Honey Harvest Junk Show

honey1I had a queenless hive. I knew it was on its way out the door. I did what was to be my last hive check and glumly noticed that there was double the amount of drone bees that there was workers. I knew this was going to happen but to see it was a real downer. I also noticed that the comb in my honey supers was starting to get suspiciously empty random cells. Those turd balls were eating honey that was supposed to be for Ginny and I. That iced it. I did a shake out right then and there without a backward glance. After a day or two I noticed that a vast majority of the workers from the old hive were accepted into the new and those darn drones got to live out the remaining hours of their lives in my raspberry bushes… not a bad way to go.

We had a full honey super and I robbed what was to be the hives winter stores. So all in all I had 10 medium frames and about 5 deep frames of honey. Not to shabby for a hive on the decline.

That’s when the junk show started…

I had always planned to rent an extractor when I got ready to harvest. Due to the abrupt dismantling of the hive I didn’t see that as possible so I decided to do a “Crush and Strain” more like “Crush and Pain”. Basically when you crush and strain you take a potato masher to your frame and foundation and scoop all the honey (including the wax your crushing it out of) into a pan to then be strained out  before bottling. Sounds easy right?

I wont claim to be a smart person and you’ll see why.

I poked what I thought to be pretty good sized holes in the bottom of a bucket and poured all my goop in. Then waited 3 days. Yeah…about a 1/32 of the honey drained. So I dumped it out and made the holes bigger, tried again…waited about 24 hours. Didn’t strain again. The bees, sensing a easy meal, started to hang out at my backdoor, where I was keeping frames waiting to be crushed. Finally, I just ran the whole lot through my collender. Which got the big chunks out but I was needing to strain again. Thinking this was a good time to use my bucket with the holes (I worked pretty hard on that) I dumped it all in. DID NOT STRAIN!

Finally, when it looked like nothing else would work I decided to use some mesh and my trusty collander again. I had no mesh so I sneakily cut out a sizable piece of tulle from a freshly laundered, unsuspecting princess dress… without permission I might add. I was desperate to never look at honey again. I got it done. Me, my kitchen, every door knob in my house, my kids, my dogs… yeah we are all covered in honey. I’m not going to boob anymore, at least I got some. However, I will be asking for an extractor for my birthday.

Chrissy*

Posted in Bees, Being Self Sufficient, Growing Dinner, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Chrissy’s EO #11

clearskinAfter using doTERRA’s Clear Skin Blend for about two weeks I was all set out to start a slam campaign for it. My face had more zits than it ever had so of course I blamed the Clear Skin. “What is in that stuff? Butter?!?” Anyhoo… about 2 hours into plotting my ranting post I got a visit from Aunt Flo. Oh. I’m sorry…is that too much information? For anybody who lives under a rock I was having my mensis. I also took a good long look at my diet for that month or so. Vacation? Yeah, Chinease food, pizza and a Dairy Queen Smores blizzard (ooooooh it was so heavenly) just to name a few. We don’t eat out alot due to the fact that we live in BFE and that type of grease intake is a little more than my skin… or butt can take. Not too surprising that I would have some acne issues.

I decided to give the Clear Skin another chance. I’ve been home from vacation for about 2 months and I have to say I’m pretty impressed. My face doesn’t look like the ladies in the Victoria’s Secret Catalog… but I’ll let you know a little secret neither does the models when the actual pic was taken. If your thinking that your face will be perfectly smooth, glowing, tan (what have you) life is gonna happen to you either way…just like it did to me. To say the least the Clear Skin has been helping my regular routine to say.

I like the way it feels when I put it on. However, I’m am of the generation “if it doesn’t burn like the dickens its not working”. If your skin is too sensitive to use it strait on, you could use fractionated coconut oil. I have never done this so I cant recommend it without being a liar. I will attest that I can see a difference in MY skin though and love it!

That being said… my roller ball bottle broke in half spilling a good amount of my oil and that made me a little angry. Even before it was broken I thought that the roller ball was a little too liberal while I was applying it to my face so I rolled it on my finger before putting it on.  I have it in an repurposed Wild Orange bottle and it works far better than the old setup. I’ll probably take my next bottle of Clear Skin, pop out the ball and put the oil in the bottle I’m using right now.

Chrissy*

Posted in Chrissy's Journal, Essential Oil, Herb and EO Journal, Natural Face, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

CORNapalooza!!!

