Saturday, February 28, 2009

i'm feeling semi-better now. greg and sage not so much.

looking for something entirely different, i stumbled across recipes to make girl scout cookies w/o all the crap!

thin mints

the first 3 are my favorites. i need to get better asap so i can try these out!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

something wicked this way comes

greg has the flu, jaden and sage are getting over something (cold?) and now i've got it and sage has an ear ache from all the drainage. laying low but i did find this interesting article about dehydrating eggs.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Available Now! March's Edition

Herbal Roots for March is here! Get it now and prepare for next month's lessons. Here are a few sneak peeks at what's inside:

Herbal Roots Contest!

Hey all you herbal roots subscribers, here's your chance to win a marshmallow root from my garden that you can plant and grow in your garden to have your own supply of marshmallow.

Here's what you need to do:

Go to your calendar page in your activity book and count the number of times the word 'marshmallow' appears on that page. I will put all kids names who answered correctly into a drawing to select 2 lucky winners of a root. Mom and Dad, you may list all your kids' answers in 1 comment, no need to do multiple comments.

I'll accept all answers until Midnight on Saturday, February 28 and then the comments will be turned off. The winning name will be posted here on Monday, March 2, 2009.

Ready? Go get counting!!

(and as a reminder, today, the second issue of Herbal Roots is available for sale! March's issue is all about Chickweed).

Congratulations to Stephany!!! She won a free copy of March's Herbal Roots for having the most referrals for February's edition of Herbal Roots!

Sunday, February 22, 2009


sundays are supposed to be for relaxing, aren't they?!

i made a double batch of noodles and froze 2/3 of them for friday's dinner...spaghetti w/meaballs. yum! i love my pasta maker. jaden loves to help with it. we ate 1/3 of them in some turkey noodle soup...i simmered down the turkey carcass leftover from hanksgiving finally. it was delicious. everyone begged for seconds.

then, greg butchered 6 of our remaining 12 broilers (yay) and i gutted and bagged them. that was a long time coming!

i've planned the week's meals, updated the homeschool schedule and finished up the next month's posts for herbal roots. now, it's time to get dinner going. never time for relaxation around here!

i have decided to try prepping the week's meals on, if i want noodles made, i'll do them. this week i hope to can my remaining amount of pintos so i won't need to worry about beans, although i could have put them on the woodstove to simmer all day. however, we had pots of water on there all day boiling while the butchering was going on so i wouldn't have been able to do that. i love cooking on the woodstove! i'm finally learning the burning personalities of different kinds of wood...i hope next year we have enough stored ahead of time that i can pick and choose as i need them.

i am behind on tapping the maples. must do that tomorrow. can't afford syrup prices any longer!

catch up!

i am so bad! i completely forgot to post pictures from valentine's day. adelena made the cake again this year and she made me a cute little needle felted penguin owl (i meant to say owl but she had made a penguin for someone else and i guess that was on my mind).

homeschool schedule

Week 2_______________________________________


-play and learn French p58-59, en hiver (in the winter)
-play and learn Spanish p 58-59, en el invierno (in the winter)


-undecided at the moment


-classic proverbs


-SOTW chapter 1: the first nomads
-Ancient Agriculture by Michael Woods
-It’s Disgusting and We Ate It! True Food Facts from Around the World and Throughout History by James Solheim


-keepers of the animals chapter 3:creation/ how grandmother spider named the clans, how the spider symbol came to the people (spiders, animal symbols, finding the animal within, culture and wildlife values)
-herbal roots, marshmallow


-One Small Blue Bead by Byrd Baylor
-The First Dog by Jan Brett
-Little Grunt and the Big Egg by Tomie dePaola
-Archaeologists Dig for Clues by Kate Duke
-weaving home (poem) by michael j. caduto




-finger knitting
-clay sculptures (spiders)
-animal collages/finding animal signs

Saturday, February 21, 2009


herbalist michael moore died yesterday. he will be greatly missed.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Poetry Winner

this month's winner of the poetry contest is rheawhite and wyntir:

many uses
roots, leaves and flowers used
stomach ailments helped
hollyhocks and okra are related
many vitamins like A and B
aleves coughs
loved in candy form
often used for diuretic
works for whopping cough

congratulations! next month's copy of herbal roots will be sent to you on monday, february 23. your poem really captures the essence of marshmallow! i hope you have been enjoying learning all about him.

meadow, you had a copy of next month's herb so i'm forwarding your entry into next month's contest.

what's your favorite cook book?

i've got a post up at women not dabbling today about my favorite cook books and how i keep my recipes organized:

cook book clutter's end

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

refashioning: how i'm slowing down my wardrobe

we (mostly) have enough clothing to keep us going for several years thanks to thrift shop finds. there are a few gaps i'll have to fill, but i should be able to handle most of them with what's lurking in the corners of our house:

>i love sewing dresses for jaden and she loves for me to do so. i'm milking it for all it's worth. i often take old work shirts of greg's (a colored one) and pair it up with some patterned material. lots of fun options there!

