Natural Remedies Part 2 Honey

The benefits of honey go beyond its great taste. A great natural source of carbohydrates which provide strength and energy to our bodies, honey is known for its effectiveness in instantly boosting the performance, endurance and reduce muscle fatigue of athletes. Its natural sugars play an important role in preventing fatigue during exercise. The glucose in honey is absorbed by the body quickly and gives an immediate energy boost, while the fructose is absorbed more slowly providing sustained energy. It is known that honey has also been found to keep levels of blood sugar fairly constant compared to other types of sugar. Here are a few tips for you:
  1. Next time before you go for a workout, take a spoon of honey to enable you to go for the extra mile.
  2. If you are feeling low and lethargic in the morning, instead of reaching out for a can of carbonated energy drink , try honey. Spread it on hot toast or replace the sugar in your tea with it for a refreshing surge of energy.
  3. If your kids are finding hard to cope with the physical strain from the buzzing activities at school, prepare them some sandwiches with honey, butter and ham to make sure they have enough energy to sustain through the day. They couldn't care a bit about the health benefits of honey, but simply love the taste of it!

Immunity System Builder

Amongst the many health benefits of honey, what is most impressive to me is that honey can be a powerful immune system booster. It's antioxidant and anti-bacterial properties can help improve digestive system and help you stay healthy and fight disease. Start every new day with this cleansing tonic if you want to see this health benefit of honey: before breakfast, mix a spoonful of honey and lemon juice from half a lemon into a cup of warm water and drink it. 

Honey is Anti-Cancer!

Honey does not cure cancer but what many people don't think enough of or have overlooked is - honey possesses carcinogen-preventing and anti-tumour properties! 

Honey Remedy for Ailments 

For thousands of years, honey has been recognized as one of the most natural home remedies to treat a wide range of ailments and complaints including yeast infection, athlete foot, and arthritis pain. Its antiseptic properties inhibits the growth of certain bacteria and helps keep external wounds clean and free from infection. Honey has been used as a natural cure in first aid treatment for wounds, burns and cuts as it is able to absorb moisture from the air and promote healing. Its antibacterial properties prevent infection and functions as an anti-inflammatory agent, reducing both swelling and pain, and even scarring. 

When you get a hangover from drinking too much alcohol, combat its effects by applying a honey remedy. Honey is gentle on the stomach and contains a mix of natural sugars such fructose which is known to speed up the oxidation of alcohol by the liver, acting as a 'sobering' agent. Follow this recipe: 15ml of liquid honey with 80ml of orange juice and 70ml of natural yogurt. Blend them together until smooth.

One of the better known health benefits of honey is that it is able to help treat sore throats. Thanks to its antimicrobial properties, honey not only soothes throats but can also kill certain bacteria that causes the infection. Professional singers commonly use honey to soothe their throats before performances. Direction: Take a spoonful of honey to soothe the inflammation or gargle with a mixture of two tablespoons of honey, four tablespoons of lemon juice and a pinch of salt. 

Unable to sleep? Use the famous Milk and Honey Remedy. Take a glass of hot milk with a teaspoon of honey to calm the soul and induce sleep. Or, add 1 or 2 teaspoons of honey to a cup of chamomile tea and sip

Natural Remedies Part 1 - Lemon Juice

Lemon juice is crazy good for you. One of the main things I was interested in learning before actually starting my own homestead was natural remedies, (which I will post more information about as I go) so I thought I'd share some of my knowledge. Below are some of the things you can do with lemon juice health wise
    • Being a natural antiseptic medicine, can also cure problems related to the skin. Lemon juice can be applied to reduce the pain of sun burn, and it helps to ease the pain from bee stings as well. Lemon juice can be applied on the skin for the treatment of acne and eczema. It acts as an anti-aging remedy and can remove wrinkles and blackheads. Drinking lemon juice mixed with water and honey brings a healthy glow to the skin, and if you thoroughly search the cosmetic market, you will find some soaps containing lemon juice, but they aren’t too easy to find!
    • Helping to get rid of colds
    • It can assist in helping lower the pain of toothaches
    • It can be applied to the scalp to help with problems like dandruff, hair loss, and other problems related to the hair and scalp
    • Application of lemon juice on the site of old burns can help fade the scars, and since lemon is a cooling agent, it reduces the burning sensation on the skin when you currently have an irritating burn.
    • Lemon has antiseptic and coagulant properties, so it can stop internal bleeding. You can apply lemon juice to a small cotton ball and place it inside your nose to stop nose bleeds
    • Assists in relieving respiratory problems and breathing problems, such as its ability to soothe a person suffering from an asthma attack. Lemon, as a rich rich source of vitamin C, helps in dealing with more long-term respiratory disorders.
    • Diseases like cholera and malaria can be treated with lemon juice, because it acts as a blood purifier.

