Learn Something New Every Day
By Monica Smith
I am being shown so many new and wonderful things. Correction: these are not new things, but they are new to me.
Several months ago, I became interested in plants that grow wild in my region; what their nutritional and medicinal value was. What would happen if I couldn’t take my husband or children to the doctor some day for whatever reason? I have herb books at home and have looked at them many times but it gets overwhelming quickly and it’s easy to go broke trying to buy this herb for skin problems and that herb for digestive health and yet another for improving lung function and so on and so forth. So, I started walking around my yard looking at what plants I could identify with ease. Okay, pine tree. That’s easy enough to identify and they grow like crazy around here. I pulled out my phone and googled ‘pine tree medicinal uses’. Now, I already knew that you could make pine needle tea. I did not realize that one cup of pine needle tea has 100% of your daily value of Vitamin C (scurvy is a disease in which there is a deficiency in Vitamin C. It is deadly). I also did not know that you can eat the inner bark of a freshly felled pine nor that you can use the sap as a bandaid in a pinch! How awesome is that?!
From there I googled crepe myrtles, different oak trees, etc. since I could more easily identify trees than anything else. Then, I joined up with some homesteading groups on Facebook. It wasn’t long before I found a local group as well. Almost every day, I’m posting a picture of a new plant or weed asking if anyone knows what it is, then I’m off to googling again. It’s important to note that I am never satisfied with one website’s information on any given thing. Especially something as important and potentially dangerous as ingesting plants in the wild. I cross-reference across several websites. And I personally steer clear of any kind of websites that may have any kind of .. I suppose you could say socially acceptable medical or government preferences. That’s just me. I prefer to find websites by tried and true herbalists and those who enjoy wild crafting. I want to learn from someone who is in the woods harvesting nature regularly!
While I have been on these Facebook homesteading groups, something else was shown to me. The age-old system of bartering and trading. It’s great! I love the fact that no money has to exchange hands. I can use my skills to get the things I need for my homestead. I’m using my knitting, crochet, and sewing skills in order to get rabbit hutches, Angora rabbits, and a nesting box for chickens. I’m still working on everything at the moment since all five of my children came down with strep throat last week and my husband has gallstones on top of that. Now that everyone is getting better, however, I’m back on it!
Pictured below: A group of newborn kits. Two of these sweeties will be coming home with me when they are old enough!
A few days ago, my sister in law and I bought 23 guinea fowl eggs. I can’t wait til they begin hatching, which should be around May 18, 2016. We will split up the successful hatches between us. I’m ready to meet my first flock! I’ve already been warned of how loud they can be. I think I’m ready for that. I guess we’ll have to see when they are big enough to let loose in the yard! I also have to find ways to keep them from turning wild on me.
And last but not least, I received my present Devin let me order on Valentine’s Day. My spinning wheel. I can’t wait to start spinning some angora yarn! I have more practice to do before I am able to do anything worthwhile though. Practice makes perfect and I’m more than willing to practice.
Stay tuned for more adventures on the homestead.
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