Friday, November 30, 2012

PHARMACY FRIDAY - Lavender for Winter Ills

It seems that there are more viruses and ills going around right now than usual. Some of them this year are also more aggressive than usual, so it seems. I have kind of lost count as to how many different ones are going around simultaneously just this month alone.

I don't know about you, but I really get tired of taking so many synthetic/commercial medications to combat all of those Fall/Winter viruses and their complications. Sometimes, the side effect can be even worse than the actual virus! Then you have to try and heal up from the virus AND the medications. Not to mention, we build up immunities to them and, after time, they often don't work as well as they once did, if at all. No fun!

As you know, I prefer to use NATURAL REMEDIES whenever possible. There are very few, if any, side effects to them, and we don't usually build immunities to them. One of my favorite natural remedies to combat winter time viruses is Lavender Essential Oil. Not only is it highly effective, it is also one of the absolute safest essential oils to use for adults, babies, children and the elderly. (checking with your healthcare provider before beginning any treatment is advised for any age.)

Not all Lavender essential oils are alike. Different Lavender essential oils provide different properties, some therapeutic, some medicinal, some for aroma therapy, and some are good for all. My two all time favorites are French Lavender and Spanish Lavender.

Being low on the medicinal value side, Spanish Lavender Essential Oil is mostly used for aromatherapy purposes; however, it is also a great expectorant. A few drops can be added to your favorite carrier oil, then gently rubbed into your chest (and don't forget the bottoms of your feet) or used as an all over massage lotion to aid in congestion relief. As a massage oil, not only does it work as an expectorant, but the aroma therapy aspect of Spanish Lavender also helps you to relax and rest better, which could easily speed healing and recovery time. Lavender essential oil is so mild that it can also be taken internally (In food and/or beverages. Do not consume straight!). Only a drop or two is all that is needed. I haven't tried them, yet, but I have read that Lavender Cookies are very good! I love the fragrance of this one the best!

French Lavender Essential Oil is my absolute favorite to use for medicinal purposes. The price of it has risen considerably lately, but only a tiny bit goes a very long way and, in the end, it is still far cheaper than modern medications, with little to no side effects. It is well worth investing in!!! Store in a dark, glass bottle in a dark, cool, dry place and it will keep for an enormously long time.

French Lavender Essential Oil is loaded with medicinal properties!  Not only is it antiviral, but it is also antibacterial (bactericide), decongestant, antiseptic, and analgesic. When so many 'bugs' are going around that you don't know if your illness is viral or bacterial, this essential oil can cover both. Used in a massage oil, it can also aid in the relief of the aches and pains associated with flu and fever. It is such a versatile oil that it is well worth investing in!  With its combined strong antiseptic, antiviral AND bactericide values, it is great to add to your cleaning products to help kill germs and prevent being ill at all. Diffusing Lavender Essential Oil into the air and/or burning natural Lavender candles can also help kill the germs and viruses in the air that you breathe in.

Can you guess? I just can't say enough good about this essential oil! For some excellent Lavender Recipes, visit:

I can't wait to try some of those recipes! I think a salad dressing would be fantastic! 
 May this Pharmacy Friday find you well!

NOTE: This post is for informative purposes ONLY. It is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease or illness. If you are ill, or think you are ill, it is advised that you see your health care provider.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

An Adorable Nativity Pattern - Knitted

I just wanted to take a moment to let you know that over at Natural Suburbia, she has created the most adorable, rusticly simple, knitted Nativity Pattern. I absolutely love it!

She is having a giveaway for a couple of the patterns, so if you leave her a comment, you will be entered into her giveaway. Click on the name of her blog in the first sentence of this post and it will take you to the giveaway page. I wish I had that pattern right now. I would be setting the project I am working on aside, dragging out some more yarn and diving right into it.

