Have you ever wondered how our ancestors preserved a whole winter season worth of frost-intolerant produce? Canning is a useful method, though a large harvest can easily turn it into a seemingly impossible task. The solution many generations before us turned to was building a root cellar. Although many cannot build their own old-world root cellars due to rentals, adequate space, or urban environments; a little common sense and wisdom of temperature and humidity guidelines will allow anybody to whip together an ideal means of prolonging produce-life through the winter. A conventional root cellar, which essentially is a room buried in a hillside or underground, meets only a handful of criteria.

Insulation: The earth is a wonderful insulator. A typical old-world root cellar was literally buried on all sides except the entrance, utilizing the natural insulating properties of the soil.

Ventilation: It is important that your make-shift root cellar can breathe. Warm stale air needs to float out of the top of your chamber as fresh cooler air makes its way through the bottom. This is important to keep humidity levels under control in order to prevent the rot of moisture-sensitive vegetables such as squashes.

Darkness: Light accelerates the decomposition of fruits and veggies. An ideal means of storage incorporates complete darkness.

Consider what you may have on hand if you would like to construct a practical yet permanent root cellar:
Burying an insulated plastic or metal trash can with a tight lid is a popular option. Others have gone to the trouble of recycling an entire broken refrigerator by submerging it in a hillside. Another option is to frame off a corner of your basement with a window or vent. A more conservative approach is to sink a large cooler into the ground. If one of these avenues are chosen make sure you are ventilating with a hose or pipe. A blast valve or similar device may be incorporated to prevent below freezing temperatures from entering your storage compartment.

My personal favorite involves little more than a pile of straw, hay, leaves, or moss and a minimal amount of elbow grease. It is most effective with potatoes (Read on).

As a rule of thumb make sure not to wash any produce prior to storing. This will greatly reduce its ability to keep. Instead provide enough drying time for exterior dirt to dehydrate, then brush off any large clumps.

Apples can be a dangerous food to store with other produce. The idiom one rotten apple spoils the barrel is spot on. As apples age they release ethylene gas which causes other produce to rot too. It’s a wise practice to isolate them in shallow containers with lids. They keep best in 80-90% relative humidity and prefer temperatures of 32-40 degrees Fahrenheit. Check on them often and remove any signs of rot.

Beets prefer the same 32-40 degree temperature range but can withstand a bit more humidity. Outdoor storage is an easy and effective method to practice. Before hard frosts begin simply hoe dirt over the protruding shoulders keeping the foliage exposed. As winter begins mulch over the rows with up to a foot (more for colder climates, less for warmer) of leaves, straw, or hay. This method may be applied to carrots, parsnips, turnips, celery, rutabagas, cabbages, leeks, kale, and spinach with some success as well. In regards to flavor, the longer you can keep cold tolerant produce in the ground, the better. Cool fall temperatures actually sweeten many vegetables such as beets by literally increasing the presence of sugar.

Brussels sprouts are somewhat frost hardy and can be left in the garden until late fall. They may be kept in a root cellar for some time however a lack of moisture will shorten their lifespan. Like beets they prefer a temperature range of 32-40 degrees and high relative humidity of 90-95%.

Cabbage can withstand light frost when it is young and moderately severe frost when mature. Some varieties are briefly tolerant to temperatures as low as 20 degrees. The aforementioned method of mulching beets can be employed here. Cabbage prefers cold temperatures of 32 to 40 degrees and high moisture of about 80-95% relative humidity making it a good root cellar candidate. Either cut off the head or pull out the entire plant (roots included). If the roots are left on it may last a bit longer in a cellar, however if the stump is left in the ground a smaller leafy cabbage will emerge the following season.

Carrots can be kept in the garden under mulch just like beets. Remember to cover the shoulders with dirt. They prefer temperatures of 32-40 degrees and relative humidity of 90-95% in a root cellar. If storing in a cellar, harvest before the soil freezes, cut the stems close to the carrot, and store in a bucket of leaves or sawdust with a loose lid.

