Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Rainy Day Cabbage Soup

It's been rainy and cold for a few days. A real contrast from the 80 degrees we had about 4 days ago. Rainy days and snowy days always put me in the mood for soup. Today I'm having a cabbage soup hankering. It's a light soup; brothy, nutritious, and the absolute easiest and quickest to make. Of all the soups I make, this is my youngest son's very favorite.

Cabbage Soup
  • Put some water in a pan and turn it on high.
  • Slice a head of cabbage into shreds and add to the water.
  • Chop up some Polish Sausages and add to the pot.
  • Let it simmer until the cabbage is soft.
 Eat. Can it get any simpler? I said "some" ingredients because it doesn't really matter exactly how much water, cabbage or sausage. I fill a big stock pot 1/2 full of water and shred up a head or two of cabbage. Enough that when I stuff the cabbage down into the water, it fills it up without sticking above the water. You could shred 1/4 of a head into a small sauce pan if you only want a serving or two. I chop up enough Polish Sausages to generously flavor the soup. We like lots of sausage in it.

The sausage provides the flavor. I'm sure there are other meats or sausages that would work just as well. My family likes it just like that, without any additional seasoning. You can add more salt, or pepper. I once added curry powder to it and that was really good, adding a little kick. I've also added carrots on occasion. It's a recipe you just can't mess up!

My mother has always taught me how good for us cabbage is. If you feel like reading on, I'll include parts of a couple of articles that give some healthy details:

From an article titled Health Benefits of Cabbage, Aparup Mukherjee says this:
"The health benefits of cabbage include treatment of constipation, stomach ulcers, headache, excess weight, skin disorders, eczema, jaundice, scurvy, rheumatism, arthritis, gout, eye disorders, heart diseases, aging, and Alzheimer's disease."

And here's a great E-Zine article by Dr. Linda Posh (parts have been omitted):

The Health Benefits of Cabbage

Sadly, most American households wrinkle their noses at the mere mention of this valuable, all powerful and sorely misunderstood vegetable. The word cabbage is usually enough to send children to their rooms with a myraid of excuses as to why they may not wish to eat their evening meal. While cabbage is a delicious and healthful staple in other countries, it is almost foreign to Americans, with the exception of good old fashioned cole slaw. Do recognize that this American cabbage specific, mayonnaise laden dish full of hydrogenated oils and other unmentionables, absolutely ruins the reason for eating such a healthful food in the first place.

...Rich in nutrition and fiber, cabbage is an absolutely phenomenal source of Vitamin C. Even more impressive is that cabbage is famous for a specialized, naturally occurring, nitrogenous compound known as indoles. Current research indicates that indoles can lower the risk of various forms of cancer.

...An early Roman medicinal preparation blended lard with the ashes of burnt cabbage to make an ointment for disinfecting wounds. ...Epidemiological studies have found that men living in China and Japan experience a much lower rate of prostate cancer than their American counterparts. Similar data has been uncovered regarding breast cancer rates among women.

It is no wonder that the lowly, plain, boring cabbage gets rave reviews from the world of nutritionists. Cabbage is relatively cheap yet one of the richest when it comes to protective vitamins. Talk about the original weight loss food! One cup of cabbage contains only around 15 calories.

Cabbage is rich in the following nutrients:
Vitamin A: responsible for the protection of your skin and eyes.
Vitamin C: an all important anti-oxidant and helps the mitochondria to burn fat.
Vitamin E: a fat soluble anti-oxidant which plays a role in skin integrity.
Vitamin B: helps maintain integrity of nerve endings and boosts energy metabolism.

Modern science has proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the health benefits and therapeutic value of cabbage, which also plays a role in the inhibition of infections and ulcers. Cabbage extracts have been proven to kill certain viruses and bacteria in the laboratory setting. Cabbage boosts the immune system's ability to produce more antibodies. Cabbage provides high levels of iron and sulfur, minerals that work in part as cleansing agents for the digestive system.

Cabbage can be grown about anywhere in the world, it's inexpensive, and very healthy. What a great way to add to your self-reliance!

Monday, April 26, 2010

A Weekend In Spokane

We took a little break, partly for my son's birthday, and spent the weekend in Spokane, Washington. This is kind of a random post, but I thought I'd share a few photos of what we saw.

