Time to Plant those Herbs!

After we finished laying the ground work for fame and glory on Saturday at Railroad Park, I decided it was time to plant an herb garden.

I’ve been talking about it for months. I don’t really know what I’m doing, though.

It is surprisingly difficult to get good quality, fresh, pesticide-free herbs in the grocery store.

I know you’re shocked. Try to calm down.

I’ve become quite fascinated with the healing power of herbs, my favorite being Basil.

I’ve tried all during the winter months to grow Basil in a glass on my kitchen counter, and I have failed again and again. It’s been quite discouraging.

But now that the weather has begun to warm, and Spring has officially sprung here in the ‘Ham, I decided to dig in the dirt.

It was therapeutic.

I have a window box on the front of my house that should be a perfect spot. Direct sun in the mornings, and protected from extreme heat by tall pines.

…But then I read on each little plastic spear that they all need FULL SUN…

Womp Womp!

I may have wasted my money. We’ll just have to see.

Here’s a poor shot of the fledgling collection of sage, arugula, basil, thyme, rosemary, oregano, peppermint and spearmint.

It was dark and about to pour rain by the time I finished. Here's hoping they don't die! Fingers crossed!
It was dark and about to pour rain by the time I finished. Here’s hoping they don’t die! Fingers crossed!

IF they grow, (and that’s a big IF) I’ll have my own stash that I know is grown organically, away from highway fumes, and without chemical pesticides. Perfect for incorporating into our diets. Perfect for use in herbal healing home remedies.

I’m so excited!

pugs & kisses,

HOLy Basil

I was going to title this post “HOLy Basil, Batman!”, but somebody beat me to it. Oh, well.

Basil is worshipped in some cultures. They even call it HOLy. Because it’s a blooming miracle plant, that’s why!

It contains vitamins K, C, and A, and trace amounts of iron, calcium, manganese, and magnesium.

Whoopty-do. Lots of plants have vitamins & minerals.

But more than that, basil has been studied (like for real scientific studies) for its positive effects on bacteria, respiratory ailments, blood sugar levels, and the digestive tract. It has a low glycemic index, and is an antioxidant (reduces free radicals). There’s a gajillion articles on how awesome it is. Just fire up the Google, and you’ll see.

I’ve been making a medicinal tea with basil since the weather turned cold, and it is delicious.

Liquid. Gold.

Just bring a pot of water (2-4 cups) to a boil, remove it from heat, and add a 3-4 tablespoons of fresh basil leaves, cover and let it steep.

That’s it. Simple.

I let mine sit overnight so it’s good and strong. I keep it in a glass jar with a tight lid in the fridge.

Recently, I bought some dried peppermint, and I added it to my decoction in a steel mesh tea ball. It brings a refreshing note to the taste, but really, you’ll be surprised at how delightful the basil is all by itself. Drink it warm with a teaspoon of raw honey, and you are golden. (You will feel golden. You will feel like a Buddhist monk on a Tibetan hillside. Gong optional). It will soothe your spirit and calm your nerves. I love to drink it before bedtime.

It finally dawned on me that I needed to be sharing this gift of the gods with my dogs. Duh. In fact, Truman about knocked my mug from my hands to get at it. So, I added it to the breakfast rotation.

Simply pour it over whatever is in the bowl. I have also begun to mince a couple of basil leaves to sprinkle atop their morning meal, and both dogs are coo-coo for it. (Truman more than Pearl. She’s got more of a sweet tooth, but she still enjoys it).

I keep a basil plant in my kitchen in a glass of water, and it keeps us supplied.

Trust me. Ancient cultures were more selective in their choice of objects of worship than our modern-American, Kardashian-infused culture is. They didn’t waste their reverence on b*llsh*t like we do. (I’m just guessing. I like to think they were too busy to fool with nonsense. I could be wrong). But this could change your world.

pugs & kisses,

Ring-a-ding-ding! Time for Chicken Wings!

I still get stares of disbelief whenever I tell folks I feed my dogs chicken bones.

YES. They eat the RAW meat ON THE BONE.

They eat the bone.

