Category Archives: Organics

Homemade Healing Salve

This floated by on my FB page, the other day, from Happy Homemaker…a homemade, all natural, Neosporin-type healing salve.

Homemade, All Natural, ALMOST Organic, Healing Salve

Homemade, All Natural, ALMOST Organic, Healing Salve

It caught my eye, the DH and I were JUST having this conversation about the chemicals found in personal care products and my research on toothpaste. AND…Voila, here is a natural recipe for another one of his favorite tubes of CRAP!! 😀

All the while, he’s still going about his day using products the kids and I no longer use.

Think I’m getting some resistance? Nah!

 

The best part….I have all the ingredients on-hand! How freakin often does that ever happen in a wife’s life?

Seriously…. My instant gratification addiction is rarely ever sated.

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Ingredients List

Finding my “Craft Pot,” I starting warming my oils over low flame.

DO NOT LET IT SIMMER….Somewhere about 110* is perfect.

One cup coconut oil and one cup olive oil into the pot!

( I happened to already have infused calendula oil that needed to be used, so I supplemented a 1/2 cup)

Next…in go the herbs.

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One HALF cup Calendula petals and one HALF cup Comfrey Leaf

***Note: the picture is wrong, I ALMOST forgot I was doubling the recipe 😀 ***

Herb infused oils

Herb infused oils

This I allowed to stew a couple hours…only because I was in no rush and was simply enjoying my quiet house.  The longer it takes the more infused the oils will become.

Next….strain the herbs from the oil and return it to the clean pot. Mix in the 4 tablespoons of honey and whisk it into the warm oil. Honey DOES NOT like oil. Next time I may use a stick blender.

Shred or grate 4 ounces of beeswax and add it to the pot.

4 oz of beeswax

4 oz of beeswax

Beeswax has a wonderfully light honey fragrance while its melting.

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Once the wax is completely melted, remove from heat and add your 20 drops of Lavender Essential Oil.

Mix…mix…mix and pour into the waiting containers. I used two 1/2 pint mason jars with plastic lids. I also had enough leftover to make two small tins for “On-The-Go.”  (One my son uses for his eczema at school and the other I carry in my winter jacket)

As the salve cools you will need to stir it to keep the honey and oils from separating in the container.

A spoon will make a God Awful Mess, slopping creamy wax everywhere. I switched to a wooden kabob skewer….Worked like a charm.

This salve smells good, feels good, works well and was a cinch to make.

***Looking for holistic livestock remedies too….this is AWESOME***

Homemade, All Natural, ALMOST Organic, Healing Salve

Homemade, All Natural, ALMOST Organic, Healing Salve

~I’m off like a crazy woman 😉

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Homemade toothpaste…

Many things have encouraged me to eliminate chemicals from my family’s daily life.

My small collection of essential oils

My small collection of essential oils

Thoughts like…

“Why are there warning labels on toothpaste?”…

“Why would I give my kids toothpaste that says, ‘Do not swallow.'” and “contact poison control”

“If it’s SO bad…why should it be in their mouths in the FIRST PLACE?”

Hello?? Fastest place to absorb chemicals is through your soft tissue, isn’t it?

Oh yeah… that’s right…. because some “scientist” told me too? I find, more often then not, overly educated people are IDIOTS and have lost sight of logic. Having been stuck in a book for so long, they no longer ponder…WHY.

I could go on with…. “What part of our body ISN’T absorbent?” BUT…I’ll save THAT ‘Bunny Trail’ for a later date.

Homemade toothpaste is SUPER EASY.

1 to 1 ratio of coconut oil to baking soda….add essential oil to taste.

Mix with a fork.

Mix with a fork.

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I smoothed it out in a one ounce tin and popped it in the fridge to solidify.

I used cinnamon. It has its drawbacks….like burning the CRAP out of your face.

LOL 😀

Talk about sensitive absorbent skin….ya, tell me about it. 😉

~I’m off like a Crazy Woman 😉

Here are some links:
Essential Oil Collection
Cinnamon Bark, Clove, Lavender, Lemon, Eucalyptus & Rosemary

My favorite brand of Coconut Oil

Dishsoap…My way.

{Update: I did remove the orange peel from the soap. However, it rounded out the citrus smell, nicely…so I’ll do it again.} 😉

It’s almost February in the beautiful frozen North and I decided this morning to make something FUN.

