I kept waiting for it…Winter. Not that I like the cold or anything but during Winter I get to catch up on paperwork – ugghhh taxes and stuff. Renewing licenses, certificates, adding all of my receipts and planning for the new year always happens in February. When it is cold outside it is much easier to get work done inside without feeling like you are wasting the day away doing computer or paperwork.
Not this year, well at least not ALL of it! We had like 2 weeks of Winter in January, I think.
Now instead of continuing my planning stage for the garden and my classes, I feel the need to be outside, to hike, to plant…anything out in this beautiful weather. It has been in the 70’s all week long and the trees are blooming. I know we live in the South and all folks but it is not Florida for pete’s sake!
Thank goodness I have interns starting in a little less than 2 weeks because if it is “Spring” now, I have a TON of work to still be done to ready the gardens and my upcoming mushroom forest. Sigh…the life of a homesteader, always things to do and not enough time to do them! Seriously I am NOT complaining, I love my little farm and all that I do and can do here. Hey I could be stuffed in a cubicle somewhere right? Well heck no, not this gal, I would die…
Today is not a day for work either..it will be an afternoon of hiking with the kid. I will be meeting him for a day in the mountains – hooray!!
I am celebrating 50 years….born 50 years ago in 1966! Holy moly how did THAT happen?
For the last month, I have been dreading turning 50, thinking I will be an ancient, old lady. 😀 I mean really, 50 – a half-of-a-century.
This week I had the realization that it is always better to celebrate life, successes-even small, milestones rather than dwell on past mistakes or worry about the future and getting old. If I really think about it…I am only middle age because many of my grandparents, great grand parents and great-great aunts have lived to 90 and beyond.
I thought about what I have accomplished up until this point in my life and there has been a-l-o-t of things, exciting things. I could not find all of my photo albums, you know, before we decided to keep all of our pictures in cyberspace? Here is my little “walk down memory lane and celebrate life”. Hope you enjoy it!
Before we get to the pictures – what else celebrates 50 years this year? My mom told me on an apron she gave me: 50 years of the Country Music Awards, the Monkey’s (yeah you have to be old enough to know who they were) 😉 the first Super Bowl and 50 years of Southern Living Magazine.
I was lucky to have my Mom, my Gram and my Nanny – 4 generation of women!
I was a cheerleader in high school but not at school – it was nearly impossible to join. This was with a youth association, we had the best time for a couple years!!
Missing a few years of pics, cannot find those photo albums – grrr 😀
Horses became a big part of my life in Georgia. We rode for pleasure, trails and then competed, became a student of Parelli Natural Horsemanship, attained my own goal of Level 3 Liberty 2010 and Level 2 riding with my current mare Tina(not pictured). The video is here if you care to watch. Freestyle riding video
I was lucky to be picked to work at the 96 Olympics in GA as a barn manager. I was totally excited to braid an Olympic horse’s mane!! The pic on the right is in Oympic Village the night before the bombing.
After 9 years of trying to conceive – our miracle baby was born. The biggest celebration of life!
Look at that munchkin face – so adorable!!
I met my tribe – women who love everything homesteading! I have learned so many things from these ladies and the friendships are treasured and to be celebrated!
The things you learn….
celebrating our first mushroom logs that WE innoculated together in 2013ish
Meeting the famous Rosemary Gladstar – just wow!
So remember, don’t fret about the past or worry about the future, celebrate your accomplishes, live your dreams and enjoy the moment.
Have you ever eaten Shiso, aka Perilla or Beefsteak Plant? If you have eaten in a Japanese restaurant, you may have had this yummy treat without knowing it. The name shiso comes from the Chinese word, zisu which means “purple”. Perilla, as I call it, can be green or purple depending on the variety and where it is grown.
Perilla is in the mint family and extremely easy to grow although many of you have this growing in the wild on the edge of the woods. Go check and see after reading this post and let me know!
Description and Biology
Plant: small, freely-branching annual herb that grows to 18-30 in. high; stems four-sided and covered with short hairs.
Leaves: opposite, ovate, green to purple with toothed margins; distinctive musky mint-like odor.
Flowers, fruits and seeds: flowers are small, bell-shaped, white and purple with a distinctive ring of fine hairs along the bottom in terminal spikes or emerging from leaf axils; July and October.