>my 2yo is going to be needing some more undies soon. awhile back, i bought some brand new xxl boxer shorts at the thrift shop because i liked the pattern (why is it that boxers have the coolest print patterns???). i plan to sew him a few pairs of boxer shorts this spring using those boxers. i need to work out a pattern, i believe i've seen patterns online, i just need to scale them down to fit his cute little butt.

>greg is hard on his wool socks. i'm going to start darning them! i found a great tutorial on youtube (of course) so i plan to try this. first, greg has to make me a darning mushroom. he has actually requested i darn them which shocked, well, the socks off of me! so, again, i'm going with the flow here.

>nina needs a nice jacket/sweater for an uncoming model un conference. i hope to use one of my old suit jackets from my office working days and slim it down for her. i have to get on this asap as the conference is on the 26th. of this month.

>i already mend greg's work shirts as much as possible using the iron-on type fabric patches. i also mend his jeans, usually sewing on fulled up sweater scraps. i recently bought some tear mender type fabric glue and i'll try gluing on jean patches as well.

>for myself, i have plenty of clothing but my problem is my kids tear them up. anyone else with toddlers out there that experience this? all my skirts are stretched out and ripping because they pull on them and all my shirts are stretched out at the neckline mostly from curious hands while nursing and curious hands of weaned kids who still like to check to make sure the boobies are still there, even though they don't have a use for them anymore. i need to be more conscious of only wearing 'good' clothing when i go out and be more vigilent about taking them off immediately upon returning home. that will help them last much longer!

anybody else stretching their budget by crafting their wardrobe?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

slowing down

encouraged by a lack of incoming financial flow, i am working on slowing down our budget to a crawl. that means re-upping my previous commitment to 'the compact' lifestyle. a blog i recently discovered calls it a slow year/life. check out her left hand column, she's got loads of great ideas on how to get started.

i am trying to do this for 2 reasons: 1. so that we can live on the little amount of income we have at our disposal and 2. so that we can start saving up for our future plans.

so, first off, no more 'joy' trips to the thrift shops. yes, stuff is cheap, but when you drop $60-80 each time you go, it adds up pretty quickly, usually on stuff i didn't really need but couldn't pass up because it was such a bargain.

stay out of other stores: department stores, grocery stores, etc. only shop when necessary, with a list and with a budget. a set amount to go in with and no more. no exceptions.

cut that grocery bill down. make more foods from scratch. learn to make crackers so that the kids like them (i've made them in the past but they were not a hit). grow more food that we eat and learn to store it in a manner that is pleasing to the crowd. be more conscious of what is on hand and what's in the fridge to minimize waste (something that i've always justified by saying 'it's being fed to the chickens so it's not really wasting.' it is because we don't feed them any less feed when we give them the scraps. it's waste. period.)

be an electrical natzi. i used to be good at this and i've slacked off. back on the electrical meter!

when purging items, instead of just dropping them off at the thrift shop, sort through them and find items that can be sold on craigslist and ebay. for instance, we have a dvd that works fine but the remote is busted. i'm inclined to take it to the thrift shop but i bet anything i could sell it on craigslist for $25-35. not a lot but throw all these sales into a coffee can and before we know it, we've got savings!

as for gas consumption, i'm currently stuck driving at least once a week to go pick up my older kids at their dad's. that's on tuesdays. i try to combine all my other errands for the week such as the library, grocery shopping, etc. but things do crop up. when shop-n-save has their $10 off day on thursdays (but not every week), i try to jump at the chance to do my shopping then to get an additional $10 worth of groceries for free. last week, i just squeaked by, my total before taxes was around $50.25. i mentally calculate all the items as we go through the store, which i might add, is no easy task when i'm pushing those silly race car shopping carts (have you ever tried steering those things?!) with two cranky kids who want everything i'm definitely NOT buying...i consider it a way to keep me mentally fit (HA!).

