Eggshells & Coffee Grounds

     I've already started saving eggshells.  Not for Easter --- for the slugs.  :-)  The coffee grounds I'll wait for just a bit.  I started using the eggshells and coffee grounds last year, the second year that I ever planted cabbage. 

     The first year I planted cabbage, the heads were demolished -- it seemed like overnight!  Last year my organic cabbage was beautiful!!  ...and did I have a lot of it.  For what ever reason I started 1/2 flat of cabbage seed in the house last year, and every single one took.  (I had to plant them) That's a lot of sauerkraut and cabbage salad, when I am the one mostly eating it.  ---- I have got to get the rest of the family eating sauerkraut, it's so-o-o-o good.  I donated a lot of cabbage to the food pantry last summer. I didn't really expect all that cabbage to get to the full head stage.  They did, only because I sprinkled crushed eggshells (sharp on a slugs' little soft belly) and coffee grounds (I don't know why -- but it works) around every plant, and kept it up till harvest.  Lots of times I didn't have enough eggshells ready to go, that's why I'm starting early to save them.

     We will be making sauerkraut together this summer.......maybe you want to plant some cabbage too?
I always let the eggshells dry out for a day before crushing them.


Ordering Trees/Bushes

     Rick (my husband) and I have been getting our order together from the Menominee Conservation District in Upper Michigan. We ordered from them last year.  The trees and bushes were absolutely beautiful!  So strong and healthy.  We learned the lesson of not ordering more than we can plant in the next day or two from when we get them.  Rick and his brother ordered 200 Norway spruce and some apples last year.    ..........let's just say the chiropractor could have used a chiropractor :-) They are ordering 100 Norway spruce this year and some wild apple trees for their hunting land.  Hopefully they spread it out over two days.  They won't get any help from me :-) 

     I will be planting what I buy for the homestead.  Last year what I bought from them was; 5 elderberries,  5 sand cherries,  5 nannyberries, 5 highbush cranberries, a Wolf River apple tree, and a flowering crab apple.  Everything is alive and well.

     This year I'm buying 5 nankin cherries, 5 more highbush cranberries (part of a windbreak), a Lodi apple tree, 5 hazelnut trees,  10 forsythia bushes, a Stanley plum, and a Victory plum.  That's about all the holes I can dig.  Actually, I will have most of the holes dug and ready before they come.

     Why such an array?  Am I really interested in feeding the turkeys and deer?     uuhhhh No.  I'm sure they will take their share though.  Everything being planted has a reason.  It's either food for our table, with any extra going to the pigs, ducks, and chickens, or, I am specifically planting it for winter feeding of the chickens.  (all those small fruits I will dry).  The forsythias are for early feeding of my bees (and because I love them blooming so early in the spring too :-)........and I might make some sand cherry wine this year. :-)



Gardening Without Gloves

     Two true statements  --- I hate wearing gloves when I garden. My hands and fingernails, and cuticles look tough all summer.  :-)  Sometimes I start out wearing gloves, and before I know it I'm forgetting to put them on.  Maybe there is something deep inside me that needs to feel that dirt. I don't know.

     I'm thinking about this because I spent another day planting seeds.  Even using potting soil, my fingernails and cuticles are taking a beating.  The potting soil isn't so bad, but I don't even want to know what I might be digging in outside when I know I have improved the soil with chicken and cow manure.  Cleaning up is really important.  Colloidal Silver Soap is what I like to use.  Any nice moisturizing soap (love the french milled soaps) could be used, but, it has to be a bar soap.  I like the colloidal silver soap because it is anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and moisturizing.

I buy mine at the health food store.

     This is what I do, make my hand into a "claw" and dig into the bar of soap, so the soap gets up
under my fingernails.  Then use my nail brush.  A good way to clean under those fingernails just before making supper :-)

     P.S.  I planted perennial daisy, pink wave petunia, basil, purple verbena, parsley, fenugreek (playing around with it to see if it could be a supplement grain for chickens), and more gogi berry.  Looking like a greenhouse around here......


