Natural “All purpose” cleaning spray

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I have never thought of adding my natural cleaner into a spray bottle before. I always used my natural laundry soap mix, ( 2 Tablespoons) with hot water and mixed this into my cleaning bucket with a rag. I love this method but wanted something I could grab and spray.

The spray bottle is a great tool to have around the home for quick clean-ups

I decided to try a recipe I found on the web.

Here is what I have tried.

1/2 cup of white vinegar

2 tablespoons of borax

1/4 cup of Castile soap  Dr Bronner’s Tea Tree Liquid Soap 

“They have many different scents, so pick your favorite”.

2 teaspoons of Lemongrass essential oil.

I mixed all these together, then added 3 cups of water.

I filled a spray bottle with my mix and stored the rest in a glass jar.

Benefits for cleaning your home with these ingredients:

CASTILE Soap~Acts as a surfactant and helps lift away dirt and cut through grease. An all-natural soap that’s surprisingly strong. A few drops go a long way.

Tea Tree oil~A natural oil that cleanses and disinfects.

Lemongrass Oil~ Has some antiseptic and deodorizing properties, which are helpful in homemade cleaners.

Vinegar~Effective for killing most mold, bacteria, and germs, due to its level of acidity.

Borax~Disinfecting

I love this mix. I have been using this for a few days now .The smell makes me happy and adds enjoyment to cleaning.

Not Quite Grounded

This has been the hardest year for me, “my soul to speak”.

The first day Henry and I met over 12 years ago, we dreamed of having our own land and home in the forest. We would take long walks everyday throughout Edmonton trails and back allies, picking all kinds of flowers and weeds. Henry talked about each of them, teaching me their names and useful things one could do with all of them. I was sold on the wonders of such things from that moment. We planted our first herb garden together from seeds and watched it grow.

Trips to many greenhouses, Henry bought me many books about herbs and dried flowers, we would have long talks about one day taking those herbs and planting them on our very own land.

I dove into hanging and drying everything. Turning them into dried arrangements, bath products and such. Adding them into handmade paper, fragrant sachets, gifts for Christmas for everyone.

We moved many times in Edmonton. We dug up our herbs, leaving a little behind for the next, and replanted them again. Those herbs are no longer ours and left behind as we could not bring them to Cape Breton.

ap

We have been here in Cape Breton for 3 years now. Each Mother’s Day and Birthdays I only ask for seeds and Herbs to start again. I have had no or very little time to garden. Our few herbs are now planted here and there, temporary homes, “not quite grounded”.

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Soapwort

We did buy that land in the forest last year and it is wonderful. However, I’m feeling a bit left out. Henry is amazing and talented. Clearing some land and building our home with his very own two hands. I long to put my hands to work on what we own. Digging them into our soil and starting a place to grow many things. I’m so antsy but I will need to wait till Spring next year. I have another Birthday coming up soon. It will be a lovely day going to town and picking up more Herbs to place here on our rental land.

I hope some stores have lots left for for me.

Mama

Time keeps on slipping

It’s been a musical week with Kieth Mullins having a house concert at their new place on Hunters Mountain last Friday and Ian Foster having one at a neighbors house in Middle River last night. Both were wonderful and a nice respite from the work and a great chance to mingle with neighbors.

We  have a new addition to the family.  A red lady that boasts having 43 horses packed under her hood along with an antique back blade. Both these will help to speed up progress at the building sight.

help

With some new draft pins, a new center link, new bolts and pins the back blade is ready for some serious work. My back is feeling better already and the blisters on my hands are slowly disappearing, I hope I don’t turn into a softy.

refurbished

The garden plot for our neighbor on Hunters Mountain is finally in. Hanna and Liam helped her yesterday, along with the occasional overbearing instructions from me. The rain expected from Hurricane Andria should help everything in the garden sprout up.

garden

Spring is in full swing now and it’s hard to believe that we are fast approaching the second week of June already. Time slips by too fast and several bureaucratic delays have virtually halted work at the building site. In the meantime we can enjoy the wonderful blossoms of late spring and the whirring of June-bugs in the evening air.

blossoms

Gardening

Earlier this year we had resolved not to put in much of a garden, mostly due to our new location and the overwhelming time constraints with all the scheduled work ahead.  However …. after +/- 1600 shovels of turned sod a small plot has emerged in our back yard. This will provide a small space for a fellow gardener while she develops her own land for future gardens.

garden

The gardening has been very delayed this year mostly due to the continued frosts and damp weather. Despite all the unseasonal cool spring weather we now have a profusion of blossoms. The apple trees have outdone themselves and are literally overflowing with blossoms.

apple

The bees now have a fresh feast to enjoy in the apple orchard as all the dandelions turn into fluffy puff balls.

dandy

A cascade of white Spirea blossoms greets us at the corner of the porch and the Lilac blossoms will open soon and exhale their  sweet aroma into the air.

spirea

Mothers Day

Today Mothers Day was set in a dense fog, a splendid day for a walk in the tranquil outdoors. I strapped Silas to my back and off we went into the obscure mist.  As we crossed the field we could hear Juncos chirping to each other, likely busy catching insects in the wet grass.  The cackling of a Northern Flicker  echoed through the trees as we entered the forest. Our destination was the Brook winding its way through the forest.

foggy

Once we reached the brook Silas was excited to throw rocks and dump handfuls of wet sand into the water. If he had his way we would have stayed here all day, digging in the sand and pitching rocks, but as with anything fun it must come to an end.

throwing-stones

When we were done with the play we washed our hands and off we went again to explore the surrounding forest. We left the babbling brook behind and headed back into the woods, it’s important to keep moving otherwise the black-flies will accumulate and start feasting.

washing

As we came out of the forest we discovered a small patch of snow, the vestige of a once 8 foot deep drift deposited there just over a month ago. Silas was anxious to get out of the carrier and play in the snow, again he would have liked to stay here forever but we had to get back home.

last-snow

The fog had dissipated considerably from when we had first trekked  into the forest. A gentle breeze now greeted us as we crossed the field.

fog

The fresh air, play, and steady bouncing motion of the carrier always puts Silas to sleep on these outings. Time to get home so he can have a good nap. When we arrived home Mama had also had a good nap ….. a  relaxing and well deserved rest for Mama on Mothers Day.

