Thursday, March 27, 2014

Self-Reliance Tip of the Week - Natural 1st Aid Kit March 27, 2014

Once upon a time..... my husband cut his finger with a...wait for it...CHAINSAW!! He took a quick trip to the ER. When his finger was being sewn up, patched up and glued together, the person assisting him said, "Now, please, please, please for the love of Pete (ok, I'm paraphrasing), do not use Neosporin. It slows the healing process way down."

Now wait a second...isn't that exactly the opposite of those commercials with the gracefully oscillating finger with the "before" and "after" picture? Isn't Neosporin in EVERYONE'S first aid kit? It used to be in mine. Over the years I have changed what I used to have in my first aid kit for natural alternatives because they simply work better for me. 

About a year ago I made a unique gift for a friend of mine who was inheriting four children when she got married. She hasn't yet had any of her own so I wrote a little guide called, "A Mother's Guide to Self-Reliant Health Care" to help her in her journey. I say I wrote it for her, but in reality I wrote it for myself :). You see, my brain is made of mush the size of a marshmallow consisting of about the same ingredients. When I think I've learned is easily forgotten. The guide is a quick easy reminder of the things I've learned. Hopefully this email will be a guide for you if you have desires to "upgrade" your first aid kit.

Here is a list of things I have (and know how to use) in my Natural First Aid Kit:

Raw Honey (we've already discussed this, but #1 on my list):
Excellent for cuts, burns, open wounds etc. 

Bentonite Clay
A drawing clay for pulling out bruises, stickers, bug bites (works great for mosquito bits - itching is gone instantly). Wild Tobacco is also good for bruises (the Word of Wisdom even tells us this) and stings. Tobacco is especially good to quickly be used for bee case Ms. Anna Philactic (anaphylactic shock) shows up from an allergy to the sting. It draw out the venom so the body doesn't have to react.

Savvie Salve:
This is a salve that I make from all kinds of herbs, olive oil and beeswax. I use it for all kinds of things from eczema to minor scrapes and cuts to prevent them from becoming infected. I love that my kids know when they get these little dings and scratches that they go right for the salve. They can take care of it themselves which makes them more self-reliant. It is also great for stings too. When the 11 year old scouts went on a trip to Mt.Graham, they had an altercation with some bees. Everyone that used the salve felt better fast. 

Golden Seal and Oregon Graperoot Tinctures:
These two lovies have saved my world. They have killed just about any bacteria I have run into (including...strep!!!) As with anything that can kill bacteria, make sure you follow up with pro-biotics afterwards, otherwise you risk yeast overgrowth.

Peppermint and Lemon essential oils:
These two oils I use for just about any tummy ailment - especially over eating or nausea.

Cayenne Pepper:
This is good for cuts that are deep enough to need help coagulating. It will burn like a mother-less goat, but it does wonders when it comes to blood! I have had more than one friend who had a "monthly" that was more like a "six monthly". I recommended she take cayenne for a few weeks and the bleeding stopped. AMAZING!

Some things work better than others for many individuals. For some lavender oil is very calming, for others it has the opposite reaction and gives them a boost in their energy. So, these are the things that have worked for me and my family, some may work differently for you, so keep that in mind. 

Here is a blog from Mama Katie, she uses many different things that have worked for her family. She even has a throat lozenge recipe using the herb slippery elm! Check it out!

I like to purchase my bulk herbs from Mountain Rose Herbs - they are an excellent quality with a reasonable price. If you choose to make an order, the shipping can be kind of steep so I like to make a list and make a big order so that the shipping price is worth it for me.

For essential oils, doTerra has the highest quality. Quality is PARAMOUNT especially when it comes to essential oils. However, they are also the most expensive. As an alternative, I also get many of my oils from Mountain Rose Herbs also. Oils are to be used by the drop. They are very very strong! 

