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.
~*~ This post may contain affiliate links. What does that mean? Some of the products we use and recommended have links that will take you to an affiliate page. That means IF you decide to purchase those items we get a little kick back. There is no additional cost to you. It helps keep our family here on the farm, working and learning together. We only recommend products that use use and trust. Thank you for any purchases you make through our site. ~*
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!
Our yard is over taken with black berry leaves, here in Oregon they are invasive and usually a pain for many a land owner. They grow wild on the side of the road, they over take everything if not kept at bay. We have taken that problem and turned it into a solution by using them in one of our most popular teas. Check out this weeks YouTube video on how we use many of the wild edibles and weeds in our yard!
Its officially summer and its starting to get mighty warm in the Pacific Northwest. It makes for happy plants but also thirsty and dehydrated gardeners as well as children. What to do? We thought we would share our favorite down on the farm recipe for a nutritious hydrating and flavorful cold drink that is sure to be a crowd pleaser.
The recipe we are sharing today is made with our Bloom'n Hibiscus Tea Blend which features the lovely and brilliant colored hibiscus flower. Most people will recognize this lovely flower as a Hawaiian flower and actually the yellow hibiscus is the state of Hawaii's flower. It has a bright petals usually five in number with a long protruding pistil typical of the tropical flower we all tend to think of. They come in many different colors but our tea today features the bright red variety.
The tropical flower this tea is based off of will make you think of the tropics when you drink it as the lemon balm and lemon grass compliment the fruitless of this flower with a citrus twist. Blackberry and Raspberry leaves give it some heartiness which is reminiscent of a light green tea and add a nutritious punch. Some have likened the taste of this hibiscus tea to 'Kool-aid' but better and I have yet to meet anyone who didn't like this tea - be they a tea drinker or not.
According to online sources hibiscus boosts the immune system, helps prevent cold and flu, assists in weight loss, helps to quench thirst, aids in blood pressure management, assists in reducing anxiety and depression, helps to lower levels of bad LDL, protects the liver against infections, assists with relief from cramps and menstrual symptoms as well as slowing down the growth of cancer.
Needless to say if you are looking for cool and refreshing and a crowd pleaser for young or old this is the drink to try!! Without further ado we will move on to the tutorial.
Bloom'n Hibiscus Cooler Recipe
What you will need:
1 1/2 gal. canning jar or glass equivalent
2 large tea filters (found at most grocery stores near the coffee filters)
1/2 oz Bloom'n Hibiscus Loose Leaf Tea (small bag from our farm store)
1/2 gallon filtered water
1 lid for canning jar
1/3 cup local raw honey (optional)
1/4 cup organic unbleached sugar (optional)
Lemon slices (optional)
Once you have your materials gathered together take the 1/2 oz of Bloom'n Hibiscus tea and place it inside each of the tea filters, putting half a bag of tea in one filter and the other half in the second filter.
Next fill your half gallon jar with clean filtered water (tap water will work but may give an off flavor). We love our Berky for filtering gunk out of water as well as fluoride.
Slide your tea bags in the jar hanging the lip of them over the edge of the jar so that the tea leaves cannot get out of the bag. Screw the lid on your jar so that it holds the tea bags in place.
Place your tea in a sunny spot outside, we tried ours in the entrance to the greenhouse... but the sun moved so we decided to move the tea....
It loved brewing on the front porch as much as we love the sun on the front porch too... this day we skipped the tea bags and dumped our blend right in the jar using a metal strainer to separate when finished. When your tea has brewed to the strength you prefer (for us about 4-6 hours depending on the sun) discard the tea filters and/or strain. Pour over ice for a refreshing drink. Though if you would like to make your tea up as we do it down on the farm we add about 1/3 of a cup of raw local honey and blend using a stick blender. We pour over ice and if we are getting really fancy with it we dip the rim of our cup in some liquid (water or lemon juice) and then dip the rim in some organic raw sugar for some sparkle. Add a slice of lemon to your cup and you have a very affordable summer time treat!
Thanks for visiting us down on the farm and if you really want to make this an affordable drink make sure to check out our larger size economy bags of tea for more tea and less on your pocket book in our farm store. See you next time!
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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