Friday, August 29, 2008

More Progress

I love when things start clicking into place
The Boy, as I type, is off to pick up our new rain barrel! The prospect of harvesting our own rain to feed our plant friends is so exciting!
We also ordered the bamboo (Semiarundinaria yashadake) for our privacy screen. It will be so nice not to have little kids yelling at us and watching our every move when we are outside.
And I am working on a master-ish to-do list for fun things we need to do around the house. Go lists!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Rain Harvesting

I was thinking about rain harvesting today at work. I started doing a bit of research as to where to locate 55 gallon barrels. I popped over to our local Craig's list and there is someone selling a brand new, never been used rain barrel. In my price range! The rain gods are on my side.
Hopefully I will be able to pick the barrel up today or over the weekend.

Cob Oven

I've been browsing the internet for cob oven instructions and information after seeing one on The Path To Freedom site. Isn't it beautiful?
I found some instructions on the Instructable website here. In the article keeps referring to Kiko Denzer's book, which, lucky for me, my local library has! I'm so excited at the prospect of having my very own outdoor cob oven.
Here are some photos of artistic cob ovens built by Kiko Denzer and others for inspiration.

Here is an adorable toad shaped oven from

And a snail from the same site

cob oven from
Another frog oven from

frog oven from
I'm sensing a frog theme. This cute oven is from

cob oven from
I love the mustache! This creative cob oven comes from

And lastly, here is a great article on a community center putting in there cob oven. Southern Cross Permaculture Institute and their oven.

Friday, August 22, 2008


1. Where were you last night?
2. Did you speak with anyone?

3. What were you wearing?

4. What did you eat or drink?

5. Can anyone verify your whereabouts from midnight to 5am?


Wow, it's been since Monday since I lasted posted. Eek.
I've been rather under the weather lately. Stuffy nose, horrid cough, body aches. Bad news. I've missed a lot of work because of it. Also bad news.
Yesterday we hit up our local health food store to get some tinctures (as we have yet to make our own).
I got Kick Start Immune, ingredients are Echinacea root & flower, Goldenseal root, Osha root, Baptisia root, Yarrow flower, Elder flower, Yerba Santa leaf extracted in 55% grain alcohol, veg. glycerine & Rocky Mtn. spring water. It tastes absolutely horrid, but seems to have worked miracles. Yesterday I could barely talk, today I am back at work.
I also got some nettle. I've read such great things about it's restorative properties. I can't tell for sure, but it does seem to help. The Boy tried some yesterday and he said it gave him a wonderful feeling of euphoria, however, now that he's sick, he gets to double up on the tinctures.

So everyone, keep your immune boosting tinctures near at hand. I do believe the sick season is near.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Doing Not Thinking: Week 2

1. Plan a garden.
-He did lots and lots of pruning over the weekend. It's so nice to be able to really see what space we have available!
-Set up our worm compost bin
2. Take a "formal" herbwifery class.
3. Choose a major, and act on that choice.
-Leaning toward a midwifery or something similar. I'm sure it will change next week though.
4. Learn to tie dye.
5. Organize the soap lab, and make space for an herbal lab.
-I did the opposite! It's an even bigger mess due to some liquid soap making experiments.
6. Replace our current refrigerator.
7. Learn to can and preserve food.
8. Get 24/7 off the ground.
-I mailed some stuff :D
9. Exercise four days a week.
-Walked to the Farmer's Market.
-Walked to various stores.
10. Be a vendor for two more shows.
-I may have found an October show. Not sure yet though.

Sunday, August 17, 2008


Quoted from Wikipedia-

Vermicompost, also known as worm castings and vermicast, is richer in many nutrients than compost produced by other composting methods. It is also rich in microbial life which helps break down nutrients already present in the soil into plant-available forms. Unlike other compost, worm castings also contain worm mucus which keeps nutrients from washing away with the first watering and holds moisture better than plain soil. For this reason, some fruit and seed pits are reported to germinate in vermicompost easily. Vermicompost made from ordinary kitchen scraps will contain small seeds, especially those of tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants, that may sprout weeks later.

