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Serving Mifflin County and the surrounding area.

The Valley A free newspaper dedicated to agriculture, self-reliance, frugal living, and modern homesteading.

Volume 2, No. 3


The Valley, March 2011

SHADE MOUNTAIN NATURALS Local Business Built on Quality Product

Shade Mountain Naturals was born from the desire to provide my family and clients with safe all-natural skin care products. Being a Massage Therapist for the past eleven years, I am instinctively drawn to natural remedies. Whether it be what I eat, or what I put on my skin (later, I learned that is one in the same! Read on.) My daughter had a mild case of eczema. The crème that was prescribed to her irritated and inflamed her skin. I thought “Tam, you are certified in the use of Essential Oils, why don’t you make her up a crème?” So, I did. It worked! I packaged this up and started having it available to my massage clients. As I learned more and more about our largest organ (the skin), and commercial applications verses natural—I wanted to use as much all-natural as possible. Do you realize the skin absorbs what is put on it? This varies from person to person depending on the skin’s thickness, a person’s circulation rate, age, overall health, water intake, etc. I have read reports claiming as high as 60% is absorbed. Please read the labels on your products. Are the ingredients really something you want IN your body? I could go on and on about this. If you want to learn more about a specific ingredient or brand name: go on-line to www.cosmeticdatabase. com. Here you can do a search on a particular ingredient or product; it will give you information and a “hazard rating.” At Shade Mountain Naturals we create all our own recipes. We hand make all our own products from scratch- NO bases are used. We pride ourselves in using high quality ingredients. We believe it

Right off Jacks Creek road you will find Serenity Lane and Shade Mountain Naturals. The quaint country setting is as welcoming as their soaps are luscious.

is not always the wisest decision to look for the economical choice and compromise on quality. Our crèmes are made using NO water. That is a rare find anywhere. Instead of water, organic Aloe Vera Juice is used along with Shea Butter and some very rich oils. As a preservative, we use

Rosemary Oil extract. As a result, only a very small amount is need. Considering commercial lotions are comprised of approximately 70 to 80% water. Are they really absorbing quickly…or evaporating? Our most popular and definitely the most intriguing product

is our soaps. Many people come in and share how they remember Mom or Grandparents making the terrible harsh soap made with lye. I love to see the look of surprise and some embarrassment when I explain to them that is the same process we use, with lye! There are some misconcep-

Some of the different soaps produced by Shade Mountain Naturals are not only a quality product you can feel with the first use, but they are also pretty enough to be considered design accessories.

tions out there about commercial bath bars and soap. When I say commercial: I mean the manufacturing “giants.” I will attempt to explain without much detail. Soap CANNOT be made without sodium or potassium hydroxide (lye), it is impossible. Soap is a name given to a base (oils) mixed with an alkali (lye) to create a salt (soap) which have undergone a process known as “saponification,” a complete molecular change! When made correctly, there is no lye remaining in the soap. Commercial soaps may not be soap at all. Read the label. Is it called “soap” or “beauty bar”? If it is a beauty bar, it is likely a detergent. Detergents are a petroleum based product like gasoline and kerosene. Detergents are good for one thing: removing oils. Great for cleaning dishes, but very drying to our skin. If it is labeled “soap,” the most common ingredient in commercial bar soaps is sodium tallowate. It is the product of combining tallow, or beef fat, with lye. The attractiveness for tallow for mass producing soap is that it processes quickly, produces a hard bar of soap and is cheap and plentiful. Commercial soap makers will collect the glycerin (a very moisturizing agent that occurs naturally when making soap) and sell it to lotion makers. Who then will add it to their lotions to make them moisturizing. Shade Mountain Naturals soaps retain all of their natural occurring glycerin. So, you are probably saying, “okay what makes Shade Mountain Naturals soap so much more moisturizing than the ‘old time’ lard soap.” Before the Internet, we did not have easy access to

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The Valley, March 2011

In this Issue Contributing Writers Adventures in Homesteading --Dave and Ginger Striker Woods, Water and Wildlife --Bob Sleigh Roads Less Traveled --Lynn Persing Understanding the Constitution --Dave Molek Thots on... --Lydia Adventures on Our Nourishing Journey --Sue Burns LZ Swanson --Shawn Swanson Grosze Thal Nachbaren --Jeptha I. Yoder Looking Out My Back Door --Mary Anna Chenoweth The Mushroom Guy --Bob Sleigh Ask Julie Mac --Julie MacConnell Modern Energy and Alternate Heating --Curt Bierly Recipes, Crafts and Gift Ideas --Debra Kulp Memories of a Dairy Princess --Rebecca Harrop More Frugal Living --Rick Hanson The Chicken AND the Egg! --Mike Flanagan Homeschooling on the Homestead --Andy Weller Contentment Quest --Joanne Wills Observing Lent --Pastor Pat Roller The Beautiful Normal --Sarah Hurlburt

Contact Info Editor/Publisher Wayne Stottlar

The Valley PO Box 41 Yeagertown, PA 17099 (717) 363-1550 E-mail: Web:

Editor’s Corner

Bare ground! The weather is finally starting to warm some and the snow cover has disappeared, thankfully. You would think someone from NH wouldn’t mind the snow and ice, and I don’t... when I am home in NH. You see, up there they have an extra season between winter and spring, MUD SEASON, which quite frankly is miserable, so hurrying the disappearance of the snow only ushers in a period unpassable dirt roads and vehicles caked thick with goo. With 8-12 feet of snow that melts into the ground over the course of a normal winter, warm weather turns anything not paved into a soupy mess for a few weeks. Not the case here in central PA, the disappearing snow and warmer temps starts a mind thinking of gardens, seed starting, and tilling the ground as soon as the last bit of whiteness clears the area. Knowing that in a few short weeks peas, beets and broccoli can be planted, causes you to make a frantic list of things that must be completed. Some of that anxious anticipation can be tempered by getting your more tender plants started indoors. In this issue we show you how to build a very serviceable light rack for a fraction of the cost of buying one ready made. As our publication grows, I am continually meeting fascinating people that without the labor of love this paper has become, would have never happened.

Tamela Hetrick, the owner of Shade Mountain Naturals, and I met to discuss an ad she wanted to place in The Valley. After a very interesting two hour conversation, we not only worked out the details of her ad, but arranged for her to write the front page story for this issue. I believe soap making in general and the quality of her products over-all will be something that you readers will enjoy as much as I do. We also have a few reader submissions that once again prove that our area is rife with gifted writers. Sarah Hurlburt, who submitted her first story last month, has agreed to write as often as time permits, and for that we are grateful. Pat Roller the Pastor at East Kish Presbyterian Church offers a piece on Observing Lent in this issue, which is both very timely and very informative. For you folks “over the mountain,” E&L Supplies joined us as an advertiser this month and if you haven’t visited Julie in her store, do yourself a favor and check it out. I am amazed at what one small, but determined woman has put together there. Not only does she carry all of your pet and livestock needs, but has landscap-

ing material as well, such as stone, mulch, straw, and topsoil in addition to farm and garden supplies and accessories. E&L also does pet grooming by appointment. If you need to relieve those aches and pains associated with using muscles that haven’t been used much all winter, give Marlene’s Total Image Concepts a call and let the magical hands of Nadya and Tanya chase the pain away with a massage. Something that you guys might not be aware of either, but massage is for men too, and at Marlene’s both men and women are welcomed. See their ad in this issue.

Our regular column writers provide tons of useful information on becoming a little more self reliant for those of you intending to care for yourselves and prepare for what may be coming. If you have seen the events unfolding in the middle east, and even here at home in the US recently, I am sure

you can see where it wouldn’t take much time at all for our way of life to disappear virtually overnight. In such an instance being able to provide for your immediate family and perhaps offer help to less prepared friends could be the difference between life and

death in some extreme cases. Having an alternate energy and heating source, as well as several years worth of canned foods carefully stored in your basement or other safe place in your house will allow you to sleep much better, trust me on that. For those of us here at The Valley, we are working toward self-reliance as a way of life, not a fad, and we feel very strongly that harder times are in store. So, we are making every attempt in our pages to impart information that could come in handy in the event of societal collapse. And remember, if such a collapse should take place, it is going to be all the more important to be part of the community, you will need to depend on each other; the government will not be there to help. Quite frankly, I wouldn’t want their help--I can provide for myself and those important to me, can you? The big corporations won’t be there to help you either, any help will be more readily available at your local businesses, so

continued on page 14 Find your nearest outlet for The Valley by visiting www.

The Valley, March 2011

Random Frugal Living Thoughts from Downeast with Rick Hanson Hello from Maine. Having grown up on a produce farm, I knew how to work from a young age. Unfortunately, I had too many bosses (4) for my stubborn personality to deal with. I decided at the ripe age of fourteen that my love of wood dictated that I become a carpenter, so off to school I went. For 25 years, my chosen profession was an adventure, but my ties to the soil, that I loved so much, kept calling to me. I gardened some, mostly for a hobby, never for food storage. Why should I? I was making good money and it was SO easy to just go buy food at the store. Then, I started to read about naturally grown food and how healthy it was compared to the processed “food” that I had become accustomed to buying. I wondered just what it was that I was putting into my body. I never gave a thought to the fact that what gets put into the soil and sprayed on the plant gets ingested into our bodies. Or even what chemicals were fed and injected into the meat I was buying under the plastic wrap at the store. I never thought of the chemicals these great big corporate farmers were allowed to use to keep their animals “healthy.” It wasn’t until five years ago that I woke up to the fact that I was killing myself working 70+ hours a week to pay for things I didn’t even need, and eating

food that today I would cringe at. Five years ago I learned many important “life lessons.” I learned that love is grand, and divorce is many, many grand. I learned that grass fed animals are tastier, healthier, and happier. I learned that material impulse buys make you miserable when you get your credit card statement. Animals raised by my brother and I are pastured with green grass, given fresh well water, and treated with love, respect and dignity. How can anyone in their right mind treat your food source any other way? Did you know that our government says that its perfectly fine to feed beef cattle “chicken bi-products”? I’m not the sharpest tack on the bulletin board, but I don’t think God meant for a grazing herbivore to eat chicken bedding, feathers, and who knows what else. Never mind the drugs these animals are given just to keep them alive long enough to turn a sizeable profit. Meanwhile, our fearless leaders in Washington eat Kobe beef. Yes, it’s grass fed. Just think about that for a minute... Ever eaten grass fed beef? Better yet, if you ever saw a grass fed beef critter hanging alongside a corn fed, drugged up one at the processors, you can see, smell, and later, taste the huge difference. True, a grass fed animal needs to hang longer because of a much lower fat content, but who cares? Profits and turn around

Observing Lent by Pastor Pat Roller

Lent, the forty day period of the year leading up to Easter, is one of the oldest observations on the Christian calendar. It seems certain that a Lenten season preceding Easter goes back to the time of the Apostles. The time frame, however, may have been as short as two or three days. The Council of Nicea (325 CE), the first general council of the Church decreed that Lent is to be observed for forty days. Easter Sunday is a moveable feast for Christians. Easter

Sunday is the first Sunday after the “official” full moon on or after the “official” vernal equinox. The official vernal equinox is always 21 March. The official full moon may differ from the real full moon by one or two days. The full moon that precedes Easter is called the Paschal full moon. Because Easter is determined in this manner, Lent also becomes a moveable season. Lent, currently, lasts for six weeks because Sundays are always occasions of celebration and, therefore, exempt from the somber observa-

time mean little for safer, healthier, tastier meat. As my favorite author on the subject Joel Salatin says, “Let a cow be a cow, a chicken be a chicken, and let a pig be a pig.” Grazing, scratching, and rooting are the way God intended it to be. Living in a cage or on a cement floor inside a building is just not natural, and proven to be unhealthy. I sell eggs. Pastured poultry eggs are so far superior to chicken prison eggs, there is no way to make a comparison. It would be kind of like comparing a Ferrari to a Ford Pinto. They both have four wheels, but that’s where the similarities end. Mainly because of ethanol and the commodities market, corn, and grain in general, is going up all the time. I’m now paying $13.00 for a bag of grain to feed my chickens this winter and just 3 years ago it was $8.50. Keep in mind that as I write this, there is 18” of snow on the ground. Not good chicken scratching conditions. I wont keep these birds much longer because I’m losing money. Last winter I could sell some healthy eggs, eat some for free, and use the money to buy more grain. In the summer months, half or more of their diet is grass, seeds, bugs and worms. You know, God-made chicken food! I charge $2.00 a dozen out here in the country. I just want to give my neighbors a healthier choice, but it seems that over-

wintering chickens will no longer be feasible. With every downside, there is an upside. We have a freezer and canning jars and we love to eat chicken! I’ll keep a rooster and maybe 6 hens and hatch some eggs in the spring. Why buy chicks when I have fertile eggs? That brings me to pigs. Piggety’s are the smartest animal on the farm! Raised on high, dry ground, pigs give off almost no smell at all. Pastured pigs are a real pleasure to raise although stout fencing is a definite requirement. A well fed, happy animal rarely tries to escape its pasture. Need a stump removed? A few holes around the stump full of corn, and stand back. It may take a few tries, but the bulldozers will get it done for you just doing what they love, rooting. Our last bunch of 9 pigs cleared and acre of land for me, and can follow the goats if you rotate your livestock, really doing a great job, fossil fuel free. And pigs are very neat if given some room. They have certain bathroom areas and never go where they eat. Which makes it easier for a dumb human like me with a wheelbarrow to come along and shovel it up. You know the saying “sweating like a pig”? Pigs don’t sweat, they pant similar to a dog. How about the saying “hay is for horses, better for cows, pigs don’t eat it ‘cause they don’t know

tion of Lent. After the Protestant Reformation, some Protestant and evangelical churches did not observe Lent as a reaction against the practice in “high churches.” Some churches, Lutherans, Methodists, Presbyterians, and Anglicans, have maintained the practice. Many churches who originally rejected the Lenten season are now recovering some aspects of a larger Christian tradition. The traditional purpose of Lent was the preparation of believers—through prayer, self-examination, acts of service, and self-denial—for the celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus. Originally, Lent was the time of

preparation for those who were to be baptized at the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday. Eventually the entire community was encouraged to join these new members in preparation, study, fasting, and self-denial since they were to become part of the living community of faith. For many traditions, Lent begins with Shrove Tuesday with some sort of celebration. Some churches hold dinners during Shrove Tuesday as a beginning of Lent. This Tuesday is more popularly known as Mardi Gras (in French) or Carnivale (in Spanish). The celebrations on these days are generally examples of great excess and over-indulgence as a sort of last “hurrah” before Lent begins.

how?” Written by city folk, without a doubt. Pigs love grass and hay! We feed our pigs chemical free lawn clippings, and hay in the winter. Any wilted produce that we don’t sell at farmers market goes right to the piggetys and chickens. I’ve been toying with the idea of planting my extra veggie seedlings in a garden area the animals have cleared, and let the animals have fun with it. It’s gotta be cheaper and healthier than grain! I’ve been reading farming and homesteading type magazines for years and years. I know lots of money saving tips and tricks that apply to my lifestyle. Every day is another chance to learn yet more. The editor of this paper sent me the first two issues of this newspaper, all the way up to Maine. Because of that one act of kindness, I finally took the plunge and am now making my own laundry soap and household cleaners. We all need reminders on not only HOW to save money, but to actually take action and DO it. If we can all share what we know and maybe help to motivate someone to save money and use safer homemade products, that’s a noble goal indeed. So, if your up in Maine, stop by for a coffee. Just look for the sign- “Eggs $2.00- Wicked Cluckin’ Good!” For now, anyway. a

Ash Wednesday is truly the first day of the Lenten season. Its name comes from the practice of placing ashes on worshippers’ foreheads as a sign of humility before God. Ashes are a symbol of mourning and sorrow at the death that sin brings into the world. This remembrance places believers in a position to realize the consequences of sin. Ash Wednesday is a somber day of reflection on what needs to change in our lives if we are to be fully Christian. Some churches hold times of worship in the morning so that believers can begin the season of Lent with repentance and forgiveness. In the early Church, ashes

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The Valley, March 2011

Adventures in Homesteading One family’s journey from the city and modern living back to the land and self-reliance.

by Dave and Ginger Striker


I know many years ago the early homesteaders did everything by hand, draft animal, or used some sort of clever device to make their jobs easier. Naturally, the tasks have remained the same, but as technology advanced, the tools became more and more complex. Personally, I love working by hand and never really minded the time or additional effort. Even now, though I have chainsaws and gas powered pole saws, I have cleared and trimmed nearly 6 acres of trees by hand. You would be surprised how productive a well kept blade can be on a bow

or pole saw. I have always argued I can cut a few branches by hand in less time since I don’t have to fuel my hand saws or start them, especially on days their gas powered counterparts choose to be stubborn. However, when the work is a back-breaking endeavor, the proper tools or mechanical advantage becomes invaluable. It was approximately late June when Ginger and I had decided we needed a tractor to aid in our work. After repeated tractor rentals from the local hardware store, we realized that we were spending quite a bit of money for really what amounted to very little tractor usage. Believe it or not, it was hard to get 8 hours of tractor time in on the weekend, and to further complicate matters it seems something would always interfere with the productivity of our weekends—be it weather or some other unforeseen event.