Meet Butsch -- Our New Leader Dog Puppy

     Butsch became part of our household today.  A friend gave him a ride from Leader Dogs For The Blind in Rochester Michigan, and I picked him up in Green Bay this afternoon.  He is a purebred German Shepherd, 9 weeks old.  Usually we get them at about 6-7 wks. old, so he is a little bigger starting off -- all 18 lbs. of him. (He is going to be big.)

Future Leader Dog Butsch

Grandsons Remington and Brayden (cousins) and "off-duty" Trixy.
     Future Leader Dog Trixy (Beatrix) is still at our house too.  She has a return date to the school of April 1st.  I will have a 5 week overlap of puppy's.  Trixy will begin the rounds of saying good-bye to the different stores and restaurants she's been a regular at.  Butsch will have to start getting out right away.  Getting them used to people and being out in different situations is important, -- especially before the age of 12 weeks.  Don't get me wrong, they will both be getting out.  I will work Trixy on a lot more traffic outside and longer walks.  Butsch will go with me shopping (quick trips in and out) -- too small for any length of walks.

     I will have Butsch for about 1 year, getting him used to any and all situations.  Then he will go back to the school for 5 more months of professional training.  If all goes well, he will be matched with a blind person and they will train at the school for another 3 weeks.  It is my goal that Butsch and Trixy, will become the best Leader Dogs possible.  They will change someones life for the better.

     I have named all the puppies I have raised for Leader Dogs For The Blind with names that start with a "B" -- except for Smoke (who was named after a childhood dog of mine).  There has been: Booker, Billy, Brinkley, Blackjack, Boone, Smoke, Beatrix, and now Butsch.  If you are at all interested in raising a puppy for Leader Dogs for the Blind, go online and fill out an application.  You don't need to know anything about training, they help you with all of that.  They are in need of raisers right now................

If you'd like to raise a puppy for
Leader Dogs For The Blind
contact them at


Wipe Out Kinda Day

The shovel is on the other side of that drift :-), and it's still snowing.
       As you can see from the picture, we got a lot of snow last night. 10 inches here, with another inch all day today.  The wind is something else and the drifts are huge.  Without 4 wheel drive, our driveway would be almost impassable.  It will be drifted shut again tomorrow, and we'll have to get the guy out to plow again.  We call a day like this a "wipe-out" day.  Businesses are open, but not many people are out and about.  At our chiropractic office the phone just kept on ringing   ----  with cancellations.  My path to the ducks was filled in with a 4 foot drift  ---  my legs aren't that long :-)

     These kind of days are great for staying home and tackling projects.  I used the day to plant seeds.  Things that I would plant outside in about 10 -11 weeks or, in the case of the violas and pansies, things that I wanted blooming for early spring.  So, besides the violas and pansies, purple wave petunias got planted, eight slips from my sweet potato plant that had roots, white petunias, and some purple millet.

     Last year I planted my tomato plants too early.  They were long and spindly by the time it was ready to plant outside.  I had to dig a trench and bury them 3/4 of the way up the stems. It worked, but I made a mental note to not start them too early this if I had greenhouse.... :-)


"Free" Curtain Rods

      I checked out curtain rods at the store today.  $25 per rod (for the ones I liked).  I just couldn't bring myself to pay $50 for the two rods I need in my upstairs loft yet.  Call me cheap.  The thing is, I know there are "free" rods
out in the woods.  It takes a little work to find a nice straight branch to make your new rod, but they do look neat, and you will get lots of compliments on them.  This works best for tab curtains so you can see through to the wood rod.