Spokane is the site of the EXPO '74' World's Fair, next to Gonzaga University. They've turned the fair site into a nice park and entertainment area, called Riverfront Park. There are carnival rides, a carousel, miniature golf, an IMAX theater, a Sky Ride tram that takes you in front of the falls, and lots of nice grass and pathways. The dome-shaped structure behind the ferris wheel above, is the framework left from the U.S. pavillion. To the right, the Carillon tower bells ring out a melody every hour.

Some of the architecture caught my eye.

The Sky Ride tram takes you in front of the waterfall.

Then we joined in the race around the park.

The local residents were very diverse:

The IMAX Theater had been a part of the U.S. Pavillion also. At the EXPO, it showed a film called "Man belongs to the earth", which showed beautiful scenes of our country, followed by demonstrations of the growing pollution problem. Now, it plays a 45 minute film that documents the story of the Hubble Space Telescope, and shows us some of what the Hubble has seen. It was pretty spectacular.

The trees around the park were just starting to bud, and I noticed these tulips hiding in the grass.

Not far from home, we spotted this mother black bear and her two little cubs. She kept her path as much behind the cover of bushes and trees as she could, so I was lucky to get a shot in a small clearing.

It was a nice weekend break. Now back to business!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Oil Pulling - An Interesting Health Technique

I've recently learned of a unique natural health and healing technique. It's called "Oil Pulling". People claim to have experienced a great variety of healing and health benefits from it. It's really simple to do and is only the cost of a little oil.

In all my natural health experience, I've never come across this before, but the principle makes sense to me. For the past 20 years or so, I've studied natural healing techniques like Cranio-Sacral Therapy, Body Talk, Polarity Balancing, Therapeutic Touch and others. I also make my own tinctures, poultices, healing salves, herbal teas and I wild-harvest a lot of the herbs that we use. It has served us well. My 3 teenage boys have never been to a doctor for an illness.The healthier we are, the more independent we are!

Oil Pulling works on the principle of "drawing". There are black salves or "drawing salves" that you use topically to pull infections, poisons, even cancers, out through the skin. Certain poultices can also pull out toxins and infections. Alkaline substances, like baking soda, have a drawing effect. Baking soda works well on bee stings, cold sores, impetigo, etc. Oil Pulling is done by swishing oil in your mouth. The tissues of the gums, and especially under the tongue, are very permeable. As you swish the oil, it draws out impurities and toxins from your body.

Some of the claims listed, are that Oil Pullling has healed, or been the solution to: headaches, bronchitis, tooth pain, cavities, whitens teeth, thrombosis, eczema, ulcers and diseases of the stomach, intestines, heart, blood, kidney, liver, lungs, arthritis, fibromyalgia and women's diseases -to name only some. It's claimed to heal diseases of the nerves, paralysis, encephalitis, prevents the growth of malignant tumors, and heal cuts and other injuries. Basically, if you clean out your body, whatever ails you should improve or go away, unless it's a physical injury. But even healing of injuries is enhanced when the body is healthy.

It's not an over-night "magic pill". But should be done daily for an extended  period of time to see results. Put a little oil in your mouth in the morning and gently swish for 20 minutes, then spit it out and rinse your mouth. The oil should be foamy white, or yellow, at that point and full of all the impurities it's been extracting. I use cold pressed organic coconut oil. It's solid, but melts as soon as it's in my mouth. I've only been doing it for a short time, and don't have any known or noticable "ailments" currently, so I don't know what I'll experience, but I'm sure I can use some cleaning and detoxifying just like everyone else! I'll keep you posted if anything note-worthy happens. You know, like if I grow an extra arm or something!

There are a few different kinds of oils recommended as best to use, techniques and details on how to go about it, and other things that are worth reading up on. Rather than go into greater detail here, I'll recommend that you Google "Oil Pulling" and have fun reading the different info and results people have had. No one should be trying to sell you anything, unless you want to know more about the deep workings and principles behind the treatment, and want to buy a book. There is one I've found that comes highly recommended: Oil Pulling Therapy by Bruce Fife. If you try this out and have some great result, we'd all love to hear about it! Happy swishing.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Light of Christ - Our Responsibility

Matthew 5: 14-16

Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.

Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

Christ has given us the sacred responsibility to let our light - the Light of Christ within us - shine to others. We do that by striving to be like Him. When we serve others, we are serving our Father in heaven, and we glorify Him. It is our responsibility to help others, lift others when they are down, teach others, share goodness and the light we have within us with others. 

We also have the responsibility to be humble enough to receive, because that is how we help others share their light.

Friday, April 16, 2010

What's A Nauga Farm?

