Farm Gate Stall

Making Sense of Essential Oils- Modern Essentials

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Have you ever bought or been given an essential oil, and then not really known much about how it can be used? Or had a sudden injury/illness and wondered what oil you could use, but had trouble wading through the masses of information online to find out? Often if you do search online for remedies you’ll find a LOT of contradicting advice. One site says to swallow a drop or two of oil (therapeutic grade) in water, while another says you’re probably risking your life if you ingest oils! So how do you know what’s safe and what’s most likely to help you?

Enter ‘Modern Essentials.’ This is a reference book produced by Aromatools, a sister company to doTerra I guess you could call it. Its designed to be simple enough for newbies to make sense of, but to have enough detail that you can dive into topics like the chemical makeup of essential oils if you desire also.
It’s pretty much an essential oils bible. It’s full colour, hardcover and details every oil doTerra sells, which oils to use for just about any illness you can think of, what oils blend well for DIY perfume, the safety data for each oil, reflexology charts, references to hundreds of studies conducted on the effectiveness of the oils and a bit of the history of essential oils. And more…but the point is, this book gives you a wealth of knowledge with studies to back it up so that you can both make the most of the oils you have, and find safe and effective remedies for any ailments you’re trying to heal up.
One suitable example we had was when Micah was bitten by a spider and was swelling up fast and in a lot of pain. I didn’t have time to negotiate the flood of information online to try and find an oil that would help, but I had our copy of Modern Essentials, so within about 30 seconds was able to find out that Basil oil helps with spider bites. And it did. The pain went almost instantly, and the swelling left very soon after applying 2 drops of that oil. It’s times like that having a real book with reliable information is a huge blessing.
The 8th edition of Modern Essentials was released late last year, and is up to date with all the new oils doTerra are producing. If you use another top quality brand like Young Living, this book would work for their oils, with exception to some blends they produce that are slightly different.
You get a page per oil describing all the common and less common uses for the oil, it’s properties (antiviral, antibacterial etc), safety data of that oil and what it blends with. It also has a full colour botanical photo of the plant the oil is distilled/extracted from.
They have a page like this for each blend also.
And there’s some info on using your oils in cleaning recipes, culinary recipes and beauty recipes.
Then the back end of the book is an alphabetical listing of most ailments or needs you can imagine, with lists in order of effectiveness, of which oils you would use for that issue, and how to use them.
There’s also some explanation of how the olfactory (smell) system functions. All up the book is 480 pages.
We use this book almost daily, and if you’ve ever bought an oil from me, I’d have given you a photocopied page from this book about the oils/s you bought so you could use it properly and to it’s full potential. It’s sad to be in a place where you have solutions like the oils, but aren’t sure how to use them, so leave them stored away! I found an almost full bottle of a fairly decent grade of Ylang Ylang in an op shop a few months back, and thought it a bit sad the donor hadn’t been able to use it up!
Modern Essentials isn’t available directly from doTerra. Aromatools sell it, as do several other essential oil supply stores, but it’s usually coming from the USA and very expensive (if you live in Australia!). I have some in stock, (down to the last 5 actually!), and they are $55 each. Or free if you’re signing up with me with an enrollment kit.
I’m sorry I can’t do them any more economically (though a decent reference book is worth that anyway) but postage from the USA this time literally cost me several hundred dollars, so it’s pushed the price up a bit.
If you live in the USA, you can order from Aromatools at a much nicer cost! And often get free postage too, unlike us in Oz!
And lastly, if you are ever giving therapeutic oils as a gift, please consider telling the recipient about this book, or giving them info about the oils your giving so they to can get the most out of those oils.
If Modern Essentials is something you’d like to purchase to have on hand, let me know 🙂

Onion, Garlic and Leek

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The garlic is ready! It’s Australian, organic and it’s also our first time growing garlic! We’re so pleased it worked out, as we’d been told by a garlic grower that it can take 20 years to learn to grow garlic well.

I’m also pleased it worked out because the week that the garlic HAD to be planted (before the cooler weather set in), Rick fell ill with some sort of fever. Rick practically never gets sick, but there you go…right when the garlic had to go out, he was too weak to leave the house. So the task fell to me. And garlic is kind of particular about how it gets planted. Each bulb needs to be the right way up, and our Bazuka planters can’t do that. So I spent hours…and hours, planting out thousands of garlic bulbs by hand while Rick recovered.

