Category Archives: Homestead

Look at all of the BABIES on our homestead! March 2017

Even with all of the heartache this month, We have had a TON of babies born this month….  And most are available for sale.  Shoot us over an email

 

Yorkshire cross piglets

– $150 for one or $250 for 2 – We are requiring a $50 non-refundable deposit per pig to hold them. They will be ready to go to your home on April 29, 2017.

These are the perfect meat pigs for you to raise for your family’s fresh meat. 

We have 6 available for sale. 

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KuneKune Pigs

 – $250 for females, $200 for males – We are requiring a $50 non-refundable deposit per per to hold them. They will be ready to go to your home on May 20, 2017.

 

We have 2 males and 2 females available. (These are not registered, however, parents are on site) All 4 babies are Fawn colored like their mama, Fern.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nubian Goat Bucklings

 – They will be ready to go to your home on May 20, 2017.

We have unregistered, registered American Nubians, and Registered Purebred Nubians. Registration through ADGA.org

 
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Born 3/21/2017
Dam: American Nubian “Goats of En Gedi Purple Sage” ADGA#AN1746674
Sire: Purebred Nubian “KrisandLarry Prince of Spots” ADGA#N1775285

(Available as registered American or unregistered) – $125 without papers – $150 with papers, $100 wethered
Buckling#1 – available

Buckling#2 – available

Buckling#3 – on hold

Can also be wethered
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Born 3/25/2017
Dam: Purebred Nubian “Goats of Gilead Meadow Flower” ADGA#N1730141
Sire: Purebred Nubian “The M&R Ranch Declan of Spots” ADGA#N1751543

(Available as registered Purebred or unregistered) – $150 without papers – $175 with papers, $100 wethered

Purebred Buckling – Available

$50 non refundable deposit to hold. Available to go to your home when they are 8 weeks old. Visit our website www.krisandlarry.com to see a listings of all of our herd.

We do offer a multiple goat discount!! Goats do need to be with more than one (or with a sheep). They are herd animals and we will not sell to anyone with no other goats. We do give a $50 discount if you purchase more than one goat from us.

We also have Purebred Nubian “The M&R Ranch Declan of Spots” ADGA#N1751543 for sale – AWESOME Goat!! Changing our bloodline on our herd this season. (given 80 babies in 2 years for our breeding program) 2 year old Intact Breeder Buck – $350


Declan, Purebred Registered Nubian Buck, proven breeder – $350 

“The M&R Ranch Declan of Spots” ADGA#N1751543

We are changing out our Nubian Dairy Goat bloodline and are looking for a new home for our amazing buck, Declan. He is a proven breeder, giving us 11 babies so far this season with 14 more does pregnant this season from him. (He gave over 40 last season for his first breeding year.) He does throw spotted babies (75% born so far this season have moon spots.)

He comes from a CL/CAE clean herd but can be re-tested this season for the right buyer.

He is (human) kid friendly and comes from a homestead full of 4H kids. 6+ of his babies will be shown at the Yavapai County expo this year.


Looking for SPRING CHICKS? 

We have barnyard mixes available (wyandotte, ameraucana, barred rocks, etc)…. 4-6 weeks old and ready to go to your home.  Have a jumpstart on your birds for this year. 

Straight Run, $4 each. 

 

For Sale this week – 2/22/2017

 

 

Looking for Goat Milk Soap – Visit the Hazel Nook on Road 2 North in Chino Valley. They carry all of our soaps and other AMAZING gifts. 

www.facebook.com/thehazelnook

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We are changing out our Nubian Dairy Goat bloodline and are looking for a new home for our amazing buck, Declan. He is a proven breeder, giving us 11 babies so far this season with 14 more does pregnant this season from him. (He gave over 40 last season for his first breeding year.) He does throw spotted babies (75% born so far this season have moon spots.)

He comes from a CL/CAE clean herd but can be retested this season for the right buyer.

He is (human) kid friendly and comes from a homstead full of 4H kids. 6+ of his babies will be shown at the Yavapai County expo this year.

 

  •  We always have goat milk soap available! Give us a call!

 

 

 

We are moving some of our breeding rabbit stock around for our 4H kids and have a few available for sale. All have been handled.

Smoky(doe – possibly bred – due March 5)
Flint (buck) – Full Calico Rhinelanders (siblings 1 year old)

Midnight (black New Zealand Buck – 2 years old )

Fergus (broken New Zealand Buck – 2-1/2 years old – GREAT BREEDER)

Dots (broken New Zealand 2-1/2 years old)

Luna (Black New Zealand – about 2 years old) possibly bred – due March 5

White Socks (lion head/ New Zealand mix – skin tag on nose from injury, not birth defect) possibly bred – due March 5

$15 each

Ringing in the New Year! Welcome to 2017!

img_20161231_200213Welcoming in the new year at our homestead is a fun event. We are not really “party animals” and do normally spend New Year’s Eve with our kids at home.  We play games the entire day and eat homemade finger foods (like homemade egg rolls, meatballs, chips and dips, etc).

This year, we had new games added to our collection including Steampunk Munchkins, Timeline – American History, The Ticket to Ride expansion for 1910 and Oregon Trail. (Yes, I know! Not the standard games that everyone else had in their collections – But we are a gaming kind of family and have all of those standard Sorry and Monopolies too!)

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So for hours and hours, we spend time as a family…. What have I learned while playing games with my kids? I have learned that I don’t like playing against Griffen in Munchkin… He is RUTHLESS! Trystan still does not play well with others and cheats his way through every game that he plays. Larry remembers all of the rules to all of the games that we play…. He is filled with folders of useless knowledge too.  I know that Rowan and Elwyn are very competitive, but will help you out on teaming up on games.  I know that Shelby LOVES to just sit and play any game, anytime with anyone.  Berlyn does not always play well with others. Breckin is a good sport and will not only play games with his sisters, but will dress up for one of the princess games with them.

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Upon the ringing in of the New Year, we make it outside to bang pots and pans and yell Happy New Year…. then come in and drink “kid champagne” AKA  Sparkling Apple Cider. 

This morning, we woke up to 2 new baby goats on our homestead! Declan (one of our registered Purebred Nubians) and Ava (a Registered American Nubian) had 2 baby girls…. We are thrilled to have already added to our homestead this early in the season…. 

So, from our family to yours!

Have a HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

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Let’s Talk Goats – Oathkeeper Preparedness Presentation

Basic Goat Facts

  • Female goats are Does or Nannies
  • Male goats are Bucks or Billies
  • Young goats are Kids (AKA doelings or bucklings)
  • Neutured males are Wethers
  • Goats are herding animals and do get lonely when by themselves.
  • Goats are intelligent animals
  • Goats are good at climbing trees, cars and buildings
  • Goats have a distinct pecking order (you will always have a “queen” in your herd.)
  • Goats can live for 15 to 18 years and does can breed until well into their senior years.
  • Goat milk is healthy and nutritious
  • Goat milk is more digestible than cow’s milk due to lactose molecule size (many lactose intolerant can drink goat milk)
  • They are the smallest domesticated ruminant
  • Goats are herbivores and are considered browsers and will eat leaves, grass, shrubs, etc.
  • Goats have been used by mankind longer than cows or sheep

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Goats need fresh water, dry fresh food, and a shelter. Not only can you milk goats, but their meat is tasty and goats usable on a homestead to eat down weeds and other vegetation.

What do goats eat?  Hay is the general name for a number of dried grasses and legumes such as alfalfa and clover. Commonly used plants for hay include types of grasses such as Ryegrass, Timothy, Bluegrass & Orchard grass. Legume hays such as alfalfa and clover tend to be higher in protein. Feeding goats a mixed grass hay and other greens may be best as alfalfa can be too rich and may cause health problems. We feed our goats a mixture of alfalfa, alfalfa pellets, sweet grain, Chaffhaye (which is a naturally fermented alfalfa hay), soaked beet pulp, wheat/Austrian pea fodder, black oil sunflower seeds, fresh carrots and lettuce/chard and in the summer, weeds from our garden. We also have a mineral block out for them. We limit our corn and other straight grains to prevent belly aches.

This is just a partial list of what is poisonous to a goat: Avocado leaves, Foxglove, Black Walnut, Holly trees/bushes, Lilacs, Milkweed, Mountain Laurel, Nightshades (tomato plants leaves), Oleander, Rhubarb and Cherry leaves, Azalea, Red Maples, Lily of the Valley

Breeding your goats: Many goats breeds are seasonal breeders. They will go into heat in the fall (from August – December) We generally breed in mid-September for a February kidding season. Most goats’ gestation is about 145-150 days. We keep track of when our males and females breed so that we know approximate birth dates and can be home during a birthing to assist if needed.

Goats have horns! We have our babies disbudded at 10 days old using a heat dissbudder and wether any males with a bander that we aren’t using for our breeding program. Find someone trustworthy to do this!! Horns do get stuck in fences. And disbudding can be dangerous if you do not know what you are doing.

Male goats are stinky!!! While in rut and around females in their breeding season, male goats have a “beautiful” smell, will urinate on themselves among other interesting actions and will call out to you and his ladies… Be careful, because you will look like a goat to him. Does seem to love it. But be warned it is extremely hard to get their stench out of your clothes and takes a good scrub to get the smell off of your skin. I have a single outfit that I wear when working with our males and I toss it at the end of the season. Males will knock down fences or anything in their path to get to the ladies. A males needs at least a 5 foot fence to prevent jumping over over for a “play-date”. My males do live with my females during off-breeding season.

declan2Although there are many different breeds of goats, our homestead chose to have Nubian Dairy goats. We milk twice a day, first thing in the morning and in the evening. We use their milk for drinking, baking, making butter, cheese, and yogurt. You must have at least 2 goats as they are herd animals and need companionship or they can get depressed and lonely. We both hand milk and use a manual milking machine from www.henrymilker.com.

