Friday, February 12

Birds of a Feather

The other day while working in the kitchen, I looked out the window to see a large white bird flying low above the field across the road. 
It swooped, flew in figure eights, dove, landed, flew again, circled the field...you get the idea.  At first, I thought I might be seeing a snowy owl hunting in the field...

but I realized that this bird had black wing tips, which wasn't normal for a snowy owl.  It flew close to the road, then back to the back of the field; any time that it came close to the road I ran out the front door with my camera in hopes of getting a good photo. 

I got some, but no really good pics of the bird's head.  It was moving quite fast, and was hard to keep in the frame. 



But based on the photos I did get, I think I figured that this is a Northern Harrier.  I looked it up and here are some fun facts, according to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology:
  • These are the most owl-like bird of this family (so I wasn't that wrong by first thinking it was an owl of some sort).  They are considered part of the hawk family.
  • Their eye color changes from green (young males) and brown (young females) to yellow as they mature.
  • They hunt small animals and critters, including mice, voles, and birds, but have been known to attack larger prey as well like rabbits and ducks, subduing them by drowning the prey.  Kind of mean.
  • The adult males are white and black, and the adult females are brown, black, and white.
I love living out in the country.  So far, we've seen fox, deer, pheasants, hawks, and falcons, and I might be forgetting some things!  I just love seeing the wildlife.  But I'm always reminded that they are indeed wild, and it's a great reminder as I plan for future expansion, like chickens who will need protection and gardens that will need fences. 

What do you see most in your yard?

Sunday, February 7

Seed Catalogs

We have internet this weekend (long story--still don't have a provider for internet or cable), so I wanted to post about my current obsession:

Seed catalogs.  Every gardener gets them each winter.  Every photo of every vegetable, fruit, flower, and herb looks incredible, and conjures images of warm summer sunshine, eating at a picnic table, working the dirt...it's like an escape from the gray, dreary landscape of winter.  At least, it is for me!





This is my first year of requesting and receiving seed catalogs on a large scale.  This is also the first
year that we are planning out our new, much larger garden and establishing perennial beds that will provide for years to come.  I can't tell you how excited I am to be able to really plan, not just imagine or daydream about this, and with the warm-ish winter we've had in northwest Ohio, it's even harder to wait for spring.  There have only been two snows this year to date--although I realize it's only the first part of February, so there are bound to be some more snow before all is said and done.  But I digress.

I've placed and received one order for seeds from Botanical Interests, and just placed a second order for more seeds from High Mowing Seeds.  I chose these two companies for several reasons: they offer a large selection of organic and heirloom seeds, they are both part of the safe seed pledge, they each had some really unique plants that I hadn't seen before, and very importantly, they both offered free shipping.  Plus, I absolutely love the packages of seed from Botanical Interests--an artist draws each plant for the packet, and they are just beautiful; I think I'll keep the packets to display after planting!  I still have more plants and seeds to purchase, but the rest can be found locally, so I think I'm done with mail orders.

Aren't these beautiful?  I love the illustrations!
My growing space will be in our basement, which stays relatively warm, but probably not quite warm enough for seedlings, and definitely not enough light for small plants.  Because of this, I've purchased seedling heat mats, plastic pellet greenhouses, a shoplight that will shine growing fluorescent lights, and seedling potting soil.  I also purchased a little metal greenhouse rack that was brand-new in the box from a rummage sale a few years ago, and finally have the chance to use it for my seedlings.
So, I'm ready to go!  All we need is some warmer weather.   Are you starting to plan for your garden yet?  Comment below!

Tuesday, September 1

Hello!

Howdy!  It's been a while since I've been on here.  Hard to believe September has arrived!  We still don't have internet access, so this is just a quick post from my phone.  Not ideal, but it'll do right now.  We've moved into our homestead and when we do have internet, I'll post pictures.  We're really excited to have done this, and looking forward to the things we plan to do here. 

Hopefully we'll be back online soon.  Until then, I'll just have to be content with pictureless posts. :).

Thursday, June 11

Almost There

It has been a busy, trying time.  We are in the process of simultaneously selling our house and buying a house out in the country, and we've had several setbacks.  However, we continue to inch toward a closing date and, a few weeks after that, a possession date.  Excitement is creeping in...
A portion of our soon-to-be back yard.  This will eventually become gardens.  Look at all that sky!!

I am so excited to have wide open spaces!  To see the vast expanse of blue skies that stretch for miles!  To inhale the sweet smell of corn fields in the warm summer evenings!  To watch fireflies dance in the dusk!  To walk among the rows of garden plants and harvest an incredible bounty!  To hear my chickens cheer when they lay eggs!  To have two toilets!! 

(For the record, we've never had two toilets at any house we've lived in.  It'll be glorious.)


To finally see our dream realized!  To see a new chapter of our lives started!!

As our little farm grows, I'll post updates--and it will grow!  Over time, we plan to have gardens (vegetable, herb, and butterfly/bee/cut flower), a small fruit & nut orchard, maybe some grapevines, a pond, chickens, a dog, barn cats...and who knows what else!  All of it will keep us busy for sure.  I'll share victories and mistakes, and hope that others can learn from both.  This is entirely new for us, but we're both very excited about the possibilities that this home will open for us. 
Not my chickens.  I occasionally see these guys (ladies?) on the way to work in the mornings, so I took a picture one day.

Praise the Lord!  He continues to surprise us and bless us, even in times when it doesn't feel like a blessing.  And oh my gosh, what a learning experience this has been!