Spreads: by seed that either drops close to parent plant or may be transported by wind or water.
Look-alikes: beefsteak plant superficially resembles basil and coleus and can be confused with other members of the mint family.***From nps.gov
Medicinal Benefits of Perilla:
Leaves edible, contain calcium, iron and vitamin C
Good source of antioxidants
Used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for asthma, colds, and flu
Seeds high in omega 3’s and support a healthy immune system.
I personally like to combine perilla leaves with kudzu leaves and lemon balm for colds or just a pleasant tasting tea.
MY ABSOLUTE FAVORITE WAY TO USE IT?
The following recipe was given to me by my friend Brooke. I tasted one of these pickled leaves and was hooked for life!!! The original recipe, or what was posted was on www.mykoreankitchen.com
Pickled Perilla with Brown Rice Recipe
20-30 Fresh Perilla Leaves
Seasoning Sauce: Mix the following in a medium sized bowl
10 Tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon korean chili powder
1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons sliced green onions
optional – 2 tablespoons chopped green and red chilis
Rinse perilla leaves in cold running water and drain them in a colander while getting the sauce ready.
Prepare the sauce by mixing the rest of the ingredients in a bowl.
Layer perilla leaves in a glass container with a lid, about 3-5 at a time either stacked(I could be that anal!) or in a layer. Spread about a tablespoon of the sauce over the leaves. Repeat the process until all leaves are layered with sauce. Any left over sauce can be poured over the top.
Cover and refrigerate. This can be eaten after a few days. It tastes even better after a week! Will keep in fridge for months!!
To eat, cook up some brown rice and fill each leaf with the rice, roll up or squish it together and eat. 😀 Totally yum!!!
Calendula & Dandelion Breakfast Egg Cups…doesn’t that sound delicious? Last night I read a blog post from GatherVictoria.com and she had this recipe I JUST had to try!!! And you know …if you don’t do it right away, you forget all about it and it gets lost somewhere in cyberland.
I did not have every ingredient that she used so I improvised with what was growing right now!
Calendula (Calendula officinalis) is growing like crazy, I had plenty to pick from. The recipe only calls for 3 Tablespoons of petals so you can have enough from 5-6 blossoms. Even though calendula is used mainly for medicinal purposes as a vulnerary herb to heal cuts, scrapes, burns and internal wounds, it is also edible and looks beautiful in a salad or in these cute egg cups. Calendula contains antioxidants in the form of flavanoids and carotenoids(beta-carotene converts to Vitamin A).
Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) – the leaves of dandelion are diuretic without removing precious potassium and they are very helpful for the liver removing toxins from the body. The green leaves are bitter, bitter is good, but don’t stress, they won’t be too bitter in this recipe!
Tarragon (Artemesia dracunculus) – tasty herb that is used in fish dishes, bernaise sauce and it has a anise-like flavoring to it. I LOVE this herb!
Lambsquarters (Chenopodium album) – relative of the beloved quinoa. Otherwise known as Wild Spinach. An excellent substitution for any green that packs a punch of nutrition: Vitamin A, B1,2,3,5,6, C, protein, iron, manganese, magnesium and more! It does contain oxalic acid so you don’t want to eat a ton of this everyday. Oxalic acid can cause kidney stones if you are prone to these.
Gold ole garlic and onions!
This is soooo easy and add anything else you like, be creative, invent a new egg cup!
Recipe for Calendula & Dandelion Breakfast Egg Cups
6 eggs, beaten
splash of half and half
1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
2 Tablespoons fresh dandelion leaves, chopped
1 Tablespoon fresh tarragon, chopped
3 Tablespoons fresh lambsquarters, chopped
3 Tablespoons fresh calendula petals
1 garlic clove, chopped
1/4 large onion, chopped
pinch himalayan sea salt
black pepper to taste
1/3 cup fresh mozzarella crumbled or feta
Wash you fresh eggs and beat them in a bowl with the cream.
Saute onion on med low for a few minutes til soft, add the garlic and the greens. Cook just 1-2 minutes.
Add fresh calendula petals and cheese to eggs. Add the greens mixture, salt and pepper. Mix up.
Grease a muffin tin – grease it a lot, mine stuck!!!
Pour your mixture into the tin, mine filled 11 cups. Bake in a preheated oven at 350o for 20 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes or so and eat them up!
