Pass The Rosehips Honey

This is the vicious lovely Multiflora Rose. These beasts beauties have been known to rip man, woman, child and beast to shreds. Just try passing one at full throttle on a John Deere and see if you don’t agree. These bad boys beauties are wicked bad.

They do have a few redeeming qualities if you are cursed blessed to have one or two or a couple dozen. The rose hips are packed with Vit C….more Vit C than an orange.

I know, I can hear you saying, “no way”. “Yes way.” However picking these tiny little seed thingies is very labor intensive. I’m cursed blessed to still have one or so more clusters of Multiflora Rose left in our back 40. Honey Some believe that the madix was made for this lovely bush from hell and believe me it’s the only way to be rid of it. But, if you are cursed blessed as I am, please make use of it.

My one good standing is in the Blackberry patch (another blessing), so picking these tiny little things was another battle of flesh and blood. After getting a long thorn from this ugly lovely rose, under my thumb nail, I called it quites. I was blessed with 2/3 cup, but that was after I pulled the tiny little stems off.

Now that my finger tips are numb and calloused, I mashed my rosehips in my morter and pistal….you know, that thing we used in High School science class.

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You have to admit they are a lovely shade of red. The birds love them too, so I didn’t wait until after the first frost to pick….otherwise, there might not of been any left. I know, at this point your asking yourself why I’m going to all this trouble when all I need to do is pull a bottle of Vit C off the shelf….they have rosehips in them too.

Well, I call this “Simple Living” or “The Simple Life w/o Paris Hilton”….my daughter, Sweet Girl, can’t quite imagine what I mean by that. She thinks that I go to way too much trouble to do this thing called life. The funny thing is she meets gals all the time who say, “oh I want to be just like your mom”. She says, “come on over”!

I digress. Once you’ve smashed your berries, you can cover them with raw honey. (why raw? I’m so glad you asked. Raw honey has live enzymes, just like raw milk or raw carrot juice or raw anything. And make sure you buy your honey from a reputable source…..did you know that honey sold by….well, I won’t name them, but sold by some very well known places….if you were to ask them for their barrels the barrel would say something like….Product of CHINA or Vietnam and it will say, Honey & Corn Syrup!!!!!! I’m dead serious! So make sure it’s local raw honey!)

Okay back to the rosehips….. It makes a yummy way to take Vit C. And you’ve spent hardly anything, except for the honey, which in my case I’m gonna eat anyway. If times ever get really hard for you and they are for many right now, you only need to look as far as your back door for Vit C. If you don’t have any rosehips nearby, Pine needles also are loaded and you can make some tea. It’s good to know some foraging skills….more later on my black walnut salvaging.

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Then just take a spoonful and enjoy or use 2-3 tsp and pour boiling water over it as to make a tea. Kids love taking their vitamins this way.

Last year I made some Rose Petal Honey. The Petals are carminative, stimulant, emmenagogue, antibacterial; Astringent; and Tonic. Now it’s up to you to look all that up, I’m just sayin that Rose petals are also very good for you. Of course DO NOT ever use the ones you buy in the store or receive in from your Honey! Only use organic rose petals that have NEVER been sprayed. I only buy mine from Mountain Rose Herbs. I love eating it on buttered toast, with the sweet hint of rose! You can strain the petals out of the honey after it’s sat for a few weeks, but I just left mine in and they have crystallized with the honey and are so good to eat. Using a tea strainer you can also put a couple heaping teaspoons in the strainer and pour boiling water over and let steep…..mmmm rose honey tea! So good and so good for you.

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What are you foraging? Anything interesting?

UPDATE Warning:  Do NOT eat too many rosehips!  I was a bit under the weather on my B-day.  I ate too many rosehips and boy did I ever have a doubled over tummy!  DO NOT do that!  And DO NOT dumb the seeds in your compost or you will have more Multiflora Rose!  I haven’t done that, but I thought I’d mention it so you aren’t yelling at me next year when volunteers are coming up by the dozens!

