Monthly Archives: September 2012

Reaching The End of Wonderful, Furry, Lovely, Hard Road

Our beloved Simon.

Dogs are a loving gift from God that is immeasurable.

Ol’ Simon ( Newfoundland)  isn’t doin’ too well these days.  We went to the vet yesterday for whiny, labored breathing, distended tummy,  and spitting up regularly.   The prognosis is not good.  Without testing the Dr. believes it is either  A) congestive heart failure or B) cancerous mass.  He is holding about 3 to 5 gallons of fluid in his abdomen,  but he is so big and hairy that,  yeah, we noticed change but not tons since we are with him all the time.  It is definitely time.  He is almost 10.  My oldest son visits about once a month,  and the last two times he has come he really noticed something wrong.

We are giving him meds to hopefully relieve him of the fluid build up.  Aside from that there is nothing else to do.  Who knows, maybe he will drain the fluid and bounce back, but….guessing not….

Simon has been a great dog in many regards except for the little fact he likes to beat up our other animals.  I have had a real problem with that.  Messes with my serenity.  I’m sure the other dogs have had a few words for him too.  He loves us to pieces.  He is an awesome guard dog.  He obeys very well (except when he is attacking).  He doesn’t wander.  He is as insecure as you can imagine.   He has a hard time having fun because he is too busy monitoring the who that is getting more attention than him. But, hey, who’s perfect?

I have spent A LOT of time with Simon and while I complain about him  refusing to “get a life”, this past year I did come to a point that I would accept him for who he was and choose just to love all the positives about him.  Which are many.  But it has been really hard to reconcile the fact that I have had to manage him so greatly around other animals.  It takes the pleasure out of having him around sometimes.

But today,  I look back only at the fond times and the goofy Simon days.  Which are many.  I share with you:

SIMON

Samdog showing baby Simon the world.

Hard to believe he was ever this tiny.

Squirrel hunting (yeah, right) with the others.

Swimming with the boys

First encounter with the chickens

Big ol’ Simon dog

Hangin’ with the guineas.

Simon is not threatened by our fowl.  Maybe he shoulda been our chicken watch dog.  He does not mess with them.  He does not mess with our cats either. He knows he will get a nice healthy scratch down his pretty little nose.  Only four-legged creatures that are dogs or creatures that “could be”  dogs. Like goats.   I don’t want you to think that this was an everyday occurrence.   His little outbursts would occur 2-3 times a year.  But enough to not make it right.  Simon, ya hear that?

Simon always, always, always, with me. Protecting, loving, wanting, guarding and excited to be invited to go along.

We love you,  Simon.

Have a super weekend.

God bless,

Karen

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New Acquaintances

Persimmons and Coyotes.

Persimmons. When our excavator showed up on site about 4 years ago, he was amazed at the number of persimmon trees we have.   He said in his travels around the county he just doesn’t see them much anymore.  A dying breed?  The trees are tall so hand picking is not really an option.  They are not big trees like oaks or maples but they are tall.  They are ripe when they fall to the ground on their own.  What people do is lay blankets at the base of the tree and shake the tree and let all the persimmons fall to the blanket.  Or of course,  you can just pick them off the ground as they fall themselves.   This year is the first year in 5 years that we are getting a noticeable harvest.

persimmon

They are not as pretty as this typically.  They are the size of  a really large grape and they usually look like a rotten really large grape.  This one was special.  They have too many seeds to just eat with effort.  Every bite holds at least one seed.  I would describe the flavor as being warm and cozy.  Like that of an avocado.  Velvety.   The problem is with all the seeds, I’m not sure what to do with them.  You can buy persimmon pulp in the freezer section but how do they get all those seeds out?  I have had persimmon pie, cookies , etc.  and all very good.  But it seems it may take me 24 hours (or more) to make a batch of cookies.  They kind a scare me.  I pick them up, bring them in and watch them as they sit on  my table.  I watch them and think about them.  Shady (the wonderful man who works for us) would die if he knew this.   They are gold to him.  I should either have him take them home or teach me not to be scared of them. Please, let me know what you do with them.

