. Even with her controversial history... 

And just down the row lives Echinacea – echinacea spp. ~ the leads of this group are often seen in E. purpurea, E. angustifolia and E. pallida. Earls really, in antimicrobial action, being anti-inflammatory, and a large supporter of the immunomodulator committee. Extremely effective when dealing with issues of the upper respiratory tract and when the season is over, they often spend their evenings assisting many a migrating bird.

Miss Melissa – melissa officinalis ~ excels in carminative action, relieving spasms of mind and body. Her fragrance is very notable of lemons and her ability to calm the nerves is simply outstanding. She is delicate of air, but strong and highly productive in her work. Making her a welcomed addition to any occasion... howbeit she does have some binding effects on TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone) sadly, often running interference. 

Ah – here at the gate is Moses, he watches mostly... and though not an herb to meet, but worth a mention and an introduction. Because these cool nights and rainy days have cause him to come calling more often. He has great manners, isn't pushy at all and is not opposed to pat as long as there are no dogs in the area.

That concludes our turn about, I thank you for joining me and I will be looking forward to more turns about Creation in the future.

~ Blessings!

He causes the grass to grow for the cattle, 
And vegetation for the labor of man, So that he may bring forth food from the earth...

~ Psalm 104:14 ~

November 2, 2015

Events of this October

Here I am. This me. Sitting here holding on to hope... and waiting for the answer to come. Waiting for the light to shine on the road beneath our feet... reflecting.

How I love fall, this truly is my favorite time of year. The cooler days, and nights. The rain. The breezes. The decline of ticks and other creepies that make them selves obvious. Fall. Holding the promise of warm nights knitting, snuggled up with floating conversation in the room... and a change of seasons.

Amish eggs ~ $2.00 a dozen

This October started with the joyous fellowship of Sukkot, many hearts wrapped in community... music, dancing, conversation and laughter. Yes, a perfect way to begin my favorite time of year.

Then came the investment of a second vehicle. A fixer upper... this 1984 Ford Pick – up, whom my daughter fondly named Cletis. Cletis needs some love... some actual repairs, but it's a great truck. 

And we paid cash for it...

Cletis awaiting his little repairs and acts of love.

Then came the news... the news that my husband lost his job. I still remember the look on his face when he walked up, I could see it, but I asked anyway... “whats wrong?” He told me. I kissed his face, and smiled... and said “ok” - “we will be just fine”... when he left to take a walk and talk with his Maker, I went to a quiet place and cried my prayers. Knowing our El, sees and hears.

Knowing He is faithful and works in our lives daily!

Our date nights, now that he is home for this season.

In the natural, I wondered how long could we live on four hundred dollars. How far could I make that food dollar stretch...  and was Cletis a wise investment or something in which we jumped to soon.

Only time will tell, and it's now November. 

 "So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. 
Each day has enough trouble of its own.
{Matthew 6:34}

~ blessings!

September 18, 2015

Terms from my Applied Aromatherapy Unit & Collective

In my most recent unit, Applied Aromatherapy, there were some terms given which helped me to better understand the information flying around the internet in the way of aromatherapy and essential oil use. And Wow! There are some really great resources and helpful information out there – but sadly there is just as much wrong information out there too.

Information often shared as fact, but is not... rather these 'would be' facts are based on personal experience and/or anecdotal evidence. Having little to no clinical study to support the claim, and if they do claim clinic support – we must know the types of questions that are being asked during the clinical study to truly decide if the claim is legit. 

Clinical studies - I am finding are a growing passion of mine. Wonder where that may lead...

Anyway back to understanding some terminology:

Classic Aromatherapy – often known as professional aromatherapists, who are trained in a scientific approach to the inhalation or diluted topical application of essential oils. Classic aromatherapy is often combined with another forms of therapy such as massage therapy, however Classic Aromatherapy does not require the use of massage to give treatments. It's focus is on the olfactory system and effectiveness of the inhalation method. This method has been made popular in United States via a variety of professional type organizations, some of whom offer training programs and basic anatomy & physiology along with basic application methods. Often times this approach does not cover the internal use of essential oils.

