Posts Tagged ‘Herbs’

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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Alas, my friends, I am guilty of shirking my blogging responsibilities! But who can truly blame me? The Spirits of Spring have called me to the newly blooming Gardens ( or what will soon become gardens ), and who can resist the call of Nature ( no, not that call! 😉 )? I apologize, but now it seems the rains have come to Georgia and I suppose I will be stuck indoors today! So now I sit, sipping a steaming cup of Organic ( and Fair Trade ) coffee mixed with wild harvested, roasted Dandelion Root that I recently dug from my yard.

    I have, in earlier posts, preached the amazing qualities of this sometimes hated weed, and what better time to explain the roasting process than on a rainy day? Plus I figured with my total lack of posts I might better give y’all something useful to read, otherwise my minions ( oops… I mean Readers:) )might rise against me! Now enough of the babble, let’s get to the good stuff!

What dainty Flowers!

How to Roast Dandelion Roots:

First, of course, we must extract them from the soil! To ensure a continuous supply of crunchy, cleansing roots, and crisp salad greens, we must pick the seed laden puff balls and make a few wishes for the future! Just be sure not to blow the seeds into your neighbors yard ( unless, of course, they share your love for dandelion’s sunny disposition )!

To gather the greatest amount of roots, you will need a good spade, and by spade, I mean a square shaped shovel with a nice, sharp edge to it. Some people prefer a regular shovel, but these tenacious roots tend to grow about 2 feet long, strait down into your yard, so it gets pretty difficult unless you have a long shovel!

 A good root diggin’ technique is to dig in a circle around the base of the plant, placing the spade straight down at the base and jumping up and down on it multiple times, then standing on the shovel and rocking precariously side to side to loosen the soil around said Dandelion. Not only is this really fun, it’s the only way I’ve found to get the whole root! Comment if you have a more efficient ( though maybe slightly less fun) technique. Once you have the soil loosened, reach down and grab the base of the plant and using your shovel for leverage, pull straight up. You should now have a beautiful, dirt covered root, along with some excess dirt under your fingernails. Keep up the diggin’ until you have enough roots ( there’s no real way to tell how many you’ll need, because, of course each root is a different size, shape and length).

These beautiful little roots, covered in Ga. Red Dirt, are actually a golden yellow color when washed. You can see how long and skinny they are, and they shoot straight down into the soil.

Now clean your roots outside first at the hose, I like to set up a grate over my compost pile, then spray them with the hose, but not too hard, you don’t really want to bruise them, however, get as much soil off as possible before moving on to the kitchen sink. Once inside, cut the leaves off and set them aside for lunch, then move on to scrubbing them as you would a potato, until all the dirt is gone. Place them on a paper towel to get the excess water off, then start chopping them up.

Now you can see the yellowish color. Sorry for the Horrible Pic!

It doesn’t really matter how you chopp them as long as their basically the same thickness to ensure even drying.

Spread them on a baking sheet, a couple of centimeters thick, and place in a 250 degree F. oven, leaving the door partially open to allow  moisture to escape. Keep checking them until they look shriveled, then leave them for about 30 more minutes to get a nice brown to golden color. The whole process usually only takes about 2 hours (unless you decide to try this on an extremely humid Georgia afternoon, like I did! Then it takes half the day to just dry them!:))

When their nice and roasted (I can always tell by the Earthy, slightly spicy aroma that permeates my kitchen), store them, unground, in an airtight jar in a cool dark area just like any other medicinal herb.

I like to grind the Dandelion with the coffee beans at a ratio of about a third of the Dandelion root to two thirds of the coffee. Adding more will give you a more bitter, Cafe Du Monde chicory-like flavor. Then Brew just like you would regular coffee and enjoy the cleansing, nutrient rich flavor of your dandelion coffee! Just remember, both coffee and Dandelion roots are diuretic, which basically means you’ll be urinating more than usual. Don’t let it get you down, it just means the dandelion is traveling through your body picking up toxins along the way out. Be sure, however, to get a little extra potassium in your diet, as this can be depleted by a pickup in the frequency of urinating.

