Thursday, May 31, 2012

Food Inc.

I know I am WAY behind the curve.  We just watched Food Inc. today.

Shocking.

Even more shocking that it was made 4 years ago and things have really only gotten worse in my opinion.

The documentary addressed the topics of mass meat production, genetically modified vegetable seed and the power behind Monsanto as they have taken over US farming and destroyed farming in many parts of the world.

For an opposing view of America meat production see - http://www.safefoodinc.org/.  I read through it.  They addresses a few mistakes in the film.  But they fail to address the simple truth that their idea of husbandry is offensive to me.  I believe in sunlight and open fields and care with a loving hand.  I also believe strongly that MOST of the 'unhealthy' aspects of a red meat diet are directly caused by their methods of feeding, raising and butchering their meat.  Sure, it isn't healthy for anyone to sit and eat a 32 oz steak for a meal.  But it also isn't healthy to shove an animal in a stall where it can't move and force it to eat a diet completely unnatural to it, with the sole purpose of 'fattening' it.  Many have begun to question WHY is corn in EVERYTHING and what is it doing to us.

Our government is now pushing for Monsanto to 'help' Africa - http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Latest-News-Wires/2012/0518/Obama-to-unveil-plan-for-helping-African-farmers

They ignore what has happened in Argentina - http://www.infowars.com/argentinian-farmers-take-on-monsanto-and-philip-morris-over-epidemic-of-birth-defects/
India - http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2011/10/03/monsanto-india-biopiracy-farmers_n_992259.html
They ignore that this is the company that has given the world saccharin, aspartame, bovine growth hormone, and agent orange.  After all, many past employees of Monsanto now hold major political positions throughout the system. - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monsanto

On top of this I can't help but consider how the majority of Americans are completely dependent on a food system that is making them unhealthy, completely dependent on a government to protect them that is actually working WITH these super powers that are poisoning the population and running any opposition out of business, and instilling fear in any who would speak out.

And I can't help but add to this, the concerns over the collapse of honey bees all over the world while Bayer buys the only research company that tested if Neonicotinoids were actually responsible.  And the increase in vaccinations required, also filled with poisonous and ethically challenging ingredients, along with strict legislation that vaccine manufacturers can never be held responsible for any negative effects their products may have.

It begins to make the mind wander and wonder.... who is behind the collapse of economies world wide?  Who is behind the complete failure of crops world wide?  Who is served by keeping the populace weakly and unable to fend for themselves?  Who is behind the increase of governmental control over every little aspect of our lives?

I hear.... "Government is evil."  "Big Business is evil."

But they are the SAME.  They are men and women who have decided that they are better than all of us.  More deserving than us.  They love power.  They will lie, scheme, cheat, steal and kill for it.

"Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." - Lord Acton

It all amounts to slavery.  The farmers are indentured to multi-million/billion dollar companies, that are protected by government officials that worked with and for them, money flowing back and forth between them via banking institutions that print monopoly money as they please, to the the complete destruction of the little people.

That is all we are to them, pawns, subjects, chattel.

What do you think about that?  Are you a slave?

Maybe you need to read - http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/declaration_transcript.html

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed...."

In history there have been a few times when men realized that they deserved better than the poor handouts of a system that constantly trampled them.

When will we realize that we too deserve better?


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Spring in the Garden - 2012, Part II

Building another garden plot, these pics were taken a few weeks ago when the SUN made an appearance.

Two of my babes happily playing in a load of top soil.

My little helping out Daddy with the 'manly' work.

Seeds, roots and plants eagerly waiting for some dirt to grow in.

A good mornings work.

So far we have about 3/4 of this area tilled and 11 rows planted and growing well.  However the rain has hindered any work.  I went to chase a chicken out of the garden a few days ago and sunk in mud over my ankles.  I had to dig out my shoes, wade back to safer land and hose myself off.

I sure hope it dries up soon so I can get the rest of my 'early' planting in.  June is coming and that is when the summer crops go in around here.


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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

For the Love of Goats!

I am sure I have mentioned that I love goats.  Alot.

What I do NOT love, is having to chase them down, jump on them, wrestle them by the horns and force them BACK HOME after they have escaped for the fourth time today.

After a week of this, I have alot of dread now when I look out of my windows.  What will I see?  All is well and growing and my homestead is in order?

Or goats munching on my strawberries and fruit trees and pooping on my porches?

After attempting to repair and strengthen our existing fence that houses the goats, we are going to try one last method.

Electric Fence.


We hope that by ADDING this to our existing fence the goats will be deterred from their CONSTANT testing, breaking and destroying their home.

