Link-Clickers Paradise – 3/20/17

The University of Minnesota and other state universities have a ton of information available for free! You can find information on almost everything, but for me it is about small scale farming.

http://www.extension.umn.edu/food/small-farms/livestock/about/

marti067@umn.edu

http://midwestpermaculture.com/jordan-rubin-missouri-farm-pdc/?utm_source=promotional&utm_campaign=20170317_newsletter_curated_collagen&utm_medium=email&id=ajdancing@yahoo.com&email=ajdancing@yahoo.com

http://www.extension.umn.edu/food/small-farms/livestock/poultry/

http://www.extension.umn.edu/food/small-farms/livestock/swine/designing-feeding-programs-natural-organic-swine/index.html

http://www.extension.umn.edu/food/small-farms/livestock/swine/

http://www.extension.umn.edu/food/small-farms/livestock/sheep-goats/

http://www.extension.umn.edu/food/small-farms/livestock/sheep-goats/tips-for-goat-farmers/

http://www.extension.umn.edu/food/small-farms/livestock/sheep-goats/how-much-does-it-cost-to-raise-dairy-goats/

http://www.extension.umn.edu/food/small-farms/livestock/sheep-goats/feeding-dairy-goats/

**** http://www.extension.umn.edu/food/small-farms/livestock/sheep-goats/how-much-does-it-cost-to-raise-dairy-goats/

http://www.extension.umn.edu/food/small-farms/livestock/sheep-goats/

http://www.extension.umn.edu/food/small-farms/livestock/

http://www.extension.umn.edu/food/small-farms/land-management/

http://www.extension.umn.edu/food/small-farms/farmbytes/

http://blog-small-farms.extension.umn.edu/2016/12/small-farms-newsletter-winter-learning.html

http://blog-small-farms.extension.umn.edu/2017/01/women-in-ag-network-announces-second.html

http://blog-small-farms.extension.umn.edu/2017/01/public-invited-to-first-deep-winter.html

http://blog-small-farms.extension.umn.edu/2017/02/improve-your-lambing-management.html

http://blog-small-farms.extension.umn.edu/2017/02/living-on-land-learning-to-live-on-few.html

http://www.extension.umn.edu/food/small-farms/crops/

http://www.extension.umn.edu/food/small-farms/farm-business/

http://www.interweave.com/article/spinning/spinning-life-lessons/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_campaign=EDT_SPD-tsa-nl-170320-craft-business&utm_content=929648_EDT_SPD170320&utm_medium=email

http://www.interweave.com/article/spinning/starting-a-craft-business/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_campaign=EDT_SPD-tsa-nl-170320-craft-business&utm_content=929648_EDT_SPD170320&utm_medium=email

Panaway Blend Essential Oil

This is the basic script I will use in a Facebook class I will present on 2/21/17.
Post 1: Disclaimer
I failed to mention on my lemon post that I took the U of MN Extension Master Gardeners core course last year and after volunteering for a year, I am officially a Master Gardener! I love gardens, planting, and knowing that I have grown something we are eating or using. Which is why my posts on oils will often tell you more about the original plant than other posts. I plan to grow  as many of my own plants for further research and use.

I am not a medical professional. What I share with you I have read while doing research on each of the oils. I also will share my personal experiences. As often as possible I will list links at the end that redirect to what I read. I do not have an affiliate system in place yet.

I am a Young Living Independent Distributor. Feel free to send me a private message if you have any question.

 panaway
PanAway is an essential oil blend from Young Living. It contains Wintergreen, Helichrysum, Clove, and Peppermint. It is considered to be a hot oil – which means you should not apply it directly to the skin without a carrier oil (diluting oil like grapeseed, coconut, or other vegetable oils). PanAway has a child-proof cover.

Young Living says, “Apply PanAway® after exercise or to the neck and back anytime for a soothing and stimulating aromatic experience.”

