Sunday, October 20, 2013

How to harvest Echinacea and make an Echinacea Tincture

With Fall upon us it becomes that time to harvest.

I just love the harvest season.

I plant and cultivate all summer long, wait patiently for the plants to come forth with their blooms and and strong root system.

One of my favorite herbs is Echinacea.

Echinacea has been a staple in our home for over 26 years. We use it for colds and flu every year.

We have always bought our herb from a reputable online company and we make our own capsules.

But, 5 years ago I decided to plant Echinacea with the goal of someday harvesting it.

Well, as you know years go by and it doesn't get done.

Until this year. I MADE myself go out to the garden and dig up about 30 stalks. I have over 300.

I wasn't sure how this was going to turn out or how many stalks I would need to make a quart of tincture.

After wrestling with the roots and my shovel (about 30 minutes) I decided that would be plenty and I would get more if I needed.

Working with my daughter, I rinsed the roots with the hose sprayer. I passed them to her and she clipped the leaves and roots off and put them in our basket.

When everything was washed we brought them in the house.

We managed to LOSE all the pictures of this part of the process......ugghhhh!

But we do have them from the chopping stage.

Here goes:

This has been chopped off the stalk. This is VERY dirty. Do the washing outside, but when you have a big clump like will cut in half and realize there are rocks and more mud inside that you didn't even touch with the hose. So...please wash don't want dirt in your tincture. 

 Wash all the leaves...they should be green, not yellow. Then chop and set aside. 

Add to jar with chopped roots and layer. Compact down as much as you can. 

Add 95% proof Vodka all the way to top and seal. Put in a dark place and shake once a day. This will be ready for straining in about 8 weeks. The longer it sits the stronger it will be. 

When our 8 week time is up I will post the finished product! 

Share you favorite tincture recipe. We'd love to hear from you!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Pumpkin Bread and Wild Berry Vanilla Tea

The coop is in full FALL swing.

The chicks are pulling out their wooly socks and tall boots.

This chick is loving all things FALL.

The air is crisp.

The leaves are turning their hues.

The days are getting shorter.

The harvest is coming in.

And we are cuddling up with a blanket, some home-made pumpkin bread and a hot cup of tea .

Now on to make soap! Gotta keep those pin feathers clean!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

What do you believe?

Have you ever looked up at the stars at night?

We live way out in the country where there is no light pollution. On a clear night you can see billions of stars. I mean billions....

The Milky Way is in full view, the constellations telling their stories across the sky.

It always puts me in awe of our Universe and our Creator.

There was once a man who lived under the stars. His universe consisted of a desert, a wife and no children.

He lived a life of significance within his nation, but what he longed for was a son.

One day the Lord said to him, "Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward."

This troubled Abram for he said, "What can you give me Lord, for I remain childless. You have given me no children; to a servant in my household will be my heir." Gen. 15:2

Then the word of the Lord came to him: "This man will not be your heir, but a son coming from your own body will be your heir." He took him outside and said, "Look up at the heavens and count the stars---if indeed you can count them." Then He said, "So shall your offspring be."

Abram believed the Lord. Gen 15:4-6

Abram BELIEVED the Lord. Let me say that again....Abram BELIEVED the Lord.

Abram had been waiting on the Lord to give him a son for YEARS! He was 99 before he conceived a child. His circumstances were saying the opposite. He had lived in the "shame" of having no son to carry on his legacy. Everything in the natural told him that this would never happen. That he would remain childless.

Not only did God say he would have a son, but he told him to look up at the stars and count them....and so shall his offspring be.

Now, follow me here. Abram is a man. No different than you and I. Real feelings, real misgivings, real emotions, real doubt, real questions and really without a son. Not only is he told he will have a son in his old age, but he's told he will have offspring as many as the stars.

Would this make you fall over? Would this make you question your sanity?

Everything in his life screamed the opposite. Abram had a choice here. He was either going to tell himself that he was crazy and dismiss the idea or he was going to believe.

He chose to believe.

He isn't believing in himself.

He isn't believing in good fortune.

He is believing in the WORD spoken to him by his Creator. The Creator of the universe. The one who put those stars into place.

How often do we believe our circumstances? How often do we allow our circumstances to dictate what we believe?

I believe Abram had a hope of a preferred future. It all stemmed around having a son that could carry on his name, his legacy.

What do you believe?

Are you allowing your circumstances to dictate your belief? Are you allowing what you can physically see with your eyes dictate what you believe about your future?

Do you have a hope for a preferred future?

Walk out tonight and look at the stars. Get quiet and listen for that still small voice to speak His promise to you.


Monday, July 15, 2013

Diving In

Ever hear that song by Steven Curtis Chapman called "Dive"?


It's a song explaining my life right now.

Type 1 Diabetes and Celiac all rolled into one!

My 15 yr old Farmhouse Baker was recently diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. We spent 3 days in the hospital wrapping our minds around the fact that our healthy daughter could have such a disease.

After countless hours of needles, insulin, poking, IV's and doctors we were able to figure out how we might live with our new lifestyle.

I knew of people with this disease, thinking that maybe it had to do with their diet. BOY WAS I WRONG! So far from the truth!

I became educated and humbled all in the same hour.

This disease is an auto-immune disease that affects the pancreas. It shuts down the body's ability to produce insulin.

It can be familial, (family passed down) or from a virus. We don't have any of this on either side of the family for as far back as we know.

They (the docs) think she contracted a virus that shut her insulin makers down.

