top of page

Search Results

49 items found for ""

Blog Posts (43)

  • Stressed Out and Pregnant? These Herbs Help Calm Anxiety

    This site is supported by our audience. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases (at no extra cost to you). However, I only recommend products I love and/or use. Expecting a new bundle of joy is a wonderful time filled with anticipation, excitement … and oftentimes, stress and anxiety. During pregnancy, a woman’s hormones are changing and fluctuating with the growth of her unborn child. Together, mother and child grow both physically and emotionally. Although some stress is a natural part of pregnancy, too much stress can cause physical issues for both mother and babe. From worrying about the baby’s health to stressing over upcoming financial challenges, pregnancy can cause a woman to spend too much time worrying when she could be basking in the beautiful changes happening in her life. If stress and anxiety are interfering with your joys of motherhood, these four herbs might be just the thing you’re looking for. Oh, one more thing—since the first trimester is a delicate time for your new baby, wait until after the first trimester to try the herbs listed below. (Always consult a qualified medical professional before adding herbs or other supplements to your routine.) 1. Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis): Lemon balm is a soothing and nurturing herb that relaxes both body and mind. Lemon balm can calm your nerves, boost your mood, and help with insomnia that naturally comes with the nighttime discomfort of a changing body shape. 2. Rosehips (Rosa canina and Rosa rubiginosa): Rosehips are the fruit of the rose plant. Usually a rich red or dark orange color when ripe, rosehips add beauty to a rose bush after the petals have faded in the fall. Rosehips are a rich source of vitamin C, and their mild flavor blends well with other earthy herbs. Rosehips assist with the absorption of iron and calcium—both necessary for the nourishment of mother and baby. 3. Oat straw (Avena sativa): Oat straw or milky oats come from the tops of unripe oat plants (the same plant that gives you your morning bowl of oatmeal). Oat straw is a nervine herb that tones and calms the nervous system. Its mild, nutty flavor is easier to drink during bouts of morning sickness than some more strongly flavored herbs, and it combines well with fruit juices such as apple and peach. Try making oat straw tea and apple juice popsicles, or use oat straw tea instead of water when you make flavored gelatin desserts. 4. Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata): Passionflower is an excellent anti-anxiety herb that also induces sleep and relaxation. Use it in small doses and only under professional guidance, since large doses can be a uterine stimulant. What can I do to relieve stress during the first trimester? If stress and anxiety are confronting you during the first trimester of pregnancy, or you would like options other than using herbs internally, try some of the following suggestions. 1. Yoga: Gentle prenatal yoga and restorative yoga poses and stretches can be beneficial stress relievers during pregnancy. Yoga encourages us to still the mind and relax the body while focusing on the breath. Avoid hot yoga and other strenuous practices, and make sure you drink plenty of water and stay hydrated. (Mayo Clinic, February 2021) 2. Walking meditation: Walking meditation is a form of active meditation. Walking is a wonderful exercise on its own, and when combined with mindfulness to create a walking meditation, this activity can decrease stress levels and bolster a sense of well-being. You don’t need any special equipment to do a walking meditation, and you can practice both indoors and out. 3. Eat right: Healthy eating is always important, but it can be difficult to eat normally if you have waves of nausea at odd times of the day. Try to maintain a healthy diet by eating nutrient-dense foods in frequent, small portions. Oatmeal is a stomach soother that can be lightly sweetened to make it more palatable or adorned with fresh fruit to boost its nutrient value. 4. Curl up with a good book: If you’re one of those people (like me!) who can get lost in a good book, use this opportunity to read that book you’ve been longing for. Let yourself get carried away in a fantasy world, and put your worries on the back burner. You’ll have fewer chances to read grownup books after baby arrives, so treat yourself to a little extra you time right now. Other things to remember … There is no need to feel guilty for feeling stressed or for taking extra time to pamper yourself. If you’re feeling stressed or anxious during your pregnancy, know that some stress is normal now, just as it is during other times in life. But also know that through loving self-care, you can reduce your anxiety and enjoy your pregnancy and the new life you are creating. (Please consult a medical professional or mental health practitioner if you have any physical or mental health concerns, so they can provide you with extra support and guidance during this time.)

