Category Archives: Homesteading

Herbal Academy’s Herbs for Animals

I have a few information tidbits from Herbal Academy that I wanted to pass along. First, they are giving away a free Cold and Flu Ebook that I’m sure you’ll enjoy whether you use these herbal remedies to keep healthy or to treat the bug that has you down. I know I’ve been loving my copy! Garlic honey, natural cough drops, and fever tea are just some of the recipes you’ll find in this little gem.

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Many of these recipes were taken from The Herbarium monograph database. The Herbarium has a collection of articles, plant monographs, podcasts, videos, charts and tutorials and Short Course Intensives that are only available to members. And right now, Until October 31st, you can use the code COLDANDFLU for a one time discount of $10 off a membership to The Herbarium and get access to all that herb knowledge.  

Support your pet's wellbeing with herbs, only through The Herbarium

The newest intensive is Herbs for Animals. Those of you that have been following my blog for a while, know that we often use herbal treatments with our animals when they are ill or injured. And while you might not have the same animal variety that we do on our homestead, there may be a fur-baby in your life that would benefit from herbs.

The Herbs for Animals Intensive covers common ailments, dietary considerations, and appropriate herbs to help you support your pet’s well-being naturally. Is your dog terrified during thunderstorms? Is your cat skittish or moody? Wouldn’t you like to know more about flower essences used for emotional support to treat these problems? Then the short intensive course Herbs for Animals is for you!
The Herbarium Membership for Herbalists

So don’t wait, and get your membership for The Herbarium and access to Herbs to Animals along with the Herbs for ADHD, Cognition, and Focus Intensive I talked about a few months ago. Use the code COLDANDFLU for $10 off and start increasing your herbal know-how today!

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Puppy Love

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Still resting up after all the romance.

 

The chicken feather guy’s female went into heat the other week and oh what a week it’s been. Every dog within three miles came to pay their respects, including Puppy. 

Now, Puppy isn’t a large dog, he’s a healthy mid-size, but he THINKS he’s the biggest dog around. He was in the closest proximity and got there first and set up camp since the other fellas had to make a trek to see the star attraction. 

Every night the howling serenades sounded for about two weeks. Every evening, the guys gathered around to show their prowess in the hopes of winning the favor of this fair damsel. 

So as not to lose his space in the competition, Puppy didn’t come home at night. We worried every night as we listened to the dogs fight up the hill. Some jerks on motorcycles came one night and were shooting at the dogs that had gathered. 

The Puppers, although already bigger than Puppy, aren’t old enough to quite understand what’s going on. But they did put up a fuss when Puppy didn’t come home, adding to the cacophony at night. 

All’s well that ends well and Puppy came home this past weekend, rather worse for wear.  He’s resting and eating, although he still seems a bit touchy where the Puppers exuberant antics are concerned. 

Since it’s apparent Puppy can’t control his hormones and the Puppers will be mature dogs before too long, we think that a little snipping is in order. Moroleon sponsors free spay and neuter campaigns periodically and we’ll keep an ear to the ground for the next one. 

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Enjoy more animal antics!

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Showering in Rural Mexico

Today I’d like to talk about showering in Mexico because odds are you won’t get the luxury of a bath unless you are willing to sit in a horse trough in rural Mexico. 

We have a shower and we have hot water, but that hasn’t always been the case. So here are some showering things you might need to know about before stripping down.

C on the shower knob stands for caliente (hot) and F is frio (cold). And even though the hot water control should be on the left side and the cold on the right, that may not be true for the shower you are using. 

bathtub ledge

Showers are often built with small ledges that you can trip over if you aren’t careful. This is so water doesn’t spill out onto the floor. Our shower has a sort of reverse engineering. The shower is slightly lower than the bathroom floor and the floor is angled toward the center drain. Not all showers have that sloping and sometimes you can get quite a bit of water build up around your feet.

If you run out of water during your shower, mid-shampoo, hopefully, there is a barrica (barrel) of rainwater that someone can bring you a bucketful of to rinse out those soapy locks. Running out of water happens more often than you might imagine.

tinaco

Houses have tinacos (those ugly black round storage containers on the roof) that if you are connected to the town water supply will fill when the water is on. The thing is, water may only run two or three days per week. The tinaco is supposed to store enough water to get you to the next delivery. That’s not always the case. 

If you know ahead of time that there isn’t any water for a shower, you can take a bucket bath. When the occasion calls for it, my husband has been kind enough to heat water on the stove to take the chill off my bucket bath. Most homes have at least one enormous aluminum pot that will quickly heat water for your absolutions. Some have electric water heating devices. Just make sure to unplug it before testing the water temperature with your hand.

heating up water

The typical water application device for a bucket bath is a plastic bowl that we call a scooper. It’s the same plastic container that is used for washing clothes when it’s done with a washboard setup. 

water heater

If you have enough water for showering, then you’ll need to decide if it’s worth the effort to turn on the boila (gas hot water heater) or not. I’m a little afraid of it, having had my eyebrows singed before. 

The procedure for lighting the boila is as follows:

  • Turn the red switch to Piloto (pilot).
  • Push down the red button 10 or 15 times in rapid succession.
  • Open the portal.
  • Light a match.
  • Hold down the red button.
  • Wave the match around inside near the pilot light contraption until it whooshes. 
  • Slowly release the button. 
  • If the flame begins to waver, press the red button firmly down again.
  • When the flame is steady, turn the red switch to Abierto (open)
  • Close the portal.
  • Back away quickly.

