Garden, Supplies

PVC Pipe Soaker “Hose” Systems

This will save us tons of water while watering deep enough to keep the plants in the raised beds we’re going to build happy throughout our hot summers.

And this video lays out how to do this for raised beds!

This guy did this setup but for his containers:

Food Storage, Garden, Health And Wellness, Supplies

Have a Small Space? Grow Vertical!

A friend mentioned that she has a tiny little area to grow any food, so I suggested she grow vertically. I don’t really do this now but may have to since I will be using raised beds this year. I’ve seen so many neat ideas over the past few months that I’m trying to find all the links to share with you (and her). Well, I was going to find a single picture to post here but when I did my Google search (“vertical gardening”) and clicked images I was in awe! There are so many creative ideas out there that I just can’t list them all (so check out the photos yourself here).

This is pretty much what I did when I was growing in containers (I posted pictures of my truck garden in 2011).

This one demonstrates how to build a growing “wall” (I love links with pictures or video) AND it’s Popular Mechanics!

Here are two ways to reuse soda bottles:

DIY Vertical Gardening

Here is one made with shoe hangers:

VERTICAL VEGETABLES: “Grow up” in a small garden and confound the cats!

And one with pallets:

diy project: recycled pallet vertical garden

This one has a lot of different ideas (and if you look at the bottom of the second link, she has a few more articles about vertical gardening:

How to Design Creative Vertical Gardens Part 1

How to Design Creative Vertical Gardens Part 2

There are several projects on the DIY Network’s website but this one I particularly like, since you can change it around easier:

How to Grow a Vertical Vegetable Garden

Health And Wellness

Homemade Healing & Antibacterial Cream: Like Homemade Neosporin®

Although this one calls for more ingredients, this one I’m “drawn to”. Due to my slightly impaired immune system (type 2 diabetes), EVERYTHING gets infected if I don’t immediately clean/treat it. It’s irritating! Well, I have just discovered what I’ve done wrong with ointments. It is lack of stirring. I’ve been sitting here for 30 minutes, stirring continuously, and it’s finally looking like ointment. My patience is limited, so I’ll have to choose wisely and not make too many of these! 🙂

1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/3 cup dried lavender (where to buy)
1/3 cup dried calendula (where to buy)
4 TB beeswax (where to buy) equals 2-3 oz. if using bars
1 TB raw honey
10 drops tea tree oil (where to buy)
5 drops lavender essential oil (where to buy)
glass jars (I use these)

Health And Wellness

How to Make an Herbal Raw Honey Ointment: For the Treatment of Burns and Wounds

I have come to realize that I truly hate blogs that just post links to other blogs and that’s what I’ve turned into! LOL! I just find so much out there that is cool and from people who are much more knowledgeable (and creative) than me. The recipes I’ve been sharing on my Atkins/Keto blog, I include the link with list of ingredients, so at least you can see by the ingredients if you are even interested or not prior to clicking on the link. I’ll try to do that here, either including pictures or ingredients with the link. You will have to go to the blog post or website for instructions. I will tell you this: I have not had good luck at making ointments/anything thick like this. I was thinking that it might be due to lack of stirring, so I’m going to re-melt one and sit here, at my desk, and continuously stir to see if that is what I did wrong.

“we use it for the treatment of:

-1st or 2nd degree skin burns
-Minor wounds
-Chapped skin and lips

The Recipe


-1/4 ounce of each dried comfrey, marshmallow root, wormwood, and witch hazel bark*
-1 1/4 cup olive oil
-4 ounces raw honey*
-1-2 ounces beeswax*
*All measurements are by weight and use of a simple kitchen scale.”

Health And Wellness, Medicinal


All-Purpose Salve

These reciepts are Rosemary Gladstar’s work:

All Purpose Salve:

* 1 part Golden Seal
* 1 part Myrrh
* 1 part Echinacea
* Olive oil
* Beeswax.

Excellent for wounds, cuts, burns and rashes.

