Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Hello!! This is Kat! Another one of the Healthy Horizons Family Farm branches!
My sister Elizabeth has been the prime holder of the blogging and "marketing" of Healthy Horizons. I finally am having the kind of energy needed early enough in the year to ACTUALLY get some stuff going!
Mostly my specialty has been more on the husbandry side of the house, and mostly with the poultry. But now we have expanded to having a bunny, chickens, ducks, dogs, and a parakeet.
Amongst also wanting to be able to provide organic and healthy food options for my animals, I'm also wanting to provide healthier food options for my children and family too. I remember a few years ago when Elizabeth had the garden at my mom's house, there was one sunny day in the summer when my daughter, who was 2 at the time, went out to the garden, picked up a watermelon (the size of her head), called to me and said "mommy can I have watermelon!". The pure beauty of that summer, and the fact that there were multiple times that we had to yell at the kids to "get out of the garden", and "stop eating all of the kale!" Makes me so happy. I want my children to grow up with the ability to walk out into the backyard, pick some lunch, and play in the woods. In order to do that, there's lots of prep work, teaching, and work, that needs to go into it. I'm hoping to keep up with this blog for our journey together this year, and the progression of our garden!

Monday, July 30, 2018

Dutch Baby

I'm told that this format works better for recipes so here goes! Here is another delicious way to use up seasonal apples!

I'm not sure the history of the name but I assume is has to do with using a Dutch oven though you can use any kind of oven safe pan. I've made some modifications since my childhood for my own personal tastes so I will note them but also give you the original.

6 large apples (or 7-8 Chehalis apples) cored and thinly sliced
6 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons cinnamon
(I also like a dash of cloves)
1/4 cup sugar or equivalent (I prefer brown sugar)
1 cup flour
4 eggs (if they are my eggs which are slightly smaller then I use 5)
1 cup milk.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Farenheit. Saute the apples in the oven safe pan along with the butter and cinnamon. (I also prefer to put half the sugar in the pan and saute in order to get a bit of caramelization.) Saute until soft. Pour batter mixture over the apples and place the whole pan in the oven for 25 minutes or until set.

Voila! I like to make a double batch so we can have leftovers because it's just as good cold as it is hot!

Apple prep:

Sauteed and half poured:

Finished! So yummy!

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Spring Has Sprung!

Baby goats are born, surprise flowers are peeking out of the ground at our new house, planting seeds, tax season. Sound familiar? I keep thinking one of these days I will learn to stop scheduling new stuff for myself in the Spring. It just keeps happening that once the fruit and veggies are safely stored away in jars or freezer and I've had a few weeks of breathing room that I want to start over already! But we still have the dreary winter to go through. So this winter I was feeling antsy enough that I signed up to be in a community production of Beauty and the Beast. Now that it's time to make new products, build and plant an entirely new garden, raise goats by hand (unfortunately), I also have every Saturday and Tuesday scheduled with rehearsal and set building! Any wonder why we haven't completed fencing in the back portion of our property?!

So, to sum up:
We moved into our new place in Maple Valley last July.

My dad helped us convert the workshop downstairs into a bedroom for our girls.

He built a joint goat barn and chicken coop to my specifications.

I completely refinished the wraparound deck including adding screws to the entire flooring.

We felled several large trees and chopped down more stifling rhodedendron and azalea bushes than I can count.

We thoroughly enjoyed our double wood stoves upstairs over the winter which required many hours of chopping wood. Hours which I was happy to provide considering I'm trying to loose some of the leftover baby reminders on my hips/tummy/thighs/etc!

I learned more about different kinds of nut and seed oils and have updated my recipes accordingly.

I registered both the family farm and the herbal company with the state of Washington.

I applied for Healthy Horizons Herbals to be part of the Maple Valley Farmer's Market all summer (dates to be posted soon)!!

That's all that should be crammed into one blog post, I think. More coming soon!

