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Monday, October 4, 2010

Rose Hips 2010 Wild Crafting

We had a killing frost Saturday night. This time of year, is Rose Hip gathering time. This is one of my favorite wild crafting botanical. I found a wonderfully loaded bush down by the old bridge along our Cedarbrook and they were huge! I now have four more trays drying in the dehydrator.
Most of my tea blends include powdered rose hips. My "Daily Wellness Tea" would not be the same without them. High in Vitamin C they provide this much needed nutrient throughout the winter months. 

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


Our new horse Pixi. She has settled in nicely. She is 4 yrs. old and Quarterhorse Palomino Paint. A smaller horse and perfect for us ladies to ride.


Friday, July 30, 2010

Enjoying the gardens; Summer 2010 on the Homestead

Flowers are still blooming and also many of the herbs. I am almost done with making Flower Essences. Perfect timing as the garden is calling for harvesting. The garden is lush this year. I've kept up on the weeding fairly well and it shows.
Zuchinni up the WAHZOO...I'll beable to make lots of relish.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Do you know what the one flaw in women is?

Do you know what the one flaw in women is?: "You've got to watch this beautiful 3-minute movie:"

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Peak Season for Flower Essences

The flower season is at it's peak and I'm brewing Essences today. What joy to be working with the plant spirits. Because I grow many herbs and wildcraft on and around my homestead I have many varieties available for picking. Today I started eight flowers. Bee Balm, Oregano, St. John's Wort, Borage, Lady's Mantle, Elderberry, Thyme and Dill. I am especially excited about my Thyme blossoms as it's been a few years since the plants have done well here on the homestead.
This week I will be explaining the properties of each of my Essences. I will be offering Flower Essence for sale in a couple weeks.
On a personal note; I will be using a couple of these myself  to move me forward on my spiritual and emotional wellness.

I'm also sharing my other flower beds pictures, including my "Wave Petunias". They are waving and oh so pretty.

Sweet Summer Flower Blessings to you all!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Summer Solstice Meanderings

The weather gave us a break from rain last weekend and most of the weeding is done. On Saturday my hubby and oldest son went to a family reunion up in Deer River, and my youngest son Remington tilled while I weeded between the plants. More mulching is needed though and we are trying to get that done in between the thunderstorms this week. Monday's downpour put a "damper" on the progress.
Plants are just not growing like they should and most are behind. With this humidity and warmer temps, things should pick up.
I've been busy wild crafting wild rose petals and pineapple weed. Rose Petals are being made into extract for a healing elixir and the pineapple weed is drying for future sleepy time/calming tea blends. I really need to get out and pick Yarrow for extract that is a main ingredient in my bugs away/pest deterrent spray.
Here is the recipe for the Wild Rose Petal Elixir. I ran across this recipe while on the internet looking for the healing properties of the Rose. Not to my surprise, it has many healing properties. This elixir is easy to make and something you won't want to be without, just as I have found.
Take 1 pint canning jar and fill the jar with rose petals. Add raw honey or vegetable glycerine, then fill with vodka or everclear. I like to pack down layers of petals, drizzle glycerine over the petals and than add the alcohol until the jar is filled. Cover and set in a cool dark place for 4-6 weeks (if you can wait that long) and when it's ready, strain and bottle. Externally, Rose Petal Elixir is amazing on burns or wounds. It is an excellent sun burn soother. For this application I like to keep the elixir in a mist/spray bottle. The honey or glycerine holds the elixir in place and adds to the soothing effect. The rose is blood moving, which contributes to pain relief and quicker healing. Anit-inflammatory, anti-bacterial as well astringent, Rose Petal Elixir reduces redness, swelling and possible infection. It is gentle and non-irritating, safe enough to use on baby skin or as a sitz bath but effective enough for most any first aid needed. A drop or two will calm itchy or stinging insect bites, rashes from heat, contact dermatitis, blisters, poison ivy. As a liniment it is effective for relaxing sore muscles, and has a special talent for sharp, shooting sensations related to nerve pain or slipped discs. Internally, use a small amount of elixir for trauma, panic, fear or stressful situations for children, adults or animals. It is calming, and blood moving, helping to move someone out of a paralyzing shock or stuck emotion. It acts as a mild nervine, calming and sedating. It excels at opening the heart and restoring emotional equilibrium. It is anti-spasmodic and can be used externally or internally for mild to moderate cramps.

Summer Solstice on Monday, brought the first hay cutting of the year. We are behind now as the rain just doesn't want to quit. My sons have been getting the machinery ready for raking towards the end of the week..."crossing my fingers'...