Stock Piling For The Dark Days

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Tuesday I went apple picking at our local You Pick Farm. I use to take the kids there all the time when they were little. Our play group would meet there for outings and pickings and picnics. There were lots of moms and kids there and it brought back lots of great memories.

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Our apple trees produce nice cow apples and I have managed to make sauce with them in the past, but they are just too much work cutting out all the spots. By the time I’m done with them, my hands are cramped up and it takes me days to open my fingers again. We don’t really do much to take care of our trees. I prune them in the winter, but that’s about it. The farm I went to, only uses sprays when they absolutely have to….what that means is they don’t spray too often. I’d prefer organic, but we don’t have any near by and well, mine are organic and they look pathetic. Since I can’t grow everything we need, or it didn’t grow this year, but rotted, I can either go without or buy the best I can. So, I chose to buy the best I could.

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I’ll store my apples in the shed this winter, trying not to freeze them. I’ll probably put them in a cooler for insulation and wrap a couple blankets around the cooler. Hopefully they will keep well.

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I hope to get some freezer sauce made, although since I’m having issues with freezer space, I just might have to can them. Honey and the kids love apple pie. So I’ll make sure that we have plenty on hand for the holidays.

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I picked 35 lbs. Which didn’t take any time at all. The trees were loaded. It’s too bad they wouldn’t give me the ones on the ground for sauce making. The only ones pickable were Ida Red, Stayman, and Golden Delicious.

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It was a nice sweater day.

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Fields of greens, broccoli and tomatoes for the pickin.

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And of course lots of pumpkins.

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I brought home a few cooking pumpkins for pies and some extra butternut and acorn squash that should keep well in the basement.

Sweet Girl asked me one day, “why do you call this simple living? it looks like a lot of hard work to me.” I guess it all depends on how you look at it. I don’t think my kids will be following in my footsteps, at least not anytime soon.

On my way home I stopped to see my AI man….(you know…artificial….)

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Seems as if my Josie girl is having some really really strong heats! That’s a story for another day.

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His Holsteins were out grazing and the corn was being harvested. (ask me how my sinuses feel? Just awful. The dust from the corn fields is killing me.)

I enjoyed my day riding in our country side.

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How do ya like them Green Acres? Nice horse farm.

But as I say, “you can ride a cow, but you can’t milk a horse.”

While The Sun Shines

Photo Credit: Wonder Sighter on Flickr

Photo Credit: Wonder Sighter on Flickr

You’ve heard it said, “make hay while the sun shines!”  That saying has never been truer in our neck of the woods lately.  We’ve had one of the wettest springs that I can remember.  Months of rain.

The problem is, hay can’t be made in the rain and I’ve learned that once it’s cut it needs to be baled before it rains again.  If not, then it’s ruined.  Our farmers are having a hard time finding enough days dry to cut and bale.  The price of hay this winter might be higher because the supply is probably going to be down due to all the rain…..the fields look nice and boy are they growing, but once the grass goes to seed, it’s not good either.  There’s a real tight window for farmers.

I was making calls yesterday for Alfalfa Hay.  It’s at a premium here in Howard County going for $6.00-$7.00/bale.  We only have about 4-5 dairy farms left.  Mostly we have horse farms here on the rolling hills of Central Maryland.  So, there’s plenty of Orchard Grass & Timothy Hay.  In fact, one farmer is having a “sale” on Orchard Grass Hay today and tomorrow…..I guess a 4th special….who ever thought….so, even though I don’t have room for my winters supply, at $3.00 a bale, I’ll make room somewhere…..maybe the kids bedrooms! 😉   I’ll get a couple and see if my Josie even likes it.  Then I’ll go back for maybe…..50.  I’ll mix the Alfalfa & Orchard Grass for the winter months of milking.

In my mini van with no back seats, I can get (12) 40lb bales!  Not bad!

But, back to Alfalfa….there are only a couple farms close by that grow Alfalfa.  One happens to be on Honey’s way to and from work.  This particular farmer hasn’t been able to get out and cut his fields for new hay….so it just might go to seed…..so…..he has 50 left from 2008…..if it’s good…..I’ll take all 50.

