When the cat’s away, the mouse will clean!

Why is it that when Toby goes out of town I get things done?  Maybe it’s that I don’t expect to have help with anything, so I do what ever needs to be done.  Which, in this case was:

  • Get the car completely detailed as it hasn’t been washed in ~4 years
  • Wash the dishes
  • Deep clean the kitchen
  • Clean Kaia’s room
  • Put away Kaia’s winter clothes and tidy her clothing drawers
  • Tidy/organize the whole house!
  • Organize the front porch
  • Take everything out of the house downstairs, sweep and mop the floors
  • Bring all the food compost scraps covering the kitchen counter to the compost bin
  • Bring the dead snake (thanks Suki) and the bird carcass (again, thanks suki) to the compost bin
  • Take off all the recycling and trash
  • Strain the kefir
  • Spend the afternoon with Kaia at a school picnic
  • There’s more, but I can’t remember it all!

And that was just today!!!

Tomorrow, we have a birthday party, hiking, maybe we will start planting her flower garden…

If I just had a little help (to lift the big beams), I could have the new house done by the time he comes home! :-)

OK,

I also get furious about mandatory vaccinations.  I think we need to invest more money into education of the public and less into things like a mandatory HPV (herpes) vaccination for teen and preteen girls.  Especially when the results of the vaccination are like this:

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And we want this why????!!!

It’s hard enough trying to fight the current stereotypes of todays world when trying to help my clients feel positive about their femininity and their monthly cycles… now we have thisTell me why I would want to stop myself from ever bleeding again, forcing my body to constantly think I am pregnant, and pretending that I don’t cycle with the moon?  And with research results like this, it sounds just peachy!

“Women who use Lybrel would not have a scheduled menstrual period, but will most likely have unplanned, breakthrough, unscheduled bleeding or spotting,” Shames said. The bleeding can last four to five days and may persist for a year…”

second floor

Toby was hard at work while I was away this past week. Here’s the engineering feat he has been constructing:
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here you can see the beginning of the joists that will hold up the second floor.

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this is the view from the inside! The flooring will go on top of these joists, so the will be an exposed part of our first floor ceiling. Does that make sense?
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this is looking down on the girders from the second floor, right above the main post.

progress

Here is this weeks progress.  All but two rafters are up on the first floor.  Next, the floor joists for the second floor (which will come up from the smaller inner circle).

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All the blue stuff is insulation that is a part of the living roof.

Mark your calendars

Would everyone please mark you calendars to email me next year to make sure I get my butt into the woods the first week in May.  The woods are bustin’ out!!

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Kaia and I went to the annual WNC Herb Festival  today and shopped for 4 hours!  I gave her 25 one-dollar bill in a little purse so that she could buy the herbs she wanted in her garden and keep track of her money.  She did a great job, and so many of the vendors thought that she was so cute with her little purse, that they cave her stuff for free.  For her garden she got: Sweet Annie, Lavender, Wood Betony, Dill, Fennel, a roma tomato, a bottle gourd, and sweet grass.  For my garden, I got:  Stevia, Wood Betony, Two Tomatoes, basil, Feverfew, Rue, Marigolds, Blue Vervain, Motherwort, … I think that is it…  Oh, I also got a hops vine… but that will go in near the house once it is done.
Sunday I leave for a week of studying with Rosita Arvigo so I can learn (professional) Maya Abdominal Massage.  It won’t be in belize, unfortunately.  It’s in NH, but that will give me a chance to see relatives that I haven’t seen in many years!

Woo Hoo!

Howdy!

