Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Is Baltic Amber a Money Racket or an Easy Cure?

I love to use natural things for my family's health care. The less side effects the better, and with young children it is even more critical to pay attention to amounts/dosages given and how much time between dosages. For a mother who already has a sick or hurting baby this can be nerve racking.

So when my son started teething I heard all kinds of advice on what I should do. Teething tablets, teething biscuits, teething gel, pain relievers and we tried many of those things without much success. Finally after talking to a friend about how little Boaz was miserable she asked if I had ever heard of using an amber necklace. How could a necklace help my son? It sounds like a possible placebo effect. Time to research.

What is Baltic Amber?

Baltic amber is the resin from a succinisera pine tree that has hardened into a stone like form. This kind of amber is found in the Baltic region in main land Europe. It has a light weight and is warm to the touch. What is unique Baltic amber is the fact that it contains 3-8% succinic acid which is a natural pain reliever and anti-inflammatory.

Succinic acid is naturally found in both plant and animal tissue and has many benefits.  It has been used for teething pain, arthritis, growth pains, head aches, joint pain, menstrual cramps or essentially anything you would take an Advil for.

The salts of succinic acid are one of the active substances used for cellular level respiration. Which means that it is effective at producing energy in the body by jump starting the Krebs cycle, one of the main ways we metabolize carbs, fats and proteins. Restoring a dragging energy level.

How does it work? 

Amber is a very soft and when it is worn against the skin the oils and heat your body produces break down the amber and rub some of the succinic acid off. This gives relief of pain close to location of the amber. Thus for best effect you should wear it closest to the source of pain; necklace for tooth and jaw issues, bracelet for carpel tunnel ect.  It has also been mentioned that the lighter the color amber the higher the concentration of the succinic acid so if you want or need a stronger pain reliever you would want to get a light yellow amber as opposed to a more brown or green shade.

But does it really work?

This was something I was interested in finding out. After all it sounds like it does a lot and has no known side effects. I purchased an amber necklace and put it on my little boy for the day time and wrapped it around the ankle at night to avoid possible strangulation. Well he didn't fuss as much and he stopped drooling. Good signs. It seemed like his teething pain was over but I wondered if it wasn't just coincidentally timed with the purchase of the necklace. I kept up with it anyway until I lost the necklace. This would be a good test to find out if it was doing anything. So for the first month no big change, however by the third month he was drooling and fussing all the time, so I bought another necklace. Then it stopped again, so am happy to say yes it does work and I don't want to loose it again!
I purchased a bracelet for my self to see if it would help with a ganglion cyst I get in my left wrist. Sure enough it has kept it in check so I don't have to take the turmeric powder every day. I like turmeric but not that much.

How do I know if the Baltic Amber is genuine? 

The best way in my opinion is to make a bowl of salty water and place the jewelry in. If it floats then it is the real deal. You can also test it by putting it up to a flame if it smells like pine it is genuine if it smells like burning plastic then it is a fake. I don't know about you but I don't really like the idea of putting my jewelry to a flame, you may know if it is real but you could ruin it in the process!

We have had good experiences with Baltic amber and I would recommend it to anyone who suffers from joint pain or inflammation. It is pretty too! Enjoy your life without the pain.
                                                           The Farmer in the Dell

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Farmer Strong Lip Balm

So I am loving the now cooler weather that is the signature of fall, seeing as we are at the middle of September already, I was beginning to get nervous that my favorite season would be wiped out by a forever summer. With this delicious cooler weather comes leaf changes, the air becoming drier, and the enjoyment of harvest plenty. It also reminds me of my wedding, that was now four years ago, where it was so cold everyone was in jackets during our outdoor ceremony. I hate sweating so I like to think that the Lord gave me the gift of cooler weather for our special day. It wasn't for my husband at any rate because he doesn't like to be cold!

We went away for our anniversary last week and since we have been having drier air he has been having the worst time with severely chapped lips. We went to CVS to pick up some chap stick for him but most of the options contained alcohol and other agents that actually dry your lips out more, so we settled on some Burt's Bees chap stick or "lip chap" as I tend to call it. It was okay and it got us through our getaway time but I knew he needed something with more moisturizing power that didn't need re-applied so frequently.

So I went home to make a "farmer strong" version that he could use. I love making lotion bars with coconut oil, Shea butter and bees wax. He has actually used them on his lips before and met with good success but I wanted this to have more staying power. When your hands are dirty applying chap stick with your finger is not really ideal. I also didn't really want that much. Most of those recipes are for making a lot so you can give some away but here I just wanted to make a little batch as a little goes a long way.

This is very firm and if you wanted to have it softer you could add some more coconut oil to the mix but I didn't want it to melt in the tractor or in his pocket so we went firmer. The ingredients are chosen for the moisture, healing and soothing extremely dry chapped lips.