Popular Aromatherapy - a term used in my text – that describes the rapid growth of aromatherapy made 'popular' by many direct sales companies. Multi-million dollar business that often provide 'educational materials' to their sales associates along with marketing/sales training. Most of the sales associates are not trained professionals and often promote of use of essential oils as harmless – which many are. However this approach has also been linked to multiple reports of injury and harm because of the unsafe recommendations or the use of inaccurate information.

Now keep in mind that both forms of aromatherapy have offered some beneficial avenues to essential oil use, but I am also learning that neither approach fully uses the scientific data that is available.

So, in light of my last unit and what I am learning - what would be a better approach?

Have you heard of aromatic medicine?

Aromatic Medicine – according to my text – includes topical, inhalation and internal use of essential oils, while using the science of herbalism and clinical evidence to determine safe and appropriate application methods. In professional use – it requires extensive education, with a full study of aromachemistry, epidemiology and pathophysiology... along with research methods and toxicology – just to name a few topics of education.

I think I should also mention something else that I read in my text: 

  • Most extensive aromatic medicine programs are taught in European countries and very few aromatherapy instructors in the United States have such education.

So where does that leave me?

Still learning and exercising more wisdom in the use and application of essential oils!

~ Enjoy & till next time - many blessings!
P.S. the terms here were semi condensed from the context shared in my unit. I could by no means share the entire unit in one blog post. But I did my best to condense the point. :)

Notice: this post doesn't contain affiliate links, however I am an approved affiliate with Vintage Remedies and you are welcome to visit them via my link in the side bar if you so choose. Thank you!

Please note that my posts are editorial in nature and are not meant to treat or diagnose any illness. Practice personal health safety. All opinions shared here are my own, and I do my best share accurate information that I am learning in class. Currently - I am enrolled in the course from Vintage Remedies called Advance Herbal Medicine by Jessie Hawkins, so please feel free to head over there if you are interested in what I am learning!

August 14, 2015

Two Names for Everything:

Sometimes the pictures are clear and the words defined, and sometimes they are not. And there are times when the purpose is clear but the paths direction is hidden in a portion of the journey. Not from the state of confusion mind you, but of divine clarity... the steps taken and then the next portion of the path is made clear. This beautiful... fragile... sometimes ugly... strong... life we have been given.

My mind is so full with rotating thoughts...

News came this week, heavy news of a life lost through carelessness... a seventeen year old girl with her whole life ahead of her and in an eye's blink - gone.  Her family shaken to the core. Shocked and broken.

Truly - you don't plan for something like this... 

Being here, to be supportive for a friend... a sister of heart. My mind still reeling with thoughts... this bouncing to and fro. Her life interrupted. The Immune system turned upside down... toxic overload... the barrel run-eth over. A reality in this day and age. Knowing...

... "We are continually exposed to environmental contaminants in the form of petrochemicals, solvents, heavy metals, pesticides, and mycotoxins. It's in our food, air, and water. We become so saturated that we are unable to detoxify"... Patient Information, pg 1

Slowly - I untangle the week behind me. My mind... unraveling like the fibers of skein. Or I - 75. A turn here. A quick left... dive right. Slightly inclined... upward to the Throne.

It's like trying to navigate this city, where they have two names for everything.

 Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
    and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him,
    and he will make straight your paths.
~ Proverbs 3: 5- 6 ~ 

Happy Sabbath!

August 3, 2015

It Came and Went:

My birthday. It came and went... just about as fast as the month came and went for my last post. Ha! What can I say... life is happening! And I am grateful to be living it. Honestly, there was a time – not too long ago – that I was not living my life. But rather just breathing to hold on to the hope that lies within me. But no more... the TRUTH shall set you free!

I have spent the better part of this last year healing from roughly five years of stress. Accumulated Stress. And yes, there is such a thing. And yes, it does {and will} effect your health, your heart and your relationships with others. 

But it is what it is. 

It came and it went. 

And in this I choose to praise HIM.

And all Praises to my El! My Redeemer and Savior. The One who was. Who is. And who will BE. The I AM – who shows His power in my life daily.