It was such a relief to have all these beautiful successful bulbs harvested (thanks kids!) and know the effort was worthwhile. We’ve been impressed with the quality and flavour.

And leek! I love the delicate flavour of leek, and it’s all the more appreciated after waiting so long for the leek to mature. I could be wrong, but it seems like it’s been in the ground for over 6 months! Crazy. So good to finally get to eat the leek. We’re selling them at 3 for $3

These beauties are Trapea Long Red onions. Long alright…they grow a LONG way down into our soil. We had to harvest them with a shovel!

But it was worth it…onions were the one vegetable item I still was buying from the Sunday Markets, and now we have our own 🙂

Rick has recently been reading about the nutritional superiority of purple onions (I know the name mentioned red, but they’re really more of a purple), so he’s decided he doesn’t want to bother with white onions anymore. We’ve harvested them ‘green’ (not dried), so you can eat the greens as well as the onion itself, which we’ve been doing. They’re $3 for a bunch of about 4-5 (depending on size).

Anyway, that’s what’s new at Birdsong!

Another use for the Beeswax Wrap

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Inspired by the SLT War on Waste Worskhop

So Saturday just gone was the SLT War On Waste workshop. It was big! Great to see so many people interested in what they can do for the environment and waste reduction.

Just before the workshop, Margy, the coordinator asked if I’d have something to give to the council reps who came to present on composting/recycling/worm farming as a thank you gift. Some homemade soaps were chosen, but when it came to wrapping them I thought “Hang on, it kind of seems backwards to have a war on waste workshop and then give a gift wrapped in paper that will be thrown out immediately after opening the gift!” There has to be an eco alternative.

At last months workshop, Margaret had briefly mentioned Furoshiki, a Japanese method of wrapping gifts, using fabric. Hmm, this trail of thought seemed promising. The thought came that it would be very possible to wrap the soaps in not just regular cloth, but homemade beeswax wraps. They would not only serve as wrapping, but also be able to be reused over and over as a food cover…or as gift wrap again!

And then my daughters helped me find something to tie a bow with…some pink wool we had in the craft box, which can also be reused.

And there’s some of the soaps that we wrapped.

Check out http://simplelivingtoowoomba.weebly.com/simple-living-blog to see how we made the beeswax wraps. I played with a few methods before settling on this one.

While we’re on the waste topic, thank you so much to all your customers that bring boxes back to us, or BYO reusable bags (no condemnation to those who don’t! I know how hard it can be to remember to BYO bags etc!).

Nourishing Traditions Intro Workshop

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Nourishing Traditions Intro Workshop

Bone broth, kefir, kombucha, soaked grains, activated nuts, DIY baby formula, cultured cheeses, raw dairy, fermented foods and beverages and more. Though these items are slowly becoming household names, some are still unfamiliar and even confusing to people.

Nourishing Traditions is the reference book and cookbook based on research by Weston A Price in the 1930’s. He was a dentist with a passion for researching diets of traditional/untouched people groups around the world (who happened to have 99% perfect dental health) and this book puts his findings into practice. This type of lifestyle is especially of interest for people with gut disorders.

In this workshop we’ll demonstrate how to prepare these foods/drinks, sample them and look at ways to heal and nourish your body through diet.

When? Wednesday August 23rd, 1pm

Where? Birdsong Market Garden, 118 Boundary St, Cranley, 4350

Cost $20 per adult and you’ll go home with an info sheet and an item to get you started (ie jar of sauerkraut, or a kombucha scoby, or a jar of milk kefir)

Contact Racheal Cameron racheal@birdsongmarketgarden.com.au or 0431696234 to book or for more info

Fermentation Bee

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Is there such a thing as a ‘fermentation bee’? There’s quilting bees, freezer parties (where you get together and make meals for the freezer) and the men of old had barn raisings. So, why not have a fermentation bee?

Our recent harvest has included a lot of sugarloaf cabbage, carrot, beets, chilies and other veg that just screams out ‘ferment me!’

My eldest two daughters and I have made what felt like a mountain of kimchi and various krauts already and I had the thought maybe there’s some people out there who’d like to come over and join us for a fermenting afternoon?

The proposal is this, you come along with your own chopping board, knife and glass jars and we provide the veggies, salt and some seasonings.