You can purchase mix breeds of dairy/meat goats, full bred goats or registered purebreds goats. Our goats are all registered. The only real difference is that registered goats have proven bloodlines. This prevents inbreeding and gives healthier generations of goats for better milking lines. We carefully select our goats for their linage and breed accordingly. This allows us to pick and choose who is breeding with whom. We currently have 3 bucks and 10 does on our homestead as well as several wethers. We plan on adding a new lines from Colorado to our herd in the spring as well.

Major Goat Diseases – CAE – Caprine Arthritis Encephalitis (CAE) is a virus that affects goats in multiple ways. Most often characterized by big knees, the virus also does irreparable damage to the lungs as well and affects the immune system leaving the goat defenseless against most common ailments. Can spread via milk from mama to babies and in saliva.

CL – Caseous Lymphadenitis (CL), also known in some parts of the world as “cheesy gland”, is a disease that affects a goats lymphatic system, most often characterized by an external abscess – lump. CL manifests itself either internally, externally, or both and is very contagious to all other goats as well as humans. The size of the abscess is largely dependent upon the immune system and overall health of the goat. An abscess that is allowed to rupture will contaminate the ground for many years and infect other goats that come into contact. Likewise, a goat with internal CL can cough out the bacteria and spread it to other goats as well. There is not a vaccination that cures or prevents CL or CAE in goats. These two diseases are ones that goat breeders try to keep out of their herd.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A GOAT WHEN PURCHASING

  1. General = Are they friendly? Do they interact with other goats, humans, dogs, etc? Check teeth, joints, chests, hips and lymph system. Check hooves. Check for lumps, runny nose and eyes? Is their general health good?
  2. Does – Are their teats uniform? Breeding history? Did they lose any kids? Did you have to assist in birthing? Were they good moms? How much milk were you receiving? If a doe has already been milked, ask if you can put her up on a stand. Does she kick?
  3. Bucks – who you want to use for breeding. Is there a record of babies sired? Check that their testicles are uniform.  
  4. If purchasing a kid – Are both parents on site? Can you interact with the parents to see their personalities and mannerisms? Have they been disbudded? Or are the polled (born hornless)?

 COMMON BREEDS OF DAIRY GOATS IN THE US – Mac Mendell, Undergraduate Student, Dept. of Animal Sciences

Nubians have very long floppy ears that should extend about 1 inch beyond the muzzle. They can be any color and should have a convex (Roman) nose. Nubians are one of the larger breeds of goats with a height requirement of 30 inches weighing around 135 pounds. This breed of goat tends to produce somewhat less milk than other breeds, but their milk tends to be higher in protein and butter fat content than other breeds. They tend to be a little bit more stubborn than other dairy goats and make a distinctive sound. Even Nubian kids sound like they are complaining. This is probably the most popular breed of dairy goat in the US. Most Nubian goats in the US derive from English lines developed by crossing English dairy goats with Afrhican and Indiana lop-eared breeds. [ADGA averages for 2010 lactations: 1835 lbs milk, 4.6% fat, and 3.7% protein] Nubians can withstand hotter climates. Nubians can more fleshy than most dairy goats and are used for meat as well as milk.

LaManchas have ears that are so small that it looks like they don’t have ears at all and can be any color. The breed originated in Oregon from crosses of short-eared goats with Nubians. They have a straight nose and are a small breed. LaMancha does are required to be 28 inches in height and a weight of around 130 pounds. The LaMancha sound is typical of other goats. LaManchas are usually more calm and docile than other breeds. They are recognized to be a very productive breed of goats. [ADGA averages for 2010 lactations: 2246 lbs milk, 3.9% fat, and 3.1% protein]

Alpines (French Alpines, British Alpines, and Rock Alpines) can be almost any color, except solid white and light brown with white markings (characteristics of the Toggenburg breed). This breed originated in the French Alps and was first imported to the US in 1920. Their face should be straight and they have erect ears. They are a medium-large breed with a requirement of does to be 30 inches in height and around 135 pounds. They are popular with dairies due to the amount of milk they produce and they are recognized as the leading dairy goat breed for milk production. [ADGA averages for 2010 lactations: 2396 lbs milk, 3.3% fat, and 2.8% protein]

Oberhaslis (Swiss Alpines prior to 1978) have very specific color standards. They are a bay color known as Chamoise, with a black dorsal stripe, udder, belly, and black below the knees. They should also have a nearly black head. Another acceptable color would be all black, but this is only acceptable for does. They have erect ears and are considered a medium-small breed. Oberhaslis does are required to be 28 inches in height and weight around 120 pounds. They produce a moderately high amount of milk and milk components. [ADGA averages for 2010 lactations: 2256 lbs milk, 3.5% fat, and 2.9% protein]

Toggenburgs have very specific color requirements. They range in color from light fawn to dark chocolate and have white ears and white on their lower legs. The side of the tail and two stripes down the face must also be white. They have erect ears and they grow a shaggier coat than other dairy goat breeds. They have the smallest height requirement of 26 inches and weight around 120 pounds, but most of the Toggenburgs are moderate in size. The Toggenburgs are the oldest registered breed of any kind of livestock. They tend to be more spirited and less docile than other breeds. Toggs, as they are nicknamed, rank in the middle of breeds for average milk production, but one holds the all-time records! [ADGA averages for 2010 lactations: 2047 lbs milk, 3.0% fat, and 2.7% protein]

Saanens are usually pure white or light cream, but white is preferred. Their ears should be a medium size and carried erect, preferably pointing forward. They have short fine hair and often have a fringe over the spine and thighs. They have a straight or dished face. They originated in Switzerland, but now represent the second most popular breed of dairy goat in the US. The Saanens are the largest of all breeds with a required height of 30 inches and weighing around 135 pounds. They usually have a large udder capacity and are popular with dairies due to the quality of milk they produce. [ADGA averages for 2010 lactations: 2545 lbs milk, 3.2% fat, and 2.8% protein]

Nigerian Dwarf is a miniature breed of dairy goats. The balanced proportions of the Nigerian Dwarf give it an appearance similar to the larger, Swiss breeds of dairy goats. Shorter height is the primary breed characteristic of the Nigerian Dwarf, with does measuring no more than 22 ½ inches at the withers. They are known for their high quality milk, often with exceptionally high butterfat content. Their medium length ears are erect. The face is either straight or slightly dished. The coat is of medium length and straight. They are the only dairy breed known to occasionally have blue eyes. [ADGA averages for 2010 lactations: 729 lbs milk, 6.1% fat, and 4.4% protein]

A common meat goat – Boer goat is primarily a meat goat with several adaptations to the region in which it was developed. It is a horned breed with lop ears and showing a variety of color patterns. The Boer goat is being used very effectively in South Africa in combination with cattle due to its browsing ability and limited impact on the grass cover. Producing weaning rates in excess of 160% the Boer goat doe is a low maintenance animal that has sufficient milk to rear a kid that is early maturing. The mature Boer Goat buck weighs between 240-300 lbs and ewes between 200-225 lbs. They can be bread with the dairy lines above.

From the website: http://piedmontdairygoats.com/Education.html

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Have you seen what we have on sale on our homestead this week?

Have you seen what we have on sale on our homestead this week?  We always have animals  (or a waiting list available). 

Currently we have the following available: 

Male Rabbits – Rex and New Zealand/Rex Mixes – $10 each

Coturnix Quail (mix of breeds – Pharoah, Texas, Tibetan, Tuxedo) – $3 each or 10+ are $2.50 each

Chicks  (Americauna and barnyard mixes, straight run) $2 each

Misc Ducks – Currently Laying – $10 each (males and females available)

Registered American Nubians (from our registered Male, Declan – at the Neighbors 4 doors down) Doeling – $250, Buckling (intact)- $150, born on 5/23/2016 – See the Craigslist ad: http://prescott.craigslist.org/grd/5705835950.html

 

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Growing Herbs – Book review for Medicinal Herbs

medicinalherbsThere are times that I look around and ask myself “why don’t you just take a tylenol like everyone else… and then I remember all of the side effects and that I hate the fact that everything in medicines are so processed. 

We picked up this book about a year ago and I was so fascinated that we are now grown 80% of the plants from this book because we want to learn to use these plants rather than running to over-the-counter medicines. 

Rosemary Gladstar’s Medicinal Herbs book is a fantastic starter guide for anyone looking at growing their own medicinal herbs.   This book not only has a list of different herbs and their uses, but also how to make tinctures, herbal teas, poultices, salves, infused oils, syrups, decoctions, etc. When reading through the book, I noticed that there are several herbs that I already use for our family including garlic, elderberries and turmeric for colds as well as yarrow and mint teas for fevers. But there were recipes for other herb combinations that I knew that I needed… so I began ordering seeds to get our garden growing. 

The books include the following herbs: 

  • basil
  • cayenne
  • cinnamon
  • garlic
  • ginger
  • rosemary
  • sage
  • thyme
  • turmeric
  • aloe vera
  • burdock
  • calendula
  • chamomile
  • chickweed
  • dandelion
  • echinacea
  • elder
  • goldenseal
  • hawthorn
  • lavender
  • lemon balm
  • licorice
  • marsh mallow
  • mullein
  • nettle
  • oats
  • peppermint
  • plantain
  • red clover
  • st. john’s wart
  • spearmint
  • valerian
  • yarrow

Preparedness Soap Making Class

There are many different ways to create soap. There are three basic soap making methods; the hot process, the cold process, and melt and pour. 

