Meet the Boys!

Bentley and Camero good picI am just so excited that I have to share this with you. We’ve just inherited two, tiny, mini steers. Meet Camaro and Bentley. Camaro is 19 months old, a mixture of black angus mix father and a mini jersey mother. He has the build of his mother, “mini” and his father’s black, fuzzy coat and round fuzzy ears. He is the pack leader. Then, we have Bentley. He too is 19 months old. I am not sure what his father is, but his mother is also a mini Jersey. He looks like his mother, is about 36 inches tall at the hip. Both are simply adorable.

We made a trip to a friend’s home in TX a little over a week ago to pick them up. Through a series of misfortunes not at all her fault, my friend is selling her farm and moving to Houston to live with her son and daughter-in-law, who, I might add, are the most incredible young couple one could ever have the pleasure to meet and know. In the process of selling her cattle, goats and other livestock, she gave us the two boys, just had to drive down and pick them up. We scurried about, found a livestock trailer that we could pull with our pick-up, made the trip to and from Texas is 2 days. It was an uneventful trip, other than meeting the boys for the first time. My friend’s son thought loading them was going to be difficult since he swore up and down that the boys would be skittish. My husband tossed a half bale of hay into our trailer and they literally jumped from their trailer into ours. Part I accomplished without incident. They slept during our frequent stops home, slept in the trailer because it was 0300 when we got home and we were so tired that we chose not to handle two head of cows in the middle of the night in a dark pasture. They were snoozing when I went outside to move them at 0800, woke up when they heard my voice and started shifting around. I drove them to the pasture, backed into the chute, opened the trailer door, went in with them and told them that it was time to get out, that they were at their new home. Camaro looked at Bentley, gave a short mini moo, hopped out with Bentley following him. Unloading was as easy as loading, with the exception that Bentley stepped on my foot on the way out. Thank goodness for his small size and light weight. I didn’t even bruise on my foot.

Two days later, Bentley ate food from my hand. Camaro will come over, sniff and lick the food offering, but he has yet to be willing to be hand fed. Camaro, on the other hand, is allowing himself to be petted and rubbed, and I have found out that he likes to lick people, like a dog would lick it’s owner. While that is endearing, cow slobber is not the greatest of all offerings from the cows. I am looking forward to mini T-bones from Cameo at the end of next summer. I’m not sure what we’re going to do with Bentley at this point. Both are steers, both are very docile, for which I am thankful, and both are absolutely, positively cute as buttons. What do you think?


Herb of the Day: Ground Ivy

ground ivy

Ground Ivy (glechoma hederacea)
Also known as:
-wild snakeroot
-creeping charlie
-cat's foot
-field balm
When the plant is crushed it will smell like camphor, citronella and peppermint mixed together. Harvest the flowers and stems between April and June.
Used for:
-decongestant, helps treat persistent coughs, asthma
-weak tea solutions are used to help treat eye infections, back pain
-has a very high vitamin C content 
-as a tea, for relief of flatulence
-has been used to help treat lead poisoning
-as a tea is has diuretic qualities and may be used to help treat kidney disorders, bladder and kidney infections
-as a wash, may be used to treat sinus cavity infections
-safe to give to children to help treat respiratory ailments such as coughing, bronchitis, 
-helps to alleviate diarrhea by drying up watery and mucous secretions.
-may be used to help treat arthritis and rheumatoid problems
-Compresses and poultices may be used help treat wound infections, boils, cuts and bruises.
-May be used in dried form to help alleviate heavy menses
To use as a tea- Use 1 teaspoonful into 1 cup of boiling water. Let it steep for 10-15 minutes and drink 3 times per day.
To use in tinctured form, use 1-4 ml of the tincture 3 times per day
To treat heavy metal poisonings, use 3 plants in 1 cup of boiling water, steep for 10-15 minutes, strain, cool and drink. Take 1 liter of this fluid per day for 10 days to 3 months, depending on how serious the heavy metal poisoning is. 
To make a tincture fill a glass jar 2/3 full of the herb, take equal parts of 100% grain alcohol and spring water and pour over the herb until the herb is completely covered. Allow to sit in a sunny place 24 hours, then shake and store covered, in a cool dark place for 1 month. Take 15 drops/day
Herb may be dried on a screen for later use.
1 3/4 oz (50 g) ground ivy, freshly dried 
4 cups (1 liter) olive oil
Grind the ivy in a mortar or in a blender. Add the oil and mix. Macerate 1 month and carefully strain. Pour the oil into several small bottles (easier to use and less likely to go rancid).
Excellent for wounds, bruises and even muscular pain.