Summer Solstice Blessings!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

What really matters? What's really important? What's is all for?

Here is the message I received today from; "Notes From The Universe"

What really matters? What's really important? Why bother? Who cares? What's it all for?
You, it's all about you. What you like and dislike. What you want and don't want. What makes you smile and laugh. What makes you learn and grow.
Selfish? How else could you shine your light? How else could you possibly hope to lift the world? How else could you be all that we dreamed you might be?

Selfish of me -
The Universe


So, here are a few thoughts I have about what really matters and what it is that makes me happy.

Watching my sons becoming the awesome young men they are...truly authentic and individuals. I am happy that I was able to homeschool them and have them be such a huge part of my life. My sons make me smile and laugh.

Living and enjoying a self-sustainable life style on our homestead. Living a lifestyle that I dreamed of living while growing up. This is a dream come true for me. 

Caring for and enjoying all our the different animals...goats, dogs, horses, cattle, chickens, ducks, turkeys, rabbits...I could not survive without my animal friends and having the connection I do with each one. They make me smile and laugh.

Feeling the dirt in my hands as I plant the garden and tending it as it grows. Raising our own food and knowing what we are eating to sustain healthy bodies.

I like that I can make healthy herbal and personal care products for my family and friends. And that I am continuing the path of learning, growing and living the "Wise Womyn" ways.

Expressing myself through my art/crafts and creating. The possibilities are endless when it comes to creation...this is the most rewarding way for me to learn and grow. I want to finish my labyrinth this year. I want to make a new herbal garden in the design of a star. I want to build a arbor out of diamond willow...

What's really important to me is my family and true friends. I can only think that it's them who really care. They are there through thick and thin as the saying goes. 

This is a transitional time in my life of being a "crone". My sons are defining and deciding who and what they are all about. I think that's what it is all about...helping them and preparing them for this time in their lives...and of this time in my life! 

It's all about leaving a legacy for my sons to hand down to the next generation.

It's about fond memories of special times with friends and family. I don't like the fact that I could be creating more fond memories of special times...I don't like that I am so busy all the time and don't spend more time with those friends that I would like to. 

I like that it is a time to begin nurturing myself and enjoying what it is that makes me happy...this time is upon me now that my sons are grown and capable of doing so much for themselves and don't need me as much. I don't like that my sons don't need me as much...LOL!




Kidding Around

We are done with birthing the kids and what a relief. Flossy had her two buck kids on Monday morning the 17th. Number One Son is white with a little black for points around the eyes, nose and knees. Number Two Son with coloring like his Dad Lester, didn't make it into the world alive.
Today we introduced the new little buck to Snowball's kids. Her three were born on Earth Day, and are juvenile delinquents with running and climbing all over the yard. The first two pics are the newest arrival. We were going to call him Dipstick, thinking he had black on the end of his tail. But it was still just wet from being born. So we'll have to come up with a better name.

 The third picture is of the two bucks from Snowball. "Ghini" is colored like his Dad Lester an Alpine coloring and "Dude" is light brown with white ears that speckled brown with tiny spots. Both are beautiful little Bucks. They have been debudded and will be banned this week to become Weathers (castrated bucks). We already have homes for them and will be pets on a farm.
The fourth picture is "Ghini" meeting the newest addition. Total acceptance.
And the last is Chatty on top of my oldest son Winchester. She is very indulged and I think we have created a monster. We will be keeping her and adding her to our milking herd.
Goats make me happy!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Dandelion Wine Making

This is my first year making dandelion wine. I'm excited to add another to my list of brewing accomplishments. 
Yesterday, me, my son Remington and 5 of our dogs went and picked the flowers down by our maple grove for about 45 minutes. It was so windy and cold...a very blustery day! The dogs always enjoy themselves and snoop, running and chasing each other. Brewsky (Boo Boo) the black lab and Scooter (Pickle Weasel) especially!
Beware...your hands will become stained with brownish yellow "stuff" from picking the flowers!
This is what I discovered; I waited until early evening to remove the green base of the flower from the yellow petals and by that time, all of the flowers were wilting...alot. So now I know that they must be processed SOON after picking. Your hand and fingernails will continue to stain.
The recipe calls for 2 litres of dandelions needed for 1 gallon of wine. The yellow flowers measured 1 1/2 litres after de-greening.
Here is the link to the recipe I am using: "Brew-magic, UK"
I have two batches started. I used 1/2 gallon of distilled water per batch of dandelion flowers. This was just enough to cover the flowers for steeping.
 Two days the flowers steep and then it will be ready to get it brewing.
I will continue with the procedure and relay any information that may help anyone for their first time in brewing Dandelion Wine!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Mosquito Season Coming Soon!