This Basic Milk Soap is a simple “Cold Process” method of milk soap.  If you are using your own recipe and want to test the lye content to make sure that the rations are correct, run it through this online lye calculator: https://www.thesage.com/calcs/LyeCalc.html

Basic Milk Soap Recipe

We use the recipe that is on this site: https://thenerdyfarmwife.com/how-to-make-soap-with-milk/

Ingredients:

  • 10 ounces milk (try 9 oz if you want your soap to set up faster, or if using silicone molds)
  • 3 ounces lye (sodium hydroxide)
  • 22 ounces olive oil
  • 8 ounces coconut oil
  • 1 ounce castor oil
  • For scented, use essential oils and dried plants from my own garden.

You will also need bowls and other tools that you only use for soap making. (Do NOT use your good cooking tools!) We picked up items from both the dollar stores and yard sales)

Directions:

  1. Weigh out all of your ingredients in separate containers. (Make sure that you wear gloves and safety goggles when measuring out your lye.)
  2. Pour the lye into your milk, just a sprinkle at a time. Add a splash of water to the milk if completely solid to start the reaction of lye and the milk. Add the lye slowly, stirring constantly. It will take several minutes to do this – don’t rush this part. Lye gets very hot during the reaction, so do not be alarmed.  Keep stirring until all of the lye is dissolved. The milk might turn a bright yellow and smell a little weird. If it gets orange, it is scorched and will make the soap smell scorched at the end result. Colors cream, gold and yellow are all perfectly OK. We use a stainless steel cooking pot that we place in a plastic wash base with ice to keep the temperature down (and that keeps the color of the soap more of a cream color instead of gold)
  3. In a stainless steel, heavy duty plastic, or enamel lined container/pot, combine the olive, coconut, and castor oil. (Remember, all measurements are by weight.) If it’s too solid to combine, briefly melt the coconut oil in a small saucepan until softened or liquefied.
  4. Add your oils into your lye mixture. Begin stirring the oil and lye solution together. You can do this by hand or use a stick blender. Alternate stirring with the motor on and then off. Don’t run the stick blender the entire time or you risk lots of air bubbles and possibly a false trace. It should take maybe four or five minutes until your soap reaches trace. (“Trace” means that soap batter is thick enough to hold an outline, or “tracing” when drizzled across the surface of itself.)
  5. Once trace is reached, you can stir in your extras such as your essential oils, colors, botanicals, etc.
  6. Working quickly, pour the fresh soap batter into your mold.
  7. Place your filled molds in the freezer overnight. (this is optional – however know that if you don’t the color of your soap will be darker and closer to brown. It will be lighter and closer to cream if you do. With milk soap, remember: mold at room temperature = browner soap; mold in freezer = whiter soap It does not affect the actual soap usage.
  8. Unmold your soap and slice into bars. Allow the bars to cure in the open air, on a sheet of wax or parchment paper, for at least four weeks, rotating occasionally. Because of the higher amount of olive oil in this soap recipe, the longer you let it cure, the harder the final bar will be.

 

Why do you have to use Lye in soap? Yes –

No lye . . . No soap!   All REAL soap is made with lye (sodium hydroxide mixed with liquid). Any skin or hair cleansing product made without sodium hydroxide is not soap, it is detergent. 
Once the process of saponification is complete, the lye and oil molecules have combined and chemically changed into soap and glycerin. There is no lye present in the finished bars of soap or shampoo. While all real soap must be made with lye, no lye remains in our finished product after saponification (described below).

 Commercial “soap” bars and handmade soap bars are also made with lye even though the words “sodium hydroxide” or “lye” do not appear on the labels. Does your bar of “soap” contain ingredients such as…

  • saponified oils: oils and butters are mixed with sodium hydroxide and a liquid (usually water).
  • sodium cocoate: the generic name for the mixture of coconut oil with sodium hydroxide (lye).
  • sodium palmate: the generic name for the mixture of palm oil with sodium hydroxide (lye). 
  • sodium palm kernelate: the generic name for the mixture of palm kernel oil with sodium hydroxide (lye). 
  • sodium tallowate: the generic name for the mixture of beef fat (tallow) with sodium hydroxide (lye).
  • sodium olivate: the generic name for the mixture of olive oil with sodium hydroxide (lye). 

 

 

Homemade Laundry Soap

From our family site (www.krisandlarry.com) We have been making our own laundry soap for over 5 years now.

December 28, 2010 – Our first batch is just about used up – 11 weeks later for a family of 7 – not too bad – I will NEVER go back to store bought. I love how my clothes feel and smell and the amount money that we saved!!!

Here are the ingredients and step by step.

Ingredients:

  • 5 gallon bucket (reusable for additional batches) I picked mine up at the Chino Valley Ace Hardware
  • Long handled spoon
  • “cheese” grater that you use for only soap.
  • 1 whole bar of soap (used Ivory- it was really soft and easy to grate) but you can use goats milk soap (plain), dove, felts naptha, etc.
  • 1 cup Washing Soda – NOT BAKING SODA I found this at Chino Valley Ace Hardware (not at Walgreens or Safeway)
  • 1/2 cup Borax – Found this at both Safeway and at Ace Hardware
  • 3 Gallons (48 cups of water) plus 4 additional cups of water
  • 1 tablespoon Essential Oil (OPTIONAL)

Directions:

  1. Boil 4 cups of water
  2. Grate bar of soap and add to boiling water
  3. Stir until dissolved (took about 4 minutes.)
  4. Add 3 Gallons of warm / hot water to your 5 gallon bucket. (3 gallons = 48 Cups)
  5. Add the dissolved soap to the bucket and stir
  6. Add 1 cup of washing soap and stir for 2+ minutes with a long handled spoon until dissolved
  7. Add 1/2  cup borax and stir until dissolved (about 3 minutes)
  8. OPTIONAL: add 1T of essential oil and stir. (I used lavender for our first batch)
  9. Place lid on tight and let it sit overnight. It will be lumpy… Just keep stirring every day!

NOTE: Stir twice a day for the first week after making it and it won’t be lumpy and will look like store bought laundry soap!! 

 

How to Make Lye for Natural Soap Making from Wood Ash

Article from

http://www.countryfarm-lifestyles.com/make-lye.htm

We show you how to make lye which is perfect for making natural soap including some old, pioneer soap recipes. It isn’t difficult, although if you have access to commercial lye, you may prefer to use that instead. This is because commercial lye will give you consistency in your lye soap recipes. However, if you live in an area where it is difficult to source, and you have the right wood available to you, then you can follow these steps to making your own lye.

You can also make your own lye using slaked or unslaked lime. See recipes for these below.

The problem with making lye from wood ash, although it is a simple process, the end result can be that your lye water is either too strong, or too weak. Either way, it could spoil your batch of homemade soap.

Having said that, none of our ancestors had access to commercial lye and they made soap just fine. We will also give you a couple of tests to do that will take a lot of the guess work out of the process, making sure that your lye is of the right strength.

What is Lye?

Lye is a strong alkali that is used in soap making, among other things. It is also known as caustic soda or sodium hydroxide.

Lye Ingredients

The ingredients for making lye are wood ash and water. Preferably rain water, as it is soft, although tap water will work just as well. The ash should come from hardwoods as soft woods are too resinous to mix with fat. 

 

Wood for Making Lye

Only certain woods are good for homemade lye. You will need to any hardwoods, not softwoods such as Fir or Pine. The following common hardwoods can be used, along with all other hardwoods, Hickory, Sugar Maple, Ash, Beech and Buckeye wood give some of the better results.

  • Applewood
  • Ash
  • Aspen
  • Australian Red Cedar
  • Beech
  • Birch
  • Buckeye
  • Cherry
  • Chestnut
  • Elm
  • Hickory
  • Oak
  • Olive
  • Sugar Maple
  • Walnut

Traditional Method of Making Lye using a Wooden Barrel

Take an old wine barrel and make sure that it is clean. Steaming it will give good results. Elevate it so that you can then place a bucket or similar underneath the leaching hole at the bottom of your barrel to collect the lye water when it is ready to emerge.

Place a bung in any existing opening in the wine barrel, and drill a smaller hole into the barrel that is only 1/8th inch wide. What you are aiming for is a hole wide enough for the water to drip through but small enough for the ashes not to fall out.  Keep this hole closed up with a small bung until later.

Now pack the bottom of the barrel with clean river stones. Make sure that you get a good mix of both large and small stones as this will work as a filtration system. If you don’t have stones, you can also use a thick layer of charcoal instead.

After a good layer of stones you will need to place a generous layer of straw on the top of the stones.  Your straw should take up at least half way up the barrel.

Shovel in your ashes until the barrel is as full as you want it. After that, pour over some hot rain water in small amounts so that the whole contents are wet and soaking but not flooding.  Using hot water is important as the

hot water will draw out more potash from the wood ash than cold water, making your lye stronger.

Traditionally, a little lime was mixed with the ashes to 2 – 5% which then guaranteed that you would have good lye for soap making.

On day 2 you can add more ash and water after allowing the ash from the previous day to settle. 

On day 3, make sure your receptacle is ready under the opening on the barrel, remove the bung and wait for the lye water to slowly trickle out. 

Countryfarm Lifestyles Tips:
If your ashes start floating to the top then you know that you have added too much water.·         Also, adding hot water to your ashes makes your lye stronger than adding just cold water.·         To make your lye potash more like caustic soda you can sprinkle a little quick lime onto your ashes before pouring on the hot water. (Not easy to get in small quantities these days, and treat with caution as it needs to be handled with extreme caution.)

Don’t expect to have a bucketful. You will only be getting a small amount as this should give you the right strength needed to make good natural soap.

At this stage you need to get it to an even strength to use for your soap making. Boil this liquid again until you are able to do the “float test” and get it to work.  See instructions below.

