Sunday, October 14, 2018

Thank You!

We are sitting on a rooftop deck overlooking historic Charleston & I see I've  passed 100,000. Thank you!



Thursday, October 11, 2018

Finally Out Of The Tropical Storm

We Are finally starting to see blue skies. It has been a very wet day in Winston Salem, but on the way back to Charlotte the sun came out. It's the first time we've  seen the sun since we started our trip. Now back to Charleston for the real vacation.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

No Hurricane Is Going To Stop Thelma & Louise

 We fly out tonight!  We are not going to let bad weather effect our trip. It'll just be part of the adventure..... & it's going to be a heck of an journey.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Another Snake In The House

  Yesterday I was on the mower & saw Gardenchick waving her arms from across the yard, as we have taught her to do to get our attention. She was yelling that there was another snake in the house. This one had been right under her feet curled up in a room in the basement. Poor child was frantic.
  Yes, sure enough it was a snake, a  baby Prairie Kingsnake in Jim's office right by his desk. You have to really look at these close because they look so much like copperheads. Regardless, it's a snake, it's in my house, it must go.
   When Jim got home he was trying to find out how this one got in & he figured out that it had to be in some of the gardening or pool stuff I have been moving in for the winter. So, moral of the story, check things before you bring them in. Two snakes in one summer is more than enough for me.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Labor Day At The Creek

   Yesterday we took a much needed ride to our favorite creek. Gardenchick played in the water, we searched for rocks & relaxed. There has been alot going on here lately. We are in the process of getting my VERY reluctant MIL into assisted living & it has been very stressful. Hopefully as soon as the move is over things will get back to somewhat normal & I will be posting on here more as it gets into fall, my favorite time of year. There just might be two bucket list wish's granted in the very near future & that will give me alot to write about. Until then we will try to get MIL packed, moved & settled.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Bacon Jam

 Yields: 1 cup
1 lb. bacon, cut into 1” pieces
1 onion, finely chopped

4 shallots, mined
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ c brown sugar
¼ c maple syrup
1/3 c apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. chili powder
1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, cook bacon until crispy. Transfer bacon to paper towel to drain, reserving about a tablespoon of bacon fat from the pan.
2. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add onion and shallots to the pan and cook, stirring often, until onions are caramelized, about 15 minutes.
3. Stir in garlic, brown sugar, maple syrup, vinegar, chili powder and cooked bacon. Bring mixture to a simmer; then reduce heat to low. Cook until the liquid has reduced and thickened and the onions are jammy, 7 to 10 minutes.
4. Let cool before transferring to jar. Serve with cheese and crackers, or on a burger.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

15 Uses For Honey (REAL HONEY, NOT THE FAKE STUFF)

Honey is a wonderful tool for healing the body, both inside and out. It is moisturizing, exfoliating, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory: all boons for our skin. Plus it soothes throats, relieves upset tummies and even fights off hangovers. But keep in mind that not all honey can be trusted.
1. Wow wash: For a moisturizing face wash, cleanse your face with honey. It’s very simple. Wet your face, scoop out a little bit of honey and smooth it over your face. It will spread easily. Massage into the skin, then rinse with cold water.
2. Pimple power: Banish unsightly pimples by dabbing just a bit of honey on the blemish. The natural antibodies in honey should help heal the pimple without harsh acne medicin
3. Hair helper: Make a simple moisturizing hair mask with honey. Smooth honey over the ends of wet hair and let it soak for about 10 minutes. Then simply wash your hair as you normally would.
4. Hair rinse: This highly diluted hair rinse technique can help smooth fly-aways and increase shine. Combine 1 teaspoon honey with 4 cups warm water and pour over hair. Do not rinse out.
5. Bathe in honey: Add 1 tablespoon honey and 10 drops lavender essential oil to your bath. The honey will help moisturize your skin and the antispasmodic properties of lavender will help ease tense muscles.
6. Burn balm: Thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties, honey can help heal burns. For a minor burn, apply a cold compress, immerse the burn in cold water, dry the area, apply honey and cover with gauze, refreshing daily.
7. First aid: A natural antibiotic, honey can help heal wounds. Dab honey on a clean wound before applying a bandage
8. Sore throat soother: Help ease the pain of a sore throat by swallowing a tablespoon of honey.
9. Steel your stomach: Honey may help coat and comfort an upset stomach. Soothe a nervous tummy by adding honey to lemon and ginger tea.
10. Workout booster: Supercharge your next workout by taking a spoonful of honey beforehand. The blend of fructose and glucose may give you an energy boost for endurance activities, plus you’ll reap the benefits of the antioxidants and vitamins in honey.
11. Be fruitful: For a special fruit bowl, drizzle herb-infused honey on berries and toss. It makes a great breakfast or a sparkling dessert.
12. Sleep tight: If you need a sleep aid, try a teaspoon of honey. Honey may help the body absorb the compound tryptophan, making us sleepy.
13. Hangover help: The readily absorbed simple sugars (fructose and glucose) in honey go straight into the bloodstream and help you bounce back if you were overserved.
14. Say cheese: Fancy up your cheese plate by drizzling honey over goat cheese or blue cheese.
15. Cough suppressant: Studies have shown honey may be more effective than the commonly used cough suppressant dextromethorphan, found in most over-the-counter cough medicines. Take a spoonful to help quell coughing. Note: Do not give honey to babies younger than 2 years old, due to a risk of botulism.
NOTE FROM BLUE MOON: Honey is the only cough medicine we give our 8 yr. old for a dry cough. It works better than any store bought medicine.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Old Wives Tales (HILLSBOROUGH HOMESTEADING)

