Thursday, February 18, 2016

How I make Plantain Oil and how I use it.

When we moved into our home a few years ago we were amused by the massive amount of Ladybugs that we found in ever nook and cranny, as the summer heated, our amusement faded when the big old red wasps became thick both inside and outside of our home. They came in through vents, they lived in the eves, they lived in the trees near by. About once every couple of weeks one of us was getting stung. And as most people know those suckers HURT! I have always learned little bits of herbal-ism from my elders and sometimes my elder's elders, so I knew about plantain. After a bit of research on the internet, I knew a bit more about it. It is a vitamin rich, edible herb with some pretty awesome medicinal qualities as well. I am not a professional herbalist, nor am I a doctor so anything I put in this blog post is my own experiences, I am not in any way recommending that you do exactly as I have done. (have to get the legal stuff out of the way). It was mentioned more than once that an oil infused with plantain could ease the burn and hurt of a bug bite/sting and especially with repeated applications help them heal faster and prevent the swelling associated with them.

Within a week, me and the kids were out happily harvesting plantain. Half of it I dehydrated in my Excalibur, the other half I let dry out over night in the house and then did a rough chop/handling of it and filled mason jars with the leaf then filled the jars with olive oil, topping the jar off every time it settled a bit more through the leaves. I put them in my cabinet over my stove and with my extracts in the making, I shook it two to three times a day, leaving it alone for three months. (we had a miserable year that year with the stings, we didn't think to chew the leaves and use them in a pinch!)

The following spring, we had plantain oil at the ready anytime someone was stung and it greatly reduced swelling, pain, and irritation for everyone in the family, from my then five year old son up to me the eldest at thirtyish something. ;)\

The dehydrated plantain leaf I will toss into a crock-pot on low covered well with olive oil, and leave the lid well cracked, you don't want water building up in there. I warm it through well and pull it off to cool when it turns more green than the olive oil. Then strain it and bottle it.

I have used the oil in soaps, lotions, lotion bars, salves, straight, and in a hair conditioner.

But still to this day, our favorite way, is still as the balm on a good old wasp sting, or other bug bite.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Living the slow life hectically!

So much has changed since I had the time to post to this blog way back in March. We bought a house on 10 acres out in the country near the lake (Less than a mile from one of the many places to pull a boat in). We now own three goats, chickens, ducks , rabbits and cats out of creative body parts. We have no visible neighbors but the neighbors we have are absolutely awesome.  I have added this paragraph to  the post below that I did about three weeks ago when I had absolutely no internet on my phone even at the house. I didn’t realize how long it had been since I had been able to post any of our amazing news.

