Monday, March 18, 2013

Knowledge Is Power: Part 2

Three weeks ago  Nearly two years ago (yikes!) I started on this train of thought (and on this blog post).  I think I got busy and distracted again.  Story of my life!  Can I even remember why I hopped aboard this train?  What was my destination?  Who planned this trip, anyway?  And where is the conductor?

I am a Mom (which has already been established, I know), but what you may not know is that I've done the whole pregnancy/birth/Mom thing more than once.  Something else you may not know is that I have birthed at home, with only my husband present.  Yes, it was intentional, and even if it hadn't been, things happened too quickly for any other option.  What does this have to do with "Knowledge is Power"?  Let me tell you.

Back before I got pregnant with my very first (20 22 years ago!) I was fortunate to have started learning about natural healing, healthy foods, and how drugs/doctors can mess things up in an otherwise normal healthy body.  I decided then that I wanted a home birth, and found a midwife.  She was awesome!

I know I took up much time with my midwife, talking to her and asking questions, and borrowing her books.  I learned so much and loved to share my knowledge with my friends.  I know that having my baby born outside a hospital was the best choice I could have made, and I wanted all my friends to have the same wonderful experience.  Sadly most of them went the route of doctors and hospitals without even reading about it, or talking to a midwife.  "It's my first, so I'd be too afraid."  "My husband wants me to be where it's safe."

If only they had sought some KNOWLEDGE then I know that they would have had the POWER to do as I did without fear.  (Lest I get some negative feedback, I'm not saying that all women should birth at home, or that all hospital births are bad; hospitals and doctors are supposed to be for non-normal, emergency situations, and in those instances are the absolute best place for you to be.)  I wasn't sad that my friends chose a doctor and hospital; rather I was disappointed that they didn't make an informed decision.  They didn't have the knowledge and facts necessary for that, and instead simply bowed to peer pressure: they went with the status quo.  They chose to remain ignorant.

Because I studied this issue I had knowledge, which gave me courage; I wasn't afraid.  I then gained experience because of this knowledge.  Because of this experience, when we were "on our own" we were confident and unafraid.

This is a lesson that applies to many aspects of life, not just pregnancy and childbirth.  This was a personal example of something where I was emPOWERed to act based on my knowledge, but let me see if I can come up with more.

What do you choose to eat or feed your family?  Some people don't give it much thought, and just go off what they like, or what they think is the cheapest.  But what if you or your child are ill, or have allergies?  Again, some people never seek knowledge, and continue down the same path, only to cause greater problems.  But what if you educated yourself, armed yourself with knowledge and understanding?  Then you would be able to make better choices on what food to eat, maybe what herbs to help with healing, possibly even what medicine to use or avoid.  You can learn how to save money by cooking from scratch with Real Food.  Then maybe expand that to learning how to grow that Real Food.

You don't just jump in the deep end of the pool or hop into the driver's seat of a car without knowledge of what you're doing.  And even then you will be cautious as you try things, usually with supervision and instruction from someone who knows more than you.  As you increase in understanding and experience then you will have power to actually swim or control the car safely.

Knowledge gives you the power to make informed decisions about everything in life.  We can't just go with our feelings, or tradition, or peer pressure, not if we really want to be responsible for our own life.  Do you head off on a big trip without knowing where you're going or how to get there?  Do you marry someone without knowing them?  Not usually, at least not in our culture.  Should you allow your child to have vaccines without knowing what they are, what they do (and don't do), and if it's safe for your child?

I do not claim to know everything, and I do not know what is right for you.  What I do know is that I need to be educated to make the right choices for me and my family, and I hope that you would feel the same.

I think I remember where I was headed with my original thought, so I will be working on Part 3 next.  Stay tuned:  I don't think it will hope it won't take another 2 years for the next post.  :)

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Hot, Holy and Humorous

I'm not even going to give excuses or reasons for why I haven't been here in ages, except to say that my Focus was NOT on blogging.  And that's okay.  It might be months before I write again, and that's okay, too.

This past week I discovered a pretty awesome blog, Hot, Holy and Humorous.  I don't remember how exactly I found it, or which post I started with, but eventually I just started at the most recent post and worked my way backwards to the beginning.  Perhaps I should have done it in chronological order, but I didn't, and I don't think it really matters.  I laughed a lot, and did a lot of thinking, too.

J (who is staying anonymous, and I don't blame her) is "a Christian, a wife, a mom, a writer, and a work in progress. I write biblically and bluntly, as if you are all my close girlfriends, about how sex in a Christian marriage can be HOT, HOLY & HUMOROUS!"  I have to say that she does a fabulous job, too.  Thanks, J!