Cauliflower and Celery prefer cold temperatures of 32-40 degrees Fahrenheit and very moist relative humidity of 90-95%. Celeriac is one of the best keeping vegetables during the winter months. Trim off the longer roots making sure not to cut too close to the meat. Store it in damp sawdust, sand, or moss at an ideal temperature range of 32-40 degrees and a very moist relative humidity of 90-95%.

Dry Beans can be harvested after pods are nearly dried out while still attached to the vine. Spread the pods on newspaper for a week or two until completely dry. A productive trick to separate the beans from the pods is to fill a bag and beat it with a stick. When a hole is cut in the bottom corner the beans will fall out pod-free. Dry beans store well in temperatures between 32-50 degrees though they can withstand freezing temperatures. They are less moisture tolerant at an ideal range of 60-70% relative humidity. Store in dry containers with tight lids.
Garlic needs to be be air dried in a warm arid area for 2-3 weeks. Remove the roots and store at an ideal 32-50 degrees with 60-70% relative humidity and good airflow.

Leeks come in frost hardy varieties which should be utilized if growing for storage. They can withstand a bit of snow and the mulching process may be used up until the ground freezes. Harvest with some roots still attached and store at an ideal 32-40 degrees upright, preferably in wet sand. Though leeks prefer a high relative humidity of 90-95% take care not to wet the leaves during storage.

Onions require curing until the necks are quite tight before storing. To cure spread them in a dry area with sufficient airflow, or hang them upside down. Ideal storage temperatures range from 32-50 degrees with a relative humidity of 60-70%. Make sure they are stored in an breathable container such as crates or mesh bags.

Parsnips store well in uncovered ground until a solid freeze at which point they should be mulched. The frost improves their flavor for a succulent spring harvest. Store harvested parsnips in damp sawdust at an ideal 32-40 degrees and a high relative humidity of 90-95%.

Potatoes should be cured in a dark place for 1-2 weeks at 45-60 degrees. After this they prefer cold temperatures of 32-40 degrees and moist relative humidity of 80-90%. A great means of outdoor storage is piling an insulating material such as straw or hay on top of unused winter garden space with a few inches of dirt on top. Make sure to keep a ventilation hole, clear of dirt, on one side of the pile and a drainage ditch around the perimeter equipped with a small runoff canal. Throughout the winter hungry gardeners can reach through the ventilation hole and fish out the produce. If you have a tarp on hand covering the top of the pile, but not the ventilation hole, will prevent your storage mound from eroding away. If many potatoes need storing and more than one pile is not an option layer the pile with 4-6 inches of insulating medium, followed by a single layer of potatoes, followed by 4 inches of soil. Repeat the layering process.

Pumpkins should be cured like squash (see below) with the stem left attached and stored around 50-55 degrees. Relative humidity should fall between 60-75%

Sweet Potatoes are able to be preserved all the way until spring if properly cured and stored. To cure, let air-dry in a warm humid environment of 80-85 degrees and 90% relative humidity for 10-14 days. This will toughen the skin and improve the flavor. Sweet Potatoes store best in an unheated room of about 50-60 degrees with a moderate relative humidity of 60-70% taking great care not to let them drop below 50 degrees.

Turnips should be harvested before heavy frosts, tops removed, and stored as you would carrots in a moist insulator such as sawdust, moss, or sand.

Winter Squash should be harvested before a hard frost when the skin is tough enough to prevent penetration from a moderately pressed thumb nail. Flavor is best when the seeds are given a chance to fully develop. Make sure to leave the stem on the fruit and cure for about 10 days at 75-85 degrees, ideally. Store them in a moderately dry and warm spot where the temperature doesn’t drop below 50 and preferably stays below 60 degrees. The best relative humidity for storage falls between 60-70%.  (Great information by Real Farmacy)

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The Coffee Pot

The Coffee Pot


I’m Sherma Cundall, and I’m old fashioned because I want to be!  I enjoy sharing my old fashioned things with you, just in case you might be interested in being old fashioned too. 