Please if using Golden seal, obtain it from a source that grows and harvests it ethically and with respect, as it is an endangered species in the wild.

As always,


Burn Salve

From: Ela Younger
Date: Sun Jan 16, 2000 0:56pm

This reciept is Rosemary Gladstar’s work:

Burn salve:

* 1 part St. John’s Wort
* 1 part Calendula Flowers
* 1 part Comfrey
* Olive oil
* Beeswax
* *optional: 10,000 I.U. Vitamin E per cup of salve
* 1/8 part Aloe Vera Powder (not fresh aloe)

Prepare as directed for basic salve recipe. Pour in glass jars and store in shaded area. Excellent for all first and second degree burns, sunburns, diaper rash, cuts, and wounds.

(When I make the above I do not use the Aloe vera powder because it is not an easily gotten ingredient for me and I also use a bit of the Essential Oil of Lavender in it as well).


Chickweed Salve


I use chickweed infused olive oil to make a nice salve and also to make a hand cream for my hands when they are badly chapped. No real measurements,though.

I drop a tablespoon of beeswax in a pan and let it warm on a medium stove setting until melted, then I lower the heat or turn it off and pop in a spoon full of shea butter, a few drops of lavendar or tea tree oil if it’s for wounds. Let that all melt, remove from heat and add the strained infused oil a bit at a time as it cools. When it is nearly cooled completely, I check the consistency, adding more oil if needed.

If you want a stronger more medicinal salve, then you’d want to measure carefully and add the maximum amount of eo per ounce of salve, I suppose. The hand cream is a bit more complicated because it has water added.. LOL did that help at all?



Throw In The Kitchen Sink Salve

Having received a good amount of very nasty blackfly bites this weekend I set out to make a ‘ Throw in the kitchen sink salve’ last night.

In a double boiler, I put a handful of plantain, comfrey (wilted and chopped), dried calendula blossoms, and on very low heat kept it on the stove for about 3 hours. Than added some SAW oils, EOM’s of helichrysum, chamomile, lavender and tea tree.

It took the swelling down right away and curbs the urge to itch. But the itch returns regardless find it amazing how easy we forget every year how nasty those buggers are and darn it, every year I get zapped before I learn to put stuff on myself before I go out, so I won’t have to deal with it afterwards.

I keep a pot with wormwood right by my back door and when going out, pick a few leaves, rub them with my hands and swish them over the exposed parts of my body and hair, but only learn that lesson after I had a few good bites.

Also make a 4 thieves vinegar that works pretty well, when misting on every so often while in the woods. Best on my bursitis.

On Lake MIchigan in summer we get very nasty flies, that look like houseflies and bite our ankles.They bite right through the shoelace holes of your sneakers and have on my body an affinity for the top of my hands, ankles and top of my head. They like to live close to the beach and if you see someone beachcombing wearing a goofy hat, leather gloves and plastic breadbags over their ankles, that’s me! Good thing is that when applying the 4 thieves vinegar the bites about vanish in their itching capacity.

Bugs, they need to be there to become food for the birds…but they surely are a nuisance.



Healing Herb Salve

* 1 oz dried comfrey leaves
* 1 oz dried calendula flowers
* 2 cups olive oil
* 1 oz pure beeswax
* 4 drops tea tree
* 4 drops lavender essential oils
* 1 400 vit E

Heat herbs in olive oil over low heat for about 5 hours. Do not let the oil boil or bubble. A Crock-Pot or the lowest temperature setting on a range should be suitable for heating this mixture. (If the lowest setting is too hot, turn off the heat once it has warmed the oil…it should keep warm for at least and hour….then repeat the process twice.) After cooking, strain out the herbs while oil is still warm. Place 1 1/4 cups of the herb oil in a pan, add beeswax and heat just enough to melt the wax. Add essential oil and stir. Finally, pour the salve into wide mouthed jars. Store at room temperature. Use for minor scrapes and cuts, to protect and promote healing.



