The Joyful, Simple Life of a Frugal Housewife

I have a little book that was written by Mrs. Child in 1832.  The American Frugal Housewife is surely just as useful today in many senses.  The author almost lost me when she noted that coffee was not economical and could be avoided.  Oh, she’s a strict one, that Mrs. Child.  Her prose is clear and concise and the book is ever fun to read.  Going on two hundred years old, it is a bit of history rolled into a gentle reminder that not that much has changed.

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If you make a dollar, only spend eighty cents.  If you make fifty cents, only spend forty.  The original Dave Ramsey.  Why do all the girls these days need the new bonnets from France when clean, proper dresses and a ribbon will do?  Girls have no home education these days!  In this book she covers everything from cuts of meat (she would wonder about me and my vegetarianism), to how to make custard, and Indian pudding.  She discusses herbs for cooking and all their medicinal values as well.  A new onion will take the pain out of a wasp sting.  Every housekeeping gem that we housewives- even in the twenty-first century- could ever need are in this book.  She would tisk-tisk me for sure.  But in this time and age, I am not too bad.  But there is always room for improvement.  A simple, frugal life is a life of peace.

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The gents installing the meters for the solar panels on our homestead were surprised at how little electricity we use.  Now it can all be generated from the sun.  When you walk through our gate, past the Pumpkin Hollow Farm sign, you will find yourself in a large yard.  Under snow, it looks ordinary, but this spring you will find dozens, upon dozens, and dozens of medicinal and culinary herbs.  This year, enough produce growing to last us eight+ months.

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When you come in there is a wood stove and nice wood floors that are easy to clean.  Plants and aloes and seed starts fill my home.  We read by candlelight and oil lamps.  Twinkly lights are the electric lights.  Piles of books to read, board games, and a tuned piano supply entertainment. We rarely watch television.  In the warmer months we will sit on the porch or go for a walk, all free things.  And blessed time together.

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In the kitchen, home cooked meals are made.  I am finally getting used to not cooking for  all the children.  Just me and Pa and some left for the puppy.  Our root cellar is dwindling but there are still over a hundred jars of produce put up.  There are fresh eggs from the coop.  Cups of herb tea steaming on the counter.

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You will almost always find me in an apron.  They are so practical and keep my long skirts clean.  I make all of our own medicine, prepare our meals, create much of what we need.  I can sew a quilt, make our own soap, brew some meade, put up green beans, bake sourdough bread, make antibiotics, save seeds, use the library, ride my bike, and if I make fifty cents then I shall save ten!  More likely five cents, but we’ll get there.

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Such a good life indeed.

My Interview on the Radio About Herbalism and Homesteading

I had a great, new experience yesterday.  I was on the radio!  I was interviewed about plant medicines and homesteading.

If you want to hear the interview here is the link!

Three Autumn Medicinal Herbs to Harvest Now

20170929_113435This year I was able to harvest over thirty different medicinal herbs from my gardens.  There are three of them right now that would serve you well for the winter if you can find them, and if not, plant some next year!

20170929_114035The first one is Burdock.  There are three kinds of docks; yellow dock that grows in the marshes and on the sides of roads.  Curly dock is the same, it loves willow trees.  I have some popping up in my yard unexpectedly.  Then there is burdock.  They will all work the same.  Burdock has those annoying round burrs.  I harvested mine before their growth.  I planted seeds in the spring and had a beautiful crop.  The roots won’t let you pull them completely which assures that you will have some more next year.  Perennials are a beautiful thing and this perennial could save your life.

Docks have pretty amazing blood cleansing abilities.  They are used to detoxify the body and to kill cancer.  Their long tap roots are eaten in many cultures.  Just chop them up like carrots or parsnips.  They are also available in the health food store at times in the produce section.

The leaves of the burdock are green which tells us that it is specific to organs as well.  They are very nutritious and will make a lovely tea to help cleanse the liver, gallbladder, and kidneys as well as the entire lymphatic system.  I dried mine in a large box because they were so huge.

