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Lewis celebrated his eighth birthday on September 9. Although we went to dinner and opened presents as a family, we had his party on September 15.
His biggest request was to have people just come spend time with him. He requested having hamburgers and homemade chicken sausage. He also enjoyed showing the farm and processing equipment. He said he wanted people to “learn about the farm.”
The majority of the day was spent outside. The kids played on a play set, cornhole, and other outside sport/games. His teacher even stopped by to take a look, which made him very proud.
My mother baked and decorated his requested strawberry cake and cupcakes. When it was time to blow out the candles he said he was just going to blow them out; he didn’t need to wish for anything else because he was happy.
Happy birthday, Lewis. You’re such a sweet and caring boy. Never stop thinking of others and being content with what you have.
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I finished my intermediate course through the Herbal Academy and I was so exhausted with its rigorous material and starting the new school year that even thinking about writing about this amazing experience drained me mentally.
I love learning new things and herbalism is a passion of mine. That mental drain is quite satisfying because afterwards comes empowerment. This class engages its students with herbal actions, energetics, and safety and side effects. My favorite part was the in-depth diving into physiology and body systems. The organization allows students to better categorize their own materia medica based on these body systems and common ailments of these systems and the energetics and actions of herbs.
There are recipes to use and build upon and quizzes to help you make sure you’re on the right track.
Because the class is so in-depth, you have two years to complete it. I started mine in June and finished it as the school year started, but I wasn’t working other than farm stuff. I could see this taking about a year if I was working though. What’s great is in that two-year time frame you’re given time to download the course electronically to print. I keep mine in a binder. You also always have access to other students and teachers on a members only Facebook page. I love having that choice to be interactive with other herbalists or aspiring herbalists. The teachers are very helpful and respond in a timely manner when you contact them.
This was my first time working with herb energetics theory. It was very enlightening and made me evaluate my own constitution in a more serious light. When I meet people, I apply what I learned by watching the way they act, speak, and work. It’s just a very new way to look at people and better understand what makes them tick and what makes them slow down and how balanced constitution can be maintained by each type of individual.
The science given to students to study is intriguing. Before this course, my favorite body system was the nervous system. After the class, the nervous system is still a favorite, but I have a deeper understanding of all of the body systems and a very deep newfound appreciation of the digestive system and how amazing and complex it actually is.
I was initially hesitant with paying for a class in herbalism because I had learned so much growing up with herbs and independent research. I just hit this wall where I was finding nothing new and I didn’t really know how to look for anything new. I knew I didn’t learn it all, but I didn’t know how to find anything new anymore. I took a vast amount of knowledge and resources away with this course.
The community is amazing. I had joined other free communities in the past, but the knowledge and expertise found at the Herbal Academy is exciting and a lot more accurate than a bunch of people just googling questions for other people who just didn’t feel like googling that day.
The Herbal Academy offers many other types of courses and as of today, courses are on sale. I recommend at least checking them out in the links I’ll be providing below.
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I recently shared a deodorant recipe with some tips to make it stronger if needed (especially during the summer months). While this recipe can be very effective for some, it may not help everyone.
I’ll admit a stinky truth: working on the farm in the Florida heat can be hell on my pits. I’m not ashamed. I stink if I’m not using something with a little extra oomph when I’m out working.
So, I work with this extra EXTRA strength recipe. I’m a little limited on scents/essential oils because the only ones I invest in are the ones with properties that help with actually killing what causes that odor. I like to use my original recipe during the one month we have cold weather here (I know I’m exaggerating–sometimes it’s 3 months), but when it’s not winter, I simply focus on not stinking.
The big trick–other than essential oil choices–here is the lacking coconut oil. When I sweat and I have coconut oil in my recipe it just spells disaster for me. My deodorant is quickly rendered useless on a scorching day if coconut oil is used in almost any amount.
This recipe has a shorter list of ingredients: shea butter, arrowroot powder, baking soda, essential oil blends.
