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.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

2.25.15 Stirrings

2.25.15    Stirrings

In some ways, this is one of the hardest times of the year. Bodies cry out for the sun’s warmth and minds grasp at new goals and dreams. Souls yearn for the freedom of walking barefoot on the earth. But we’re still in the Stirring time, not quite ready to wake but no longer fully asleep. There’s the first strings of bird song and hearty leaves are starting to push upward. It’s a treasure box with a timed lock. But glimmers of Spring leak out the cracks. Whisperings of peepers and glimpses of green. The lock is ticking to the open mark. Spring is coming.

We finally got out yesterday. We could have gone another few months but ran out of hay for the animals. I was worried but all worked out. While in town I was forced to get myself some ever flavor beans, poor me  :)  The roads were all clear but our driveway is mudslush and the blazer got stuck this morning for Nik going to work. I got it unstuck this afternoon.

Got all the rabbit pens properly cleaned today. All the frozen poop piles thawed and I cleaned them all super well. All the rabs have fresh hay, waters with and without vinegar, alfalfa, minerals and carrots & raisins.

Fresh water all around but the two holding tanks are too frozen to get the ice out or dump so just filled them as they are. We've been having to haul water out in jugs for everyone because the ice got so thick but the horse has a clean fresh tank now.

Dreading the next few days but warm days are coming. I would have usually started seeds by now but the house is too cold at night and early mornings. We've gone through alot more wood than usual this year. I had waht i thought would get us through the winter with a rick extra. We went through all of it plus 2 more ricks and will need another soon!  And for the last week or so I've only had fires at night to try and conserve wood. We're at double what we used our coldest winter here. Something is afoot.

This spring I’m hoping to double or more the garden space. Turn the font yard into my major herb garden, add the smaller herb garden to the vegetable garden and expand the vegetable garden back to the Bee hive area  (no bee hives yet but preparing and for them). A lot of work but it will be so well worth it for the return in medicinals and foods.

We’ve been having a local seed swap and I’ve gotten some wonderful trades … Orange Sun bell peppers, Ghost pumpkins,  Arnica …  What a bounty and I’m expecting more  J

Also expecting an order for the orchard in March … Pecans, Hawthorn, Witch Hazel and Plums.

I have so many plans for the year, they probably wouldn’t fit on the page but some of the most important to me are
Finish the Outdoor Kitchen (very lose to being done)
Build a good outhouse
Complete the horse shelter and add hay rack (maybe homemade)
Expand the main goat pen an divide
Move the hen pen door
Rebuild Rabbitville
Put up another solar water heater with hose for running indoors
Start clearing the lower field for the stock. (not clear cutting, just clearing some out for grasses to grow.)
Start chicken garden (millet and other grains)

So much I hope to get done but enjoying life tops my list above all.

Us Feb 2015

Saturday, January 10, 2015

1.10.14 - 51 & Dreaming of Spring

Today is my Pepper's memorial service. Such things are for the living, not for those who have already crossed the veil. It's not what my sister wanted and not my thing either. But it's for her girls and others and I plan to be there for them.

I didn't sleep much last night and feel a bit hollow today but when I did sleep I had a funny dream of life.

I dreamed that for 6.06 I bought duck eggs and potatoes. A dozen duck eggs the size of pecans and brown. The woman told me that fully grown the ducks would be the size of a 2 month old pullet. She showed me a feather and said they would be bright blue with black trim. There were two kinds of potatoes... One kind looked like normal potatoes but they grew edible lettuce on top. The other kind was Huge, 5 pound potatoes.

I paid with 6 dollars and a dime and the woman went a little crazy trying to give me back .04 cents. then finally she donated it to her vacation fund.

All the while there was a man who kept talking to me and kept wanting me to look up. When I finally did I saw that the floorboards in the ceiling were loose and coming apart and there were many people up there walking around. I looked at him and said "the ceiling is going to fall!" but he was calm and smiled and said "it's ok we're insured". Then I woke.

As odd as dreams can be, life is truly stranger.

I've not posted to my blog in a while. I've been working on my books. I've finished writing 4 of them and am now working on getting the first organized, proof read, parts rewritten etc  I may also combine two books into one. and then I'll try to figure out how to get it published. I considered an ebook format but this book in particular is one that should be in hard copy. A book of self sufficient how to's, ideas etc etc...  The others are my Herbal, my cookbook and a book of Poetry and Prose.  I'm still working on my memoirs...

A few weeks ago I found a brand new looking copy of Carrots Love Tomatoes at one of the thrift stores for .25 cents. I started reading it today  :)  especially the section on fruit and nut trees. There's a lot I knew but even more that i didn't. It's a great little book and a wonderful gift from The Mother.

It's cold out but the blessed sun has been shinning for days. Life sleeps the cold months away and quietly germinates while it waits for spring to leaf out and start anew. 
I don't mind the winter, I was named after it. A time for introspection and looking within. But I so look forward to spring.

What 51 looks like...  
a bit disheveled and blurry but that's ok with me, as long as there's happiness too  :)

Saturday, November 15, 2014

11.15.14 - blunderbuss or black powder?

There have been 3 big booms today. Booms I've never heard before. Definitely not shotgun blasts, I've heard plenty of those over the years and today too. These were louder and deeper. I don't know what a blunderbuss or blackpowder sounds like. I wonder what it was.

We had some sleet a little while ago but it only lasted around 30 minutes and mostly melted. Even so i felt like the temperature dropped at the same time. Not bitter cold but still cold.

I love it here so much but Wednesday and Thursday, with the cold and the wind, my painful hands were screaming "South woman! Go South!". I have pretty good gloves but I think I need furlined and waterproof or something. It's only my fingers really, but they hurt so badly i have to stop working and warm them. It only started a few years ago and I don't know the cause. My son diagnosed me with, as he usually does, old age. But I don't think that's what it is.