Sunday, May 17

Spring Busyness and Test Results

Lots going on right now!  We are in the process of selling our current home and have an offer on another home...it's out in the country with four acres!  It's all so exciting right now.  Everything is still pending inspections, but so far, we're moving forward.  I'll keep you updated as things progress.

In a previous post, I mentioned that I started seeing a chiropractor/wellness practitioner.  At our initial visit back in March, he recommended three tests, all of which I took and finally received results.  I went back to get the results at the beginning of the week, and learned some interesting things--things that make sense now.

1) I DO have leaky gut.  After seeing the results of the blood test, the practitioner knew what was going on:


Every food tested is rated from 0-4 on a sensitivity scale.  0s and 1s are still okay to eat (1s need to be eaten only occasionally), but I was advised to avoid 2s and 3s for the next month.  As you can see, there are some pretty healthy foods on the do-not-eat list, which was disappointing, because I was enjoying the healthier diet.  The results of this test actually confused me.  Notice how dairy and eggs show no reaction, even though I know they don't sit well with me?  I'm not sure why, but I'm still avoiding them.  And how is white sugar just fine, and soda is perfectly acceptable, but broccoli, carrots, green beans, lemons, garlic, tomatoes, etc. all bad for me??  Well...I don't know, but because of the fact that all of these items are present in the blood test, it means that particles from the foods are permeating the intestinal wall and entering the blood stream = not good = leaky gut and inflammation of the body.  This is a result of stress and medications that I have taken over the course of my life (antibiotics being the biggest contributor).  Going out to eat will be nearly impossible, but at least I have some direction now, and it explains why I was still having a lot of problems on GAPS.  Turns out, GAPS is not for everyone, and I guess I'm one of them.

2) My adrenal glands are functioning at VERY low levels as the day progresses, which explains my constant fatigue:
 
I can get through the morning fairly well, but by the afternoon, I get really tired and feel that way for the rest of the night.  The adrenal glands are responsible for a multitude of functions in the body, including blocking inflammatory responses by producing cortisol, stabilizing blood sugar levels, and dealing with stress levels in the body, among other things.  When you have adrenal glands that aren't working the way they're supposed to, the body really struggles to maintain status quo.  The inflammatory responses are a result of the permeable intestines (or vice versa).  I've always had blood sugar issues, as has my mother, and get really shaky when blood sugar levels plummet, which happened frequently before I changed my diet.  It's not as common now, but still does happen.  Stress...well, that's been a life-long issue for me.  People are probably my biggest source of stress, and a close second is my job and the jobs I've had in the past.  I've also struggled with handling stress well, and now it's all come to a head.  I'll be learning how to deal with stress in a more healthy manner in the coming weeks.  Want to know a little more about adrenals?  A simple explanation of the function of these little glands with a big job can be found here.


3) Thankfully, I don't appear to have a candida (yeast) overgrowth, nor do I have any evidence of parasites in my digestive system.  Yes, it was tested for, and yes, both of those issues can cause the same symptoms that I have been experiencing, so I was happy to take the test to rule those out.  It also means that there is no need for additional medical treatment before starting the healing protocol.  The test did reveal an imbalance in my good and bad digestive bacteria, though, and that will have to be remedied.  The cause of this would also go back to overused antibiotic prescriptions (I'll be a lot more cautious about prescription meds from now own). I'm not against prescription medications--there are some good, helpful medications available in this day.  However, I'll be more inclined to pursue natural remedies for what ails me before I try medication if it's something simple.

If you are experiencing the problems I've had, I urge you to seek out a doctor who has experience with these symptoms.  It's not always easy, and probably not cheap, but it was worth it to me to just get these test results back--tests that none of the traditional medicine docs felt were necessary to order.  Find someone who is familiar with your symptoms and has treated others with the same problems.  I know that not many people out there right now have experienced or are experiencing what I've been going through, but if my experience can help at least one other person find answers, then it's worth it.

*If you are interested in the tests I took, send me a message or leave a comment.  I'll be happy to share the names of the tests that were prescribed so that you can go to your doc and request them.

Monday, April 27

Exciting News!

I realize I've been quiet on here for a while now, over a month!  What gives, right?

Honestly, there just hasn't been a great deal of anything going on to discuss.  We've been working hard, cleaning up after another winter, and now, we have decided that it's time to finally start looking for our dream "forever" home out in the country.  Yes, it's time to put our little suburban house up for sale!

A while ago, I wrote a post about what was important in my life, and how those priorities have changed over the past several years.  Now is our chance to make some of those things happen!  Hard to believe, really.  We've been here for over seven years.  When we moved here, we thought it would only be for a few years, but the Lord works in ways that we can't understand and sometimes don't even realize.  We've had great neighbors (for a change) in this little neighborhood.  There have been some negatives, but overall it's been a good seven years.  But now, it's time to get out in the country, start our little hobby farm, and get away from the noise and concrete of the city.  Start another chapter of our lives, really.

I'm so very excited!! This is going to be an interesting adventure, for sure!

For the time being, though, posts will most likely be sporadic and short.  I'm looking forward to seeing how the Lord works all of this out for us, and hopefully soon, I'll be able to share the news of our new home.
An update on GAPS: I'm not really following it right now.  I got to the end of my rope with it last month and was finally able to find a wellness practitioner here in our city, and have started seeing him.  He is very familiar with my problems and knows about GAPS but is not a GAPS practitioner, so I'm not likely to go back on it.  I have lost 15-20 lbs. so far on GAPS and it has taught me how to eat better, which I'm happy with, but it was too stressful for me.  I am looking forward to seeing what this practitioner has to say once additional test results come in. 

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