Tag Archives: being prepared

Creating your own firestarters – Oathkeepers Preparedness Class

Learning different techniques to get that heat and/or cooking first started can be a matter of life and death. Here are a few tricks for fire-starters to get you started on some survival knowledge. These work great too in your own fireplace, wood stove, manual pellet stoves or your outdoor fire pit. (We use a few of these at our house too!) Many are great to keep in your camping and 72 hour bags as well.

We also get a chance to show you a simple and effective room heater to use ONLY in an emergency (we have heated up our greenhouse in the dead of winter with it until we got a Chiminea to help with the colder norther Arizona winters.)

Having reliable DIY fire starters nearby will spare you from many headaches down the road.

 Posted by Ryan Lisson – January 9, 2015   

http://www.wideopenspaces.com/make-easy-diy-fire-starters-home-woods/

It doesn’t matter if you’re in the great outdoors, your fenced-in backyard, or sitting next to your cozy living room fireplace, a quality DIY fire starter is just nice to have. As a rule of thumb, you should know how to start a fire without one. (You do, don’t you?) If not, you should learn soon as it’s just ahead of tying knots when it comes to necessary outdoor skills.

But there are situations when you’re short on time, or the kindling is a little damp, or you just plain want an easy way out (no judgment here). Or perhaps you don’t get outdoors much and don’t want to embarrass yourself by committing all kinds of camping blunders.

Worry no more. These DIY fire starters are simple to construct, cheap to make, and will save you time and frustration in the long run. Plus, they make great gifts as well!

Materials

First, you’ll need to collect some materials. Luckily, nearly every item needed for these DIY fire starters is easily found within or around your home. Odd leftover bits of candle wax, crayon stubs, paraffin wax, shredded paper, toilet paper/paper towel tubes, dryer lint, paper/fiber egg cartons, small paper cups, sawdust, pine cones, and string are some solid choices, but feel free to experiment! You’ll need an old coffee can or glass jar to melt the waxes, and do so by placing in a pot of boiling water (double boiler system).

Pine Cones

Simply gather up as many open pine cones in your yard as you can and allow them to dry well. Tie a string around the middle and thread it up to the top. Melt paraffin wax with some chunks of old crayons or candles (for color) and dip the pine cone into the hot wax. Allow to dry on wax paper. When ready, simply light the string like a wick, and watch the pine cone go!

Woodchip Cups

If you do any woodwork or cut your own firewood, you’ll likely have large amounts of sawdust, shavings, or chips laying around. Gather some up and let it dry out well. Fill some paper cups (or muffin cups in a muffin tin) with the shavings almost to the top. Pour the wax over the mixture and let harden.

Shredded Paper

You can follow the same recipe as the wood chip fire starter above. Just gather up some shredded paper (most homes and offices have plenty of this available) and fill the muffin cups as before. Pour wax over it and let harden. Then light the shreds of paper or the muffin cup itself to start it.

Toilet Paper Tube

Obviously you could cut up a paper towel roll as well for this fire starter idea, but simply stuff dryer lint or other flammable materials into the tube. Make sure it’s full but not packed, as you need air space to let oxygen in. You can add wax or petroleum jelly as well, but it works quite well as is.

Cardboard Strips

We all have too much corrugated cardboard coming through our house. Instead of recycling or burning it, do both! Cut strips about two inches wide by three or four inches long. Dip them in melted wax, leaving a small portion undipped. The corrugation leaves channels for air flow, and these light very easily.

Other ideas?

Don’t limit yourself to just these examples. There are many other creative ways to make your own DIY fire starter. You could use birch bark, dried conifer twigs, cotton balls, etc. Or you could even combine some of these ideas together, such as putting a pinecone into an egg shell container, and covering with wax and sawdust.

As long as it lights easily and burns for a few minutes, you’ve succeeded.

The Uber Match- http://www.practicalprimitive.com/skillofthemonth/ubermatch.html  

(As featured in the September 2011 issue of Practically Seeking)

The ability to get a fire going can be the difference between life and death. That is why I always have multiple means of creating one at my disposal.

The Uber Match is simple to make, and when done correctly is reliable, along with being highly water and wind  resistant. Why you would NOT have a couple of these in ANY outdoor kit I cannot fathom!

Though traditionally made using strike anywhere matches (yes, you can still find them in this post 9-11 world) they can also be made using strike-on-the-box varieties — just make sure you have the box striker as well or you are screwed.
An Uber Match will burn for 5-7 minutes easily, produces a much larger flame than a standard match and gives off far more heat.

A major trick to making sure your Uber Matches will really work well is to allow a little bit of space between the matches and just below the match head.

Now onward with the process!

Step-by-step Instructions on How to Make an Uber Match:

  1. Take out 4 matches, preferably of the strike-anywhere variety. (These are the ones that have a white tip on the red match-head.)

 

  1. Completely unroll a regular cotton ball, and then split it in half, length-wise. (One cotton ball makes two Uber Matches.)

 

  1. Melt paraffin wax (our preferred wax for this and available at your grocery or hardware store) or any other type of wax (old candles, crayons, beeswax, etc) in a small container over low heat. An old tuna can works great for this and will sit easily on the stove burner.

 

  1. While your wax is melting, take one of your matches and, starting just below the tip (make sure you can see a short bit of the match stick) wrap around the stick one complete turn with the cotton. Take your second match place it up against the first, then wrap the cotton once completely around the two together.

  

  1. Add your third and then fourth matches in the same manner, wrapping the cotton around all three, then all four matches, creating a square, not a line. This way of wrapping creates necessary air space between the matches to allow for easy ignition. (Remember fire requires fuel, heat and oxygen to establish combustion.)

   

  1. After all 4 matches have been wrapped together continue to wrap the remaining cotton around all 4 sticks until you have completely covered the match sticks all the way down to the bottom. Strive to make the wrap nice and even all the way down, as if you were wrapping a mummy for Halloween.

  

  1. Roll the now completely wrapped matches tightly between your fingers to really squeeze down the cotton wrapping.

 

  1. Give the BASE of your Uber Match a quick dip in the melted wax and allow to cool and harden slightly. (For the sake of domestic relations, lay down a piece of aluminum foil for a cooling station — wax can be very difficult to remove from counters, stove tops and plates!)

  

  1. Once the base is cool enough to handle, give the top of your matches a quick dip in the wax far enough that the entire Uber Match is now completely coated in wax. Set it aside and allow to cool. When the wax is cool enough to handle but still warm enough to mold, use your fingers to press the wax-covered cotton into the matches and shape each Uber Match to a nice smooth cylinder.

  

  1. After the wax has hardened on all your Uber Matches, place several into an old pill bottle (along with the box striker if you have been forced to use strike-on-box types) and put this in with your camping gear/emergency kit/GO Bag. Allow the remaining wax to cool in the tuna can and it will be ready to melt again for your next set of matches!

  

  1. These Uber Matches will strike even when wet. And be careful, they have a much bigger flame than a regular match!

  

 

 

 

 

How Do I Make Vaseline Cotton Ball Fire Starters?

http://www.ramblinjim.com/articles/using-vaseline-cotton-balls-as-a-fire-starter/

To make your fire starters, you just need two ingredients — petroleum jelly and cotton balls. Any brand of petroleum jelly will work, just make sure it’s 100% pure petroleum jelly. You’ll need a lot of it, so get it in bulk. For the cotton balls, get jumbo-sized cotton balls and check the package to be sure they’re 100% cotton. Artificial fibers won’t take a spark.

