Thursday, May 31, 2012

Homemade Health Virtual Blog Tour

homemade health
I just received my reviewers copy of Homemade Health by my dear friend Anke Bialas and it is fabulous folks! A must have for any herbal bookshelf. I will be giving you a review on June 8th, (with a little herbal giveaway for those of you who comment). On June 22nd, Anke will do a guest blog here on making a still room book for you and your future generations! I can’t tell you how excited I am about it! I will be drawing a name from those of you who comment on that day for a free copy of this wonderful new book, Homemade Health. Follow this link to find the other places on the net who are also hosting this virtual book tour. They include more reviews, question and answer posts, and a radio interview, and a book signing event!
Sorry I haven’t been blogging lately folks. Been very busy working with the bees, creating new herb garden spaces and sprucing up the gardens here at Comfrey Cottages! Besides, the children are out of school for the summer, so been a bit busy with them.
One project has been to refinish some old, rusted, beat up metal lawn furniture I found/bought several years back. I still have two chairs and a double glider to finish but here is the two I have done
I will catch up with you all soon! In the meantime, Amazon is now selling Anke’s book, Homemade Health, and I suggest you get over there and get your copy today!
Herbal and Honey hugs to all who visit Comfrey Cottages xx

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Goodreads Book Giveaway – Homemade Health by Anke Bialas

My dear friend Anke Bialas, author of Homemade Health, Making Herbal Remedies and owner of Herbology, is giving away 5 copies of her new book, Homemade Health on Good Reads! Pop on over and enter to win!
homemade health
Homemade Health is a collection of home remedies straight from a time, not so long ago, when people went to their garden or kitchen pantry before going to a doctor.
Some tried and true, some quirky, but all based on natural remedies your grandmother knew and most likely used on a regular basis.
  • Healing properties of common culinary herbs
  • 43 common ailments
  • 160+ remedies with recipes
  • Common & botanical names
  • Harvesting & preserving
  • Making herbal remedies at home
Herbal traditions run in Anke Bialas' blood. She spent her childhood learning traditional Germanic herb lore from her paternal grandmother, who learned from her own mother before her. Anke now lives in Brisbane, Australia with her husband and 3 boys where she continues to teach about herb use on, reconnecting people with old world health traditions. Anke focuses on simple, effective remedies with an emphasis on common sense and safety.
The book is available for pre order on Amazon also!
Herbal and Honey Hugs to all who visit Comfrey Cottages xx

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Healing Herbs and Spice – Free for your kindle!

Hurry why the offer is free! Delivered to your kindle, or Amazon’s free kindle for your pc ( a free download). Follow this link! If you don't own a kindle go to this page and download a free kindle for you pc, mac, or other device:)
This looks like an amazing book and offer, folks. The recipes sound delicious! Food as medicine is the best:)
Don’t these sound amazing?
(from the amazon page)
Here Are Just A Few Of The Recipes You Will Find Inside:
Healthy Banana Spice Muffins
Anise Squash Soup
Lemon Caraway Broccoli
Cardamom Chicken Stew
Celery Seed Dressing
Cashew Cilantro Couscous
Cinnamon Maple Squash
Fennel Cookies
Roasted Garlic Soup
healthy Ginger Cookies
Horseradish Cheese & Dill Omelet
Microwave Lemon Balm Pudding
Licorice Root Tea
Baked Squash And Apples
Roasted Shrimp With Marjoram
Mint & Ginger Haddock
Mustard Potato Salad
Cauliflower Nutmeg Soup
Spicy Banana Bread
Caramelized Onion Quiche
Lemon Garlic Chicken with Oregano
Paprika BBQ Rub
Lemon Rosemary Salmon
Spicy Chocolate Cookies
Saffron Rice
Slow Cooker Pork and Apples
Savory Green Beans
Tarragon Cranberry Chicken Salad
Lemon Thyme Rice
Butternut Squash and Vanilla Bean Soup
Herbal and Honey Hugs to all who visit Comfrey Cottages xxx

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

4th Bee Swarm, Rose Cutting Update and Birthdays!

