Saturday, April 25, 2009


I have read with great interest about the Swine Flu (H1N1) now hitting Mexico, NYC, Latin America and the Southwest US.
I am in one of the states affected. Texas.

I have already started Emergency Procedures here at the house:
I bought several vials of Lavender Oil at the local health food store, also a large bag of lavender flowers to make my own lavender oil. The blossoms are currently in a jar (old pickle jar, scaled out and clean) covered with almond oil, tightly capped and inverted out in the sunshine on the picnic table. I will do this for a week so all the essence of the lavender flowers gets into the oil. (Almond oil is an excellent carrier oil) I will keep that oil in reserve as I make it extremely strong.

The purchased lavender oil I use in a disinfecting spray. All bed linens, furniture, even the air is sprayed daily. Frequently, I walk through the house spraying the air. I spray down the bathroom, the door knobs, any surface that is frequently touched or handled.
Am I being paranoid?
Maybe a touch...but even the CDC has stated that this version of the Swine Flu could be the *pandemic* variety they have been dreading.
I also have broken out the face masks and latex gloves from my first aid kit...just in case.
I have 3 gallons of bleach, and Lysol as cleansing agents. All floors will be mopped with bleach in hot water (1 cup bleach to 3 gallons water). Before bed, all bathrooms will be wiped down with Lysol.

I urge anyone that reads this to get sickroom type supplies, plus cleansing/disinfecting agents.

My disinfecting Spray Recipe:
One cup rubbing alcohol
One cup water (I use distilled)
1 to 2 ounces Lavender Oil

I do hope that this is NOT the pandemic that the CDC and the World Health Org. is dreading, but I am being careful.

Put all in misting type bottle (I use an old Febreeze bottle)
Shake well before using.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

If I only had more thyme...

Definition of Herbalism

Herbalism: The practice of making or prescribing herbal remedies for medical conditions. Practitioners of herbalism may be licensed MDs, naturopaths, or osteopaths. They may also be unlicensed. Interested consumers should seek out knowledgeable, and preferably licensed, herbalists. ( )

Main Entry:
herbal medicine
1 : the art or practice of using herbs and herbal preparations to maintain health and to prevent, alleviate, or cure disease 2 : a plant or plant part or an extract or mixture of these used in herbal medicine. ( )
I put the definitions as the first part of this entry so there would be no mistakes in understanding what we are talking about here.
Some folks associate herbalism and herbal medicine with old crones with crooked noses and peaked hats stirring love potions up in cauldron for love lorn maidens.
Some pair the thought of herbal medicine with an image of an African witchdoctor or Amazon tribe shaman.
While most tribal communities use herbs in the prevention, care, treatment and cure of many medical ills, we should not distance ourselves from such a wonderful resource!

Here's one that is familiar to most of us:
Now, most have heard that garlic can lower blood pressure or prevent or lessen colds.
Did you know garlic is also an effective anti-fungal?
Garlic, smashed up fine and creamed into a simple ointment can be used to treat athletes foot and ringworm.
It has many more uses, but that is just one example.

Everyone should try and get knowledge of the herbs that grow in their local area.
I am a firm believer in everything having a purpose and those *weeds* in your yard have purpose, too!

Those dandelions that are so hard to eradicate? Natural diuretic. Cleanses the system (especially the liver) of toxins. And, quite tasty in a salad.

Most of what you call *herbs* used to be known as *weeds*. Then one day, someone decided to taste one, or someone having an illness tried one out of all followed from there.

Some herbs grow close to where they are needed most. Ever get tangled up in stinging nettles? Those will leave some nasty painful welts! But, if you look around a nettle plant, you will usually find some plantain growing. Crush the leaves and apply the plant juices to where the nettle got you and all is better. (That's a plantain pic at the start of this particular blog)
One lady I know that is very well versed in all things herbal firmly believe that herbs grow where they are most needed. Whenever she spots a new herb growing in her households vicinity, she does a quick *health check* on everyone there. She says that 99 times out of 100, before the plant reaches maturity, someone in her household comes down with something that can be effectively treated with that particular herb.

Kings in France and England used to order convents and monasteries to have herb gardens with certain herbs planted "for the general well-being" of the King and the populace.

If you have a homestead or even just a yard, a herb garden is one of the first things you should plant. Your "green medicine chest" can prove itself invaluable in times of illness...and usually without the nasty side effects that come with doctor prescribed medications.
My next blog will be about the basics of what to plant in your herb garden...
Til then, look around on your next walk and see what grows near your house. If you can't identify it, search the internet for it. See how many uses it cooking, medicine, aromatherapy, etc..

Monday, April 13, 2009


I had all my lovely little baby seedlings in my various garden patches about the yard. Most seemed to have gotten a good start and I dreamed of veggie and fruit goodness coming my way.
The last couple of weeks we have had rain on and off. Too much rain for some seedlings that weren't in the best drained locations.
Then yesterday morning we had one of those torrential downpours you dread. The rain came down so hard it stung painfully when I was running from the car to the house.
It lasted less than an hour, but the damage was done.
Many of my seedlings were beaten and destroyed by the intensity of the rain. Leaves stripped off of tender stems or the whole seedling just chewed up completely by the pounding rain.
Fortunately, I did not plant all my seeds. So, I have plenty to reseed with.
I went out this morning and surveyed the damage.
My tomatoes and cabbage and peppers...almost total loss. I may be able to salvage a few plants, but they may not produce well after such trauma.