Traditional Equipment used in Making Lye

Picture courtesy of Carla Emery from the Encyclopedia of Country Living

How to Test the Strength of your Lye

To make lye and be successful at soap making your lye has to be at the right strength. Now there are 2 ways in which this can be done, both of which indirectly involve chickens. If you live on a farm and keep chickens, then this test is fine for you. If not, then you can use the second test.

Test 1

This is a simple test. Take a chicken feather and place it in the lye. If the feather dissolves, the lye is strong enough and you can use it for your soap. If not, you will have to re-boil the lye water when it emerges and repeat the process until your chicken feathers dissolve.

Test 2

This test involves using a fresh, whole egg or a potato works just as well. Take the egg or potato of similar size and place it in the cold lye water. If it sinks, your lye is not strong enough and you will have to repeat the process until it does. 

If the potato floats with just a little of the lye water above it; about an inch showing above the water, or the head of the egg sinks to just half-way down, then the strength is just right. If the potato or egg floats too high, almost on top of the lye water, then the strength is too strong. You can compensate by adding a little bit of fresh water to the lye water and try again.

With the first test, I would still back this up with the “egg floating” test, just to make sure that my lye water was not too strong.

Modern Method of Making Lye using A Plastic Bucket

Traditionally, as you have just read, people used wooden buckets or casks lined with straw and small rocks to make lye. Now, not everyone has access to these things, so I am going to show you how you can make lye just as easily in an old nappy bucket or something similar.

Take your old plastic nappy bucket and drill a neat round hole, about an inch off the bottom on one side of the bucket. It shouldn’t be very big, about the diameter of a small iron nail – about 1/8th of an inch. Make sure that the size of the hole is the same size of the nail that you will use to stop up the hole when needed.

Using cold wood ash, take a spade and carefully place the ash into the stopped-up bucket. Make sure that what you are placing in the bucket is the fine, white ash, as opposed to any charcoal bits. This you don’t need. Make sure that the ash is well compacted in the bucket.

Boil water half of the capacity of the bucket and pour gently over the ashes. As soon as the water makes contact with the ash it will start hissing and bubbling. This is perfectly normal. 

You may find at this stage that the water is just sitting on top of the ash, without it appearing to do anything. Just leave it, without disturbing it, and come back later to see when you can add the rest of the water.

Once you have used all the water elevate the bucket so that you are able to place a glass or plastic container under the hole that you previously drilled and stopped up with a nail. Place your receiving container under the hole and remove the nail. Do not expect lye water to come out of here. This could take hours, if not days.

Once you have enough lye water use the nail to stop up the hole. Take the lye water to the kitchen and boil carefully. 

Take care at this stage as the lye is caustic and if it splashes onto your skin and into your eyes it will burn. You will need ot wear gloves and safety glasses at this point. 

Once you have heated up your lye water take it back to your bucket and carefully pour it back over the ashes in the bucket. This helps strengthen the lye.

Wait for the lye to emerge once again.

Drying Lye to Form Crystals

When you buy commercial lye it is in the form of crystals. When you make lye at home you will want your lye to be in crystals too. This is very easy to do. Take your lye water and place it in the sun until the water has evaporated. What you are left with are your lye crystals that you can use quite happily in your soap making recipes.

How to Make Lye using Unslaked Lime (Calcium Oxide)

Unslaked lime is a chemical compound known as calcium oxide and also known as lime or quicklime.

Recipe 1:

Put a half pound of unslaked lime into 2 gallons of water. Add 6 pounds of washing soda and boil gently for 1 hour or so. When cold, pour off the liquid part which is your lye.

Recipe 2:

Take 10 quarts water, 6 pounds quicklime, (shell lime if possible), and 6 pounds of washing soda. Boil for 1 hour or so. When cold, pour off the liquid which again is your lye.

How to make Lye using Quick Lime (Calcium Hydroxide)

Calcium hydrixide is a chemical compound known more commonly as slaked lime.  It is formed when calcium oxide is mixed with water.
Put 3 pounds of washing soda, 3 pounds of slaked lime, and 12 quarts of water into a large pot. Boil for 20 minutes. Wait for the contents to cook, and when cold, pour off the liquid part which is your lye.

How to Use Homemade Lye in Soap Recipes

In the end your homemade lye is softer on the skin. It is potassium hydroxide as opposed to sodium hydroxide. When following soap recipes make sure that you use the right type of hydroxide, as although both are lye, they cannot usually be used in place of the other in certain recipes.

The potassium hydroxide molecules are larger than the sodium hydroxide molecules. It is this size difference that enables the potassium hydroxide to maintain a liquid state. 

Potassium hydroxide is normally used to make liquid soaps.  And when our ancestors made soap using homemade lye, most of the time they ended up with liquid soap because the lye they were using wasn’t strong enough.

However, you can make a hard soap by adding common salt at the end of the boiling process. If you want to add salt to harden your bars of soap, weigh out the water you are going to mix your lye with. 

Before you add the lye, add ½ tsp. of salt per pound of oil/rendered fat in your recipe. Stir well to make sure that all of the salt is dissolved. Add your lye to the salted water, making your lye solution, and resume your normal soap making procedure. Both types of hydroxide, however, are extremely corrosive and must be handled and stored with care.

The traditional ratio is 2 pounds fat or grease (such as bacon fat) to 1 gallon homemade lye.

Natural Soap Recipe using Homemade Lye

Here is an original pioneer soap recipe using your homemade lye water.

Ingredients:

2 pounds fat
1 gallon homemade lye water
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1/2 cup hot water

Method:

Place the fat and lye water in a large pot suitable for soap making (not aluminum) Add the vinegar mixed in with the water. Keep on a rolling boil until thick and slimy. This can take several hours.

If at this stage you want to use it was soft soap it is ready after straining through several layers of cheesecloth before placing in storage containers. 1 cup of homemade liquid soap per load is all that is needed.

If you want hard soap you will need to add 1 teapoon salt dissolved in a little water to the mixture at this stage and boil for longer. Skim the foam off the top and place the liquid into molds and allow to set.

Another Pioneer Soap Recipe using Homemade Lye

Fill a pot 2/3rds full of homemade lye. Place on the stove over a medium heat and ladle in ladlefuls of melted lard and stir until your mixture is creamy. Now add handfuls of salt to the mixture and stir until a ring of soapy mixture is left behind and very evident on the stirring spoon.

Remove from the heat and allow the soap to harden. After it has hardened you will need to drain the remaining lye water off the soap.

You can make soft soap in the same manner if you don’t add the salt at the end of the process.

Solar Oven Cooking and Class for Oathkeepers

Using a Solar Oven

If you are interested in one of our solar oven cookbooks, they are for sale on Amazon. Click here – http://www.amazon.com/Outdoor-Kitchen-Full-Sunshine/dp/1479112305/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1461516543&sr=8-1&keywords=kris+mazy

solarovenWhat is a solar oven?

A solar oven is an oven that you use outdoors to cook food while using only the sun as your power source. It is virtually an outdoor crockpot that has no need to plug in. The sun can heat the oven anywhere from 150-300+ degrees. There are no extra power or heat supplies needed besides the sun. And it saves money by not having to run your inside stove or your AC in the summer time. Free power!!!

Anything that you can cook in a crockpot or an oven indoors or even on the stovetop or in the microwave to reheat, you can cook in your solar oven (excluding frying). You also need a clear view of the south (when in the northern hemisphere.) You can cook for one person or for a dozen for a single meal in the solar oven.

When can I use my solar oven?

You can use a solar oven any day that you have 20-30 minutes of sunshine every 60 minutes and at least 5 hours of cook time. You can use your solar oven in the summer or in the winter time. Yes, it can be partly cloudy, however, rainy days, severe windy days and full cloudy days, you may not be able to get your oven up to heat enough to cook your foods. For those windy days, you can place your oven in an area that gets blocked by the wind, you will heat up sufficiently. You can use your solar oven even with snow on the ground. Be careful of the wind blowing and try to keep it out of direct wind while it is cool outside. That will lower the temperature inside your oven.

What can I use my solar oven for?

You can use your oven for slow cooking, heating and pasteurizing water, baking bread or sweets, roasting a chicken, dehydrating vegetables and fruits, heating canned foods, reheating leftover foods, making a quick sun tea, “pan cooking” hamburgers, etc. The only thing that you cannot do is fry your food.  

Setting up a solar oven.

Setting up you oven is very important to know how to do it. You have to make sure that you seal the oven to keep the heat inside.  The reflectors are very easy to put on and do help raise the temperature inside the oven especially in the winter time.

 

Pasteurizing Water to make safe for drinking

Pasteurizing water is important in a situation of needing fresh and healthy water. Poor water supplies causes 80% of all sickness and disease in developing countries. Pasteurization destroys all microorganisms that cause diseases from drinking contaminated water.  The goal is to get your water over that 150 degree mark. You need to keep your water supply at the 150 degrees for at least 10 minutes.

Microbe Killed Rapidly At
Worms, Protozoa cysts (Giardia, Cryptosporidium, Entamoeba) 55°C (131°F)
Bacteria (V. cholerae, E. coli, Shigella, Salmonella typhi), Rotavirus 60°C (140°F)
Hepatitis A virus 65°C (149°F)
(Significant inactivation of these microbes actually starts at about 5°C (9°F) below these temperatures, although it may take a couple of minutes at the lower temperature to obtain 90 percent inactivation.)

 

wapiThe Water Pasteurization Indicator (WAPI) (pronounced wa-pee) capsule contains a special wax that melts at 65 degrees Celsius–sufficient to pasteurize water by killing disease-causing organisms including E. coli, rotaviruses, Giardia and the Hepatitis A virus. The WAPI now has the added benefit of a tough stainless steel cable and brass end caps, which allows it to be used over a campfire as well as in a solar cooker. The WAPI is especially valuable when camping or in situations where solar cooking is not an option.

