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.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

7.18.15 Pictures from around the cottage

Just in from gathering my lunch. A huge salad of wild lettuce, magenta lambs quarters, dock, and clover from the property, and tomatoes and onion from the garden. I added homemade croutons, a sliced boiled egg and homemade honey mustard dressing. I made the dressing with spicy, stone ground mustard, local honey and all natural sunflower oil. that was good but it wasn't creamy enough so I added a tablespoon of homemade mayo and it's wonderful!

I've been working on rebuilding the rabbitry. The biggest colony was destroyed a while back and we never rebuilt, as planned. But through some wild moon wheeling and dealing this week, I got two huge doe hutches and 4 large buck hutches. With what I already had, rabbitville is looking great and the buns are very happy! I stopped all breeding as the hutches and space got smaller but now they can start again before winter.

They still have the smaller colony but I think I'm going to turn that into a huge do hitch as well. I've spent the last year assessing what the most economical breeds would be, space, food, meat, litters etc etc.. and I believe a larger meat rabbit would truly be best. If only because in procuring meat I would have to do less killing for the same amount of meat. I love the Mini Rex though so we'll see. I have adequate room now for larger rabbits. We'll see. I'll take pictures of the new rabbitville soon.

Anya is doing wonderfully. I've left the wrap off the last two days and the wound has come together more and is starting to scab over. No sing of infection or any other trauma to the area. Still haven't found where or what she did it on and there should have been a lot of blood. Definitively not an animal.

And here are the photos  :)

 This is Mr. Fox or Fox No-Ears. He's the Cottage butler, he escorts us from and to the door and to check the mail. He is also the alarm system and partner to Captain Nemo, cottage security.


Here you can seen his poor torn off ear. The top circle is torn off completely and the bottom is a shred of skin. He's fine just as he is, I don;t know if I'll take him to have the skin trimmed up. We have come to love him very much.

This is Old Hen, 14 years old!!!  with two if her chicks. The other two are nearby. None are actually hers but she hatched them out and raised them like her own. She an excellent mother.

 Lavender or Lilac and her ducklings

 Mullein, or more accurately, Minion Mullein. Paneer is raising him but he follows me everywhere!  We also call him Puppy Mullein.
Mullein is 25% LaMancha, 25%Saanen, 16% each Nubian, Kiko and Boer. He has LaMancha elf ears, light Boer colored head, dairy buck rear and meat buck shoulders. He's one of the sweetest and smartest goats we've ever had.

 Sweet, old Raspberry. We call him Black Buddha because when he's sitting up he's a head and a big fat belly. He's getting old though and in this summer's heat and humidity he sleeps a lot. 



Bounty. I have tomatoes and onions from our garden but these are all from a friend. The week was so prosperous! I traded for all this and more last Monday.

Hoe Very Blessed we are  :)


Wednesday, July 15, 2015

The Sandwich



For lunch I had a simple peanut butter and jam sandwich. Just peanut butter, jam and bread, just a sandwich. But it became so much more. The first bite I took was big and, as I slowly chewed and tasted, I remembered it’s journey and my part in it.

The first thing I tasted was the wheat bread I had made a few days ago. I remembered scooping out the flour and bagging it up at the store. I recalled the sticky texture while kneading the dough, the smell of the yeast while it was rising, the warmth of the pan when I took it from the little camp oven on the grill. I remembered slicing the bread and nibbling a piece that broke off and thinking how good it would be as a sandwich.

The next taste was the raspberry jam. I remembered the sweat, and scratches and pestilent bugs while gathering those sweet little berries. I remembered the bright burst of flavor with each one I popped into my mouth and then bemoaning the fact that I was eating more than I was saving. I remember catching my reflection as I passed the mirror and laughing out loud at my raspberry lipstick. I remember the wonderful raspberry smell that filled the house as I cooked the jam and the hot stickiness when I ladled it into the jars. I remember thinking how grateful I would be every time I opened one of them.

