Friday, July 31, 2009

Doctor Mom

I kept my 5 year old home from VBS the other day, her cough didn't sound so good, and I didn't want to be "the bad mom" for sending her off to infect the planet. I brought out my arsenal of natural remedies for "whatever" infects them, boosting all 6 kid's immune systems with my collection of:
colloidal silver
vitamin C in a 500 mg chewable (this would be taken up to 3-4000 mg when sick)
elderberry/zinc lozenges
vitamin D (helps reduce congestion)

The 5 yr old had what was shaping up to be a nasty chest cold, and the 7 yr old was starting to cough. At the first signs, All 6 kids get the regiment. Several times daily. I don't have a set dosage pattern, it comes with experience I guess. And no, their skin won't turn blue from a few days of silver ingestion.

I've been treating illness this way for about 14 years, no matter the illness. In the unlikely even of an ear ache (we've never had a bacterial ear infection, but a few ear aches) They get the "garlic torpedo". This is some crushed garlic infused into warm olive oil and twisted into a cotton "torpedo" that gets stuffed into their ear and held with a hot wet compress. This is just in case it IS bacterial, as garlic will kill just about anything! I've only had to resort to Motrin and/or steroid drops once (in 14 yrs, mind you), for a particularly lengthy ear ache that doc assured me was not deserving of antibiotics, which I would probably not use anyway. I have given anti-biotics once, to two kids with asymptomatic undiagnosed strep that was causing tics in my 10 yr old. The young doc at the walk in clinic insisted they didn't have it, and my old country doc did. Guess who was right?

They tend to get two yearly illnesses; either a tummy bug or a cold. I expect this, it's normal. Their immune systems are set up for this. I don't give Motrin for fevers, instead I put them in a tub as hot as they can tolerate, to draw out the fever and let it do it's work. I am a firm believer in not suppressing minor illness (note the disclaimer, you wouldn't do it this way for chronic problems, and PLEASE see your doc when in doubt).

With the threat of H1N1 looming on the horizon, I think homeschooling is such a blessing. With my oldest 4 going to a small school this year (28 students), they will have an easier time coping with any outbreaks, and I will pull them out if it gets ugly, this regimen should serve me just as well. Certainly has so far! At the threat of illness, one needs to limit severely, all dairy and sugars. The dairy increases mucous production, and the sugar feeds the beast.

By the way, my 5 year old? after 4 days, her cough is practically non-existent. The immune system is an incredible machine, I try to work WITH it, not against it. Any special remedies you can't live without? Love to hear them!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Incredible Artisan, Part II

I thought I'd give a few more images of Ron Lussier's stained glass work.
The first is another shot of the large screen, with wisteria and the little boat. The other was a large single piece of rainbow glass, the most beautiful piece of glass I'd ever seen! He painstakingly cut it into pieces and leaded it, while preserving the flow of color, so it still looked like one piece of glass. Incredible! The middle piece is his studio sign, it's one piece, hanging on the back of his barn door....a shot of his workplace (above) also.


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Incredible Artisan

After a long successful career owning a large sign company in central New England, Ron Lussier retired and set his sights on a field well suited to his particular talents. He took a stained glass class. Interestingly enough, those same skills that served him so well, skills like knifing, pattern making, masking and design, proved to be more than enough to turn his beginner class into a tutorial for the rest of the class on pattern making.

A hobby turned into quite an impressive body of work. Some from existing patterns, some just became.

An actual coloring book page, colored by a child, and turned into quite a piece of work.

Part of a 4 panel screen that to this day blows me away! He not only creates the glass pieces, he builds the frames.

This has to be my favorite. I absolutely love the intense color and mod design. It's a refreshing break from the usual traditional stained glass work I've seen. Someday I hope to see this one in a gallery. Or perhaps it'll make a nice birthday present for some deserving and loving daughter. Whaddaya think, dad? Er, I mean, Ron?

These pieces are available for sale. Comment for contact info and additional images.

Sunday, July 26, 2009


Seriously! I rejected the 10-10-10 chemical fertilizer this year in favor of a bag of Cock-a-doodle-doo, chicken poo!

Granted, the whole garden is 5 yrs old and most of the plants are divided from old stock. So I'd expect it to be pretty robust. Plus, we've had more rain this year than I ever remember. Having a lot of funky rust and fungi issues. Also, the Japanese Beetles are outrageous! We've kind of let them go, the kids make games out of collecting and squishing them.

But I do believe this chicken poo works like a charm! My gardens are pretty much a mess, and even after 4 hours of weeding yesterday, I had to resort to round-up for the low stubborn weeds, pulling the 4 ft tall ones myself. Would that flower varieties would learn to stay where I put them! But nooooooo, they have to go wandering around, making a big pizza pie of color. Some desperately need rescuing from the onslaught of black eyed susans & baptesia, some just look silly hidden between gobs of yarrow.

Enjoy a walk through the garden. Tomorrow, back to boogie shoes!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

For the Love of Chai

The Tao of Chai
I am a chai freak. Chai latte, to be exact. The combination of spices apparently has some emotional/mental effect on me.
Making homemade chai is such a comforting process, and for me, worth all the time and effort involved. So I'm going to walk you through it, since most of the time I give a quick synopsis and recipe, leaving out details you must figure out as you make it. This is not a huge problem, it's not science, it's cooking, so enjoy!

There are expenses involved, some of which you can fudge. I use a mortar & pestle, french press, a strainer and a large pot. You could use a crock pot, then stain it into another pot, but you want to get all the goop out. I also keep a press pot cozy made of recycled wool on my press pot, of course, available in my etsy shop :-) so we can keep it warm while we sip. I'm giving a recipe for 1-2 cups, so double or triple it to make more. It's a matter of flavor, and as you make it you will see what ingredients you'd like more or less of. So here's the ingredients you'll need:
1 cup whole milk (you can use cream, it's really heavy though)
1 cup water
1 tea bag or enough loose tea for a cup (I empty out the tea loose into the pot). My friend who gave me the recipe uses only Tetley British blend, but she's a tea perfectionist. I'd say she's right, but it's not mandatory.
A cinnamon stick or a tsp of cinnamon
4-6 cloves
a pinch of allspice
4-6 cardamom pods
4-6 white peppercorns
4-6 black peppercorns
(you may want to start with 3 of each of the pepper, I like mine spicy, and it WILL be spicy with more pepper)
sugar or honey to taste (I use a T or 2 of sugar, I have a sweet tooth, you can add more later)
1 T grated ginger, or maybe a tsp of ginger juice. If you use dry ginger, perhaps start with a tsp and you can add more next time. I love it gingery.
Grind the whole spices in your mortar & pestle, or if you don't have one, put a tea towel over them and pound them a bit.

Here's the thing. I never make one cup. If I'm going to take the time to make it, I make a pot with 4 cups each of water & milk, then save the rest. Some recipes say to put it all in, adding the milk last, I just put everything in and simmer for about 1/2 hr. The key is to boil off most of the water. This makes a heck of a strong cup of tea, so be warned if you're going to drink it late.

I strongly advise watching it for boiling over, it can. I also advise standing over it and inhaling the immensely YUMMY aroma. This is almost the best part.

I then strain or scoop out as much of the gunk as I can before I put it in my press pot. It's pretty gunky. Press it through, then give a little taste for sweetness. Pour a cuppa, and ooooooohhhhhhhh. Enjoy! If I forgot anything, my apologies, ask me any questions you like. Share it with a friend! My best friend put all the dry ingredients in a jar for me as a gift once, it was so good! Every batch will come out a little different, but once you get the hang of it you won't even need to measure.

Have some for me!