Coyotes.   We have had lots of visitors lately.   And while I have seen a couple here and there since we have owned our property, I have never seen THE  pack.  But, oh my goodness, they are here.  They usually are heard beginning right past dark and off and on until dawn.  It is rainy this morning so it is still darkish. They think it is still dark.  So they were still out making lots of noise as late as 8:15 this morning.

This pack wasn’t taken by my camera, but when our pack yell it sounds like there is every bit the number found here or more.  They howl when calling the pack together or when they all are  assembled.  And it is LOUD and monstrous.  A few weeks ago,  the pack had to be within fifty yards of our house.  Shrieking , and terrifying to imagine coming upon a pack.

People rarely see the pack assembled and I hear the pack can attack humans but it is very rare.  And it is rare for one to attack a human too.  I walk with my dogs so I don’t fear at all that one would attack, but every now and again, I think about what would happen if I rounded a corner and a pack was there staring at me.

I read they travel on established trails.  Pops spends all his time making trails. At this point them coyote could travel around our established trails and never cross over the same one. Why leave our property and explore ever again?   Keep on making them there trails, Pops.  Coyotes love you.

We enjoyed the wonderful Italian Sausage Ragout this weekend .

Sausage Ragout

It was SCRUMPTUOUS.  Perfect for a fall rainy night.  Served with Sourdough bread.   Please, look at the “Recipe” page for the recipe.

May God bless you and keep yours safe,

Karen

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Humility, Submission, Obedience, And All That Hather

Please don’t look up hather.  It’s not a word.  But I want it to be.   But humility, submission and obedience, last time I looked,  are words in the English dictionary.   But,  man alive, we are doing our best to get them kicked out, aren’t we?   How did we get to a place where these are really bad words?

I have been doing a small painting series for an upcoming show and I have been using humility as my theme.  I have been thinking about it a lot and praying about it.   I want humility in my life but it is really hard to accomplish.  So lets talk about this for a minute.  Why is humility so hard to accomplish?

humility |(h)yoōˈmilitē|
noun
a modest or low view of one’s own importance; humbleness.

submission |səbˈmi sh ən|
noun
1 the action or fact of accepting or yielding to a superior force or to the will or authority of another person

obedience |ōˈbēdēəns|
noun
compliance with someone’s wishes or orders or acknowledgment of their authority

Based on the definitions above, I get the idea that in order to be humble or gain humility, we have to submit to or obey  something or someone who we believe is greater than us in some way.

But, wait.  In order to do that, we have to take stock of ourselves, realize that we are not all that, and that someone over there may be more than all that.   Like who?  Who should we submit to?  Or obey?  Our spouses?    Some would think, no way.  Why not?  Why did we marry them in the first place?  For them to rub and massage our  egos?   If we married them because we loved them, and since love is an action, doesn’t it make sense that we submit and obey them?  Which according to the definitions above, we would be complying with their wishes or accepting or yielding to their will?  Isn’t that what love is?

Four  years ago, I refused to submit to my husband when he wanted me to where this in my wood shop to cut wood. Honey, today, I would humbly submit.

Someone else we may be asked to submit to or obey is a boss.  The boss has faith in our abilities  and is paying us to do a job.  Doesn’t it make sense that we comply, accept and yield to his expectations of us.   He is doing us a great service by putting stock into us.

I totally understand that these three ideas  and words have been abused over and over.  But throw them  out the window?  These three words hold a lot of value to me.

My chickies are an example of humble submission.

The opposite of humility is pride.

pride |prīd|
noun
1 a feeling or deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one’s own achievements, the achievements of those with whom one is closely associated, or from qualities or possessions that are widely admired.

Wow.  Really?  How satisfying is it to “feel a deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one’s own achievements”?  We sure spend a  lot of time doing it, dont we?  Does it feed my soul?  Yeah?  For how long?  Until I  get hungry again for that next thrill of self achievement. Which might be tomorrow.    I’m getting sick, quite frankly, of massaging my ego.  I’m finding it a little boring.  It’s not measuring up to the sustaining nourishment I get when  submitting or obeying the will of someone who means something to me.

We have been raised to “be all that you can be”,  “you are the best” , you, you, you, you,………….I did it myself while raising kids.  Sure, positive feed back is important but if while I was doing that I spent equal time encouraging love, kindness,  obeying, and  submitting to others around my children,  I would have been a better parent.  We have spent so much time pumping up egos, that we have become an extreme egocentric culture.  Can we please, now, get over ourselves?

