Herbal Salves

We use our homemade herbal salves for so many things. Often our volunteers ask about them, so here goes!

They very simple to make and yield such wonderful goodies for us to use…most from our gardens here on Herbhome. Good herbs, grown on the homestead, can add a lot to your lifestyle. We cook with them, use them in our soaps and Dream Pillows and make many teas, tinctures and salves, all out of our gardens and the woods on our place.

We garden organically, so our herbs are grown in healthy soil, without pesticides and , being the crazy granny lady, they are talked to pretty much daily😇

The wild plants we use are harvested responsibly. Many of our native plant colonies have been devastated over the last decade or so, due to the current popularity of herbal cures. We try to promote responsible foraging, only taking small amounts , reseeding and protecting these wild treasures. I usually will only harvest every third year, alternating between colonies.If one of the colonies seems weak, it is left in peace.

Our old timers all knew where the herbs were, and would harvest for sale, but most of them left the “medicine patches ” be. Just like a lot of us know where to look for items in a grocery store they knew where the plants were.

The process is very basic, just changing up the oils and herbs to match your needs.  For instance, if I want a light, smooth salve, I will use something like grapeseed oil. I tend to use organic olive oil because it is so nice on my skin.

Most salves are made with certain proportions of oil to beeswax. I use all organics in ours. Just me bring pickey, but they are for my family 😁

I like to make mine with nine parts infused oil and one part beeswax, with one capsule of Vit E per cup as a preservative. Using a double boiling to prevent scorching, I melt the beeswax and slowly still in the oils. I add the vitamin E, and then pour into a sterilized jar or tin. Label, label, label!

To make the infused oil, I take freshly harvested herbs (you can use dried, if you need to) and macerate them (crush  or break) filling a quart jar.Then I cover them with the oil of choice…using a dinner knife or narrow spatula to remove air bubbles. I seal, label and set them back for six weeks . Shake the jar gently daily, and if the level of oil drops, top it off.

When you are ready to make your salve, strain the oil for use.

If you want a stronger infusion, replace the herbs with frsh and let infuse several weeks more.

I make Comfrey, for bruises, aches and pains, Arnica for sore muscles, Chickweed and Plantain, for bugbites, Rosemary and Lavender with Yarrow for infection and Lemon Balm and Lavender for soft skin..

There are many other great combinations, but this is a good, basic collection for your herb cabinet! As always, we make no medicinal claims, these are just things we use.

In Crafting Mode â˜ș

With the first of our Flux festivals coming up, I am getting really excited! What can I make that will spark someones Imagination ? Stir their Creative mind ? Create a sense of wonder, relaxation or boost their inner beauty ?

I have ideas for some funky corsets for our steampunk fans, and a couple of ladies top hats !

A new idea for adult fairy wings, some fabulous gypsy patchwork skirts and belly dance scarves….and of course our luscious herbal soaps..have some yummy new scents for this season!

Fun wings and crowns for the youngsters, ribbon twirlers…while a few crown beauties for the elves who wander through…mayhap even a crown or two to inspire a mermaid.

I’ve even made a couple of paper lanterns to light your way in our magic cosmic wood…

I made two elegant formal cloaks thus winter..pricey but stunning IMHO lol…plus a handful of robes and capes for the adventurers.

There are collections of herbs and salts for various alchemy in or out of the kitchen, haha!

So come to Cosmic Flux or Byrdfest 14 prepared to spend your coin! Not to mention, having the privelege of visiting with me…the Hawke!

If they do well , I will have some herb starts available as well…

Volunteering with Us đŸ˜Š

Over the last twenty years we have enjoyed volunteers from all over the world. Many of them have become family of heart, returning often.We are trying to share the concept that everyone can work toward being more sustainable, a few steps at a time.

As the years have gone by we’ve learned a lot about what works for us and what doesn’t! I thought I’d share a little about what a volunteer can expect here and what we are looking in return.

While we do ask our volunteers to help out, it is mainly about sharing our love for our local culture and the beauty of our area. If we can create a love for it, hopefully it will help preserve it for future generations!

Our life is fairly primitive, but we love it!

Most of the year, volunteers stay in tents down on the campsite.Our campsite is also our native plant garden..with paths winding around colonies of wonderful plants, some of them rare or endangered.While you are here you’ll learn about them.

The bath house has a cold water shower and compost potty…the shower is gravity flow, and has a wood burning hot water tank. The walls have art ….paintings by different volunteers..my favorite was by Charlene, She was from Quebec…all of 99 pounds soaking wet! She came in mid Febuary and it SNOWED!

