Wild Moon Cottage is a small working homestead in the pristine Ozark Mountains. We have dairy goats, poultry, organic herb and vegetable gardens, a start of a tiny fruit orchard, several black walnut trees, wild berries and fields of wildcrafting goodness. We raise our own milk, our own eggs, much of our own medicine and food. I do laundry by hand, make my own vinegar, candles, soap, bread, cheese ........ For a living I am an artist and herbalist. My goal for myself and our homestead is to be as self sufficient and self sustaining as possible.

Friday, August 29, 2014

8.29.14 A Gifted Life

We have, like everyone else here, been hot and dry. No rain at all for weeks now though the weather site has said we were to get thunder storms on several occasions. How much sweeter the rain will be when it does come. And how welcomed jacket weather,

Life is abundant here and we prosper in what many would describe as poverty.

The most recent batch of Pekin eggs have hatched. 9 lovely new ducklings! Igora, one of the rabbit does, is due any day. Orchard and gardens are struggling but still alive and producing. The wildlings are likewise, a bit sparse but certainly still there.

I’ve not been wild harvesting nearly as much this year. I prepared to go a few days ago, Anya saddled and with harvest bags and all. But we were both so sweaty from just preparing that I decided not to go and just unpacked her.

I did go searching for cattail pollen the other day, just needed a little for a recipe but nada. The cattails I did see were pretty dried up looking so I left them alone.

Today I’ll be looking for dandelion, lambs quarters and others to dry for winter potherbs. And harvesting some mints, mugwort and wormwood and anything ripe in the garden.

The dehydrator runs almost constantly with the most recent being portabella mushrooms and carrots. 1 pound of fresh carrots makes approximately 1 quart dried.

Some recent meals were …
* 3 bean chili con queso. I made it with leftover ground turkey and venison. Red, white navy and black beans and local fresh corn. The beans were precooked individually before. When the whole thing is almost done I added the cheese, covered and removed from heat. Just before serving add chopped onion, tomato and peppers. Delicious!
* Kabobs. I love kabobs! These were venison, portabellas, squash, black olives, onion, potato, garlic, zucchini and tomatoes. Served with rice and mushroom gravy.
* Baked Apple hand pies -  I made applesauce from some lovely little barnyard apples and had a little leftover so I made up some pie crust (half a recipe) and turned it all into apple hand pies. I cut out circles from the dough. Added a heaping teaspoon of applesauce to one side and folded over the other side, brush with egg to help seal and press lightly. Brush top and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Baked in the toaster oven for about 5 minutes on 350 and then 5 mins on broiler. They were fantastic with evening tea. We are so blessed!

Speaking of blessings ….

We were gifted a much needed lawn mower!!  Ours is beyond dead, poor thing. I had posted looking for one to trade for but a friend had one she wasn’t using and they just came by and dropped it off Monday. No trades, just gifted. Most excellent!


And then I received a box today from a dear friend (and my HPS). It was filled with wonderful things  :)   3 enchanting glass candle holders, candle molds and books!  A wonderful old Foxfire book, the excellently dogeared Kitchen Witch’s Cookbook and an amazing book I’ve never seen nor heard of Living On The Earth by Alicia Bay Laurel. Plus a soap making book and a much sought after Professional Manual of Botanical Medicines ( a dosage book).  I am so very thankful. 

And now a few pictures from the cottage .....






 My Great Grandmother Lilly's hoosier


 The Hearth and where i cook in winter


In the kitchen


Dried grated carrots


 Old loveseat free from craigslist


Same old love seat covered until I can recover it properly or find another. I like the lines of it.


Saturday, August 16, 2014

8.16.14 Winter is Coming



First, my reading glasses broke. The lenses are small and I can’t find frames to fit them. They will not make me new lenses in my prescription becayse it’s 8 years old and I do not want a stronger prescription nor do I currently have the funds anyway. So I’m tyoing without being able to proofread. This should be interesting 


Ebola  … the talk is everywhere and much too often I’m seeing people believing what they read as certain fact. Truly, the Only Certain Fact in all of this is that No One Knows Anything for Certain. They are giving their (mostly) honest beliefs based on what they’ve been told, learned, experienced, studied etc etc. No matter how many degrees a person has or how large their paycheck, how famous their name ….. They may be right and/or be wrong.

