A Summer Herb Walk (and soothing liniment recipe)

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Now is a great time to take a summer herb walk.  Your first aid herbs await.  The skies have been so bright blue and warm and the evenings chilled with rain that the plants are overflowing with medicine and vigor.

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Our first stop is at the mullein plants.  This is one of our favorite herbs.  Every few days Doug and I head out to gather the yellow flowers from the top of the stalk which easily pop out in your fingers.  These are put in a paper lunch bag with a few holes punched in it that is clearly marked Mullein.  Herbs do tend to look alike once dried!

We use the mullein flowers for a couple of different things.  They are excellent for lungs.  They are anti-viral as well as soothing to the bronchial tract and the lining of the lungs.  They are invaluable in asthma remedies and in cold medicine.

They are also a mild pain reliever, especially excellent for animals and children.

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The leaves are very soft and when put in an extract or tea form it becomes gelatinous.  This effect is called demulcent and acts like a blanket, if you will.  Once consumed it helps cover nerve endings that are misfiring for pain (so a great supporting actor in pain medicines), used to settle the stomach and help with ulcers since it creates a covering over the lining of the stomach.  Similarly, it also creates a soothing lining on the lungs when a hacking cough arises.

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The humble Christmas pine tree holds in its boughs a myriad of medicines.  It is a strong pain reliever for strains, sprains, and breaks used topically and also speeds healing.

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Yarrow=Blood.  Should one fall whilst running through the woods on a fine summer day and obtains a wound will find yarrow to be most helpful.  Simply crush the flowers in the hand and apply to the wound to stop bleeding.

Yarrow stops bleeding externally whereas it keeps blood from clotting internally making it a fine heart medicine and ally in varicose vein and other blood related extracts including blood cleansing remedies.

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Yucca abounds and is a much desired component in any pain relieving remedy for internal or external use.  Yucca root is a wonderful anti-inflammatory.

The leaves and roots can be boiled to release the saponin which is essentially soap.  Taken internally as a tea or when used in extracts the saponin cleanses the organs and acts as a tonic while decreasing inflammation and pain from arthritis and other inflammatory diseases.

A Summer  Herb Liniment (for strains, sprains, and other aches and pains externally)

Combine in a one quart canning jar a piece of pine 4-6 inches long, 3-4 inches wide.  Just shove it in there.

Add a 3 inch long chunk of yucca root

Add 2 Tablespoons of mullein flowers and two smaller mullein leaves.

Add one head of yarrow

And one cup of mint.

These herbs can be dried or fresh.

Fill jar leaving one inch head space with vodka.  Replace lid and mark jar with ingredients and date.  Place in sunny window.  Liniment will be ready in 2 weeks.  Should you come across comfrey you can add that too and the liniment will help heal breaks in record time!  I do not strain the liniment.  The stronger the better.  The shelf life is forever thanks for the vodka!  Apply with a cotton ball or flat strips of an old cotton t-shirt.  This remedy can be used for animals as well as children and adults.

 

Thermoses and Wood Stoves (keeping warm on a homestead)

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We survived the severe cold snap.  Thirty degrees feels like a heat wave now.  For a time I was tempted to give up the whole darn homesteading dream but after an electric blanket fix, a few glasses of wine, and a near nervous breakdown, I rethought it and we have determined that we truly love living in the country with all of our animals and this was just one tribulation to figure out.  My cousin reminded me that I could manifest another wood stove and Doug mentioned that I would be a lot happier if we just had heat.  The bitter cold made everything seem so desperate.

So new manifestations in the process:

Somehow be able to afford and put in a wood stove in the main part of the house.

Move the animals closer to the house.  I miss my chickens and goats.

I would like to add sheep, donkeys, and horses to the farm.

We’d like to be able to afford to buy this place at some point.

We will not get discouraged with making less money.  I have a gift of healing and it is my calling.  This is what we are meant to do and we will always get by.

Have a little more faith and purchase more wool sweaters at the earliest convenience!

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A homesteading necessity, especially when it is cold, is a good old fashioned thermos.  The old thermoses were well insulated and hold heat amazingly well.  In fact, I emptied a half full thermos of coffee the next day into canning jar to store in the fridge for iced coffee and it was steaming still!  I couldn’t believe it!

The newer thermoses made of aluminum don’t do as well.  If you see a thermos at the antique or thrift store, grab it!

We use a French press to make good, strong coffee, but it will go cold if we don’t drink it quick and we like to savor our brew.  We transfer it to a thermos and have good, hot java all morning long.

A good thermos is great for road trips or just a trip to the library.  Hot tea, apple cider, or coffee at the ready helps us stop the constant drink stops and helps us save money.

So next time you see a vintage thermos, don’t let it pass you by!  It’s a homesteading necessity!

 

Transition, Exhaustion, and God’s Great Canvas

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We are moving to our dream house.  This is the scene looking across the goat pens and chicken coop.  It is breathtaking and inspiring.

We are so very tired, I’m afraid.  We have been taking loads out to the new house every day along with our regular farmer’s markets, farm chores, and household chores, and fixing up the new house.  I have great muscles I haven’t seen in some time and even though we are fatigued, we can see the end of the our current transition.

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The end of this transition has been a long year full of more friend’s passings and animal losses (another friend and my favorite cat this week) and this year has been ever so arduous.  It has been full of fantastic joys though as well.  Like being able to watch Maryjane so much and having such a close little bond with her.  Like finding the exact homestead we prayed for.  Our son getting married, and our daughter graduating.  Watching them all work and grow up and find their passions, healthy and beautiful children.  The homestead angels that have come to our rescue out of the blue.  Friends that have taken time to come help us paint.  To help us move a load or two to the new house.  To help us finish tasks that have us exhausted.  To come teach us how to use our stove.  Our friends are many and we are so blessed.

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I am looking forward to being able to sit on this bench, perhaps with a cup of coffee and a writing book, or maybe a sketch book, and exhale.  To look out upon this amazing canvas and breath in the beauty and rest quietly and whisper words of thanks.