Archive for the ‘Home & Ranch’ Category

Kitchen Hint: Baking with parchment paper

Sunday, March 19th, 2017

Strained lard in parchment paper-lined mold

by Catherine Haug, March 19, 2017 (photo, right by Cat and Shelli, for our tutorial on rendering lard)

This hint comes from Janet and Edd Blacker of our core team:

“We have found that using parchment paper on cookie sheets and other pans in the oven when baking things works great.  No sticking and it makes the pans easier to clean.

It’s important to use actual parchment paper, not waxed paper for several reasons; read on for those and for other kitchen uses of parchment paper. (more…)

Good candles, bad candles

Saturday, March 18th, 2017

Melted Beeswax

By Catherine Haug, March 18, 2017 (Photo, right, by Cat and Shelli R., for our posting on Cheesemaking: Waxing the Round)

The other day on a MTPR program (don’t recall which one), I caught the message that ‘not all candles are created equal, and most are loaded with toxins.’ Today’s Daily Inter Lake has a short article about this in the ‘At Home” section, by Kimi Harris, from Mother Nature Network: 5 reasons to switch to beeswax candles (1). Not only are they non-toxic, but they may also help purify indoor air.

While beeswax candles may cost a bit more than toxic candles, they burn longer, have a fragrance with a hint of honey, and are available in most communities. Many beekeepers make beeswax candles and sell them in local stores/farmers markets. Here in the Flathead, Trailhead Supply (3) sells candles harvested and handcrafted by Glacier County Honey Co. (Babb, MT). The Good Food Store in Missoula also sells beeswax candles.

Or make your own; see Mother Earth News (2) for details. See Candle Supplies for Home  for beeswax sources in the Flathead.

References

  1. Mother Nature Network: mnn.com/your-home/at-home/blogs/5-reasons-you-should-switch-to-beeswax-candles
  2. Mother Earth News, Making Beeswax Candles by Jennifer Ford: motherearthnews.com/homesteading-and-livestock/making-beeswax-candles-zbcz1403
  3. Trailhead Supply: trailheadsupply.com; 860 N. Meridian Road #A11, Kalispell MT
  4. Candle Supplies for Home (4) candlesuppliesforhome.com/supplies/montana/kalispell.html

Kitchen Hint: Homemade laundry soap for HE (high-efficiency) washers

Sunday, February 12th, 2017

Kirk’s Castile bar soap

By Catherine Haug, February 12, 2017 (image, right from Amazon (1))

Back in 2013 we had a gathering with Sheree Tompkins on Homemade Laundry Soap. Her recipe can be used in standard or HE (high-efficiency) washers because it is a low-suds recipe. This posting offers another HE option, from Wellness Mamma (2).

Like Sheree’s recipe, this one also requires grating a bar of real soap, such as Kirk’s Castile pictured above, Dr Bronner’s Pure Castile bar soap, homemade soap (see also Gathering Summary: Making Soap at Home, by Kathy Mansfield, January 26, 2011). Fels Naphtha is an old-fashioned option but has some questionable ingredients if you care about the environment.

Also included is Wellness Mamma’s borax-free laundry cleaner (two ingredients added separately to the washer). (more…)

A healthy – and healthful – garden/landscape

Saturday, January 21st, 2017

Veggie Landscape Garden

By Catherine Haug, Jan 21, 2017 (photo, right, from Mercola (2))

I am viewing the online docu-series: The Truth About Cancer, by Ty Bollinger, and I’m picking up on a few of garden/landscape tips that yield healthy plants and a healthier you when you eat them.

One of the things I’ve learned from this series is that cancer cells have more insulin receptors (that initiate take-up of sugar from the blood) than normal cells, and that cancer cells get their energy (life) from only two sources: sugar and glutamine (amino acid). So if you want to protect yourself from cancer or slow tumor growth, avoid sugar.

However, that doesn’t mean to avoid whole-food sources of sugar such as fruits and vegetables, because in whole-food form, the sugar is part of a larger matrix of fiber, antioxidants, and other phytochemicals that protect you. (Caveat #1: fruit juices don’t provide this protection because the matrix is broken, so eat your fruits whole; caveat #2: those fruits and veggies should be organically grown for maximum benefit).

But I digress. The purpose of this posting is to collect gardening and landscaping tips. I will update this posting as I learn more. (more…)

LED lighting: why you need orange sunglasses

Monday, November 14th, 2016
Incandescent, CFL and LED hanging bulbs

Incandescent, CFL and LED hanging bulbs

By Catherine Haug, Nov. 14, 2016; updated 1/4/17 regarding f.lux app  (photo, right from Recycle Nation (1))

About a year ago, a health newsletter newsletter had an article on problems with LED lighting. They explained the issue of LED blue light at night and how it can impact our internal clocks, sleep patterns, and immune systems. Not long after that, Edd mentioned that when he drives the school bus in the dark early morning hours, oncomming cars with LED headlamps blind his vision until the car is well behind him. I seldom drive at night so had not noticed that problem, but I believe he is right.

Nowadays, most of us have smartphone, tablet and computer screens lit by LEDs, and many of us have LED TV screens. We’ve also begun to replace our homes’ incandescent and CFL lighting with LED lights. Do we face risks from these?

The answer is YES. But there are things you can do to minimize that risk.

For printable pdf version, see LED lighting: Why you Need OrangeGlasses; it includes the 1/4/17 update. (link essentialstuff.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/LED-lighting-OrangeGlasses.pdf ) (more…)

14 Uses for Castor Oil at Home

Saturday, October 8th, 2016
Scott & Bowne's 'Palatable Castor Oil' advertisement

Scott & Bowne’s ‘Palatable Castor Oil’ advertisement

By Catherine Haug, October 8, 2016 (image, right, from Wikimedia Commons)

In the 19th century, castor oil was a common remedy in American homes (see old advertisement, right), but its use has fallen out of favor, perhaps in part because people have become aware of the notorious killer, ricin (which comes from castor seeds but is not present in the pressed oil). The FDA has categorized the oil as  “generally recognized as safe and effective” (GRASE) for over-the-counter use as a laxative (4).

Mercola (1) suggests we all should keep a bottle of castor oil at home (1). Most uses of this oil are topical (on skin and hair), but it is also used internally to treat constipation. It is advisable to keep it out of reach of small children.