Not only is this a great tasting way to take your medicine, it will also extend the time between buying more coffee, thereby saving you a couple extra dollars! I like to use that extra cash to buy plants…and potting soil, and pots, and seeds, and garden tools….O.K, so maybe it wont save me that much!


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Hello to all! I would like to indtroduce you to the newest member of our Farmin’ Family, his name is…Beckham-Bo Bunny! Dont look at me like that! I didnt name him!

He's still camera shy, but we'll work on that! 🙂


Mr.Beckham-Bo Bunny is one year old and looks as though he could be Wolverine’s Pet Rabbit (notice the mutton chops ), we got him for free from a family who could no longer care for him, as it turns out the wife was painfully allergic to rabbits. Needless to say, he is very skiddish and has never truly been held for long because of the allergy issue so were going to really have to work with him! He seemed fairly healthy aside from his enormously overgrown claws, which seemed to be tender to the touch, so instead of trying to clip his nails ourselves, we decided to take him to the vet’s office. Though I probably could have attempted the job myself ( its really not that difficult), I feared the quick had grown ( the quick is the small vein located in an animals claws that, if clipped, will bleed profusely) as well as his nails, and I really didn’t want to deal with a bleeding bunny foot! So off we go to the Friendly local Veterinarian’s office for a quick check up and grooming session…..$92 later, as Bear and I limped away as if we’d been shot in the butt, I began to think of a carreer in the Vet’s bussiness! O.K., so Im kidding about that part, but $92? It turned out that our cute little rescue bunny came with a case of ear-mites in one ear and the only possible cure was to charge us; $38 for the office visit, $23.50 for a swab of the ear and a glance in a microscope, $22.50 for an injection of Ivermectin (which turns out to be a de-wormer) and $8 for a nail trim….WoW! Now I have never come across a case of ear mites in all of my bunny raising experience,(which is odd, because all of my bunnies come from the auction-house) and in my ignorance, I didnt think to take matters into my own hands with my knowledge of herbs and home remedies.  I know, Bad Gwenevere! Always thouroughly research an animal your going to raise! But in my reading on rabbits, I only vauguely remembered something about ear mites, and vaguely remembering doesnt constitute full knowledge. Well I learned my lesson, and immediatly after the Vet’s Wallet lashing, I began my research and after hours of my nose stuck in books, my eyes stuck to the computer, and my ears stuck to the wisdom of my fiance’s Grandmother, here are my findings….I spent Waaayyy to much money!

Now onto the Home Remedies for Ear mites:

*Apparently, any type of oil, rubbed into the affected ear will smother the ear mites, however, the type of oil is widely debated. Some imply that mineral oil is the only way to go, while others swear on olive oil or canola. I personally would rather use a naturally based oil since any type of oil will seep through into the animal’s system.  Something to think about also, is adding essential oils to further heal the ear.  Eucalyptus or Grapefruit seed extract would be my choice for their antiseptic, healing and particularly their anti-fungal properties, because in some cases a fungus will appear after the death of the ear mites. This is rare, but worth a pre-defense.

Apply the oil/oil mixture to the inside of the ear with either a clean cotton cloth, cotton ball, or your fingers. Repeat about three times per day for a couple of weeks to make sure you smother not only the ear mites, but the succesivly hatching eggs as well.

*Apply a one part vinegar/two parts water mixture to the inside of the affected ear every day, about three times a day for a week. This is the recomended time, but I assume it would’nt get rid of the hatching eggs as well and you may have to repeat until all signs of infection are gone. This tends to dry the ear out more than the oil mixture, and should not be used on animals with sores from scratching too much, as it will sting. Vinegar is also said to clean out the debris and detritus from an affected ear. Similarly acidic in nature, lemon juice will also do the trick, while also making your bunny smell lemony fresh!