Box elder curtain rod for my curtain
 panels downstairs.  As long as it is fairly
straight, I love all the nooks and crannies.
 The rods I have downstairs are made out of box elder branches, which
gives me a beautiful blonde color.  Spring is the time to go find your branches
because if you want the bare wood look, the bark just strips off in big chunks

A small plant hanger works
 great for holding them up.

with hardly any work.  When people start putting out their maple syrup buckets you know that the sap is running.  That's when the bark is easiest to get off.  If you wait till the middle of summer that same bark will be "glued" to the wood, and you will be basically carving it off --- a whole lot more


Works for me :-)

     How do you hold up the rods?  I buy cheap, ($4.00) short, plant hangers and put them
on the wall.  Walla  --  the rod sits in there beautifully.  If I had small children in the house that could possibly pull on the curtains and pull the whole bit down, I would somehow tie the rods down.  (Maybe with fishing line?)

      Try it, your curtain rods will have character.  If you don't live near a woods, maybe a
neighbor is trimming some trees?  Keep your eyes open, I bet before you know it you'll find something.



The Best Fish Batter

The Best Fish Batter

1 tsp. onion powder
1 1/2 - 2 tsp. garlic salt
1 - 1 1/2 tsp. seasoned salt (I use the one from the health food store with no MSG)
pepper to taste
2 cups flour

Place all ingredients in a plastic bag and shake well to mix up.

In a small bowl, whisk an egg with a fork, add a dash of milk (a couple TBL.)  Coat the fish in the egg, and drop into bag.  Shake to coat.  Pan fry the fish or deep fry.

(We had perch tonight ----- yum..!)


Love The Thaw - Hate The Thaw

     Here in Northeast Wisconsin we are having our January thaw in February :-)  Up to 45 degrees today!  Only 5 more degrees and we'll start seeing people in shorts  The thaw sure helps with everybody's mood.  It does feel good.  I even left the door open on the chicken coop.....And Elton the drake.....well he's out there,... ahh... "doing his thing".  The ducks started laying eggs again yesterday.

     What I don't like about a thaw is, I have to clean the chicken coop.  Winter cleaning of the chicken coop is always a problem.  There is too much snow for the 4-wheeler and trailer.  So, I let the litter build up, which actually helps to keep the coop warmer.  There is no smell or ammonia as long as it is freezing out.  This works good until a thaw, then it has to be cleaned because of the ammonia.

     So, today the coop got a good cleaning.  I only make a pile on the side of the coop for now, like I said, can't get the 4-wheeler back there.  Towards spring I will have to handle that pile again.  But, it is really not that bad.  Keeping Billy (the dog) out of the chicken poo has to always be considered.....I always pile snow on top of it, and then he seems to leave it alone.

     I'm going for the "glass is half full" side of this thaw.   .......I really don't think we are going to have any more "20 below" days.  Hey, we're going to be tapping for maple syrup before you know it!


Cleaned The Frig.......

     I finally got around to cleaning the really needed it.  It was good to get it cleaned, but also kind of sad.  I threw a lot away.  What a waste.  I was curious as to how much money I was literally throwing out.  Here's how I figured it:

1/4 lb shrimp leftover from Super Bowl Sunday (Yeah Pack!)
        ..............................$ 3.00
Mangosteen swallow and then forgotten about
1 lime.....rock hard
3/4 of an avocado
3/4 lb. of Havarti cheese
1/2 ring polish sausage
Nitrate free sandwich meat......doesn't last without the nitrates :)
2 Nitrate free hot dogs..........leftover from roasting over the fire New Years Day
Homemade Elderberry pushed to the back....out of sight out of mind
1/4 jar taco sauce.
1/2 jar homemade there a REALLY long time opened
1/2 jar homemade pickled beets.........."       "    "        "          "       "         "....
Bolthouse Farms Protein Plus drink....single serve
Bolthouse Farms Protein Plus qt.
Homemade Barbecue 1 qt....(my canned sauce and grass fed hamburger)                                         
(I just forgot to freeze it!!)

