Our herbal medicine journey has been a long time in the making, but it really started to take off in about 2012. It started with some random online learning here and there, then an online course.
I ordered my first seeds to plant in my first garden. Seeds of Change had a close out deal with a bunch of random seeds for $5, including shipping. Can't lose there right? In that bunch of seeds were some calendula flowers. Little did I know that those bright yellow flowers would create a business that we now run full time as a family.
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The very first salve I ever made was with these golden beauties. Today we are going to use them as part of an herbal oil infusion. Along with some local lavender buds and organic comfrey. Our Lavender Lemongrass Salve is popular starting in the spring, as gardeners are released from their cold, wet/snowy winter, into the soil they have been planning for all winter. The seeds come out, but so do the dry, cracked, and sore hard working hands.
You could just buy our garden salves here but why not make your own? And we are going to share with you the recipe.... the very recipe that we use to make ours down on the farm! Because after all.... give a man a fish and he eats for a day, teach a man to fish and he eats for a life time.
While we are sharing the QUICKEST method of infusing an oil with herbs, please do plan ahead as it takes 2- 5 hours of simmering on the stove. We suggest a great cup of tea, maybe our latest favorite, La Pine Licorice, and a good book while you wait.
I just learned this new fabulous way to strain oil infusions! It worked so fantastic! I don't know why I didn't think of it before. Normally I would use an unbleached cheese cloth, wait for it to strain and then squeeze it good. A French press works so much better! I highly recommend it. The oil cleans off from it just fine and its much more sustainable. It also save's money to boot! We recommend this French press here if your in the market for one. Without further ado, the recipe for infusing garden salve oil - which you will need to make the rest of the garden salve recipe.
Garden Salve Infused Oil
Makes approx. 1 cup
1 cup Organic Olive Oil 1/4 cup dried Organic Calendula flowers
1/8 cup dried Organic Lavender Buds 1/8 cup dried Organic Comfrey
1.) Add olive oil, dried organic calendula flowers, dried lavender buds, dried organic comfrey oil to a double boiler.
2.) Infuse on stove top 2-5 hours.
3.) Strain using an unbleached cheese cloth or French press.
SEE The Recipe
Now that you have your garden salve oil infused we are ready to roll the salve making process. I start by getting my work area cleaned up, washed down and then covered with some dry paper that can be tossed when I'm done. If wax is spilled on here its easily cleaned up and makes a great fire starter. Make sure to dust out those tins too... some times they get little things that settle in them while in storage.
Once you are set grab your pour pot, we use this one and hope to add this one soon. Add your newly infused oil (measurements below in recipe), bees wax, coconut oil and cocoa or shea butter.
It's time to heat the mixture up on the double boiler. Heat until your oils and bees wax have melted. Give it a good stir to incorporate it. Next add your essential oils. You want to add these at the VERY end so that the heat doesn't evaporate them out of your salve before you pour it. If something comes up and you need to step aside. Leave the oils simmering on the stove and place the essential oils in the mixture when you get back. A little extra cook time won't hurt your oil and bees wax. After your essential oils are added give it a good stir with a wooden skewer or some other non-metal utensils reserved for working with bees wax. Pour your salve into it's new containers and let cool. After they cooled place the lid on top and make sure to label with the ingredients as well as the intent of use and any precautions.
Lavender Lemongrass Garden Salve
Makes approx. 6.5 oz (6- 1 oz tins, 3 -2 oz tins)
1/2 Cup Infused Olive Oil 1.25 oz (1/4 c. pellets) Bees Wax
1.1 oz (1/8 c.) Organic Coconut Oil .20 oz (3/4 tsp.) Cocoa Butter
10 drops Lavender Essential Oil 5 drops Lemongrass Essential Oil
1.) Add infused oil, coconut oil, bees wax and coco butter to double boiler, reserving essential oils for later.
2.) Melt on medium high heat until all the oils and wax are throughly melted. Time will vary according to how thick the bees wax is (ex. bricks of bees wax vs. pellets).
3.) Prepare and set out containers salve will be poured into. Metal tins or heat resistant glass are best. Some ideas might be: small canning jars, metal tins, other containers designed for beauty care products.
4.) Once oils and wax are throughly melted, stir well with wooden skewer or some other non metal utensil reserved for bees wax projects.
5.)Add lavender and lemongrass essential oils. Stir essential oils in well.
6.) Pour carefully into selected salve containers. Let cool. Place lids on cooled salve and label with ingredients and intended salve use.
What can you grow on 2 acres? We're on a mission to find out from tomatoes to green beans and chamomile to borage. We have plans to make use of every bit of our land to grow edibles to feed our family and our tea customers tea cabinet.