Vermicompost benefits soil by

  • improving its physical structure;
  • enriching soil in micro-organisms, adding plant hormones such as auxins and gibberellic acid, and adding enzymes such as phosphatase and cellulase;
  • attracting deep-burrowing earthworms already present in the soil;
  • improving water holding capacity;
  • enhancing germination, plant growth, and crop yield; and
  • improving root growth and structure.
We set up our very own vermicompost bin today! Our regular compost pile is full and ready to be turned nutrient rich soil for our summer planting. However, we still have kitchen waste and paper that we don't want to just send to the land fill when we can use it in a positive way here!
Here is their new nest made of wet, shredded newspaper and used paper. We drilled holes in the bottom so they wouldn't drown.

Here they are in the container from the store.

Ah! Sun!!

An extra layer of dirt for them to nosh on before we can give them scraps starting next week.

Finally! Sealed and ready to eat! I'm glad we got a clear bin so we can watch them and make sure nothing gets moldy, or dried out.

If you want to make your own bin or just want more information I highly recommend (such a to the point url name)

Friday, August 15, 2008

Self Sufficiency

I was over reading at Path to Freedom this morning and happened across their self-sufficiency graph. What a clever way to set goals, and see the progress. I decided to make my own and fill it using theirs as a guide line. Very revealing! We're 50% and above (if not 100%) on most things....except agriculture. We pretty much flopped that category. Hopefully, with all the garden plans for next season we will be able to change that. I plan on making a new graph for each season (I'm a graph and list geek) to track our "progress". Self-sufficiency is very high on our list of goals!

Thursday, August 14, 2008


I'm a big fan of menus. I love lists in general, but one's that involve food are my favorite.
We live 3.5 miles round trip from a wonderful little Farmer's Market. So the menu I'm making for the next two weeks (we try and cook once every two weeks) is based on additives we can walk to the Farmer's Market for.
Pizza- I will make the pizza dough and sauce ahead of time. Freeze. When we want pizza we will simply pull out two balls of dough and enough sauce, walk to the Market to buy our toppings.
Couscous Salad- We have plenty of uncooked couscous (very cheap!). We will walk to the Market to buy veggies and beans to put into our couscous.
Veggie Burgers- Again, make burgers and buns ahead of time. Freeze. Walk to the Market to gets toppings.
Assorted Salads- Walk to the Market and get pretty much whatever strikes our fancy.
A Casserole- Make ahead. Freeze. Walk to the Market if we feel like it, but it's not imperative that we go on these days.

We started to do the Once A Month Cooking (once every two weeks in our case) to cut down on food bills, and with the intent of using the extra time to exercise. I can say that OAMC has cut our food bill in half. But on the exercising front...not so much. I hope that walking to the Market will fill in that exercise bit (and keep supporting our local farmers!) and add some raw veggies to our diet.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Doing Not Thinking: Week 1

1. Plan a garden.
We actually did a lot of work this weekend! We took out a couple dead trees and weeded. We also measured the yard and I made a too-scale drawing. We're also working on getting a list together of things we want to grow next season.

2. Take a "formal" herbwifery class.

3. Choose a major, and act on that choice.

4. Learn to tie dye.

5. Organize the soap lab, and make space for an herbal lab.
I did get some wonderful glass jars to store some of my herbs in. I did a little straightening...I have so many boxes!

6. Replace our current refrigerator.
We replaced the dishwasher. A new fridge is still out of the budget.

7. Learn to can and preserve food.
Wes did a little research on flash freezing herbs. Seems do-able.

8. Get 24/7 off the ground.

9. Exercise four days a week.
We weeded on Sunday. I say that counts :)

10. Be a vendor for two more shows.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Friday Five

1. Soothing sound:
I love the sound of people cooking.
2. Comfort food:
potato au gratin
Oh how I love the cheesey goodness of Potato Au Gratin
3. Relaxing music:
4. Gentle voice:
My mother dearest :)
5. Calming smell:
Fresh coffee.

Thursday, August 7, 2008


Next year when we have a garden I want to can our bounty! Most of my family are avid canners, so of course I turned to them for help (you guys rock!).
My auntie Deb sent me this link.
Tons of great information!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


Common Periwinkle (Vinca minor) is taking over my driveway! It was beautiful a couple weeks ago with all the pretty purple flowers. The flowers have mostly faded and now it's mostly bright green leaves. On my never ending information search I decided to learn about my new plant ally: Mrs. Periwinkle.