You can add both leaves and roots to a canning jar with rum, vodka, brandy, etc. and let brew for four weeks but don’t strain it as you want it as strong as possible.  Put one teaspoon in a shot glass of orange juice to take in the mornings as an immunity booster and preventative.  Enjoy the tea with other green herbs like mint and lemon verbena.

20171017_171507Rose Hips contain the highest amount of Vitamin C of any fruit and are specific to Arthritis and as an anti-inflammatory.  They contain anthocyanins for heart health and the prevention of cancers.  We harvested a lot of roses off of nearly-hundred-year old bushes during the year.  I always leave some of the roses.  One, they look beautiful, and two, they will produce hips which contain their seeds and are a delicious fruit.  These can be dried in paper bags and used in extracts or teas.  Or for fun they make a lovely jelly or liqueur.  They take down swelling quickly and taste delicious.

The third medicinal plant is the humble onion.  The onion contains over 150 phytochemicals, quercetin (anti-inflammatory and pain reliever), and saponin (soap to help clean the organs and blood) and is anti-viral, anti-biotic, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-yeast, and kills the flu quick.  Forget chicken soup, if the household is coming down with colds or flu make French onion soup with lots of onions and garlic!

These three autumn plants will keep you healthy, strong, and feeling your best to take on the winter days ahead.

If you prefer to use plant medicines already made you can do so by ordering from my website http://whitewolfherbs.com.  My daughter and I handcraft powerful medicines that we know will work!  You can find the burdock in our Detox and rose hips in our Arthritis.  Thanks for supporting traditional herbalists!

Yea Sustainability! (I am teaching free classes)

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We will be at the Sustainability and Outdoor Living Expo again this year!  We won’t have baby lambs on a leash (maybe next year!) but we will have all of our fabulous medicines, beauty products, and books.  I will be teaching every day right at my booth so come sit in on a free seminar and come visit us!

White Wolf Herb classes and seminars for Sustainability Fair.

Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at 11:00- Herbal Tea Party and Creating a Medicinal Tea Garden.

Learn easy herbs to grow, different designs to create, and the medicinal properties of the herbs. Learn how to properly infuse and taste test different teas!

Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at 2:00- Herbalism 101; Using Your Kitchen as a Pharmacy!

Learn how to turn common herbs and spices in the pantry into powerful medicine.

 Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at 4:00- How to Make a Healing Liniment for Pain, Sprains, and Sore Muscles.

Learn common plants and how to extract them to make an amazing healing liniment you can make at home!

Print off this coupon so they know we sent you!  Yea Sustainability!

 

Trusting Plant Medicine

 

IMG_1987I have a rather unique profession.  A calling, if you will.  I have a knowledge that used to be well known.  There were and always will be the medicine people that know intimately the plants and make most of the medicine for the tribe and community.  However, everyone ought to have some basic knowledge.  The empowering feeling of knowing how to break a fever in minutes or to quickly help a sprained ankle is priceless.  Even more empowering to know how to kill strep in twenty-four hours or to help a cat with a urinary tract infection or a child with a severe burn or….

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There is a lot of fear mongering out there regarding holistic health and herbs.  Don’t take this with that (most of it fallacy, the medical community has no idea what the herbs do; it’s not their fault, they aren’t taught herbalism), herbs that cause thyroid failure (are you kidding me?  Salad causes thyroid issues?!), and then of course there are the folks that come in to my shop to tell me about the ten alternative doctors that have been mysteriously killed off over the past year.  They were developing cancer cures.

With all due respect, there are thousands of cancer cures out there in the form of plants.  Any herbalist worth her tincture bottles knows this.  There is nothing that needs to be reformulated, nothing that needs to be created, it’s all done.  I hear things like (oh, I used to say this too), God created people to discover remedies for ailments.  May I respectfully call BS on this one too.  The Creator doesn’t need us to “fix” anything.  It is perfect as it is.  If you knew all the things I’ve seen healed by plants you would be forever a gardener of medicinal plants.