I was hoping to stick with single oils, but I was encouraged by a friend to research this blend for the benefit of my hubby who suffers from serious back pain, right side nueropathy, and several other pain issues.

LIVE: WINTERGREEN
Young Living says “Wintergreen’s refreshing minty aroma is stimulating and invigorating. It is a great addition to lotions that are applied after activity.”

Wintergreen’s latin name is Gaultheria procumbens (G. procumbens). The plant is also called the eastern teaberry, the checkerberry, or the boxberry. Wintergreen is a short shrub only growing about 6″ tall. It grows well in zones 3-8 which means I can grow it here on my farm in Minnesota – another things to add to the list. I may have actually come across a wintergreen plant in the neighbors field – I will let you know once I find out for certain. The fruits of G. procumbens are edible with a taste of mildy sweet wintergreen. The leaves and branches are listed on some sites as making an herbal tea, but be cautious, I have read other reports that it is not safe for consumption. For the leaves to yield significant amounts of their essential oil, they need to be fermented for at least three days. This oil is NOT considered safe for human consumption so keep out of the reach of children.

POST:
The main chemical components of wintergreen oil are menthyl salicylate (85-99%) which accounts for almost all the health-promoting properties.  It is topically soothing. It also contains guaiadiene, a-pinene, myrcene, delta 3-carene, limonene and delta-cadinene. Menthyl Salicylate (85-99% of wintergreen’s makeup) forms an integral part of almost every antiarthritic and analgesic balm for muscle and joint pain that is available on the market.

LIVE:
Wintergreen is a traditional native North American remedy. It was used for aches and pains, and to help with breathing while hunting or carrying heavy loads. The clean and minty scent of this herbal oil is associated with relieving pain and stimulating mental well-being; as well as its ability to clear the airway. It is also useful in dissolving gum residue.
 —
LIVE: HELICHRYSUM

Young Living says, “Helichrysum is a great oil to diffuse when studying or doing homework, Helichrysum has a stimulating aroma that no home should be without.”

Helichrysum italicum is a flowering plant of the daisy family. It is sometimes called the Golden Eternal Flower, Everlasting, Strawflower, Curry Plant, Immortelle, and Curry or Licorice Plant because of the strong smell of its leaves. It can reach 2 feet or more in height. The yellow flowers come out in summer and they keep their color after picking. It grows on dry, rocky or sandy ground in Zones 8-11 (native to France, Italy) which make it another plant for my indoor herb garden – although the height might be a little problematic. The oil comes from its blossoms and steam distillation occurs within 24 hours of harvesting.

POST:
Helichrysum contains a fairly high level of Neryl Acetate, and has a high level of Sesquiterpene Hydrocarbons and Diketones. These main components contribute to relieving, relaxing, and reducing tissues in the area of an injury, sleeping better, more focus, and improving mood.

LIVE:
Europeans historically used Helichrysum to help with wounds, infections, digestive problems, supporting the nervous system, heart health, healing respiratory conditions, and for attracting a lover. To use helichrysum essential oil for soothing skin, combine it with a carrier oil like coconut or jojoba oil and rub the mixture onto the affected area. I was excited to see that applying helichrysum mixed with lavender oil can help cool and soothe itching after an encounter with poison ivy.

LIVE: CLOVE
Young Living says “Clove is an important ingredient in Young Living’s Thieves oil blend, and has a scent that is very warm and inviting. Always dilute Clove when using topically.”

Clove (Syzygium aromaticum) oil is steam distilled from the flower buds. The clove tree is an evergreen that grows about 30′ – 40′ tall and is an ultra-tropical tree which will not survive temperatures below 50F, or above 100F. It requires a humid climate with 50 to 70 inches of rainfall annually; well-drained, fertile loam; and a position in full sun or part shade. I will not be able to grow this tree indoors because my indoor temperature will occasionally drop below 50 in the winter. The buds start out a pale, milky white color, which gradually shifts to green. Just before blooming, the flower buds take on a deep red color – it is at this stage that they are ready to be picked. If allowed to flower, the plant produces a striking pink flower, which is then followed by purple berries. The fruit, called mother-of-cloves, is an edible purple berry about 1 inch long and 1/2 inch across. The entire plant is extremely ­aromatic.

