It is the perfect evening for this warm, spicy, and frothy beverage! My boys helped me make it and helped me drink it. They didn't like it as much as I did, but at least they tried it!
2 TBSP Ghee, coconut oil, or butter
1 tsp Turmeric Powder
1/2 tsp Ginger Powder
pinch of black pepper
2 cups milk (I used unsweetened almond milk)
Honey to taste
-Melt ghee in saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the spices and stir continuously for 30 seconds.
-Add the milk and stir constantly until steaming hot.
-Remove from heat and add honey
-To make extra frothy, blend high in a blender. Be sure to let steam escape.
-Pour and enjoy immediately!
We sprinkled cinnamon on top, YUMMY!
My son was really excited about the first flower blossoms in our yard. Violet! While harvesting the violet flowers, we chatted, listened to the birds, and nibbled on violet leaves and flowers. We noticed they are slightly slimy. This is because of their mucilage content-- making it great for sore and dry throats. We harvested enough flowers to infuse into honey. We will eat it straight from the jar, add to tea, and use on pancakes. Yummy!
For educational purposes only. For more information on harvesting guidelines and plant identification, please do your own research.
First harvest of the season! I think I harvested cottonwood buds last year in late February or early March. The buds were ready much later this year because of the late spring. After my husband pruned our cottonwood tree, my son and I harvested the buds. They were sticky with healing resin and smelled amazing! I infused them in organic sunflower oil and will make a healing salve with it. I am also making a tincture with the buds.
Cottonwood buds benefits and uses:
*The resin contains “salicin” – the same compound that gives aspirin its pain relieving and fever reducing benefits. The resin is analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, stimulating and expectorant. The oil is great for relieving sore and strained muscles, bruises, and joint pain. The tincture can reduce fever and pain and loosen phlegm.
*Anti-microbial, Anti-fungal, making it a great wound healer
*Contains anti-oxidants (great for skin care, I have been using it on my face and love it!)
*Great for warts
*Natural fragrance, I love the way it smells! Slightly floral and earthy
For educational purposes only. For more information on harvesting guidelines and plant identification, please do your own research.
Our goal for our property is to provide habitat for as many native species as possible. This year we built a few bird houses to further the cause. So far we've had a few prospectors but no takers yet; Blue Birds, Tree Swallows, and House Wrens. I suspect either the house wrens or the tree swallows will take up residency first. They're not too shy about moving into a new place. But often times bird houses will sit empty for the first year. We made: 7 blue bird/tree swallow houses, 10 wren houses, 4 woodpecker houses, a wood duck house, a kestrel house, and a screech owl house, for a total of 24 bird houses!
My husband is part Lebanese, and Lebanese food is delicious! Every holiday we celebrate with his family, we get to enjoy a wide variety of traditional Lebanese dishes. One of my favorites is grape leaves. We finally learned how to make them. They turned out great! Our family ate a whole batch in one day.
The ingredients are simple: rice, beef, lemon or rhubarb, grape leaves, peppermint leaves, salt, and cinnamon. We added quinoa to the last batch. The kids had no idea! We used peppermint and grape leaves from our garden.
We currently have 6 sheep and 13 chickens. We feed and water them a few times a day. It is always fun to watch!
I checked on my herb garden today. I found more green than I expected!
I planted these lavender plants last Summer. They grew so much! It looks like the winter Chamomile. It is still so green!
did not bother them one bit. They still smell good! The best variety to grown in MN is
Cilantro. One of my favorites. It still tastes good! Thyme. Still smells and tastes great! Permaculture island
Today, my husband and I spent the afternoon creating a vision board. I wasn't too thrilled about the idea at first, but once I got started, I got really into it! It brought out my creative side and was also very relaxing. We ended up spending about 4 hours on it, and we came up with some of our best ideas for our future.
Since we both work from home and live on 9.5 acres, it is easy to get distracted and overwhelmed. The vision board is a place we can keep all of our hopes, dreams, projects and more. It also helps us to know each other's goals and intentions so we can motivate each other and stay on track. We focused on farm projects, personal growth, and business goals. I also included some motivational quotes and gentle reminders for how I want my days to feel.
After we had completed our board, I felt so much lighter. Now I have a clear idea of what to focus on to achieve our goals.
Have you ever made a vision board? If not, you must! The process is so simple and so fulfilling. It is a game changer!
Cardboard or foam board
Glue stick or tape
Before you begin, write down some goals for the current year. We focused on farm projects, work goals, and personal growth.
"When we’re setting a goal, we think realistically. We analyze our current situation and plan out steps on how to reach our goal. Setting goals is based on reasoning and creating a plan. Setting a goal is very cognitive process of analyzing, planning and reasoning. We are in control of the plan and of all the steps how to get there. But as you know life comes between you and your goals sometimes. Something happens and you can’t do what you had scheduled. It is hard to stay on track because there are so many distractions."-Excerpt from Arina Nikitina @ goal-setting-guide.com
Another important step to creating a successful vision board is setting an intention.
"Setting an intention is a similar process like setting a goal, but the difference is that you don’t plan out the way how to get there. You just intend the outcome and surrender the process to the universe. It is like making a wish. One requirement that the intention has is that it comes from your heart. It has to be something you really want. It does not come from the reasonable you but from the alive you. It is not created out of fear but out of love. If you’re aware of the battle inside of you between the heart and the mind you know that many times what the heart wishes for the mind destroys with many reasons."
-Excerpt from Arina Nikitina @ goal-setting-guide.com
We are so excited about what we have planned for ourselves, our business and our farm. We plan on sharing the process with you all on here. Stay tuned!
Have you ever made a vision board? If so, how has it helped you?