On top of that, Anything Is Possible. Things can change in the blink of an eye. Viruses can mutate ….

That is absolutely no cause for panic, chaos, lunacy. There’s plenty of that in the world as it is. Instead we should Educate ourselves. Read everything we can find and take the common facts from that to build our own knowledge of the situation. This is not just about ebola, it’s about life. Do the research, learn the actual facts and act responsibly.  

As for me, based on what I’ve learned about this and other viruses and bacteria etc. Is that our best defense is a strong healthy immune system and body.



Winter preparations ….  It’s that time of year. This wonter may be very hard or may be very mild but it’s the hard winters we prepare for.

My winter goal has always been to be able to sustain us through 4 months pf no outside contact or help.  That might seem extreme to some folks but so does 14 days with no electricity, heat or transportation during an ice storm in the middle of Springfield Mo. and yet that is exactly what happened one winter in the late 80’s. During that same ice storm people all around went much longer without. A great many people’s only source of water or heat was electric.

If we can be prepared for 4 months then winter is so much more enjoyable. It can be spent planning next years gardens, creating things for market, getting things done that didn’t get finished the year before, knitting, reading, sewing, painting so many wonderful things that get left out when I’m scrounging for firewood or food or to pay a bill.

High on my list of things to stock up on this year are…

Echinacea (purpurea or augustafolia) - Use ONLY as an antibiotic or antiviral
Vite C - immune booster
Pau D’arco – immune booster  (C and Pau D’arco work very well together)
Yarrow – internal and external blood stop (can stem hemorrhaging)
Garlic
Honey
Muslin


I’m looking to trade for one or two wool sheep.. I would like to have a soay but would take any. I believe the coarser long wool is the easiest for hand spinning but the fine wool makes the best clothing. Also a small loom and spinning wheel and any spinning supplies. I wouldn’t mind the loom before the sheep or the sheep before the spinning wheel. I can probably trade for wool to spin and weave and I can hand spin our own sheeps wool, so whatever and however.

I have pear chips in the dehydrator now and they smell wonderful! Some are just sprinkled with cinnamon for eating and some doused in lemon water for using in other things.  

Today’s harvests plus seed to sell and trade

Food and medicinals………
Tomatoes
Sweet bells
Cucumbers
Wormwood
Stevia
Anise Hyssop
Spearmint
Horse radish root
Garlic hardneck
Sweet Onions
Tansy


Organic seed ….
Motherwort
Anise Hyssop
Kentucky Colonel Spearmint
Catnip
Peppermint
Spearmint
Hyssop
Basil
Garlics (hardneck and elephant)


Everyone is doing fine, we have plenty of fresh milk , fresh duck eggs. Hopefully soon fresh hen eggs too. At the moment we have -
Goat for milk, dairy, meat and fertilizer
Horse for transportation, hauling and fertilizer
Rabbits for trade/sale, meat and fertilizer
Chickens for eggs, trade/sale, meat and fertilizer
Ducks for eggs, meat and trade/sale

Poultrywise, we have
Barred Rock roo and 3 hens
Ameraucana roo and 6 hens
RIR roo
Australorp roo and 6 hens
Pekin drake and 2 hens
Rouen 5 too young to tell

7 roos for sale/trade or going to the freezer soon

Still wanting a few RIR hens, Orpingtons any color, Ruuner and Ancona ducks

I’m already trading/selling Pekin hatching eggs and hope to be selling/trading chicks, ducklings and hatching eggs from all the above soon. And have a hardy barnyard mixbreed as well. For our own meat and eggs. I've got 15 eggs in the incubator now to start hatching around the 28th and the duck hens may start sitting on thier own eggs soon.

I’ve actually been a bit sickly the last few days. Severe allergies and sinus, which is not my usual. I’ve talked to a few other people who have also experienced  the same or similar and not generally afflicted by allergies, at least npt this time of year. I’ve no iea the cause but am better and that’s what I need for now.