  • Solar Cooking in the Snow! GoSun Sport Product Review

    This site is supported by our audience. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases (at no extra cost to you!). However, I only recommend products I love and/or use. Hey, friends! I recently purchased a GoSun Sport solar oven (I’ve wanted a sun oven for ages!), so today I’d like to do a quick product review so you can decide if you’d like to get one, too. Cooking with solar energy (power from the sun) saves electricity and fuel because, well, you don’t need anything more than a partly sunny day to get the job done! Food is less likely to burn in a solar cooker, and natural moisture from the food gets trapped inside the GoSun’s cooking tube, lending itself to the creation of delightfully moist baked goods. You’d have to put a pan of water in your gas or electric range to get the same effect. I looked at a variety of ovens for solar cooking, including DIY varieties and portable vs. stationary models, but I wanted something that was easy to pack, lightweight, and didn't require heavy pans (like Dutch ovens or casserole dishes). I also wanted the cooker to rely strictly on solar power – no preheating pans or prebaking anything ahead of time. I decided to get the GoSun Sport Pro solar oven kit. It comes with a sturdy carrying case and all kinds of fun things to use in the cooker. It even has little silicone cupcake liners I can use to bake snack-sized chocolate cakes. Two food trays were included in the pro pack; each tray holds 5 or 6 cupcake liners, a whole package of hot dogs, or enough food to feed three people. Everything arrived nicely bubble wrapped and securely packaged for safe shipping. You’ll want to line the food trays with parchment or aluminum foil to reduce the amount of cleaning the trays require. Make sure you don’t overfill the trays, either – you don’t want excess spillage in the glass cooking tube. But if you do need to scrub out the tube, you can use this little green scratchy cleaning brush that fits perfectly inside the oven’s tube. Just screw it onto the end of a food tray, and voila! – the tray turns into a handle for the scrubber. The pro pack includes a second food tray, so while you have one tube cooking, you can fill another tray to pop into the oven after it cools back off (don’t put cold trays in the hot glass tube … I’ve broken enough glass canning jars to know that’s a no-no). The GoSun pro pack also came with a small kettle for boiling water (hot cocoa while camping – yes please!) and a user guide with a handy cooking chart that tells you how long different food products take to cook in the sun. The GoSun has black wire handles that fold all the way around towards the back (behind the parabolic reflector) and become the legs of the oven. Use the legs to position it exactly how you want it, and make sure your solar oven is facing the sun. Pro tip: stand between your solar cooker and the sun, and make sure your shadow is falling perpendicular to the glass tube. Or pretend you’re making a letter “T”; your shadow will be the stem of the T, and the glass tube will be the part that crosses the top. To challenge my GoSun, I decided to try it out on a snowy day. An arctic blast passed through this weekend, and today it’s only 27° F. With the below-freezing temperature and partly cloudy skies, I could really put this little oven to the test. I made chocolate cake batter from a box mix (shortcut) and filled up half a dozen of those little cupcake trays. The tray easily slid into the oven nice and snug. At the top of the seal on the end of the tray nearest the handle, there’s a little V-shaped notch. That notch is your vent, so the steam can escape while your food is cooking. Make sure the vent is facing up. I left my GoSun sitting outside surrounded by snow on a cloudy day for about an hour and 20 minutes while I went and did some grocery shopping, and when I came back, I opened it up. The tube was cool enough for me to touch, but I burned my hand on the actual food tray – so be smarter than me and make sure you wear oven mitts! My little snack cakes baked perfectly. They came out moist and fluffy and steaming hot. I was amazed at the amount of heat that collected inside the oven's glass tube, and I have no doubt it could grill meatballs and bake potatoes with the same efficiency – even under a cloudy sky! I hope that you enjoyed this quick review showing that the GoSun Sport oven really can cook in all different temperatures. All you need is a little bit of sun and something wonderful to cook! PS – If you want to kick your solar cooking up a notch and use your GoSun grill 24/7, take a look at the GoSun Fusion! It's the best of solar cooking combined with a USB connection that connects to a battery pack for late-night meals when you're on the go.