*Yellow Dock Root Extract:  nine drops of the extract are diluted with one tablespoon of water. Fill half of a dropper with the mixture and place in the ears. Continue this treatment for many weeks (every other day), to prevent any new infections from eggs hatching. You can make this extract at home by adding as much chopped yellow dock root as will fit in a mason jar of your choosing, then cover completely with 80 proof vodka, cover and place in a dark, cool place for about six weeks, shaking to mix ever day. Strain the mixture and store in a dark colored, sealed jar. This is the simplest way to make a tincture and can be used for just about any herb. Im really not sure at all how this remedy is supposed to work. It may only be that the alchohol in the mixture succesfully dries out the mites, but many people have recomended it, so the herb may act in some way.

*As an after treatment, My fiance’s Grandmother, Eve, gave me a little of her Goldenrod ointment. Not only will this help to heal the damage caused by the ear mites, it will also re-moisturize the ear and prevent infection from occuring. Perhaps I’ll do a post on how to make the Goldenrod ointment at a later date.

His ears seems to be doing better, but notice how the far one droops? This is one sign of ear mites. Sadly, He is in quarentine inside the house until we get rid of them.

Though I am now armored with this alternative knowlege, I will continue with the last two shots of Ivermectin the Vet recomended, I would not want any ill-effects caused because I chose to discontinue a treatment early.And  Though Ivermectin is a De-Wormer, Eve also says that yes, it will get rid of the ear mites, along with any other bug-type creature that would possibly infect poor Mr Bo-Bunny. I will, however, be using these home remedies if ever I come across Ear Mites again, first of all, I don’t enjoy wallet- crushing vet bills, secondly, there are rumors that Ivermectin has been known to cause brain damage.

Either way, We now own one very expensive bunny! Do you know what his punishment will be for costing us so much? A life of eating crunchy, fresh wild greens, Playing in the sunlit grass,  and Mating with Beautiful Does! Not too bad a punishment if I do say so myself!


You can really see the Wolverine-like Mutton Chops in this pic, Apparently that colorful object next to him is his favorite toy, and yes, he does carry it around when he's playing! 🙂

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I must sincerely apologize for the complete lack of my normal Saturday post! The end of the week proved to hail a whirlwind of activity and the blessing of the company of old friends. To be quite honest, I must admit that on Friday evening I stayed up until about 6:30 in the A.M, I really felt like I was in High School again! Then Sunday showed my home full of the laughter of both children and men (you know they act like kids most days anyway;) and my new stove got broken in in a most appropriate way for a homestead…two whole batches of cookies!-all of which were consumed within the hour:)

But now I shall make up for it with this collection of wild medicinal (and of course edible!) plants, all of which can be found growing throughout the wilds of Georgia and I’m sure most of the southeast! I also had the pleasure of taking a wild weed walk in my mom’s Secret Gardens, so these pictures are a culmination of both her homestead and mine. So once again, won’t you join me on the farm, and in my mother’s gardens as we walk with heads pointed down to the ground exploring the bounty of our lawns!

The first in the series is common in most areas of the country in one form or another- Chickweed! This diminutive plant is both edible and medicinal in nature; having the properties to Treat coughs, hoarseness, constipation, kidney related disorders, and is now revealing itself as an effective antihistamine! With a whole host of vitamins and minerals including Ascorbic-acid, Beta-carotene, Calcium, Coumarins, Genistein, Gamma-linolenic-acid, Flavonoids, Hentriacontanol, Magnesium, Niacin, Oleic-acid, Potassium, Riboflavin, Rutin, Selenium, Triterpenoid saponins, Thiamin, and Zinc, this plant is a treasure waiting to be discovered!

























One easy way to identify chickweed is the tiny star shaped flowers, which upon closer inspection reveals instead of ten petals, five deeply cleft petals. It also has a line of hair running along a creeping purplish green stem, this particular variety is called mouse-eared chickweed, and is fuzzier than the variety shown above.


















This beautiful weed is called Ground Ivy, it makes a lush green ground cover and grows in areas grass doesn't like...but be careful, it's related to the mint family and tends to take over! Thankfully, it's medicinal and edible so it adds greatly to the useful lawn. It makes an excellent spring tonic, aiding in relieving congestion and inflammation of mucous membranes associated with colds, flu, and sinusitis, stimulating the appetite, treating allergies, digestive disorders, gastritis, acid indigestion, and diarrhea. These are just a few of it's many benefits. It is also an appetizing salad and soup green adding a great host of nutrients to the meal!






