He came... which means I went.

So back to this birthday thing. Last year I shared a list of goals... goals are a good thing. They give you something to work towards. Something to gauge yourself by. Yep – goals are. a. good. thing. Some of the goals I posted a little over a year ago have been started and continue to work towards the completion point and some of them have been been placed on the long term goal list.

Goal Update & Review:

  • Living off Grid – this goal has semi been in the real. We currently live in a box trailer, with an outside kitchen and a small camper that serves as our daughter's bedroom. We are not entirely off grid, but our electrical use and hook up is quite limited. We have a composting toilet and wash all our laundry by hand. I had planned and hoped to share more about our living experience with some how to's - but life and time have been more valuable than the screen in this season. Maybe that will change in the next year?
  • Photographing Chickens – No chicken photo's to speak of because we currently do not have chickens, however I will keep this goal on my list for long term and future planning.
  • Master HerbalistWHOOO HOOO! I am in the ten weeks to finish window! This class is wonderful and very hands on... the more I learn the more I want to get my hands in IT.
  • Make my own clothes – I haven't been as faithful in this area, although since we have been here I have made a jumper, three skirts and two aprons. Currently I am in the beginnings of knitting my husband a wool sweater... and dreamin of naturally dying fibers.
  • Go to Israel – I still would like to go and one day I know I will! But I am so thankful that my husband was able to go via that hand of the Almighty. And since we are 'echad' – it was almost like I went too.
  • Learn to Play my Guitar – sadly I haven't touched it since the move. But it still remains a hope in my heart... however there have been plenty of Shabbat's filled with beautiful worship and music to fill my cup – so I have not been lacking in the music area.
  • Grow Food and Sell it – this goal has been placed on hold until after our family completes the honoring of the Shemitah year. A year of Sabbath for the land and our family's spiritual reset.
  • Finish my Tattoo Removal – done. Completed. And - Oh I can not tell you the wonderful feeling I have in my being when I look down and see them gone. My arms are washed clean from them and I am grateful.

Some of my goals were prayers really and while they are still goals or rather hopes of my heart, I know that am not in control of them. Specifically the one of seeing my children get married to GOD fearing spouses. Ultimately it is their choice, but I will do my part to encourage and instruct them in this area. Sharing with them what God's word says and promoting the full understanding of letting Him write their love story. And I trust my Redeemer... 

As I close, sharing some simple birthday reflections from this year. Stay the course. Love God. Be Joyful. Yeshua is Truth. Live for Him and sing His praise for all His provision. He will work ALL things for good to those who love Him. Live this life FULL. 

So what did happen for my birthday this year? 

In Short:
  • Momma blessed me with the Living Language Hebrew Complete Edition course.
  • Hubby blessed me with a trip to Cumberland Gap and a drive through the tunnel.
  • Daughter gave me a perfect coffee mug with biscotti treats and a knitted flower washcloth made by her own hands.
  • Friends poured out written blessings into me – which was really humbling and edifying at the same time. I was really moved by this expression of love.
  • And we took a date to the Cheese Cake Factory and Farmer's Market. That was really fun!

~ till next time. Blessings!

June 29, 2015

Fulling Wool by Hand :: off grid

Felted wool ~ technically this process is fulling and not felting – or rather - its creating a felt fabric out of your knitted creation - but I am not being technical ~ is one of those personal loves of my heart because I enjoy that it is more of an art and not always a science. And every time I felt a project this eagerness wells up inside of me and I can not wait to see how it will really turn out... I love that this technique is so artzy in its nature.

Basically the only control I have is in the created item and the felting process - via the method in/the fiber in which you use... 

In the past I have fulled items in the washer, a semi quick process that yields great results. But now a days... my process is to be man powered and without electricity. It's about twenty five minutes to the nearest laundry mat and the cost of gas and washer use are not conducive to our budget or current living method. So fulling by hand is my option. 

Hot water and agitation are really all I needed along with some time. And behold... I had all three!

My Simple but Effective Fulling Method for Off Grid Felted Creations

 aka ~ Creative Weight Loss Activities

Step One: In a large pot, heat your water... your water needs to be one the quiet warm side, however not so hot that you can not handle your creations.