I am pretty happy with the relationship I have with My Man, so I wasn't out looking for advice.  But there's always room for improvement, right?  So even though things are pretty hot already, IMO, doesn't mean they can't get even hotter.  Am I right, or am I right?  Don't worry, I'm not going to delve into any specifics about my relationship and what occurs; I'm pretty sure I'm not called to be that open in public. ;)  But I wanted to share what I found with all 3 of my followers, whoever you may be (and I'm pretty sure My Man is one of them...), in case anything J shares can benefit your marriage.

So anyway, that's been one of my focuses the past few days.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

A Weed By Any Other Name Is Still a Weed?

I've been meaning to get back here, I really have!  But I've been busy with a lot of other things.  I still don't get all my projects done that I'd like, but I guess the most important things, such as keeping my family fed and clothed, is getting done.

Lately I've been focused on weeds.  What is a weed?  Having a garden (or two or three) to tend, this is a topic that will come up eventually.  And there are differing perspectives on just exactly what makes a plant a weed.  I heard it said once that a weed is any plant for which you haven't yet discovered a use.  I asked some of my friends recently to share their own personal definition of a weed, and this is what they had to say:

"My favorite theory is that a weed is any plant that is growing where the gardener doesn't want it to grow."
"A weed: an unwanted plant."
"A weed: any plant in a space I do not want it in."
"To me a weed is a plant that is not in a place where I want it."
"Any flower is technically a weed."

I also asked, "Are there any plants that you always consider a weed? And under what circumstances do you not care about weeds?"

"Scotchbroom is a weed.  It is an annoying noxious weed.  It grows and grows and grows.  Teenagers don't grow as fast as Scotchbroom, and you and I both know just how fast teenagers grow!"
"Sow thistles are always a weed to me!"
"Nope.  Most."
"No.  When it is in a place that I don't care if it is overtaken with greenery."
"No, not really. It really depends on if I am low on something as to whether it will stay or not.  I really don't care about my weeds if they can be well hidden. In town the tend to frown on anything that they don't care for. For instance, we eat and use our dandelions, but the neighbors would rather sneak over in the dark of the night and spray them all gone. LOL"
" IF I had a garden I'd weed out the plants that I would not use to produce food, herbs, or what I consider beauty."

Since I do have a garden (or two or three) I've had to make some of the decisions on what to pluck out of the ground and what to leave.  My mantra of late has been, "If you don't know what something is, leave it alone until you can positively identify it as something you don't want!"  Unless you are very familiar with what a plant looks like in its early stages of growth, you might very well pull out something you really did want.

What are some possible reasons for not weeding?
  1. When you have newly planted seeds or young plants, pulling up nearby plants might disturb the soil too much and uproot or stress them.  In this case, wait until the plants you want to keep are a bit bigger with some established roots.
  2. You might accidentally pull up the wrong plant.
  3. Any plant that is larger provides some shade, which is a good thing to a baby plant in the hot sun.
  4. Any plant that is larger provides some wind protection, which is a good thing if you live where the wind blows quite fiercely at times.
  5. Any plant growing provides protection against soil erosion and water loss.  Observe that bare dirt dries out faster than where vegetation is growing.
  6. Some plants send down deep taproots, to reach the water and minerals that are deeper in the soil, also bringing them up to the surface.  This provides a pathway of loosened soil for neighboring plants to reach down for the good stuff.  Most garden vegetables don't have a deep root system.
  7. Most "weeds" are edible, and are actually more nutritious than the stuff you plant, plus they will grow better because they are hardier and more acclimated.
  8. Many "weeds" are medicinal.
  9. The plant is pretty.
  10. It's a lot of work :D

And I suppose, to be fair, I should list some reasons you might want to weed:

  1. You like the "neat" appearance of bare soil around your plants.
  2. Some people believe that "weeds" compete for water and minerals (which they might at certain stages of growth.)
  3. You might be allergic to a particular plant.
  4. They shade your plants too much.
  5. They might obstruct proper growth of the plant you are cultivating.
  6. They might really be "taking over" your garden.

Please feel free to share any of your reasons for or against "weeding" "weeds" out of your garden, yard, or elsewhere.

At the moment, there are two plants that are pulled out at sight:  Wormwood and Ragweed (I don't have any pictures at the moment of either one).  Both plants when in bloom cause bad allergic reactions to people who live on or come to the farm.  In the garden and immediately around it, they are uprooted, if at all possible.  Elsewhere on the farm, they are mowed down before blooming.  Both plants are medicinal in nature, but are not needed in great quantity.  The pastured animals will eat wormwood when they need it, but it otherwise gets left alone.  A tincture can be made of ragweed blooms to prevent the hay-fever / allergic reactions, but since it takes several weeks to prepare the tincture, it won't be of any use until the following season.

