Herbal Momma's School of Domestic Arts
Herbal Momma, aka, Kristine Farley loves everything herbal, but has an infinity for all domestic and home arts.
This blog is a journal of family and domestic art activities that will be published in her forthcoming book,
Herbal Momma's School of Domestic Arts.

April 18, 2014

Wattle Fence Raised Bed

We made this cute and useful raised bed.  I wrote an article about it for Heritage Homesteaders.
See it here Wattle Fence Raised Bed

Maybe your yard could use one too? A great DIY project.

April 14, 2014

Whole Dandelion Tincture DIY

Are there little suns in your yard today?  Our yard is beautiful shades of green with bright yellow delights here and there.  Dandelion flowers make me happy.  They remind me of the sun, even when it's not shining.

This plant is considered a "weed" to many.  But to me a weed is only "a misplaced plant".  It was created by God for the benefit and use of man.  Even if only for the grandchildren to have a picking contest.

Spring is the season to make this herbal rememdy that our family has found very useful. 
Whole Dandelion Tincture.  When we got married my dear husband had moderate to severe tree allergies that caused runny noise, itchy and weepy eyes and a scratchy throat.  After using this tincture for a few months twice a day before tree pollen season he no longer had any symptoms. 

We have grandchildren with allergies and the sympthoms have been releaved with using this tincture twice a day, even during allergy season. 

It is easy and fun to make.

Dig the whole plant, several will do.  Take the flowers off.  Cut the root from the leaves. As you can see in the picture.
 I use a salad spinner.  Wash the flowers first and place into blender.

Wash the leaves in the salad spinner also and place into blender.

For the roots I use a scrub brush under flowing water, removing root hairs, 
and any parts that I can't get clean.  Cut into 1" lengths and place into blender.

Add 1 1/2 cup Raw Honey and 2 to 3 cups 80 proof Vodka.  Whirl until completely purreed.

Pour into jar, cap, label with date.  

Let set for at least 2 weeks.  Shake twice daily.

Strain out liquid and place into blender.
Add a few drops of Lemon Essential Oil.  Throughly blend.
Bottle and label.  Store in refrigerated.  Keeps for at least 1 year.

Dandelions support healthy liver function. Raw Honey helps with seasonal allergies.  Lemon Essential Oil adds to the liver support and helps this tincture tastes good.

For additional information on Dandelions:
Dandelion Benefits on Health
Health Benefits of Dandelions

I purchase my honey locally or from Azure Standard.
Lemon essential oil is available from  Liberty Naturals or Mountain Rose Herbs.
Dandelions FREE for the picking at our house :)

April 11, 2014

DIY Emergency Candles

The BSA Scout Motto is "Be Prepared".
One of our family's goal is to be prepared, as best as we can.

Light is one of the areas that we were lacking.
 I have been gathering candle making supplies for awhile and wanted to have safe, inexpensive candles for our loved ones to use during power outages.  I knew I wanted handles and used clear mugs with handles.  Clear because I wanted the most radiant light, handles to carry, if necessary.
 Here is the supplies.  You can see that most of the candles are used.
 I did purchase these tapers at the thrift store for $.25 each.  These were used instead of wicks.

 I measured the tapers according to the container that would be used. 
They are all placed on a cookie sheet covered in layers of newspaper.
 I used a clean #10 tin can with a bended "spout" for a candle double boiler.
 The first real step was to pour a small amount of melted wax into the bottom of each container and hold the taper in place for a few moments for it to set.
 I added the was of similar colors.  I tried to remove the wicks from the candles that I was melting down, but didn't worry about getting them all.  They settle onto the bottle of the pouring can and were easy to wipe out at the end.
 I did measure the tapers a little taller than my desired wax level.
I poured in the melted wax.
 Some of the tapers tipped off to the side a little.
These I just stabilized with a few strips of masking take.
 Now we have a selection of candles to use in case of emergency.

  "For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." 2 Corinthians 4:6

May you and yours always be in the light!

March 28, 2014

March Project List ~ Update

At the beginiing of the month an article of mine was published in Heritage Homesteaders .  Here is the list with my progress.

- sew aprons and pot holders
I got out a bin that had some old towel and fabric strips already sewn to a backing.  I finished sewing and cut them into pot holder size.  Sewed binding on to finished 2 potholders. ~ For the aprons I asked my oldest daughter if she would finish a couple that I had already cut out and she did.  They are beautiful!

- start braccasis, tomato, pepper and salad green seeds
 Yes, they are doing well.  The tomatoes are about 3 1/2" high.  The peppers have not germinated well, only 50% germination.  Salad greens are ready to transplant into the garden with cloches.

