The Disease of Busyness and the Detox Bath

It has been over ten years since I was this sick.  I am an herbalist.  I make the most effective medicine I know of.  I eat well and try to exercise.  I don’t get sick!  My body means business this time.  It wants me to sit down and listen, and hasn’t really given me much choice in the matter.  I have been having colorful dreams (maybe because of all the valerian), and the theme is pretty clear.  Hit them brakes, Sister.

lake

For as long as I can remember, I do as much as possible in a day.  It is my worth.  No one else is going to do it.  It is my job.  It is normal.  To-do lists and packed days of…the same housework, the same chores.  What, just what, would happen if a client came over and the kitchen floor was dirty?  Would they think poorly of me?  That my house wasn’t sanitary?  That I wouldn’t be able to do a Medical Intuitive Reading properly because I haven’t dusted?

journal

I do things with such intensity.  The same intensity that I put into gardening, pursuing a new venture, getting the housework done, is the same intensity that I put into having a cup of tea, or reading a letter.  Fast.  Get it done, check it off my list.  Why?  Because I can’t remember what it is like to just move at a slower pace.  Most everything I think has to be done is self imposed.

November was a very trying month.  Actually, autumn, was very trying.  A lot of death and loss.  I got weakened from stress.  If I wasn’t going to stop the insanity, my body would make me.  There are so many things I do to try to prove that I am a good mom, prove that I am good at my gifts and my work, prove that I am a good wife, prove that I am a good friend, prove that I got this.  I am every woman.

The past few nights Doug checks to see if I am still breathing as I sleep.

I have missed December.  I have had to cancel numerous consultations, a sleepover with my granddaughter, two weeks out of my new granddaughter’s four weeks of life, zoo lights, Santa Claus with my girls.  I feel beaten and bruised from coughing.

Something’s gotta give.  Listen, friends, we have to start listening!  We don’t have to do everything to keep everyone from being disappointed.  We don’t have to work so hard.  To drink our tea so fast.  This intensity, drive hundreds of a miles in a week, prove that I am worthy, to-do list madness must stop.  I don’t remember how.

Balance…elusive word.  Choose what I want to do and give plenty of space in between for tea and a bit of reading.  What can go?  What should stay?  “Every time you say yes to something, you say no to something else.”  I have been saying “no” to my peace of mind and my health as of late (or for decades).  I’m listening now.

The disease of busyness affects many of us.  I hope this will inspire some of you to put down the to-do list and re-evaluate.  We are worthy.  It’s time for us to settle down and smile now.

untitled

Feel Better and Out With the Old Detox Bath

While bath is filling with nice, hot water, pour in 1/2 cup of baking soda, 1/2 cup of sea salt, a few drops of bubble bath or organic dish soap.  A few drops of rosemary, eucalyptus, lavender, and orange essential oils (or your choice, go easy on the “hot” oils).  A great drizzle of olive oil.  Light a candle, play some nice music.  Don’t rush.  This blend is very alkalizing and soothing to muscles and detoxes tissues.

 

How to Make a Rich Skin Salve for Super Dry Skin

I have told you before; it is dry here.  Not just dry, like you might need some lotion and lip balm, it’s eczema, skin itching, nose bleed dry here in Colorado.  I love to travel places with humidity.  But, my home is here.  In the winter, lotion doesn’t cut it, even though I make the most fabulous lotion, I need something stronger in the cold, dry months of furnace and wood stove and zero percent humidity.  Last year I showed you how to heat infuse herb oils in the crock pot to keep in the bathroom for after you shower.  This year I want to show you how to make a really great thick skin salve that can be used on cracked heels, finger tips, dry patches, or if you live in the desert, all over your body!

It’s quite simple, really.  In a wide mouth quart jar add 2 Tablespoons each of calendula flowers and comfrey leaves and 1 Tablespoon of lavender and/or roses. (Try online at mountainroseherbs.com or at your local health food store.  Next year grow them!)

