Nature’s Wisdom

When you realize you’ve made a wrong turn, you stop.  Maybe you turn around, maybe you ask for directions.  Maybe you find a detour, or forge a new path through the unmanaged brush.

Won’t you don’t do is continue on in the same direction mindlessly.

The Technocrats have made a wrong turn, over a century ago.  Some of them probably meant well, I’m sure.  Despite this obvious error, they are doubling down, like addicts at the roulette table after midnight.

Here’s a courageous woman taking the journey of a lifetime, following in the footsteps of Dr. Weston A. Price, many decades later.  What have the indigenous cultures to teach us about living healthy and in harmony with the natural world?  We have silenced their voices to our detriment and I cheer every effort to realign with their wisdom.

Yay Holistic Hilda, You GO GIRL!

Free Tea!

I had a bunch of ladies over from our community stitching group and offered them a taste of our homemade wine and foraged tea.  The wine was hit and miss, most of the ladies being teetotalers.  The tea though was a big hit.  Much to my surprise, while most of them were country-raised, none of them had ever heard of making tea from two of the most common sources imaginable: pine needles and yaupon.

Foraging health
The Amazing All-Purpose Pine Needle Tea – Dave’s Garden

A sure cure for scurvy; a remedy for cold, flu, obesity, dementia, bladder, and kidney issues; antidepressant; anti-hypertensive; anti-tumor; render chemotherapy less toxic to patients, and many more potential health improvements and nutritional benefits, can all be found in the Christmas tree you dispose of yearly!”

5 Incredible Benefits of Pine | Organic Facts

The most interesting health benefits of pine include its ability to boost the immune system, improve vision health, stimulate circulation, protect against pathogens, and improve respiratory health.”

The yaupon surprised them even more than the pine, because around here it’s so prolific they are treated like annoying weeds much of the time.  (Maybe that’s because they don’t realize how much the bees love them in their early spring bloom period.).

In some areas you’ll need to be sure not to confuse yaupon with Japanese privet, which is a popular landscaping shrub, but poisonous.

Benefits of Yaupon Tea

Yaupon tea is a tea made from the dried leaves of the yaupon holly tree, which is scientifically known as Ilex vomitoria. This type of holly tree is native to the southeastern region of North America and was once used as an emetic and a ceremonial tea for numerous Native American tribes. The tea is also closely related to yerba mate tea and has many of the same active ingredients and nutrients.

I also make tea with sassafras, mullein, rose hips, elderberries, sumac, and lots of other foraged goodies. Healthy and delicious, especially after you add the local honey, of course.

Foraging Texas has a great list with lots of common plants not just in Texas.

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Earning My Mid-Wife Badge

The Girl Scouts was as close as this suburban girl ever got to learning any kind of traditional skills growing up.  I quit it early on, considering ‘badge earning’ to be well beneath my expanding “cool kid” facade.

But if there’s a badge worth earning, midwifery would be up there with the loftiest of them.  I’m humbled and proud to say I got to experience it last night for the first time.

I bit of critical background:  I’m squeamish.  Considering we didn’t have children of our own and I didn’t have my own dog to take care of, let alone any pet previously to our dear Papi, at about age 42, it seems to me squeamishness pretty much comes with that territory. 

It’s because I was well aware of this personal limitation that I NEVER imagined we’d have so many animals.

Chickens, for us and many other clueless homesteaders, are the Gateway Livestock.  Then came ducks, turkeys, sheep, pigs, and more dogs.  But we both swear we’ll never get cows or horses.  (Ahem)

Considering my penchant for ‘Too Much Information’ I’ve now been acclimated to loads of poop, vomit, blood and morbid sounds of all sorts.  It also got me scared, very scared, about all that can go wrong with pets and livestock.  And how painful that is, and knowing this truth in advance is useless.  It does not help the pain by expecting it.  It does help though to be prepared.  So far I give us a C+ on that when it comes to the critters.

