I Just Want to Be a Hermit – crochet

Yeah, this week has been better than most.  After almost 6 weeks of being sick, I’m finally getting better but now, all I want to do is make-up for all the housework that I have neglected while sick and curl up into a ball on the couch and crochet.  So, here’s my first crochet project that I consider finished.

Crochet Hat and Scarf
This is a hat and scarf for my niece. I used this pattern for the hat (http://mssunflwr.blogspot.com/2009/05/level-beginner-materials-one-skein-red.html), put the flowers on (the buttons were my grandmother’s), then put the fringe on the scarf so it would match (the scarf is I think a half single crochet? I just did it and liked it). Next project? This hat for one of my “adopted” sons: http://crochet.about.com/od/hats/a/Mens-Winter-Hat-Pattern.htm.

I also have been working on (for a year or so) a patchwork afghan with squares/rectangles, each one a different Tunisian crochet stitch (I wanted to learn each one). So, that’s sitting there waiting for me to finish putting borders around each piece (I have three more to do) then join them. I ultimately want this to cover our king-sized bed, so we’ll see if I have enough yarn! lol If not, I’ll just add on some more colors. Each piece is in the colors of the flowers on the hat (with a moss green thrown in), with the borders in the same yarn as the hat and scarf above. We’ll see how that turns out … now that I figured out my phone/camera a little bit better, I’ll do my best to take some decent pictures.

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Four Thieves Vinegar

Four Thieves Vinegar

4 Thieves is named after 4 thieves that robbed people during the plague and never got it, they got immunity for revealing their secret. I have seen all kinds of different recipes for it and mine is usually somewhat like this. ( I rarely use recipes).

* Handful of lavender buds
* Handful of wormwood
* Some thyme
* Rosemary
* Sage
* A bit of rue
* Several cloves of garlic
* Cider vinegar

I use a gallon jar for this concoction but do not fill it all the way up, just use one of those regular cider bottles, think it’s a 32oz bottle.

Soak all for 2 weeks, strain and use spray bottles to douse yourself with it when going outside or clean with it.

C-M

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Legend has it that there were Four Thieves who would go in a loot home etc during the plague as people passed on or lay dying, but did not get ill themselves…..once caught they agreed to hand over the herbal formula that protected them in order to have their own lives spared from hanging or the like…

One version is:

* 2 quarts apple cider vinegar
* 2 tablespoons lavender
* 2 tablespoons rosemary
* 2 tablespoons sage
* 2 tablespoons wormwood
* 2 tablespoons rue
* 2 tablespoons mint
* 2 tablespoons garlic

Combine the dried herbs except the garlic which should be fresh and steep in the vinegar in the sun for two weeks. Strain and re-bottle. Add several cloves of garlic. Close lid. When garlic has steeped for several days, strain out…melt paraffin wax around the lid to preserve the contents.

The thieves drank and washed with the solution every few hrs as they were on there merry tirade.

Linda M.

Cough Care

Borage Cough Syrup

* 1/2 cup of borage leaves
* 1/2 cup water
* 2 cups of honey
* Juice from 2 lemons

Put borage leaves in a blender along with water. Blend until mixture is smooth. In a non reactive pan, pour borage and honey. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and add the lemon juice.

Take 1-2 Tblsp as needed for coughs.

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C-M’s Cough Syrup

This is how I make my cough syrup.

* Mullein
* Dry Wild Cherry bark
* Hyssop
* Plantain
* Elderberries
* Wild Cherries
* Thyme
* Sage
* Mahogany Birch bark
* Mint
* Honey
* Brandy or Vodka

Start with mullein and ‘stirfry’ it in a dry pan, add water. I use with it dry wild cherry bark, hyssop, plantain,elderberries, even wild cherries, thyme, sage, a bit of mahogany birch bark, mint and bring to a boil, than simmer for a good while. Strain add about 10:4 honey and 10:3 parts brandy or vodka. I do not have an exact measure really, it varies a bit every year. Can’t give you a dose for willowbark, it’s an individual thing. You might want to scour some books and see what is the most common dosage. That’s what I do, when in doubt. Get 4 o 5 out and see what the common denominator is. I found that the ‘Herb book’ by John Lust has pretty safe and accurate advice for dosages.

Although I have more than a 100 books relating to herbs etc. this is the one, I almost often grab for a fast reference. It has lousy drawings, but is comprehensive in material. Not a coffee table book, but a good one to look things up fast. Scour Michael Moore’s website and Henriettes, and you will find solid material there as to tincturing and dosages.

C-M

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Elderberry Brandy

Elderflower tincture has a strange taste that I’m not fond of. I prefer to dry the flowers and combine them with yarrow and mint for a fever-reducing, flu-easing tea. The berries, when I’ve been lucky enough to find them here, I usually pop into the freezer (still on the stems). Once frozen, it is easy to strip off the berries for use in muffins and other baked goods. Here is a recipe from Judith Berger’s ‘Herbal Rituals’ that may be helpful:

* elderberries
* brandy
* jar with good lid

Steep the berries in the brandy for six weeks, adding some brandy every couple of days, to keep the jar filled to the brim. After six weeks, you will have a warming cordial which acts as a superb iron tonic while opening the sinuses and reducing fever.