Gardening in the Fall and Winter?

Again, I don't know where you are but, I do know that where I am there is no chance on growing a vegetable garden in the winter , and highly unlikely in the fall. So I'm going to list some tips etc. below that I have learned on my search to have fresh vegetables in the winter.

Indoor Gardening
This is probably the best idea I've found for a cold winter climate like mine, below are some details that might help you:

  • Indoor plants thrive the best in natural sunlight, so place your planters etc. in or near windowsills, skylights, or in well-lit porches/entrance ways. 
  • You can grow an assortment of things (feel free to try anything, and let me know if there is something else I should add to this, because I'm always up for more fresh veggies)
    • Carrots
    • Herbs (like Basil, Mint, Chives Thyme and Parsley)
    • Lettuce
    • Spinach
    • Baby Greens
    • Beets
    • Certain varieties of turnips
    • Tomatoes
  • Make sure to often check on these and water them, if your going for baby greens, these can be harvested quite quickly. *Remember: Indoor gardens require the same amount of attention a regular garden need*
Winter Plants
Certain plants can survive in the winter, below is some information (please note that this is just information I've found, I've never actually done this, if anyone tries it and it works, please let me know, I will be trying these this fall hopefully)
  • Fall Rye and Winter Wheat: Most people don't have these in their gardens (I'm not planning to), but they do go dormant in the winter and are harvest-able in the early spring
  • Kale: It's one of the most famous winter greens. If you live in a cooler climate, you may have already passed the window for planting in this dark and nutritious veggie. Eat your kale all winter and into the spring. It will even survive under the snow
  • Mustard Greens: Fall is a great time to grow small greens for salads. Mustard greens are good as a tiny green in a salad mix. Sow with cress seeds for a peppery fall mix.
  • Lettuce: It may seem as though lettuce would be too delicate to withstand cold but it's a tricky one. While some lettuces dislike the fall and winter chill, others such as Rouge d'Hiver are marketed specifically as fall and winter lettuces. These greens appreciate the warmth of a cold frame or cloche. Since many of the other greens on our fall and winter list have a lot of flavour, these quieter greens are a good complement 
  • Mizuna: I don't know a lot about this plant, only that there are good in the fall as well.
  • Arugula:  Sow annual Rucola in the fall for winter greens, or sow the perennial Sylvetta to enjoy arugula all year round.
  • Potatoes: As soon as your summer crops are harvested, you can start tilling your potato patch, dig deep rows (eight to ten inches). Fill bottom of these rows with dead leaves or pine needles (about four to five inches of it). Now set the potato eyes or cuttings in the row on top of the dead vegetable matter. It works better if you use while spuds, particularly if you have some small ones that are really too little for good table use. Set the small potatoes a foot apart in the rows. Cover them up with another row of dead leaves, well-rotted sawdust or other organic mulch material. Then add necessary dirt to fill the row and even hill up the row slightly. This might not work in places with harsh winters. Give it a test (I know I will be!)

I'll be sure to update this page once I get going on my fall garden! Until next time, make the day count!

Small Things you Can do to Get Started

There are plenty of things that you can do to start going off-the-grid, these are rather small steps and are even great if you just want to save money or reduce your carbon foot print:

  • Change the your outdoor light to a solar light (if your renting be sure to ask your landlord first, they will likely agree, especially if they are paying for your electricity), this isn't a task everyone can do, you need some sort of knowledge of the electrical code etc. my husband happens to be a first year electrical apprentice.
  • Compost - Look at your city's website, sometimes they have free composting pick up, or if you have a garden, feel free to use your compost on that, it's good for the plants
  • Garden - This is a great way to start, and happens to be the most common thing on a list like this, it's fairly easy to garden, and doesn't take too much skill, chances are you have an older relative that also gardens, get tips from them, I find they know much better tips than the internet. If you rent, your landlord might let you have a garden, but if not opt for some vegetables in pots and baskets, you can also take these inside if it's getting cold at night in the fall. You can even grow vegetables in the winter (check out the link below)
  • Stop buying fast food - I know it's so good, and it's really hot out and I don't want to cook! Well guess what, if your planning on homesteading out in the middle of no where, there aren't many Subways or McDonald's. Your going to have to get used to it a some point so why not try and start right now (okay maybe just cut back a bit)
  •  Start canning! - Walmart has a beginners canner set for like $30, you can find plenty of recipes for canning online, but chances are your grandmother or another older relative knows how and can teach you, then you can practice for free as you probably don't need to buy anything, because they usually have everything they need (maybe just a few more jars?)
  • Slowly get rid of prepackaged foods - Now I have to give up my McDonald's and my Kraft Dinner? No, I'm sure you can probably get Kraft Dinner out in the bush, just stock up. It all really depends on how serious you are about homesteading. If you want to live in Alaska, it's unlikely that your always going to have prepackaged foods on hand. That being said, I would always have beans (like beans and wieners, or beans in maple sauce) on hand, as they are rather filling, and kind of good for you. They aren't going to go bad on you, and are good in an emergency.
  • Start sewing - I have a whole other post about this, so I'm just going to say something quick, if you don't want to sew your own clothes start with things like dish clothes, towels, bedding etc. these are usually less complicated 
  • Check out my pinterest board on homesteading, this has all sorts of cool things about homesteading and I update it often. I have information on how to build a house for $2000, how to grow vegetables in the winter, how to make green cleaners, natural remedies, and some disaster planning. 
I could go on about all the little things you could do but I don't have that much time. Again check out my pinterest board to get some ideas. I will probably edit this post later when I have more little things. 