Whether simply entertaining or now backed my modern science, old wives tales are fascinating. In the absence of modern medicine and conveniences, women (and men) of the past had to make due with what was available to them. They were self-sufficient because there’s was no other way to be.
On Facebook, in a Off-Grid and Homesteading group I belong to, someone had the brilliant idea to collect other members’ old wives tales. The post quickly had more than 800 comments.
Most old wives tales were followed by other members adding how their grandparents used to tell them that, or that they do what was recommended and it works every time! Some helpful members even commented on how that particular old wives tale is now backed by modern science.
I was so taken by this string of ancient wisdom, passed on to 1000’s of others via this very modern conception of social media, that I copied and cataloged all of their wisdom.
None of these statements have been evaluated by the FDA. Some of these I wouldn’t even recommend, but included them anyways as part of an interesting glimpse into our ancestors’ lives.
I am also going to print a copy of this post to keep on hand in case of a long-term power outage. Living off the grid or without access to modern medicine might make some of these old wives tales invaluable.
I hope you enjoy what I’ve collected, and add even more down in the comments section! I’ll keep this post updated as I learn even more!

Bee Stings and Bug Bites

  • Mud, jewel weed, raw honey, tobacco, plantain, dandelion or mullein, a paste of baking soda and water were all used to treat bee stings or bug bites. You can make a little packet of baking soda and paper towel. Put the packet on the sting and pour some vinegar over top.
  • Apply honey for a bee sting, Vinegar for a wasp.
  • Create a soap and mustard poultice with bread in it. Applied as hot as possible to “draw” everything out.
  • Apply a damp tea bag to the bite or sting. The theory behind this one is that the tannins in the tea dry the skin out and draw out any inflammation or poison.
  • Create a poultice made from mud dauber nests and water and apply to a bee or spider bite.
  • A slice of raw potato can also draw out poisons.
  • In a similar fashion, a poultice made from baking soda and water works.
  • Apply a slice of raw onion on a sting.

Splinters

  • Apply a poultice made from soap and sugar. Leave overnight.
  • Apply a poultice made from Epsom salt.
  • Soaking the area in warm soapy water will soften the skin and make the splinter swell.
  • Place a small piece of bacon over the splinter overnight. It should be easier to remove in the morning.

Lice

  • Mayonnaise hair mask to suffocate lice and then comb them and the eggs out.
  • A vinegar wash and hot hair drier will supposedly kill lice.

Old Wives Tales About Treating Colds and Flus

  • Mix together a hot toddy or 1 Tbsp of honey, 1 Tbsp lemon and 1 Tbsp whiskey.
  • Another version of the hot toddy calls for a teaspoon, 1 Tbsp of honey and about 4-6 drops of eucalyptus in warm water.
  • Drink the juice of one raw onion.
  • Slice an onion and cover with a bit of honey. repeat until jar is full. Cover and let set for 24 hours. Strain and toss the onion for cough syrup.
  • Create a poultice of dried mustard and warm water then spread it on rags and lay the rags against your back for 20 minutes, then front for 20 minutes. Repeat every 2 hours.
    • Another version of this is to just apply the poultice to the sick person’s chest until it dries.
  • Breathing dried mullien smoke will supposedly bring up all the phlegm from your lower lungs.
  • Strong star anise tea – 3 cups water, 1/2 cup star anise, simmer for at least 20 minutes with lid on to capture steam. You can reuse the star anise twice more. Inhale the steam, drink the tea with a little honey. Drink 4x a day.
  • Put a clove of garlic in eat sock. As you walk, the clove is crushed and absorbed into the skin.

Old Wives Tales To Get Rid of Warts

  • Wake up early and wash your hands in the morning dew.
  • Break the stem of a dandelion in half and apply the milk to your warts.
  • A continued application of iodine is supposed to get rid of warts.
  • Rub a dried bean on the wart and bury it in the ground. By the time it rots, the wart is gone.
  • Rub a piece of raw beef on your warts and bury it.
  • Another version has the patient rub a piece of raw bacon on the wart and bury it in the backyard.
  • Some people “buy warts” by rubbing a penny on them. That person can never spend the penny or the warts will come back.
    • In Cajun French people who bought warts were called “traiteur” or “faith healer”.
    • In Appalachia, buying warts is considered an old conjure woman spell.
  • Rub a wart with a white rock (or cloth), wrap it up and put it in the middle of a cross road
  • A 7th son could remove a wart.
  • Bury a potato under a tree and walk away and don’t look back.
  • Raw apple cider vinegar with the mother.
  • Rub chicken bones on warts at night.
  • Rub half of a freshly cut potato on a wart and bury the other half in the yard.
  • If you nail a snail to a fence the wart will supposedly fall off.

