Category Archives: Homesteading

How To Make Calendula Oil & It’s Uses

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So what’s all the hype about Calendula Oil? Calendula (Calendula officinalis) is an herbaceous plant related to the Asteraceae family. It’s an amazing herb that has a bunch of health benefits and has a history as a medicinal herb. Calendula flowers are sometimes referred to as pot marigold but really isn’t related to the Marigold at all. This is an oil that every homestead should have on hand at all times.

Making Calendula infused oil is so easy and once you make it, you’re going to say “Why haven’t I made this before!”

Calendula Infused Oil

  • Servings: Alot
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

(1) Quart Size Mason Jar
1 ½ cups of dried Calendula flowers
Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil Cold Pressed

Instructions:
Take your mason jar and fill it up with the calendula flowers. Then, pour the olive oil over the flowers until it’s about 1 inch above covered in oil. Next, put a lid on the jar and put away somewhere in a dark place. The oil needs to infuse for 4-6 weeks. Shake it around gently so the flowers can infuse even greater. Once it’s ready, take a piece of cheesecloth and strain the Calendula oil along with the flowers into a new clean mason jar. Screw the lid on tight and store on a shelf. Good for one year. Make sure you label the jar with name of oil and date.

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So, now that you know how to make it, let me tell you about all of it’s amazing uses!

  1. Excellent for your hair
  2. It’s great as a makeup remover
  3. Amazing at treating acne & scrapes
  4. Wonderful for diaper rash
  5. A natural healing for burns
  6. Used in soaps, lip balms and salves

There you have it. Calendula flowers have amazing healing properties, especially when you make an infused oil. In addition to topically, Calendula flowers can be made into a tea and works great on a sore throat or a urinary tract infection.

Stay tuned as I have some new salves coming out and I’ll be adding my infused Calendula oil to them.

Hope you’re having a great weekend!!!

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I Can Eat Bread Again

breadbeckersSeveral years ago I was told by a doctor that I shouldn’t eat bread or anything with gluten in it. So, I went on a Gluten-Free kick but still had the same stomach issues and “chicken skin” on my elbows. A good friend of mine introduced me to grinding my own flour and I’ve never looked back. I make yummy loaves of bread, bagels, hot dog and hamburger buns, cookies, cupcakes and more!

I had the honor of meeting Sue Becker a few years ago and I learned so much about the myths of gluten intolerance and the health benefits from eating bread from freshly milled flour.

Please join me this coming Saturday in Deland. It’s totally FREE and they aren’t trying to sell you anything. Sue has a passion for health and really just wants people to be made known of the amazing benefits of the flour. Make sure you email Pat on the flyer and let her know you are coming. If you don’t want to drive, I can take a few people with me.

I hope to see you there!!!

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Make Your Own Hamburger Buns

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There’s nothing like a big juicy burger, right?  I like mine with bacon, provolone cheese, avocado slices, lettuce, tomato and some mkm (aka mustard, ketchup, mayo)……oh, and of course a bun.  But I couldn’t have the bun for about three years due to my gluten intolerance.  I used to get this “chicken skin” on my elbows every time I would eat store bought or restaurant bread.  I started doing some research on where flour came from and found out that the problem is not with the gluten, but with the way the millers were removing all the vital ingredients (and adding bad stuff) from our flour just so it would stay fresh.

I was bound and determined to eat bread.  Like, who doesn’t love bread?  I can let go of the pasta and the refined sugar for sure.  But, I can’t live without bread.

I found this Co-Op and ordered some grains.  I didn’t even have a grain mill but I was going to grind my own flout and provide a delicious loaf of bread for my family.

I ended up going to my friends house to grind my first batch.  I came home and made the bread.  It was the most delicious bread I’d ever had.  Seriously, it was.

I started eating bread more often and my “chicken skin” started to go away.  Uhhm, maybe I’m on to something here.  I honestly feel better when I eat the bread.  No bloat, no itchiness like with the other kind of bread either. Read

HERE for more on grinding your own flour.

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After making loaf bread, I thought to myself, ” I wonder what else I can make?”  I had become used to eating pretty much anything without bread or a bun.  Man, I really missed having a bun on a burger or a sloppy joe.

So, I did some research ( can you tell I like to research things?) and found this cool pan to make hamburger buns.  I only bought one so a cookie sheet will suffice for now. Yeah, baby!

They aren’t perfect in shape like you would buy store bought, factory made with a perfect machine buns, but they got the seal of approval from my family and that’s what is important to me.  Besides, knowing that they are healthy for us is what really matters. I’m feeding my family good nutrition.