You can freeze the leftovers for a fast breakfast, just defrost in the fridge and reheat in the oven(wrap in foil or a covered dish).
Queen Anne’s Lace (Daucus carota) otherwise known as Wild Carrot is part of the Apiaceae family of plants or commonly called the Parsley Family. Until recently, I never touched Queen Anne’s Lace for fear that it may be a poisonous relative – hemlock to be exact! One is edible while the other, well you know the story of the Greek philosopher, Socrates? Sentenced to death by drinking the poison hemlock, yikes!
This year I finally, FINALLY decided to really look into that pretty wild carrot flower and see how hard really it was to identify it. Pretty, darn easy….seriously….if you pay attention to the color and texture of the stem, the leaf type and the flower. See Queen Anne’s Lace has something special in the very center of the flower, not ALL the flowers but if you find that special mark then you definitely got the correct plant. So what is that special mark?
Look closely at this picture, not my pic but it is from the Edible Wild Foods website –
What do you see?
No, it is not dirt or a bug it is a dark colored flower in the center! Well in this case there looks to be two or three. Another cool thing about the flowers – when one starts to get old, instead of turning brown, it starts to close up like a this -like a birds nest!
It looks pretty obvious, doesn’t it? BUT still make sure you have help the first few times to be sure!!!
So what are the benefits? For one thing EAT IT!!! It has a white carrot root but you should dig it up early spring otherwise now, here in the South as it is in flower, it would be tooooo woody. The flowers can be battered and friend, mmmmm or make a jelly from the flowers like I did.
I cleaned all the blossoms of critters – 😀 then measured out 4 cups of blossoms. I added 7 cups of boiling water, slightly cooled for 5 minutes. Cover and steep for 30 minutes and strain.
I measured about 6.5 cups of the infusion into a clean pot. Add 1/2 cup lemon juice, stir and add the pectin(approxiamtely 6 Tablespoons or two boxes). I used low sugar pectin but you can use regular as in the original recipe from Edible Wild Foods. Stir really, really well with a whisk!
Bring to a rolling boil that cannot be stirred down. Then add your sugar, in my case of low sugar, I added 2 – 2.5 cups. Bring up to a boil again and cook for 1 minute. Test the consistency. My set up quite fast!! Have jars ready, fill, wipe clean, add lids and process in water bath canner for 5 minutes for 8 ounce jars.
Medicinal Benefits GALORE!!! Here is a list of what I found, although not tested by me yet.
You know the saying, ” An apple a day keeps the doctor away”? A wild carrot a day, might keep death away!” Hmmm…that’s what I read.
Queen Anne’s Lace is known to be analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, hangover preventative, migraine remedy, expectorant, antihistamine, helpful for the kidneys and liver, cancer preventative and much, much more. Read here for more info! As soon as I have some experience with this plant medicinally, I will let ya’ll know!
4 cups fresh QAL Blossoms
7 cups water
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup lemon juice
2 boxes or 6 Tablespoons pectin
This made 6 half pints plus a 4 ounce jar.
Go find a knowledgeable friend and pick some Queen Anne’s Lace! Have a great day –
Spring, lovely Spring! We wait all winter long for this time of year, well at least I do. I was just itching to get out and dig, plant and harvest and just enjoy the sights and sounds of Springtime!
This year, we are growing more, hopefully 🙂 My neighbor came over with his tractor and tilled up a giant section in the herb garden for a few rows and my hubby helped me make the rows and get rid of giant clumps. Actually John did most of the making of the rows – he is better at it, a perfectionist I might add. Each row is about 35 feet long and 2 feet wide -woohoo!
My interns and I planted 40 calendula plants, 4 ashwagandha, 4 hibiscus roselle – all in the rows and huckleberries, stevia, quinoa, spilanthes(toothache plant) and echinacea in various raised beds and wild areas. I cannot wait til they grow!!!
Seeds were started for arugula, skullcap, sage, borage, lettuce, marshmallow, nastursiums and more. I am not good at seed starting so I figured between me, Stephanie and Brooke, two of my three interns, we should have a good shot at it. They can help me remember to check on them and thin when necessary. Keep your fingers crossed!