Every morning when I wake up, I still have to question myself to see if I am dreaming or not. We have school custody of my two step-daughters this year, and it has been lovely having both of the girls here instead of just one of them. Reminds me of how different their personalities are too. The first quarter of school went ok at our public school but I realized that the way things are being taught these days is not the education I really wanted for my kids. I wanted them to learn how to think, and logic things through. The kids all had great teachers, and I cannot stress enough how I do not blame the school or the teachers for our decision to home school.  I blame the No Child Left Behind act for effectively tying the hands of educators and making sure that no child is allowed to exceed.
So we have jumped into the world of homeschooling Spawn(6), Demon(7), and Bug(9) right now. After the midterm when winter break happens Tater(13) will be joining them. Her being a social butterfly has made it a difficult decision for her to make. But we have given her the choice and she has chosen to be homeschooled as well.  She just wanted to be Ms Merry Christmas, and go to a Barn warming dance first. Slick(4) is still attending preschool at this point. He needs enough help with his speech that I feel it is the best place for him at this time.
Our goats, Snoopy, Lucy, and Sally have done an excellent job so far being our brush hogs to help us clear off our place. We joke that we need a cow, or a horse, or a llama to eat the grass that the goats leave behind. They eat every weed down to the soil, but only touch the grass if they absolutely have to.
Speaking of the goats we had to make a hard decision this month and put down our beloved dog Charlie. We brought all four of our dogs from town out to the country with us and none of them have made the transition well from being city dogs to country dogs. They have all had problems chasing our critters and Charlie had killed one of our ducks three days before he got loose and attacked Lucy. The only thing that saved Lucy’s life was my husband being able to run like the wind and my father firing a shot in the air to startle Charlie enough that he let Lucy go long enough for her to get away from him. It was a hard decision to make, but we knew that he was fully bonded to us as a family and would have a hard time adjusting to another family. We had tried in the past when we lived in town to give him a home where he didn’t have to be penned up. He will be remembered for a very long time and any new canines in our lives will have to have the same heart, intelligence and goofiness that Charlie gave us unconditionally.
In happier news I got my garlic planted in my new garlic bed and harvested about 5lbs of parsley out of the garden at the old house. I think we are planning on going back out and removing all of the old garden since the new tenants do not seem interested in pursuing the gardening the way we did. Since my parents are their land lords, and they are my friends it makes such a venture easy to take on.
We are going to be getting new floors put in in the following months as well. We had a pipe burst under our kitchen sink and it flooded almost the entire downstairs. Our living room was the only room not affected by what we are jokingly calling the Great Flood of 2013. We are finally going to get to put the hardwood floors in we have dreamed about since we first looked at the house. We are putting down red cedar floors and then coating them with a gym floor coating to protect them from the wear and tear that we put our floors through with 7 plus sets of feet walking on them daily. We are planning to pull up all of the carpet in the house as well so that our allergy/asthma sufferers have an easier time breathing.
On top of all of that good news we also have gotten our outdoor wood furnace delivered and it should be being hooked up in the next week or so.  I hope to get Morin a chainsaw for Yule so that he doesn’t have to use a hand saw for everything. He is amazing and patient and strong enough to do it but he shouldn’t have to.
I am looking forward to winter in our new home. All of the improvements and changes we are working on, they feel like they are never going to be done,  yet I can see how many things we have accomplished just in this first six months here. I couldn’t be prouder of us.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Free Kindle Books and a little rant for 3/1/13

There has been a lot of bloggers complaining about Amazon's new policy changes that keeps them from being paid for listing free kindle book downloads. Well, here is my thoughts on it folks, I don't do this for money, I don't get paid for advertising from Amazon or anyone else. That is one reason I use Blogger. I don't have to pay for the service. I piddle around on the internet at least 3-4 hours a week, so it shouldn't be hard or too annoying to me to start listing some free kindle downloadable books on here. Most of them will be on special to be a free download so make sure to check before hitting the buy it now button that the books are still free. Here is today's downloads...totally free, totally fun, and a little bit of some topics that are near and dear to my own heart.


This next book is not free but it is worth the very small purchace price of .99c.





Saturday, January 12, 2013

The Family Introductions

I have had a number...OK an overwhelming avalanche of new people like my Facebook page Oleo
Acres. With the influx of new people I feel like I need to update my blog, and get a good solid
introduction written. OK, I know me, I can be long winded so today, I am focusing on the basics
of my family.

Of course there is myself. I am a 35 year old pagan, polyamorus, bisexual, mamma of 5. Three
little boys by blood, and the other two are my dfam (daughters from another mother). I am a
crafty, creative, innovative farm chick that prides myself in having the occasional touch of class.
I grew up on a 30 acre hobby farm where my parents raised much of our own food and what we
didn't raise we either bought from our neighbors or traded with them. I am no stranger to
butchering my own meat, nor raising and preserving my own food although much of the things I
once knew as a child has been lost to my memory and years of living the town life.
I have been married twice, the first marriage ended amicably when we realized that we made
better friends than a married couple. We are still friends to this day and my Ex's wife is my best
friend. I married one of the loves of my life just over 5 years ago. He is my Hubs, the man that is my strength, my calm, and the voice of reason when I have lost all of mine.  Between him and the
BF they keep my temperamental fits to a minimum and help me be a better person than I could
ever be on my own. I have had several health issues in the previous years leading to a knee with
no tendons or ligaments really left holding it together, which means I have to move carefully
most of the time to keep from toppling over like a domino, and a 30lb lifting weight limit for the
rest of my life. I have had to come up with very creative ways to achieve what should be simple
tasks. Trust me, I don't mention it much because it is what it is and I have to deal with it so I try
not to complain, however the frustration of having to wait for someone to help me does get to
me from time to time.