My Google email is (You're welcome to email me.) I've had many people ask me where I came up with that, or what is a Nauga farm? I think the story is worth sharing in case anyone is needing a chuckle today.

Many years ago, when I was in college in Idaho, I had an interesting conversation with a California girl. She was very nice. Now, in spite of the fact that she was blond, from California, and used phrases like "gag me with a fork", I do not have any prejudice against anyone who fits any of those descriptions! As we visited, she asked me where I was from. I told her "Montana".

She said "Wow! Really? Then you're Canadian, huh?" She seemed pretty excited at the prospect of meeting a real live foreigner. I said "no" and explained where Montana was, and that it was next to Canada, so she wouldn't feel like she was too far off. She asked if we had electricity, had to ride horses to get around, and a few other things like that. I answered all her questions until her curiosity was satisfied. She just kind of looked at me, like she was processing the whole thing, and then said "Well... what do you guys DO there? I mean like, what does your dad do for a living?"

I couldn't resist. I said "He raises Naugas."

She asked "What's a Nauga?"

I said "Do you know what Naugahyde is?"

"Oh ya! That leather stuff they cover chairs and things with!"

"Exactly! Well, he raises Naugas and sells their hides."

She was satisfied, and that was the end of the conversation.

(The photo of the "nauga" above, is a Google image."

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Light - One More Idea (Addendum!)

Another great idea for either long or short-term alternative lighting is outdoor solar lights. For those of you who didn't see the comment left by "Kristy", she mentioned using those after Hurricane Ike. If you are lucky enough to have sun during the day, charge them up and then bring them indoors at night. I had intended to include that option and then forgot about it, so thank you Kristy for the insightful comment!

I don't have any experience with outdoor solar lights. I'm wondering if they need direct sunlight, or if they'll charge even on a cloudy day. Does anyone know? I'd love some comments if you have experience or knowledge about that.

And look at all the options! With ambiance like this, I think they would be a very soothing alternative during a crisis. Maybe I'll start using them - crisis or not! And save a lot of money on electric bills at the same time.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Light - When The Power Goes Out - Part 2

A flashlight just isn't going to cut it if you are without power for a week, or a month, or indefinitely. You will need some long-burning lamps or lanterns, and they need fuel. They can use lamp oil, kerosene, other fuels, or solar powered.

Oil lamps are easy to use and inexpensive. The basic requirements are a container to hold the oil, a wick. Most of them have glass coverings around the flame and come in hundreds of designs and styles. They come in free standing, hanging or wall-mount design. You can burn almost any oil in them, including
olive oil, nut and seed oils, hemp oil, vegetable oils, fish oil, mustard oil, Castor oil... you name it. Other kinds of fuel are coal oil, white gas, and  kerosene, also known as paraffin oil. Some fuels burn cleaner than others, and give off different odors. There are a dozen or more different sizes of wicks used, depending on the lamp. We have lamps that use 3/8", 1/2" and 5/8". I keep this lamp sitting on top of a bookshelf, filled and accessible all the time. We've had to use it many times when the power was out.

Here are a few more samples of styles of oil lamps:

Pressure lamps/lanterns use a "mantel" instead of a wick. The fuel is pressurized, usually by you pumping a lever. These give off a much brighter light than a wick lamp. I'm not going to go into detail here about how they work. When you shop for lanterns or lamps, you can learn the details specific to whatever you buy. We have a Coleman lantern and an Aladdin lamp, like the ones in the pictures.

Lamps and lanterns are usually not very expensive. Neither are the accessories for them: wicks, mantels, fuel, extra chimneys (the glass covering). Now is the time to do a little shopping, and stock up on plenty of fuel, wicks, mantels and matches.

And here is one of my little candle lamps that I didn't include in the last "Light" post.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Not-So-Wild Turkeys

There's a large flock of wild turkeys in our part of the woods, but you wouldn't know they were wild. The neighbors have turkeys of their own, and the two flocks have become good acquaintances. Mainly because she throws feed out for her turkeys, chickens and peacocks, and the wild turkeys come and help themselves.

It's fun to watch them in the Spring when they gather in our yard, pecking for tidbits in the grass. The males strut around like they're really something, and the females don't give them the slightest satisfaction of noticing them. It's hard to get very close, but here are a few shots I took recently of our emergency food storage - Uh, I mean wild turkeys! It's only through-the-window quality, but I hope you enjoy them.


 It's interesting how their heads turn blue and their "snood" comes out to hang over their beaks. Yes, that is it's official name!



  The feathers are absolutely beautiful in the sun!


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