We really have to get real and honest about who we are to be humble, submitting and obeying.  Cause for me, I want to admit out loud for the first time,  I am not all that and more.   I am a mere breath.

I want to simmer down on myself because I want to turn up the heat on you.  The people I greatly admire are people who turn down the volume  on themselves, less visible and less important so the people around them can shine.

I want to follow Jesus’ model for living.  Not pumping myself up.  Give others encouragement, love,  and kindness.  And submitting and obeying an authority and those I love and care about.  EXACTLY THE WAY HE DID IT.  I want to be.

This weekend, I am trying a new recipe that I am excited about.  Sausage Ragout.  I will post recipe if it is a winner.  By all accounts it should be.

Sausage Ragout. Perfect fall yummy.

Have a great weekend.

God bless,

Karen

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This and That… And Other Tails.

Meet This and That, and Obie.

At the beginning of the month I followed my son  6 hours to college.  He couldn’t fit everything in his car.  Bless his little soul.   I love going to his school.  Small liberal arts college that has a wonderful, small, quiet atmosphere.  With artistic creativity oozing from its fiber.  My cup of tea.    Anytime, son.

We visited an art gallery where the owner keeps abandoned kitty’s in the back room.  I could think of worse things hangin’ in the back room.  I brought 3 home.  For the barn.  We need them as cold weather looms.  Mice.    Obie (Short for the school’s name,  Oberlin) came to live with us.  She is a scaredy cat.  Hides every time she sees you. Scared of her own shadow.  We have never had an animal like that.  You’re goin’ to have to get a life, little Obie.  You’ll get run out on a rail around here with that complex.

Little scaredy cat, Obie

And we have This and That.  They are identical black twins.  Can not tell them apart. They are as affectionate as Obie is not.   They are settling in and we love having them join the team.

This and That

Other great,  great news.  Our oldest son is getting married.  No, I am not old enough to have a son that old.  Pulease.  We are just trusting that he can handle the responsibility.   Just kidding.  He is old enough.  I am just not old enough.   His love is wonderful and I could not have picked one better for him.  We love her and look forward to a life with little Eric and Emily’s running around.   They have chosen to have the reception here at our farm.  When we bought this property I thought a wedding would be yummy here but having three boys never thought I would have the opportunity.   But yeah.  We get to do it.   We need to get busy……..

This couldn’t be our little Emily and Eric.  They haven’t matrimonied yet.   I borrowed from internet. Shhh.

Lastly, I read in a magazine for locals near Indianapolis…..I could not believe my eyes.. They were advertizing best restaurants for their burger toppers and one of them was Fermenti Artisan’s at the City Market.  IT IS A DELI THAT SPECIALIZES IN FERMENTED FOODS.    First ever I have seen this.  People are catching on, folks,  and if you want health in a jar, fermented foods is a must.   I cannot urge you enough.  If you aren’t from this area, please look in your health stores.  And just give it a try.  Please?

God bless,

Karen

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Fermentation Is The Key To Paradise

Good Morning!

I lay flat on my back with a torn disc. Very minor compared to past experiences.  I really need to leave the heavy lifting around here to someone else.   I have lots of time this morning to leisure in my thoughts.

I think I’ll go to a place that will (prayerfully) be of interest to you.  Eeek.

When my body was ailing from all the toxins from sugars and antibiotics and processed foods, the first thing my doctor taught me was to get a leg up on fermented foods.  What in the world.  Fermented foods were a popular way of preserving foods for cold months way back when in the era I should have lived.

You can ferment foods for all different effects and reasons.  You may be familiar with the process of making wine and beer and other alcohols.  A fermentation process is used to change the sugars in the grains and fruits into alcohol.

Sourdough bread goes through a fermentation process whereby the  wheat mixed with water goes sets off a breakdown of enzymes converting the so-an-so’s into something or other.   Bacteria cultures come about (I have no idea what I am saying here) and it makes the bread taste sour.    This process is done mostly for flavor purposes.  Only has minimal health benefits over regular wheat bread.  But  bottom line it taste AWESOME for all you gluten people out there.  Love, love,  love the  taste of sourdough bread.