When she came up to the house the next morning, we asked if she’d been warm enough! Her painting was better with snow coming down…😂

We teach as we go, sharing not only how we do something, but why. Often there be another way of doing it…even a better way..so we try to share those as well.

Another goal is helping volunteers learn how to do things, teaching old time skills…between us we know many of the old ways of doing things..I grew up with herbs both traditional, and the wild ones, so that’s a big focus of what I share.

We set down to three family style meals, sharing Our day and making plans for the next one.

We also take off hiking to the scenic areas nearby…floating the Buffalo during season, and encourage our guests to visit places like Horseshoe Canyon Ranch to climb.

We ask folks to each help with a house chore and an outside chore and then help a few hours each morning with whatever project is in the works. Many hosts ask for more hours, but we have been happy with this arrangement.

Most of our projects are aimed at making a minimum impact on our land…our home was designed using passive solar concepts, and utilizing wind patterns and passive design to help cool it. Our gardens are developed using a meld of French Intensive gardening and horticulture concepts. We forage wild plants in season, hunt and fish..using several different methods of preserving our harvests. Much of our home medical care is herbal based.

We try to share the ideas behind all this and love hearing ideas from our volunteers as well.We have learned so much from them !

Drinking Water-Our Most at Risk Resource

We had a good solid rain this am..so glad. Fire at Hawksbill Crag.

Seems like water is on the front of my mind.  The pipelines and the hog farm issue, over population…high usage…

All of the above! People in general just seem to take potable water for granted. I believe it to be our most at risk natural resource.

Several years ago ,we made a trip to Cali to visit family. I took Neill to see a place we lived for a few years. It was so shocking, It was heartache to see it! Where it has been much like our area here,  it is now wall to wall houses for miles! Stacked up the hillsides, almost able to lean out and touch the neighbors home…

The first thought after I recovered was “Where in the world are they getting the water for all this? ”

Some years ago there was an effort to buy water from Arkansas..it was rejected…Thank goodness!

But how many of these homes are even conscious of their water use?

How many homes reduce their water use , by installing a more efficient toiliet? Here in our area..we run into problems with this as well. When we wanted to hook Carrie’s home up to electric, a full flush toilet was required. We had talked about an incinolet, but the young man who we talked to said they keep trying to get them approved  but so far no luck! That’s sad…

How  many of us leave the water running while we brush our teeth?

What about industrial use..are there any options to their methods?

What about commercial animal farms? I have a deep respect for the family who own and operate the hog farm at Mt. Judea, yet maintain an even deeper fear of the results of a leak in their facility! Rather than crucify them, we need to change the laws.

We MUST protect our water ways ….remember Green Forrest?

A whole township of home wells   and springs contaminated by a chicken processing facilty…

The proposed pipelines are not something that will just affect people who live far from us! It sets legal precedent for other projects, like the Diamond Pipeline Arkansas is facing.

Don’t accept what anyone says..research for yourself! Get the facts…form an educated opinion and the act. Protest, peacefully and legally. Be proactive! Do your part on an individual level. If you can’t make large changes, do a small thing each day! They add up !

Our local area is so blessed ,both in our people and our resources. If all of us who love it work together, rather than being divided, we can preserve those treasures.

 

 

Daily Blog : Veteran’s Day Friday November 11

Our 21st Anniversary!

How funny… Our marriage is old enough to drink !

Today started out about 4 AM…. With the coonhounds howling up the hollow …Jess treed and Thor was with her. She is so like her mama, Reba, she locks onto a tree and won’t let go…good girl.

Had a good class with David today, then took a load of trash off for Carrie.

Neill had been working on the bathroom ..getting there, just waiting on money enough to buy the two bags of insulation. For the walls and ceiling!  Think it’s going to be really cute.

Talked to an inquiring volunteer – Jerome Allen..-seems really enthusiastic with a lot of offer….. I have learned tho to only count on them once they walk through the door LOL ! The volunteers love a very loose life style…plans change often. The good ones let you know their plans have changed..They are the treasures . 😇

It was cold this am..34… Clear ,beautiful autumn day!

Don’t forget that Monday night is full moon…it is the closest it has been since 1948 !

Thanks to all our veterans for their Service. You are our heroes ! You deserve every recognition possible!

I might not like the war you fought in, or the President who made decisions, but YOU deserve all our Thanks !

Have a good nite tonite!