although there are a few people in the house still not on the cloth wipe bandwagon, i have converted about half our household to using them. that's half the amount of toilet paper we have to use. however, everyone uses them for everything else since i don't buy paper napkins or paper towels. we have cloth napkins and cloth wipes that are larger for general use. i have a stash of old chinese prefolds that are great for mopping up spills.

i'm constantly on the look out to see how we can cut our budget. i dropped the cell phone monthly plan and switched to trac phone almost a year ago now. i love it. i use it for emergency type calls only and spend about 1/8 of what i spent before for the same purpose. we will keep a landline because of the business/farm and same for the internet. 80% of my sales are internet based so i need that access, plus to update websites and whatnot, it's important to have it close at hand, not to mention for homeschooling. it is an invaluable tool for that.

there are many other ways i am or have cut back that i haven't listed here but i still know i can do better. what are ways you are cutting back to relieve your budget?

Monday, February 16, 2009

Make an Herbarium

This is an excerpt from my new Herbal Roots Monthly Activity Packet for kids. This is a wonderful tool for keeping herbal information handy and it's small enough to fit into a pocket, so it's great to take with you on a hike to collect more herbs!

By the way, if you haven't voted on my survey yet, you've got 4 more days to do so! it's over there------------------------>

How To Make A Simple Pocket Herbarium

This is a great project for keeping track of the herbs you learn. It’s easy to carry around and won’t take up much space in your backpack or pocket. It’s great to take along on hikes to identify and collect new herbs too!

What you will need:

1 sheet of cardstock or construction paper, any color (this will be the cover pages)

1 package of 3 x 5 index cards (lined or unlined)

Clear packaging tape

Hole punch


Paper cutter or straight edge

Twine or yarn

Pens, markers, colored pencils, herb magazines, seed catalogs or any other medium to decorate cover

For the cover:

Crop cardstock down to 7 1 / 2” x 11” using the paper cutter or ruler and scissors.

Cut the large piece into two small pieces 7 1 / 2” x 5 1 / 2”. For each Herbarium you make, you will need one of these sheets.

Fold the sheet in half and decorate the cover. Be creative! Write your name on it if you wish, draw herbs or decoupage pictures cut from seed catalogs or magazines. Make it yours!

When you are finished decorating the cover, cut pieces of packaging tape twice the length of the cover and laminate the cover with the tape. I used 4 pieces total to do this step.

For the inside pages:

Using the hole punch, punch 2 holes at the top of the index cards. To keep everything lined up, I use the sides as a guide and rest the hole punch as far in as I can. I then line it up between the red line and edge. Do this to as many index cards as you’d like to start your book off with.

Assembling the Herbarium:

Take one index card and center it horizontally on top of the cover. I like to keep about 1 / 4 – 1 / 2 inch space between the top of the index card and the top of the cover to allow for plenty of room inside for the cards.

Slide the hole punch over the cards (I found it helpful to turn the hole puncher upside down to see the holes in the card more easily) and punch the holes in the cover.

Place all the cards you have punched inside the book, cut off two equal pieces of twine or yarn (about 3” should do) and tie with bows. This will allow you to take apart the book as you need it to add or remove pages.

Now, you are ready to fill it up!

On your next herb walk, bring along the Herbarium, a small role of packing tape (extra wide scotch tape may work as long as it is very sticky), small scissors or a pocket knife for cutting the tape and herbs and a pen.

When you find a specimen you want to keep, carefully cut a small sample of every part (i.e. Leaf, flower, seed heads, possibly even roots if small enough) of plant and arrange it on an index card. How you arrange it is your choice. You may choose to use the blank side of the card and fill it up completely or use 1 / 2 the front side of the lined card so you can write your information next to it.

Cover the specimen completely with tape carefully flattening the plant as you go. You may put two leaves on the page to show both front and back or fold one halfway over.

Once you have arranged and taped your specimen in place, write the name of the herb down on the first blue line if you know it. If you do not know it, you can do this when you get home and identify it in your herb book.

Below the common name, write the Latin name. Again, this can also be written down at home.

