The City Girl Farmer

Disposing of Summer Squash

I am having the same problem I do every year with zucchini and yellow squash—there’s TOO MUCH!!  I have wanted to try my hand at preserving vegetables without canning or freezing since you never know when you might have to, right?  Also, canning and freezing both rob us of the health benefits of lacto-fermentation. I don’t want to get off on to that topic, but it is a good thing to invest some time learning about it.

Chopped squash, garlic, chives & thyme

Anyway, I decided to use up some of my yellow squash this way to see how it worked.  I added some garlic, chives and thyme, all from the garden.  It took almost no time and all I added was salt and filtered water.  It looks pretty and I’ll update once I have a chance to taste it.

Update: Broke into the jar to taste and it was quite yummy. I could really taste the garlic and thyme. The squash itself was very reminiscent of pickles.

Vegetables in the jar

Vegetables floating in salt water

Some Thoughts About the Flu

One of my good friends sent me an e-mail and suggested I blog about some of the things we do to keep people (and animals) healthy around here.  With flu season approaching, I thought it was a great idea.  So here is what I think and what we do.

Did anyone else notice that the H1N1 “swine flu” pandemic never materialized?  Remember the “avian flu” from the year before that was supposed to be a pandemic too?  Is anyone else suspicious that this is fear- tactic marketing designed to make vaccine producers wealthy?

I don’t want to minimize the impact on an individual who succumbs to a flu virus.  At best a person is extremely uncomfortable; at worst it can be deadly and each year we experience deaths related to flu viruses in the U.S.  A flu pandemic would have devastating consequences if it were to occur but I question whether or not receiving a flu shot is the best way to protect yourself and your family and I think you should, too.

When I started researching essential oil therapies I came across a remarkable claim:  tea tree oil kills antibiotic-resistant staphylococcus aureus bacteria.  That statement piqued my curiosity enough to actually invest in some essential oils and try them out.  We are far from doctors and veterinarians where we live and I thought it might be nice to have something near at hand.  So far, we have made it through one flu season with no one getting the flu.  Colds have been averted, and when we have become sick, symptoms have been mild and short-lived.   I have been extremely pleased with our results and I’m going to share some of the recipes we have used over and over to maintain our health for the last year and a half.

For the stomach flu:  15 drops of lavender and 10 drops of Chamomile and 5 drops of Thyme mixed into two tablespoons of carrier oil.  I use grapeseed, but you can use olive oil, sunflower oil, almond oil, pretty much anything you have in your cupboard that would qualify as “food”, not mineral or motor oil for you bachelors out there!  Rub this on your abdomen 3 to 4 times a day.  I also drink a cup of warm water sweetened with a teaspoon of honey with one drop each of lemon and eucalyptus oils.  This drink is very soothing and has helped me on days when I felt I was coming down with something but no real symptoms had materialized.  I was unlucky enough to have had the stomach flu this year, but I’m convinced this drink is why it did not last long.

For upper respiratory infections:  15 drops of Thyme and 15 drops of Eucalyptus oil in 2 tablespoons of carrier oil rubbed on chest, back and at night, the soles of the feet which are then covered with socks.  I will also put these oils into a diffuser and diffuse them in the room.  It smells good and it can keep some of the other family members from getting sick.  If the patient also has a runny nose, I add Anise oil to what I diffuse.  I also have put these oils on tissues for the sick one just to hold near and inhale.  All of the oils I have mentioned have anti-viral properties.  If you have a viral infection, that almost sounds like a cure, doesn’t it?  But I digress.

If you are serious about avoiding the flu in the first place, probably the best thing you can do for yourself and your family is to check the growing research that indicates how Vitamin D deficiency is making us vulnerable to everything from the flu to cancer and get your Vitamin D levels checked and fixed.  If you get sick anyway my two favorite online essential oil vendors are Ananda Apothecary and Mountain Rose Herbs. Ananda Apothecary is located in Boulder, Colorado and I always get my oils shipped to me in 2 days with no special shipping expense. Maybe that’s because I live in Colorado, though. 🙂 You can expect to pay around $10 for a 12ml bottle of each of the oils I’ve recommended. If you consider how much over the counter drugs cost (which do nothing to heal a person), I think you’ll find the cost reasonable.  If you don’t want to go to the trouble to find and mix your own ingredients, go to and place an order.  😀

As a final note, I would cut the dosage in half for young children.  Essential oils contain the chemicals of the plants they are made from.  More is not always better and with some essential oils using more can be dangerous.  There is a reason they can kill viruses!  Please be prudent.  Remember, I am not a doctor—just a city girl that moved to a farm.

Planning to Grow Medicinal Herbs
April 21, 2010, 5:53 pm
Filed under: Garden, Herbs | Tags: ,

Medicinal herb garden site

Recently, I have become interested in medicinal herbs and decided that as long as I had the rototiller around, I’d dig up the east side of the yard and use that area.  It’s near water and I’ll also be able to see it from the kitchen window.  A lot of the plants have been started indoors already.  I plan on planting some others directly into the soil in the next few days.  Some of the herbs I will be growing include:  borage, calendula, valerian, chamomile, feverfew, lemon balm, elderberry and motherwort.  No cannabis, although there have been several requests.  🙂 I decided I don’t want El Paso County’s riff-raff paying unexpected visits to the farm.