This old tin coffee pot belonged to my mother. I’m not sure how old she was when she got it, but I know she had it when she started teaching school at the age of 18, in a one room school on the southern Colorado plains a long way from anywhere.  When Mom passed away a couple years ago at age 90 the coffee pot became my treasure.  It brings with it so may stories and memories…family, friends, neighbors, pie, cinnamon rolls, conversation and laughter! 

Making coffee in this pot brings with it an experience…the aroma of the grinding beans, listening to the musical sound of it perking on the wood stove as the fragrance penetrates the air and family and friends sit around the table chatting about the day ahead. As a little girl I loved watching the coffee as it bubbled up in the glass dome on top. 

That first cup, such a simple thing, yet an experience that created moments to be treasured.  It was such an everyday thing back then, and yet, while we still enjoy our cuppa Joe…something very valuable is missing… 

How did we get from the pot to the pod? How we get from the simple, slow paced lifestyle of yesterday to the rat race we live in today? 


I’d like you to wonder about that, as you plop your coffee pod in the Keurig, slide your go cup under the drip, punch the button, and in a few seconds, grab it and head out the door to deal with the stresses of your fast paced day. 

I challenge you to be a little old fashioned today… slow down, take time to smell the coffee and most of all, enjoy the experience!

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Why Oils Support Healing and Drugs Don't

Why Oils Support Healing and Drugs Don't
by David Stewart, Ph.D.

If you tell a medical doctor that essential oils can support
healing with no negative side effects, they won't believe you.
This is because in medical school students are repeatedly told
by their professors that all effective medicines have negative
side effects, and if they don't, then they can't be effective. 
When I was in medical school one professor emphasized this
point in a colorful, graphic manner with specially prepared slides.
In each slide specific drugs were depicted as evil looking demons
or goblins. As he presented each picture, he explained, "Although
ugly and capable of doing harm, these 'demons' are also the
bearers of some good. So long as the benefits outweigh the risks,
we use them," he summarized. "We have no choice," he continued,
"because if a drug has no dangers, then it can have no benefits.
That's just the way it is. And that's why it is essential that only
qualified physicians be allowed to prescribe medicines,"
he concluded.
Actually, the professor was telling the truth. Within the
restricted practice of allopathy (MDs) the only real medicines
are physician prescribed pharmaceuticals. Such medicines always
do have negative side effects. All of them. No exceptions.
Hence, doctors are trained to accept the bad with the good as
the price of effective medicine.

The Danger is in the Drug, Itself
The dangers of prescription drugs are intrinsic to the drugs,
themselves. No matter how careful the physician in prescribing
and how compliant the patient in following doctor's orders,
even then deaths and damages occur. In fact, according to
the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, more than 100,000
Americans die every year, not from illegal drugs, not from drug
overdoses, not from over-the-counter drugs, and not from drug
abuses, but from properly prescribed, properly taken prescriptions.
In this country, more people die from doctor's prescriptions every
ten days than were killed in the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Why is this so? Why do allopathic drugs always have undesirable
effects (along with their apparent benefits) while one can find
healing with natural products, such as essential oils, with no
undesirable effects? 

Here is why.

Why Companies Deliberately Sell Dangerous Products
It is illegal to patent any natural product. The way to big profits
in the medicine industry is to create an unnatural substance that
never before existed in nature, then patent it, and obtain a
monopoly. Hence, the molecules of pharmaceutical drugs are all
strange to the human body. In all the history of humankind, such
molecules were never encountered or taken into any human body.
Hence, the body does not easily metabolize them. God never made
your body to accept and deal with these chemicals and antibiotics.
Hence, you can find traces of prescription drugs in your body that
were taken in childhood, decades ago. 

On the other hand, natural molecules, such as those found in
essential oils, are easily metabolized by the body. In fact, your
body was created to handle them. When an essential oil molecule
finds the receptor sites it was designed to fit and conveys its
information to the cell, or participates in other therapeutic functions,
it then goes on its way to the liver and the kidneys and moves out of
the body. Its benefits have been conveyed and its job is complete. 
By contrast, the unnatural molecules of man-made drugs attach
themselves to various tissues, disrupting normal function, for years
while the body tries to figure out what to do with them. Meanwhile,
they wreak mischief with our bodily functions and even our minds.