Rubbing the Vaseline into a cotton ball is messy work. The fibers of the cotton ball tend to pull apart and the Vaseline gets everywhere. The cleanest, easiest method I’ve found is to put a scoop of Vaseline into a snack-sized Ziploc bag, toss some cotton balls in, zip it up, then knead the Vaseline into the cotton balls.

You want to get as much Vaseline in the cotton ball as you can without completely saturating the cotton ball. It’s very important to have some dry fibers available in the middle to take the flame, especially if you use a firesteel or magnesium rod.

 

How to Make Lint Fire Starters

https://www.thebalance.com/how-to-make-lint-fire-starters-1388857

 By Erin Huffstetler  Updated July 05, 2016

Forget about paying for fire starters. You can make all the fire starters you need for free.

Difficulty: Easy

Time Required: 15 minutes or less

What You Need

  • Dryer lint
  • Cardboard egg cartons
  • candle wax (old candles work great)

Here’s How

  1. Fill each cup of the egg carton with dryer lint.
  2. Melt the wax in a double boiler.
  3. Pour the wax over top of the lint.
  4. Allow the wax to cool and harden. Then, cut the egg carton up to create 12 fire starters.

To use: Simply place a fire starter in your fireplace (or firepit) with your kindling and light. The wax will keep the starter going long enough to ignite your kindling.

Tips

  1. Be sure to cover your work surface, before you start.
  2. You can use saw dust from non-pressure-treated wood in place of the dryer lint, or broken crayons in place of the candle wax. There’s plenty of room to improvise.
  3. Fire starters make great gifts. Make a bunch, and you’ll be all set for Christmas.

 

 

Tea Light Personal Space Heater

http://simplydixon.com/2014/01/06/tea-light-heater/

Jeremy January 6, 2014 do it yourselfhome

This may sound like one of those “free” energy things, and I’ll admit that I was a bit skeptical about this working until this morning. After spending a morning next to this thing, I can now say that this tea light candle heater actually works. You have to be near it to get warmer or have a small space to heat, but it works…really.

What is it?

Basically it is 4 tea light candles, placed in a foil lined bread dish, covered up with one terracotta pot and that covered up with a larger terracotta pot.

How well does it work?

I have a relatively large space in my completely unheated basement office, but if i put it next to where i’m sitting I can definitely feel the heat.

Why it works

The inner pot gets really warm, even hot to the touch, so I imagine that the two pot system helps keep some of the heat contained so it can slowly let it radiate from the pot instead of letting the candles heat dissipate quickly in the cold air. I’m sure there are many others who know a lot more about the inner workings of this type of a heating method.

How I made mine

  • 1 glass bread dish (metal would probably work better if we had one)
  • Line the dish with aluminum foil (I figure it would help reflect the heat back at the pots)
  • 4 tea light candles placed in the center of the dish (you can get100 of them from amazon for $8.95)
  • one smaller clay pot, set on the dish (must be large enough to rest on the top of the dish to create airflow for the candles)
  • a larger clay pot set on top of the whole thing but resting on the top of the bread dish.

 

 

Basic rules for home food storage

GREAT website full of information – www.pssurvival.com

Basic rules for home storage:

Rule 1: Store what you eat, and eat what you store. It would be too bad to have a supply of food you would only eat with the greatest reluctance. Also, you can spend a lot of money on a supply of food and other provisions now, but after 15 or 20 years it won’t be much good anymore. Which brings us to the second rule.

Rule #2: Rotate your food supply. Eat the old and replace with new food. It’s great on the pocket book. Large amounts can be purchased when they are on sale, then used when they are not. This may also require you to change your eating habits just a bit – like eating more whole grain and legume foods that are inexpensive but nutritious. But whatever you choose to store, be sure it’s something you can eat or it will never get rotated.

Rule #3: Whatever you store, insure it is as nutritious as possible with the 50 essential elements required for good health. You should also consider storing a good mineral/vitamin supplement.

Rule #4: Special care should be taken in preserving your emergency supply, especially if you plan on storing it for several years. Generally, if you plan on using it up within a year it should be safe to store your dry grains and beans in the paper or plastic bags it came in. But if you do this, be sure you have a cool, dry place to keep it. Bugs are always a serious concern. If you haven’t bug proofed your food you need to check it every few weeks to insure it stays insect free. Aside from packing up your own dry goods, you can also…

Can your garden produce in bottles. This works best for fresh vegetables and fruits, and even meat if it is done correctly. However, know that after two years, wet packed foods in cans or bottles lose much of their nutritional value. Rotation is the key!

Dehydrate your own foods. Some foods that lend themselves well to this kind of food preservation are potatoes, carrots, onions, peppers, and all kinds of fruits. After dehydration, be sure to store them in air tight bags or containers. It would also be a good idea to throw in a couple of oxygen absorber packets.

Whatever method you use to preserve your food, Store it in a cool, dry, dark place.

Rule 5: Learn to grow a garden now before any hard times come. This way you will get the trial and error out of the way before you really need to eat off your garden. For someone who has never grown

a garden before, it is not as easy as it may seem. There is a real art to growing a great garden and this knowledge doesn’t come all at once. Become proficient at it now, and learn now how to preserve

what you grow. I store 18 months worth of home canned most years

tenzicut – who is starting from scratch

http://pssurvival.com/PS/Food_Storage/Basic_Rules_For_Home_Storage_2004.txt

 

 

HOW MUCH TO STORE?

The experts at the FDA have said that the average adult will consume the following amounts of fresh food per year.

 

Meat – 150 to 200 pounds per year

Flour – 200 to 300 pounds

Sugar or honey – 60 pounds

 Fats or Oils – 60 pounds

Salt – 5 pounds

Powdered Milk – 75 pounds

Vegetables and Fruits – 600 to 700 pounds

Water – 375 gallons

(I would also suggest storing items like vinegar and herbs)

The figures above are nice guidelines, but they need to be considered from the technical angle of preserved foods rather than fresh foods.

 

Meat: Under adverse conditions, people can easily get by with less protein than 150 pounds of fresh meat per year, as that averages to almost a half pound per day! A canned, cooked one pound ham, for example, would be a real treat once a week, and easily feed a family of four. For weekday meals for a family of four, a 5 ounce can of tuna, canned chicken, 12 ounce can of luncheon meat, or 12 ounce can of corned beef can be used in a casserole (or whatever) and provide the required protein.

 Flour: The listed amount of 200 to 300 pounds of flour per year is fairly realistic, as in catastrophic conditions people would be making their own bread and pasta, for example. Using a hand cranked mill to produce flour from whole wheat is a sure way to limit the amount of flour required, as it is hard work!

Sugar or honey: The recommended 60 pounds is the absolute minimum needed, in reality far below the actual amount desired, as sweeteners are the carbohydrates needed for energy, and survival is hard work. The 60 pounds listed by the FDA does not take into account home canning, for example, and people will need to make jellies and jams and can fruits, all of which require a considerable amount of sugar or honey.

Fats or oils: Again, this is an absolute minimum amount needed, as 60 pounds of fats or oils does not go far when used in baking, frying, and other uses. In hard times, people actually require fat in their diet in order to do hard work. In every country in which food is rationed, cooking oils are one of the first items of scarcity. Indeed, in Russia last fall cooking oils were almost impossible to find, even though not specifically rationed. Corn oil stores for years, and so does plain, inexpensive hydrogenated lard.

Salt: Whoever at the FDA dreamed this up must have been a nutrition Nazi. Five pounds of iodized table salt would be the recommended minimum per person per year, but what about making kraut, salt preserving meat, or preserving fish in a barrel of salt? For those needs, a family should have at least 50 pounds of fine grade, non iodized salt, available for less then $5.00 from a feed and seed store. Salt is essential to life! Remember the salt caravans from the old days in Africa and the middle East? Salt was worth more than gold!