Old Wives Tales to Treat Acne

  • Catch the morning pee of a pregnant cow and dab it on face and anywhere else needed. Leave dry for 15 minutes and rinse. Repeat every morning until it’s gone.
  • Rub a urine-soaked baby diaper on your face.

Purifying the blood

  • Dandelion wine is supposed to help purify the blood. Check out my post on How to Make Dandelion Wine to try it for yourself!
  • The story goes that slaves would take medicinal doses of 100% pure gum spirits of turpentine to stay healthy, and that, in the past, school children would line up to take a spoonful of turpentine with sugar.
  • Not necessarily “purifying the blood” but in the olden days in Appalachia, people would take a spoonful of caster oil every Spring for an intestinal “Spring Cleaning”.

Old Wives Tales to Treat Burns

  • Applying any type of vinegar should take away the pain from a burn or sunburn. Soak a washcloth in vinegar and let it sit on the affected area for 3 minutes.
  • Create a medicinal oil made from St. John’s Wart, harvested on St. John’s day – left in the sun for a few days.
  • Liberally apply the gel from an aloe vera plant (my Grandmother used this every summer on me).
  • Press a white potato, cut side down, on the burn.
  • If you burn your finger cooking, grab an ear lobe to take the pain away.
  • If you burn yourself cooking, apply an egg white.
  • Make a strong tea and soak a cloth in it and apply to sunburns.
  • Tomatoes can supposedly treat a burn.
  • Apply a poultice of mullein leaves on a burn.

Stomach Aches

  • Tea made from the roots of queen of the meadow.

Old Wives Tales About Treating Boils

  • Apply salted pork to the boil.

Ingrown Toenails

  • Apply a thin slice of onion under your band aid to draw out infection.

Treating Arthritis

  • Eating raisins soaked in gin is supposed to help with the pain from arthritis.
  • Poke berry wine or a salad made from the leaves of the poke berry bush.
DISCLAIMER: all parts of the poke berry bush are poisonous, however many parts have been used by all peoples medicinally.

Sprains and Bruises

  • Apply witch hazel topically to any muscle pain.
  • Apply a poultice of epsom salt and leave it on until it dries.
  • Rub butter on any bumps and bruises
  • Keep a bottle of rubbing alcohol with mint and aspirin in it for sore muscles.
  • Iodine for bruises
  • A poultice made from comfrey can be applied to bone bruises or broken bones.
  • Rub tiger balm onto sore muscles and wrap with a hot, steamy towel.
  • One reader’s grandmother would rub WD40 on anything that hurt.

Cuts and wounds

  • Break open a puffball mushroom over a cut to stop bleeding.
  • Spiderwebs have often been used to clot blood as well. The idea is that spider webs are high in Vitamin K, a naturally blood clotting compound. If you’re interested in the chemical components of spider webs, check out this study.
  • Let a dog lick a wound if they’re interested in it.
  • Spanish moss pressed into a wound will stop the bleeding.
  • Lamb’s ear absorb blood and help it clot more quickly. It also contains antibacterial, antiseptic, and anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Create a plantain poultice for cuts. Native Americans and old timers would create a “spit poultice” where they would chew up a leaf of plantain and create a poultice with their spit.
  • Press a piece of plain white bread onto a cut to stop the bleeding.
  • Pine resin has also been used to treat wounds.
  • Honey was used for wound healing by the Native Americans before the United States was established. It has antibacterial properties and seals the wound to protect it. Now the medical community is getting on-board and selling “Medihoney”. I personally have used honey with great success on proud flesh on my horses.
  • Applying kerosene when you step on a nail or shut your fingers in the door will supposedly take the pain away immediately.
  • Apply chapstick to cracks on hands or feet daily to protect and reduce the pain.

Toothaches

  • Peel the bark off of a tickle tongue tree and chew on it to instantly numb.
  • Put a whole clove against your gum to treat a toothache.

Old Wives Tales to Treat Fever

  • Cut 2 onions in half, put them in panty hose and the sliced sides were tied to each wrist and each ankle.

Restless Leg Syndrome

  • Put a few potatoes in bed with you while you sleep.
  • Place a bar of Irish spring soap under the sheets in your bed and sleep with it.

Gardening

  • Rows have to be straight because God wants everything straight as an arrow.
  • Rows should run North to South.
  • When planting seeds, always plant three in a hill – one for the good, one for the crow, and one to grow.
  • You can make a spray from tobacco and use it as a pesticide – not good for certain types like tomatoes.
  • Plant crops that grow above the ground during a waxing moon, and plants that grow below the ground on a waning moon.
  • Burying a piece of iron next to your roses is supposed to make them more fragrant.

Ringworm

  • Green walnut juice is supposed to treat ringworm.
  • Tobacco juice as well.
  • Applying fingernail polish to ringworm supposedly suffocates the fungus.
  • Burn a paper bag and blow the ashes away after it’s burned down. Once cool, dab your finger in the resin and apply to the ringworm.

