Posts from the “Sustainable Life” Category

The great herbalism cold and flu flow chart

Posted on March 15, 2017

I’ve been asked several times over the past few months what to do for the cold and flu.  Mostly because I’ve caught the flu twice and had a cold twice in the last few months (ah, the joys of trying to sleep while caring for a newborn), so I must have something good up my sleeve.

There are herbs that are awesome for colds and the flu!  But I’ve noticed that it does depend on what type of cold you have.  And since I was laid up again and had a lot of down time…

Cold and flu flow chart

Colds and the flu provide a low stakes way to dabble in herbs for health without spending a ton of money or getting overwhelmed.  All of these remedies are readily available at a natural foods store, pharmacy, or sometimes at your regular supermarket depending on how cool your neighborhood is.  Or you can make them yourself if you plan ahead for next season.

A note on how to use this chart: Don’t use it if you’re pregnant, lactating, have food allergies, thyroid issues, or you’re a kid younger than age 12.  Everyone should consult their doctor before taking herbs, especially if nervous about how they’ll affect you.  But I feel pretty comfortable with these remedies as they’re gentle, and I’ve recommended all of them to my family and friends.  And they work!  Better than cold medicines! Huzzah!  My favorite brands are Traditional Medicinals for the teas, Sambucol for the elderberry syrup, and homemade for fire cider (non-affiliate links).

If you’re so inclined, I’ve turned the Cold and flu flow chart into a PDF so you can print it out and stash it in your medicine cupboard.  Please use and enjoy!

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Seed season

Posted on March 6, 2017

We went to a greenhouse skinning operation about a week ago, full of farmers helping the farmers of Upswing, owned by Brittany and Kevin, as they venture into their first season on new land.  As always, when farm folk get together talk turns to joking about how many turnips are left in the root cellar (tons!), telling how strange it is to write yet another yearly post about CSA sign-up day, lamenting the dearth of experienced farm help, and sharing how unprepared they are for March 1, the date to seed onions in flats in greenhouses. Across Massachusetts, farmers are sowing seeds in plastic trays with 98 cells and heating their greenhouses through what is hopefully the last cold spell so they can have spring onions.  Next come brassicas and peas and…

At long last love has arrived

Posted on February 14, 2017

We had a baby at the end of December.  And she is the best. Hot damn I love this kid.  It’s Valentine’s Day, so let me express my love.  It’s been almost two months and we are ridiculously happy with our little pumpkinseed.  Life is very different in its surface details.  We spend most of our time caring for a tiny human instead of building a tiny house.  A good day is one in which I get the dishes done and a load of laundry.  Our budget for sundries has gone up as we purchase disposable diapers (until we get a sink in, I keep telling myself) and one-handed snacks. Still, Seth and I are both us, but more so.  I like to think we’re distilling…

Inwards and Outwards

Posted on August 7, 2016

There has been a division in our life lately.  A natural division for us, I think.  It started in March when we learned that we are expecting our first baby this December, and culminated at the end of last month when some very kind folks moved our tiny house to their property so we can finish building. The division is this: Seth is focusing on the outward, aka the house, the house, the house.  It’s a big task!  Especially if we’re going to finish it in time for this baby we’re brewing.  And I’m focusing on the inwards, which (thankfully) means resting, researching house details, and daydreaming over things to sew. It’s one of the more ancient divisions: woman inside, man out.  It feels very Laura Ingalls…

Shilling hat

Posted on November 22, 2015

Shilling is a hat that knits up in worsted weight yarn.  It is available for both flat knitters and knitters in the round, and while a beginner could knit it, advanced knitters won’t find it boring with its cables and pattern changes. The hat is knit on US size 4 and 6 (UK size 3.5 and 4) needles, and is sized for babies through adults. I knit this hat for Seth, who picked the beautiful heathery rust color from the Cascade 220 Heathers line.  However once it was done, I decided I didn’t want to part with it!  So this hat stays with me and is  a staple of my winter wardrobe. Click here to download the pattern PDF.  Click here for the Ravelry…

Introducing Earth Morning v.2.0

Posted on October 18, 2014

  We decided to give up our garden plot at the community garden.  It was complicated this year with just the one car and Seth’s farm job, and I can’t imagine that will get any easier as we add a house-building to the list of factors. However, just as we decided this we came across a new apartment that fits us very well.  It’s smaller than our old place (just 2 rooms!) to help in our downsizing process, it’s on a quiet street which is better for my head, it has a backyard for the dog, and — wonder of wonders — it has a garden plot with a landlord who would like us to turn it into something beautiful. Moving?  Bah. Who cares about lifting things…

Dirigible Plums and Snargaluff Pods

Posted on October 6, 2014

Calendula.  It’s a gateway drug, I tell you.  I grew some in the garden this year as my first foray into flowers, and because I had a vague idea that I could make soap this winter.  Springtime is full of optimists.  What was I thinking?  I’m not going to make soap.  There are lots of good soapmakers already, and I’ve got a tiny house to build.  But hot damn, my calendula plant produced dozens and dozens of flowers over its lifespan, and this last bit of warm weather has lengthened its staying power. So here I am, drying out the flower heads thanks to a compulsive need to preserve as many garden products as possible.  Then it occurs to me that I have to do…

Damn Fine Spaghetti Sauce

Posted on September 19, 2014

When Seth and I were first dating, we ate spaghetti nearly every meal.  We were young, poor college students.  That was the main reason.  But we also had an 8 lb. jar of homemade spaghetti sauce sitting in Seth’s refrigerator.  That was the other reason.  It was Seth’s dad’s recipe and Seth was not very adventurous with foods at the time, so Seth’s dad made him a massive jar of sauce, promising to refill the jar any time Seth brought it back.  We ate a lot of spaghetti.  I’m sorry to say it took about a month to go through a jar.  How is it possible that the sauce never went bad?  I still think about that now, ten years later. Seth’s dad has…

Food and No Food

Posted on September 5, 2014

I love this time of year.  The garden outperforms itself with tomatoes and green beans.  I’ve been getting a couple of eggplants, dozens of cucumbers, and several handfuls of jalapenos.  Even the endive has held on.  Enough food, in short, to make me love summer. In related food matters, I went to the allergist for some help with my recurring stomach troubles and consequent migraines.  I tested as allergic to tree, grass, and weed pollen, and the allergist says I have oral allergy syndrome.  Eating certain foods triggers an allergic reaction because the food protein is so similar to the pollen protein that my immune system thinks it IS pollen and reacts accordingly.  In my case, GI trouble. I’m pretty sure it’s a huge cosmic joke.  The…

Rustic summer jam tart

Posted on August 4, 2014

I’m not a dessert person.  With all things sweet or starchy off the menu, dessert becomes repetitive (another tomato, anyone?), so I don’t bother.  If Seth is craving something sweet, he’ll eat a bowl of ice cream, or snag a handful of blueberries, or a slice of gluten-free bread with jam on it. But every so often, we decide to go all out and make a treat for our friends and neighbors. The first time I made this easy tart, I cooked up a strawberry-mulberry jam and spread it straight from the pan onto the tart crust.  It was a farm lunch hit.  Our friends bombarded me with praise as they pulled on their hats and headed back out into the field.  “I was…