Cricket Song Farm

Cricket Song Farm

Friday, December 27, 2013

Mullein flower for earache

Many years ago I gathered seeds from a tall flower stock growing wild along side the bumpy, dirt road leading to our favorite fishing hole and planted the tiny seeds on the farm.  Mullein grows wild along most of the major roads here in the west.  It is a tall, striking plant that blooms in the summer.  The flowers are small and nondescript and bloom in secession along the tall stalk.  Gather the fresh flowers to make an infused oil for ear aches, and dry them for tea to help sooth a cough and clear up congestion.

We let mullein grow where ever it wants on our farm.  It is quite drought resistant, but enjoys frequent watering.

Gather 2 cups of mullein flowers.  Place in a quart jar and cover with 1 cup extra virgin olive oil.  Set in a sunny window for 1 week.  Shake often.  Strain our flowers.  Gather more flowers and pour the strained oil over top. Let steep another week in a sunny window.   Strain.  Bottle in dark glass bottles.   I keep this in the fridge.  For an ear ache, place several drops on a cotton ball.  Gently heat the mullein oiled cotton ball by placing it in on a hot stove cooking burner for several seconds.  Place in infected ear.  Use caution and do not burn your ear. Change every few hours.

another use:
----add beeswax to the oil infusion for a wonderful healing balm--------especially good for diaper rash

Dry the flowers on a large window screen out of direct sunlight.  Store in a dark glass container.  To 1 cup of boiling water add 2-4 tablespoons of crushed, dried, mullein flowers.  Let steep covered for 10 minutes.  Strain flowers and add lots of real honey and fresh lemon juice.  This is a bitter tea, but will help sooth the throat and clear congestion.  This tea has been used for thousands of years.  In addition to it's expectorant action, it has bactericidal proprieties that helps stop the muscle spasms that trigger coughs.  It is also good to use at the first signs of the flu.
The dried leaves may also be used, but you must strain the tea extremely well to remove the tiny hairs that grow on the leaves.

Disclaimer::  Please see your doctor for serious symptoms,    I'm just an ole granny who has found this to be beneficial for me and my family

growing along side the green house

the mullein is a biannual

it sends out large fuzzy leaves the first year

and produces a tall flower and seed stock the second year

Tuesday, December 24, 2013


While in Arizona visiting my son, his beautiful wife, and my adorable new little granddaughter, we had the opportunity to attend a showing of more than 150 nativity scenes from around the world.
On this CHRISTmas eve, I want to wish everyone hope, joy and peace.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

A new Sun Room

As you all know, I am not fortunate enough to be able to live at my farm  year round.  My landlords, who appreciate all thing homegrown have consented to let us build a sun room onto the south side of their house.  And so the work has begun.  It is a little late in the season to begin a project, but hopefully we can get all the cement poured before it starts freezing too hard.

this is what it looks like now
(started this post in  early November and now the ground is covered in snow)
the bushes will all be torn out so we can utilize the terraced
ground for a garden

windows from the restore, Habitat for Humanities

mixing bags and bags of cement

digging out the sod

 redwood  4x4's, supported by medal brackets in deep cement filled holes
will be the support for the windows
we will have a couple of days over Thanksgiving to work
(didn't happen) 
I will post more pictures as the project advances