Old Wives Tales to Treat Foot Fungus

  • Soak feet for a few minutes in a mix of 1 cup of turpentine in very hot water.
  • Make trumpet vine “tea”  from the leaves to treat toenail fungus and athletes foot. Soak your foot in it daily. It takes about 6 weeks for toenail fungus because it’s in the bed, but about two weeks for athletes foot soaking twice daily.
  • Make a thick paste from green walnut husks and water. Paint the feet.
  • Put walnut leaves in the shoes.
  • To cure athlete’s foot, one member recommended soaking your feet in warm water mixed with apple cider vinegar and baking soda. Dry well and rub Vicks into your feet to moisturize. Let your feet air dry and use only cotton socks. You may want to get rid of all of your contaminated shoes and use bleach in your shower – spray and leave it to dry for 20 minutes before rinsing with very hot water.
  • Another option is to pee on your own feet in the shower, and then wash them clean.
  • Mix the tobacco from a few cigarettes with fresh warm mud in a disposable bag. Leave the affected foot in the bag for half an hour. Throw bag away. Repeat every few hours with a fresh batch of mud. If you don’t have cigarettes available, use loose leaf tea.

Old Wives Tales Concerning Babies

  • Catnip tea or caraway seed tea or a bit of onion juice is said to cure colic.
  • Toast a piece of bread completely black, then soak in boiling water. Let it cool will supposedly also treat colic.
  • Cabbage leaves will dry out a breastfeeding mother’s breasts and help wean a child.
  • Cabbage leaves will also help “draw out the milk” and treat clogged milk ducts.
  • Breastmilk will supposedly help treat eye infections like pink eye, diaper rash and ear infections.
  • Urine was also dripped into the ear to treat ear infections.
  • Fill a sock with rice and warm in a microwave. Place on the ear for an ear ache or the jaw for a toothache.
  • Another person’s grandma would put warm sweet oil on a teaspoon and pour it in their ears for ear aches.

Predicting the Sex of a Baby

  • If you’re craving salt (potato chips, pretzels, and popcorn) you’re having a boy.
  • If you’re craving sweets (ice cream, chocolate, and candy) you’re having a girl.

Diaper Rash

  • Crush up a mud dauber’s nest until it’s a fine powder and apply to the baby’s bottom.
  • Cornstarch can be applied to a baby’s bottom to absorb any moisture and protect from future diaper rashes.
  • Some women would brown regular flour in a pan or in the oven and use, cooled, on diaper rash.
  • Put rolled oats in a sock or cloth bag and add to a warm water bath.
  • Pure lard will supposedly clear up diaper rash as well.

Asthma Attack

  • Take a shot of apple cider vinegar (or any vinegar in a pinch) to stop a sudden asthma attack.

Old Wives Tales Concerning Animals

  • Apply raw eggs and milk or sardines to a snake bite
  • Chopped up onion to draw out the poison. If you don’t have an onion, you can use a potato.
  • Consume mall amounts of tobacco as a dewormer for parasites.
  • A bath made from poke berries to treat mange on your dogs.

Sty

  • Rub a gold ring on a sty to make it go away.

Luck or Superstitions

  • Never wash clothes on New Years Day – you could wash somebody out of your family.
  • Don’t sweep someone’s feet with a broom.
  • Don’t sit directly on the ground.
  • For ghosts or haunted areas, hang a measuring tape on the door handle. (Jamaica)
  • For ghosts, leave change outside of the house and a candle in the window. (Ireland)
  • For ghosts or bad spirits, leave a braid of garlic hung by the door.
  • Open up your front and back doors as the New Year rolls in to let out the bad things and bring in the new.
  • Bringing in eggs after dark will bring bad luck.
  • If you happen to drop silverware (or in some versions – a dish towel), it means company is coming.

Nosebleeds

  • Keep a pair of metal scissors in the freezer. Whenever someone has a nosebleed, put the cold scissors on their back on bare skin.

Headaches

  • Mint or lavender will supposedly treat a headache.

Cold Sores

  • A poultice made from instant coffee and water, applied to a cold sore many times throughout the day is supposed to kill the Herpes virus and prevent cold sores in the future.

Housekeeping

  • A damp washcloth or rag, sprayed with a mixture of white vinegar and essential oils can replace dryer sheets.
  • Having spiderwebs in your house will supposedly make it warmer. (A great excuse not to dust!)
  • Peeing on stains on clothes and scrubbing it well before washing it supposedly gets rid of stains.
  • Throw a whole potato into every tomato dish to absorb the oils. (The reader who submitted this one also commented on how the kids would fight over who got to eat that one oily potato!)
  • Another idea was to throw a whole apple into vegetable beef stew to make it more flavorful and add a bit of sweetness for an hour or two.
  • Use a small amount of sugar to cut back the acidity of any tomato dishes.
  • Sprinkle black pepper around where you find mice droppings to stop them from coming back.

Poison Ivy/Oak/Sumac

  • Oatmeal baths to reduce inflammation.
  • Bleach mixed with water or witch hazel to dry the blisters.