Many of the plants I get are started by local friends – ❤ Friends that grow things very well from seeds! New plants go into the raised boxes until I know they can succeed with my sometimes neglect. Any that have to be pampered don’t get to stay. I know that’s mean but besides tending to the plants, I have to take care of critters, teach classes, prepare for classes, making product, delivering products, doing event, yada yada yada and of course take care of the family! I love plants that are naturally strong and perennials to boot.
I also started new mushrooms – trying Oyster mushrooms this time around. We shall see if they grow. I did them on straw in bags and in buckets. A teeny, tiny one is growing out of the straw – hope it will become a big bunch!!!!
I used to love St. Patrick’s Day! I still LIKE it but we do not celebrate it as crazy as we used to back in New York, years and years ago!!
Yeah it was a drinking, eating all day celebration and my Uncle Charlie was always in charge of the corned beef and cabbage meal. He would make a ridiculously giant corned beef – I no longer eat the stuff but still feel the absolute need to make it every year. It’s like if I don’t my part Irishness will be stripped from me – ha! My brother and I literally are the only ones in the family without red hair, hmmmmm….
So I made the corned beef, the cabbage and the potatoes, got some rye bread…sigh did not make Irish Soda bread or I would have eaten the WHOLE dang loaf! Then I would be in a bread coma, don’t want that.
Here is John’s dinner, enough for 3 others too, can’t help the way I cook. He will have leftovers for sandwiches.
I am making ME a pot of soup with kale, garlic, stewed tomatoes, potatoes, cabbage and broth from the corned beef and cabbage. We shall see how it comes out!
It sure looks and smells good!
I did find some more meatless meals for St. Patty’s Day, I know the day is almost over but there is always tomorrow or the whole weekend as it is celebrated in Savannah. 😀
I LOVE living on a farm but seriously somethings happened last month that made wish I lived in an apartment. You know those type of days, weeks or even months that make you question yourself in “why the heck am I doing this???!”
January, shuddering….stay far, far behind and don’t come back!!!
We had company that stayed too long over Christmas through January 2nd with part of them to return only a couple short weeks later. Try training a new puppy, while having a big dog(good old Luke, so patient) AND an extra dog for a few weeks as a visitor. OK people I know some of you have three or more dogs but sheeshhh, two is plenty for this gal!!!!
On top of that, I had a very sick goat – remember I have only had goats for three months! Poor Cookies was so sick, he was weak and had a neurological disease so he had issues walking straight. Cookies DID recover though after twice a day injections, 4x/day pills(holding his mouth closed when he would try and spit them out), daily wormers, numerous supplements – yada, yada, yada. I tending to this goat every couple hours to make sure he was ok and take care of the other goat as well. I knew he was getting better when I could no longer hold him to give him injections. He was tired of becoming a pin cushion, I was definitely tired of wrestling an animal by myself while trying not to accidentally inject myself- the thought of that nasty antibiotic…yuck, at least the other injection was vitamins, that would not have killed me. My hubby and I argued most days when we had to move the goat pen, weekly – 7 panels that were 16 feet each. What was I thinking?! We were over it.
With the goat episode, I realized I am not ready to be a goat mama and was lucky enough to find a good, loving home for the boys – of course after Cookies was better.
Thunder Pookie, the puppy, has become obsessed with the chickens and the chicken yard. She now is too big but a few weeks ago she could crawl under the chicken wire and get into the chicken yard to eat various things, mainly poop! Yuck! I had to watch when I put feed in there because she would go get a bite of that too, sigh. I feel like I said NO eighty- million times to the puppy, to the cats, to the horses, to the guest doggie.
One day I found Tina, my horse, in the goat pen!
Yep she walked right through the tiny opening, which I left open accidentally. Thank goodness she is easy to get out of places like that although she wouldn’t just come when I called her….because I realized she was caught in the briars. She stood patiently for me to cut the briars away from her legs and walk her on out of the pen. Easy, peasy? NO!!!! As I am walking out of the pen, with her at my side, I step and hear a yelp…from Thunder Pookie because I stepped on her foot. Automatically I step the opposite direction right into the path of Tina’s hoof on top of my foot. Ow!!!!