Now on about the Hubs. He is 32, and comes from a small town on the Peninsula area of
Washington state. He married his high-school sweetheart at barely 18 and had two beautiful little
girls with her. They divorced several years later due to both of them having grown in different
directions through the years. They both love the girls like there is nothing else in the world that
matters and I am glad to say I am glad my girls have such a loving mother out there to be with
when they aren't with us. Hubs is attending college part time and working full time which means
he is a busy busy man. Somehow he still finds time to help me when he knows that things are getting to me or when he just wants to give me a couple hours of peace. He will be posting some
to our Facebook page off and on I am sure as the mood hits him so I should allow him to say
something about himself.

Our oldest is 12. She is my tween that is going on adulthood. Extremely mature for her age, open,
 willing to ask questions we are happy to answer for her. She has the biggest heart but knows
how to take a deep breath and do what needs to be done despite it not always being pleasant.
She is quirky funny, and keeps us all laughing and eager to spend time with her. She currently
has the responsibility of taking care of all the rabbits we own as well as her own garden plot. She also has been practicing and becoming very proficent with the recurve bow PawPaw got her for Christmas. You will usually hear me refer to her here as Tater.

Our Bug is 8, she is our little sweet princess, in most senses of the word. She loves her garden spot, and loves picking things out of it and planting them, however doesn't like getting dirty that much. She is my girly girl, the one that is focused on pink and purple and Barbies and Monster High. She adores her sister, is annoyed by her brothers, and has a smile that can make even the biggest grump smile along with her.

Demon and Spawn are our two boys that are just barely 11 months apart. Demon is 6 and my book worm type kid. Usually the quiet one, the one that is easy to please, and tries hard to please everyone. Don't get me wrong, he has a temper, but it is usually well controlled. He doesn't like to work hard physically, and if he breaks a sweat he begs that he is too tired and needs to go to bed. We are working with him on this. He does like team sports, but is timid around animals of all sorts. He is my little ray of sunshine and pops off with some of the most profound things out of the blue.

Spawn is 5, and has some special needs. He has speech delays and it has been tossed around that he may be ADHD or on the Autism spectrum. However we have learned a multitude of ways to work with him with his sensory needs and his quirks and have found that he functions best when not medicated. This may change as he gets older, but I see him improving daily, learning to take a deep breath and calm himself when he would usually have exploded sky high. Spawn is empathetic, a lover -and- a fighter, funny, bubbly, and delightfully unpredictable.

Last but not least, is Slick (born during an ice storm that my poor father had to drive me to the hospital on roads that were sheeted with more ice than an ice skating rink) He is three, so close to four that it almost doesn't matter, and despite being the baby of the family he is well able to hold his own against his older siblings. He just started preschool this year and despite a speech delay on his part has excelled in all other areas of his education. He is my little ninja. If we leave him alone in his bedroom in the front of the house, to use the bathroom in the middle of the house, he will have made a silent trip to the back of the house undetected to get something that he knows he isn't supposed to have to try to tear it apart or taste it or figure it out back in his bedroom. It is amazing how many times we have called poison control for Slick. A nurse named Karen knows me by my voice when I call.

All in all these are the people in our home. My family. The people that make Oleo Acres and the dream we are working for that much more important. Feel free to comment, ask questions, make suggestions for topics. I will appreciate every one.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Absences and busy scheduals

Greetings to those people who think that perhaps we have fallen off the face of the earth! Things have been extraordinarily busy here as we have been house/land hunting and the kiddos have started their extracurricular activities, and me and the Mr have both been ill. Despite all of those issues we have had some huge self-sufficiency gains in the last month.