Powdered milk: The 75 pounds recommended per person is fine, but for cooking needs a couple of cases (48 cans) of canned, condensed milk is an absolute necessity.

Vegetables and fruits: In hard times, greens and fruits can indeed be a vital food item, as they provide the vitamins and minerals our bodies require to remain healthy. Storing vegetables and fruits is where a food dehydrator really shines. Combine the dried veggies with fresh greens from a garden and canned fruit juices and sauces, and the 600 pound per year amount becomes far more attainable.

http://pssurvival.com/PS/Food_Storage/How_Much_Food_To_Store_2000.PDF

 What to buy on a weekly basis to build up your food storage over the year

 

Week 1 Nuts–get them on sale after Christmas. Drug stores are often a good source. Dry roasted keep best. Freeze bagged ones. 21 lbs. per person  Week 2 Detergents, Bleaches, Cleansers. Bleach 1 gal per person, Laundry soap, 20 lbs per person.  Week 3 Medicine Chest: feminine products, Pepto bismol, cough syrup, Tylenol, Calamine lotion, Kaopectate, Ipecac, sun screen, etc. Dispose of all outdated medications  Week 4 Canned meats: Tuna, Spam, Dried Beef  Week 5 First Aid supplies: Band aids, antibiotic ointment, Ace bandages, steri-strips, etc.  Week 6 Fill your water jugs  Week 7 Peanut butter 10 lbs per person  Week 8 Solid vegetable shortening lbs. per person  Week 9 Juices. Avoid watered products. Get 100% juice.  Week 10 Toothpaste, floss, razors, shaving cream  Week 11 Mixes, cake, pancake, muffin, etc. Purchase or make your own. counts for part of grain requirement. you need an annual total of 300 lbs of grain products per person.  Week 12 Spices and herbs—look for bargains at health food stores or ethnic food stores.  Week 13 Rice buy 10, 15, or 20 pounds. Counts toward grain total  Week 14 More First Aid: gauze patches, swabs. cotton balls, tape, etc.  Week 15 Pasta. Select a variety. Counts toward grain total  Week 16 Dry Milk. 100 lbs per person per year  Week 17 – Assemble emergency sewing kit: thread, pins, needles, buttons, snaps, zippers, tape measure, scissors.  Week 18 – Flour. Consider your families needs. 50 lbs per person? counts toward grain  Week 19 – Dry or canned soup  Week 20 – Gelatin or Pudding mixes  Week 21 – Buy garden seeds locally, if you haven’t mail ordered them. Get only what you will plant and eat. Also consider what you can preserve and eat.  Week 22 – More Flour! 50 lbs per person total.. counts toward grains  Week 23 – Cord, twine or light rope. Flashlights and batteries.  Week 24 – Freeze cheese. Grate and freeze for casseroles or soups.  Week 25 – Paper towels, aluminum foil, garbage bags. freezer bags, etc.  Week 26 – Vinegars: If you make pickles, have several gallons on hand  Week 27 – Condiments: mustard, mayo, relish, Worcestershire  Week 28 – Jams and jellies. Buy what you will not make yourself.  Week 29 – Canned goods. Buy what you eat. veggies: lbs. per person, fruits,: 80 quarts per person  Week 30 – Canned milk Check Dec 1989 Ensign for use Ideas  Week 31 – Back to school supplies and office supplies  Week 32 – Baking powder, soda, cornstarch. Baking soda 2 lbs per person, soda lbs per  Week 33 – Tomatoes juice, sauce, whole or paste. Buy it or make it. part of veggies  Week 34 – Canned Fruit, buy or can 80 quarts per person  Week 35 – More canned fruits and veggies 150 total per person per year  Week 36 – Buy an extra 25 pounds of sugar 100lbs per person total  Week 37 – Can or freeze veggies from garden or fresh purchased, or buy more canned 150 lbs per person per year  Week 38 – Dried beans, peas. 100 lbs per person  Week 39 – Sweeteners. Honey, Molasses, etc. counts toward sugars  Week 40 – Iodized Salt. Ten or more containers. For canning use, get canning salt.  Week 41 – Personal products: soap, deodorant, toilet paper, shampoo, etc. Hand soap, 15 per person, TP: one roll per week  Week 42 – Canned soups: counts toward veggies  Week 43 – Can something with apples.  Week 44 – Hard candy for Halloween. Leftovers will make a good addition to your 72 hour emergency kit.  Week 45 – Vitamins. Get some extra C and Calcium. 365 vitamins per person.  Week 46 – Treats for baking: Cocoa, coconut, nuts, chocolate chips, etc  Week 47 – Rolled oats, corn meal, cream of wheat…Part of grains  Week 48 – Sugars, brown, white, powdered. counts toward 100lbs per person total  Week 49 – Vegetable and olive oils. Get a good quality. 12 lbs. per person  Week 50 – Candles and matches. Put in a cool place and in a sturdy box (preferably fireproof) that you can locate in the dark.  Week 51 – Popcorn. Go for the big bags. Counts toward grains  Week 52 – Merry Christmas. Give yourself a great gift–security for an extended period. 

 

http://pssurvival.com/PS/Food_Storage/What_To_Buy_On_A_Weekly_Basis_For_Food_Storage_2004.txt

 

 

How To Make Apple Cider Vinegar

We love making our own Apple Cider Vinegar. Check out this article that I found with step by step!!! <3 Kris 

http://thehealthyeatingsite.com/apple-cider-vinegar-recipe/

Making Apple Cider Vinegar From Scraps

Like apple juice, the best apple cider vinegars are organic, unfiltered and raw (unpasteurized). Depending on where you live it may be hard to find really good apple cider vinegar.

Fortunately, it’s easy and very inexpensive to make. It just takes some time, naturally, to ferment. This varies depending on which of the two methods below that you choose to use.

This article will show you how to make apple cider vinegar using two different methods. The first method uses the scraps – cores and apple peels. The second method uses whole apples. 

Method One – Make Apple Cider Vinegar From Scraps

This method uses scraps, like the peels and cores. I like this method because I get to eat my apples and make vinegar too. It’s also faster, taking around two months to complete the process.

You’ll need:
a large bowl or wide-mouth jar
apple scraps, the cores and peels from organic apples
a piece of cheesecloth for covering the jar to keep out flies and debris

Leave the scraps to air. They’ll turn brown, which is exactly what you want. Add the apple scraps to the jar and top it up with water.

You can continue to add scraps for a few more days if you want. If you’re going to do this though, be sure don’t top the jar right up, leave some room for the new scraps.

Cover with the cheesecloth and put it in a warm, dark place. A water cylinder cupboard is perfect.

You’ll notice the contents of the jar starts to thicken after a few days and a grayish scum forms on top. When this happens, stop adding scraps and leave the jar for a month or so to ferment.

After about a month you can start taste-testing it. When it’s just strong enough for you, strain out the apple scraps and bottle the vinegar.

It’s ok if your vinegar is cloudy, there will be some sediment from the apples and what’s known as “the mother”. It’s all good. If you don’t like the cloudiness though, straining it through a paper coffee filter will remove most of the sediment.

Method Two – Make Apple Cider Vinegar From Whole Apples

This method uses whole, organic apples and takes about 7 months to ferment into vinegar.

You’ll need:
10 Whole organically-grown apples
a glass bowl, and later a larger glass bowl
a piece of cheesecloth to cover the bowls

Wash the apples and cut into quarters. You can optionally core and peel them. If you do the scraps can be used to make apple cider vinegar by method one, above.