After you have successfully lit the boila, then you need to wait around for about 20 minutes until enough water is warm enough for a shower. 

Make sure to turn the boila off after your shower. The contraption is gas-powered. If it is not vented properly, the gas can kill you or at the very least cause carbon dioxide poisoning if left on for an extended period of time.

electric water heater

I’ve also had the dubious pleasure of showering under an electric shower head. Although I loved every minute of the hot water on demand, it still made me very nervous. Water and electricity aren’t exactly the best of friends. However, if it is installed correctly and in working order, then there is no risk of electrocution. 

solar heater

The newest rage in our area is the solar water heater. It mounts on the roof and connects both to the tinaco and pipes that lead into the house. Many people who have this setup say that the water comes out boiling and even the knobs are too hot to touch. Yikes! We choose not to get a solar water heater because there are occasions when we don’t have water in the tinaco. If there isn’t water to run through the solar heater at all times, it can burn up the components. 

If it seems too much effort to get hot water, take heart. If your black tinaco is on the roof, the water is a comfortable shower temperature in the early afternoon. 

Most showers are set up on a gravity system. If the tinaco isn’t far enough from the showerhead, you may not get a lot of water pressure. Rinsing long hair might be complicated with the trickle-down effect. During the rainy season, the rain may be coming down harder than the water comes out of the showerhead. Feel free to take advantage of the heavenly shower Mother Nature has provided outdoors. 

rub a dub dub

Bathing children is somewhat simpler. Babies can fit into the sink off the side of the lavadora (washboard). Small children can splash about in the laundry tub. And several children fit nicely in a horse trough, which comes in metal and plastic for your bathing pleasure. 

Now I’ve heard that there are hot water on demand setups, but I’ve never been to a house that has one. I’ve also been to a plomería that had not just bathtubs, but jacuzzis, so they do exist too. These are just things outside of my own experience in this area of Mexico. 

So there you go! Tips for showing in rural Mexico. Follow these and you’ll be squeaky clean in no time!

Tell me, how do you shower?

 

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Making Herbal Preparations 101 Mini-Course from Herbal Academy

Free Making Herbal Preparations 101 Course

Every time I treat myself to an herbal course at Herbal Academy I find myself rubbing my hands in glee. My latest experience, Making Herbal Preparations 101 Mini-Course, was no exception. I signed up during the free enrollment period in July. This course is scheduled to be re-released next year, so don’t despair if the link above takes you to another page.

I have to admit that herbalism in Mexico is challenging. I can’t just order herbs willy nilly from organic herb stores and have it delivered to my doorstop to brew, decoct or tincture in endless delight. Oh, no. That would be too easy. Instead, I have to painstakingly gather information and positively identify plants, flowers, and trees that I didn’t learn about growing up in the Eastern United States.

So, this drawn-out process in my adopted land has undermined some of my herbal concoction confidence. This is where I appreciated the Herbal Academy’s most recent course.

The course was divided into seven lessons. Each lesson had informative readings, printouts and easy to follow videos making this an excellent course for beginners.

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LESSON 1: EVERYDAY HERBAL PREPARATIONS

This lesson differentiated the different types of herbal preparations. There are water-based, sweet-based, oil-based and alcohol-based preparations. The type of solvent you use depends on the application and plant property need to treat whatever it is you are going to treat with herbs.

LESSON 2: EVERYDAY HERBS

Lesson two stressed the importance of treating herbs as medicine. This means knowing how to prepare the herbs, potential side effects, and the duration an herb can be safely administered. You should also know the health issues and life stage of the person taking the herb and any possible herb-drug interactions. Of course, you should also be cognizant of plants that could become toxic with extended use or those that resemble beneficial herbs.

I was delighted to learn that Western herbalism has a similar categorization process to the Mexican culture which sometimes confounds me. Energetics in herbs is based on temperature (cool or hot), moisture (wet or dry) and tension (relaxed or constricted) which in many ways is identical to the indigenous belief system found where I live. So a person with a dry cough would be given a moistening herb to aid the body in achieving balance.

LESSON 3: WATER-BASED HERBAL PREPARATIONS

Water-based herbal preparation is one that combines herbs and water. It could be a tea, wash, enema, infusion or decoction. A cup of chamomile tea prescribed as a sleep aid is an example of a water-based herbal preparation.

LESSON 4: SWEET-BASED HERBAL PREPARATIONS

Using honey as a base for creating an herbal preparation was the topic of lesson four. After all, a spoonful of sugar (in this case organic honey) helps the medicine go down.

LESSON 5: ALCOHOL-BASED HERBAL PREPARATIONS

Lesson 5 demonstrated the use of alcohol such as vodka, brandy, and gin to create herbal rubs, washes, and tinctures.

LESSON 6: OIL-BASED HERBAL PREPARATIONS

Oils can be used to create herbal infusions meant to be used externally or in cooking. Doesn’t rosemary-infused virgin olive oil sound simply delicious?

LESSON 7: EVERYDAY RECIPES

Lesson 7 provided basic preparation instructions for each of the methods presented in the course plus some delightful recipes including how to make a chickweed poultice, violet honey lemonade, fire cider and more. What a fabulous way to end the class.

Having gone through Herbal Academy’s Making Herbal Preparations 101 Mini-Course, I’ve gathered enough confidence to start decocting my own herbal medicine cabinet from locally harvested herbs.

Just so you know, the Herbal Academy is having a Back to School sale with savings up to 25% until September 16. With classes designed for beginners to advanced herbal aficionados, there’s something for everyone!

Herbal Academy Back to School Sale

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