These are not the culture processes I want to talk about today.  The fermentation foods that are power packed, probiotic filled,  life saving wonderment.  That is what I want to hit on.  The stuff saved my health.   And what started out a science experiment and dislike for the flavors, turned in to a lifeline to well-being.  My body craves the stuff when I don’t have it.

So what are they?

They are clean, preferably organic (we want cultured food not cultured chemicals)  foods that when left to their own devices produce their own good bacteria (probiotics) which when live in our bodies fight off any incoming bad bacteria to ward off illness.  Our bodies have naturally occurring good bacteria which do that.  But the stress and compromise that we subject our vessels to negate many good things in our bodies.  Also, fermented foods are pre-digested, meaning during the culturing process the food has started to break down itself so the digestion, by the time it hits your stomach, is easier.  Our bodies are asked to digest some really hard things.  Like foods with chemicals and foods with stripped nutritional value.  Our bodies simply do not know what to do with it.

If you:

eat processed foods

eat sugar

take antibiotics( they kill not only bad bacteria but ALL bacteria.  If you must be on them, take over the counter probiotics with them so you are not depleting all of your fightin’ buddies)

drink alcohol

any chemical laden foods

….you most likely have a compromised immune system, which means you are lacking good bacteria.

My dr. gave me lots of necessary steps to take but this cultured food deal was, in my mind and body, the most important.

The three cultured foods I eat religiously are:

YOGURT AND KEFIR.  Both of these are cultured milk products.  They are full of probiotics.  You can make them your self with culture starters or good yogurt.  Or you can buy from the store.  Buy ORGANIC, PLAIN  yogurt or kefir.  You are only wasting your money if you purchase fruity stuff.  The sugar and other stuff that is added makes it useless.   Add your own berries or what have you.

COCONUT KEFIR WATER.  Young coconut water store-bought.  Use a kefir starter which you can by at health food stores or online.  I buy online at http://www.bodyecologydiet.com.  You can get all culture starters there.  Buy her book while you’re at it.  Her book saved my life.  When I drink it, it turns my skin translucent.  Beautiful silky.

Coconut Water

You just add kefir starter and coconut water into glass crock with rubber gasket (they get the best seal) and sit on counter for 2 days.  It will taste effervescent.  A little champagney.  After all, it is fermented.  It is a treat!  Stocked full of yummy bacteria.

Finally and most importantly,

Cultured Veggies in glass crock

CULTURED VEGGIES!!!!!.   This is it, man.  I’m tellin’ you what.   It is like gold.  I am starting to see this stuff at my food store and it is sold for 10.99 a pint.  10.99 A PINT.   I have to buy it when I am out and it is gone in three servings.  ugh.  When I make it, I make 10 litres at a time.  And since it is naturally preserved I can take all the time I need to gobble it up.   This past   year I invested in the old german ceramic crocks that they used in the olden days to preserve their “kraut”  in the old dark cellars of yesteryear.  They come in sizes from a gallon, I think, up to 10 gallon crocks.  They are very cool.  I bought two- 10 litre crocks.  Very heavy duty.

German Ceramic Crock

I will post the Cultured Vegetable recipe on the recipe page.   I can just say that it would be very worth your while to make it.  There are many great recipes out there.  I have settled on one that I have used for 7 years that works for me.

To your health!

God bless,

Karen

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Rebellious Or Boring? Or Both?

Or maybe I am a hermit.  Or anti-social.  No, I like people.   Or counter cultural.

I think (no, I know) that I was born in the wrong century.  1880’ish is when I would have liked to have been born.  People say, oh,  no you wouldn’t, it is too hard.  Lots of work.  I know.  We’re talking to someone who just built a house and chose not to get a dish washer.  I don’t think, however, I would like to wash clothes by hand.  Can you imagine washing by hand a pair of overalls of all things?  Holy cow, how would you wring them out?   I went to visit the Biltmore Estate in North Carolina.  They invited me.   My favorite part was the basement where the servants lived and worked.  Where does that come from,  I wonder?

The reason I talk about this is we went to a professional golf tournament this weekend.  All the big guys were there. Tiger.  Phil.  Rory.  That 23 year old is no. 1 in the world.  Bubba.