Since it is a member of the mint family, it's stem is square, hairy and creeps along the ground forming a mat, it's leaves are heart shaped and scalloped. The leaves, stems and flowers can be harvested year round, since it is a perennial.
















Do not, under any circumstances, confuse ground ivy with this plant! This is called Delphinium and is very poisonous!some distinct differences include the serrated leaves, rather than lobed, and the more compact nature of the entire plant instead of the creeping nature of Ground Ivy. Remember, always properly identify before you even touch a plant, let alone harvest it!


















Despite appearances, no this is not a strawberry leaf! This ancient plant is called cinquefoil, otherwise known as Five Finger Grass. Purely medicinal in nature (I tried a leaf and neither the texture nor taste is appetizing in the least, so, though you could probably eat it as a salad green...well, let's just say I told ya so 😉 It's medicinal uses include treating Diarrhea, Menstrual Cramps, Mouth Inflammation, PMS, Sore throat and used as an astringent skin wash. In the old days, this herb was almost considered a 'cure all', it's scientific name; 'Potentilla' can attest to that...see 'Potent' in its very Latin origins!





















A close-up of this precious groundcover, notice the five serrated leaves on a single axis.











Hmmmm....is this one of those 'what is this' closeup pictures you sometimes find in the back of a magazine? Nope! This is a most amazing resin from a very common plant...the Pine! Members of the Pine Family grow almost everywhere in America and most, if not all, are medicinally interchangeable to varying degrees of success. The Native Americans used this as a very valuable food supply in the winter when fresh vegetables were scarce. Because of it's very high vitamin C content, it's very useful in treating scurvy; the severe vitamin C deficiency commonly found in malnourished countries.





















Another amazing quality of Pine sap (and pine needles) is it's ability to treat just about any form of influenza, and though I've not come across a case, I'm almost certain even the bird or swine flu could not stand up to this resin's healing properties! More research is defiantly required in this area and if you come across any vases I would be delighted if you shared! On another note, pine sap also makes an amazing healing and drawing poultice for splinters, glass, spider bites and other small wounds. There are a great many old-timey pine sap slave recipes out there so I'll not take up more space with another one, simply know the knowledge is there for the taking!





















I was overjoyed to recently learn (from my brilliant mom:), that this curious looking wild plant I've been wondering about for over a year now is actually the ancient healer Fumitory! This beautiful little plant has been used in medicine for thousands of years and just it's name brings images of monastery cottage gardens, ancient monks tending the healing plants in times such as King Arthur and Robin Hood lived! Many times I'm sure the smoke of this plant has graced the halls of catholic churches and has even been used to purify sick rooms and quarantine areas!




















Internally, Fumitory is useful as a digestive tonic, treating gall bladder and Liver conditions, along with Being gently laxative and sedative in it's nature. Externally, it has been used to treat skin conditions such as rash, eczema, and other inflamations.














Thanks so much for joining me once again as we explore the bounty nature has provided for us! Last weeks it was a salad, this week a healing potion…all from plants freely given to better our bodies and minds! Ahhhhh…..I love Spring!:)

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Signs of spring are popping up everywhere in the SouthEast! Early wild pears are blooming, the peach trees are beginning to leaf out, and my hands are now perpetually dirty! I Love IT! As I scrambled my eggs this morning with the Dandilion leaves left over from my root digging session, I decided that with new growth popping up all around me it was time to do a weed walk. Though I wish I had a video camera, pictures from the farm are going to have to do. This list is by far not a complete over veiw of the wild goodness availible in Georgia this time of the year, simply a couple of my favorites along with various poisonous look alikes to stay away from, Now come along and walk with me on the farm…Its a great day outside!