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Hats, Hats, and more Hats

hand spun yarn just waiting to be plied and made into something wonderful

 bits and pieces of hand spun yarn
make unique one of a kind WARM hats

the hat in the fore ground is made of wool from my beautiful Jacob Sheep

 wash gently in cold water with mild soap

lay flat to dry

I had to have something to do the past few weeks while whiling away on the couch with nothing more to do than "being sicker than a dog."  I grabbed the big basket of hand spun yarn  and bits and pieces of other yarn, and begun to knit a hat for my teenage son.  Then I made a scarf to match the hat.  I get a little impatient knitting so I found a crochet hook and began to make another hat, and then another, and then yet another until I now have a pile of hats.
                                                  Now what do I do with all these hats?
  I will wrap a bow around them and give them as gifts to the ladies from my church that come every month to my home for a visit and  spiritual message.  I will take one to each of the women I visit each month and one for my beautiful neighbor that goes with me.
But I still have a few left.  Hum, I need to send one, no let's make two, to a couple of my "followers".
Leave me a comment of your family's favorite Holiday Tradition and I'll send along a hat to the traditions I want to incorporate into our family's Holiday Celebrations.  I'd like to get it mailed out before Christmas so leave your comment a.s.a.p.  (available for U.S. delivery only)
This stack of hats remind me of a childhood book that was given to me by my Grandmother called
                                           Caps for Sale.
                                                 Has anyone read that book?

Monday, December 16, 2013

Brushed my ratty, snarly, hair today

Well, it has been several weeks since I have brushed it regularly.  Been sicker than a dog, I debated if that term was appropriate and then heard it used on the evening news..  My knotted, ratty, scraggly hair has been sticking out all over the place, only washed every few days and I really didn't even care.  Who cares how you look when your  "sicker than a dog".  I'll spare you the details, but I finally ventured out today to the library to use the Internet to wish everyone a Blessed Thanksgiving and a Merry Christmas.  I ran a high fever (the beginning of being sicker than a dog) on Thanksgiving Day, but I did manage to get a few shots of our beautiful table and some of our kids, (writing with markers on the under side of the table) all the things they have gratitude for and the blessings they have had over the past year.  I'll tell you how this unique family tradition began in another post.  Our family has been truly blessed this past year, and we have so much to be grateful for.

Yes, the turkey is  cooked upside down.  I always cook my turkey in a large stainless steel mixing bowl.  My philosophy is that the juices are controlled by gravity and run down.  Therefore, if the turkey is placed breast side down the juices from the fatty back run down into the white meat.  Never a dry turkey at our house!

expressing our gratitude in written word on the underside of the table

now let's have some pie

or something salty covered in chocolate

Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving, filled with great food, laughter, family, and

Monday, November 25, 2013

Shoulda, but didn't......

Well, been down south again.  On November 2nd, I  received a call that there was an opening in a Julie Rogers portrait painting class.  I was the first person on the waiting list, and sure enough I wanted to zip down to St. George to take the class (I'll post pictures later).   So I quickly packed my bag and hopped in Wilma and away we went.  The weather was beautiful as I left, but as I got closer to Southern Utah (where it is warmer than here....NOT)  I hit snow.

I spent a  couple of days in Sunny St. George, where is really is warm, and then drove up to the farm.  The snow had melted over the past couple of days while I was in class, and could only be found here and there.

                The days were beautiful, crisp, the sun shining, and the wind decided not to blow.

I  stayed in 
 my little vintage camp trailer
 for a few days

Here is a list of things and projects I SHOULD have gotten done

  • water all the trees
  • roll up all the hoses
  • sort through all the stuff we cleaned out of the barn
  • get the gardens tilled
  • pull out all the dead, frozen tomatoe vines from the big greenhouse
  •  plant and mulch garlic in the greenhouse
  • plastic up the windows on the little red house
  • haul a load to the storage unit
  • get the last of my books out of the little red house------sorry it's taking so long, Rach
  • winterize all the taps and pump houses
  • finish the wall on the outdoor bath and hang the old door
  • spread the old hay over the tilled gardens
  • till the composted goat manure into the gardens that are not composted with the old hay
and the list goes on and on.......
I did accomplish a few things, but this is what I spent most of my time doing

 You see, I kept tracking mud and leaves into "Gypsy Rose" 
so I decided that something needed to be done

 So I drove up to the little red house, gathered up a load of hoses to drain
 and put away in the shed for the winter
a big pile of flat rocks......
( well at least I can check one item off my list)

spent a couple of days working on a pathway and  a redwood platform
leading to my little home......instead of all the things I should of been doing.
I will plant low growing herbs in the spaces between the rocks this spring
of course admired a beautiful sunset every night.