Quoted from Mountain Rose Herbs:

"...The garden periwinkle is the source of a chemical that can be turned into vinpocetine, a natural treatment for aging minds. Originating in Madagascar but now growing wild in warm climates around the world, periwinkle has enjoyed a variety of medicinal applications.
In Europe, periwinkle teas were used as a folk remedy for diabetes. In Hawaii, the plant was boiled to make a poultice used as a bandage to stop bleeding. In China, periwinkles became cough medicine, and in India, they were juiced to make a remedy to stop the pain of wasp stings. Throughout the Caribbean, periwinkles were used to treat infections„and as a protection against voodoo magic.
...The periwinkle contains vincamine, precursor chemical vinpocetine, in its leaves and seeds.
...More often used as tincture, can be encapsulated or served as tea.
...There is some clinical evidence that the periwinkle chemical vinpocetine can increase blood flow to the brain, increasing oxygenation, and also protect brain cells from damage by a chemical called phosphodiesterase. In one study, a majority of 203 clinical study volunteers with dementia experienced measurable improvement after treatment.
Vinpocetine is also commended for memory enhancement in health people, and tried as a means of reducing brain injury after strokes.
Precautions: Periwinkle is the source of vinpocetine; it is not pure vinpocetine. If you use the whole herb you are relying on a rounded blend of healing chemicals found in the minimally processed plant.
Periwinkle does not cause any known interactions with blood thinning medications (such as aspirin, Coumarin, Plavix, Ticlid, or Trental), although vinpocetine extracted from it does. Vinpocetine can cause either increased or decreased bleeding depending on the medication; this is why whole periwinkle is preferred."

Brain Tea sounds good :)

And from
"...Culpepper says that it: 'stays bleeding at the mouth and nose, if it be chewed . . . and may be used with advantage in hysteric and other fits.... It is good in nervous disorders, the young tops made into a conserve is good for the night-mare. The small periwinkle possesses all the virtues of the other kind and may very properly supply its place.
...A homoeopathic tincture is prepared from the fresh leaves of Vinca minor and: 'is given medicinally for the milk-crust of infants as well as for internal haemorrhages, the dose being from 2 to 10 drops, three or four times in the day, with a spoonful of water.'

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Doing Not Thinking Challenge

I have so many goals that I don't know which to work on first. I read about the Doing Not Thinking Challenge over at Two Frog Home blog and thought I would try my hand at it. Now to pick which goal to work on first. I'm going to list them now, and give updates every Monday as to where I am with them. I'm going to list big and small goals (I love being able to cross things off my to-do list!)

1. Plan a garden.
2. Take a "formal" herbwifery class.
3. Choose a major, and act on that choice.
4. Learn to tie dye.
5. Organize the soap lab, and make space for an herbal lab.
6. Replace our current refrigerator.
7. Learn to can and preserve food.
8. Get 24/7 off the ground.
9. Exercise four days a week.
10. Be a vendor for two more shows.

That seems like a good list to start things with!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Photo Gnome

It appears that someone has borrowed my camera. At least I got it back.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

May your body be blessed.
May you realize that your body is a faithful and beautiful friend of your soul.
May you recognize the your senses are sacred thresholds.
May you realize that holiness is mindful gazing, mindful feeling, mindful listening, and mindful touching.
May your senses always enable you to celebrate the universe and the mystery and possibilities in your presence here.
May Eros bless you.
May your senses gather you and bring you home.
-Celtic blessing

Saturday, August 2, 2008


Yeah! I got my Kombucha babies in the mail. Thank you Dancing in a Field of Tansy! (Kristine keep an eye on your mail box *grin*) I'm so excited to make my own rather than fork out four dollars a bottle for the ones they have at the store. If you have never had Kombucha you must try it! I didn't know a lot about the health benefits until recently. It just always made me feel so refreshed and clean. I recently read an article on Nourished Mother regarding fermented food and it all clicked! Now I need to locate a continuous brewing system so I can have Kombucha every day!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Friday Five

1.) Favorite Food:
pad see ew or eggs benedict
Pad See Ew and Eggs Benedict are in a tie right now

2.) Least Favorite Food:
No meat for me

3.) Favorite Thing:
handspun yarn
Hand Spun Yarn (at least for today :D)

4.) Least Favorite Thing:

5.) A phobia:
They give me the creepies just looking at the photo! I don't squish them though. I just run screaming like a little girl!

6.) An addiction:
coffee and a book
Coffee and a good book