Drugs versus Oils 
Drugs and oils work in opposite ways. Drugs toxify. Oils detoxify.
Drugs clog and confuse receptor sites. Oils clean receptor sites.
Drugs depress the immune system. Oils strengthen the immune
system. Antibiotics attack bacteria indiscriminately, killing both
the good and the bad. Oils attack only the harmful bacteria,
allowing our body’s friendly flora to flourish.

Drugs are designed to send misinformation to cells or to block
certain receptor sites in order to trick the body into giving up
symptoms. But drugs never deal with the actual causes of disease.
They aren't designed for that purpose. While they may give prompt
relief for certain uncomfortable symptoms, because of their
strange, unnatural design, they will always disrupt certain other
bodily functions. Thus you always have some side effects. 
Oil molecules send information to cells and cleanse receptor sites
so that they bring your body back to natural function. Oils are
Balancing to the body. Drugs are unbalancing to the body. Oils address
the causes of disease at a cellular level by deleting misinformation
and reprogramming correct information so that cells function properly
and in harmony with one another. With drugs, misinformation
is fed into the cells so that some temporary relief may be obtained,
but there is never any true healing. Drugs only trade one kind of
disease for another. 

Because essential oils properly applied always work toward the
restoration of proper bodily function, they do not cause undesirable
side effects. They are feeding the body with truth. Drugs feed the
body with lies. While no amount of truth can contradict itself, it
doesn't take many lies before contradictions occur and the body
suffers ill effects.

Sixteen Doctors Speak Out
Not all physicians are caught up in the idea that the only good
medicines are ones that can also be harmful. Here are some comments
by physicians, themselves, on the practice of medicine.
"The cause of most disease is in the poisonous drugs physicians
superstitiously give in order to effect a cure." Charles E. Page, M.D.
"Medicines are of subordinate importance because of their very
nature, they can only work symptomatically." Hans Kusche, M.D.
"The person who takes medicine must recover twice, once from the
disease and once from the medicine." William Osler, M.D.
"If all the medicine in the world were thrown into the sea, it would be
bad for the fish and good for humanity"
O.W. Holmes, M.D. (Prof. of Med. Harvard University)
"Drug medications consist in employing, as remedies for disease,
those things which produce disease in well persons. Its materia
medica is simply a lot of drugs or chemicals or dye-stuffs—in a word
poisons. All are incompatible with vital matter; all produce disease
when brought in contact in any manner with the living; all are poisons."
R.T. TraIl, M.D., (lecture to members of congress and the medical
profession, Smithsonian Institute, Washington D.C.)
"Every drug increases and complicates the patients condition."
Robert Henderson, M.D.
"The greatest part of all chronic disease is created by the
suppression of acute disease by drug poisoning."
Henry Lindlahr, M.D.
"Every educated physician knows that most diseases are not
appreciably helped by medicine."
Richard C. Cabot, M.D. (Mass. Gen. Hospital)
"Medicine is only palliative, for back of disease lies the cause,
and this cause no drug can reach." Wier Mitchel, M.D.
"Medical practice has neither philosophy nor common sense to
recommend it. In sickness the body is already loaded with
impurities. By taking drug - medicines more impurities are
added, thereby the case is further embarrassed and harder to
cure." Elmer Lee, M.D., Past Vice President, Academy of Medicine.
"Our figures show approximately four and one half million hospital
admissions annually due to the adverse reactions to drugs. Further,
the average hospital patient has as much as thirty percent chance,
dependinghow long he is in, of doubling his stay due to adverse drug
reactions." Milton Silverman, M.D. (Professor of Pharmacology,
University of California)
"What hope is there for medical science to ever become a true
science when the entire structure of medical knowledge is built
around the idea that there is an entity called disease which can be
expelled when the right drug is found?" John H. Tilden, M.D.
"We are prone to thinking of drug abuse in terms of the male
population and illicit drugs such as heroin, cocaine, and marijuana.
It may surprise you to learn that a greater problem exists with
millions of women dependent on legal prescription drugs."
Robert Mendelsohn, M.D (author of book, "Confessions of a
Medical Heretic.)
"Why would a patient swallow a poison because he is ill, or take
that which would make a well man sick."
L.F. Kebler, M.D.
"Drugs never cure disease. They merely hush the voice of nature's
protest, and pull down the danger signals she erects along the
pathway of transgression. Any poison taken into the system has
to be reckoned with later on even though it palliates present
symptoms. Pain may disappear, but the patient is left in a worse
condition, though unconscious of it at the time."
Daniel. H. Kress, M.D.
"The necessity of teaching mankind not to take drugs and
medicines, is a duty incumbent upon all who know their uncertainty
and injurious effects; and the time is not far distant when the
drug system will be abandoned." Charles Armbruster, M. D.

