Thursday, April 1, 2010

Is That Moose Nuggets Wandering Out of the Trees?

Hey there, y'all. Yup. Moose Nuggets is still lurking about. Actually, I just liberated a little time away from the kiddos to sneak to my local library and do some internet work that was really too difficult to attempt from the iphone. (No internet at the cabin, but we pick up the 2G network. Go figure.)

Anyhoo... I figured since I was "in town", I'd poke my head in for a minute here.

Spring is in the air in Delta. Alaska spring is much different from Lower 48 spring. There are no daffodils or crocus peeking their heads through the snow. But it's over 30 degrees here, and that means spring. It's a little early to call it "break up) (where the ice breaks and the snow melts), but that is exactly what's been happening around here. The drive and our property (and the roads!) are in a constant thaw-freeze pattern. The days have been in the 40s (absolutely glorious!) and the nights are back in the 20s.

Our spring is already busy. J had a guy come push snow off my future gardening site a couple weeks ago. It was a funny sight, watching Beans realize that there was DIRT under all that snow. She self-proclaimed, "I'm a Farm Girl" (that's my girl!) and took off to dig in the dirt. Little Nugget clung hesitantly to my pant leg, tasted the earth, and was not nearly as impressed. She toddled off to find a pile of snow to eat.
On seeing dirt, Spring Fever grabbed J by the manhood and he began building my chicken coop. Looks like we should be able to have a few layers hanging around in a couple weeks. We will also be adding meat chickens and turkeys, and possibly a couple hogs. (Yes. We are going to eat these animals. No, they are not pets.)
In addition to dissuading J from rushing out to buy the closest tractor, I have thrown on mud boots and begun tromping around to find ANYTHING that might be sprouting.
My urge to homestead and "live off the land" could wait no longer. With wildlife books in one hand and walking stick in the other, I took to our acreage to discover what's growing under all the snow.
Um... for the record, there's still a lot of snow out there.

But I did not come home empty-handed. A friend of mine taught me a recipe for some Mountain Medicine. If you live somewhere that cottonwoods grow, pay attention:

Balm of Gilead:
pick a few tablespoons of the sticky, resinous leaf buds from the trees before they start to open. Cover in olive oil and warm on the woodstove. (An electric range is fine too, if you have a woodstove shortage). Steep for "awhile". You'll know it's done when all the leaf buds are opened up. Melt in some beeswax and put it in a jar.
Balm of Gilead is good for what ails ya. Use on (small) cuts, scrapes, bruises, sore muscles, or a fantastic rub when you have a headache.

So I know I sound like a crazy mountain woman now, but it's true! And NATURAL. And better for you than Icy Hot and various other chemical things you rub on yourself to feel better. Also has some natural antiseptic properties. Just be cautious if you are aspirin sensitive. Cottonwoods have salicylic acid in them (naturally occurring!).

Next to try is cottonwood tea. I am told it's good for coughs and colds and headaches and various other things. Might even taste interesting.

Gotta Run. My time away from the homestead is up and there are woods to explore with curious kids.

Until Next Time,
Happy Moose Trails!