Homemade hazmat suit …  Here is a simple, easy to make version. It is NOT 100% secure  but can help when dealing with contagion, hazardous material, stinky dead cow carcasses  …

You’ll need –
Heavy rain coat with hood
Heavy rain pants or pant overalls
Heavy rubber muck boots
Heavy rubber gloves (2 pair)
Face mask that covers entire face
(ie motorcycle helmet with face shield, full gas mask, )
Duct tape

Improvise with what you have or can get but be sure to make it as airtight as possible.  Put on the outfit except face mask. Jacket over pants, pants over boots.  Tape all air holes with tape on inside and out. These are often found under the arms. Tape over all zippers, buttons, snaps and grommets,  and tape close all pockets. Use a separate bag for anything you have to carry.

Pull pant legs up a bit to give plenty of room for bending, kneeling down etc  and use duct tape to tape them to the boots.  If you can have someone else help that’s best but you can do this yourself too.  Raise your arms and tape the  bottom of the coat to the pants all the way around. Use plenty of tape and be sure. If you’re alone, raise one arm and hold the coat hem in place with the other hand, then lower arm and tape a little just to hold in place. Do the same with the otherside and then securely tape all around

If you have help do the gloves next, if alone do the face next and gloves last. Using doubled gloves, do the same with the sleeves over the gloves as you did with the boots. You can use single gloves but double are much safer. You can also use leather gloves over rubber gloves. Make sure you have some room to reach and extend. It could rip the tape loose if you fall or squat down without give.

For the face, put on whatever you’re using to protect your face (this is very temporary, you will be able to breathe but without a ventilator it is NOT ideal and you will want to move quickly). Use the jacket hood to cover all hair and head. If it has strings pull them to help close but leave room for movement. Tape over the string grommets and secure the strings themselves. Pull out the suit to draw in clean air then tape the hood securely to mask.

Double check everything and then move quickly to do what you have to do. I am not recommending anyone use such a thing for any reason. However, if I needed such a thing this is how I have done it and would do it.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

8.2.14

Our beloved Star is gone. She crossed the line from discomfort to misery which went swiftly to agony. I am supposed to be a healer but all I could do is end the pain. It was gentle, pain relief followed by the long sleep. I stayed with her until her spirit was released and she became the wind.

The sacred circle turns




 Nik and Star as a pup

I can’t believe it’s August already. The summer has gone so quickly. Our persimmon tree is bent with fruit. We’ve never had such a crop before and I’m looking forward to persimmons this winter.

The dehydrators have been going again for some weeks now. They don’t rest often.  The most recent batches were a pound of carrots shredded, sweet green bell peppers, banana chips and sweet cherries.

I’ve also just started 15 Pekin eggs in the incubator. The Pekins are great ducks, large as small geese, meaty and very good layers. They’re only around 5 months old and laying daily. I wish one of the hens would go broody but things are as they are.

The garden is finally producing regularly although the crops are very meager. A few tomatoes and a pepper or two every few days. Still, I feel rich to have that and, while I may not be able to preserve much of it, we’ll have fresh to eat daily for now.

The main herb garden is going along nicely. It’s been so long in getting back to it. I’m not saving nearly the seed from it that I usually do or would but rather letting it seed where it is so to hopefully double each next year.

The Echinacea didn’t bloom at all this year and hasn’t spread. I moved it to the main herb garden and have gathered more wild seed to plant. I had gotten 2 pounds of organic Echinacea cut herb from Frontier a few years ago and thankfully have 1 1/2 pounds of that left, or else I would be completely out. I sold most of ours last year at market thinking I would have even more this year. But things are as they are and I’m so thankful I have any.

Our milk goat went over a fence to get to me and tore her teat badly. It was so bad that I worried we would lose her as a milk goat but it’s healing well. I‘m treating it with my healing salve and the wound is already half the size it was.

Today I’m working on filling a fairly large order of salves and balms, scraping window frames to paint and redoing the caulking holding said windows in.
Supper, and I can’t wait to eat it : )   will be mini meatloaf, new potatoes and green beans, wild salad and cornbread. Evening tea is peach pie with earl grey.


12:12
1:11
4:44
11:22
12:12


Monday, July 21, 2014

7.21.14 Life in the deliberately slow lane

This month has had hardship and sorrow but also, as always, great joy and hope.