TIGHTWAD TUESDAY - Saving Your Celery

  Celery... I use a LOT of it throughout the winter, but I grumble every time I have to buy it because it seems to just get higher and higher. Around Thanksgiving, everyone seems to have a great sale on it at unbelievably low prices. I even found it this year for only 49 cents! Sure wish I had remembered to go back and get some more.

But, as I am sure so many of you can relate to, you buy it, usually buy extra when it is on sale that cheap, but often times don't get it all used up before it goes bad, or have lots leftover from Thanksgiving because you over estimated how much you needed. Then the price goes back up and you kick yourself for letting it go bad and it wasted money. So... what to do?

I like to freeze some up when I find a super sale on fresh celery. And sometimes I just need one little stalk and won't need any more for awhile and will freeze it so the rest isn't wasted. I use it all winter long in soups, stews, casseroles, etc. And when I am in a hurry, it is so handy to have it already cut up and ready to drop in the cooking pot or suate pan!

Just chop it up into uniform-sized pieces, whatever size you like to use in your recipes, then place in ziplock bags in recipe-size portions. I like to use the Snack Size zipper bags, and a few sandwich size bags for larger recipes. These don't have to be freezer bags. Then place all of your smaller zipper bags into a LARGE, freezer, zipper bag and freeze all (the large one does need to be a freezer bag). This helps your celery to keep in the freezer much longer.

Buy buying this time of the year when you can get it on a Super Sale, and taking just a little time to put it up for your winter cooking, you can save a considerable amount of money over the course of the winter, not to mention chopping time later on, as it takes much less time to do it all at once than it does to drag out that chopping board and everything else to chop some up each and every time you are making a pot of  soup, stew or casserole. Thank you for taking the time to read our money and time saving post! 

Friday, November 23, 2012

Shop Small Saturday - 2012

Get out tomorrow (Saturday) and support your Small Businesses during Shop Small Saturday!
 The Small Business owner is what this country was built on!

For more information, visit: Shop Small Saturday

For those of you in the Oklahoma area, The Flea Market where my little shop is located is:

Okay Flea Market
6931 N. York St. at Okay on the Verdigris River
Okay, OK 74446
Come on out and Shop with us!!! We are having a BIG sale!

If you can shop handmade, recycle, repurpose, reuse, that is even better! It helps the Small Business owner while protecting our Earth at the same time.

Have a Great Day!!!

PHARMACY FRIDAY - Tasty Tea for Indigestion

Yesterday was Thanksgiving and, as always on a holiday, I ate waaaayyyy too much! I also ate many things that this body hasn't eaten in a very long time (haven't eaten due to trying to reduce the chemicals in my diet).

It was all sooo good! But in no time, I was miserable! My tummy felt like a bloated dog tick and it began to hurt. By the time I left to go home (well after dark) my tummy was hurting really badly, all the way up into my rib cage, and I had indigestion so bad I was beginning to get a little nervous. At best, it was going to be hard to sleep. So I decided that the minute I got home, I was going to have to make myself a cup of  my special tea.

This tea is great for relieving indigestion! Each of the ingredients in it (well, except for the water) aids in alleviating indigestion, and the unique blend of them all works super! At least, it does for me. Every individual may have different results. 

The moment I got home, I tossed everything into a pot, put it on to steep, and by the time I got to a stopping place, it was ready. Although it sounds kind of strange, it is actually pretty yummy and very enjoyable to drink. As I began to sip it, in no time all  that built-up gas was bubbling up and out. And now, I am feeling great relief and getting ready to head for bed. With just one cup of tea, I went from thinking I would be laying awake staring at the ceiling all night (actually, sitting up because laying down would have been even worse) to looking forward to a good night's sleep.  Here is my recipe. Be sure and also read the notes that follow:

Indigestion Relief Tea
  • The amount of water it takes to fill your favorite cup
  • About 1 Tablespoon Molasses
  • About 1 to 1 1/2 tsp raw honey
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar (all natural with the mother)
  •  1 to 2 small sprigs of your favorite fresh mint (can also use dried mint/mint tea bag)
Place all ingredients into a cooking pot, allowing a little room for simmering. Bring to a simmer and simmer gently for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

Remove from heat and place lid on pot of tea. Let steep for at least 10 minutes, longer if desired. Drink while hot, but not so hot as to burn.

