Why I have bought this book *FOUR TIMES* already …

Once in a while, you get your hands on a book that becomes vital to your home library. Prescription for Nutritional Healing is just that book for me.

I first purchased this book soon after the 3rd Edition was released in early 2000. I used it to treat common illnesses in my family, to address concerns during pregnancies, and to double-check my initial instincts when it came to treating a variety of injuries or illnesses. I often received questions from friends regarding their health and felt a measure of reassurance when PNH corroborated my opinion.

This book is a fabulous reference! I can easily search for any condition and find lists of what is considered Essential, Very Important, Important, and Helpful to treat or prevent that condition. There is a more in-depth discussion section for each condition, as well, if I feel I need more information. I find the quick reference list to be a fabulous tool.

Sometime around 2008, an employee who worked for my husband experienced a worsening of her Lupus symptoms and was concerned about the direction that conventional medicine was taking her in. I had no familiarity with Lupus so rather than offer any advice, I instead offered my book for her to read. After a few months, she returned it to my husband and he forgot it in a drawer at work. Sometime after that, when I asked that he please bring it home as I needed it, he discovered it had gone. It’s possible that the employee, who had recently been forced to stop working due to her declining health, assumed that we were disinterested in the book and took it home. No matter how it happened, I no longer had my book.

In 2010, my husband’s job ended due to the “economic downturn” that was affecting the entire nation. We made the decision to move to the property we’d bought next to my parents, and packed our big family into a tiny, 2-bedroom trailer. While many of our books were put into storage, several hundred were packed into the trailer with us, stacked wherever we could put them because there wasn’t enough room for bookcases to hold them all.

During this time, I purchased a second copy of PNH. We were on a terribly tiny budget and being able to address medical issues at home rather than at the doctor’s office was of utmost importance. I referred to the book when needed, and it lived in a stack of books the rest of the time.

That stack of books was along an outside wall.
An outside wall that had an undiscovered leak.
Then it stormed for two weeks straight.
And many of our books were ruined by water damage and mold.

This resulted in the loss of hundreds upon hundreds of dollars worth of books which we could not hope to replace on the tiny budget we were living on. I noted the important titles and we disposed of them. We moved to a new home in June of 2017 and we are still clearing things from the trailer. This means we are still finding water damage that we didn’t know about, and still discovering damage to furnishings and other belongings. It has been heart-breaking.

We have now settled into our new home and one of my first book purchases was a third copy of PNH. But I did not receive what I expected!

That little book is laying on top of a full-sized copy of Prescription for Herbal Healing — a book that I have not yet delved deeply into, but it appears to be as excellent a reference as the 3rd edition of PNH has been.

But that tiny copy of PNH is not at all what I was looking for. There is no index of conditions with lists of what is Essential, Very Important, Important, and Helpful.

And that is why I bought PNH for the fourth time. I find the small version, which I linked above but do not recommend, to be nearly useless to me in comparison to the bigger 3rd edition.

This time I got a ring-bound edition and I love it! I highly recommend opting for that if it’s available when you make your purchase. You can also take your book to certain office supply stores and have them do the ring binding for you.

If you are serious about taking control of your health, or about seeking more natural prevention and treatment of conditions, then Prescription for Nutritional Healing is a must-have in your library.

I’m expanding my library! I would love recommendations for more books similar to PNH. Please comment with title suggestions and why you find them vital to your home library. I’m sure my husband will be super pleased to fund my book addiction based on your suggestions. 😉

A taste of world travel in our tiny town …

My husband and I braved the bitter cold earlier this week to visit the little town nearest our home. There is a sizable Polish immigrant community in this town of less than 950 people and it’s common to overhear folks carrying on conversations in Polish. We visited a little downtown deli where they have pottery and groceries for sale that originate in Poland. I couldn’t resist picking up a few small items.

It was great fun to come home and play a guessing game with our family as to what each item is. Some were fairly obvious and others, not so much! Google Translate was generally a great help.

Przyprawa Do Leczo was a mystery to all of us. The photo suggests a peppers-based broth. As I typed in the first word, Google Translate said “relish” but then switched to “spice for” as I entered the second word. When I added Leczo, it came up with “Spice for Leczo”. Not very helpful! The ingredients include salt, paprika, onion, tomato powder, garlic, and more. Any directions that might be present on the back are covered by a label that won’t peel away. I’m going to give this a whirl in a soup soon and see how it tastes.

Papryka Slodka Mielona seems fairly straightforward. It must be a type of Paprika! Google Translate says “Sweet Ground Pepper”. The ingredients simply say Sweet Peppers. I’m in Wisconsin so this belongs in chili.