Ok, so I wrote an article yesterday about harvesting herbs/weeds from your back yard that can help you with seasonal allergies and sent it in to BackHome Magazine to see if they might be interested in it. Today, I got an email back from the editor saying that they are interested and would like to publish it in their Sept/Oct issue!!! Woo Hoo!! I’m goin’ national, baby!! No, really, the biggest boost to the ego isn’t that I want to be famous, it’s that feeling “yeah, you know what… you do have something good to say that others might benefit from”. I’d better go renew my subscription!! :-)

In other ‘big’ news, check out this mondo egg! The one on the left is our standard xtra large variety egg!! One of our Americaunas (poor thing) laid the one on the right. Toby had it for breakfast this morning and said it was a double yolker! Ouch!
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Here are the latest house pictures I’ve got. The first two are of the rafters that have been going up. The third is from our party this weekend when we had a center post raising! It weighed ~600 pounds, so we needed a bunch of hands! It’s so amazing to see this progress and to know that this will be our home and that so much friendship and love has gone into it!

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dinner

This is what Kaia and I harvested for dinner last night.

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I also had some fresh nettles and green onions. So we fried up the nettles, morrels and onions in some butter and mead for dinner, and washed it down with a plantain/spearmint tea. It was delicious!

I love walking around the land and picking food from here or there! It’s such a great feeling to wild harvest foods and then such a healthy feeling to eat them!!

Fridgidare, you rock!

After a 4 foot nose dive onto a concrete statue, our fridge still works!!! So, I spent the greater part of yesterday evening cleaning out the egg, dirt and ash (it also fell into our wood stove ash bucket) and now everything is back in. Then Toby and I had ‘a good ol’fashioned outhouse raising’, cleaned it up and staked it into the ground! No more tipping over! We also strapped the fridge to the porch and staked the chicken coop down too…. just in case!

Dandelion Mead and broken fridge

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Once the Dandelions started flowering all around, I planned on making a dandelion mead. But, when I went out the other day to gather dandelion flowers, I also found a field full of violets, a wild patch of lemon balm, a huge amount of nettles, and a few other yumminesses. Above is a picture of the bottom of the 5 gallon that I brew my mead in (minus the nettles). Isn’t it pretty? I can’t wait to sample it!

I taught two herb classes this past week for the local school and felt completely drained. I love teaching community classes about herbalism to people who have no clue about it. Afterwards, I feel energized. But these 3 hour classes to aspiring herbalist just drain me. They make me think too much when I am teaching :-) No, seriously, I feel like I am being pulled along by this wave of people who are all doing great herbal things, but may want to be ‘bigger’ herbalists than I do. Writing books, teaching at conferences… I wouldn’t mind being known and making good money, but it’s not a goal of mine. In fact, it stresses me out. I really just want to live simply, have time for playing with my family, and to be an effective healer. If I never taught another class or wrote another article, but had enough clients to keep me happily busy, I would be good with that. But, right now, I have to teach classes and write, etc. to get my name known to build clientele. I think lot of it is that I feel like I am teaching over my head. I mean, I know my herbs and all, but I don’t know all the constituents in Pipssissewa, and I don’t know all the drug/herb interactions for people on cardiac medications. And even when I am teaching anatomy and physiology, I am definitely not an expert and sometimes don’t even feel like I should be up there teaching. I don’t know what I am trying to say here… I guess, I am just remembering the whole reason that we are on this land and building our own house, and it’s not so that I can always be elsewhere trying to make a name for myself as an herbalist. My vision to be a part time herbalist and full time mom/wife/friend/land lover has somehow gotten to fulltime+ herbalist and on occassion mom/wife and even less time for friends and time on the land. Hmmmm… something needs to change.

……..

HOLY SHIT!! The Fridge just blew off the porch!!! The weather man predicted wind gust of up to 65mph for the next 2 days… and the brand new $600 fridge just blew off the porch and landed on a concrete statue! We had 20 eggs in the fridge and now there are only 2 left! The rest are plastered all over the inside of the fridge. Broken bottles everywhere… The whole thing is dented up and the light isn’t working. So we don’t know if the light is burnt out or if the whole fridge is broken. CRAP, CRAP, CRAP!!!
The out house is blown over now too! Major CRAP!! I’m not looking forward to cleaning that one up! Things are flying all over the place and I keep having visions of the whole house tipping over! I hope the chicken coop stays put!! And I really hope the tin stays on our roof! It is really insane here right now, and a tad bit scary!!

this weeks progress

Here is what was accomplished this past Tuesday on the house! It feels like what I imagine standing in the middle of stonehenge to be like when you are in the house :-)

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And here is a beautiful dogwood flower! It is supposed to be 17 degrees this sat. night, so I hope they all make it through! My strawberries are covered with flowers, so I’ve covered all of my garden beds with floating row cover.