- teach hand crafted herbal soap class
The class went well.  We made Patchouli Spice, Lavender Rosemary (my favorite) and Lemon Poppy Seed.  Learned cold and hot processed.  Then I made another batch of soap, Shampoo Bars.

- write chapter 2 of Herbal Momma’s School of Domestic Arts book
I was able to coordinate and do rough drafts for 11 chapters.  They just flowed together, but need a lot of editing.

- remake used candles
Didn't get done.

- propagate ever-bearing raspberries starts
Cut and started 18, but only have 6 that took and survived.  But yeah, we have 6!

- write 2 Herbal Momma’s blog posts
Wrote and posted 8, including this one.

- work on fire building skills with family
Didn't get it done.

- write 1 post for Heritage Homesteaders  
Done.  Look for it any day.

- go to sewing expo 
I went on Thursday by myself.  Friday I watched our grandchildren so our oldest could go with our youngest daughter.  Then Saturday we went together.  It was such a great time, but the girls we helpful by say, "that will be great for you...you should buy 3 yards of this, etc.".  So I spent more, or should I say, my wad, with them advising me :)
- find hunters safety course
I am so excited that the course is Online with a 5 hour On-Site Safety Evaluation.  We are scheduling taking the online part in April.

- make salt cured lemons 
The lemon turned out so wonderful and smell delightful.  This coming Sunday I am making a Shrimp Tortellini  dish with Garlic Lemon Sauce using some of them. 

- put together essential oil “pain” blend
This is the perfect help for sore hands, arms and backs from all the pruning and building a Wattle Raised Bed.  So happy it is done.

- prune fruit trees, roses and berries

- investigate raising pigs 
We decided not to raise them now.

- work on the Wirth family history
I didn't get very much done.  I have a bunch of pictures that I plan on uploading and identifying individuals in them.

~ Each day, week and month has its own "ebbs and flow".  The weather adds another dimension to my "to do" list.  I am happy with my progress and appreciate my family's help.  It has been a wonderful month! 

March 26, 2014

Nettles and Herb Book Review

Spring is here and it is time to pick Nettles this week.  Who would like to join me?  I'll be going on Wednesday or Thursday.  Of course, it will probably be raining or at least drizzling, but that is par for the course of living in the beautiful Northwest.

Nettles is only one of the great "Spring Greens" that are available this time of year.  I love Nettles!  And, YES they do sting.  So we don our boots, rain coat and some gloves along with a basket and scissors and off we go.

Before I pick any wild plants, aka "wild-crafting", I like to say a little prayer thanking God for His wonderful creations and the benefit this plant will be to my family and I also like to thank the plants. 

When wild-crafting I don't harvest all of the plants in one area.  I take up to 1/4 and no more.  This will ensure the sustainability of the plant and preservation of its eco-system.

The sting of nettles is neutralized by steaming, cooking or steeping. 

Nettles are delicious, nutritious and support a healthy immune system.
Healing Benefits include:
combats fatigue & anemia
relief for allergies
supports urinary health
reduces joint pain and inflamation

I like to harvest enough to dehydrate for tea, blanch for greens that I freeze and have a traditional pot of Nettle Soup.  The frozen greens can be used in quiches, frittata, lasagna, soups, etc.  Nettle tea in the winter is like a cup of "sunshine".  They are so rich in chlorophyll.  During World War 1 and II it was used to dye uniforms.

Nettle Tea is made by placing  1/4 cup fresh or 2 tablespoons dried nettles into a quart jar or tea pot.  Pour boiling water over herb.  Cover and let set for 10 to 20 minutes.  Strain and enjoy.  Sweeten with honey, if desired.  You may also combine nettles with other herbs, like peppermint, for a wonderful tea.

Nettle Soup
1 onion, chopped
4 potatoes, scrubbed and cubed
1/2 gallon or more of freshly cut nettle tops
garlic powder, salt and pepper, to taste
3 cups milk or more

 Place onion and potatoes into Dutch-oven with 2 cups of water.  Cook over medium heat until tender.  Add nettles and cook until wilted.  Puree vegetable in blender or food processor.  Add milk to desired consistency.  Season by adding garlic powder, salt and pepper.  Serve with a dollop of sour cream.

Foraging & Feasting 
A Field Guide and Wild Food Cookbook 
 This beautiful herb profile of nettles comes from my favorite "spring" herb book.  The reason I say "spring", because most of the wild-crafting I do is in the spring.  This book is a cookbook also with master recipes that provide you with lots of options for preparation.  It shows you  gorgeous illustrations and information for plant identification that is an excellent resource for wild-crafting.
You, too, will just drool over the beautiful illustrations, fabulous detailed information and delicious recipes.  If you enjoy cookbooks or herb books, this book will be a special addition to your personal library.

Available from Botanical Arts Press and Amazon