Here I have some luxury – we are set up to use an inline water heater to heat our water for dishes and cooking, we also have one for showers too! Yes – some things just make other things better all the way around. Which means I have hot water at the flip of a switch... at a nice toasty temp, so I didn't have to heat water on a stove.

Step Two: Toss in your item and agitate – here I used my laundry plunger to agitate the wool item. But before I began this process I did make sure my water pot and plunger worked well together. Thus creating a compact power washer...

The entire process took me about 40 to 45 minutes of actual plunging... stopping every so often to check the water temp. Adding more hot water as needed to keep the water at a nice warm temperature. Also I added a small squirt of organic dish liquid in the beginning to help soften the fiber, but I did not add it each time I reheated the water.

Step Three: After I achieved my desired felted look, I shaped my item and set them out to dry. 

And that was about it. However, I would suggest that you find a place to plunge that is comfortable for your height... if you do not, your back will scream at you later.

~ Blessings!

Shared With: Strangers and Pilgrims Art of Homemaking Mondays # 59

May 25, 2015

Chocolate Orange Matzah Florentines

There are three things that I really, really enjoy. Okay - there are more than three, however the three things I am talking about here today are chocolate, the Feast of Unleavened Bread and essential oils... but not necessarily in that exact order.

Chocolate: my new favorite version is what is known as skinny chocolate... that is if your THM-ing it.The Feast of Unleavened Bread: you can study about it the Scriptures and/or take a peek here.

And Essential Oils: well what can I say except that - Yes! I enjoy them. And Yes! at least some one in our home uses them daily... if not every one of us.

And this is what happens when they collide...

{Image Removed for Compliance Reasons}

The Recipe: Chocolate Orange Matzah Florentines

1 Cup Coconut Oil
1 Cup Cocoa Powder
1/3 Cup Maple Syrup
1 T Vanilla
5 drops of Orange e.o. to start

What to do: Line your cookie sheet with parchment paper, lay out whole pieces of matzah to fill the cookie sheet. Then melt together your oil, cocoa and sweetener. Add the vanilla and your orange essential oil. Stir. Keep warmish while working the matzah. Next: Spread the chocolate mixture over the matzah and add variables if desired. Please in the freezer for five minutes. Flip and Repeat until the needed amount is reach. Break into bite sized pieces and store in freezer until ready to serve.

Essential Oil Note: you may add a couple more drops of orange to achieve the desired taste, but please remember that essential oils very strong and a little goes a looooong way.

The variables:
  • Sprinkle shredded coconut on top...
  • or crushed almonds!

So the next time you need a matzah dessert – give these a try!

~ Blessings!

*This recipe was originally inspired by a friend of mine in which she uses orange extract, and since I use some of my e.o's for cooking/baking as well I opted to travel this road. The results were Yummy and Flavorful! 

May 19, 2015

Grilled or Toasted Peanut Butter & Pecan Granola

Some of you may know that I am currently without an oven as we transition from the camping area to the cabin... which hopefully will be by Sukkot or the end of summer. This season of our lives has created somewhat of a learning curve for me in the way of baking. As my cooking options at this time are over propane... either in the way of a camp chef or a small two burner. Which means my trusty old oven recipes have to be creatively converted or placed on hold. But all is not lost... we have a recipe conversion success story!

Grilled and Toasted Peanut Butter & Pecan Granola

The Recipe:

 3 cups Oats
1/3 cup Peanut Butter
1/3 cup Maple Syrup {or Honey}
1 t Vanilla
¼ t Salt
3 T Butter {or Coconut Oil}
1 cup Pecans {whole or piece}

The Directions:
  • Melt the peanut butter, maple syrup and butter together in a medium sauce pan, add – the oats, vanilla and salt – stir well. Enough to coat the oats.... this is where I test my texture. If it looks too dry I add a little more wet of either butter or maple syrup. Sometimes both. Add the Pecans.
  • Toss this mixture into your heated dutch oven and cover, let it be - over low to medium heat for about five minutes... then check it. Do not leave it alone or you may burn your granola. After five minutes – stir. Repeat for about three times to equal roughly fifteen minutes.
  • Remove your pan from the heat and leave the lid on. Let your granola sit for about ten minutes... stir. Remove lid. Once the granola is cool –  store in the cooler or the fridge.

