2014 Sky Scarf

Sky Scarf Gift Kit

Sky Scarf Gift Kit

One of our Christmas gifts to our older daughter this year was a Sky Scarf Kit.  Have you ever seen a sky scarf?  They are just beautiful when finished.  For every day of the year you knit a row or two of the color(s) of the sky for that day.  One could also crochet it but our seven year old knows how to knit so we are making the knitted version.  Tomorrow we will start our beautiful little project and by the end of the year we’ll have a finished project to show you.  Happy New Year.  Are you planning any knew projects for 2014?

Yarn Bunting Extraordinaire!

Beautiful Crochet Bunting from Attic 24

Beautiful Crochet Bunting from Attic 24

Recently I was perusing art posts on Facebook and came across a feast for the eyes and soul.  “Yarndale 2013 :: The Yarndale Bunting”  Apparently inspired by a knitting and stitching show put on by “Women’s Weekly” magazine a blogger/artist named Lucy  set out to create a little of the spectacular creation of her own and well let’s say… now I’m inspired as well!  For the full story from Lucy herself go on over to her blog.  She has some amazing photos and it’s a very sweet story.  Attic 24

Neem Oil

Neem tree

Image source: Real Farmacy

I have you ever heard of Neem Oil before?  It’s an natural organic product that can act as a pesticide without harming beneficial insects, pets or people.  I found this great American based business called, Neem Tree Farms in Florida that sells all kinds of  Neem products to use in your organic gardening as well as health supplements and even the trees themselves.

Neem is used throughout India and the rest of Asia as a remedy for a multitude of ailments.  It’s used for everything ranging from digestive issues to anti viral.  I wonder if this is a tree worth planting in the garden?   They are evergreen trees that can grow quite large so they may not be for every yard.  But if you have the space it’s definitely a consideration. Check out Neem Tree Farms for an American based business that sells Neem plants, and products.  They also have a lot of great information about the benefits of Neem

Having said all that, I wanted to share the article that first got me interested in learning more about Neem.  It was this great article on Real Farmacy.  Check it out for even more information on the benefits of gardening with Neem.  It’s a very informative site.

“How does it kill pest insects and not beneficial insects? Neem oil must be ingested for it to work, so only critters eating plants that have been sprayed will be affected. It’s not an instant “knock-down” effect like synthetic broad-spectrum pesticides, but it only takes a few hours and is just as effective if not more at preventing harmful pest infestations. When a pest larva ingests neem oil with the plant material, a compound called “azadirachtin” starts to act on the larva’s hormonal system and prevents it from molting to the next stage, resulting in death.”

via Neem Oil: The Wonder Spray of Organic Gardening | REALfarmacy.com | Healthy News and Information.

Considering Building a Cob House?

 

Grandpa Carl's Old Adobe House

Grandpa Carl’s Old Adobe House

The first house made of mud that I ever saw was the one my Grandfather Carl Romelsbacher built in a little town called Meridian California.   He and his father along with uncles cousins and friends farmed the land together.  By hand my grandfather built an adobe brick house some 60+ years ago to raise his little family and today it still stands.   It now sits vacant and it has been through floods, shot up by teenagers, baked in the many long hot summers in the Sacramento Valley and wet winters to boot.  Yet it still stands.  I think the idea of building with natural materials was inspired by my grandfather’s choice.  Someday I hope my husband to build us our own little house made of mud and so I frequently am drawn to books that describe the process.

BuildACobHouseRecently I was given a book called “Build A Cob House A Step-By-Step Guide” by Alex Sumerall.  It’s one of the most thorough books on how to build a cob house I have ever read.  It covers everything from Site Selection, Materials, Foundations, how to make cob to the actual building of walls and dealing with the whole issue of windows and doors.  One of the things I was happily surprised to see was that he also added a section on earthen floors.  When my husband was a young potter he actually helped his mentor to build house with an earthen floor and I am still dreaming of the day we will build our own little dream house with one.  I have several cob building books but this one has great detailed photos and instructions so I truly believe with the book and maybe a tip or two from somebody with experience really any of us could build a cob house.  If you’re interested in “Build A Cob House” or Alex’s other books and more instructions check them out on This Cob House

If you’re dreaming of building your own cob house I can’t recommend this book highly enough.  So what do you think?  Ready to get building?

 

Creative Farming with Joel Salatin

I first heard about Joel Salatin on the documentary “Food Inc.”.  What he says just makes so much sense to me.  What do you think?

“Organic is just the beginning: why stop there?” asks Joel Salatin, entrepreneur and owner of Polyface Farm in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, known for its unique approach to sustainable farming. His home-made inventions rely on creative problem-solving and hi-tech materials to gain the most wholesome use of his land and livestock. Featured in Food, Inc. and Omnivore’s Dilemma, Salatin sums it up with his latest book title–Folks, This Ain’t Normal: A Farmer’s Advice for Happier Hens, Healthier People, and a Better World.”

via Creative Farming – Inner Compass on Vimeo.

A Working Kitchen


Julia Child’s Kitchen in the Smithsonian

When did we go from functional and useful kitchens to kitchens that look more like art galleries?

Perhaps when we started eating out more frequently?  I’m inspired by Julia Child’s working kitchen.  I wonder if there will be a turn back to making our meals more beautiful than our kitchens?  I hope so.

photo credit: David Tsay

 

Homemade Organic Hemp Milk

We’ve been drinking almond milk and trying a variety of other nut milks for the past several years after our oldest daughter was diagnosed with a severe milk allergy.  My biggest complaint about almost all of the commercial nut milks is that they contain carrageenan.  Dr. Andrew Weil suggests to eliminate it from our diets stating:

“Findings from animal studies and a review of the scientific literature showed that degraded forms of carrageenan can cause ulcerations and cancers of the gastrointestinal tract.”

When I started looking at ingredients on product labels for it I was shocked at just how many foods contain it.  Did you know that most supermarket rotisserie chickens have carrageenan listed as one of their ingredients?  It’s primarily used as a thickening agent or emulsifier and is made from a substance extracted from red and purple seaweeds, consisting of a mixture of polysaccharides.  So basically any processed food with a creamy texture I now question.  I wonder why they don’t use something like chia seeds instead?  

So on my path to find healthy alternatives I came across this recipe for homemade hemp milk from Nourishing Meals.  I’ve read that hemp seeds are the only edible seeds that contain the amino acid, GLA. Hemp milk is rich in protein and contains omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, vitamins A, E, B-12 and folic acid.  It is also rich in magnesium, potassium, iron and magnesium.  Another essential benefit is that it has anti-inflammatory agents and improves circulation.  So why not give hemp milk a try?

Homemade Organic Hemp Milk Recipe:

“1/2 cup shelled organic hemp seeds

3 cups filtered water

1 tablespoon organic maple syrup

pinch sea salt

Place all ingredients into a high-powered blender and blend for 60 to 90 seconds or until ultra smooth. Place a nut milk bag into a large jar or pitcher and pour hemp milk through the bag, squeezing out the milk, and leaving the pulp behind. I compost the leftover pulp. Store your hemp milk in the fridge for 3 to 4 days. Use it in recipes wherever milk is called for. Source: www.NourishingMeals.com”

 

via The Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen: Homemade Hemp Milk.