Kurkuma Mielona immediately brought up guesses of Curcumin and Turmeric. Google Translate said “Turmeric Ground” so we nailed that one.

The green packet looked to be a tea or coffee; no one hazarded a guess as to which. The first question was which word(s) is the company name and which is the product type. Kawa Zbozowa translates to Cereal Coffee. Fascinating! The ingredients include roasted rye, barley, chicory, and sugar beet. It looks like we need to add 4 Tablespoons to a liter of water. I don’t know if this can be used in a conventional US coffee maker. As expected, Kujawianka has no translation, and must be the manufacturer.




These are pictured as cookies, so our question was what the flavor profiles may be. It smells like spiced cookies. Katarzynki translates to Catherine so we think that may be a common name for this type of cookie. None of the other words were much help, either. It was then that I spied tiny little white words across the bottom front. Torunski Pierniki! They are Gingerbread cookies!

Finally we have Serca Torunskie. These heart-shaped cookies are visible through the packaging. It translates to “Torun Hearts”. Legendarny Smak is “Legendary Taste”. The word Lukrowane means glacé which makes sense since the cookies have a sugary glaze.

We had great fun choosing these little grocery items and will enjoy working them into our pantry. I look forward to popping into the Polish Deli again soon.

Our 2018 Homestead Goals

My homesteading goals for 2018 are fairly basic because we’ve only been on this property for a few months and we have very little infrastructure in place.

1. Finish the pantry: We have a large family but our kitchen pantry is only about 3′ x 3′ x 6′ and that isn’t sufficient for keeping more than a few days’ worth of food. We’ve gone through blizzards, floods, and job loss so I know how important it can be to have sufficient food on hand. We have a space in the basement where we will be building shelving units. The lowest shelves on each unit will be made with hardware cloth, mainly for potato storage. I like the design that Jeremy and Jaime of Guildbrook Farm used at their former homestead, as seen in this video, so that will be my basic plan for this.

2. Build the raised beds: We’re planning on building 4′ x 4′ raised beds. We already have cedar siding panels to use as the sides and I plan to cut 4″ x 4″ posts for the corner bracing. I haven’t decided if I should put weed barrier on the bottoms, leave them open, or even spread billboard tarps under them like I saw Doug of Off Grid with Doug and Stacy do in a recent video. Suggestions?

3. Build the chicken coop: We want to have a minimum of 10 – 15 hens on the homestead, just to supply eggs for our family. First we need to build a coop. We plan to have the birds confined, with plenty of wood chips on the ground. All kitchen scraps plus scratch and corn will be tossed on top of the wood chips. Twice a year the wood chips come out and spend six months resting before being put on the garden beds. I am open to design ideas! I’d like to incorporate some of the old cedar siding so the coop matches the raised beds. I’m sure someone will comment suggesting that we allow the birds to range freely. We have too many predators here. Someday I’ll write about chasing a wolf out of my front yard. 😉

Although the original Steemit Challenge Contest post seemed to suggest choosing just one resolution, I have shared three because these must, must, must be done by late Spring 2018. There is still time to participate! Pop over to the post and learn how to enter.

The Top Five Heirloom Seed Companies

Welcome to 2018!

The holiday season is behind us and the new year is ahead, so our thoughts turn to a release from Winter’s grip. We are looking forward to digging into the soil in the Spring. With that in mind, we are requesting seed catalogs from some of our favorite companies and we want to share them with you! A few companies no longer offer print catalogs, but their online selection is robust and easy to navigate.

Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds absolutely must be at the top of our list. We had great success with their Mortgage Buster tomato. We also appreciated their excellent search function and used it to search for state names in our region. This is a way to clue in on varieties that will grow well for us. Baker Creek carries one of the largest selections of seeds from the 19th century, including many Asian and European varieties. The company has become a tool to promote and preserve our agricultural and culinary heritage. The company and seeds have been featured in The New York Times, The Associated Press, Oprah Magazine, Martha Stewart, The Wall Street Journal, and many others. Gardeners can request a free color catalog. The catalogs now distribute to over 700,000 gardeners nationally.

I’ll be honest and say that I’ve purchased from other companies but I always go back to Baker Creek. However, here are some of the companies we’ve used and appreciated plus a couple of highly recommended providers that we have not yet tried.