This process sounds involved, but really I just threw it all in and watched & stirred it every now again. However this recipe is a little more moist than other granola's that I make - which is why I store it in the cooler/fridge.

We were so pleased this worked and that it tasted yummy! Trust me when I say I have had a couple of do overs. {we ate those too} This was served for Shabbat breakfast with home made vanilla yogurt and/or a half cup of raw milk option. 

Perfect for warm spring mornings.

~ blessings!

Shared With: Homemaking Monday's #53 @ Strangers & Pilgrims on Earth

April 18, 2015

Four Easy Ways to add Astragalus to your Diet

Getting to know Astragalus {Astragalus membranaceus} has been so much fun! Did you know that this root is great as an immunomodulator, supporting respiratory functions, it's chemoprotective and calming to the CNS. Astragalus is also anti viral, anti bacterial and anti tumor... it's key constituents are polysaccharides and isoflavones. No known contraindications.

One of the best ways for me to wrap my head around herbal learning is to incorporate into my daily life as much as possible. And over the past few weeks I have playing with a couple of ways to add this herb into our diet - simply because it is that good for you.

 One of those ways is in soup and here is my new favorite version to share:

Chunky Astragalus Kale Chicken Soup

First: in a small sauce pan, place 1 ½ cups of water and 6 pieces of Astragalus root, approximately one inch in length. Over medium heat bring these to a boil and simmer for fifteen minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Next: in a large soup pot add the following... along with a tablespoon or two of coconut oil, and saute until semi soft.

8 cloves of garlic, minced
1 small onion, diced
2 medium carrots, chopped
2 medium celery stalks, chopped
1 inch of grated ginger root

Then add:

1 cup of kale, chopped
4 ½ cups of Chicken Bone Broth/or Stock

Finally remove the Astragalus from the water in which is was simmered, add this water to the soup pot and heat through... about ten minutes. May serve with salt and pepper to taste once warmed to your liking.

  • I also added 1 ½ cups of chopped chicken... either way is delicious.

Astragalus bone broth is made by adding simply adding astraglaus to your bone broth recipe, or you can checkout this recipe for great details on how to make it.

You can also make Astragalus tea by taking about four pieces of root, approximately one inch long and boiling it in two cups of water for 4 to 5 minutes. Strain liquid and allow to cool to desired temp. Add a small touch of honey if needed.

Astragalus tincture is made by taking a pint jar and filling it about half way with dried Astragalus root that has been chopped or pieced as small as possible. Then add vodka or similar 80 proof plus and fill the jar with enough to cover the root by at least two inches. Lid and Label. Store in a dark cool place for about seven weeks, shaking daily.

When your time is up. Strain off your tincture and re-jar liquid. Label and Date. Store in cool dry place out of lighting. Use a teaspoon up to three times a day, as needed in juice, water, or tea. For an extra boost add 1 teaspoon to a cup of your Astragalus bone broth.

How do you like to use Astralagus?

~ Blessings!

Shared With: Strangers and Pilgrims on Earth 

*Please note that my posts are editorial in nature and are not meant to treat or diagnose any illness. Practice personal health safety. I am currently enrolled in the course from Vintage Remedies called Advance Herbal Medicine by Jessie Hawkins, so please feel free to head over there if you are interested in what I am learning!

April 14, 2015

Meet My Total Gym ~ the new milk cow

Howdy Y'all! I would like for you to meet my total gym... she isn't that old and this is her first time as mama - and to milking. Her name is Yaffah and isn't she beautiful!

These first two photos where taken the day before she gave birth...

And though she doesn't belong to me personally, I have loved working with her. Learning together if you will...

This is the day after she gave birth to that fine looking calf, whose name is Aleph... we are currently farm sitting and wouldn't you know... our family has had a lot of firsts over the last week.