Here’s my recipe.  I’d love to see how yours turn out.  I like using Hard White wheat but you can easily use Hard Red for a nuttier flavor.

Whole Wheat Hamburger Buns

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

This is a basic dough recipe.  You can use it to make sandwich/loaf bread, rolls & hamburger/hot dog buns.

Ingredients:

1 ½ cups of hot water                                                2 tsp. pink Himalayan salt

1/3 cup of olive or coconut oil                                   2 tbsp. Flaxseed Meal           

1/3 cup of raw local honey                                         1 tbsp. instant yeast

4-4 ½ cups of freshly milled Hard White flour

 

Directions:

Combine water, oil, honey, salt and flax-seed meal. Add half the flour and mix thoroughly. Add yeast and enough flour to make a soft dough.  Knead until smooth and elastic (about 5-6 minutes).  Cover with plastic and let rise until double. Now, shape into 12 balls on greased cookie sheets, cover and let rise again. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Enjoy!

Tag me on Instagram with your photos – @lhsimpleliving

I love to share and see what others are doing in our efforts to have healthy families.  Enjoy your buns LOL and have a wonderful day!

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How to Dry Your Own Herbs

We all have good intentions when we plant herbs in the garden.  But what happens when the basil takes over or the dill weed is out of control.  Before it gets to that point, you can harvest it and dry it for use later.

I know I have wasted good herbs in the garden because I didn’t know what to do with it all.

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It’s super simple and easy to do. Kinda like one of those “set it and forget it” moments, but don’t forget to check on them things LOL.

STEP 1. Grow your herbs

OK, this step is pretty simple but hey, if you don’t want to grow your own, you can easily go buy herb plants that are already grown and start from there.

STEP 2. Pull a bunch off and get a piece of twine and tie the bottom ends together (the cut pieces)

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STEP 3. Set it and forget it LOL, well, make sure you check on them from time to time but they will take roughly 2-3 weeks to dry.  Hang them on a rack or from a piece of twine out of the way so the kids don’t pull them down or the dogs don’t think it’s a snack!  The laundry room is a good place.  No one ever goes in there, right?

STEP 4. Once they are all dry, remove the twine, grab a cutting board and a knife.  If you have a coffee grinder, you can use that too.  Just make sure it’s clean from all the coffee grinds ha ha! Take the knife and just start rough chopping the herbs to your liking and fill them into a jar.

STEP 5. Enjoy your fresh dried herbs in your soups, stews or whatever you are cooking. This is great for flowers as well.  Stay tuned as I will be posting about drying flowers for herbal remedies later this spring.

I hope you have a great weekend and share this with your friends and family.  Tag me on Instagram with your herb pictures – @lhsimpleliving

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Kinda Amish

I was blessed this summer with a trip to the Amish County in Ohio.  I’ve wanted to go for some time now so we had a “girls” weekend and took my Aunt for her 75th birthday.  My birthday was just a week before hers so my husband and kids decided to give me cash for my birthday and told me to have a good time.  Well, I kinda begged a little for the money.  Just a little.

Unfortunately, we were only able to stay one night, but let me tell you, I decided you need 3-4 nights as there is just too much to see.  We still had a wonderful time!

We stayed in a cute inn in Walnut Creek and I went antique pickin’ for some neat goodies at an adorable antique store ran by an Amish couple.  Oh, did I find some neat things.

We then went into Berlin, which is way too commercial.  I was on a mission to find a homemade quilt made by Amish ladies and kept having the hardest time finding anything.  They were all made in China as most of the stores were.  I was looking for “real” Amish items.

Well, I ended up finding an Amish quilt shop that were handmade locally.  I was mesmerized by all the quilts but then saddened as I couldn’t afford any of them LOL.  The king size quilts were over $1,200.00.  Rightfully worth it, I just wasn’t prepared to spend that much this trip.  I’ll bring my hubby next time and that might work.

My sister found an adorable fall print table runner that I just had to have and it was in my price point and then I found a “wedding ring” pattern table runner that I fell in love with too.  I went to go check out and pay for my items and looked up on the wall and this beautiful “hanging quilt” was in the same pattern as one of the runners.  I had to have it.  Fortunately, I could afford it.  I just decided we wouldn’t eat going back home HA!

I also snagged a “quillow”.  It’s a pillow that is also a throw.  I was so excited with my purchases and new my trip was almost complete.  I was then on my search for a “real” Amish basket.

Well, low and behold, I was in another shop and found this beautiful casserole holding basket with handles.  I was amazed when I flipped it over and it was made from a 5 year old.  That just made it even more special.