This stuff is great! It tastes good and, for me, it works really well, giving me much soothing relief. I have not had to use any antacids since I began using this.  I hope it helps you, too.

NOTE:  The amounts of the ingredients in this recipe are very flexible. You can add or subtract the amount each of the ingredients to suit your personal taste.
Disclaimer - The information provided in this post is for informative purposes only. This post is in no way intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent any disease, illness or condition. Consult your local health care provider if you think your condition might be serious.

Thursday, November 22, 2012










Wednesday, November 21, 2012


I began making cheese several years ago.  At the time, I was living off-grid and had a couple of good milk goats who were giving an abundance of milk, so I really needed a way to preserve the milk without refrigeration.  My sister had tried her hand at cheese making and bought a fairly large supply of rennet, which she passed on to me.  Yes, much to the dismay of a few vegetarian friends, it was animal rennet.

Over the years, I made some good cheese and learned a great deal about cheese making, mostly through trial and error.  Experience is, after all, the best teacher.  I always intended to try making cheese using local wild plants to set the curd, thistle being my first consideration.

Several sources insisted it was a difficult process and only certain species of thistle could be used, while other sources implied that almost any thistle could be used.  The main point of agreement was the part of the plant used, a decoction of the dried bloom.

During this past summer, with the supply of rennet running low, I decided to experiment with thistle.  I know it would be easier and maybe better to just find a good recipe, but it is my nature to experiment.  So off I went to find thistle blooms.  By late summer, the particular plant was quite obvious.  A fine specimen of tall thistle, Cirsium altissimum was growing and putting on blooms in my somewhat overgrown front yard.  This is likely the most abundant species of thistle native to the area, and having often gathered the young leaves as a part of the wild greens mix that I pick in the spring, I knew it wasn't toxic.  Just before the blooms opened, I harvested several and dried them for future use.

Last week, with my daughter being too busy to spend much time at my house (my daughter usually drinks up most of the milk), the milk supply built up enough that some cheese simply had to be made.  After bringing a pint of water with a large bloom in it to a strong boil then letting it simmer for a little while, I turned off the fire, put on the lid and let the decoction steep overnight so it would hopefully be plenty strong before straining it into a clean jar next morning.  The yield was about 1 1/2 cups.

By mid morning, I heated a gallon of the milk and added about a half cup of the decoction, stirred it in and went about my business, fully expecting to come back in a couple of hours to very nice, firm curds.  I found no such thing.  In disappointment, I reheated the milk and added another half cup, stirred it in and went about my business.  A couple of hours later, the results were the same.  Now you must understand that I am not always quick to take the hint.  A third time, I heated the milk and added the rest of the thistle decotion, and once again, went about my business.  Once again, no curds.  By bedtime, still no curds, so I left it sitting out with full intentions of giving the chickens a treat of bread and milk in the morning.

Chicken feeding time came around and what do you suppose I found in the cheese making pot?  I had a pot full of curd/  This was not the nice firm curd I had hoped for but a very light fluffy curd.  Considering that soft curd is better than no curd, I strained off the whey and squeezed a bit.  .

Yes, it was cheese and a pretty decent yield, though not the nice firm cheese you can press, certainly not the beginnings of cheddar, colby or even mozzarella.  Instead, it strongly resembled a pretty decent ricotta in appearance, texture and flavor.  Ricotta is not my favorite but it does certainly have a place and I can hardly wait to see how well it works in lasagna (Anna will have to make it though as lasagna is not my best dish).  There is also the excitement of being independent of the rennet supplier. 