It is reusable AND one comes with the solar ovens that I have with me.

 

Listing of some of the foods that can be cooked

 

  • Bread, dinner rolls, cornbread, biscuits
  • Breakfast Rolls, cinnamon rolls
  • “Hardboil” eggs
  • Roasts
  • Potatoes, including au gratin
  • Deserts like brownies, crisps and cake
  • Casseroles / enchiladas
  • Canned goods can be reheated
  • Beans / Chili
  • Rice and Quinoa
  • Chicken breasts
  • Whole chickens/rabbits/quail
  • Chops – pork, goat, lamb
  • Fish
  • Veggies like cauliflower, zucchini, butternut squash
  • Stuffed peppers
  • Meatloaf
  • You can use fresh, canned, dehydrated or frozen ingredients – you can even use your freeze dried storage meals and heat the water needed without the use of any energy beside the sun.

 

 

What are some basic tips?

  • Dark pots work better than light colored pots. No clear glass.
  • Short or shallow pots work better than tall ones.
  • Several small pots work better that a single larger one.
  • Foods cooks faster with a lid on the pot.
  • You do not have to use just the pots that come with the oven. Experiment with other items including cast iron, clay or metal loaf racks.
  • You can transform your solar oven into a dehydrator using home-made screen trays (and cracking open the lid.) Make sure that the screen that you are using is metal and not a plastic screen.
  • The more food and/or liquid, the longer it will take to cook your food.
  • Cutting foods into bite sized portions will allow the food to cook faster.

 

DO NOT let this oven just sit and collect dust. Please experiment and use it before there is an emergency and you HAVE to know how use it!  Know how to use before the time comes.

Pulled Pork

  • boneless pork loin or roast, 2 to 2 1/2 pounds
  • bottled or homemade barbecue sauce
  • spice rub-  1 cup brown sugar, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp onion powder, 1 tsp paprika, 1 tsp cumin

Rinse the meat and trim off larger pieces of fat.  Cut into thirds if desired to speed up cooking time. Liberally rub spices on all sides.  Place in a solar oven pan and refrigerate overnight.

 

Cook in the solar oven for 4+ hours.  As always, check for doneness and adjust cooking time depending on oven temperature.

Once the pork is cooked and slightly cooled, slice and hand pull it using a fork and knife. Mix in barbecue sauce to taste. To serve, place pulled pork on bun and top with cole slaw.

Whole Chicken, (or Quail, or Rabbit)

  • one whole chicken
  • one lime or lemon
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

Add chicken to solar oven pan. Juice ½ lime over side of chicken. Flip chicken and juice other ½ of lime over the other side of the bird. Sprinkle with garlic powder.  

 

Cook in the solar oven for 6-8 hours.  As always, check for doneness and adjust cooking time depending on oven temperature.
Stuffed Peppers

  • Mini bell pepper,
  • cream cheese or other soft cheese
  • aluminum foil

Slice the tops off of the mini bells. Spoon in cream cheese. Place peppers on aluminum foil, standing upright. (This will take 2 or maybe 3 hands!) Pull the sides of the aluminum foil up and twist corners to form a bundle.

Cook in the solar oven for 4+ hours.  As always, check for doneness and adjust cooking time depending on oven temperature.

Baked Potatoes

  • Large potato

Wash potato. With a fork, poke several times. Wrap in aluminum foil and place in solar oven. Let “bake” all day.

 

Chorizo Stuffing

  • 1 pound of beef or pork chorizo
  • 12 ounces of dried bread crumbs (packaged or home-made)
  • 4 stalks of celery
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 cans of chicken broth

Break apart sausage into small pieces. In you solar oven pan, mix together all dry ingredients. Pour chicken stock over the top and cover pan with lid.

Cook in the solar oven for 6-8 hours.  As always, check for doneness and adjust cooking time depending on oven temperature.

 

Dump Cake

  • 1 package of cake mix (or a homemade cake mix)
  • 3 cups of fresh fruits (berries, cherries, apples, peaches, etc)
  • ½ – ¾ cups water
  • 4 Tablespoons butter

(Substitution – if you are using canned fruit rather than fresh, use one full can, including liquid and omit the water)

In solar oven pan, stir together cake mix and fruit. Add water and mix. It will be lumpy!! Do not over stir. Place 4 tablespoons pats of butter on the top of the batter. Cover with pan lid.

Cook in the solar oven for 6-8 hours.  (This cake will not rise. It is a gooey cake, not a fluffy one.)

 

Roasted Garlic

  • 4-6 six whole garlic bulbs
  • ½ tablespoon of olive oil
  • Aluminum foil

Cut the top off of each bulb of garlic. Place garlic in center of foil sheet, cut side up. Drizzle olive oil on top of garlic. Pull up sides of foil and twist together.

Place foil packet into solar oven. Cook in the solar oven for 4+ hours.  Serve on bread, crackers or spread on meat.


 

Herb Peasant Bread

  • 6-1/2 cups of wheat (We grind our own, so we add 2T of wheat gluten too)
  • 2 Tablespoon yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3 cups warm water (not boiling, but warm to touch)
  • 2 teaspoons salt (I only use pink Himalayan in my house)
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil, melted

In a glass bowl, add water, yeast and sugar and let sit for 5 minutes or until bubbly. In a larger bowl, stir together wheat (and wheat gluten if you are adding extra) and salt.

Slowly stir in yeast mixture into flour with wooden spoon. Blend well until dough forms. Place dough ball in clean bowl.

Divide the dough in half and place in bread pan. Cover with cloth and let rise on counter for about 1 hour.  We use a clay bread pan. (the darker the better)

Using your bread knife, make slices into the tops of the dough about 1/2 inch deep.

Place in solar oven and seal. Cook in the solar oven for 4+ hours.  Serve on bread, crackers or spread on meat.

 

 

“Hard Boiled” Eggs

  • Amount of eggs that you want cooked. These can be quail, chicken, duck, etc.
  • Paper egg carton, lid removed

Place your eggs into the carton and place the carton in the solar oven and let cook for 90 minutes.

No water needed!

 

 

Making Cheese

I was honored to be able to be the guest speaker at the Chino Valley Oathkeeper’s meeting today. I demonstrated several different cheeses and showed how a cheese press works as well as cheese wax.  Below is my handout with some recipes. 

Click the button below to download the PDF handout for the class.

ABM_1459011738Making simple cheese

On our homestead, we do not like going to the grocery store if there is a way for us to create our own products from scratch, using what we have on hand. Making cheese is a prime example of that. Using raw milk straight from our goats, we are able to recreate all types of cheeses that we eat daily at home. We can recreate everything from cheddar to soft chevre, mozzarella to cream cheese.  Along that line, we also make butter, sour cream, and cottage cheese.

Every morning, we decide what we are going to use our milk for during that day. 2-3 days a week, we make cheese, one day a week, we make butter. The rest of the week, we use it for drinking. Nothing gets wasted as the pigs are happy to drink anything that is left over. We have been making cheese weekly for about a year now when last season we picked up a goat in milk. Now, we have 4 in milk and 3 more pregnant for this season.

Our history: Our family has lived in the Chino Valley Area for over 25 years. We have 7 kids (ages 8 to 17) plus occasional foster kids in our home.  

We currently have a family garden which is about ¼ acre, 2 greenhouses one of which houses an aquaponics system growing fish and lettuce year-round, herb and berry walks. We raise our own meat including a steer, pigs, goats, quail, rabbits, chickens, ducks, geese and turkeys.  We homeschool our children math, English, science, history and also teach them life skills that most kids have no understanding about including homesteading, cooking from scratch, solar oven cooking, carpentry, making soap and cheese, animal husbandry etc. We dehydrate and can our summer crop to use later and do all of this on less than 3 acres. We currently have 7 pigs, 9 goats and about 45 chickens, plus many rabbits and over 100 quail.  We have several cabinet incubators where we hatch our own birds. We do not go to the grocery store from May until October

We also maintain an active website and Facebook page for our homestead where we share recipes, tips and tricks for homesteading and preparedness and list animals for sale.

 

General list of items needed for cheese making.

Tools that you will need to make cheese

  • Strainer
  • Large bowl (that the strainer fits in)
  • Cheese cloth or flour sack towels
  • Large slotted spoon
  • Pot
  • Thermometer
  • measuring spoons that measure SMALL (I have ones that measure 1/64, 1/32 and 1/16 of a teaspoon that I picked up from homesteadersupply.com)

Certain cheeses need cultures. We purchase ours from www.homesteadersupply.com and from www.culturesforhealth.com

 


SIMPLE FARM CHEESE

This simple farm cheese can come together quickly. It tastes mild and sweet, and doesn’t require rennet, making an excellent cheese for beginners.

Serves: about 1 pound

  • 1 gallon milk, not “ultra-pasteurized” You may use raw or pasteurized
  • ½ cup white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt or cheese salt

 

COOKING INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Line a colander with a double layer of cheesecloth or a single layer of butter muslin. We use flour sack towels at our house.
  2. Pour the milk into a large, heavy-bottomed kettle, and bring it to a boil over medium heat. Stir it frequently to keep the milk from scorching. When it comes to a boil, immediately remove from heat and stir in the vinegar.
  3. The milk should immediately begin separating into curds and whey. If it does not begin to separate, add a bit more vinegar one tablespoon at a time until you see the milk solids coagulate into curds swimming within the thin greenish blue whey.
  4. Pour the curds and whey into the lined colander. Sprinkle the curds with salt. Tie up the cheesecloth, and press it a bit with your hands to remove excess whey. Let the cheesecloth hang for 1 to 2 hours, then open it up and chop it coarsely. Store in the refrigerator for up to a week or eat fresh.

