Living Naturally


About this Blog

Margaret Boyles lives in a wood-heated house in central New Hampshire. She grows vegetables, keeps chickens, swims in a backyard pond in summer, snowshoes in the surrounding woods in winter, and commutes by bike whenever possible.

December 25, 2015

Fire cider. The very name sounds like something you might want to try: half a dozen or more flavor-rich herbs and fruits, steeped for a few weeks in apple cider vinegar, then strained and bottled, perhaps with a bit of honey added to balance the acidity. This traditional winter tonic is renowned as a folk remedy to help ward off winter colds, flus, and other infirmities, or, as some prefer, to mix into salad dressings or festive grogs.  Although one company has trademarked the name Fire... more

December 19, 2015

Last summer we harvested a bumper crop of Anaheim-type chili peppers, many of which I roasted, peeled, and froze. Mmmm. Nothing gives winter comfort and joy better than a bowl of spicy chili or an aromatic pepper-laced vegetable soup simmered on the woodstove. Humans have been growing and eating hot peppers for at least 7,000 years, and for at least as long, indigenous healers have prescribed them in some form for pretty much everything that ails us, inside and out. Modern research has borne... more

December 5, 2015

It’s winter! In central New Hampshire where I live, snow from the first big storm of the season is falling and ice has covered the pond behind my house. I’ll get a lot of exercise today and tomorrow shoveling pathways, de-icing the driveway, and snowshoeing in the adjacent woods. Snow and ice also have many household uses. If you don’t have any just outside your kitchen door, use cubed or crushed ice from your freezer. Culinary uses Make maple sugar on snow. Growing up in Vermont in a family... more

November 8, 2015

Nothing speaks of fall and winter like the appearance of winter squashes and pumpkins in stores, farmers’ markets, and on our tables. It’s time to turn to the sweet, orange-fleshed hubbards, buttercups, butternuts, and acorns for comfort. Botanists also classify pumpkins among the winter squashes. Native to the New World, all varieties of squash and pumpkins belong to the genus Cucurbita within the large plant family Cucurbitacae. What is Winter Squash “Summer” squashes are varieties of... more

November 7, 2015

Here are a list of restless leg syndrome symptoms and natural remedies for restless leg syndrome relief. What Is Restless Leg Syndrome? They arrive soon after you lie down to sleep: strange sensations creeping through your legs. People variously describe the sensations as tugging, pulling, tingling, stinging, throbbing, itching, or aching; others say it feels as if something is crawling or flowing inside their legs. The sensations produce a near-irresistible urge to get up and move around.... more

November 4, 2015

From the moment we take that first breath, we keep breathing until we stop for good. But because breathing happens automatically, most of us rarely think about it, until we come down with a respiratory ailment or find ourselves puffing with exertion. Practice Breathing for Stress Relief Yet focused and deliberate attention to proper breathing is an ancient stress-relieving, health promoting technique. What’s more, it’s free, and doesn’t require equipment or professional help. Breathing... more

October 30, 2015

“After the ecstasy, the laundry.”  I’d say that famous zen saying also holds for agony. Yes, the laundry always awaits. Ecstasy or agony, laundry is a metaphor for everything about daily living that demands attention, and so also becomes part of a spiritual practice. In this case, it meant turning my attention to making new batches of homemade laundry detergent and oxygen bleach, both of them cheap, easy, effective, and non-toxic to humans and the environment. Homemade detergent Ten minutes of... more

October 20, 2015

Ever had a canker sore? These small white lesions can appear anywhere inside the mouth, including the gums, tongue, and inside of the lips.  They can make eating and drinking mighty uncomfortable for a week or more.  What are Canker Sores? Canker sores are whitish, red-bordered, slightly-cratered sores inside the mouth. Medical science knows that these commonly occurring sores by the somewhat frightening names, aphthous stomatitis, or aphthous ulcers. Women are more susceptible to canker... more

October 14, 2015

Among only a few native North American fruits cultivated commercially in the modern era, cranberries (Vaccinium macrocarpon) stand out as a culinary star of the holiday feasting season. But their season doesn’t last long. Harvested from late September through October, the fresh fruit is only available through Christmas. I like to pick up several bags of fresh berries, pop them into appropriate containers and freeze them to use all winter. Only about 15 percent of the crop is marketed as fresh... more

October 13, 2015

Celery. Almost every refrigerator holds a sleeve of it. Raw, it’s a grab-and-go food, with a satisfying crunch and a handy groove for holding anything spreadable. Cooked, it imparts a delicate flavor to salads, soups, and stir-fries. And it has only 11 calories per cup. Yet it is most often described as bland, boring, watery. Nonetheless, celery qualifies as a high-powered health food. Although it isn’t strong in conventional nutrients, it does contain dozens of phytonutrients. Celery’s Health... more


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