                   Grand Total.......................................$77.39

I could use a spare $77.39 in my pocket.  What really hurt was throwing out the things that had cost me lots of time and energy--- elderberry juice, barbecue, pickles, pickled beets.  That is not going to happen again.  Using up leftovers is going to become a regular thing.  And really checking over the whole refrigerator for opened things (i.e the protein drink and Mangosteen Juice) has got to become a regular habit.................. Pray for me  :-)


Frisky's A Gone-er

     I named him Frisky.  He was the big fox squirrel that lived in the woods on the ridge.  He would dart across the driveway and eat from the bird feeder, and dart back as if he knew he was in dangerous territory.  He never was a problem and he was the only squirrel brave enough to come to the bird feeder.  My husband would say "he's gotta eat too".  So he got "named" and became part of the Redtail Ridge gang.

     Our first real encounter with him was this last summer.  I was having truck troubles, but, planned a trip to Green Bay with my daughter anyway.  As we backed out, the whole truck lurched and sounded like there was big trouble under the hood.  We limped it over to my husbands office 4 minutes away, traded vehicles, and off we went.  My husband drove it home at lunch time, then back to work, and came home at 7:00 p.m.   He now had time to check under the hood.  He no sooner had the hood up and a big fat squirrel jumped just past him! ......little heart check there.  It was Frisky.  He was in the engine of the truck all day! 

    We grew fond of watching Frisky try to plant acorns in our lawn, and steal chicken grain from the garage if we left the door open.  We don't know if he was just old, got caught outside his regular hole as it got dark or what, but in the terrible cold snap we had a few days ago, Frisky didn't make it.  He froze to death.  Of course Billy found him, frozen in a position that looked like he was trying to keep warm.  Well Frisky, we totally enjoyed your time here.......I'm thinking there has to be some progeny in that woods.  We'll see if any are brave enough to come across the driveway :-)


Fly Traps & Little Boys

    Summer is here and that means back to doing fly patrol. Fly control is so-o-o important if you have animals.  I can remember many years back when we were having a family gathering at our place in the middle of summer.  The flies were horrible!  Almost impossible to have a picnic.  .....and the flies in the house!  I remember blaming the farm just down the road.  Well, guess what, it wasn't the farm, it was my own chicken coop!  Flies breed so fast that if you don't have a plan against them, they will win.
     I won't spray poison everywhere.  There is a natural solution that works great for me.  Rescue disposable fly traps attract and catch tons of flies, the whole bag will be full, and then I tape the top and throw it in the outside garbage, just before pick-up day.  I have tried other brand names but keep coming back to Rescue for getting the job done.  At the height of fly season I will change the traps (I usually have 3 out at a time between the ducks and chickens) every 2 weeks.  I buy a whole summers worth the minute they go on sale.
     There is one disadvantage.  There is a smell.  That's what attracts the flies.  I just hang them on the far side of the chicken coop and deal with the smell.  It ends up only being a wiff here and there -- I can deal with that.  Flies I can't deal with!  It is far enough away from the house that the smell is not a problem at all for our picnics.

Grandson Logan
      Last year I had a very full, smelly, fly trap and I was getting ready for all the kids and grand kids to come for Sunday supper.  I decided I needed to change that trap, so, I took it down and placed it at the side of the chicken coop while I finished up doing something else.  Of course I forgot about it. 
     The grand kids love "feeding" the chickens.  They are checking them out right away when they come.  Well, Logan, then 2 1/2, saw my fly trap on the ground.  There are always flies buzzing around in it.  So, what does a little boy do?  You got it.  He lifted that leg so far and stamped on that fly trap so hard!!  (Had to "kill" the  That trap burst.  Oh did he smell!  I could see it all happening in slow motion but there was nothing I could do about it.  It sure wasn't fun cleaning him up, but, I can't help laughing every time I think of it.  He was so young I don't suppose he will remember, but, Grandma will tell him the story........

.....dr momi

Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop


Grow Goji Berry

Buy organic dried Goji Berries

Soak the berries in water.