POST:
Cloves contain – among other compounds – gallotannins, triterpenes, flavonoids, and phenolic acids. Oil derived from Cloves contains additional compounds including 60–90% eugenol, acetyl eugenol, caryophyllene and other minor constituents.

LIVE:
Clove has a long history as a folk remedy for toothache. Pakistan folk medicine used cloves to treat the common cold, cough and flu to more serious conditions such as asthma, jaundice and heat stroke.  Europeans used clove tea as a digestive aid. Traditional Chinese medicine used cloves to treat fungal infections, diarrhea, hernia, hiccups, indigestion, intestinal parasites, impotence, ringworm, and kidney disorders. During the Middle Ages, cloves were used to cure the plague and were also considered an aphrodisiac due to the similarity in shape to the human penis. I know a ballerina who uses it on her feet and legs diluted by a carrier oil to help with sore and achey muscles after hours of dancing.

LIVE: PEPPERMINT

Young Living says “Fresh, nostalgic, and instantly recognizable, Peppermint essential oil’s scent invigorates the mind and senses, while inspiring a sense of peace. Used topically, Peppermint oil creates a cool, tingling sensation on the skin, making it a favorite for sports massage. When your day is dragging—through a workout, class, or day at work—enjoy some Peppermint oil benefits by applying it to your head and neck. The refreshing aroma will give you a boost of positivity!”

Mentha piperita aka peppermint is a cross between watermint and spearmint. It originally grew in Europe and the Middle East. It grows about 12–35 in tall. If you find a plant you think is mint, check for a square stem: if it is square you know it is part of the mint family and it is edible. Did you know that creeping charlie is a mint? Peppermint will grow invasive in zones 3-7, so plant with caution. It won’t tolerate dry conditions. While partial sun is sufficient for peppermint, planting it in full sun will increase the potency of its oils and medicinal qualities. I have not yet planted peppermint, but it is on this list to add to one of my pots on the patio this year. oil that is produced and harvested from the leaves just before the plant begins to flower.

POST
Peppermint has a high menthol content. The oil also contains menthone and carboxyl esters, particularly menthyl acetate. Peppermint oil also contains small amounts of many additional compounds including limonene, pulegone, caryophyllene and pinene. Menthol is an organic compound that produces a cooling sensation when applied to the mouth or skin.
LIVE:

The Romans, Greeks, and Egyptians all have historical record of using peppermint medicinally. Chewing a few peppermint leaves was thought to relieve a toothache. Indigestion, cold and flu sufferers could find some relief by drinking peppermint tea. Peppermint oil was found useful in combating flatulence and mild indigestion. Many over-the-counter stomach aids today contain peppermint to both enhance the taste as well as the effectiveness of the medicine. Be cautious peppermint is something of a trigger food for many suffering from acid reflux and may cause their symptoms to worsen. Also be cautious when using peppermint around small children as it can be overwhelming and cause scary breathing issues. Our family uses peppermint as a key ingredient our focusing blend, headache blend, and in our seasonal support blend. I like to use a drop in my water after a big meal too.

Link-clicker’s paradise

https://www.youngliving.com/en_US/products/panaway-essential-oil

Wintergreen articles:

Helichrysum Articles:

Clove articles:

Peppermint articles:

has good recipes

This weeks library books

  • The encyclopedia of essential oils by Julia Lawless
  • Essential Aromatherapy by carole mcgilvery and jimi reed

Lemon Essential Oil

I am new to essential oils, but not new to home remedies. I grew up with a mother who was a Mother Earth News type (love you mom!). We had huge gardens. We canned. We made jams. We froze the fruits and vegetables that didn’t get canned. We lived on 35 acres of woods with 12″ thick walls for insulation and a wood stove. We used lanolin as moisturizer and apple cider vinegar for tummy upset. Whole wheat flour and brown rice were staples in the grocery cart. I grew up in a wonderful world and I think I have been trying to recreate it in my own way ever since.

