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Have you ever been told that your interest in holistic and sustainable living was silly?

Unrealistic?  Cute?

That herbs won’t help your health?

That foraging for your food is going to poison your family?

That nobody “homesteads” anymore?

That cooking from scratch is a waste of time?

Because I have.

Nitty Gritty Life is my little corner of the internet were we can peel back the layers of commercialism and modernity to find holistic, sustainable living right where you are.  I am a “jill of all trades” that dabbles in too much for my own good — but all the better for all my nitty gritty readers.  I promise to share with you real, practical everyday advice for using herbs for health and wellness, for identifying medicinal and edible plants, for homesteading in the 21st century, for tending to a garden to feed and nourish for family, and for cooking and preserving wholesome and traditional foods.

I can’t promise that this Nitty Gritty Life is going to be easy.  In fact, there might be times when it is really damn hard.  But there is a reward when you actualize holistic and sustainable living that can’t be quantified.

So who am I?  I am Devon.  I am the mother to a combined family of EIGHT kids and a wife to an amazing man.  I tend 20 creek-side acres and continually renovate a 100+ year old homestead in the shadow of the Oregon coastal mountain range.  I am a writer, an herbalist, a farmer, and a cook.  I am a daydreamer with my bare feet planted firmly in the ground…  I am the sum total of self study, academic rigor, and real life experience.  I grew up in a family with a strong agricultural tradition and I have cooked since I could see over the counter.  After years of self study,  I now hold a degree in Complementary and Alternative Medicine from the American College of Health Care Sciences, which I pursued after leaving a seven year career in the Oregon wine industry.  My first book The Backyard Herbal Apothecary will be published April 2019.

36 Comments

  • Tiffany October 21, 2014 at 8:23 pm

    Hi Devon,

    I came across your site while looking for more information about elderberries a couple of days ago. I love the post you have about them: http://nittygrittylife.com/elderberry-tincture/

    I’ve made a page about elderberries myself, including over 20 recipes I’ve collected (so far!), nutritional info, how to identify elderberry, etc.

    I’d be happy to share it with you if you were interested in taking a look. You’ll surely find it useful. 🙂

    Thanks,

    Tiffany

    • Devon October 23, 2014 at 8:06 pm

      Thanks Tiffany! I checked out your post — you produced a really great, informative piece. I will be sure to keep an eye out for your new posts!

  • eric November 25, 2014 at 8:40 pm

    Devon,
    That goat you got looks very familiar like someone WE know. He looks like he could be the daddy anyway. LOL

    • Devon November 26, 2014 at 12:46 am

      Oh haha Eric! That is a lamb in my profile pic, fyi. I mean give the guy some credit… 😉

  • Jeff Buck November 30, 2014 at 2:14 am

    Wonderful Web page Devon…..Need some kind of business card or picture sent email to me and I can install your business in my website…..anyway yours looks great….good job….Jeff Buck

    • Devon November 30, 2014 at 2:23 am

      Will do Jeff! Thanks!

  • Laura February 26, 2015 at 11:17 pm

    I read where you said cotton wood seeds help with inflamation and pain like an asperin. Do you have any info on this and how to use it, where to get it? Thanks

    • Devon February 27, 2015 at 2:23 am

      It is actually the cottonwood buds (not seeds — those are those obnoxious furry things that fly around in spring). I infused my last bit into an oil destined to become a balm for tired and overworked hands. I plan to go hiking the creek and riversides this weekend to restock my supply! I am looking forward to sharing recipes for a pain relief tincture and infused oils on the blog. Depending on where you live, cottonwood buds might be swelling are ready to harvest in your area!

      • Laura February 27, 2015 at 6:56 pm

        Thank you so much. I will keep an eye out for your oil recipe. I don’t think we have any in Maryland. I think they are further south. I will definitely try to find some.

  • karen March 4, 2016 at 9:10 pm

    Great article! I included the link to it in the description section of a video I published today. 🙂 p.s. Cottonwood bud foraging is addicting! ~Karen/Love Your Land

    • Devon March 5, 2016 at 10:30 pm

      Thank you Karen! I would love to watch the video and share it with my readers. Can you leave the link in the comments section of the cottonwood post? I will watch it and approve it so that it show to everybody!
      By the way, I just kicked off my 2016 cottonwood harvest with a not quite two pounds!