Our beloved tractor “Pappy” was an instant hit with the children.

The nature of our work weekend after weekend was pretty consistent; we simply cleared land, bush hogged brush, and trimmed up trees. Our land was so thick it was difficult to see enough of it at one time to even conceive where things might go and potential home sites. At this particular time, our biggest challenge was keeping the kids occupied while Ginger and I tried to work. Ginger was quite pregnant at this time so even when the kids were oc-

A continuing series. cupied, there was only so much that she could do. The early summer was extremely hot, humid, and downright miserable without running water to take the edge off. The heat and humidity limited hard labor as well since there was really

no way to cool down. Our need for a mechanical advantage was becoming extremely apparent. We really didn’t have a large budget for a tractor, so we knew we’d need to look for older, used tractors. Since my mechanical knowledge wasn’t so extensive, I figured the older tractors would be easier for me to work on anyway. Based on some initial research, we felt something in the 30 hp range or less would be adequate for our needs. We just needed something that could run a bush hog and a few assorted attachments to make life easier clearing our land. Since we were going on virtually zero experience with tractors, the entire process was overwhelming to say the least. Ginger has always been great at finding deals on the Internet so she used her talents and found several possibilities in short order. At first look most tractors were priced

The children getting their ride down the road into the homestead, with “Pappy” leading the way.

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The Valley, March 2011

Looking out my Back Door Life on my Mifflin County Homestead by Mary Anna Chenoweth

Growing the Unusual — Stinging Nettle

bad reputation to those unfamiliar with its virtues; well, that and the fact that “ may never be without it” can also be translated as “it spreads like wildfire and you may never get rid of it.” Still, both of these so called drawbacks can be managed and for some gardeners, the reward far outweighs the effort. CAUTION: and please take this in all serious If ever there was a plant ness. DO NOT GROW NETTLE that belongs on a homestead, it if you tend to allergies, have skin is Stinging Nettle because this is that is easily irritated or ANY a plant that can multitask with a type of skin condition. WE will vengeance. The list of uses that discuss the sting in Stinging Netit can be put to is impressive: tle directly and why these persons must be particularly cautious will become clear. There are native American nettles, but Stinging Nettle, Urtica dioica, is a naturalized European immigrant. Given a preference, it likes rich, moist soil; stream banks are a favorite habitat, Stinging Nettle plant. Note the finely but they can also be toothed leaves, but those teeth aren’t the found growing in vaones that bite. cant lots so Nettle is quite adaptable. The moist, fertile cooked it is a tasty vegetable, soil will give you lush plants four fresh or dry it makes a fine tea, feet or more tall. less rich soil dried and crushed or powdered the will yield smaller but nonetheless herb is a healthy addition to the useful plants. diets of any livestock, the plant If you have access to a and rhizomes can be made into naturalized patch of Nettles a hair and skin wash, the mature you’re in luck. If not, fear not, stems can be processed similarly for growing Nettle is simplicity to flax to produce — among other itself. Although I’ve a suspicion things — a useful cloth, the plant that Nettle can be successfully and the rhizomes produce lasting propagated anytime during the dyes, cut before or after seeding growing season, spring is as the plants can give a boost to the convenient a time as any. Your compost pile, it is one of the six best bet is to get a shovel’s worth key preparations of biodynamic of plants from a fellow gardener agriculture, it can be used as a who will, no doubt, be more than “vegetable rennet” for cheese happy to share some of their Netmaking, there is a long and rich tle (and growing tips) with you. history of its medicinal use and Remember, we’re in this together. let’s not forget Nettle Beer. Every If you absolutely can’t find anynotice how our ancestors seemed one growing Nettle in your area, to ferment just about anything give the friendly folks at Horizon they could get their hands on? Herbs a call (contact info at the In addition to all this, it is end of this article) and they’ll set easy to grow and once established, you up with some seed. it’s a good bet that you may never Choose your location carefulbe without it. It’s unfortunate ly and think thrice before putting that Nettle is often considered a it in your garden. As a member in noxious weed but the “Stinging” good standing of the “This Idiot bit has long given this fine plant a Planted Nettle in Her Garden”

club, I can attest to how tempting this is: good soil, water always available, convenient for harvest. As we will soon see, however, this choice looks good only on the first pass. An out of the way spot near a creek or hedgerow that gets good sun and won’t be too frequented by non-gardening folks may be your better bet. Wherever you plant, choose carefully as this Nettle patch is going to be around a while. Having located your site, prepare the soil by digging deeply and tilling well. That means working down to the full depth of your tiller tines or shovel and working the soil up loose and fine. Creek bank soil may be able to do without amendments, but if the soil seems to need a boost, compost or composted stable littler to the tune of roughly an inch over the area to be planted is a good rule of thumb. Thoroughly incorporate the compost into the soil. Separate the plants (WEAR GLOVES) and place them at the same depth they were growing; a good sized shovelful of plants, worked apart, should be enough for about ten square feet. Just space them evenly over the area and any bare spots should fill in during the first growing season. If you are using seed, check the packet for the recommended area it will plant and plan accordingly.

Now water well and let Nature take its course. If the rains aren’t regular (weekly), check to make sure your Nettle isn’t being too stressed as it establishes itself. This should be A greatly magnified photo of the Stinging all you need to do Nettle leaf showing microscopic hypodermic until next year’s needles which deposit a load of histamine harvest. See how and formic acid into your skin when contact is made with them. simple it is? Once eswould chow down on this plant. tablished, this perennial is quite Then, about mid-August, I noticed attractive; its square stem carries that a six foot tall patch of Nettles deep green, slightly heart shaped, growing on a pile of composted deeply toothed, opposite leaves. weeds had been completely The green flowers which appear in stripped of their leaves, and I do early summer are unusual in that mean completely stripped. While the male and female are separate; examining the crime scene, I the former growing upward from noticed a large amount of frass the stem in tufts and the latter (caterpillar droppings) on the hanging from the base of the ground around the bare stalks. leaves in graceful sprays. They What wasn’t evident where the mostly grow on different stalks, voracious beasts; nowhere in the are wind pollinated and produce garden could I find those caterpillarge amounts of fine seed; very lars, so this year I plan to mount a LARGE amounts of very FINE worm watch starting the beginseed that seems to spread EVEning of August. RYWHERE. Moving on to those two Another unusual trait is that drawbacks we mentioned. AlNettles will, in the warmth and though the seeds do spread easily, humidity of summer, occasionally it is what’s underground that give off a faint but distinct odor. makes Stinging Nettle so potenNot flowery sweet, it’s more an tially invasive (yes, we might as earth, green, growing smell that’s well say the word—INVASIVE). obviously hard to describe. You’ll The stalks rise from rhizomes know it, though, once you’ve about as thick as a pencil and covcaught the scent wafting by on a ered with hair like roots. These breeze coming from your Nettle rhizomes intertwine to form dense patch. mats, which is why you will rarely Nettle is obviously a very see other plants growing in Nettle hardy plant. We’ve yet to notice patches. They spread outward, any evidence of disease on our sometimes close to the surface, plants and until last summer, I sometimes a foot or more deep thought that nothing on earth

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The Valley, March 2011

 “Pappy” from page 4 out of our range – let’s be honest, almost all were priced out of our range (laugh). This, of course, made it easy for us to weed out quite a few prospects early on. In the first couple weeks of searching, we didn’t really net much luck. Either the tractors were priced to high, or the ones we could afford were not in very good shape. The last thing I wanted to do is end up with a tractor that wasn’t ready to work and/or would need significant repairs to be made operational. The search became frustrating until one day Ginger happened across a 40 year old 31 hp John Deere 820 3 cylinder diesel tractor that was in good repair and the current owner was only the second owner in the life of the tractor. It didn’t have a front bucket, but it did have a PTO and three point hitch, which were our primary requirements. After a couple phone calls to the seller, we drove to see the tractor and immediately fell in love with its simplicity and vintage look. Our two young sons were absolutely infatuated with the tractor and couldn’t resist climbing all over it as we negotiated with the seller. We quickly came to an

agreement on price, paid for the tractor, and headed home with it. Shortly after getting the tractor home (we still lived in the suburbs at the time), the kids all begged for a ride, so for pretty much the entire weekend I drove up and down the streets of our suburban neighborhood taking turns giving rides to our kids and several cousins as well. I would have to say that out of all of our children, my then nearly three year old son was the most excited and would ask for a ride every day after I got home from work. Shortly after getting the tractor home we decided that it would only be proper to name it something since it was essentially a new member of the family as proclaimed by the kids (grin). It was unanimous–after a short conversation, our tractor was to be named “Pappy,” and until this very day still carries this name proudly. The very next weekend we loaded up Pappy and took him to his forever home–the property. When we got to the dirt road leading to our property, I unloaded the tractor and hooked up the trailer in order to avoid getting our SUV stuck on the sugar sand road, which has already claimed us victim in the past. Naturally, the kids

immediately jumped out of the car and demanded a ride down the road on the trailer I hooked up to Pappy. This was quite a memorable moment and was awfully cute watching our excited kids enjoy their inaugural ride down our little road for the first time. There is no doubt in my mind Pappy has earned his keep several times over in the short period of time we have had him, especially for as little we paid for him. Being able to pull out stuck vehicles more times than I like to admit, tree stumps, bush hog and clear land, and many others things, has been invaluable in aiding our progress towards our future homestead. Of course, if you ask the kids, they would place the value on the tractor rides no doubt! Not every homestead needs a tractor and to be honest even though Pappy is always ready and willing to work, I find the manual labor to be an important part of the homestead. Not only is it healthy but it brings a stronger sense of pride in your work as well as a stronger connection with your land. Take care, Dave & Ginger and Family a

Thots on...Genesis

A Bible Study for the Lay Christian by Lydia

In 2 Timothy 3.16, Paul tells us, “Every inspired scripture has its use for teaching the truth and refuting error, or for reformation of manners and discipline in right living…” [NEB] On the road to Emmaus, Jesus made the Scriptures come alive to his followers, so that they later said, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?” [Luke 24.32*] It is my hope that the Thots on series will make your heart burn within you as God’s thoughts and purposes are revealed in a way that is easily understood by the seeking heart. *Unless otherwise noted, all Scriptures are quoted from the New International Version. Genesis 2.20-24 But for Adam no suitable helper was found. So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s

ribs and closed up the place with flesh. Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.” For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh. God decided that it was not good for the man he had created to be alone, so he created woman from man’s side, from his flesh, to be his companion, his helper, his mate. Adam recognized her importance the moment God presented her to him, for he exclaimed, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh!” God created man and woman to complete each other, to help each other and, through marriage, to become one flesh. Notice that

this union, this marriage—for verse 25 calls them “the man and his wife”—is, by God’s design, between one man and one woman. Today, there is a great deal of societal pressure to accept the notion of “gay marriage.” There are those among us who go to great lengths to attempt to prove that those in same-sex relationships should have the right to enter into a marriage relationship. Even some churches support this position. But shouldn’t we, as Christians, rely on the Bible for our guidance? What does the Bible say about homosexuality? Paul, in his letter to the Romans, tells us, “They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised.” [Romans 1.25] Sounds rather like rabid environmentalism, doesn’t it? Paul continues, “Because of this, God gave them over to

Rev. Dr. Henry G. Covert Dr. Henry Covert is an ordained minister with the United Church of Christ. After a tour of duty in the military, he worked in law enforcement for twenty years as both a patrol sergeant and county detective. Toward the end of that career he began his studies for the ministry. He has served several parishes, worked in therapeutic communities, was a state prison chaplain, and acquired adjunct faculty status in the criminal justice department at Penn State University. Dr. Covert was the chaplain for Pennsylvania’s first execution in thirty-three years. He has a doctorate from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and has authored six books. • • • • • •

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shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.” [Romans 1.26-27] We will leave for another day the discussion as to whether the “due penalty” they “received in themselves” is AIDS or spiritual death. However, God quite clearly views homosexuality as unnatural and indecent. Nowhere in the Bible is homosexuality condoned. Every time it is mentioned, it is referred to as an unnatural perversion. Since homosexuality is sinful in God’s eyes, should we hate homosexuals? Of course not! Do we hate a child who has gone astray? We may hate his behavior, but we still love our dear child! Just so, we cannot hate those for whom Christ died, even though we recognize their behavior as sinful. God hates sin but he loves us so much that he sent his Son to die for our sins while we were still sinners [Romans 5.8], so that we might be restored to fellowship with him. We, in turn, must dem-

onstrate God’s love to those who have given themselves over to sin—any kind of sin, for none of us is perfect; every one of us has sinned. [Isaiah 53.6] Jesus died for our sins—and for their sins, too—and only he can redeem us and liberate us from the bondage of sin. We must love our brother for whom Christ died while still condemning the sin of homosexuality, and we must stand against those who insist that such behavior is normal and should be accepted, condoned, and even rewarded with societal recognition. More importantly, we cannot allow a corrupt world, under the guise of tolerance, to determine standards of morality for the church, for we are called to be “a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” [1 Peter 2.9] “So I tell you this… that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking.” [Ephesians 4.17] “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.” [Ephesians 5.8]

Let us live as children of the light. a

The Valley, March 2011

Adventures on Our Nourishing Journey by Sue Burns

“The Secret to Healthy Weight” Sue Burns MS, NC

It was a privilege and honor to be asked to speak on February 15th at Lewistown High School in conjunction with the Mifflin County Meltdown. This month’s column is a summary of the message I presented that evening. Who doesn’t love a secret? While there are advantages and disadvantages to knowing a secret, if we are honest, most of us must admit that we enjoy being privy to a little known fact every now and then. One fact that is not secretive is that weight loss is big business. We are promised magical methods by this billion dollar industry. Yet we all know deep down that their “one size fits all” philosophy rarely produces the long lasting healthy results that we crave. In my opinion, the focus of attention when it comes to healthy weight is backwards. We are given hundreds of suggestions on how to “lose” the weight, yet we are rarely encouraged to examine how and why we “gained “these excess pounds in the first place. Trust me, this involves more than our relationship with a big bowl of ice cream and the remote control. (Although they do play a part!). I propose a formula for healthy weight that is unique to you and you alone. When the directions I am about to give you are followed, it works flawlessly. The only catch is that you must unveil your unique secret ingredients as you discover them. My goal is to give you three directions that will supply guidance as you begin to create your recipe. Keep in mind, when I speak of “secret ingredients” I am referring to your unrevealed, or perhaps even unknown, health information that can knock our body off balance. When unveiled, these “secrets” will give you a clearer picture of your overall health and body

weight. Consequently, as the poet Maya Angelou says, ‘when we know better we can do better.’ Here is my “secret to healthy weight” theory: 1. Healthy weight is a natural by- product of a healthy body. 2. A healthy body and healthy weight are determined by so much more than the energy equation of “calories in and calories out.” 3. Our mind, body and spirit must be in balance in order for us to maintain a healthy weight and healthy body. 4. This quest for balance is part of our lifelong health journey. It is up to us to become aware of our imbalances or “secret ingredients”. Therefore I propose that: “Our excess bodyweight is an outward sign of our inward secrets.” Yes, I understand a large percentage of our body weight is influenced by our food choices, and our movement or lack thereof, but ladies and gentlemen these elements are only part of the picture. We currently have an obesity epidemic in our country that is raging out of control like a blazing forest fire. It is critical that we stop and pause to take the time to dig deeper, much deeper than just eliminating one food or food group and walking an extra mile on the treadmill. Yes, it is true that most of the time when we take these simple steps we will lose weight, for a while. But I am sure you will agree that your ultimate goal is permanent weight loss for a lifetime.