Monday, May 30, 2016

Launching in 3...2...1...

I finally decided to do it. I'm taking the plunge into actually selling my home-made skin care products. As mentioned in an earlier post, I've been making my magical bug bite and burn salve for a couple of years with amazing results and the only ingredients are infused olive oil and beeswax! Taking what I've learned about infused oils to the next level is pretty intimidating but I've never been one to take on "small" challenges.

Sunscreen and lip balm were introduced here

Due to how much camping and hiking we do, all natural (and safe!) bug spray was my next priority. I found many recipes online that claimed to do the job but that was hard for me to believe considering they were mostly water. The two recipes that seemed to have the greatest compliments for efficacy were either entirely made of apple cider vinegar (ACV) which was effective but stinky or with a high concentration of essential oils which may not be safe for kids or pregnancy and may also burn sensitive skin, all categories with directly apply to my family right now.

So I combined the two recipes, took another ingredient from another recipe and combined them, and infused it all with eucalyptus, mint, rosemary, basil, and lavender. What came out actually smelled really good once the vinegar evaporated. I have tested it here int he PNW with good results and I have a friend in Texas testing it on herself and her family.

Witch Hazel extract
Strong decoction of distilled water and herb mix
Apple Cider vinegar
Vegetable Glycerine
Eucalyptus and Lemongrass essential oils

General body lotion and mature skin cream are currently in testing and should be available soon. There is still some tweaking I want to do with both of those and today I'm taking on the challenge of refining the lotion recipe which, so far, has ended up too thick.

Bug bite and burn salve is brewing for another two weeks, infusion for extra dry skin cream is brewing another week, and brew for face toner will be another week. Probably the most difficult part of starting all this is I'm trying to predict the demand for products that I haven't introduced yet and take several weeks to prepare.

This week I received the professional logo I requested, set up a domain name, and began setting up my e-commerce presence thanks to It was difficult deciding which platform to use to sell my products since skin care products tend to be small and with low price points. Etsy requires a listing fee and a percentage fee of each sale and you get hit a second time with PayPal surcharges. I found a great article by Grace Dobush, long time Etsy seller, which addressed all my concerns about e-commerce sites in general including a chart outlining the various platforms available for selling products online, what they offer, and how much their service charges cost for a variety of price points.

Later this week I expect the website to go live with all the products currently available. Already you can e-mail and expect a prompt response from me. Also on the "to-do" list are business cards, unique vintage labels, twitter account, and a facebook page. Until then, I will keep my Products page up to date with what is available. Shipping within the USA is available for $6.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

New herbal products!

Over the past several years I have been slowly learning about the edible and medicinal properties of many plants, especially those native to the Pacific Northwest. Though it's considered an invasive species from the Old World (the Indians called it "white man's foot") my gateway drug was Plantain. Not the banana, but a green herb that comes in about two hundred varieties spread over the entire earth, the most common of which in our area are "broad leaf" or plantago major and "narrow leaf" or plantago lanceolata. Being so widely spread, of course the two noted above have many more than one or two names, but for the sake of my reference and brevity I'm sticking with "broad" and "narrow."

Plantago has been used for millennia for a combination of topical and internal ailments and is an excellent edible green as it is extremely high in vitamins and minerals. One species is cultivated specifically for psyllium and they all produce very small seeds that can be powdered into flour. My favorite use is putting it directly on bug bites. You have to bruise it first to release the oils by rubbing it in your hands or mashing it up in your teeth. It has antimicrobial, astringent, anti-histamine, and anti-inflammatory properties. We most often use it for soothing nettle stings, general bug bites, rashes, scrapes, and burns. I've developed the habit of picking some on the side of a trail and keeping a few leaves in my pocket whenever hiking just in case. My personal experience leads me to believe that the broad leaf variety is more effective for skin and topical issues and the narrow leaf variety is more effective internally. Of course, if you can't find one, the other will do just fine!

On to products!

