Scenes from (Early) Spring

It’s starting to feel more and more like Spring on the farm!

…And it’s starting to feel more and more like we actually live on a farm!

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Maple production has continued.  We finished our 3rd batch this past weekend and it was the best one yet.  This week we’re in the midst of the fastest rushing sap we’ve seen so there will be at least a 4th (and probably a 5th) installment of our syrup!

We’ve tried boiling the sap down a number of ways – a grill, a rocket stove, and this last time we used a portable electric cooktop that we placed outside.

I think the rocket stove was the most fun, but we had a hard time keeping the sap boiling and it took a lot longer than it should have (like, 10 hours!).  We finished the last bit of sap on the kitchen stove and ended up with a decent amount of syrup.

The electric cooktop definitely won the contest for the most efficient way to boil down the amount of sap we collected. Continue reading

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Spring is on the Way {So is the New Herbal Wellness Basket!}

You know we’re getting closer to Spring in Ohio when it’s 45 degrees outside and I’m pulling out the lawn chair to soak up the sun.

Yes, there may still be snow on the ground, but these spring rays are just begging for someone to soak them up.  I will. IMG_0811

In the past week, the bird song has increased steadily each morning.  In addition to the usual chorus of black capped chickadees and cardinals, I’ve even begun hearing the red-winged blackbirds outside.  This is surely a sign that Winter’s fingers are unfurling their grasp around Northeast Ohio.

With the warming days we’ve been out playing in the yard, and joyfully been exploring the process of tapping our maple trees.  We do, after all, live in the heart of Ohio’s maple syrup kingdom.

IMG_0801 Continue reading

Vote for Me! Plus a New Year Coupon Code.

My post about calming and cleansing bath herbs for baby has been nominated for a People’s Choice Award through the Wildcrafting Wednesday Blog Hop.

Wildcrafting Wednesday is a weekly Blog Hop where natural-minded bloggers go to share posts about DIY projects, homesteading, recipes, and more.

Apparently, the Baby Bath Herbs post was a hit and was one of the most-viewed blogs this year.  It’s now up for a People’s Choice Award.

Vote for People’s Choice Nominee

Please head on over to vote for my post on one (or ALL) of the four sites that host the Wildcrafting Wednesday Hop.  Voting is through January 7th.  Maybe you’ll find a new favorite blogger, too!

Mind Body & Sole Online

The Woodwife’s Journal

The Entwife’s Journal

Herban Momma

As a special Thank You, please use code GREEN15 for 15% off anything in my Etsy shop!

Thank you!!

Herbal Hair Powder (Dry Shampoo)

I’ve been procrastinating this post for some time because a) I only have a limited amount of time to write blogs, b) I’m not sure if I should admit that I don’t wash my hair everyday, and c) it’s hard to take good pictures of powder.

However, I am tired of seeing this post on my to-do list, and this project is too useful for me to pass up!  Plus, after making this I learned that some of the major beauty companies sell this for a hefty price!  You can make this on your own for a fraction of the price (and with healthier ingredients).

They tout the ability of hair powder to volumize and texturize, and this powder does do all that, but I will let you in on a little secret…..

It also allows you to skip a hair wash or two (or three). Maybe we should just say “prolong the time between washing” – whatever that means for you.

Sprinkle a little hair powder onto dry hair that has a little shine and POP! — the shine is whisked away leaving fluffy, textured hair for another day.

This homemade version is made with safe, food-like ingredients that you won’t have to worry about putting near your skin (or your face, or your family).  I’ve also added a few powdered herbs to give it my own herb-loving spin that can help improve the overall quality of hair health.

For these blends, I’ve included powdered horsetail (also called shavegrass) and chamomile.  Horsetail is known for its high silica content and is commonly used to help hair grow and stay strong.  Chamomile can help with dandruff and is lightening for hair.  It’s also a relaxing, nicely scented herb that I enjoy adding to my beauty products.

There is a formulation for both dark- and light-colored hair. Continue reading

Calming and Cleansing Baby Bath Herbs

The soft, sensitive skin of our babies deserves extra special care.  So many body products contain chemicals that aren’t as safe as we’d hope.  You can see how your products rank on the Environmental Working Group’s Cosmetic Database.  More than 74,000 common products are evaluated for their safety including their risk to contributing to cancer or development of allergies.  It’s a pretty impressive resource!

The site also provides tips for specific chemicals to look out for and avoid in each age group.  For example, in babies, be sure to avoid diaper creams that contain BHA, Boric Acid, or fragrances.  Better yet, make your own diaper cream by making plantain salve!

Similarly, it is quite possible to make some of your own products for baby’s bath time.  Today I’d like to share a simple recipe for calming and cleansing baby bath herbs. Continue reading

Slippery Elm Balls for Digestive Distress

Medicine doesn’t have to taste gross or be filled with ingredients that a normal human cannot pronounce (let alone comprehend where they came from!).  In fact, one of our first lines of medical help can be in the form of healing, all-natural products from plants we can identify outdoors that are made in our own kitchens with ingredients we trust.  This is herbal medicine. It is people’s medicine.

The following recipe is for a fun, easy to make, and even easier to eat herbal ball that helps to calm digestive issues.  Eat too much? Have heartburn? Feeling a general sense of malaise in your digestive region?  Give a slippery elm ball a try! Continue reading