A good friend introduced me to essential oils. I was intrigued and skeptical at the same time. I liked that it was a natural product, that it was presented as something I could explore on my own, and that not every oil works the same for everyone. I waited for a special project to be paid and was able to get my starter kit. Then I started doing what I love to do – link-clicking, experimenting, and jumping all-in (I’m a distributor now). Since I have gotten the kit I have had to reorder lemon, peppermint, lavender, and frankincense. We use a lot of lemon around our house. Girl-child loves it with peppermint in her diffuser, plus we use it in a focusing scent blend we made for her at school. Boy-child and I love it in our bubbly water and bread.

Now that you’ve got my history – I can get to the good stuff. Everything I have discovered so far about Lemon Essential Oil. This post is information I have gleaned from various sources, from fellow oilers, and through observation. I should also tell you that I am not a medical professional and results will vary. I hope you find something helpful below.

fresh-lemon-drop-juice-isolated-white-35838806Lemons. I have loved lemons for a long time. A wedge of lemon in my tea or water – yes please! Lemonade fresh squeezed at the fair – absolutely! Lemon drop candy. Lemon bars, lemon cake, lemon cookies. Sigh. All this talk of lemony goodness – I must go bake – you’re on your own for this one.

(Cue elevator music)

Lemons are grown on an evergreen tree, Wikipedia told me so. The lemon (Citrus × limon*) is a species of small evergreen tree native to Asia. They grow to be about 20 feet tall and have pink/white flowers that smell amazing. The trees do have thorns. You can grow lemon trees in Minnesota, however, they must either be in a heated green house, or a planter that is brought in during the winter – they are not frost tolerant or suitable beyond zone 7. They prefer temperatures 55-70 degrees. When I was a kid we grew a lemon tree from seed – it was so cool to watch the rich green leaves sprout from its tiny branches. It did not live long enough to bear fruit, but was lovely. This summer I almost bought a citrus tree from the local greenhouse, but my ability to keep houseplants alive is only reached the level of succulents.

*It is important to pay attention to the species names of plants (Latin words giving official names to plants) of your essential oils. It gives a better idea of what is in the bottle and where it came from – and whether it will do what you want it to.

Lemon essential oil is cold pressed from the rind. It takes about 75 lemons to make one 15ml bottle of oil – that is a lot of lemonade leftover – send some my way please. The smell of lemon oil is intensely wonderful to me, citrusy, refreshing, reminiscent of baked goods (I better go check the oven).  Lemon oil is considered GRAS (generally regarded as safe for internal consumption). One of it’s most powerful tools is limonene which has strong anti-viral properties!

This is a list I found of lemon oil’s chemical constituents. It contains terpenes which inhibit the accumulation of toxins and help discharge existing toxins from the liver and kidneys specifically a-pinene (strong antiseptic properties), camphene, b-pinene (strong antiseptic properties), sabinene, myrcene, a-terpinene, alcohols which are commonly recognized for their antiseptic and anti-viral activities specifically linalool (can help relieve discomfort), Oxides which are a binary compound of an element or a radical with oxygen b-bisabolene, more terpenes like limonene (strong anti-viral properties), trans-a-bergamotene, terpene alcohols stimulate the immune system, work as a diuretic and a general tonic, and are anti-bacterial as well such as nerol and neral. Did that just hurt anyone else’s brain? I easily found the list of chemicals. I also easily found a description of those chemicals. What I didn’t find was a list that combined the two. Most of the time I found statements about 1 chemical and its benefits, but the rest were absent.

*It is important to pay attention to the chemical constituents (little-bitty pieces making up everything-we’ll talk about this later) of your essential oils. It gives a better idea of what is in the bottle – and whether it will do what you want it to.