Jpeg

Now pour in 2 cups of olive or sunflower oil.

Put jar in saucepan and pour water in pan to half way up jar.  Bring to boil.  Make sure no water jumps in the quart jar.  Double boil the jar of oil for 45 minutes.  (You could place it in a sauce pan directly and heat on medium low for 20 minutes, stirring often,  but you really risk burning it.)  I like to use a chop stick to stir every five minutes or so.  Keep an eye on your water level!

When the oil is infused, strain the herbs out through a fine sieve and put oil in a clean, dry, wide mouth pint jar.  Add 1.5 ounces of beeswax, emulsifying, or candelilla wax to oil.  Heat in double boiler again until wax is melted.  Stir with a chop stick often.

When completely melted, you can add 30 drops of lavender essential oil, or leave it as is.  Stir with chop stick once more and let cool on a towel on the counter until set.  Do not cover until set.

20181207_083410

The salve lasts for years but you will use it up in a month if you live in Colorado!  Wishing you warm cups of tea and perfectly moisturized skin this holiday season, my Friends.

You can find many recipes for salves and herbal medicines in my book, The Homesteader’s Pharmacy. 

Or just make it easy on yourself and order from our family apothecary, WhiteWolfHerbs.com

 

Release and the New Perspective

I thought I would cry when the razor came on.  But instead I found myself laughing the rest of the day.  Joy and mirth followed me in awe and shock and relief.

20180405_155634

Struggles, burdens, fifteen hair colors, and my ego fell to the ground.

Release.

 

Mama’s Makeover; Unfrumped (part 2)

Twenty pieces.  But, as is most cases in homesteading, we can make do.  I bought ten new pieces on the cheap at the mall because there are some great sales going on because everyone is still broke after Christmas.  I had  four more of the pieces.  And I will for sure be picking up some wrap around espadrilles for spring.

20180206_181633
My husband said that if he hadn’t seen me working on this page he would have thought it was a stock photo!  Sweet man…

Lesson 1: Don’t be afraid of color.  A pair of maroon jeans may seem like it won’t match anything but you will be surprised.

These two looks are comprised of the jean jacket, blouse, jeans, and ballet flats.  Then a comfy, silky v-neck, and long cardigan.

Lesson #2: Don’t be afraid of florals.  Florals are really versatile because of how many colors they contain to match.

mama1

Lesson #3: Think outside the jean box.  Jeans are miserably uncomfortable on me.  I am 5’10” and they just don’t make comfy ones for tall girls.  These are super stretchy and soft and feel great against my skin.

These two looks have the blue jeans, the off shoulder sweater (we noticed that tag on the sweater later.  This is real life, folks.), and flip flops (that the dog ate after the shoot) and then the other floral blouse with jeans and heels.

Lesson #4- Get you a “hot damn” dress.  There is a flattering style out there for everyone.  This one is stretchy and super comfortable.  It could be dressed up with a faux fur jacket and heels or perfect with ballet flats and a jean jacket.

DSCF9815

I love that feminine florals are making their way back from the time of Laura Ashley and original Waverly.

Lesson #5- The jean jacket is still king….I mean, queen!  It goes with everything, goes everywhere, lasts forever, keeps the chill off, keeps the cool on.

My daughter, Emily, is a great photographer.  I am thankful that she trekked all the way out here (an hour and a half from her home) to make her mama look fabulous.  This particular shot made me realize that yoga and veganism look pretty damn good on me and I am not sure why I cover myself with fifteen layers of clothes.

Hot mama

You know, it didn’t take me but two minutes to throw some gel into my wet hair or to put on some cruelty-free makeup.  I don’t use foundation or powder, just some eye makeup and a slick of “lips” as Maryjane refers to lipstick.