Roxanne’s Salve

* 1/2 oz beeswax
* 1/2 oz emu oil
* 3 oz double infused comfrey oil
* 1 oz calendula oil
* 1 oz plantain oil (I used sunflower for the three above)
* 10 d vitamin E oil
* 20 d vitamin C serum
* 2 Tbl honey
* 10 d lavender eo
* 1 tsp tea tree eo
* 5 CoQ10 caps squeezed out.

The vitamin C and CoQ10 are optional.

Health And Wellness, Medicinal

Elderberry and Influenza (the Flu)

Elderberries – A tasty way to fight viruses

Posted by anke under General
Ripe elderberries (Sambucus) in Rochester, Min…

After the recent spade of sickness in our house I have decided it is time to stock up on disease fighting remedies. Surely I am not the only one who always leaves things to the last minute and then finds that the very thing they need takes 6 weeks to make?

Traditional and scientific research indicate that elderberries promote disease resistance and that they also have the ability to prevent and even treat a virus. Elderberries have been used for centuries in the treatment of colds, viral infections and upper respiratory conditions including asthma. These little powerhouses are said to build the blood, cleanse the system, ease constipation, enhance the immune system function, fight inflammation, increase perspiration, lower fever, soothe the respiratory tract, and stimulate circulation – oh and they are a powerful antioxidant! Did I mention they taste great too? In the old days a syrup or a hot cup of elderberry wine would be often be prescribed before bed to ward off cold and flu related symptoms.

I popped over to The Medicine Woman’s Roots for her Elderberry Elixir recipe. I took Kiva’s suggestion and added some rosehip as well plus 1/2 a cinnamon stick. As this recipe takes a good month (and more) to mature I have also put some elderberries to soak for an Elderberry Syrup. I understand Kiva’s preference for the elixir but when compared to the elixir the syrup is much faster to prepare and contains no alcohol – which of course is a bonus when treating small children. While the elixir is soaking I can fall back on the syrup in the meantime. It may not be as powerful but it does still possess a lot of the virus fighting benefits.

Elderberry Syrup

2 cups dried elderberries
1 litre of boiling water
1/4 cup raw honey
1/4 lemon juice

Put the elderberries in a non reactive saucepan, add boiling water – cover and leave to soak overnight. The next day simmer berries for 30 minutes, cool a little then blend. Once blended add honey and lemon juice. Cool, then pour into a clean bottle. Store in the fridge. NOTE: I havent decided if I am going to blend all the berries or whether I will strain the pulp out as I have seen in a few other recipes. I might do one of each and see if there is any added benefit from keeping the pulp. Will keep you updated on results down the track.

As with the elixir I chose to add a small handful of rosehips as well. We love the taste and it is high in Vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, C & K – helpful in the treatment of colds and infection.

Updated to add: If you are going to add dried rosehips like I did do add some extra water or else you will end up with slush in the morning as all the dried plant material has soaked up the water and there is nothing left to simmer.



Clean Quart Jar add 1/4 pound dried elderberries (Must be Sambucus nigra)
Now fill to top with vodka. Put lid on tight.
Store in a dark cupboard and shake once every few days.
Label and date your jar.
Let it sit for at least 30 days before you strain it.
You can use it without straining it too and it will just continue to get stronger.

Preventative – Adult – 1 teaspoon in water once a day
Children scale back by weight.


Elderberry Tincture
From LoveToKnow Herbs

Elderberry tincture has long been known as the ‘poor man’s medicine chest’ for its usefulness, but especially its efficacy in treating cold and flu symptoms. Long used throughout Europe and the Americas, elderberry has a long and respected history as an herbal remedy. Both Pliny the Elder and Hippocrates mentioned and recommended elderberry as a medicinal herb in their writings.

Research indicates Elderberry fights the flu.