Now, with my first cheese without animal rennet turning out to be something resembling cheese, I can hardly wait to improve on it.  Some nice, firm pressing cheese would be nice.  Any information or advice is certainly welcome.



Tuesday, November 20, 2012

TIGHTIGHTWAD TUESDAY - Don't Toss Those Turkey Bones!

Turkey Carcass Soup
That wonderful, Thankfulness filled, Turkey Day is almost upon us... just two more days. All over the USA, more turkeys than I could possibly count are sitting in the bottom of refrigerators thawing out, waiting to be deliciously smoked - roasted - fried - or cooked any number of other interesting ways.

When that anxiously awaited Thanksgiving meal time arrives, that multitude of turkeys all gets carved and the serving platters filled. As those platters of sliced turkey empty, the remainder of the turkey is pulled off of the bone and served as guests continue to stuff their already bulging tummies with even more tasty turkey.

But what happens next in most households is downright sinful! Most people toss that empty carcass and those bones away! Ugh! What a waste! Those bones may 'look' empty, but there is still far more to them than the average person would think.

Place all of those bones into a large kettle and cover with water. Bring to a boil and simmer for at least an hour or so. With a slotted spoon, remove bones to another pan or tray to cool. When you examine those bones, you will be amazed to learn that there was still quite a bit of turkey left on them. It easily turns loose after it has been simmered for awhile. What is left in the pot is a wonderfully large amount of turkey soup stock that can be used in a multitude of ways.

My favorite thing to do with all of this is to make soup. I remove all of that turkey that turned loose of the bone during simmering and add it back into the stock pot with a mix of vegetables  and spices - whatever yo have on hand.... simmer some more, add cooked noodles, and it is the most wonderful soup! At this point, the bones can finally be sent to the compost pile.

That turkey broth can be used for so many other things, too. It can be used to make gravy, mashed potatoes, rice .... the possibilities are endless! Can you believe people throw all that yummy food-still-to-come away after the turkey has been taken off the bone? What an enormous loss of some very delicious, nearly 'free' food. By adding your own homegrown vegetables, it could very well be a free pot of soup from something that is ordinarily tossed out. It is a great place to use up all those veggies that are beginning to get bad spots in them and need to be cut up into something. You know, there is only one of this kind, and one of that kind.... not enough of each kind to really do anything with? But by tossing them all into the turkey bone broth pot, they all blend together wonderfully!

If you have any additional good uses for turkey bones after all of the turkey has been pulled off of them, we would love to hear them! Just leave your suggestions, ideas and uses in the comments below.

Friday, November 16, 2012

PHARMACY FRIDAY - Mullein for Bronchitis

For many, MANY years now, I have dealt with chronic bronchitis. This time of year is when it really begins to flair up. I have had to take many synthetic medications over the years for it and I have really started worrying about their side effects and what they might be doing to my body.  And then sometimes they still don't work and I end up with a bout of pneumonia. No fun!

So I have started looking more and more into natural bronchitis remedies. When I learned that this beautiful plant growing wild in my yard was a great remedy for bronchitis, I got excited! I love these plants. They are absolutely beautiful! And I love to run my hands over the soft, fuzzy leaves. It was also interesting to learn that there are several ways that it can be used. Dave and I have each tried a different way, each with great results.

Once upon a time, Mullein was extensively used throughout North America and the European countries to relieve respiratory ailments. It really bothers me that, as I read about herbal remedies, I consistently read things like "they were once widely used" ... meaning we have now gotten lax and want to simply pop a synthetic pill because it is so much easier. It certainly isn't better for our bodies, though.

The flowers and the leaves of the Mullein plant are both used, either fresh or dried. (Do not use the seeds as they are toxic in some Mullein varieties.) One very effective way (the one I have tried) is to simmer some Mullein in a pot of water, then cover your head with a clean towel, lean over the steaming pot and breathe in. Be very careful so as not to burn yourself! For me, this really opened me up.