Because it’s Raw, it does not splinter. It crunches, and even Pug jaws are strong enough to break the bone into bite size bits. Their stomachs have high levels of hydrochloric acid, so they have no trouble digesting.

When I shop, I usually look for sale items at Whole Foods. In the poultry section, they have bone-in, skin-on wings and thighs in a strip of 3 perforated pouches. Because more people want boneless, skinless breasts for their own use, the wings & thighs are cheaper.

I buy in bulk and freeze. My freezer is my friend.

I do a lot of prep on the weekends so that my weekday mornings and evenings are stress-free.

Once I learned I was overfeeding, I cut back to 3-4 oz twice per day for these 25-lb Pugs. One hormone-free raw chicken wing is about 3 oz.

Truman & Pearl have no trouble crunching the bones, but they do have trouble–with their tiny front-row chicklets–tearing the meat from the bones. So I help them out by cutting the meat away from the bones, and then cutting the bones at the joints. (Sharp kitchen sheers are also my friend.)

Here’s what they ate all week last week:

  • 1 raw chicken wing
  • 1 oz raw goats milk (for probiotics) OR
  • 1 oz fresh bell pepper
  • 1 tsp raw, local honey (for allergies)
  • sprinkle of ground milk thistle seed (for liver support)
  • sprinkle of ground roasted pumpkin seed (in case of worms)

You can do this. It’s not that hard, and it’s no more costly than those prescription bags of kibble I bought for years.

pugs & kisses,

Herbal Healing for the Liver: Milk Thistle Seed

You have to be careful when using herbs.

I admit they intimidate me. There is so much information about what they do, how to prepare them, what level can produce toxicity, what is safe for internal use, what must only be used externally, what is safe for dogs, but not for cats.

I mean, the mind boggles.

But, I’m taking it little by little.

This is not a race: It’s my journey. (And I’m glad to have a few of you as traveling companions, so thanks for coming along! HOLla!)

I had some recent curiosity about Milk Thistle Seed. I’d never heard of it before beginning my course.

Milk Thistle Seed reputedly reverses liver damage in both people and pets.

Drugs, medications, and chemical pesticides, whether injected, ingested, or applied topically to your pup on a monthly, quarterly, or annual basis, will damage the liver because as we all know, the liver is a critical filter for the body. And when toxins passes through it (drugs & pesticides don’t have to be fatal to be toxic, let’s not be fools), damage occurs to the cells in the organ.

Further, a highly processed commercial diet will also damage the liver eventually because, as we now all know,  the processing of these convenience foods destroys the molecular structure of the nutrients that may have at one time existed in the product.

Failing to support proper liver function can ultimately claim a life. For reals.

Ok. I get it.

How do you go about healing it when you can’t really see that it’s damaged, and you don’t know the signs of a damaged-but-functioning internal organ?

Frankly, I think we must assume it’s there if we feed dry kibble, apply chemical flea & tick repellent, and dose medications– all of which I’ve done for years. After all, our dogs are very stoic companions, and often by the time they begin to exhibit symptoms, the disease, whatever it may be, is usually fairly advanced.

How do we support the liver properly? For starters, get off the processed foods. Feed a balanced, nutritional raw, whole diet.

Then, supplement with Milk Thistle Seed.

  • It’s a little brown seed that produces a pretty little purple flower.
  • Find you a good herb shop (e.g., the Golden Temple) & they’ll have it on the shelf. 
  • Grind it up or brew an infusion and add to food.
  • How much? I really don’t know.

I have been scooping a quarter teaspoon of seeds into my mortar and grinding them with the pestle until the shell breaks down. They’re pretty small and tough little seeds, so it takes some elbow grease to get them to break up.I’ve not made an infusion yet, so I’ll have to get back to you on that.

I divide it between Pearl & Truman and sprinkle on top of the food. We’ve done 4 days on, 4 days off, 4 days on. I’ll continue that rotation for the next few weeks.

I may not be using enough, but I don’t think I’m in danger of overdose. Plus, it is my hope that over time, the cumulative effect of even this small amount will feed and repair the liver.

pugs & kisses,