Of course Honey always asks me that same question….”what are you going to do with all that?”………and I always reply….”I’ll figure out something.”

My little barn only holds 20 with some grain stored too.  Right now I can put the bales in the milk room and then put down pallets and cover the hay with tarps.  It works for me.  Just so long as it stays dry.  So maybe I’ll line the stacks with straw on the outside….just for extra protection.  OR maybe I’ll build a lean-to on the back of the barn…..mmmm…..and a chicken coop…..and …and…and!

(by the way, isn’t that a gorgeous picture that was taken in VA….looks to me like the Shenandoah Valley.  Thank you Wonder Sighter!)

I love the red barn…..hey look a lean-to….probably for hay storage!!!  I’m sure I can do that!

Where Are Your Treasures?

I was reminded this AM, of one of my most favorite Scriptures.

Matthew 6:19-21

19“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

During such difficult times we really should turn off the TV, and radio and put aside the Wall Street Journal or Washington Post. For, we shouldn’t allow them to instill in us fear. I believe that when people are afraid, they will fall for anything OR anyone. And in light of our political atmosphere it seems as if that may be the case.

It’s times like this that we should remember what God has taught us throughout history. Do we want to be like the Israelites who kept walking in circles for 40 yrs. They had the promised land in sight when fear took over. They said, that it was a land filled with giants and they were like grasshoppers.

Are you a grasshopper?

I’m not.

God has taught me, especially through these last 8 yrs of suffering that He IS all sufficient. That I don’t need to worry or fret. He will do as He has promised in Scripture to do. He will do as He has always done. He is faithful and I can take that to the bank. He is in control. He has never forsaken the righteous.

I’m reminded that this earth is not my home. That I can take nothing with me. That the only things that really matter while I walk in this place are the eternal souls of people. I only want enough. Enough to provide for our basic needs and enough to continue to support the outreaches we are involved in all over the world. We will never stop giving to the work of the Lord even when hardships come. We hold everything with an open hand.

So I do what I’ve learned to do…..REST & TRUST. I rest in the everlasting arms of my Father God. There’s no better place to be.

