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Thursday, December 11, 2014

Homesteading beats Winter Blues

Okay, so I was having a totally hormonal morning. My emotions were all over the place. I broke a glass at breakfast . . . the Christmas cards and ornaments I am working on were all over the dining room table. My thoughts were everywhere  . . . "what am I going to wear to my nieces wedding this weekend" . . . "what am I making for dinner for guest on Sunday" . . . the list could go on. Just as I finished my morning prayers, breakfast and cleaning up the broken glass I was thinking of putting myself in a padded room. But just a minute . . . I had homestead chores to do. . . out to the barn I went.

The animals don't expect much from me. They are content with their food, and a warm pile of hay and in the goats and dogs case a good scratch between the ears. All the animals are sooo happy to greet me any time of the day. They seem to always put a smile on my face. Besides, doing chores gets me up and going even on the worst of days.

Who couldn't resisting smiling at this face!
Although sometimes it seems daunting and time-consuming to run a homestead there is something quite rewarding about it. This morning the beautiful snow falling plus the goats in their cute fuzzy coats completely changed my mood. I guess the padded room can wait  . . . I'll be in my muck boots and overalls in the barn!

Monday, December 8, 2014

7 Healthy Homestead Habits

"Our apothecary's shop is our garden full of pot-herbs,
and our doctor is a good clove of garlic." - Anonymous

This is the season for family, friends and festivities; but it is also the season for colds and viruses. We have had our fair share of these ailments but most of the time my family seems to avoid many of these sicknesses. Here is how I believe we do that:

1. Maintain a healthy diet - During the winter months it seems there is a lack of veggies around. You can still grow some salad greens in a window box. You can also grow your own sprouts. If you don't know how look for a future post soon or you could google it now. There is also nothing wrong with adding frozen veggies to your favorite soups or dishes.
Incense burning
for fragrant air
and aromatherepy.

2. Use of Essential Oils and Organic Incense - there are so many benefits to the use of essential oils. Get to know the different kinds of oils available(online or at a local health food store). You can put them in an diffuser. Put a few drops on your pillow at night. Fragrance devises and scented candles may add scent to your home but they also add lots of chemicals. We try to avoid these chemical or perfumed candles unless they are made with essential oils.

During the cold/flu season Thieves Oil is my favorite - you can make your own ( or my favorite place to purchase it is at Piping Rock. Carry it in your purse to holiday parties. Put some on yourself and children. You can rub Thieves Oil under your nose, rub some on your hands as you would sanitizer. Thieves Oil is antibacterial and antifungal.
Thieves Oil is a
cold/flu season must-have!

Thieves Oil Recipe
20 drops of Clove Oil
20 drops of Lemon Oil
9 drops of Cinnamon Oil
8 drops of Eucalyptus Oil
6 drops of Rosemary Oil
My essential oil
medicine cabinet.


3. Eating and drinking probiotic-rich drinks and foods - In this case bacteria is your friend. A lot of times people get sick because their bodies are lacking the Good Guy Bacteria. Probiotics help your body fight the bad bacteria. Take a probiotic supplement, eat yogurt or grow your own. I make kombucha. Kombucha is easy to brew at home and is packed with probiotics and antoxidants. Fermenting your veggies is another cool option.

4. Taking daily vitamins and supplements - You should get all the vitamins and minerals you need from your food. But lets face it we are an on the go kind of people and often times do not get a completely balanced diet. Add supplements but sure to check the amounts carefully and also consult a trusted doctor.

5. Drink plenty of fluids - Of course water . . . if you hate water add a cucumber or lemon. Mineral water is always a favorite of mine when I want something sparkling. But do not forget all those herbal teas. You are more likely to crave hot drinks during the cold months.

Other plants such as this aloe
can be useful in the homestead.
Aloe can be used on dry skin and burns.
6. Keeping healthy herbs and plants growing in your home - Plants have a wonderful way of adding greatness to your home. They also add oxygen. If you grow herbs you get the added bonus of them adding fragrance to your environment and yumminess and health to your meals.