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Elderberry Syrup

Elderflower tincture has a strange taste that I’m not fond of. I prefer to dry the flowers and combine them with yarrow and mint for a fever-reducing, flu-easing tea. The berries, when I’ve been lucky enough to find them here, I usually pop into the freezer (still on the stems). Once frozen, it is easy to strip off the berries for use in muffins and other baked goods. Here is a recipe from Judith Berger’s ‘Herbal Rituals’
that may be helpful:

* 1 ounce dried elderberries
* 1 quart jar
* honey
* brandy

Infuse the berries in boiled water for eight hours. Then heat two cups of the infusion under very low flame until you are left with one cup of decocted berries. Add several teaspoons of honey and a teaspoon of brandy to preserve the syrup. This syrup is an excellent expectorant.

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Horehound Cough Drops

Here’s another recipe for horehound cough drops that was given to me by a friend, I don’t know the orignal source (where she got it from) but it is a really good recipe and has worked well for me.

Love & Happiness
Autumn

Horehound Cough Drops

* 2 cups sugar
* 2/3 cup light corn syrup
* 2/3 cup water (strong herb tea)

Blend in saucepan, the sugar, corn syrup and tea. Place over low heat, stirring until mixture boils. Now put in candy thermometer, cook, stirring occasionally, to hard crack stage (300 degrees). You may add flavoring such as cherry, licorice, eucalyptus, mint or horehound. Pour into candy molds or onto a greased sheet and when hard break into pieces.

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Here is a recipe for Horehound Cough Drops from ‘Magic and Medicine of Plants’ from Readers Digest

Horehound Cough Drops

* 1 c boiling water
* 3/4 c dried horehound herb
* 2 c refined sugar
* 1/3 tsp cream of tartar

Pour the boiling water over the horehound: cover and let steep for 30 min. Strain the infusion into a heavy saucepan, pressing to extract all the liquid. Add the sugar and cream of tartar and stir over low heat until the sugar is fully dissolved. Cover the pan and let it cook for 3 or 4 min. until the steam has melted any sugar crystals clinging to the pan’s side. Then remove the lid and cook the mixture, without stirring, over high heat; skim off any scum. When it reaches the hard-crack stage-when a candy thermometer reads 300 degrees F. or when drops form brittle threads in ice water-immediately remove it from the heat. Brush a marble slab or a baking sheet with butter or oil and pour out the mixture. As it begins to set, score it into small squares with a sharp knife. Cut it along the lines when it is cold and brittle. Store the pieces in an airtight container.

PatinMO

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Horehound Cough Syrup

Betty, I’ve always heard you use the dried leaves for this, I am hoping my clump will be big enough this year to make a batch

In ‘The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants’ by Andrew Chevallier, it lists the parts used as the leaves. Also, in ‘The Healing Herbs’ by Michael Castleman, he says the parts used are the leaves and flower tops. He says, ‘For a cough-remedy infusion, use 1/2 to 1 tsp of dried leaves per cup of boiling water. Steep for 10 min. Drink up to 3 c a day. To offset its bitter taste, add sugar or honey. In a tincture, take 1/4 to 1/2 tsp up to three times a day. Horehound should not be given to children under age 2. For older children and people over 65, start with low-strength preparations and increase strength if necessary. Considered safe for healthy nonpregnant, nonnursing adults who do not have heart disease.

PatinMO

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John Cramer’s Cough Syrup

Hi guys, I’ve made this for many friends, and it’s very good for the throat and sinus cavities.

* 1/4 C honey
* 1/4 C FRESHLY squeezed lemon juice
* 5 cloves
* 1 good shake cinnamon (or stick of it)

Bring all to a boil. Remove the cloves (and cinnamon stick). Then use 1/2 – 1 Tbs in a cup of HOT tea.

Abundant blessings,
John

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Red Clover Cough Syrup

Source: Judith Berger’s ‘Herbal Rituals’

* 1 once of whole dried red clover blossoms
* boiled water
* honey

Though most flower infusions only require ten minutes to two hours of infusing time, red clover blossoms sit for the full four hours, because the plant’s mineral richness requires a lengthier time to seep into the water.

After the infusion has sat for four hours, take a pint of the infusion and decoct it [strain and cook over low heat till reduced by half]. Add some clover honey and a bit of brandy and use this syrup when experiencing the type of cough that sounds like a car engine trying to turn over (this is known as a “dry, hacking cough”).

Live Happy, Live Long

Leda Meredith

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Violet-Mullein Cough Syrup

Hello Everybody, With all the wonderful post on violets, I thought you might be interested in the cough syrup I am making It is great.

Make a Tincture with Violets by filling a jar with violet flowers and covering with your preference of Alcohol, I use Golden Grain as I can not find Everclear, wait a week and drain off liquid and change flowers and por liquid back over them, do this 3 times (you will be suprised as the liquid is emerald green) strain and then on the fourth poring add liquid to a jar packed with mullein leaves leave 1 wk and drain liquid and add liquid to a jar which has lemon, orange and lime slices . agin leave a week no longer as it will get to bitter, drain and bottle, to make the syrup add half of the tincture and half honey It is also good for sore throats.

Linda in Ga.