We hope that this works.  Goats add alot of value to our homestead if properly CONTAINED.  They provide delicious and healthy, low fat meat.  They provide healthy delicious milk, that can be drank (that sounds and looks so wrong, but I looked it up), and also turned into soaps and lotions.  They also provide several baby goats each year that can be sold or raised to grow the herd.

BUT ONLY if they are contained.


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Prepping 101 for TEOTWAWKI, Part III

Welcome to part III of our TEOTWAWKI conversation - Previously we discussed, Why You Can't Come To My House In TEOTWAWKI, Part I, and How I CAN Help You For TEOTWAWKI, Part II.

The Basics of Preparing - PREPPING - for TEOTWAWKI (The End Of The World As We Know It).

Spiritual -
THE most important preparation one can make for troubled times, or any time.... is the preparation of the soul. There can be no hope or lasting future for people who have not made peace with the Almighty.  I understand that not all believe in a 'christian' God.  While I cannot speak directly to the many religious beliefs in the world, I can speak readily to my own.
My belief in Christ is a source of hope in any situation.  When the days are bright and beautiful and filled with numerous blessings, I can rejoice in them with my Lord.  But when the days are dark, and dangerous and filled with loss and fear..... what can I cling to then?
My Lord is still a light in these times.  In fact, He is the ONLY LIGHT in these times.  His presence is strong and powerful, and His words promise that there is an END to all evil in the world.  And for those who cling to Him, He promises that He will never forsake us, and will make all things right.
So find your peace with the Almighty Creator and look forward to having hope, even in the midst of TEOTWAWKI.


Mental -
The second most important preparation one can make for troubled times, or any time.... is the preparation of the mind.  Without knowledge and discipline how would one go about building a shelter, growing a garden, finding food in the wilderness, or protect themselves from an enemy that has entered your gates?  You MUST study.  You MUST practice.  Books, Videos, Classes are essential to being as prepared as possible in any situation, including TEOTWAWKI.  This process is never ending, since there is always something new to learn.  You can never sit back and say, "I know everything now."  You and your family need to continually glean new skills and knowledge to face a time when there is no one else to provide for our needs.  Whether you are on your own for 5 days or 5 minutes, you could have a need that only YOU can meet.
This also includes, overlapping the physical portion of preparedness, the preparation of your BODY.  You must work towards making and maintaining your body in a strong and healthy condition as much as possible. If you are sickly, weak, and dependent on many medications, this will weaken your overall preparedness for hard times.


Physical -
The last, but still very important preparation one can make for troubled times, or any time... is the gathering of supplies.  This can seem daunting, monetarily and practically.  Where does one start?  Some of this knowledge will come as you prepare yourself mentally.  But to start we can consider what are your most urgent needs?
Security is essential.  You must be prepared to protect yourself, your family, and your supplies.  If you do not protect them, you are basically giving up your life and the lives of those in your care.  In a matter of seconds, your life and your children's lives can be irrevocably lost.  You can purchase guns and ammo from most sporting good stores, and take gun safety courses from most police stations, gun ranges, and the national rifle association.  You can also sometimes find private courses available in your community.  You can also learn several styles of self defense fighting through video courses and in local schools if they are available in your community.
A GOOD first aid kit is essential.  You must be prepared to quickly clean a wound, stop bleeding, and have knowledge and ability to assist someone who is injured or very sick.  In a matter of minutes, a person can bleed to death.  You can purchase ready made kits in numerous sizes, or purchase individual pieces to build your own.
Shelter is essential.  This can include blankets, tents, and the ability to make a shelter in the wilderness if necessary.  In a matter of hours, a person can freeze to death.  It is also equally necessary to shelter oneself in excessive heat situations.  You can count blankets and tents you already own, purchase 'emergency' ones at many stores, and learn how to build lean to's, and other emergency shelters.
Water is essential.  Staying hydrated is necessary at all times.  When you are under stress, and may not have access to clean water, stored water will mean the difference between life and death, literally.  In a matter of days, a person can die of dehydration.  You can purchase many sizes of pre-bottled water, as well as purchase water purification filters, tablets and systems.
Food is essential.  Maintaining a steady, NOT excessive caloric intake will ensure that you have the strength and mental acuity to deal with what is happening around you.  In a matter of weeks, a person can die of starvation.  You can purchase many canned, dried, or 'emergency ration' foods.  You can also learn to make many of your own long term storage foods.  With a good quantity of a few ingredients in your home, you can assure that your family will NOT starve, and will have a balanced diet.  With some forethought and planning, you can make this diet INTERESTING and much more endurable for yourself and your family.