Whatever other information you add is your choice. Some ideas are:

  • the location where you found it (if it is not commonly found where you are)
  • which parts of the herb are used
  • what it’s commonly used for
  • what forms it’s used in (i.e. teas, extracts, salves, poultices, etc)
  • best time for harvesting
  • any cautions for using the herb

Now place your completed card back into the Herbarium. I have found it stays more balanced if I rotate the placement of the herbs on the sides of the card I tape them to. If you choose to place your specimens on one side and your information on the other, this will not be a problem.

To make it easier to refer back to your specimens, alphabetize them as you add them into the file, keeping all the blank cards in the back.

This simple pocket Herbarium will make it easy for you to quickly identify and remember herbs and their uses when you need them! I hope you make one and add to it each month when you learn about a new herb.

If you are unable to harvest a real herb (such as this month, you can find a picture on the internet, print it off and glue or tape it into the spot where the actual plant would go. Then, later if you find an actual plant specimen, you can replace it with the real thing!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

school week in planning

one of my goals for this year was to get us in a routine for homeschool. this is my first week's attempt at doing that:

February 16 - 28

Week 1____________________________


-play and learn French p58-59, en hiver (in the winter)

-play and learn Spanish p 58-59, en el invierno (in the winter)


-taraf de haidouks

-indian folk music


-classic proverbs


-SOTW introduction: how do we know what happened?

-me an my family tree by joan Sweeney

-archaeologists dig for clues by kate duke

the magic school bus shows and tells: a book about archaeology by Jackie posner

-I can be an archaeologist by Robert pickering

-writing down the days: 365 creative journaling ideas for young people by lorraine dahlstrom


-keepers of the animals chapter 6: turtle races with beaver (freshwater animals, ecology and ecological principles, photosynthesis, dormancy and other adaptations to the seasons, habitat)

-herbal roots, marshmallow



-BOB books, book 1: mat




-finger knitting

cleaning house...

bear with me while i tidy up in here a bit! (these are just notes to myself for what i had up on the side bar...)

winter to do

-start onions
-printer cleaned/repaired
-etsy shops updated
-create a craft item daily to post on etsy
-moon kits completed (need to sew pads mostly)
-sketch out certificate design -transfer finances from the bank to the credit union in process
-open business account with credit union and close bank account
-start wood carving
-plan out garden
-make soap for busy season for business
-figure out what to do about lack of chickens laying eggs (no eggs=no money from selling eggs)

to be purchased list

-pigs next year
-cornish and rock chicks to start our own broiler breed
searching for heritage breed to replace these instead
-baby buck

-shelving for root cellar
-vacuum sealer
-berkey water filter
-fiberglass cistern for rainwater collection
-butter churn
-straw for mulching garden
using existing goat bedding and old hay
-replacement fruit trees: granny smith and honeycrisp apples, bartlett pear, bing cherry, peaches
-2 or 3 more pregnant or freshened does

-refrigerator for egg and milk storage
-more bee hives/supers
-6 n-c lamb ewes

-apple press
-cherry pitter
-harvest basket (the kind that straps to you)
-cheese press
-honey extractor
-more hives/deep supers

-sheep shears
-suture kit/multiple stitching needles
-dental tools/kit
-sawyer extractor
-forceps, suture needle holder

-tooth repair kit

future purchase list

-navajo-churro ram
-pigs for orchard estimated for spring 2009, need to research heritage breeds
-khaki campbell ducks
-replacement fruit trees: asain pear, plum
-gooseberries, cranberries, blueberies
-4 more turkeys

goals for 2009

*animal feed: try, try again to grow hay and root crops for the animals

*gardening and animal efficiency: be more effecient on the garden front and on the amount of animals and our set up with their care/maintenance (this means cutting back on numbers because we cannot afford to feed them all or the time to care for them all)

*farmwise, i'd like to see us doing:
-more fencing for goats/sheep (take back the land the farmer has been using for free and put it into pasture/hay field)
-shed fixed up (it has been falling down and needs to be repaired)
-garage renovated into guest cottage
-gutters on buildings for water collection (very important)
-research solar/wind since there are new incentives out there
-outdoor solar shower

*gardening journal book:
-update it and get back into the routine of using it daily

-i have several years (2001? - 2007) worth of photos on the old computer that i need to upload to snapfish, develop and delete off the old computer. that is quite a task.
-put all commitment ceremony photos into their albums
-make files on laptop of etsy, lhc and place all business photos in their correct files so that when i need a specific picture, i can actually find it!
-keep on top of ordering and copying current photos

-get into some sort of routine with it. nothing too formal but would like to be a bit more organized, perhaps plan books to read, etc. each week