Yeah, I think I broke my toe. Thank goodness there was a lot of mud so my foot did sink down in my rubber boots. As I limp inside, I think of the commercial – “Oh My, Calgon, Take Me Away!!!” I assessed the situation and could not move the three smaller toes, nor could I walk very well, so I put comfrey salve all over it and took 4 arnica pills and continued this all day with ice. Hubby comes home and asks if I need to go to the hospital – “Heck NO – I will fix it!” Heeheehee – 😀 AND the next day I woke up after being woke up by hubby at 5:00am because guest doggie had an accident all over my carpet(was just cleaned by Citrus Solution) and he needed help cleaning it up. Poor guy – not what you want to find when you first wake up. I realized as I am moving around whoa…my foot is much better! Good old comfrey – the best stuff on the planet!
So now that you heard my drama for January, you know why I was wishing I lived in a teeny, tiny apartment or tiny house with nothing but myself, hubby and a couple pets to take care of.
Sometimes we just have meltdowns, no one is perfect! AS long as the meltdowns don’t occur too often. 😉 Am I right?
The ending to all that drama? A friend taught an amazing soap class here and now I can create a few herbal soaps to match my herbal salves – so excited!!! We made a vegetable based soap, at my request, that included canola, vegetable shortening, coconut oil, castor oil, palm kernel oil flakes and beeswax. I added oats, goats milk powder and frankincense essential oil to my first batch and the next day I made it with raw cacao powder and roses with rose geranium oil. I will be posting all the pics and step by step of what we did tomorrow.
I am fine now…thinking of Spring and all the wonderful growing things that will come our way – Spiritually, Physically and Mentally.
Goodbye January, see you next year. Hello February and Hello almost Spring!
I was talking to a class yesterday about coconut milk shampoo and thought I would make some again. Coconut Milk Shampoo is the ONLY homemade shampoo that I have found to work decently with a bit of lather.
When I first tried it, I used a can of coconut milk but have heard on Wellness Mama that making your own coconut milk makes it work better plus you have some to drink too!!
So not wasting anytime whatsoever, I just read the blog post, saw that I had unsweetened coconut in the cupboard and made it. Yep that simple, easy peasy!!! And seriously you can buy a bag of organic coconut for about $2-3 and make a couple batches, that is some cheap coconut milk. If I buy a container of coconut milk in the store it costs $3.50-$4.00 and usually has carrageenan and other stuff. 😦
There is a bonus to this milk recipe that was found in the comment section of Wellness Mama’s post – you can make coconut flour with what’s left after squeezing the shredded coconut out – woohoo!
Recipe for Homemade Coconut Milk
1.5-2 cups of organic unsweetened shredded coconut
4 cups of hot water
Heat your water up but do not boil it, just hot to the touch. No you can’t just use hot water from the tap. This will take two minutes to do. Put water in a blender or if you are lucky, a vitamix and add the coconut. You do not want this to be super full otherwise it will make a gigantic mess when you turn it on!!! If you have to, do it in two batches.
Place a towel over the top (just in case) and turn on low then high for a few minutes until blended.
Pour through a very fine mesh strainer and press the pulp as you do it.
At the very end I added the pulp back into the blender with a bit of the milk and blended again and poured back through the strainer into a quart jar. If it seems to still have pieces of coconut, you can pour through cheesecloth or butter muslin.
Look how creamy it looks! Oooooohhhh yum.
Now I love this stuff plain as is but you can add some vanilla or stevia or honey or maple syrup…whatever your little heart desires. ❤
OK so now refrigerate it and it will keep 3-4 days. The next day you will see a thick layer on the top, that is the cream – the fat – the good stuff!!! So if you are going to make the shampoo, mix the milk well first so you get some of that fat in your shampoo.
Recipe for Homemade Coconut Milk Shampoo
adapted from Katie at Wellness Mama
¼ cup coconut milk
1/4 cup Liquid Castille Soap like Dr. Bronners
20 drops of essential oils – your choice (try peppermint, lavender, rosemary and orange or combinations of those)
For dry hair: add ½- 1 tsp olive or almond oil (optional)
How to Make Homemade Shampoo
Combine all ingredients in an old shampoo bottle or jar of some kind (pump soap dispensers and even foaming dispensers work well for this. If you use a foaming dispenser, add 1/4 cup of distilled water)
Shake well to mix.
Keep in shower for up to a month.
Shake before each use.
Use about a teaspoon every time you shampoo.
If you use a foaming dispenser, it also makes a great shaving cream- just dilute with 1/4 cup distilled water!
I hope you enjoy this post! Please share with friends 🙂