Every few years my in-laws plant a whole bunch of sweet corn. It’s always delicious and my family always looks forward to it. This year we decided to plan ahead and get enough of that scrumtrilecent goodness to last us all year long! I got the go ahead from my VERY generous 2nd parents to take almost a truck load of corn to stock up my family, my sister’s family, and my 1st parents for what ended up being at least a year or more worth of corn.

photo 1

That’s A LOT of corn!!

My father-in-law was so kind to pick a butt load of corn for me to take home. According to him it took him over 9 hours to pick…3 hours per barrel load, but my guess is that he load a bucket on a backhoe in 3 hours and just likes to mess with me. ;)

After the corn was all loaded, the weight of the task at hand was heavy on my mind. Where were we going to find the time to shuck,

photo 3 (2)

Working together!

blanch, cut, and freeze ALL of this corn?? Mom and I were working. Chrissy always has a ton of things to do and keep up on at home. Our husbands were working late hours. Time was of the essence and we didn’t have a lot of it layin around in the first place.

Well we decided the best way to go about to daunting task in front of us was to take it in chunks. The first night Chrissy, myself, and all the kids pitched worked together to shuck the corn off the cob. The kids were being helpful mostly by sampling the raw corn and then putting the ears in the pile with little bites taken out of them. ;) Oh, and of course our hubbies joined us after they got off work. Altogether it took us just over 2 hours to shuck all the cobs and load them into 4 large coolers.

Cutest corn shucker ever.

Cutest corn shucker ever.

Two nights later, we had our work cut out for us. We set 2 water bath canners on to boil and started cleaning the corn. We worked out a nice system to help things run very smoothly through the blanching and cutting process. Here are the steps we followed to save time and energy:

1. Place the corn in the canner rack that holds the cans in the water bath. We loaded these babies to the gills.

2. Put the corn in boiling water…Allow a few minutes for the water to boil again and then set a timer for 2 minutes.

3. Put the cooked corn in ice water (we loaded the sink up with cold water and dumped some ice in). Allow time to cool.

4. Once cool enough to handle, place one end of the ear of corn in the center of a bunt pan.

5. Using an electric knife, cut the kernels off of the corn. The bunt pan catches the corn

Hard at work!

Go get yourself an electric knife! Best purchase you’ll ever make.

very nicely.

6. Spread the corn on cookie sheets. Layer with wax paper to save freezer space. We ended up putting 3 layers on each cookie sheet. It takes longer to freeze, but who has 10 cookie sheets on hand.

This whole process took us about 5 hours. It was a late night, but we had a blast. It’s nice to spend time with family laughing and playing, whilst doing something productive. After we loaded the cookie sheets in to the deep freeze, we were all exhausted and ready for bed.

It took the corn over 4 days to freeze completely. We wanted the corn to be frozen so that when we put it in bags and ran it through our “Food-Savers” all of the yummy milk from the kernels wouldn’t get sucked out; besides the fact that the bags wouldn’t seal quite right.

Once the corn was FINALLY frozen, we scooped it into a pint jar and loaded it into bags. Sealed it up and “whala” we had 127 pints of frozen corn ready to eat at our convenience. It tastes just like corn on the cob, but it’s easier to eat and not as messy. ;) What an adventure! Totally worth our time too.

 

Posted in Being Self Sufficient, Growing Dinner, Idaho Grown, Real Food, Stuff we do, Uncategorized, Veggies | Leave a comment

Hail-ova Heartbreak

hailIf you read my previous post about gardening, you know this was my first year with a big garden. The early success there spurred me on to finally finish the blog so that it was presentable enough to post on. I was really invested in it and weeded, watered and fertilized it diligently. WELL it was all for naught because mother nature decided that I wasn’t good enough for a garden. So she sent marble sized hail my way and now all I have left are sticks. BOO! I cried a little about it actually. It was a beautiful garden…before “the devil hail” got it.