Predicting the Weather

  • Red at night traveler’s (or sailor’s) delight. Red in the morning, travelers (or sailors) take warning.
  • If a dog is eating grass it’s going to rain.
  • You can tell the weather for tomorrow by looking at the sky when it’s dark out. If the stars are out, it will be nice tomorrow. No stars, then you’ll get some sort of precipitation tomorrow.
  • For every fog in August, there will be a snowfall during the Winter.
  • If you notice more than the usual amount of spiders around, it will be a harsh Winter.

Issues of the Mouth

  • Make a tea from the bark of a red oak tree. Swirl in your mouth to treat infected gums but DON’T SWALLOW.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Productive Morning

                     All I can do is sing Cheryl Crow's " I like a good beer (wine) buzz early in the morning"

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Cantaloupe Jelly & The Dog Days Of Summer

   I have spent about half of my life without air conditioning & seemed to do alright without it even after giving birth in one of the hottest summers on record. Now that I am older I cannot stand the heat. My Husband hates cold, I hate heat. This summer has been a scorcher. It started off hot & stayed that way. It's terribly dry & dusty & so we have kept the air on.
   The garden has not been as productive as I had hoped & with raised beds & buckets watering has been non stop.The only thing that has thrived has been cantaloupe. I have never had such a crop. I have already harvested all of the herbs. I picked all the carrots last week & dried them to grind into powder. We don't like cooked carrots, but I will add it to soup for the vitamins. 5 Gal.of black cherry wine is ready to bottle in the morning & the end of summer has begun.
   So, since the cantaloupe is producing like crazy I needed to find something to do with it. I found a southern recipe for Cantaloupe Jelly. It's a freezer jelly & very simple to make.I know it sounds odd, but it's worth a try. I will also be drying alot of cantaloupe next week. Gardenchick loves it as a snack. Every day is one day closer to Fall & I am really ready for it.
 
                                 2 large ripe cantaloupe, seeded & the rind cut off & diced (5 C. puree
                                 1 vanilla bean or 1 t. vanilla
                                 1/4 C. lemon juice
                                 3 C. sugar
                                 pinch of salt
                                 Spray a crock pot with non stick spray
                                 Puree the cantaloupe in small batches in a blender (I used my bullet blender, it
                                 worked great)
                                Add the vanilla bean or extract, lemon juice, sugar & salt
                                Cook on low for at least 4 hours
                                Spoon into freezer containers & freeze. Will last a week in the fridge

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Cherry Brandy & There's A Snake In The House!

   It's been a whirlwind around here lately. I have been stocking up on my winter supplies, making salves, cherry brandy & chasing snakes out of the house.
   Tuesday started out as a usual shopping day. I went off to town to get more winter supplies. I stocked up on essential oils, tp/tissues/foil/baggies. Every time I go shopping I add to my pantry. Next time will probably be coffee/tea/gatoraid/juice.By fall we will have all of our supplies without feeling like I broke the bank by buying all at one time. I have done that in the past  it's much easier for me this way.
   When I got home I was getting the stuff out of the truck & into the basement & damn near stepped on a big old garter snake that was laying stretched out along the bottom of the door. I jumped, yelled SNAKE to my Husband & it moved along the back wall & went to the edge of the garage door where the rubber didn't quite go to the edge & slithered through the opening. OH GREAT, now we have a snake in the house. Our basement is open with areas I would not show the public. Order is not anywhere in the basement. Part storage, part living space. Chick even has a 3 person tent set up in the garage area, which by the way has not had room to have a car in it since 2011. Stuff galore! So here we are, trying to find the snake & figure out how to get it gone. Jim spotted it, we got the door up a bit & he swept it out, the fixed the spot it came in. Good Lord, I shiver to think what would of happened if it would have gotten in the tent.
   Crisis fixed, now it was time to start the cherry brandy. I took 4# cherry's, 1 1/2 large bottles of brandy, & 2 cups sugar & put them in a 1 gal glass jar with an air lock. I covered it & it's now sitting beside the 5gal. black cherry wine that I will bottle in a month or so. I let it steep for a month & strain. I'm sure I can find a use for the cherry's. There's nothing better than a small glass of this after being outside on a cold winter day to warm up.
   Chick & I have her school shopping done except for shoes. Summer is flying by & school will start again soon. We have been going to movies & flea markets & hanging out together. She's growing so fast & as long as she thinks it's cool to still hang out with Mom I will do all I can for us to spend time together.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

We Are Finally Getting Rain

  Just like most of the country we had no spring, just late cold then very hot. It had become terribly dry already here. The last few days we've had some rain & cooler temps. The windows are open & the house is airing out. Today is the first day in a week that we have no appts or anywhere we need to be so I am going to do some baking & work in the garden.
   My herbs are loving the hot weather & I have them hanging & drying all over the kitchen.I hung an extra long rod across my kitchen window & it's  great place to dry them. Chick & I have been making salves & she is going to make peppermint & orange lip balm next week to give as gifts. We have been going through our essential oils to see what we need for this winter.
   She & I found yarn for a crazy low price at Hobby Lobby & we bought all they had. I have a large knitting board that I am going to make myself a shawl on so finding the yarn so cheap made me do my happy dance! Chick got art supplies (like she really needed anymore).
   The garden is doing so-so. Too much heat so early has messed things up. I am planning on putting in a fall garden this year. Hopefully we won't have hot weather right up till Christmas.
   The summer plan to get away from cable tv is now in it's 4th week. No more home phone, no more cable. Streaming only. We got Leaf Antennas & Roku's for all the tvs & started out with Hulu, Netflix & Sling, but one week in got rid of Netflix & Sling & went with Hulu Live. The only thing that I hate is that there is a cap on how much we can stream each month. We could go unlimited but it's an extra $30 a month. We'll see how that goes.
   Extreme heat is going to start tomorrow so it's going to be difficult to keep enough water on the raised beds & buckets. It's going to be a long summer.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Beauty On 6-15-18

