Up-cycled Wagon

It was time to transplant my strawberries into a different space.

Originally I was thinking of doing a tower that a friend linked to on Pinterest but while I was outside I saw this old wagon and decided to use that instead because I remember seeing something similar from the link.

I drilled some holes in the bottom of this with my husband’s drill thingy.

I had some leftover lava rocks from an old aquaponics system. Good thing too because I didn’t have any gravel so it worked out perfect.

I had just enough to line the bottom of the wagon.

I had some leftover landscape fabric from probably 6 years ago to line the rest, transplanted my strawberries and cut off the extra fabric. Gave it a water, made sure it drained well enough and put in its new place.

Easy peasy. Also I thought the landscaping fabric was a fantastic idea! I probably never would have thought of that on my own.

Melaleuca Alternifolia – Tea Tree

Tea Tree Essential Oils is a other one of my MUST have essential oils in my apothecary. I use it primarily as an antibacterial, anti-fungal and antibiotic for my skin which is extremely sensitive and I often get rashes.

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I have also used it as a facial toners to help with acne and inflammation and to heal open pimples.

You should mix it with a non-greasy (light weight) carrier oil OR wet a cotton ball with witch hazel and a small dab of Tea Tree dab (or whatever it is you use) and gently wipe your face after cleaning and rinse off after as well…okay you don’t have to do the last part but I do because my skin is extremely sensitive.

~Quick Tip- any oil will work to remove make up so you really do not need to buy expensive brands when a little dab of any carrier will work, just rinse when you’re done. ~

As a rash treatment, I do use it undiluted and rub it directly onto the rash. This is a current rash on my hands because I have a Sun sensitivity so I get this as soon as I start to spend more time in the Sun and usually ONLY of it’s a sudden increase instead of gradual. I am a Sun lover so…

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I use it to stop the itch AND to prevent infection incase any blisters burst usually by scratching at it. It works particularly well on eczema. At least it does for me.

Tea Tree is also excellent in a diffuser and helps with breathing ailments: colds, asthma… it has its own unique scent that I absolutely love but others might not like it at all.

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Some of my favorite diffuser blends are:

Tea tree and frankincense for meditation and grounding.

Tea Tree and eucalyptus for colds.

Tea tree, eucalyptus and lavender for sleeping.

Tea tree-1, wild orange-1, oregano-1, cardamom-1, eucalyptus-1, lavender-2, and cassia-2 for an energizing but also grounding effect that is clean and inviting.

Hell’s Bells (Devil’s Trumpet)

Moonflower, ThornApple… is a nightshade, Daturas aka Jimsomweed

The Jimsonweed is very poisonous and fatal to animals and shouldn’t be touched with bare hands or consumed.

The plant is a hallucinogen “In traditional cultures, a great deal of experience with and detailed knowledge of Datura was critical to minimize harm. An individual seed contains about 0.1 mg of atropine, and the approximate fatal dose for adult humans is >10 mg atropine or >2–4 mg scopolamine.” -Wikipedia

In medicine it was used as an analgesic. In voodoo it is used to make zombies. Spiritually it’s used for visions and speaking to deities but gets the name Devil’s Trumpet/horn because the visions can be or have been said to be a bit horrifying. If you’re curious because you want to get high, this is NOT the herb you want to smoke and I have never tried it myself.

Fyi, I have never tried it myself and have steered clear of it because I have always been told not to touch it AND because it gives off that kind of energy (impression) and DO believe it should only be handled and harvested by “chosen” people.

The effects of the herb can last for days and is best left to those who know how much of this plant can become fatal. If you do touch this plant and it’s gets into your blood stream and you start to feel “funny”, seek medical attention or you might be flying the witches broom and not like what you see.

Pennyroyal Tea

The name brings to mind a Nirvana song titled Pennyroyal Tea.

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:musical_score: “Sit and drink pennyroyal tea

Distill the life that’s inside of me

Sit and drink pennyroyal tea

I’m anemic royalty”.

What I didn’t know back then was that it was probably a reference to Courtney’s baby, Francis Bean and a reflection of Kirk’s feelings toward being a good father.

Anyway. Pennyroyal is used to induce labor, can cause miscarriage and used to aid PMS symptoms as well as bring on mensuration.

However, it used to be called lungwort and was used to suppress coughs and help break a fever by producing sweat.

Pennyroyal Tea

1 teaspoon of dried herb steeped in 8oz of water once a day SPARINGLY. Some suggests that there is no “safe” dosage but it has been used for generations to cause abortions which has also lead to death of some mothers.

Do not take while pregnant! Do not give it to children, infants or pets.

Information sourced from

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Contraindications are sourced from the internet off various sources. While I believe that a cup will heal, too much can kill so use with caution or under the direction of a certified herbalist or ask your doctor.

Wormwood aka Absinthe

Artemisia absinthium

Wormwood

Green Fairy

Green Madness

Artemisia

Absinthos

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Belonging to the Daisy family and apx 40 million years old.

This “weed” was known to kill anything (plant) that tried to invade its space and is a wild spreader and known for its bitter taste before it became the popular spirit known to cause hallucinations from a chemical called thujone which wasn’t really the culprit but the amount of alcohol in absinth (136% – 180% proof) killed a lot of people in its day and it was outlawed in 1915 in the US.

