9 things Mama taught us from the Bible

On Mother’s Day, I was sitting in church listening to the minister go over 9 things that Mom taught us.  Things that gave us confidence.  Things that warned us of heartache.  Things that assured us we were loved.  You were supposed to pay attention to the “moral” of the story….  here they are …tree row

Conduct yourselves with wisdom towards others, making the most of the opportunity. Colossians 4:5

Don’t judge a book by its cover= acceptance

wind flowers

Good manners never go out of style= respect


Choose your battles=discernment (sifting)


lone branches

First, walk a mile in their shoes= compassion


twisted vine


                         Two wrongs never make a right= forgiveness



People mean more than things= generosity



            Your word is your bond=                   integrity


Into each life some rain must fall= contentment




This too shall pass= patience



God is everywhere, and we find him anywhere we look.  As I create some of the pieces on our website www.livingakers.com, I think about God and all the glory of nature he placed right at our fingertips.

Mushrooms at your fingertips

inoculating small logs at our tree farm with Shitake mushrooms spores PAYS OFF A FEW MONTHS LATER.

Sound different?  Difficult?  We were clueless the first time we heard about this, but found how just how amazingly easy and inexpensive it is- really.During a tour at one of the Missouri Forest and Woodlands Association conferences for tree farmers, was a family farm where some short logs were propped up in a row on their place.  There were mushrooms popping out all over them! He told us briefly that he cut some logs, drilled holes, and the kids put spores in, covering each with wax.  Well, that still sounded a bit foreign to us.  The very same afternoon, the University Extension center, which is a partner with the Missouri Conservation Department, had some brochure handouts on … would you know?  GROWING SHITAKE MUSHROOMS!!!  

THE place referenced to get spores is Field & Forest.  They are real experts, with a large variety of mushrooms, advice, starter kits, tips, tricks and more.  So, we ordered spores and got started when the weather was right.  First, the logs we cut were approximately 6″ White Oak (because size matters.)  They need to be fresh cut for moisture, and the bark on Oak doesn’t disintegrate as much as other barks, so that the moisture is kept in the log.

For our third time inoculating, this is the method we chose:

1. Drilling
2. Thimble Spores
3. inserting the spores

This year, we filled with “thimble spores”.  First, the hole is drilled with a special bit, fitted for the spore.  The tray shown in photo 2 contains the spores, shaped like a thimble.  They are pre-measured, so just insert, press in, making sure the styrofoam is secure.  VERY SIMPLE

4. Inoculated logs

As I mentioned earlier, we have tried other methods, which also are not difficult at all.  We just like trying different ways, then comparing the process and results.
I recommend you check out Field & Forest, as they have more information than I can possibly begin to offer here in a blog.

September 2014 after a few days of cooler temperature with rain

September 2014 after a few days of cooler temperature with rain

7 months later, in September, 2014, we had these show up one day.  This was after a few days of cooler weather and some rain.  These are about the size of a quarter.  In 2-3 days, they were the size of a hamburger bun and DELICIOUS!!!

At Livingakers.com, we are proud to live sustainable, utilizing all that God-given nature has provided.  Trees are our passion.  They inspire us.  See what gifts and other items can be created from or about trees!

Trees are everywhere

logo1 logo4 logo3 logo2


 How often are trees used as a logo?

Just for fun, I googled that question and got 143,000,000 results. Way more than I ever considered. Perhaps a more appropriate question would be WHY trees are so popular as logos.  Because they have significance in all aspects of life, success, growth, stability, history and more.  I started noticing how many companies use trees as logos when I began my business finding and producing products made from trees or about trees. Everywhere I go, I see tree logos on billboards, at companies on awnings.  Could this mean that we humans appreciate this important piece of nature? In a way, it has become a symbol of incorporated (business) forests.  Maybe we should pay attention to our nations forests…  we do…


The American Forest Foundation has a mission: “to ensure the sustainability of America’s family forests for present and future generations in conjunction with out strategic partners.” If you appreciate nature and your land, perhaps you consider how important it is to manage it, and here is help:  https://www.forestfoundation.org/our-focus


In Missouri, we rely on the Forest and Woodland Association, a partner of the American Forest Foundation.  They offer a wealth of information, through members sharing their experience and knowledge.  Most states have land owner Tree Farm Systems.. check yours out!

