Online Classes, beginning January 11. 2016

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I’m really excited to finish the online classes this week.  Lindy and I have had a lot of fun making them.
Subjects we covered are:

Introduction to Tinctures, part one: What are tinctures and how to safely use them.

Natural Family:  How to make chest rub, ear oil, and glycerites.  What things you need to have on hand to treat or prevent colds and flu.

Introduction to Herbs, part one: What herbs to start with and how to use them.  What to have in your home apothecary

Essential oils:  Which ones we use and how to choose the right ones.  Which five I recommend to use first.

Bath and Body Care:  How to care for aging skin, acne, how to exfoliate and hydrate, which oils are best.  Making bath bombs and lip balms.

Natural Cleaning Supplies:  How to use essential oils and other products to break free from the harsh and cancer causing chemicals in conventional cleaning supplies.  Make toilet fizzies, window cleaner, and more.

Herbal oils and salves:  From dried herbs to fabulous healing salves.  Infusing herbs in oils and using them.

Activated Charcoal:  How to use this amazing remedy that works on infection, poisons, and much more.  How to use including poultices and ingesting.  Why you need this in your home.

Elderberry Syrup, Winter Warrior:  Learn how to process elderberries from stem to syrup.  Recipe for delicious Elderberry Syrup included.

Introduction to Wildcrafting: What supplies to have on hand for gathering your herbal harvest. Saving seed from wild plants, rules for wildcrafting, and how and when to gather.  More classes will follow as herbs become available in the wild.

Recipes are included in most classes.

Cost:  Classes purchased individually would cost $150.00  Package plan of all ten will cost $100.00.  Once you purchase the class(es) you want you can view them as many times as you’d like.  More classes will be added in groups of ten.  You will also have the option of asking questions.

Unfortunately, I won’t have the link until Sunday January 10.  The classes begin on the 11th.  So if you would like to be one of the first to get the link, let me know on Facebook, Meadowcures.  It’s going to be a blast!

 

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Magnesium Oil Spray

Magnesium Oil Spray

1/2 cup Magnesium Chloride Flakes (health food stores)

1/2 Cup boiling water.

Pour boiling water into a glass bowl, add the flakes and stir until flakes dissolve.  Let cool and add to fine mist spray bottle.  Spray on your bare skin after shower or bath at least 3 X per week.  Let dry.  It may cause tingling and even redness at first but it should get better after a few times.

Taking baths in epsom salts is also a way to get magnesium in through your skin.  But it’s not as efficient or direct as the oil spray.

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Wellness and Winter

It’s hard to see people walking around in Walmart or the grocery store being sick. I wish they would stay home but most of the time they’re there to buy relief. Many times I wish I could give them some advice and help them get better quicker and without adding extra burdens to their livers.

Each winter I make a plan to stay well. I realized long ago that without a plan it is very easy to reach for quick and easy – usually cold medicines that only give us temporary relief. If I don’t have things on hand for whatever ails me as far as herbs and natural remedies are concerned, I might not use them at all. So here’s what I do to stay well and to get well quick.

1. One of the things I used to do was to eat all the wonderful goodies around Christmas time, cut down on exercise, go out a lot for shopping and expose myself more, and then when I got sick I would expect a quick return to health. Look at the holidays coming up. How would you like to spend them; feeling icky, sickly, or coughing your head off or happy and healthy? If you want to be healthy you may have to sacrifice some things. Sugar cuts down on white blood cells that we need to fight bacteria. Bacteria are rampant this time of year. Passing up the pies, cakes, and cookies means you are accepting health and vitality instead. Food is such a part of the holidays. So make up a glorious fruit or veggie tray with healthy dips so when you’re the life of the party you’ll glow with health.

2. One thing that helps to spread bacteria is warm, dry air. That’s exactly the condition we live and work in this time of year. Making sure that your home has a humidifier and that the humidity level stays in the 40s or 50s will make a difference. Your skin will thank you, too.

3. We keep our home cooler than most people. When I visit someone’s home then I know to dress lighter because I’m always hot when the temp goes over 70. We like it between 65 and 68 and our bodies get used to it. That way when we are exposed to cold air outside we won’t chill. Chilling is not your friend. Chilling breaks down your resistance to bacteria. One thing we do, also, is to sleep with the bedroom window cracked open with a towel rolled up to allow fresh air in. The towel keeps out drafts which could make us chill. You will sleep better. We don’t use electric blankets. Our bodies do their job of warming us up and keeping the natural temperature needed for sleep. Fresh air is so beneficial and the extra cost on your electric bill will pay off.

4. Drink. Water. The best thing I ever did for myself is to get off of soda. I love the carbonation so I started drinking Zevia from the health food store. It’s amazingly good and it gives me a little too much carbonation but it sure did cure my soda craving. I haven’t had a soda in years. I don’t think I would enjoy them anymore. I make up 2 quarts of water, put ¼ cup of 100 % cranberry juice and two fresh lemon juice ice cubes. I drink 2 of those. I have interstitial cystitis which never causes any problems as long as I drink this way. But it also cuts down on cravings like crazy. There are lots of recipes on the internet for fruit waters.