Let me educate you a little: (it's the teacher in me!)....

Your pancreas secretes insulin to carry your carbohydrates to your cells. It's the "key" that unlocks the door for your carbs to move in and be taken to where the body needs the fuel. Carbs are fuel for our bodies.

When the "key" (insulin) isn't unlocking the door....then they bounce around and dump into your bloodstream. This produces HIGH sugar levels.

We knew something was amiss with our girl when she began complaining of being INCREDIBLY thirsty. She couldn't get enough to drink. Then as summer approached (just a week or so into her thirstiness) we noticed she was VERY thin.

Off to the scale. 10 pounds down.

Off to the pediatrician we go.

Yep, sugars were at 486.

Off to ER we go.

That was 8 weeks ago.

We have cried, shouted, hugged and sang and accepted this call.

We don't understand why God has chosen her, but we know He wastes nothing.

I am so proud of this girl! She hasn't let this stop her from ANYTHING!

She has written a touching song that the Father put on her heart. It was the words He spoke to her in the dark of the night, when she was frightened and feeling alone.  It will make you cry.

Life is definitely different. Shots, pokes and needles will be her life. Always making sure we have her medication, needles, glucometer and extra juice on hand at all times. Carb counting has become quite the "real math". And educating her friends has been fun. They all scramble to be the first to give her an injection!

But, it doesn't come without it's dangers. Uncontrolled and we could have kidney failure, coma, and a host of other problems!

So thankful she has taken ownership.

On the flip side:

For 2 weeks now she has been complaining of not being hungry and when she eats she feels horrible. She's lost 6 more pounds.

We go tomorrow for a Celiac test. Of course nothing is definitive yet, but we see a pattern.

So, we are phasing out gluten and transitioning to gluten free.

I would love to hear from all my friends that have gone gluten free, or have any gluten free recipes that you have tried and can say ...."this was great!"

Diving in!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Farmhouse Fashionista Bat Mitzvah

We just finished one of those whimsical, yet foundational weekends that you read about in all the novels.

This was our 4th born's Bat Mitzvah. A tradition that goes back to the ages.

I've had some friends asking what this is and why we choose to make this a part of our lives.

I am no theologian nor do I want to be, but I will share with you why we make this celebration a part of our children's lives.

Have you ever participated in an event that transcends time? An event that takes you back and propels you forward all at the same time?

That is kind of what this is like for us.

There are a lot of ways to celebrate milestones in your children's lives. We do it by taking pictures, having birthday parties, commencements, keeping journals, etc. These are all traditions we use to mark important times in our lives. Traditions are ways to create memories, to bring togetherness within families and to mark an important life event.

A Bat/Bar Mitzvah is simply a tradition that dates back to ancient days. It's a celebration of a young woman or young man who has chosen, by their own will, to make the God of their father their God. The name Bat mean "daughter", Mitzvah means "good deed or commandment". So to be a Bat Mitzvah it means to be a "Daughter of the Commandments." We find great significance in this as we find that in our society we become a disciple of what ever we seek. We desire that our children become disciples of the Most High.

We have 5 children that we are bringing up in the admonition of the Lord. Our desire is to train them in the way THEY should go so that in the end they will not depart from it. It's life long training. It's not convenient, but it's purposeful. It's tedious and full of unpredictability. It's taxing and exhilarating all at the same time. Like trying to get a kite to stay in flight when the air is turbulent. Sometimes it's high flying, sometimes it comes crashing down. But no matter what we always have a hold of the kite string and can guide it through the shifting air if we hold it at just the right length.

As our children navigate through their childhood we strive to teach them to fear God and keep His commands. John 14:21 We do this by our teaching and conversation with them as well as modeling it before them.  As we know more is caught than taught.

As the years pass by we teach them from the Word. One of the things we like to do is to look up their Torah portion. That is a portion of scripture from the first 5 books of the Bible that corresponds to their birthdate. We believe that this portion has significant meaning for their lives. We have found that everyone of the Torah portions for our children has had a specific message for them. The theme of each of their portions has always described what they have had to work through in their childhood and where they may have to continue to pursue the Father for their future. We talk about these passages throughout their childhood. They come to us when they are ready to take on the responsibility for their own walk with God. It's at that time that we discuss them publicly proclaiming their faith.

When that time comes we set aside a four day event.  We host friends and family in our home for a few days for time to encourage that young person. We hold a ring ceremony where they are given a purity ring to where on their right hand. They choose an inscription in Hebrew that they believe will be a reminder of their covenant with the Father. There's nothing magical about the ring, it simply signifies that they have made a covenant and it's their to remind them so. Similar to the covenant we make with our spouse and therefore wear a ring to signify that covenant.

Then we embark on an incredible community filled celebration. That young person will spend a year reading and learning intensely from their portion and they will deliver an explanation to the community of what the portion means to them and how they will walk our their understanding.  Then my husband will spend some time sharing about that young person and how life has taught all of us it's lessons. Each young person has a list of friends and family that they wish to speak over them. These are people that have had influence in their lives. We spend time hearing what our friends and siblings have to impart to them and then their Grandparents speak a blessing over them. My husband and I speak our blessings over them as well. It's a special time of imparting God's wisdom and blessing to them.

We commence with a video from their life. We then share a community meal and some fellowship and fun.

My two girls have wanted to have square dancing to finish the night off.

This tradition has been beautiful and meaningful in our lives.

Other non -related stuff

Related Posts with Thumbnails