Preparing for Winter
Fall weather came so quickly and I know winter wonderland is just around the corner. This will be our second winter in Idaho and we intend to be more prepared than we were last year. Apparently, it was the worst winter anyone had ever seen around here! After the first snow, we expected it to melt away, but instead we accumulated more and more and it eventually turned into solid ice. We had tools, hoses, toys, sprinklers, and all sorts of yard stuff stuck under ice and snow for months on end; which was not visible when we had the snow plowed. Last year most my brain went to planning the home birth of our son and little thought went into preparing for the North Pole! He was born right at the beginning of the snowpocalypse.
My husband was gone 24 days in October working endless hours fighting fires in Napa, CA and the first 6 days in November (It is only November 9th as I type this) he was on an Elk hunting trip with is dad and brother. I feel like when he left for shift in early October the leaves had just started turn and when he arrived home from hunting they were gone and I was starting to panic about the amount of work that needed to be done to prepare for another winter. We don’t have a garage so everything has to go in a small shed (that needs a cleaning) or on/under the porch.
This is all new to me as where I grew up in CA we mainly got tons of rain and a rare snow day. Some of the things to prepare for winter here include: running a power cord to chickens with heated water, flagging sprinklers, putting all the outdoor kids toys away, fixing the broken steps on porch, put a survival kit in the cars that include extra diapers, food, blankets, water, and anything needed if we get stuck in freezing temps with small kids, heated dog & cat waters, raking and burning a ton of leaves, and aquiring more winter apparel for the kids. I often feel overwhelmed by the tasks because doing this alone with two small kids on top of our daily stuff is challenging, but then my husband comes home and knocks out a big ‘honey-do’ list in an afternoon and I feel so much better!
One amazing thing we can check off our list is filling the deep freeze. My husband, his dad and brother ALL got an elk beginning of this week, such a blessing. This was the first year he didn’t pay for out-of-state tags which saved us a ton of money. My husband and his Captain went backpacking on an archery hunt in August and his Captain shared a generous portion of his elk with us. We are set! You know what else that mean? BONES!! You can find my Homeacre bone broth recipe here
Last night, my husband made fried elk heart. I’m not going to lie, I was nervous to taste it because I’ve never eaten heart before, but it was delicious and I had seconds. You can read what The Wellness Mama has to say about organ meats Here. The heart was the size of a football! Have you eaten organ meat before? I would love to hear your expierence.
Taking elderberry syrup is a great way to stay healthy this fall and avoid catching a cold/flu. As I mentioned in my previous post about boosting my immune system, if you aren’t interested in making it, find out if someone local makes it before you buy it from the store. If you live in the Treasure Valley, message me to see if I have any available for purchase. There are only 3 ingredients required to make a Basic Elderberry Syrup, but I like to add a handful of other beneficial and delicious herbs to mine! I purchase all my ingredients at the local Co-op or from Mountain Rose Herbs.
“Elderberry Sambucus nigra is one of the most effective plants for boosting immunity and shortening the duration of colds and flu” (Gibson, 58). “Elderberries contain fruit acids, vitamin B1 and C and folic acid, as well as essential oils. Elder also promotes expectoration, which makes it a good treatment for coughing and bronchitis” (Natural Health).
“Hibiscus flower is high in vitamin C, bioflavonoids, and antioxidants. It is helpful in restoring and maintaining overall health, supporting immune function, and warding off colds and flus. Aside from all of this, hibiscus tea is one of the most lovely natural beverages and children generally adore it (Gladstar, 19).
“Rose hips have an impressive amount of vitamin C, which is one of the best methods to boost the immune system. Vitamin C stimulates white blood cells and is also essential in the prevention of asthma and the general health of the respiratory system. This can be seen in the reduction of respiratory conditions such as cold and flu through the intake of rose hips and its high levels of vitamin C (Organic Facts).
Homeacre Elderberry Syrup
- 1 cup organic dried elderberries Sambucus Nigra L.
- 3-4 cups water
- 1 TBSP organic hibiscus flower
- 1 TBSP organic rose hips
- 1 TBSP organic ceylon cinnamon
- 6 whole organic cloves
- 2 TBSP fresh grated organic ginger root or 1 TBSP dried ginger root
- 3-4 organic star anise
- 1-2 cups of local raw honey
Place all of the ingredients in a pot except for the honey. Simmer on low for 30-45 minutes or until it is reduced by about half. Smash the berries in the pot. I like to use a potato masher. Strain through a fine mesh strainer and/or cheese cloth. I like to strain it into a large glass measuring cup so it is easy to pour into my jar. Let cool to less than 95* so it doesn’t cook your Raw Honey. I like to put my honey into a mason jar and then pour the warm elderberry mixture over the honey and stir very well.
Adults: Take 1 TBSP daily
Children over 1: Take 1 tsp daily
If sick, up your dose to every 3 hours
Store in the refrigerator for 2-3 months. Don’t forget to label and date the top of your jar!
(Gibson, Margie. “Amazing Elderberry.” Mother Earth Living Nov/Dec 2017 pp. 58.)
(Gladstar, Rosemary. “Herbs for children’s health.” pp. 19)
(The Complete Guide to Natural Healing. Group 1. Card 7 Medicinal Plants)