The Poor Man’s Cure

Elderberry(Sambuca nigra) grows throughout Europe, North America, parts of Asia and Africa. Other names for elderberry include elder, black elder, elder flower and sambucas. The berries and flowers of this tree are used to make herbal medicine as well as flavors to enhance beverages. The berries taken straight from the tree are poisonous, but when properly cooked, are safe to eat. You may even come across recipes for elderberry pie in older cookbooks as many housewives made special pies after properly preparing the berries.

The plant parts must be prepared properly to eliminate potentially poisonous toxins, but elderberry purchased through a reliable supplement or herbal products manufacturer should be fine for most people to take. Unless you have a known allergy to elderberry, simply consult your doctor to ensure no potential drug interactions or other negative impacts on your health before using elderberry tincture. The only known potential side effect of elderberry is that it acts as a diuretic, so if you are taking diuretics or have bladder or kidney problems, discuss using elderberry with your physician before taking this herbal remedy.

Uses of Elderberry

Elderberry has a very long history in herbal medicine as a cure for colds, coughs and flus. Elderberry tincture, capsules or dried powdered are often taken along with several other herbs when a cold or flu threatens. According to the National Center for Complimentary and Alternative Medicine, the European elder is most commonly used for supplements. It’s also the elderberry tincture most frequently studied for its effect on cold and flu viruses.

The most common uses for elderberry tincture include treatment for:

* Common cold
* Influenza (flu)
* Coughing
* Bronchitis
* Sinus infections
* Infections
* Constipation

Scientific Research on Elderberry

Promising scientific research has begun on the use of elderberry tincture to shorten the duration and severity of colds and flus, but no reliable conclusions may be drawn from the preliminary studies.

According to Prevention Magazine, elderberry “fights (flu) virus and speeds recovery.” Scientists from Hebrew University – Hadassah Medical School in Jerusalem conducted a study in which 60 men and women who were suffering with the flu took either elderberry tincture or a placebo. Those who took the elderberry got better faster, on average about twice as fast as those who received the placebo. They also used fewer pain medications such as aspirin and other medications to control flu symptoms.

Another study conducted in Oslo, Norway, showed similar results. In this study, those who received the elderberry recovered more than twice as fast as those who did not receive elderberry, on average three days as compared to seven days for the placebo group.

Combining Elderberry Tincture With Other Herbs To Combat Flu

Two studies are too small a research pool for serious scientists to draw conclusions and make recommendations. The results, however, neatly back up many centuries of folkloric use of this wonderful herb.

If you choose to use elderberry tincture to combat a cold or flu, you may wish to combine it with other healing herbs useful to boost the immune system. Echinacea and goldenseal, for example, are recommended for infections, particularly upper respiratory infections. Other herbs may be comforting herbal teas, such as chamomile, and herbal remedies for bronchitis. Whatever natural remedies you choose, be sure to see your doctor for advice and especially if symptoms persist for several days.

Health And Wellness, Medicinal

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.



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.

Health And Wellness, Medicinal

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.


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.



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.


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.


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

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.


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.



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.



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,


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


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.

Health And Wellness, Medicinal

Medicinal Borage Recipes

Borage Eyewash

* 1 cup boiling water
* 1 teaspoon of dried borage leaves

To clear redness from fatigue and stress. Pour boiling water over dried borage leaves. Steep until cool. Strain and put into a sterile jar. Use as a compress or a few drops directly in the eyes.


Borage Tea for Sore Throats

Borage Tea for sore throats 1/2 cup of fresh borage leaves to 1 pint boiling water. Steep for 30 minutes. Strain and refrigerate. Use as a gargle when needed for sore throats.


Borage Tonic

* 1 Tblsp each of borage flowers
* 1 Tblsp each of borage chopped leaves
* 2 cups of boiling water

Borage Tonic to stimulate the adrenal gland and give energy. Pour boiling water over flowers and leaves. Steep 10 minutes, strain and sweeten with honey. Take several cups daily for 1 week. (I love the taste of borage tea with no sweetener, it has a nice clean flavor).


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.