And then I tasted the peanut butter and time began to fold. I recalled buying it at the store and double checking the country of origin and ingredients. Even though I check it every time I buy it. Then it brought back memories of when Nik was little and I made homemade peanut butter with raw peanuts and oil. And then of eating P&Js with Pepper when we were kids. I wondered if she remembered them too. She loved peanut butter.

Those memories took me further adrift, so I set my plate aside and closed my eyes. I could hear sea gulls and the ocean washing upon the sand. I recalled a day that I made peanut butter and honey sandwiches, which my Love and I took to the beach. We sat on a towel and watched the waves roll in, quietly eating our sandwiches and lost in thought.

And I remember my thoughts from way back then. They were of the future and where I wished I could be. My wish then, over 30 years ago, was to live simply, quietly and peacefully. Off grid, by hand, with the Earth. Somewhere alone in the deep country, with my Love and a horse, dogs, cats, chickens, garden …..

He’s not here, of course, he crossed the veil by his own hand not long after that day of peanut butter and honey sandwiches. But today’s raspberry jam and peanut butter reminded me that I am so incredibly blessed, that most of my dreams have come true and that a sandwich isn’t always just a sandwich.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

7.12.15 Ups & downs of living The Life

** warning, graphic wound photo below.

It was 95 today and humid but not nearly as humid as it has been and no rain at all. I love the rain and have all my life. There’s no better or more fulfilling dance than the one done barefoot, in the rain. In meadow or muddy garden, it is the answer to “what is it all about?”.

What the rain knows, what it has experienced and then shares with those it rains on …the rain falling on my head today may have been in the river Nile or the Amazon or come from Antarctica last week. The water running down my neck swam with crocodiles, pink dolphins and orca.

Like the wind, the rain sees everything.

But we’re tired of the muck, soft hooves, leaky boots. And so thankful for the blessed sun. At least for a little while.

So today was warm and sunny and we glistened with the sweat of good work.

We woke to a little bad news. Sometime during the night Anya cut her lower leg pretty badly. It must have been early night because the blood was quite dry. She’s not limping or favoring it at all, a very good sign. I treated it first with my walnut salve, which is healing and antiseptic, but mainly because it has lavender in it to keep the flies away until I could clean and tend it better. It’s now been washed and cleaned out with iodine solution and loosely wrapped with vet tape to keep it clean. It is bad enough to need stitches, which I can do but loathe doing. We’ll see tomorrow how it is.

Worse than the cut is that we can’t find what she cut it on. It had to have been sharp and fairly large and I’m afraid she could do it again but we searched her pen and found nothing at all that looked to have been able to cause such a wound. It does look larger and worse than it is because of swelling, which pulls the wound open a bit. But even so, it’s pretty bad.

She is so sweet and kind and patient. A thousand pounds of stomping thunder stood quietly and carefully while I worked. Even when I know it was sore or stung. The world could learn so much from folk like her. I am honored to know her and have her part of our family.


Anyway, she will be fine. Selfishly I hope she’s well enough to go wandering with me in a few weeks. I had planned to go this week but will wait however long it takes for her to be completely healed properly. But it’s a big harvest time and my lists of wants and needs and hope to finds is long.

I’ve been harvesting every day it hasn’t rained and sometimes when it has. I’ve gathered an abundance of Yarrow, cinquefoil, mulberry leaves, raspberry leaves, with hazel leaves, queen anne’s plant, flower and seeds, persimmon leaves, blk walnut leaves, hickory sticks, sassafras leaves and sticks, wormwood, mugwort, tansy, Echinacea plant, red and white clover, dock leaves, sorrel, stinging nettle, wild lettuce, lambs quarters, mints, hyssop, motherwort and on and on.

About half of what I harvest is aplenty and I take what I need. The other half is meager so I only take a little at a time, just what I think the plants can afford to share.

I’ve been making tulle caps for the elderberries and actually got a compliment on the one near the driveway  :)  I left plenty for the birds so we should all have enough. That tulle was a great investment! I’ve used it for several things and am so grateful to have found it. I’m a yard sale, used, secondhand, thrift, trade, barter kind of person but it’s been so useful I would consider buying it new.