In other words, lemon is good for immune support, cleaning, digestion, and lifting of mood. Its tasty, smells like summer, and happens to be inexpensive (you can buy a 15ml bottle retail for $15).

About immune support: I enjoy cups of tea with lemon and honey when I am sick, and I give it to my kids too. When you are first starting out with oils you really don’t want to ingest any more than 1 drop per day. I am a lightweight when it comes to medications so I was very careful to only have 1 drop at first, and even now most days I stick with only 1 drop with the occasional mixture of 2-3 drops if I feel I really need it. Diffusing lemon oil adds such a summer smell to my house that I forget the gray sky, and start to feel better. It is amazing how much scent memory can improve a bad day and by proxy improve how sick I feel.

I’m looking forward to perfecting a homemade honey lemon candy to use as cough drops. These are the recipe links I want to try:
https://thenerdyfarmwife.com/honey-lemon-sore-throat-candy-drops/
http://www.recipeswithessentialoils.com/honey-lemon-throat-drops/
http://www.homemadehints.com/homemade-old-fashioned-hard-candy-recipe/
Homemade Honey, Thieves & Lemon Essential Oil Drop Recipe

About cleaning: Have you ever stopped to look at home many cleaning products include lemon? While they may have synthesized it down to a synthetic chemical compound, the idea is still there that lemon is what we think of when we are cleaning. In our house we use what we call volcano cleaner. Vinegar and baking/washing soda! While I know the chemical reaction between the two can cancel out its individual cleaning power we still love to use it, it is these two products plus lemon that comprises most of the information out there for home cleaning. Do you use baking soda when scrubbing grungy surfaces – add a drop of lemon to help cut the grease and sticky stuff. Add it to a spray bottle with vinegar and water to clean counters, tables, and other smooth surfaces. Make wood polish with a few drops in olive oil. Give your homemade laundry a summer fresh scent with a few drops.
I read a warning not to use Lemon oil on granite or stone, as it may etch the surface.

About digestion: My favorite home remedy for tummy troubles is apple cider vinegar. Now it may seem counter intuitive to take an acid when your stomach feels acidy – but I have found (learned from mom) that for me it evens me out. I usually have a teaspoon to a tablespoon in warm water with a titch of honey. I have also found that a drop of lemon in my bubbly water to helps immensely. A great relief after Friday pizza night! This is not for everyone. Some people find they crave the milk/yogurt solution to stomach upset – it’s all about knowing yourself.

About lifting your mood: Summer, bright first thing in the morning. In the diffuser to get everyone going. In the afternoon when your flagging because it has been a long day and there is still homework to do. A drop in my water helps me wake up, and keep going – especially during a workout.

I find essential oils to be about experimentation – but that is who I am. I am a creative experimenter with an obsessive pursuit of information and ideas to try.

I’d love to have you join me on my oily adventure by clicking here and becoming a member.

Here are a few more tips I read online about the uses of lemon:

  • Mix lemon essential oil, baking soda and coconut oil and rub on your teeth for 2 minutes and then dense as a natural teeth whitener.
  • Add it to your soap as you wash your hands to help with grease or sticky residue
  • Great for removing sticker residue and pine sap
  • Add it to your homemade bug spray
  • Add a drop to your evening moisturizer to reduce the appearance of blemishes
  • Add it to your conditioner for an aromatic treat that smoothes and shines your hair
  • A drop or 2 of lemon oil on a cloth during your rinse cycle to get rid of the stink that happens when you forget about laundry in the washer (never happens in my house wink wink) or put that same cloth in your dryer for a wonderful smell of warm summer when you take it out
  • Lemon will help soften callouses
  • Use your home cleaning spray to clean stinky dinner dishes (like onion and garlic residue)
  • Use lemon oil to polish up leather furniture
  • Helps remove tarnish
    Because some citrus oils like Lemon can cause photosensitivity, avoid applying to exposed skin before spending time outside.