Let the apples air and turn brown. Then put them into the smaller bowl and cover with water.

Cover the bowl with the cheesecloth and leave in a warm, dark place for 6 months. Again, a hot water cupboard is ideal.

After the 6 months is up, you’ll notice a grayish scum on the surface of the liquid. This is normal. Strain the liquid through a coffee filter into the larger bowl, and leave it for another 4-6 weeks, covered with the cheesecloth.

And there you have it, your own homemade apple cider vinegar

How to use Apple Cider Vinegar

There are lots of ways to use apple cider vinegar. It can be used diluted with water as a hair rinse (don’t worry – the smell disappears quickly), you can also mix with water or fruit juice and drink it.

 

 

Top 23 Uses For Apple Cider Vinegar Backed By Science

by CHANTELLE ZAKARIASEN

Apple Cider Vinegar  has a plethora of useful and medicinal properties. There have been resources written on all the amazing benefits that Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) has regarding multiple physical ailments as well as cleaning and DIY purposes.
ACV is a cheap and effective multi-purpose cleaner, you can add it to your water, tea and salad dressings for a refreshing zing and capitalize on the multiple health benefits you’ll be receiving.

Why All The Fuss Over Apple Cider Vinegar?

The word vinegar translates to vin aigre, is french for “sour wine”. The medicinal uses of vinegar date way back to when it was discovered in 5000 BC by a courtier in Babylonia.

MD’s during the 18th century used it as a multi purpose treatment for ailments like dropsy, stomach ache and even for managing diabetes (1).

Columbus had barrels of apple cider vinegar on his ships to prevent scurvy. Apple cider vinegar was used during the civil war to disinfect wounds and Japanese Samurais drank it for strength and power.

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Hippocrates used vinegar to treat seventeen different conditions (2) ranging from ulcers to fractures.

Apple Cider Vinegar is loaded with vitamins, minerals, and amino acids, its various enzymes help with digestion and 1 Tbs equals is just 3 calories.

 

1. Cleaning 

ACV combined with 2 parts water makes an effective natural disinfectant solution for all surfaces (3).

It’s amazingly affordable compared to commercial natural cleaning products and the smell is really pleasant. You could add a few drops of thieves oil and have a great antibacterial spray for countertops, bathroom, kitchen and carpet deodorizer.

 

2. Hair rinse

There’s a new hair craze on the rise and it relies on the simple method of using baking soda as a shampoo and ACV as a conditioning hair rinse.

Instead of spending loads on junk free shampoos and conditioners, this “no poo” (short for shampoo, not the other stuff) method of hair care works really well and makes your hair super soft.

Thanks to the pH balancing effects that ACV has, anecdotal reports claim it can add shine, softness and break down build up from other hair products.

 

3. Dandruff and Thinning Hair 

The high acidity and powerful enzyme in ACV kill the bacteria responsible for dandruff and hair loss, bottle bacilli, and stimulates our hair natural oils to secrete more effectively and moisturize our scalps better.

Saturate the scalp with ACV and let it sit for a few hours. Use the same treatment for thinning hair and itchy scalp (4).

Continue reading How To Make Apple Cider Vinegar

Local Plants in Yavapai County – Oathkeepers Preparedness class – October 8, 2016

Download this article

Download Local Plant Printout

Every time you walk outside, take in nature around you. Many plants that grow in your back yard and neighborhood are edible. (There are many however that are poisonous, so please do your research.)

Stepping outside my own house, I can spot so many different plants that are used as food or as medicinal purposes that grow wild here in Yavapai County.  I have fields full of purslane, plantain, dandelions and other amazing plants.

In the past weeks, we have talked about medicinal herbs that you can purchase and plant, so now we are going to hit upon local grown plants that you can step outside and find in Yavapai County. You can also pick up seeds for these local plants online. I have a set of seeds that I purchased as backups in case my wild sets don’t comes back up.  

I am by no means a Master Gardener, but rather someone who takes being prepared very seriously. With the ease of using the Internet, I have been able to research and locate many of the local plants that are GREAT to have in your back yard. I have also been able to discover ones that are NOT so good for my kids and animals such as false red yucca and locoweed.

Plants do not only have to be in big fields or open area, but can be planted in pots in your back yard.

I tend to pick wild dandelion flowers when I am out and about too…. But I make sure that I don’t pick from areas that I know have a ton of car traffic or where they spray pesticides. My back yard is the best place to find the perfect ones.

 “The health benefits of dandelion include relief from liver disorders, diabetes, urinary disorders, acne, jaundice, cancer and anemia. It also helps in maintaining bone health, skin care and is a benefit to weight loss programs. These and other health benefits are currently being studied for complete validation by a number of international institutions.” – https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/herbs-and-spices/health-benefits-of-dandelion.html


Purslane: The Everyday Edible “Weed” With Extraordinary Health Benefits

http://www.naturallivingideas.com/purslane-benefits/

January 6, 2016 by Sierra Bright

Purslane (Portulaca oleracea)

“A nutritional powerhouse, Purslane contains more omega-3 fatty acids than any other leafy vegetable. It’s rich in vitamins A, C, E as well as magnesium, calcium, potassium and iron. In traditional Chinese medicine, purslane leaves are used for insect bites and bee stings, sores, diarrhea and hemorrhoids.

With a somewhat sour and salty flavor, it’s an acquired taste, but works great in soups and stews. Try breading and frying the leaves for a tempura style side dish.

Even though this weed happily grows in sidewalk cracks, try looking for some that’s a little less trampled – you’ll probably find some in your garden.”   http://www.naturallivingideas.com/18-edible-backyard-weeds-you-should-stop-killing-start-eating/

Purslane (Portulaca oleracea, P. sativa) is known as an annoying weed to many but it reality it is a plant loaded with nutritional value and is actually a “superweed.”  Out of all of the weeds that may spring up in your yard, this one is certainly worth keeping around.

Strangely enough, this weed that seems to pop up all over the place such as in between sidewalk cracks and in fields and lawns is classified by the United States Department of Agriculture as a noxious weed. despite its alluring list of redeeming qualities.

According to reports, purslane, a member of the portulacaceae family, was one of Gandhi’s favorite foods and was also eaten by Thoreau while he lived at Walden Pond.

The benefits of this edible weed did not escape early Americans such as Martha Washington who had a recipe for pickled “pursland” in the Booke of Cookery and Booke of Sweetmeats. This was a collection of hand-written recipes that she received as a wedding gift.

Distribution, Description and Varieties

 
Purslane is an annual plant  that is native to Persia, Africa and India. It grows from late spring until early fall.  It was brought to Europe in the 8th century by Arabs who used it as a salad herb. From Europe, the plant spread into the United States as well as Central and South America. This low growing herb  prefers to grow in vacant areas where the soil is either slightly damp or dry.

The  tear-shaped leaves of this fleshy succulent resemble those of a jade plant and it has a slightly reddish colored stem. Yellow flowers appear in the morning and often close by the heat of the day. After flowering, the plant leaves behind small dark-colored seeds.

There are actually 3 different varieties of purslane, green, golden and large-leaved. All have a similar nutritional profile.

If you don’t already have this weed popping up in your yard or garden, you can generally find it at any farmer’s market.

Taste, Texture and Use

Many describe the taste of purslane as slightly sour but also pleasantly sweet. Because it is a succulent, its leaves are very crisp making it a great addition to salads. However, its use does not stop here, you can also enjoy purslane in stir fry dishes, soups, pickles, rice, potato dishes  and even casseroles.