Squeeze out the seeds and let them dry on paper towel for a few days.

Plant the seeds.  (They look like sesame seeds) They will grow!
 Goji berries are good for you!
     Gogi berry info:

-the berries are extremely high in antioxidants.

-it is a deciduous, woody, perennial.

-likes lots of sun.

-plant it in a good quality garden soil but with enough sand in it for good drainage.

-a full size shrub can grow to 8 ft.

-it won't bear fruit till it's third year.

-I'm planting mine in containers till the second or third year.  Good Luck!


Way Good Homemade Bread

       If I made this too often it wouldn't be good.  ..... for the hips I mean.  That's why I got rid of my bread machine.  It was too easy to make the bread and we ate way too much of it.  This tastes WAY good, so it's only made once in a while.   It takes a certain amount of effort, I have to plan ahead, but, that way we don't over do it.  The other reason I don't make it too often is because I make it with all white flour.  You can use a couple cups of whole wheat in it instead of white if you want.  I find it just makes it drier and doesn't keep as long.  I figure if I am only making it once in a while, at least it doesn't have any preservatives in it, and it's better than buying bread. 
     This recipe makes 6 loaves of bread.  Why go through all the hassle for 1 or 2 loaves?  If I bake them all, I hand some out to friends and neighbors.  Otherwise I will freeze the dough to make a fresh loaf another day.  This bread WILL make your meal special.......

Way Good Homemade Bread

1/4 c. yeast....................(I buy it bulk and keep it in the freezer)
2 c. warm water............(too hot will kill the yeast)
1/2 c. sugar or honey....(use a little less honey)
1 c. dry milk..................(another reason not to make it too often)
1 qt. warm water
1/2 c. lard or coconut oil
1/8 c. salt
12 c. flour......................(at least use unbleached :-)

In a super large 12 or 13 qt. bowl, mix the yeast, 2 c. of warm water, sugar/honey, and the dry milk.  Let it sit a couple of minutes.  Mix the lard/coconut oil in the 2 qts of warm water.  Let it melt some.  (it won't melt all the way) and pour into yeast mixture.  Add salt and flour.  Mix well with spoon or hand dough hook, or your dough hook on your processor.  When it is totally mixed, cover with a wet dish towel and let it rise to double.

Get the pans ready that you will be using.  I use regular bread pans, a french loaf pan, a small 4 loaf pan, or sometimes I just make it a rustic round loaf.  You could make them into buns too.  Spray the pans.

When done rising punch down and cut the dough with a knife, in half.  Flour your table so the dough won't stick when you are working it.  Pull out half and cut into three sections.  Work one section on the floured table, you can either stretch and pull the dough, or knead the dough for a good 10-15 times.  Keep sprinkling flour so things don't stick too bad.  Shape the loaf according to your pan shape and plop it in.  If it isn't beautiful -- who cares, it will taste wonderful!  Repeat with the other 5 loaves, unless you will be freezing some.  In that case, knead it, put it in a qt. size freezer bag, and immediately into the freezer. (don't wait for the others to get bagged up -- it will start raising right away)  These I will pretty much make into a rustic round loaf.

When all the loaves are in the pans, wet your dishcloth again and lay it over the top as they rise.  When they are 1/2 - 2/3 way up in the pans, turn on your oven to 350 degrees.  When your oven is hot, put in the bread and bake until the crust is golden brown and when you snap it with your finger it gives a little hollow sound.  When done, take out the pans and let cool a little while on cooling racks, but, the loaves have to come out of the pans soon or you will have a soggy bottom crust.  They should just pop out with a little nudge from a knife.  If they don't  --- just keep struggling until you drop the whole pan on the floor, and then it will just pop right out :-) --- on to the floor.  (That's what happened to me last time :-)

If you time this so the bread comes out of the oven hot just before supper ---- perfect.

