Archive for September, 2012

Beeswax anything has become a tradition in our household.  We dip tapers, roll sheets into tapers, dip nature items, and use it in salves and wood polishes.  Have I missed something?  Well, as the cold creeps in with a breeze, I find myself shuffling around in house shoes, and no longer flip flops.  Fleece and wool clothing begin to surface.  And the aroma of beeswax keeps our souls warm.

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The images and scents we display help to remind us of our own inner light, as our gaze shifts inward during fall.  The place where we are warmed from the inside out.  We created a Fire Fairy to put with our Nature Table.  A table that is ever changing with the seasons.  It includes the felt decorations sewn by me and the children, the hanging beeswax dipped items, our knitted gnome friend Sam, and his Community’s harvest.  The kids and I have a story we go by every week about Sam the gnome and his forest friends.  This story continues the entire year, and we act it out on our nature table.  Our nature table is located on the top of a small bookcase.  The bookcase contains all of our natural, wildlife, outdoors and homesteading books and magazines.  Along with a bug container, some finds in nature, and a magnifying glass and binoculars.  Our nature table and stories are the heart of our Circle Time together.  How do you use beeswax?  What does your nature table look like?

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Here is a recipe from the vault.  Apple Cider Vinegar Herbal Hair Rinse.  I remember the days when my grandmother would rinse her hair with vinegar.  One never forgets the smell.  But vinegar is tried and true, with so many uses.  Get an organic bottle of Bragg’s or whatever is available.  Acquire a nice big glass jar, with a wide mouth.  Use many combinations of herbs to take it a step further.  The following herbs help remove residue on the scalp, including dandruff, and it is good for itchy scalp, natural hair loss treatment, and a home remedy for lice.  Horsetail, rosemary, nettle, yarrow, chamomile and lavender.  Just make a whole large jug, which should last your family a few seasons.  I take a cup of the vinegar and mix it with water in a pitcher, then apply to my scalp in the shower.  Let me give you a reminder.  Do not let this recipe intimidate you.  Before even gathering herbs you do not have, do an experiment solely with vinegar.  Plan, and order over time, meanwhile document your personal research, in a journal.

To be honest, apple cider vinegar is an excellent deodorant.  It smells the first few minutes, but dissipates.  Vinegar is very anti-microbial.  Apply with a cotton ball, or washable rag.  If you find your body is sensitive to store-bought products, give vinegar a try.  Try it under one arm first to be sure.  Remember every person’s body is different, and that is my disclaimer.  If you are looking for a way to be frugal, this is one stop along the way.  Maybe you can find more uses here.  Not that you have anything else to do, but what if you tried using vinegar for as many things as you can.  What if it was a home school experiment?  What if it was a personal challenge?  What if you are trying to save money?  Think about it.  If you don’t do it now, the seed is planted.  Winter is a good time for such projects.

I do have a challenge out  there for active folks.  Those who run, climb, jump, track and play.  Give vinegar a try as your natural deodorant, and see what happens.  You’ll sweat, but the odor will be minimal.  Based on the person though, it does matter what types of toxins release from your system.  You’ll want to consider what you are eating or what medicines you might be taking, or the air you are breathing.

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I come to you today feeling a lot grateful and a little tired.  The rain is pattering on my tin roof, the turkeys are cooing, and life just got slower~  It has been a couple weeks since a friend and I got together and laughingly made soap.  The sense of bonding over making soap for family is a sacred thing.  Women and families have done it for centuries.

In the past few weeks, I have observed nature and people participate in the hustle and bustle.  The end of summer frenzy to collect our nuts and check our stores.  The desire to attend community events, yet the inner-longing to just stay home and look within.  The grace to show our Creator our gratitude by saying so.  And the harvest of a Community, through our beautiful children.  There are so many beautiful babies around ~ And the desire to express our souls through art, which is synonymous with baby-making.

With those thoughts I bring you images of our soap making.  Ever since 1999, I have been keeping a Materia Medica.  A collection of recipes and experiments with herbs, oils and natural remedies.  My basic soap recipe comes from Country Living – Handmade Soap – Recipes for crafting soap at home.  I have gladly purchased essential oils from Creation Pharms, formerly of Boone, NC.  Mike Hulbert wrote the text for this book, and now lives in Michigan with his wife, who is an herbalist.  I have profound gratitude to Beth Jefferies Barnes, who took time out of her day to teach me to make soap, on that Ridge, back in time.