7. Spice things up - frequently use spices in your cooking. Garlic, garlic and more garlic - your breath may stink but your body will thank you. Other great spices to beat winter sniffles are ginger, cinnamon, turmeric, oregano and cayenne.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Adding the Jesse Tree to your Advent Season

I have had a request for this post. What is the Jesse Tree? And how do you do it? Can I still do it even though it started Dec 1? Of course. Today is day 4 of our Jesse Tree and if you don't mind playing catch up I don't see a problem. The Jesse Tree apparently started in medieval times. I can not pin point the exact location or official start of this tradition. But it comes from the bible verse in Isaiah 11:1 there shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse. 

The Jesse Tree follows the ancestry of Jesus from the Old Testament to the New Testament. Each day or evening in whatever time is best for your family. You read from the bible and place an ornament that symbolizes that reading. By the time Christmas comes around you have walked a biblical path and will have many cute ornaments on your Jesse Tree.

My children are older
so we are reading from the regular Bible
but you can use a Children's Bible
for younger children.
Your Jesse Tree can be what you chose . . . it can be a real tree, a fake tree, a felt banner. Our Jesse Tree is a felt banner and we make little felt ornaments. I have seen Jesse Tree as a small plant with paper ornaments . . . it does not have to be difficult. It is just a way for you and your children to celebrate Advent in a special way.

I have a list of readings and the symbol that represents that reading. But there are also some variations  . . . you too can create your own symbols that are meaningful to you and your family.
Some readings are grouped together to be sure to include all the readings within the days. You may have to adjust each year accordingly.

Day 1 - Creation - Sun or Earth - Genesis 1, 2:1-4
Making the ornaments is
so much fun for all of us.
Day 2 - Adam and Eve - Two People - Genesis 2:4-9, 15-25
Day 3 - Original Sin - Apple - Genesis 3:1-24
Day 4 - Noah and the Flood - Rainbow - Genesis 6:5-22, 7, 8, 9:1-17
Day 5 - Abraham - Stars - Genesis 12:1-9, 15: 1-6
Day 5 - Jacob's Dream - Ladder - Genesis 28:10-22
Day 6 - Joseph and His Brothers - Coat - Genesis 37
Day 6 - Joseph's Greatness - Shock of Wheat - Genesis 41
Day 7 - Moses (Prince) - Basket - Exodus 1, 2
Day 7 - Moses (Burning Bush) - Burning Bush - Exodus 2:23-25, 3
Day 8 - Moses (Plagues) - Frog - Exodus 5 through 12:1-36
Day 8 - Moses (Parting Sea) - Parted Sea - Exodus 13:17-22, 14
Day 9 - Moses (Ten Commandments) - Tablets - Exodus 19, 20, 24:12-18
Day 10 - Moses (Water from Rock) - Staff - Exodus 19, 20, 24:12-18
Day 11 - Samuel (Voice in the Night) - Candle Lamp - 1 Samuel 3
Day 12 - David Chosen King - Sheep - 1 Samuel 16:1-13
Day 13 - David and Goliath - Slingshot - 1 Samuel 17
Day 14 - Solomon's Wisdom -Crown - 1 Kings 2:1-6, 3:4-28
Day 15 - Elijah's Contest - Burning Rock - 1 Kings 18:3, 21-39
Day 16 - Jonah and the Whale - Whale - Jonah
Day 17 - Tobiah's Journey - Fish - Tobit 5, 6:1-9, 10:1-6, 11:1-15
Day 18 - Daniel and the Lion's Den - Lion - Daniel 6:1-29
Day 19 - John the Baptist - Sandal - Luke 1:5-25,57-80
Day 20 - Annunciation - Angel - Luke 1:26-38
Day 21 - Visitation - Mary - Luke 1:39-56
Day 22 - Joseph - Joseph - Matthew 1:18-25
Day 23 - Journey to Bethlehem - Manger - Luke 2:1-6
Day 24 - Jesus is Born - Baby Jesus - Luke 2:6-20
Day 25 - Visit of the Magi - Star - Matthew 2:1-12

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Goat Cheese Avocado Dip

Goat cheese is something we make pretty often around here. Guacamole is one our favorite family treats. Charlotte and I experimented and came up with this yummy combination of the two. You don't have to make your own goat cheese to whip up this yummy dip.

Recipe for Goat Cheese Avocado Dip

2 cups of Chevre
2 mashed up small avocados
1 Tablespoon of minced garlic
1/4 cup lime juice
salt to taste