Early doctors and alchemist believe that it could get rid of tapeworm and would prescribe it even though it would likely kill them. Talk about last ditch effort!

Absinthe is NOT something you should ever make at home and I think it is still illegal, at least in the US (I think).

It’s known as the Green Fairy and also known to cause blindness, cramps, nerve damage though today, you can safely purchase it at the market. Um…not the alcohol but the herb woodworm in oil, capsule or powder form.

The father of this Green Madness was Nicholas Culpeper and his recipe became famous for inducing a “stream of consciousness”.

Van Gogh was locked up in an asylum detoxing from the Green Fairy when he painted Starry Night.

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So for all it’s madness, how was/is Wormwood ever used medicinally?

It can be used in a slave to repel fleas and ticks and it’s also used to help with other stomach ailments like liver and gallstone issues as well as Chrones diseases and as a topical treatment for healing wounds. I personally would not cultivate it on my own for ingestion or topical treatment because I am allergic to most weeds but you can buy it just about anywhere.

You can look up ratio details online or ask your doctor about the right amount to use in tea but it doesn’t taste good. That’s what I hear, I haven’t tried it myself.

As an insect repellent you can add it to a lotion or spray.

For wounds (antibacterial treatment) you can make a salve.

As for ingested uses, ask your doctor. This information comes mostly from a book called The Big, Bad Book of Botany by Michael Largo and various sources from the internet and should be taken with a grain of salt, so to speak.

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Garlic

Garlic

Allium sativum

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In folklore, garlic, as well as leeks and onions were used to protect against evil and was worn during the Black Plague outbreak in the Middle Ages. While it never proved to work against black death, it could be said that the strong smell of garlic and/or onions was enough to keep people a safer distance apart and it never worked against vampires.

Fun Fact, I am distantly related to John Hunyadi, the “Turk Beater” also known as the man who murdered Vlad Tepes aka Dracual or the Impaler.

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Garlic was also thought to protect people against illness which is how it is used today and has been used for over 7 thousand years I think. It is a native crop to China from the Yunnan province but clearly cultivated around the world and probably one of the most used of all herbs because there are many truths to its power to protect against illnesses.

Garlic as well as onions are everyday staples in my home and when I was growing up it was the one herb that both my ma and dad could agree on and used it in and for just about everything. I was actually very surprised to learn that a lot of people don’t use garlic in their everyday cooking. Call it culture shock and I learned that when I met my husband!

They say that the secret to long life is eating garlic and I have pretty much used it in every dish since I started cooking when I was about 8 years old. To NOT use garlic and onions is like sea water without the salt. Not only does it add more flavor to every dish, it also does have very powerful medicinal properties that have been shown to protect against cancer, stomach illnesses, and help keep your cardiovascular system in good shape by reducing bad cholesterol and triglycerides. It’s one of the worlds most powerful and cheap antioxidants as well a good source to regulate blood sugar and boost testosterone and metabolized iron.

Anti-oxidants are used to rid your blood of oxidative stress which impairs your bloods cells from delivering hemoglobin through your body and is one of the more important aspects of a good cardiovascular heath. Or as my mom would say, “it keeps you young”. Lol. Maybe she was right the whole time. I will be 42 soon and from what I am told, I still look to be in my 20’s. Late 20s but still…

Aside from the common knowledge, my mom had me use garlic for everything. When I think of it I think of My Big Fat Greek Wedding where the dad uses Windex on everything. My mom was like that with garlic. You got a pimple? Rub some garlic on it. Have a patch of uneven skin tone? Rub some garlic on it. Not feeling good, eat some garlic. That, and she would have me use it when I got sun patches on my skin. I used to get white spots on my face from too much sun so it would stand out against my tan skin. TBH, I think it was bleaching my skin so to speak, that or it was turning over new cell growth so that the damaged skin spots would fall away faster. Don’t quote me on any of that as a fact. It’s just what I did and it seemed to work. I do caution however that it does sting a little but it is an anti inflammatory as well SO….

Garlic, of course, can be eaten raw as well as cooked but raw garlic makes your breath smell a little worse for wear. Remedies that I know of to combat garlic and onion breath are to chew a piece of parsley. You know, that piece of green that restaurants put on your plate and to eat an apple. I personally go with the apple because it taste better but parsley (fresh) is cheaper and can be easily grown in your home herbal gardens.

This year will be my first successful year growing garlic at home. In previous years I had failed and that would be because I live in a hot climate and garlic are mild weather crops. Cool weather crops.

To plant, take a clove and push it into the ground. While my book says that they should be planted deep, others have said they can be shallow and I did the latter and it was successful.

The bigger the clove, the bigger the bulbs so plant the biggest ones you have. Plant in the Fall and harvest in the Spring. You don’t have to do anything to them but they prefer nutrient rich organic loose soils that remain somewhat dryer and plant just over a bulbs width apart.

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Garlic belongs to the Amaryllidacae family and is closely related to: onions, leeks, rakkyo and shallots. I think I read that the stalks from garlic are actually considered leeks and they are edible and do produce flowers and are pollinated by bees.

Before harvesting, cut the stalks off to concentrate energy into the bulbs for bigger bulbs. Personally I prefer normal sized cloves. Elephant garlic taste too bitter to me but I will cut the leeks after this late cold spell passes.

All pics are mine but the sketch was taken from The Big, Bad Book of Botany.