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Dreams

I have had some very vivid dreams in my life, but I have only recently started paying attention to them…

Two nights ago, I woke up to the doorbell. I sat up and looked over at Toby, who was sitting up too. I thought, “why would someone be coming out to see us at this hour??” Then I thought I heard someone opening the door and coming in. I looked back over at Toby and he had laid his head back down and was sleeping. So, I laid down and listened for a while but I didn’t hear anything more. I figured I was just hearing things. It wasn’t until the morning, when I was eating breakfast that I remembered that we don’t have a doorbell! Toby remembered none of this.

Then last night my dream was really wild!

I was somewhere outside with lots of people, and it was a damp cool night. Everyone was hanging out by the house, it was kind of like a party. I walked off into the woods/jungle, knowing I wasn’t supposed to be going to far. Very quickly I was by myself on a very peaceful, muddy, green trail. To my right side was a rocky wall with green plants and vines all over it. I walked past a beautiful blooming rose bush and thought about picking one. Then I thought maybe on the way back… Next, I saw a small red onion laying in a rocky area. It was about the size of a plum. I decided to take this instead of the rose. Then only a few feet further, there was an enormous shrine placed into the rock wall on my right. It went up about 20 feet and was covered with rose petals, red onions and other things that I can’t remember now. In the middle at the top was a statue of Mother Mary (I am not religious, so this is kind of weird for me) with a trickle of water running down this rock shrine. I saw one hole where an onion was missing and took mine and placed it on the shrine. Immediately water started flowing from the top of the wall, around all the rose petals and onions. I place my hands out and the water rushed over them. I splashed my face with the water, put it in my hair, and then drank some. It was very sweet and the smell of roses filled my body. I felt the water was a gift, telling me that now I was allowed/able to heal fully. Then, the water stopped as quickly as it started and I turned to walk on. Soon, I came to a ‘room’ on the path where the was a woman laying on her side facing away from me. I slowly approached wondering if this was a test I had to pass. I asked her if she was ok and she rolled over and told me her shoulder hurt. I place both my hands on her right shoulder and saw a ball of bright yellow light float from her body. Then I asked her if I could touch her stomach. She rolled to her back and I began massaging. I could feel that inside her uterus was up out of the pelvis and she was in immense pain. I remember her rolling around, and then I remember being surrounded by many other people while I was touching her. After that, it’s a blank…

I can’t wait to see what happens tonight!

Pink Eggs

So a month or so back we had a pink egg in our bunch (did I mention this?).  I thought that maybe one of the chickens may have just started laying a little late.  But, since then, nothing.  So, I figured it was just an egg without as much pigment.  Well, yesterday we got another pink egg!  Today, I went looking in the boxes and we has 2 blue and 3 dark brown.  I left them all in there to see if we could actually have a 6 egg day (never had all the chickens lay in one day yet).  Lo and behold, Faye jumps up in there and lays another pink egg!  So, it looks like I have found the culprit.  Faye is a pink egg layer and has only layed 3 eggs so far!  I wonder if she just got a really late start and is finally getting going because of the warm weather.  What ever it is, I really like the color of the eggs!!

Spring has sprung!

I can’t believe the weather around here right now! It has been in the 70’s for the past week and we have kept our windows open at night! NICE!