 

NOTES

The whey from these 2 cheeses (lemon and vinegar cheeses) does not contain a live culture, so it cannot be used to create ricotta. However, you can recycle it to feed pigs or soak grains for chickens.


LEMON CHEESE

Serves: about 1-1/2 cups

  • ½ gallon goat’s milk (raw or pasteurized, not ultra-pasteurized)
  • 2/3 cup lemon juice
  • Sea salt or cheese salt to taste

Cooking Instructions:

  1. Slowly heat the milk on the stove until it reaches 180 – 185 degrees. Gentle bubbles should be forming and the surface will look foamy. Turn off the heat.
  2. Stir in the lemon juice then let the milk sit for 10 minutes. The milk should curdle and become slightly thicker on the surface.
  3. Line a colander with two layers of cheese cloth. Gently pour the milk into the cheese cloth then gather the cheesecloth up around the curds and tie it into a bundle.
  4. Hang the bundle over a pot or jar so the liquid can drip out. (You can do this by attaching the bundle to a wooden spoon or a ladle and setting the spoon over the top of the pot or jar.)
  5. Let the cheese drain for at least 1 1/2 hours. Scrape the cheese into a bowl. Stir in salt and/or other ingredients to taste.
  6. Use your hands to pat and shape the cheese into a small wheel or log. A biscuit cutter works as well for shaping.
  7. The flavor and texture of the cheese usually improves a little bit if you refrigerate it for a few hours before serving
  8. The goat cheese should stay fresh in the refrigerator for 1 week.

 


Farmhouse Cheddar Cheese

  • 3 gallons whole milk
  • Mesophilic Culture (1/4 tsp Abiasa, 1/8 tsp Danisco, or 1/16 tsp Sacco)
  • 2 teaspoons calcium chloride (only needed for store bought milk or pasteurized milk)
  • 5 tablet rennet or 3/4 tsp liquid rennet
  • ¼ cup unchlorinated water
  • 1 Tablespoon salt

Cooking Instructions:

  1. Combine milk, (calcium chloride) in 16 qt stock pot (double boiler to prevent scorching)
  2. Slowly heat mixture to 86 degrees. Turn off heat and stir in lactic cheese culture. (Different types of culture create different flavors of cheese)  Stir gently throughout. Cover mixture and allow to rest undisturbed at 86 degrees for 45 minutes.
  3. Dissolve rennet tablet or liquid rennet in 1/4 cup water.
  4. Keep the milk at 86 degrees.  Stir the rennet mixture into milk slowly but thoroughly. Allow milk to set undisturbed for 30 – 45 minutes or until curd shows a clean break.
  5. Using long knife, cut the curds into 1/2 inch squares, then stir gently just to break the strips of curds into chunks. Let it sit to rest for 5 minutes.
  6. Slowly heat the curds and whey to 102 degrees, raising the temperature 2 degrees every 5 minutes. Stir curd gently to prevent matting and reduce their size to half peanut size. A large whisk works well by placing it to bottom of pot and putting up right so curds break as they fall through the wisk. Hold curds for additional 30 minutes at this temperature
  7. Place pre-warmed with hot water colander over a pot and pour the curds into it.
  8. Reserve 1/3 of the whey and pour back into the cheese pot. Set colander of curds onto the cheese pot. Cover top with cheese cloth and lid to keep in warmth. Allow curds to drain for 45 to 60 minutes. This is called the cheddaring process.
  9. Cut slab into pieces and press through french fry cutter or cut by hand.
  10. Add 1 tablespoon coarse salt. Using your hands, gently mix the salt into curds. You can eat these curds now, or press into a wheel.
  11. Place the curds into cheese press and follow the directions for dressing with cheese cloth for 12 hours.
  12. Remove cheese from press, unwrap the cloth, place cheese on drying mat to air dry for 12 hours, creating a nice skin over the whole cheese.  Cheese is ready to slice and eat or you can wax and age for stronger cheddar flavor.
  13. Mix 1 tablespoon of salt with 1/2 cup of water. Use a corner of the cheese cloth to lightly apply a saltwater wash to the cheese.

The farmhouse cheddar recipe above is from www.homesteadersupply.com.


Chevre

Chevre is French for goat. This is a simple cheese that is a great addition to your cuisine.

Serves: about 1 pound

  • 1 gallon goat’s milk, not “ultra-pasteurized” You may use raw or pasteurized
  • 1/8 teaspoon mesophilic culture, MA or MM
  • 1 drop rennet in ¼ cup water

 

COOKING INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Heat milk to 86 degrees
  2. Add the culture and rennet into the milk.
  3. Cover and let set at room temperature (72 degrees) for 12 hours (overnight works GREAT for this recipe)
  4. Place colander into large bowl and line the colander with cheese cloth
  5. Ladle curds into cloth, tie ends and hang to drain.
  6. Drain for 6-12 hours or until the curds reach desired consistency.
  7. Store in a covered container for up to one week.

RICOTTA

  • Whey left over from making live culture cheese. (chevre, cheddar, mozzarella, etc.)

Cooking Instructions:

  1. Over direct heat, heat the hard cheese whey to 200°
  2. Remove from heat and let cool for 30 minutes.
  3. Place colander into large bowl and line the colander with fine cheese cloth
  4. Pour whey into colander (Slowly, it is HOT)
  5. Hang and drain curds
  6. When it has drained, place the ricotta in a bowl and add salt to taste. 
  7. Store in a covered container for up to one week.

 

Common Herbs and Their Medicinal Uses

I was able to share this information with the Chino Valley Oathkeepers.

Click this button to download this information for the handout.

Common Herbs and Their Medicinal Uses

We have a pretty extensive vegetable and herb garden on our homestead. We have fruit trees, a vegetable garden, a berry walk as well as our herb garden. Each herb can have multiple purposes, besides just “tasting good” in your meals.  

We get all of the following planted and / or reseeded each year to make sure that we have them on hand.  Here is information from many different website sources. (We put links to do more research at the end of each herb plant section too)

Our herb garden includes the following:

  • Basil
  • Cilantro
  • Chamomile
  • Lavender
  • Lemon Balm
  • Lemongrass
  • Oregano
  • Parsley
  • Peppermint
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme
  • Western Yarrow

 

BASIL:  natural anti-inflammatory with mild antiseptic functions. Also used for flatulence, lack off appetite, nausea and cuts and scrapes.  We eat a lot of basil at our house. It grows well in our aquaponics system and in a pot on our back patio. Pesto is a sauce that we make often using basil.

Treatments Using Basil

  1. Healing: Sharpen memory, use as a nerve tonic, and remove phlegm from your bronchial tubes. Repeat up to once an hour. Leaves can strengthen the stomach and induce perfuse sweating. The seeds can be used to rid the body of excess mucus.
  2. Fevers: Basil leaves are used for quenching fevers, especially those related to malaria and other infectious, eruptive fevers common to tropical areas. Boiling leaves with some cardamom in about two quarts of water, then mixed with sugar and milk, brings down temperature. An extract of basil leaves in fresh water should be given every 2 to 3 hours; between doses you can give sips of cold water. This method is especially effective for reducing fevers in children.
  3. Coughs: Basil is an important ingredient in cough syrups and expectorants. It can also relieve mucus in asthma and bronchitis. Chewing on basil leaves can relieve colds and flu symptoms.
  4. Sore Throat: Water boiled with basil leaves can be taken as a tonic or used as a gargle when you have a sore throat.
  5. Respiratory Disorders: Boiling basil leaves with honey and ginger is useful for treating asthma, bronchitis, cough, cold, and influenza. Boiling the leaves, cloves, and sea salt in some water will give rapid relief of influenza. These combinations should be boiled in about two quarts of water until only half the water remains before they are taken.
  6. Kidney Stones: Basil can be used to strengthen your kidneys. In cases of stones in your kidney, the juice of basil leaves mixed with honey and taken daily for 6 months will expel them through the urinary tract.
  7. Heart Problems: Basil can be used to strengthen those weakened by heart disease. It can also reduce your cholesterol.
  8. Children’s Illnesses: Pediatric complaints like colds, coughs, fever, diarrhea, and vomiting have been know to respond to treatment with the juice of basil leaves. Also if the rash associated with chicken pox is delayed, basil leaves with saffron will bring them to the surface more quickly.
  9. Stress: Basil leaves can be used as an anti-stress agent. Chewing 12 basil leaves twice a day can prevent stress. It will purify the blood and help prevent many other common ailments.
  10. Mouth Infections: Chewing a few leaves twice daily can cure infections and ulcerations of the mouth.
  11. Insect Bites: Basil can be used preventatively and as a curative. A teaspoonful of the basil leaf juice taken every few hours is preventative. Rubbing the bites with juice can relieve the itching and swelling. Also a paste of the root is effective for treating the bites of insects and leeches.
  12. Skin Disorders: Basil juice applied directly to the effected area is good for ringworm and other common skin ailments. Some naturopaths have used it successfully in the treatment of leucoderma (patches of white or light-colored skin).
  13. Tooth Problems: Dry basil leaves in the sun and grind into powder for a tooth cleansing powder. You can also mix with mustard oil to make herbal toothpaste. Both of these methods will counter bad breath and can be used to massage the gums, treat pyorrhea, and other dental health problems.
  14. Headaches: Basil is a good headache remedy. Boil leaves in half a quart of water, cooking until half the liquid remains. Take a couple of teaspoons an hour with water to relieve your pain and swelling. You can also make a paste of basil leaves pounded with sandalwood to apply to your forehead to relieve headache and provide coolness in general.
  15. Eye Disorders: Basil juice is a good for night-blindness and sore eyes. Two drops of black basil juice in each eye at bedtimes each day is soothing.