The house was just a little too quiet, so I popped over to You Tube found some tunes, and started belting out the lyrics in my kitchen as I mixed together a dish soap recipe.

  • 2 Lemons
  • 1 Orange
  • 9 cups of water
  • 1 bar of soap, shaved
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 20 drops of lemon essential oil

Lemon Orange Dish Soap

The whole thing is fairly straight forward….seriously.

I grated one bar of my homemade “Nothing” soap…. 4-5 oz??

Grated a bar of "Nothing" Soap

I really need to own a REAL freakin cheese grater…this one a pain in the ass

I cleaned out the fridge a couple weeks ago and salvaged these two ketchup bottles….two out of the FOUR I HAD IN THERE!!!  ***Boys!!!***

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I had two geriatric lemons setting in my garden window, so I figured I’d chunk them up and simmer them in 5 cups of water.  Along with the lemons, I threw in some leftover orange peels.

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Squeezing, mashing and stirring…

I simmered them for 30 mins on low, extracting as much of the oil out of the skins as I could.

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Straining the liquid into a glass bowl, I set aside the cooling rind.

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Returning the citrus water back to my leaky cauldron (approximately 4 cups) I pour in the 1 1/4 cups of shaved “Nothing” Soap and 4 more cups of hot water…

Soap melts fairly quickly….

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The amount of bubbles you will have, will depend on the type of soap you use. My “Nothing” Soap is made with coconut oil and so it lathers well, some soap does not.  At this point I also add the 1/2 cup of Apple cider vinegar to the soap mixture.

I love the nice lemony color from the citrus fruit  😀

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I diced a few of the large rinds, to put in the bottle for some added color and FUN!

***It’s a grey, blustery morning….SUE ME…I’m well aware it’s going to get stuck in the spout…I don’t care. Think of it as one of those stupid kid toys with the glitter. ***

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I also add 10 drops of lemon essential oil to each bottle.

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Simple….yet effective.

Lemon Orange Dish Soap

~So…..I’m off like a herd of turtles 😉

Killing Jack

During the summer, I am busily growing veggies and standing on sentry duty for hungry moose sneaking a snack. I have NO problem running “Mama” off with a rake in hand. Crazy? Maybe. BUT…considering gardening in Alaska means all most all plants need a three month head start before they ever see REAL dirt.

Not really.

Warm weather fruits and vegetables need to grow in a greenhouse. This is where I grow my Sugar Pumpkins, THE favorite.  🙂

Pumpkin vines

This year was the first year I had great success with these little buggers. In addition, I used a vertical gardening method to keep the vines from taking over the floor space.

Taking over is a drastic understatement, and growing them upright was the ONLY way to go! With fruit set, these vines still grew to 25ft, weaving in and out of the rope lattice I’d threaded across the ceiling.

This year they’re NOT growing past 10 ft…I’ll nip that in the bud!

Figuring it will save more energy for production.

Love them!!! It’s an instant gratification thing. They grow SO FAST!

I spend a lot of time in my little Garden of Eden. Some people look at me funny as I climb up and down the ladder, hand pollinating the babies.  LOL 🙂

OK…..moving on…I swear I’m not a whack job.

BUT someone has to love growing veggies or the rest of ya’ll would STARVE! 😀

Not to mention they make the CUTEST Halloween and Thanksgiving decorations……Easily lasting that long, and longer, without any preservation assistance.

I still have four sitting in my garden window, too small to bother processing, but serve as a nice reminder of summer.

Here you can see the FAT little seeds I saved for the 2012 garden. Given that I purchased open-pollinated seeds originally, the organic growing methods and hand pollination I am relatively assured these seeds will produce a like…off-spring???

***I’m forgetting Biology 101 at the moment.***

After cleaning all the gunk out of the middle, I lined a large roasting pan with the pumpkin, cut side down. They get about an 1/2 inch of water to soak in, a tin foil cover and “steam bath” for about an hour in a 350* F oven.

With pumpkins in the oven, I turn back to the seeds I plopped in a bowl. Wash off all of the orange….guts…..brains….whatever you call them. It’s not as time consuming as it might seem.

Well….I thought I took a picture of CLEAN seeds but apparently NOT! That’s what I get for burning through files, deleting pictures willy-nilly.  lol

Needless to say, after a simple wash, spread them on a sheet of foil to dry. This is a great activity to involve the rugrats.   Word of advice, do not use paper towel, they stick to the towel and are a b**** to get off.  Spritz the towel down with water and start all over. Learned this one the hard way.