When our weight reaches an unhealthy level, our bodies are screaming at us for attention. It is almost as if it is saying, “Hey listen to me! Haven’t you noticed? I am a little out of balance here. You don’t seem to be paying attention to how you are treating me. Can you please take some time and figure out what is going on. Help me!! Reveal your secrets so I can be well.” When we carry excess body weight on the outside, we are also carrying excess burdens and challenges on the inside. Here are just a few examples of some “secrets” our bodies may hold: 1. Our metabolism has come to a screeching halt due to years of yo yo dieting. 2. We overeat when we are mad, glad, and sad—also known as emotional eating. 3. Our hormones are out of balance. 4. We might have a confused

and inflamed digestive system due to food sensitivities. 5. Perhaps our liver is burdened with an overload of toxins so it can not burn our fat effectively. 6. Could it be that our lifestyle is so busy and full that it does not allow time for rest and relaxation? Consequently, our adrenal glands are squeezed dry; we feel “wired and tired” all the time. The hormone cortisol is out of balance and we start to store belly fat. The good news is that if you are participating in the Meltdown, that tells me you are prepared to dig deeper. It looks like you have your head lamps on and your shovels in your hand. You are ready to go on a “secret” hunt. Here are three paths that will offer direction on this road map to a healthy weight: 1. Accountably Find an accountability

partner. Research demonstrates the positive outcome of this time and time again. And guess what, you are doing this right now by teaming up with each other and coming together to the meltdown. Do not let this element waver when the meltdown comes to an end. I firmly and fully believe that our life is a gift. With than gift comes the responsibility of being stewards of our body. Part of that stewardship involves being able to recognize behaviors that are harmful to our lives and replace them with healthier choices. This sounds good in theory but it is oh so hard to put into action. Making lifestyle changes takes a tremendous about of energy and work. Most of the time we can’t do it alone. That is ok. Finding someone with whom to share our weight management concerns or secrets is very healing. Seek out an accountability partner to walk this journey with you. They can be a family member, a trusted friend, a health care professional or spiritual guide. Lean on each other for strength and encouragement. Laugh, cry, and rejoice. Ask each other where you are headed on this meltdown journey and question how you happened to be here. Talk about your destination. Make sure to watch out for each other so no one gets lost. Create a safe space. 2. Awareness This direction involves shinning a spot light on some specific numbers that we sometimes have a tendency to suppress or deny. Remember, in this situation it is what we don’t know that can hurt us. Becoming aware of these numbers often causes us to sit up and pay closer attention. We need to know where we are now in order to determine our next step. 1. How many know of us know our BMI? Body mass index is simply a ratio of our scale weight to our height in inches. It is used by both the National Institute of Health and The World Health Organization as one way to define obesity. While our body

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The Valley, March 2011

ASK Julie Mac’

Our very own food preservation guru Julie MacConnell

Submit questions by visiting or mail to: The Valley PO Box 41, Yeagertown, PA 17099

Food Storage Decisions

We have all noticed the prices at the grocery store as of late. Everything seems to be rising to the stratosphere. The theories to all of this happening range from floods, droughts, natural disasters, speculators and the falling value of the U.S. dollar. Any of these or all of these could be true, but what does it mean to you? What do you do about it? I’ve thought about the letter that I received awhile back from someone that was asking about long-term food storage. To be perfectly honest, the whole concept of having extra food tucked away for a crisis makes perfect sense. There are many different reasons to have some

food storage at the ready. And quite frankly, the scenarios that I mentioned above could be one of those reasons. You also could be laid off from your job or become ill. You could live in an area of the country that is ripe for storms or earthquakes. You could be worried about the condition of the economy. Whatever thoughts you have as to why it would be prudent to start such a program are your own. It’s the how do I get started part that prevents many from actually starting. In the next few months we’re going to go over some of the basics. Everyone has their own system, and there are some things you should consider. The biggest mantra in the world of food storage is “Eat what you store, Store what you eat.” This means two things. Number one is, don’t buy something for your pantry that you don’t like.

No matter how many publications that you may read that say—“buy beans and peanut butter for protein.” Well if you can’t stand either one, your dollar has been wasted. Only buy what you and your family would consume on a regular basis. Number two of the mantra means that you should eat from this pantry daily or weekly. Some canned food or staples have a limited shelf life and you don’t want to walk in there one day and discover that your stash has expired. When you eat something from your pantry, replace it next time you go shopping and place the new purchase to the back of your supply so it gets used last. It might be a good idea to keep a sharpie pen nearby so that you can quickly write the expiration date right on the can. It might also serve you to keep a running shopping list near your food area.

Write down what you use so that you don’t forget to buy that item next time you’re in the store. Many people will worry that they can’t afford to buy food storage. Well, if you’re looking to buy expensive freeze dried prepared foods, I can understand that. It is my opinion that you are better off buying ingredients to make meals rather than buying premade things. It is much cheaper, and frankly more nutritious, than running out and buying a bunch of MRE’s and throwing them in a closet. Set aside a certain amount of money to add to your grocery bill each week. Whether it is ten dollars or fifty, anything that you buy with this extra amount will get you started. Shop the weekly sales at your market and try to use coupons when you can. The other issue that delays many people’s good intentions is the lack of storage space. Where

in the World am I going to put all of that food? Last month I touched on the idea of setting up a food storage area, but let your imagination go. I know people who buy under the bed storage totes and fill them with canned goods. Others store their extras in unused furniture such as blanket chests. Even if you only can use your kitchen cabinets, it will give you a great deal of satisfaction to open up the doors and find them full. I love the fact that I am never out of an ingredient that I would like to use in the recipe that I’m making. That very fact used to drive me insane. I would go and try to make my favorite dinner and discover that I was out of something. I don’t have that problem anymore, so it has actually freed up some very valuable time, as I don’t have to fly to the store anymore to pick up that particular item. Ninety-nine percent of the time I have exactly what I need. As you build up your supply, you will also notice that you don’t have to go to the grocery store as often. More savings of time and gasoline, as we’re all aware of the prices at the pump lately. I have been very grateful that the subject of having food storage is gaining momentum. It’s talked

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The Valley, March 2011

A Home-Made Light Rack by Wayne Stottlar

when it came to growing food, I About this time every year, decided that I had to start more just after the seed catalogs have of my own seeds. I needed a light slowed to a slight trickle, the rack, and wasn’t going to pay gardening supply catalogs start $600 or more to just buy one. “I’ll rolling in. It’s just like a second build one� I announced one SatChristmas in the same year, but instead of the Sears catalog, we have our noses buried in the latest “Gardeners Supply,� “Farm-Tec� or our favorite gardening monthly. Every single year, I promised myself that “Next year I will save the $600-$700 they want for a proper light rack,� then I The assembled uprights, primed and ready, again, 2 X could start more of 2s would have made more sense. my own plants and urday morning after studying the start varieties that I couldn’t not design of the metal stands sold at get retail here. Every year I spent Gardeners Supply. I then studied less and less time on that part of several designs on the Internet the catalog, as the dream started and plans from a few homesteadto crumble, and I was accepting ing forums. With all of this input the fact that a light rack was not from various sources, I developed in my future. Eventually, I talked a design of my own, instituting myself into believing I could do several of the ideas others had had just fine using the window sills to success with. start what I could and depend on First off, I have to admit that the local market to supply plants this rack is way over engineered. of what I didn’t start. You see I am not a carpenter, I don’t even where this is going don’t you? I try to fake being one—it is too inevitably knocked a tray or two obvious that I am not. The end reoff the window sill effectively sult worked to perfection, and will killing whatever was growing service me for many, many years several times. I had help from our to come, however, the dimensions four legged family member over of most of the lumber could have the years as well, plenty of it. It been a lot smaller. For instance, was always making do with the where I used 2 X 4s, you could cards stacked against me. Finally, have ripped a 2 X 4 and been fine after years and years of mediocre using a 2 X 2 in its place. The gardens at best, and mountains rack would still be plenty strong, of frustration over “making do� and it would be easier to move around as well. I will build another, but it will be using lumber half the weight of the first rack. After I have several of these racks built, I may even try growing lettuce during the winter inside under lights. Fresh Trays made from 1 X 3 pine and plywood cut to 1’ X 4’. greens all winI calked the seams and primed heavily just in case a tray ter from a spare should leak. bedroom.

For the rack that I built, you will need the following: (6) 4’-T8-2tube shop lights (12) 4’-T8 full spectrum or “Daylight� designated tubes, make

sure they are 6,000-6500 Kelvin. (1) Power supply strip with at least 6 plug outlets in it. (1) 24 Hour timer capable of 1 hour increments or smaller settings. (1) Pkg lightweight chain for hanging lights (1) package of cup hooks (10) 2 X 4 X 8 ( half as many if you decide to rip Completed rack showing shelf heights and different temperature bulbs. Top to bottom, Cool-white, them into 2 X 2s) Gro-light, Daylight bulbs.

Continued on page 16

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The Valley, March 2011

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The Valley, March 2011 Nourishing Journey from page 7 mass index alone does not determine whether our weight or our body is healthy, it is one important number to know. To calculate your number, multiply your weight by 703 and then divide that number by your height in inches, and finally, divide that number by your height in inches again. OR, you can do what I do, and consult a body mass index chart. What are the guidelines? A Healthy weight body mass is between 18 and 24.9. Between 25-30 is the zone of concern. A body mass higher than 30 may be indicative of greater weight related health risks. These risks include, but are not limited to, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke, gallbladder disease, osteoarthritis, and cancer of the colon, breast and prostate. Note: There is a certain percentage of the population, such as body builders and full time athletes, who may have a very high body mass index, this stems not from body fat but from their concentration of muscle mass. 2. Know your body fat percentage. Your body composition is equally, if not more important than your body mass index because muscle is more metabolically active than fat and muscle weighs more than fat. In general, the higher our body fat, the higher the risks for chronic disease. Have your body fat calculated using a portable body fat analyzer or a scale that records body fat that uses bioelectrical impedance. Certainly there are variations due to age, but in general, for women the ideal number should not exceed 30% body fat and for men it should not be higher than 23% body fat. 3. Know your waist measurement. This measurement provides information about fat topography, in other words, where body fat is stored. Waist circumference is a good indicator of high risk visceral fat accumulation. Visceral fat is associated with insulin resistance and cardio vascular disease. Waist circumference is being recognized as a more important tool than the BMI in assessing health risks, particularly in women over the age of 50, even when their BMI is “normal.” What are the numbers for this circumference of health? Under 35 inches for women, under 40 inches for men. Less than 31.5 inches is ideal for women and less than 37 inches is ideal for men. To read more about recent studies on our waistline numbers, go to 4. Know your overall health

risks for weight related disease. This means you need to be aware of your: a. Blood sugar levels—the ideal range is 70-150 mg. b. Total blood cholesterol levels—the ideal range is under 200 mg/dl. Strive for your HDL levels to be greater than 60 mg/dl and LDL levels to be less that 100 mg/dl. c. Blood cholesterol ratios. These ratios may be a greater indicator of your risk of coronary disease than your total cholesterol number. There are two ratios you need to know. The first is total cholesterol / HDL. Ideally you want that number to be at or below 5, (ideal would be 3.5 or under). The second ratio involves your LDL/HDL. Look for that number to be under 3.6, (ideal would be closer to 1.5). . d. Triglycerides levels – the ideal range is less than 150 mg/dl. e. Blood pressure numbers120/80 mm Hg 3. Acknowledge Your Healthy Weight Goals (Think Yourself Thin) Now before you roll your eyes and ship me off to some commune in California, hear me out. Or better yet, listen to what two very wise men have to say on this topic. 1. The first is Earl Nightingale. Mr. Nightingale was one of 12 surviving Marines from the USS Arizona when it was attacked at Pearl Harbor. He went on to become a radio show host and the voice of Sky King, a radio adventure series in the 1950’s, but he is most well known as a motivational speaker. It was in one of these speeches that he shared his now famous message, “The Strangest Secret.” Economist Terry Savage has called “The Strangest Secret” one of the greatest motivational messages of all time. Printed below in italics is a brief summation of “The Strangest Secret.” Have you ever wondered why so many people work so hard and honestly without ever achieving anything in particular, and why others don’t seem to work hard, yet seem to get everything? They seem to have the “magic

touch.” It is not magic, it is goal setting. That’s right, the difference is goals. People with goals succeed because they know where they’re going. It’s that simple. Failures, on the other hand, believe that their lives are shaped by circumstances ... by things that happen to them ... by exterior forces. Think of a ship with the complete voyage mapped out and planned. The captain and crew know exactly where the ship is going and how long it will take — it has a definite goal. And 9,999 times out of 10,000, it will get there. Now let’s take another ship — just like the first — only let’s not put a crew on it, or a captain at the helm. Let’s give it no aiming point, no goal, and no destination. We just start the engines and let it go. I think you’ll agree that if it gets out of the harbor at all, it will either sink or wind up on some deserted beach — a derelict. It can’t go anyplace because it has no destination and no guidance. We become what we think about – not new advice, but few people believe it and put it into practice. Well, it’s pretty apparent, isn’t it? We become what we think about. A person who is thinking about a concrete and worthwhile goal is going to reach it, because that’s what he’s thinking about. Conversely, the person who has no goal, who doesn’t know where he’s going, and whose thoughts must therefore be thoughts of confusion, anxiety, fear, and worry will thereby create a life of frustration, fear, anxiety and worry. Think about your (healthy weight) goal in a relaxed, positive way. Picture yourself in your mind’s eye as having already achieved this goal. See yourself

doing the things you will be doing when you have reached your goal. The moment you decide on a goal to work toward, you’re immediately a successful person — you are then in that rare group of people who know where they’re going. Out of every hundred people, you belong to the top five. Start today. You have nothing to lose — but you have your whole life to win. 2. No doubt about it, Mr. Nightingale provides us with great words of wisdom, but how do we actually put his positive thinking theory into practice? Is there a guideline that will help us create and chart those goals? I am sure there are hundreds, but the one I am most familiar I simply call, “Chapter 2.” This goal setting roadmap comprises the second chapter of a resource guide written by Gary Heavin. Mr. Heavin is the founder and CEO of Curves International. The guide is entitled, Curves Fitness and Weight Management Plan. Even though Curves is a fitness facility for women, Mr. Heavin’s advice speaks to men as well. When I worked at Curves, one of my favorite duties was to meet and greet new and prospective members. I would tell them, “If you really want to understand more about yourself and how to prepare healthy weight goals, be sure to read chapter 2.” For you see, Mr. Haven understands Mr. Nightingales philosophy about goal setting. I include his words of wisdom below in a paraphrased nutshell. “I have found that people can succeed with their goals of effective weight management. The secret is not will power or selfdiscipline, but rather the proper understanding (or thinking) of

how we can change our behavior and habits. The secret lies in making the choice to put into your mind only those thoughts that are uplifting and empowering. I know this is not easy. “One of the primary reasons that we accept our present circumstances is the desire to stay in our comfort zones. Growth may require discomfort, yet the price we pay for good health is a bargain compared to the price we pay for poor heath. Our goals become the key that allows us to program or re-program our thoughts. Goals are a MUST and they MUST be SMART. That means they must be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and have a time frame. And most importantly, in order for our goals to be effective they must be written down. Finally, our goals need to be unique to us and exciting.” He concludes by reminding us that” excess weight chips away at our quality of life, but it happens so gradually that we don’t notice until it is significant. Losing weight happens the same way but in reverse. The progress may seem small and inconsequential, yet all progress is significant.” Every single step counts on this journey Here is the irony. The Secret to a healthy weight involves not really having secrets. We must be willing to dig deeply and shine a light on these hidden agendas of our lives to discover our path to health. My hope as you make these discoveries is that you will be: open to your strengths, patient with your weaknesses, creative in your goal setting , positive in

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The Valley, March 2011


Roads Less Traveled... by Lynn Persing

The Joy of a Dog

My dog Murphy almost burnt down my house. Yup, that’s right, he was playing with fire. Now, I bet you are wondering how owning this dog, who just about sent my whole life up in smoke, could be a joy. Well, if you’ve ever owned a dog (or any other pet for that matter), you know that they just snuggle their way right into your heart. Murphy is a Weimaraner. They are big, full of energy dogs, with lots of spunk—more stubborn than me, and smarter too, I think. We rescued Murphy from a shelter in Chicago when he was one and half years old, and despite our best efforts, we failed to crate train him. He was just having none of it. We’d arrive home, after being gone only a few hours, to find the crate collapsed and him on the outside, sometimes cut up and bleeding from his attempt to escape. We made other attempts for several months and they all failed, so we gave up. This could have been his undoing.