Well, my day is getting away from me and I won't have time to actually make the bread today.  As soon as I do have time I will take pictures and re-post this for you.  Enjoy!!


Bread Dipping Oil

Bread Dipping Oil

1 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. salt
1/2. tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. paprika

This is especially yummy with homemade bread. ---- Which is tomorrows post :-)


Planting Geraniums

You can see that even in the
basement it was trying to
 green up.
     They never look like they could come to life, but they always do.  In the fall, I pull all my geraniums, knock some of the dirt off the roots, bring them into the darkest part of the basement,and just lay them on newspaper.  That's where they stay until about this time.  I can't bear to buy geraniums every year when I know how easy it is to keep them.  And with the prices in the greenhouses going up every year, well....  One of my goals is to start all of my flowers from seed, early in the house for some, and right in the ground for others.  In the past I have been known for "over doing it" when it comes to buying flowers.  I love the flowers for the hummingbirds, and the bees, and their pure beauty .
     I will grow these geraniums in the house until mid April.  Then they will get planted in my outdoor pots. They will be right next to the garage door, so it is easy to bring them in at night or if we have an exceptionally cold day with a lot of wind.  By early May the pots will get planted with other flowers and get set where they will spend the summer.  The bright red ones are my absolute favorite.  Planting red geraniums,with double white petunias in a blue pot...beautiful.


The Dogs Of Redtail Ridge

Billy our Golden Retriever
     I don't think it's wise to live in the country without a dog.  A little one will do, but, the bigger the better I think.  A watch dog is important.  When Billy barks his deep watch dog bark, there is no way I'd try to get in that house.  He sounds vicious.  A couple months ago, the doorbell rang at 9:00 at night.  Why I did it I don't know, but I cracked open the door, only to hear the guy explain he wanted to sell me some steaks.  Billy was barking his deep watch dog bark.  I opened the door a little wider, and the guy backed down the steps off the porch pretty fast.
 The whole situation scared me bad and I was so thankful for my "loud" dog.

     When we are outside he will always alert me to someone driving in the driveway, or someone walking or hunting on the property behind us.  I always have a "heads up" with him around.

     I raised Billy for Leader Dogs For The Blind, but unfortunately (or fortunately :-) he did not make it.  He was just too excitable.  We had our choice of keeping him then, and we opted in right away.  He has quite the personality.  Besides his watch dog duties, he has become one of my husband's all time favorite hunting dogs.  He is an exceptional house dog also, except for the occasional sandwich swiping. (We don't turn our backs when making a sandwich).

Future Leader Dog Trixy, a Yellow Lab.
If you are interested in raising a puppy,
contact Leader Dogs For The Blind

     The other dog in the house is actually not our dog.  She is owned by Leader Dogs For The Blind in Rochester Michigan.  I received her when she was 6 wks. old and will have her until April 1st when she goes back to Leader Dog for her formal training in harness.  Five more months with professional trainers, and then hopefully she will be paired with someone who is blind.  A Leader Dog For the Blind can change someones life, and that is my goal with her.  I am called the "socializer".  I take her to as many places as possible to get her used to all kinds of situations.  Trixy goes with me shopping and to church, and to everything in between.  She is the seventh dog I have raised for Leader Dog.  Right this minute she is under my desk as I am typing this.  She is always where I am.  That is a great quality for a Leader Dog.  If you are blind, it's nice to know where your dog is. 

     It's always sad to drop them off at "college", but all along I have known she has a higher calling.  She has work to do.

,,,,,dr momi


Ordered My Bees

The bottom has a screen covering it
or we can close it up with the hinged
board during the winter.

     Now I did it.  I really am going to be a beekeeper. much odds and ends equipment to get. (as in protective clothing) The bees will be coming sometime in April.   I ordered them because my husband just finished building me a top bar beehive.  It only took him a couple of hours out of his perch fishing time.  He says it is my Valentine's Day present :-)  --- I'm thinking some roses will show up too.