The world is paying attention to the importance of trees..

Forest Service Recognizes United Nations’ International Day of Forests

The Gifford Pinchot National Forest in Washington state. (Robert Westover/U.S. Forest Service Photo)

The Gifford Pinchot National Forest in Washington state. (Robert Westover/U.S. Forest Service Photo)

Try going one full day without using a product derived from a tree.
You won’t be able to use a pencil or paper or sit on your couch or at a desk. You won’t be able to check the mail or drink coffee while reading the newspaper.
Trees are important for everyone around the world, and now the U.N. has designated every March 21 as the International Day of Forests

In honor of trees, www.livingakers.com offers a variety of hand-crafted, specialty tree gifts- made from or about trees…  feel free to browse!

Tree messages

Here’s Your Sign- in Trees

Trees talk…
or do they?
History is recorded in trees, if you read the signs.

Ever carved your initials (or your undying love for another) in a tree?There are a multitude of variations, depending on the types of trees, the size of trees, and the messages presented in many different types of ‘signs’.
These are called arborglyphs.

Many years ago, I went back-backing in the Rocky Mountains outside of Sante Fe, New Mexico. At this high altitude, Aspen trees are everywhere, and so are the messages carved in these specially unique trees with white bark. If only back then, we had such a thing as a ‘pocket’ camera, but alas, I have the memories. Once I started reminiscing about all those ‘signs’ and messages carved in Aspen trees, I wanted to find out more.  Luckily, nowadays– you can find anything on the internet!

There is history in the ‘signs’ of trees. This article; “Reading the Trees” provides information following an archaeological study.  “Nicole Smith, Education and Outreach Project Director for the San Juan Mountain Association, directed the identification and documentation of arborglyphs on a stretch of the Pine Piedra Trail. The 2001-2004 research project, funded by the Colorado State Historical Fund.” 


I ran across these posts in Waymarking.com.  VERY cool!  For example:

“This is a small cemetery for the Butler family in Morgan County Indiana, north of the town of Paragon.” 


I find it very interesting when I consider that signs of the past left in trees could be markers of history.  It kind of makes you wonder how long the ‘sign’ in a tree can last?  Longer than a ghost town like this one:
“Steubenville, Indiana of Randolph County was officially plated on the day before Christmas in 1839. It only had three or four homes even in its heyday.”


So, we know from history that towns may or not live long…
Have you ever wondered how long a tree can live?  (They do represent life, sort of as a parallel to human life.)  Well… the Guiness World Book of Records has METHUSULAH= listed as the world’s largest living tree! (Just more interesting info I found on “waymarking.com”). Would you believe “Earth’s oldest living inhabitant “Methuselah” has reached the age of 4,768 years?”


There are even more stories of tree ‘signs’.  Military veterans have reported messages in trees.
Remember the “YELLOW RIBBON”?  In the United States military, the symbol of the yellow ribbon is used in a popular marching song. The first version copyrighted was the 1917 version by George A. Norton, which he titled ‘Round Her Neck She Wears a Yeller Ribbon” (For Her Lover Who Is Far, Far Away). Ask.com 
There was a big hit song in the ’70’s- “Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree” by Tony Orlando. It was about a man returning home from prison who asked his girl to tie a yellow ribbon if she still wanted him, and when he arrived, a 100 ribbons were tied to the tree.
It caused some controversy because it glorified a criminal- not a soldier.

That’s all beside the point— I want to bring the attention to the TREE.  Why an OAK?  Because among common species, they have the most resiliency and longevity.  You can count on the Oak Tree being there after long, hard years away.  THAT is just another reason why trees are so important.  What they stand for, long lasting love… and so much more.

