Saturday, April 23, 2011

Happy Ressurection Sunday

Wishing you all a Happy Easter!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Resurrection Rolls

1 can refrigerated crescent roll dough
8 large marshmallows
Melted butter

*Give each child one triangle shaped section of crescent roll. This represents the tomb.
*Each child takes one marshmallow which represents the body of Christ.
*Dip the marshmallow in the butter and roll in cinnamon and sugar mixture. This represents the oils and    spices the body was anointed with upon burial. 
*Lay the marshmallow on the dough and carefully wrap it around the marshmallow.
*Make sure all seams are pinched together well. (Otherwise the marshmallow will "ooze" out of the seams)
*Bake according to package directions.
*Break open the tomb and the body of Christ is no longer there!!
*Celebrate God's love!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Dandelions - Not just a Weed!

Everywhere you look in the springtime you see dandelions.  They are growing in fields, yards, along roadsides, even in the cracks of the concrete.  Most people see them as nothing more than a pesky weed.  They spray them with chemicals and poisons hoping to get rid of this persnickety weed.  I have to wonder what those people would think of me, a grown women, crawling around on my hands and knees, picking the greens, the flowers and digging up the roots.

My very first memory of dandelions was a summer long ago when 2 little girls picked what seemed to be hundreds of dandelions and dissected them into different pieces.  Each piece was a different candy in our make believe candy store.  The stems were pixie sticks, the flowers where lemon drops, the flower left on the stem was a lollipop....what fun we had that summer.

I didn't think much more about dandelions in the years to follow...until last year.  I love to research things that interest me and somewhere I heard this strange thing...dandelions are edible.  So I researched.  I googled,  I checked out library books, I asked friends who knew about simple living and herbs.  The more I found out, the more intrigued I became.  These beautiful yellow spring flowers were so much more than edible, they were also medicinal.  They are nutritious and hold so many healing properties.  And to think we refer to them as a weed.

So here is what I have found out about the dandelion:

It's official name is Taraxacum officinale which means "the official remedy for disorders"

Let's start with the leaves also referred to as dandelion greens.  The leaves are the most widely used.  They are full of so many wonderful nutrients.  They are a good source of calcium, potassium, vitamin A, and vitamin C. They have twice as much vitamin A in a one-cup serving than most vitamin pills. They also have as much calcium as a half a glass of milk. That’s more than most other vegetables.  It improves your immune system and is even said to help prevent cancer.  It's a good to use as a detox and strengthens and purifies your blood and it is also good for regulating blood sugar levels.  You can boil the leaves as you would spinach, you can eat them raw like lettuce, just toss some leaves in with your next salad, or you could make a tea.  When harvesting leaves, the best time is before the plant blooms.  Just when the bloom bud appears, and before the stalk grows.  If you wait too long they will taste bitter.  Still edible but not very tasty.  I have read that you can add a pinch a baking soda and it will help with the bitterness in teas but I have never tried this.  You also want to harvest in the heat of the day so all the dew is evaporated off the plant.

Now let's talk about the stem.  The pure latex (the milky juice) inside the stem can be applied to warts or even infected wounds.  Repeat the applications until gone and healed.  Use a fresh stem with each application.

Onto the roots.  The best time to harvest them is in the spring and fall.  Of course you want to clean them good.  I soak mine overnight in water and then scrub them with a brush (a toothbrush works great).  You can boil them and eat it like a vegetable, grated in a salad, or even steamed.  You can roast them in the oven on a cookie sheet at 250 degrees for about 2 hours, grind them, and make coffee.  It is a good diuretic, it aids digestion, removes toxins from your system making it great for your liver, kidneys and gall bladder, plus its full of vitamins and nutrients.

Last but not least...the flower.  The flower is edible too!  Fried, it is considered a delicacy.  The young unopened flowers are high in protein, are tender and can add an extra crunch to your salad.  You can even make dandelion jelly.

Here are a few things I have done with dandelions this spring:

Dandelion Vinegar

1. Pick a jar full of dandelion blossoms. Can also add greens and roots (make sure they are clean)
2. Cover with apple cider vinegar.
3. Place in a sunny location to steep.
4. Shake good every day.
5. After two weeks strain with a cheesecloth or muslim fabric
6. Store in the refrigerator.
Can be used on salads!


Dandelion Infused Oil

1. Pick a jar full of dandelion blossoms.
2. Pour olive oil (can also use almond oil or canola oil) over the blossoms until they are fully covered. 
3.  Poke around with a wooden spoon handle to make sure there are no air bubbles. 
4.  Cover with a coffee filter held on by a rubber band.
5.  Place in a sunny location (a windowsill works well) to steep for 2 weeks. (I sat the jar outside on warm afternoons) After one week, strain the mixture, throw out the brown dandelions, and add fresh ones. Cover with your coffee filter and return to sunny location for another week of steeping. I also stirred them once a day.
6.  After 2 weeks strain using a cheese cloth or muslim fabric. I strained it twice to make sure there were no unwanted particles.
Dandelion Salve
Use the above method for dandelion infused oil.  Add grated beeswax to the oil and melt it.  Add enough to reach your desired consistency.  To test the consistency drip a drop of mixture on a plate.  It will cool immediatley and you can see how thick it is. 
I personally like the salve better than the oil.  Oil seems more messy to me.  Due to dandelions pain relieving properties the salve and the oil can be used for achy or sore muscles.   Just apply to the area.  It can be used to relieve sinus headaches.  Rub a little on your forhead.  Great for arthritis.  Can also be used for dry patches and other skin conditions.