So, for the love of Pete, if you want to give some of these a try, PLEASE do. Remember, all of these things should be used with wisdom and prudence, MORE is not always BETTER. If you have questions I'd be glad to answer them. 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Self-Reliance Tip of the Week - Rockin' With the Metate! March 20, 2014

Highslide JS

As part of our Spring Break Celebration I took my kids to Willcox to visit the museums there. We had fun, learned a lot, ate good food and were ready for naps when we got home.

Our last stop was the Chiricahua Museum. We learned a lot from our VERY authentic cowboy tour guide. He taught us about how Native Americans ground their grain (mostly corn and mesquite beans...add a little salt yummo!) Can you imagine how much time they spent grinding their grains by hand? To pass the time, they sang is the corn grinding song (Navajo...I could't find Apache): 

They even have a "social weight loss song" I can feel a new Relief Society class brewing in my head....

What do you think Sister Margo...Apache Zumba?

You can surely grind grain this of the draw backs is that little pieces of the rock are added to the flour and leads to tooth problems (those darn rocks! - can't live with them, can't live without them) The other draw back is being on your hands and knees for hours a day just to feed your family. You could use a metate (grinding stone), it has been used for centuries. Is there an easier, less crunchy way?

Methinks I should pose the you have a hand crank wheat grinder? If you do, have you used it lately? Do you know how much time it takes to make flour without a convenient electrical one in the event of the loss of electricity? 

The Hopi Elders were interviewed several years ago. In this interview, (their story is much like the People of Ammon...hmmmm), they told of a man who came to visit them and told them he would come again. He told them signs they would witness before he came again and one of them was they would be able to touch the side of their "houses" and the room would light up and water would run in their homes. He told them some day this ability to do so would be gone so they were cautioned to not rely too heavily on it because they would die if they couldn't live without it. To this day, many Hopis have never had plumbing or electricity put in their 'bout them apples? (If you want my source for this...I'll give it to you....but you have to say pretty please :) ).

To be able to use the grains we have stored without a way to make flour poses serious complications to feeding our family in a time that might already be stressful. I encourage you to purchase one and practice with it if you have not already. I have had "experimences" with using my hand crank wheat does take quite a bit longer to make the flour than modern conveniences. But it can be done and you can get a good upper arm toning in the process!

I think the Native Americans were on to something big when they sang songs to pass the time. I would probably sing "Sink the Bismark" or something with a good beat to it...I think that will help make things roll a little faster :).Before you know it, I've sunk that mighty ship 15 times and all of the sudden...BAM! I have fresh whole wheat flour! Awesomeness! You know what is even better? Teaching your KIDS how to Sink the Bismark! It is an EDUCATIONAL experience (wink wink).

What songs would you teach to your children?

My husband (who would definitely choose a different song that "Sink the Bismark") found this grinder for me a few years ago and it works really well: 

Please do your research and read reviews before you purchase because not all of them are created equally and some are made poorly and will not last long.

One day these Native people ( a remnant of the house of Jacob) will accept the gospel and blossom as a rose much like the Jews will (of the house of Judah). This will be a happy day. It will be a reason for all of us to sing - they with their metate and us with our hand crank wheat grinders.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Self Reliance Tip of the Week - Fuel the Fire (Just Not in the Garage)! March 13

Now that's what I call a WOOD PILE!
In October 1980 President Benson addressed the Church regarding coming days of tribulation. 

He said, "For over forty years, in a spirit of love, members of the Church have been counseled to be thrifty and self-reliant; to avoid debt; pay tithes and a generous fast offering; be industrious; and have sufficient food, clothing, and fuel on hand to last at least one year."

He then went on to say, " Members of the Church are feeling the economic pinch of higher taxes and inflation coupled with conditions of continuing recession."

When I read that...I almost giggled...back in 1980 they were feeling the "pinch" of taxes? What would he say today? We are feeling the ANVIL of taxes? How about the "manic depressive" recession 30 years later? The "experts" tell us its up...when its really down and the continued yo-yo it has been. Today's inflation rate? CRAZEEEEE!

What excellent council to have had for these last thrifty, self-reliant, avoid debt, pay tithes and offerings, industrious, stored food, clothing and FUEL on hand for at least one year!