  • Karen March 5, 2016 at 10:47 pm

    Sure! Here you go! https://youtu.be/kNuf78xC-lE

    I’ve made 11 jars, have enough buds left to make 14 more jars, and just harvested 3/4 of a cloth shopping bag worth. I need to stop myself, lol! 🙂

    • Devon March 6, 2016 at 9:07 pm

      Great video Karen!
      I didn’t see the link, am I missing it somewhere? Great kitchen, by the way!

  • Karen March 6, 2016 at 9:23 pm

    Well that’s weird. It’s right after/under where I say “here you go.” ?

    Thank you about my kitchen! 🙂

  • Judy Rupel Schmunk June 21, 2016 at 3:58 pm

    It’s too late in the year to harvest cottonwood buds here in B.C.; where can I acquire some so we can make our own balm?

    • Devon June 21, 2016 at 8:22 pm

      I am not exactly sure where you might be able to find cottonwood balm for sale in B.C. Is there an herbal apothecary in your area? I would also look to see if there are any folks that lead foraging walks — as they may have or now of a source for preserved cottonwood buds. It may be helpful to join some herbal focused Facebook groups as I see a lot of exchanges among members in the two I am a part of. Sorry I can’t me of more help!

  • Otte June 27, 2016 at 8:46 pm

    Hello! Beautiful site you have here! Just wondered if you’ve ever come across/created vegetarian marshmallows? They’re so so good and I miss eating them! (15 years of craving!) Thanks x

    • Devon June 28, 2016 at 4:53 am

      Thank you Otte! I have not used any vegan/vegetarian substitutes for gelatin… I would suggest trying to substitute agar-agar for the gelatin (in the same amounts). If you do try this, by all means report back your experience and I will update the post with the substitution suggestion!

  • Kate Cleveland July 20, 2016 at 10:56 pm

    Your photographs are beautiful. What is the counter top material in the jam photos? It looks like Carrera marble but I would think the jam and berries placed directly on it would stain.

    • Devon July 21, 2016 at 6:11 pm

      Thank you Kate! I positively cringe when I look at my older photos — learning the art of food styling and photography is a steep learning curve and one that I am forever on!!!
      In my more recent photos you are either seeing a Carrera marble slab, such as that used for pastry dough rolling, or some hand planed salvage lumber that my husband crafts into beautiful wood furniture pieces. The marble is a piece that I have owned for many years, since my early 20s I think… It is sealed, but I take care to wipe any real or “stylized” spills promptly. It has not stained woefully in nearly two decades of services. If it does stain, that is fine by me — I have long given up on worrying about “precious” things. With a house full of kids and a farm, nothing is sacred! If I were to design a kitchen to my preferences, it would likely include some honed marble (or soapstone) countertops and some butcher block… I think if you know how to care for it and embrace the “aging” process, materials like marble are wonderful. And what is a stain, but evidence of food that was enjoyed… That is a stain I can deal with!

  • Brooke Mader October 20, 2016 at 1:36 am

    Hi Devon- I absolutely love your site. I am so happy I stumbled upon it. I too have a blog where I try to spread the word on sustainability and the power of herbs and food.

    Cheers to you- you are doing a great job!!

    Let me know if you’d ever like to connect.

    • Devon October 22, 2016 at 2:04 pm

      Hi Brooke!
      Nice to (virtually) meet you! Your site is gorgeous. I am actually planning a theme update to “this ole thang” and love the look of your site… I just followed your FB and Pinterest pages. Would love to stay connected!

  • Dawn Kohlmann November 16, 2016 at 11:11 pm

    Hello…I just visited beautiful Oregon for the first time two weeks ago. My brother moved up there this past summer. I was wondering if you may be interested in selling some of your poplar buds next harvest time? I’m having a real hard time finding them to purchase online and I don’t know where to find any here in Missouri. Thanks for your time…

    Dawn

    • Devon November 16, 2016 at 11:59 pm

      Hi Dawn! I will be emailing you privately!

  • Ryan December 7, 2016 at 2:26 pm

    Hello! I would love to try you Tulsi-rose chai recipe, but am having trouble bringing it up. Could you please re post or reply with it?thank you!

    • Devon December 7, 2016 at 3:17 pm

      I responded to your question via Facebook! Thank you.

  • Jessica March 16, 2017 at 10:27 am

    Hi Devon ~

    I just wanted to say “Thank You” for the very honest and accurate article you posted on Essential Oils Safety. I think this is a very important topic to put out there. I have come across a large amount of “healing practitioners” who push essential oils and inappropriate uses of them on individuals….most of these practitioners are not trained herbalists, aromatherapists, or naturopaths in any way, shape or form, and are only “reps” for the oil companies they are promoting.