Maryjane and grammie

My work isn’t glamorous, I teach herbalism and make tinctures.  I feed chickens and write my blog in my pajamas.  I don’t want to get new clothes dirty.  I have a big, muddy dog.  But these clothes wash up just the same as my others.  I felt myself standing a little taller in soft jeans then I would in sweats.  A little lipstick makes all the difference in how old my smile looks.  I got lots of sweet messages about how I am beautiful on the inside.  It is amazing how we approach the world and our day when we look and mirror and see how beautiful we are on the outside too.

We were looking for frumpy pictures of me on my husband’s phone.  When he sent them to me he titled them, “Beautiful”.  He is a keeper for sure.  But for me, I think I can take on the world and achieve my goals a little better with some cute soft jeans and pink lipstick.

bandw

 

Mama’s Makeover and 20 Items (part 1)

images8Y6BE03A

I was getting a pedicure yesterday when I saw myself through the young woman’s eyes rubbing oil on my feet.  “So, a homeless lady came in today…” I could hear her tell her friends later.  I looked down at my ensemble, pieces of identities past and mix-matched, in a horrifying realization that I forgot to buy clothes somewhere along the line.  I looked down and saw the long, faded skirt, the dingy apron, the so-worn-it-is-now-black cream flouncy slip that peeks from beneath, the two t-shirts that don’t match so I didn’t have to wear a bra, and holy leggings underneath to cover that I didn’t shave my legs.  I felt like apologizing.

dress

I went home and looked at my closet and realized that everything was holey, dingy, old, gonna fix that soon, it doesn’t fit but someone just gave me that, that was grandma’s!, or I haven’t worn it in twenty years, all on hangers.

When I was in my early teens my aunt would have been in her late twenties and she was gorgeous and young and dated drummers.  She always told me how pretty I was and one of the compliments in my life that stands out the most came from her.  My Aunt Karen told me that she had never met anyone that could take a few pieces of clothing and make them into so many different outfits!  I didn’t have a lot of clothes, mostly hand-me-downs, but I did seem to have a gift with combinations.  It has been virtually impossible for me to follow what I am supposed to wear.  Everything on the scene is always just a little boring for my taste (please don’t make me wear yoga pants and a t-shirt!).

20180206_181633

PMSy, cabin fevered, and a bit sleep deprived, I sat down to draw out a design for clothes that I wanted to wear, the look I wanted to show the world, the way I wanted to feel.  The schlumpiness must go, for god’s sake.  Inspired by European designs (my husband and I watch a lot of foreign films), and pulling a little from the 1980’s (thankfully it’s all coming back again), and my sister-in-law’s Cabi clothing line she represents that I can’t afford, I put together twenty items that could make upwards of a hundred different combinations.  Just because I am home most of the time now doesn’t mean I have to look homeless, frumpy, or ten years older than I am.  And for goodness sake, find a bra that fits!

20180206_203639

Coming home from work to find me in the state I was in my husband was obliged to take me to the mall.  I would have gone to the thrift store but then I would be back to square one.  I could probably find a few steals but I may just end up with an old, dingy wardrobe again.  Early February means big sales.  The big ticket item was fifty dollars, a new jean jacket.  The arm is falling off of the one I have been wearing for years.  I had some of the pieces like a mini skirt and ballet flats.  A few more pieces I will pick up later, like the flowey skirt and wide belt that I guess is still finding its way back from 1988.  I got ten new comfortable pieces for just under $200.  Tomorrow I will show you what items to get and how to pair them.

Spring is coming.  Life is short.  We deserve to feel beautiful in our own skin.  If we can’t be nudists we may as well have cute clothes on the cheap.  My daughter is coming over to do a photo shoot for me.  I am going to go shave my legs and put mascara on, y’all.  Photos of this beautiful clothing line and restored Mama coming tomorrow…

How to Make a Nourishing, Infused Oil for Dry Skin

It is so dry around here that I do believe a stale cracker blowing across the desert in a windstorm has more moisture than my skin has right now.  Colorado is always dry-most of the state is high desert- but winter is the worst!  It is time to make a nourishing infused oil and calm that itching down.