We've discussed just about everything but fuel. What is fuel? Is it gasoline? Is it wood? Is it propane/ butane? Or is it charcoal? Why would that be important? Isn't fuel expensive? How do I store it? 

Fuel is all of the above. Fuel is anything we can cook with, keep vehicles running, and keep warm with. Even if you have fuel, and you don't "experiemence" with it, how would you know how to use it in an emergency? If there is an extended emergency, (say one year), do you know how to use it like our kindred sisters in Tamale Ghana? They can conserve their fuel by using the New Cooking Bags (i.e. Wonder Oven).

Wood can be stored easily by keeping it in a dry place. Propane/ butane should be kept in a cool place. Charcoal should be kept in a dry place. Gasoline...well, this one can be a bit tricky. This one needs to be stored in approved containers, in a well vented place NOT attached to your home, away from heat or anything that could spark. If for some reason, the gasoline ignites, you only loose the gasoline. You will be able to keep the other things you have stored. If you store it in the garage connected to the house, you could loose everything, including your home. There are also gasoline tanks you can bury in the ground. If you have an electrical pump and a hand-crank pump you can get the gasoline out when you need it. Gas only lasts about a year, there are additives to extend the "life" of it. But it is really better to rotate it. Is gasoline worth storing? Well, if you want to "get outta dodge" - wood or charcoal won't cut it.

Fuel for cooking will be just as important as the food you want to cook. That is why solar ovens are so awesome because your fuel is...the sun! The only problem is that you can't stick the sun in a jar and vacuum seal it to use later. But you can "coax it" to help you whenever it is a mother-in-law when you need a babysitter :).

Fuel CAN be expensive, but if you gather it a little bit at a time, your wallet will hardly even notice. Then you will be thrifty, industrious, self-reliant, stay out of debt AND have fuel on hand - now THAT is awesomeness personified!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Self Reliance Tip of the Week - A Gift From Heavenly Father's Medicine Cabinet March 6, 2014

Now, the moment you've all been waiting for...a gift.

I LOVE it when my two favorite subjects compliment each other. Those would be Family History and Self-Reliance. I love learning from the past. I love the conveniences we have today (like the electric washer), but I love that if I HAD to live without it, I could. I love learning how my ancestors made the best of what they Walmart existed then (or Costco...weep).

The past year or so, I have been learning about local plants that Native Americans and the pioneers used to stay healthy and restore health. I would like to highlight some of those plants periodically.

I have really enjoyed learning about desert plants and the gifts they are to us from our Heavenly Father! The plant I would like to put in the limelight today is ..... wait for it....

Ephedra Nevadensis~ This plant is also called "Brigham Tea" 

They can actually grow pretty wide, and about 4 feet tall. I've never seen one taller than me, and that's not real hard to do :). It is actually the American form of the Chinese Ephedra. You can find these on the higher desert places. "Brigham" actually refers to Brigham Young. It is also known as Mormon Tea. I have heard of my ancestors using it for chronic cough (bronchitis) while crossing the plains. Some of them will get a white powdery film on them. This is actually yeast. They would put these yeast covered branches in their sugar water and make bread with it this way. ISN'T THAT AWESOME??? The powered herb can be sprinkled where someone is bleeding and it will help it to coagulate and stop it. 

The tea is also good for: 

Low blood pressure

You can find Brigham Tea at the base of our mountain in ABUNDANCE! 

I am SO thankful that herbs were ordained for our benefit and use! They are amazing gifts! It is like Christmas all year round!