We were kinda in a hurry that day as we had dinner reservations at an Amish home and a buggy ride scheduled.  I was again mesmerized at the home, the barn, the farm and the garden when we arrived.  It’s everything I long to have here in Florida.  It was so simple but yet productive.

We met the most nicest couple.  Of course their last name was Yoder and the meal was out of this world!  They have a custom where the food gets passed twice and then they have dessert.  We were able to ask them questions and I will share more on that in another post.

After supper, their son took us on our buggy ride.  At first, it felt a little “rackety” and I jokingly (but way serious) told him I’d like to stay on two wheels LOL.

I just can’t explain it all here.  If you long for the simple life, you have to plan a trip to the Amish community.  I hear there is one here in Florida near Sarasota.  I plan to take a trip down there next spring so I’ll share that experience with you then.

Well, after all I saw and learned from the Amish, I’ve decided I want to be “Kinda Amish”.  I love the simplicity of their lives and their faith and love for the Lord.  I even love their mealtime prayer: Lord, we thank you for this meal.  For all blessings you impart.  For our family, for our friends.  And for living in our heart.  Amen.  How simple is that?

I even would be willing to give up my vehicle and drive a buggy to town.  I just would hate not being able to travel like I do.  It would take way too long by buggy.  The bonnets are cute but I’m not sure I want to do all my chores in a long dress.

My family and friends would probably think I was crazy so for now, I’m going to be “Kinda Amish”.  But then again, I shouldn’t be worried about what other think of me, right?

Until next time……

What are some ways you are Kinda Amish?  Could you go full Amish?  I’d love to hear your thoughts.

P.S. All photos are © Wendy Walker Photography unless otherwise noted.  You are welcome to pin my photos, share them or use them in your own blogs, but please do not claim the photos as your own. Thank you!

Blessings!

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Using What You Have

USING

Sometimes things just don’t work out.  Especially in the garden.  All the years I have been gardening, I have yet to find a cage/trellis/thing a ma jig or anything that will work for my tomatoes.  I LOVE tomatoes and always plant several varieties.  They start growing and then basically take over their space!

Well, I am excited that this year I am trying a few new things that I think are going to work out pretty nicely.  As I was planting this spring, I spaced my tomato plants far enough apart but I forgot which variety I planted so I guess I will have a surprise when they start growing LOL.

In my search to build the perfect “cage” so to speak, I walked out back of our shop to see what I could find.  I always use stuff laying around here before I go out and buy something. Being in construction, we are always have something I can use LOL.  And, I don’t like being wasteful.

I found two pieces of re bar and I used mason twine, which is much stronger than your normal twine.  I already had an old chain link gate that I started training one of my tomato plants but I knew it wouldn’t be enough.  So, I pounded the re bar in the ground in front of the tomato plant and then wrapped the twine around and staggering it every 4 inches.  This one will work out good cause as the tomatoes grow, I will just hang them on the twine.

The other tomato plant, I set two fence posts the length of my garden bed and then just tied the twine and staggered it.  As this one grows, I can train it to go through the twine and then hang the tomatoes as they grow.  I am so excited and so glad I’m not frustrated this year with my tomatoes!

Now that I have my trellises made, I have to tell you that I have never been able to grow tomatoes in the month of June before.  It’s just way too hot here in Florida.  This year is different since trying the Back to Eden Gardening method.  I am truly amazed at how planting God’s way has made a difference in how my garden grows.If you get a chance, check out their video on how it all works.

What types of things do you use for trellises or cages?  Do you use things around your property or have you found something in a store that’s truly amazing?  I’d love to hear either in an email, comment below or on my Facebook page.

 

Blessings!

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Something I’ve Always Wanted to Do

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There is just something about hand-forged iron.  I mean anything that’s made from it just makes me think of civil war era.  I absolutely love anything that’s been hand-forged.  Well, I have to tell you, I was so excited when I found this cute little store, Em’z Outdoor Store on one of my country rides going to St. Augustine.  It really is a cute store.  They sell gorgeous plants, offer amazing classes and have a barn that’s a store inside.  You have to check them out!

Ok, back to Blacksmithing.  I’m not sure if that’s a word, but that is what I was doing a few weeks ago.  I learned how to Blacksmith.  I’m still blown away that I made this cute hook.  I even twisted the iron all by myself, along with the help of the instructor LOL.  No, but seriously, I made this hook and learned so much.  I want to do it again!

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They are supposed to be holding a class on how to make a knife and I am so there.  Now that my family saw what I made, they all want to come next time with me LOL.

 

 

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Blessings,

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