Sunday, April 29, 2012

Farm Kitchen Menu - Eggs

We usually eat eggs for breakfast two or three times a week.  But it is very rare that I just serve fried eggs.  I see eggs as an opportunity for lots of nutrition! :)  Almost any vegetable or herbs tastes great with eggs.  I generally start out by sauteing chopped onions, garlic, and peppers in butter.  If I have other ingredients on hand like mushrooms or broccoli, I will add those too.  Then I beat my eggs with milk and pour those over vegetables.  Once those are cooked, I start adding my vitamins and minerals - herbs! :)  Don't think of herbs as just seasoning; they are so much more than that!

Parsley for example contains vitamins A, C, & E, calcium, iron, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, and B vitamins...and much more!  And herbs are not only high in nutrition, but many are also high in antioxidants.  Oregano and Sage top the charts for antioxidant levels.

Leftovers also make great additions to eggs.  Last week we had tacos for supper, so the leftover ingredients were added to our eggs the next morning, with lots of oregano and topped with cheese (I top most egg dishes with cheese).  Some morning we will wrap our eggs up in a tortilla.  When I have leftover chicken, I like to add that to eggs as well.  Sage or basil are good herbs to use with this dish.  This morning I made my eggs with chopped fresh asparagus (our first harvest of the season).  Big hit! :)  We have also been enjoying our fresh garden spinach chopped up and added to eggs (see picture).

Don't be afraid to use lots of herbs!  Many times I pour (literally) parsley, basil, and oregano over my dishes - especially eggs, soup, and chicken.  Think of parsley as salt, and use it generously. 

When I serve an egg dish, it is usually accompanied by bacon or homemade sausage.  I also like to add oranges or orange juice to the table since vitamin C helps our bodies absorb iron. Mmmm...breakfast just like Grandma used to make and full of nutrition! :)

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Health Journal - Wound Care

Warning: The pictures in this post are not for those with a weak stomach! :)

If there is one thing that we are not lacking on the farm, it's wounds. :)  Wound care is not hard, but you must have the supplies you need on hand and most importantly, be consistent with your treatments.

When someone comes to me with a bloody wound, the first thing I do is saturate it with Tea Tree essential oil.  I do not wash the wound, although we will put it under running water (before the tea tree oil) to rinse it off.  Lavender essential oil will also clean and disinfect the wound, but it burns.  I will clean the skin around the wound with hydrogen peroxide.

If the wound is bleeding heavily you can sprinkle cayenne pepper on the wound and it will stop the bleeding.  Once I cut my finger very deep with a kitchen knife, and it would not stop bleeding.  As I stood at the kitchen sink holding my finger together and not wanting to move away from the sink because blood was dripping everywhere, I asked one of my kids to get me the cayenne pepper.  They said, "Mom, you are crazy!"  But it did the trick and only stung for a moment.  If a wound is bleeding profusely, mix a heaping teaspoon of cayenne pepper in a small glass of water and drink it.  By the time you count to ten, the bleeding will have stopped.  This also works great for a bloody nose.

The next thing I do is apply a homemade salve, herbal oil, or powdered herbs.  There are a number of herbs that are good for wounds.  If it's a burn, I would apply a portion of a leaf from an Aloe Vera plant.  Raw honey is also good for wounds, especially burns.  It seals off the wound from the air which almost immediately stops the pain.  It will also sterilize the wound because of its antibacterial properties.

With all serious wounds, I change the dressing morning and night.  This is very important!  The herbs that I put on the skin are feeding the wound and need to be reapplied regularly.  I also put the patient on Vitamin C and garlic - the larger the wound, the larger the dose.  How much?  A lot!  If they get the runs, back off a little. You will not have to deal with infection if you do this.

Another way to prevent infection, with a wound like Mike's (see picture below) where there is a puncture, is to soak the wound in very hot salt water.  If there is any sign of infection (red, inflamed skin or red streaks) soak the finger OFTEN and make sure to keep the water hot.  If you are diligent this will cure the infection.

I always thought that a wound had to be exposed to the air in order to dry out and heal, but I have learned that the exposure to oxygen is very painful and slows the healing process.  If a wound is covered well, your patient will be quite content.  If they complain of pain, unwrap it and cover it better - meaning put on more salve and bandage it up well.