    Prime example, I was participating at a healing event where a group of us had tables set up for our healing practices. An oils rep was there, and she began trying to sell these oils to a very unsuspecting customer, by telling them to “cancel” their necessary surgery, and replace the surgical treatment with the oils instead. When the customer was beginning to get uncomfortable with the inappropriate sales pitching, I went up to her and said “If you are interested in incorporating natural plant medicine in conjunction with your healthcare, there is a certified herbalist set up across the room that I would suggest speaking further with.” The customer thanked me, and then moved from the oils table to go speak with the trained herbalist….needless to say, the oils lady was not happy with me, however I could not just stand there and watch this “inappropriate” diagnosis going on, or watch this oils person push to convince a customer to inappropriately cancel a necessary surgery……all just to sell an oil, very unethically.

    This is happening out there, and it is not ok. I am glad that you wrote this article to outline this, the importance of safety, and above all, the importance of education and training, no matter what holistic modality one is pursuing. Thank you!!

    • Devon March 16, 2017 at 2:37 pm

      Thank you for reading Jessica! Your story… It makes me livid! I could only hope that I would be as polite as you were in a similar situation. Frankly, it is people like that rep that can hurt all holistic practitioners. Advising somebody to cancel their surgery? THAT IS dispensing medical advice and becoming dangerously close to the act of practicing medicine itself. As a practitioner, I always advise my client to consult with their PCP for diagnosis and medical advice, and even to discuss the holistic protocols that we decided were appropriate. I would never think to advise somebody to cancel their surgery. And all to sell a bottle of oil too — shudder. Unethical to say the least.

  • Nicole Nelson March 31, 2017 at 4:12 pm

    Hi Devon. My name is Nicole and I manage influencer relationships for Mountain Rose Herbs. Can you email me to discuss partnership? Thanks so much. I look forward to speaking with you.

  • Della Ratcliffe May 19, 2017 at 8:10 pm

    I was just reading your info on Cottonwood (now “pinned”!) and I had planned to make the Balm of Gilead… and I have a quick question about the recipe measurements:

    I’m assuming the measurements for the coconut and olive oils are liquid ounces; please let me know if that’s the case. For the cottonwood buds, is that 4 ounces by WEIGHT or by liquid measure?

    Ingredients
    6 oz organic extra virgin coconut oil
    2 oz extra virgin olive oil
    4 oz dried cottonwood buds
    1 tablespoon beeswax pastilles

    Thank you

    • Devon May 19, 2017 at 8:43 pm

      Thanks for stopping by the blog, Della! So, actually, the measurements are by weight. I will edit the post to reflect that. I have a small digital kitchen scale that I find indispensable for projects like these that only cost me around $15. If you don’t have a scale, use liquid measurements and adjust with the beeswax until you achieve the desired texture. Hope that helps!

  • Sheila Brex June 12, 2017 at 2:34 pm

    Hi, I was looking at your Under Pressure Linden Tea. All of the Linden trees are in bloom right now and I’m wondering what part of the tree do you use for the tea?

    • Devon June 12, 2017 at 2:46 pm

      Hi Sheila! The leaves and flowers are of linden can be used for tea!

      • Sheila Brex June 12, 2017 at 3:23 pm

        Thanks, Devon!

  • Chelsea Christian January 6, 2018 at 8:47 pm

    Hi Devon!
    I love your site! Very informative. We are getting ready to start our own homestead on just an acre and a half. HA! I am excited though. Ive been reading up on herbs and I would like to become more educated. Do you have any books or documentaries you can recommend for herbs and homesteading that will help me get started up? Thanks in advance!

    • Devon January 8, 2018 at 5:44 pm

      Thank you, Chelsea — and congratulations on your new property!!! There are so many wonderful books to read up on. I am a huge fan of Matthew Wood’s Earthwise Herbal, Rosalee de la Foret’s Alchemy of Herbs. My friend Amy Fewell has a new book — The Homesteader’s Herbal Companion that is now in pre-order on Amazon. My other friend Amy Stross has The Suburban Micro-Farm also available through Amazon on Kindle or preorder (I think there is a lot of good information to glean here even though you aren’t limited to a suburban plot. Ther are some really wonderful resources out there — too many to mention!!!

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