Betsy Carraway

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since Mar 14, 2012
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Recent posts by Betsy Carraway

I was reading on here, and remembered something from a trip to India in the 1970's; our hosts had a small, tiled room with a raised slot/hole in the floor.  One would squat over it and do whatever business.  There was a small enamel teapot or kettle on the floor nearby, with water in it; one was supposed to rinse with that.  After a little practice it worked fine.  Maybe a similar water receptacle, or even a small plastic watering can with the spout-type end, would work.  (If you leave this outside all the time, you may wish to check it before use, for "guests"...). Just some thoughts.

There is also a nifty plastic squeeze bottle with a tilted squirt head, I think it is for post surgical perineal/anal cleaning; you could use that in a backpack or when camping.
3 weeks ago
Mine is heavy cast aluminum; it is an older, Good Grips (OXO) one.  It is perfect except that it is aluminum: I try not to scrape too aggressively with a knife, because I don't want aluminum in my food.  But the chamber is extra large and because it is cast, smooth, and shaped to the hand, it has a really smooth hand feel and is very strong.  Has integral cleaner.  I do love it. (and I am a retired chef; the chef's knife method is more effective, to me, when I have to do a great amount of garlic.  But at home the smaller amount seems a breeze with the right press. Maybe if they are not making these new anymore, you could find a used one on eBay...
1 month ago
Hi y'all; I have had cancer for 11 years and was on top of it for a long time, with Alternatives; but things headed south last winter after I was kind of forced to accept sedation during a surgery I was scheduled to have a lumbar block for; now, it is fumigating breast cancer with involvement of lymphatics and lungs.  Sorry that sounds such a downer; it is what it is.  They say Stage 4.

My niece the pharmacist recently sent me a FB article announcing that a megadose of Ivermectin (2 - 2.4 mg per kg) has been shown to eliminate cancer completely, even in Stage 4!! I tried to get this from my nurse practitioner but she would only give me the immune-boost Covid dose.  So I am going to use the horse paste from good ol' Tractor Supply.

My reasons for posting these tidbits are dual. One: just to get the word out there, in case someone would like to know.  Two: although I know the dosage, I have no idea how often to take it, or for how long.  Does anyone have additional info or experience that would help me?

1 month ago
Hi, for Diane Kistner:  Maypop (passiflora Incarnata, or just "passiflora") is safe and popular herbal throughout Europe, Central and South America, and maybe more; it is commonly used as an extract, tea, or in capsules, for anxiety issues, insomnia, and even babies' colic.  It is not only quite effective and lacking in any side effects, but safe at any dose, even for babies.  So you may wish to collect the mature Summer leaves, before fruit formation, and dry them in shade for use as tea or powdered.  Might make a nice gift as well!

The fruits contain a small amount of sour pulp, and a lot of seeds; this is edible.  You wait, as with the tropical passionfruit, until the fruit is dry looking and wrinkled, before using a scissors or sharp knife to cut it open and slurp the contents.  Maypop lacks the "Hawaiian Punch" flavor of the its more famous tropical relative; but many people have made it into jellies, etc.  One fruit will yield only a tablespoon or less, so you need a bunch.

One other leaf that is good to collect and dry right now (Summer, before the fruits develop) is the wild persimmon.  The leaves are very high in vitamin C and make a lovely, subtle tea.  The flavor is slightly green, slightly acidic, and nice though mild.  You could boost the vitamin C content with pine needles or pine tips (collected in early spring); and also add flavoring ingredients like orange peel and spice, for a humdinger of a Christmas gift; throw it all, dried and mixed, into a mason jar or into individual tea sachets in a container.  Add a ribbon and you're done.  Nice with honey in the middle of Winter XD
5 months ago
OK, another one, and this is not traditional/naturalized, except "here and there"...CHAYA.  I have a big potted Chaya in the greenhouse which comes out in the summer; but little ones resprout from Winter dieback in the yard; they are up a foot or so and full of leaves already.  (And Chaya is interesting in that it makes more leaves, the more it is picked; sorta like okra).  If you are careful to buy the less-toxic type (the one they actually eat as food in Central America) you don't have to leach it and discard the water and reboil, etc.  The one I have is edible, they say, raw; but we cook it just in case.  It is VERY good! and they produce like mad all through the heat of summer!

