This weekend I had two very enlightening conversations with two very different people that helped to shed some light on our country's Broken Medical system. The first conversation occurred on Facebook between me and the Wonderful native herbalist Kiva Rose. I have a friend, who's name I will not publish, who has constant reaccuring Urinary Tract Infections. She has been to the doctor, to no avail, and finally gave in to talk to the only herbalist she knows…me. I recommended the basics; Cranberry Juice, Less Sugar in her diet (the little organisms that cause U.T.Is feed on sugar), and Goldenrod Vinegar; thats what I use but since her case was a little different than mine, I got on Facebook to get a second opinion. Now before I show you this conversation, I must say to Kiva that I bow before your superior wisdom!

Gwendolynn Newell
Hey Kiva, have you ever used Goldenrod for U.T.Is? If not, what do you recommend?
Friday at 8:40pm via Android 路 Like 路 路 See Friendship

Kiva Rose- I have, but it depends on the kind of UTI. Is it an acute infection with burning pain, scalding urine, stabbing type pain or a chronic infection with a dull, achy pain or something else? The actual specific symptoms are often the best indicators for which exact herbs to use.
Friday at 8:42pm 路 Like

Gwendolynn Newell- Chronic, definitely. Comes and goes usually right before she starts her cycle. I get them every once in a while so I made some goldenrod vinegar to take with water and it usually clears up within a day or so. Just wondering your thoughts on it 馃檪
Friday at 10:47pm 路 Like

Kiva Rose- Do you have any more specific symptoms from her as to how it manifests?
Friday at 10:58pm 路 Like

Gwendolynn Newell- Apparently she has a history of uti’s. Had them consistently when she was little, then she got rid of them in high school. When she entered the work force she was forced to ‘hold it’ and they came back. She’ll be fine one day and wake up in the morn with a burning sensation when she urinates, then a kind of throbbing pain in her bladder? that comes and goes throuout the day. Sharp pain when she picks something heavy up. They usually come more frequently in the heat of summer.
Friday at 11:34pm 路 Like

Gwendolynn Newell- And are gone within a week.
Friday at 11:35pm 路 Like

Kiva Rose- Ah, thank you, that’s very helpful. – Here’s a few suggestions:

Excess carbs can greatly contribute to recurring bacterial infections. In addition, food intolerance such as gluten can also trigger infection and interstitial cystitis symptoms. Dealing with both those thing can help enormously. And such a chronic condition certainly begs the question of why they’ve been so persistent…. if she was abused as a child (a not uncommon reason for chronic UTIs in young girls), there may also be some longstanding trauma (both physical and emotional) to deal with.

For an active infection with those symptoms, something like an 2 parts Alder, 1 part Goldenrod and 1/2 part Monarda would probably work very well to reduce symptoms quickly and eliminate the actual infection. You could try just the Goldenrod but it might be a bit warming on its own for her.

A cooling mucilaginous tea combining Marshmallow root, cornsilk and something astringent like Uva-ursi or Rose can also help with symptoms. Plantain would also be a good herb to add to the tea.

Anti-spasmodics like Skullcap and Crampbark can also be utilized to help with acute discomfort and pain.

Cranberry fruits or Bilberry/Blueberry leaves are very useful in flushing out the bacteria which helps prevent further proliferation.

Since the infections have been so long term it’s also likely that mucus membrane tonics like Bidens (Beggar’s ticks) or Goldenseal might be in order to tone up the mucosa and help prevent further infections.
Friday at 11:45pm 路 Like 路 2 people

Gwendolynn Newell- Lol! You must be psychic Kiva! I showed her all the info and she looked down at the giant bowl of pasta she was eating with the most amazed look on her face and pushed it away! Thanks so much, your a lifesaver and a saint!
Saturday at 12:01am 路 Like 路 1 person (my friend was sitting right next to me while we were messaging her)

