Living and thriving through regenerative practices and a sustainable worldview.

Posts tagged “DIY

Making Gumweed (Grindelia) Tincture

Last year I planted some Grindelia, and they never grew. I tried not to be disappointed, as I know sometimes that’s just the luck of the germination draw.

But, like so many of my perennials, they popped up this year as a pleasant surprise in my garden (yay!).
So, what was Grindelia supposed to be good for again? As it turns out I think I’ll be using its gifts mostly in the autumn and winter. It seems that it’s good for a dry, unproductive, sticky cough, which happens sometimes when the air gets colder.

Gumweed (Grindelia) ready for harvest

Gumweed (Grindelia) ready for harvest

Gumweed is a stimulating expectorant and antispasmodic, which will help “unclog” anything rolling around in the lungs and  promptly escort it out the door, and also keep a spastic cough from becoming a drain. I don’t know about you, but I just hate those coughs that make your ribs sore and your lungs raw from all the hacking.
I’ve also heard from folks that this is a great remedy specifically for a dry cough associated with dust inhalation, or the cough that lingers after a cold.

Grindelia is also a urinary tract disinfectant, so if you have issues with that, you might want to add a few drops of gumweed tincture to your cranberry juice.

So, on to the HOW:

I waited until the Gumweed buds were JUST about to bloom. It’s ok if some are already in bloom,  but the buds are full of gum and have not opened up to allow the gum to dry out yet, so they’re the best.

I chopped the buds off  into a jar, and then rinsed off all the critters and debris and strained them. Then I cut the buds in half, and the flowers into quarters with a scissors and mushed them up a little.

Next, I filled up a small mason jar about a third of the way with buds, and the rest of the way with grain alcohol and a little vodka (I was getting low on grain, and both alcohols have alcohol-to-water ratios that are suitable for tincturing).

Gumweed (Grindelia) Tincture

Gumweed (Grindelia) Tincture

Then the usual tincturing practices – shake it up, put it in a dark cabinet, shake it once every two days or so, and leave in there for about 6 weeks.

Once 6 weeks are up, strain the tincture and bottle it in dark glass or put it in a mason jar and store in the dark (this keeps the sun from breaking it down faster).

There is little info on tincture dosage, but I never take more than half a dropperful (MAX!) of anything when first testing out.

Ryan Drum has experimented quite a bit with Grindelia, and suggests using ”5 drops tincture under the tongue or in strong hot steeped yarrow tea.”
So, I would start off with 5 drops and see how that works for you.


Resilient Existence has seed packets!

After my last post, I got super-inspired to make my own seed packets!

I’ve always loved the beautiful early American illustrations/lithographs/etchings of nature from places like the Audobon Society, etc. I think it captures the primal nature of something more “wild” than ourselves, and yet highlights the elegance of nature’s design in flora and fauna.

Anywho, I made up some seed packets with art from Charles Livingston Bull, from the Library of Congress’ copyright-free image collection.

Enjoy!

(Right Click and “Save As”)


Make Your Own Seed Packets!

I recently came across a plethora of make-your-own seed envelope posts, and I’ll post several of them here.  However, my favorite is the first one, as any kind of paper can be used and I often need tiny little envelopes for a small amount of seeds that I refuse to throw away.

Origami Seed Packet Instructions
Origami Seed envelope

Here are some printer templates for fancier seed packets for gifting, or just getting a dose of “Happy” whenever you reach for your seeds!

Basic, no frills template for multiple packets (saves paper)
Another basic template, but for a single, MUCH larger envelope!  
Template for multiple packets with space for more detailed instructions  
Another classicly simple envelope design (2 packets per page) - Try printing on brown paper for a “Williams Sonoma” look
A stash of beautiful seed packet templates from “Just Something I Made” – for those of us who like pretty things.  
Some more B&W templates to print on colored paper  
BUSINESS CARD seed packets template for reuse of brown paper shopping bags – AWESOME!

My designer’s note: Most inkjet printers do NOT have “white” ink. So, I’m not sure how these were printed with the “white grass”. Also, lighter colors are usually created by using less ink against a white paper. In this case, since the paper is brown, your results will be different. Experiment first before you burn through your ink cartridges!

 
Gorgeous, artsy seed packets – I freakin’ LOVE these! C’mon! A griffin guarding my seeds? Hell yes!  

These are so awesome, that I’ll probably be inspired to create my own. Who am I kidding? I’m already designing them in my head, and seeing as I’m home sick, there will probably be another post later today. Stay tuned…


Make your own yogurt in a crock pot!

Source: http://www.thankfullythrifty.com/2012/03/you-can-make-yogurt-in-your-crock-pot/

Minimal effort plus 13-17 hours of waiting time= yogurt awesomeness!

Check it out here!

Make Yer Own Yogurt!


Portable Poly Pipe High Tunnel Hoop House Construction Plans‏

The Noble Foundation poly pipe hoop house was developed in response to the needs of growers for a low cost, portable structure. It is the product of three years of research and development conducted at the Foundation’s Headquarters Farm.

Download plans here in pdf format:
http://www.noble.org/global/ag/horticulture/poly-pipe-hh-plans/nf-ho-12-01.pdf


Build your own cart from only one sheet of plywood!