Diffuse or take internally with Peppermint and Lavender to assist with seasonal respiratory discomfort.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lemon

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=lemon+essential+oil

https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/fruits/lemons/growing-lemon-trees-containers.htm

http://www.abundanthealth4u.com/Essential_Oils_Constituents_s/41.htm

http://www.kanta-group.com/lemon-oil.html

https://abookishcharm.wordpress.com/2014/07/23/the-best-lemon-bars-with-young-living-essential-lemon-oil/

http://oboyorganic.com/essential-oil-lemon-lavender-shortbread-cookies/

https://www.youngliving.com/blog/when-life-gives-you-lemon/

in praise of fruit cake

Sorry I haven’t written lately. Been working hard on creating a plan for our future!

When you read the title you cringed – admit it. Perhaps the joke about using it as a door stop was recalled. Maybe you even remember seeing it on the Christmas table at your grandmother’s house, dreading the moment she would ask if you had tried some.

I love fruit cake! Let me rephrase that, I love the fruit cake my mother makes, and since then, my sister and I have learned to make (although my hubby still says ick because he’s a ninny). There is a disconnect between the reality of great fruit cake and its legend.

I have had some of the fruit cakes that have the candied fruit peels or other candied fruits. I have had some of the fruit cakes that are buried beneath brandy or rum. I have had the strange tasting fruit cake that comes in a box from the rack at the grocery stores that has barely enough fruit to call it fruit cake. Given this rundown of the average fruit cake, I understand your trepidation about fruit cake.

My favorite cookbook “Better Homes & Gardens New Cookbook” has a recipe for fruit cake that when you separate the name from it, doesn’t look that bad if you like candied fruit. It even has a option of “or snipped mixed dried fruit”. That is the main key – dried fruit instead of candied fruit. Another problem is the spices – not everyone enjoys the Christmas combo of cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves.

How many of you like Lara Bars? How many of you love a chewy granola fruit and nut bar? How many of you adore trail mix? Let me introduce you to the real fruit cake. Its calorie content just about matches the Lara Bar. I’m baking some now to add into my healthy eating as a daily snack because it is a great mix of fruit and nuts.

img_4902This recipe I got from my sister, who modified it slightly from my mother, has dates, almonds, walnuts, raisin, cherries, whole wheat flour, honey, eggs, orange juice, orange zest, baking powder, and salt. Sounds good doesn’t it? Today I enhanced it even more. I added in oats, sunflower seeds, apricots, and prunes – I left out the cherries because I didn’t have any. Look at it! It looks like trail mix or granola before you bake it. I bake it in loaves, but I wonder if I could do it like bars, then cut them into portion sizes – just like a granola bar. Portion sized ready to eat!

I asked my mom about the recipe at an inconvenient moment. They were out RVing across the country. No recipe because who makes fruit cake in an RV. She is not sure where she got the original recipe – maybe a magazine, but she altered it and played with the recipe. She switched it to whole wheat flour and dried fruit instead of candied. She also prefers orange juice to brandy or rum. I come by my desire to alter recipes naturally. She also pointed out that it should really sit in the fridge wrapped in orange juice soaked cheesecloth at least 1 month to help it truly come together.

So here is the recipe for those of you who are now dying to enter the realm of Fruit Cake aka a wholesome fruit and nut bar.

1.5 cups almonds (mom prefers whole – I used sliced)
1.5 cups walnuts
(substitute 3 cups nuts of your choice – I added sunflower seeds to the other nuts)
2 cups dates
1 cup raisins
1 jar cherries (mom like adding maraschino for color and moisture)
(substitute 3.5 cups dried fruit of your choice – I added prunes and apricots to the other fruit)
1 teaspoon orange zest (I used 5 drops orange essential oil)
3/4 cup flour (we prefer whole wheat – I’ve never had this recipe any other way)
(not in the recipe but I added 1/2 cup old fashioned oats)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Mix together the above ingredients then add

3/4 cup sugar or honey (I prefer honey)
3 beaten eggs
2 teaspoons brandy, rum, or orange juice (mom prefers orange juice)

Mix together well.