All in all, a very thorough recommendation,all of which turned out to be completely accurate. Before I give opinions, however, I shall regal the second conversation, which occurred today in the local Bar and Grill we frequent ( and in case you wondered, no we were not drinking beer, we were drinking coffee and having breakfast (the best breakfast in the state of Georgia, I might add.;)) I was speaking to a local police officer friend about the news of an international panel who found out that the war on drugs is a failure…I wont go into my opinions on that, otherwise this post would keep getting longer and longer. That led to a story of his last doctor’s appointment. It was a regular check up, he is getting older and his family has a history of heart disease. The doctor walked into the examination room, asked him how he was feeling, to which he replied: fine. The doctor then let him know they would be doing a few blood tests, and walked out. Fifteen minutes later, after drawing blood, the man was standing at the counter looking at a $400 bill. That was just for the visit…the blood tests were extra.
The contrasting length and wisdom of these two conversations has cemented into my mind this simple fact: There is something deeply Wrong with our Nation’s healthcare system! Yes, I know, we were already aware of this, thats why our industrious president suggested Obamacare, Right? Sadly, however, his somewhat unconstitutional recommendation does not fix the root of the problem. Like so many other difficulties that face our world today, we would simply be placing a dirty band-aide over a gaping shot gun wound. Why is it that I can not only discover an entire Self treatment plan for a rather common ailment, but also find out the possible causes and preventative measures for it in one (Free) conversation? Not only that, but the entire conversation was extraordinarily personal, geared for her Specific symptoms, and the illness can be treated by either me, a close friend whom she trusts, or herself with a few herbs and some time. I would have gladly paid $400 to get this information. My poor police officer friend, however, will most likely be stuck buying and taking Statins and Niacin, even if the blood tests come back negative. Im not suggesting that Doctors, Specialists and hospitals are unviable, they are very much needed for, among other things, diagnosis, those dreadful blood tests (which do tell us things our own senses cannot), surgeries,and a whole slew of Vital medical intricacies collected throughout thousands of years. It is my opinion, however ( and Im sure that of a few Natural Medicine Practitioners) that our beloved world could not only save a few trillion dollars, but also enrich and lengthen the lives of it’s citizens by suggesting to our doctors that they take a page or two from an Herbalist’s handbook. Get to know your individual patients body; it’s many cadences, it’s history, the many differences between one’s inner workings and someone else’s. What do they eat, drink, how do they sleep, where do they work? All of these factors affect not only affect the patient’s body, but also certain illnesses. Learn about the cures that grow among us, and try those before prescribing a more harsh and unnatural pill, don’t be bullied by Big Prescription companies. And Finally, teach your patients how to help themselves! By trying these simple procedures, maybe, just maybe, we can begin to heal one of our World’s many gaping wounds.


This little info graphic has been traveling around the web in the last few days and I wanted to jump on this bandwagon because our Farm is, above all, about Positive Change. The cost of fresh fruits and vegetables is outrageous as compared to something like Ramen or Hamburger Helper, both brands full of such crops as Corn, Soy and Wheat. How can an Economically sick America be expected to Eat Right when we are inundated by these cheap foods? Does anyone really wonder why 2/3 of America is Obese?

What if the White House grew what is truly America's Diet?

Jasper, Turquoise and Sugilite...


While waiting patiently (not really a word to describe my demeanor) for my Vinegars and Tinctures to brew and my recently harvested Yarrow and Motherwort to dry, I decided to Get Crafty! So I broke out all my dusty jewelry making supplies that have been packed up for three or so years and dug around until I found my Healing stones (that I purchased with the intent to one day make something out of). The result of my toiling with wire and beads until 4 a.m will soon be featured on RavenOakMedicinals.Etsy.com. Now I know I normally only craft herbal remedies for healing but that doesn鈥檛 mean that herbs are the only way to longevity! Semi precious stones have been used for thousands of years to lend courage, incite love, increase the awareness of the unknown and, of course, to heal ailments! Though little studied in today鈥檚 modern medicine (most likely because learned individuals believe it鈥檚 a crock of B.S.), I think that stones may actually hold certain useful properties鈥or example, I have seen Turquoise, worn close to the throat, lend the courage for a woman to speak about sensitive issues to her husband. Whether this incidence is a strange force within the stone working positively on the human body, or simply a placebo effect, I am not qualified to say, but the point is that that woman was able to resolve a possibly explosive issue without anger or potential violence. Amazonite is said to lend the courage and confidence of an Amazon Warrior Woman鈥hough probably because the wearer looks (and therefor feels) great wearing it!