So, how come folks don’t turn to herbs?  Why don’t they think about herbal cures first?  I convinced a friend to come see me instead of heading to urgent care for a virus.  I could hear the shock from her friends through the facebook screen.  These viruses are easily handled with herbs.  But, I am a rarity.  There are not a lot of people that do what I do.  In fact many herbalists I know will simply send people to the doctor.  The fear mongering again.  The herbs at the store contain little to no medicine.  But there are good medicine people out there.  They know what you need.  They know what to take.  They know the current viruses, what’s going around, what interacts, what works for what.  They know.  There are not enough of them.  And some folks would just rather have someone else do it.  And that is alright too.

My shop is a special place.  A mixture of cedar, sage, sweetgrass, and tobacco wafts lightly in the air.  The medicines glow and show off in the window.  Teas long to be brewed.  A sense of calm and peace will overwhelm you as you walk in.  Spiritual, emotional, and physical healing is at one’s fingertips as they enter.  The herbalist is not the healer.  The plants are.  You have every resource at your fingertips.

I ship medicines internationally and all over the country.  Just contact me and tell me what you need.  I don’t just make medicines.  A huge part of my mission is to train more herbalists.  I have three spots left in my master certified herbalist course starting this Sunday.  I have a hundred dollar correspondence course that is very comprehensive and filled with knowledge on how to help anything and anyone.  It’s already in you.

Plant medicine was here before we were.  In the Cherokee stories, the plants held a council and decided to help the humans.  And so they still do.  How lucky we are.

White Wolf Medicine

http://whitewolfherbs.com

796 East Kiowa Ave, Elizabeth, CO 80107 (P.O. Box 2012)

303-617-3370

Wildflower@sacredowlschool.com

 

 

 

 

10 Ways to Be Happier

Happiness.  Happiness is one of those things that can elude as quickly as it comes.  Particularly now that seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is settling into our bones and spirits, are there ways to assure happiness?  To establish a sort of hardly wavering inner peace?

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Here are some things that can be incorporated into our lives to help make happiness a more prevalent constant.

1. Keep a gratitude journal.  Write down five things each morning or night (Or by golly if it’s that bad, day and night!) that you are thankful for.  I did not think this would work but am amazed at how such a simple act can really change one’s attitude.  It will begin simple and perhaps grumbly or rather broad.  Thanks for my catThanks for my coffee.  I am thankful for my family.  But it will quickly turn into I am thankful for the soft fur of my cat against my cheek.  For the early morning sunrise and the strong cup of coffee to revive me.  For the sweet texts that I receive from so and so… There is much to be thankful for.

2. Meditate in the mornings.  Seriously, meditate for 25 seconds. Whatever.  I look out at the beautiful mountain peak with ribbons of lavender and rose iced across its tall stature and close my eyes.  I think of a word.  Light.  Peace.  Love.  Forgiveness.  I try not to venture off of that word.  Deep breaths.  It changes the whole game.  Yoga is a great practice to add to this.

3. Become self reliant.  Listen, it would have been real easy for Doug and I to fall into the depths of despair for a much longer span of time.  We could have gone on government assistance, picked up our food stamps, and done the whole woe is me for a lot longer.  But instead we became determined.  We have the ability to work and we work hard.  Doug got a job.  He was not able to get back into the well paying field he was in.  He is working for slightly more than minimum wage.  We opened the shop on faith.  After being homeless for seven months it would have been easy to lose faith.  Don’t lose faith.  And don’t lose faith in yourself!  We are buying fresh, delicious food.  We got an apartment.  We gave up a car.  We are making it work.  It would be too easy to keep up the blame game and feel sorry for ourselves.  Happiness reveals itself in self reliance.

4. Become the Queen of Swords.  Okay, this one might require a bit of explaining. I have a dear friend, a Hopi elder, a wise man, who explained to me that I am imbalanced.  When making a decision I will first consider the feelings of not just everyone around but the impact on dogs in Italy and the children of Kenya.  I will worry everything to death.  What will my decisions cause?  I then will consider my passions.  I will finally think of what is the best decision for me and then lastly money.  I need to be the Queen of Swords! he says.  I must balance my decisions.  To make a swift and sound decision that benefits myself is unheard of to me.  But important. We give until we are depleted. We must begin to make decisions based on our own needs.  If we are well and balanced everything else around us will fall in line.  It is NOT our responsibility to ensure happiness and fairness or to take care of the entire world for everyone.  It is only our responsibility to live our life fully, be kind, and take care of ourselves first so that we can care practically and fully for others.

