Elderberry Cold/Flu Syrup

Online Introductory Herbal Course

This past year, I received my certification from the Herbal Academy of New England. Along with this class, I received a booklet containing some great recipes for natural remedies. One of these remedies is the Elderberry Cold/Flu Syrup.
This recipe is safe for children over 1 year old and adults.
If you are using it to try to prevent the flu- take one dose a day
You can take the dose straight, or use it to sweeten a hot tea. I mix it with chamomile in the evenings.
If you have cold/flu symptoms, take a dose every 2-3 hours
Children- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon
Adults- 1/2 to 1 tablespoon

It is very easy to make. 

There are only a few ingredients.
  • 3/4 cup black elderberries (I used dried-find them here)
  • You can also add dried echinacea (Optional) 
  • 4 cups water
  • 3 tablespoons fresh grated ginger root
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups raw honey

Begin by adding elderberries, ginger root, cloves, and cinnamon to 4 cups
of water. Bring to boil, then simmer on low for 60 minutes. Mixture should reduce
to about 1/2. 
Allow mixture to cool completely then pour through
cheesecloth to strain into a glass bowl. (I didn't have cheesecloth handy)
Press as much liquid from the berries as you can.
Now add your honey, and make sure to mix it really well.
I poured the cool mixture into these small glass jars,
and store them in the refrigerator.

The Power of Pumpkin

This time of year we are surrounded by pumpkin. From pumpkin milkshakes, lattes, ravioli, soups, you name it, they will add pumpkin to it! But most people do not understand that the pumpkin is an extremely healthy food. In fact, pumpkin is on the list of one of the healthiest foods in the world.
 Among its many benefits, pumpkin boasts high levels of Vitamins A, C, E, K, and B, as well as, fiber, magnesium, potassium, zinc, iron, and calcium. Pumpkin is being studied and there is evidence that it helps with heart health, weight loss, eye sight, skin, immune system, mood enhancing qualities, diabetes, and even in some cases cancer. Pumpkin flesh and seeds have an amazing ability to stabilize blood sugars, which makes it a great choice when you are attempting to lose weight or combat diabetes. Pumpkin is a power house that helps a myriad of health issues by providing a rich source of nutrients sorely lacking in our modern diets.

Pumpkin seeds are more than just a Halloween and Thanksgiving treat. These seeds, eaten raw or slightly roasted, have all the same benefits as the flesh of the pumpkin, but they also contain a rich source of the omega 3 fatty acids, meaning they have an amazing anti-inflammatory effect on the body. There are studies being conducted which state that pumpkin seed oil can rival prescription arthritis medications without any of the side effects. To learn more about the incredible benefits of pumpkin seeds on the human body, click here

For our animals, pumpkin can be given fresh made or canned for added nutrition. (Let me reiterate this last statement, fresh, freshly-cooked, or canned pumpkin, not your 2 week old jack-o-lantern that is rotting!) For dogs and cats the addition of this to their feed can help with diarrhea or constipation because of the additional fiber. Also, because pumpkin is approximately 90% water, it provides additional moisture and hydration which is beneficial whether your pets are sick or healthy. Plus, all the added benefits mentioned above in vitamins and minerals will be the same for your pets. 

While my rabbit, Sugar, was sick with gastric stasis, canned pumpkin was one of the suggestions that I was given by the vet. She stated that the additional fiber would help keep his digestive track moving, once the medication started working.
Our chickens, on the other hand, benefit greatly from pumpkins this time of year, especially. While it is controversial in the poultry world, we believe that pumpkin and pumpkin seeds are natural wormers. We have never wormed our chickens with commercial products. Early on, we learned about a natural treatment called 'Pumpkin Soup' from Fresh-Eggs-Daily. We make this in the fall and spring, and give it to the girls as a special 'treat.' They do seem to enjoy it, and it is so easy to make. Click here for the recipe for Fresh-Eggs-Daily's Pumpkin Soup.

Steele, Lisa. www.Fresh-Eggs-Daily.com
The Complete Herbal Handbook for Farm and Stable by Juliette de Bairacli Levy, 1952.

University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Services

Delaware State University Cooperative Extension Program
U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institute of Health

Guineas Come Back Home

This past Mother's Day, one of our blue cochin hens hatched three little guinea eggs. They were
three orphaned eggs. Two of them found in a flower bed close to the chicken yard, and one
found alone in another bed beside the house. They weren't in a nest, but almost uncaringly
deposited as decoys or throw aways.  I say this, because the momma did indeed have a nest, which was in a carefully chosen hiding place far from these little orphan eggs. We had a broody hen at the time, so we gingerly placed the eggs in the nesting box underneath the surrogate mom. For more information on this, see The Trial on our blog. Twenty eight days later, these three little ones emerged into the world at which time I removed them from the nest and carried them to the house to place in a brooder box.

Fresh Eggs Daily Autographed Book Give-a-Way

a Rafflecopter giveaway

After reading many resource books about keeping chickens, Fresh Eggs Daily was a wonderful change. This book was beautifully written and photographed by author Lisa Steele. As an avid follower of her blog www.fresh-eggs-daily.com, we were thrilled when it was announced that her book was heading into its third printing!

Moss Mountain Farm

This past weekend Brittany and I had the opportunity to attend the Heritage Poultry workshop at P. Allen Smith's Moss Mountain Farm in Roland, Arkansas.  The farm is located about thirty minutes outside Little Rock and well worth the visit! We have regularly watched Allen's PBS shows and visiting the farm and meeting Allen made it all come to life! Moss Mountain Farm is picturesque, and as we leisurely toured and and lingered in the gardens, poultry palace and lawns,  I envisioned life as it would have been hundreds of years ago on an authentic working farm or plantation.

Easy Egg Salad

This is going to be a busy week at work, which means we will have to eat
at the desk! Brittany requested an egg salad sandwich, so this morning, before work,
I quickly prepared a batch for us.

This recipe is really easy and requires only five ingredients:
Mayonnaise (we love Duke's)
Apple Cider Vinegar