Ward House

Tincture & Salves

Wednesday night, before heading out to class, the plan was to harvest yarrow for a salve.  Instead I harvested plantain from the yard.  When my girls inquired, they commented on how odd it was that I was picking ‘bananas’.  Next came the explanation of which kind of plantain was being harvested.

These were cleaned and allowed to dry while I was away.  Ronnie is so good natured.  He was coming home from work as I was headed to class; I asked him to ignore the bag and colander of ‘weeds’ that were on the counter. Sadly, he is not susceptible to the Jedi hand wave thingy and instead I got the ‘omg, what have you brought into the kitchen now’ look.  I could just squeeze his cheeks!  (Sorry honey.  Had to say it!)

My original Yarrow salve idea came from two tutorials found here.  Currently plantain is brewing, perhaps tonite, along with blackberry picking, I’ll get some yarrow started.

How To Make An Herbal Tincture

Harvest the herb in its proper season (refer to herb-specific material for that time). Tear or chop herb parts into about one inch pieces. Pack very tightly into a glass jar to the top. Fill jar to the top again with 80 proof or higher alcohol, brandy or vodka. Fill again in a couple days, to the top. Let steep for 6 weeks or more. Decant into another jar by pouring off and squeezing liquid out of herb material through cheesecloth. Thank the plant for its uses and compost it. Label and date your jar of tincture.

How To Make An Herbal Oil and Salve

Harvest the herb just as in tincture-making but dry it for a day or so out of sunlight. Tear or cut the herb into one inch pieces and pack tightly into a jar, to the top. Fill the jar to the top with oil (cold pressed, organic olive, coconut or other oil). In a couple days, fill again to the top if some oil has soaked in. Keep a lid on the jar and let it sit on a plate in the sun for six weeks, no more. Some oil will seep out. Check for mold and scrape off as needed. After six weeks, decant the oil into a jar and squeeze any oil out of the herb material through cheesecloth. Thank the plant and compost it.
To make a salve, take a bit of beeswax (1/2 to 1 t.) and melt it on the stove. Take it off the heat, stir in the herbal oil and pour immediately into your salve container. It will set. Adjust beeswax amount to desired consistency and re-do if needed.

When I arrived home, Ronnie commented on how much his thumb was hurting; a box cutter slice to the nail line of his thumb.  I immediately went out, grabbed some yarrow leaves and band-aid’d these to his cut.  Have I mentioned how thankful I am to have such a patient, kind man?  So here he sits at the kitchen table, with a bandaged thumb that has leaves sticking out of the top and bottom of the band-aid.  Wish I had taken a picture.  He even put a piece in his nose to see if it would actually cause a nose bleed.  No blood, no pain relief.  Hmmm.  My theory is that the leaf is better used to create a salve which will coat the wound.  *giggles*

Previously I wrote about using lard to make a salve.  A discussion from first aid class had me rethink this.  Using butter or lard on, say, a burn is not a good idea as it helps to trap the heat and make the injury worse.  That burning feeling you get after a burn means that tissue damage is still occurring.  Lots of cold water first and then aid cream and a sterile bandage.  So I have to ask those that are familiar with using lard in salves, what have you seen heard about using animal fat in a first aid treatment; does it go rancid easily?  Beeswax would be good; around here, lard is easier to find.

What do you suggest?

July 22, 2010 Posted by | family, herbs, recipes, self sufficiency | , , , , | Leave a comment

A visit

I was so excited about this afternoon;  the granddaughter of Mrs. Ward was to stop by for a visit.  I was hopeful to hear some of her growing up stories, memories of her Grandmother, etc.  The neighbor just emailed to say that the Granddaughter had stopped by her shop (that avatar is on the right side bar) to say they were heading home early.  I am sad to have missed her visit.  =(  Please come back soon!!

In other news, my friend over at Howling Hill is now writing for The Greenists; her first post is about one of my

favorite animals – CHICKENS!  Stop for a visit.

A sweet giveaway from Phat Fiber – these too cute stitch markers.

And, since some of us need a ‘gloom & doom’ fix (not really G&D), the partial lunar eclipse this Saturday portents some interesting social upheavals, amongst other things.  Serenity posted the details here. Current events seem to be right on.

Since we will not have guests this eve, work will continue and hopefully finish on the coop.  I also hope to stitch a few more envelopes and a skirt! *crosses fingers*

June 24, 2010 Posted by | Chickens, family, repurpose, sewing | | 1 Comment


This is the newest immuno candy that health care providers (HCP) are pushing.  Yes, I’ve read the info about what it is supposed to do in a large percent of the population.  Drug companies are going to tell you what they want you to hear and what will sell their product.

The above is produced by Merck & Co, Inc.  I asked our health care prof. about the studies, how long it took to clear the FDA, side effects, how the study was conducted and she did not know.  Ok, off to the web.  A quick search brought me to the FDA adverse event reporting site.  It also includes this information:

  • It was approved for use in June 2008
  • Approval came after 6 MONTHS of evaluation
  • safety was evaluated on 11,000 individuals
  • The manufacturer agreed to conduct several studies following licensure.
  • The serum includes aluminum
  • The manufacturer was included in the review panel

What you say??

View this document on Scribd

See for yourself – page 4; and where are the additional studies?  Note that one page states that 11,000 were experimented on used in the experiment and then another article says 21,000.  That’s quite a difference.  The FDA also has this to say

Concerns have been raised about reports of deaths occurring in individuals after receiving Gardasil.  As of December 31, 2008, 32 deaths had been reported to VAERS.  There was not a common pattern to the deaths that would suggest they were caused by the vaccine.  In the majority of cases with available autopsy, death certificate and medical records, the cause of death was explained by factors other than the vaccine.