Another method claimed to be very effective for bronchitis, is to dry the Mullein leaves, then smoke them as you would tobacco to open the bronchial tubes. I have never smoked, so I have not tried this, but sometimes, when I get so congested, the consideration crosses my mind.

One more great method is to make a tea to drink. This is done by pouring boiling water over fresh or dried Mullein leaves. MAKE SURE YOU STRAIN IT thoroughly through a fine strainer before you drink it! The tiny fibers on the Mullein leaves are very irritating. It tastes good, too, but sweetening with a little honey makes it taste even better and may even add to its effectiveness.

Here is some more great information at Livestrong on using Mullein one of the above ways.

Around here, Mullein grows very well in the spring, then dies out in the summer. Then again in the Fall it often comes back up. I seem to have a good supply of it growing right now. I hope our recent freezing temps haven't harmed it, as I would like to put some away for use throughout the winter.

You can find more great information for using Mullein as a natural bronchitis remedy at the following links:

Now, to figure out if I can use it on this congested, snoring cat sitting here by me as I type. If you have every used Mullein as an herbal remedy, we would love to hear about your experience!

Disclaimer: Please remember, these posts are for informative purposes, only and the opinions expressed are our own. The information here is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease or illness. It is always a good idea to check with your health care provider before beginning any kind of new remedy/treatment.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Followed Blogs Disappearing

I realized today that some of the blogs that we follow and have listed/linked to on our site, have disappeared. I know one was due to it having been moved to another platform, but still, I don't think the address changed so it should have still been up. As for the rest, I have no idea what happened. WE HAVE NOT REMOVED ANY BLOGS FROM OUR FOLLOWING LIST!

In my hustle and bustle of late, jumping on here for a quick few minutes (when I have them) and back off, I had wondered why I hadn't seen any posts from a couple of people in awhile. I had just assumed that they, too, had gotten pretty busy. But today I had a few minutes to catch up just a little on some blog reading and that is when I noticed that they weren't there at all. I am now trying to re-add everyone, so if you knew that your blog had been listed at the bottom of our page as blogs that we follow, or that we signed up to follow on your site and you aren't there now, PLEASE LET US KNOW!  I truly hope that I don't miss getting anyone back on here. Thank you soooo much for your patience, and I hope whatever 'glitch' caused this never happens again.

Have A Great Day! 

TIGHTWAD TUESDAY - Nearly Free Dog Treats

 I like to spoil my dogs, and give them treats when they are being really good. I also give them treats to train them with, to encourage them to be good, and just because I love them and enjoy watching them enjoy their treats so much. But with the number of dogs I have ended up with, and the majority of them are large, buying that many dog treats on a regular basis just isn't possible. Plus, many of those store bought dog treats have stuff in them that I don't want to feed my dogs.

You can make some pretty tasty dog treats simply out of stale bread and a little of that frying grease that you were getting ready to toss out. Any kind of old bread will do (so long as it is just stale and isn't molded). Our local discount bread store often has what they call "feed bread" for sale. It is bread that is outdated far enough that they aren't allowed to sell it for human consumption, but it isn't molded yet. A bag of it usually has from 4 to 6 loaves of bread in it for $1. Lately they have had a big surplus of it and most of it has had 6 loaves in it.  Let me tell you, you can get a LOT of dog treats out of 6 loaves of bread!

You can also use slices of homemade bread if you actually have any that has dried out beyond use. Stale hamburger buns, old biscuits,donuts, hot rolls, anything of the like can be used.

You will also need some 'tasty' fat. The best thing to use (for your little fur ball's favorite flavor) is that grease you have been frying your meat in and you just don't dare use it again but really don't want to throw it away. You can also use butter (a little more costly), fat that you have skimmed off of soup, or any kind of meat drippings.