So...gotta *re-boot* the garden.
Stuff like this happens, due to the vagaries of weather and a gardener has to be ready to bounce back and regroup.
You learn from lessons...and I have learned from this lesson to figure out a way to protect my young seedlings and sprouting plants from when the weather turns vicious.
Tomorrow I am building boxes, about 4 x 8 feet in the yard, filling them with dirt and replanting my seeds.
If a torrential rain hits, I can quickly cover them with a tarp or other protection. They will drain better, too. I will be able to better control the environment , fertilize, weed, pick wee bugs off, keep my fruits and veggies protected from rabbits and the like.
Also, if we suffer drought this summer, watering will be easier and more efficient.

You will have set backs in any endeavor. The key is to learn from the setback and then move forward.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Organization Impaired?

Me, too!
My pantry looks great. I obsess over keeping it organized.
My personal room...Ugh.
I don't know why, but my personal space always seem to be last on my *to do* list.
So, my April *to do* list has my room at the top.
Some of my food storage (long term) is in my room. Right now it is under my bed and taking up most of the space in my book case.
My books are scattered here and there. Bookcase, night stand, another small bookcase.
My sewing corner is a disaster. Seriously, that area needs a major overhaul!
I am finding that my lack of organization is impeding my completing projects, like sewing projects, art projects and the like. It sucks.
So...this month, as I get it organized, I will post any *good things* that helped me and might help others.
My issues are
1) Food storage. My long term supplies include 16 cases of MREs, 16 cases of #10 cans that won't fit in my pantry and the excess water supplies. (2 liter bottles)
2) Sewing area. I end up piling fabric in boxes, baskets and even bags. My tools (scissors, etc) are on the small table my sewing machine is on and my notions (thread, etc) are in a small plastic dresser I picked up at the dollar store.
3) My personal hygiene stuff (shampoo, make up, etc) is, again, on shelves in my crowded bookcase.

I live in a 15 x 15 room. So, I have to get this placed organized and stream-lined for the most efficient use of the space.
I am down-sizing my bed, from a king-sized to a full-sized. That will give me much more floor space, but will limit my under bed storage area. I am building a closet. I have no closet! So my clothes are on display hanging from a *make do* open closet I created in here. I plan on building shelves in the bottom of my closet for my shoes.
We'll see how it goes!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Here to serve....

Have you ever looked on the back of a can and read the Serving Size details?
Go grab a few cans of commercially can foods from your pantry. I'll wait.
Now, look at the back of that can.
I have a can of green beans here.
It says on the back "4 Servings per can, Serving Size 1/4 cup.
I opened my can (don't worry, they won't go to waste)
I divided it into 4 servings.
17 green beans per serving is what it worked out to.
Now, I raised mainly boys. If I had put 17 green beans on one of my kids plates (especially when they were teenagers), they would have accused me of trying to starve them!
A can of collard greens looks a bit better.
"Serving size 3/4 cup"

Still...doesn't look like much when on a plate.
There's a reason that QUART jars became the standard for canning. There was enough in a quart jar to feed a family.
If it is just you, maybe those itty-bitty commercially canned foods will be fine. They will even work for a couple.
But for an actual-to-goodness family, you need to open two cans or use self canned foods in quart jars.
Back to serving sizes...
Who designates HOW MUCH is a serving size?
I guess, in the US, the Dept. of Agriculture or the Food and Drug Administration.
According to all the mandates, recommendations, etc. that are handed down, you need 4 to 5 "servings" of fruit and vegetables a day.
Sounds like a massive amount UNTIL you look at what is considered a "serving".
4 strawberries or a half a banana is considered a "serving".
1/2 cup of milk. 1 slice of bread. 2 or 3 ounces of meat. 1 carrot. 1 tablespoon mayo. 1/2 cup green beans. 1 slice of that pre-processed cheese *food*. 1/2 an apple.
To me, a serving size is much different. I don't know about you, but I generally finish a whole apple. My sandwiches include TWO slices of bread.
What I am saying here is that *official* recommendations are NOT "one size fits all".
If you are dieting you may want/need less. If you are undergoing physical or medical stresses, you may need/want more of a specific food.
Or you just may want to sit down and scarf down a WHOLE banana!

Friday, April 3, 2009

The map you see posted here is from Environmental Commons (
It shows which states are friendly to such things as family farms, farmers markets, etc and which states have onerous fees and regulations encouraged by Monsanto and other huge agri-business concerns.
If you are in a white, green or yellow state, watch the legislation in your state government to make sure that Monsanto and their evil minions are not attacking your rights to grow your own food.
If you live in a red state...fight back! Notify your representatives that the laws that benefit huge agri-business at the expense of smaller family run farms need to be repealed!
Do everyone a favor: DO NOT USE MONSANTO PRODUCTS. Don't buy their seeds, pesticides, herbicides or fertilizers. Do not buy soybeans, grow them yourselves. Do not buy corn at grocery stores, grow it yourselves. Or buy *shares* in a local small farm or buy from a trusted farmers market or *pick your own* farm. ASK what pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers they use.
Buy your seeds from heirloom seed savers, not large companies. Local is best! Join seed trading clubs, locally or online.
Same for your livestock. Stay away from huge companies and the bigger farms and ranches when you buy livestock. Most of the larger concerns use growth hormones and other artificial means to fatten up livestock. Try and buy *heirloom* livestock as well.
Buy local as often as you can!
For more on here:

and here:

and here:

Good video here:

Campaign against NAIS, campaign against Monsanto. If you have not seen the documentary "The World According to Monsanto" WATCH IT!