Star, my beloved companion and guardian is dying. She a shepherd wolf hybrid, 13 years old. Suddenly, almost 3 weeks ago now, she just stopped going to the bathroom and then topped eating. Rather than go through it all details I’ll just say that she had vet visits, tests and xrays, which could find nothing wrong, no twisted bowel, no blockage... She’s gone from over 100 lbs to around 60. I’ve been treating her, feeding her, moving her around, washing her etc etc etc. Some days she seems better but most days she’s worse. The last vet idea was exploratory surgery which is beyond my means. She’s home, sleeping a lot, wanting to live. If she crosses the veil then she will do so in peace and surrounded by great love.

I’ve also been having a time finding homeowners insurance again. The policy was getting ready to expire and I was able to have a new policy written up with s few things changed to my preference but then my lien holder contacted the insurance agency to complain about me and sent them some of my personal emails. Not surprisingly they dropped me completely and black listed my house as “uninsurable" forever.  Humans are so odd.

So I’m on the hunt again to find someone who will insure a house with wood stove. One snooty woman that I spoke with this week called our beautiful little cottage a “hovel”.  Another, very nice, woman said that the underwriters she works with won’t even insure her house, their standards are so strict she has to go elsewhere.

I found that it would have made it impossible to get homeowners if I had gone completely off-grid like I wanted to. It sounds as though it will get harder and harder for non-mainstream folks to get coverage. Pretty crazy stuff.

I am very thankful things aren't worse though.

And there’s still wonder…

I picked the first ripe pepper a few days ago and now I’m harvesting peppers and tomatoes daily.

I let the garden grow up, kept putting off work I should have gotten done. And now stink bugs are in the tomatoes but not too badly.

The herb gardens are doing very well. Small plants but it’s starting to look a little like my old gardens before the move. The one big thing that hurt my heart about leaving the Burrow was having to leave my herb garden. It was an ice storm and the was no chance to dig much up. But that’s done and tomorrow is a new day.

I’m still laid off my second job until august so I've been using that time to work on the house a bit. Preparing for an electric water heater, getting ready to paint the window and door trim and preparing to start painting floors.

We also got our first duck egg yesterday. Thank the Mother! We Really need our eggs although we do have a very local source to buy them.

We have at least 4 extra roosters that I have for sale but will probably turn into meat if they don’t sell soon. I don’t eat much meat and even less when I do the processing of it but it’s much healthier for the meat eaters, mainly Nik.

There’s at least 1 more younger roo and maybe a second one that we’ll sell or eat. Otherwise we’re keeping 3 roosters Archimedes – Ameraucana, Onyx – Barred Rock and Fauks – RIR. We didn’t get any Australorp roos and no RIR hens, no Buff Orps hatched out at all. In hens (not counting Old Hen) we have 7 Australorp, 7 or 8 Ameraucana, 3 Barred Rocks

We also have 3 Pekin ducks, 1 male and 2 female, wonderful things. Big like small geese, great fun to watch and good egg layers thus far.

And 5 Rouen ducklings. We got them on a whim from someone Nik works with. They’re very pretty ducks and apparently good to eat.

I’m also wanting to expand my little rabbitry a bit. Not too much but enough to better house who we have plus a couple of more does and children. Currently none are on the colonies because I needed one to house an ill cat (who’s almost completely well) and the other collapsed (no rabbit injuries or escapes). I saw that it was going so we moved everyone from it. So new/more colonies, pens and a new rabbit tractor are on the list.

I’m off now to finish supper. I’m baking a chicken crostata with fresh rosemary. A hearty double crust recipe, purposely a little tough to hold in all the goodness. Filled with leftover chicken, chicken gravy, yellow squash, potatoes, peas, onion, garlic, freshly cracked peppercorns, minced queen ann leaves. shredded lambs quarters. Once the crust is folded over I brush it with egg and sprinkle finely chopped fresh rosemary. Fresh slices of tomato with sea salt on the side. It’s a wonderful thing.