More information located at: http://www.offthegridnews.com/alternative-health/medicinal-uses-and-health-benefits-of-basil

CILANTRO: a rich source of vitamin K, this herb strengthens bones and helps prevent the onset of bone diseases.

Some of the many known health uses include…

  • Rich in flavonoids and phytonutrients, which are known for their antioxidant properties and help fight free radicals
  • Chock full of minerals like iron and magnesium. Both essential nutrients
  • Effective against indigestion and helps settle the stomach
  • Because it’s a natural anti-inflammatory, it may help to ease the symptoms of arthritis
  • Cilantro seeds can help to lower cholesterol and control blood sugar levels, Lowers bad cholesterol and raises good cholesterol
  • Helps prevent and treat nausea
  • Excellent source of dietary fiber

Folk Medicine and Traditional Uses…

Iranians have used it to treat insomnia and anxiety. In India they make it into a drink. The seeds are boiled in water, then cooled and drunk as a diuretic.

– See more at: http://www.bespokespices.com/benefits-of-cilantro.html

GERMAN or ROMAN CHAMOMILE:  used for infusions, teas and salves, treats indigestion, anxiety and skin inflammations.  As a tea, it serves as a mild sedative to help with sleep.

  • Used as a tea Chamomile flowers are used internally for many common physical symptoms, including menstrua: l cramps, stomach cramps, indigestion, flatulence, diarrhea, fever, colds, congestion, headaches, insomnia, nausea, vomiting, stress, nervousness, and poor digestion. 
  • For babies, it is helpful with symptoms of colic and teething pain. 
  • Externally, Chamomile flowers can be ground into a paste (grind with mortar & pestle and add some water or unsweetened tea – add oatmeal slowly as needed for consistency) and used to treat skin irritations such as ulcers, infections, rashes, and burns. 
  • The flowers can also be used in a bath to ease the pain of hemorrhoids and cystitis, and the essential Oil can be applied to combat neuralgia and eczema.  To prepare a bath, put a handful of flowers in a mesh bag or a knee high stocking, hang it on the tap using string or whatever, and run the bath water over it
  • Lastly, Chamomile flowers can be used in a steam inhaler for respiratory and allergic problems such as asthma, hay fever, and sinusitis.

More information: http://gardensablaze.com/HerbChamomileMed.htm

LAVENDER:  A tea made from lavender has many uses with one of the foremost being its ability to have a calming effect on a person’s mind and body. To that end, lavender can promote a sense of well-being and alleviate stress. It is also useful for dealing with various gastrointestinal issues such as upset stomachs and flatulence.

Because it is a strong antiseptic, lavender tea, when applied topically, can help heal cuts, wounds and sores. It can also be used to mitigate bad breath.

  • restlessness,
  • insomnia,
  • nervousness,
  • depression.
  • meteorism (abdominal swelling from gas in the intestinal or peritoneal cavity),
  • loss of appetite, 
  • vomiting,
  • nausea,
  • intestinal gas (flatulence),
  • upset stomach.

More information on lavender: http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-838-LAVENDER.aspx?activeIngredientId=838&activeIngredientName=LAVENDER

Lavender can also be used in cooking and make a tasty shortbread cookie.

Lavender Shortbread Cookies

From our site: http://krisandlarry.com/2014/07/29/essential-oil-tuesday-lavender-shortbread-cookies/

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened to room-temperature
  • 1 tablespoon dried lavender flowers
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 cups flour (We substituted a gluten-free flour blend for ours) – plus extra for rolling.
  • Lavender Essential Oil (about 3 drops) – Optional

Directions: 

  1. In your blender or food processor, pulse blend together the sugar and the dried lavender flowers until flowers are smaller and the mixture is fine.
  2. In a mixer, combine the flour and the sugar mixture.
  3. Add butter and 3 drops of PURE essential oil. (You may add a few drops of red and blue food colors if you want to make them purple… we don’t use dyes so this wasn’t an option for us.)
  4. Mix until well blended.
  5. Roll dough out to about .25 in thick and cut with a cookie cutter.
  6. Place on cookie sheet and bake.
  7. Remove to cooling rack.

Bake at 325 for 15 minutes – Makes about 2 dozen cookies depending on the size of your cutter

LEMON BALM: reduces stress and anxiety, promotes sleep, improves appetite, and ease pain and discomfort from indigestion. In the past, lemon balm was steeped in wine to lift the spirits, help heal wounds, and treat venomous insect bites and stings.

As with many other herbs in your healing garden, lemon balm promotes relaxation and a sense of calm.

  • Insomnia treatment
  • Digestive aid
  • Anxiety
  • Indigestion and heartburn
  • Wound treatment
  • Headaches
  • Fever reducer
  • Decreased congestion
  • Cold sores
  • Nervousness

Read more: http://naturalsociety.com/medicinal-uses-of-lemon-balm-grow-own-medicine/  

 

LEMON GRASS: Lemongrass is a plant. The leaves and the oil are used to make medicine. Lemongrass is used for treating digestive tract spasms, stomachache, high blood pressure, convulsions, pain, vomiting, cough, achy joints (rheumatism), fever, the common cold, and exhaustion. It is also used to kill germs and as a mild astringent.

  • Lemongrass is an herb with a plethora of uses medicinally, from being a stomach soother to being an effective insect repellant and fungicide.  A limited study done at the University of Wisconsin revealed that some people taking prepared Lemongrass capsules (140 mg) daily for three months experienced a significant reduction in cholesterol levels, and that their cholesterol levels returned to their previous highs when they stopped taking the preparation. Obviously, this indicates that Lemongrass may help reduce cholesterol in certain individuals. 
  • Make aTea and drink 1-4 cups per day to relieve congestion, coughing, bladder disorders, headaches, fever, stomach aches, digestive problems, diarrhea, gas, bowel spasms, vomiting, flu symptoms, as a mild sedative, and to promote perspiration – and as a possible cholesterol lowering agent.  Rather than discarding the tea bags, use them externally for the problems described below.  An Oil can also be made, 3-6 drops of which can be put on a sugar cube for the same purposes as above. The leaves can also be dried and made into a powder for use in Capsules.  Please see the link below for more details.
  • Externally, anOil can be made with Lemongrass to be applied at 10 drops or so directly to the affected area in cases of  athlete’s foot, cuts, scrapes, lower back pain, sciatica, sprains, tendonitis, neuralgia, circulatory problems, and rheumatism.  It can also be tried on the face to help clear up acne and clean skin pores, and the fresh leaves can be crushed and rubbed on the skin as an on-the-spot outdoor insect repellent.
  • Use Lemongrass in the bath for a soothing aromatherapy experience by placing a mesh bag with a handful of leaves under the running bath water, then letting the bag soak in the water with you as you bathe.  Very relaxing. 
  • Lemongrass is safe for use in moderation, but should be avoided by young children, pregnant women, and people with kidney or liver disease.

More Information at: http://www.gardensablaze.com/HerbLemonGrassMed.htm

OREGANO:  Oregano has been used as a culinary and medicinal herb for thousands of years. It has a beneficial effect upon the digestive and respiratory systems and is also used to promote menstruation.

  • It should not be used medicinally by pregnant women though it is perfectly safe in small amounts for culinary purposes. The leaves and flowering stems are strongly antiseptic, antispasmodic, carminative, cholagogue, diaphoretic, emmenagogue, expectorant, stimulant, stomachic and mildly tonic. The plant is taken internally in the treatment of colds, influenza, mild feverish illnesses, indigestion, stomach upsets and painful menstruation.

 

  • It is strongly sedative and should not be taken in large doses, though mild teas have a soothing effect and aid restful sleep. It should not be prescribed for pregnant women.

 

  • Externally, oregano is used to treat bronchitis, asthma, arthritis and muscular pain. The plant can be used fresh or dried – harvest the whole plant (but not the roots) in late summer to dry and store for winter use.

 

  • Oregano is often used in the form of an essential oil that is distilled from the flowering plant. A few drops of the essential oil, put on cotton wool and placed in the hollow of an aching tooth, frequently relieves the pain of toothache.

 

  • This plant is one of the best natural antiseptics because of its high thymol content. The essential oil is used in aromatherapy to treat the same kinds of complaints that the herb is used for.

More information on Oregano: http://www.naturalmedicinalherbs.net/herbs/o/origanum-vulgare=oregano.php

PARSLEY:  When brewed as a tea, parsley can help supplement iron in a person’s diet, particularly for those who are anemic. Drinking parsley tea also boosts energy and overall circulation of the body, and helps battle fatigue from lack of iron.  Other uses?  Parsley tea  fights gas and flatulence in the belly, kidney infections, and bladder infections.  It can also be an effective diuretic. Helps prevent tumor formation and breast cancer.

  • natural cure for bladder problems, prostate or kidney.
  • Parsley root is a diuretic that has been used for various forms of dropsy (abnormal accumulation of fluid in body tissues or a body cavity), congestion of abdominal viscera, etc.
  • Some herbalists recommend parsley as a natural remedy for fever.
  • Parsley has a beneficial effect on blood circulation and helps to eliminate toxins from the body.
  • Parsley also stimulates blood flow in the pelvic area and uterus. Parsley seeds can be used as a tea to eliminate menstrual problems. It gives good results in the treatment of amenorrhoea and dysmenorrhoea.
  • Parsley leaves have antiseptic effect, purifying the digestive system, urinary tract, bladder, uterus.
  • According to some studies, parsley juice, taken every morning before breakfast is the remedy for gonorrhea and all urinary tract infections. Parsley tea gives a drink effective against rheumatism.
  • It stimulates digestion. Finally, parsley freshens breath and successfully conceals the smell of garlic.