Luckily, the loss isn’t 100% The majority of my garden is onions and potatoes and they are happily enjoying being underground at the moment. My beans, broccoli and jalapenos cant say the same however. Beans are a total loss and I got nothing from them. In an effort to make my jalapenos super spicy I left them on the plant and they are currently the ugliest pock marked peppers any one has ever seen. I have been harvesting broccoli since the first of August and have quite a bit. I am still cutting off florets but without any leaves I can’t imagine my four plants are going to be very prolific.

hailpepperNeedless to say I have learned alot. Mainly, people with severe emotional attachment issues probably shouldn’t raise gardens if they can bear to loose them to the elements. Not that I wont be planting next year but I doubt I’ll pour my heart into gardening until I’m happily eating the food it produces. We’ll see, my guess is I’ll fall in love with it again.

Chrissy*

Posted in Being Self Sufficient, Garden Prep, Growing Dinner, Idaho Grown, Real Food, Sisters Grown or Hunted, Veggies | Leave a comment

Herb Journal #4

St. John’s Wort

I suffer from situational depression from time to time, as well as chemical imbalances that make staying in a happy, positive mood difficult some times. I have refused to use antidepressants because I would rather try and overcome my depression naturally. Some photo 1 (2)days it’s an uphill battle that I feel like I will never be able to win. On days like this I add a little something extra to my daily routine…St. John’t Wort. I used to buy it already packaged in capsules at a health food store, but then I decided to save myself a little bit of coin and ordered it in bulk through Mountain Rose Herbs. Thier St. John’s Wort is organic and I can get WAAAY more out of it. I make my own capsules (which can be a pain in the @$$ if I’m in a hurry) and take as much as I need with out worrying about taking too much. I listen to my body and know about how much I need in order to make it through my low days.

In order for me to get my bulk St. John’s Wort into an empty capsule, I need to grind it up first so I get more bang for my buck. A coffee grinder would work magically, but ours broke and I’m too cheap to buy another one right now. So, I use my handy mortar and pestle (thank you grandma!!). Using good old elbow grease, I grind it up into a fine powder. There are usually a few stick from the stems that are still hanging out and will cause me problems if I leave them in with the powder. I discovered that if I pour the powder and sticks into my strainer, or colander for all you fancy peeps out there, and then shake it around over a bowl for a bit…the sticks get strained out and I have a nice, clean, easy-to-use powder. I highly recommend trying this herb if you experience depression or if you just have days where you feel a bit low/down in the dumps and are looking for a more natural remedy, but make sure to consult with your doctor first. The best way to know how much to take is to listen to your body. Slowly work your dosages up until you can feel a difference in your mood.

If you’re wondering what else I do to keep a handle on my depression, keep your eye out for a post coming soon.

Ginny

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Herb Journal #3

Lemon Balmphoto 3 (1)

This herb is my second favorite calming herb! It’s great at calming the nerves and when mixed with dried chamomile in a tea ball, it helps me to relieve stress. I also enjoy mixing it with a little bit of peppermint as a tea, very yummy!!

Since school started, I’ve been under a bit of stress and am feeling pressure to keep up with our district’s implementation of the Common Core State Standards. I’ve got a lot of changes I’m making in my classroom this year and feel very overwhelmed. Last week I decided to start my day with I nice hot cup of lemon balm and chamomile tea. It helped calm my nerves and stay relaxed through my morning. I’m half tempted to drink this tea all day long and see if it keeps me that way because I’m usually pretty overwhelmed and exhausted by the end of my day. Then, I come home all frazzled and have no patience for my own kids; which makes me feel just awful!!

Another great added benefit of lemon balm is that it’s great for digestive issues. If you’ve read my doTERRA Story post, you know that I have ulcerative colits. So while the lemon balm is calming me down it’s also doing great things for my tummy. Yeah for killing two birds with one stone!!

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Herb Journal #2

Valerian Root

This lovely herb is great for calming the body down and is a wonderfully natural alternative to sleep aides. The taste leaves something to be desired, but mix it with the right concoction and it’s bearable. Here’s my recipe for a Nighty-Night Tincture I use from time to time when I have a hard time sleeping.photo 2 (1)

In a pint jar fill:

1/4 full of dried valerian root

1/8 full of dried chamomile flowers

1/8 full of dried lemon balm leaves

Fill the jar with 80-100 proof vodka

Store jar in a cool, dry place. Shake 3-4 times per week. Put more alcohol in the jar if some has evaporated. Allow to “brew” for 6-8 weeks. When it’s time to remove the herbs from the liquid, put a cheese cloth over a funnel inside another jar and pour the contents of the jar into the funnel. Squeeze as much liquid out as you can.  Make sure to label your tincture when you are finished.