Some first time's from this week:
  • Milking a cow without the original owner there.
  • Yaffah is a first time cow mama & the first time being milked - which means that it was the first time I have leaned my head against the side of a cow... and sang to her, rubbed her... talked to her. I have even shed a couple of tears because her udder was so full and we are both so new at this...
  • It was the first time we learned how to semi hobble and the first time I was swatted in the eye with a cow tail... and what ever else was on it.
  • The first time I have named a calf, watched part of the birthing process. Her whole birthing story is actually something that gives me deep shalom. It was perfect... because she did it alone, set apart from the entire farm, nestled in a little patch of trees and soft under grass... totally doing what she was designed to do!
  • It was the first time I actually blended herbs for a new mama cow, hauled alfalfa and had manure flung at me via hoof.

Yes, those are just a few of the firsts from this week. My body is aching and I am seriously in need of a nap... but I would not exchange this week for anything. My heart is full with thankfulness and I am very grateful for this opportunity. And for all the help we have had over the last couple days...

Might I mention... the next time you drink a glass of milk. Stop. And think about the process.

It doesn't matter where you get your milk from... there is a process. Milk doesn't just magically appear. For those of you who are able to get raw milk from a farmer... just give him or her an extra thank you. Please.

~ Blessings!

March 23, 2015

Herbal Body Balm for Stress Induced flare ups

My last assignment included a blending project where I was to design and blend a product for a young adult male dealing with atopic dermatitis that reappears within months of stress. This dermatitis is short lived and disappears within months of the stressor removal... although I have been using this for basic skin hydration.

 My blend included a shea butter and herbal infused olive oil whipped together... along with two wonderful essential oils.

  • Chamomile – anti-inflammatory, nervine, antihistamine and sedative effects
  • Dandelion – has been used historically for eczema 
  • Calendula – anti-inflammatory, eczema, venous insufficiency
  • Tea Tree – well noted for it's benefits on skin irritations,
  • Lavender – relaxing, and anti – bacterial & fungal

How I Made It: I mixed the olive oil and herbs into a glass mason jar and placed the jar in a crock pot with a cloth lining the bottom, under the jar. Then I filled the crock pot water until it reached slightly over half way in level and turned the crock on low. After four or five hours of low heat, I removed the infusion and drained the herbs. Cleaned my crock pot, mixed the desired amounts of herbal infused oil and shea butter and then whipped with a hand mixer. The old fashioned kind! Then I added my essential oils.

Placed the balm in a metal container and allowed the creation to cool. 

Label and Date. 

I do prefer to use the solar infusion method but in a pinch this works for me...

How to Use Options:
  • After bathing, while the skin is still wet, apply herbal body balm/butter and rub into to the effected area. 
  • Apply to effected area as needed, however - note that this blend may leave your skin some what greasy feeling if used via this method and that olive oil may stain clothing.

Balm consistency depends on the amounts of oil and shea butter used within the preparation blending... but the mess that may make is half the fun in learning.


Shared With: Strangers & Pilgrims on Earth The Art of Homemaking Mondays

March 13, 2015

Advanced Botanical Medicine ~ Master Herbalist Program

I just started back to my 'formal' learning again. Yes! I am very excited... and yes, I am really looking forward to working with Vintage Remedies again. The class I am taking this go around is the: Master Herbalist Program... which is explained on their web site as:

 "In this comprehensive program, you will learn how to evaluate the abundance of claims in the health industry to identify and implement evidence-based measures in your home, how to work through advanced home situations, how to utilize rare and specific botanicals, and how to formulate unique products customized for your needs" 

Covering the following topics & concepts... History of Wellness - Evidence Based Natural Health: What it Means; Where to Find it. Foundations of Advanced Herbalism - Immune Function - Digestive Wellness - Probiotics, Antibiotics, Resistance - Botanical Classifications and Taxonomy - Plant Identification - The Skin - Circulatory Health - Respiratory Health - Blending, Dosages, Potency - Toxicology - Endocrine Function and Disorders -The Nervous System - Botanical Safety: Interactions and Contraindications - Adaptogens - Reproductive Systems - Urinary and Muscular System - Applied Aromatherapy - Botanicals During Pregnancy and Breastfeeding - Botanical Considerations for Children - Botanical Considerations for the Elderly - Environmental Health - Nutraceuticals - Epidemiology and Evaluating New Evidence.