*budgeting: grocery bill needs to come down, this goes with the effecient gardening. also need to cut costs elsewhere??? as well as try to bring in a more steady income with my herbal business and my new crafting business

*less dvds for the kids, more real play

*purge junk toys and other stuff:
-slim down kids' toys to make room for new ones (and purge some of the plastic crap new ones that relatives (who know us the least) purchased for the kids)
-purge stuff
-organize craft area and purge/make more useful
-find another furniture item with drawers (such as a buffet) to store more craft stuff and create a mini wood working area (see the wordworking for kids video for my inspiration)

*during the summer take a field trip once a week to a nature preserve in the area and spend the day, pack a lunch and just have fun and explore

*complete the wedding certificate. yeah. it's still. not. finished.

*get back into a household routine that includes cleaning. on a regular basis. like daily.

*15 minutes (minimum) a day to play:
-hooping (a friend gifted us with a hoop for the holidays. i've been using it more than the kids. maria is my inspiration!)
-knife throwing (ok, this isn't really 'play' but it is a good source of stress relief and good to have a self defense skill. when i mentioned to a friend that i planned on practicing from several distances so i could hit my target no matter how far away i was from it -within reason, of course- my oldest son choked on his lunch he started laughing so hard. not sure what was funny about that comment, i think i scared him a bit and it was a nervous reaction)
-mandolin (i have had this darned thing for 5 years now. i used to play every day but then came sage)

*more effecient with computer usage

2008 herbal focus

peppermint & wild mint*
st. john's wort*
wild cherry*
black walnut*
self heal*

chamomile & pineapple weed*
echinacea (augustifolia and purpurea)*
golden rod*
red clover*
yellow dock*
gotu kola*
wood betony
basil, regular and holy basil*

* denotes those i already have growing on my property. the rest i will start this year.
those in italics mark plants i have managed to start this year.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Herbal Roots for February: Marshmallow

In my debut Herbal Roots monthly activity packet, kids are learning about marshmallow root.

Marshmallow root is a great soothing herb! It can be used for so many things, internally and externally. It treats dry, hacking coughs, and is soothing on the digestive system, used to treat all sorts of problems including ulcers. This month, kids are learning all about marshmallow, learning to make all sorts of healing remedies including teas, poultices and sore throat lozenges. There's even a recipe to make old fashioned marshmallows!

Occasionally on the daily activities calendar page, I create contests and challenges for the kids to participate in. This week, kids have an opportunity to win next month's copy of Herbal Roots for free. All they have to do is write a poem about marshmallow (the medicinal one, not the confection bought at the grocery store) and post it in the comments of this post. All poems must be posted by Monday, February 16, 2009. On Tuesday, February 17, 2009, I'll put all the names into a drawing and select one and announce the winner.

Good luck kids! Let's hear your poems!

Sunday, February 8, 2009


can anyone recommend any european blogs to me? i'm particularly interested in france and england, blogs about homesteading, homeschooling, and life on those countries.

been busy making more tins! this first one was with a dilbert mint tin, they are shorter and wider than the altoid's a tooth fairy tin! inside sports a silk pillow hand sewn, stuffed with wool from our sheep and embroidered.
this next one is called wish! it has butterflies and angels on the outside and a make a wish collage on the inside. it is an altoid sized tin.available at etsy!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

hit the road, jack...

we have 2 great pyrs that we got to protect the sheep. they are a year old now and do anything BUT protect the sheep...

they chase the sheep relentlessly
they bite at the goats
they maul the turkeys
they maul the chickens
they bark at me when i walk outside towards them

yesterday, i let out peepers, our one remaining chick that survived the weasel attack last fall, of her cage for the first time the early part of winter, we had brought her inside at night to keep warm and finally decided she was big enough to transfer out to the main coop. but, since she was still little, we kept her in her own cage to keep the big chickens from attacking her. well, she wandered into the pasture and thelma and louise said 'game on!' and attacked her. she was bloody and missing lots of feathers and her right wing is drooping. i gave her rescue remedy and put salve all over her wounds, i don't see anything punctured or bad. we kept her in a box next to our woodstove and she made it through the night. she's a bit perky this am, i hope she pulls through this. i'm so mad at those dogs, i told greg last night i want them gone. they don't do anything but harass the animals and eat tons of dog food. worthless.

so, today, i'm emailing the previous owner (she had requested we contact her if we ever decide to give them up) and see if she wants them back or knows another home for them. i also have another friend who likes them, maybe she'll take one! i want them gone. i'll take my chances with the sheep not having protection. maybe we can get a donkey or alpaca instead.

another beautiful day here. we are hoping to butcher our 12 remaining broilers. hopefully i'll get a little more knife throwing practice in too. tomorrow is supposed to get cold and rainy again so i want to enjoy this weather while i can!