The day was a normal one, we left home at about 7:25 a.m. for work and arrived back home around 5:30 p.m.. As we approached the kitchen door where we entered the house, we could see through the windows in the door that the kitchen was filled with smoke. Panic set in and we rushed into the house calling for Murphy. He was nowhere to be found. We didn’t even glance around to see what caused the fire, we just needed to find Murphy. I ran up the stairs, and there he was cowering inside our extra bedroom, which is normally kept closed off. He was obviously shaken up, and I tried to comfort him, but he would not come downstairs. After I made sure he was ok, I went downstairs to investigate the source of the fire–toaster oven. You see, Murphy is a big boy, and if you leave food on the counters, he tends to counter surf when you are not around. So the previous evening we had opened a pack of cookies–Pecan Sandies. We normally keep cookies and bread in the wall oven (we have two ovens). But we needed the wall oven, so the cookies were moved to inside the toaster oven. We forgot they were there. Mistake #1. I had also purchased a pack of napkins that I wanted to take to work that week for my office. I left them on top the toaster oven so that they were in sight

surprise he pooped out a sock! Ugghhh. I quickly told the vet he did not have pancreatitis, he had sockitis, and we went home. Often when we take vacation, my Mom and Dad watch Murphy at their house in Bloomsburg. On one of Murphy’s visits to his grandparents, Mom put him on a lead in the front yard while she worked in the flower beds in front of the house. She turned around

ible sense of smell, and Murphy and I’d remember to grab them likes to eat. He’s all about his in the morning when we went to belly. It was our fault to leave work. Mistake #2. something within smelling dis Here are the events as I am tance when we knew he had free pretty sure they happened. Murrange of most of the downstairs. phy must have smelled that open All I could think that day was how pack of cookies right through the toaster oven door. He put his paws up on the counter, and I can just see him stretching with his paw to open the toaster oven, which was all the way against the wall on a pretty deep counter. He must have hit the “toast” lever with his paw, which set the cookies They were still in the paper packaging, so once it got hot, they caught on fire, and after the fire ignited and burnt up the toaster oven, it caught the napkins on fire, and the flames licked the underside of my cabinets, which were all black that day when we arrived home. There was also a coat of soot all over things inside the cabinets and the wall behind the toaster oven was black. God must have When Murphy was young, he was allowed to have toys, but been looking out for us that day, they were usually destroyed in short order. and he decided a little scare was enough, so the fire must have relieved I was that Murphy was ok to check on him, and to her horfizzled out at this point, but not ror, she noticed he had three dead and my house was still standing. before filling the kitchen and the baby bunnies lying in front of rest of the house with smoke. The I couldn’t get mad, I just hugged him and another in his mouth that him and told him I was sorry for smoke alarms must have gone off he was shaking. Bunny killer! leaving the cookies in the toaster and pierced poor Murphy’s ears This was his nickname for quite a oven. I should have been angry for quite a while. But they were while. Mother was NOT happy. at the damage and mess he had not on when we arrived home. He doesn’t like the UPS caused, but all I could feel was Now you are probably thinktruck. He goes crazy barking and relief. The joy of a dog. ing...this is a very bad dog. Well, pawing at the windows when it Oh, he’s gotten in plenty of not really. Weims have an incredparks outside the house. Well, the other trouble over the ten and half UPS truck came to my Mom and years we’ve owned him. There Dad’s house on another one of his was the day I baked a whole 9” x visits. He pawed so hard at the 13” pan of brownies for work and window, he broke it. They needed left the pan on top the stove. We to call a window glass replacegot about 15 minutes away from ment company. If the UPS guy the house and realized I had forwould just give him a cookie each gotten them, so we turned around time they come, he’d grow to and went back. In that half hour, LOVE the Big Brown Truck. he had devoured the whole pan, Weimaraner’s are bird dogs. and he was donning aluminum They don’t like ducks. My on his teeth from chewing them parents have ducks in the pond out of the corners of the pan. He near their house and they wadhad aluminum teeth for a couple dle around the houses. He saw weeks...and diarrhea the next day. the ducks, went flying after them Then there was the time (instinct), and jumped right into he ate a sock, but I didn’t know the pond after them. When he he had eaten a sock. He wasn’t realized he didn’t want to swim all pooping or acting normal, and he the way to the middle of the pond was obviously in distress. I could to get them, he climbed back onto hear his stomach gurgling. My shore. But, the ducks came back mother, who is an RN, said this to shore too, and he had to chase could be a sign that something them and fly into the pond again. was blocking his bowels. So we He came back smelling like stinky went to the vet. The vet thought pond water and had to get a bath. he might have pancreatitis. We New nickname–The Stinkies. went outside while they were preparing a prescription. Murphy continued on page 19 had to do his business, and to my


The Valley, March 2011

Understanding the Constitution by David Molek


The 2nd Amendment reads, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed.” It seems fairly clear, doesn’t it? Until recently, such was not the case. For decades, debate has raged over whether the 2nd Amendment protects the individual right to keep and bear arms. In 2008, the U. S. Supreme Court rediscovered the 2nd Amendment. In the Heller case, the Court held that the Washing-

ton DC gun ban on all functional firearms in the home was unconstitutional. In 2010, the Court decided the McDonald case. In that case, the Court held that the 2nd Amendment protects a fundamental, individual right to keep and bear arms for self-defense nationwide. The 2nd Amendment is fully applicable to all states and Chicago cannot ban handguns. In the McDonald case, which is probably the most important 2nd Amendment case in history, the Court decided that the “right

of the people to keep and bear arms” cannot be infringed by the states. The opinion holds that the right to keep and bear arms is among the most fundamental rights necessary to our country’s system of ordered liberty and is deeply rooted in our history and tradition. It is hard to believe that anyone could rationally argue that the 2nd Amendment does not protect a fundamental right. Yet liberal members of the Supreme Court could not bring themselves to recognize this fundamental right because they don’t like the result. This was only a 5 – 4 decision and could be affected if Obama is able to appoint more Supreme Court Justices like Sotomayor and Kagan. When the Bill of Rights went into effect in 1791, it only secured rights against the federal government. When the 14th Amendment was ratified in 1868, it extended many federal rights against the states, counties and cities. It is my opinion that most federal regulations of firearms are not authorized under the interstate commerce clause. That clause, in the 14th Amendment, was intended to ensure the free flow of trade across state lines, not to sanction a federal police power. Regrettably, the battle to limit the interstate commerce power to interstate commerce seems to have been lost in the courts, which have expanded the scope of the commerce

clause to cover regulation of nearly anything and everything. There should be no constitutional objection to repealing or amending laws that have no original constitutional basis of authority. In addition, gun prohibitionists are shifting their fight from guns to ammunition, pushing legislation to regulate and tax bullets and supplies. This is yet another example of government overregulation. The Brady Center interprets the Supreme Court cases as allowing what they term “common sense restrictions of guns, including who can have them and under what conditions, where they can be taken and what type of guns are available.” It certainly seems to me the gun control supporters did not get the message. These gun control people will be in the courts to erode the 2nd Amendment. Gun control is not the proper reaction to the Arizona tragedy in January. A deranged individual shooting innocent people should not prompt Congress or organizations to rush to legislation or regulation. Attempting to derive political benefit from this unspeakable tragedy is inevitable and reprehensible. The McDonald court clearly said that some government regulation of guns is allowed. How far will state and local governments go — or try to go — and how burdensome will their regulation be? These questions remain unanswered by that opinion that was decided by a narrow one-vote majority. There is a direct correlation between more guns and less crime. My Glock 17 is my friend, regardless of what the mainstream media says. Heller and McDonald are only the beginning. There are many important questions remaining about the meaning of the 2nd Amendment. Those questions will be answered by

whoever sits on the Supreme Court over the next ten or twenty years. This should be a reminder that the biggest battle over the 2nd Amendment will now be won or lost in the courts. a

If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace. --Thomas Paine

The Valley, March 2011


Joanne Wills’ Contentment Quest HOPE…

Just weeks ago, multitudes of people gathered in a little town in Pennsylvania awaiting the wise whispers of the resident guru groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil’s prediction for spring’s arrival. The people happily made the trek and assembled in silence amidst the raw, cold, icy weather – in hope – that Phil’s handlers would beckon signs of an early spring… and he did. Oh, what wonderful words… forecast of an early spring! That “hope” breathed life into the crowd, and into those of us who were watching from home. Days after Phil’s festivities, I was given another flicker of hope. I was in the process of putting the finishing touches to a school assignment paper. I am a full-time, forty-something, graduate student working towards my MBA, and I am self-employed. School assignment papers often get crafted in the dark, wee hours of the morning while everyone else in the house is sound asleep.

Food Storage from page 8 about more openly as even people like FOX News Commentator Glenn Beck has approached the subject on one of his shows. I have also noticed numerous magazine and TV news segments. People used to give me that old raised eyebrow when I would talk about the importance of food storage. Those same people are now interested in the whole concept. It’s nothing new really. It’s how our forefathers lived. May be, just the idea of going back to the way it used to be gives people comfort. We’re going to start on some serious food storage issues next month, but in the mean time, there is absolutely oodles of information online. Even YouTube has videos concerning food storage. Don’t be shy, and be proud that you are doing something to protect your dinner table. You might even have enough to share with your neighbors in the event that something does happen. If not? Then be happy you can stay home on the weekend instead of facing the mobs and prices and the grocery store. a

So, there I sat, at my desk, staring at the computer screen at a nearly completed ten page paper after pulling an all-nighter and I was at a loss for words. Oh, I was so darn close to completion, but I was tired, and the self-doubt started to creep in. You know, the “little voice” that makes you question yourself as to why you continue to pursue something – like a life-long dream. So, the dialogue commenced, the questions of self-doubt rolled, like clouds, through my mind. Weary, I entertained them for a brief moment before offering a prayer to the heavens for a sign of hope – a sign that this is the road to my manifesting my dreams that the long, hard journey through my graduate degree would eventually pay off. Just then, Rick came downstairs to greet me after his nice long night’s rest. I, for a split second, envied his restfulness. As I turned my thoughts back to my nearly completed paper, Rick exclaimed “Come look out the window!” I joined him at the window, wondering what was so important. “Look, look…”

Lent from page 3 were not offered to everyone. Only those who had made a public confession of sin and sought to be restored to the fellowship community were marked with ashes. Eventually, the imposition of ashes was extended to whole community. Ashes became symbolic of the attitude of penitence taught in the Lord’s Prayer, “forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us” and observed for the entire period of Lent. Most churches who observe Lent change the colors in their sanctuaries to purple and many churches remove flowers as decorations in their sanctuaries. Purple represents penitence and self-examination which helps Christians remember the pain and suffering of Christ. Purple also stands for royalty and reminds Christians that it is Christ the King who is suffering and dying for the world. Perhaps the best known portion of the Lenten season is called Holy Week. This week begins with Palm or Passion Sunday, the celebration of the day when Christ entered Jerusalem –the capital of Judaism and a central location for the Roman government in the

he said pointing at the ground beneath the window. I initially didn’t see what he was seeing. He beckoned again, “Look… down there… right where I’m pointing…” Then, I saw it! Our tiny spring flowers had poked up from the ground amidst the snow. There, protruding through the ice and snow was a tiny mound of soil supporting the bright green tips of spring crocus flowers. I smiled and thought… oh wow God, that was really quick… it was my sign… my sign to stay on course with my dream… with hope at the helm. The little crocus buds offered a sign of hope to me in a time of doubt and need. The crocus flowers lead me to this month’s subject on my contentment quest – hope. In my journey to find contentment of heart, “hope” seemed like the perfect focus for the month of March. Aristotle once said “Hope is a waking dream” and I believe he was right. Oftentimes we say things like “I hope & dream for…” but what differentiates hope from dreams? I believe the difference area. The Bible tells of crowds gathering to celebrate Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem by waving palm branches and placing cloaks in front of Jesus as signs of honor. Many churches still celebrate this day with palm processions. Maundy Thursday follows Palm Sunday. The services on this day celebrate Christ and his disciples’ Last Supper. The foundation for the observance of the Last Supper is Passover. Some Christians also observe footwashing and a Tenebrae service where readings are accompanied with the diminishing of lights until only darkness surrounds the worshippers. Maundy Thursday remembers the movement of Christ from the Upper Room/Last Supper through the Garden of Gethsemane to Christ’s arrest and trial before Pilate. Many churches change the colors of their sanctuaries to red, a symbol of the disciples and through them the community of the church. Good Friday is also a somber celebration and follows Maundy Thursday. Good Friday recalls the movement of Christ from trial to crucifixion. Some churches drape their sanctuaries in black for Good

stems from the magnitude of fire deep within our souls – a conviction with focus. A dream is like a smoldering fire. It puffs smoke signals every once and a while, letting us know that its burning desire is still there… still in the back of our minds patiently waiting for us to manifest it. Yet, we go about our daily routines focused on the here and now, and in the backgrounds of our minds our long lost dreams sit smoldering. A hope, on the other hand, is like a big bon fire. It towers high, burning hot and bright for all to see. It is the fuel of dreams. Hope is the catalyst that unites humanity. Emil Brunner stated “What oxygen is to the lungs, such is hope to the learning of life.” Humanity suffers differences in many aspects of life but all of humanity is equivalent in the eyes of hope. Dale Carnegie alleged that “Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all. An old French proverb claims “Hope is the dream of a soul awake.” While an author unknown once wrote, “Hope sees the invisible, feels the intangible, and achieves the impossible.” One of my personal hopes is to successfully complete my

graduate degree program by the end of this year. I ask, what are your hopes? Have you fanned the flames of your hopes recently, or is the fire just smoldering? Have you put your hopes and dreams on the back burner while you tend to your daily tasks? What are your ideals? Robert Kennedy echoed “Every time you stand up for an ideal, you send forth a tiny ripple of hope. I encourage you to set aside fears and self-doubt and ignite hope in your life. Pope John XXIII said “Consult not your fears but your hopes and dreams. Think not about your frustrations, but about your unfulfilled potential. Concern yourself not with what you tried and failed in, but what is still possible for you to do.” I hearten you to ask yourself a simple question… What do you want to accomplish, to do, to see, yet in this lifetime? Then quietly listen… your heart will whisper the answers. Next, put faith and fortitude to work; start mapping out goals as guideposts, and take the first steps on your own personal journey of hope. I leave you with one last thought for the road. Joseph Addison resonated “Three grand essential to happiness in this life are something to do, something to love, and something to hope for.” a

Friday and the following Holy Saturday. These are the only days of all the church year where black is used. The black of this weekend is always replaced by white—signifying purity—before sunrise on Resurrection/Easter Sunday. Easter Sunday is THE most joyous day of celebration for Christians around the world. Some churches celebrate with flowered crosses, a profusion of Easter lilies, and joyful music. With this rich and significant history, it is obvious that the celebration of Lent and Easter have varied traditions. Some Christians still mark Lent by giving up something of importance to them, such as, watching TV or eating chocolate. This exercise is more than “going on a diet.” This selfdenial is an exercise in directing their attention to the self-denial and suffering of Christ. Central to all of the worship during Lent is the call of Christians to examine their own lives, hearts, and practices. Many churches have specific traditions they follow, but all Christians are encouraged to spend time in prayer, Bible study, and service so that they might

grow in their own faith and reach out to others who need help and encouragement. a

Editor’s Corner from page 2

support them now and start building a relationship that may prove critical in bad times. Our advertisers are the backbone of our community and they are the ones providing the resources necessary for us to print The Valley, please tell them you saw their ad here. Even if you aren’t purchasing something at that moment, just a friendly “hey I saw your ad in The Valley” lets them know their advertising dollars are working and will enable us to continue bringing you the paper. Lastly, our growth still continues to amaze me and I am struggling with which direction to focus on next. We added Mifflintown and Mcallisterville last month as well as Centre Hall. If any readers know of locations that want The Valley, please let us know, our contact information is inside the front page, bottom left. Thank you all and God bless, Wayne a

The Valley, March 2011


The Mushroom Guy Tasty fungal morsels and other wild edibles. by Bob Sleigh

Love Mushrooms, but can’t get out to the woods?