The Notorious Dandilion! We all know it, some of us like it, some of us hate it, but we all have to admit we've made a wish on the seed heads a time or two! Though its been talked up and down in various other "weed eater"(Lol;) Blogs, I had to include it because the picture just makes me smile! All parts of this wonderful plant are edible. Its leaves are great stir fried, steamed, scrambled with eggs and any other way you could eat spinach. The blossoms make great additions to salad and some like them fried though I've not tried them that way yet. The Root is the real powerhouse, being a liver tonic, blood cleanser, iron builder and all around spring do-gooder. Try it chopped like carrots and steamed (with Butter!), sliced into a savory warming soup for the chilly spring nights, or dry it and grind it for a coffe substitute. (Done in this manner, I usually mix mine in my coffe for a slight chicory like flavor. I still have yet to experiment with Dandilion Wine!


This Delicious weed is also great any way you would fix spinach. I like it in an oriental style stir fry! The health Benefits of Yellow Dock are very similar to dandilion and combined create the best spring cleansing tonic out available. Be careful, though, the roots effects could be slightly laxitive as well as diuretic(i.e. makes you pee alot:), but thats just part of the cleansing effects.

The middle section of the yellow dock leaf can be bitter, which is very good for it's digestive effects, but I just can't bring myself to 'like' the bitter flavor. To solve this problem, I just cut the middle out before I cook the leaves. You can munch on a few middle pieces before a particularly heavy meal to prevent indigestion!

This wild onion is absolutely unique in taste, like a cross between a sweet onion and garlic all wrapped up and concentrated in a quarter sized bulb. The flavor is so strong it usually only takes one bulb to flavor an entire dish. The curly tops (a great way to identify them) are like chives and can be used in all the ways chives can, my grandmother likes to dry them and munch them for a viamin packed snack! I have had great success with treating colds and weak flu like symptoms by cooking chicken noodle soup with about three bulbs of wild onion, so Im assuming it probably has at least some of the antibacterial and infection fighting properties of garlic along with all of the micro-nutrients wild species can provide.

Dont Confuse this plant with wild onion or garlic, It is Poisonous! This is a daffodil, or narcissus, and can sometimes be found in the same areas as wild onion. Wild onion usually has more slender, rounded leaves and either curly or very pointy tips. The Daffodil has flatter, more blue tinted leaves and is only edible to squirrels or chipmunks.

Henbit is a great little pot-herb full of micro nutrients, a relative to mint. Toss some in that Dandilion root and wild onion soup!

One great way to identify Henbit is by its beautiful purple tinged tops and it's suqare shaped stem. It's leaves are also kind of fuzzy and soft. The square shaped stem is common in all of the mint family.

Cleavers is a wonderful little herb that loves to hang around henbit. You can identify cleavers by the seven or so leaflets emerging from a very long and creeping stem. You can also see the tiny, very sticky hairs all over the whole plant. Cook or Dry the plant before using because the sticky hairs can irritate your throat, Believe me, I know from experience;)!

Don't confuse cleavers with this very Un-Edible weed, from the wild pea family. From a distance it can look similar, but it is not sticky at all and the leaflets occur opposite each other on the stem instead of in a circular pattern. It also likes to hang out with cleavers, so be careful. Dont try to eat anything wild from the pea or bean family, they are notorious for being poisonous!

Fresh or dried cleavers are alterative, anti-inflammatory, astringent, diaphoretic, diuretic, tonic and vulnerary. It is also very cleansing to the entire body which makes it useful for treating cancer patients or those with a buildup of toxins.

This plant was called white man's footprint because it has spread everywhere the European explorers travelled. Besides being edible, it is also very useful for treating wounds, spider bites and to draw out a splinter. The most effective application is a poultice created by chewing a leaf or two and applying directly to the shallow cut, scratch, or bite. I succesfully treated my cat in this manner after I walked in to find a very large black widow spider hanging from it's paw!

You can properly identify plantain by the very pronaounced ribs on it's leaves and very dark green color. This is the lance leafed variety but there is also a wide leaf variety that has'nt made an appearence yet. Though it is edible and very nutritious, I would only save this for a life or death survival experience because the leaves are more stringy than celery!