The best way to BEGIN is to prepare for a few days to start with.  You can use backpacks, buckets, totes, or boxes to pack away the items you may need initially.
You then expand and prepare for a longer time period.  Find a stretch of time to use as your goal and start gathering.

What will you need for 3 days?
3 months?
1 year?
7 years?


As you begin preparing for longer term, you will find yourself moving away from purchased/packaged emergency supplies, and move more into learning skills and gathering tools, seeds, and finding a homestead to build up around you.  You will begin to be more independent, and leave mainstream society.  You will realize that the 'old ways' that our ancestors lived, was more sustainable and therefore a much firmer foundation for hard times.
It is a thrilling adventure to relearn the 'old ways' and to capture that independence back.  As you realize the numerous ways you have been enslaved and compromised security and freedom, you will be encouraged and strengthened to continue this path.


Even more Prepping 101 from others point of view - 


Next up.....
YES, You can come to my house in TEOTWAWKI, Part IV





***

Liked this rain soaked ranting from La Soñador?  Check out these similar posts.....




La Soñador ~: Why You Can't Come To My House In TEOTWAWKI
When I bring up preparedness, emergency supplies and skills to some, I have been somewhat taken aback at this statement... "We'll just head to your house." I initially didn't know what to say. I knew it was a flippant response ...


La Soñador ~: How I CAN Help You For TEOTWAWKI, Part II
How I CAN Help You For TEOTWAWKI, Part II. In Part I, I laid out some basic thoughts on WHY you can't come to my house in TEOTWAWKI (The End Of The World As We Know It). But I don't want to end this conversation there ...

La Soñador ~: Yes, You CAN Come To My House In TEOTWAWKI, Part IV
Welcome to part IV of our TEOTWAWKI conversation - Previously we discussed, Why You Can't Come To My House In TEOTWAWKI, Part I, How I CAN Help You For TEOTWAWKI, Part II, and Prepping 101 for TEOTWAWKI, ...

Sunday, May 27, 2012

How I CAN Help You For TEOTWAWKI, Part II

In Part I, I laid out some basic thoughts on WHY you can't come to my house in TEOTWAWKI (The End Of The World As We Know It).

But I don't want to end this conversation there.

I WANT TO HELP!

My family has been moving in this direction for several years.  We have read and read and read books and internet articles, blogs and e-books.  We have watched documentaries and reality TV shows.  We have even gleaned information from entertainment TV shows and movies.  We try to find anything on livestock keeping, gardening, homebuilding, homesteading and herbal medicines.

As most of you already know my family tries to provide for our needs ourselves.  We do not go the the doctor unless we NEED a doctor.  We monitor our own health requirements and treat many of them using diet, exercise and herbal and homemade medicines when we can.  We homebirth our children, just me and my husband.  We are moving towards providing for all of our food needs and this MAY just be the year we accomplish it.  We homeschool our children, utilizing our own enormous library of textbooks, encyclopedias, documentaries, and educational programming, and good old paper and pencil.  We also involve our children in every step of our homesteading.  Starting seeds, transferring seedlings, transplanting outdoors, building fences, hatching chickens and ducks, building housing, feeding and watering them daily, nature walks where we discover the wild plants that grow around us and the animals that share our land with us.... This is all part of OUR education.

It is an adventure.

I love my life.  I delight in watching little green seedlings poke their heads through moist soil.  I smile at hearing chirp, chirp, chirping from my incubator.  I laugh as I watch the ducks swimming and playing in the pond.  I enjoy scratching my goats' bellies and having them eat from my hand.

And I adore the little kicks of a growing babe in the womb.  I am in awe when I get to hold them in my arms for the first time.  I am challenged and thrilled while watching them grow and learn.  I am completely in love with each of their little faces.

Of course, I want to keep them safe for as long as possible.  I feel it is my duty to the Lord to be a good steward over the all of blessings that He has placed in my hands.

And so... I prep.

I .... "Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst."

And I invite you to do the same.

And HERE is where I can start helping you!

1.  Find like minded people.  If you are in my area, are already my friend or family member, or even if you live an internet based life, feel free to contact me, befriend me, and share your thoughts, concerns and questions with me.  Having like minded people surrounding you can be encouraging, uplifting, and provide excellent resources in your efforts to meet the challenges ahead.

2.  Make a list of what you have, and what you know.  You may already possess materials and skills that will be useful for your family's safety, or provide a valuable service in the event of an emergency.  Do you have plumbing skills?  Construction skills?  Electrical?  Mechanical?  