Nutritional Profile

Purslane has a very impressive nutritional profile which includes many substances of  varied therapeutic value:

  • rich source of potassium ( 494 mg/100g)
  • rich source of magnesium ( 68mg/100g)
  • contains calcium ( 65mg/100g)
  • contains vitamins C, A and E
  • containsalpha linolenic acid ( ALA) and gamma-linolenic acid ( LNA)
  • contains alpha-tocopherol and ascorbic acid

Omega-3 fatty Acids

Purslane is one of the richest sources of omega-3 fatty acids found in any green plant and even higher than some types of fish. Omega 3 fatty acids have been proven to decrease the thickness of the blood making them beneficial in the treatment of vascular conditions.  In addition, a diet rich in omega 3 fatty acids has been found to help with the following conditions:

Depression: Research has indicated that depression rates were low in areas where people consumed a diet rich in omega 3 fatty acids.

Bipolar disease: There is a strong indication that omega 3 fatty acids help with bipolar disease.

ADHD: Omega 3’s have been found to help children with ADHD. Sneak some purslane into your children’s smoothies to help with cognitive function and focus.

Dry Eye Syndrome: Omega 3 fatty acids may help with dry eye syndrome. Therefore, a diet rich in omega 3’s such as those found in purslane can keep this condition at bay.

Autism: A diet rich in omega 3’s may help children with autism.

Blood Sugar: Research shows that diets rich in omega 3 fatty acids may decrease insulin resistance in people with diabetes. Just a handful of purslane day can help keep your blood sugar in check.

Baby Development: According to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) benefit both eye and cognitive development in babies. According to the study

Reduced Risk of Pneumonia:  A higher intake of omega 3 has been found to reduce the risk of pneumonia.

Heart Health: Omega 3 helps to boost the strength of the cardiovascular system. These powerful fatty acids can reduce “bad” cholesterol and promote healthy cholesterol. In addition, consuming foods high in omega-3’s has been shown to significantly reduce the risk of heart disease and atherosclerosis which helps prevent the incidence of heart attack and stroke. In addition, purslane contains potassium which reduces blood pressure as it acts as a vasodilator, relaxing blood vessels and deceasing strain on the heart muscle.

Antioxidants

You have probably heard the word antioxidants before. These are manmade and naturally occurring chemicals that help fight free radicals that cause cellular damage. In fact, antioxidants can help protect you from serious conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and macular degeneration.

Purslane is rich in vitamins A, C and E which are all known for their antioxidant potency. In addition, this edible weed also contains two betalain alkaloid pigments, beta-cyanins and beta-xanthins, which also act as antioxidants.  Antioxidants also help protect you from certain types of cancers, specifically lung and oral cancers. The beta cyanins and beta xanthins have a anti-mutagenic impact on the body as they prevent free radicals from causing mutations to healthy cells. This keeps cancer development at bay.

Vitamins and Minerals

The vitamins and minerals in purslane including iron, magnesium, potassium and manganese are all beneficial to health.

Improved Circulation: The iron and copper in purslane  help to stimulate the production of red blood cells. Because of these minerals, there is more oxygen being delivered to essential parts of the body, along with increased speed of healing cells and organs, improved metabolic efficiency and even increased hair growth.

Strong Bones: The wide variety of minerals in purslane work together to protect bones. The elements required to build strong hone tissue include calcium, magnesium, iron and manganese. These elements also help speed the healing process of bones which can help prevent osteoporosis.

Improved Vision: Both vitamin A and beta-carotene have been associated with eye health. Studies show that purslane can help reduce the risk of macular degeneration and cataracts by eliminating free radicals that attack and damage the eyes and can cause commonly age-related diseases.

Skin Conditions: The vitamin A in purslane along with other nutrients can help reduce inflammation when applied topically to stings and bites. Also, it can boost the appearance, stimulate cellular healing, decrease the appearance of wrinkles, scars and blemishes.

Gastrointestinal Health  In traditional Chinese medicine, purslane is used for a number of gastrointestinal conditions including diarrhea, intestinal bleeding, dysentery and hemorrhoids. Even today the herb known as Ma Chi Xian in Chinese medicine is used to treat numerous intestinal conditions. It is thought to be effective mainly due to the numerous beneficial organic compounds it contains including dopamine, citric acid, alanine, glucose and malic acid.

Weight Loss Aid  If you are looking to drop a few pounds, look to the nutrient-dense purslane that is also loaded with fiber. If you consume a meal that contains purslane you will feel full and be less likely to overeat.

How to Grow Your Own Purslane

If you want your very own stash of purslane, it is remarkably easy to grow. Simply scatter seeds (available tobuy from here) over a sunny or partly sunny area that has some good organic soil or compost. Do not cover the seeds, they need light in order to germinate. Water lightly and wait for germination. Be sure to harvest the purslane regularly or it will become invasive. It is best to harvest before the flowers open.

You can also set cutting into the ground and water them. They generally root within a few days.

Be sure to collect the seeds at the end of the season and plant them next year.

If you are going to collect purslane from other places, be sure that it has not been sprayed with pesticides.

If you are buying purslane from your local farmer’s market or health store, look for leaves that are perky, not floppy. Don’t buy the herb if it has brown spots or appears dry. It is always best to use fresh purslane within a day or so in order to reap all of its benefits.


Preserving Dandelion Roots

How To Harvest Dandelion Roots & 7 Ways To Use Them

Dandelion roots can be used fresh from the ground for both culinary and medicinal purposes but if you want to store some of your harvest for future use, you’ll need to dehydrate it.

If you have a dehydrator, simply slice the cleaned roots into strips of equal size and dry them until brittle.

Alternatively, wrap each whole root with a long piece of string and hang in cool, dry location with good air flow for several days until completely brittle. Once dry, cut into small pieces.

Whichever method you choose, store your dried root in a glass jar for up to a year. If dried correctly, the outer flesh of the dandelion root should have a dark color while the inner flesh should be creamy white.

Using Your Dandelion Root

There are several ways to utilize your dandelion root harvest. Here are some of the best:

1. Dandelion Root Tincture

A tincture is a fast-acting, alcohol-based plant medicine. Dandelion root tincture is used for its anti-inflammatory properties. It is also said to be a fantastic diuretic, blood cleanser and natural detoxifier for the liver, spleen and gallbladder.

Herbalists use the dandelion root tincture to improve overall health and vitality, regulate blood sugar, reduce stress, eliminate age spots and clear up skin condition like psoriasis, eczema, and acne.

To make a tincture:

  1. Place the dandelion root in a jar and cover with 100 proof (50%) vodka. Ensure there is at least an inch of vodka above the dandelion roots. The 100 proof vodka enables the alcohol concentration to stay high enough to prevent fermentation and rot.
  2. Cover tightly and allow to steep for 6 weeks, shaking daily.
  3. Strain out the root using a muslin cloth and store the liquid tincture in a sterilized dark glass bottle. Compost the roots.
  4. For optimum health, take a few drops daily in juice or water.

2. Dandelion Root Infusion / Tea

Probably the most common use of dandelion roots, this healing tea is high in antioxidants, helps balance blood sugar, aids digestion, acts as a natural diuretic and mild laxative, cleanses the liver, prevents UTIs and more.

To make this simple infusion:

  1. Place one ounce of dried roots or two ounces of fresh roots in a pot with one pint of water. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes. Strain and compost the roots.

3. Dandelion Root Decoction

decoction is an infusion which has been reduced to one-half its volume by slow evaporation. They are more potent than infusions and keep for longer if carefully stored under refrigeration.