Grow Your Own!

It won’t be long until Mother Nature warms up the ground in the Keystone State and once again starts the fungal life cycle for another mushroom year. For some of us, though, the mushroom harvest never ends. Nothing beats walking out

The beginning of my blue jean Oyster grow—blue jeans used as a substrate and spawn.

of the kitchen in the middle of winter and returning minutes later with the freshest and cleanest mushrooms you could ever find. No dirt, no insects, no concerns about the growing environment, because, after all, this growing environment is in a spare room in my house. Having been an avid gardener in my younger years, it was a natural progression for me to start growing mushrooms, a progression that has not been without its pitfalls and failures. As with any new hobby, there is a learning curve to overcome and experience to be gained along the way. Failures in mushroom cultivation can be many in the beginning even with the plethora of growing information available today. For those willing to persist, mushroom growing can be a very challenging yet healthful and

fascinating hobby. The easiest way to start growing mushrooms is to buy one of the readily-available kits being marketed today. Oyster mushrooms are, beyond a doubt, the easiest to grow at home and require little more than some light, some airflow and a little TLC. One of the most popular beginners kits is called a TP kit. The TP stands for toilet paper, yep, plain old unused toilet paper. Due to the fact that Oysters and many other edible mushrooms digest wood, anything made from wood can be used to grow them. The material used to grow the mushrooms on is called substrate and can be anything from newspapers and cardboard to straw and cottonseed hulls. If your goal is to grow mushrooms as cheaply as possible it should not be difficult to find free sources of substrate

beyond what you would be capable of growing in a typical home setup. To create spawn, a liquid culture of the intended mushroom is applied to grain that has been pressure cooked to kill any possible contaminants. The mushroom culture kit always starts with some specontains mycelium, which is the underground structure cies of Oyster mushroom (Pleuof the mushrooms. Think of rotus sp.) spawn from a reputable it as similar to the roots of a source. Oysters are very forgiving while at the same time producing tree. decent yields with minimal care. So, in a nutshell, we Next you will need some type have spawn, some type of substrate and a The same blue jean grow a short contime later with mycelium completely tainer to covering the blue jeans. grow in. right in your own neighborhood. HonBut all the substrate in the world estly for some won’t help if you don’t have any people I know, mushroom spawn to mix into it. that, and a Mushroom spawn is to one-page set mushroom growers very much of instructions what seeds are to gardeners, and has garnered ironically, mushroom spawn is amazing reusually made using grain. Millet, sults. rye, popcorn and even wild bird My basic Oyster mushrooms starting to fruit from the seed can be used very effectively recipe for a be- blue jean grow. to produce spawn in amounts far ginner’s grow of substrate to grow your mushrooms with. Remember the toilet paper? I won’t get into substrate details here since everyone has their favorite. I have even seen Pink Oyster mushrooms growing on an overstuffed chair and have grown my own on an old pair of blue jeans. Lastly you will need a container. Plastic bags, cardboard boxes, plastic jars, even five gallon buckets can be used effectively. If you want to see what is happening inside though you should stick to plastic jars or bags. OK already, let’s put this thing together. Take your TP roll and place it on a rack over the sink, boil a pot of water and soak the TP with it. Allow the TP to drain until cool. Take a half-gallon baggie and place the TP roll standing up inside the bag. Gently remove the cardboard tube and fill the remaining hole to the top with your spawn. Loosely roll the top of the

Continued on page 31

The Valley, March 2011

16 Light Rack continued from page 9

cell inserts as well as pots. So this meant that the body of my rack would be 12” wide. This would (1) sheet 1/4 plywood allow the plastic trays to sit down (8) 1 x 3 x 8 pine boards into the drawers that would make (1) quart exterior primer up each shelf of the rack. (1) quart white exterior flat paint First, build your upright ends As I stated, I am novice at by spacing two 2 X 4s so that each best when it comes to woodworkoutside edge is 12” apart. Screw ing, so if I can build this, anyone a space board 12” long across the can. I will give a brief description top of the uprights. For the botof the build with a few pictures tom leg use a centered 24” 2 X 4 and you will see it is petty simwith beveled ends. Once screwed plistic and self explanatory. together ( I use drywall screws), First, decide what type of prime pieces and set aside. Next you need to make your drawers/shelves. Cut your plywood so that you end up with 4 pieces 12” X 4’. Cut your 1 X 3 to form lip. These pieces will be glued and screwed from underneath and on each corner Tomato seedlings kept close to the lights produced strong to form shallow stocky plants. 3” deep drawers which will sit on the cross suptrays you are going to use in your ports holding the two upright ends removable drawers. I opted for together. I then caulked the seams the basic black, plastic nursery and then primed them. trays that work with the different

Shade Mountain from page 1 a wide variety of oils. Lard was readily available. There is nothing wrong with soap made with lard. However, it does leave a certain smell in your soap, and we feel that a combination of animal and vegetable oils along with other botanicals produces an extremely mild soap. Also, today we have much more advanced scales and thermometers to ensure our recipes are exact, without an excess of lye. Our process begins with mixing the lye with the water, this chemical reaction heats up to almost simmering. We let it cool down to anywhere from 110 to 95 degrees. Then we mix our oils together. We use a combination of Shea Butter, Coconut, Olive, Palm, Sunflower, Sweet Almond, and Castor. Along with the finest of oils, we add Silk Protein to each bar creating silky smooth texture. We need to get the oils to the same temperature as the lye. This can be touchy! We then stir the lye into the oils. Stir until it “traces.” This looks like a thin pudding. We must move fast now as this can thicken pretty quick and you will end up with a hard mass in your pot!

The next phase will require a helper to hold the cross supports while you attach them to the upright ends using drywall screws. Between each cross support, install a cross brace the proper distance from the end to line up with the chain attachment holes on the shop lights, so that later the chain is hanging straight and not at an angle which limits your light adjustment. Once you get to this point, all that is left to do is screw in your cup hooks that will hold one end of your chain to raise or lower the shop lights. Screw the power supply strip to one of the uprights. All shop light cords plug into the power strip and the power strip plugs into your timer. All you have to remember to do is water them, and raise the lights as they grow. It is best to keep the lights as close to the plant as possible to produce stocky, lush plants. Last season my rack was in use from February 1st (way too early) until well into June,

starting and growing a multitude of annual flowers after the veggies were all started. I have no doubt, because you can control light with your timer, that you should be able to have fresh greens pretty much consistently all winter with this rack if you so chose to take on that kind of project. If you build, seriously consider using smaller lumber than I did. I have an extra bedroom where mine lives year round, I would hate to be moving this thing around very much, and there is the one convenience of the fancy store bought metal ones. But, I am fine with where my light rack lives and the results last year gave me my best most productive garden ever.

From here, each batch takes on personality and now we are having fun! Essential oils are added to scent our bars and provide Aromatherapy benefits. We try very hard to stay clear of fragrance oils. Fragrance oils Tamela’s husband designed and produces are among the top hand made maple soap decks to extend the life of Shade Mountain’s natural soap. five allergens in the world. A few minerals and gives this bar an of our bars have a touch of high exceptionally silky feel. Ground quality fragrance oils. Then we ginger root, nutmeg and cinnamon add all natural ingredients to give are added to provide a warm scent our bars their beautiful colors and and gentle exfoliation. Use this unique look! Micas, clays, dried bar on your bare skin to exfoliherbs, spices and crushed walate…..wonderful! nut shells are used for color and We have created 14 Clasexfoliation. Some of our bars are sic bars we carry year round. swirled or layered with up to three Additionally, we always have a colors. few seasonal scents. Each bar For example: our Cheerful is unique in its appearance and soap comes to life with the additherapeutic value. tion of Lemon, Lime, Pink Grape When using a handmade fruit and Tangerine Essential soap, you need to keep it dry in Oils. Calendula petals are added between uses. It cannot be left on to soothe the skin and provide the side of your tub or shower. It a beautiful yellow color. It will will become soft and will not last. bring out your Cheerful side! Keep it up on a dry washcloth Pumpkin pulp is added to - or ultimately a piece of wood. our Pumpkin Sunflower soap. It Beware, some wood varieties will is a powerhouse of vitamins and stain. My husband has designed

and hand makes our soap decks. They are grooved to keep soap dry and lasting up to three times longer. Made from Maple, they will not stain. Soap making has been a definite journey. It is a fascinating process. My first batch was not very gentle or moisturizing. And it surely was not pretty! It has taken four years to perfect the recipe and process we use today. Each of our products: from our Hand Salvation, lip balms, eczema crème, facial moisturizer, soaps, crèmes, all have a story behind them. We would love to share. Stop by our office on Jack’s Creek Road. 1/2 mile from the Stone Arch Bridge on Serenity Lane. We are open Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 9 to Noon. In the future, I hope to expand this business. At present time: my niece, Stephanie; friend, Sarah; husband, Glen; and sons, Elijah and Micah are my help. I sell out of my Massage Therapy office: Shade Mountain R&R and for the last two years at Snowflake Collectables on Electric Avenue. Just last week, we set up a new display at AJ Peachey’s. I am passionate about sharing my knowledge on natural skin care and am thankful for this opportunity. Tamela Hetrick, LMT a

Having your own light rack also gives you the ability to pick out different varieties than what are normally available to the person who buys their plants from a greenhouse or garden center. Although it has been my experience that a good greenhouse can be persuaded to grow certain varieties for you, if you ask far enough in advance. But, be warned, those guys are always thinking six months out, so get to them early. If you would just rather do it yourself, gather your materials together, and get started building your own light rack, you may find more uses than you imagined. a

Shade Mountain Naturals owner Tamela Hetrick is also a licensed massage therapist


The Valley, March 2011

LZ Swanson From Iraq by Shawn Swanson LIVING IN A TROUBLED LAND LEARNING FROM CIVIL UNREST Given the current wave of ‘revolutions’ occurring in the Middle East and North Africa, I thought it might be of value to pause for a moment and look a little bit deeper at what unrest can mean for us all. HALF A WORLD AWAY Some of us might dismiss what is unfolding half a world away, but it would be foolish to not take into account our dependency on the oil, shipping, and commercial interests in the regions affected by the unrest that is unfolding in places like Egypt, Bahrain, and Libya to name a few. Not only are our political ties and strategic interests to these nation-states being tested by the

spreading tumult, but our ties to the energy and shipping economy will be impacted too. Bottom line – expect shipped goods, oil, and gas prices to creep higher, squeezing your personal finances and budgets even further. Our international dependencies, and those of our allies, make us more vulnerable than most think. CIVIL UNREST AND YOU My vocation has allowed me an uncommon opportunity to witness the mechanics and outcomes of civil unrest first hand, and I wanted to share with you some insights and lessons learned since instability in this Country is moving from the possible to the plausible category as our economy bears us little fruit and our government spends and borrows us into a debtor-nation. Civil unrest can and has happened here so it is important to study the metrics of unrest and how you might manage the problems that coincide with disorder. DISORDER ON YOUR DOORSTEP – WHAT’S PLAUSIBLE In any society, sooner or later,

political and economic pressures can coalesce and create the atmosphere for civil disobedience. For the most part, order is kept fairly well at the beginning of a serious period of tensions, but sooner or later some trigger event agitates a community into a period of social upheaval and brings with it violence and crime. This can impact your community and even if it does not directly, it will affect the larger communities that provide goods and services to your region imposing stresses on the systems you depend on, like it or not. WHAT TO EXPECT DURING UNREST The metrics of serious unrest are a mixed bag of effects, but here’s a short list of the most common to be encountered: * This is probable - Emergency services will be stressed or overwhelmed during a period of

unrest in your community and not able to respond efficiently to any needs you might have. This has the potential to go on for days. Be prepared to handle all but the gravest issues on your own. Examine the most common troubles you might have to handle and have a plan in place until help can arrive. Consider talking to your neighbors about possible troubles, build some trust, and assist each other. * Expect a disruption of general services and goods for an extended period during unrest. You will not be able to do your normal banking or grocery shopping during troubled events. It is best to have some cash and food stores on hand prior to any trouble you might see coming. Unrest could create a work stoppage for you or your spouse as well. Your normal patterns of personal business will be disrupted. * An increase in all types of crime will come with disorder. Be smart and ready to provide for your protection and your family’s security needs well in advance. The animal inside everyone tends to come out in desperate times.

Do not be caught flat-footed on your basic security needs. * Take care to avoid hot-spots. If you know it is dangerous to tread by foot or car in an area due to disorder, it is best to avoid chance encounters with danger and steer clear of it. You do not want to be a victim of casual violence by being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Keep your wits about you, use your head, and make sound decisions – your family needs you unharmed and able to provide for them. Do not be curious or foolish. Be safe and plan ahead if you see things coming your way. * Expect a return to order and a ‘New’ normal. When the unrest that your community experiences subsides, and it will, there will be public order. It probably won’t look like the peaceable order you experienced prior to events if only because your perspective and personal experience has changed, but your community will repair. Just take a moment, sit back, and game out what is possible and how you might manage any difficulties produced for you and your families if the peace we enjoy today is interrupted by something less savory. a

The Valley, March 2011


Woods, Water and Wildlife with Bob Sleigh

Nature’s Spring Wake up

Across a rock-strewn landscape, neatly tucked into the exposed areas of cool damp earth, grow two of Pennsylvania’s more uncommon wild flowers. Although Trillium and Jack in a Pulpit, both shade loving plants, can often be found growing in close proximity, each has its own unique features and habits. Trillium Commonly called the Wake Robin due to its appearance being timed with the robins return in the spring, Trillium ovatum, is Pennsylvania’s more prevalent trillium. Of the seven species of trillium known to inhabit the Keystone State woodlands, three are considered rare. Loss of habitat and over browsing by deer has had the

Trillium ovatum is Pennsylvania’s most common trillium and is sometimes called the “Wake-Robin”

greatest impact on wild populations of the perennial. The name trillium comes from the plant’ habit of growing one set of three leaves and one flower with three petals. The leaves sprout from a thin erect stalk and the flower grows on another thin stalk above the leaves.