It’s such a hearty meal that for evening tea I’m just having tea with honey and goat’s milk. Sometimes the sweet tea is the dessert  :)



A basket of beautiful baby bunnies. Our most recent litter  :)


Friday, June 27, 2014

What's for Supper? 6.27.14

I just got in from gathering things for supper. Tonight is a meat meal and I'm making ...
Roasted herbed chicken with sage, lemon thyme and onion
Steamed rice with garlic, onion and magenta and silver lamb quarters tossed in to steam lightly, after the heat is turned off
Salad made of red and green romaine, arugula, grape leaves, dock, violet leaves, red and white clover leaves, dandelion      leaves, daylily petals, queen anns leaves, wild onion and sorrel. 
Commercial ranch dressing
Cornflour flatbread
Iced bergamot tea with rose petals, red clover blossom, raspberry leaves and a little spearmint

Evening tea (our dessert time) fresh raspberry & gooseberry shortcake
Simple black tea with honey and goat's milk

I usually gather everything in the same basket or pot then go through and sort. 
1 - sage and lemon thyme for the chicken
2 - bergamot, rose petals, red clover blossoms and raspberry leaves for the tea
3 - raspberries and gooseberries with a few leaves and petals still in
4 is the salad mix minus the romaines
5 is lambs quarters for the rice
6 sprigs of spearmint for tea



Aside from the ranch, sugar, rice, flour, cornmeal, some spices and black tea, everything came from our land or locally grown. The honey and eggs are local  (I traded all our laying hens for firewood last year and our new hens aren't old enough yet). But most of the ingredients came from our land and most are wild. If you live in the Ozarks you likely have access to most of these things and much more. We eat this way all the time and have since my son was very little, so it's not a big deal for us and still it amazes me and makes me smile at each meal.

What did you harvest to eat today?

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Almost Summer 6.17.14

At least two days in a row without rain. Not to complain about all the rain but we needed to dry out a bit. Everyone has been living in muck for sometime and cleaning out pens was almost useless. scoop a shovelful up to have it filled with muck water. Thankfully the horse and goat can get out if their pens during the day. The chickens are getting close to big enough to get out a freerange as well but not quite yet. The rabbits are all living in hutches right now except for the 2 free ones, but tended the hutches in the mud was not a good thing, especially because my boots are cracked and leak  *-*  The ducks love it all, rain, mud, muck, they're happy as clams.

The gardens are doing wonderfully but the yard area is way overgrown since the loss of our very decrepit lawn mower. I don't mow a lot but where I do mow is chest high in fleabane. 


There are buds and blossoms on everything. So far we've gotten planted in the vegetable garden ...

O roma tomatoes
H mortgage lifter toms
H california wonder green bell peppers
? big bertha peppers (I got them accidentally and know very little about them
O sweet onion sets
O H moon & star watermelons
H jack o lantern pumpkins  (meant to get pie pumpkins but we've eaten many jack pumpkins)
H pimiento pepper
O H crookneck squash
H boston cucumbers
O blue lake bush beans
H red or orange bell pepper
O arugala
O red and green romain
O summer spinach
O calendula  (with the tomatoes)

To the big herb garden I've recently moved or added ...

stevia
lavender
poppy
mugwort
lemon thyme
english thyme
comfrey
my two special thimble berries (which aren't doing well at all)
motherwort
magenta lambs quarters

In pots I have a big alo vera, hens and chicks (they stay out year round), rosemary and ginger! (thank you Linn!)  I used to always grow ginger (not american ginger, which I do wildcraft when needed) but lost my last plant when we moved here and hadn't tried to get started again. But a friend gave me some of hers and it's doing wonderfully. If I can get a greenhouse up before winter ....


I've actually been out of it for about 5 days, in bed for over 48 hours of that with severe muscle spasms in my lower back. No idea what the cause was, I did't hurt myself at all, that I recall.  When I was in my early 20's, I did slip a disc on my right side, which was/is the worst. But it hasn't bothered me since, until now. It started out with occasional painful catches in my lower back but would leave when I could stand up fully. But on Friday evening it turned into a 2 hour long muscle spasm. When it was over and  I took great care not to bend at all but it happened again a few hours later and lasted almost 2 hours that time too. I resorted to old prescription muscle relaxers from when we were in the bad accident in the Crow truck several years ago. I do believe they helped but they did noting for the spasms, which started in my lower back and wrapped around my sides, eventually going to my lower stomach muscles. When I had some time to think I had Nik look in my Herbal where I have a list of anti-spasmodics with comments. Ginger is at the top of my list and I began taking 1/4 t ground ginger in a cup of water. The spasms eased right away and ceased soon after. The worst of it was Friday night and Saturday day. I slept most of Saturday and Sunday and was up with care on Monday. Much closer to myself today (Tuesday). 