3.  Make a list of what you do not have, and what you do not know.  This may take some research.  Begin finding these resources and information.  If you don't know how to garden you can consider, books, magazines, online articles, a neighbor that gardens, or taking classes from your local extension office.  If you don't have medical knowledge you can consider taking local cpr courses, emt basic courses, or researching individual medical conditions with books or online for knowledge and treatment.

4.  Band together.  Meet with other like minded people to share responsibilities and resources.  This is most especially important in close neighborhoods.  If you can find others that are CLOSE to you, emotionally, spiritually and physically that share your goals and ideas, count it as a blessing.  Work together.  Perhaps they have medical skills, while you have construction skills.  Perhaps they love gardening, and you love canning food.  Without moving out onto the commune, you can start a community and build a foundation of strength for when the world is shaking.

5.  If you cannot find others nearby, do not fret.  Information is WIDELY AVAILABLE.  I have even included many valuable links below.  And NEVER underestimate your ability to learn new skills and rise to the challenge.  It does take work.  But it is worth it.

Links to start building your needed skills and resources.....

Bible Verses Regarding Preparing for the Future - http://preparedchristian.net/scripture-related-to-preparedness/#.T7_Tn89dkuw

Complete How To Guides to begin storing food, tracking what you use and need, AND a list of tests you can run through when you are ready - Food Storage Made Easy - http://foodstoragemadeeasy.net/

How to Save Seeds, After you have grown your garden and are harvesting, prepare for next years planting - http://howtosaveseeds.com/index.php

Great online store with a multitude of tools, kits, and foods.  I peruse this frequently to see where my supplies might have holes - Emergency Essentials - http://beprepared.com/

Your local extension offices usually provide low cost and free classes on canning, gardening, and beginning livestock care.  This is also a great place to meet other like minded people - http://www.csrees.usda.gov/Extension/

Even the Government has some starting points to preparing for an emergency, Can you last for at least 3 days without ANY water or electricity or additional supplies in your home? Remember that it took 3 days for the National Guard to even be sent to Hurricane Katrina victims - http://www.ready.gov/

Another site stressing that you MUST be prepared for at least 3 days - http://72hours.org/

Numerous Articles about Prepping 101, While there are differing opinions you will find these to be a great jumping off point - 

And a few blogs that I read regularly that are full of great how to advice -
Paratus Familia - http://www.paratusfamiliablog.com/
Rural Revolution - http://www.rural-revolution.com/
Survival Blog - http://www.survivalblog.com/
The Deliberate Agrarian - http://thedeliberateagrarian.blogspot.com/

And here are a few really valuable books that I think are nearly ESSENTIAL to being prepared -

Carla Emery's The Encyclopedia of Country Living

Storey's Basic Country Skills


Where There Is No Doctor

Where There Is No Dentist

How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It: Tactics, Techniques, and Technologies for Uncertain Times


Next up.....
Prepping 101 for TEOTWAWKI, Part III






***

Liked this rain soaked ranting from La Soñador?  Check out these similar posts.....




La Soñador ~: Why You Can't Come To My House In TEOTWAWKI
When I bring up preparedness, emergency supplies and skills to some, I have been somewhat taken aback at this statement... "We'll just head to your house." I initially didn't know what to say. I knew it was a flippant response ...



La Soñador ~: Prepping 101 for TEOTWAWKI, Part III
Spiritual - THE most important preparation one can make for troubled times, or any time.... is the preparation of the soul. There can be no hope or lasting future for people who have not made peace with the Almighty.

La Soñador ~: Yes, You CAN Come To My House In TEOTWAWKI, Part IV
Welcome to part IV of our TEOTWAWKI conversation - Previously we discussed, Why You Can't Come To My House In TEOTWAWKI, Part I, How I CAN Help You For TEOTWAWKI, Part II, and Prepping 101 for TEOTWAWKI, ...

Friday, May 25, 2012

Why You Can't Come To My House In TEOTWAWKI, Part I

When I bring up preparedness, emergency supplies and skills to some, I have been somewhat taken aback at this statement...   "We'll just head to your house."

I initially didn't know what to say.

I knew it was a flippant response from some, made out of mockery and laughter mostly.  They don't want to prepare, and don't see the point.  They think that our concerns for the future are humorous and unlikely to ever come to fruition.

And I knew a few, who felt overwhelmed and unsure of how to start to prepare for themselves.  They were frightened by what they saw coming, but unable to make that practical step, to prepare for themselves while there is time and information aplenty.

I know that many other like minded people have been faced with the same situation.