As I said before, this is but a hint of the availible  bounty in your lawn!  As more plants peek their dainty heads out of the soil and the seasons begin to change creating all the transformations spring brings, we will continue to document wild plants and their uses, along with uses of the different parts like root, flower and seed that havent been covered today. Who knows, maybe I’ll find a video camera and we’ll go on a real weed walk!

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Sometimes I just amaze myself with how dense I can be!  Today, While working on my fresh garlic vinegar, smashing the cloves with the back of a knife, the pungent scent permeating my kitchen, I frustratingly tried to figure out what I could possibly write a post about! My thoughts sounded something like this…’We haven’t worked at all on the garden, the radishes are sprouting but that’s not news to anyone, radishes sprout all the time after all, I pruned the peach trees, but I’m no expert and I can guarantee no one will want to take my advice on that ( unless they like deformed fruit trees;),…mmmmm….this garlic smells great,I think I’ll make spaghetti for dinner tonight….mmmmm…spaghetti….Wait!’ and then I slapped my  head with my garlic juice soaked hand and thought, ‘Hmmm how about I just write about this great harvest of garlic (dummy!:)’ so here it is:

How to make medicinal grade Garlic Vinegar:

First a little bit about the medicinal value of Garlic. As everyone knows, garlic is heart healthy, but what does that really mean? Well aside from being a great cancer preventative, and we all need that, garlic actually helps to dissolve all that bad cholesterol and build up all that good cholesterol ( it’s called HDL and LDL cholesterol but I can’t for the life of me remember which one is bad and which is good, but all that really matters is that bad goes away and good stays!). Aside from the cholesterol, garlic will also strengthen the heart muscle and lower blood pressure along with being a natural antibiotic and all around disease preventative! If you combine garlic with vinegar you get added bone building properties and a generous supply of trace minerals. Plus it’s just plain tastes great!! What I made today is actually what’s called an aceteous tincture, a medicinal strength vinegar extract, but since I prefer to use my mixtures in my Dinner were just going to call it Garlic Vinegar. 
About eight to ten heads of Garlic
Apple cider vinegar
Quart jar (mason jar)
Plastic wrap
A garlic clove crusher of some sort, I use the back of a knife, but your hand starts to hurt after about the sixth head of garlic, so invest in one of those squeeze type mincer thingamagigs.

Make sure your jar is clean and dry. Crush the cloves of garlic and place them, skin and all into the jar until you have the jar filled up about three quarters of the way full. Now fill it up all the way with apple cider vinegar. Since the vinegar will degrade your normal metal canning lid, you’ll want to make a plastic covering. I like to cut a circle the same size as the lid out of milk jugs and place it on the mouth of the jar, then screw the ring down tight. You can, however, just use plastic wrap over the mouth held on by either the metal ring or a rubber band. Shake the mixture up and stick it in a cool dark place, shaking everyday, for about six weeks. When the six week mark is up, (don’t worry if it sits there for more than six weeks, we all forget sometimes:) strain the whole mixture with cheese cloth into another clean dry jar and let that sit over night. Just toss the leftovers in the compost. The next day you should have a pretty bottle ready, maybe with a cork to close it. You’ll notice a sludge like substance at the bottom of the vinegar, you’ll want to strain that off, I like to use coffee filters for this process. Pour your vinegar through your coffee filter into your pretty bottle (obviously a funnel would be handy here!) but stop just before the sludge starts to come out. Now go ahead and breath in the wonderful smell of your new vinegar! Disgard the yucky stuff at the bottom of your jar into the compost, don’t worry, it’s just more garlic debris, my worms seem to love it! 

Now that you have some wonderfully good for you, great tasting garlic vinegar, make some spaghetti (like I’m eating now!) and right before you take the sauce off the heat, pour in about a table spoonful of the vinegar. Remember, You don’t want it to heat up too much or you’ll lose a lot of health benefits! Now all of that great Garlicky goodness will be dissolving all of the bad cholesterol from that big spoonful of butter you put into the noodles! 
Mmmmm….time to finish my supper!


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