Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Herbs, Skills and Compassion

For some women its shoes. For others its hats or purses. A friend of mine goes nuts about fabric (which has been known to ring my bell) and stockpiles it like a squirrel on speed (yes Staci I'm talking about you!). But one of the two loves of my online, and offline foraging life is herbs. I admit a sad obsession for checking the UPS and USPS tracking services when expecting a delivery, multiple times in a short period (heaven forbid if I have to wait over a weekend!)
Well once again I've gotten to experience the giddy-ness of meeting my UPS lady and her delivery my way.  There was no chance of me even trying to wipe the stupid grin off my face, as I had the last components of my Vital Herbs formula, calcium formula (which we have been without for some time), and Peoples Paste formula from the Be Your Own Doctor book which I recently reviewed, as well as some Lavender oil which I had been waiting for them to restock since before the baby was born.  SQUEEEEEAAAALLLL! :-D
      I firmly believe that information is our all around best defense in any kind of situation that would require preparedness. When the economy finally does collapse (there is no IF about it) and we are in dire straights, a person better be able to have some form of tangible, or trade-able commodity (since the average joe doesn't keep a chest full of silver coins under the bed) to use for barter and securing a place in the new and emerging social structure of the day. Having valuable information and skills will add to your community and your personal security.
      For instance, my herbal knowledge could be the deciding factor between my acquiring some essential necessity that my family needs that I have no access to. In fact an herbal healing knowledge puts the ball in my court as for placing the trade value on items. How much would it be worth to the person who has no money to afford tylenol (were it available) for a child's fever, to have my skills and and know-how as what needs to be done? What about the man who can't afford to be off work because of a potentially threatening injury or infection? What would you pay to stave off a case of MRSA in the event of no locally available (yet ineffective) antibiotics that a doctor would prescribe to you? Pneumonia? Flu? Diabetes? Heart problems? What is your health and the health of your loved ones really worth to you?
      Back in the day doctors were well off, not necessarily for the money they made, but because of the security. No cash? Well how 'bout a couple of chickens, milk for a month, repair of an item like a wheel? So although my husband tolerates my OCD habit of collecting herbs, it very well may save our family and help us to live with a better quality of life than those around us. It also puts us at an advantage for physical security to some degree. In a community that has fallen apart, they won't kill the person that has the life saving medical knowledge first! Or possibly divert a less than pleasant outcome because I helped a person when they were sick.
      Mostly though these types of scenarios that play through my mind, prove to me again and again the value of skills and knowledge. Book knowledge is good- but hands on is better. Sure it may be awesome to be able to know that I can order these herbs and fix a multitude of problems with the right know how, but what if there were no postal services? What could I use that grew locally?  This is exactly why it is imperative that you as a conscientious person need to develop skills that are valuable to your community. You not only ensure a stable and valued position in that community, but also have something that could be marketable in a bartering system as well.
      This also leads me to say that preparedness should also involve thought for 'the other guy'. My friend Staci relayed a thought to me a while ago, that I thought really defined the reason for the Christians motivation to be prepared. How can a Christian do as Christ commanded, and give to those who are less fortunate and show compassion, mercy, and generosity, when we ourselves are wondering and scrambling to have our own needs met? How could we be a blessing to others when we ourselves are so needy because of our unpreparedness?
      This concept brings me to the place of picking up an extra bottle of peroxide, or rubbing alcohol. It could mean buying another package of toilet paper, or even a few extra bags of beans for a charity box. What about coffee or band aids or diapers, things we ourselves don't even use? The compassion factor would find a nice home in your security plans as well as putting things of bartering value on your shelf that you yourself wouldn't have to depend on for your own survival. It won't do you any good to trade off that last box of powdered milk if your family depends on it for survival- a back up plan would be necessary.
      So I guess there are a few thoughts to stimulate your own thinking about value, skills and the aspect of our Christian duty to bless others. So go find your giddy spot and make it work for you and your families benefit. And if you need to, re prioritize your life and your thinking as to what that might be for you. Yarn may not bring me added security (sanity yes, but not so much security) herbs are a better option for upping our community value, increasing a needed skill, and opportunity for practicing Christ-like compassion towards my neighbor. If you don't have a skill that covers these areas- find one. Become proficient at it. Share it. Then find another. It could save your life some day. And that some day could be sooner than you think.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Home Made Cloth Wipes "Pattern"