I almost hate to say this because it is another non-native plant; but tindora/perennial cucumber is a very valuable plant here as well, also sprouting back each Spring from last year's fallen fruits as well as from the tubers.  The leaves and shoots as well as the little fruits (while straight and still green) are all edible, prolific, and delicious!!

I got a new book, named something like "Herbalism for Preppers & Homesteaders" - well, it is a joke; the author is just quoting old and even ancient sources and omitting pertinent info; but the thing that really gets me is, it is written for the Northern US and Northern Europe, listing plants we may be able to find sparkly here, but mostly not at all.  And so please jump in with medicinal plants as well, either indigenous to the South or happy here.

Our "problem" in the South is that the "classic" wild food and medicinal plants do not grow well here; they like it cool. Burdock, Stinging Nettle, Rampion, Crabapple, Sugar Maple, etc etc.  So let's work on listing the ones that DO like heat; they are all around us but that doesn't help if we haven't "met".  Anyone grow up using Sweet Gum for a refreshing chaw?  

We have a lot of trees/shrubs with edible leaves, and those are formed but still young and tender now: all of the mulberries, all of the mallow family including Althea & Confederate Rose, poplars and Sugarberry.

In our area, goldenrod deserves a mention as it is not only edible but medicinal; also yarrow.  (But to me, the "edible" leaves of yarrow are unpalatable; anybody ever do it cooked?  You cannot add much, to a salad)

Agastache LEAVES, before the plants flower, are delicious and abundant; Native Americans favored these anise-scented leaves cooked with meats.  You can later collect the flower heads for tea if you like.  I think there is a medicinal application for it...but it's just tasty.  This is an easy perennial here, and native.

Y'all, I have never liked hen bit raw; does anyone on here cook it or have any other fave preparation?
6 months ago
Hi, sorry but my guess is that the seller removed those listings, so the images are no longer available to view.
7 months ago
I like Bee Putnam's water bottle idea; but I think a glass bottle, especially a globe-shaped one, would do a much better job (more brightness).  There is a Medieval invention using many water-filled globes on a round, tiered stand, with a candle in the middle; it provided many bright spots all around the table for people to do engraving and other such work inside in Winter, with adequate light..
7 months ago
Solar tubes were mentioned.  I really want to put some in, we have a very dark dining room and end up eating breakfast in the kitchen because of it. We have one of those corrugated tin roofs.  Has anyone ever successfully put solar tubes through one of these? I betcha there is some kind of way we could do it, and get a good seal, but my hubs says "no".  He is an artist however and not a builder or tool-collecting sort of guy.  At this point, if I think it can be done, I'll just hire someone.  Any help much appreciated!
7 months ago
Do you all not know about the Society For Creative Anachronism?  (

This is a group I have never (yet) joined; but the members take things very seriously: you cannot join without doing research and presenting your work, which must be historically accurate.  The groups are in "Kingdoms" and actually have a reigning King and Queen; it is great fun for seriously nerdy people who would like to learn Medieval skills of every sort, from blacksmithing, fiber arts, cooking/food preparation, costumes, swordplay, etc. to the building of wattle houses and thatched roofs...and much more.  This goes FAR beyond yon Renaissance Faire; although behind those are probably some serious SCA members, who sell their blades and baskets at them.  Chapters or Kingdoms are in US, Canada, Asia, and a few in Africa, maybe other parts of Europe.  Worth checking out unless you are too busy wresting your subsistence from the, I take that back.  Worth checking out, regardless- it can help!!  IMHO

The caveat is that it is a big investment of your time and energy.  IF you are approved to join, based on your thesis/work.  But some on here would certainly love it!!  Now that I have thought of it again, I would like to seriously check it out, myself.  When I had first heard about this, from one of my Community College students, I was working full time and not a Mom yet; it didn't seem the time.
7 months ago
And now I'm wondering something many others may also be thinking about: which are the plentiful, indigenous fiber plants in my area?  (I am in the Deep South US).  Native Americans here have used yucca Filamentosa/Adam's Needle and other related yucca plants, for the leaf fibers; we have no actual Stinging Nettle and the False Nettle is not abundant.  

And another question: someone on here mentioned sowing some "short, red flax" from her food seed; what, if any, variety/color of edible-seed flax is also tall and suitable for fiber?  Until I read that (sorry no name; went back and couldn't find the comment) I think I had assumed all flax seed was the one variety...ha

Has anyone on here prepared and used other fibers from their native/indigenous plant sources? It would be an interesting rabbit track...  
7 months ago