Farmer's Barn Balm
makes three 1 oz tins
  • 2 Tablespoons bee wax pellets or shavings
  • 1 Tablespoon Shea butter
  • 1 Teaspoon lanolin (use the one formulated for breastfeeding mothers)
  • 2 Teaspoons extra virgin coconut oil
  • 1/2 Teaspoon honey
  • 6 drops Roman Chamomile essential oil
Add all the ingredients but the essential oil to a double broiler or small metal or glass bowl that fits over the edge of a saucepan filled with water and turn the heat on medium.

Once everything is melted turn off the heat add the essential oil and mix then remove from stove.

Pour immediately into tin or tubes to set.

Let set in the refrigerator for 1 hour and then use as needed!

It works really well at trapping in the moisture and healing the raw skin. It made my lips so soft!
Like I mentioned before if it is too firm for your liking you can melt it down again and add some extra coconut oil to make it softer.

As summer comes to an end it is time to prepare for the new season and good times ahead. Happy fall to you and yours!

                                                              The Farmer in the Dell

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

To My Dear Daughters

My girls, this world is not always going to be kind to you. In fact it may not even be the people themselves that hurt you but the ideas and thoughts that are commonly accepted. I spent so much of my youth running after "perfection" that at one point it consumed me physically and spiritually. I had wasted my body away and it was a mirror to my spirit. I was hungry for the acceptance and the love I thought I wanted. No one could tell me I was wrong, my heart was hard, no one could change my mind. The pain of rejection is fierce, it can tear you apart and leave you valunrable and weak. I felt in control of my body and my life but I was not in control, thankfully someone else was. 

Someone else who doesn't look at how skinny your waist is or if you have a thigh gap. Who will not require you to have flawless skin and perfect hair in order to spend time with you. He will see you for who you are and the spirit that you have cultivated through the trials you have faced. Because you see my dear girls, we are not merely human, we are spirit too. We long to feel loved and accepted by someone special. It is wired into each one of us to desire companionship, and spiritual connection.

My dears let me tell you every man, no matter how perfect you may believe he is, will disappoint you. He will not be able to meet all your needs and desires, he may even hurt you deeply and not even know. This is because he was not the one who was made satisfy your soul and bring you continual joy, there is someone else.

While I was trying so hard to show how I was what he wanted, there was someone who knew that I was what HE wanted. He was patiently waiting till I would see His love, the same love I was longing for, a love that was not skin deep but soul filling. Sure I knew He was there the whole time but I didn't want to let go of my idea of perfect, I didn't want to love Him because that would mean I would have have to give up controlling my own life. It was too scary, the pain and disappointment hurt but they were familiar and I knew what to expect. So I resisted. I resisted until I realized that I couldn't sustain life like this, it was going to be hospitalization or death, and that was not what I wanted the end of my story to be. No it was a new beginning.

 I had grown up knowing of this love and I had said I had excepted it but I had become drawn into wanting something different, something I thought would be better, more tangible. Girls it is a terrible lie and do not believe that you can find or make happiness for yourself. While you may feel happy for a while it does not last and leaves you feeling even more empty than before. The only love that sets hearts free is the love of the one who made you, the one who sees into your heart, knows your every thought and longs for you to experience true joy and security of being close to Him.

Dear daughters only Jesus can be there for you all the time. He never changes, He is perfect, He is always faithful, He will never fail and His promises are true. You can cast all your cares on him because He cares. He has loved you since He thought you up. You will never be able to have a relationship with anyone else with these qualities. Don't throw away valuable time by pouring your heart and soul into empty promises this world puts in your way. Accept Jesus and throw yourself wholeheartedly into Him, He will change your life. It will be scary, it will be uncomfortable at times but stay close to Him, wrap your heart and mind in His words and Joy comes in the morning!

I love you so much, but Jesus loves you more! Things in this world just do not not compare and it has taken me this long to see what lies they are. I am seeing more clearly every day. Do not let the lies rob you of the vibrancy and joy of your youth. Become a friend of Jesus, love Him and immerse yourself in His words for there you will find life and true love!
In love and prayer
                               Your Mother,
                                                                  The Farmer in the Dell

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

What I Needed the Most

I feel like everything in my life right now is pointing to one thing, I am worn out. It is a busy time of year for a farming family, the harvest is in and the workers are few. I have two busy toddlers and a new baby to take care of, a house to keep and bills that still need paid. Life is happening and I am trying to keep up with the pace but it is leaving me exhausted. This is not a new phenomenon, I keep telling myself that I can get through this. I am getting to do what I love every day, take care of my family, however I am finding it is leaving me drained. Why?

I discovered the root of my problem while I was spending a few moments before bed reading a book for a group I am part of. We are reading Own Your Life by Sally Clarkson and the portion we were discussing was exactly what I needed the most right now. I needed to make time to refresh my soul.