You can use the decoction for anything you would use the infusion/tea – except you can simply imbibe a smaller amount for the same effect. This makes decoctions particularly effective for treating children or animals. One cup of infusion is equal to one quarter cup of a simple decoction.

To make a decoction:

  1. Make the simple infusion/tea outlined above.
  2. Heat the infused liquid until it begins to steam (but before it simmers). Turn the heat to low and steam until the liquid is reduced to one quarter of its original volume.
  3. Once cooled, pour the decoction into a sterile dark bottle and store in the refrigerator.

4. Dandelion Root Poultice

Dandelion root can be used in a poultice to treat skin disorders like acne, eczema, itching, psoriasis, rashes, abscesses and boils.

Follow the steps below to make a simple poultice:

  1. Process one cup of dried dandelion root in a food processor into a fine powder.
  2. Add a small amount of warm water to the powder to form a thick paste.
  3. Spread the paste over a piece of gauze and apply to the clean, dry, affected area.
  4. Wrap the poultice with plastic wrap and a towel and secure it with a safety pin.
  5. Leave for 20 minutes to three hours as needed and repeat as necessary.

5. Dandelion Root Coffee

Roasted dandelion root is a delicious caffeine-free alternative to coffee. Combine it with roasted chicory root for a deep, slightly bitter flavor. This recipe also mixes in cinnamon for a sweet spiciness with added healing properties.

To make:

  1. Place four cups of water, two tablespoons of ground roasted dandelion root, two tablespoons of ground roasted chicory root and one cinnamon stick in a pot.
  2. Bring to a boil, then simmer for five minutes.
  3. Strain and enjoy your healthy coffee substitute, adding a milk of your choice if desired.

6. Dandelion Root Vinegar  Blend dandelion root with apple cider vinegar for a delicious vinegar that works well in salads and soups. You can also add it to water to get your daily dose of apple cider vinegar with the extra health benefits of dandelion.

For a gut friendly vinegar simply:

  1. Fill a mason jar two-thirds full with finely chopped fresh or dried dandelion root. Fill to the top withraw apple cider vinegar with ‘the mother’.
  2. Leave to infuse for six weeks, in a cool place away from direct sunlight, before straining through a muslin cloth. Store in a sealed glass jar.

7. Dandelion Root Smoothies  If you’re a green smoothie lover – and here are 13 reasons why you should be – consider adding some dandelion root to your shake to boost the nutritional content and support the liver.

If using dried root, place it in the blender and process to a fine powder before adding the other ingredients. If using fresh dandelion root, you can blend it with all the other ingredients as normal.

Precautions

Dandelion is generally considered safe to take, although medicinal herbs are potent time-honored treatments so speaking to your doctor before use is recommended.

Avoid dandelion if:

  • You are allergic to ragweed, chrysanthemums, marigold, chamomile, yarrow, daisies, asters or iodine.
  • It triggers heartburn symptoms or irritates the skin.
  • You are pregnant or nursing.

Those who have gallstones, biliary tract obstruction, stomach ulcers, gastritis or irritable bowel should speak with their health care provider before taking dandelion, as should those on potassium supplements, blood thinners or medications to treat infection.

Wondering what to do with your leftover dandelion leaves and blossoms? Here are 25 great ideas for you to try out.

25 Reasons To Go & Pick Dandelions Right Now

25 Reasons To Go & Pick Dandelions Right Now

March 11, 2016 by Jayne Leonard

Who hasn’t seen those pesky yellow weeds pop up in the garden from time to time? Yet try as you might – from picking them to poisoning them – nothing keeps them at bay for too long.

Perhaps it’s time you embraced the tenacious dandelion and all the benefits it can bring?

”Probably the most well-known of all weeds, the humble dandelion is actually bursting with vitamins A, B, C, and D, as well as minerals such as iron, potassium, and zinc. The great news is that there’s probably a ton of this nutritious weed in your backyard.

Dandelion has been used throughout history to treat everything from liver problems and kidney disease to heartburn and appendicitis. Today, it is mainly used as a diuretic, appetite stimulant and for the liver and gallbladder.

Every part of this common weed is edible, from the roots to the blossoms. Use the leaves in sandwiches and stir fries – they boast more beta carotene than carrots, meaning they are great for healthy eyes! Roots can be made into a herbal tea, or roasted and ground as a coffee substitute. The sweet flower heads will add color to salads and can be used to make wines.”

http://www.naturallivingideas.com/18-edible-backyard-weeds-you-should-stop-killing-start-eating/

The Health Benefits of Dandelions

Dandelion has been used throughout history to treat everything from liver problems and kidney disease to heartburn and appendicitis.

Every part of this common weed – from the roots to the blossoms – is edible. It’s a good thing too, as the humble dandelion is bursting with vitamins A, B, C and D, as well as minerals such as iron, potassium and zinc.

Some benefits of eating your weeds:

  • The leaves boastmore beta carotene than carrots, meaning they are great for healthy eyes!
  • The greens alsoprovide 535% of the recommended daily value of vitamin K, which is vital for strengthening bones and preventing cognitive decline.
  • A2011 study showed that dandelion root tea may induce leukemia cells to die. Researchers reported that the tea didn’t send the same ‘kill’ message to healthy cells.
  • The plant isa diuretic that helps the kidneys clear out waste, salt and excess water by increasing urine production – perhaps the reason that European children’s lore claims you will wet the bed if you pick the flowers!
  • With such a rich nutrient load, the plant is filled with antioxidants – which may help stave off premature aging, cancer, and other illnesses caused by oxidative stress.
  • Animalstudies discovered that dandelion root and leaf manages cholesterol levels.
  • Research alsoshows that dandelion extract boosts immune function and fights off microbes.
  • Dandelion can also help the digestive systemaccording to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Fresh or dried dandelion can stimulate the appetite and settle the stomach while the root of the plant may act as a mild laxative.

25 Remarkable Uses for Dandelions

In the Kitchen  Because the entire plant is edible there are a myriad of ways in which you can use dandelion for culinary purposes.