National Indian Pudding Day

OK, I’ve heard it all now! I am part Cherokee, still working on genealogy to send in to the Cherokee Nation to prove my heritage so that I can be a registered member of the Cherokee Nation, but that’s a whole ‘nother story. For the time being, I am a member of the Overhill Cherokee Nation, which is not recognized by the US Government, nor the Cherokee Nation, but is still an honor. It is for those of us who have Cherokee heritage, maybe not enough to be carded, nor enough to prove to the CN, but is an extremely large group of Native Americans who still learn, practice, honor and embrace the Native American way of life. When I heard of this “day” I had to go find a recipe. Well, I must say! It looks wonderful!!! It looks rich, very inexpensive to make (aka “frugal”) and looks good!!!  I just wanted to share it with you so you can celebrate the day with us.Indian Pudding

Alison Needham                   


What you’ll need

  • 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal, medium grind preferable
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 1/4 cup molasses, not blackstrap
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup, grade B preferable
  • 1 extra-large egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons butter, cut into 4 pieces
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • vanilla ice cream or sweetened whipped cream for serving

Yields 6 to 8 servings

How to make it

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

  2. Place cornmeal in a large saucepan. Slowly whisk in half the milk, making sure there are no lumps.

  3. Whisk in the remaining milk, molasses, maple syrup, egg, butter, spices and baking soda. Place the saucepan over medium high heat, stirring constantly, taking care to reach the corners of the pan and bring the mixture to a simmer.

  4. When the mixture is boiling softly, continue to cook, stirring constantly, for 30 seconds more. Pour into a greased 8×8 inch baking dish. Bake until pudding bubbles around the edges and the surface becomes a darker brown, about 1 1/2 hours. Serve warm.

Getting Ready for Winter: Part V: Your Vehicles

blizzard Colorado Blizzard of 2003

Last but definitely not least is your vehicle. It’s more than just transportation. It could be a lifesaver or a life taker.



  1. Have your vehicle serviced. That includes oil change, filter changes as necessary, tire pressure checked, tires checked for tread worthiness. Replace worn parts. There’s nothing worse than having your vehicle break down in the middle of winter when you are 20 miles from home!
  2. Place a 72 hr survival kit in the car. That should include blankets, extra warm clothing, socks and waterproof boots, hats, gloves, etc. Also include in that kit, high energy foods that won’t freeze, water or juice, hard candy, extra meds if needed, a small sterno stove and sterno fuel (don’t use this inside your vehicle!! CO2 from a sterno stove is deadly!). Include matches or a lighter, kitty litter or sand, a tow rope, jumper cables, flashlight with extra batteries or a hand crank type flashlight. Garbage bags, tissue paper, feminine items (you just never know!!), and a can or pan to melt snow into water as needed.
  3. Keep a full bottle of windshield washer fluid in your vehicle. The kind that contains de-icer is best for cold winter months. 
  4. Keep a can of WD40 around. Don’t put it in your car. It’s a great mechanism for de-icing frozen car locks, but it won’t work if it’s locked inside your car! I carried a tote bag to and from work, carried it inside and put it under my desk. In it, was a can of WD-40. My office mates used to laugh until they saw me de-icing my car locks when theirs were frozen solid. And, yes, I took pity on them and shared my can of WD-40. I noticed other tote bags showing up at work. I always wonder if they followed my lead?
  5. Keep a  et of chains (if you’re able to put them on your car) in the vehicle.
  6. Make sure your tool kit is in the vehicle.
  7. Keep headlights and tail lights clean.
  8. Make sure your vehicle battery is in good shape. Excessive heat and cold are hard on older batteries. Replace as necessary.
  9. Flares: It doesn’t matter what kind, whether they’re reflector type or the old kind that looks like firecrackers. Have them handy.
  10. Consider having a “HELP!” sign to place in your windows. If not that, the universal code for help is a red flag or bandana or cloth tied to the antenna. That way, if you need help and are stranded in your vehicle, you will have a visible sign to your rescuers.
  11. Keep your cell phone charged.
  12. If you need to travel, always plan your route and let someone else know what your route is. Don’t deviate from it. If you have a breakdown, knowing where you might be could be a lifesaver if someone needs to trace your route. Try not to plan trips during extreme weather conditions if at all possible. Blizzards, white-outs, I’ve been unfortunate to have to travel across Montana and Wyoming in blizzard conditions and it was scary. I’ve traveled down I-70 through Colorado in the middle of a blizzard in December of 2003, couldn’t find a motel anywhere, was reduced to traveling 30 MPH during the lighter part of the blizzard, and had to spend the night at a rest area with snow piled 8 inches deep on top of my car the next morning. Frightening? Absolutely because I was alone. But, with these tips and tricks, I am blessed to be here to share this blog entry with you. Take care, be prepared, and be safe!