The big Good news of the day is Mullein  :)  I forgot to take a picture but will get one tomorrow. He’s a lovely little elf eared mutt goat buckling. 25% LaMancha, 25% Saanen, 16% each Nubian, Kiko and Boer. He has a Saanen head, LaMancha ears and Boer body. He’s white with a light brown cast on his shoulders and head, kind of a pale Boer coloring. He’s a wonderful, beautiful little sweetheart! I traded for him in May, before he was born. What a blessing he is to us.

No one ever claimed the little throw away dog that showed up here a month or so ago, so we’ve named him Fox and made him one of us as well. His ears have been ripped off and are in shreds. They were mostly healed when we found him but even more so now. Whatever happened to him, someone did love him and we are thankful to that person.  He’s a dirty little ragamuffin at the moment, and smells like a dead thing. He’s due for a bath this week and then photos  :)

Aside from Fox and Mullein, we also have 10 new ducklings and baby goats due soon! And I may be trading for Royal Palm turkey hatching eggs soon. We've not had turkeys since the Burrow and I've wanted Royal Palms for ages. A heritage breed, beautiful white with black markings, and smallish to fit in our little homestead.



Sunday, July 5, 2015

Summer Poet


Shadows, Phantoms & Mist

Like a smoothly worn cobblestone,
Intimate with wheel and hoof and foot.
Oh, the stories I could tell.

Like the crazing on a well used pitcher,
All the cooking pots, drinking glasses, bathtubs filled.
Oh, the stories I could tell.

Like the torn and mended old quilt,
Babies swaddled, lovers warmed, decedent’s shroud.
Oh, the stories I could tell.

Like the creaky, rusted garden gate,
Spring plantings, Summer weedings, Fall harvests.
Oh, the stories I could tell.

Like the frayed and bare rope swing,
Children’s giggles, sister’s whispers, widows tears.
Oh, the stories I could tell.

Like the web of scars on an ancient soul,
Lives lived, goals reached, dreams lost.
Oh, the stories I could tell.

The stories, I, could tell.


Jewel  - 6.8.15

..........................................................................................................

Only Love


Above sorrow, fear and anger, only love.

Beyond the wrongs and hurts, only love.

Past the tears and wails of pain, only love.

After the heartache fades to hollowness, only love.


When all else crumbles at our feet and we stand covered in the ashes of yesterday, only love.


Jewel 6.20.15

...........................................................................................................................


Silken Threads


Upon my soft and silken bed
I closed my eyes and laid my head
That I might sleep and dream

And in my dream my lover rode
Through forests green and fields of gold
To touch my lips in moonlight

Years go by like bird wings flutter
Eons pass with no words to utter
The longing of my heart

Faces now seem blurred and grained
My soul still yearns, my heart still pained
Where can he be, my lover

My eyes grow tired, my pulse grows weak
Whispers of love are all I speak
And  always, I hope and wait

Life passes so quickly into the next
Our paths all written in sacred text
Days, like drops of water

Awakened anew on silken bed
From whence so long I laid my head
And there, in moonlight, I found him


Jewel
7.5.15



Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Blog 6.23.15 Merry Humid Solstice

The Solstice was a special day, regardless. But the feeling of change wasn’t there this year. In all my 51 years I don’t recall not Feeling the change of the season. But maybe it’s just because it’s because Spring was so warm and summer like?

I don’t like griping at all. It draws bad energy, even small gripes. But I am abut to do some just the same. The Ozark’s humidity is one of only two gripes I have about living here. The other is that the cold seems colder in winter but that may also just be the wet cold. If  had to choose I guess I would take the humidity over the painful cold. I can take 100 degree days as long as there’s shade and the humidity is low. When it’s high I can’t breathe well and not being able to get a full breath is horrible.

But those are small thing in the greater scope and I love my Ozarks and homemade life  : )

Speaking of homemade ….. homemade raspberry yogurt for everyone!

