The Poison Ivy Miracle

So, I always hesitate to blog because I know that every post is likely going to involve essential oils, and I don't want to sound like a broken record with my constant 'Essential Oils are Greats.' 

But, they are great, and their simple and accessible nature have made them a natural fit for our family on so many levels. Of course, I feel really great about the company's ethics and the financial opportunity it has offered us is something I truly feel our Creator has given us unexpectedly. All this on top of the fact that we've found huge relief from illness and ailments, stress and more than anything a deeper connection with creation and scripture. These tools are SO effective and helpful and such an intricate part of our history, even our Bible studies have been deepened. To read and smell at the same time? Our sense of smell is so powerful and if all we ever used them for was diffusing I'd STILL be as passionate about them. They de-odorize, lift the mood, calm, soothe and even kill airborne viruses, bacteria and break down toxins. How do I diffuse them? In a cool mist diffuser like the Aroma Lite. Or a diffuser that works through vibration and makes the oils linger for longer by breaking them down into even smaller molecules like the Aroma Ace. (this my online shop and you can shop for these products with me**) Essential Oils are great.

I wish e-smell technology was available so you could get a better idea...

That's not all, oh no. That's not all. We use them with our animals, with our garden, in our cleaning and our baking. We use them internally for fending off the flu and dealing with digestive issues and allergies, but probably even more regularly we use them topically. 

In the last year a few folks with very severe cases of Poison Ivy have asked me for assistance and so I created a remedy that has offered immediate relief for everyone who has tried it. Poison Ivy is miserable, and somewhat unavoidable if you like being outside. But, there IS an antidote that will stop the itching and help the infected area heal quickly! I am going to divulge this secret recipe so that you might be better equipped for the season ahead. Essential Oils are great.

Essential Oils for Poison Ivy Relief

You'll need:
  • 1 4oz Mason Jar
  • Coconut oil
  • 10 drops doTERRA Frankincense (the 'miracle oil')
  • 10 drops doTERRA Lavender (the 'soothing oil')
  • 10 drops doTERRA Melaleuca (the 'anti-germ oil')
Simply fill the jar with coconut oil, add in the essential oils and mix until combined. You can also add all ingredients to a blender and whip until you have a nice creamy consistency--this only works when coconut oil is solid and it will melt to liquid as soon as it's warm enough. Apply to the infected area as frequently as needed! Essential Oils are great.

**I'm so grateful if you shop with me, but I'm also hopeful you'll consider membership so you can take advantage of getting the oils at wholesale, and even get them free. I'm always offering a special or two for new members, so ask me if you're interested! Free book Anyone? As Wellness Advocate #330704 I'm excited to share the very real opportunity to add income to those interested, and I'm almost as excited about the financial relief people are finding as I am about the oils themselves! I'm also coining the phrase 'community marketing' because 'network marketing' has some stigma that even I have to continue to get over, but all I've found in sharing is an opportunity to connect more with people and create an even larger community of friends that all just happen to love oils. I'm good with that. Really good, actually. Essential Oils are great.


Out of the dark & into the Garden

The weather here as of late has been less than my favorite. Wintry, cold, grey...occasionally a 70degree day tossed in just to remind us how much we love to be outside and having the windows open.
the oppressive grey.
Blah. And, even though it is so cold and icy and miserable we must plan for the spring, which is due to arrive at some point--this is North Carolina after all! Blue skies are destined to break through and sunshine will inevitably wake us out of hibernation. And, when it comes our garden beds and seedlings have to be ready.

So, it's that time of year. Plant your gardens! Drew built us a larger greenhouse structure on the South Side of the house. It's attached and should help warm the crawl space as well. That couldn't hurt our power bill, which has been shockingly high for a 1200sqft house these past few months. One day we'll have a more efficient wood-burning system, but in the mean time we are using a lot of blankets and layers...
looking for a GREAT Southern Gardening book? This is IT! I adore this book. I saw the author speak on growing garlic at the Carolina Sustainable Agriculture conference & picked it up then--you should order!
The greenhouse has 3 small trays of tomatoes in it. Turns out it's WAY bigger than the last portable greenhouse and we are still working on ideas to make it an efficient place to grow out seedlings, keep some tropicals, maybe a rocket stove and grow in every season. Oh the vision of all-season-productivity we have!