It seems the honey worked well as the rooting medium I talked about earlier. It feels as if it is rooting and we have a bloom!
GEDC7848a And look to the right. I found an European Ginger plant at a garden club sale. Anyone want to tell me about the care, growing and uses of this plant, I would appreciate it:)
Last night we had a joint birthday party for my daughter Michelle, whose birthday was Saturday, and my grandson Breven, whose birthday was yesterday. He turned 11. Happy Birthday Breven! I love you! Sorry the pictures didn’t turn out too good:(
GEDC7827a I made Michelle’s cake in the shape of a daisy, her favorite flower
GEDC7826 Last night my husband Gerald brought me home flowers from a Catalpa tree! Aren’t they gorgeous? And heavenly scented! How sweet he is!
And today, I got a phone call about another swarm. This gentleman took my camera and took some pictures of me catching it! Gerald was home so he helped me by bringing the big ladder and steadying it for me
And my hubby helping me! Glad he held the ladder as it was the tall one!
gerald When I got the call to retrieve this swarm, I went to the bee house to get my equipment together and I had noticed that the 2nd swarm I caught, hive looked very quiet, so I suited up and checked and sure enough, they had left! Guess they weren’t happy at Comfrey Cottages! lol! Worked out fine though, as I just hived this one in their box. Hopefully they will like it here. The first swarm is still industrious and seems quite settled, and Eric says the third swarm we hived seems happy at his house. Gotta run now. Someone called about another swarm while I was creating this post!
Herbal and Honey Hugs to all who visit Comfrey Cottages xxx

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Her Majesty’s English Tea Room at Fairchild’s and Third Bee Swarm!

Thirty three years ago, I gave birth to the most beautiful baby girl! Today my brother Eric and I took her to Her Majesty’s English Tea Room at Fairchild’s in Dunlap, Illinois, to celebrate her birthday.
michellebdaytaxi Not only is it a delightful tea room, but it also is a beautiful store to shop at, with many wonderful things and darling decorations. This was a taxi and one of the teas party’s they offer, can actually be served in the taxi! We are considering that for Michelle’s birthday next year. More pictures of the taxi…
Eric had a dream come true, and got to pose with Prince William and Kate.. (look at that adorable little flower fairy apron in the foreground!)
GEDC7717The tea, itself, was delicious and the presentation was gracious and elegant. Michelle and I had lovely tiara’s and Eric had a coronet.
At the end of our wonderful tea, Michelle was presented with a meringue cake and a little singing bear:)
GEDC7794Happy Birthday Michelle! I love you  so very much!
We also stopped at a plant nursery and saw some gorgeous things and sweet fairy gardens, but I will save those for a different post and share about the swarm instead! We had no sooner than got home and I got a call to come get a swarm. I called Eric, who is crazy and helped catch this swarm in his flip flops, shorts and sleeveless shirt, (see I have been telling you swarms are gentle!).  The hive had been in this guys tree but he had thrown firecrackers and I suspect other things from the amount of injured bees on the ground when we got there. Anyway, the bees had came and settled on his table umbrella and it took us awhile to figure out the queen was on the inside of the umbrella!
When we got the hive to Eric’s house and reopened it to put in the rest of the frames, the bees were making a bridge between the frames we had in there. I thought you might enjoy seeing this phenomenon.
                             Eric and the new hive!!
GEDC7825 Herbal and Honey Hugs to all who visit Comfrey Cottages xx

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Making Rose Cream, Second Swarm and Stray Kitty