Line 9×5 loaf pan with parchment paper. Press into pan. Bake at 300 degrees for 1.75 hours. Once cool, remove from pan. Soak cheesecloth in orange juice, brandy, or rum. Wrap around bread, then wrap in tin foil. Age in fridge 2-4 weeks. My sister and I can never wait for it to age.

Welcome to the world that is what I call fruit cake – or fruit and nut bars.

Link-Clicker’s Paradise 11/9/16

The morning after election Tuesday I did not want to read any more about the election and individuals celebration or mourning. Instead I pulled my Facebook feed into Pages Feed (setting found on your left sidebar near the top if you are using a computer browser).

Then I started clicking:

Gluten Free Scottish Oat Scones

Slow Cooker Recipes

12 Days to a Simpler Holiday Season

http://www.treehugger.com/green-food/restaurant-employs-grandmas-instead-chefs.html

Almond Joy Oat Bars (Soft & Chewy!)

No-Bake Peanut Butter Oat Bars Recipe

Peanut Butter Chocolate No-Bake Granola Bar Bites

(No Bake) Healthy Breakfast Cookies

In the Garden: What to do in November

Easy and Easier: Slow Cooker Mexican Lasagna

https://younglivingfoundation.org/worldwide-young-living-shoe-cutting-party

5 Easy Extracts for Flavoring Baking and Cooking

https://www.buzzfeed.com/merleoneal/baked-potato-chips-4-ways?bffbtasty&ref=bffbtasty&utm_term=.vdRVVA1JN#.dcB11ZlXg

http://www.stdavidscenter.org/parenting/compassion

https://www.buzzfeed.com/mercedessandoval/you-know-you-want-to-make-this-hearty-sweet-potato-and-black

What makes you happy in the midst of turmoil?

Link-Clickers Paradise 10/25/16

In pursuit of wool dryer balls I know I must clean, comb/brush, and felt my wool. And so here I go to discover the wonder of of it all.

I’m going to overwhelm you on this one.

Guide to Processing Wool. I was so excited to find this piece of information. It has gotten me to a point where I know so much more about processing wool and I’ve only read the first 4 pages.

ehow’s guide to felting wool. Simple, but interesting to see it needs to be worked for at least 10 minutes.

simple wikihow felting tutorial This actually shows the small balls to use for  jewelry and I totally want to make these. There’s that pesky 10 minute comment again.

Youtube flat felt tutorial. Interesting. 20 minutes? Wow! Starting to think I don’t have enough patience to make these dryer balls. I now know why everyone starts with roving – fewer steps, less time.

Frog & Count This actually is a how to clean wool. The ultimate problem for reading the internet is the continual link-clicking. Every time I click a link I am sleuthing my way through miles of information, each clue bringing me closer to my goal or further away depending on your perspective. I will need to revisit this site.

Combing wool with homemade combs. Sigh more sites that need further perusal.

Washing wool. Really people tell me to stop clicking already. So much to learn, so little time!

Wool processing. I’m noticing these web pages that seem old or dated. Not modern. Does that mean I’m old for wanting to do these things?

Pretty needle felted items. And it’s past my bedtime.

Felt. OK, I’m getting tired of this search – are you? I think I learned what I needed on the first 2 or 3 items. However, I will stay the course, maybe I’ll learn something vital!

More felt. I am interested in this site – they taught a kids group. I wonder if there is more to discover here.

Washing wool. Very detailed.

A site that appears more modern and talks about washing wool. Must explore more – later. It is getting so late.

Mother Earth News and how to make a felted rug. I love this magazine but for money reasons do not receive it in my home. Fortunately all their content appears on the internet! A treasure trove of old-timey fun. I am totally doing this rug method next time we shear our sheep!

Spinning daily site – to explore later.