Note: I do not give this tincture to my kids. The strength of the alcohol puts me off a bit! In the chamomile tincture I use on the kids, I pour vodka to cover the herbs and then fill the rest of the jar with hot water. They only get about a teaspoon size serving of it when they are having a hard time settling down.

 

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Herb Journal #1

Herb #1: Chamomilephoto 2 (2)

I use chamomile more than any other herb in my home at this moment. It gets made into tea, diaper wipes, and in a couple of different tinctures. I even use the essential oil in random concoctions. The calming effects of this magnificent herb are magical.

Just a couple drops of a chamomile tincture and within five minutes my daughter is calm and fading into sweet slumber. She loves the taste and opens wide for the dropper as soon as I break out the bottle. This tincture is also great for adults. In stressful situations and/or feeling tense can be eased with a shot of this tasty tincture.

A bit of dried chamomile works wonders in a valerian root tincture to help as a sleep aide. I used to use hops flowers until I found out they can decrease your libido….UMMM who would want that!! Chamomile has the same effect and I think it makes the tincture taste better.

A cup of chamomile tea can calm my nerves on a high stress day. It always hits the spot when my nerves are frazzled or I’ve been pushed to the edge and just need a time out. I like to throw a bit of peppermint in with my chamomile tea. It’s a great flavor combination. Mmmm…yummy!!

Combined with the anti-bacterial properties of tea tree oil, chamomile helps to prevent diaper rash in my diaper wipes. For my recipe on this see my DIY Diaper Wipes and Diaper Wipe Solution post. This calming bum solution has helped keep my daughter stay rash free for over 6 months now.

*For more information on how to make tinctures see this post from Mountain Rose Herbs.

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Cleaning Checklist

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could all afford a maid to come and clean our home for us!! I’d even love one just to come and do my laundry (worst chore in the world…in my opinion). I don’t mind housework, but at times it can be tedious and time consuming…especially if it’s been building up for a while. Being a working mommy, I don’t get much time with my kids, so on days where I feel like I need to get the house clean I feel guilty because the kids want to play and I can’t because the house is a mess and we have company coming.

I found a checklist on Pinterest awhile ago that gave me a great idea. I decided to create a cleaning checklist that would fit my families needs. It started as a daily chores list that we were would work through. We were trying to get rid of “Cleaning Saturdays,” so that we could have more family time on the weekends.

I really liked how we were keeping up on things and able to spend our weekends together doing something fun with the kids and not worrying about house work. We swear by our list and try really hard not to let our chores build up on us. Of course from time to time we let the list slide because there is just too much going on to worry about a spotless house. Such is life!!

After about nine months of using our cleaning checklist, I decided that I wanted to expand on it to include deep cleaning chores as well. So now we do our daily chores, a once a week chore, and a monthly chore every week. All organized and ready to just be checked off the list once it’s been completed.

We’ve been using this particular list for about four months now and I really like the way it’s set up. It works for us and I thought it might work for you too. So, I attached a copy of the list here. I left it a Word document just in case there is a chore on there that you don’t need to do or something you want to change. Feel free to! Everyone’s home is different. Happy cleaning!

Ginny

Cleaning Checklist

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Ginny’s EO #5

Alaynna stamp face

Doesn’t she look pretty!

My babies came with me to the school a few weeks ago so that I could meet with a coworker to discuss some things about the upcoming school year. The kids were playing in my classroom enjoying their time away from home. After about 2 hours of being there and it being dangerously close to lunch time, things began to unravel. My sweet baby girl found herself a yummy stamp and got real quiet under a table.

The next thing I knew, she looked like this: Oh boy! Now what?! I tried soap and water. It put a small dent in it, but the ink was not coming off!! We headed home and started lunch. I had a light bulb

Now THAT's better!

Now THAT’s better!

moment that lemon oil would take permanent marker off of stuff so I thought I’d give it a try. I got a cotton ball, my lemon EO, and some carrier oil. She hates getting her face washed so it took some persuading and some tears to get it off, BUT it worked. YEAH!! My beautiful little girl was beautiful again.

Here’s the before and after picture right next to each other…Silly goof!!

Before vs. After

Before vs. After

Posted in Essential Oil, Ginny's Journal, Herb and EO Journal, Little Bodies, Uncategorized | Leave a comment