When bandaging a wound, you want to make sure that what you put on it will come off well, without ripping the new skin off.  This usually isn't too difficult with small wounds - the average band aid works just fine - but with large wounds, it can be challenging.  I have found that young burdock leaves work best for large wounds.  We have plenty of burdock growing on our property, so I don't have to worry about having a "band aid" when I need one.  In the fall, I will pick some burdock leaves and hang them in my garden shed.  When they are dry, I transfer them to a plastic bin.  The bin may sit in the shed all winter unused, but at least they are there when I need them!  With Jonny's finger, (see picture below) I used burdock leaves.  I would simply break off a portion of the dried leaf (removing the hard veins that run down the center) and pour hot water over the leaf.  Within a minute or so the leaf is ready to be applied to the wound.  Plantain leaves also make good band aids, but are quite a bit smaller than burdock leaves.  Fresh leaves can also be used.  However they can cause irritation, and in that case just pour hot water over them as you would a dried leaf.  The leaves will also FEED the wound.

It is also wise, to splint your wounds.  It helps in healing and may help the patient be more comfortable.  When Ben cut his leg, getting around was very painful for the first 24 hours.  A splint helped.  Drinking clove tea and taking 303's also helped a lot with the pain. (See my posts on Pain Relief and Cramps for more information on that.)  There is a website that I like for obtaining medical supplies - Rescue Essentials.  They have SAM splints which work great for splinting everything from fingers to legs.  You can get a training kit to learn how to use the splints for a very reasonable price.
As I said before, the hardest part of wound care is being consistent.  Life gets busy and it's easy to forget or put off treatments, but you cannot do this if you have a bad wound.  To prevent infection you must stay on top of your treatments and make sure your patient maintains a good diet.  Sugar is a big NO NO during a treatment period.  You are asking for trouble if you eat sweets during times of healing, and if you are not feeding the body well, the process will take longer.  Another important thing to remember is that you must be as aggressive as what you are treating.  If what you are doing is not working, you must do more, more often.  Natural remedies are not like drugs which often work immediately.

My personal conviction is that I do not want to be dependant on anyone to take care of me or my family.  That said, I am not against traditional medicine.  It is necessary at times, but I want to learn what I can and be prepared in case I am confronted with a situation where I cannot get medical care.

I am sorry that this post is so long!  There is just so much to write about! :)  For more information on natural home remedies join us for a class here on the farm.  Click on the "Classes" tab at the top of the page.

Mike pierced his fingernail with the end of a cattle panel.  It almost went all the way through his finger!

Jonny got his finger caught in a belt sander.  This was a bad wound!

In this picture, Ben cut his leg open by kneeling on a pruning shear.  It was pretty deep.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Herbal Home Remedies Class

Herbal Home Remedies Class
Housman Farms
  In this class you will learn about a variety of herbs and how you can turn those into remedies to treat your family.  This will be a fun,
hands-on class. Together we will make many different herbal preparations.  When you go home, you will take your own Herbal Home Remedies Kit with you, and the knowledge and confidence to care for your family naturally.  Plan to spend the whole morning at our farm.

The value of the Home Remedies Kit exceeds the cost of the class.  Plus you will receive all the recipes to continue making these remedies at home.  The few hours you will invest in this class will forever change the way you care for your family.  We promise to make it worth your time and money!

9:00-12:00 am SATURDAY, MAY 19th
Limited space available: call to reserve your spot
Visit our classes page for more details

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Sunday Afternoon Fun

Today was wet (it rained all day yesterday) and cold, so Mike worked in the shop with Ben and Jonny this afternoon.  The boys are making (with Mike's help) toy electric cars.  They both own a remote control car, but making one is much more fun than owning one. :)  I wish I could explain how they did it, but I have no idea. :)  Here is a picture of Jonny's car.  He got his done today.  Ben is still perfecting his. :)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Cats and Dogs

Here is a picture of the newest member of the farm.  He has actually been here for a few months, but Emily hasn't had time to write about him...too busy with bunnies I guess.:)  His name is Gentleman, and he is a Ragdoll cat.  Isn't he beautiful?  Emily is hoping that he arrived in time to be the father of Lady's kittens.  She is getting big and will be having kittens soon.