The gifts we design at livingakers.com have that in mind.

Harvest Time for Nuts

Ah, this year was a good year for harvest in the midwest.  Some parts of the country are having a hard time with weather, but nature seems to take care of itself… with help from us, of course.  Last year’s drought was devastating, which makes this year’s harvest much appreciated.

We had the pleasure of attending the “Chestnut Roast” at Forest Keeling Nursery http://www.fknursery.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/home.home/index.htm

October 12 was a wonderful, cool, Autumn day.  The roasted chestnuts were delicious… if you have the acquired taste for them.
We have been looking into adding some Cyprus to our farm, and were very fortunate to find a fantastic selection, but even better… 40% off!  Of course, we purchased some, then raced home (a 2 hour drive) to plant them.

We have been slowly adding Walnut trees to our forest, and this year hit a crop of healthy nuts for planting (and eating).  Then, along came a neighbor who has a bumper crop of Pecans.  Wow!  I think it’s a jackpot year for nuts!

All the more reason/s why we love trees.
There are a few new items added to Livingakers.com, our website of unique products and gifts, made from trees or about trees.


Wicked Roots

Walk among wicked roots

If you think about ‘roots’, consider the family tree. Trees represent and symbolize family, growth, strength and life. We all have roots, even some that are not so desirable. In reality of nature, roots grow to represent survival, however unattractive and wicked they appear. During a walk on a stretch of the Missouri State Katy trail (on the map as “MKT”), it was surreal how many ‘wicked’ roots I saw. This trail covers the entire state, but I found these on a 2 mile stretch mid-state North of the Portland, MO trail point. Beginning with these seemingly delicate, pretty little flowers growing right out the rock, it got more interesting. When you are driving along the highway, with cliffs or rock alongside, there just isn’t time to take in the beauty that is so obvious- it gets missed. While on a power-walk, hike or leisure nature outing, the opportunities to see unique examples of nature are endless. So, take a walk , but engage in the surroundings…

Sandy Bank      We set out to get to an old railroad bridge that has been renovated for trail-travelers.  After finding it, we wanted to get a picture, but the angle was very difficult, so we went down a bank below the bridge to get a better photo angle. After we stepped forward, backward, more sideways left, right, etc.; it just didn’t seem possible to get a decent shot of that bridge. So, we sat down on the sandy bank to ponder it some more, and lo and behold, right there, was

one of the most wicked-looking tree roots growing out of that sandbank. It spoke volumes about the obvious; how resilient this tree had to be in order to adapt to overcome the continual erosion from banks that wash out during heavy rain.  Can that be true of people, also?  Adapting to hardship, that is.

Rock Roll      Does it ever seem that whenever you are taking a walk, something will catch your eye?  As you keep walking,  your thoughts still tune in to that particular detail.  But suddenly, in a few more steps, there is something else that catches your attention. Or, (like in my case,) something you might have missed. That’s kind of what happened soon after the root growing out of a sand bank caught my attention. On the return walk, just a little ways after the bridge, I glanced up the hill and noticed a tree growing right out of a rock.

A BIG one! It was as if the roots were rolling out of the rock. (Keep in mind, I had already passed this going the other direction.) Now, I was paying attention and became tuned in to looking for these unique, resilient trees with roots that out of sheer determination, can grow in ways that I can only describe as uniquely wicked. And I found more…

Inside Out When considering the conditions these trees have in which to grow, it goes to figure that some will die. These roots are all that remain of a majestic tree. What’s really unusual, is that the roots are not usually exposed after the tree dies. It’s as if these were turned inside out after the tree deteriorated. The picture here, does not do justice to the size of this cluster of ‘wicked’ roots. I would have to guess the spread to be at least 30 feet across (about the size of a Winnebago).

