Monday, June 30, 2014

Drinks All-Around! WE...HAVE...WALLS!

Drinks All-Around! WE...HAVE...WALLS!
Yes, folks, we DO have walls! The bathroom walls and (almost) 12' high ceiling have been sheetrocked! I cannot believe it! (My arms and shoulders can, from putting in all those screws!)

So here are the pics of the completed installation, next I'll do the mudding & taping and the floors.

This is the "Toilet Room". The floor will be red (like the tub base), and the walls will be wainscoting, painted black with white upper walls & ceiling. There will be saloon doors at the Toilet Room entrance, so some privacy will be afforded. ;)

 The facing wall is where the cast iron & porcelain sink will be. The bottom of it is also painted red like the bottom of the tub. Black wainscoting on the lower portion of the walls and white above. The floor in this area will be black marine carpeting.

The tub area will be divided off by ceiling to floor red draperies. The black 4' high wainscoting will continue around this area also, and the white upper walls & ceiling. The floor will be re-painted a whiter white (the sealer we put on it yellowed it, so that needs to be stripped off).

But before we get to too much of the "decorative" part of this, we'll be putting up the sheetrock in the other part of the house first. We'll also be enclosing 1/2 of the basement to make a guest apartment.

So that's where we're at for the moment. But OH does it feel GOOD! :)

Monday, June 16, 2014

Granny Tackett's Healing Balm

Granny Tackett's Healing Balm
Several years ago, after spending months breaking up the ground for my first garden (we didn't have a tiller - ugh!), I desperately needed something to save my poor dry, chapped, and cracked hands. I love working in the soil, but I hate the "dirt" on my hands that dries up and sucks away all of the natural oils from the skin. (Yeah, I know "dirt" and "soil" are technically the same thing, but to me "soil" is something beautiful that nourishes and grows things, whereas "dirt" is dry and yucky and I can't stand it on my hands, in my fingernails, or between my toes. LOL

Anyway, after working in the soil breaking it up by hand, after turning first with a shovel, my hands were absolutely miserable looking and feeling. So I pulled out my "stuff" and went to work coming up with something to nourish and heal them quickly. This is what was the end result (after tweaking it several times over the next couple of years). ;)

I also use this balm for sore muscles. It has a warming & calming effect and reduces the pain.

Oh, and in case you're wondering who "Granny Tackett" is - that's me, my alternate ego. :)

Granny Tackett's Healing Balm

With plant materials pryor to letting "set" for several weeks before use.

Without plant materials, and after much use! ;)

Yes, the recipe calls for letting it "set" for a few weeks, but I used it plant materials and all for a while, at least until that planting season was over. Then I left it to "set" (for months actually), and then removed the plant materials.

Ingredients
3 Yarrow flowerheads (minimum)
1 Heal-All plant (including roots)
4 Plantain leaves**
1 tablespoon Rosemary Essential Oil
Emulsifier
1 cup Vegetable Shortening or Coconut Oil
1/8 cup Vegetable Oil (olive or sunflower being the best choices)
Mortar & Pestle
Small pot
Clean jar with well-sealing lid

Instructions
On a very low heat, melt the vegetable shortening (or coconut oil) & oil together.

Grind the yarrow & heal-all in the mortar & pestle. Most of it will powder, but some will not, don't worry about it.

Add the plant material and the rosemary essential oil to the melted oil in the pot, stirring to mix well.

Pour the mixture into the jar and let cool completely. The plant material will rise to the top.

Once totally cooled, stir thoroughly to completely mix the plant materials into the balm.

Store in a cool place for several weeks before use to "set".

After 3 - 4 weeks of "setting", place the jar in a double boiler and melt the oil down again.

Strain the plant materials out, squeezing out excess oil from the plants.

Pour back in the jar and it's ready for use!

Use for scratches, wounds, burns, as an ointment or on a warm, hot cloth as a poultice.

***
Notes:
**Another excellent plant that could be added (which I didn't think of at the time), is plantain.

The yarrow, heal-all & plantain plants can be wildcrafted from just about anywhere - which is free. Drying them is free. Most people have vegetable oil & shortening for cooking, in their kitchen. The rosemary oil is optional, so if you don't have it, don't worry about it. And a clean jar can be found by saving a jelly jar or baby food jar when it's empty.

So the cost for this excellent healing balm is basically free!

***
Yarrow:
Anesthetic, Anti-inflammatory, Antiseptic, Bleeding & clotting, Blood purifier, Colds & flu’s, Coughs, Fever, Headache, Pain killer

Heal-All:
Antibacterial action, inhibiting the growth of pseudomonas, Bacillus typhi, E. coli, Mycobacterium tuberculi, which supports its use as an alternative medicine internally and externally as an antibiotic and for hard to heal wounds and diseases; Antiseptic, Eye wash for sties and pinkeye, Styptic

Plantain:
Antimicrobial, Anti-inflammatory, Blisters, Coughs, Cuts,Fever, Headache, Hemorrhage, Hemorrhoids, Poison neutralizer, Scratches, Stings, Styptic, Wounds


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This post is participating in the Homestead Barn Hop (#163).