5. Do more of what you love.  Instead of being so busy caring for others, making ends meet, doing chores, doing what we think we ought to be doing, we ought to be coloring, or painting, or gardening, or singing karaoke, or eating out, or hiking, or…. We are not guaranteed 84.5 years.  Each breath, each moment is an opportunity to do what we love.

6. Get outside.  Therapy is cheaper in nature.  Get outside, walk along Mother Nature’s trails, listen to the birds, see an eagle fly, smell a ponderosa tree while the sap is rising, watch chipmunks scatter, smell the rain coming, touch a fuzzy mullein leaf.  Know that our life’s problems are rather mundane and we are connected to all things.

7. Connect with Spirit.  Your idea of God, Creator, or Spirit is exactly right.  Your connection with Spirit is written in each of your cells.  Worship with smudge herbs and a feather, with the Bible, with a candle, with a whisper of thanks, or by picking up trash.  Be connected.  Whatever your version is.

8.  Surround yourself with folks that inspire you, who love you, who make you happy.  Just because you are related to someone does not mean you have to have them in your life.  Our people enter our lives in many ways.  Since we only have so much time to offer, spend it with those that bring you up.

9.  Spend time with an animal.  A pet can truly bring joy and peace.  We take our minds off of ourselves for a moment every time we stroke the soft fur of a purring cat or take a happy dog for a walk.

10.  Watch what you put in your body.  Its mineral and vitamin content, or lack or, it’s source, it’s way of getting to you, all make a difference.  Eating powerful food gives you power.  Our mood can be directly related to the candy bar we ate instead of the avocado.  There are also herbs that help with anxiety and more severe sadness.  Find a real herbalist to make them for you (not a health food store).  St. John’s Wort, Borage, and Lemon Balm are just a few.

These are tried and true ways to add joy to your life.  To ensure happiness.  It is easier to get back to happiness when we are wavering or side tracked once you incorporate these.  Start with just a few.  Add more on.  Do what you can but ensure that happiness becomes a part of your life.  You are worth it.

 

 

 

Sunrises, Gratitude, and Magic Coffee

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Today I unpack our books and photos, writings and my aprons.  I will make this downstairs area emanate life and our love for each other and home.  Tomorrow we will pick up all my plants from the greenhouse at Margie’s and will be officially moved out of her home.

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I owe Margie and Pat a great amount of gratitude for taking us in while in the depths of despair holding nine cats.  We made such beautiful memories over there this summer, flying in Pat’s airplane, feeding the raccoon on the porch while watching bats, enjoying drinks together as the moon rose over the horizon of trees.  Their graciousness held no bounds and I am truly thankful.

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The shop continues to change and form each day.  Each day it looks more and more like how I envisioned it.  And in mad rushes it will be done and ready to open Tuesday with cups of tea and glowing medicines ready to pour.

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But now I sit here as the dawn stretches and rises quietly over the earth illuminating all the autumn splendor and old trees as the cool breeze awakes the upper branches.  My spirit is tired and my back is sore but I sit in peace with my cup of coffee.  These things we hold onto to bring us joy.  A sip of this coffee brings me back to years of holidays, and years of happiness.  Each sip holds magic.  We call it Christmas coffee but I start it in October.  A sweet reminder of all the fun to come, of trick-or-treating, sharing Thanksgiving meals, of the childlike wonder of Christmas and Hanukkah, and the new beginnings of the New Year.

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This year (and last) may have been a wild ride, but all I feel at this moment is peace and intense gratitude.  For the memories with my children and family and friends that are family, for sunrises so beautiful they erase the previous day, and for sips of magic coffee.

In a coffee pot, or preferably a French press, add 2 drops of peppermint essential oil to regular scoops of coffee ( I do like a nice strong roast myself, 7 heaping scoops to an 8 cup press) and brew as you would.

Magic.

Naming the Apothecary (your thoughts, please!)

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Alright, Friends, I need your input and thoughts.  Choosing a name is always fun but so much to think about!  Pumpkin Hollow Farm was named by a Facebook follower and it made us wonder why we hadn’t thought of it first!