I've made salve for the last couple of years using primarily broad leaf plantain and a couple other skin beneficial herbs like yarrow, comfrey, and dandelion soaked in extra virgin olive oil for a few weeks. Add some beeswax for structure and you have portable, spreadable, skin-healing magic! My family swears by it and we use it for just about any closed skin issue like bruises, boils, bites, burns, and stings. I always take a few ounces with us on camping trips.

**FYI oil and beeswax products are discouraged for open wounds as they tend to seal in bacteria**

Given my sensitive skin, Shoshana's even more sensitive skin, and our concerns about applying toxins to the largest organ in our bodies I've been interested in broadening my homemade skin care products so I can feel confident using things like moisturizer, lotion, scrubs, and soaps. The most accessible of which were sunscreen and lip balm! Quick online search will bring up several simple recipes for both. I picked my favorites and tweaked some of the ratios for my personal preference and added vanilla as a basic scent. The difference is my use of herb-infused oils when the recipe calls for liquid oil. At this point I have my skin salve combo, rosemary, lavender, rose, eucalyptus, calendula, echinacea, oregano, and peppermint infused oils, and dandelion root tincture (made with alcohol instead of oil) available for tinkering. 

Sunscreen recipe:
1 cup infused olive oil (I used a combo of skin healing salve, eucalyptus, and rose oils)
1/2 cup beeswax
1/2 cup coconut oil
4 tbs Shea butter
2 tsp raspberry seed oil
1 tsp vanilla
4 tbs zinc oxide

Chocolate peppermint lip balm recipe:
2 tbs beeswax
1 tbs shea butter
1 tbs cocoa butter
1 tbs coconut oil
1/2 tbs rose oil
1/2 tbs lavender oil
1/4 tsp peppermint essential oil
30 drops raspberry seed oil

I hope you're inspired to embark on your own herbal journey, even if that means understanding their importance and relying on someone else to do the work. (wink, wink!)

Please check prices and upcoming products over at our products page!

Lavender lemongrass lip balm now available. It is made with the basic recipe above except 2 tbs Shea butter instead of half cocoa and 18 drops lavender and 10 drops lemongrass essential oils instead of peppermint.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

February Chores

It's been a long time. And a difficult year. I'm sorry to miss a lovely summer and harvest season but I was having difficulty recovering from the birth of my youngest, Judah Daniel. If you want to read more about it look here.

February in the Pacific Northwest is typically cold, dreary, with lots of precipitation, sometimes in the form of snow. So what could possibly be a garden chore for this month? In my experience, proper planning for your garden takes just as much time as doing the initial planting. And with proper planning your garden will be more efficient and satisfying.

Step one for planning crops is knowing your garden space. What is your zone? What is your microclimate? Do you have clay, boggy, flood plain soil? Where is your best sun exposure? What about slopes, drainage, existing trees, bushes, or man-made structures that effect wind, heat uptake, and water drainage? 

(pic: freshly harvested crabapples,)
Tip: You can even create sub-microclimates with the crops within your garden by planting for density and height in a wide horseshoe shape. The area within the horseshoe will be a significantly warmer climate than within rows. Some of my favorite garden planning resources are "Gaia's Garden," "Week-By-Week Vegetable Gardener's Handbook," and "The Vegetable Gardener's Bible." For more of a landscaping emphasis check out "The Garden Planner."

Of course, the majority of winterizing your beds and garden space should already be done but maintenance is important. Some areas of my garden need deeper mulch so I need to finish that before the end of the month so the mulch has time to donate extra nutrients before the sprouts really need them.

Once you have a basic garden plan it is a good idea to start comparing seeds and deciding which varieties you want to grow. There are a few local options for free seed trading such as the Olympia Seed Exchange, Harvest Pierce County (extension of Pierce Conservation District), and the King County Seed Lending Library besides swapping or sharing with your neighbor or at an organized seed-swap. These stock varieties that have been locally grown and donated by other growers, not regulated companies who make a living selling seed, so be aware they may have been improperly crossed or harvested poorly. The next seed swap is this weekend, hosted by Sustainable West Seattle. Check it out!