Two of my seasonal products I make are "Insect Away" Lotion and "Insect Away" Spray; Herbal & Essential Oil Pest Discouragers! I use the spray on my horse "Greyboy" as he has sensitive Arabian skin and it works wonderfully! I make up a huge spray bottle especially for him.
I'm going to be giving Herbal Workshops this spring and summer and making your own bug spray is going to be one of those scheduled. Probably in June. So keep posted and I'll have the workshop schedule up soon here and on my website.
But for now I'm going to share a couple of my main ingredients that make my bug spray so very effective as well as natural and safe! These two ingredients are; Infused Catnip in Olive Oil and Yarrow Tincture. Both of these are easy to prepare and incorporate into your own homemade bug spray.
So today I'm going to give directions on how to make your catnip infused oil.
When your catnip is up and flourishing, gather with scissors (leave enough behind so your catnip can continue growing). Chop up your catnip with scissors. Put it in your crock pot, pour cold-press virgin olive oil (I use organic) over the catnip until it is just covered. DO NOT put the cover on, and turn on low. Now my crock pot is not a hot crock pot and I am able to leave mine on for a couple hours. You do not want your catnip and oil to get too hot so don't let it simmer. If you have to turn your crock pot on and off a couple times so that you get a couple hours of infusion with a low heat then do so. Strain with a colander. Put into a glass bottle and let sit overnight on the counter. In the morning you will see a sediment film on the bottom. Strain off again and throw the sediment away. Keep in the fridge until ready for use.
I have an affinity with catnip. I love the smell, I adore the fuzzy like leaves and wouldn't think of being without catnip in my herb garden.
Next I'll post on how to make Yarrow Tincture.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

In Full Swing

A working ranch's chores are endless; the seasons phase ends and another one begins.
Sapping is done. Maple Syrup abundant with about 54 gallons made this year. All that's left is the cleaning of the buckets, taps and hose and then stored away till next year.
Calving is almost over. We had another born today. Old #3895 (1995 born cow) had a heifer. We have two cows left but they will be late...with "Oops" babies. A young bull got out before he was sold last July. These two cows would of been open with out calves...perhaps "Oops" babies...better late than never...calves to sell in the fall.
Butcher Chicks will be ready for pickup this coming Thursday. We'll be getting ready for those and getting the brooder out. No coop this year. I'm trying to cut down a bit so I have a little more time to breath! 20 years...I think it's time don't you?
Baby rabbits born...with 10 live and doing well to one doe. We had two does loose their young and one doe didn't settle. We'll breed again in a week.
Horse Friday began and friend Francine and her girls have come to ride. They have bought a rescue horse "Molly" who has come here to live. The Picture is of Francine riding my Greyboy and one of Francine's girls friend riding Molly.
Yard work and garden preparation are next on the agenda. So much to clean up...we have six dogs, so you can imagine cleaning up you know what...can't you?
Pasture fencing repair will be a job for my guys to get done during the week while Dad is at work. A couple pastures need to be worked up and planted this year. Those fences need to be taken down.
Well the list goes on and on. I'd better start the chore list and we'll just plug along and try to prioritize the best we can.
So one of the first fun things I want to accomplish this year. Learn to rope from my horse Greyboy. I know I can practice on Moan. We've been messin around with ropes with him since he was a weanling. So I'll start practicing on him. But I'm going to teach Greyboy to tolerate the ropin thing...wish me luck...two old dogs (me and Greyboy), learn new tricks...ummmm...Ok we'll give it a try.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

You Know Spring Is Here When.....

It's Maple Sapping Time! The guys starting tapping maples yesterday. Remington had tapped our big maple in the front yard on Wednesday which is always our indicator for when the sap is running. Last year we started on March 10th, so yup we are right on schedule. I'll head down sometime today and take pics of the area we sap. We have a lovely grove of Maples on the South end of our property.

Calving is moving along slowly. We have only 17 born...not even half way! Last weekend with the Full Moon did NOT bring about the births we had hoped was to happen. frustrating this waiting and waiting.

Painting in my workshop area is coming along nicely. I have most of the floor painted. Yes! The walkway still needs to be painted but I'll do that when I get the walls done and everything put back and organized. The walls are a lovely butter yellow.