With the warm, clear weather, we were able to move ~20 tons of gravel (by hand, with a shovel and wheel barrel!) into the house. It is put down over the leveled ground. On top of the gravel we now have insulation, water proofing, wire mesh, and radiant floor tubing. (A friend of mine makes orgonite, so I may throw some of that in there too, before we pour the concrete. I don’t know much about it, but it sounds cool and it can’t hurt to incorporate some crystals into the house, right?) Tomorrow we hope to have the inspections (for the foundation and for the mechanics of the radiant flooring), then the slab will be poured on Friday!!! Wahoo!!! We are having the color mixed directly into the concrete and then we will put a sealant on top so it will by kinda shiny. I can’t wait!!

Oh, I just posted the first Viriditas newsletter. It has a nice Nettles recipe if you are interested.

This weekend we are hosting a Maya Abdominal Massage Self-Care class based on the teachings of Rosita Arvigo (and Don Elijio Panti, a mayan healer). I can’t wait! This is something I have been wanting to do for a while! In May, I head up to NH for a professional training class. Then I can offer this to my clients. The basis for this massage is that it helps to strengthen muscles and ligaments in the abdomen so that the organs ‘fit’ in the right places. For example, if your uterus is ‘retroverted’ (tilted backwards) this may cause bowel pressure, chronic constipation, painful cramping during menses, old blood to be held in the uterus, infertility… the list goes on. So, this massage helps to get things back in place and relieve symptoms. As I see it, it also increases effective blood and energy flow so that the herbs I give to my clients can get to where they need to go. (No point in giving my clients uterine herbs if the blood flow to the uterus is lacking or bowel herbs if there is decreased energy flow there, right).

Here’s a bunch of pictures–
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Hitting the big time :-)

Check this out!  One of my ‘fun’ products made it into the regional paper!  This is something I put together for fun and everyone loved it.  So, I bottled it up for sale.  Someone from the paper came by last week to see if we had any cool products to feature in the paper and I gave her a bottle of this to try.  She loved it and it got front page of the ‘Living’ section!  Cool, eh?  I sound like a ditz in my quote, but I pretty much said all of it :-)  The only thing was that it says our store is located in Biltmore Village, but we aren’t.  Hopefully that won’t deter too many people from finding us!

Large Marge

I think there were 20 times this past week where I said to myself, “oh, I should blog about this…” and now I can’t remember what those things are!

Oohhh, I remember one! Ok, so two nights ago, we were all in bed sleeping when Toby bounces out of bed yelling (well, he may not have been yelling, but to a completely asleep me, it seemed like yelling) “Someone is coming up our driveway!” Now this may not seem like a big deal to you, but we are the last house at the end of the last road on the end of a larger road, and no one comes up our drive at night unless they are looking for trouble. So, I look out the window and see this mass of lights coming up the road to us and spot lights moving all around! At this point, I had really only been out of dream state for ~10 seconds and my first thought is “OH MY GOD! IT’S A UFO!” I felt like I was still dreaming, but all I could think of was protecting my family! I followed Toby downstairs and grabbed my phone and dialed 911. I held my finger on the ‘send’ button while Toby went outside to investigate the lights, which were by now directly in front of our house. My heart was pounding and I was trying to think of how we were going to survive (remember, all of this happened within ~40 seconds, so I’m still a little loopy from being asleep). Within a minute, Toby was back in the house giving me the low down. Turns out it was the power company (with their huge truck with lots of lights, a crane, and spot lights on top. (It sure looked like a UFO!) They said the power was out on our street and how could we not have noticed?? (It was only 11:30, even though we thought it was 4 in the morning.) Toby didn’t mention to him that we only have a couple of lights and only just got electricity this past month. Toby headed back out with a flash light to try to help them locate the tree that brought the power lines down while I headed back upstairs to try to calm down. Still, I waited at the window until Toby came back inside, cause all I could think about was that part in PeeWee’s Big Adventure when he gets out of the semi-trailer and the truck driver says “tell ‘em Large Marge sent ya’” and it turns out she has been dead for two years (you remember that?). Whew, what a night!