My illegal photo of Bubba Watson

It surprises me that I went because I am not a sports fan in the least.  Sometimes I wish I was just so I could feel normal or a part.  But I do enjoy watching golf.  It is peaceful.  There isn’t a roaring rumble goin’ on all the time in the back ground.  It is a nice thing to watch when taking a nap.  Ah.  I texted my college son while I was there to tell him that I, his mother, was at a sporting event.  He is my artsy son who feels the same way about sports as I do.  He wanted to know where I was going to nap there. I laughed out loud.  Funny.

EVERYONE wanted to follow Tiger.  Thousands upon thousand wanted to trip over each other to get a glimpse.  That is where the question comes in.  Am I boring because I really don’t want to.  Am I rebellious because everyone wants to SO I don’t.  Am I a hermit because I would rather be in the country far far from anyone.  Where solitude is abundant.    Really,  I don’t know the answer.   Again I don’t think I am anti-social.  I very much enjoy being with others.

As everyone oohed and ahhed over their shots I kept saying to Pops,  “look at the clouds”.  What am I, a  toddler?  Can I not realize a very important event is taking place?

But LOOK AT THE CLOUDS.

I fully expected Pops to  finally say, ” If you have said clouds once you have said it a hundred times.  Enough about the clouds, will ya?  There is serious golf being played here.”     Of course, he would never say that.    The clouds Sunday and Saturday were nothing short of stunning.  And that is as simple as it goes.   Let me set on my tuffet and watch the heavens roll by.   I saw colors in the sky yesterday and last night that I have never seen.  At dusk  there was an aqua color on the horizon that was almost flourescent.   I know that these eyes have never seen that color up there before.  What God presents to me outside my door is about as exciting of a thing that I can imagine.

We witnessed a  spectacular show yesterday.  Pops was so gracious to take me.  I love him for doing so.  Oh, and the golf tournament was pretty cool too.

I may never know why I am the way I am.   Most of the time,  I feel I am on the outside looking in this world.   But in the spiritual realm,   I am right at home.  God makes it wonderful for each one of us, huh?  If we choose.

Have a super day.  Look up.   It’s beautiful up there.

God bless,

Karen

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Remedies For Candida

Can you guess where this is?

It would never occur to most of us that we have yeast over growing in our bodies.  Yeast lives with in the human body and should not cause problems but it can become invasive and wreak havoc through out our body.  This post is a follow-up from May 21st.  Please refer to the earlier post for symptoms of Candida Albicans (fungus).   Yeast produces toxic chemicals that are absorbed into the body.

Do you feel lousy but can’t get a diagnosis?  Are you tired all the time?  Frequent headaches? Depression?  Constipation?

How do we treat Candida?  Sugar is the primary nourishment for yeast.  You can imagine with the amount of sugar that we consume that yeast could very well be a problem for most of us. Some foods that contain sugar or break down into sugar are:
All sweets

Breads

Pasta

Fruit

Soft Drinks and Ades

Alcohol

The only way to get a hold of the yeast growth which can literally attack all areas of your body is to starve the yeast.

Maintaining a diet of veggies, protein and fruit that is not high in sugar (lemons, grapefruit, tart apples, berries) is the best thing.

Stay away from foods that might have mold:  vinegar, peanuts, melons, dried fruit.

Avoid coffee.  Avoid alcohol.  And any other beverage that is acidic, high in sugar, or turns to sugar in the body.

Avoid milk products (except yogurt).  They are  high in lactose.

Take probiotics by eating plain yogurt or take supplements to  fight the fungi.

Do an intestinal cleanse.

Take Vitamin B Complex.

There is a load of material online for your “enjoyment”.

Every symptom  I had (chronic fatigue, daily headaches, constipation,  abdominal issues, brain fog, sinus pain,  acne,  bouts of depression) went away after I starved the yeast.  There are  many more symptoms than those I listed.

If I follow the above recommendations 90 percent of the time, I am good to go.  And I have found it is well worth my time and energy to do so.  I have more energy than I ever have.   And I am older than I have ever been.    How bout that.

Happy eating!

I will put money on no one guessing where this is.

God bless,

Karen

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