So there you have it, why oils heal and drugs don't. Let's hope
Dr. Armbruster is right, that "the time is not far distant when
the drug system will be abandoned." Pharmaceutical companies
and their physician drug dealers could market and sell natural
products with genuine healing capabilities, but most won't.
There isn't any money in it. 
In my opinion, changing the medical system toward more natural
and spiritual forms of healing is impossible. The system can't
change. It must be replaced. Those of you who have opted
out of the system in favor of essential oils and their physical,
mental, emotional and spiritual benefits are among the pioneers
who are replacing the system. 
And for those of you who have taken prescriptions drugs over
long periods of time, essential oils are your best friend because
they can cleanse the residues of these drugs from your system
once and for all and help restore your body back to its natural
healthy state.
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It has been a constant in my life, always there, always waiting….

I wonder how many miles I’ve walked…to the mailbox and back. 

6 days a week, 52 weeks every year for so many years. I’m not sure how old I was when I started watching for the mailman, with such anticipation, wondering what he would bring that day. My first memory is of The Little Golden Books, then the Funny Books (My brothers and I loved Donald Duck) they came once a month, like clock work. We raced to the mailbox…the fastest one got to read it first.

Mom let me join a book club when I was 11 or 12! Every month I got a new book…I still treasure those stories (Ride Like An Indian, David and the Phoenix) …they wait patiently in my bookcase for some other kid to treasure them. 

And the local weekly newspaper, the only way we knew what was happening in town, 25 miles away. And letters - oh how I loved to write them, then run to the mailbox and pop up that little red flag! And I treasured the letters from PenPals, aunts and uncles. My parents didn’t have a phone until years after I was married and gone from home and we didn’t have TV so that mailbox was our main connection to the outside world. I still have some of the letters…the one telling us that my aunt had passed away all the way down in Louisiana, and the ones from my Wyoming uncle…return address, Dwyer, Wyoming…which would one day be my address! Every few days during my 4 years of college I wrote home and mom saved all those letters, sometimes 5 or 6 pages on college rule notebook paper! A few nights ago I read some of them to my granddaughters! Of course I skimmed through them first, before I read them out loud! 

This mailbox, on the Southern Colorado Plains where I grew up, is just a decoration now…waiting, always waiting….the fancy new fangled boxes are at the highway, 10 miles closer to town. The mail only comes 3 times a week and you better not forget your key or you won’t know what’s locked up in that cubby hole with no personality until you make another trip to town. 

I wonder how much longer we will have rural mail delivery. I’m grateful, I still have a mailbox and I walk to it 6 days a week…rain or shine, snow or ice, even wind…I just HAVE to know what the mailman stuck in there!

I challenge you to be a little old fashioned today. 
Write a letter to someone you care about.
I guarantee that letter will make their day! 
And just for fun, add a drop of Stress Away, or Peace and Calming on the envelop. 
You’ll make everyone happy all the way from your mailbox to theirs!   
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a cabin I said
i want a cabin
just 4 walls
no electricity
no running water
no bathroom
just QUIET
          and trees
          and birds
          and grass
          and wildflowers
          and deer
HE built husband of 50 years
i am in love...with him and my cabin

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