I have seen some recipes out there that also call for cocoa butter. As much as I LOVE cocoa butter, I don’t like it in this recipe. I typically have a deep appreciation for cocoa butter’s fragrance, but not for deodorant. That’s my personal preference. If you find another recipe out there with cocoa butter in it and it works for you, great.
I use my Kitchen Aid mixer for this whole process. It’s sad, but I use my Kitchen Aid more for natural remedies and cosmetics than I do for actual baking. The first thing I do is add 5 tablespoons of shea butter, 3 tablespoons of arrowroot powder, and 2 tablespoons of baking soda to the bowl.
I insert my paddle and…
mix on the lowest setting until I get this consistency. If you don’t have a standing mixer and handheld one with a deep bowl works just as well. Once I have the correct consistency I add 20 drops of Cypress essential oil.
I also add 10 drops of lemongrass essential oil. I mix it in evenly so I can smell the essential oils every time I apply this deodorant.
Now, you can play with this a bit, but you are limited. 30 drops total is the safest amount. If you add more, do so at your own risk. If you have sensitive skin lemongrass and many other essential oils can become irritating. If you want to do only one essential oil, I recommend the cypress as its odor killing abilities are pretty phenomenal.
Instead of lemongrass, you can do another citrus. Most citrus essential oils also kill odor. Remember, if the goal is extra EXTRA strength deodorant, you want to use only essential oils that kill the bacteria that creates the odor.
I store this in dark tinted glass containers because of the essential oils. This keeps forever. I have tripled this batch and never had anything go bad. Don’t store it anywhere it could melt though.
5 tablespoons shea butter
3 tablespoons arrowroot powder
2 tablespoons baking powder
10 drops lemongrass essential oil
20 drops cypress essential oil
Mix first three ingredients in a standing mixer or in a deep bowl using a hand mixer until you have a smooth, well mixed consistency (it will be gooey).
Add essential oils and mix evenly.
Store in dark tinted glass containers at room temperature, out of direct sunlight.
If you want to use my favorite supplies and ingredients, check out the links below.
Christian Cavalry Academy in Ormond Beach took a field trip this summer semester to visit our farm. We’ve never been a field trip destination so we were naturally excited.
Upon arrival, students and staff were able to view our animals while we cooked and served breakfast casserole and chicken sausages. The kids seemed to enjoy the food greatly and some even expressed surprise at the meat coming from a chicken.
As food was being eaten, students were brought into the back to view the processing and packaging rooms. My husband led that mini tour while I spoke with students and staff about the farm.
We made sure everyone had enough to eat and we quickly ran out of sausage.
After eating, students were given the opportunity to meet with some of our hens. The students were very gentle and compliant when shown how to hold a hen without scaring them.
After meeting the hen, my husband took groups of students to view our hydroponic garden. I stayed behind to show other groups of students our goats. We talked about how the plants use water to grow and how we take care of our goats. We discussed milking and cheesemaking briefly.
The students got to meet Willow, my classroom bunny. I was helping handle the rabbit so I was unable to get photographs since I was playing photographer that day.
We discussed how donkeys are sentry animals and help protect and alert the other animals of intruders.
We want to extend our thanks top Cavalry Christian Academy to visiting our farm. We greatly enjoyed getting to share how we live with everyone and educate young minds, at least a little bit, about where food comes from.
I never claim to be all-knowing in the realm of natural healing–or anything I dive into. As a result, I am constantly seeking new information. It is never enough for me. I get a true high from grasping new information and storing it away for later use. I am just as happy learning alone as I am in a group of people. In fact, I hate crowds, but it is very easy for me to tolerate a crowd if learning is involved.
Even better than learning is actually using what I have learned, especially if I’m passionate about it. Many people we have become acquainted with or work with ask, at least once, how I know as much as I do about natural remedies and using herbs as an appropriate means of being healthy or solving ailments. My answer, for a very long time in my youth, was either “We have a garden…” or somewhere along the lines of “That’s just what we use.” It wasn’t until around middle school that I realized my love and appreciation of nature and its partnership with us wasn’t the norm. My easygoing nature probably saved me from a lot of bullying because no one knew what I was talking about in this department–ever. It wasn’t important for preteens or teenagers. Most friends were either minutely intrigued or just brushed what knowledge I did carry off.