20180128_075102

A small crock pot is perfect to keep in the bathroom plugged in.  After the concoction is infused in the crock pot, you merely have to turn it on warm as you get into the shower.  Or pour a bit into the bath.  Use on lips, hands, face; the whole body will just absorb it with fervor.

You can easily just use the oil as is.  In Ayurveda sesame oil is used.  Olive oil is a natural sunscreen and has a long shelf life.  But I am more of a sunflower girl, myself.  Rich in vitamin E and oleic acid, sunflower oil is nourishing and absorbs easily.  I am also an herbalist so I infuse some medicinal herbs into my oil.  It makes it all the better.

20180128_074941

In 32 ounces of sunflower oil poured into the crock pot, I added a small handful of roses, calendula, mullein leaves, and lemon verbena.  I let that infuse on low for a few hours.  The herbs are dried so they won’t mold and sunflower oil lasts easily two years.  Other herbs that might be nice are lavender, pine, or geranium.

20180128_075348

No need to strain.  I use my fingers to apply but you could use a small sponge.  This time of year the oil absorbs faster than you can apply it so be liberal and feel great.

Farmgirl Fashionista

Jpeg

In a world of jeans and yoga pants I suppose I stand out a bit.  I think folks are both mesmerized and baffled by my attire.  I was at the library last month and a mom came up to me, big eyes, all excited, and asked, “Is there going to be story time?” Heck if I know.  I looked down at my layered skirts, apron, old fashioned boots, and remembered my Santa hat and realized she thought I was in costume!

Maryjane wears her apron around with me and it is not uncommon for us to be asked if were just in a parade or festival.  Do we bake?  Why on earth would we be parading around as such?  Well, let me explain.  Let’s go through the elements of the Farmgirl attire.

fashion-2

#1 Long skirt- This is important because I am too tall to find jeans that fit right.  I never stop moving so jeans aren’t exactly comfortable.  A long skirt is comfortable and practical.  Ever since Maryjane was about twelve months old she hides under my skirts.  Her hands wrapped around my leg, she giggles thinking no one can see her, her little feet sticking out.  As she gets taller and older I know this is limited now and I relish feeling her cold hands on my leg, that giggling, her security from the world hidden next to my leg.  It is a very maternal feeling and I know all too well she will grow out of it soon.  (I buy my skirts at the Elizabeth Celtic Festival.  It is a rather simple pattern that uses elastic or string to cinch the waist.)

#2 Slips- In a world of too tight skirts and panty lines, I do still love the look of a beautiful cotton slip.  Mine has a long swath of eyelet around the bottom.  It is feminine and beautiful.  I also wear a full skirt under my regular skirt as well.  Why?  Well, I am cool in the summer with the layers, and warm in the winter with the layers.  It makes my dress swish.  It is lovely and modest and sexy all at the same time.  And at my age, I don’t care what the style is.  I like the old fashioned look.

me-and-baby

#3 Apron- If you do not wear an apron each day how do you find your phone and keys?  Mine would be lost in my purse, possibly forever.  I also can carry a tissue, my to-do list, and a few flowers I harvested.  The original reason for an apron was to cover a woman’s dress, for she probably only had two, one for every day and one for church.  The apron is easier to wash and keeps clothes cleaner, meaning if you haven’t traipsed through mud, you can hang your skirt back up. (Mine were made by an Amish woman and her daughters, a neighbor of a blog reader.  Some of mine I made, or were gifts, or hand me downs, and some really quite old that belonged to Kat’s grandmother.)

#4 Old fashioned boots- Stickers, weeds, rain, snow, cold or hot weather, farming, shoveling, and a cute addition to any farmgirl attire.  (I got mine at Big R.)

We farmgirls have lots to do, from taking care of the homestead, cooking for folks, farming, and for me, being the local folk healer, so wearing beautiful, comfortable clothes is just one perk of being a farmgirl.

The Home Practice

yoga5
This is not a photo of me. I am usually in pajamas doing yoga with my cats.