Oh, so it turns out we may have some new neighbors… in ol’ Junk Man’s place. The land has been for sale for a while, but we met two ladies who have it under contract and hope to close on it next week! They are very sweet, friendly and love canning! I’m excited!!

Today, T, K, and I headed up to the land above us that is under contract (that I think is going to be mass developed) and dug up some lilac and elder plants. I wish we could dig them all up and move them to our land so they won’t be plowed under! At least we will save some of them!

Faye is doing great, by the way. Pretty much back to normal.

Toby shaved off his bushy beard and cut his hair!! I love it!! (I’m not a facial hair kinda girl) I think I might wax my legs in response :-)

Not so helpful dog

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3/8–Two nights ago, we came home to find Faye (our speckled sussex chicken) injured in front of the house. She had gotten out of the coop and Suki (our dog who has learned not to kill chickens, retrieved her for us and brought her to the house. Unfortunately, in the process, Faye was severely injured. Her back was moist from where Suki had held her. But, when I lifted the feathers, her skin came right off. There was a 6×4 inch strip between her wings that could lift off of her back. I pretty much thought she would die that night. But, I made a tea with everything I could think of (chamomile, yarrow, echinacea, goldenseal…) to help cleanse and heal the wound. We bathed her injury and kept her in the house the first night. I sent a frantic email to Rosemoon, who called me up and gave me some hope (THANKS!) Faye was eating and had a good amount of energy for such a nasty wound. She made it through the first night, so we put her out in the pen for the day, blocked off from the other chickens, so they wouldn’t peck at her. But when we came home, she had weaseled her way into the main area and was sleeping in one of the nesting boxes. She made it through another night. I’ve been adding garlic to their feed and all the chickens have been drinking an herbal tea for healing (since everyone eats the same thing). She slept most of today in her coop, but came out in the evening to peck a little. You can tell movement causes her a lot of pain, but she is trying so hard. The next few days will tell us a lot. If she doesn’t seem to be improving, we will have to put her down. Suki will no longer be allowed off lead when the chickens are out (we thought it would be ok as we had thought we’d solved the problem of them getting out of the coop…) I want to get a dog that protects livestock, not one that likes to carry them around!

3/9-Faye has been out of the coop a lot more today. Sweetie (the smartest chicken alive!), has been staying beside Faye, kicking up bugs for her, and being a bit of a chicken nurse!

3/10–Faye hopped out of the coop early this morning and has been holding her own, pecking for food most of the day! I really can’t believe the is alive. That was a really nasty wound!!
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Here’s Kaia standing where her bedroom will be.

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here is the North wall, which will have soil half way up. The white reflection is from the surface bond material that was put on the concrete blocks.

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This is most of the house footprint. The water proof membrane and insulation has been put on the external north wall, and most of the french drain is in. The plumbers will be out on Wed to start laying the lines, before we pour the foundation.

Newest pics

OK, so here are the most recent pictures of our little cabin. If you walk in the front door you will look into our living room:

If you walk across the room to the futon and turn around, you will see our kitchen:

If you turn your head just slightly to the left, you can see the dining area:

If you climb up the stairs and look you see our bedroom (the bed is up on a platform so that we have lots of storage underneath):

Turn your head slightly to the left and you will be in Kaia’s room (her bed is on a platform too. The rooms are seperated by a large bookshelf):

If you walk into Kaia’s room and turn around, you will see the closet and my office space, as well as the stairs (behind the bureau).

This is a picture of the outhouse we are building… Still not done yet, but our first party is tomorrow night, so it has to be done by then! Kaia wants to paint it purple with sparkles… anyone know if a good source of purple, sparkly paint?? :-)

We had been keeping track of all our expenses on a spreadsheet to figure out how much this house has cost us, but a magnet go dropped on our computer and erased the hard drive… SO, my best guesstimate is that this hosue has cost us somewhere between $2K – 3,500 to build (depending on if you include the lost wages for Toby going to collect wood from arkansas and all that jazz.) Of course there is also the cost of the land and the road being built, but that will also be repaid to us as we sell off spots for the ‘community’ we build. Not too bad, eh?