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The house sits on highway 86 (mind you, people, I haven’t even gotten the house yet, but I have a feeling this is it!) and is hard to notice but once I get in there and start restoring the building, first with paint to make the white, decrepit adobe look like a rustic yellow/orange one straight out of Taos, and the porch fixed up and the yard worked on, people will probably notice it.  I will (town allowing) put my Pumpkin Hollow Sign out front.  Many folks will recognize that, but I need a business name that sums up what we do.  Pumpkin Hollow Farm is the place, not the industry anymore.

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I have Farmgirl School on blog and facebook, I could call the whole thing Farmgirl: School, Herbal Remedies, Art, Books, Homestead.  That way the links can be matched and it is easy to keep my domains straight BUT is it catchy enough?

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I don’t want to use the word “Apothecary” this time. Even though it is a beautiful name, here in Colorado the pot shops use the name and it would be assumed that that is what I am.  I noticed that lots of people ask what an apothecary is anyway so why not name it something herbal medicines or something herbal pharmacy!

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Our family was of the wolf clan so it might be fun to incorporate the wolf into the name and logo.  I have Sacred Owl School of Original Medicine, then I could have something with a wolf for the apothecary.  Everything could be “on Pumpkin Hollow Farm”.  Too complicated?

Wolf Moon Herbal Remedies, Wolf Pack (symbolize family and community) Herbal Remedies…..

Business and creative ideas welcome.  I appreciate your thoughts.

Something New for Your Bookshelf (my two new books!)

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I have been missing.  What could keep me from writing my blog?  What could make my house look like a tornado hit it?  Dishes piled up in the sink, papers strewn everywhere?  My back has been my enemy.  The enemy of a writer who types too much.  That is not why I haven’t been writing here though, it’s because I have been putting the finishing touches on my two new books.

The first came out Saturday.  The Homesteader’s Pharmacy; The Recipes of Garden Fairy Apothecary made its debut.  All of my life’s work in herbalism thus far.  Every hour of research, every medicine made, every plant wild crafted, every body product recipe, every medicine recipe all combined in a book easily understandable now that I am closing my company.  Secrets I kept from my own students.  Every tried and true recipe recorded and ready to share.

Homestead 101 Cover

The second book will be out by the thirteenth of March.  Farmgirl School; Homesteading 101 will lead new homesteaders on their journey without quite as many trials and errors as we had!  Sections include achieving goals, farming, chickens, ducks, goats, skills, preserving, recipes, and much more!  Excerpts from the blog and additional notes make up the book.

So, now, if you will excuse me, I have a hot water bottle and a sore back to attend to.  And a house to clean!

If you are interested in the Homestead’s Pharmacy simply send a check to Katie Sanders, 7080 Calhan Road South, house 2, Calhan, CO 80808 for $40 plus $7 shipping and handling.  I am excited to share this information with you.  Thanks for reading my works.  I could not be a writer without readers.  Here’s to your health and empowerment!

Making Your Own Herbal Medicines (and why they work better than anything pharmaceutical or in the health food store)

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Would you like to improve your health and not have to go to the doctor every time you get sick or injured?  Would you like to take the fear out of becoming ill?  Would you like to not worry about side effects ever again?  This sounds like an infomercial.  But, these are not empty promises.  Once you start working with herbs, it is hard to go back to medicines with warnings that are scarier than a horror movie.  Even the over the counter drugs are deadly.

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Many folks have tried herbal supplements from the store with varying degrees of success.  “I have tried black cohosh, it didn’t work.” or “I tried Gingko but it gave me paralysis in my right leg.”  The biggest part of my job is not making medicines, but educating.  The herbs in the store are half dead, folks.  If you shove three leaves of something with a bunch of additives into a pill, it isn’t going to work, or at least to its full potential.  How old are those herbs?  How long have they been sitting on the shelf?  And herbs cannot hurt you.  The herbs that are used to make medicines cannot hurt you.