Getting Ready for Winter: Part IV: Your Animals and Livestock

cow in the winter winter chickensSpeed Star 1.0496332  00
1. Lay in an adequate supply of feed, just in case you can’t get out due to weather conditions.
2. Make sure hay and straw are covered or are in a dry holding area.
3. Make sure all feed dishes are clean.
4. Pull out electric water thawing devices for outside animal’s water troughs. Check to make sure they’re in good working order and put them in place the day before an expected freeze. Make sure all electrical cords are out of reach of inquisitive animals.
5. Make sure all animals have plenty of dry bedding. Add a bit of rosemary to dog, cat, and other outside animal’s bedding to keep insects away. (yes, they do thrive in the winter months too!)
6. Heat lamp up in the chicken coop.
7. Have an ample supply of water stored for your animals, in the event of a power outage. Include your own water needs in your water storage plan too!
8. Winterize and cover stock trailers, utility trailers, etc.
9. Our rabbits need extra protection. Their hutches are next to the chicken’s run, but are not in an enclosed building. We make sure they have extra straw…and check it daily because they will nibble on it. The hutches are covered with tarps to prevent the cold wind from blowing through. Their nesting boxes are checked and repaired for cracks or open places where wind might blow through as well.

Getting Ready For Winter: Part II: Lawn and Farm Equipment. Tools, etc.

Your tools are your money makers. They are expensive to replace. My father was raised on a farm back in the early 1900’s by a pair of extremely frugal parents. Money was scarce, it was hard to come by in those days. You learned to take care of the things you had because they couldn’t be replaced. My dad was the same as his parents. I can always remember that the first thing he did after the last harvest was to winterize his garden tools and other equipment. I am much the same way. I still have some of the shovels and a pitchfork that my dad had. Heavens! They must be close to 40 years old now. These are the things I learned as a youngster, things that I still do today. the list is relatively simple and short. You can expand the list as your needs dictate.

  1. Clean off all the dirt from garden tools, that includes tiller blades, lawnmowers, garden tools
  2. Lightly sand the handles of wooden handled garden tools with a fine grit sandpaper to remove burrs and splinters, and wipe down all the handles of wooden garden tools with linseed oillinseed oil
  3. Wipe down the blades of garden tools with oil or store in a bucket of sand with oil impregnated throughout the sand. We do the same with our shovels, pitchforks, and other larger garden tools in a half barrel of oil impregnated sand. Keeps them from rustingtools in sand
  4. Cover equipment that is too large to store in sheds with a tarp or heavy plastic.
  5. Drain, roll up and put away all garden hoses, sprinklers, hose rolled
  6. Drain all gasoline from gas powered equipment engines so it doesn’t gum up the carburetors during the cold winter months.

rider mower

Herb of the Day: Burdock

great burdock

burdock seed


Burdock  (Arctium Lappa) can grow up to nine feet tall, but most generally is around the 3-5 foot stage in North America. Seeds are disbursed via the oval seed pods with tiny burrs on them. You frequently find them attached to your clothes and socks after a walk through a field or a forest.