Many years ago I got this beauty for a Mother's Day gift. Today on the Birthday of my Son who gave it to me I got a picture of just how unique & beautiful it is.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Pee Wee Herman

I needed a good smile today & I surely got it. A box came for me & inside was a book from Grandma & Poppi for Gardenchick & this was for me. I bought this for my Dad many years ago when Pee Wee was so popular. Today I got him back. He will always have a place of honor to sit. Thanks for the smile Dad.
Just because you can't see it doesn't mean it's not there.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Dandelion / Olive Oil Salve & 5 Gallons Black Cherry Wine

   Schools almost out for the summer so I am trying to get a few things done before next week. This morning I got my dandelion salve in containers. I gathered the flowers 2 weeks ago, let them dry out for a few days, covered them with olive oil, let it set in a dark cabinet, strained this morning  into a glass canning jar sitting in a pan of hot water, mixed in pure beeswax,  let it all melt together & poured in the containers.
   The black cherry wine I started on May 1st. is bubbling along nicely. I get a wiff of it's yeasty smell every time I go into the kitchen. It's going to given as Christmas gifts this year.
   I actually did my first Pop Up Flea market this last weekend as Blue Moon Farmstead Biz. I didn't do too bad & I came home with much less than I took. I'm still working on the web site for the business. Busy life has gotten in the way.
   The garden is doing well. Most things are planted in buckets or some kind of container this year & it really seems to be working well. Weeding the garden has become an issue so I needed a way to get as much yield as possible, but not have to do so much work. This old body has some major issues so I have to adapt.

Friday, May 4, 2018

Victory Gardens - Kidsgardening.org

Victory Gardens: Growing Food for the Common Good

victory gardens
Like so many things that cycle in popularity, food gardening is again in vogue. For most Americans, the vegetables and fruits they harvest from their backyard gardens supplement the food they purchase at the supermarket. Gardeners take great pride in their homegrown bounty, but few need to rely on it for basic sustenance.
That wasn't always the case. During World Wars I and II, food gardening wasn't merely an enjoyable pastime, it was necessary for survival. And the gardens weren't limited to family backyards. Businesses and schools dedicated space for growing food, and public parks were cultivated to create hundreds of garden plots. Communities came together to grow, tend, and harvest, and the bounty of these "Victory Gardens," as they came to be known, was shared by all.

Garden to Give: Inspiring Gardeners to Help Feed the Hungry

That same spirit of community has inspired the "Garden to Give" movement. Spearheaded by Gardener's Supply Company, Garden to Give encourages gardeners to donate their extra produce to their local food pantries to help feed the hungry in their communities. By one estimate, gardeners could feed 28 million hungry Americans just by donating the extra produce they already grow. Some individuals, community groups and schools are taking it a step further and planting special "giving gardens" so they'll have even more fresh produce to donate! Some are even referring to these gardens as Victory Gardens. Scroll down to "Start Your Own Victory Garden" for tips on planning a school Victory Garden, including consulting with your local food pantry for their recommendations on what to grow and the best times to drop off donations.

The Story of Victory Gardens

The values inherent in the wartime Victory Garden movement are making a comeback, including thriftiness, self-reliance, an awareness of where one's food originates, and the potential for gardening to bring communities together. The evolution of the Victory Garden concept is a fascinating story and yields important lessons about the impact individuals and groups can have in ensuring all of us have access to the fresh fruits and vegetables that support good health. The story is also a wake-up call that the skills of food growing, the conservation of land suitable for cultivation, and the willingness of communities to work together for the common good are all vital to practice, and to pass on from generation to generation.

The Migration from Rural to Urban

Until the early 1900s, a majority of Americans lived in the countryside and were relatively self-sufficient. Most households had large food gardens, and the vegetables, fruits, and herbs grown in them supplied much of each family’s dietary needs.
The early 1900s brought rapid advancements in technology that led to a shift in manufacturing from small, home-based “cottage industries” to mass production at large factories. Many Americans migrated from rural areas to cities, lured by the notion that year-round manufacturing jobs would bring better wages than seasonal farm labor. Long work hours and crowded urban dwellings left little time or space for food gardens. By 1920, only fifty percent of Americans lived in rural areas. For the most part, growing food was left to farmers.