This year we planted a test plot of borage and it did super well! What is borage? Its a plant that tastes like a cucumber but has beautiful blue star shaped flowers. We are sharing our harvest and more details about this bee attracting plant in this weeks youtube video! Check it out below!
We missed a week of videos! Our apologies! We had our computer die on us and spent the week replacing it and then re-doing files that were lost. We are slowly getting things put back together.
How did your week go? Are you enjoying the fall weather? Hopefully there has been a bit of sunshine your way! It seems like we have had big dark clouds pouring huge amounts of rain on us. So much that it actually left a trench down our drive way.
Today though, it was beautiful, it was perfect out there. Not too hot and not too cold which bright blue skies and sunshine! A great day to get this tincture made before our milky oats start forming viable oat seed, drying out and being more useful for chickens than medicine.
Milk oats are the green seed starts on top of oats when they sprout. We blend oats into our chicken's feed and for what ever reason they left a bunch out in the garden. They buried them as they scratched around. When we planted our zucchini the oats in that area sprouted up. So while we didn't put them there or intend them to be there we are turning this problem into a solution.
Milky oats are great for feeding the nervous system, providing support during stressful times and situations as well as helping out during times of depression. These situations may be long term or just short term stress. Milky oats help with mood issues and assist with sleepless nights. They help the body cope and adjust to changing situations. Milky oats can help balance the endocrine system, and assist skin issues.
When making a tincture the alcohol helps to pull out the chemicals (known as constituents) from the herb and making it more potent. The tincture is then taken by dropper-fuls according to each persons situation and as needed. Its a handy little tincture to have around. Directions in video below and full recipe below video.
Milky Oats Tincture Recipe
1.5 cups Milky Oats (green oats not forming a viable seed)
2.4-4 cups Vodka 80 proof or higher
1.) Remove milky oats from oat stem.
2.) Pat dry if necessary.
3.) Process in food processor with 1/2 cup of vodka to break up the milky oats a little so that they tincture easier and stronger.
4.) Pour processed oats and vodka in a pint jar.
5.) Top off with remaining vodka to fill jar. Place lid on and tighten.
6.) Shake it up so that the vodka gets around all of your Milky Oats.
7.) Label jar with ingredients and ratio of ingredients. Also with the date you made it and/or the date it will be done. Tinctures are best after 6 weeks or more.
8.) After 6 weeks strain out the milky oats and tincture is ready to use. Store in amber tincture bottle and/or canning jar out of direct sunlight in a cool place.
I'm smiling because even though its really, really hot, muggy and the sky is filled with thick smoke these zinnia's are still beautiful. They make me happy every time I see them. Do you want to know why?
These beauties all came from a little packet of seed. Of course you say... all flowers come from seed. You see this gal grew up just outside of the city, while my mom had a tiny garden once or twice, and the fruit trees that came with the property, it wasn't until I met my Farmer that I really grew anything. In fact I KILLED EVERY HOUSE PLANT that came in my reach. I didn't bother planting anything at all, inside or out.
But there was this one book that lit a spark, and then the health needs of my family and myself. And then this deal on a packet or organic seeds and an ABUNDANCE of beautiful flowers. No they were not these flowers but these ones are growing just as abundantly. And SO many different colors! They are just beautiful, and useful, and make the garden and the house look pretty. And I didn't kill them.
These little flowers are a proof that if you keep trying eventually that black thumb will turn green. By the way I still kill every plant in the house, so I stick to my outdoor plants.
In-between these flowers are some lemon balm, its there hiding and grows much slower than the flowers. Today though, we were running low on lemon balm tincture. Those little bottles (1 oz) don't go very far and they are super expensive at $12 a bottle.
$2 for lemon balm seed, a mason jar and a few dollars of vodka net me a whole canning jar full of tincture with plenty of lemon balm for a few flavorful dishes in the kitchen. Join me in this video as I walk you though our process of harvesting lemon balm and how to use it. Recipes are typed out below the video.
Lemon Balm Tincture
1 C. Fresh Lemon Balm, Chopped
2+ C. 80-100 proof quality Vodka
1 small canning jar and a lid
Gather your lemon balm removing the stems from the leaves. Chop the leaves up to release the oils better in the lemon balm. Fill your jar half way up with lemon balm. More is always better than less but you want plenty of room for the leaves to move around. Fill the jar the rest of the way with your vodka. Place the lid on the top and make sure to label it not jus with the name of the tincture but also the ingredients and the date that it was made. If you want you could add the date that it should be finished to the top also. I love to use a dry erase marker paired with a white plastic reusable canning lid. Give it a good shake to mix it up and then place in a cool dark spot for 6-8 weeks. Give it a good shake once a week to make sure the alcohol is getting all the way around the leaves.
