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What the New Year Brings

Happy New Year Everyone!!

I hope the new year brings you joy and peace.

Today I thought I would share with you the life and times of living on a homestead.

We have been experiencing some very cooold weather here in Florida. Days only in the 40's and nights in the 20's. One thing we had to do is make sure the animals were warm enough to endure the weather. Keeping shelters covered and full of hay, straw and food. All of them look like they are living in a luxury condo with Tempurpedic "like" beds and food at their disposal. But, one thing I notice is, when it gets cold wild animals and birds seem to look for prey more often. We see more hawks and buzzards around. The chickens had their run in with them, leaving them fully aware of what might happen so they are always keeping a look out. They have a special bird call for danger, the entire flock, run and hide. But there is another predator I completely forgot that we could have out here and that's coyotes.

My neighbor saw me outside tending to the animals this morning and he so thoughtfully told me when he came home last night he saw 3 coyotes on our side of the fence. I was wondering why his car was facing our yard. He normally parks sideways. He must have flashed his headlights at them, scaring them away. I thanked him for telling me and wished him a great day, then proceeded to look for ways to secure our livestock.

Joe was at a meeting in Gainesville so I was anxious for him to get home so we could put our heads together and come up with some ideas. Then, I remembered the gate the neighbor so kindly gave us for a very good price and I put it in front of the goats pen, where it fit perfectly. The pig pen just needed a pallet in front of it to secure them in at night. The chickens are already in an electrical fence around a tightly secure coop. So I think they should be secure from all predators.

One of the other issues the cold brought were trees limbs that fell. Ice from the rain the night before weighed them down and one hit the side of the house and another hit the car. Praise God no damage was done. So today, while Joe was at his meeting I went out with my reciprocating saw ( the second power tool I learned how to use) and cut up some tree limbs enabling me to move them out of the way.

He would be so proud!

One must understand, Joe and I come from American Indian Heritage. Cherokee on my side and Blackfoot on his. Both tribes have an "Indian way of life" where the husband kills the buffalo and the wife, makes a house, clothes, food and medicine out of it while maintaining the land. We fell into these roles like it is in our blood from the first day we met and have been working together like this ever since. But when there is heavy lifting and bigger power tools to be used or something major that needs to be done, that is when Joe takes over.

As a part native american I have been taught to value my environment. That plants are "helpers". For example, The pine trees that fell can help us a number of ways.

In terms of medicinal benefits, pine needles, cones, bark, and resin all hold medicinal qualities, as well as the pine essential oil that can be extracted. The innermost bark can be dried and eaten and is valued for its high nutrient content, while the needles can be brewed into a popular tea that has a number of beneficial qualities.​

I love pine needle tea, it gives you 4-5 times more vitamin C than an orange, boosting your immune system and its free.

Years ago, the soldiers asked the Native Americans, why they were not dying like their men from scurvy (Vitamin C deficiency), the Indians pointed to the pine needles and showed them how to prepare it. The rest of the soldiers survived.

Here is how you make it:

Not all pine needles are the same, you have to make sure they have 3 or more long needles to a stem. Caution: pregnant women should not ingest most parts of any pine tree

Boil some water, clean needles thoroughly, cut off the brown ends and you can chop of the needles or place them in the water like below.

Let boil for at least 2 mins. Drink a cup 3-4 times a day as you like.

The link above is one of many that will tell you the benefits of pine needle tea and other parts of the pine tree.

This is a great tea for winter to keep colds and flu away.

Another thing I like to do with pine needles is make baskets. I have plenty of those to make as many as I like.

I need a little practice on the stitching but it is a fun hobby.

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Have a Blessed New Year!