My TMI penchant leads also to so much online and in books about serious diseases and awful complications and the myriad very dirty deeds endemic in the farm life.  Talking to others more experienced will also always bring sad stories and sometimes tragic ones.

 Maybe I don’t quite deserve my badge just yet, but I’m fairly certain I saved our ewe and her young lamb last night by being at the right place at the right time and doing my usual C-level work.  🙂

When our ewes have lambed in the past I was not there to witness the actual event, only woke up to find the lambs delivered, sometimes successfully, sometimes not.  On one occasion I found one mutilated by our young puppy and I had to kill it.  I cannot speak about this moment still today a year later without tears.  It was the most confusing, stressful, tragic, sorrowful day of my life.  Like most in the so-called advanced economies, we grew up very sheltered from death and from the act of killing.  Hubby would’ve handled it far better had he been home.  I was alone and a basket case.

I was alone again this time when Buttercup gave an unusual and very loud bark audible from inside the house that clued me in that something was going down.  I went to the stalls and saw mama was in labor.  I was determined to watch it all and learn. 

I was hoping and intending to remain a bystander to nature’s miracle.

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Take a bow, Buttercup!

As it happened I could tell something was wrong right away.  Then I doubted myself.  Then I went back and forth a dozen times, yes, no, yes, no.

Then I concluded, no, something’s really wrong here, get help.  Help?  Like from who?  I called two friends with more experience and they didn’t answer.  I looked through our book on sheep, panicky by that time.  I call Hubby.  He calls his folks and searches online while I pace waiting for the bread in the oven to finish so I can go back to the stalls. 

I muse, even in this stressed state: “Oh, we’re both waiting on buns in the oven.”  Yes, that’s how I cope with stress, and most things really, goofy humor.

It doesn’t occur to me again that the fetus that the ewe cannot seem to push out is in fact dead until hours later.  Yet, I felt it, even considered it immediately, instinctually at the very first moment I saw it.  I just tried to over-ride that feeling with too much doubt and reasoning and wishful thinking.  

On the phone with Hubby we decide there’s really nothing I can do alone in the dark with no experience and no equipment and no nearby vet.  Then he calls back and has changed his mind.  He urges me to go back out, put on some rubber gloves, and see if I can help her.

And he was right!  As soon as I touched the fetus it was obviously dead and my foolishness at waiting hours to “realize” this washed over me.  I strained, along with mama to get it out, knowing if not she would surely die as well. 

At last it came free, followed by another smaller, but wonderfully alive little treasure!

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We did it!

I’m happy to report as of this writing about 16 hours later, mama and babe are doing well, eating and drinking and getting to know each other.

Yes, I was alone, but really, it was very much a team effort.  Thanks y’all!

 

What’s Growin’ On?

We just wanted to share a few updates from the wee homestead, on the winter garden and other news.

Dreary weather whiplash here, hard to say if our holidays will be white, green, gray or brown, but thankfully we still eat fresh, easily, every day.

 

Growin’ on now are: broccoli, lots of lettuces, carrots, cabbage, brussel sprouts, beets, kohlrabi, garlic, onions, kale,  our favorite herbs–dill, chervil, cilantro–loads of collards for us and the critters, planted thick as green manure and spring bee food, too, like hairy vetch.

It’s high maintenance, we cover and uncover the boxes as weather requires, and it’s slow growing with shorter days and an abundance of overcast days.

But, the limited harvest results are DELICIOUS!

Triumph for the season:

I was interviewed about natural living on Crow777, a site I’ve mentioned here many times as a cutting edge, paradigm shifting, life affirming podcast I highly recommend.

https://www.crrow777radio.com/137-leaving-hurricanes-and-citified-chaos-for-self-sufficient-natural-life-free/

They follow my nervous-nelly ramblings patiently and pleasantly and thankfully follow me up this week with a professional, a doctor saying exactly what I’m wanting and needing to hear!

https://www.crrow777radio.com/138-healing-medical-doctors-still-exist-dr-franco-lenna-talks-natural-medicine/

Blessings for the season:

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Thought for the season:

Manufactured outrage?!  They go berserk over a cute old song and meanwhile, Paradise is lost?!