Anyway today was nicer and much appreciated. I didn't get as much done as I had planned but that's usually the way. Got to save leftovers for tomorrow  :)   I made 3 pints of persimmon jam and 2 of pumpkin butter. Boiling water now to wash dishes and then later to wash my hair. 

I was recently given a new/old blanket, which i intended to make a horse blanket out of but when i took it out of the bag (it had never been used but had been stored for years) it looked brand new. No mice evidence at all, no moth holes etc.. It just smelled very musty and slightly of cig smoke. I washed it 3 times in the electric washer and once in hot white vinegar. Plenty of good rinsing and it looks and smells like new. I may still make Anya a coat from it but I'm thinking more of keeping it for us. We'll see. 

I have been looking for some duck canvas to make Anya a coat, but not found any for my price range/trade. I'll keep looking. I'm also looking for some sort of cotton netting to make her a fly jacket for summer. My friend has one for her cow which works wonderfully to give a little respite from the bloody summer flies. I made her a simple fly mask from an old pink halter and a potato sack. She actually likes it too. She only wears it during the day and when we're home but it gives some rest from them. I make my own fly spray and mist the mask lightly before putting it on. I mist my hands and wipe her ears and other areas they bother a lot. But it's hard to get enough on her whole body and she sweats it off anyway.

I went through seeds last night and today and realized I got and saved more from the gardens this year than I thought. I'm an avid seed save but haven't done as well since moving here. My garden plan this year didn't go as planned and I didn't think I had saved nearly as much as I did. Most excellent  :)

I've not finished the moccasins I'm making but did finish and have already sold the skirt I was working on. I'll post pictures soon. It's a first try and I personally don;t care for the design. It's 4 panels, which i like but I don;t care for the shape. Anyway, I've started a new one, a patchwork skirt for myself made with all the leftover pieces from the last few years. I'm also starting another flannel skirt and a pair of flannel pants for Nik.

I've finally been able to set up a working, permanent apothecary. The permanent part is most important and working out marvelously. Before now I kept all my supplies put up in the pantry and pulled them out to work where ever I could, when i could. Now I can weigh, measure, heat, jar, label, print etc etc all in one area and it's always ready to go. It still needs more work but I'm very happy with it and the rest will work itself out.

I also finally got my website back up. It's still in the works  but working out much faster and better than I ever thought. This is the site that crashed earlier this year and I thought I had lost everything but when it was fixed there was still a lot left there. A lot was gone but any left was a boon. So WildMoonCottage.com is back up and running, still needs a lot of work but at least it's there t work on  :)

Peace on Earth & Goodwill to All Things


Saturday, September 13, 2014

9.13.14 Most Excellent

The day is gorgeous!!!!   Cool and calm, a perfect day for dreaming of the future, getting things done and simply breathing.

It’s been a wash day for me, washing curtains, rugs, bed and loveseat covers ….  It’s to rain a few days this coming week but today and tomorrow are to be very nice. We’re going to load hay tomorrow so today is a big laundry day. I’ve oddly always enjoyed doing laundry. By hand or machine, on the line or even in a dryer. I enjoy the washing, handing, folding … all.

We actually started the day a little wonky in that Anya got her front legs under a top line and over a bottom line of fencing. It took great forethought an effort to get stuck thusly and more so, it took bolt cutters to get her unstuck. One of my greenhouse cattle panels is patching the spot for now.

All of our pekin ducklings were sold before they hatched and are now at their new home. I’m getting ready to start another batch and they’re also already sold.

In my most recent trading I got a little manual ice cream maker with a cylinder that you freeze. I was skeptical at first but now I’m a true ice cream eating believer!  It work wonderfully and our own goats milk ice cream is the best ice cream we’ve ever tasted. I’ve made French vanilla, chocolate, banana and blackberry.

In that same deal I got a lovely huge cotton Fall tablecloth, a set of 8 drinking glasses, a little sturdy warm rug, a set of curtains and a little table runner. It was a fairly unusual deal but well worth it .

And speaking of trades, last year I traded for some rabbit furs. I’ve been planning to make a winter patchwork fur bed cover and still might eventually but I’m getting ready to make a couple pairs of moccasins and if one fur is large enough I’m going to make one pair of fur lined. I’ve not made them in years and no longer have a leather needle (which I might be able to find) but if they do come out well enough I’ll use a pair or two for trading as well. Probably wait and make them custom to fit. I’m limited on leather but have several large pieces that someone dyed red (given to me free), so red moccasins will be it  :)

I’ve finished all the tomatoes and almost all the zucchini and am waiting to find out about shell beans and then hopefully some more tomatoes plus cucumbers and green peppers. We’ll see. We could surely use them.

There may be a deal on trading some propane things I have for sale, for firewood. That would be a great thing! We’ll see on that as well.

I’ll be unpacking some blankets a little later, it’s been that cold at night   :)  They always washed, dried well and stored in cedar chests until needed again. When I unpack them I usually hang them outside for a bit to airout. I love the cedar smell but it can be overwhelming too.

It seems like I just packed the blankets up a couple of months go.

I still need to get the last curtains done, start a batch of walnut salve, start a batch of elderberry cough & throat syrup, rack off another bottle of mead, check the Winter Tonic, sweep the floors, do the dishes, milk the goat …….

There’s a lovely garden spider just outside the window. How very blessed we are.

Within the last 24 hours
11:11  pm
1:11  am
2:22 am
12:12  \  pm

12:12  /  a few minutes apart on two different clocks

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)

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………
Sweet bells
Anise Hyssop
Horse radish root
Garlic hardneck
Sweet Onions

Organic seed ….
Anise Hyssop
Kentucky Colonel Spearmint
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


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.