Yes, I’m still here!

Hey there!! Long time no blog! I know, I know… I need to post more pictures! So, if any of you dedicated readers out there are are really that excited to see our progress, I invite you to come on out and set up some solar panels and a satellite system so that we can get internet out here! Otherwise… you’ll have to wait for the big installment. :-)

Things are chugging right along here at Dandelion Homstead! We are finally starting to feel like we are home. We have a week of parties this week, so we have to get things in order… at least a little. Wed. night some friends are coming over for a little Summer Solstice celebration. Thursday night, I am having a bunch of herbies up there, including Matthew Wood (who is teaching a weekend class in Asheville this weekend! woohoo!) for a Solstice celebration. Then, Saturday, Kaia will be 3 and we are having our 3rd Annual Mid-Summer’s Day KaiaFest! The cool thing is that everyone knows we have no power, no water (our well pump died last Saturday), and just a bucket to poop in. So, I don’t feel like I have to host this huge shindig. All the parties will be laid back and go-with-the-flow.

We have put in a little kitchen and found a two-burner gas stove top that will fit perfectly in our small space. The closet has been built up stairs. We have decided to go with “pallet” shingles for the exterior siding. We’ve found lots of pallets (free) and are cutting up the wood to make shingles. Then we dip them in stain and put them up. It’s going to be SOOO CUTE!! I will post pictures once we get that started. We have also started (and will finish tomorrow) the ‘out house’ It is close to the compost pile so you don’t have to carry the buckets too far. (Yes, I will put a crescent moon on the door!)

The day old chicks are set to arrive on the 26th! I can’t wait to get them set up! I haven’t seen the coop we are getting yet (toby’s brother is giving us one) but I hear it is pretty swank :-) I got Juliete di Bairacli Levy’s book on herbal care of farm animals and it is fantastic! It has a section on Bee care and chickens (like how to use elder branches to splint a broken chicken leg!)

The bees are ok. One hive, the one with the laying worker, died. Toby added a new package of bees to the hive and they seem to be doing well. The other hive is without a queen (the one that hatched a queen with a missing wing). So, we got some brood from Toby’s Bro. and put it in the hive to give them a chance to grow another queen. So far, no dice… so we may need to buy a new queen for that hive.

Shesh, what else has been going on??? OH, we were out for a walk the other day and noticed all these squashed, red berries on the ground. They looked like cherries but I didn’t see a tree anywhere, until I looked up… way up!!! This cherry tree has to be at least 50 feet tall, and full of cherries!! Unfortunately, we can’t reach any of them! I may go throw some bed sheets out there and see if I can catch any! Oh, and we just began getting our first black raspberries from a little vine by the pond.

The garden is doing really well considering I have put absolutely no effort into it since I planted the seedlings. Our tomatos have blooms, the squash is growing, we are eating kale, chard, pea sprouts, lambs quarters, plantain, and other yummies almost daily. The strawberries are done for this season, but we got a ton out of them for their first year in the ground!

School is going great! Only 6 weeks left until I can officially call myself a “clinical herbalist”. I have started seeing clients at school and it feels really good. I am going to try to have my paper (on proving myself as an herbalist) published about the same time I graduate to see if I can drum up some new clients that way. I have also decided to use my tattoo design as my logo (tree of life with a moon behind it and a spirit in the tree). I think that goes well with the name “Sacred Forest Herbals”.

Update

Things at the house are going pretty well. We had planned on being fully moved by now, but, well we all know about the best-laid plans… We do have the little house mostly set up, and we are living there now. We still have some stuff at the apartment but hope to finish the move tomorrow. K got really sick this past week and spent 6 days with a high fever. Even with Tylenol, her fever would come right back up. It’s scary how helpless Toby and I felt! I know the stress of the move didn’t help any of us either! Kaia is doing better now and we are all settling into the new place. We have so many projects ahead of us, we aren’t sure what to do next, but it will be one of the following: set up some water system for the house, set up a bathroom, set up a solar system, clean out that big tub I got so we can take baths (outdoors:-)), clean up the extra lumber from the front yard, begin finalizing the ‘big’ house plans, build a deck, move the chicken coop to the land…and more. Wow, living a simply life is complicated!