Flame Jasper...

As to the bodily healing properties of stones; Red Jasper is said to shield the wearer from environmental pollutants, radiation and electromagnetic pollution. Turquoise not only shields the person, but also cleanses the body of such toxins! If this has even the least bit of truth, imagine the opportunities available to medical professionals! Such amazing claims deserve further study. Many Such stone and crystal healing techniques usually involve placing 聽the stone or even water that has had that stone soaking in it, 聽directly on the affected area. One example is black onyx, usually used to heal infected wounds or fungal infections; 聽Soak a large black onyx stone (or a handful of smaller ones) overnight, than used the ‘infused’ water to either make a compress or gently pat the affected area.


Black onyx beads with Large Agate bead in center...

I have never personally had experience with using stones to heal the body, but when 聽conventional medicine fails to work (like so many times before), I feel that Anything is worth a try to prevent so much suffering.
Now for the second part of this post…I now have a Twitter account! This means more Farmin’ updates, herbal tips, Wild living excerpts and a deal or two for RavenOak Medicinals customers! This is actually very good news for me, because as we all know, I don’t have Internet at the Farm. So, any blog posts or shop listings have to be written at home and saved until I find free WiFi. However, I have twitter on my phone now, so any exciting or interesting info can be conveyed before I forget! You can find me at @WileWife on Twitter’s site or just glance over at the Twitter feed at the right of the page!

What an exciting weekend! The hometown Geranium Festival (an annual occurrence full of artisans, musicians and the most Yummy homemade fudge in existence that takes place in my hometown of Mcdonough, Ga.)聽 聽 on Saturday and the Ga. Renaissance Festival on Sunday! I was very excited to have a small booth at the Geranium Festival with my good friend Bri who makes Delightful Dream Catchers and Jewelry. As it turns out,聽 herbal mixtures sell well with handcrafted jewelry and accessories, I made all the money I needed for the Ren. Fest. at the Geranium Festival! 聽 Follows are a few pics of our last minute booth:

Our Small booth was set up in front of my Favorite Store in Mcdonough; Bell, Book and Candle. They sell Usede Books and various gifts, as well as host the town's only Haunted History Tour! In the back ground there you can see the Photographs I had for sale as well, they're a part of my "Hometown: Darkness and light" collection.

That's Bri. in the corner there creating another of her Dreamcatcher Masterpieces, you can see the Golden bottle of Garlic Vinegar used as a "tester". Every time I opened the bottle for someone to smell, they bought one! If you've made the Garlic Vinegar from the recipe provided, You know how delicious it smells!

This was around mid-day, earlier the crowds were so immense my mom and I had to push our way through to get to the delicious Greek fare on the other side of the Festival!

An Herbalist must have Yarrow as cut flowers...Don't you think?

After sitting on Concrete steps all day, smiling ’till our facial muscles ached and getting sunburned (even though we were in the shade!), we gathered our wares and Celebrated our Success by falling asleep as soon as we got home! The Next day we donned our Pirate Garb (since it was, after all Pirate weekend;)), and headed to Ye Olde Renaissance Festival in Fairburn, Ga.聽 Our Friends and Family look forward to Ren. Fest. every Spring and we’ve accumulated quite a few different costumes over the years of attendance…I know, I’m a Geek!

Arrrggg...'Tis me, on the Ride over! (hey, y'all finally get to see what I look like!)

On our way out after a looong and excruciatingly Hot day at the festival. (Believe me, the corset didnt help!)

What is That?!

Why, it's Tree Beard of course! This extreamly intricate costume was over ten feet tall! He shows up toward the end of the Festival every year, its a real treat to see this up close! (BTW, Im not sure if you can see it, but attached to his "limbs" are a pair of gourds that say "feed the plant", he works on tips!)

I was very pleased to see many Earth Friendly Artisans and booths at each Festival; hand made, all natural soaps at the Ren. Fest. (bought some of that!), Soy Candles and Recycled Glass Candle Holders at the Geranium Festival! (Pictures of that booth will be up at SalvagingSanity.Wordpress.com)聽聽 Though this really didn’t have anything to do with Homesteading or Farming, I wanted to share some of what we do on our free time. These festivals have been a part of my life since I was a very small child and Im inspired by the Unity, Happiness, and Friendship that occurs at such annual festivals and celebrations, it’s a trait too commonly lacking in everyday life. Here’s hoping we can find that Tribal Togetherness in many other places!

I’m so glad everyone got to 聽meet our new Ducks and Chicks; Merry and Pippin, those are the two ducks, and Mrs.Winners and ‘No Name’ (we don’t know if its a hen or rooster yet!) our chicks. There growing so fast now! The ducks seemed to have lost their baby fluff completely and the chicks keep getting bigger and bigger every day! 聽Since There’s a lot of great info on the Internet on the care and keeping of poultry, we won’t go through the whole run down here but let me warn all of you before you decide on those cute little ducklings, they are a bit more complicated to care for then chickens. Their little webbed feet are very sensitive, they are Extremely messy eaters, drinkers, players, poopers…well, just about everything they do is messy, and their nutrition requirements are different then chickens. 聽Think about this before you start your backyard flock and things will go a lot smoother than they went for us! (let’s just say my poor floor got scrubbed about twice a day for two weeks until they were old enough to stay outside…glad it’s concrete)
Here are a few great sites to check out if your thinking of raising poultry:

http://www.backyardchickens.com/聽聽聽 – a great general resource for poultry

http://www.motherearthnews.com/home.aspx聽聽 – just type in chickens in the search box at the top of the screen.

http://www.newagrarian.com/category/ducks/聽聽 – a great blog about Raising Ducks, including a diary of development.

http://urbanchickens.org/聽聽 – thinking of keeping chickens in the city? Yes you Can do it!

Now let’s talk about happy birds! Treats to be exact! First of all, please don’t feed your birds junk food…pop tarts, cake, chips, etc are just not good for them, not even every once in a while! All of the treats listed here, however, are not only great for them, it’s a blast to watch them eat it too!

Collards are my bird’s favorite treat, they are absolutely packed with vitamins and minerals. Serve in their whole form when Ducks or Chicks are about 4 weeks old and watch them tear the leaves to pieces or, in the duck’s case, drag whole leaves into their swimming water to rip apart.聽

Radishes, Turnips and Rutabegas are a fun treat for your chickens, grow them big and hang them whole in your coop at chicken head level. They love pecking at the Root until there’s virtually nothing left, just remove if they don’t get it all eaten before it starts to mold. This is a great way to supplement their winter diet and keep them moving during the sluggish months. Since ducks can’t peck, chop the root up into very small pieces and place in a pile near their water dish.

One way to provide a great treat all summer long is to hang a light a 聽little above the height of the birds right in the middle of the coop. The light will attract all sorts of yummy bugs (including mosquitoes), which the birds will then snatch right out of the air! Just be sure to create some sort of plastic covering or perhaps a metal screen cage over the bulb to protect it from pecking beaks.

Fresh grass clippings are great to throw in the coop. The birds will root and scratch to find bugs, seeds, flowers and plant material to eat. I’ve seen our ducks stick their heads in a pile right up to their necks to root around, they fling it everywhere, including on the unsuspecting chickens! You can leave the clippings in the coop, just make sure they don’t get moldy, Mold is especially hazardous to growing ducklings.

And, of course, we can’t forget bugs from the garden! One way to amuse a child for hours on end ? Tell them your chicks and ducklings love bugs! Crickets, rollie pollies, cabbage worms, grass hoppers, slugs, Japanese beetles, you name it, they eat it! Make sure your child knows not to grab any spiders, centipedes or scorpions! In fact, why not go bug hunting too? It’s great fun and every time you find a new bug, it could turn into an excellent educational experience…”ohhh! Look at this bug! It’s called a (insert cool bug name)” then watch your chicken chase it down and rip it apart! Ok, so maybe it’s a little morbid, but at least your ridding your garden of salad eating insects the organic way, right?

I hope everyone garnered some fun ideas from my little ramblings, I know I’m growing a giant radish just for my chickens right now! Have any yummy treat ideas for poultry? What are your chickens favorite food? We definitely want to know, so please comment below! (yay! I rhymed!)

Wanna Take a Tour of our Farm? C’mon, lets take a walk!

This is where we lived for Two years while working on the Big Barn, the small addition on the right was a battery box. Right behind it, the Ducks and Chicks are housed...lets go meet them!

Meet the Ducks and Chicks! The Ducks are named Merry and Pippin...they're always in trouble! We're fairly certain one of the chicks is a hen, she'll be named Mrs.Wynners. (I know, we're morbid, wait 'till you hear the Rooster's name)

Awwww! They love each other!

Lets check out the Gardens now! Well, this is actually the compost...I have volunteer peas and pumpkins coming up!

My Baby Carrots! They were DELICIOUS! I keep harvesting them before they reach full "carrothood", there just too good to leave in ground!

Yarrow...good for wound healing, and the treatment of colds and viruses, I have A Lot drying for the shop as we speak, with more to come as you can see!

The last Radish...we're seeing how big it will get...

I made a wonderful Rose Vinegar for sunburns last year from this rose...Make the same way as garlic vinegar. To use, Soak a rag in half water, half vinegar and lay cloth on Sunburn to alleviate pain and turn the burn into a tan!

Now we'll take a walk down the path we cut behind the house, everything is left wild for the local critters until we turn the area into an orchard, we always see rabbits, deer, racoons and plenty of birds down here!

To the right is this beautiful wild vetch, the pea-like pods are poisonous, but this plant provides vital nitrogen to the soil structure, as well as beauty to the landscape.

Just behind the vetch is a large Privett shrub, though invasive, it too provides vibrant blooms and food and shelter for wildlife. I've heard rumors its medicinal but havent had a chance to research this further...

As we continue down the path, my favorite flowers appear right in front of the semi-dry pond bed. A simple wild daisy, it's simplicity is it's beauty!

This is one of the many wild willow trees that populate the property, Im fairly sure this is White Willow. White Willow bark is medicinally similar to asprin; pain relieving, fever reducing, etc, The difference is no Stomach bleeding! Im very excited to have these trees...

This is the Lower Barn, soon to be workshop/studio/forge! It needs alot of work, but hey, were accustomed to that by now!

This is Grandmother Willow-who-is-actually-an-Oak, the inspiration for RavenOak Medicinals...the Ravens and She have an agreement, they get to hang out on her limbs as long as they fertilize the ground below with their droppings!

The guardian of the Oak...surprisingly not covered in Raven Poo!

A view thru the Oak leaves...That's the little building up there and you can just barely see our solar panels to the left. The driveway is to the right...thats where we're headed next.

Up here to the right of the driveway is the baby Oak Grove, a No-Mow Zone. Though we will not see the full maturity of these babies, it is still pretty cool to know our grandchildern will bear witness!

Our pecan started as a stick in the ground! The nuts it produces are very large!

Say Hi Bo-Bunny! (He likes to graze the clover under the Pecan)

The last stop is my messy front porch, we wont go into the house, its not fully done yet. That's Mint growing up through the cracks there, Oh! and meet Churches! Rev. Churches Chicken is his full name and he loves biscuits and my Garden. Dont worry if he chases you out of the driveway as you leave, he does that to everyone!