After much consideration I have realized there can be only one response ....

You cannot come to my house in TEOTWAWKI (the end of the world as we know it).

I don't say this because I don't care.  I do.  I wouldn't have entered the conversation with you in the first place otherwise.  I say this because of two very real and serious reasons.

1.  In the event of a real emergency, you will most likely NEVER reach my home.  Consider it.  If you have been to my house, you most likely had to drive to get there.  And some of you have had to drive ALONG WAYS.  And some of you have had to drive THROUGH many cities and other populated areas.

London Riots 2011
Many emergency situations could lead to roads and bridges that are damaged or closed.  Many unprepared fellow citizens could become lawless, falling into a dangerous mob mentality.
Tampa Bay Multiple Car Accident 2007
The further you have to drive, simply increases the number of obstacles you could face.  Travelling immediately after an emergency can be extremely dangerous and unpredictable.

2.  I do not have the resources, energy or ability to prepare for you and your family's unique needs.  Many people have very differing dietary needs.  Within my close circle of friends and family, I have loved ones who need very low sodium foods, gluten free foods, vegetarian foods, low glycemic or low carbohydrate foods.  Some also have food allergies, drug allergies, environmental allergies, and chronic conditions that require medications or frequent monitoring and specialized treatment.

Grocery Stores after Japan Earthquake 2011

Slowly, one by one, I research these needs to find foods, herbs, home remedies and treatments to aid in a long, healthy, drug free life, using materials that I can grow, glean, or make in my own home.  But this research takes time and practice.  And sometimes I am happy with the results, and sometimes I have to start over in my search for a self sufficient answer to these troubles.

I also try to find alternatives to everyday items and duties.  Baby diapers, Toilet Paper, Washing clothes without electricity, Cooking.  This has taken alot of time to research (still underway) and purchasing needed supplies that will LAST.  Cloth diapers, family cloth, a bucket and plunger, clothes drying rack, propane camp stove as well as an outdoor fire pit.

A nicely stocked pantry.
We are also a one income family with 3.5 children, 100+ chickens, 9 ducks and 4 goats.  It could take years for me to provide beds, bedding, clothing, medicine and food for 20+ additional people.

Let us consider just one aspect.  My family of 5.5 people live in a two bedroom home.  If you and your family were to come to my house, where would you sleep?  Perhaps for one or two nights you would feel grateful to have space on my floor.  But after a while you would desire better sleeping arrangements, beds or at least pads, blankets or sleeping bags.  You would also eventually need to change your clothing.  Would you be able to bring all the extra clothing you would need in your hurried race from your home?  Sturdy practical shoes? Your favored hygiene products?  Your hair brush and tooth brush?  How long will you be satisfied at my home carting water daily and defecating in an outdoor privy?  With no electricity my home does not have water OR septic.  Even with electricity, my septic is rated for 6 people and could quickly be overworked and create a health nightmare for everyone involved.

These are things that you may not have considered.  But they are things that I MUST consider.  Prepping literally means, Preparing for what COULD happen.

I hope you can see that this is not because I do not care for you.

It is because I DO CARE FOR YOU.  I urge you all to prepare for your own.  Not only is it truly your responsibility, but it is truly something that only YOU are capable of doing.

By relying on someone else, you will end up with impersonal, inadequate and sometimes completely unsatisfactory results.

And for those who think this is all unnecessary and a waste of time.... I wish it was.

As an English Proverb says so eloquently...

"Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst."

If all my preparations are never put to THE test.... at least my family has learned how to grow delicious, healthy and non modified vegetables, raise and butcher hormone and chemical free meat, and treat many common ailments without resorting to immune system destroying antibiotics or becoming addicted to pharmaceutical potions.

Even if TEOTWAWKI never comes, I will consider it all worth it and sleep soundly at night with my family close beside me.

But how would you feel if IT does come?


Coming Soon.... How I CAN Help You For TEOTWAWKI, Part II





***

Liked this rain soaked ranting from La Soñador?  Check out these similar posts.....





La Soñador ~: How I CAN Help You For TEOTWAWKI, Part II
How I CAN Help You For TEOTWAWKI, Part II. In Part I, I laid out some basic thoughts on WHY you can't come to my house in TEOTWAWKI (The End Of The World As We Know It). But I don't want to end this conversation there ...



La Soñador ~: Prepping 101 for TEOTWAWKI, Part III
Spiritual - THE most important preparation one can make for troubled times, or any time.... is the preparation of the soul. There can be no hope or lasting future for people who have not made peace with the Almighty.

