Sunday, January 29, 2012

Herbs, Herbs, Everywhere

Today was fairly relaxing, but also productive.  Sometimes my non-relaxing days don't feel very productive!  I had no plans for the day when it started, other than I was going to do something I wanted to do, no "work". 

I didn't lounge around in bed very long.  I had a simple breakfast, but I can't even remember now what it was!  I do remember there was a cup of fresh chicken broth hot out of the crock pot, though.  I cleaned up the kitchen after eating, and put on some water to boil for kombucha.  We had two 3-quart batches to bottle, combination of black tea and blueberry herbal tea.  I put some crushed pineapple into half of the bottles, and some frozen blueberries into the other half.  We like to add fruit and let it sit out a couple more days for a second ferment.  I used the same tea combination to start the next two batches.

After the kombucha, I decided it was time to strain the herbs in the mini crock pot and add beeswax.  I was making a congestion chest rub (homemade "Vick's").  The crock doesn't have different temperature settings, so it was probably hotter than ideal, but still perfectly usable; the herbs got a bit crunchy, but weren't used in the finished product anyway.  Hubby said it isn't like Vick's unless it smells like eucalyptus, so I added some eucalyptus essential oil drops, which did give it a nice smell.

So then I had an empty crock, and decided to fill it with something.  I got out my 18-gallon Rubbermaid tote full of herbs and started digging.  I decided to make a glycerin tincture of my Restful Sleep herb blend.  Sometimes I could just use a little bit of help relaxing at night.  It should be ready to be strained and put into a jar in a couple days.

My Mama's Red Raspberry Brew supply was almost gone, so I mixed up quite a large batch of it.  Now I have no real excuse for not making enough to drink every day.  Some of my herbs are now in low supply, so I will have to get more.

The last few years I have started wildcrafting my own herbs whenever possible.  As I went through my box today, I made a list of everything I have on hand, and I was surprised to realize that nearly half are herbs that I picked and dried myself!  Of course, many of those I only have a small quantity, and some I've never even used, but I have them, and my goal is to figure out for what purpose they can best be used, and then start using them.

I know I need to make some more tinctures to have on hand.  Lobelia, Valerian, and Olive Leaf will be some of the first I make when I get a new supply of vodka.  I will probably make some things in glycerin instead of alcohol.  And others, like Jungle Juice, I will make both and then mix them.  The alcohol extracts more of the "good stuff" from the herbs, but tastes nasty, so a combination of that w/ a glycerin tincture, which is sweet, will make them easier to take, or at least not so nasty tasting.

Many people will get rid of their herbs after a year or two, because they lose their potency.  That is probably true; however, I am frugal to the point of ridiculousness in some things, and definitely with my herbs and spices!  I'm sure some of my herbs are at least 6 years old, but I figure if I can still smell them and taste them, then they aren't ready for the compost pile yet.  I would store them in the freezer, if I had space, but I don't.  I have them each in plastic zip-lock bags and in the plastic tote.  Ideally, I would at least keep them in a cool place, but I haven't always had that option.  At least they are in the dark, protected from the sunlight.

It's almost time to mix up some more tooth powder, too.  Each time it turns out differently.  I typically use baking soda and/or sea salt as a base and go from there.  Some things I might use are: black walnut hull powder, activated charcoal, xylitol, peppermint oil, and cinnamon.  I have also mixed it with coconut oil or glycerin a couple times, but a powder seems to work just fine.  Just wet the toothbrush and dip it in.

So now my herbs are packed away again for a while.  I have some sewing projects I need to get to soon, as well as some subjects I have been tasked with educating myself about.

I swept and mopped the kitchen and dining room today, as well.  It was sunny and warm enough that I could shake out all the rugs outside and leave the door open while I did the floors.  But windy enough to shut it again afterward.

The seven hens provided us with five eggs today, which is above average for wintertime.  They are funny creatures, and I find it enjoyable to catch, hug, and pet them, although I'm pretty sure they don't find it nearly as enjoyable.  But they seem to like me; after all, I am the one bringing them food and water and fresh hay in which to scratch around.

I did the T-Tapp Basic Plus Tempo workout today, and also did 10 push-ups before and after.  My body has some muscles that haven't been used in quite a while that were really protesting during that second set!  Some of my crazy friends are doing this challenge of 100 push-ups every day this year.  I may be crazy, but I'm not THAT crazy!  Perhaps by the end of the year I'll be able to do 100 in a day.  Yeah, I think I can handle that goal.

Well, another Sunday is over and done, and my bed is calling to me.  Another day of work awaits me on the morrow.

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