  • 5 Tips to Avoid Buying Bad Property

    This site is supported by our audience. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. However, I only recommend products I love and/or use. We bought property during the pandemic, but it wasn’t an impulse buy. We weren’t suddenly trying to escape from the confines of society in a mad dash to find fresh breezes and room to stretch. We’d been on our search for several years. We had finally decided against building in the forested areas (too many wildfires) and agreed to buy property on the plains just over an hour’s drive from the closest big city and about the same hour or so from my job. If anything, we were even more driven than before due to my successful completion of chemotherapy and the realization that we needed to stop putting our dreams on hold and start enjoying our lives together. Like, really enjoying ourselves. And for us, that means stretches of blue sky, pastel sunsets, the sound of birds instead of sirens, and fresh soil bursting with the food we grow for our family. So when we stumbled upon 70 acres of rolling farmland with mountain views on a well-maintained county road, we were hooked. We found the property during the summer, and by autumn, it was ours. We spent the winter dreaming about what we would build: a home, a barn, a Walipini-style greenhouse, and acres and acres of native grasses that would attract wildlife, control erosion, and restore the area’s natural beauty. But then we met our first neighbor, and our excitement started to dwindle. They let us know that their well water was undrinkable. We would need to filter our household water and acidify the water for the garden. Not exactly what we had hoped for, but it was manageable, so we put in for our water well permit (and rain catchment permit) and started collecting bids from well-drilling companies. Next was our perc test. The test came back showing that our soil had high levels of clay and absorbed water instead of letting it drain through. That meant we would need to install an engineered septic system (to the tune of more money) instead of having a simple, gravity-fed system. And finally, the soil test for our house came back as our biggest disappointment. Our foundation would need to be supported by caissons—not because we were on a hillside or had a high water table, but because the soil expands and contracts too much, so it can’t support a house without the extra stabilization. *sigh* Each of these—the lousy well water, perc test, and soil test—were a surprise to us. But you don’t need to end up with the same surprises after you purchase your dream property. Read on to discover five things to look out for before signing a purchase agreement. (You might be able to add water and soil tests in your contract as contingencies, but expect to foot the bill for testing since the seller isn’t obligated to pay.) Well water If the property you are interested in already has a well, ask to have the water tested. You may be able to take a sample to a local well company or county extension office for lost-cost testing to make sure the water is safe to drink and use for household purposes. If the property doesn’t have a well yet, try talking to your neighbors. Ask them if they’ve had any issues with the water, if they need a whole-house filtration system, and what aquifer they’re on. You can also check your state’s water quality division to see how deep the water wells are in your area, so you’ll know how deep yours will need to go, too. (The deeper the well, the higher the drilling costs.) Septic perc test This one’s a little trickier unless the property you want to buy already has a septic system. Again, talking to your neighbors is a good way to gather opinions, but checking with the county to see if the septic systems in your area require engineering is a safer bet. If you don’t want the extra expense of an engineered system, it’s better to find out before you’ve signed on the dotted line. Soil test (core drill) Some counties require a core sample before they will grant a building permit. Check with your county, then find out if you’re going to need engineered plans for your home. You can ask your neighbors, but we learned that not all soil is created equal, and just because properties are nearby does not mean they share the same type of soil. Our soil contains more clay and is more expansive than our neighbors’. We’re also just slightly uphill from them, so our increase in elevation might be part of the reason for the difference. They were able to plunk their house down on a standard foundation, while we were required to have an engineered foundation with caissons to keep our home steady on the expansive soil. Zoning requirements Although this might sound obvious, check your zoning requirements before purchasing your land. Some of the counties we looked at would only allow site-built homes (no modular or manufactured) and had stricter regulations than an HOA—even though there were no HOAs in the area. Other counties have more of a you-do-you attitude and allow homeowners to build anything from an Earthship to a ranch with multiple dwellings. Make sure the property you’re interested in meets your needs. If you want a property with agricultural zoning to raise livestock and grow food for the table, make sure you understand what is required to keep the property in agricultural status (which usually means lower taxes, too). Just owning a horse or a few chickens won’t do the trick. You will generally be required to raise food or fiber for profit—or own a large enough acreage to keep the status simply due to size. Another option is to register as a farm with the FSA (the USDA Farm Service Agency) and get involved with the National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). The NRCS can help you conserve your soil, apply for federal grants, and possibly receive funding by signing up for a Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). Property taxes We found some beautiful, rolling farmland closer to town than the property we eventually settled on. What made the difference? Several thousand dollars a year in taxes! Check your county and find out what the taxes are for agricultural land, residential property, and vacant land (which sometimes has a considerably higher tax rate than either of the previously mentioned types). Resources For more information on how to buy land without buying a lemon, check out these helpful reference books. Land Buying Tips From the Pros: How to Buy Rural Real Estate by Pat Porter Land Investing Mistakes: 11 True Stories You Need To Know Before Buying Land by Erika Benson 10 Things You Need To Know About Land: A How-To Guide About Lots and Vacant Land for Agents, Investors, and You! by Cheryl L. Sain There are even more books on Kindle. If you haven’t joined yet, click here to sign up and enjoy free books and discounted prices.