5. Elderberry Syrup. There are so many studies being done on Elderberry Syrup for colds and flu. But for now I will just tell you what it does for me. I will post a lot more on this subject later. For me, this stuff works miracles. I take ¼ cup in my water if I feel a cold coming on. Then later I think, “Hmm, I thought I was getting sick.” It’s gone. My husband has gotten up in the morning with a sore throat or a head cold and by midafternoon he’s forgotten it. My 9 year old nephew was staying with us and he became very ill. His temp was high. I looked up the symptoms of the h1n1 flu and he had the symptoms and had been in an area of outbreak. I gave him advil as directed and elderberry syrup every hour. Two days. He was sick for two days. It wasn’t hard to give it to him, it tastes yummy. During the Ebola scare the berries were sold out everywhere. I was worried. Now I always make sure I have some on hand at all times.

6. Get some fresh air and sunshine whenever you can. My vitamin D levels are low even during the summers when I live outside. I tan and I’m older so it is not as readily absorbed through my skin. I take a supplement all year long. Breathe the fresh air slowly into the deepest part of your lungs to cleanse the old stuff. Filter super cold air with a scarf.

7. Rest. Get your sleep. Staying up watching Christmas movies and staying late at parties is all part of the fun of this season. And laughter is good medicine. Being healthy and vibrant during this happy season is the best gift you can give to yourself!

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For the birds

Think of those glorious spring mornings with the soft breezes flowing through the curtains and you wake up to the sound of heaven; happy birds singing their little hearts out.  It makes me feel like I’m in a Disney movie!   I spend the winter longing for those days and happily welcome their return each year.  Lindy and I like to put old strips of yarn and cotton into suet holders and hang them all over.  It’s so sweet to see them pulling on those to use in making their nests.

I have had some lambs ear appear in my garden.  Lambs ear is not a wild plant.  I was kinda freaked but really happy.  I thank the birds.  They are great about spreading around wild plants by processing the seeds and depositing them – usually – in just the right place and time.  I’m amazed, however, that there are not groves of mulberry trees all over the place when I see how they decorate my car with purple seeds.

Keeping the birds from my cherry trees is tricky.  I don’t believe in netting that they can get caught in.  I’d rather scare them away.  I use old CDs or DVDs or pie pans.  Fake owls or snakes work, too.  Once I tried a scarecrow in my garden but I had to take him down because he kept scaring ME.  Everywhere I turned there he was. For the most part birds have plenty to eat during the summer with insects and plentiful vegetation.

But mostly I love the calm and incessant songs that follow me wherever I go.  They are my companions. As the sun sets on those late summer days the robin sings her loudest song as if to say, “Time to turn in everyone, the day’s work is done”.  I take care of them.  They take care of me.  I keep the hummingbird feeders full all summer mostly for our enjoyment as I know they have lots of blooms to visit.  I’ve known the delight of having them rest on my finger as they sip.

So this week I have put out two feeding stations for the winter birds; one outside my office window and one by the picture window in the living room.  They are filled with peanuts for the woodpeckers, thistle for the finches, black oil sunflower seed and other grains for the rest.  Lindy and I will be making treats for them during the winter as we love to do that.  Here’s a recipe we use:  http://www.saltwater-kids.com/2010/12/thrifty-gifts-bird-seed-ornaments-for.html

 

 

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Fall Offerings: What to gather now.

Today Lindy and I went for a long walk around our property.  We’d had a gentle rain all night and the wind and rain had scattered orange and yellow leaves around our yard. I know it will be getting frigid soon and walks in the woods will not be near as inviting.  But before all the leaves have toddled off the branches and twirled to the grass or forest floor below, I wanted to make sure that I had identified all of them.  Knowing what plants and trees you have on your property can take a whole season.  In late fall the buds pop out and place their promise of spring on each branch just before the tree falls asleep for the winter. Even as the plants surrender to death and winter they are preparing for spring.

So in fall you have the buds, the color of the leaves, and seed pods to help identify each plant.  I’ve studied trees in winter, traipsing through the deep snow and used only the bark, buds, height and bark of each tree.  I was with a tree expert who helped me or I would have been lost. In spring there are signs when the trees begin to bud, such as in the redbud tree.  (Have you ever eaten its pinkish purple buds?)

On this day we found a Wahoo tree that offers nothing but beauty.  Rose Hips are filling out and after a frost or two – which makes them sweeter and less tart – you could gather those for a high concentration of vitamin c in your winter tea.  Hickory nuts, pecans, walnuts are all so plentiful this year.  Black walnuts provide 1.9g of protein in one tablespoon which could add up in a survival situation.

I’ve been gathering in the last of the hardy herbs like peppermint, spearmint, motherwort, and borage.  I found some rue that came up from last year – a tiny sprout – so I’ll put a cloche over that for the winter to protect it and hopefully it will overwinter safely.  I will use Rue and Wormwood in pest control recipes for garden bugs.  They are not the best for internal consumption as there is toxicity that can build up.