Sometimes as a mother I feel like I can pour myself out continually, day after day and see very few breaks. I start to run out of time, motivation, strength and purpose. I start putting things on the back burner in order to get by day to day. I don't know about you but most of the stuff that gets put off is personal time and activities.

At first this sacrifice feels good. Putting family and your children first is the right thing to do so inevitably it keeps happening. Something else starts happening too, patience doesn't last as long, energy starts to dwindle and the days seem very long and they all run together. I love my children and family but the smallest things start to drive me crazy. Why is this? Because my soul is drained and needs replenished.

An image for this is a large cup; if it is empty it needs to be filled before it can spill over.  You will not be able to bless those around you if you are not full yourself. For Christ to pour out of your very being you must be soaked through with His word and spirit. This doesn't occur by chance but through well invested, regular time in His presence. I had stopped spending part of my day studying Him, and meditating on His words and the end result was I was empty. I now make a habit to take little parts of my day and have a couple 10 minute mini devotions. I had taken it out of my schedule because I never felt like I could get a good 30-45 minuets in. Now I enjoy the pick-me-ups throughout the day.

I also remembered how soul filling music is for me. My children check my happiness meter by how much/what I am singing. So I started putting music on at lunch time so we could all enjoy it. Both of the older two love to make music and sing so I believe this fills their souls too.

Closely related to that is dance. If you have never been a dancer or danced before this probably will not mean much to you. There is nothing quite the same as hearing a beautiful piece of music and dancing with all you have in you. David danced before the Lord and became a fool in the eyes of his wife but he told her,"I will become even more undignified than this!" He understood the fullness of the dance. Once you feel that, a part of you will always long to dance. I still have not found a good way to express this with 3 little ones but I soon hope to again.

It is important in our busy lives that we make time to fill ourselves up with Christ. Weather it is in the beauty of nature, the majesty of song, the joy of dance, the peace of His presence, artistry of a lovingly prepared meal, or the gifting of skillful hands. Each person is different and communicates and feels differently.  If you take time to evaluate yourself you will know what fills your soul and lifts your spirit. When life dries you up and leaves you feeling empty what you may need the most is to give yourself permission to enjoy the life God has blessed you with.

                                                              The Farmer in the Dell

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Stevia Extract

Now that my 6 weeks postpartum period is ending I am realizing that I have to start doing some things that I have been putting off. I actually really love the first 6 weeks after having a baby. It is one of the only times where I give myself permission to take life easy, put things on hold and enjoy meeting my new family member. About this time after having my babies I usually start doing a structured workout, more cooking and saving those freezer meals for the crammed days were I really can't handle one more thing.

One of those "things" I have not been keeping up with is my herb garden. Right now watering plants is the last on my list of things to do and it often just doesn't happen. Because to be honest I am still adjusting to having three children, three and under, in our home. This week I also started to cloth diaper Eliora too, so now between potty training Boaz and changing the two in cloth, I feel like if I make meals the day is a success!

We are working on getting into a good routine so we can get back to doing more educational/fun things. Right now that includes how to harvest and make stevia extract! Not the usual preschool activity, but it can be fun and educational all the same.

So we all went out to harvest my stevia plant before it shrived up and died like my poor basil did :(  Anyway we picked all of the leaves off the plant and gave them a good rinse, because I found out the flies like this plant too and we wouldn't want that in our extract!

Next we put them in the dehydrator overnight at 95 degrees to crisp them up. You could sun dry them instead if you don't have a dehydrator. Mine were almost dried when I took them off. See benefits of not watering, I save on electricity!

Now I just cram them into a quart jar, lightly crushing them down till it is full. Cover the crushed leaves with vodka and let it set for 24-36 hours on the counter.

Strain out the leaves from the vodka and bottle or if you don't want the alcohol in it you can put the liquid in a sauce pan and cook off the alcohol. DO NOT BOIL IT! That will make the extract bitter/less sweet. Cook it for 15-30 min on low. Then store in a dark glass container in the refrigerator for future use.

You can also grind the dried leaves into a powder and use it for quick breads, coffee, tea or smoothies where the green color will not make it look unappetizing.

My mother makes a wonderful iced tea using the whole dried leaf. It is the perfect touch of sweet in my opinion.
  • Set one gallon of water in a pot to boil with 3-4 tea bags and enough dried whole stevia leaves to cover the top of the water. 
  • Bring the water to the point right before it boils but do not boil the tea bags. 
  • Turn the heat off, remove the tea bags and cover. 
  • Let it set till the tea has cooled on the stove top then strain off the stevia leaves and cool in the refrigerator.
We like using stevia to sweeten up things in the kitchen without adding empty calories or feeding bacterial yeast over growth in the body. It is fun and rewarding to harvest your own "sugar" in your back yard!
                                                                The Farmer in the Dell