In my late teens and early twenties I hit a wall. And it was unexpectantly devastating. I had what I learned growing up in a household that valued and respected nature–but that was it. And it actually bothered me because I knew there had to be more. I ventured into the world of Google and learned there was a whole world I was missing, beyond the common culinary herbs of the kitchen. By mid twenties, I was mostly properly making tea infusions, oil infusions, and salves. Then I hit a wall again. I needed to know more, but Google wasn’t cutting it. I now know it was a combination of not really knowing what else to research for deeper understanding and technique and of not having a mentor or group to communicate with. So, I did what most of us do and I stalked forums and joined a few groups on Facebook later on when groups on Facebook first became a big deal.
Although it was very encouraging to communicate with like-minded individuals, the wall was still there. I realized it was time to do some research into education being offered to further my own studies.
I traveled back into the Google realm and found numerous online schools. After much consideration and research, I fell in love with the Herbal Academy. They offer numerous courses ranging from introductory to advanced with other courses in between. The natural starting point is their introductory course.
In the introductory course, the student has little to no herbal experience upon enrollment and is immersed in a world full of infusions and other handmade body care products. Don’t let the fact that it’s an introductory course turn you away; there is a lot of information on herbs (some found in the kitchen and some found with wildcrafting). There are recipes, plant identification tips, and much more content you can access online or download to print and keep a hardcopy of. And you’ll find that with every course available, all content is able to be downloaded and printed (minus the informative videos).
I have been really happy furthering my herbalist education with the Herbal Academy. When you’re done with the courses you’re taking, it is such an invaluable resource to have at your fingertips for future referencing.
Along with being a student at the Herbal Academy, you have access to their student-only Facebook community. There, you interact with students in various courses as well as the teachers.
If you are looking to receive a more formal education in the world of herbs, I highly recommend this school. It’s self paced, online, and interactive. Students and teachers are always sharing something, there are quizzes embedded into each course, and you do recieve a certificate of completion at the end of your courses.
I do recommend starting at the beginning, even if you’re on the fence between introduction and intermediate levels. Dosing is discussed even in the introductory course, as well as herbs for children, women, and men. Various body systems are discussed and what herbs are used to promote good health in regards to those body systems. So, even though it is an introductory course, it is definitely not for the faint of heart. There’s a very balanced combination of what I would label “newbie” stuff with very enlightening details as to why everything works the way it does, which is what I found to be lacking in my independent research before enrolling into this school. When you finish any course, you really get the sense of knowing what to do or use, but what I find to be most satisfying is that you begin to understand the why, which is most important because that why knowledge is what will help you make independent decisions if a scenario calls for it. Having a recipe is great and many are provided, but that why is going to help you change–in a responsible way–anything that needs to be changed in a formula based on the more unique needs of an individual and/or case, even for something as minor as a cold.
Many of you have enjoyed discussing our natural world with me and if you’re looking to further your own independent studies, check the Herbal Academy out. Knowledge is power. There are different courses and if you’re very certain you’re serious about it, check the different packages out below because it can save you money if you’re just going to take more than one course in the long run.
I know some of you are probably tired of hearing this, but I am going to say it again. The family at Harman Farms does NOT discredit the practice of medicine and we do not ignore its place and need in society. Although we do believe much of medicine (the biggest topic being antibiotic overuse) is blindly overused by society as a whole, we do know that doctors of varying degrees are important and actually helpful (we LOVE our kids’ pediatrician and gladly overlook his lacking bedside manners in exchange for his brutal honesty); and although using herbs just as responsibly as you do pharmaceuticals is a BIG bonus to overall health, you’re going to AT LEAST need a diagnoses from a medical professional to make the proper lifestyle changes to benefit your unique needs the most. If you are unsure or concerned of something, there is nothing wrong with consulting a doctor and there is nothing wrong with also consulting a professional herbalist as well. Again: knowledge is power and the more of it you have, the better decisions you can make for yourself and your family.