I have been putting walnut hulls that have turned brown into my chicken’s water for parasites and they love it.  It’s so much fun to watch them parade around the yard gobbling up bugs and worms.  They really keep the grasshopper population down!  Soon I’ll have to put out some scratch grains to keep them happy.

I have noticed, to my delight, that little tiny sprouts of chickweed are showing up everywhere.  I use chickweed for everything and it is one of my favorite edibles.  It’s early this year because of our warm fall weather.  The tiny sprouts will die when it frosts but it will be back in spring and growing huge before the snow is all gone.  I’ll be covering some with plastic or old shower doors to get a winter supply.  Put chickweed on your list of herbs to learn.  They grow all over the US.

Soon it will be time to snuggle down with some hot cocoa and read more about herbal medicine and learning how to identify plants.  Get your books ready!

 

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Get Ready For Winter

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Free Spearmint!

I love the fact that I am still enjoying summer and getting ready for winter at the same time.  I have been sunning and swimming and eating lots of watermelon.  And I have been cleaning out the greenhouse and getting bird seed on sale.  Since I’ve been gone during June and July for the last five years, I don’t really start gardening until I get back.  By that time there are plant sales everywhere.  I buy at 50-75% off and I even got a whole flat of spearmint that they were about to throw out – Free!!  I like to rescue these poor, overlooked and root bound cast-offs and make them shine with a little love.  After I’ve enjoyed them through the fall I’ll trim them severely, give them lots of soil, and put them in the greenhouse so I’ll have them next year, too. I have a lot of potted plants and herbs that will be cheering me up during winter, right now sitting outside the greenhouse ready to go in when it gets too cold.  I planted basil and it’s big and gorgeous – one for the greenhouse and one for my kitchen.  Rosemary is looking long and straggly so I’ll be cutting it in half and propagating it – there’s never too much rosemary.

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We All Live Together

I was working in the garage the other night when I heard a noise behind me.  The big door was open and I was enjoying the night sounds.  I thought it was the cat trying to get into the extra bag of food out there.  I turned around to scold her and saw the cutest opossum just looking up at me.  He seemed to say, “What are you looking at, lady.”  I cooed at him and he hissed at me and we had a lovely time together.  I went back to my work and he just hung out for a while then waddled back out into the night.

I love living where there is wildlife.  That’s why we live in the country in large part.  I go out to the garage, which is my apothecary/classroom/workshop and dust away the silvery spider webs that weren’t there hours ago.  I’m always on vigil for any signs of rodent visitors and sometimes I have to re-home one or two to their heavenly home.  Raccoons get my corn every year that I plant it.  (So why do I plant it?) Squash bugs and other garden critters gobble up the pumpkins and squash and cucumbers.  Birds poop on everything…they have great aim. And some years they leave me some cherries.  Yes, wildlife and insects outnumber us all.

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Healing Starts with Seeds

We talked yesterday about collecting seeds from the wild plants and drying them for next year. Today we’ll talk about getting seeds for the medicinal garden that you can’t readily find in nature or in the garden centers.  Wild plant seeds are very challenging to find.  If you can find some jewelweed out in the edges of creeks or wet areas (there will probably be stinging nettles there, too) you will  have to gather it’s seeds carefully.  Jewelweed seed pods have a unique way of “spitting” the seeds when touched, (that’s why its other name is spotted touch-me-not) so you have to use two hands.  The seeds of stinging nettles hang below the plant so you should wear leather gloves to collect those.  The seeds are beneficial for the kidneys so you can collect as many as possible and tincture them*.  This is the best time of the year for that.  It’s fun to gather wild seeds.  Bring envelopes or Ziploc bags and be sure and label them immediately.

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Essential Oils 101

Back in the early days of my learning I loved to visit the health food stores.  Things were so different back then. I bought some essential oils and I still have them today.  They were pure and inexpensive. Still, I had no idea how to use them.  In recent years essential oils have become very popular.  Two of my friends sell them from different home party companies.  I love them both but I buy mostly DoTerra.  I love essential oils and I have a lot of them from different companies and I use them for many different products.  I watch over my oils like a mother hen and her chicks.  They’re my babies.  I don’t let just anyone handle them.

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Healing Harvest

This time of year you can almost sense that the earth has given her all and is nearly done with its green season.  You can sense that the insects are full grown – yeah the chickens noticed – and the plants and trees are heaving with the fullness of their summer offering.  I used to dread this time of year because I love summer so much and to see the natural world dying away caused me to grieve.  But being close to nature and realizing that things are ordered by a loving Creator helps me to appreciate that the end is really the beginning.  The wild lettuce seeds floating through the air, the milkweed pods swelling, and burdock blossoms falling to the earth giving way to the prickly seed heads are all nature’s preparations for the spring.  The roots are drinking in the last of the sun’s rays, building energy for the long winter wait.  It’s something to sit and watch and wonder.

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