Lemon Balm Cream Cheese
1 C. Organic Probiotic Cream Cheese
2 Tbl. Lemon Balm
Let cream cheese soften at room temperature. Chop 2 Tbl. of lemon balm and mix into cream cheese. Its great on fruit, toast or anything else you might use cream cheese on. Sweeten it to make a great desert toping.
Lemon Balm topped fruit
1 C. fruit of choice (we used a peach, watermelon would also be great!0
1 Tbl. lemon balm, chopped
Sprinkle lemon balm over fruit of choice. Fruit salad would be great also!
Fresh Lemon Balm Tea
2 Tbl. Fresh Lemon Balm, chopped
6 oz boiling water
Place chopped lemon balm in a french press, tea ball or directly in cup. Pour hot water over and let steep for 3-7 minutes or to taste. Strain leaves from water and enjoy!
Before we begin! This post may contain affiliate links. YES! We do receive a small bit if you click on the links and make a purchase from them. There is no additional expense to you for shopping these links and we only share what we fully endorse as good and useful products. Your purchases help to keep this blog running, help us to provide 2 beautiful green acres to raise our adopted children on and food on the table. For our full disclosure please visit page. God bless!
Violet Leaf Lotion Bars
We are so excited to finally share this farm project with you! Its been a long time in the making and gathering to get to this point. Our farm has the great privilege of reviewing one of the best herbal books that I've ever seen and we can't wait to share it with you!
101 Easy Homemade Products for Skin, Health & Home was given to us to review here on our farm blog. While we are very picky about the books and products we share we were more than happy to share this one with you all. It is a rare find indeed to come across an herbal book that doesn't dive into pagan history, magic, myth ect. This lovely book is strictly and herbal home care book.
Written by Jan Berry, of the Nerdy Farm Wife Blog, it contains so many wonderful and useful recipes. It was hard to pick one to start with and as you can see from the photo below I have many markers in it for future projects. Jan shares many things on her blog from soaps, to skin care, lip balms, scrubs and more on her blog. She homeschools and lives on a 7 acre farm with plenty of animals. Jan also calls herself a "serial hobbiest", if one didn't know better we could be sisters.
The 101 Easy Homemade Product book is not only chalk full herbal information regarding herbs and their properties but also very well written instructions on basic herbal principles. The book has so many beautiful pictures of herbs and flowers that it just inspires one to get in the kitchen and start creating some herbal goodness. There are resources listed making it super simple to find the ingredients that are in the recipes.
The layout and design of this lovely book is very crisp, clean and clear, making it super easy to follow while you are working away in the kitchen. Many of the pages also contain little blurbs of helpful information pertaining to the recipe you are crafting. Jan also offers substitution suggestions incase there is the chance that you can't find an ingredient, that it is too costly for your budget or you are wanting to use something else that you already have on hand.
Isn't this Peony & Orange Sugar Scrub lovely?! It is just so beautiful and to think that it is also chemical free and fragrance free using God's natural herbs that have such wonderful medicinal qualities! This sweet sugar scrub reminds me so much of our friends and wonderful bakers from the Salem Saturday Market, Sweet Peony Flour Shop! It looks good enough to eat! It would pair perfectly with some sweet confections, tied up with a little burlap bow and gifted to a new mommy or to brighten a friends day.
There are also some wonderful herbal lip balms in this book to help take care of dry cracked lips, perfect for winter! And those colors! They surely will brighten up any cloudy day and sore chapped lips.
See the details in which Jan explains all the ingredients in the recipe? Visuals are just worth so much. Jan also features many, easy to grow herbs that are commonly found in the yard and around the home making it super easy to make your very own skin and home care products. In our day of food recalls, chemical additives and the like it is a blessing to know what is going in your home and skin care products. Add to that the benefit to the home budget and its a win, win, all the way around.
After placing so many sticky notes on many of Jan's recipes in the book we decided our first one to make would be the Violet Leaf Lotion Bars. As a person with really light skin, redness is something I struggle with and so I wanted to test out the herbal properties of violet leaf that are suppose to help with that redness and irritation. Today we have for you one of our very first Youtube videos as we start adding to our channel. Follow along to make your very own lotion bars. The recipe is in the video description along with all the links to the supplies. Make sure to subscribe to our channel while you are there for future notifications of more videos. We will have a fun cheese making video up here soon. And if you enjoy the video please share the love by giving us a "thumbs up" and sharing our video with friends and family.
Thanks for stopping by the farm! If your looking for a copy of Jan's book click here and take a peek inside. Here is to natural beautiful skin and a naturally beautiful and clean home!
Welcome to our Family Tea Farm!
Howdy from our farm to your home! It is said that the, "farm is the nursery of the family," and that "the family is the nursery of the nation." We hope you enjoy your visit to our blog as we share with you the happenings on our little "nursery". Thank you for following us on our journey and watching us GROW! Read more about our farm HERE.
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