Thursday, October 28, 2010

Then and Now

Thought I would show everyone how much my little sweethearts (the feathered ones :) have grown since July.  Can't wait until they start laying!



Oh, and in case anyone is wondering, I do realize there are a few roosters in there and they don't lay.  For us, they serve another purpose.  Fried chicken anyone?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Twenty-four Years

My oldest son celebrated his twenty-fourth birthday today.  I am so thankful for the wonderful gift of motherhood! 

Monday, October 25, 2010

Making Memories

As an adult I have very few memories of my great-grandparents and no pictures of me with them. I remember a few random things like my Granny giving me paper to draw on and letting me sit on a really thick book to reach the table and my other great grandmother (Mama Ricks) living next door to my Nannie and Big Daddy. My cousin and I would go to her house and sit with her when my family would go to Grenada to visit. Other than that I really don't remember much about them. Both of my great grandfathers died before I was born.

I am so thankful that I still have my parents with me and that my grandaughters have the opportunity to "make memories" with them and I'm here to tell you this grandmother is planning to take lots of pictures so that they can look back as adults and remember just how loved they were.

Mommy and Rachel getting a tractor ride today.

Granny and Ellen watching the tractor ride.

Rachel getting a tractor ride from Grandaddy a year ago.

Ellen needed a ride too!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Homemade Salve

I was working on some crocheted barrettes for Rachel today and managed to burn a hugh blister on my finger with the hot glue gun.   As soon as it happened I went to my "remedies" shelf and got the salve that I made this summer. 

I've been making plantain/aloe vera salve for several years now and have recently started adding comfrey as well.  Plantain grows abundantly around my mothers house so I always have plenty on hand.  I make some into salve and some into a tincture.  I also dry some to have it on hand in case I run out of the salve.  So far I've always seemed to have plenty, but this year we have been using it a lot more.  I think it's because the boys are finally convinced that it works as well as anything we have bought over the counter in the local pharmacy.  Caleb became convinced after his motorcycle accident a year ago when we experimented with some store bought antiobiotic ointments and creams versus our homemade salves.  Even though we used the homemade salves on the deeper cuts they still healed quicker than the ones we used store bought medicines on.    In addition to that, a  few months ago Heath had a cut on his hand, that wouldn't seem to heal.  It kept reopening and it was starting to interfere with his work as a mechanic.  He decided to try some of our salve and within a day he said that he could tell a difference.  Within just a couple of days it had healed enough that it no longer reopened and he was able to work better. 

Now, I fully realize that there is a time and place for pharmceuticals and we do use them when we feel there is a need.   I am also a firm believer in each person doing what works best for their own family, but as for our family, we are starting to use more and more herbs for medicinal as well as culinary purposes and are very satisfied with the results.  

For those of you interested in trying something new I thought I would share our salve recipe with you.  I'm actually posting two recipes, because I realize that some people prefer not to use petroleum products.  I have begun to use less of the petroleum jelly and more olive oil and beeswax myself.

Plantain Salve # 1

12 oz. jar of petroleum jelly (unscented)
2 handfuls of plantain leaves
1 large or 2 small aloe vera leaves sliced and crushed
1 handful comfrey leaves

Heat petroleum jelly on low until it liquefies.  Carefully drop the plantain and comfrey leaves into the liquid.  It will quickly produce a thick foam.  Add the aloe.  Simmer until foaming has stopped.  Pour through strainer into container.  If using a plastic container you may need to let it cool a few minutes, but not to long or the petroleum jelly will not pour through the strainer.  This salve works on bug bites, stings, cuts, sores, and mild burns.

Plantain Salve # 2

Fill a jar with crushed plantain leaves and comfrey leaves.   Pour olive oil to fill jar (covering leaves).  Leave it in a sunny windowsill for about 10 days, then strain.  Add 2 ounces of beeswax to 5 ounces of oil.  Melt together in pot on low heat.  You may add 1-2 drops of lavender essential oil and pour into jars for storage.  Use on bug bites, stings,  and cuts.  (This is runnier than the one with petroleum jelly).

Friday, October 15, 2010

Crocheted Hair Bows

I've been doing a lot of crocheting recently and thought I would share one of my latest projects with you.  I made these cute little crocheted hair bows with a certain little someone in mind.  I think they are just too cute! 