Friday, February 6, 2009


today was a beautiful day. i hung 2 loads of laundry on the line to dry and got to practice my throwing knives. i do better when i throw the knife by the blade than when i throw it by the handle. go figure.

i also spent some time listening to a french cd. it's michael thomas' speak french. it is supposed to teach you without writing or memorizing. you're just supposed to relax (ha) and repeat what he says. so far, it's been fun. i'm trying to figure out a schedule to work with the kids both in spanish and french and feel more comfortable learning it myself first so i at least have a basic foundation in it. spanish i am more familiar with, i had 2 years in high school and i have the rosetta stone cds which i LOVE. but, i cannot afford them now so i'm at the library's loan system's mercy on what i can choose to learn french with. i have a whole bag full of french cds and other programs waiting for me to pick up at the library tomorrow. they must think i'm insane! if not now, when i start requesting the latin stuff they will be!!

we are trying to get back into more formal homeschooling, sitting down every day and working on copywork, reading and math. once i get my tax refund, i plan to buy the primer math-u-see plus the manipulatives. this fall we can 'officially' start kindergarten so i'm trying to take my time and select curriculums that will appeal to us and work with our lifestyle.

i had more to say but my kids have successfully driven any train of thought i had out of my head.

nature makes the best toys...

i found this log on the wood pile and couldn't throw it in the fire. it's been a lot of fun flinging hot wheels through it! jaden has come up with a lot of other uses for it as well.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

it's almost friday already?!

got to see benny and joon for the first time last night. i heart johnny! there hasn't been a movie with him in it yet that i haven't liked! my favorite at the moment is once upon a time in mexico. and chocolat. love. and ninth gate...

ok, geeking out over!

sage burnt his hand on the woodstove today. poor guy, it's pretty bad, on three fingers, 2nd degree. he cried a long time. well, at first, he was ok and didn't act too upset so i neglected it thinking it wasn't too bad. then he started crying so i got out our boo-boo bear and once that warmed up, ice wrapped in a gerber diaper. then nursed him to sleep and all is well now. but he has a nasty blister or two. he knows to stay away, i think he must have fallen onto the stove when he was goofing off near it.

jaden is all better now. i've been making sure she poos daily to keep her systems working properly. 4 is a rough age...starting to hate all the foods you've loved up until now. where do they get that from?!

i spent too much time today tethered to the computer trying to get a custom order created. not something i normally do but it was a request for daily to-do sheets for someone i'd been convo-ing for over a month. originally she thought the size she needed was just a smidge smaller than what i made...turned out, it was half the size of what i made so i ended having to create a whole new thing. lots of pages. but, it's all good. i probably made about 50 cents an hour on it but oh well, live and learn! it's done and waiting for her to pay so i can send it on its merry way.

spring equinox is fastly approaching so i've been working on gifts for the kids' treasure hunt we do each year. i purchased a crinkleroots figure for sage and a fairy for jaden from one of my favorite etsy sellers, mamakopp. her wood figures are amazing! she lives about 2 hours away from me but i'll never get to meet her because she's getting ready to pack up the house and move to oregon. my loss. she is a sweet soul. but, hey, we've still got etsy and anyone can buy some of her awesome creations!

i had a dream last night one of my sheep had twins. i'll take that as a sign that i need to get out there daily and start checking on them. i've been watching them and i think the one in my dream was the one i noticed was bagging up udder wise. it's hard to tell if a sheep is pregnant because they have all that wool. especially the ones we didn't get to shear. they are so fluffy anyway, any extra bumps are hidden under all that fleece.

it's been cold here but is promising to warm up. looking forward to it, we have a dozen broilers we still need to butcher. and a goat too. but, i'll be happy to butcher the chickens! tabitha turned me on to building a chicken plucker. i will definitely be looking in to this. since this is my job, i'd be happy to shorten it any way possible!