These little guys will be bone dry and ready for storage in about 24 hours assuming a relatively dry home. Alaska happens to be classified a desert, so you might have a little longer. They should be mixed every few hours to dry consistently.

 

You can also try a dehydrator, but I would ONLY use one designed with an adjustable thermostat set to less than 100*F anything above that and you will kill the seed. ***think bath tub temperature for a kid***

 

********

 

Once the steamed pumpkin is out of the oven, remove the cover and allow them to cool down.

 

Masochistic behavior IS the sign of a true whack job…regardless of what your husband might tell you. ***giggle***

 

 

***”Not that there’s anything WRONG with that.”***

 

 

With clean pint jars waiting on the cutting board, I start sterilizing.

Do not forget to put your lids and rings on the stove to heat up.

Sterilizing back in the day meant standing over the stove turning jars in a pan of boiling water. Burning the hell out of your fingers if you were too cheap to own a pair of tongs.

 

Now…

 

…if I have my timing down, the jars would be just finishing a quick cycle in the dishwasher with the “heat dry” on.

 

****My Mummy LOVES the dishwasher trick; she’s been standing over the stove canning veggies for a millennium. :D***

 

Instead… I happen to be fortunate enough to have an “Insta-Hot” tap at my sink, therefore I just spin the jars through that boiling water and VOILA!!!

Using my trusty funnel I fill my jars with bright orange squish…

…past the recommended fill line, as you can see, ‘cuz I’m a rebel like that.

I’ll have you know, although I joke around, I’ve NEVER blown anything up!

Weeeeelllllll, except for that one time…

…at Band Camp.   LMAO!!! 🙂

 

 

Juuuuuust Kidding!!!!! It was just the blender.

 

 

A little too much soap I’d say!!! ***snicker***

 

 

BACK TO THE ORANGE SQUISH…

With 2 quarts of water in the bottom of the cooker, I start it on low with the lid OFF while I’m running in circles.  This cuts the time waiting for everything to heat up so I can start “venting”.

 

 

At this point I would highly recommend referring to the one and only reference manual for these things…

Jars filled, hot lids screwed down with rings, and into the pressure cooker they all go.   Cook at 10 lbs of pressure for 60 minutes.

 

 

BLAM….. the finished product…

 

 

 

 

For the seeds….my first batch turned out beautifully.  Air dried by hand. I even designed a cute little seed packet in Word and printed it on leftover card stock.

 

***Yes….I’m a geek***

 

They’ve been living in the freezer for months.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Second Batch….much like the second child…. back to the basics: get the job done!

 

They have been stored in the jar, on a shelf, in my pantry. This, I believe, was the first machine dehydrated batch. Relatively same  results as the first; beautifully fat clean white seeds.

****there’s a joke here….but I’ll leave it alone. Being a fat kid, I’d be allowed…..***

 

 

The third batch was taken from a commercial field pumpkin. Stored in a jar….air dried by hand, I think.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When I removed them from the fridge condensation had built up in the jar and low and behold….Black Mold!  That’s what I get for rushing the process.

 

***I should really keep notes, eh?***    Grrrrr!

In a nutshell…..either leave them out to dry (forgetting about them for a week)  OR use a dehydrator…..AND LABEL EVERYTHING!!!

Bleh….that’s all folks!

~I’m off like a crazy woman!

 

Permaculture: A Challenge

I stumbled upon an Alaska “permaculture” group last winter while researching arctic gardening tactics for spring. My first thought was…”um, you people are nuts!” bookmarked it and I moved on.

Visions of communal villages made from straw and steer manure with people huddled around a fire were dancing around in my head. Alaskan sensibility is screaming…”they’ll freeze their fannies off…what are they thinking? Those are the people you’ll read about in the newspaper.”

Well…January in Alaska is a VERY dark and lonely month. My husband works out of town a lot, so my evenings are often deathly quiet after “bedtime.”

What’s a girl to do with so much time on her hands?

Weeks later, I clicked on the link back to the website…I was DESPERATE!! I was searching for anyone I could have an in depth conversation with about advanced organic gardening.

My defenses were down I tell ya!! I swear!!