      I wanted a top bar hive because a regular hive gets so heavy when it is full of honey that I wouldn't be able to lift it myself.  I guarantee you that even though he lovingly, and willingly built the hive, my husband will NOT help with working the hive. :-)  A top bar hive I've heard, does not produce as much honey as a regular hive but does give you more beeswax.  The bees actually build the honeycomb from a bar on the top that you can lift out to harvest the honey.  I'll only be lifting "sections" of the honey harvest at a time.  The sides of the hive are at an angle to discourage the bees from attaching the comb to the sides and preventing you from being able to lift it out.  I'd love to use the beeswax in homemade lip balms, hand salve, and candles  --- something else new to learn! 

The whole top gets covered with these smaller boards.
These two will be at the ends so the bees can't build right
up to the end.  The rest of the boards are at my brother-
in-laws to get a strip sawed down the middle of them. It
will be the starting point for the comb to be built.
      Getting the bees never was about a lot of honey, don't get me wrong, we will use it, but getting the bees is all about pollination for me.  Wanting the bees starts with having a garden and orchard.  I'm always interested in what grows a better garden.

     There is lots of information on top bar beehives on the Internet.  We got the building instructions from a couple different sites.  The hive is built with untreated wood.  The inside will stay untreated for the bees health, but the outside has to get painted  ---- hhmmm how fancy should I get?


Scratchy Throat Tea

    I have a scratchy throat today.  Don't feel sick, just know it's there.  I never let it get any further than that!!  I attack.  My favorite tea is Traditional Medicinals Organic Echinacea Plus.  The box says to "drink 5-6 cups throughout the day when necessary to maintain a healthy immune response, gradually reducing the dose as conditions improve."  I change it up a bit and use 2 tea bags to a cup of water 3 or 4 times a day.  I always get results if I start early enough.

I drank this cup while writing this post :-)
       I love taking tea over say, echinacea capsules.  The hot tea in contact with the "problem area",  I think is important.  I would  keep a couple of tea bags at work so if that scratchy throat starts in, you don't have to wait "till you get home" to start drinking it.  Hitting it early and fast is important.  Traditional Medicinal Organic Echinacea Tea has echinacea root extract in it also.  I believe that is why it works so well.  If you decide to try it, please read the cautions, and contraindications, on the side of the box. I would not take it if I was allergic to plants in the daisy family or if I had an auto immune disease.

     My next best "I have a cold tea" is mullein.  I pick this in the field every year.  It works better than  pseudoephedrine at loosening phlegm, opening passage ways, and calming a cough.  I so wish I had taken pictures last summer.  And I wish I had picked more!  I used some earlier this year and then handed it out to kids.  I'm now out till, give or take June.  Pictures will be coming this summer.


Log End Chicken Coop

     Thirty miles northwest of Green Bay, (Go Pack) we missed the snow, but the wind is something else!  This is when I am glad I have a log end chicken coop.  I built it myself over a period of 2 1/2 years, though the back wall still needs some finishing.  I made it with 18" Box Elder (a soft wood) logs and clay.  So, the walls are 18 inches thick and I never worry about it getting too cold in the chicken coop.  I worry more about making sure I have ventilation for moisture control.  The clay is made with our soil, that has a lot of clay with just the right amount of sand in it, 1 inch snips of wild oat grass, and water.

     It was such an experiment, I don't think anyone, including me, thought it might last long.  But, here we are on year 6 and it is solid.  I do a wheelbarrow load full of mud repairs each year, as the rain does a bit of erosion, but it is really nothing.  I've been very happy with it.

     The book Cordwood Building by Rob Roy is what got me interested in it.  I had never built anything.  I learned a lot --- like don't use a crooked 2x4 for the roof!!!  But every time I look at it there is a sense of satisfaction.  I built it by myself :-)
That snow drift is 2 1/2 ft. high, but my chickens are warm :-)