Here’s the details:

Fermentation Bee

Sunday 16th July, 1:30pm at Birdsong Market Garden (118 Boundary St, Cranley)

Cost: $40. This includes organic veg like cabbage, carrots and beets from our garden, himalayan pink salt, organic herbs from our garden and help if you are new to fermenting!

You need to bring: glass jars with lids (ie 2x1L vacola jars or 4x 440g tomato paste jars), a LARGE bowl, chopping board and knife (and a grater if you’d like to use carrot/beet)

Bookings Essential! And numbers are limited to 5. Even though we have a huge dining table, fermenting takes up lots of space!

How to book: I’m about to add this class as an item on our web store. So you will be able to buy and pay online. This will also show you if there are spaces available or not. If for some reason you have trouble with this, email me at racheal@birdsongmarketgarden.com.au and we’ll work it out from there!

Born this Morn

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It appears Rammy, our late ram, made the most of every last minute before he was butchered! We’ve had the birth of lamb after lamb this winter even though the ewes already had lambs when he was butchered months ago and we thought that would be it!

This morning Caramel, our most tame ewe, gave birth to this little cutie. The photos were taken about 20 minutes post birth. My apologies Caramel…I know it’s not nice to have post birth pictures posted of you on the internet! See her tongue hanging out there?

So, we have another healthy little girl in our flock! If you’re coming to collect veg and the lambs are in the near paddock, feel free to ask for a look 🙂

Also at the Farmgate- Essential Oils

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Chances are you’ve heard the buzz about essential oils. They’re gaining popularity fast…but they’re nothing new. Being a reader of the Bible, I’d heard names like frankincense, myrrh, hyssop, spikenard, cassia and the like many times but for a long time not realised how incredible the essential oils of these plants are!

Put very simply, essential oils are the life force of a plant, gently distilled and bottled to be used for healing, cleansing and vitality. We’ve used them for years, but only in the past 2 years have used pure therapeutic grade oils. There is most definitely a difference. We were skeptical to start with, especially Rick! He thought the expensive oils were all just a marketing ploy until I gave him a cheap ebay lemon oil and asked him to smell it, and then to smell a doterra lemon oil. I did the same experiment with peppermint oil. That silenced him, and he eventually added “you can smell a filler oil in the ebay ‘essential’ oil.” Yes, the therapeutic grade oil had a strong and lively scent while the ebay generic oils were like a watered down and dull scent.

So we started trying the doterra oils for all sorts of ailments in our family of 8. I was especially impressed by DigestZen, which alleviated two of my daughters tummy pains within literally seconds. It worked just as well for me when I had gastro pains one day.

And helicrysum oil! Wow! It stops bleeding! So when my 9 year old accidentally swung a maddock into his little brothers face (!!) and split his lip, I grabbed that helicrysum and dropped one drop into the lip and the bleeding stopped right away.

I could tell you a lot more stories of how these oils have helped us…but the point I’m getting to is that if you’re interested in natural/alternative health care and first aid, talk to me. I have a selection of oils in stock here at the farm gate stall, and also can do 1ml sample vials (free, unless it’s for a particularly costly oil) so you can try for yourself before deciding to buy anything.

I also carry copies for sale of Modern Essentials 8th edition. This is the book to have if you want to be using essential oils regularly. It lists what each oil is good for, what to use for each type of ailment and links to studies on each oil too.

It’s important to note that essential oils aren’t a cure-all in themselves. Nothing replaces a healthy diet and looking after yourself properly. As an example, there was no oil that could fully alleviate the symptoms I faced after eating gluten back when I had an autoimmune disease. I had to watch what I ate and deal with the emotional and spiritual root of the illness to be healed. But when it comes to promoting healing in a lot of other areas, like colds, wounds etc…the oils are amazing! Just be aware of that 🙂

Birdsong Classes

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I love homesteading. There’s something very satisfying about making things from scratch, living out of town and raising animals and growing our own veg. For years we’d dreamed about doing this and before we even planned on moving out here I started learning various skills like bread making, cheese making, soap making and how to make our own cleaning and toiletry products.

But back then I didn’t know about groups like Simple Living Toowoomba where you can go to a class to learn these sorts of things. It was just the local library, google and I! Any new skill I desired had to be learned from books…though I must give credit to my good friend Jen who taught me how to make soap.