I was always the last one to be chosen for a team.  It was disappointing for kids to see my height and seemingly athletic limbs then to witness my ability.  I can dance, that is about it.  I get a stomach cramp running, hurt my wrist weight lifting, daydream enough to get hit by a ball, and couldn’t catch one to save my life.  I do notice though that if I do not do any exercise my back starts to hurt, I am more fatigued, and long intervals between workouts cause any good work I did to unravel.

I am brilliant at creating ideas and medicines and magic but having so many ideas at the same time does tend to make me flighty.  A personality trait I doubt will leave me.  I need a workout that will keep me focused.  I also need a workout that I can tailor if my old knee injury or sciatica flares up, or the nerve damage in my toe from ballet kicks in, or I slept wrong and my neck is out of whack.  I also do not need to compare myself to fit twenty year olds.  I also don’t particularly like leaving the house if I don’t have to.  So, the very best practice for me (and I don’t wonder for you too) is a home practice.

We know exercise is absolutely imperative to cardiovascular, lymphatic, and skeletal health.  Hormones are improved, mood is improved, and a good booty are all reasons to get our cute selves into the living room!

I am a huge advocate of yoga.  There are many types of yoga and lots of videos that can be checked out a week at a time from the library.  I love all types of yoga.  I never feel like I want a serious, back breaking, sweat inducing workout.  Yoga makes me focus so I don’t fall on my head, effectively clearing my mind and making me feel calm, but I also get a much better workout than I think I am because I like the feel of stretching, dance motions, and the feeling that I am connected to nature though movement.  I stand up straighter, feel stronger, and am more flexible.

meditation-beach-2
This is me, I would LOVE to be able to do yoga on a beach each day. I guess the back yard works too.

Yoga also encourages you to slow your mind, meditate and send out your prayers for the day.  Breathing regulation and the body moving in natural ways seems to me to be the very best and a very natural form of exercise.  It can be done anywhere and can be done with or without a video, and can be altered to the body’s desires for the day.

Walks in the park and swimming, hiking in the mountains or a quick jog are all lovely but when the desire to stay in one’s jammies hits (every day) we can always roll out the yoga mat in the living room and get an effective and invigorating workout.

 

This One’s For the Girls

No really, this one’s for the girls…

pads

Homesteading women have many things in common.

One, we care about economics.  There is no way we could live this lifestyle if we weren’t frugal.  We rather like being creative in our endeavors to recycle and reuse.

Two, we care about the environment.  Half the reason we turned to a homesteading lifestyle is because we care about the earth and see her many finite resources being used and trash building up.

Three, we care about health.  We pride ourselves on knowing herbal remedies and leading a healthy, clean lifestyle.

Four, we are women.  Therefore we have moon cycles.

I first read about the detriments of conventionally made feminine products in the Newman’s Own Organic Guide to a Good Life book by Nell Newman.  I had never thought about the sheer cost of these items.  Nor did I consider that they decompose at the rate of diapers.  As in, our great, great, great, great, great…..grandchildren are going to be a really irritated with us!  And the bleach and other chemicals used to make feminine products could be a big reason for the many women’s issues we face today, from hormone disruptions, cysts, fibroids, and cancers.

Niki was reiterating all of these things to me when I met her at her booth at the Pueblo Holistic Fair.  I have read about reusable pads but was skeptical.  I told her without hesitation that I about bleed to death and I wasn’t sure these would work.  She smiled and said they will.  If my body is detoxing, the plastics, bleach, and chemicals from feminine products are going to make my body work harder to detox them too!  I bought a set of her Liddle Rags.  They are made of layers of soft flannel, cloth diaper material, and one side is waterproof fleece.  Snaps secure them.

Wow.  Is all I can say.  Two months of easier cycles.  Comfort.  My cervix was really hurting before.  It doesn’t anymore.  Cramping is less.  Period is lighter.  How is that possible?  Was I just poisoning myself each month?  They are easily washed and very affordable.