Monster legs

I know I’ve seen legs like these before in horror movies. wicked5

They could begin to move any
second… taking big steps with 20 foot legs
that move like flamingo-legs…
The imagination runs wild!
Another example of how appearance can be ‘wicked’-looking, but just think about the determination that tree had to have to improvise in such an extreme fashion so that it could continue growing.
I am only estimating the size, here, but the top of the cliff was at least 3 times my height (15+feet), so just the roots have to be over 10 feet!
Snake in the grass

Coiling right out the ground, are roots that at first glance appear to be a malformation, but after a closer look, resemble snakes coiled together, as if supporting each other. I bet that if it was possible for a time-lapse to show the years of process of this growth, (in fast forward), it could be creepy. Right now, you have to use your imagination to picture the movement of these ‘tangled’ coils growing out of the ground, like snakes.
Web of roots “Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.” – Sir Walter Scott. These roots have overcome the serious obstacle of 30 feet of rock, growing like shoots as a spider travels, weaving, tangling, all with purpose- survival.

Are these deceptive? You better believe it! First impression is that they are disguised as some kind of vine, but are actually the tree’s roots.
Why the interest in the roots of trees?  I’m glad you asked.
Trees are symbolic of the foundation, and a source of growth parallel to human life. Yes, from the roots of our hair, to the roots of our heritage,  those wicked roots (many we wish weren’t part of our family past), have only added to the interesting, eccentric, unusual family history that is part of all of us.

We love creating tributes to trees at Livingakers.com.  We are inspired by the continuing relationship between man and nature.


Cuckoo to get coconut oil?

So I found out that pure coconut oil is the anti-aging skin remedy. Then I saw how expensive it is and got a wild hair to extract my own. I do not recommend this for anyone lacking in the virtue of patience… After 3 days of tapping, cracking, peeling, shredding, squeezing, fermenting, separating, slow heating and extracting…I got 2 Tbs. But the coconut was $1.79!! LoLskincare 003



I started by drilling a hole to drain the milk, then placing the coconut in a big vice that we have, cracking it. I took all the pieces and separated the meat from the peel.  Then I ran the pieces through the food processor, adding warm water to make a paste.  The instructions I followed said   to squeeze the paste into a jar of the coconut milk, and wait for it to ferment and separate.   IMG_20130721_162456_375


A hard paste forms at the top of the jar, that is where the oil is. I took that out, melted it in a boiling bath, then ran it through the cheesecloth again to filter.  This was a long, labor filled process. IMG_20130721_171610_234

After all that, I decided to check prices and found the best quality at Mountain Rose Herbs.  The refined comes in a gallon, or 5 gallon quantity.  The unrefined is better for cooking than the refined with smallest quantity 32 ounces. I wanted it to use it as an anti-aging product. I have been using it now, for over a year, and can tell a distinct difference.

I LOVE making things from pure nature, and went a little cuckoo for the coconut oil, but it was worth it! There are more ideas and items created from or about nature on our blog at Livingakers.com.


Necessary ‘Neem’ for skin care

I happened to catch an episode of Dr. Oz, and was fascinated with what I learned.  ‘Neem’ is an essential herb in Ayurvedic medicine (based on an ancient system in India).  First, the audience was introduced to the three types of dosha. Find your dosha, is a quiz you take to determine your ‘mind/body’ balance.  There are three types; Vata, Pitta, Kapha. Discussion was provided on the suggestions for harmful and helpful ingredients/spices unique to each type ‘Dosha’.  Very interesting, and the guest, Dr. Kulreet Chaudhary, explains easily how all this makes sense.

Then, we got into the information about an herb, used in India for centuries as skin care essential-  Neem.  It is from a tree indigenous to India: GntNeemTree

Dr. Chaudhary’s mother was in the audience because she was talking about Neem, something she used all her life by just making a poultice from leaves picked right off the tree.

Now that I viewed this episode and feel totally enlightened, I also feel ‘behind’ compared to how many people already have been aware of the special essence of this plant.  (I still have moments of delayed knowledge- but I get ‘it’ eventually.)