i got a great suggestion for improving my herbal roots book for kids. please express your opinoin by taking the survey on here to let me know it's a great idea or not...see the side bar!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

helping others help themselves

my irl friend rebekah is an incredible artist. her pottery alone is enough to earn her that title but recently, she has started a new line of upcycled handbags. everything about the handbag is recycled from plastic, junk mail and odd bits of wool yarn.

and if that's not enough of a reason to buy it, she is donately the money to heifer international. from her listing of soulful handbag:

"I do not live by clay alone. This line came out of a cold winter and frozen studio. So I have this idea that if I can make a line of purses 100% upcylced I can donate the profit to Heifer International. The money will go to buy livestock in a village where folks are starving and when their animals have babies they have to give the first generation to a neighbor in need a local food economy is born!!!! so all the elements os this beautiful and funky bag have come out of my recycling bin...And has these quotes from GI Gurgieff "If you help others you will be helped, perhaps tomorrow, perhaps in one hundred years, but you will be helped", Gandhi "If we are to reach real peace in the world, we shall have to start with the children", Suzuki "In the beginners mind there are many possibilities. In the experts mind there are a few", John Wesley "Do all the good you can By all the means you can In all the places you can To all the people you can As long as you can, and the African Proverb "the world was not left to us by our parents, it was lent to us by our children"."

rebekah is such a beautiful soul. i am honored to know her and to be able to call her my friend. she and her family are the most gentle, beautiful people i have ever known.

she has incredible paintings as well. i hope she puts a few up for sale soon! in the meantime, scurry on over and check out her grumpy mugs, bowls, beautiful pregnant goddess mamas and handbags.

Monday, February 2, 2009

ready, set, grow!

i'm going to be dedicating my monday posts to my herbal roots subscribers (but everyone can enjoy and learn from them!)

today marks the halfway point between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. most of us in the united states and canada know it as groundhog day, a silly tradition of watching a furry creature come out of his hole in the ground and looking for his shadow. we all know that regardless if he sees his shadow or not, we are in for 6 more weeks of winter before spring arrives.

we prefer to celebrate this day by planting some seeds to remind us that soon, the robins will be arriving, the peepers will be peeping and tulips will be popping up from the ground. starting some seeds indoors can be a great way to mark this halfway point and watch the daylight grow longer as the seedlings grow stronger!

for those who live too far north to dream of starting seeds right now, growing sprouts to eat on sandwiches and salads can be a great way to celebrate the halfway mark into spring too. and, if you haven't already, now's the time to break out those seed catalogs and start ordering this year's supply of gardening goodness. be sure to order some herbs to try growing too! many herbs grow well in containers so if you don't have a lot of garden space, they are the perfect patio plant to grow.

here's a list of places i like to purchase my herb seeds from:

thyme garden
horizon herbs

today, we'll be starting some onion seeds and possibly a few exotic herb seeds such as eucalyptus, maca and spilanthes.

what are you going to plant or what have you planted today?

Sunday, February 1, 2009

manic depressive weather

last week was full of ice and snow and all sorts of wintery goodness. today, it was in the mid-50's. i look out my window and watch the sheets and towels flapping in the breeze, grateful that i can hang such large laundry items outside and get them dry, mostly for the sheer convenience but also for the fresh smell.

the nice weather is great for getting the kids outside to enjoy the fresh air, which means they'll most likely sleep well tonight, which means, i will too! this past week has been such a stress on my body that i've come down with a cold. sage had it too poor thing. his throat was so swollen a few days back, i'm surprised he could even eat anything. no redness though and now, except for a runny nose, he is fine. i'm getting there, just mostly have the runny nose and a headache. i'm trying to drink more water today to help combat it. spilanthes was my friend for helping to numb my throat when it did hurt. a shot of the tincture in the back of the mouth was a much more pleasant version of sucrets, stuff i hated when i was a child but recall my mother giving me. anyway, i hope to get back to a normal sleep cycle that doesn't include waking in the middle of the night to give lavender a couple of shots and waking to sage every 45 minutes or so to nurse.

seems that everyone around me is getting back into the gardening bug. it hasn't hit me yet although i did order onions through dixondale farms. i was going to try to grow them from seed this year but i'm feeling so overwhelmed with other things that i thought it might be wise to skip that this year. however, i do need to get out all the maple taps and get ready for that! this thaw reminded me it's time. with the rising costs of food and all the food scares, i am really gearing up to make us more self sufficient and less dependent on the food sources this year.

i hope everyone is having a great weekend and that you too are getting some of this lovely weather!
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