Yellow Dock Root

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This herb is easy to grow if you’re growing it and is pretty easy to find while wildcrafting, too. Yellow dock root is cooling, bitter, laxative, and cholagogue.


Herbs and food with a bitter taste stimulate the vagus nerve. This helps kick-start digestion.


Herbs that have a laxative property help aid in expelling your guts. Great to use if you’re constipated.


Yellow dock has diuretic properties. This means it can increase urine flow. Both the laxative and diuretic properties make it a great cleanser.Toxins can be flushed out of the system through urine and stool.


Yellow dock root’s cholagogue property promotes the flow of bile from the gall bladder into the duodenum.

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Yellow dock root may be helpful for joint pain associated with osteoarthritis.

Iron and Anemia

Yellow dock contains high amounts of iron and can aid in cases of anemia.

Use as a Poultice

Yellow dock, used as a poultice, can be a natural remedy for boils and burns on the skin.


Rumicin is an antibacterial compound found in yellow dock. This can potentially help with bacterial infections such as Escherichia, Salmonella, Staphylococcus, and Bacillus.


Glycosides are found in yellow dock. Glycosides help stimulate the liver, which helps with the poor absorption of nutrients.

I have not had the pleasure of actually using yellow dock personally, but it is a herb I would love to keep handy to aid in digestive blends in the future. Have you ever used yellow dock? How do you like to use it?

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Marshmallow Root

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Marshmallow root is a great addition to blends to aid in digestive needs. The root actually supports the flora found in the gut, making it a wonderful prebiotic. The prebiotic content of the root is highest during the fall and should be harvested after its second year of growth.


Marshmallow is a cooling demulcent. This property aids in the irritation and inflammation of the GI tract. This means you can add marshmallow root for aid in gastric ulcers, reflux, colitis, and IBS. Even though marshmallow root is well known for its digestive properties, being a demulcent also makes this herb helpful for irritation in the bladder and lungs.

Diarrhea and Constipation

Marshmallow has such a modulating effect on the gut that it is useful for both diarrhea and constipation. If using marshmallow to aid in diarrhea, soak powdered marshmallow root in a small amount of water. The soaking can last an hour, or even overnight. It’s going to look, taste, and feel gross. Gobble–er–drink? it up after soaking. When marshmallow is soaked in a small amount of water it still has the capacity to absorb more water once it reaches the gut. For constipation, soak about a teaspoon of marshmallow powder in 8 ounces of water then drink. The bulking fiber in marshmallow will help you expel that which has taken up residence for too long in your gut.

Marshmallow is an overall safe herb to use, but always do your own independent research. In this world, you never know what new things can be found about any herb after this post is written. Do realize, like with many other herbs, marshmallow root can inhibit other drugs and herbs you may be taking. Consult your physician or professional herbalist if you’re taking other medications.

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I’ve been neglectful. Since the viewing we attended in Pennsylvania, I’ve caught a bad case of bronchitis and our eldest dog, Taz, developed megaesophagus. So, I have not been writing much. If the cause of the enlarged esophagus is obstruction, sometimes removal of the obstruction can help the condition. If the cause isn’t obstruction, then the cause is of little importance; the prognosis is the same. X-rays indicated no obstruction.

When eating, your esophagus contracts and enlarges. Taz’s was stuck in enlarged mode. So, a lot of food and water was entering his lungs. He would regurgitate food and water immediately upon eating or drinking. He predictably developed pneumonia. The lack of eating created nausea. We fed Taz a diet the vet recommended. We made him eat standing straight up, as that could aid in food actually getting to his stomach and the vet gave him antibiotics to fight the pneumonia.

Photographed by Amanda Harman

We were told this is what will kill him. I took the news knowing my job was to keep this old boy as comfortable and full as possible. We were told that if he gets over the pneumonia and can keep some food down, he could live a few more months or longer. Looking at Taz’s pained face and tired eyes, I was wondering how much fight he truly had left in him.

Right after we were married,my husband and I had planned on trying to conceive with the hopes of a summer baby (my first year teaching). The very first pregnancy test I took was positive. We were very excited. The excitement only lasted a moment it seemed. I went to see the doctor because of a possible miscarriage. Seeing my empty uterus on the screen was the most devastating feeling of loss and hopelessness I had ever felt at that time in my life.

I’m the type of person who goes to work or keeps moving no matter what. Today, I’m up at 4 AM to start my day and the earliest I’m normally to bed is almost 11 at night. After confirming the miscarriage, I really didn’t want to do anything except sleep. My husband would often tell me he didn’t care what I felt like doing, but to just do it and not stay on the couch. It was difficult to really want to do anything.

Photographed by Amanda Harman

We found ourselves taking a trip to Georgia. My in-laws had property there and it was nice to get away from home as it had become a sad place for me. We went to an animal shelter and played with some weimaraner cross puppies. We left and I decided I really actually wanted a puppy. So we went back and learned that all the puppies were spoken for. We did find a weimaraner breeder later that day though. They had two males left. One was a chubby little thing who had little interest in me. The other was the runt of the entire litter that no one wanted. He was so tiny. All he wanted to do was be held by me. He would get very excited and chase his own tail like a nut. So, I named him Taz and brought him home.

I experienced another miscarriage, but the third pregnancy took. Taz was attached for both miscarriage and pregnancy. Zach was working night shifts at the hospital at the time. I’d often fall asleep on the couch with Taz. Zach would come home and Taz wouldn’t be able to see him. Taz would cause a lot of havoc barking and growling. As soon as Zach would speak, Taz would calm down recognizing his voice. Taz was very protective of me and up my ass to the point of really being annoying at times.