So knowing that not everyone learns effectively through reading and books, the idea to teach various DIY skills classes to others interested in this sort of lifestyle and these sort of skills came to mind. Once a month we’ve been holding classes here…things like soap making, homemade cleaning products, homemade self-care and beauty products, using essential oils for DIY healthcare, making bone broth and things like that. Eventually maybe Rick will teach some home gardening and self sufficiency courses too.

We’re keeping costs down…usually around $10 per person per class. We’ve lived on welfare before and know what it’s like to live on a shoestring, so I like to keep classes at a cost that’s affordable to pretty much everyone!

If this sort of thing interests you, please contact us via this website and we can let you know next time a class is on. Alternatively, join the Simple living Toowoomba mailing list. They hold monthly classes, usually $5 per person and cover a wide variety of skills. Their classes are held one Saturday morning a month, great for those who work during the week. Our classes are always on a weekday, catering to those who can’t do weekends.

Some other classes I hope to run this year are:

-making beeswax wraps (eco alternative to cling wrap)

-making sense of Nourishing Traditions (for those who want to improve their gut health but are intimidated by this cookbook/lifestyle!)

-making DIY chalkboard frames (rustic upcycling)

-soap making

-sausage making

So like I said, contact us if you’re interested in learning some more back to basics DIY skills 🙂

Beloved Candles

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It’s incredible how much of a toxic load we are faced with in our day to day activities and lifestyles.

It feels like almost every week we learn of another thing in our lives that’s doing damage to our health and vitality. Earlier this year Rick was reading about the effects of the blue and green light emitted from electronic devices and what that does to our eyesight and sleep patterns. Not good. This of course lead him to reading about the benefits of using natural forms of lighting, such as candles as a healthier alternative. But then further reading brought up a lot of info on how toxic ‘regular’ (paraffin) candles are for you and the air around you!

Turns out pure beeswax candles are the safe alternative. Did you know they actually clean the air? Negative ions are released from the beeswax as it burns (in spite of the name ‘negative’ ions are great for you and you can attract them by going outside in the rain too!), and as the dust, pollen, pollutants etc in the air are suspended there by a positive charge, the beeswax causes them to be drawn to it and then they’re neutralised. Nice 🙂 And apparently these are the only candles to do this.

There are stories out there of people who suffer from hayfever and asthma finding relief by burning pure beeswax candles in the room they sleep in or are working in.

Beeswax candles burn with very little smoke, are non-toxic, have no chemical processing, are carbon neutral and biodegradable. They have the highest melting point of all waxes, which leads to a longer burning time.

One question you’ll likely want to ask if you haven’t researched these candles before is “why are they so much more expensive than other candles?” Well, paraffin is a petroleum based product and very cheap to produce. Whereas beeswax can cost about ten times what a paraffin candle does, because bees have to fly about 150,000 miles to collect enough nectar to make about 6 pounds of honey which will yield about 1 pound of wax. If you’ve looked around our website a bit, you’ll have seen we keep bees at Birdsong. And I can testify that when we harvested 5kg of honey, we only got about 200g of wax! It’s precious stuff!

So Rick considered buying or making some beeswax candles. If you’ve met Rick you’ll know he’s a man of many projects. This is what what can happen when ADHD boys grow up…hahaha. Anyway, he’s got too much going on to be making candles, so it was very welcome news when our friend David announced he was now making 100% pure beeswax candles to sell. Now, when you buy ‘pure’ beeswax candles in stores, sometimes you’re only getting about 50% beeswax and the rest is a cheaper filler (like paraffin). I can tell you that David’s candles are genuine pure beeswax candles. The wick is the only thing in there that isn’t beeswax!

We’re presently stocking Beloved Candles at our farm gate store. Prices range from $2-$60 depending on the size. $2 being a tealight candle (larger than most tealight candles I’ve ever used) and $60 being for a very weighty pillar candle. Most of the candles are $30 and under and there are about 9 sizes/designs to choose from.

I will point out that at the moment we can only accept cash payments for these, not card. This is just until David gets an electronic method sorted out for his business…it will mess us up at tax time if we put the candle sales through our accounting/POS software!

So if you’re looking to try some air-purifying, ambiance-adding beauty into your home, give Beloved Candles a try!