More info on Parsley: http://www.all-natural-cure.com/parsley.htm

 

PEPPERMINT: Peppermint has a long tradition of medicinal use. Archaeological evidence places its use far back as ten thousand years ago. It is commonly used to soothe or treat symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, indigestion, irritable bowel, and bloating and more.
The leaves and stems contain menthol which in addition to use medicinally, is used as a flavoring in food, and a fragrance in cosmetics.  The plant is prolific, growing well in moist, shaded areas as well as in sunnier locations.  The roots emit runners that can quickly overtake the garden so most gardeners prefer to plant peppermint in pots.

 

The easiest way to acquire a peppermint plant?  Find a friend or neighbor that is growing peppermint to break off a stem.  Place it is a glass of water and in a very short period of times, roots will form and you will have your own peppermint start. (We always have peppermint plants available on our homestead. So if you would like a cutting, let us know!!

 

  • common cold,
  • cough,
  • inflammationof the mouth and throat, 
  • sinusinfections,
  • respiratory infections.
  • digestive problems
  • heartburn,
  • nausea,
  • vomiting,
  • morning sickness,
  • irritable bowel syndrome(IBS), 
  • crampsof the upper gastrointestinal (GI) tract and bile ducts,
  • upset stomach,
  • diarrhea,
  • bacterial overgrowth of the small intestine,
  • gas
  • Oil can be used to reduce fevers and to help with allergy symptoms

 

  • Some people also use peppermint for menstrual problems,liver and gallbladder complaints, preventing spasms during endoscopy procedures, and as a stimulant.
  • Peppermint oilis applied to the skin for headache, muscle pain, nerve pain, toothache, inflammation of the mouth, joint conditions, itchiness, allergic rash, bacterial and viral infections, relaxing the colon during barium enemas, and for repelling mosquitoes.Some people inhale peppermint oil for treating symptoms of cough and colds, and as a painkiller.
    In foods and beverages, peppermint is a common flavoring agent.

More information on Peppermint: http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-705-PEPPERMINT.aspx?activeIngredientId=705&activeIngredientName=PEPPERMINT

 

ROSEMARY: Boosts brain power and cognitive function. The needles of the delightfully fragrant rosemary plant can be used in a tea to treat digestive problems.  The same tea can also be used as an expectorant and as a relaxing beverage that is helpful for headaches.  Other healing uses include improving memory, relieving muscle pain and spasms, stimulating hair growth, and supporting the circulatory and nervous systems.

 

  Reducing anxiety, elevating mood

  Boosting memory

  Brain protection

  Calming effects

  Pain relief

  Headache relief

  Protects against DNA damage

  Arthritis treatment, anti-inflammatory

  Skin tonic

  Hair tonic

  Digestion soother

  Immune booster

  Improving circulation

  Detoxifying the liver

  Cancer prevention (due to containing carnosol, a compound found to have anti-cancer properties)

 

Read more about rosemary: http://naturalsociety.com/rosemary-benefits-health-growing-own-medicine

SAGE:  Did you know that the genus name for sage is “salvia” which means “to heal”? In the first century C.E. Greek physician Dioscorides reported that sage stopped bleeding of wounds and cleaned ulcers and sores. He also recommended sage juice in warm water for hoarseness and cough. In modern times, a sage tea is used to sooth mouth, throat and gum inflammations.  This is because sage has excellent antibacterial and astringent properties.

 

  • Diaphoretic,
  • carminative,
  • stimulant, diurectic,
  • antispasmodic,
  • antidiarrheic,
  • expectorant,
  • tonic,
  • aromatic,
  • nervine,
  • vermifuge,
  • diuretic,
  • stomachic,
  • antiseptic,
  • anithydrotic,
  • astringent,
  • promotes estrogen,
  • antigalactagogue (decreases secretion of milk),
  • uterine stimulant,
  • reduces blood sugar levels


Additional Information on Sage: http://medicinalherbinfo.org/herbs/Sage.html

THYME:  Back during medieval times, thyme was given to knights before going in to battle.  The purpose was to infuse this manly man with vigor and courage.

These days, thyme used to relieve coughs, congestion, indigestion and gas.  This perennial is rich in thymol, a strong antiseptic, making thyme highly desirable in the treatment of wounds and even fungus infections.  Thyme is a perennial that does well, even in cooler, Pacific Northwest climates.

Down through the centuries it has been used for various ailments, from melancholia to epileptic seizures. In ancient times thyme was one of the first herbs sued as incense. It was often mixed with equal parts of lavender and sprinkled on the floors of churches in the Middle Ages to eliminate any unwanted odors. In ancient Egypt, thyme was one of the ingredients used in the mummification process. It has also been used as a perfume among some ancient cultures.

 

In recent years it has been prescribed by herbalists for intestinal worms, gastrointestinal ailments, bronchial problems, lack of appetite, diarrhea, menstrual cramps, the common cold, and laryngitis. In Germany it is used to treat whooping cough and emphysema.

  • Thyme has antiseptic qualities that make it useful for a mouthwash and to combat tooth decay. Its antiseptic qualities also make it useful in cases of anemia, bronchial ailments, and intestinal problems, as well as a skin cleanser. It has been known for anti-fungal properties that can be used to treat athlete’s foot and has anti-parasitic properties that are useful against lice, scabies, and crabs. It has shown useful for colic, excess gas, sore throats, and as a hangover remedy. Thyme also proves beneficial as an expectorant to loosen and expel mucous.
  • Make a poultice by mashing the leaves into a paste for use on skin inflammations and sores. Using thyme for an anti-fungal or parasitic agent can be done by mixing four ounces of fresh thyme to a pint of vodka or fresh vinegar with “the mother” still in the container (the mother is the vinegar starter). Crush the thyme leaves slightly and let sit 12 hours or overnight. Or buy the essential oil and use it sparingly. Apply to the affected area.
  • For gastric issues or bronchitis, make a tea of 1 teaspoon leaves to each cup of boiling water and steep 10-15 minutes. Use only once a day. Add small amounts of honey to sweeten, if desired.
  • Infusions of thyme have also been useful in soothing and healing muscle spasms and skin irritations. Thyme also contains a compound that is helpful in preventing blood clots.
  • Aromatherapy of the essential oil of thyme has been used to boost the mind, body, and spirit. Vapors of thyme’s essential oil have been effective for treating respiratory infections. Thyme oil or infusion can be added to bath water to aid bronchial problems and sooth rheumatism.
  • Burning thyme can repel insects and a dilution of thyme oil can be used externally as a deodorant and antiseptic that will prevent mildew. An ointment made with thyme has been used to treat warts. And some have said that it is useful to help new mothers to expel the afterbirth. Thyme ointment can be made from its leaves to sooth the discomfort associated with gout and killing worms internally.
  • Thyme has many helpful actions. It has been used as an antiseptic, anodyne, disinfectant, antitussive, anti-inflammatory, rubefacient, demulcent, apertif, carminative, diaphoretic, depurative, digestive, diuretic, expectorant, fungicide, nervine, pectoral, sedative, stimulant, and vermifuge.
  • The leaves and stems are the most common parts of the plant that are used.

More Info on Thyme: http://www.offthegridnews.com/alternative-health/medicinal-uses-of-thyme/

WESTERN YARROW: Yarrow’s most widespread function is to stop bleeding, which it is still used for today. It is said that Achilles used the plant to arrest the bleeding of his soldiers’ wounds—thus the name of the genus, Achillea, was derived. Seasoned hikers are usually aware of the blood-clotting and antimicrobial benefits of applying yarrow to their cuts. Yarrow may be applied directly, or used in a salve or poultice for minor cuts and wounds.

Yarrow has also been used as a remedy for cold and early fever, due to its diaphoretic properties. A tea may be prepared by steeping 1 teaspoon of dried yarrow in 1 cup of boiling water for 10 to 15 minutes. Drink 3 cups per day. (Because it has a sour flavor in tea, we add peppermint into the tea as well.)

The herb has also gained notoriety for its anti-inflammatory abilities. Thus it has been used for a number of conditions, from intestinal and female reproductive tract inflammations to hemorrhoids. Aside from these major applications, yarrow was used for a hodgepodge of maladies, including baldness, urinary tract infections, hypertension, and dysentery. It was even an ingredient in salads and beer over the years.

Information on Yarrow: http://www.motherearthliving.com/health-and-wellness/common-yarrow-uses.aspx

How to Make an Herbal Tea

(GREAT INFORMATION ON Herbs and herbal tea!) http://thepaleomama.com/2014/03/10-healing-herbs-for-survival-garden/

The process of making a pot of herbal tea is in itself healing.  Perhaps that has something to do with the proactive effort involved in doing something positive for one’s own self and well-being.  And luckily, brewing an herbal tea is easy.

To make an herbal tea, first bring some cool water to a boil.  While waiting for the water to boil, fetch a non-mental container that will be used to brew the tea.  A quart mason jar works nicely for this purpose.  You do not want to use a metal container since the metal may interfere with the purity and taste of the tea.

Add 2 tablespoons of fresh (or 1 tablespoon of dried herb or crushed seed) to the empty pot or jar for each cup of water.  Then, and this is the important part, add an extra 2 tablespoons of fresh (or 1 tablespoon of dried) herbs “for the pot.”  So, for example, if you are making 2 cups of hot tea, you would use 6 tablespoons of fresh herbs or 3 tablespoons of dried herbs.

Pour the boiling water over the herbs and let them steep, covered, for about 5 minutes give or take.  There is no  exact time since everyone’s strength preference is difference.  When ready, strain the herbs and pour the tea into a cup.  At this point you may want to garnish your heavenly – and healing – cup of tea with honey, citrus fruits or addition herb sprigs.

For iced tea, increase the quantity of herbs in the basic recipe by 1 1/2 to allow for dilution from the melting ice.