I am following my dear friend Lucinda’s instruction for making this rose cream. I decided an infused herbal oil would be nicest. I used the double infusion method. First I put a generous amount of dried fragrant rose petals in the top pot of the double boiler, poured sweet almond oil over it to cover, lidded it and let it slow simmer over a flame for two hours. I strained this, and then added the rose infused oil back into the pot, more dried rose petals, and again, slow simmered it, lidded, for another two hours. Strained, and now I have a nice, fragrant, double infused rose sweet almond oil. Please refer to Lucinda’s post for complete instructions, I will just show you pictures of mine and give you the proportions I used :)
     Melting beeswax and oils together. I used 6 ounces of double rose infused sweet almond oil, 3 ounces of coconut oil and 3 tablespoons of melted beeswax.
              and pour them into my blender
              I allowed them to cool till they began to solidify
GEDC7612  then the blender is turned on slow blend and the floral water and glycerin is dribbled in and it is all blended gently. I used 8 and 1/2 ounces of rosewater, 1 tablespoon of glycerin, and 3 drops of Rose Otto that dear Lucinda had shared with me:) I didn’t add more as the type of rose water I used is very, very fragrant, as was the double rose infused sweet almond oil.
GEDC7614a GEDC7615a This recipe made 4 6oz jars of luscious rose cream:) Heavenly!
Now, my daughter had came over for lunch before I started the rose cream project. While she was in the back yard giving our dog Thor a treat, she saw a stray cat sitting outside Thor’s enclosure right next to Max the Duck! When she spoke to the cat, it ran though. While I was waiting for the oils in the blender to cool, I looked out the window and saw the cat on on patio. It ran when I went outside, but came back to eat when I put out food. Must be spring, we always find stray kitties in the spring:(
I took this picture through the window. We will see if I can gentle him/her down then go about trying to find out if it is a lost kitty or one who needs a home… sigh
GEDC7611 I was just getting ready to try out my new cream when the phone rang. Someone had a swarm of bees they wanted removed! So off I went! This was a nice big swarm and very easy to remove as it was so low down on a small magnolia tree, the bottom of the swarm was on the ground.
The lady didn’t want me to cut the branch, which would have been easiest, so I slip a piece of cardboard under the swarm and then lifted the branch up, slid in an empty brood box and gave the branch a good whack so that the swarm would fall in. An easy catch!
My wonderful hubby Gerald was home when I got the hive back to my house and he hurried and put together my lid that was only partially put together! I feel like such a split personality in the spring! Should I garden, make herbal creations, wild forage, or work on bee equipment!? lol! I think I better work on more bee equipment since now I have increased from one to three hives in just a week!
GEDC7622a My daughter Michelle and I were talking tonight that we should paint a box robin egg blue and re-hive this new swarm later in it.  Then we would have pink, yellow and blue:) We are thinking it would be a fun time to have the kids paint different things on them too:)
GEDC7623 The pink hive is the oldest hive and its boxes are more than ready for fresh paint! The yellow hive is the swarm I got last week. When I caught it, I had to put the branch it was on in the hive and so I still needed to remove that branch and insert the rest of the frames. When I opened it I found they had started building their own comb on the inner hive in that empty spot that had no frames, so I had to remove those
I just took my hive tool and gently ran it along the inner cover lid, (that is the piece with the oblong cut out hole in it), and removed the comb they had built. You can see how that comb fit right into the slot where I had left the branch and not put in frames. After removing that comb I then put in enough frames to complete the hive. This is how pretty and pure their comb looks that I removed
GEDC7629 I then reopened the new swarm’s hive to complete putting in it’s full amount of frames
So, last weeks hive looks good and strong and has settled right in and is storing pollen and nectar and this new swarm looks very strong so fingers crossed it likes its new home too and starts building up quickly. The old pink hive is very, very strong and so I think that I might be making my first split from it soon!
To top of the day Michelle and I took a 2 1/4 mile walk around Lakeland so now I am off to get cleaned up and finally try out my new cream! :)
Honey and Herbal Hugs to all who visit Comfrey Cottages xxx

The Beltane Issue of the Pooka Pages is Ready!

We do look forward to the Pooka pages! This new issue, to celebrate Beltane, is just loaded with fun ideas to share with your little ones. There are stories, crafts, and ideas to explain the moon phases using oreo cookies! I can’t wait to make fairy houses with the children following the easy, cute instructions in this issue! We have several elder trees growing and these fairy trees would be the perfect spot to put them! Follow this link for the 2012 issue and this link for the 2011 issue with more stories, crafts, coloring pages and fun , in case you missed it! It had lots of fun ideas and great stories we can revisit also:)
pookaherbgarden Herbal and Honey Hugs to all who visit Comfrey Cottages xx