That’s what I’m having just now   : )   I'm exhausted and just now drying out from the day's chores. Today included picking raspberries. We have a little slightly cultivated patch of wild raspberries. The little sweet ones that take twice as much work and twice as much time so that we’re twice as grateful for them!  There’s more to pick tomorrow and more this year than last. The first year there were tons but 2013 and 14, when I was sick, I let them go so there are less but still enough for us.

I ate at least a pint while I picked and am wearing raspberry lipstick as I type. I’m planning on making jelly and drying. Plus eating fresh of course. And a raspberry crustata, my favorite. Some of the jelly will be mixed with mulberry, if I can get a share before the winged folk eat them all.

Easy food trees and bushes we have… wild raspberries, gooseberries, mulberries, blueberry, blk walnut, beautyberry, red raspberry, persimmon, elderberry, pecan, wild plum, pawpaw, and more. Not all are producing yet, the pecan won’t produce food for a few more years and the pawpaw is struggling. But most are producing and we have a huge amount more of wild and cultivated foods like lambs quarters, queen annes lace, plantain, sheep sorrel, wild lettuce and on and on. We’re so blessed to have such a cornucopia outside our door.

Aside from regular chores and berry picking I started working on new drying screens. The old ones are still sturdy and useful but I need more space. Growing my own herbs for my business takes a lot of drying and I never have enough room. Let a lone food drying for the pantry. The only drawback is having to move them if it should rain. I have tarped them on occasion but last year I lost a whole screen of herbs to mold because they stayed tarped for two days.

I recently got over 13 yards of black tulle. It’s like what you might cut squares of and fill with bird seed to throw at handfastings. I have at least 101 uses for it. I’m making covers for the electric food dehydrators, we have fruit flies sometimes and one of the dehydrators heats but has no fan. I’m also going to make new covers for the big food drying screens. I have an old sheer curtain but it’s a little thicker and I think it slows the drying process. It will find use elsewhere. What’s left of the tulle will either be put pack for back up or turned into drying bags.

On the Solstice I started a batch of goat milk yogurt and it’s delicious as always!  I like sweet and made ¾ with vanilla and honey. The other if for cooking and to use as sour cream on the upcoming taco night.

So, here I sit wearing raspberry lipstick, typing and eating fresh yogurt with fresh raspberries. And feeling happy to the core of my soul.




This Raspberry was an excellent helper! 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

4.20.15 Pictures from around the homestead

but first, an experiment in writing. This is unedited and not been proofread and probably not meant to be.....
http://storiesbymoonlight.blogspot.com


And now, photos  :)

      One of our Ancestor Oaks

Beautiful Anya

Iris, the Ruen hen sitting on her nest

Lavender, a welsh harlequin hen

 Lily, a welsh hen on her nest.
We have a 3rd welsh hen, Lilac who also has a nest but we've not found it yet

 Last week I traded a small propane tank for 7 Ancona ducklings. 
They're a heritage breed and considered rare on the watch list.

 Grace & Boot
They're Pekin ducks but look and act like small geese. We hatched these out here. 

This is Owl the cat and Liam the lamb.
We just recently got Liam, he's only around 9 weeks old. Leicester and Shetland.
Now I need a spinning wheel  :)

 Sweet Paneer
She's Saanen and my favorite breed of goat.
They're like small cows, very easy going and produce a lot of milk.
 This is poor Penny Dreadful. 
She's an Oberhasli, which is also a heritage breed.
Unfortunately, Penny was neglected to the point of abuse. When we took her in her hooves were so overgrown she could only walk with her legs very bowed to the sides. This was at least a year in the making and possibly longer. We've had her since last fall and I've gotten her hooves to very close to normal, a little at a time. But her legs were so accustomed to her condition she's having trouble walking normally and stays on her knees most of the time. There was more as well but I'm not giving up on her and we'll just see.

 This is our majestic buck, Winston  :)
He's a Nigerian Dwarf and is around 6 months old. He probably won;t get much bigger. He has the coveted blue eyes and brown moon spots. The plan is to have a couple of full sized does for milking and raise minis, which will be about halfway between Winston and full sized, for meat and to Trade/Sell.  