Most of my friends who are into growing things invest in an economy-sized box of Miracle Grow, turn their water blue and they’re good to go for the summer. However, early on, I read Teaming with Microbes and it made logical sense to me.  And being the person who escorts spiders back outside; I can’t do it.

The page blinked on and I read…and read, then…

I JOINED THE FORUM!!

I couldn’t help it, I tell ya, and the things people were doing with dirt…it was amazing!

I continued to “lurk,” finally setting up a profile…but that was it. For information and experience purposes only; I kept telling myself. It was on my computer, no one had to know. Right?

Until the night I discovered a Valley group was forming. The meetings set…on Sundays, twice a month, at 7PM. I was actually checking my calendar.

***husband out of town, he would never have to know***

Oh crap, here we go!! I was hooked! Do they make 12 step-programs for extremists?

I remember the night specifically, I was cooking dinner for the kids, my husband wasn’t home and I was lonely for adult interaction. Yeah, that’s it. We’ll go with that one.

I was trying to talk myself out of going. I HATE GOING TO THINGS BY MYSELF! Especially something like this, I’ll probably stick out like a sore thumb. Remember; true wallflower here!

But my inner bully was screaming…**Just go you IDIOT! If you don’t, you’re going to be stuck in this house all winter. By spring, they’re going to find you BRAIN DEAD and mothering on auto-pilot!**

So I went…me and my ginormous jacked up diesel, which you can hear coming a half mile away. Yay.

Walking into the room, I did get that intense stare, like the stage lights just spotted me. Faces around the room looked worried:  **Oh no…Stranger danger, Stranger danger!!**

I AM NOT KIDDING.

For a person ready to bolt, I forced myself to try to find a happy little seat SAFE BY THE DOOR! Right? First problem, the meeting was in a yurt, the chairs arranged in a circle two rows deep…..no huddling in a dark back corner for me.

 ** My face is red, I’m desperately trying not to laugh in hysterics, my skin is tingling, my chest is tight…panic**

Out of the silence, the gal in the center of the ring suggests I grab a seat up front.

***OH! Yay, front and center!… I’m going to freaking pass out, I tell ya!***

***FINE!!***

I flipped the switch…

***”Suck it up, Nancy!!!*** my inner bully chastised me.

I drop my bag right next to her and, I assume, her husband and I dug in.

***Sit me front and center, I’ll show you, you’ll be lucky if I don’t take over the meeting***

(I see a multiple personality disorder diagnosis in my future…LOL)

Since it’s January, the topic for the evening is “Seeds” We discuss everything from starting, germination schedules, challenges of dirt, favorite varieties, types of lighting, heat/no heat, fertilizers, extending the growing season…and I threw down with the rest of them.  I caught a few looks of surprise from some faces when they discovered I knew what in the hell I was talking about.

***I can hang, damn it, I wore my “Jesus Sneakers” and everything***

Yes, it was January…and no, I didn’t go so far are to wear wool socks with them.

The hour passed and I survived. The evening ended with smiles, ‘nice to meet you,’ and we’ll see you at the next meeting right? I was still apprehensive, but relieved…happy and confused.  I met really nice people on both ends of the “greenie” spectrum; on one end, a gal just starting her own seeds this year and on the other, people composting their own human waste…commonly referred to as “humanure.” Apparently, it’s been a public practice in some places and has been going on for years.

Interesting, but not my style, however, it is literally reverting to an outhouse-style waste disposal system. Your cute little outhouse at your beautiful cabin in B.F.E…. with proper care should never have to be dugout or moved. YUCK! Everyone’s seen the commercial for that trusty box of microbes to put down your flush toilet to save on pumping your septic; part of the same concept.

Any who…the meetings are engaging; the members are very community orientated, which is part of the basic definition of permaculture and it’s a fit for me…the closet “permaculturist,” I guess.

Sue me….I’m a nut.

After reading an article in Organic Gardening Magazine (published by the Rodale Institute, which has been around for over 100 years) I realized most Alaskans are already halfway there.

Read it…you’ll see.

Note to my 5 regular readers…I will be on a hunting trip for the next few weeks, so if I disappear forever you know I’ve permanently communed with nature.

JUST KIDDING!!!  :o)

Join the OCA-Endorsed National Buying Club for Organic and Non-GMO Foods: The Green Polka Dot Box

Join the OCA-Endorsed National Buying Club for Organic and Non-GMO Foods: The Green Polka Dot Box.