Anoka fiber works. I was reminded of this by a fellow sheep fiber fanatic in our area. What a great resource. I still haven’t made it to their site, but I hope to soon.

Well kids. What have we learned today? I am easily distracted by interesting links – yes. I think I will be able to finish my wool dryer balls quite effectively soon.

Making It From Scratch: Wool Dryer Balls II

I really, really, really want to make wool dryer balls – have you noticed that yet? I have heard from people that they would “totally buy them from me” if I could only figure them out. Motivation! There is a demand; I MUST fill the need.

Problem #1: I do not have roving.
Roving is wool in a pre-yarn state of existence. It occurs after raw wool has been gently cleaned and brushed. From what I can tell, the fibers all go in one direction and are magically joined into a beautiful rope-like structure which can then be spun into yarn. Discovery #1: there are also many other pre-yarn states like rolag which is usually what is made when hand carding. However, all the dryer ball instructions start with roving or worse – an old wool sweater.

Problem #2: I do not have carding brushes.
Carding brushes are the instruments used to straighten out the wool and make it soft, fluffy, and I assume, formable into roving or rolag. From what I have seen of them, they are 8″x4″ and come in a set of 2. I have seen them for sale, but have not yet had the funds to purchase them. Discovery #2: Roving is not made from hand carding brushes, it is made with a carding drum. Sigh.

And yet, I am determined to overcome these hurdles and make my own dryer balls by forming my wool into something closely resembling roving. It may be an imperfect union. But where there is a demand; I MUST fill the need. Here is what I did.

I pulled out a tuft of wool. By tuft I mean a clump loosely the size of a salt shaker. I carefully pulled out tiny yarn sized bits, then split those in half, letting the ends cling together so that I had a double length of wool that was soft and filmy. I added these bits to a flat line which I built up to be about 24 inches long by 2 inches wide and maybe 1/4″ thick with all wool generally pointed horizontally. I staggered the wooly bits so that they would overlap. Then I carefully rolled it like pigs in a blanket (or should I say lambs in a blanket) and ended with something slightly resembling roving – yippee. I carefully wrapped these roving-like pieces around a wad of wool. I built up my wool balls this way until they were almost the size of softballs. I was uncertain if this would work so I did not make them actually as big as softballs and as I progressed they were closer in size to baseballs. These were then stuffed into old nylons, and separated from each other by rubber bands.

With two rows of lumpy caterpillar looking things complete; I added them to the dirty laundry bags. I was desperate to give this a try, but our washing machine was on the fritz, which meant a trip to the laundry mat. Running to the laundry mat is always a complicated endeavor. First it must be timed just right in the day because of school and work scheduling as well as other errands to be paired with this trip into town. It also requires ransacking the entire house top to bottom for all possible dirty laundry. Then all the laundry is sorted by color (we do 3 batches, Black/Red colors, Blue/Green colors, and whites) and stuffed into feed bags. Farmers life note: feed bags make great laundry bags, trash bags, and sometimes snow sleds.

Once ready to wash, I put them in hot loads with the colors (no bleach please). Then dried them. Pulling them from the dryer and peeling back the stockings was so exciting. They now appear to be dryer balls, but the light color ones did not felt (the way wool compacts and hold tight as it is washed and agitated in hot water) as much as they should have. The dark brown ones firmed up nicely, but they are not even baseball sized, so clearly I must do more, and I wonder if I were to wash the light color ones again if they would firm up more. Maybe if I wash them enough, they would firm up completely and I could just keep adding layers until they reach the proper size like a big ol gobstopper of wooly goodness?

Whatever they are, I think they are so pretty. I brought one to work to keep on my desk and have been dropping cedar wood essential oil on it. It is a lovely thing to pick up randomly and toss in the air and that smell, so peaceful.

I feel I am one step closer to fulfilling my dream of being the go to gal for dryer balls. For where there is a demand; I MUST fill the need.

Check back to see the thrilling conclusion in part III – or is it?