The Medicine of Chamomile

Today we are excited to have a guest herbal columnist on our site today. Kiva Rose is a well-known herbal blogger, and co-founder of the Traditions in Western Herbalism Conference.

Kiva is finally coming out with her secrets of how she learns so much about plants without using books. Her plant monographs, like the one below, are famous for their deep exploration into herbs that you will not find in other places.

Click here to learn just HOW she does it. Herb Energetics with Kiva Rose

Do you REALLY know chamomile? I doubt it. Enjoy the article… Continue reading

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Spring at The RiverRest

transplants for garden

There’s alot going on here at The RiverRest this spring. We’ve been busy getting the garden ready, preparing the soil and starting transplants. It seems like every year it gets bigger.

We had to find ways to keep the chickens out of the garden. All of the Bamboo that Charley and Tony cut and hauled here really came in handy. We used it to build a fence around the main garden and the Potato Patch. So Far So Good. We’ll be publishing our stick fence building experiences as soon as we get around to writing it. In the meantime, here’s some photos of our new bamboo fences.

gardenfence

gardenfence2

Last year we built a primitive stick fence around the new Strawberry Patch. We used sticks, limbs and twigs from the woods. It lasted the Winter but was in need of some repairs so we decided to try something new with the bamboo.

strawberry fence

Probably the most exciting thing to happen is with the chickens. Red, one of our hens, went broody. She started sitting on a few eggs so we jumped at the chance to let her hatch them.

I’ve got many things I want to tell you all about. Like about how our dog Pearl has become an egg retriever, making Dandelion Jelly and what to do with KnotWeed. So, please bear with me. I’ll get around tuit, soon, I promise!

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Honey Vinegar Dressing

It’s been a while since I posted a favorite simple recipe. This is for my favorite salad dressing. It only takes minutes to make. It’s so good that when my salad is gone I turn the bowl up and drink any dressing left in bowl! Our dog Opie even likes it! This dressing is also great for slaw and as a marinade for meats.

Homemade Honey Vinegar Dressing

In a bowl or dressing bottle mix together:

Equal amounts of(I use 1/4 cup or 1/3cup for the 2 of us. It usually last for a couple of meals.)

  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Honey
  • Oil
  • Water

1/2 teaspoon Lemon Juice

1 clove minced Garlic

1/2 teaspoon Sea Salt

Dash of Ground Black Pepper

Stir it to dissolve honey. Shake or stir before using.

I have one of those Good Seasons salad dressing bottles. I have also used a glass measuring cup with a pour spout. You can also reuse / recycle those glass bottles that store bought dressings come in.

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Good Fences Make Good Chickens

Until last year, being our first to have chickens, we never really had a need to fence in our garden. Our chickens free range during the day. When we first got them they didn’t venture to far from the coop. They slowly broadened their horizons, so to speak, and found the garden. By that time most of the plants were mature enough to withstand their scratching around in the dirt, though they took their toll on the more delicate plants. They really loved the potato patch.

“Chickens in the Garden!” became a common cry as one of us ran down to chase them out. It soon became apparent that we needed to find a way to keep them out. After a little research we learned that buying fencing material was going to cost a lot more than we could afford. But we were getting ready to plant strawberries and did not want the plants ruined.

In our efforts to be self sufficient we try to use resources that we already have on hand. So, looking around us, we realized that we have 30 acres of fencing material right here!

Weaving a Stick Fence

Charley and Tony gathered up the materials we needed. One Sunday afternoon the three of us went down to the strawberry patch to build a fence. Actually, we wove a fence.

gardenfenceframe1Taking trees & limbs about 3 inches in diameter we build a frame consisting of 3 limbs for the uprights and 3 horizontal limbs to weave the smaller twigs through.

weavingWe had an assembly line process. Charley cut the limbs and twigs to size, I assembled the frames, Tony arranged the frames around the strawberry patch and began the weaving. As we got them ready, we tied the frames together end to end. When we had all the frames we needed in place, Charley and I joined Tony in the weaving.

For the weaving we used twigs about 1 inch to make smaller uprights. Using smaller twigs we filled in the gaps. The weaving works best with green, bendable twigs.

weaving a stick fenceThe result was a functional, affordable fence. It was rustic looking, but that’s what we like. It really cost us nothing but time and with a little tweaking has worked very well.

If you are thinking of trying this, I do recommend that you weave it pretty tight. Chickens can get through gaps you never thought they could. Test your fence. If you can move a twig, so can a chicken. Charley just recently wove some bamboo twigs in to make it a much tighter fence.

This ideas can be expanded into other parts of your garden. You can weave stick trellises, plant beans or other viney plants can climb over them & use them for support.

We plan to use the bamboo that Charley and Tony harvested at a neighbors property to fence in the larger garden. I’ll be posting on that at a later date.

Update: Below is a photo of the bamboo fence we built to replace the stick fence around the strawberry patch.

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Grow Your Own Wheat Grass

Grow Your Own Wheat Grass

Grow Your Own Wheat Grass

Wheat Grass has become a highly sought after health food. It can be used in juicing, salads & soups or just plain chewing. Wheat Grass cleanses toxins and nourishes the blood.

Wheat Grass is also easy to grow right on your window sill! I’m going to tell you how.

You will need:

  • Rich Garden Soil or Potting Soil
  • Wheat Berries (you can find these in the bulk grains area of your health food store)
  • Pots (any pot will work, I reuse/recyle those plastic containers that mushrooms come in. Just be sure to poke holes in the bottom for drainage.)
  • A Sunny window or growing light

First, fill the pot up with soil, leaving about 1 inch of space to the top. Sprinkle your wheat berries (be generous for a thick crop of grass) over the soil. Cover the wheat berries with a thin layer of soil. Water generously. Place in a window sill or under a light. You will need to keep the soil moist but not wet.

In 5-7 days you should have a tall stand of wheat grass. Harvest by cutting with a pair of scissors about 1/2″ above the surface of the soil. With daily watering, a second round of grass will grow in about 5-7 days.

I use my wheat grass for salads, soups and chewing. I’m not really into juicing.

If you sell at the farmer’s market this would be a great addition to add to your market garden. The last year I was a vendor at our local market, I sold these for $3-4 each!

I also grow our cats their own Cat Grass. Yes, you’ve seen it in the pet stores. It’s the very same thing. I grow it for them in containers for the winter. I don’t harvest it for them. They like to  graze on it. I also throw wheat berries out in the grassy area where the cats like to spend their time on warm summer days. I guess other pets like rabbits would enjoy it too.

Now, that’s all there is to it. Simple, huh?

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Reduce – Reuse – Recycle and Rethink

©2009 Susan Hoke

Someone posted this question on a forum I visit. I started thinking of some of the things we do here on the River Rest that keeps trash out of the landfill.

The 3 R’s. REDUCE – REUSE – RECYCLE.

Reduce,reuse,recycle

Our county has a pretty good recycle program. They take the usual; newspaper,plastics,aluminum,glass and cardboard. They also take used motor oil and car batteries. We utilize this program as much as we can. The little things add up.

We not only recycle, we REUSE.
Continue reading

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Simple Entertainment

What a great addition the chickens have been. Not only are they providing food, the best eggs we’ve ever eaten, and meat, they are a great source of entertainment. Shortly after we got the 10 hens we got 13 roosters. The 10 hens are thriving and giving us plenty of eggs. We have 3 roosters left which is really one more than we need but Johnny is so ugly and goofy that… well he’s still around. Continue reading

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