High Mowing Seeds ~ High Mowing Organic Seeds began in 1996 with just 28 varieties, many of which originated in founder Tom Stearns’ backyard. Since then, the company has grown exponentially, and what started as a one-man operation is now a thriving business making available to home gardeners and commercial growers over 600 heirloom, open-pollinated and hybrid varieties of vegetable, fruit, herb and flower seed. True to their roots, High Mowing Organic Seeds continues to grow many of the varieties we sell on their 40 acre farm, setting them apart from the majority of other seed companies.

Seed Savers Exchange ~ Seed Savers Exchange was founded in Missouri in 1975 by Diane Ott Whealy and Kent Whealy. Diane’s grandfather entrusted to them the seeds of two garden plants, ‘Grandpa Ott’s’ morning glory and ‘German Pink’ tomato. These seeds, brought by Grandpa Ott’s parents from Bavaria when they immigrated to Iowa in the 1870s, became the first two varieties in the collection. Diane and Kent went on to form a network of gardeners interested in preserving heirloom varieties and sharing seeds. Today, with 13,000 members and 20,000 plant varieties, Seed Savers Exchange makes its home on 890 scenic acres in Winneshiek County, Iowa, at Heritage Farm.

Victory Seed Company ~ VSC maintains their own farm and what seed they don’t raise, they obtain from a network of carefully selected growers. They then store the seed under controlled conditions until they are shipped out to you. The packaging, with an inner resealable bag, reflects how they work to maintain the viability of your seeds. They offer a good selection, reasonable prices, high quality open-pollinated and heirloom seeds.

Annie’s Heirloom Seeds ~ Annie’s has a wonderful history and you’d almost certainly enjoying reading it on their “About Us” page. Their varieties are grown and tested to ensure high germination rates and excellent produce. Julie (granddaughter to Annie) has spent years finding seed sources and buying the best so that she can support other small farmers. When a variety is difficult to find, she turns to raising it herself so she can preserve them for future generations.

I’m sure you can find many more heirloom seed producers through an internet search or by networking locally. I’ve confined myself to this list because I know and trust these companies. In addition, they all carry varieties that will work well for us here in Wisconsin.

Please leave a comment sharing your favorite sources for seeds.

Preparing for 2018 …

2018 is nearly upon us! Now that we’ve settled into our home and navigated the holiday season, our attention turns to the changes and improvements we want to make here in the coming months.  (Note:  My husband works in retail so this is a crazy busy season for him.  I realize that we’re still a few days away from the end of the holidays, but we can see the light at the end of the tunnel!)

FIRST: We’re building an overflow pantry. Our current pantry is a tiny closet space that holds less than two weeks of food. We’re expanding into a space in the basement. This will require building shelving units. Jaime at Guildbrook Farm has a great video on setting up a pantry and her shelf design is exactly what I’m looking for. If you’d like to see what we have in mind, watch their video entitled Start a 3 Week Prepper Food Pantry. You don’t need to be a “prepper” to see the value in having at least three weeks of food on hand at any given time.

SECOND: I’m going to be calling area tree service operations to see if we can get wood chips delivered for free. We have plenty of space for them to be delivered and I noticed an operation just a mile or two from us. We plan to use a modified Back to Eden method, primarily using wood chips to build a good base in our new raised bed gardens. The wood chips will also be used as a base layer in the new chicken coop.

THIRD: Way back in 2010 we purchased some used cedar siding. We’re finally going to put it to use for our raised garden beds. Each siding panel is eight feet long and we intend to cut them in half so we’ll have 4’x4′ beds. We’ll use 4″x4″ posts, cut to the same height as the siding panels, for the corner bracing. We should have enough siding to build plenty of raised beds as well as to side the chicken coop. Doug and Stacy of Off Grid with Doug and Stacy have a good video on building raised beds here: How to Build a Raised Bed. You really should check out their fabulous Facebook group.

FOURTH: Chickens, chickens, chickens! When we knew we would be moving, we reduced our flock. We also chose not to replace any of the hens in our aging flock. It was hard to visit our local Tractor Supply and listen to those peeping cuties without scooping up a box of them to bring home! As soon as Spring arrives, we’ll start building our new chicken coop. Due to the number of predators in our area, we’ll need to have an enclosed coop and run to keep the ladies safe. We’ll start them out with a layer of wood chips to scratch through and we plan to toss our kitchen scraps in for them, as well. This reduces our need to set aside an area for a composting bin as the hens will do a good job of this on their own. Each Fall we’ll remove the material to top off our raised beds, and we’ll give the girls a new layer of wood chips to scratch in. As long as they have enough to choose from, we’ll go through Sand Hill Preservation of Iowa again. It seems predators wiped out quite a few of their breeds this past year.

I’m sure other projects will pop up, but for now these are the major steps that we’re taking.