The Outbreak of War

victory gardensIn early 1917, prior to the U.S. entering what was then called The Great War ("the war to end all wars," later known as World War I), multi-millionaire Charles Lathrop Pack launched the "War Garden" campaign. The conflict was causing devastating food shortages in Europe, and Pack realized that American farm-produced food was desperately needed overseas to feed both Allied troops and starving civilians. In response, Pack sought to support the war effort and stave off food shortages at home by encouraging all Americans — not just farmers — to start growing food. This would free up commercially grown food to be shipped overseas. The National War Garden Commission was established in March 1917. Just a month later, the U.S. entered the war.
The War Garden Commission launched an all-out public relations campaign to promote food gardening at private residences and public lands — every patch of soil was a potential garden site. They distributed a wealth of colorful posters exalting citizens to “Sow the Seeds of Victory” and created educational materials for new gardeners. Local governments and community groups rallied in support of the cause. Growing a War Garden became a sign of patriotism, and it boosted morale by giving civilians a tangible way to contribute to the war effort.
Food gardens sprouted up everywhere — backyards, municipal parks, empty lots, city rooftops. Private companies set aside land for employee gardens. Urban dwellers sowed seeds in planters and window boxes.
victory gardensThe federal Bureau of Education launched the United States School Garden Army (USSGA) to enlist schoolchildren in the cause, dubbing them “soil soldiers” in the “home garden army.”
School grounds were tilled, planted, tended, and harvested by students and their teachers. The USSGA motto — "A garden for every child, every child in a garden" — drove home the point that every American, of every age, could make an important contribution to the country's wellbeing.
More than five million War Gardens were cultivated in 1918, producing vegetables and fruits worth over a half-billion dollars. With further encouragement and how-to advice from the government, much of that food was canned, pickled, or dried for future use.
Even after the 1918 Armistice that signaled the end of the war, the government still encouraged citizens to cultivate food gardens. Farm-grown food could be shipped overseas to help feed the millions of people there who faced starvation due to the loss of so many farmers-turned-soldiers, as well as the devastation of farmland that was ravaged by the violent battles fought there. These post-War gardens became known as "Victory Gardens." Eventually, the fervor of the War Garden campaign waned, and America’s enthusiasm for home food gardening waned as well.

The Second World War

victory gardensIn 1941, just 24 years after the signing of the Armistice, the U.S. was drawn back into war. Once again there was a strain on domestic food supplies as the country was faced with shipping large quantities of food overseas to feed troops. Based on the success of the earlier War Garden campaign, the U.S. government began a similar but even more fervent propaganda campaign, dubbing it "Food for Victory."
The new public relations campaign was overt in its message: Growing food was a patriotic duty. The more food that was grown in Victory Gardens, the closer America would be to winning the war. Eleanor Roosevelt set an example by planting a Victory Garden on the White House grounds. And when food rationing began in 1942, Americans had even more incentive to start growing their own vegetables and fruits.
Once again the government produced posters and other materials exhorting all citizens to do their duty in support of the war effort. Local governments gave workshops and distributed how-to information to new gardeners. Detailed guidelines showed gardeners how to plan for the maximum harvest — which crops had the highest yields, had the most nutrients, and were the easiest to grow. Among the recommended crops were kohlrabi and Swiss chard — both of which were unfamiliar to most American gardeners at the time. Succession planting was recommended so that gardens could be productive from spring into late fall.
Americans rallied. Front lawns were tilled; flower gardens replanted with vegetables. Urban parks, including Golden Gate Park and Boston Commons, became home to hundreds of food garden plots tended by both individuals and local groups. New gardening tools were hard to come by because steel was being diverted to munitions manufacturers, so families and neighbors shared shovels and hoes. Gardening in public spaces brought communities together for a common cause.
By 1944, there were more than 20 million Victory Gardens that produced more than a third of all the fresh vegetables grown in the U.S. Homegrown food not only provided much-needed sustenance during food rationing, it also meant that less food had to be trucked long distances from farms to markets, reducing fuel consumption and conserving the rubber needed for tires — both important commodities in the war effort.

Victory Gardens in the Post-War Years

Once again, after the war ended the fervor and support of government and community groups declined, and for many Americans, so did the passion for growing food. Inexpensive, easy-to-make packaged foods became attractive alternatives to time spent toiling in the garden and preparing meals from scratch.  That said, gardening continually ranks high in the list of most popular hobbies. And the value we place on fresh, homegrown and locally produced food is continuing to rise. Community gardens have long waiting lists for plots. Farmer's markets sprout on urban and suburban street corners.

Start your Own Victory Garden

By cultivating home, school, and community gardens, parents and educators are helping kids understand where fruits and vegetables come from — before supermarkets wrap them in plastic or package them onto Styrofoam trays. Kids get to experience the satisfying crunch of a freshly pulled carrot and the excitement of picking the first vine-ripened tomato. These experiences can have lasting effects by inspiring youth to understand and pursue healthy eating habits. For some youth, a lifelong hobby of food gardening will take root in these early experiences!
Before you begin expanding your garden to grow more than you need, first locate a local food shelf or food pantry that can help you find a good home for any extra fruits and vegetables. AmpleHarvest.org is a good place to begin your search.  There are a wide variety of community organizations that provide food assistance, but sometimes it takes a little big of digging to find an organization able to distribute perishable food items like fruits and vegetables. 
Once you locate an organization to work with, ask them for a wish list of fruits and vegetables, and also what days are best for them to accept donations.  Some facilities may have limitations in storage (especially cold or cool storage). They also may only distribute food on certain days of the week and so you will want to harvest your produce as close to those dates as possible.  Ask them what fruits and vegetables they think their clients are most likely to use and enjoy.  Unusual fruits and vegetables may be fun to grow, but they may also be intimidating to those not use to cooking with them. Ask if there any other food handling guidelines you should follow when harvesting.