An attempt to show his blue eyes but he just wanted to nibble my hand.
He acts more like a dog than a goat.

This is Sparky, Nik's special cat. He's so such a love.

 Our beloved Nemo
He has to be on a chain during the day, until we get fenced in, because he chases cars.

 Our view outback, facing North. 
We are so blessed


Thursday, April 16, 2015

4.15.15

Today is another fine Irish day. Gray, rainy and chilly. Perfect days for my Purple Dragon Tea and getting some sewing done  :)

Yesterday I made 3 moon pads. I use flannel from old sheets and shirts etc.. They're incredibly easy to make and easy to adjust the size or thickness to meet many needs. I've been making them since before my son was born. I made them solely by hand for many years but now make them on machine or by hand depending on my mood or what else I'm doing.

                                                            moon pads

I also started another patchwork skirt yesterday. Just picking out which fabrics or remnant to put together And I picked out two fabrics for two new skirts for myself. A lovely gray floral for a long skirt and a cool brown print that looks like lotus flowers for a short skirt.

                                                 Fabrics for next patchwork skirt

Long skirt fabric                                                               short skirt fabric


Today I traded a small tank of propane for 7 three month old Ancona ducklings. They are so pretty. Most are black and white but at least one each are chocolate and white and gray and white. They remind me a lot of the Runner ducks I love so much. If I recall correctly, Ancona were originally bred from Pekin and Runner.

I also got a great idea for breeding pens from the place we got the ducklings. Probably old news for most folks but... Use cattle panels bent just high enough to bend over and get in. cut panels for the end and door. run chicken wire around the base for snakes and to keep the smalls in. Use a tarp or plastic or cut branches to create shade and shelter and give them a good separate shelter inside.

I also did some sewing today. I mainly worked on covers for outdoor chair and glider cushions. I've actually been working on these for over a month. Ever since I found a box of wonderful heavy ticking at a thrift for 2.00.

                                                               Ticking

I've recovered these cushions before but nothing has held up well. I had planned to try using denim this year, which I think would work well but when I came across this great ticking I knew where it was meant to go  :)  Some of it has some sort of backing on it and it looked as though maybe someone had the same idea and had started making a cushion cover. I'm hoping to have enough to make one large for the glider and three for the chair seats. I have one hair cushion but will make two new ones and cover them first with something heavy and breathable.

I'm also getting ready to repaint and recover two indoor chairs and the woodstove bench. I found some lovely floral broadcloth at another thrift last year and have been saving it for this project.

And, mixed in with some of the thrift store fabrics was some thin cotton percale, Perfect for drying bags for my herbs and such. I make them all sizes from tiny to dry a few blueberry leaves (because the bushes are tiny) to huge to dry large amounts of black walnut leaves for my salves etc.. They're very easy to make, an be washed and reused way beyond a paper bag and I add draw strings for tying and hanging.

Recently a friend gave me a big heavy metal carport frame. I've not picked it up yet but need to soon so I can cover it with a tarp and have a place to weave hammocks out of the rain and sun. That's it's main use. But  :)  I plan to eventually cover the top with dyed or painted canvas. Waterproofed or will waterproof it with beeswax. 'll add long heavyduty pull ropes for getting it off and on as needed. For the walls I'll sew many different fabrics together and have several ties on each to close well when needed. For summer I'll make walls of sheer curtains, scarves, fabrics.... For winter walls, blankets and skins... Old rugs and skins and blankets on the floor...  I believe it's 20 x 10 so would also work for a little shelter for or Kith & Kin trade gathers.

Lastly, I worked a little more on another pair of moccasins I'm making. Another red pair. I love making them but then I love making all sorts of things. From Spirit Art to moon pads  :) 

                                                         Very red leather  :)


I made Anya, my mare, leg wraps put of the same red leather. For when she needs extra protection or has a wound that needs covered etc.. I actually made them some time ago but they needed a little work and better wrap ties.

My regular work went astray this week because if the rain but I still got other things done, made plans and dreamt of days to come.