Saturday, May 26, 2012


These last 2 weeks have been crazy! Playdates, building of a hen house, sprouting of more peas, pumpkins, carrots, lettuce, squash, battle with the indoor bugs, making yogurt and cheese, shredding letters from another life, picnics, crafts, swimming in a lake, cleaning and general life. Whew! I'm tired thinking about it!

Friday, May 25, 2012


I don't have a degree in agriculture, nor do I necessarily want one. I want someone to point me toward the right books and give some physical guidance while I try it out firsthand. You know how second generation farmers learned from their parents? I want to be able to either work on a farm in exchange for experience (wwoof) or in exchange for food. I don't mind the physical work or getting dirty. I do mind putting my kid in day care, so she'd either have to come with or we need to live closer to family who can trade me on this idea. The end goal would be the ability to sustain our family off whatever land we end up with.
I guess I'm looking for a farming guru. Are you it?

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Feeling reassured

After my rant the other day about food, I honestly reevaluated what we ate and do and am feeling peace again. It's all about finding the balance. We need more exercise in our lives and probably less ice cream sandwiches, but we are a healthy family who eat way more beans than meat. Plus I reminded myself of the old saying "everything in moderation, including moderation itself." life without vices is boring!

Besides, I can't feel helpless for long when I have something healthy growing in every corner of my house and life.

So, I leave you with a glimpse of dinner last night and a virtual glass of cheer to your continued health!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Some Food for Thought

After watching King Corn, Food Inc., and Forks over Knives, I'm usually left feeling that i can't eat.

Well, that's a bit extreme.

I am immediately left feeling concerned that unless I grow all my foods, I will I eventually eat food grown from genetically modified seeds, covered in pesticides, loaded with processed sugars, or malnourished animals fed antibiotics and/or growth hormones so the grower could make a quicker buck leaving me hopeless to the coming world of cancer, while funding big agriculture, big pharm, and big government.

In truth, growing my own food reconnects me with the earth and my Self. It keeps me focused on the seasons, freely educates my daughter on the cycle of life, and it tastes amazing! It frees me from a level of dependency and helps me stay aware of what I'm actually fuelling my body with. "food is fuel."

I am encouraged to re-evaluate my general diet whenever I watch these kinds of documentaries. I swore off high fructose corn syrup ages ago and instantly lost 20 pounds. We eat a fair amount of whole fat dairy products so they can be fully digested, not treated like sugar, and we feel full. We consume animal meats on average once a week or less and it's as humanely grown, fed, packaged, and as locally done as possible. I think I've bought a total of 10 pounds of sugar in the last 18 months. Unfortunately, we love our chocolate chip cookies, eggs and cheeses so vegan may never be an option for us!

My current state of fear (since I just watched Forks Over Knives watch here official site here) is how much cow milk Emagene drinks. I am nervous. Am I starting her in on early liver cancer? Probably not, but I'm not helping her chances. Then comes the feeling of helplessness: what are my other, affordable options? Soy? Hell no! 95% of America's soy is genetically modified and the beans from abroad are the cause of the rainforest demise and shipping concerns. This, mixed with the recent TIME article (the one about breastfeeding and attachment parenting. you know which one I mean.) has me second guessing my choice to wean.

We've always been a "let's see what happens and go from there" kind of family. There has never been a set Weaning Age, food schedule, sleep schedule... Really any schedule except work times and those are NEVER constant. It works for us. The house stays comfortably picked up, we get enough sleep and food, the chickens and dog are properly cared for, we generally speak positively to each other, and we tend to laugh and cry as much as any other family. But trying to wean has brought out the hitter and bitter in baby, the negative stress in momma, and a disconnected daddy. I think I'm gonna take all these physical, mental, and a randomly chosen Netflix choice as signs and interpret them as saying that now is not a good time to wean.

Perhaps next month?

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Gardening tips and a book review

I know it's been a while since my last real post. I've been weaning and therefore spending way less time nursing a sleeping child with nothing else to do.
That and Dan Brown novels have consumed my life!

I just read Digital Fortress for the first time. It took 3 days. Intense! I don't know why i waited so long to pick this one up! So I thought I'd try Lost Symbol, he's newest Langdon book. Meh. It was enjoyable but i thought it fit the Langdon-mold and so was predictable. But I do love the art history/religious scandal mixup, so I'll probably keep reading them, assuming he's gonna keep popping them out. How many more Freemason secrets is he allowed to give out??

Anyways- free book review over- gardening! Finally got all 3 beds in, seedlings purchased and planted, seeds are sprouting! Doing research on canning, pickling, companion planting, pest control, herbs and small coop designs. The ladies are quickly outgrowing their Giant Litter Box bed. Also, I want to plant herbs that I'll use, not just in homemade tomato sauce and to refill my tiny glass jars, but that balance out a yard. I recently read a few interesting facts

•ants keep the fleas under control. (I knew about the honeydew-aphid farms)
•spraying citronella oil (a few drops of lemon or orange essential oil and a cup of water in a spray bottle) around the compost heap will keep the ants from mounding near it and reduce chances of swarming on you
•artemisia keeps the mice away, and dried can be used as a candle wick
•bee balm attracts butterflies (our main pollinator down here)
•snakes tuck their heads under their bodies and squeeze tightly when being attacked by chickens, makes it difficult to be picked up
•Crickets eat pill bugs (so do frogs!)
•pill bugs: while good for aiding in decomposing, an over population will feed on young shoots. (Did you hear about my infestation? I moved 100s from under the container plants to the yard debris pile. There were too many for the one cricket I saw and my chickens can't keep up! Plus the ladies prefer the crickets when they're allowed to choose.)
• and leaving the sprinkler on overnight renders this hard, cracked, clay-ridden soil incredibly squishy. the plants LOVE it (but only once a week).

Thursday, May 3, 2012

More thoughts about this transition

•when we wake at 830 instead of 10, lunch must happen by 1130 or there will be meltdowns!
•along this same trend naps have been moved to somewhere between 1&230 instead of the usual 3-430. This results in earlier bedtimes.
• this would be greeted with joy, but it completely robs momma of her usual after bed alone time since dads home from work by nap/dinner time instead of leaving at nap time (typically cleaning time)
• the two beat up potters on the deck will try their hand at being tomato and herb growers
• the large pot under the deck might be repurposed as a blueberry grower??
• 2 garden plots.... What to grow?? Cucumbers for pickling
Peas for freezing
Zucchini for emagene
Carrots, celery??
Lettuce, kale, spinach
Herbs: parsley, rosemary (is it this or lavender by the garden gate?) dill,
sunflowers and marigolds for the chickens
Artemisia for bug and mice control
Bee balm? Since there are more butterflies than bees here.
Chives, fennel,
And definitely trying at least one 3 sisters mound ideas.

Things I noticed about my girl this week

When toys are presented neatly, she'll play with them. In particular the doll-house or the train set.
Peanut butter sandwiches cannot be eaten sitting down.
She is able to recite parts of books and songs she's heard once, if they grabbed her attention: grumpy bird, head shoulder and other new things from storytime.
She loves mastering new abilities: puppet play, jumping into water, holding breath.
Fairy tea parties are almost as good as bubble bath tea parties.
She is getting to end of her quiet and watch phase of this new place.
She is starting to talk up a storm.
Ice cream cures everything!