I spent yesterday at the Medicines from the Earth conference put on every year by Gaia Herbs. It was awesome! The conference lasts for 4 days, but I only went today (too much to do at home). I went to talks about Herb/Nutrient Combinations by Bill Mitchell, Medicinal/Invasive Herbs to use for Energy Production by James Duke, and one on the mind/body connection in relation to illness and stress by Omar Cruz. All amazing talks!

“Eat Shit and Die”

I heard a statement in the news the other day that makes me want to scream!! Generation Y, the young kids today (which includes my baby) are predicted to be the first generation to die before their parents! You know why? Because of all the shit we feed them! Kids under 20 are already starting to have problems with obesity, diabetes, cholesterol, and other illnesses that we aren’t supposed to see until old age (if we see them at all). So here’s what I know… in the 1920’s people were eating fresh, whole foods; foods that were produced by the farmer next door. In the 1940’s all the men went to war, all the women went to work in the factories for the war. New chemicals were developed in these factories… chemicals that include pesticides and preservatives. It was an effort to produce more food and make it last longer. A good thought… unfortunately, they couldn’t have predicted the repercussions! In the past 3 generations, we have seen the invention of processed foods, preservatives, pesticides, herbicides, chemical hormones, food colorings and other additives. Not to mention the invention of the TV that we veg out in front of to eat these processed chemical foods! In the past 3 generations, we have also seen an increase of cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity, reproductive issues, and inflammatory diseases. I wholeheartedly believe that it is directly related to what we are eating. As a society we are over fed but under nourished! No, I cannot sit here and tell you that I cook every meal from my garden, or that I don’t get that box of Mac and Cheese on occasion. But, as of this moment, I am making it my duty to be damn sure that my daughter doesn’t die before I do because of what I fed her! I challenge all the parents out there to do the same! Let’s start eating more whole foods, unprocessed foods, foods that haven’t been chemically altered! Let’s start buying foods locally, that aren’t adulterated with preservatives, or hormones. I know it takes more effort to eat this way. Believe me… I know! I guilt myself every time I pour my daughter that bowl of processed, high sugar cereal. But, what could be more worth the effort of healthy, whole food eating than the life of your children?? If you need a good place to start, I would recommend Sally Fallon’s book “Nourishing Traditions”, or any other whole foods cook book (any other recommendations?)

Chickens

We are going to be ordering some chickens with some friends of ours. They will be our ‘foster care’ for the chicks until they are ready to be outside full time (since we don’t have electricity right now for a heat lamp). Here are the breeds I am looking at: Buff Orpington, Sussex, Rhode Island, Ameraucana, Black Australorp, and Delaware. I’d love to hear your thoughts on any of these breeds (we want generally good layers, but definitely gentle/”good with kids” breeds). Also, any books you might recommend for raising free-range chickens?

Happy Mother’s Day!

I know I am a day late, but I think this is beautiful! So, I had to post it! I never knew anything about the history of Mother’s Day! It gives me goose-bumps to read it!

“Mother’s Day is actually a centuries-old tradition in Europe. The ancient Greeks held festivals in honor of Rhea, the mother of the gods. The early Christians adopted the holiday, celebrating on the fourth Sunday of Lent in honor of Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ. English colonists who settled in North America, however, gave up the practice, and it was not celibrated in the US until 1872. At that time Julia Ward Howe organized a day for mothers explicitly dedicated to peace.”