Sewing, knitting and crocheting

Now, I'm not sure about you but I learned to sew when I was a kid. Sewing your own clothing is a great way to save money. The fabric stores usually have fairly trendy pattern, but the do cost money. If you go onto Pinterest there are tons of websites that have free patterns, most of them are fairly easy. Of course you can also search for patterns bases on your ability.

It's been awhile since I've made any clothing, but I am currently working on a quilt. If you go to your local Walmart, they should have a sewing section, there are all kinds of stuff in there. They have little packs of pre-cut fabric, which I am currently using to make my quilt, because they seemed easier to use then usual quilt patterns where you have to cut a bunch of things into tiny shapes and sew them into an complicated pattern. I will let you know how this works out, so far so good. I usually sew by hand because I can do this whilst watching TV, my sewing machine is noisy and sometimes I get too frustrated with it and give up. And I find hand sewing to be relaxing. Again there are many patterns of Pinterest that have free quilt patterns.

As far as knitting and crocheting, I haven't really gotten the hang of these yet, I know there are some good tutorials on the internet, but I haven't found any ones that really help. (So if anyone has a good tutorial, let me know in the comments and I will edit this). I do love getting knitted mittens for Christmas though, which I usually get from my Grandma or aunts. I really wish this was one talent I had.

Alternative ways to do Laundry

As you know, I am a renter, I do not have laundry facilities in my apartment, and the closest laundromat is quite a walk away. I am also very budget oriented, as I don't have a lot of extra cash lying around. So I had to come up with a way to do my laundry in my house.

I am currently using my bathtub as a washer. It is an interesting way to do laundry, it does take some work, it is by no means easy. So this is how I do it:

  1. First of all gather your clothes to be washed and put them in your tub(of course, this is much easier to do when you only have a small load, you can do large loads at a time, but it takes more time)
  2. Fill your tub up with water (hot or cold) and add your detergent, I personally use Tide Pods, because they easily dissolve in cold water
  3. Let them soak and occasionally stir the clothing around (I personally used the handle of my broom to push the laundry around)
  4. Scrub any spots that aren't coming out with soaking. I have a scrubby brush from the dollar store that works well, again this can take time, depending on your size of load.
  5. Drain the water out of the tub when you are sure everything is clean
  6. Put some more water in the tub to make sure that the soap is rinsed off (if you have a detachable shower head, this works as well)
  7. Once everything thoroughly rinsed, (now comes the not so fun part) you have to hand ring water out of the clothes. 
  8. Now to dry your clothes, there are two ways to do this in my mind:
    1. If you can hang up a clothes line, please do so, this works the best.
    2. If its winter or your landlord doesn't allow you to hang up a clothes line, you can get clothes drying racks at Walmart for about $15.00 CAD, these work well if you put a fan in front of them. You can also hang your clothes on the tops of doors, door handles, window cranks, towel holders, and your shower curtain rod.
Note: Make sure to ring out your clothes really well, if you don't, and you hang your clothes indoors, your clothes can get musty, and can drip onto your floor (I always put a towel or basket under the clothes if I hang them inside).

There is also this interesting site I just found earlier today, called, they deliver to the US and Canada. They have very cheap "washers" and "dryers". There is even a washer for $50.00, of course this is done by hand, not electricity, so it still requires work, but it's very small and seems easy to use. They have hand operated and very small electric ones. I am hoping to get the small hand operated washer and possibly an electric dryer. Once I get these, I will update this and let you all know about it!

Make the day count!

Apple Harvest

Now I don't have many trees in my tiny yard (just two little spruce trees), but as I was walking around my neighbourhood, I noticed that lots of people have crab apple trees etc. that are just loaded with apples. Most of the time people don't bother doing anything with crab apples because they are very tart, so they are not much good for just eating. I, however, am rather good at baking, and it just so happens one of my friends had 3 large apple trees, with plenty of apple on them, and he was willing to let me take some apples. Of course I got really excited and took a huge recyclable bag from Walmart and filled my bag with three different types of apples (gala, green, and crab). Immediately I was thinking about all the pies, and jelly I could possibly make.