Foodwise, there always has to be food  :)   I made some wonderfully weird flatbreads today.  I didn't write down the measurements but will be making them again soon and will take care to make a recipe. They're made with white, whole wheat and corn flour, and a little corn meal. A dense, rustic, hearty and delicious bread that I stuffed with chicken salad, arugula, lambs quarters and dandelion greens. Most excellent!


Friday, May 2, 2014

5.2.14 Merry May!


We’ve gotten most of the carpeting up and I’m preparing to paint the floors. All the floors will be simple plywood for quite a while, if not longer. We’ll be painting all the floors a rich dark brown call Bittersweet Chocolate.

When we get to the walls the livingroom, kitchen and bath will be Cottage White or Old Lace or both, my room will be light Victorian Sage ( a color of my own making) and the mudroom will be Tawny Birch.

I tried a new recipe for veggie burgers the other day and I think it may be my favorite yet. It makes 4 big burgers. I made two into regular burgers on buns with oven fries and wild salad. The second two I saved for supper and we had them like mini meatloaves with catsup on top, served with herbed potatoes, polk greens and acorn squash.

Here’s the original recipe as is, with my changes noted.

Red Bean Burgers

2 cans (15.5 0z ea) red kidney beans rinsed and drained.
(I used around 3 cups of cooked dry red beans, drained but did not rinse)
1 med carrot pealed and shredded (about ½ cup)
1 t chili powder
1 t dried oregano
¾ cup dried bread crumbs
( I used some homemade seasoned croutons, crushed )
2 large eggs
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper  (I use sea salt)
3 T extra virgin olive oil

Lightly mash beans in large bowl, leaving some whole. (I roughly mashed all and left larger pieces). Add carrots, chili pepper, oregano, bread crumbs and eggs. Season generously with salt and pepper; stir until thoroughly combined. Divide mixture into 4 portions and form patties.

Heat 2 T oil in large non-stick skillet over medium heat. ( I Never use non-stick! I cooked mine on a large cast iron skillet with 1/2  T olive oil per side ) Add patties and cook undisturbed until bottom forms a browned crust and most of oil is absorbed, 10 to 12 minutes. Flip patties and add remaining 1 T oil to pan, swirling to coat bottom. Cook undisturbed until browned on other side and heated through, 8 to 10 mins. Serve on buns with accompaniments.

** I’ve not tried freezing them but I would think they would freeze well if first frozen singly on a baking sheet then added to a glass container or whatever you use. I plan to make a double batch next time and try freezing for fast food. I’ll post the results.

It’s been cooler this week so the solar shower is still cold but it’s to warm up this coming week so maybe …  It’s usable now but we’re going to be working to finish it next Tues and Wed and I’ll take some photos.

I’ve gotten a good amount of the main herb garden and the vegetable garden tilled. The main herb garden won’t be tilled again as a whole after this year. Just a tilling to get it started. I moved the horse radish and part of the mugwort to the main herb bed the other day and planted the onion sets and magenta lamb’s quarters today in the main herb bed as well. I sprinkled medicinal poppy seed over the onion bed as well. I’ve been moving several things there but want to move what’s in the veg garden first. I’ll wait until fall tho to move the garlics, I don’t want to risk stunting them or harming them at all for a fall harvest.

The main herb bed is for all manner of perennial herbs and veg. The main vegetable garden will be worked twice a year and is for the annuals. There will be a second small working vegetable garden behind the barn for popcorn and gourds.

All the animals are doing great. We have an abundance of goats milk! Old Hen has now laid 8 eggs. The last chicks hatched will be going into the chicken pen next week.

I found 2 pairs a jeans at a yard sale yesterday. And the great news is that, they fit! 1.00 each. Sheesh, I’ve not had jeans that actually fit in years. The jeans I did have I had to tie on with a scarf so that about ¼ of the waist was cinched tight. It wasn’t comfortable at all. I also found a bed skirt and a small box of babyfood jars. Thank The Stars for yard sales and thrift stores!


There are a lot of May-lemons (may-apples) this year. I see them everywhere. I keep checking to try and get some lemons before the creatures but none so far. I never get the ripe ones in time and the fruit is so rare anyway.