The tomato harvest is pretty well over, unless the new sproutlets that have decided to bloom out again does so in a hurry before it frosts. Peppers, I am swimming in them. I picked a little over two pounds of jalapeno peppers today.  We have gotten a few cantaloupe from our one lonely little vine and the poor lonely okra plant that was planted has been trying to make up for it's lack of having a friend near by.  My herbs are making sure that my house smells constantly like I am cooking as I am using fresh in everything and still having to dehydrate to keep up with the bounty that the basil, mints, rosemary (I thought they were supposed to be slow growers?) and parsley have been producing. The parsley had dropped off around the end of the hot spell mostly due to an absolutely horrible aphid infestation that I had that I thought had killed the parsley, my pepper plants, and my kale off completely...Nah, just stunted there growth for about a month and now all of them are doing well. Kale and Swiss Chard are as beautiful as ever now and prolific as well.

We haven't dug the sweet potatoes yet, but I sit and let my mouth water just thinking about it every time I go out and see how far and fast my sweet potatoes have grown. Winter squash is in the ground and doing well and started blooming this week. I hope to get a few to put up at least for this winter as it always makes wonderful comfort foods when it is cold.

I do have a cautionary tale however for whoever may be interested...Luffa gourds should not ever be planted where you want anything else to grow. I made the mistake of planting them in my raised beds this year. They have grown so fast in the last month that they have taken over my yard, my raised beds, a swimming pool ladder and have encroached into my traditional bed as well despite many attempts to keep it cut back. Now if you have a porch or trellis, or even a gazebo that you want to have a beautiful green leafy shade screen on, these things would be the way to go. They thrive in the heat, and have been really enjoying this fall weather too. I think next year they will be planted around my front porch to use as a privacy screen and shade for the summer months. And I only planted 4 seeds total btw. Just to give a little perspective.

So many things to do yet before tucking everything in for winter, but so many beautiful things have happened this year that I can't help but start thinking ahead to next spring and beyond. Hopefully I will have more time in the coming weeks to keep things going here a bit better than I have done in the past months.

Blogging seems to be a serious business and although this one is focused mainly on my gardening, there is so much more in our lives right now than the garden. I have tried to keep things here as politically correct and focused on the gardening part of our lives as possible but when I go back and read the things I have posted previously, they all fall flat. One dimensional slices of our lives that make us sound clinical, boring, and dull. We are anything but! I hope you will give me a chance to show you all more about us as I work on opening myself, and our family up a bit more to share with you and yours. For now though, while I have the house to myself, there is a bed of peppers out there mocking me with their full plants.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

I am such a beginner at so many things I am trying to become knowledgeable about in short order. I believe that with GMO's raising their heads, and the current economy being less than stellar, and watching food prices rise all the time due to the wide spread drought world wide, that things are bound to get a whole lot worse before they start looking better again. There are lots of days that I feel pretty well trapped where I am in my little rural town with some rules that are more stringent than the bigger cities around us. We are lucky in that we have a pretty big yard, and our landlords give us almost complete free reign as long as we keep things looking neat and orderly. Not hard to do with my raised beds that I am so proud of.

My raised beds in march of this year.

They looked so neat and perfect this spring when I started putting my plants in. Nothing like the over grown jungle that resides out in my back yard now. But out of that overgrown jungle, before the drought hit full force, I was bringing in between 20 and 60 tomatoes a day. Plus a few cucumbers, more broccoli, and my peppers are just starting to go nuts. I have been dehydrating like crazy, made spaghetti sauce, salsa, and jam. And then I gave most of my dehydrated stuff away to some of my family when they helped another family out and gained three more mouths to feed for a little bit. I loved being able to do that and help them out. To be able to feel like I -could- do that without putting us in a bind.

Everything that you read about prepping, everything you read about food storage or survival tends to focus on putting yourself first.  PEOPLE! Isn't that how we -got- in this situation? Putting ourselves first? I agree, you have to take care of yourself so you can take care of others but taking care of  yourself to the exclusion of all else just seems a little silly and counter productive to me.  I am not going to go that way. I am going to extend my help, my expertise to everyone I can. Starting with looking for a few freebie Kindle books from Amazon to share links with from time to time.

Here are today's












These were all free at the time of my posting, however I never know when Amazon and their many publishers will change the prices of their ebooks.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Quick post, will go for the long shot later, but if you have ever been interested in dehydrating your food, enter this contest it is SO worth it! a Rafflecopter giveaway