He has the most beautiful eyes!
Our guard dog, Jackson

And I had to include a picture of our faithful guard dog, Jackson.  Now that we have puppies, Jackson looks old, but he is still a great guardian and a huge asset to the farm!
A week or so ago, Mike and I were in bed, almost asleep when all of a sudden I heard a scream that sounded like a woman wailing. With wide eyes I said, "What in the world was that!"  Then all the dogs started barking like crazy.  We both flew out of bed and went running to the back door.  Then we heard it...the howl of a coyote. We hear coyotes often, but this one was in the back very close to the house.  I wish I had thought to grab the camera and video the scene.  It was pretty exciting!  I stood at the back door listening while Mike went for the shot gun.  Then pretty soon Em was startled awake and showed up at the back door asking what was going on.  The puppies were penned up, so all they could do was bark, but Jackson was out in the slough keeping the coyotes at bay.  As Em and I listened, I said, "I love Pyrenees!"  I wish we had 50 of them...but that would be too much grooming! :)  Well, Mike scared them off, but didn't get a shot at them.

Until next time....just another exciting day on the farm! :)

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Health Journal - Drink Your Vitamins

Em and I like to sip tea.  What's even better is having friends over, baking scones and having a tea party!  Many times tea is thought of as an alternative to coffee or plain water, but tea is so much more than that.  Herbal teas are foods that feed our bodies all kinds of vitamins and minerals.  And in our family they are an alternative to taking supplements.

Our family used to take a lot of vitamins.  But over the years I noticed that the more vitamins I took the worse I felt.  Then we finally quit taking daily supplements, and I have noticed that the odd symptoms that I had for years disappeared.  And the more I have learned, the more I am convinced that most supplements are not good for us.  They are either in forms that our bodies cannot use -and are many times toxic to the body, or they are separated from the other nutrients essential to their assimilation in the body.  Foods are our safest option!  And herbs are foods!

With a little study, you can become familiar with the nutrients in specific herbs.  Most Americans are deficient in calcium because we eat so many processed foods and pasteurize our milk, so that would be a good mineral to start consuming through herbal teas.  Both oat straw and horsetail (shavegrass) are high in calcium.  Another great herb to start with is Alfalfa.  It is loaded!  Red Raspberry leaf is also a wonderful herb to have around - nothing compares for pregnant women and children.  It is good for the flu, constipation and fever.  I could go on and on. 

A basket of Chamomile tea
Below are some recipes for teas that I have made for my family.  I try to make tea every morning, and we drink it with our breakfast.  There are a couple secrets that I have for making a yummy tasting tea that my family will like.  First I include at least one herb that has a sweet and palatable flavor.  Some examples are: cinnamon, peppermint, spearmint, fennel, licorice root, and anise seed.  My second secret is cream and honey!   Most children will suck down anything loaded with cream and honey! :)

Also, not all teas are created equal.  I do not recommend drinking teas out of a box.  I have found that these teas are not very good quality.  Your efforts will be much better rewarded if you buy bulk organic herbs. ( or

The possibilities for tea recipes are endless, but this list will give you some ideas to help you get started.  As a general rule, use one teaspoon of tea to one cup of boiling water.  Pour the water over the tea and steep for 5-15 minutes.  When I make tea for my family, I just heat my water in an eight cup stainless steel pot.  Once the water is boiling, I turn off the heat and add my herbs.  Then I put the lid on and let it steep.  Always cover your tea while it is steeping!  If you don't, the constituents from the herbs will evaporate, and you will be left with an inferior cup of tea.
Tea Recipes
All the recipes below are made with 8 cups of water.

1T. Oatstraw
1T. Alfalfa
1T. Peppermint
Alfalfa has been called the "King of Herbs" because it is so rich in nutrients.  Oatstraw is high in calcium and magnesium and is usually found in herbal combinations relating to the heart.

1T. Nettle
1T. Peppermint
1T. Licorice Root
This tea is good for fatigue or exhaustion.