 

https://www.breitbart.com/entertainment/2018/12/11/radio-station-ends-puritanical-ban-of-baby-its-cold-outside/

 

 

 

 

A Spoonful of Sugar

Some not-so-random quotes and links, interspersed with happy homestead snaps for better digestion.

 

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Cleaning up the acorns on the deck, so helpful!

“Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed on them.”
Frederick Douglass, former slave (1818-1895)

Six deceptions needed for Agenda 21/2030/Sustainable Development
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sGCkSRXo-jk

Despite a vast body of scientific knowledge, the issue of deliberate climatic manipulations for military use has never been explicitly part of the UN agenda on climate change. Neither the official delegations nor the environmental action groups participating in the Hague Conference on Climate Change (CO6) (November 2000) have raised the broad issue of “weather warfare” or “environmental modification techniques (ENMOD)” as relevant to an understanding of climate change.

The clash between official negotiators, environmentalists and American business lobbies has centered on Washington’s outright refusal to abide by commitments on carbon dioxide reduction targets under the 1997 Kyoto protocol.(1) The impacts of military technologies on the World’s climate are not an object of discussion or concern. Narrowly confined to greenhouse gases, the ongoing debate on climate change serves Washington’s strategic and defense objectives.https://archives.globalresearch.ca/articles/CHO201A.html

 

“an attempt to eradicate human violence” William Sweet  Minds of Men film 2:02

 

Solutions?  #1 self-directed learning
https://www.crrow777radio.com/131-the-higher-education-political-money-machine-free/

birdsofafeather

Life eats life. Deal in reality.

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It’s not always pretty and sweet, that’s why we have sugar. And salt.

And why roses have thorns.

 

 

More Foraged Favorites

Our dear Tori is a master forager.  She’ll steal unreservedly from the melon and berry patches to the fig and mulberry trees, to even the unripe cucumbers and squashes.

Equally in the forest she is clearly divinely inspired–the perfectly ripe passion fruit she’ll scout, the bones get unearthed as her possessions no matter who has buried them, and she leads me to all the best bramble patches.  The forest and our garden are her perpetual oysters–and while to see my melons walk away makes me want to cry, to her happy prance with edible treasure, well there is only to laugh!

And, apparently she’s not the only astute forager.

I love seeing how many foraging sites and blogs are currently flourishing.  They inspire me to add on and spread the wealth.

Indian Strawberry

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We have a big patch of these amiable volunteers just adjacent to the asparagus patch, natural companions, perhaps?  In Scandinavia I met gardeners who insisted on planting their strawberries and asparagus and dill in the same space. I  While these taste pretty bland compared to our cultivated varieties, they are still quite pretty, which is enough for me to spend the time to gather and prepare them.

I toss them in a salad with mulberries coming ripe at the same time. Or use them as a garnish with a spring weed pesto, along with the leaves, in moderation.  Here’s a variation using chickweed, but it’s fun to get creative with whatever is in abundance.

https://nittygrittylife.com/eat-weeds-wild-weed-pesto/

 

Honeysuckle

honeysuckle1

While it is an invasive species for us in the southern U.S., at least it’s a useful one!  While I’ve only made tea with it, some are patient enough to make jam.  Maybe this will be the year I give that a try.

It’s also prized in traditional Chinese medicine.
(From: Dr. Mercola https://articles.mercola.com/herbs-spices/honeysuckle.aspx)

In TCM, the honeysuckle flower is commonly used to help ease the flu, colds and sore throat. According to Science Alert,11 this plant has the ability to prevent the influenza virus from replicating. An animal study published in the journal Cell Research supports this, as it found that honeysuckle, when combined with a plant microRNA called MIR2911, was able to suppress swine flu and bird flu viruses effectively.12
Xiao Er Ke Chuan Ling Oral Liquid (KCL), an herbal preparation that uses honeysuckle and nine other plants, was found to help treat acute bronchitis in children. A study in the Chinese Journal of Integrated Traditional and Western Medicine said KCL has antiviral, antibacterial and potent pharmacological actions.13
Honeysuckle was also found to have wound-healing properties in rat models, according to the BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine journal.