Preheat your oven to about 350 F. Lay your bread slices out on a cookie sheet. If you are using burger buns, hot dog buns, rolls, etc, cut them in half and lay them out flat. If your fat is solid and not liquid, melt it in a small pan before your next step. With a basting brush, lightly brush the top of each bread slice with the fat of your choice. A little garlic powder can also be sprinkled on at this time if you (or your dog) likes, but that is optional. Cut each bread slice into the right sizes for your dog to eat. My dogs like them cut into long strips. Spread them out evenly around on the cookie sheet, making sure there is air space around each one.

Place the pan of bread slices in the preheated oven. Bake for about 5 minutes, to get them started drying, then turn the oven down to about 250 F. Bake until they are completely dry and no moisture is left. Be sure and check on them often to prevent burning. When I think they are done. I turn the oven off and let they stay until all is cool to be sure no moisture is left in them. When completely cooled, store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. Feed to your dog as a treat as desired. Mine love them! They not only like the flavor, but they love the type of crunch these treats provide. Oh, and my cats love them, too!

Anytime you have a little bit of grease/fat that you would normally toss out, put it in a container and into the freezer to save for when you also have some old bread and then time to make your pet some tasty, and nearly free, treats!

Friday, November 9, 2012

PHARMACY FRIDAY - Wintergreen, Good or Bad?

WINTERGREEN . . . . . . . That wonderful, minty, tasty, aromatic herb! My best memory of it is in those little pink, round candy lozenges. I use to eat those things by the fistfuls when I was a kid. And wintergreen chewing gum was some of the best!(remember Teaberry gum?)  It is, by far, one of my all-time favorite candy flavorings.  But is it safe?

Awhile back I began hearing that it might not be so safe, that it should only be consumed in moderate amounts. Then I heard that it should only be consumed in very small amounts. Then I heard it shouldn't be consumed at all. Then I began hearing of people dying from overdosing on Wintergreen essential oil!!! And those reports are growing. So the question remains, is it safe to use at all?
There are a lot of different factors that figure into the answer to that question. It will be different for each person. Because I used it in some of the skin care products that I make, I have since heavily researched it. From the multitude of research that I have read, it appears that it is safe to use in small amounts, and even very beneficial . . . .  but in large amounts, it is easy to overdose on, causing damage to the liver and even death in extreme cases.
On the downside, Wintergreen essential oil, if used in large amounts, or even small amounts for extended periods of time, can cause serious damage to the liver and even death. Because the component in Wintergreen that is the culprit (methyl salicylate) is also so closely similar to the active ingredient in aspirin, people taking aspirin or aspirin based products can overdose on Wintergreen even more quickly and easily.

Often times, people don't even realize how much Wintergreen essential oil they are ingesting into their bodies. One of the easiest ways to overdose is with those soothing sports/joint creams that contain Wintergreen essential oil. Dancers, athletes, and the arthritic elderly alike use a lot of those soothing joint creams. Keeping in mind that your skin is the largest organ of your body and everything that goes on it, also goes into your body, if you are using a joint cream that contains Wintergreen essential oil, as you rub it on, that wintergreen goes right on inside, right into your blood stream. Sadly, there have been actual cases of athletes dying from overuse of sports creams. (That is a link to a case reported on Fox News awhile back). Massage therapists can also unknowingly absorb far too much of the volatile oil with repeated use on their clients, of massage products that contain it.

Here is also some more good reading on the subject at

On the POSITIVE side . . . . . . a very small amount of Wintergreen essential oil on occasional use can be of great benefit! It is a wonderful pain reliever for a variety of joint pains. Used only occasionally and in small amounts, it is very beneficial and generally safe. It should; however, be used only in localized areas and not in large areas or over the entire body.