Build a homestead Copy Cart By Charles Sanders
http://www.backwoodshome.com/articles/sanders45.html

“Our homemade Copy Cart has proven to be one of the handiest and most useful tools that I have on the place. In fact, we were using it to haul bales of straw in before it was completely finished. Since its completion, I’ve hauled concrete blocks, some split firewood, old bedding from the chicken house, and some hay bales. Of course, the kids had to have a ride in it as well. “

Spinning wool into yarn and other Rumpelstiltskin-type stuff…

Cool site with tons of tutorials on handspinning, wheels, how to make a drop spindle, wool, dyes, and everything else related.http://www.joyofhandspinning.com/

Wisdom and Know-How Books!

Black Dog and Leventhal Publishers has a great series of large, everything-you-ever-wanted-to-know-about “X” books.

Check them out here.


Splitting Wood With A Tire


Making butter

From:
http://herbanhomestead.blogspot.com/2010/04/making-butter.html

Thursday, April 8, 2010

lately we have been enjoying the taste and experience of making our own butter. since we live in the year 2010, butter making is super easy. easier than loading up the kids and heading to the store. trust me!

we use raw milk from a local source. i buy a gallon specifically for butter/yogurt making. see in the picture below the distinction between the cream and the milk? typically, if i were going to drink it, i would shake it up to mix it all together. but for butter, i need that cream.

1) i slowly pour the cream off into a jar. i let the jar sit out to warm up a bit (room temperature is nice, but not necessary).

2) after the cream is a nice temperature, i pour half of the quart jar into my blender and set it on a medium speed. on my vita-mix it is set on 4. by the way, you don’t have to use a fancy blender to do this- any will do.

3) pretty soon (about 5-8 minutes) the butter begins to separate from the milk. it looks kind of clotted (see picture below).
4) in the above picture you can see the solid separated from the liquid. i stop at this point and pour off the liquid into another jar. this is buttermilk. do not pour it down the sink! i use it for corn bread or pancakes. yum!
5)after the liquid is poured off, i give it another spin on the blender on a low speed. by this point it looks nice and smooth. a little more buttermilk will have seeped out, so i add that to my jar. next, i add cool water and pour it off. i do this over and over until the water runs clear. the less buttermilk that is left in the butter, the longer it will last.
6) after the water runs clear i put it in some cheese cloth to drain a bit more. while this is draining i start on the other half of my cream. i just do the whole process over again!
you’ll notice that the butter is yellow. that’s because it is from nutrient dense, grass fed, raw milk! no food coloring used here!
7) when i’m all done, i spoon it into a little glass bowl that has a lid and place it in the refrigerator.

that’s it! super yummy butter, with little effort!
if you’d like to read up on the benefits of raw butter check here.

How To Make Your Own $35 Straw Mattress

http://small-scale.net/yearofmud/2009/09/11/how-to-make-your-own-35-straw-mattress/

mattress-test

(This lovely DIY how-to is written by my galfriend April, who recently made a fantastic straw mattress for the cob bed. Not only is it entirely natural, it’s pretty super to sleep on, too. Read ahead!)

Living in a hand-built home can often mean making unique and non-conventional furniture choices. I recently transitioned from a tent to a cob house and ran into the dilemma of what to do about a bed. My criteria was something natural and sustainable, economical, readily available, quick and easy to assemble, and comfortable. Is that too much to ask? I decided to do some research first.

Why not to buy a conventional mattress

I looked at some conventional mattresses. What the heck is in those things, I asked. These mattresses are composed of metal coils, often plastic coated, encased in fabric and padding. As a result of their materials and manufacturing, they also contain Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), formaldehyde, and chemical fire retardants that will off-gas over time. And, with a price tag of over $350 for a full size mattress, this option isn’t particularly economical. However, there is such a thing as eco-friendly and organic mattresses. These usually contain organic cotton or wool, non-toxic fire retardants, natural latex rubber, and recycled metal springs. But with an even heftier price tag of around $1000 for a full size mattress, this wasn’t really an option for me at all.

Traditional mattress materials

What about making my own mattress? People have been making their own beds for thousands of years. The ancient Romans used straw, an agricultural by-product, to make their mattresses. Another by-product, rice chaff (the husks separated from the edible grains), is used as mattress filler in Asia and oat chaff was traditional in Scotland. At first, making my own mattress sounded too ambitious since I’ve got a minimal amount of sewing experience, but straw is natural, locally available, and at $2.00 – $4.00 per bale, it was worth a try. If it didn’t work out, disposing of my straw mattress would be as simple a…

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Storey's Basic Country Skills: A Practical Guide to Self-Reliance

http://www.amazon.com/Storeys-Basic-Country-Skills-Self-Reliance/dp/1580172024/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1321399147&sr=8-1

I had the good fortune of scoring this book from the Clearance shelf when Borders went out of business. The book is HUGE!

And it covers a whole lot of things that are a mystery to me, as I’ve never lived with certain systems/features in my home (like a cistern, etc.).

I was surprised by the sheer breadth of topics. There’s even a section on how to maintain your outdoor cat! Everything from gardening to plumbing,  cooking to caring for stables and tools.It’s all in here!


Free Ebook : HERBAL MANUAL

HERBAL MANUAL
The Medicinal, Toilet, Culinary and other Uses of 130 of the most Commonly Used Herbs
By HAROLD WARD
The Southwest School of Botanical Medicine

DOWNLOAD HERE:
http://www.soilandhealth.org/04.medical.library/0401.herbalmedicine/040139.Ward-Herbal_Manual.pdf