1 tsp, Anise seed
1T. Nettle
1T. Red Clover
1T. Licorice Root
Red Clover is a great blood purifier.  Nettle is rich in chlorophyll, iron, and vitamin C.  It is also a natural anti-histamine.

1 tsp. ground Cinnamon
2 tsp. Red Raspberry leaf
2 tsp. Dandelion Root
2 tsp. Peppermint
Dandelion is a good blood purifier and liver cleanser.

4 slices of Ginger root
1T. Black tea
1T. Peppermint
Ginger is great for morning sickness, nausea, and, motion sickness

1T. Catnip
1T. Fennel
1T. Red Raspberry
Catnip and fennel are good for stomach discomfort, indigestion, gas, and bloating.  It will also help a colicky baby.  Raspberry leaf is high in vitamin C, manganese, iron, and niacin, and it also helps with an upset stomach.

2 tsp. Alfalfa
2 tsp. Nettle
2 tsp. Horsetail
2 tsp. Peppermint
1 tsp. ground Cinnamon
Horsetail is very rich in silica.  Cinnamon's anti-fungal properties will benefit the whole body and make the tea taste yummy! :)

As I said before, the combinations are endless!  Other herbs that I like to use for tea are:
Bilberry leaf and berry, Elderberries, Chamomile, Mullein, and Lemon Balm. 

Tip: Whenever you are using a root, go ahead and add the root to your water right away and let it come to a boil.  Roots need to cook longer than leaves and berries in order to get the properties out of them. 

Enjoy your vitamins and minerals! :)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


If you ordered chicken for pick up in June, your chicks arrived on the farm yesterday morning.  Just in time for our 20 degree weather! :)  No worries though, they are warm and cozy in our chicken coop, and Ben is taking good care of them! :)

Monday, April 9, 2012

Growing Garlic

One of the traditional signs of spring around the farm is when the garlic starts to nose its way up through the straw mulch. It has been peeking out for about 3 weeks now, the earliest I've every seen, due to the early spring (caused by solar flares, but that is a topic for another day).

Garlic plant on March 26th
Late last fall we added HUGE amounts of composted manure and chicken offal to this garden. Garlic loves to have lots of compost to feed on, so we happily obliged it. After quite a few trips over it with our rototiller the soil was nice and loamy... ready to plant!

I had hoped to plant the garlic in early October, but the weather was so warm that I was concerned it might grow to much. So I waited until mid-October.  (Six weeks before the soil freezes is ideal)

Harvest time will be the end of July.  We'll have well over 1000 bulbs for sale at our market.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Farmwife's Journal - April 6th

It is 31 degrees outside right now, which probably means we will lose all the fruit set on our apricot trees.  They bloomed really early this year due to the nice weather, but we figured we'd get hit with frost again.  It is rare that we have a good apricot harvest.  Why we try to grow them in Minnesota, I don't know!
Apricot trees

Now that lambing season and sugaring season are behind us, we are looking forward to chicks arriving next week, and the goats will be kidding in about a month or so.  We still have plants in the greenhouse, but we also planted a lot of seeds in the garden.  The weather was so beautiful, we just couldn't resist! :)

Yesterday the children and I uncovered our strawberries.  The 50-60 bales of straw that we put on them last fall was pulled into the center row and trampled down.  Now we will have a nice "cushion" to sit on when we pick, and hopefully we will have less weeds growing up between the rows.

Uncovering strawberries
We also washed sap buckets yesterday.  Normally we would just spray out the buckets, store them, and wash them more thoroughly in the spring, but this year our buckets were disgusting!  The warm weather brought with it quite an abundance of flies, and much of the sap we collected was dumped because it looked like fly soup! :(  Needless to say, our buckets needed a thorough cleaning!  So we scrubbed them, rinsed them, and left them in the sun to dry.  Then after supper, we stacked them in the sugar shack, and that ended sugaring season...not a very exciting one either!

Farming really is character building.  You learn to roll with the punches and take what you get.  Nothing is for certain, and you always feel very grateful when your hard work and long hours of labor are paid off by a good harvest.  But sometimes you work hard for nothing.  That's just life on the farm! :)

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