When I got home however, I was rather disappointed, no flour, hardly any sugar, no oats, no canning equipment. My options were limited, and with a quick peep at my bank account, my fears became real. I didn't really have extra money to go to the store and buy materials to make pie or make jelly. What on earth was I going to do with all these apples. There were way too many for me and my husband and my sister to eat, they would go bad long before we could eat them.

So, I started coring and peeling the gala apples, hoping that some recipe came to mind as I was doing this. Some of the apple were too mushy to do much with so I put those and the peeling into a container, the cores and bad apples into a garbage bag (reused grocery bags from Walmart), and started slicing apples. My idea at that moment was to put sliced apples into the freezer so that when I did have money for ingredients I could just use the frozen apple slices for pies. But, then I had what I thought was a good idea, I turned my oven to 350 F, let it heat up and put the slices on a baking sheet, and put them in the oven. I was hoping to make "apple chips", not sure if this is even a real thing, but it seemed like a good idea. It was just the apples and a couple dashes of my precious sugar. This might have worked better at a lower temperature, over a longer period of time, but I ended up burning them (I was too busy coring and peeling more apples), and the ones that didn't burn were mushy. So I scraped that idea, and another came to mind, this was a much better idea, and it turned out great.

Baked Gala Apples Recipe (and yes I did make this up)
Oven at 350 F, let it preheat
12 Gala Apples, peeled and cored, but left in the "whole apple" shape
Butter, Cinnamon and Sugar to taste (place mixture inside the "core" of the apple and on the outside)
Bake for 15 minutes, or until apples are soft

This worked fantastically, and they are rather delicious. As I'm sure you know, most of these baked apple recipes require and oats, butter, cinnamon, and sugar "stuffing", but since I was out of oats and low on sugar, I made do with this. I actually put these on a pizza pan, which worked well with the shape of apples. I had assorted sizes of apples, and if you do as well you might need to take the smaller apples out sooner than the large ones, but they were all pretty much done right around the 15 min mark.

Earlier I mentioned that I put the mushy apples and peels into a container, what I did with these was add them to a pot, with water and cinnamon (probably could have used some sugar, but by now I was dangerously low). I boiled this mixture until most of the apple had "dissolved" into the water. I then strained the liquid mix out. Keep both the liquid and the solid mix. I made applesauce (with the solid mix, just use a blender or food processor until smooth, and can). Keep the liquid mix if you like apple cider, very good to drink, but wait a while before you drink it because it's hot! You can also keep this in the fridge and heat this up whenever, probably good for a week max.

The cores and rotten apples went straight to the compost (check your cities website, sometimes they have a free composing collection).

As for the green apples and crab apples I have, I have yet to figure out what to do with these, I will update this post when I think of what to do with them. Right now they are just in my freezer.

First Post

So I've been wanting to make a blog for awhile now, but I never seem to have the time. I'm going to try to make more time for writing though, because I really like to share my knowledge.
I'm going to tell you a little bit about myself first though, then (probably in my next post) I'll post up some of my tips for URBAN homesteading (as I call it).

First of all, I write and play country music songs, it's my greatest passion, second to that is my wish to become off grid. I was raised in a large city and I never really liked it, I moved to a small town when I was 17 and loved it. But, it still wasn't what I wanted, I wanted to live on a farm, have horses and be off grid. That's my dream (and to become a country music star, but that is far away yet, if at all).

So right now I'm renting in a mid-sized city, in Manitoba. I don't know what you know about Manitoba Canada, but the climate is ever changing, (just last week it was 34 degrees Celsius now its 10 degrees Celsius). We also have a very short growing season. Since I'm renting I didn't really think that there would be many things that I could do that is "Off the Grid". Most of the blogs that are going around are all very helpful if you own your own land, but that's not always the case. I've searched high and low for any information about going off the grid when your renting. Of course you can't do all the things that people with their own land can do, but you can start off and kind of "get the feel" of this lifestyle without committing to much, and without having to give up your damage deposit.

I'm no master of this, of course, I only just started doing most of these things, and some of these things are things I haven't tried yet, but I just might in the future. The first thing I will encourage you to do, is to read up on this topic, there are thousands of websites, apps, blogs, books etc. with information on this topic. Also look into the disaster preparedness websites and books, these also have a lot of good information, like how much food to stock in case of disaster etc.

Some of the items I want to discuss in this blog are based on having certain talents, homesteading/ going off the grid is not for everyone. It requires a great deal of patience and knowledge.

I'm going to post my next post probably right after this (within the hour) so stay tuned.

Make the day count!

Homemade Bread

I've always loved making bread, but I've never really been good at it. I think it was a mixture of having old ingredients and having...