  1. Sautéed Greens and Garlic With their rich mineral and vitamin content, dandelion greens are a healthy addition to any meal. Sautéing withgarlic(or ginger or capers) adds flavor and negates some of the bitterness often associated with these leaves. Blanching them by immersing them in boiling water for 20 to 30 seconds helps reduce this acrid taste. Avoid the very mature leaves as these can be too unpleasant for some. This double garlic and greens recipe is a delicious one.
  2. Dandelion Pumpkin Seed Pesto This nutritious pesto is perfect for a simple pasta, sandwich spread or veggie dip. Because the dandelion greens have a slight bite, the toasted pumpkin seeds, lemon juice and parmesan are vital to bring balance. Here ishow you make it.
  3. Tempura Blossoms Fried dandelion flowers, first dipped in seasoned batter, make a tasty, attractive and novel snack or side dish. By removing all the bitter green parts, you’re left with the mild-tasting and faintly sweet blossoms. Followthis recipe here.
  4. Herbal Vinegar Enjoy increased wellbeing by using this herbal vinegar on salads, in dressings, soups, stews and sauces or by simply mixing with water and drinking as a revitalizing tonic. Infuse dandelion flowers inapple cider vinegar for four weeks, strain and store in a dark place for up to twelve months. These steps outline how to make the infusion.
  5. Vegetarian Risotto Cook the flowers and make them into a jewel-like vegetarian risotto. While the dandelions add visual appeal and a mild sweet taste, the onion, wine, stock, creamy yogurt and parmesan lend a rich, deep flavor and smooth texture. The Vegetarian Societyinspired recipe can be found here.
  6. Kimchi Instead of thetraditional spicy and sour Korean kimchi which is made with cabbage, this foraged alternative uses dandelion greens. Eat your way to good gut health by fermenting the greens with herbs, spices, green onions and soy sauce, as outlined in this recipe.
  7. Savory Muffins These soaked muffins, made with whole wheat flour, oatmeal, honey and dandelion petals are perfect for serving with Spring time soups such as asparagus or green pea. Learnhow to make them here.
  8. Petal Sorbet Make a delicious iced treat from freshly picked dandelion blossoms, sugar,honey and lemon juice. It’s perfect for a summer’s day in the garden, or served after one of the many dandelion-inspired main meals here! You’ll find the recipe here.
  9. Jelly This delicate jelly is delicious and sweet as honey. Use it on top of toast, crumpets or anything else that takes your fancy. It keeps in an airtight container for up to two weeks – but it definitely won’t last that long! FollowMartha Stewart’s recipe.
  10. Pancake and Waffle Syrup Love pancake syrup but want to avoid the sickly sweet store-bought variety, which is loaded with nasty artificial additives and preservatives? Then this is the recipe for you! It’s made with just three ingredients – dandelions, lemon and sugar or honey. Thetwo-day process is described here.
  11. Dandelion Blossom Cake A sweet, delicious and slightly tropical cake made with dandelion syrup, blossom petals,cinnamon, crushed pineapple, walnuts and coconut, this is sure to be a hit with the whole family. Click here to go to the recipe.
  12. Dandelion Cookies Another sweet dandelion based treat, these healthy lemony cookies include organic local honey and oats.
  13. Dandelion Root Coffee As we’ve found out, no part of the humble dandelion has to go to waste. After you’ve sautéed the greens, and used the blossoms in your dessert, hang onto the roots and brew a caffeine-free alternative tocoffee. Roast them before grinding for a deep, earthy flavor. Discoverexactly what to do here.
  14. Iced Lime and Dandelion Tea This pretty iced lime and dandelion tea is so good even the kids will love it. It’s also refreshing, natural and has many skin promoting properties. Blend a quart of dandelion flowers with fresh lime juice, stevia leaves or other sweetener, and dried red raspberry leaf. Learn how to makethis healing tea here.
  15. Dandelion Wine Surprisingly, these pesky weeds can make afine country wine– rich, strong and medium sweet. Head out into the countryside (or backyard) with a gallon container and collect enough complete flowers to loosely fill it. Ferment these with water, lemon zest and raisins for a couple of months before enjoying. The full wine making process is detailed here.
  16. Danish Schnapps – Two Ways If country wine isn’t your thing, perhaps a Danish schnapps sounds more appealing? Make it with the flower heads for a fresh, aromatic and mildly sweet taste which goes well with chocolate, sweet desserts and cakes. Or, for a dry, spicy and very aromatic drink, brew it with the roots. Enjoy the schnapps on its own or serve with roast meat and other robust flavors. Therecipes can be found here.

For Health and Beauty  Dandelion’s properties extend beyond the dinner table – they can also be harnessed to reduce pain and inflammation, and treat minor skin maladies.

  1. Moisturizer Trymaking this dandelion and coconut oil moisturizer that’s great for dry elbows and feet, helps to relieve sore muscles and aches and can also be used as a lip balm or aftershave. Get the recipe here.
  2. Pain Relieving Oil Dandelions are one of the most useful plants toreduce joint pain and aching muscles. Infuse the flowers in an oil and rub onto sore muscles and joints, or anywhere pain strikes. To make, simply fill a small mason jar with fresh dandelion flowers and pour in a base oil – like sweet almond or olive – until the jar is full. Leave to infuse in a warm place for two weeks before straining the oil and decanting into a sterilized jar. Store in the fridge. For a full tutorial with step by step photos, click here.
  3. Pain Relieving Salve For a more portable version of the pain relieving oil, go one step further and turn the infusion into a soothing balm – ideal for carrying in your purse or gym bag, or keeping in the car or office. Create a double boiler and blend beeswax with the infused oil. Pour this mixture into a jar or tin and allow to cool before using. Exact measurements andinstructions are here.
  4. Lotion Bars These therapeutic lotion bars help the toughest cases of cracked, dry skin by adding moisture and alleviating inflammation and soreness. If you’re an avid gardener, or frequently do very manual work, rub the bar over your hands several times a day. It’s a lot less messy than salve! Blend infused dandelion oil with beeswax,shea butter and lavender essential oil for a silky, smooth healing bar. The full process is detailed here.
  5. Wart Remover Dandelions are a natural wart remover. You’ve probably noticed that the roots, stems and leaves of the plant exude a white sticky resin – this is the secret weapon against warts. Apply this sap directly onto warts once, or several times, per day and they should soon disappear.

In the Home and Garden  Use dandelions to add a pop of color to your home, or some much needed nutrients to the garden.

  1. Floating Table Centerpiece Make a stunning and chic dandelion centerpiece simply using reclaimed wood and small nails. Assemble a box from the wood, hammer small finishing nails through the underside, and slide handpicked dandelions on top – creating a centerpiece that appears to be floating. Find outmore here.
  2. Natural Yellow Dye Cook dandelion heads for an all-natural alternative to chemical-based dyes – which cancontribute to water pollution. This is an especially useful tip for those who weave their own wool but can be used on any garment. Here is how you can use the dye to brighten up your fabrics.
  3. Fertilizer Aliquid fertilizer, or ‘weed tea’ is simple to make and will give your garden a boost of nutrients. Deep rooted dandelions are especially valuable weeds as they are so nutritious. Since you can’t toss them into the compost pile as their seeds are still viable, brew up this organic fertilizer instead and pour or spray it onto flower beds and vegetable gardens. Here is the simple process for making the fertilizer.
  4. Feed Your Goats If you keep goats (andhere’s why you should!) then you’ll know that they need a diverse, vegetarian diet. Use your unwanted dandelion weeds to form a portion of that balanced diet. Research has shown that animals choose what to eat based on their individual nutritional needs so if you simply leave the dandelions for the goats, they’ll most likely munch on them and save you the job of weeding!

Save Some For The Bees!

Dandelions are the first food of the season for the bees. When picking the dandelions, make sure not to claim them all for yourself. Leave enough for the bees to enjoy. And learn more about ways we can save the bees and why we should here. 

dandelion

Oathkeepers Presentation – Prepper 101 – month supply of food

With all of the research that our family does on being prepared and in lines with sharing that information with others, we came across a GREAT article – ADDED BELOW! 

For a demonstration of the the foods, we pulled and brought the amount of foods that they listed below. It all stacked neatly in our farm’s garden cart. 

Prepping 101 – Food Preps: 30 Days Worth Of Food

By Pat H http://www.theprepperjournal.com/2013/02/16/prepper-101-food-preps-30-days-worth-of-food/

When you start to consider prepping, one of the first things you need to start prepping for is food. Simply put, food is one essential you need to live and your family must have a supply of food on hand regardless what the day or your situation is. Because of our just in time supply chain model, most grocery stores do not have more than 3 days’ worth of food stocked. In any type of emergency or disaster situation, the store shelves are cleaned quickly. You do not want to be one of those people who realize you have nothing in the house for dinner and a major snow storm, hurricane or  other event is imminent. You will go to the grocery store and find bare shelves like they did during hurricane Sandy. This happens in every instance where people could face the possibility of going hungry. The stores are cleaned out and the larger your city, the quicker the shelves are bare.