      Since I've been in the mode of preparing for the baby, I thought I'd share some things that I do for my babies arrival. I've been one to use cloth diapers for all of my babies, and one of the things that grosses me out is to have to pick out disposable wipes from the cloth diapers. So while my first two were in cloth I came up with a simple wipe "pattern". Really its just a series of folds of a one yard piece of flannel material, which is then zig zagged around the edges to prevent fraying. If anything I promote frugality, but whats more is I love combining it with simplicity. I've seen some wipe styles with flannel on one side and toweling on the other, or varying methods, but this is even simpler. I hadn't planned on the fact that my children liked the wipes so well, that during and after they were potty trained they refused to give up their flannel wipes. Not liking the thin and stick to your bottom toilet paper, my children refused to use it.
      Now I know that this might sound odd to many people, but as I also sew my own ladies monthly items, it occurred to me that the cloth might just be the ticket. Finding myself out of toilet paper and desperate, I had to use the children's wipes one day. Wow. Call me weird, gross crazy or whatever, but I found out why the children preferred them over the toilet paper- the flannel was SO MUCH softer and easier on a person than that store-bought stuff! I was hooked. So I bought my own yard of material and have been using cloth wipes for myself ever since (about 3 years going now). Throw them in the wash with the diapers and add a touch of bleach to each load and they are good as new. My husband- a stickler on bathroom propriety was forced to use them one day. And although he doesn't make it a constant habit, told me that they were so much easier on him than the toilet paper for certain "issues". So for good measure I picked up some more flannel and made him his own for emergency situations.
      So whether you choose cloth for yourself, your whole family, or just your baby you can save a lot of money (I about gagged the last time I went to buy my husband a large package of tp at Walmart and saw the price tag!), not to mention if you are a greenie, your impact on that whole issue. For the 1 yard of material ( anywhere from $1 to $3.50 a yard) I have designer wipes that last me about a year. So for our family that means for the price of one package of tp from Walmart I can have softer, prettier, better quality, more durable butt wipe than anyone I know for a whole year! The kids also love getting to pick out their own print every year.
      Hopefully these pictures are pretty straightforward and easy to understand.
 Some things to remember:
  • Edges do not have to be perfectly straight (no one brings a t-square to the bathroom).
  • Be careful not to cut too many layers at the same time as it forms a wrinkle on the inside of the fold which makes for jagged edges.
  • If you do get a jagged edge just even it up. We aren't looking for perfection, just uniform size and shape.
  • Backstitch the beginning and ending zigzag or run over the start of the zigzag as a way to secure the ends and keep them from coming out.
  • You may wash material before starting, but I usually don't. 

      Zigzagging around the edges are all that's left to do. If you have a child that is capable of using a sewing machine on their own, this is a good repetitious project they can help with. If you have any questions feel free to ask. If you'd like to see a clip of what the zigzagging looks like check out my new video where I use the zigzagging foot on my treadle strait-stitch Singer. If you want zip to the last few seconds to see the finished stack of zigzagged wipes.
      Hope this helps you get some wipes ready for baby or stashed away for when wipes are no longer available or affordable. Hey, who knows it may even save your own rear some day! ;-)


Monday, June 20, 2011

Book Review and Home Made Ant Terro Recipe

Well there you are and here I am and we're ready for today's blog post! (Boy can you say too much t.v. as a child?) One of the things that I wanted to start out with is a beautiful book I got on trade from my friend Staci for some colloidal silver. This is definitely a book that I'd want to recommend that every household have. It is right up there with the Dr. Christopher books that I have on my book list. Be Your Own "Doctor" by Rachel Weaver is a very valuable resource, and I must say that it has far exceeded my expectations, even though I'd heard rave reviews about it. One thing that I would say about it though is that every "remedy" in the book may not exactly be "herbal" per se. She discusses odds and ends such as charcoal, kerosene, epsom salts, Pantothenic Acid, and a product called "Maximizer".
      Now I've never stumbled upon "Maximizer" growing in my back yard or neighboring feilds, so that is one small drawback. She also recommends specific products like  Emergen-C, a commercial vitamin C supplement. And while all these things are and may well be fine and good, I guess I'm a stickler for the "could I get a hold of this in an emergency situation, or grow/forage it myself?" Also it sorta sticks in my gizzard when I find a really cool recipe, but it uses some kind of product that isn't a national product, or that is no longer on the market, and I can't find substitutes for. An example of that would be the once wildly popular (before cool whip) Dream Whip. Unless you look online, or request that your store carry it, it can be a pain to come across. Now shut down the internet or stop the trucking industry and these kinds of products are no longer available, and all the information that pertains to those chapters are virtually useless to a person.
      Overall this book is very helpful to treat several problems that a lot of herbal books don't touch on. She gives good overviews of the bodies systems and a smattering of some of the most useful herbs that she uses. Two of the best chapters she has are dealing with emergencies (which includes burn information) and her formulas and medicine making instructions which are simple enough for a beginner to understand and follow.  Definitely one for the preparedness library and a great big thumbs up.
      Also as promised, is the recipe we use for ant bait or what is commercially called Terro. Have used this formula for so long I'm not sure where I got it from, somewhere on the internet I suppose. The only difference between this simple concoction and the commercial product is thickness, but I'm sure the ants don't really care- at least not for long LOL. This makes a pretty large batch, but the ratios are easily reducible. No need to store in the refrigerator and lasts as long as you need it. And if you already have borax for your laundry soap recipe you have all the ingredients you need!

Ant Bait
2 c. water
1 c. sugar
2 T. Borax (yes, that's Tablespoons)

Will be blogging again soon here so stay tuned and be prepared!

Friday, June 17, 2011

She's Here! And I'm Back!

Lilliana Joy- May 29th 2011 8# 1oz 21" long!
So sorry for the long delay in getting back. It was much needed to get ready for, have, and then recover and regroup after having our newest daughter- Lilliana Joy! She is now two and a half weeks old and gaining weight like a champ. She has a very agreeable temperament, but its so hard to tell because she is such a great sleeper- 3-6 hours at a time. She is growing so fat so fast now, as she is just coming on to her 3 week growth spurt. I have so much that I want to tell all of you! Things have been jumping into my brain all the time about what I want to post first when I get back online. I'm planning on a recipe for home made Ant Terro- as we've been battling ants like the plague since we've had so much rain here lately. Also wanted to talk about prepping for baby, a really strong impression about prepping for this fall, and what I'm currently doing about it. Also have a new salad dressing recipe that I've tried off of for some Catalina Dressing (a Kraft copycat recipe) that is my new favorite YUM! 
    I May get back to you as early as tomorrow night, but alas many nights I am so whooped at bedtime I fall asleep with my newest little love. But don't give up - it will be soon. Thank you all for the great traffic on the site while I've been away. Hope this information serves you well.