La Soñador ~: Yes, You CAN Come To My House In TEOTWAWKI, Part IV
Welcome to part IV of our TEOTWAWKI conversation - Previously we discussed, Why You Can't Come To My House In TEOTWAWKI, Part I, How I CAN Help You For TEOTWAWKI, Part II, and Prepping 101 for TEOTWAWKI, ...

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Work I Can Do In The Rain

I realized last night that there is one great reason why I should be grateful for all this rain in the middle of my planting.

I can work on my fence.

I intend to surround the garden with a wattle fence.


But while we were tilling, hilling our rows and planting, I found the outskirts of the garden so dang hard and dry I was unable to get a shovel even a few inches in.  The joy of living on solid clay.

NOW I will be able to dig some good sized post holes and get my main fence poles in!

Time to get to work!


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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Rain, Rain, Go AWAY!

I am so far behind in planting.

While I have
A Strawberry patch with green berries, and Mint,


Raspberries with blossoms, and Blueberries,


An Orchard with some blossoms and at least plenty of leaves and growing,

And an area of about 50x50 tilled with rows of garlic, onions, potatoes, peas, and beans.


I still have alot more tilling needed.  Mowing needed.  More potatoes to be planted, more beans, more peas, and corn, and soon, tomatoes, cabbage, squashes, and cucumbers, not to mention carrot, beet, radish, turnip and kohlrabi and lettuce seed.


But no.... it is raining.  And once again I am surrounded by mud.

So rain.... PLEASE GO AWAY!  I have a goal here and you are thwarting me.


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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Death to Our Enemies!

As we stepped out this evening after dinner for some fresh air, we heard the strangest sound.

It was like a chicken, crying.

We hurried to go find out what was going on.  Chickens were scattered around the yard as usual.  But it was obvious something was not normal.  Each bird was standing stock still, on alert, and the sound continued from our chicken coop.

We opened the door to find...

A weasel.

He was in the middle of his grisly work, and the poor chicken was still alive and suffering.

We were prepared.  But unfortunately the first shot missed.  The weasel darted out the door and under the coop which has a raised floor (necessary for our wet climate).  We split up to cover the building so it would not escape.  We waited for just moments.  The chickens in the yard already felt more brave and entered the coop smelling the blood.  Chickens are kind of gross that way.

And then I saw him!  Sneaking along the fence around the duck pond, he was trying to escape.  Yelling we ran.  The small, sleek animal was difficult to hit.  It would jump and twist in the air to avoid the shots.

But we got him.

After he was down we checked the coop to assess the damage.

6 dead and the one poor chicken severely injured.  With the enormous bite at his neck bleeding profusely, there was no recourse, we had to put it down.

But at least the villain was dead.




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Saturday, May 19, 2012

Kefir Recipes I Will Be Trying

Lithuanian Cold Borscht - Cold Beet Soup made with Kefir
http://www.enjoyyourcooking.com/soup-recipes/lithuanian-cold-borscht.html



I have tried store bought canned beets. YUCK!
But while visiting my grandparents I had a real FRESH beet added to my salad.  It was amazing.  I laugh when I think of it.  It tasted like really good, fresh dirt to me.  Sounds weird huh?  But I LOVED IT!  It was really delicious.  So I am eager to try a recipe with this little jewel in it.
If you have never tried a fresh beet, try it.

Kefir Cheese
http://makingsenseofthings.info/2012/02/how-to-make-kefir-cheese/



I have never made cheese before.  This is supposed to be similar to Middle Eastern Labnah, with the consistency of cream cheese.  I do want to learn to make cheeses, and this looks like an excellent one to start with.



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Treating Yeast and Fungal Infections at Home

In our efforts to become more self sustainable and provide for our own needs, we are sometimes thrown a challenge.

Like a yeast infection.  Gross, I know.  I apologize.  I promise I include this post because it has GOOOOOOOD news. :)

Of course, I hit google.

I am pregnant and this must be a serious consideration in any medication regiment I take.

And I read that most of the common treatments for this condition are not safe for pregnancy, specifically the one and three day treatments.  And sometimes you will have to double up on the 7 day treatment to find complete relief.

So not only do these treatments cost alot of money... they suck apparently.

So I consider what I know about yeast.....  It is a living, breathing, eating micro-organism.  We have a 'yeast infection' when they are out of balance and outnumber the beneficial organisms that live in and on our bodies.  For our homeschooling topics, I break it down like this.... there are good germs, and there are bad germs.  If these get out of balance, you have illnesses.  I like to keep it simple while still discussing these large topics.  I think for accuracy's sake I will have to say 'organisms' from now on though.