Not only will there be no food on the shelves, but the shelves could stay that way for a long time. What if the roads are impassable? What if there is some supply disruption. You could be out of food for a long time and this should never happen. You eat every day and so does everyone else. Running out of food should not be an option for your family at least for a reasonable amount of time.

FEMA recommends 3 days’ worth of foodand water to last most common emergencies and I would say 30 days is a better goal to shoot for. If you have a month of food stored in your house you can worry about other things like getting back to your family if you are away from home or not going out in the first place to fight the lines of panicked people who waited until the last-minute.

Storing food can be complicated and costly but it is possible to start with a very simple list of itemsthat you can purchase from your local grocery store or big-box chain like Wal-Mart, Costco or Sam’s Club. I have compiled a simple list of common foods that you can go get today that will allow you to feed a family of 4 for 30 days. If you have more or less people or giants in your family tree then you would need to adjust accordingly.

Basic Foods

I shop at Costco or Sam’s, but you can get all of these at your friendly neighborhood grocery store. You may have to adjust the quantities. I like Costco and Sam’s because I can buy larger containers and have to worry about fewer items, but you can also use Amazon.com. At a store, you can also throw these into your cart and nobody is going to look at you like you are a deviant. If anyone does ask you what you are doing, just tell them you are having a big Chicken Stew or some other neighborhood type of event.

  • Rice– First off, buy a 50lb. bag of rice. These contain 504 servings and I don’t know too many people who won’t eat rice. It is simple to cook and stores for years if you keep it cool and dry. This bag at Sam’s costs about $19 now.
  • Beans– Next buy a bag of dry beans. This will check off the Beans part of your Beans, Bullets and Band-Aids list. A good size bag is about $5 and makes 126 servings. Buy two if you think your family would like them.
  • Canned meat– Cans are great for fruits and vegetables and anyone can find something they will eat. For canned meat, I recommend tuna or chicken because it tastes a heck of a lot better than Spam and you can easily mix that into your rice. For the meat you will need approximately 35 cans. Each can has about 3 servings and this will be the most costly, but they last over a year usually and your family probably eats chicken or tuna on a semi-regular basis anyway so restocking this should be simple.
  • Canned Vegetables– you will need about 40 cans of vegetables and again this can be whatever your family will eat. Expect to pay around a dollar each so $40 for veggies to last your family a month.
  • Canned Fruit– again, simple fruits that your family will eat. These can even be fruit cocktail if that is the safest thing. At Costco they have the #10 cans of fruit like pears or apple slices and each of these has 25 servings. 5 of these will cost about $25 and give your family their daily dose of fruit.
  • Oatmeal– Good old-fashioned oatmeal is simple to cook and store. A normal container has 30 servings each so purchase about 4 of these and your family won’t starve for breakfast. At $2 each that is about $8 for breakfast for a month for a family of four. Could you exchange Pop-tarts? Maybe, but I find oatmeal more filling and less likely to be snacked on.
  • Honey– Honey is a miracle food really as it will never go bad if you keep it dry and cool. Honey will last you forever and Sam’s has large containers that hold 108 servings. You can use this in place of sugar to satisfy the sweet tooth. Honey even has medicinal properties and you can use this to add some flavor to your oatmeal for breakfast.
  • Salt– Same as honey, salt will never go bad if you keep it dry and helps the flavor of anything. You can buy a big box of salt for around $1 and that will last your whole family a month easily.
  • Vitamins– I recommend getting some good multivitamins to augment your nutrition in the case of a disaster or emergency. Granted, rice and beans aren’t the best and you won’t be getting as many nutrients from canned fruit and vegetables so the vitamins help to fill in the gaps and keep you healthy. One big bottle costs about $8. You will need to get a kids version too if you have children small enough that they can’t or won’t swallow a big multivitamin.

 

All of the list above will feed the average family of 4 for right at 30 days and makes a great start to your food preparations. The meat was the most expensive part but the bill comes to around $500 give or take but this will vary by where you live. Should you stop there? No, but this is just a good starting point and you should expand from here. I would keep all of these items in your pantry along with your regular groceries and rotate these to keep the contents fresh.

What Next?

Once you have 30 days of groceries in your pantry I would recommend looking into storing larger quantities in Mylar bags or purchasing freeze-dried foods and bulk grains to augment your supplies. You would also need to plan for basic necessities like hygiene (hello toilet paper!) and different food items.

What else should you have? I would recommend several large candles (very cheap at WalMart) or a propane powered lantern, matches or lighters, batteries for flashlights a good first aid kit, radio and plenty of water. You should also add bullion cubes and spices in to make the meals more palatable. Is this going to be as good as some toaster strudel or 3-egg omelets from your chickens in the morning? No, but this list above will keep your family alive.

Water is another post, but for a month you will need 120 gallons at a minimum. Storing this isn’t as easy as groceries but there are lots of options.

This should get you started on your food preps and you can build on from here. Let me know if you have other ideas I missed.

 

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.

Planting Potatoes

Krisandlarry.com potato towerEvery year, we plant potatoes in our garden. I hated harvesting and felt like I was digging and digging and digging forever to get them out of the ground. Guess what?!?! For the last 3 years, we have been making potato towers using left over fencing,  straw and potting soil and it works WONDERS!

Start with a spare piece of field fencing. Make a ring out of it. Next, line the bottom with about 6 inches of straw. Start making the straw into a birds nest. Add 16 quarts or so of potting soil into the center and continue to build up the side with straw. 

On top of the soil, add 12 small planting potatoes (preferably with eye growth already) around the outside. Cover those potatoes with 16 more quarts of potting soil and add additional straw to the sides.  The straw keeps the soil and the moisture inside the ring. Continue this same layering of soil and potatoes until you run out of potatoes. On the final top layer of potatoes, you can put a few in the center, cover with soil and then several inches of straw. 

When watering, water the top of the tower until water seems out the bottom. After several weeks, you will see green plants beginning to grow out the sides and top of the tower. Do not worry! That is your potato plant. You can use a similar method win sweet potatoes too. 

I will revisit my potatoes in about a month or so in the blog so that you can see the progress!

Preparedness class at Oathkeepers

I was honored to be able to talk at the Chino Valley Oathkeeper’s Preparedness class this weekend! THANK YOU FOR INVITING ME!!! Click the button below to download the PDF of the handout of the class.

We talked about getting your garden up and going. Yep, this can be essential to getting ready for any disaster or need.

krisandlarry.com - Being PreparedStart simple…. Lettuce, tomatoes, squash… and all of these can be planted on your back porch in pots and will provide fresh veggies for your family. – What you don’t eat, can or dehydrate.

Next, get a chicken or 2 for each member of your family.  (Or instead, 4 quail per person in your family will provide enough eggs for your family and can live in much smaller spaces. 

If you are able, you can add sheep or goats to the swing of things in order to get milk for dairy products and I was able to show what a cheese press looks like. Yep, It was a good day!

I was able to share 2 important handouts:

  1. My list of go to websites for many different homesteading products. THIS IS NOT COMPLETE and is a full working list. Here it is to share with you!
  2. My local planting guide from Yavapai Extension Office. Here is a link for their PDF: http://ag.arizona.edu/yavapai/publications/yavcobulletins/Yavapai%20County%20Vegetable%20Planting%20Dates.pdf

Here is my list for you: 

Planting Seeds

Cheese Making Supplies

Local Delivery for Grains Meat and Other Bulk Items

Homesteading

Food Dehydrators

Goat & Animal Supplies

Soap Making Supplies

Dried Herbs and Teas

Vitamins and Supplements

Survival Products

Blog and websites from general information: