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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.)    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,  herbal mixtures sell well with handcrafted jewelry and accessories, I made all the money I needed for the Ren. Fest. at the Geranium Festival!   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.  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)   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!

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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!
 
 
 
 
 

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Dont Worry Everyone,The Super Suprise will be revealed next Thursday! Until then, enjoy this post about doing too many things at once!
Spring is such a busy time of the year for us Homesteaders (or at least for those of us Trying to be Homesteaders ;)). Planting seeds and seedlings, harvesting  the Early Spring Bounty, Making tinctures, teas, vinegars and Herbal Waters, and of course…Spring Cleaning! Well, being the Crazy woman that I am, I attempted to take on each of these tasks in the course of a Week and Weekend! I suppose it’s because of that Extreme sport we like to train for, you know…The Procrastination Olympics? Whew! Time for some Tips, I think! 
   First tip of the Week…Don’t do what I did! Bunching all of these tasks together is a recipe for exhaustion and Mistakes, which will only cause more work in the long run! I realize this may sound like common sense (and it is ;)), but too many of us seem to be leaving that little bit of knowledge at the gate! Take the time to plan out each task, call planning a task in itself. Set One for each day, or tackle One in a weekend and always remember to take breaks when doing farm work, herbal preparations, cleaning, etc…In this manner, your body, and mind has time to recoup, think of things you may have forgotten and gear up for the next portion of whatever your work may entail. Believe me, you’ll get more done and make fewer mistakes this way. Perhaps we should take a page from the British, Tea Time sounds pretty appealing!
   Now for the fun part…Story Time! ‘Tis a tale to rival that of Cinderella! Full of happiness, beauty, herbal magic and children’s laughter! The only problem? The beautiful princess missed the ball and ended up scrubbing the same pot for three days! So, without further adieu, Once upon a Time…

 Three beautiful princess friends decided the time was right to brew the magical love potion called Rose Water, so, one spring Sunday, they all gathered together their children and husbands and brothers to a mystical Farm (much like my own) to have a party. While the children played outside, mixing potions and soups in old pots full of grass and mud, the three friends gathered roses from the Pure White rose bush, filling their baskets and reveling in the sweet, flowery smell that permeated the air. Laughing along with the three children, they skipped to the castle, tossing rose petals into the air and admonishing the youngest child for actually eating the mud pie, which only brought more hails of delighted laughter from the messy young ones. They then spirited to the Hearth of the Home, and there they poured blessed well water into a beautiful, and expensive, stainless steel pot, picked the rose petals free from their buds and placed the magical brew onto the fire. They then placed a steamer on top, with a small glass dish in the middle to catch the sacred liquid. On top of this, an inverted lid was placed, to direct that sacred liquid into the dish. Many prayers and chants were said over this apparatus, words filled with happiness and giddy jokes, for laughter is the essence of Love, until finally, the brew began to boil, and then to simmer.  An imploring silence fell over the room. The first friend peeked under the lid… and was amazed to find a light golden liquid dripping into the glass container! “We’ve done it!”, she whispered, and was greeted with  cheers from her two beautiful friends. “Oh, we must let it simmer longer…perhaps we’ll get even more!”, but her ignorance was like that of her friends, for the potion must only be allowed to simmer for forty minutes, else the essence be diluted… So after an hour, the second friend arose, saying she had a birthday party to attend and bade them fair well, gathering up her two little girls and a grumbling husband as she left. The last child to stay, a small boy, came into the kitchen where the two friends sat chatting and watching the potion. And as young children are wont to do when they have been playing all day, said in a sweet voice, “I’m hungry!!”, “Hey me too!” echoed the men, who had been playing a game of chance and risk the entire day. The first princess looked to the second, who nodded her head in agreement, “I shall make a feast!”, she cried! And she went about filling pots with water, placing pans of sausage on the Enchanted Chef stove and shredding cheese to complete the meal….but all the while, the love potion sat simmering on the stove…forgotten…By the end of the great feast, all the patrons sat in satisfied chatter until, at the same time, the two princesses looked to the stovetop in alarm as smoke poured out from the potion! “No!”,they cried in unison as they lifted the steamer to look beneath. The Pure White Roses had turned black, as all the water had vanished from the bottom. The liquid gold potion, that was supposed to smell like sweet roses on a warm spring day, instead held only the slight fragrance of burned roses. Alas, the potion was ruined and as punishment for her distraction, the Princess had to scrub the blackened pot for Three Days! Here is the magical mixture she used, after many failed attempts, to Finally remove the burned mess from the bottom of the pot, I place it here so that no other Princess (or Prince) shall have to scrub a burned pot for three days again!
2parts Baking Soda
1part lemon juice
1part water
Create a paste to coat the burned on food stuff and leave it to sit overnight. The next morning take a copper scrubbing pad and scrub, scrub, scrub! Rinse it with a little water, but leave a little of the paste at the bottom, then add Eco Friendly dish soap and scrub some more, to get at the corners, use the handle end of a tooth brush or spatula stuck into the copper scrubbing pad. By the end of this, you should have a squeaky clean pan!

I hope you enjoyed my little fairy tale, it seemed appropriate in light of scrubbing pots, and remember; like every parent has said at one time or another in their children’s lives…Do as I say, not as I do! And may you never have to scrub burned on Rose Petals!

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Spring is in Full Bloom...

….Entertaining visitors, brewing teas, planting(and planning) gardens, a little baking and spring cleaning makes for a very busy couple of weeks! Spring is now upon us in full and with it the crazy Georgia storms blowing swiftly through the state. Tulips and late Daffodils are blooming as well as a plethora of wild fruits (such as Blackberries and Dewberries) and wild mustards, only to be battered by the gusting winds and driving rains. Never fear, however, though it may look brutal, Mother Nature knows exactly what she’s doing! It seems this Spring is going to prove to be both productive and plentiful…Which brings me to the topic of this post.

Due to a very large (Surprise!) project, the posts may become somewhat erratic. As you may know, I have to chase down an Internet signal at various cafes and I’m sad to admit, sometimes a Mcdonolds. So, seeing as how I will be working very hard on my super amazing Surprise project, I may not have the time to find that elusive Internet signal. I apologize in advance for any inconvenience this may cause, but never fear! Boredom shall not find you for there are plenty of talented Bloggers out there (remember my links page?),check them out in the case of my absence and you will not be disappointed! Until next time…y’all have a great day!

-Gwenevere

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Urban Homesteaders® beware! yep, you read that little trademark symbol right, apparently that particular term, along with Urban Homesteading® is now trademarked by the Dervaes family, the creators of the Path to Freedom® blog and owners of The most productive 1/5 of an acre lot I’ve ever heard of! Now before we get into a bashing session here, I must say that I greatly admire what Mr. Dervaes and his family are doing, they set a great example for urbanites and rural homesteaders alike (I can say that one without getting griped at:), as far as how to grow as much food as possible on the least amount of land available, this is a valiant experiment into the growing food production problem our world is currently facing. What I don’t find as valiant is the claim they seem to have made on such a wonderful expression of freedom and community driven innovation. I can see the point of trademarking the name of their blog (which they have), even the name of their homestead (also trademarked, I believe), mainly because they thought up those particular word combinations, but I’m pretty sure the term Urban Homesteader® has been in circulation since the early 1980’s. Since then many organizations, communities, magazines, websites and bloggers in particular have penned those two words together to represent self sufficiency, sustainability and most of all, because they’re being experienced in an urban setting….community. Now, however, it seems that if an individual wishes to write about the wonders, benefits and innovations created in the field of homesteading in a city-like setting, they must refer the reader to the writings and more importantly the products and services of PathtoFreedom® .com. I wonder if they realize that many (myself included) homesteading, gardening and sustainability bloggers already do this?
Many organizations and writers, such as The Institute of Urban Homesteading, have already received an e-mail notifying them that they must now change their name. Others have received “suggestions” that they no longer use the term when referring to….well…an Urban Homestead® ! Instead they could use terms like “urban sustainability project” or perhaps “modern homesteading”(which, to me, could refer to any homesteading project, such as what are attempting, and we own almost ten acres right in the middle of RuralVille!). Here is a small snippet of what these e-mails and letters people are receiving have to say:
“Dervaes Institute owns numerous trademarks which should be properly acknowledged if used. These protected names and images include the following registered trademarks:
URBAN HOMESTEAD®
URBAN HOMESTEADING®
PATH TO FREEDOM®
GROW THE FUTURE®
HOMEGROWN REVOLUTION®
FREEDOM GARDENS®
LITTLE HOMESTEAD IN THE CITY® (pending)
Also, THE TEN ELEMENTS OF URBAN HOMSTEADING copyright has been filed with the Library of Congress.
If your use of one of these phrases is not to specifically identify products or services from the Dervaes Institute, then it would be proper to use generic terms to replace the registered trademark you are using. For example, when discussing general homesteading or other people’s projects, they should be referred to using terms such as ‘modern homesteading,’ ‘urban sustainability projects,’ or similar descriptions.”

I’m not sure why “Little Homestead in the City” is going to be trademarked, are they just trying to cover all of the bases? Perhaps I should trademark Rural Homestead or even Makehift Homesteading, no ones done it yet after all;)! The whole ordeal just seems a little to selfish an act to be performed in such a time when open information and sharing is so important to the ultimate goal of community sustainability and freedom from an oil based food economy.
If you feel the need to bring this term back into the hands of the public, Change.org has a petition created by Sundari Elizabeth Kraft, author of the upcoming book The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Urban Homesteading, to cancel the trademarks on their website.
What do you think? Should the term be writable by all without the need to refer the reader to another website? Is this fair to the organizations who have already used the phrase in their very title? Leave a comment below, tell us your thoughts on this very strange situation!

Gwenevere

P.S. Its also kind of annoying to keep having to add that little symbol! Can we get it removed on the grounds of annoyance alone:)?

 

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