While the ground is wet (and in between frozen) we managed to till up and terrace our south hill, where we cut down all those trees last year. We've run the goats, chickens and pigs through that area a few times to help root up the brambles, kill back some poison ivy and fertilize so we might be able to convert the whole hill to garden as time goes on. The terracing is swales on contour and represents permaculture at its best. The water that could potentially wash all the topsoil and nutrient down into the pond is now caught by our garden beds, sunk and used to improve our garden soil quality. It's such a relieving feeling to know something is working to improve our garden without us lifting a finger! Granted, we still have a lot of work to do when talking about water catching--such is the story for folks living on a hill. But, it's a vast improvement, and we have a much better idea of where the water is coming from and what we need to do to be more efficient. The end goal is to not need to water, and at the most have a few small ponds up hill to use so no one has to lug water up the hill or pump it.
these are not ducks; they are girls in the pond. they call this an 'island'. whatever--i like girls who play in the mud.
We've planted some in the garden beds that are ready, but, only after we put a rabbit proof fence around it all. Though we've seen a few rabbits, our ducks are the detriment of anything we plant. If they don't find a seed as soon as hits the ground, they gobble up any green thing that pokes its head through the dirt. It's been a struggle to plant cover crops and even some plants we've put in the ground were ripped to shreds. Who knew? Somebody...

The fence is working, and the garden seems to be in the perfect spot--just beneath the house where harvesting and admiring will be easy. Give it a few years and I can certainly envision a more idyllic and less barren place. Rosemary, lavender (that's right, I won't quit trying), lemon balm, chives, chamomile...I can't wait to get these perennials established. Feverfew, valerian, comfreys, some hedges and wildflowers...I need this vision today!

We planted veggies in the beds like peas, kale, carrots, swiss chard, broccoli, cauliflower, artichokes, spinach and more. So anxious to see some sprouting. I keep writing because in doing so I am feeling a little transported...
sometimes the sun shines from below...
Life on Schoolhouse Farm is busy and slow all at the same time. The house is under renovation which makes escaping outdoors even more desirable. While we convert the garage into living space we're all feeling even more pent up and claustrophobic. The dust and debris is making us all sick, plus there are mounds of clutter and boxes and furniture all waiting to settle in its rightful place in this new space. It'll be a homeschool room, laundry room, pantry...above all else it's the 'window room'. We installed 2 windows we scored at Habitat for Humanity and they are dreamy. I cannot wait to take a nap in a room filled with spring time. I cannot wait to feel the sun through the glass. I cannot wait to sit in a breeze filled room with the girls all working on their separate projects. This house needs that light, and so do I.


Presents for a Braniac

Birthdays Can Be Treacherous

We're mid-birthday-month right now. Naomi and I have birthdays at the beginning of October, which involved nearly a week's worth of festivities this year, and Leviah's is at the end of the month. Birthdays can mean an onslaught of plastic nonsense that clutters are hallways and bedroom floors. Sure, they initially have a special place in the closet but the '1 toy at a time' rule is just so darn hard to enforce! We're trying to think of some new approaches, this one is particularly intriguing...

Anyway, after purging a ton of toys, games and clothing before the birthdays (as is a yearly tradition) the last thing I wanted to do was restock on unnecessities. So, we went basic. 
Mancala (she squealed with delight)
Origami Paper
and my personal favorite, a Fraction Circle. This thing is awesome! She put off playing with until I forced her last week. I knew when she opened it she's too old for me to dupe her into thinking learning toys are good gifts. But, she thanked us and quickly opened another. 

When I finally did encourage her to pull it out to see what it was all about we all fell in love! I'll let the pictures give a better idea:

learning toy on etsy
there's an empty circle frame to which you add from the many fraction pieces that came with. 
wooden handmade toy
you can see how having 12/12's is the same as 1 whole circle, like like 2/2's. 
Plus you can mix and match fractions. 
waldorf math
Montessori Toy
 Everyone took a turn coming up with things, comparing 2/8's to 1/4, etc. 
Which piece of pumpkin pie do you want? 

Anyway--this inexpensive manipulative (and everything in Sima Design's shop) does make a great gift!


Child Labor

We work them around here. They don't earn their keep, and they're not always cheery, but they work. They are paid in food and shelter and really great birthdays. And when other kids visit their faces light up and they squeal at the opportunity to help reminding us all how great we have it.

It has been a process to make a system that works for everyone--animal and human. There are still some kinks to work on, but it's better everyday and the more accessible animal care is for the kids the more capable they feel and act.

Here's how it happens:
First, they march (and sometimes run) up to the shed.
They fill each scoop.
feeding the animals with kids

They pull the wagon.
They deposit each scoop in the appropriate bowl or trough or tube or bucket.
farm girls

They pull the wagon back up to the shed, close the door and they come in for breakfast. 

And everyone's happy.
feeding farm animals
farm chores

They also gather eggs, empty dishwashers, put away clothes, clean their room and help in other ways too.
Do your kids have chores?