My first chapter - History of Wellness is currently marked up with my pink highlighting marker, because there were some key points I wanted to revisit later - along with under lines of point matter I may need for the exam. :)

Herbalism Highlight: many believe herbal medicine began in the Chinese culture, but in reality herbalism began with the origins of human beings - in Genesis - beginning at the same time in history when physical suffering began...

Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: 
teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning.
~ Proverbs 9:9 ~

~ Blessings & stay tuned!

February 6, 2015

A Simple Day:

the seasonal motivation... it's sugaring time in these neck of the woods! And in my mind I look back to season of my life when my Uncle Charlie would place us littles firmly on top of Jock's (his Clydesdale stud) back and there would be our perch for the entire gathering of the tree flowings. I can still feel the rhythmic gate of the ride while the smell of farm was soaking in through my nose. That was one of my favorite times of the year... we were young. Allowed to stay up extra late, stand by a huge roaring fire and in the end we would have some of the best tasting syrup ever.

a voice of my thanksgiving... thank you Abba for placing me in a place that is healing my heart and body. For restoration. Clarity. Purpose. Understanding. Compassion. For life and laughter. For placing me in a place where I can "see" our Messiah. For giving us absolute truth and a spring of living waters flowing abundantly.

my creative corner... contains a pile of  "I am gonna get to that" sewing projects. I have a shirt I am working on, as part of my personal goal to sew all of my own clothes, an apron and a styled smock. My shirt pattern is from the Huichol Wardrobe set offered through Folkwear.

from the pages... reading is slow. I have three books in my line up and two more on a loaned kindle. Yes, reading is slow... I want to read, but right now my days are early and my nights are earlier still.
"Our desires - the things we want - tend to govern our lives and our choices. For that reason, it is important that our desires get formed in a biblical mold."  - a woman's wisdom by lydia brownback

looking out from the front porch... there are a couple of chickens roaming about, having left the confines of the fence, I love to look out and see them doing what chickens do best. Scratching and Pecking. It's relaxing to my soul... hey watching the chickens peck is one of my favorite past times for thinking.

areas of husbandry... we are expecting a birth here on the farm. One of the cows is due sometime this month to have her calf. Miss is looking forward to that experience and will have the opportunity for earning her 'milkmaid' wings.

building community & sustainability... reflecting on a recent 'work crew' day where our family was able to be some hands in a building project for another family. It felt so good. It felt good to see the heart and the concept of community being worked out right before our eyes. It was good to be working together for the brotherhood... to serve those with a need and to be a part of something bigger than 'self'.

from hearth and home... home: laundry. Life happens. Therefore laundry happens. We recently purchased a hand operated wringer, which I love. However I am still learning the nack of washing laundry in a tub and using the wringer in temps below forty degrees... truly I am thankful for laundry day up at the house.

in sowing and reaping... have you every studied the universal law of sowing and reaping? I would encourage you to do so. However this year may not have much to share in way of sowing from a 'planting a garden' prespective as our family is honoring the year of rest with Israel. Maybe I will have something to share as the days unfold...

from the apothecary... (affiliate link included) okay I so need to share this essential oil blend with you, its one of my daughters favorites and it's perfect for those days when studying for the ACT is a little much. This elevation blend is amazing and yes - we use it often... totally energizing and refreshing!

the prepared pantry... a little while back I assisted with some bulk canning, and in doing so I was introduced to a some wonderful rectangle canners. I had not been familiar with these before and let me just say they will be added to our homesteading must have items one day.

encouraging her... so about this ACT. Well, this is what her heart is set upon in this season and right now we are in the best possible position to help her meet this desire safely and still live within our family convictions. I am not sure how this will play out in her life and neither does she at this point... but we are in prayer and taking a supporting position as her parents. Her heart is turned for in being community minded while being mindful of life's long term possibilities, so it's one day at a time right now.

Related: from raising homemakers

~ Blessings!