Spring Therapy

We’ve finally had a spell of nice weather with temperatures reaching plus 18 Celsius yesterday. When the weather turns nice like this it always seems that there are endless things to get done. Most pressing now is the preparation to start construction on the house.

beams

I’ve been able to get onto our property and have begun working in the woods again.  A few trees must be removed since they are far to close to the buildings and will inevitably topple over.  They are valuable building material and will become important components in our new home. For now I just peel them in preparation for milling at a later date. The thinner poles will be used for fencing and other landscape components around the property. The new clearing will become our garden area.

plants

Snowdrops and Crocuses have been in bloom for some time and very soon a flurry of daffodils will explode with color through last years brown leaf litter. A pleasing sight and a reminder to take a moment and enjoy the simple beauty and peace surrounding us in our busy life.

A Mountains Sweet Nectar

Yesterday we spent a day with our kids and the students from the Middle River School visiting a farm in Margaree that makes Maple Syrup. It was a fantastic outing and everyone enjoyed themselves immensely. Even though we home-school, our kids have been invited to participate in activities at this little school. It provides wonderful interaction for them and we will integrate them into this local two classroom school in September.

starting-up-the-steep-hill

With Silas strapped to my chest we joined the troop and slowly hiked up the mountain following the Tap Line winding through the maple forest. The trail gradually steepened as we ascended and the main Tap Line came in handy for many, assisting the ascent up the steep section.

slogging-up

The kids had a blast and as you can see Angela (the Middle River School principle) is also beaming on the hike.  There are 600 maple trees tapped on this slope providing an abundance of sweet nectar for many future pancakes and other delights.

hiking-up

Everyone, both young and old, made it up the steep grade.  The descent back down a side trail was much easier. A wonderful reward awaited us at the bottom. After having some snacks/lunch we were greeted to Maple Syrup Taffy. A pot of hot maple syrup was brought out. Everyone made a clean snowball and some hot syrup was drizzled on top. With the help of a wooden stick the cooled syrup was wrapped around the end creating a delicious sweet natural lollipop.

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We also had an opportunity to bottle some fresh syrup and without any hesitation we purchased one.

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Later in the afternoon I picked up some local farm eggs and made homemade pancakes topped with what else but fresh Mountain Nectar (Margaree Maple Syrup). A SWEET day overall in Cape Breton.

Spring unleashes her Fury.

blanket-of-snow

Once again we are under a deep blanket of snow. The second storm in a week buried everything under 2 feet of fresh snow with huge drifts over six feet deep in places. We were “Off Grid” for most of the day on Friday, caused by high winds knocking  big trees over the transmission lines.

Early this morning I strapped Silas to my back, threw on my snowshoes and plodded through the fields and woods.  Spring seems to have gone back into hibernation. The only respite now from this wintery wonderland is the warmth of the sun on our cheeks and enjoying the lengthening days.

Easter and Yummy Carrot Cake

Easter Display

Easter this year was quiet. Previously we had always spent Easter with Oma and Opa but now we live much too far. I miss Easter with them. Building nests in the forest, pussy willows in the kitchen holding cherished Easter decorations.

The sweet smell of Oma’s baking and the table set the same beautiful way each year. Family, Fun…

I am trying so hard to keep some of the German traditions they have. We set up a nature table with Easter decorations hanging from a branch. We still make Nests out in the forest, “it’s  my favorite part”. Not too much chocolate and no toys. Easter has become my favorite time of year due to all their traditions on this day. However, not having them all around just feels lonely.

I hope you all had a lovely Easter weekend.

BEST EVER CARROT CAKE

4 eggs beaten
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
half teaspoon baking soda
2 table spoons yogurt
3 cups finely shredded carrots
3/4 cup cooking oil
half cup crushed walnuts

Allow eggs to stand at room temperature for a bit. Set oven to 350′. Grease and flour pan. Mix dry ingredients. In a different bowl, mix eggs,carrots,oil and yogurt. Add to the dry ingredients and mix well. Pour batter into the prepared pan.

Bake until wooden toothpick tested in center comes out clean. When baked, cool on a rack.

Once cooled off, cut cake in 2.

Cream Cheese Frosting

2- 250 grams cream cheese softened
2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
2 teaspoons vanilla or lemon
1 cup or less of sifted powdered sugar
We add lemon peel as well
Fill center with a layer of frosting, place top on and finish rest of cake.
Lick bowel with kids, ENJOY

Felting with the Ladies

I had some lovely ladies over and taught them how to felt Nests for Easter. They all showed up with yummy soup, bread, snacks and dessert. Lots of coffee and laughs.

We had so much fun and they all did such a sweet job wet felting.

I hope we get to do more of this again soon.

Having these sweet ladies over just makes my day. Winter here is long, with cold weather and a long driveway that most can not make it up to us. Now, Spring is here, our driveway is clear and hibernating is finally over.