Thursday, May 3, 2018

Spring Stock Up & Garden Planting

   Just when I think I have everything under control & caught up I realize that nothing could be further from the truth. Along with spring comes the task of getting the garden in. I have planted almost everything in buckets & have downsized from 10+ tomato plants to 3. We don't even like tomatoes except for salsa so why do I grow so many? The potatoes are in one half of a  55gal. plastic water barrel, grapes in the other half. Cukes & peas are up enough to start climbing. So far the cut worms are leaving the cabbage alone. The strawberries are full of blooms & the raspberries & blueberries seemed to have made it thru a few cold snaps where I had to keep them covered for several days. Herbs are growing like crazy.
  I also started 5 gal of black cherry wine this week. It smells very yeasty & earthy in my kitchen. This is the first big batch I have made in a couple of years. I usually do 1 gal at a time, but I figured this way I'd get it done all at once.
 One of the most important things I have been doing is getting my medical kit restocked. I got raw honey for wounds, raspberry leaves & peppermint drops for stomach problems, turmeric for anti-inflammatory & oil of oregano for anti-fungal. A turmeric & honey mixture is good for arthritis as well as working to help digestion. I am in the process of making a dandelion salve for Gardenchicks dry skin.
  She & I played hooky last week & went to the bi-yearly Friend of The Library book sale so we are ready for summer homeschooling We also went with my BFF "Thelma" to Junk-a pa-looza so I have new projects in the making. Life is never dull, that's for sure.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Best Veggies To Grow In 5 Gal. Buckets

Tomatoes: Grow one plant per bucket, and use a stake or cage to support the plant.
These guys can really grow wild, if you let them. Maintain regular moisture levels in the soil throughout the season to prevent diseases that destroy fruit. Basil grows well at the base of a tomato plant.
Bell Pepper Plant
Peppers: You can fit two peppers into each 5-gallon bucket. In my experiences peppers want to be supported by a stake.
Peppers are great for water conservation; many types want to dry out between waterings, which means you expend less resources growing them.
Cucumber: One plant per bucket. Cucumbers will grow and creep and do well with some sort of support.
The plants will grow over the container and spread around, so keep an eye on the fruit and ensure it isn’t being devoured by pests.
Onion Plants
Onions: You can fit about four onions inside of a container. Onions are easy to grow but can be anxiety-inducing because you can’t see what’s going on beneath the soil.
Keep your eye on the green leaves climbing skyward to assess the condition of the plant, and don’t keep the soil too wet.
Lettuce plant
Lettuce: Ideal for growing in a container.
You can fit up to four plants per container, but be prepared to water regularly.
Consider other leafy-green options like sorrel to add a lemony tang to your greens.
Rosemary Plant
Herbs: You can fit a half-dozen herbs inside of a single 5-gallon bucket, or more. Thyme, rosemary, basil, cilantro, and chives grow well with each other.
Frequently harvesting leaves and stems keeps plants in check and ensures that they don’t overgrow one another. The flavor they add to your diet is worth it after a few weeks of bland, tasteless food.
Carrot Plant
Carrots: You could fit up to ten carrots in a single bucket.
If growing carrots ensure the soil is loose and sandy for proper root development; they don’t like when their growing medium is compact and rocky.

Tips and Tricks

  • Utilize rain barrels at home and in the field for a low or no-cost supply of water for your vegetables
  • Companion plants may seem superfluous but are beneficial and have “built-in” pest deterrents: adding marigolds to your containers can keep nasty bugs away while inviting beneficial ones such as ladybugs and praying mantis, for example
  • Give your containers a quarter-twist every week to ensure they aren’t growing too lopsided
  • Simple insecticidal soaps can be made by combining four-five tablespoons of concentrated dish soap to one-gallon of water. Mix and apply with a spray bottle to deter insects from your containerized plants
  • You can re-use your potting mix indefinitely, as long as it’s amended and replaced with fresh ingredients once a year: remove dead plants and shake loose the soil from their roots. Fill it right back into the container and get it back to growing.

Food for Thought

Vegetables grown in a 5-gallon container can be useful to everybody reading this right now who is limited on space and growing options in their home. It’s inexpensive and provides fresh produce  for the picking.
In a situation where you have no other option but to grow your own food, containers offer a safe and reliable source of food production.
It takes up little space and they are even portable. The resources used to provide a growing media for each container can be recycled year to year, providing a long-lasting source of growing media.
Get some practice and grow some tomatoes on your patio or deck this year, or experiment with your own potting mix recipes.