My mom came over again and helped move stuff...again. This is all the supplies we had put in the back room before I had really thought things out. The painting project put a new "light" on re-organizing as well...I'm not promising anything, but I think this is the best layout for production I've come up with yet.

All my soaping/product making supplies are in place. Almost everything is where it should be, but just a little more organizing needs to be done. I'll move my working tables in the middle today. The space below the stairs is perfect for all my bulk containers. They are such a pain! My Mom helped with putting them in labeled garbage bags so they stay clean and ready for use.

Ok off to get ready for the day. Everyone have a wonderful day.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

A Busy Saturday

The weekend weather is mild, sunny and perfect for calving. We had another calf born today. A heifer. With the full moon tomorrow, we are hoping for a few more. I was busy today making soap. A friend gave me some pork lard and I rendered that, while I made a batch with beef tallow. I decided to add Birch Tar Essential Oil to this batch along with some Citral Essential Oil to tame down the smokey smell of the Birch. Here are pics. Tomorrow I hope to get another batch made with the beef tallow and the pork lard combination.

Finished batch in small mold with dividers.

Oils are about half melted.

Lye solution cooling in the sink.

Tallow, Coconut Oil, Olive Oil on the stove and ready for melting.

I also got the floor painted in the back half of the workshop room. What a lovely color. This pic makes the color look more plum than it is. It's actually a more purple color. A dusty purple. I plan on hanging a burlap on the walls in a very bright yellow. Won't this look fabulous?! Yes! Perhaps tomorrow I can get the other side of the floor painted. It will be nice to get my shop in working order again.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Memory Lane

Here is a picture of me and my boys in 2000. Winchester (on the left of me) was born in 1990 and Remington (on the right of me)in 1991. Are not the boys just too cute? I miss those days of little boy hugs, smiling faces with missing teeth...I have so many special memories to remember for when I'm sitting in my rocking chair in my old age.
But alas they are all grown up as young men of 18 and 19 years old. Both are Eagle Scouts, seasoned ranch hands, avid hunters and all around nice guys.
I'm working on a web page for each of them and have Remington's loaded with his photography. Visit our ranch website and click on the "The Gun Brothers" link.
See ya later!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A Sunny Day

Spirits are sunnier with the warm, sunny days we've had this week. It was still very chilly yesterday with that wind but today is calmer and ohhh so nice. Of course no calves were born far. Now what are they waiting for?
Here is a pic of Sylvester and Squirt. They decided to snuggle with me last Saturday when I was laying down for a quick nap. I had what I thought was a migraine. But now I believe it was sinus. My teeth hurt! They are as all cats, delightful and into everything! Sylvester has the most white on his face and is a chirper. Squirt just meows all the time and sounds like he's whinning.
I've got everything ready to make laundry soap tonight. All the oils are set out and lye is ready for mixing. I've got just a little left of my lavender blended up.
It was a productive day for me in the shop. I got all my Kombucha strained and put in the fridge ready to drink. I've got 8 gallons, so that should last a bit. I do have SCOBY's to share if anyone needs one. Here is a good Kombucha link that Jess shared on her FB. Jess is another Kombucha fan and is the Assistant Mgr at the Crow Wing Coop.
I'm heading out to do afternoon chores so we'll check in with ya later.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Comfort Doll Project: OK, Here we GO!!!

Comfort Doll Project: OK, Here we GO!!!

Calving Time on Cedarbrook Steading

Our days and nights are filled with chores and caring for the animals. We have 5 calves born so far...and about 38 to go. The weather has turned cold and blustery, so three calves and their moms are still in the barn. We hope the weather turns and we can put them out to the cow yard to get the precious sunshine they need for health and vitality.
We have our routine pretty well established and all is running smoothly. Winchester, my oldest deals with the night shift well. He checks on cows at 11:30 pm.-1:30-3:30 am and then Jeff checks around 5:30 am before getting ready for work. Remington and myself take the morning shifts after Jeff goes to work and we check cows at 7:30-9:30-11:30 am. Me and Rem do the morning chores as well as Winchester sleeps in till about noon.
We have a few hours before afternoon chores to get a few other things done around the house. By the end of the 6 weeks of calving season we are pretty tired of the day in and day out routine!
We don't venture far from home for more than an hour. In this weather, we can loose a calf very easily if the mom chooses to have it in a snow bank. So, I've been asked why do we choose to calve out this time of year with the cold and snow? Because we live on Cedarbrook. Chances are high that we can experience flooding. This usually happens right after the first of April. We want to be done with calving, in case we have to move the herd to higher ground, down on the County Line pasture. We do not have the facilities there to be calving. No buildings, no corrals, just a pasture.
Pictured is our second calf, laying along the shed wall. He looks pretty content in the sun and taking a snooze.
I'm going to look for some pics of the last spring when we last flooded. I don't even remember how many springs ago it was. It's hard to imagine that it looks like we live on an island. That's the only way, I can describe it. Living on Cedarbrook is full of wonders, but when it chooses to accept the water from the Mississippi and it spills onto our land, we have learned to endure what nature hands us.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Feral Cats Oh MY!