Well Im glad you could stop by, it’s too bad you couldnt see everything! We didnt get to the Frog Filled Pond Bed, The Stream behind it (I’ll be growing Ginseng back there one day!) Oh, and the Pine Forest, My Grandmother’s straw and mud cottage she’s building next door, The Front and Side Fields…soon to be an apple orchard and vineyard,and the Slab behind the house, its going to be a Huge Greenhouse someday! Oh, Well, maybe next time! I’ll invite you in for some coffee and some Peanut Butter cookies, maybe it wont be such a construction zone then! See Ya’ll next week!

Hello to all my fellow bloggers out there! I’m sure everyone has now heard of the gigantic storm that has ravaged the south, over 150 tornado reports are spread across 5 states over the last 24 hours. Everyone is O.k here in our neck of the woods, although we had a good scare last night with at least 5 tornadoes in our vicinity. Last night found Bear and I out in the midst of the rain, wind and lightning 聽trying to strap down the solar panels that had been conveniently forgotten until then! I must say that was not the best experience of my life, I kept telling Bear that if a Tornado was to come thru, a few straps on a board would probably only serve as more shrapnel, but he was quite insistent that we risk our lives at 12:00 at night amongst the strobe light like display occurring all around us…what fun. Later that night, after various phone calls with minute by minute updates on the various tornado’s paths, we rushed to a neighbor’s house to borrow their basement after hearing that one of them was about ten minuets away. That had to be the most amusing tornado warning I’ve ever been through, what with being huddled next to a bow flex with three kids, two dogs and our aunt, uncle and cousin who didn’t get to the shelter until about five minutes After the warning was over! Jokes were flying, dogs were cuddled up against the children and the five year old boy seemed to want to lasso the tornado and ride it to school the next day!(he even had a rope!) When we finally figured out the danger was over (it took a while because we didn’t see the radio sitting in the middle of the floor until we were about to leave), we made our way out to the car in the yet again pouring rain, only to find it locked! After about a minute and a half of trying to unlock the car, we finally made it home soaking wet and exhausted! What a night!

Now, on a more somber note, 聽I must stop here to mention with great respect a local hero whom I still don’t know the name of. Last night around 11:00 pm a 21 year old girl stopped by the home of an elderly gentleman who had been incapacitated with a stroke. Because of the coming storms, she chose to sit with him throughout the night in his single wide trailer. Their bodies were found earlier this morning in the tiny bathroom that was all that was left of the structure. Our hearts go out to the family of this brave young woman, who comforted her friend until the end. If I ever find out the name of this generous girl I’ll be sure to post it here so that her story will not be forgotten. 聽

Alright, onto the surprise! Though this was definitely not the way I pictured this reveal, I can’t hold it off any longer, that just wouldn’t be fair! So, without further adieu, I present to you RavenOak Medicinals, an Etsy shop dedicated to the health and wellbeing of both people and the planet! The farm is finally coming together, and with it comes a bounty of both wild and cultivated herbs just asking to be made up into teas, tinctures, vinegars and brews! I’m proud to share with you the first small line of health giving products聽becoming available at聽聽聽聽http://www.etsy.com/shop/RavenOakMedicinals聽.聽

Hops and Chamomile in my Sweet Dreams Tea

Garlic Vinegar is macerating now and will soon become availible for purchase for those of you who dont wish to try the recipe at home. A Blend of Yellow Dock and Dandelion in Apple Cidar Vinegar. Cleansing and Nourishing to the body!

All of my packaging is made from either recycleable, reusable or Completely Compostable materials , why not extend the No Trash Zone to hoseholds everywhere!

My Spring Tonic Tea is delicious chilled and served with a sprig of fresh mint! Cleansing and Tonifying to the body!

聽YaY! Now I can check one more item off of my New Year’s Resolutions list! And, since I’m so excited about this, anyone who leaves a comment on this post and shoots me an e-mail with your address within the next two or three days will receive a Free Sample of my Spring Tonic Tea! Consider it a thank you for putting up with my erratic posting and crazy procrastination!