Nope, I didn't accomplish anything I shoulda...........
Really, I woulda
I just didn't
I need an excuse to run away again to the farm!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

A real CLASSIC worth reading


I love to read the classics,
anything written by Thoreau, Cather, Steinbeck, Dickens,
 Poetry by Browning, Wadsworth,  Keats, Longfellow......

What country kitchen doesn't have a copy of  this old book?
Mine didn't until just the other day.

This CLASSIC cookbook was published in 1953.

I have been reading it the past couple of weeks.

When I was young, this was the cookbook that my mother used.   It was placed in a drawer at the edge of the  ORANGE counter.  The drawer would be pulled open, the book opened and propped up on an angle between the back of the drawer front and the bright orange counter top.  As recipes from other sources were acquired they would be tucked into the pages of the book.

As the holiday season approaches, I will prop my newly acquired,old, cook book open, and placing it in a pulled out drawer with the spine lying against my vintage (not orange, but swirly designed) counter top, I will bake and cook  up some of my favorite childhood memories.
Sharing the taste and smells of traditions (old fashioned fudge and popcorn while we watched a Disney movie on the old black and white t.v.........divinity, peanut brittle, toffee, and gingerbread cookies, etc.) with my family and friends.

Then as fate intervened, I found this cookbook just the other day.
  Now I have all the best of the best since the first book was published back in 1930.


Life is like that sometimes.  Good things come in threes.  Well it did, but I passed up the first edition of the Betty Crocker cookbook this summer, wasn't really paying  enough attention as I was skimming through the books at the thrift store.  After getting home (a 45 minute drive) I thought about it and realized I should have snatched that book up, but hopefully I left it there for someone who had been hunting for it for a long, long time.  That it will bring back fond memories  for them of time spent in the kitchen learning to cook from it's pages.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Cattle Panels make a sturdy Chicken Run/ Hoop Coop

As the growing season comes to an end, it is time to put projects around the farm at the top of the priority list.  One of the fall chores is putting the old hens in the freezer (keeping enough laying hens until the new chicks start laying), or selling them.   I like to order my chicks in the fall.   They will begin to lay around March or April, just in time for the new CSA season.  For over 30 years I have had beautiful chickens running around the yard regardless of where we lived.  Sometimes the coops and runs were simple structures, but years ago when we bought the farm we put in more permanent  and sturdy facilities.

This run has protected my hens for many years.  It is made from cattle panels arched and staked with T posts.  Chicken wire was placed over, and wired securely to the panels.  This keeps the hens in and the hawks, eagles, skunks, coyotes and dogs out.  If you have predators trying to dig under the panels line the edges with large flat rocks.  We graze animals alongside the run and wanted to be able to attach fencing to the T posts as a barrier to keep the grazing goats or sheep from climbing on the run.   

This is our fancy "RED NECK"  door latch

Our large hen house hotel is home to about 100 hens.  I wanted a larger run and so we used the cattle panels length wise, stabilizing them through the middle with 2x4's.  


I do not like this run as well.  It is not tall enough to stand up in, however the square footage is much  greater than arching the panels.  We also graze animals along side this run without any additional fencing.

These beautiful red comet hens have given me wonderful light brown eggs for the past 2 years.  I especially like this breed.  They are hardy, good layers ,fairly calm, but they are not as meaty as the other breeds of brown egg layers.  I usually sell these hens after a couple of years and put the heavier, dual purpose breeds in the freezer. 

from the outside of the coop we gather the eggs several times a day

straw in the bottom of the boxes help keep the eggs clean and unbroken

add the egg shells to the compost pile, sprinkle around the bottom of tomatoes
to help prevent blossom end rot
or crush them and feed them back to the hens to ensure
hard shells in future egg production

original art work of a rooster we had several years ago

Thanks for stopping by!

A couple of earlier post about my experiences and thoughts about raising chickens

Here are a few photos of our beautiful, organic, vegetable farm.

Our Booth at Market

Just picked radishes.

Turks Turban Squash

Heirloom Beets

One of the Green Houses at Cricket Song Farm

Check out all the information you can find about raising vegetables and animals on this blog by using the search box located in the right hand column.
Thanks so much for stopping by!