Trilliums grow from a rhizome, an underground root that store nutrients to allow the plant to survive from year to year. The plants can be aged up to 26 years through the growth rings that appear inside the rhizome. Although the rings become blurred and indistinct beyond 26 years, experts believe that the plants can

live to 100 or more years old. In the wild it takes 15 years for a trillium to bloom. Up until that point the plant only produces three leaves and invests most of its growth into building reserves within Arisaema triphyllum commonly known as Jackthe rhizome. in-the-Pulpit can be found in moist soil. The can be easily started from seed for bloom of Trillium Ovatum starts anyone patient enough to wait 15 out white and turns pink as the years for blossoms to appear. blossom ages. As summer wanes Jack in a Pulpit the flower is replaced by a group Of the many common names of bright red berries that eventufor Arisaema triphyllum, Indian ally turn deep blue-black. turnip and swamp turnip are the When fully mature, the bermost prevalent and descriptive. ries open and discharge oily seeds American Indians reportedly ate that attract ants, yellow jackets the underground bulblike corm and chipmunks. This dispersal of the plant and also used it for of seeds, although limited in medicinal purposes. distance, helps the plant to expand The plant’s prevalence for throughout an area. growing in moist soil near flowing Trilliums are not commonly or splashing water prompted the grown in wildflower gardens and name swamp turnip. The walnut the digging of mature plants in the wild is not suggested and could Continued on page 31 be illegal in some areas. Plants


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The Valley, March 2011

Rotary Club The Rotary Club of Lewistown is hosting a community seafood dinner on Wednesday, March 30, 2011, from 5:00 P.M. to 7:30 P.M. at the Lewistown Moose Family Center at 80 Brady Lane on Route 522, Lewistown. This annual club fund raiser features a generous variety of fresh seafood from the Chesapeake Bay plus side dishes and dessert, prepared and served by members of the local Rotary Club. A silent auction will be available with a wide variety of items donated by area businesses and individuals.

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One hundred percent of the proceeds are used to benefit local and international Rotary projects with an emphasis on supporting youth needs. Tickets are $20.00 and are available from any club member or at the Juniata River Valley Chamber of Commerce office in the historic courthouse in downtown Lewistown. 248-6713. Dairy Princess from page 20 dairy products. The most important thing everyone should learn is to read labels so you know what exactly is in your food. Salt and sugar are often added to improve the flavor, because when the fat is removed the flavor usually goes too. So check your labels. I will be visiting all the third grade classes in March and April and reviewing what they learned at the Ag Tour in the fall. I am really

looking forward to those visits. In April, I will be doing a new promotion. It is an Ag Technology Tour for 6th graders. It is planned like the 3rd graders tour except it is geared more toward the technical and scientific end of farming. It should be a good learning experience for the kids. The recipe I’m sharing is for one of the pies my Mom and Gram Goss liked to serve at our butchering. It is Butterscotch Sponge Pie. Most people are familiar with Lemon Sponge, but if you like butterscotch or caramel you will like this.

Nourishing Journey from page 11

The Joy of a Dog from page 12

your thinking, amazed at your self empowerment, acceptant of who you are right here, right now and joyful in your journey to a healthier you.

Then there was the time he took off in their neighborhood and came back about 15 minutes later with someone else’s big beef bone. Where did you get that? Thief! When Murphy was about four, he learned to chew the top off of the largest Kong toy they make in about 15 minutes. Only chewing the top off wasn’t good enough for him, he ate it. Surgery...and many hundreds of dollars later...he was fine. No more toys for you! About six months ago, I put a treat in his dog bowl. We were in the living room, and I said, “check

Sue is a holistic nutrition consultant and holistic health educator. Her office is located at 54 Chestnut Street in Lewistown. To learn more about her business go to www.mynourishingjourney. com She can be reached by email at or give her a call at 242- 3132. a

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BUTTERSCOTCH SPONGE PIE Prep. Time: 20 minutes Servings: 6 Ingredients: 1 – 9-inch unbaked pie shell 1 ½ tablespoon Butter, softened 1 ½ cup brown sugar 3 eggs 1 ½ tablespoon flour ½ teaspoon salt 1 can evaporated Milk

your bowl.” To my amazement, he jumped off the couch immediately and ran directly to his bowl. Hey? I’ve lived with this dog for nine and half years and I never realized he knew the phrase “check your bowl.” I talked to my mother on the phone and told her the story. She later relayed it to my father, and she told him “Lynn doesn’t know where he learned that trick.” To her amazement, he said “I taught him that trick while he was here.” So...teaching my old dog new tricks, huh? I told him the next time he visits, please teach him how to make dinner or do the laundry so he can earn his keep. I’m sure those of you who have dogs also have lots of stories like this. Maybe yours are even

Directions: Separate eggs. Cream Butter, sugar and egg yolks till fluffy. Add flour and salt; mix. Slowly add evaporated Milk; stirring to blend. Beat egg whites till stiff peaks form. Fold beaten egg whites into Milk mixture. Pour into unbaked pie shell. Bake 35-45 minutes or until top is brown. a

better. I’m sure the local veterinarians could tell us some really good stories as well. Life is probably much easier without a dog, and definitely less eventful. But, the joy of a dog is that they listen and comfort, often the way no one else can. It doesn’t matter to them that you had a bad day or that you are grumpy–they are right there wagging their little tail excited to see you, no matter what. THAT is the joy of a dog. a

Not from this area? Are you moving and want to receive The Valley in your new town? We will send a copy right to your mailbox wherever you live in the United States. The yearly subscription rate is $28.00 to cover postage. Send a good check or money order and start receiving The Valley next month.

The Valley, March 2011


Dairy Princess Memories by Rebecca Harrop Mifflin County Dairy Princess 2010-2011

Hi, I’m Rebecca Harrop, the Mifflin County Dairy Princess with another edition of Dairy Princess Memories. Apparently the last edition got a few of my relatives stirred up. Last month at my Pap and Gram Goss’s butchering, Jack Weiand (Pap’s

Back issues of The Valley are available while supplies last. $2.00 per issue covers shipping and handling. Send a check or money order and let us know which month you are looking for. Don’t miss out on those money saving tips from past issues!

cousin) told me my article about our butchering didn’t include some very pertinent information. I had talked to my Mom and Gram about butchering now and when they were young so I thought, I had a pretty accurate description of events. Apparently, I was WRONG! Jack informed me I had forgotten quite a few important details. Important details, like how ornery my Mom’s relatives are! I went back to my Mom and Pap Goss for these details. There are some rather interesting little “traditions” that I guess you could say livened things up a bit at the butchering. One such tradition is “face greasing.” Usually the young girls were the targets of this activity. Sometimes there was blood also mixed in with the grease. If they were really feeling ornery, they would rub their greasy hands over the outside of the kettles and then rub it all over someone’s face. If you aren’t familiar with iron kettles over an open fire, they are covered with BLACK soot. My Mom told me the first butchering she invited my Dad to when they

were dating, she got “greased.” Of course, they had gotten kettle soot mixed in, so not only was her face greased, but it was all black. She said she was so embarrassed, it was years before she would help outside again. She stuck to the house. Another trick they liked to pull was taking the pigtails and sticking them in people’s car and truck bumpers. That would be funny to see a truck going down the road with a pigtail hanging down the bumper. Gram Goss also told me they somehow would pin the pigtails to the back of each other’s coveralls so it looked like they had a tail. I heard another story about the pies being handed out the window and hidden before dinner time. That’s pretty bad,

hiding the food. With Mom’s relatives that could be dangerous. One trick I do remember seeing them do is, when they taste the ponhaus for salt and pepper, they will pour pepper on a spoon then dip it in the kettle. You have to do this carefully so the pepper stays on the spoon and the ponhaus covers it. Then, they ever so innocently ask some poor unsuspecting sap if there is enough pepper in the ponhaus. I’m sure you can imagine the reaction to that! Of course everyone else is laughing like an idiot. I guess they used to swat each other on the back side with the lard sticks too. I don’t know about you, but I’m not seeing the fun in that. I’m just thinking that had to hurt! Although a couple of my aunts said to ask Jack about that. They had a silly grin on their faces at the time so I’m thinking Jack may have been the recipient on a swat or two. Now my Pap assures me his Uncle James usually was either the culprit or the instigator of such pranks. My Mom says he

was on the ornery side. She told me about a story her grandfather told her about he and Uncle James chewing holes in the corners of the bags of sugar in their Mom’s pantry. They must have really had a sweet tooth. I’ve been hearing some pretty funny stories about the rest of my Pap Goss’s aunts and uncles. Funny thing is, that generation has passed away now so I can’t ask them to defend themselves against such vile charges. My Mom assures me they would just smile sweetly anyway. She also warned me I better not be giving any of her relatives any ideas about past pranks ripe for resurrection. She said they’ve been pretty tame the last few years and wouldn’t want to open a can of worms. So you Goss’s, don’t get any ideas! Last month I was pretty busy with displays at the Mifflin County Meltdown. I really enjoyed that and I learned a lot about low fat and fat free products especially

Continued on page 19


The Valley, March 2011

Modern Energy and Alternative Heating The Other Energy Source...


The Headline in USA Today reads “Oil Hits $100.00 per barrel” due to Mideast unrest. Here we go again! We discussed wood, coal and solar. What else is there? Oh yes, I’d like a rebate or tax credit to help with the cost. How bout “Geothermal?” What is it and why should I be interested? At the end of 2010, many Federal and State energy rebates were severely reduced or eliminated. Last month in this column Solar DHW (Domestic Hot Water) and the fantastic Federal and State tax credits/rebates that are still available for that renewable technology were featured. Are there any other significant rebates available? The answer is yes! Remaining is the Federal tax credit of 30% of the installed cost (no cap)* for an Electric Geothermal (Geo) Heat Pump System. It is apparent the Feds are high on Geo, and by offering a substantial tax credit, are encouraging the consumer to purchase one. Why is that? Ok you say, I’ve heard people talk about Geo systems but how do they function, how efficient are they and how much do they cost? To understand a Geo Heat Pump System, you need first to understand how a heat pump system operates and why it is very efficient. As opposed to using electric resistance heaters (electric baseboard heat, electric ceiling cable heat, electric fan

unit heaters, etc) a heat pump uses a compressor much like that in your refrigerator, freezer or window air conditioner. You can understand the effect of this compressor system by feeling the heat your window air conditioner (AC) blows outside on a hot summer day. Yes it is cooling the inside of your house but it is also heating the outside space around your house. Ok, take that window air conditioner, reverse it in the window and let it blow (pump) the heat inside and the cool air outside. I know you don’t want to heat your house in the summer but the fact is that a window air conditioner will pump heat into your house summer or winter; thus the name heat pump. In summary, a heat pump will cool your house in the summer and heat your house in the winter. The nice thing is, you don’t need to physically “turn the unit around” in the winter to have it blow heat into your house. It is done automatically with a “reversing valve.” The other advantage is when you are heating your house with the compressor system (Heat Pump), you are using about 1/3 of the energy that you would use to heat your house with electric baseboard or ceiling cable heat; thus, the unit is about 300% efficient. Amazing! Now for the Geo part. Your Window AC is an “air to air” system. As the outside temperature drops, the reversed window

with Curt Bierly

AC system becomes less efficient and thus, is pumping less heat into your house for every kilowatt of electricity used by the compressor. A Geo is an “air to ground” system. As the outside temperature drops, the ground temperature (55F, plus or minus) below four feet remains nearly the same. In fact, the wells for Geo systems are drilled about 200’ deep where the ground is a very constant and stable temperature. As a result, Geo systems don’t lose their efficiency when the outside temperature drops.

This means big savings for you upwards of 60 to 70%! So what does a Geo system cost? For a whole house system from scratch, $25,000 to $30,000. However, the 30% tax credit with no cap is a great incentive and can mean $7500 to $9000 can be returned to your wallet in the form of a tax credit (see your tax professional on how this would apply to you). With the unrest in the rest of the world and the great rebates, Geothermal is a definite possibility. See you at the State College Home Show March 11, 12 and 13.

Curt Bierly is president of the bierly group incorporated of which Stanley C. Bierly is a division. He graduated from Penn State with a BS in Mechanical Engineering and is a member of the Penn College HVAC Advisory Board. You can contact him at * – At the top of the page click on “see federal incentives,” then near the bottom of the listed items click on “residential renewable energy tax credit.” Note that Geothermal Heat Pumps join Solar and Wind for the Tax Credit. a 100 Stine Drive Lewistown, PA 17044


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The Valley, March 2011


For Sale Portable Electric Milker Complete in excellent condition. Reasonably priced. Call (717) 483-6868 Books for Adults or Teen Readers Gently used condition. --Twilight Series (Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, Breaking Dawn) $5.00 Ea. or all four for $15. --The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks: $3.00 Call (717) 250-4892.


Submit items for sale, rentals, services, yard sales, and help wanted ads to our website at or send to The Valley, PO Box 41, Yeagertown, PA 17099.

Classifieds are 15 words for $3 and .10 cents each additional word. All classified ads must be paid in full prior to insertion. Good check or money order made out to “The Valley” or cash is accepted. Deadline for the February issue is January 24th. Editor reserves the right to reject any ad.

Handyman Services Ralph, “The Little Job Guy” No job too small Call 717-348-0385

Greenlee Electricians Knockout Punch Set Model 735 3 new slugbuster cutters included. Sells for $200 new, will take $40. Call 248-2917 leave message.

With Debra Kulp Grepp: 2 cups flour 4 tsp baking powder 1/2 tsp salt 1 egg beaten 2 tbls butter, melted 1/2 cup milk (scant) 1. Sift together the dry ingredients, stir in beaten egg and melted butter. Add enough milk to make a moderately stiff batter. Drop with spoon into boiling ham and apples. Cover kettle tightly and cook without peeking for 20 minutes. Serves 6-8. Old-Fashioned Bread Pudding Makes 6 servings 2 cups milk heated to scalding

Pour milk over 4 cups cubed bread. Cool and then add: 1/2 cup melted butter 1/2 cup sugar 2 slightly beaten eggs 1/4 tsp salt 1 cup raisins 1 tsp nutmeg or cinnamon 1. Pour into 1 1/2 qt. buttered casserole pan or dish 2. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until knife inserted comes out clean, serve warm. Tuscan Pot Pie Makes 4 servings 1 lb. cooked ground beef, drain off fat. 1 medium onion, saute, combine with ground beef. 1-26oz chunky vegetable tomato sauce (like ragu) 1-19oz. Cannelini beans 1-8oz. tube refrigerated crescent dinner rolls

From The Kitchen Of...

Peas, Potatoes & Rivels 1 lb Ground Beef drain grease then add: 3 cups water 4-5 medium potatoes

Small bag of peas Add: 3 cups milk 1/4 stick of butter salt and pepper to taste Rivels: 2 cups flour 2 eggs salt and pepper to taste With two knives, cut back and forth thru flour and egg until lumps form. All the egg should be

Preheat oven to 425 Combine all ingredients except the dinner rolls Unroll dinner rolls, divide into individual triangles, arrange in spiral fashion with points of dough towards the center. Bake 12 minutes until golden brown. Easy Breaded Crappie 1 1/2 lbs. crappie filets 1/2 cup of flour 1/2 cup cornmeal 1 egg 1/2 cup milk Seafood seasoning Olive oil Season crappie with seafood seasoning. Mix the egg with milk, stirring until egg is beaten Combine flour and cornmeal. Heat enough oil to cover the bottom of your pan. Dip crappie in milk and egg, then roll in flour and cornmeal mixture,

coated with flour. Add rivels to milk when it’s about to boil. Turn down temp and let rivels cook for 15 minutes. Be careful, you may need to add more milk as it will thicken quickly. This makes a full meal and it great!

1 1/4 lb Real Butter 1-8oz cream cheese 1 1/2 tsp vanilla Chocolate for coating Double boiler for melting chocolate Combine all ingredients except chocolate together into the shape of an egg, it should be slightly sticky, if too sticky add more powdered sugar. Put in fridge for several hours before coating with chocolate. Add Easter decorations while chocolate is wet. Put back into fridge for 15 minutes or until chocolate hardens then wrap with colored plastic wrap.

Coconut Easter Eggs 1 bag coconut 2-4 lbs powdered sugar

Peanut Butter Easter Eggs med jar of peanut butter (Jif) 4-6 pounds powdered sugar

Ellen Glidewell These recipes were handed down to me by my Gramie Fritz. I still make the Easter eggs for us, and now my grandkids. They seem to like them every bit as much as my brothers and I did!