Also known as:

Bur or Burr Buttons

Cockle Buttons

Grass or Great Burdock

Turkey Burrseed


Niu Bang

Lappa minor

All parts are very useful and very healing as confirmed through laboratory studies.  The roots are particularly useful in treatment of acne, psoriasis, and eczema in salves.  Tinctures are known to be antifungal, antibacterial, and bacteriostatic (meaning that it inhibits the growth of new bacteria). 

Used as a blood purifier, it can assist with liver detoxification efforts, it is one of the ingredients in Essiac Tea, which is known to many herbalists as a treatment for many different types of cancers. It activates the pancreas, which in turn will help keep blood sugar levels lowered, detoxifies the pancreatic cells (the pancreas is a huge filter for the body). 

As a gut stimulating agent, it helps bolster a weak digestive system. It will help alleviate flatulence, and indigestion as well as act as a bacteriocidal agent in the gut in the event of gastro-intestinal infections.

Burdock has a mild diuretic action, therefore it will help the kidneys, bladder and urinary tract eliminate harmful bacteria or other toxins.

It can also be used as a tea to help alleviate fever, sore throat, coughing, a common cold, laryngitis, pharyngitis.

It has antiviral properties and has been used as a tea in alleviating the length and severity of chicken pox and measles.  With it’s antifungal properties, it can be used to treat ringworm and athlete’s feet, or skin surface candida albicans.

As a tea or used in salves, it can be used to help alleviate the symptoms of gout, rheumatism and arthritic discomfort.

Seeds are high in essential fatty acids, Vitamins B2 and A.

Recommendations for use will vary from one herbalist to another, but per and several of my books, about 2-4 ml of burdock tincture in a non-carbohydrate drink once a day, or using it in capsule form, 1-2 grams, 3 times per day is sufficient.

For use with urinary issues such as a urinary tract infection, kidney or bladder infection, or to help minimalize the incidence and severity of kidney stones, use a burdock tincture in conjunction with tinctures from cleavers, virgin corn silk, yellow dock, red clover, or catnip in teas.

While the healing effects of burdock are well known, and few side effects are known, it is in the best interest of women who are pregnant, not to use herbal concoctions or tinctures without the advice and consent of their obstetrician. Burdock can stimulate uterine cramping and should not be used by pregnant women.



  As a decoction in salves and ointments for use on skin conditions.  As a tincture, in teas. Especially good when combined with other herbs as listed above. As a poultice, crushed or shredded, and applied directly to skin conditions, including ulcerated areas.  As a  wash, macerated, boiled, strained and cooled liquids applied to acne, eczema, psoriasis or other skin disorders.


 As an infusion, in water leaves allowed to simmer in boiling hot water for 20 minutes, cooled and sweetened with honey to taste to aid in treatment of digestive, liver or kidney disorders.  As a poultice directly on skin disorders. As an infusion in oil, to apply directly to varicose veins.


As a decoction, used in teas to alleviate fever, apply as a wash to skin conditions, as a cough and cold remedy and as a detoxifier.

Keep in mind when using burdock internally that it acts as a mild to moderate
laxative and diuretic and that it lowers blood sugar.

Leaves – harvest before flowering – used for stomach upset, improve digestion,
mild laxative, diuretic

Seeds – harvest when ripe in late summer to early fall – used for inflammation,
fever, mild antibacterial, diuretic, lowers blood sugar

Roots – harvest in late fall – used for cancer treatment (Essiac Ojibwa Tea),
cleansing and detox, moderate laxative, mild antibacterial, treat arthritis,
diuretic, topically for wounds, eczema and infection