As to what "weeds" I am less likely to uproot, that will have to wait for another post.  I intend to write about each one that I have encountered in our yards and gardens.  Or, at least a few of the more interesting ones.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Scent of Springtime

Spring is in the air.  I mean that quite literally.  A couple times this past week I've caught a faint whiff of it.  Tonight I smelled it again.  I don't know exactly what it is, but when I smell it I am instantly transported to sometime in my childhood.  Can I describe the smell?  Not really.  For some really strange reason it always makes me think of zwieback toast.  Once, many years ago, I bought some zwieback just so I could taste it.  Unfortunately, this smell of spring smells nothing like the toast tastes, so I cannot explain to you why it pops into my mind.  Perhaps the first time the smell embedded itself into my memory my little brother was eating zwieback?  Anything is possible, I suppose.

The smell is elusive, only letting me catch it's scent when I least expect it, it seems, and not always every year.  In years past I have tried to track it down, but it doesn't seem to emit from a single thing.  Rather, it is more a combination of springiness.  If someone could bottle it, I am certain it would be a very popular fragrance.  The best I can deduce it has pear blossoms, perhaps apple blossoms as well, the earliest hint of lilac, and probably a myriad of other spring blooms.  The scent of newly cut grass is not a part of it, and in fact quite overwhelms the more delicate fragrance of spring.  I think that, despite the fact that it begins in spring, lawn mowing is more a scent of summertime.  The rich greens are much more aggressive than the pale flowers that awaken after the snow and frost have gone away.

It doesn't matter so much to me what exactly it is, I am thankful that it is.  It's my own personal announcement that spring has indeed arrived for another season in my life.  I love that I have been able to share it with my husband, and he, too, is mystified as to its composition.  Hopefully someday when our little man cub is a bit older, spring will surprise us once again with the unfolding of its fragrance, and we will be able to share it with him.  And who knows just what memories it will reawaken in him as he grows older?  Let it be love, joy, and peace.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Whats "goot" about today?

Man-cub is sick.  Sore throat, cough, congestion, tired watery eyes, feverish, not sleeping well, and general crankiness.  No fun for any of us!

I'm a firm believer in letting the body fight its own way through most things, and give it the support it needs with good food, herbs, homeopathics, lots of liquids, and rest.  I try to avoid OTC "remedies" as much as possible, and doctors even more!

Yesterday I made GOOT.  "What is that?" you ask.  It's a blend of garlic, olive oil, and coconut oil, and it's a very effective way to get the garlic into little bodies without trying to make them eat it.  The original links where I found the recipe years ago seem to be gone now, except for this one at a health forum.  (It's a great forum, by the way, with a LOT of information!)

Here's the basic recipe:

  • 3 Tbs Virgin Coconut Oil
  • 3 Tbs Olive Oil
  • 3 Tbs fresh, minced garlic

(As you can see, it's equal parts of all three ingredients.  If you find that you don't need this much, then next time simply downsize the recipe.  Or, make more!)

You will need to warm the coconut oil until it is melted.  I put the jar into a pot of very hot water until I had enough.  Mix all three ingredients together in a blender (I used my Magic Bullet) until it's pretty well pureed.  You can strain it if you like (I did this time, and I'll tell you later what I did with the garlic stuff) which gives a nice smooth consistency for application, or leave it all in (which I have also done) in which case it will probably get more potent.  I put it in a glass jar and store in the fridge.  It will be like a paste that melts quickly when you put it on.

GOOT in a 1/2-pint jar
GOOT, easy to spread

What do you do with it?  The CO and OO are great carrier oils and will help the skin absorb the garlic without worrying about the garlic oil burning the skin.  It's really great for rubbing into the soles of your feet; you might want to designate a single pair of socks as GOOT socks for a while!  It is also good for rubbing into the chest.  Both are areas where the skin more readily absorbs stuff.

From this blog (and I'm pretty sure she copied this information from one of those broken links I was telling you about):

GOOT, rubbed into the skin, transfers raw garlic oil directly into the blood stream. Raw garlic is a natural antibiotic that does not carry the bad flora that a Rx antibiotic will put into your intestines.
Apply on the feet of children or infants to fight infections. Rub on chest for chest colds, pneumonia or rub into nostrils for sinus infections. Place on cotton swab for ear infections. Apply directly to sores inside the mouth. Rub on Athlete’s foot or genital area for jock itch. Insert GOOT into affected area for yeast or other related infections. Apply on rashes any place. GOOT kills Candida, parasites, bad bacteria and virus by direct application.
In addition, it treats systemic infections by absorption through the skin into the blood supply and travels throughout the body. After two weeks, make a new batch of GOOT.

One trick I have learned when dealing with small children is to have their sock partially on, over the toes, so it's ready to be pulled onto the foot as soon as you apply the GOOT.

So what did I do with  the garlic that I strained?  I added it to butter, melted it in a hot skillet, and put in some homemade bread to "toast", liberally sprinkling it with sea salt.  Now THAT is some "GOOT" garlic bread!