View All

Other Pages (6)

  • Stuff We Write About | Little Dog Ranch

    Stuff we write about... Daily well-being and living the off-grid life ... these are our favorite topics to share with you. If you'd like to see us dive into a specific topic for your reading enjoyment (or so you can learn something new!), please feel free to contact us ! And if you'd like to contribute an article, we'd love to take a look! Check out our ongoing list of blog posts & videos below 10 Ideas for Hidden Rooms, Safes, and Secret Compartments 15 Bubble Bath Ideas to Wash Your Worries Away 15 Off Grid Cooking Hacks to Save You Time and Fuel 15 Self-Care Resolutions for an Amazing New Year 17 Gift Ideas for Writers and Book Lovers 17 Ultimate Self-Care Gift for the Holidays or Any Day 19 Creative Gifts for Gardeners and Homesteaders 21 Kitchen Gift Ideas for Outdoor Enthusiasts and Off Grid Chefs 21 Must-Have Gift Ideas for Outdoorsy Dog Lovers 3 DIY Stress-Relieving Sugar Scrub Recipes for Dry Skin 5 Tips to Avoid Buying Bad Property 9 Essential Off Grid Skills Every Homesteader Should Know Coloring for Stress Relief and Relaxation Cooking Off the Grid (Indoor Edition) Cooking Off the Grid (Outdoor Edition) Creating Art Reduces Stress Creative Journaling for Stress Relief Creative Sprouting Gadgets for Micro Gardening All Year Long DIY Stress-Relieving Shower Steamers Financing an Off-Grid or Earth-Sheltered Home Grow, Forage, & Preserve Your Own Food: Homesteading Skills How Do Dogs and Other Pets Help Us Reduce Stress? How Gardening Relieves Stress and Helps You Unwind How to Host a Stress-Free Halloween Party for Dogs How to Keep Your Off-Grid Septic System Running Like New How to Wildcraft a Buddha Bowl (Plus Sauce Recipes!) Kick the Caffeine and Grow Your Own Coffee Substitutes! Mental Health Benefits of Living Off the Grid Oats for Nerve Nourishment Off-Grid Water Systems - Pros and Cons Putrid Well Water and How To Fix It Save Time, Money, and Fuel: Grocery Shop Once a Month Secret Spaces to Stash Your Stuff (Minimalism without Loss) Solar Cooking in the Snow (GoSun Sport Product Review with YouTube link) Stressed Out and Pregnant? These Herbs Help Calm Anxiety Top 10 Cruelty-Free Beauty Products for A Luxurious Self-Care Routine Ultimate Off-Grid Gift Guide for Modern Homesteaders Use the Colors in Nature to Relieve Stress and Improve Mood Using Scented Candles for Stress Relief Walking Meditation What Does Living Off the Grid Really Mean? What Is a Septic Perc Test, and Why Do You Need One? Winter Solstice Self-Care to Welcome the New Year Thank you for stopping by!

  • Your Off-Grid Well-being Resource | Little Dog Ranch

    Welcome to Little Dog Ranch Your off-grid well-being resource The world is hectic. Your life doesn't have to be. Unplug Unwind Welcome! We're glad you're here. Welcome to Little Dog Ranch, where we recognize the importance of being self-sufficient and finding time to relax and enjoy the life you desire. We strive to provide information and ideas that can help everyone in their journey toward creating a sustainable lifestyle—whether you’re just starting out or already have an off grid home. ​ We know that your home should be a sanctuary where you can connect with nature, become self-reliant, and express your creativity. Join us for information on building a sustainable off grid lifestyle, de-stressing from daily life, and creating healthy habits. Thank you for being here! What would you like to do first? Just want to see a list of all the stuff we write about? Click here! Unplug Get off the grid and build a sustainable lifestyle. Ready to Unplug? Unwind Relax, de-stress, and find the magic in your life. Ready to Unwind? Off grid and well-being must-reads Stressed Out and Pregnant? These Herbs Help Calm Anxiety Pregnancy should be a time of looking forward. Here are a few ways to reduce stress when anxiety sneaks in. Post not marked as liked Solar Cooking in the Snow! GoSun Sport Product Review Cooking with a sun oven saves energy but is it practical? Find out if GoSun can cook in freezing temperatures! Post not marked as liked 5 Tips to Avoid Buying Bad Property You’ve been searching for your dream homestead. Here’s how to avoid ending up with a nightmare. 3 likes. Post not marked as liked 3 Our team Julie Writer, editor, master herbalist, and founder of Little Dog Ranch. Lucy Tug-of-war winner, lap warmer, and best all-around little dog. Clay Cybersecurity professional, off-road adventurer, and co-founder of Little Dog Ranch. Click here to contact us!

  • Contact | Little Dog Ranch

    Get in touch with us! If you have questions or would like to suggest an off grid or wellness topic for us to write about or a product you'd like us to review, send us a note! Let's Chat Email Fill out the form to send us a message! Follow Us on Social Media First Name Last Name Email Message Thanks for submitting! Send

View All
bottom of page