Mother’s Day Proclaimation by Julia Ward Howe:

Arise then…women of this day!
Arise, all women who have hearts!
Whether your baptism be of water or of tears!
Say firmly:
“We will not have questions answered by irrelevant agencies,
Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage,
For caresses and applause.
Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn
All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.
We, the women of one country,
Will be too tender of those of another country
To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.
From the voice of a devastated Earth a voice goes up with
Our own. It says: “Disarm! Disarm!
The sword of murder is not the balance of justice.”
Blood does not wipe our dishonor,
Nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plough and the anvil
At the summons of war,
Let women now leave all that may be left of home
For a great and earnest day of counsel.
Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.
Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means
Whereby the great human family can live in peace…
Each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar,
But of God –
In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask
That a general congress of women without limit of nationality,
May be appointed and held at someplace deemed most convenient
And the earliest period consistent with its objects,
To promote the alliance of the different nationalities,
The amicable settlement of international questions,
The great and general interests of peace.

This Weekends Progress

Just got back from the land a little while ago. We are pretty much on schedule… and exhausted! We put up lots of insulation this weekend, and I am so itchy! I hate that stuff! We also have all the tar paper up, and I painted the doors and primed the windows. (We put a door on both floors so that once we move from the ‘little house’ to the big house and convert the little house into offices, we will both have seperate entrances.)

The garden is going well. I think we will have some red strawberries sometime in the next week or two! This weekend I planted tomatoes, eggplant, squash, melons, peppers, basil, oregano, onions, skullcap, mullein, and chamomile – all from the organic gardening class I was taking. And the oats, vetch, peas, and clover that I seeded the garden field with are all coming up.

One of our neighbors was trying to take down some of the trees we put over the dirt bike paths on our land so that he could ride. I went down to talk with him to ask him not to ride in that area since there are endangered plants there (the lady slippers patch is right where he keeps trying to ride!). He was very abrupt and informed me (while riding away) that it was his buddy’s property and not ours and we need to check out the “blue prints” and stay on our own property and he will stay on his. Well, “Porky” (yes, that is what he told me to call him!), I checked out the ‘blue prints’ and that is our property!! So, now Toby is going to go have a talk with him and walk the property line so he knows exactly where it is (and so do we), so that there won’t be any questions. I think he was really abrupt because he knew he had just been caught doing something he shouldn’t have! But, man, I hate it when people blow me off like that and make want to go beat them upside the head with a wooden spoon!!

On a doggie note, we let Suki run around off-leash this weekend to see how she would do (she is not good with listening to commands and likes to run off). Well, she took little morning jaunts and then stayed around with us almost the whole time. She even came with me on a walk Sat. evening! It was pretty cool. But, this evening, when I went down to talk with “porky”, Suki discovered that the neighbors have two little girls and kept trying to go back over to play with them. I don’t think their mom, or her yappy Pomeranian cared for that!

Oh, and I’m not sure what is going on with our bees. One hive looks like it may have a laying worker bee, ’cause there are a ton of drones but few workers (a laying worker bee may take over if there is no queen to lay eggs, but all they can lay are drones… so there are no bees to work the hive.) The other hive was the one that swarmed, so they have a new queen, but we found her ourside of the hive yesterday, unable to fly because part of one wing was missing. We think it was the new queen on her maiden/mating flight and she couldn’t fly. So, both hives are in trouble. We are going to give them a little more time to see if they can fix the situation.

Preparing for simple living

I had just put Kaia down for her nap and was thinking of taking a few minutes to myself to read. But, I didn’t have anything interesting laying around. Then, there was a knock at the door… UPS with a package for me! Inside was an early Mother’s Day gift. Build Your Own Earth Oven and The Humanure Handbook! Cool, Eh?? So, I have started reading the Humanure book, ’cause I think that will apply before the oven book :-) I’m already thinking about the design of our cob oven though… maybe a dragon, with the chimney being his ‘fire breathing mouth’ and his tail curving around to make a seat???

too tired…

So tired…. can’t type…. arms too sore…. must sleep…

The upstairs walls go up


The roofing begins


The roof is almost done (No thanks to all the rain today!!)


Most of the sheathing on the first floor is up.

We are soooo tired!


The bees have a new home too.