He loves me and He loves you.

~~~

My family went through some very difficult days when I was growing up. My father was in some shady business deals and we lost our home….in the 1970’s there were no bankruptcy laws that protected the one in debt. We lost it all. Our home went up for Sheriff Sale. We were virtually homeless and we lived in poverty.

I learned a lot. For one, I never want to go back to that place. We lived without running water. Yeah, a basic necessity we did without. A neighbors hose was our water source. God bless our neighbor. Our homeless home, did not have heat, but it had one fireplace. Our house was not insulated, yes we could see out the cracks. We lived on food stamps and received food baskets from the church. It was a very humbling time. Especially since I was only 17 yrs old. It was during those times of suffering that I first drew ALL my strength from my Saviour. As a new believer, I read Scripture constantly for it was my source of hope.

Hope is what’s needed when you have nothing. That’s why I have such a compassion for the poor. Not for those who have lived outside their means. Not for those who have lived up to their eyeballs in debt and want to continue in that lifestyle. No, for the poor. The fatherless. The homeless. The hungry. The naked.

What’s really important right now is your family and your relationships. Pull together and come up with a plan. If you have a plan then you won’t panic. Get the whole family involved….make it fun for kids, don’t scare them.

Whatever you do, get out of debt. It’s not too late to cut up your credit cards and start paying them down. Then start increasing the payments on your home if you can….a little here and a little there. Before you know it, it’s payed for. If you are in debt then talk to your creditors. Make a deal with them so that you can pay whatever you can. Go in and talk to the bank. They use to be very willing to work with people. I’m not sure anymore.

Then start saving. You should have a goal of 3-6 months of a paycheck in savings. If you loose a job, then you will need this to live on until you find another. If you have sticky fingers then put your savings into a penalty CD. At least if you really really need it you’ll pay the fine and still be ok. But it will be safe making a little interest.

First make a budget and stick to it using a cash envelope!!! It works. STOP using credit!!!!! Only pay CASH! Your budget should look something like this:

SAVINGS $$$

Giving $$$

Mortgage $

Electric $

Debts $

Water $

Food $

Clothes $

When everything is paid then you can figure the food and clothes and maybe entertainment. You should always save 10% and give 10%. I learned that from the late Larry Burkett and it’s been a truth that has gotten us through rough times.

These are some things that you can do to stretch your paycheck.

1. Turn off all your lights during the day. Only use lights at night that you really need. Don’t light up the whole house and for heavens sake turn off the outside lights.

2. Eat less meat. Eat more soups….they stretch the dollar further. And make sure they are nutrient dense!

3. Start cutting back…if it takes 10 teabags to make pitcher of tea, use 8.

4. Only do full loads of laundry.

5. Hang your laundry on a line or a rack.

6. Turn back the heat and grab a sweater or snuggle with your honey under a blanket! 😀

7. Use as much passive solar as possible….pull open the blinds and shades and let the sun in!

8. Shop at the Thrift Store. I heard that sales at Good Will are up!!! I have an eye for designer clothes….don’t ask me why, I never bought them new, but I can land them dead on at the thrift store!

9. Don’t run to the store for a couple items. Make a list and only go when you must. Learn how to shop 1x month. It’s really not hard. I’ve been doing it for almost 20 yrs. Except for perishables…but they freeze well too! Plan a menu and then you’ll be able to shop less.

10. Pack lunches. We always have, so I can’ t begin to tell you how much you save. A sandwich, some veggies or fruit and a drink. I’ve always packed Honey’s lunch and even on Saturdays, he wants his yummy sandwich! Many times I packed leftovers. I think most lunches out run around $3-5! My swimming teacher bought lunch the other day and it was $13!!!!!!!!! That’s outrageous! I’m sure I pack a lunch for Honey for around $1 or less. You can go lower!

11. Use off brands. TP. PT, Tissues.

12. Stock up. Buy in bulk whatever you can. Dry goods will keep. But only buy what you eat. Don’t think that since you have to you will like something….you won’t!!!!!

13. Here’s one of my favorites….watch your electric meter spin! Then go in and start turning off appliances and see what’s using the most electric. We always can figure out what needs to go.

14. LIKE unplugging appliances. We unplug everything not in use….the toaster, the coffee maker, et. Especially if it has a digital readout…it’s sucking electric. We don’t have a single clock plugged in anymore. I do have a battery clock in the family room. I love the rhythm of the ticking.

15. Use a power strip. Make sure you plug all those unwanted machines into it so when it’s off they aren’t sucking electric. You’d be surprised how much you save doing 14 &15!

16. Drive slower! When taking off, remember you aren’t a jet plane and imagine a raw egg under the accelerator. Press very gently…it’s not a race and chances are you’ll see that guy at the next light and you can wave. One of our favorite sayings today is….”I’ve got more time than money!”

17. Make what you can by scratch. Cookies, bread, yogurt, kefir, soups, hummus….everything. Not only will you save money but you will have better quality food that is nutrient dense.

18. Eat nutrient dense food. You will eat less and save. It’s more filling.

19. Learn to sew and mend. Learn to knit and spin.

20. Learn to grow your own food. I figure every time I go the garden and cut lettuce, I’m saving $5.00. I’m putting up small hoop tunnels for my greens this winter. They should be finished next week.

21. Obtain and grow heirloom plants. You will always have seed and will never have to dish out any money again, unless you want to.

22. Learn a skill that others will want.

23. Get a copy of The Encyclopedia of Country Living. It teaches you how to do everything. Even birth animals!

24. Get chickens.

25. Get a goat or cow.

26. Learn to cut hair. I’ve been cutting my families hair forever….27 yrs! That’s a ton of $$$$ saved!

27. Wash clothes in cold water. It’s really ok. Mine always come clean. Unless you really need the hot for disinfecting, like diapers.

28. Use cloth diapers. I did!

29. Turn back your hot water heater.

This is really just the tip of the iceberg. I know you’ll think of many other things you can do to cut the cost of living.