I want to talk a bit about the feral cat population on our homestead.
FYI...Unchecked populations of wild cats are alarming and the results are devastating. I feel that that shooting and killing of these cats a sad alternative to more humane population control. If 70% of the cat population is spayed or neutered it makes a tremendous impact on population control. Did you know that a dominant neutered male cat will protect his territory and keep un-neutered males from moving in and mating with un-spayed females? But the key to this is "dominant" factor. For quite a few years we have neutered our tame male cats and our populations have lessened noticeably on our farm.
This winter we lost our "Puss Cat" and "Pal", the two most dominant tame male cats to old age and illness. Both worked diligently to keep as many wild Tom Cats off the property. We still have "Mittens" and "Target" both fixed males but they We need another dominant neutered male badly!
This morning as I cleaned the outdoor cat boxes and fed them, it became apparent that our population of wild cats has increased. Another black wild Tom Cat has moved in. We now have three that I know of.
I'm going to repost my pages on the Rustic Rooster Art Project of the "Neuter Commuter" that came here in 2005. I need to find a similar solution to our increasingly feral cat population problem here on the farm and in the area.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Friday Update

The woodshed is filled again. Win and Rem went out with Uncle Keith and Manley yesterday and brought a couple loads home. Today they split and we all stacked. I'm a bit sore but it's good for me. At my age I need to keep as active as I can.
Our chores have been getting done easily with this January thaw. We hope this nice warmer weather continues on into calving season. I've posted some pics I took of a very frosty morning. It was beautiful out. It actually stayed frosted all day which is rare. I wonder if that is called "all day frost"...just being silly here.
Our first calf is due February 7th!
This weekend we will bring the cows up into the cow yard and get them on a schedule again of us walking through and checking on them every two hours. The first week, all calves are due from AI'ing...Artificial Inseminating...from up to 9 different bull semen that we used. We are excited as this will bring in some new genetics.
Our first kid is due in May. We pulled the Billy Goat "Lester" the beginning of this month. The girls, Flossy and Snowball, are happier without him. He can be a little rough and a bully.
We have 15 Moscovy Hen Ducks for breeding and to hatch out this coming summer. That is exciting. We kept 4 males and butchered the rest. I really like Moscovy meat. We learned a lot about hatched out Moscovy ducklings last summer. We now know that when the hens come out with their new little ones, we let her show them how to eat and drink for about an hour or two and then put them (little ones only) in a brooder. We had a huge fatality rate last year, as we didn't realize how fragile they were.
When you have a chance go visit the Rustic Dandelion blogger. I've been busy organizing the shop and have the office all done as well as the storage room.

Have a good evening!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Sunday Musings

We are finally getting a break in the weather and it's warming up. I can walk from the house to my shop without being bundled up! I took the dogs for a walk this morning and they all were happy to get out and run and play.
I have been working on the Rustic Dandelion website and have gotten to where it can be viewed. I still have a few members profiles to get done but those will be done by tonight!
Well my shop is tore up and I've got to get things reorganized. I had frozen pipes last week, so the wall had to be taken down (easily done as we've had this problem before) and heat tape installed to get us through the winter. The outside faucet is working again as well!
So with that said, I'm moving the office to that back room and organzing supplies.
Alright off I go...have a nice rest of the afternoon!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Building A Labyrinth

I updated my page on Labyrinths at my Rustic Rooster website.

We have been building a labyrinth beside my gardens here on the homestead.

It will be finished this spring!
I hope you come and join us for labyrinth walks this 2010!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

A New Idea for Bath Salts!

Every year at this time, I make bath salts. I have packaged them differently such as in; bath salt tubes (round and square), cello bags, canning jars...and all worked Ok but I wanted to come up with something different this time. So, I was looking at my bath teas and thought, why can't I package the salts the same way. A one-time-use that is convenient and simple! I've got three batches made so far (Lavender, Lavender/Tea Tree, Peppermint/Grapefruit) and will probably make a total of 5 different kinds of Essential Oil Blends.