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Tinctures in the health food store are made of 20% extract and 80% glycerin and water.  Why?  Because one can get a lot more product from one vat of extract and it improves the taste.  It also lessens the benefit.  Why waste your time and money?  When people try my medicines for the first time, they are amazed.  Just last week a gentleman bought the Diabetes medicine from me, a bit skeptical, but what the heck he says, and it lowered his numbers in twenty minutes.  The reason is because I don’t cut mine with anything.  I brew these things up to their full potential.  Put them in the full moon for maximum frequency change (just like female cycles, ocean waves, biodynamic farming, the moon changes the frequency of the medicines to match our bodies) and I baby the herbs before they started their job.  Each batch is hand made.  And there is no “herbs take two weeks to start working in the body” here.  Same day.  Now, I’d be so happy if you purchased medicines from me (http://gardenfairyherbal.com), however, I would also like to see you all empowered and whipping up remedies for your friends and family and helping to change the idea that herbs are not as strong as pharmaceutical medicines.  Not true.

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The other thing we have to fight against is myths surrounding herbs.  Herbs are very safe, folks.  I am not going to encourage you to wild craft hemlock or poisonous mushrooms.  You will start out by purchasing herbs from a reputable herb grower like Mountain Rose Herbs and they will not sell you something poisonous.  Neither will a reputable herbalist.  We have no reason to poison people!  So, now that we have established that Gingko does not cause paralysis, (I swear, if a person even stubs their toe while taking an herb, they blame the plant.  Herbs do not harm.  They are God’s medicine made specifically for your body.  The pharmaceuticals were not.  They are only in existence for profit.) let’s learn how to make some medicines.

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Infusion

An infusion is tea.  A nice cup of tea.  The recipe for this is 1 teaspoon of dried herbs to 1 cup of boiling water and let brew for 4 minutes.

Infusions are typically made from herbs that are easy to brew.  A thick bark or root would need to be boiled longer, about forty minutes should you need to do so.  Mint leaves, chamomile, and a thin slice of ginger would get rid of heartburn in minutes.  Catnip, chamomile, and skullcap would help someone relax enough to sleep.  St. John’s Wort, borage, and rose petals will help stop a panic attack but also stop the blues.  You could blend herbs and use 1 or 2 (I like mine a little stronger) teaspoons in a tea strainer to make the tea or just use single herbs like lemon verbena or thin shavings of willow bark.

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Extract

An extract is herbs that have had their medicinal benefits extracted in alcohol.  Have you ever made a plum cordial or chokecherry liqueur?  Same concept.  The alcohol takes on the flavors (unfortunately in the case of some herbs!) and medicinal benefits of the plants that are sitting in the booze.  Place 1 part plants (dried or fresh) and 4 parts alcohol (not Everclear!  Use Vodka, Gin, Rum, Brandy or the like) in a canning jar.  Sit this in the window sill for 3 days.  Shake, admire, take pictures, these things are gorgeous!  Sit out of the sun (but not necessarily in the dark).  Then on the full moon put it back in the window sill.  Letting it brew for 4 weeks is great.  It is ready after 2.  A dosage is 1/2 teaspoon for tonics (brain stimulants, energy, heart tonics, daily herbals…) and 1 teaspoon for sleep medicines, mild pain, etc., and upwards of a tablespoon for severe pain.  You don’t have to worry about overdosing and even small children can take this, just halve their dosage.

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Syrup

One could make syrup out of lots of things but let’s do a syrup from honey.  Put 1 part dried herbs to 2 parts honey in a sauce pan and heat over medium-low heat for twenty minutes shaking pan regularly to mix and keep from burning.  When this is done you will see that the herbs are drenched in honey and softened, the color of the honey may have changed, and you can smell the herbs.  Strain.  Now, to make it a syrup, just cut it with a little apple cider vinegar or brandy.  Or leave it the way it is and put in tea.

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You have the ability to heal up your own self and family with the help of medicines that have been around before we were even!  Have faith in what nature has provided.  We have even helped heal broken bones in two weeks, helped get rid of staph infections in one day, helped keep cancer at bay.  Are you interested in becoming an herbalist?  I have a school for those of you that want to take this further.  Correspondence courses are available as well.  But, in the meantime, for all of us, we can simply make a nice cup of tea, an extract, or a syrup with great ease and effectiveness.