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Recipes, Crafts and Gifts Schnitz un Grepp (Ham, apples and dumplings) My maternal grandmother was Dutch and she gave to me many recipes. She made everything from scratch and filled her house with the smells of good cooking! 2 lbs. smoked ham cut into pieces 2 cups dried sweet apples 2 tbls brown sugar 1. Cover the dried apples with water and soak overnight. In a big kettle, place ham, cover with cold water and cook slowly for 2 hours. Add the apples and the water in which they soaked, and the brown sugar. Cook 1 hour longer.

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then saute quickly over mediumhigh heat until crappie is golden brown. Serves 3 Oven-fried Perch 1 lb. perch fillets 2 tbsp Parmesan cheese-grated 1/2 cup dry bread crumbs 1 tbls butter-melted 1/4 cup milk 1/2 tsp thyme Dip perch in milk. Combine crumbs, parmesan cheese and thyme. Coat with bread crumbs. Lay in single layer on greased shallow baking pan and drizzle with melted butter. Bake in 450 degree oven for 12 minutes per inch of thickness or until it flakes easily. Makes 2 servings.

2 lbs real butter 1 tbls vanilla Mix all ingredients together so it is not sticky but moist. If too sticky add more powdered sugar. Roll a nice size piece into the shape of an egg. Makes about 70. To make smaller batch cut recipe in half for 35 eggs. Put in fridge for several hours before coating with chocolate. These are larger than most store bought eggs. Chocolate Coating: Melt chocolate in the top of a double boiler. Use large fork to turn and coat the eggs. Put Easter decorations on when eggs are wet. Put in fridge for 10-15 minutes to harden and then wrap in plastic wrap.

The Valley, March 2011


The Valley, March 2011


Buckhorn Taxidermy and Sporting Goods has added a new addition of live pets and pet supplies to the store. We also have a line of live bait and live crickets year-round for the fishermen and pet lovers.

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Tropical Fish Birds Lizards Frogs Snakes Spiders S corpions Hamsters Gerbils Rats Mice

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The Valley, March 2011

Homeschooling on the Homestead with Andy Weller

Field Trips Provide Numerous Opportunities for Learning

Remember back in time when you were a kid and the teacher sent you home with a little slip that gave you permission to accompany the class to an off campus activity where you got hands-on learning? Remember the anticipation you had the night before going in the field? Remember the field trip that you enjoyed the most? I do! I was 6 years old and the class was going to a dairy farm. The farm was right down the road from the small acreage my parents owned. I thoroughly enjoyed the dairy farm and what I learned there. Field trips are activities that all kids should experience no matter how they are being schooled. For many children, the hands on environment is a key to learning. While not every subject can have a field trip attached to it, many times one field trip can cover many subjects. Let me give you an example. Today, my wife, son and I went on a field trip to the zoo. Of course we went to and saw all the animals our zoo had. In the course of this trip we

talked about math, geography, science, the evolutionary theory and religion. How in the world can you cover all these topics you ask? Here’s how: We went to one of the monkey exhibits first. This particular monkey species was from Africa, so we discussed where Africa was in the world. We then went to the lion exhibit and in the course of that, we discussed the range of the lion in history and the fact that at one time lions existed in Northern Europe and the British Isles. Another exhibit we went by was the peacock and peahen habitat. We looked at the beautiful and colorful tail of the peacock and the eye that the tail feather has on it. We discussed how this bird fanned his tail to challenge other birds and attract mates. From the peacock habitat we went by the giraffe habitat. The zoo had hay out for the giraffes and one was happily munching some hay that was set out on the top of a pole using welded wire as a feeder, so his neck was ex-

tended. Nearby another giraffe had his head down drinking from the pond that was set up. Here’s where the evolutionary theory and religion come in. This animal has a huge heart, something in the neighborhood of 2 feet long and 25 pounds. He needs this size heart in order to pump blood to his head and feed his brain oxygen, when the head is in the full and upright position. When he lowers his head to drink this animal has a series of valves in the neck to stop the flow of blood.

If the giraffe didn’t have these valves his head would explode from the blood pressure, when lowered. He also has a reserve of blood in the head so when he lifts his head back up again he doesn’t faint. Interesting stuff! Back on topic. While looking at the giraffe we talked about the evolutionary theory and we discussed how the animal was created. Our family is a Christian family so we discussed God’s design of this animal. We also want our children to be aware and understand how the evolutionary theory is a part of science and how scientific theories work. As

homeschoolers we have the freedom to discuss the evolutionary theory as a theory and not fact. We also have the freedom to discuss creationism and God. That doesn’t just apply to our family but yours as well. You can have these discussions and teach your child what you believe. From the giraffes we went to watch the otters. We learned that the otters are just plain cute. No school, no facts, no discussion. Just lots of laughter, ooh’s and ahh’s as the otter moved in his habitat and romped around in the water. We also got to look at the tigers. One of the interesting facts that my son and I learned on our trip was that tigers don’t mind the water. In fact they’re quite good swimmers. I’m now trying to talk my 11 year old son Jake into introducing our cat to the bathtub. For some reason he’s just not too keen on that idea. I’m not going to keep jawin’ your ear off. Whether you home school or not, I just encourage you to take your kids on a field trip or two throughout the year… It’s a hoot!! a

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A.J. Peachey’s— A Genuine Appreciation From Staff Reports

Photos courtesy of Dee Peachey attempt to increase sales that day When someone mentions a than anything else. Granted the business that will be holding a acknowledgement of the customcustomer appreciation day, one ers existence is more than most usually imagines some drinks and businesses offer, but perhaps perhaps even a few hot dogs for many could take a lesson from the early arrivals. Most often it A. J, Peachey’s on what customer is over in a flash and you come appreciation days should look away thinking it was more of an like. A. J. Peachey’s turns such an event into a day long celebration of community and leaves you really feeling appreciated. Many folks come and spend the day socializing with their Standing room only under the tent as customers neighbors and enjoy the live music. new found

The Valley, March 2011 The celebration starts in the early morning and continues on into the night. There are many door prizes and in-store specials to celebrate the occasion. A large canvas tent is set up And the band played on, the great music was to protect the enjoyed by all. band as well friends. There is much excitement as give the and laughter as people partake in party-goers a place to sit out of all of the food prepared for the the sun, or perhaps shelter from event, as well as enjoy the live precipitation. But even a little rain music as kids run and play and couldn’t spoil the fun on this day. enjoy activities planned especially Last year there was a bright for them. colorful train ride pulled by tractor for the kids, making its rounds of the property and it seemed like it never stopped. There was a huge kettle set up for kettle corn that was a big hit as well. Of course you Every one of the staff chip in to ensure a won- can still get derful time is had by all. your favorite

Overflow seating, and perhaps some of the most comfortable seats to be found.

ice cream from the Ice Cream Shop and browse the Gift Shop, Bakery and Grocery Store. Or perhaps, enjoy a more hearty sit down meal in the restaurant. The employees of A.J. Peachey’s work tirelessly to ensure that everyone is happy and that the day is truly a celebration of customer appreciation, everyone is greeted with a smile. Even after what must have been a marathon of preparation and hard work, I was impressed at how Lewis and Aaron made sure to say hello, and said thank you for coming, THAT made me feel really appreciated and is a testament to the way they do business. Make a mark on your calender for late July and be sure to make your way over to Barrville Rd to join in all the fun this year. It is sure to be something really special with the new building being at or near completion, God willing. a

Grosze Thal Nachbaren

(Big Valley Neighbors) by Jeptha I. Yoder

Ein Grusz in Gottes Namen. Mïr hen ein Woch recht schön Wetter gehabt. Es sheint die Frühlings-zeit is nahe. Der 23 Januar war Kirchengasse Gemein ans Joseph S. Yoders Singen war auch dort. Ost Milroy war ans Rufus M. Yoders. Der 30 war unser gegend Gemein ans Eli S. Zugen. Von Nord Milroy waren Menno D., Elisabeth N. und Noämi L. Zug (Leah). Von McClur waren Rhodä L., Samuel A. und Leah B. Zug. (Christ R.), Manasse N. Yoders und Sohn Gideon, Abner C. (iddo M.) und Noämi A. (Amos J.) beide Hostetlern. Singen war ans Elis. Lang Leen Ost war ans Jacob Z. Hostetlers. Nord Milroy war ans Noah R. J. Hostetlers. Der 6 Februar war Kirchengasse Gemein ans Joel M. Yoders. An dieser Sonntag warens Eli S’s und Familie unds Jesse S’s alle Hostetlern ans Unkel Christs und der Groszvater fürs mittag. Jesses waren ein wenig hier nachmittages. Der 13 war Gemein hier. Nächst mol ans Jesse J. Hostetlers Wann Der Herr Will. Ost Lang Leen war ans Emanuel J. Yodrs. Singen war dort abends Holzland Mittel war ans Esle S’s und Holz-


The Valley, March 2011

land West war ans Isaac H’s beide Hostetlern. Miriam K. Hostetler (Jesses’) war hier furs Abendessen. Die (Salomon) Mareily R. unds Isaak Y’s und Tochter, alle Hostetlern waren ans Christ S. Hostetlers fürs Mittag. Issak Ys waren bei die Mareily fürs Abendessen. Mareily war beim Groszvater Sonntag Nacht. Der 20, war Kirchen gasse Gemein ans Salomon C. Hostetler Jrs. Von McClur waren (Sam Y) Emma Y. und Tochter Lydia, Emanuel J’s und Familie, Menno S., (Mose Y) alle Hostetlern. Von West lang Leen war Christ E. Yoder (Sam I). Nächst mol Gemein bei die (Emanuel B.) Franey N. Yoder, West Lang Leen war ans Mahlon C. Yoders. von McClur waren David H. Yoders Sr. Von Andere gegenden waren die (Emanuel B.) Franey N. Yoder, Isaak R’s und Familie und jacob Z’s alle Hostetlern. Milroy Ost war ans Christ M. Zugen Sr. Elisabeth and ich waren ans Eli S. Zugen fürs Mittag. Wir waren Alle ans Noah C. Speichers nachmittages. Sam R. Yoders und Sohn Joel waren auch dort. Greetings to all! Our recent mild weather appears to be the beginning of maple sugaring season for those who care to take the time to collect the sap and cook it down. I already saw larks and a kill-deer. A robin was also seen and heard. Yet, the winter birds still come for their meals. Hopefully the bug (or whatever) that is causing sickness, that is going around, will vanish as spring arrives. A mistake in my last

writing is that the latest arrival at Christian S. Hostetlers is an Isaac and not Elizabeth. Sorry about this. Several more new arrivals are a dau. Lydia, joining three brothers and two sisters, to Noah R. and Lydia B. (Zook) Hostetler; Christ M. Sr. and Barbara A. (Yoder) Zook. Joining one brother and four sisters is a Mary (Maria) to Stephen Y. and Lydia B. Hostetler on January 25. Grands are Abraham N. and Lena F. (Yoder) Hostetler; sam E. Jr. and Malinda F. (Yoder) Hostetler. Great-grandfather is widower David B. Yoder. Joining one sister is Christ J. on Feb. 22nd to Moses C. and Emma L. Yoder. Grands are Christ M. and M. Adeline Yoder, local. Yost I. and Elizabeth D. Hostetler, McClure. Greats are widower Moses S. Yoder and Moses I. and Elizabeth L. Hostetler, local. Lydia A. Hostetler (Daniel Y.) and her mother Elizabeth S. Yoder (Noah A.) both widows, of McClure. Jan. 25, at 9:00 was the funeral of Jeremiah E. (11 yr. 11 mo. 2 da.) son of Uria J. and Salina R. Yoder of 981 Coffee Run Road, Reedsville, PA 17084. Funeral by John I. Hostetler. Pallbearers were: rufus N. (Noah D.), Jonas J. (John M.) and Ezra A. Jr. (Ezra A.) all Hostetlers and Christ E. Yoder (Sam I.). Hauled by: Jeptha I. Yoder (Isaac M.). Among those attending were Dr. Morton. From “up the valley” were Henry Summys, Isaac Swareys and another couple. Jremiah had been losing out the last year or so. With relatives at times, there at night to care for Uria’s specials. Urias’ have three other specials, Franey 8, Jeptha 6, and Jacob almost 2. They have three other children, Lydia 14, Lizzie almost 10, and Uria 3. Also surviving are grandparents widow (Jeptha H.) Lydia R. Yoder of the above address and Jacob S. and Franey L. Hostetler of 484 Treaster Valley Road, Milroy, PA 17063. Preceded by a grandfather, Jeptha H., an Uncle, Daniel S. Hostetler, and 8 cousins. Relatives from the area attended the funeral in Andover, Ohio on Jan. 31 of widower Enos E. Hershberger. Feb. 7 was the funeral of Great-Uncle Joel B. Hostetler (85 yr., 11 mo. 30 da.) fo 385 Samuels Church Road, McClure, PA 17841. By Sam H. Yoder. Pallbearers were Jacob Y. Hostetler, Joel S. and Noah J., both Yoders, and Yost J. Speicher. Hauled by Yost I. Hostetler. Surviving is his wife Barbara Y. (Speicher). Four

sons and one daughter, all having families. Samuel J. S. of the above address, Katie B. of Michigan, Michael J., Jacob C., and Daniel R., who’s address I don’t know. Numerous grands and great-grands. Preceded by four grandchildren. He was the last of the late Samuel Y. and Elizabeth I. (Yoder) Hostetler family. Attending the funeral, besides from Penns and Big Valleys, were Alphaus H. Speichers of Newburg; Sam Y. Hostetlers and daughter, Franey of Homer City; David S. Hostetlers of Turbotville; Noah Y. Hostetlers of Maryland. Spring sales are coming up. Bills are out for Sam H. Yoders on Feb. 26; Moses J. Yoders of Winfield March 5. There are more, of which I am not sure of the date. For a seed catalog that conducts business (including the typesetting of their catalog), without the use of computers, send one dollar to J. L. Hudson, Seedsman, P.O. Box 337, La Honda, CA 94020. Their seeds are all open-pollinated. The forepart of the catalog lists many botanicals (herbs, etc.). The back part has a selection of heirloom vegetables. The Noah C. Speicher family are all at home since the 5th. They did take Ruthie (1 ½) back for a checkup (an overnight stay at Ronald McDonald House) in Phila. They found her blood counts a bit too low and had to give blood. She has another appointment and are planning to go again on the 23rd. They travel by train. Since Ruthie does not eat

enough to provide adequate nourishment. Yet, she cannot tolerate regular tube feeding. So she is hooked up with a pump system and it slowly trickles through a tube that goes in her nose. If all went as planned, newlyweds Ezra S. and Leah R. Hostetler moved to McClure at his parents’ the Samuel J. S. residence on the 24th. Until next time—dream of fruit trees blooming, bees buzzing, and spring peepers singing. Jeptha I. Yoder