I've using the time when our family is watching a movie or sitting in a waiting room, etc. to work on a few projects and since Rachel is at the age right now to really enjoy wearing hair bows and necklaces (pretty pretties is what she calls them) I thought these would be cute for her.  Hope ya'll have a good weekend!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

One Advantage of Being Strange

If you read my last post you know that I've been hearing quite a bit lately about my strangeness, or at least about how strange our lifestyle is compared to others around us.  Well, I have to say the advantages of my "strangeness" quite often outweigh the disadvantages.  Today is one example.  About noon today, I realized that I had not made any effort to plan our evening meal.  Since several of us have been sick the last few weeks I have also not taken the time to plan weekly menus as usual.  So here I am at noon today, knowing that the afternoon/early evening  (from about 2:00 p.m. until about 6:00 p.m.) would be busy with errands.  Thanks to my "strange and complicated" lifestyle I was able to go to the freezer, pull out a pack of already cooked ground beef and cooked (already seasoned) beans.  I dumped them into the crockpot, picked up a bag of tortilla chips while running errands and my evening meal was done.  There is nothing like the smell of homemade chili when you walk in the door after running errands on a cool afternoon.  Yum!  I think I'll stick with being strange, how bout you?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Ok, I admit it.  I'm strange.  I've always been strange and I guess I will continue to be strange to a lot of people.  Even when I was a child I liked to do strange things like hoe in the garden, feed chickens and have pet pigs (that we later ate).  As I got older I did things like "put up" jellies/jams and garden produce.  Later we had milk goats (and yes we drank the milk), chickens (for eggs and meat), rabbits (for meat), and guineas (just because I like them :).   In recent years I have done things like start an herb garden, bulk cook for the freezer, sew, crochet, learn to knit and make soap. 

I have been blessed to live in an area where there are others who share many of these same interests.  To me these things don't seem all that strange and I have always found someone that I could learn from or share tips with.  I have never really considered myself that "strange" or "different" until recently.  Lately, I have been told quite a bit that I do things the hard way and how much more efficient I could be if I did things the "normal" way. The only thing I can figure is that with our world changing and becoming more "convenient" with ever increasing technology my strangeness just seems to show up more.  For my part, I am totally content with it :) 

Soooo, in the interest of being strange I want to tell you about another cookbook that I recently purchased.   (I think I have mentioned before that I love cookbooks).  The one that has "struck my fancy" lately is titled "Nourishing Traditions" by Sally Fallon.  I purchased it from and I absolutely love it.  The writer includes nutritional information and the health benefits of lacto-fermented foods.  I have to admit that she piqued my interest and I have already tried several of the recipes.   If you are tired of hearing about "politically correct" nutrition and are interested in getting back to the basics, I think you'll love it too.  Go ahead, be strange, it's not so bad!

Saturday, October 2, 2010


I don't know about anyone else, but I've been enjoying these beautiful, cool days that we have been having lately.  I love being outside anyway, but with weather like this it's almost impossible for me to stay inside and "on task."   Today I have been gathering herbs from my garden and getting them in the dehydrator.  I love the smell in my house as the herbs are drying.   My little herb garden has really done well this year and I have been able to get quite a bit dried and stored.  Today I'm working on peppermint, thyme, and sage.  

The more I learn about herbs the more fascinating they are to me.  Herbs are one of God's many awesome provisions for His creation.  We have been using herbs (on a small scale) medicinally for a few years now.   At first my children were a little skeptical, but it's becoming more and more common for them to come in and ask for one of my salves or teas.  As a matter of fact, my oldest son Heath had been battling bronchitis for about a week when his employer sent him to the doctor.  Now, Heath has always been my biggest skeptic where herbal remedies are concerned and I have never been able to really get him to drink any of the teas (although he has become a firm believer in the salves :).  After going to the doctor and being prescribed an antibiotic and a strong cough medicine Heath came home to recuperate.  After taking the meds for about three days and feeling worse and worse, he came and ASKED for a tea to make him feel better.  (For Heath, that is a really big deal).   I made him something relatively mild and not terribly yucky tasting to see if he would actually follow through with drinking it.  HE DID!  WOW!  I don't know if it actually made him feel better, but he drank it several times and did seem to rest better.   I've been told that a positive response to herbal remedies is all in my head, that they don't really work, but you know I've come to the conclusion that even if that's true, I'll take it.  As long as I feel better, it really doesn't matter if it's all in my head or not :)  And I have to agree that sometimes it's maybe just the comfort of sipping a hot cup of tea while snuggled under a warm blanket with a good book that makes the difference.  Either way, I'll take it!