Wintergreen essential oil, like aspirin, can help reduce swelling, relieves aches, and reduces body temperatures. It can also help relieve nerve pain, relieve sore throats (such as in those little pink candy lozenges) and makes a great breath freshener. It DOES have many great and beneficial uses. Just be sure and read all of your labels, be aware of other items you might be using that may contain aspirin or Wintergreen, use only occasionally and in small amounts, and it might also be wise to check with your health care provider before using, especially if you are planning on using Wintergreen on a regular basis. Wintergreen essential oil is cumulative in your system, and although it does have many benefits, it isn't for everyone.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


      So many people don't stop to realize that, not only are they paying lots of money for that product they are using, but they are also paying quite a bit of money for the package that it is in. Sometimes, more of what we spend on an item may actually go for the packaging than for what is in it!

Most people use up a product, then toss the packaging in the trash without giving it a second thought. But what if I took you to the store, had you purchase a shopping cart full of just packaging, such as boxes, nice glass bottles, plastic containers with tight fitting snap on lids, etc.... you paid for them all, then I took you over to the dumpster and said, "Now toss them all in the trash!"  You would think I was nuts, wouldn't you? Well, I think some people are nuts for throwing away some of the packaging they throw away. For a better perspective of what portion of a product you are spending on your packaging, a visit to Uline might help. Go through their prices, add up a weeks worth of packaging that you would normally toss, and see how much money you are literally throwing into the trash each week. 

There are many ways to save money on packaging, and I will get to some more of those in later posts, but today, I am going to be talking about repurposing some of those packages, namely, milk jugs. That is a lot of good, sturdy plastic to be throwing away! I have somewhat of a system I use for re-purposing mine. I start by rinsing mine out really well.

Their first purpose is as water jugs. Periodically, I have to haul quite a bit of water here and there around the farm (especially during this past year's drought), so they get a lot of use as water jugs. Once they spring a leak, they have other uses.

I then cut the jugs in half through their middle (jug standing upright, horizontal cut through the middle). If the leak is in the top portion of the carton and the bottom is still in tact, the bottom gets used to put under plants to hold water for them. They sometimes also get used as pet food dishes.  Then the top is set aside to use as a scoop. For scooping dry ingredients, it doesn't matter if it has a small leak.

If the leak is in the bottom of the jug, I then use the bottom as a planter, to start veggies in for the garden. Often times I even add additional little drainage holes. The top (without any leaks) then makes a great funnel with the lid taken off.

If I start having too many of these building up, or too many of one half, I cut them into strips. I write on these strips with permanent marker and use them to label my garden plants and herbs.

There are so many uses for empty, plastic milk cartons that I couldn't even begin to list them all here, but we would love it if you would share in the comments, your ideas for recycling/re-purposing plastic milk jugs. This also includes plastic gallon water jugs, as well, and any other plastic gallon jugs. Oh, yes, sometimes I pour up my homemade liquid laundry soap into them.  The reuses are endless! Of course, they could also be completely eliminated by raising our own milk.

Saturday, November 3, 2012


As you can see, the patch evolved from wax and gauze to blue duck tape with peace signs. Please don't ask why I have such tape, as it is a long story, and complicated.  Anyway, this picture was taken in preparation for picking the pumpkin late last week just ahead of our first serious freeze of the season.  With the poor little patched pumpkin all grown up and a freeze coming, the time was right and the patch had worked at least well enough for the damaged pumpkin to mature.  So we got a good pumpkin for the holidays, though with a bit more effort than the standard.  RIGHT???

NOT SO FAST!!!  Things aren't always as they appear.  I knew that with the pumpkin's injury, it wouldn't likely keep as long as normal.  My full intent was to open it up, take the seeds and cook the flesh for pies.  Who knows, I might have even canned a couple of quarts for later in the winter, or experimented with drying some.  No such luck.  With work, searching for a hay source, unexpected funerals and countless other delays, Friday rolled around with this fine fellow still on the kitchen floor.  It was still fine and seemed solid Friday afternoon, and I went to Anna's  with the intent to set the pumpkin as a priority for early in the week.  Returning home this afternoon, I immediately smelled something amiss.  Yes, our fair, peaceful friend had leaked rotten pumpkin juice all over the kitchen floor. 