Monday, June 2, 2014

My 2014 Gardens

My 2014 Gardens
Spring means planting the garden, which I finally got the new garden area tilled, having moved it from where I'd planted last year. Previously it had been behind the church building, but the turbulence of the wind whipping around the building and between it and the windbreak really played havoc on the plants. So this year I'm trying it out in the field (lol, like every other farmer around here). Hope it grows well, otherwise everyone driving by will see an abysmal failure - and that would embarrassing! ;)

Our last frost date is May 19th. For those in warmer climates, you have no clue how frustrating that can be! LOL Last year, I didn't know the planting date and subsequently had to replant most of the garden. This year I was "a good girl" and waited, finally getting to plant on May 23rd. I would have on the 19th, but for several days we had winds that would just about blow me over. Sorry, but I'm not into fighting the wind while trying to plant seeds - yes, I tried before. Last year. NOT fun! LOL Especially when you end up with "mystery" plants growing in the wrong place. ;)


Here's the garden just after getting it planted last week. (That clump in the middle is a tree stump that we thought was dead, but apparently isn't, so I'll either have to figure out how to kill it, or just allow it to grow a bit, but only to bush-size. :) We'll see.)

So far I've got Cucumbers, Gourds, Cantaloupe, Watermelon, Pinto Beans, Radishes, and Sunflowers coming up. Now for the Tomatoes, Corn, and Herb garden to make an appearance. :)


View from the other end. My potatoes are doing great!


Ok, is it my imagination or do all seeds sprouting up look the same? LOL The top photo is of Cantaloupe and the bottom photo is of Radishes. Seriously?! If I hadn't marked the rows, I would have no clue until they grew up a bit more.
Ignore the weeds. I always wait until I know where they're actually going to come up before getting in there and really cleaning it all out. I find it quite therapeutic! :)

Last year I planted 13 Rose bushes and not one grew. They all died! Come to find out, since our front yard used to be a parking lot for 50 years, and then vacant for another 30 years, the soil under the blown in topsoil had been killed with chemicals. And back then the chemicals weren't so "nice" as what we have today. When they wanted to kill weeds, they killed them. They didn't have the regulations we have now regarding their toxicity or whether or not they were carcinogenic or whatever. So anything I plant into the ground, dies. :( So not cool!

This year I built 20 planters and planted 20 Rose bushes. Some are showing life, most look like dead sticks. I'm giving them until July before I dig them back out and take them back for a refund. I'm really irritated with this whole fiasco. I want my Roses! :) I've never had so much trouble trying to get a Rose garden going. Once they're finally growing, they'll be trained to cover the fence. Lots of reds, oranges, yellows, and corals! If it would grow, it will be beautiful!

Just after getting them planted. Lots of work went into those boxes and then the planting. It had better pay off! :D

I also spread Midwest Native Wildflower seeds from American Meadows all over the front yard area, but absolutely nothing showed up. I'm hoping that they've settled into the ground and will come up next year. Otherwise it was quite a waste of money, considering I purchased quite a bit of it since we have a rather large yard!

Last year's Buffalo Burs will not be allowed to return here on the property. They're interesting plants, but those burs were devastating to the dogs (and us). Never mind the thorns! These plants are also host to the Colorado Potato Beetle (which can be seen in the picture as well, and the close up of the larvae and adult in the next pictures below), and considering my potato plants are now growing and I'm fighting these suckers already, yeah, these plants (native or not) are not permitted to grow on my property! :)


Buffalo Bur (Solanum rostratum)
aka Kansas Thistle & Prickly Nightshade

 Colorado Potato Beetle (Leptinotarsa decemlineata)

Colorado Potato Beetle larvae

The Sullivant Milkweed has made its appearance, as well as the Wild Four O'Clock, the Purple Poppy Mallow & Scarlet Globe Mallow, and many others. While we have a good variety here on the property, I would very much like to see something new. I may just have to go out and wildcraft some seeds for that to happen. :)

 Wild Four O'Clock(Mirabilis nyctaginea)

 Scarlet Globe Mallow (Sphaeralcea coccinea)

Purple Poppy Mallow (Callirhoe involucrata)

Sullivant Milkweed (Asclepias sullivantii)

There are many others making their appearance that were very prominent last year as well. Some I know their names, others I have yet to be able to find out what they are. One in particular has very pretty little tiny flowers, but then those "pretty flowers" turn into a nightmare of stickers. So not cool! LOL The poor dogs and the goats really have a hard time with those...needing "Mommy" to "fix the boo-boos". :D

This is only our 2nd Spring here, so I know much will change over time. I just have to be patient and keep planning. Love the planning. Hate the waiting! LOL

Summer will be here soon (feels like it is already). So much more to do around here, so I'd better get at today's list. 

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This post is participating in the Homestead Barn Hop (#161)