 

 

Seasonal Almanac

I had a moment of awareness hit today. Much of what we do is seasonal. We live close to the earth  and the seasons have a great influence on what we are doing on the homestead.

I have always known this. Yet I am doing a lot of “When this happens then it is time to do this…” I think it is time to have a special section set up this way – follow the process for a year and see how it all begins to align.

Fall-October

This month is time to set out bulbs- Daffodils go into the ground, Amaryllis, Iris= it is time to set out and mulch all the wonderful Mums that we’ve been decorating with.. If you get them out now , they will establish deep enough roots to survive the winter freezes.

How do you like to use your Daffodils? I like to naturalize them – the effect suits me… Some people like more formal arrangements and they can be very stunning that way –

Narcissus  (Paper whites) are lovely- we always used to bring them in and force them for Christmas to go with the Poinsettia’s-

Now is the time to give your perennial herbs a haircut- harvesting about two thirds of the growth – I tend to make a lot of tinctures now- getting my home remedies ready for the winter. Made goldenrod, plantain, basil  and several others just the other day.

I prefer to use a tea or decoction over tincture, but a tincture is a safe and effective way to store many of the herbs. I dry and then store a lot of herbs – have a nice garden cabinet friend Sue gave me – it creates a nice dark shelf unit to store my harvested herbs. These beautiful fall days I carry a pocket full of wally world bags with me and my pocket knife and forage as I hike – the biggest issue is to be sure you clearly label you harvest- date gathered , where , what and the preparation- I also add other info – like the moons phase it was gathered in – important to me for research purposes.

Be sure to keep your herbs well watered unless it actually freezing – they are building a strong root system for the winter months- even though you may not see leaf growth.

Herbs tend to take longer to germinate than veggies- instead of two weeks they can take 5-6 weeks.

I plant seeds that need stratification  (several months of cold weather ) now and be sure to set up id markers – my old lady brain forgets where I planted things and we also have a lot of helpers come through with our volunteers 🙂

Now is a great time to id trees – the leaves make the ones like sugar maples easy to find- take the time to learn the bark and leaves of two or three you are interested in.

I like to advise that students follow three herbs throughout a whole year- what does it look like in  the winter months – how does it look when it first comes up in spring- what plants or trees does it grow nearby- what of type of soil does it like- how much sun hits it? How much water  does it use. does the color change as it grows larger?

Are there insects that live in it? Can you learn what the job insect does for that plant?

All these things help find the plant colony through different times of the year.

Livestock is coming into heat now as well- goaties are a good example- now folks who want to hit the Easter buckling market will breed earlier.. it just depends on what your need is. I like to dry up my does to be sure they are very healthy when it is time to kid. As a small farmer I have that advantage.. that intensive management is my market advantage.

Now is also the time to be planning for which plants to start from seed in last winter- what plants do you want ready to set out in the Spring- how long does it take them to be large enough to set out?

What plants are in bloom now?  Here are a few – White Snakeroot,  Heal-All, Wild Indigo,most of the Aster Family are still in bloom. My Spearmint, Peppermint , Catnip are all blooming still.

The Honeyoye Strawberries are sending out runners. My mouth is watering all over again !

Herbhome’s Mission

Mission? That works 🙂

Several of our volunteers have asked that we post our view of what we are about – so here goes…

I thought it would be tough to write about just what we believe and why we do what we do. Surprisingly it is fairly easy.

We want to pass on the love we have for our hills and hollows and be sure that the homestead skills don’t get lost. we hope to show that sustainability doesn’t have to happen in an instant- but can be achieved one baby step at a time.

We can create a better world by taking the dreams in our head and using our hands and skills to bring it to life.

I think that we interact with the “real world” daily, like it or not. Maybe we can make a difference by the small things we change on a daily basis. I used to be one of the loud , aggressive, up front people for the causes I thought were important. Now I think my role has changed. It is more about teaching, making small changes- “baby steps” each one making the word a little better. My best image is of the pebble dropping into the still pool . each ripple going out , touches and changes the next one.

untitled-5

We love the hills and hollows here and treasure the waters – the Buffalo – our Creeks and Springs are all  rich and beautiful. The culture here is deeply ingrained in our community and we are gifted with a good array of skills that are important to pass done so they won’t be lost.

Our volunteers from the  different work exchange programs we are involved in hopefully walk away with a love for our area- the culture and people as well as a respect for the ecology that is so rich.

I think sustainability starts one person at a time.. if we can pass that on, then we have achieved a big goal!