Photographed by Amanda Harman

He had the worst separation anxiety. Novi, our husky, joined us a couple of months later and that solved all issues with us leaving for work. After Fiona was born we moved out into the country onto our homestead. Taz took the change of scenery with grace. He brought me home baby softshell turtles two separate seasons. He accompanied me to the water to save them from the high husky prey drive.

Last summer, he brought me a baby mockingbird he stole from a nest. He never hurt the bird though. I love all living things and he did, too.

Photographed by Amanda Harman

Taz never got over the pneumonia. Even with the changed eating technique, he still couldn’t get food in his stomach. When the vet came to our farm to put him down, he had quit entirely on his own. He isolated himself from all of the dogs. He hid under the hydroponic deck and would only let Zach or myself handle him. I held him as he died. We were given his pawprint. Zach made him a coffin and we buried him on property.

Photographed by Amanda Harman

It’s never easy to lose an animal and I miss him very dearly. He was special to me and very responsive to the feelings of those around him. He never hurt anything in his entire life. And I still cannot believe that he’s gone.

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Saying Goodbye

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It was a very rough week at home. Back in November, I wrote about taking the kids to see their great-grandmother, who was terminally ill. She passed away January 27.

My parents kept our children while my husband and I traveled to Pennsylvania to say our goodbyes. It’s never easy to lose a loved one. We find solace in that she passed peacefully.

In comfort of her manner of passing, we found ourselves reminded of how cruel the world truly can be. We arrived to that wintry land of Pennsylvania, finding the warmth and comfort of family as we sat in Granny’s apartment, looking through photographs. We took a short break to sign necessary paperwork and get the obituary going as well as find potential lunch. During our brief absence, we were informed via phone that the locks on Granny’s apartment were going to be changed. Our off-site-to-do-list was quickly put on hold as we rushed back to truly see what was going on.

The information proved to be correct. Heartless management was indeed arranging for a lock change within minutes. Granny passed 22 hours or so prior to this moment. Due to the absence of a doctor, there would be no death certificate until Wednesday. Management never called the family to even confirm her death before locking the family out.

What I found interesting about this whole scenario is before Granny passed, management was made aware of family staying with her. Management had no issues with this and stated it was fine.

So, we were taken by surprise when management began changing the locks and calling us thieves in front of other residents of the complex. Thieves. We were looking through pictures. Two women (management team) knew who we were. They knew what we were doing. Now they were accusing us of stealing and trespassing.

Long story short, the police were called and we came to a compromise at 2:30 pm: we were to be done with whatever we wanted to do by 4. The management team did later admit that most families, once locked out, didn’t pursue entrance further.

This doesn’t come as shocking. It’s a sad stereotype that most of the elderly living in these low socioeconomic apartments either didn’t have family, or had family that wasn’t very attached or involved. Granny had nothing of value. But she held onto things like pictures, Christmas cards, report cards, and old letters. These were items we did not want to be carelessly discarded by someone who didn’t know Granny and obviously didn’t care much for her.

We received no condolences. No one from the apartment complex sent flowers. I told them to remember my smiling face when karma bit them in the ass, amongst other things that shall not be repeated here. Let’s just say, the cops did inform the management team that you can’t press charges for vulgar language.

This all happened the Monday we arrived. I had been up since 4 AM Sunday, with occasional naps in the car. We didn’t get to bed until 11 Monday night.

Tuesday January 29, was the day of services. Granny didn’t want a funeral and originally didn’t want a viewing before cremation. She did change her mind about the viewing. Plenty of tears were shed. A feeling of great loss had enthralled everyone. But I think what will be remembered the most, is the dinner afterwards. We enjoyed a couple of goodbye shots (others enjoyed more than that) and bar food. I devoured several buffalo wings. My husband indulged in a giant ham hoagie. Other family members critiqued poorly made slippery nipples. The entire night was filled with laughter, dirty jokes, and warmth. The waiting staff handled our disgrace with grace. All granny had wanted was a party in the end.

Granny was loved and appreciated by many. I, along with the rest of my family, will miss her greatly. I loved sitting with her and listening to her stories. My children adored her. I am glad we got to spend as much time with her as we did.


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Pizza Sauce

$50 off the Botanical Skin Care Course for a limited time! Pizza night is a weekly occurrence in our house. The kids won’t let me forget it either. On pizza night, I use our bread machine to make the dough and make the sauce as well. I even attempt cheese sometimes when I have fresh milk on the farm. With permission from my mother, I am going to share the pizza sauce recipe we have been using my entire life. My parents used to own and run a pizza joint in Illinois, so yeah–it’s pretty amazing. For this recipe you’ll need 2 cans of crushed tomatoes (28 ounces each), 2 tablespoons of oregano, 2 teaspoons of salt, 1 1/2 teaspoons of garlic powder (or more to taste), 1 1/2 teaspoons of basil, 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse ground pepper, and 1 1/2 teaspoons of fennel seeds.
I start making the pizza dough. While the bread machine is doing its own thing, I start dumping all the ingredients into a saucepan. I mix everything and put on a simmer, then preheat the oven to 450. Here’s where my mother and I differ. My mother adds 1/3 can of water to her sauce. I don’t like that. I keep the seasoning portions the same and skip the water. When the dough is done, I add the sauce and desired toppings. I cook it in the over for about 10 minutes, but that can be adjusted due to different ovens, number of toppings, and personal preference. So, just keep an eye on it. You don’t see a lot of fennel in most pizza sauce recipes, but I promise it’s good. I recently served frozen pizza and had very disappointed children. The only possible thing that makes this recipe better is using tomatoes you canned yourself. Follow our blog to stay updated. We’re also on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and Instagram. Come check us out. Affiliate Disclosure