Her Facebook page is http://facebook.com/LiddleRags if you want to message her or see what she does.  Better health, save money, and lighter footprint on the earth?  That is a homesteading good thing!

Food Fights; So What is the Perfect Diet?

 

dinner-3

Eggs are bad!  Eggs are now good!  Meat is bad!  Only factory farmed meat is bad!  Meat is good!  Grains are bad!  Whole grains are good!  What?!

Let’s face it, with so many opinions out there and research proving whatever makes the most money, we can find pros or cons on any diet out there.  So let’s look at it practically.

dinner-2

#1 Grains- The gluten free fad has gone way overboard in my opinion.  First it was fibromyalgia, now gluten free.  One gal told me she became gluten intolerant due to a car accident.  Ok, so let’s stop blaming our health on one sole ingredient.  I think we can all agree that donuts are not really a part of a good diet.  Super processed wheat is glue in the intestines.  I get it.  But grains have been around since Mesopotamia.  Everything is color coded in the antioxidant realm, and whole grains do their part to heal the digestive lining and is a valuable fiber and protein source for the body.  The antioxidants in brown plants are specific to killing cancer.  Don’t throw out the whole grains!

dinner

#2 Meat- Not sure if I completely go for the idea that we are natural meat eaters.  Our canine teeth really wouldn’t help us sans weapons trying to catch and kill a rabbit.  Or eating it raw.  And let’s face it, without a weapon a deer could kick our ass.  Truth.  However, my ancestors are probably shaking their heads at me a bit whispering under their breath, “You are going to starve…”  I also know they didn’t eat meat every day.  Nor did their animals eat GMO grain before death or die a stressful, horrifying, horror movie ready death.  I don’t often crave meat but sometimes I do.  Learning to listen to the body is key.  I am not sure about all the processed ingredients in the meat substitutes, so a little farm fresh meat when I crave it is probably alright.

fruits_and_vegetables_a_collection_of_picture_167168

#3 Vegetables- First choice, organic.  Think it’s a scam?  Grow your own, find a local farmer, go organic.  Even a little drift from other fields is not as bad as the full onslaught of chemicals on our food.  I have customers tell me they cannot eat vegetables with all seriousness.  Cruciferous vegetables really get people going.  If vegetables are causing gas and other discomfort that signals us that the body is extremely toxic.  Eat more!  Vegetables are the most essential part of a diet.  Especially greens.  Every cell repairing antioxidant comes in plant form.  Juice Plus supplements are not going to cover your bases.  Green smoothies, fresh juices, lots of color in our dishes, that is the magic elixir for health.

#4 Fruit- “Can’t have fruit, it has sugar.”  I have heard this a lot.  It contains a totally different type of sugar than processed sugar cane or the poisonous chemical fake sugar.  It does not cause a crash or mess with insulin levels.  Fruit contains many antioxidants that are specific to parts of the body to help repair and invigorate.  Fruit is good!

#5- Alcohol, caffeine, sugar- A gentleman in my shop told me that his new year’s goal is to eliminate all alcohol and caffeine from his diet.  I am no fortune teller but I could see a good binge in his future!  I said, “How about one or two cups of coffee in the morning and one drink at night?”  Moderation.  Sugar.  Hey, one teaspoon of sugar in your coffee is not going to kill you.  Raw sugar actually has quite a few minerals in it.  And that tiramisu?  Share it, enjoy it, savor it.  Just not every day.  Life is meant to enjoy.  A bit of common sense comes in handy.  What a shame that we forgot how to eat.  Forgot how to grow our food.  What happened to us?  Time to take back our human wisdom about food.

I guess the key here is trusting your own body over the “research” one can find online.  What does your body want?  Barley over Bisquick.  Organic chicken once a week over fast food.  Does it feel nourishing as you are buying it?  Does it feel nourishing as you prepare  it?  How does your body feel after you eat it?  Create your own research.  No more food fights!  Let’s just eat well, preferably with friends and family, and enjoy our year to come, nourished and well fed.