What kills yeast....

My immediate thoughts go to .....

Apple Cider Vinegar

and
Kefir

Apple Cider Vinegar is an excellent health aid.  It helps with digestion of food, kills germs, and apparently is excellent at killing fungus as well.
And Kefir is a powerful probiotic.  It fills your body with healthful bacteria, that will assist your body in fighting off germs and apparently fungus also.  Plain yogurt could be used in place of kefir, but remember that kefir is much stronger.  You may need to use MORE yogurt, such as small servings 4 times a day.

Together these two simple homemade (or at least easily purchased) items, provide all that we will need to fight off this disgusting overgrowth of yeast in our system.

HOW TO.....

I purchased the cheapest douche kit available.  This included reusable bottles and the necessary nozzle.  This cost about $1.25 at Walmart for 4.  I used 1 the entire course of the treatment.  I poured out the included solution as it did NOT meet the requirements for fighting a yeast infection and could make it worse.

Twice a day, I filled this bottle halfway with apple cider vinegar and the remainder with warm water (for comfort).  I then followed the directions for use with the douche kit.  If there is some skin damage, this may cause some stinging.  I followed this with a cool water douche to cool and calm the area.  Yeast doesn't like cold.

Once a day, I drank 4-6oz of kefir.

Because I am foolish, and felt better after two days, I quit my regiment at 4 days.  BIG MISTAKE!!!  It came back with a fury.  I thought I was miserable before!

But after restarting my regiment, I again felt better after two days.  This time I kept it up for 7 days, and continued drinking my kefir daily after that.

WARNING....

DO NOT use White Vinegar.  For some reason this will actually FEED the yeast and make it worse.

DO NOT stop treatment when you feel better.  Keep it up for several days to make sure the balance stays in YOUR favor.

And of course.... If you don't find relief, go to a doctor!  While yeast infections are not serious, they can lead to discomfort, and pain.  They also can lead to a weakened immune system, making you more susceptible to any and all illness.  The main concern while pregnant is giving birth while having an infection, which can infect your fragile newborn.

And if you get yeast infections frequently you should consider learning more about Candida, and diets that assist in fighting this internal yeast overgrowth that affects many in our sugar soaked culture.  I highly recommend Atkins Low Carb Diet.  Meat and veggies are very self sustainable and packed with nutrients, besides tasting delicious.  This type of eating effectively starves off yeast, helping your body balance itself.  After a very short period of time, you will feel tremendous.

----

And now because I have stupid animals and was scratched by my stupid cat, I have ringworm.  Not at all attractive.  The solution???  Apple Cider Vinegar applied twice daily.  I love it. :)


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Friday, May 18, 2012

For The Love of Canning.....

I think I may have mentioned it once or twice.

I LOVE CANNING!

And today I received a treasure trove for my little canning heart.


This lights my brain with dreams of canned oranges, jams, beans, chili, tomatoes, salsa.  And FINALLY I can replace all my plastic pantry containers and use glass for my flour, sugar, oats, and rice.  And as if that was not amazing enough, wine bottles and jugs, enamel pots, homeschool science books, kids games, a telescope and an entire encyclopedia set.

It isn't every day that you find such a gift.  But it is surely like a bright shining star for me that will bring me happiness and LOTS OF FUNctional use for years to come.


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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Nothing Is So Important....


"You have nothing in this world more precious than your children. When you grow old, when your hair turns white and your body grows weary, when you are prone to sit in a rocker and meditate on the things of your life, nothing will be so important as the question of how your children have turned out ... Do not trade your birthright as a mother for some bauble of passing value ... The baby you hold in your arms will grow as quickly as the sunrise and the sunset of the rushing days." 
~ Gordon B. Hinckley ~

A beautiful printable of this quote is available at http://spirituallythinking.blogspot.com/2012/04/children-nothing-so-important.html.


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Sunday, May 13, 2012

My Beautiful New Buck

I found a GEM!  He is beautiful.  He is all goat musky smelling.  His horns are ENORMOUS.  And he is so, so, so short it is hilarious.

He is stubborn.  But he is SO gentle!

Buying a buck was risky.  Our experience last year with a goat buck left ALOT of broken fences, bruises, and goat stink.  That goat was a JERK!

So when I spoke on the phone with our man's owner, he assured me that he was sweet, friendly and never bucked him.  Hmmmmm, yeah.  We'll see.......

How shocked and OVERJOYED I was when I went to get him.  He was so gorgeous.