I wish my photos could truly express the richness of these experiments, but I find life is so much brighter and harder to capture.  I have only included two images.  The rest can belong to the art of your imagination.  See yourself with a friend instead.

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One begins by collecting ingredients.  This time I used coconut oil, olive oil, grape seed oil lye, water, rosemary and peppermint essential oils.  Prepare your lye and water separately and safely.  Then, set up your oils on the stove.  Have a thermometer handy to check the temperature of both set ups.  When you achieve the desired temperatures, mix together slowly and stir.  The first time I made soap, my teacher asked me to stir the entire time by hand.  You’ll be ever more grateful for the batch.  Otherwise I use a nice hand mixer, kept only with my craft supplies.  After you reach a consistency where the soap traces, pour into your molds.  I use a loaf mold made of wood by my husband.  I slip a trash bag over the mold and pour into that.  This way the mold slips right out to cure.  Have patience for 4-6 weeks.

If you find you have always wanted to make soap, say it out loud.  Say it several times.  Then, write it down.  Begin by going to your library and finding a book, or searching the internet.  Collect your resources, which you may even have in your home now.  Find a friend who might split the cost with you.  Brew some tea and be a part of this generation learning what our ancestors did, and passing it along.  Remember.  Take Part.

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Here’s a keek at our Bourbon Red Turkey, one of two right now.  This is a Heritage breed, from Bourbon County, KY.  If you would like information on adding some to your flock or dinner table, comment below.  Or, email me at healingoneself(at)gmail(dot)com.  We went down to Buffalo, KY, near Abe Lincoln’s birthplace and got ours.

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Welcome back folks.  Today we are dyeing with coffee.  It’s kind of funny because I usually try to keep coffee off my clothes, but this time I really wanted that coffee color on silk.  It came out a super light brown.  I am mostly a Simpler, so the recipe was easy.  A plop or few of vinegar, a pot of second-generation coffee, and the grounds.  Get it to a boil, then take it off the burner to sit.  I will either hand roll hem or take it through the machine.  I haven’t decided.  Here is what came of it.

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Stay tuned to see how our soap turned out.  I can smell it from where I stand.  The soap is curing and I am about to pop it out of the mold.  Also, our next project will be to achieve a pink dye for silk, using food.

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In 2012, I set a personal goal to visit as many farms, parks and nature preserves as were presented to me.  So far we have seen the following places.  Live Education and day trips to parks and farms has been a great introduction to Geography.

Creasey Mahan Nature Preserve, in Goshen, KY. 

Berheim Forest in Bardstown, KY. 

Gallrein Farms in Shelbyville, KY. 

Cedar Fire Farm, Frankfort, KY.

 Ayer’s Orchard in Owenton, KY.

Blackacre Homestead in Louisville, KY.

Salato Center, Frankfort, KY.

Red River Gorge, Wolfe/Powell County, KY. (W and dad made this trip)

Sugarbush Maple Syrup Farm, Salem, Indiana.

E.P. “Tom” Sawyer State Park, Louisville, KY.

Lincoln Birth Place, Knob Creek, KY.

Taylorsville Lake, Taylorsville, KY.

Lake Monroe, Bloomington, IN.

We also visited a bunch of parks in and around Seattle, Washington, this past July.  Too many to name today.

We intend to visit Foxhollow Farm sometime soon in Crestwood, KY.  Perhaps Hazelfield Farms in Wheatley, KY.  And, Josephine Sculpture Park, Frankfort, KY.

If for some reason you went with me to a farm or park and I have forgotten, which happens, please remind me and I will edit this post.  If you have any suggestions for beautiful places to go, let me know.  So far we have tromped through all the seasons of the year and intend to keep on going.  I hope to see you there.  Where have you been on your adventures?

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Thanks for joining me here in the studio.  This month we are taking a close look at the Michealmas Festival.  The story of St. George and the Dragon, and Archangel Michael.  With my Margaret Hodges book, St. George and the Dragon to inspire us, we made felt banners as visual imagery.

If you are wondering where I got the large felt, it is actually a Christmas tree skirt.  My mom picked it up at Michael’s on deep discount.  I had no idea what I was saving it for, but now I know.  The white felt is embedded with glitter, which bounces light nicely.  I made three banner flags.  One for the kitchen as you see.  One hanging on the boys bedroom door, and a small one for our nature table.  I got the fantastic verse below from my homeschool consultant and the Thinking, Feeling, Willing program, through Waldorf Essentials.

Brave Saint Michael is my guide
As free and fearless forth I ride
With courage of Saint George of old
I dare to fight fierce dragons bold.


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