Umm, ok the conspiracy side of me is skeptical.

This site also notes that between 3,700 and 4,000 (depends on which report you read)deaths each year are attributed to HPV, which Gardasil is said to protect against.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration published that in 2008, 34,017 people died in traffic accidents.  Hmmm, appears to be a MUCH better problem.

Yes, I know the history of vaccines has been a rocky one.  Many people died while trying to figure out what doses of which chemicals produced the best result.  I’d rather my girls not be guineas.

June 17, 2010 Posted by | family | , , | Leave a comment

Four generations

4 Generations

Over the weekend my mom and paternal grandmother came for a visit.  On this trip Mom brought bricks and such for use here at the house and Grandmother just needed a change of scenery.  While Grandmother hung out on the porch with her great grands, Mom and I trimmed back the iris and did some other weeding in the front and side flower/weed beds. 

Pictured here are 4 generations.  From left to right: my Mom, myself (with humidity curly hair), Ruby (paternal grandmother), A16, & K14.

June 16, 2010 Posted by | family | Leave a comment

At a loss for words

Today started out like any other day and now, well, I wait.  The local hospital has free athletic physicals; both girls have always passed, to everyone’s delight.  My girls are athletic, eat well, and are just overall healthy. 

Today, that changed.  The local hospital is telling me that A16 has a heart murmur; they cannot approve her for physical activity.  They want to run tests.  Would it be safe to assume that something like this would have been mentioned by her regular physician?  No one on either side of the family has a documented murmur, or even the rumor of one (no pun intended). 

This same office told me that K14’s vision has gotten really bad while the optometrist, who saw her just last month, says her vision has not changed much since last year.  The local NP (nurse practitioner) wanted to schedule an ECG to which I replied that we would go to her Md in Roanoke; we have an appt at 9:30 this Friday.

A16 is scared; I am apprehensive.

June 9, 2010 Posted by | family | , | Leave a comment

Chinese waves

I am back into knitting dish cloths and a new favorite design is this one by Maggie’s Rags (who appears to be only 2 hours south of where I am!).  It is aptly named Chinese waves. The couple whose wedding we are attending this Saturday will receive a dish cloth from this pattern, a crochet pot holder, mirror (on their registry list, though hand crafted by Ronnie) and a tea light holder.  I’ll get a picture of the mirror and tea light holder this evening.

Yesterday evening we went to the art show and band concert at the high school;  A16 and K14 had several pieces on display.  As it turns out  A16 had one piece place best in show and another second place.  This collage includes a few of the pieces, not all; the missing art will be published as it is framed and hung about the house. 

May 19, 2010 Posted by | celebrations, family, gift giving, Knitting | , , , , , | Leave a comment

How did they do it?

Before the advent of weather.com and other forecasting software, how did the old timers know when it was ok to set out plants?  Is the almanac that accurate??  We have had weeks of really warm weather; around here it is safe to plant after Mother’s day.  That appears to no longer be the case.  I took this picture when home for lunch and, if you look closely, you will see the seedling (that was started inside) is OK while the plant purchased at the local garden store is not.  The same thing appears to be true with these pepper plants.  How can one be OK and the next not?  We knew that it would be close yet the wind was too strong for us to cover the plants and have the covering stay.  In retrospect, would straw have done the trick?  If we wet it down?  *sighs*  If I remember correctly that almanac was not proving to be ‘dead on’ which causes me to think that perhaps “close” is good enough.  Ronnie said that just because the ‘ok’ plants looked fine that these would droop later.  Can any of you give me hope?  So much work and all to loose it in one breezy night?  Now if the breeze had kept up, the plants would have been ok as the frost could not have settled. The grapes were also hit; not all, just the upper clusters.  *crosses fingers*

In other news, here are a few pictures from prom – these are of A16 and her date.

A16 & date

pre-prom foot massage

red carpet affair

Some arrived on horseback and others in stretch limos.  From what I’ve heard, a good time was had by all!

May 10, 2010 Posted by | family | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Oh so deevil!

Breakfast today was full of funny expressions.  The new word for the day is deevil (pron Dee ville) – it is the combination of the words devious and evil.   What lead to this creation was K14’s bowl of oatmeal. Sounds innocent enough, yes?  Sitting at the table,  A16 was zoning out and just staring at this steaming bowl of oatmeal to which had been added sugar and milk.   K14 caught her and said “ Stop staring.  It doesn’t stare at you!”

Oh my.  Teens: infuriating one minute, FDL the next!

May 4, 2010 Posted by | family, humor | | 2 Comments

Oh the possibilities

Ronnie has just left for work, the girls are still sleeping, dishes are almost done and the sun is already shining.  Laundry is out on the line, recycling is sorted and loaded in the van for the quick trip down the road to the green boxes, kids are up and getting ready to visit their Dad for the Easter weekend and I am bursting with energy!  Time to walk away from the machine – I’ll post some tonite, once the sun goes down.

April 2, 2010 Posted by | celebrations, family, Recycling | , | Leave a comment

How big is your between?

We are gathered around the table while waiting for dinner to finish cooking, the wind can be heard outside the windows, the cookstove is hot and crackling.  K14 has just finished attempting to booty pop – it looked more like a chest up and back.  The following conversation is between K14 & A18:

K14:  It was my between.
A18: Your between?
k14:  yeah, the space between your boobs.
A18: I have a between.
K14: Not like mine.  I can fit a softball between my between.
     a piece of paper would fit in yours!

 Yes, nothing is sacred at our kitchen table. 

January 27, 2010 Posted by | family, wood cook stove | 4 Comments