And best of all, as I walked him on a leash to my vehicle and lifted him into the back (he is sooooooo short) he set his feet a few times but DID NOT BUCK!  He has some stubbornness, but not a mean bone in his body.

I am in love!

Upon arrival at our home he was pretty scared, poor guy.  But then he heard a familiar noise!  My goat girlies were bleating their hellos.  He perked up immediately and yanked at the leash to get to them NOW!  We opened the door and he RAN IN!  YAY!



And for the second pleasant surprise of the day, my son's goat, Hennah immediately starting wagging her tail in his face.  She didn't beat around the bush.  So, right then and there we were blessed to witness our son's goat being bred.  So around October 4th we will have BABIES!


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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Life Lessons from the Farm - Grafting

I walked the orchard this morning while the children rode bikes and played.  The sun was coming in and out and it was chilly.  I slowly and carefully checked each tree as I passed.  I looked for signs of growth and leaves.  I was happy to note that most trees were showing excellent spring foliage and even some blooms to brighten the farm.
Unfortunately I did notice that even today about 5 trees have no leaves.  3 are plums trees, from the batch of 50 we got on freecycle last fall.  From the beating during transporting and replanting, I am not terribly surprised by this.  However the others only JUST got their leaves and perhaps these too will perk up and start showing their spring smiles also.  2 of those without leaves are my two fig trees.  Knowing this i did a couple of google searches and found a test to see if my tree is alive (might work with the plums too) by scratching off a tiny bit of bark and looking for green underneath.  I also see that some northern figs when transplanted can die back to ground level and still be alive and grow a new shoot from the roots.  This makes me hopeful!
So I continued my trek around to all my trees, some of which are scattered about the property.
And I was stopped short and floored.
One tree, one little peach tree, had been barked.

 


There were some small bark shreds around on the dirt underneath, and long shreds hanging from a 5" bare strip, encircling the entire tree.  When my brain started working again, I thought perhaps the children might have been involved.  I called them to me.
But then I saw the little chew marks on the tree's tag which was still attached.
It was my beautiful goat girlies. :(
Since I rebuilt their house, they have been kindly doing some 'beta' testing for me on its structural soundness.  They have escaped three days in the last week.  They are always right outside waiting for me.  I find their escape route, repair it, strengthen it as best I can, and coax them back inside.
But apparently, while they have turned their noses up at strawberry plants and my field of wheat..... they found a lone peach tree to chew on.
Initially, I knew only that this was BAD.  And to give me some sense of 'helping' I wrapped the tree and then hit google for a permanent fix.


How sad I was to read..... "Complete girdling (the bark removed from a band completely encircling the tree) will certainly kill the tree." - NMSU Extension Office
Of course, you know I don't stop there!
Why?  Why waste so much effort and time on one peach tree when I have a full orchard?
To be honest, I am not sure what the answer is to this question.  I wondered it myself.  But it did not assuage my sense of duty to try everything to save this tree.  This one lone tree.  I often remind myself, and my children, that we are to be good stewards.
If there is good to do, we must do it.
So I continued reading, reading, reading... WAIT!
There was a possible fix.
Grafting.
My heart sank a little.  I am barely a gardener.  I barely know how to PLANT or PRUNE a tree.
But to graft?  I have no knowledge, no skill, no training.
But, I google.

http://chestofbooks.com/gardening-horticulture/American-Horticultural-Manual-Vol1/86-Crown-grafting-Pear-Plum-and-Cherry.html

I considered my options.....
Try it, and maybe fail = The tree dies.
Don't try it, and definitely = The tree dies.
I had to try.
So I began to gather my tools.  Pruning shears, sharp knives, melted beeswax.



I considered what "grafting" meant.

Romans 11 tells us that Gentiles who believe in Christ are grafted in to the olive tree that is Israel.



Why does my tree need to be grafted?
My tree is damaged and dead.  It cannot get sustenance from the root.
Why do we need to be grafted?
We are damaged and dead spiritually.  We cannot get direct sustenance from our root, Yahveh.


What must be done to repair this damage and death?
The tree must be cut down and killed.  Then with skilled hands reformed and sealed.
What must be done to repair our damage and death?
We must die spiritually by accepting the sacrificial death of Yeshua.  Then the Lord can renew us, and seal us.
Now I have no 'skilled hand'.  But I pray that the Lord guided me.

Psalm 127:1 tells us ...
Unless the Lord builds the house,
They labor in vain who build it;
Unless the Lord guards the city,
The watchman stays awake in vain.


It will be the same here.  If the tree lives, it will be only by His will and grace.  If not, I can know that I tried to be a good steward, and at least braved another test on the homestead.


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