After grabbing towels to contain the mess, I found the large stock pot and began filling it with chunks of yellow stench.  Needless to say, I was not happy with this situation, but maybe there could be a somewhat brighter side to it.  I began feeling through the yellow goo for seeds.  Believe it or not, I found quite a few solid, fully mature seeds, which I truly hope are viable. 

In the end, the mess is cleaned up, the chickens were extremely enthusiastic about the remains and there are seeds of hope for a future season.  Though it would be nice to have a pie from our own pumpkin this year, there are other pumpkins available, so no need to complain.

Friday, November 2, 2012

PHARMACY FRIDAY - Cayenne in my Hot Cocoa

Believe me, it is better than you think!

Cayenne pepper is a great remedy for a variety of ails, but the one I use it for most is my joint pain. When I first heard about this, I was skeptical and pushed it to the back of my mind.

Next, I came across some hot chocolate recipes that called for cayenne pepper. My first thought was - "yuck!" But then I kept coming across recipes and hot chocolate mixes with cayenne and became more curious. Yet, once again, I pushed to the back of my mind.

Last winter, as the cold set in, my arthritis pain grew a little more than the year before. Taking so many tylenol starts getting kind of scary. Then I remembered about the Cayenne Pepper for joint pain relief, and that it was suppose to be good in Hot Chocolate, something of which I drink a lot of in the winter. So... I decided to try it.

Gosh, was it ever good! It blends in perfectly with the chocolate, each ingredient enhancing the other. The chocolate tames the heat of the cayenne and the cayenne enhances the chocolaty flavor. I put anywhere from 3 to 7 dashes of powdered cayenne pepper in my bedtime hot chocolate and, much to my amazement, I get an enormous amount of pain relief as I sleep. The warmth of it also warms me up a bit on those frosty cold winter nights.

If you would like to know more about how this works, here is some more great information on the subject at LiveStrong.  Give it a try. You will be pleasantly surprised at how well it works AND how great it tastes. It doesn't have the sharp, hot bite that I thought it would. It simply, slowly warms you up. Enjoy!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

(D♥A) A Busy October

Whew! Have Dave and I ever been busy! Between broken computers (yes, sometimes Dave's has been down, too), the extreme heat of the summer, heavy drought, and a handful of other time consumers, Dave and I just haven't managed to find the time to write. Odd thing is, it is during those times that you actually have the most to write about!

Throughout the month of October, Dave worked an additional part-time job on the weekends, in addition to his regular full-time job. (Plus, there was all the ordinary farm stuff to take care of at Dave's Farm, too.) But the good part in all of that was that the part-time job was not far from Anna's Farm, so mixed in there, we got to spend a little bit more time together. Granted, we were both far too tired to make good use of the time, but we really enjoyed getting to spend some wind down time together. (It will be so much nicer when we eventually get both farms completely combined!)

One Friday night, a few weeks ago, we sat out in my front yard (Anna's Farm) and watched the sky as a storm rolled in. Fortunately that storm never hit (because it looked like it was pretty viscous), but we really enjoyed watching (together) it rolling in and back out. We were both exhausted, and I had spent the day getting ready for the flea market the next day, so it was a very enjoyably, relaxing and calming evening. 

But the next morning, the rains did come, the flea market was closed, and we took advantage and caught up on some much needed sleep (which we could both, once again, use some more of, now). And oh, how we have needed the rain! The Fall rains came and pulled us out of the drought, but it is beginning to get dry again. It seems so strange talking to our friends and family over in the New York area, and listen to them talking about all of the heavy flooding and extreme devastation, while we are standing here looking at everything around us beginning to wilt back down again (everything that hasn't frozen, that is).

We hope that life is finding you all well and we are doing our best to get back on here regularly, posting and catching up on all of the blogs we follow. We miss you all!