There has been some legislation discussed in other states that would force most seed libraries to close in attempts to protect the integrity of seeds. This is not expected to be an issue in Washington State in the near future but if you want more information there is a good article here.

A few seed companies operate within the PNW and specialize in varieties that thrive in our cool, maritime climate. My favorites are:

Happy Planning!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Surprise! Just kidding!

Last Saturday, March 29th, despite the complete lack of physical changes normally seen in the last two months of gestation in goats, we were pleasantly shocked to discover two beautiful kids in the stable! I had even begun telling regular milk customers that we may not have any milk products this year. The babies had already drunk the preliminary colostrum before we arrived and were resting peacefully. Chestnut seemed in good health, the placenta was completely passed, and she wasn't particularly interested in any extra electrolytes.

Say hello to adorable brown boy and sweet black girl!

We witnessed both of them stand on their own. A very important milestone within a few hours after birth.

Eating timothy grass.

Snuggled up warm.

Later that day Tim called while the girls and I were at my mom's house and said the baby goats didn't look right. I drove the seven blocks home right away was concerned enough to immediately search the internet. My heart dropped to discover they were experiencing the neurological side effects of a vitamin deficiency. Something we had never experienced before but is not that uncommon in goat babies. It was already "after hours" but I called the vet right away to get our hands on the right vitamins.

We brought them inside and began bottle feeding them right away some of their mama's milk because they were quickly loosing the ability to suckle. 

The red is from the heat lamp to keep them warm.

Three hours later, at 10pm, Tim arrived with the appropriate injectable B vitamin complex and general booster straight from the hands of the vet in Maple Valley. The kids were already pretty cold at that point which made me extremely nervous. We added hand and foot warmers from our hiking stash both underneath and above the kids in an attempt to keep their temperatures up. Unfortunately, exactly one hour later the girl quietly slipped away. These have definitely been a rough last two years for the goat herd. Many tears were shed. Since Tim had a really bad cold and I regularly take medication to treat insomnia mom volunteered to stay overnight to nurse the little thing back to health. The original plan was to set an alarm for every three hours with mom and Tim taking turns to feed him overnight. Between the hours of midnight and 2am mom heroically did everything in her power to keep his temperature up and keep him fed constantly. Come to find out a few days later she even had to restart his breathing a couple of times because he was about to give up. (Cue more tears.)

For the next two days we fed him nearly every hour during the day and every three hours at night. He got a general booster shot and a total of four doses of B vitamin injections. The picture above was, I believe, one of his short trips outside to bond with mama before being brought back inside for the next round of feedings. Both baby and mama were quite happy to be back together, even for just a short time.

Back outside with mama Chestnut and uncle Hazlenut.

Once he stabilized enough to be outside with his family we still bottle fed him a few more times until he was drinking like a champ from Chestnut. The most happy moment for me was during his second introduction to uncle Hazelnut he quickly assumed the playful headbutting posture and pranced around a bit, falling down a couple of times too. Hazelnut was interested in playing too but just held his head still waiting for the baby to instigate the physical contact. Adorable! That day Tim came up with an appropriate name for him from a fantasy trilogy he had recently read: Kelsier, also known as the "survivor of Hathsin." I had been thinking along the lines of "survivor" but hadn't come up with any viable options yet. Kelsier it is!

So, our herd has grown by one, a boy. We are already inundated with milk since we need to regularly milk one side of her udder to balance out the single kid. Tim already tried making some soft cheese but either the chemistry of new milk wasn't right or the bacterium didn't take so instead we have sour cream. Please let us know if you would like to be part of the regular milk pick up schedule. Also, please let us know ahead of time if you would like some chevre since we need about a gallon and the process takes about a day.

Keep an eye on the "Products" page above for current items and prices!