Sassafras

A quite undermined tree of the South, considering its illustrious origins and conspiratorial fate.  It is a tree widely cultivated in Asia-Pacific as an essential ingredient to the popular drug, or versions of it anyway, generally called “ecstasy”.

At first, like cannabis, it was classified among the most harmful of substances by the FDA, though our ancestors had previously been very acquainted and attached to these and so many other suddenly ‘dangerous’ plants. Then while they were deemed “carcinogenic” by our government, simultaneously expanding was its cultivation in foreign countries.  This was actually before “Poppy Bush” but perhaps setting that very precedent for the former president?!

While I’ve no idea how to make the popular street drug, I can assure you it makes a deliciously fragrant tea, traditional root beer, and gumbo filé powder.

Mullein

mullein

One of the few things growing strong all winter in the South is one of the classic remedies of the typical seasonable winter ails–upper respiratory infections,  cough, sinus, and so on. Go figure, mother nature to the rescue.

Yaupon

yaupon

As a tea it rivals the Lipton or Lausanne you are paying good money for, it really does.  It does contain caffeine and was used among the native populations regularly and as an alternative to coffee in hard times among new settlers.  Drying it for a just a couple of days before roasting makes the process quicker, but roasting isn’t necessary if you like a more mild ‘green tea’ taste.  The beauty is, it’s prolific and harvestable all-year-round for humans, and for the bees they have a reliable early forage in spring.  Just don’t eat the berries!

Spring weed pesto and/or chimichurra sauce

Of course we love our traditional basil-based pesto with pine nuts, such a classic.  But, whatever’s available in our time/space, we use it!  Walnuts or pecans can replace the pricey pine version, or skip the nuts altogether.  I often leave out the parmesan too (my own homemade of course), and either add that last minute, if appropriate, or make more of a  chimichurri-style sauce, so yum!

We both love a combination of wild and cultivated plants and I let them blend altogether in the garden and in the sauce.  Chervil, parsley, cilantro, or maybe arugula generously and gorgeously partnered with wild violet, chickweed, wild rose petal, or whatever is out there! Once prepared it’s a delicious condiment for meats, a base for dressing and marinade, or a sauce, stand-alone or blended, an instant topping for eggs or toast.  It freezes really well too.

https://draxe.com/recipe/chimichurri-recipe/

Let your local, seasonal nature be your greatest guide. 🙂

A few favorite resources:

Idiot’s Guides Foraging by Mark Merriwether Vorderbruggen, PhD
http://www.foragingtexas.com

https://www.growforagecookferment.com/forage

https://sustainabledish.com

Nature’s Garden: A Guide to Identifying, Harvesting and Preparing Edible Wild Plants by Samuel Thayer

 

 

 

Signs of Spring!

This post contains farmish photos that may be offensive to some readers.  But it also contains some images that could inspire you, too!

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A new mama and our first lambs!
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Twins!
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The puppies have gotten so big we can hardly call them puppies anymore!

 

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Jumping jacks surrounded by loads of henbit.  Nature is telling me where to plant the tomatoes this year.  Henbit can be an annoyance to some who like well-manicured grass or doesn’t like weeding, but it’s also a sign of high nitrogen in the soil.  A great sign for your heavy feeders like tomatoes!

 

peartreebloom
The old-fashioned pear trees are the first to bloom here, by a long shot.  We’ll have some happy honey bees very soon, and if weather permits, another huge load of pears to make our delicious hard cider.

 

bigchop
Slaughter time is man’s work on this wee homestead, a blessing for which I regularly thank my luck stars.

 

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Bye, Big Chop, thank you!

 

bacon
There will be bacon! 🙂

 

seedtrays
I love seeing the seedlings emerge under the grow lights.

It’s a wonderful, miraculous world, truly, or at least our little corner of it is.