Thursday morning is the time I have dedicated to my Herbal Academy and Anatomy & Physiology class because it is the only time all 4 of our kids are in school. So that means SILENCE! For only about 3 hours but I will take what I can get. So after studying the structure of our cells (so fascinating) and about what herbs to use to strengthen the respiratory system, I was ready to take a break, conquer my domestic duties and switch roles with my husband. There were (well, still is) dishes to do, food to cook, laundry to fold, you get the idea.
However, my husband knew that I was excited to use my new still that I received for my birthday about a week ago. So, he decided to push everything aside and fire up the still. I was a bit annoyed, (this is when my perfectionist side comes out) because I was not ready. I wanted to clean up my workspace, study my instructions and decide on the right herb to use. He was having none of that. After a little bit of complaining, I embraced that moment and went with it. I am so glad I did! When I let my perfectionism get in the way of achieving my goals, I don't get very far. For those of you who have kids, you know what I mean. In my perfect world, I would have more silence, a tidy workplace, and unlimited time. However, with four kids, this never happens! If I always waited for the "perfect" moment. I would not get anything done.
My husband harvested cedar foliage from the tree right outside our front door, and we were ready to go.
What is a hydrosol?
Hydrosols are also called flower waters or distillates. They are produced by distilling plant material. They have similar properties as essential oils but are less concentrated and very safe to use for many applications. They capture the aroma of the plant material as well as water soluble healing compounds. They can be used alone or added to lotions, hair care, soaps and more. I like hydrosols because they are so safe you can use them undiluted.
The Process and equipment
I purchased a 1.5 Liter Alembic still from here, and I think it is the perfect size for home distilling. It holds about 48oz of water and about 4oz of dried herb.
The process is so simple and so rewarding! The water and plant material in the pot heats up to a boil and creates steam, the steam (carrying the water soluble properties and essential oils with it) travels through the neck of the still and goes through copper tubing that is surrounded by ice water. The cold temperature condenses it back into water, and this drips out of your still and is the hydrosol.
First, I rinsed out my still to remove any impurities that may remain from the manufacturing process.
Second, I filled the pot half way with distilled water. I avoid using hard water because over time it will leave mineral deposits on the still, not good.
Third, I chopped up my cedar foliage to maximize surface area and added about a cup to the water.
Fourth, I added cold water and snow to the condenser. Another option is ice, but hey, it's winter in Minnesota!
Fifth, I set up a sterilized canning jar to catch the hydrosol.
Sixth, I turned the stove top on high and waited for the water to start to boil. When it is boiling, drips start to come out of the condenser. You don't want a stream, just drips. That's why you turn it down to medium heat. You know you are at the correct temperature when there is a steady flow of drips.
I had waited about an hour before I turned off the stove. The process is over when you have collected about half the amount of water you started with.
The end product
Wow! The aroma of the hydrosol is amazing! It is has a sharp pine scent, a bit floral, fresh, sweet, and it reminds me of a hike in the mountains on a hot and sunny day. If you look closely, you can see the essential oils floating on top. There isn't very much, but it is so fun to see that I captured essential oils! Next batch, I plan on separating the essential oils.
I bottled the hydrosol and now use it for everything. It is great as a room freshener, body spray, cleaner and more!
It is known for its antifungal and antibacterial properties.
Cedar is used topically for its benefits with rheumatism, arthritis, achy muscles, psoriasis, eczema, and fungal infections. It is also used to promote circulation.
PLEASE NOTE: Cedar can be a skin irritant in some people as it tends to constrict the pores of the skin.
Also may contain thujone, a known neurotoxin. This can cause a problem if you ingest a significant amount.
A few weeks ago we were hit hard with a severe storm. There wasn't any talk of a tornado hitting our town, but there was definitely tornado like damage. We watched from the upstairs windows for awhile and it was crazy outside! I had never seen anything like it before, except in the movies. All we could see was a wall of white because it was pouring so hard and the wind was blowing so hard. Even though the tornado sirens didn't go off we still thought it was best to head downstairs. Then we lost our power. Then it started to hail. After about 20 minutes of staying in the dark basement, it started to calm down. We went upstairs to check out the damage. Our neighbors had trees uprooted, one had a tree on their house, yards were flooded, roofs were damaged, electric lines were down, people had a foot or more of water in their basements and the end of our street was flooded. It was a crazy mess! We were lucky, we lost one small branch, our basement stayed dry and some how our big bouncy ball that started off in our front yard, only ended up in our back yard.
My hubby and daughter ventured outside to see the damage around the block. They came home with a wet and cold baby screech owl. He had fallen out of his nest and probably would have died if John didn't rescue him. ( fyi, my husband has a lot of experience with birds)
This screech owl was the cutest thing ever. We wanted to do whatever we could to help him return to good health and bring him back to his momma. Since he was wet and cold, our main concern was hypothermia. We filled a zip lock bag with warm water (since we didn't have power, the water heater was the only source of heat) and while holding the owl close to his chest, my hubby put the bag of water on the owl. This helped him warm up. Then he blew on him for a little bit to help him dry off and then put the warm bag of water back on him to keep him warm. We wanted to make sure we kept him warm and at the same time air dry him without cooling him off. We did this for about 3 hours. We then tried to feed him a bit of raw hamburger. It took him a couple of times before he finally ate some. We let him rest on the couch for the evening and at about 2 am he started making short jumping flights around. This was a great sign of improvement. The following morning we fed him some more hamburger. We spent the day with him then we decided it would be best to bring him back to where we found him. John and the girls walked over to the tree with the nest in it and along with 5 other neighbor kids, watch the baby owl as he climbed up the tree. Later that night, the neighbor saw the momma owl call out to the baby and they were reunited. Every time we walk past the tree we look for him but so far we have not seen that little guy again.