One of our readers - Sister Vicki from Pima -wrote to me about doing laundry the way her grandmother did, I love what she had to say.
"My grandma had a big pot that they filled with water and heated the water over an open fire. They filled it with clothes and put in washing powder. After they scrubbed the stubborn spots on a washboard, they boiled the clothes and then hung them out. This was an all day project. During the depression people didn't have outfits for every day of the week and they didn't wash the quantities of clothes that we wash today. Just a side note. God blesses us almost every day with free energy to dry our clothes. I hang my clothes about 95% of the time. It's a good time to think and pray undisturbed. The physical act of hanging clothes keeps older women limber by using a wide variety of muscles. Try hanging your clothes, it's good for you and good for the environment."
A few weeks ago I spilled the beans that my dryer had bitten the I started hanging the laundry out. At first it was kind of a pain because it was still cold and it took FOREVER to dry. But!!! Now that it is warming up, I look forward to hanging them out because it gives me an excuse to be outside. There are birds and bees (now, now....I mean the animal and insect :) ). I agree with Sister Vicki, it is good for you!

Self Reliance Tip of the Week - Preserve Eggs? Whatchu Talkin' Bout Willis? Feb 27, 2014

Basket of Eggs

Raise your hands if you use fresh eggs.....

Are you sitting down?...A few years ago I would have called you crazy if you said there was a way you could preserve eggs without refrigerating them....yeah, coo coo bird crazy...with crossed eyes and everything.

Method #1:

I had heard once that if you dip eggs in melted beeswax (double boiler method), that it keeps air from getting in the tiny porous holes in the shell of the egg and can preserve them without refrigeration. SCORE!! So, I began experimenting. My experimence (experience + experiment) taught me that it works, but there are variables that you need to be aware of. 

#1 - You need to have a cool, dry place (in AZ, like a basement) where the temperature cannot vary much. 

#2 -  Keep stored eggs away from light. 

#3 - Experiment with small batches first (sometimes I'm kind of an all or nothin' gal...sometimes I learn the expensive way :) ).

Here is the experimence of another egg dipping kindred spirit:

You can use wax, lard, mineral oil, canola oil etc. If you might be concerned about the eggs going bad in that time, it is REALLY easy to tell. They stink. In this video they have covered them in mineral oil and have been in storage for 3 months. ALWAYS cook stored crazy raw diet here. This will help prevent salmonella issues.

Method #2:

The magazine Mother Earth News looked up several pre-electric books (1880's to 1905) where ways to preserve eggs were mentioned. Then came the experimences...Some ways suggested lime and water solution (like an ingredient in concrete lime) and found that it worked also, but the eggs tasted like lime. The suggestion that worked the best (apart from refrigeration :) ) was "glass water solution" with sodium silicate.

Here is the recipe:

1qt sodium silicate
9 qts water

Boil and cool. Place mixture in 5 gallon crock or jar. This will be large enough to preserve 15 dozen eggs. Make sure 2 inches of the solution covers the eggs. Place the crock in a cool dry place ( also away from light). Cover it well to prevent evaporation. If you choose to make boiled eggs with eggs preserved this way, before you boil them, poke a small hole in the large end of the egg before boiling to prevent cracking. 

You can purchase sodium silicate here - it even describes using it for egg preservation in the description!! Crazy!! Who would have known?

When I was doing more reading, I kept seeing references to a "crock" I thought, "Is that a crock pot?" So I did some digging. A crock is what they used "pre-electricity" days to make fermented vegetables (I know what you're thinking) like pickles, and sauerkraut. They let the vegetables make their own vinegar by lacto fermenting (which is an incredible source of probiotics that put yogurt to shame). This is what a crock looks like:

Method #3

Some of you may be thinking "This is WAY too much there an easier way?" There is. It is more expensive, but a lot of people go this direction.

They are called "Ova Easy" eggs. Many of the reviews I've read say that they are SO different from powdered eggs of "yesteryear". They swear they taste like fresh eggs. Here's a link.

A final note:

While I have been reading the last several days, I was also learning about egg production. As chickens are in the sun more, they lay more eggs. So as spring turns into summer you get a higher production. When Mother Earth News did their research they found many references to eggs produced in April, May and June were the best for storing. When the winter months came and they days were shorter, the chickens would lay less and less. That is the perfect time to use the eggs that you stored. Pretty cool huh.

See...I'm not so crazy after all :).