Next time you look out in your yard and see dandelions taking over maybe you should consider eating away your weed problem. :):)

**Be sure when you harvest dandelions that you are not harvesting plants that have been sprayed or treated with any kind of chemical**

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Plants Started from Seeds

Back in February I did a post about starting seeds indoors.  I thought I'd update ya'll on the progress.  Some of them did not do so good.  I always tend to think they need more water than what they do and over do it causing the roots to rot.  You'd think I'd learn my lesson by now, but I haven't and I'll probably have the same problem next year.  :)

Even though I lost some due to over watering I had quite a few do really good.  When it started warming up outside I began setting them outside and WOW what a difference it made.  It just goes to show no matter how hard you try, you can't replace real sunlight, fresh air and rain.  My peppers have done the best.  I also have quite a few tomatoes and marigolds.  My chives and sweet basil are coming along nicely too.  Oh and I can't forget my dill and parsley!   

Recently I planted some seeds outside in pots.  I hope they do good.  I planted Rosemary, Thyme, Calendula, Nasturtium, Lavender and I am planning on planting some Echinacea seeds right in the ground.  I have so many plans for my herbs.  Drying them, teas, salves, oils.  We'll see what happens! 

So overall I am pleased with the way my seed project has turned out.  There were a couple weeks in March that I thought they were all going to die and it was all a waste, but they pulled out of it and I will definitely do it again next year!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

More Baby Bunnies

We woke up this morning to 9 new baby bunnies.  The sad didn't make it.  I feel totally responsible. :( 

This morning Dakota went out and checked to see if she had her babies.  Right away he noticed that one baby was out wondering around the nest.  It was freezing cold and he picked it up and put it back with the others.  He came and told me and I waited about a half hour before I went out to check how many babies we had.  That was my first mistake.  I should of went out immediately, got the baby, warmed it under warm water and wrapped it in a towel straight out of the dryer.  Then I should of got the mother and let the baby nurse.

It was still freezing cold when I got out there.  We were in shock that she had 9.  I had read that if your dutch bunny has more than 8 kits you are better off to try and foster the others.   Since the momma only has 8 teats any extras will probably not make it.  So we made a quick decision to bring the cold one inside since it was already off to a bad start.  We tried to warm it with a heat lamp.  I did not know about the water method and the towel until a little later.  I went straight to the internet to see what to do next.  I read that the best chance for it would be to bring the momma in, lay her on her back and let the baby nurse.  If you do this everyday the baby should survive.  So I got the little was too late.  It had already stopped breathing.   I read later that when they get cold like this one had,  they use up all their energy trying to get warm and can die really quick.  I should of warmed it immediately and then let it nurse. 

So yes, I'm disappointed.  This was our first time losing a kit, but if we are to continue raising rabbits I'm sure it won't be the last.  Next time I'll be more prepared.   Being a huge animal lover it is hard for me to see any animal die and then to realize that maybe I could of prevented it.  :(   Obviously I still have a lot to learn about raising bunnies.  But, on the upside 8 is a large number and we are very happy with them.  Nine was great, but eight is enough. :)

Meet Rosemary, Basil, Chicory, Chives, Dandy (short for dandelion), Verbena, Licorice and Safflower!

Spring Time = Busy as a Bee Time

I can't believe how long I have been MIA on my blog.  It seems that when things get busy for me the first thing that gets pushed aside is my blog.  I hate that because I really enjoy posting and even more so reading other peoples blogs.  There just isn't enough hours in the day. :)

So what has kept me so busy lately you might ask?  Oh where to begin...

When spring arrives there are so many things to accomplish.  I'm sure you all know what I mean. 

Our house is surrounded by quite a few trees, so a big job we have is to clean them out.  There are leaves in the flower beds, around the out buildings, in the ditches and they all must be cleaned out.  No matter how much we rake and blow leaves in the fall, there is always plenty in the spring.

There's the tilling of the garden, pulling weeds from flower the beds, cleaning out the rabbit hutch that has been neglected all winter, planting, sowing seeds, cutting grass, weed eating.  The list could go on and on.  Sometimes I feel like we add to the list faster than we mark things off. 

Each year we have our "want to dos" along with our "need to dos".  This year we built 2 raised beds.  One for herbs and one for strawberries.  I've also been busy with some new herbal remedies (but that's another post).

Then there is the inside.  We can't neglect the inside.  Afterall, it is called SPRING cleaning.  For us, that includes the inside of the house, garage, sheds etc.  Of course, nothing says clean like a fresh coat of paint.  So that means painting in the kids rooms.  Oh, and I can't forget about sewing.  I have a stack that's growing by the sewing machine.  I sew most of mine and Bethany's clothing and I think my girl has grown a foot over the winter.  Whew!  I'm gettin wore out just blogging about it all. 

I was actually grateful for the rain that moved in this weekend and brought some cooler air with it.  I needed a break and a good excuse to stay in.