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The Valley, March 2011

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The Valley, March 2011

The Chicken AND the Egg! by Mike Flanagan Brooding On a Larger Scale Last month we covered a simple brooder for up to six chicks. It’s main purpose was to protect chicks from drafts and keep them warm. If you are only planning on three to six chicks to test the waters that will be fine. But for those of you who do not understand the words “in moderation” (myself included), we’re going to plan a BIG brooder that will hold up to 30 chicks comfortably for up to eight weeks. That’s assuming I’ve influenced your decision making enough that you are ordering traditional dual-purpose breeds and not those genetic freaks they offer that reach maturity in only eight weeks. I’ve got a pretty good understanding of genetics and I don’t have anything against breeding to enhance desirable traits. It’s been done for centuries. But what

you see advertised as Cornish-X or fast-growing meat birds have been taken to extremes. These birds will grow to about 8 pounds in 8 weeks, an average of a pound a week. Growing that quickly places a tremendous strain on their bones and heart. They will often be unable to support their own weight, preferring to lay on the ground next to the feeder and suck up food all day. Personally, I don’t consider it ethical to subject an animal to that and I don’t believe it’s much of a life for them either. Dual-purpose breeds tend to grow slower, thus living a more natural life. You can still harvest your meat at 12 weeks if you wish. I am going to assume that you have basic measure-cut-nail skills. For the past three flocks I have used a plywood box supported by 18” mini-horses. You’re going to need two full sheets of plywood and four 2x2’s. DO NOT USE TREATED LUMBER! The first time I built one of these I used 3/4” plywood. Can you say heavy!? I used 1/2” plywood

for the second one. Much better. Cut the first sheet to 4’x6’ for the floor. Cut the second sheet to 4’x6’ and then cut that into two 2’ x 6’ strips. You can glue and screw/nail the 2x2’s into the corners to create a simple but large box. Nail in two 47” long pieces of 2x3 (or sized to fit), roughly 2’ from each end, as shown in the picture. These are going to support a one gallon hanging waterer and a one gallon hanging feeder. Screw a hook into the center of each 2x3 before you nail them into the box. I suppose you could just leave the feeder and waterer on the ground but with up to 30 chicks in here it’s going to get real messy, real fast. They are going to walk and poop on everything that’s on the floor, including their feed and water. That’s why I raise mine off the floor. Next you need to make a lid. My first one was built completely of 2x4’s and hardware cloth. Again, can you say heavy!? The second, since it didn’t have to support the feed or waterer, was built much lighter. I used 1x2’s and the same 1/2” hardware cloth. Cut a hole in the center for your heat lamp to hang down through. I have found that because the box is initially so large for the chicks that I can hang the heat lamp right at the lid level and they just move in or out to a comfortable position. I cover the lid with old blankets and play around with the gap between them to find a balance that seems just right to the birds. And that’s pretty much all there is to building good brooder that you can use year after year for anything from 12 to 30 chicks. Since this

Sketch of Mike’s homemade brooder.

might be the last installment before your chicks arrive I would like to cover what to do when they arrive. First of all, you did notify your postal carrier that you were expecting live animals on delivery day, right? And you have the brooder all set up with both feed and water already in there, right? And you have your heat lamp securely hung and power ready, right? Good. When they come in the first thing you do is count them and make sure you got all you ordered. This probably won’t be a problem. Every time I have ordered from Meyer Hatchery they have sent an extra 1 or 2 chicks just in case. Now this next part is going to sound mean, but it’s very necessary. Gently pick up one chick at a time and shove his little beak into the water. Don’t hold him under, just

let him get a taste. Maybe even do it a second time. He has to learn where the water is. None of my books say to do this with their food. Guess they figure that part out on their own. As I said before, this is why I like the red plastic feeder/waterer plates. The chicks learn real quick that red means either food or water. Once all your chicks have been introduced to the waterer and are running around in your brooder cover it up and go away. Let them relax from the stress of travel. Check them in 15 minutes or so to see if your heat lamp is too high or too low. Make any adjustments you think necessary and go away again. Check back in about 20-30 minutes. What you are looking for is a flock

Continued on page 30

Find us on The Valley Newspaper

The Valley, March 2011

30 Home Made Brooder from page 29

that is spread out more or less evenly throughout the brooder and calmly chirping while they think not-so-deep chicken type thoughts. Don’t worry, you’ll easily tell the difference between calm, contented chirping and the excited, something-ain’t-right kind of chirping. Once they are calm and content you can pull up a chair and embark upon your newest hobby, chicken watching. Next month we’re going to start building a hen house for a flock of 12 or less. Two important concepts of this house are; (1) it could also be used as a large scale brooder, and (2) you’ll get to learn from mistakes I’ve already made for you. Until then, remember, support your local economy. Buy local, eat local, and live well.

Materials List

Brooder 1 bottom – 4’x6’, 1/2” plywood 2 ends – 2’x4’, 1/2” plywood 2 sides – 2’x71”, 1/2” plywood 4 corner uprights – 2x2x24” 2 end corners – 2x2x44” 2 side corners – 2x2x68” 2 stretchers – 2x3x47” 2 hanger hooks Lid 2 ends – 1x2x48” 2 sides – 1x2x72” 16’ of 1/2” hardware cloth 2 hinges a

Nettle from page 5

and guess what? These rhizomes can sting too! I’ve only found one reference to this phenomena in the literature available to me, but I’m sharing this from first hand experience. She makes you work for your supper, this plant. As for keeping the Nettle confined to one area, good luck with that. This is why one should find an out of the way spot (NOT IN THE GARDEN) on the farm to gorw it. it also makes it rather unsuitable for town gardens or container growing although I found one reference to growing it “within barriers or in bottomless containers.” If any of you have done this, and it worked, write in and tell us about it. Please. I’ve got a feeling those barriers would have to go pretty deep and they wouldn’t contain the seeds. We do find that mowing seems to help if it moves into fields or lawns, but the roots are still there and you have to keep after them. Don’t try tilling the perimeter of the patch either. Take a guess at what happens when the tiller chops up all those rhizomes and roots and immediately replants them in a nice soft

earth. Mostly, we just accept Nettle control as one of those perpetual chores that give a comforting regularity to farm life. Let’s discuss that sting now. Look closely at Nettle plants and you will notice that the undersides of the leaves and the stems are covered with what seem to be fine hairs. What you are seeing is actually rather amazing; soft, hollow spines which contain, among other things, histamine and formic acid (hence the previous cautionary statement). The slightest brush and these “hairs” act like hypodermid needles, depositing their load of mini-yellowjackets, all the more so if you accidentally stumble across some Nettle plants and aren’t expecting it. So what do you do? When working around or harvesting your Nettle, wear long pants, long sleeves, and gloves. I’ve found that even cloth gloves are good protection and it’s a good idea to set a pair aside just for picking to keep things clean. If you do have one of those surprise close encounters, as strange as this will sound, observe the symptoms so that you know how your body reacts (ok, that does sound a bit like ‘suck it up’ and obviously doesn’t apply to those with the allergies, etc.) Brush the plants hard enough and slight welts may appear, but mostly it’s a stinging sensation that gradually fades to “pins and needles.” As an interesting aside, people used to actually sting themselves on purpose, a process that medical persons might refer to as using a counterirritant. We are NOT recommending you do this; but it is called urtication in case you’d like to read more about it. Getting back to getting rid of the sting, Nature isn’t completely indifferent to our suffering. Several of my references state that the sap of the Nettle itself is an antidote for the sting. Sounds handy, but I’ve not tried it—yet. Yellow Dock (Rumex obtusifolius), another traditional treatment, almost always grows where you find Nettle, and this I AM familiar with. Yellow Dock—that deep rooted “weed” with the big, rough floppy leaves and massive flower stem, is rarely welcome in gardens or fields, but for centuries, at least, pulling some leaves, rubbing and squeezing them to release the sap and rubbing the mess on the Nettle sting has been the “folk” way to treat the discomfort. Does it work? Well, let’s see how to phrase this. Speaking from personal experience only of course, most of the time it works for me, with or without the magical

incantation (that last part’s a bit of an inside joke, folks). This is not a recommendation nor is it based on scientific studies here, gardener to gardener, ok? Nettle has been growing on our farm and we’ve been using it for about thirty years and we’re still here. If you are wondering whether or not we’re finally heading off of the deep end, the answer is no. “Wait a minute,” you say. After spouting all of these warnings, how can you EAT this stuff when it practically ATTACKS YOU? And WHY would you WANT to? Very good questions. First of all, technically, Nettle only seems to attack you. Second, you never eat it raw. Let me repeat this because it is important. YOU NEVER EAT NETTLE RAW. Cooking and drying completely neutralize the sting. Why go through all of this when there are gentle domesticated vegetables out there just waiting to be grown? Well, the two are not mutually exclusive, and of course Nettle, as with everything in life, is not for everyone. However, consider the following. One: it’s always good to know that there are alternatives available to you, especially when it comes to basics like food. Two: Nettle is a perennial so once it’s established all you have to do is “maintain and contain” and you have a reliable source of food just for the picking. Three: a plant that can help to feed you, care for your body, care for your soil, supply you with raw material to potentially make a variety of useful things, such as clothing or even paper, is not to be looked at askance by anyone seriously interested in self-reliance. Four: when it comes to healthy food, Nettle is a nutritional powerhouse of minerals, vitamins and other necessities required to keep our bodies chugging along in good order. It even tastes good! Unless of course you hate vegetables, in which case eat them anyway. After a winter of heavy eating, our ancestors anxiously anticipated spring greens, blood purifiers they called them. Some of us still do. One of the first vegetables to be picked each year, it is not unusual to find green Nettle sprouting under the late winter snows. Once spring is in full swing, this plant grows quickly so keep it well picked. Remember to go properly garbed, armed with scissors and your container of choice. Harvesting goes fairly quickly, snip the tender tips and first two or three pairs of leaves, stem and all. Wash well in plenty of

water using tongs or those gloves used for food service to protect your hands. Now you are ready cook. As a general rules of thumb, use Stinging Nettle to replace spinach in any cooked recipe. First time around simply steam a bit of Nettle so you can experience the flavor as is; young, it takes only three to four minutes. You are after tender, not mushy. Harvest through the spring ‘til the plants are a foot or foot and half tall. Lightly steamed Nettle can be frozen for later use. As the plants get taller, but before they flower, pick to dry for tea (and to add to your critters’ food). You can cut the stems and hang as you would mot herbs or pick the individual leaves, which isn’t as time consuming as you would think. Without the stems the leaves are easier to dry and handle. Store as you would any dried herb. Once Stinging Nettle flowers and the summer draws into autumn, the plant produces crystals called cystoliths that make it unpalatable. If you are interested in fiber and cloth production, now would be the time to experiment, when the fibers are matured but not weakened by autumn weather. Here you have it then, a brief introduction to one of our most useful plants. At the end of the article are suggestions for further reading that will flesh things out, whatever you area of interest may be. Finally, here’s a recipe for fine spring soup (or year round if you’ve frozen some of your Nettle crop) that is simple to prepare, but rich in both flavor and nutrition. Enjoy! Nettle and Whole Grain Soup 6-8 servings 3 quarts of strong, fresh broth (beef, chicken, vegetable) or water ½ cup whole grains (barley, rice, bulgar wheat) 4 to 5 cups cleaned and roughly chopped fresh Nettle (if you’re using frozen Nettle, a well filled quart container should do) 1-2 tablespoons parsley finely chopped Plain yogurt or sour cream Black pepper to taste In a 6 quart pot bring the broth to a boil. Add your grain of choice (don’t forget to wash the brown rice til the water runs clear) Don’t limit yourself to these grains. Experiment, if you prefer white rice then use it, but try the others too. If you like a thicker soup add up to a full cup of raw grain; this is one of those recipes that’s open to your own variations.

Bring the grain and broth back to a boil; reduce heat and simmer covered about 15 minutes for the bulgar wheat or white rice. When the grain is just a bit resistant to the bite add the Nettle and Parsley. Bring to a simmer and cook covered, about ten minutes until the Nettle is falling apart. Allow the soup to rest, covered, off the heat about 15 minutes before serving. Add a large tablespoon of either yogurt or sour cream to each serving and a grinding of black pepper if you like. This may be a new combination to some, but it is very traditional. The flavors of the tangy yogurt or the rich sour cream blend well with Nettle and remember, dairy and grains are one of the combinations that provide complete proteins in a diet. More information: Horizon Herbs PO Box 69 Williams OR 97544 541-846-6704 Seeds of Change c/o Marketing Concepts PO Box 152 Spicer, MN 56288 888-762-7333 After hitting quite a few brick walls looking for a commercial source of Nettle seed it was a pleasure to find Horizon Herbs. The young man I spoke with said that they would be “Awash with free spring catalogs” by March so give ‘em a call. Any company that carries Nettle seed deserves our support! “ A Modern Herbal” by Mrs. M. Grieve “Stalking the Healthful Herbs” by Euell Gibbons “Healing Wise” by Susun S. Weed Yes her writing style is, shall we say, unique. The information she packs into the book is wide ranging and thorough. For the fiber enthusiast there are pretty slim pickings. “A Weavers Garden” by Rita Buchanan A brief mention of Nettle, Very brief. A good place to start would be to get an accurate account of processing Flax and experiment with adapting the techniques to Nettle. The best that I have run across so far is: “Reflections from a Flaxen Past” by Kati Reeder Meeks. Not a mention of Nettle, obviously, but very clear information. If anyone out there has worked with Nettle fiber, please let us know about your experience! a


The Valley, March 2011 Grow your own mushrooms from page 15

bag as there needs to be some gas exchange, and clip shut. Place your kit in a dark place at normal house temperatures and allow the entire roll of TP to be grown over. At this point your kit can be moved to an area of indirect sunlight and allowed to fruit. When fruiting the kit, it is recommended that a humidity tent (read plastic bag) be

Oyster mushrooms 48 hours after the fruiting photo, are ready to start harvesting.

Do you want more Homesteading and more self reliance conversation? If so, join the “Modern Homesteading” forum at It is free and full of useful and practical information from folks just like yourself from all over the country. Some of the writers on The Valley staff are members as well.

The Beautiful Normal by Sarah Hurlburt

The changing seasons are one of the things that make living here in Central Pennsylvania so wonderful. I don’t know about you, but I know that by this point in the winter I am longing to see that first glimmer of spring—the Hope that the short, cold days will soon turn into long, warm sunny days. Spring breezes will once again whisk away those last dreary days of winter. February has been an incredibly tough month for my family due to several different health issues with my children. I couldn’t help but think through it all that our lives are so much like the changing seasons of the natural world.

Things are always changing; we will have moments that are as perfect as a bright summer day, moments when everything is so perfect we have to pinch ourselves to see if it’s real. We look at our children playing happily or even fighting happily, or we look at our spouse or a dear friend and everything just feels so right. It’s in those moments of things just being “normal,” nothing out of the ordinary, that we see real beauty in life. I pray that our lives are filled with more “spring” like days of beauty and not so many of the cold “winter” days. But just as a blanket of fresh snow adds a whole new dimension of beauty

to a bleak winter landscape, God’s love and mercy cover us in times of “winter” in our lives. Some days will feel dark and long when we are facing times of trial, but remember, the Son never leaves and is always there shining behind the “clouds” of trouble in our lives. So when I am tempted to think life is dull or mundane on some ordinary day, I will think of those times of “winter” and storms in the seasons of my life and I will bask in the beautiful normal! “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.” Ecc. 3:1 a

placed upside down over the kit to maintain proper fruiting parameters. This is a very basic grow, and could be modified and/or improved a myriad of ways with many different mushrooms. Complete kits that arrive ready to fruit are also available at retailers for those interested in growing without the bother of spawn, substrate, etc. One thing I have found out, though, is that, just like tomatoes, the ones grown outdoors are better. At least once you get all the dirt off of them. a

Woods, Water and Wildlife from page 18

the fall that turn to bright red as they develop on a leafless stalk after the plant dies away. The berries and all other parts of the plant also contain calcium oxalate and should not be handled. Arisaema triphyllum has become a popular addition to wild flower gardens and is readily available from many sources. Caution should be used to prevent pets and children from coming in contact with the plants. a

sized corm is shaped like a turnip and brown in color. It is not recommended that anyone attempt to eat the plant without medical supervison, as calcium oxalate crystals, a poison, are present in the flesh. Indians boiled and then dried the flesh for as long as six months before roasting it. Jack in a Pulpits begin life producing only male blossoms for a period of two to seven years depending on growing conditions. Older female plants can often change back into male plants for years at a time if stressed or damaged. The most noticeable part of the plant is a large tubular modified leaf with a curved overhanging hood called the spathe or “pulpit.” Contained within the spathe is a fleshy green spike called the spadix, which bears hidden flowers and is commonly called “jack.” Jack in a Pulpits that bear female flowers will Jack-in-the-Pulpit with a classic produce black berries in striped spathe.


The Valley, March 2011

The Valley - March 2011  
The Valley - March 2011  

The March 2011 issue of The Valley. A free newspaper serving Mifflin County and the surrounding area.