There are multitudes of products available, lotions, oils and combinations in products.  If you are like me, I want ‘pure’ organic ingredients. That’s why I prefer to DIY, and save money at the same time.  I did a little checking to compare prices, most average $9-19 for an oz of pure Neem Seed Oil.  It is marketed for several purposes, cosmetic (hair and even toothpaste), and a natural insect control for gardeners. It is offered in many forms; oil, dried, teas and is very common as an ingredient in lotions, facial wash, etc.  As I said before, I like to make my own, so I got mine at Mountain Rose Herbs for $7.95 8oz. Neem Oil.
Have Happy skin everybody!!


Family trees

About the family tree… it has lots of ingredients that make it grow, form roots, branches and of course, fruit or nuts.  (little humor there, cuz I thought of this I saw the other day on facebook)

Then there are families with pride in their tree….


I say, come on America, let’s nurture our trees so they can produce and become resources for the future!!  Overcome the droughts, storms and lack of root structure, give us room to grow!

(all puns intended)

At www.livingakers.com, we are currently creating tree products, made from or about trees, those precious gifts of nature that symbolize life. Take a look, and feel free to share ideas.



skin care found in the kitchen

There are many ingredients right in your very own kitchen that are useful for skin care. Honey for instance, has many uses, which you can read more about in the post on this site; Honey for natural health help

Cinnamon is another handy ingredient. Cinnamon(If you want to use the essential oil, or get even more ideas of cinnamon use, don’t forget to look for it at Mountain Rose herbs- the link is on the right)

Here is some really helpful information about this spice I found at Live Strong.com 

Cinnamon–in both grated and essential oil forms–is beneficial to the skin because it brings blood and nutrients to the skin surface while also helping to dry skin. An article at organicfacts.net reports that cinnamon can be used to help dry acne and relieve an itchy scalp, but works best when applied in a preparation with an oil or petroleum jelly, which can moderate some of the harsh effects of cinnamon.

Plumps Skin

Cinnamon is a spice that brings blood to the surface of the skin, causing minor swelling and plumping. A preparation of three drops of cinnamon essential oil mixed with a couple tablespoons of petroleum jelly or olive oil can be applied to fine lines to plump out the skin, making the lines less visible. It’s best to avoid the eye area as cinnamon can cause burning if it gets in your eyes. You may carefully apply it to the outside of crow’s feet, away from the eye. This mixture is also helpful in plumping lips and can be used in place of lip gloss.

Scalp Cleanser

Cinnamon can help clean and nourish the scalp by acting as an exfoliant and bringing blood to the scalp, and along with it, oxygen to nourish the hair follicles. Take 1 tsp. of ground cinnamon and mix it with 1 tbsp. of honey and 1/4 cup of warmed olive oil and apply to the scalp, massaging firmly during the application process. Leave on for about 15 minutes and then wash hair with your normal shampoo. You should feel a little tingle as the cinnamon stimulates the scalp.

Eczema Treatment

Some people have found relief from patches of eczema by combining 1 tsp. of honey mixed with 1 tsp. of cinnamon and applying a thin layer of the paste on affected areas. Do not use this preparation on children or on patches of eczema on the face. Try a small test area and wash off immediately if the skin becomes too irritated. You should see results within a week, according to an article on Earth Clinic.com .

Acne Treatment

Cinnamon can help rid your face or back of acne by both drying out the skin and, again, bringing blood and oxygen to the skin surface. Mix 3 tbsp. of honey with 1 tbsp. of cinnamon and apply the paste to pimples and leave on overnight. Or apply a thin layer to the face as a mask and leave on for about 20 minutes before rinsing with warm water. Cinnamon masks can irritate the skin, so they should not be applied more than once a week.

Oh, and of course don’t forget the added bonus of how it helps the kids!  Some in the sand box helps keep the bugs and ants away!

Pinned Image

I recently made a specialty homemade soap with cinnamon and oatmeal. Tune in for future post…