Tag Archives: healthy-living

Hen For a Best Friend?

A dear Canadian farmer friend who keeps me updated with the current events of the chicken  world  touched base today.  He and I were wannabe -chicken -farmer -dreamers years back and we both have made our dreams of chicken poop and blood orange egg yolks a reality.  His dream expanded far wider than mine and he is going to town on his farm in Canada. His dream is his livelihood.  Mine is my hobby.

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Farmer Doug

He sent me the following story of a young sailor guy who is sailing the world with a hen.   The sailor  desired an animal companion rather than a human. Gee, I wonder why.   He settled on a hen.  It is my guess you cannot imagine why in the world he would choose a chicken for a sailing mate.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-36475672

Please  open link to take a gander at his priceless photos.  Precious.

It is  my opinion that chickens get a bad rap.  They are stupid animals they say.  Well…I beg to differererer……Its all relative.    What would you expect given  their heads are the size of a cherry tomato?  Of course, we cannot compare their intellect with ours.  Is that what those people are doing?  Can we please look at the rest of their character attributes?  Intellect ain’t all there is, sista.

My chickens are gentle.  They chat with me when I enter their house. And they ALL  have a little to add to the conversation.  Personalities vary just like ours.  They know when I am coming to treat them and when I’m not coming to treat. They wait patiently for me to feed all the other animals.

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They walk quietly in single file line to their treating ground.  I could learn a thing or two from our “stupid” chickens.

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Chickens live in the moment.  They are honest about their moment.

They hoot and howl their eggs out.  These guys work HARD for your Saturday morning omelet.

They quibble and squabble away their differences.  No harm. No foul. No lasting resentments.  Unless of course there  is a weakling  lurking about.  I never said they were perfect.  Maybe that’s why the sailing guy chose only one hen to sail instead of a buddy system.

As with any being, if you love them, they can in turn love back.   If you give them room to grow, they will flourish.   If you keep the  creature locked in a cage  physically, mentally or emotionally where they can’t stand on their little legs, they can not blossom. They will lack the love and luster.

Every night after dinner, we abandoned the dirty dishes and run to  the swing to watch the chicken show.  There must be  some redeeming qualities in these little guys if we invest our evening entertainment hours in avian performances. Maybe I have the intellect problem.  Not the chickens.  I’ll have to think about that.  Or not.

They require no showers before bed time. No teeth brushing.   They march right on to their school bus (roost) at dusk  without being asked and lights out.   I do need to train them to shut lights.

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Could I go boating with one of my hens?  Oh yes.  If I liked boats.  Can I take her on a jaunt around the world in my pickup?  I’d love to.

 

Long live the hen.

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Peace,

Karen

 

 

 

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Cod Liver Oil All That Its Cracked Up To Be?

First, before I tell the cod liver tale, I want to share my new breakfast concoction that is total yummo.  Total healthy.  Plus a secret ingredient that makes it all worthwhile.

Karen’s Yogurt Supreme

Ready?

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Fresh Blueberries

A couple of tablespoons of flax

A couple of tablespoons of Chia seed

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Full Fat (always.  If the fat is from a good source, it is terrific for us.) Organic PLAIN yogurt.

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A couple of tablespoons of pumpkin seeds. Preferably soaked and dried.

A couple of tablespoons of sunflower seeds.  Preferably soaked and dried.

About 8 drops of Stevia sweetener.

And now for the secret ingredient…..

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The darkest chocolate you can find.  Less sugar.  Less processed.

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A teaspoon (or more) of grated dark chocolate.  Ooooh myyyy goodnessss.  This breakfast is good.  And thoroughly healthy.  Every last drop.

Cod Liver Oil

I was reading an article about a gal who had extreme inflammation in her mouth.  Her dentist had her on antibiotics over the course of a year and did not help her.  Someone told her to take 1 1/2 t. cod liver in the morning and at night.   Also, she was told to do “oil pulling” which is where you put gobs of oil in your mouth and “chew” it for like 15 minutes and spit it out.  I have done this before and it is not pleasant, and made me gag.  I do believe it has medicinal qualities but the buck has to stop somewhere and that is where it stops for me.

5 months ago I went into my dentist for a cleaning and told them that it sorta hurt to bite down on popcorn.  Nothing else, just popcorn.  Next thing I knew I was in the chair getting a filling and a crown right next to each other.  I don’t know what they did in that process but I left the dentist not being able to chew on my right side at all.  So, I was no longer sad about not being able to chew popcorn.  I was sad about not being able to chew anything.   I kept going back to Mr. Dentist and they ended up crowning my new filling.  I now have two little crowns side by side.  Kingy and Queeny.  Fast forward 5 months… I still cannot chew on the right side.

When I read this gal’s story, I thought, I can at least try stepping up my cod liver intake from 1/4 teaspoon a day to 1 1/2 t.  and see what happens.  What happened?  I can chew on my right side.

Moral of this story?  Cod liver oil is an excellent anti-inflammatory.  It healed my king and queen.

It is filled with Omega 3.

You’ve heard of Omega 6 and Omega 3.  They are both wonderful for us….HOWEVER…… and I say that really loud……  We get Omega 6 from lots of foods.  All the oils especially, which whether we know it or not,  we eat so much of.   Nuts, seeds, butter…..all good stuff right?   Not good if you are not balancing it with Omega 3’s.  It is necessary to keep those balanced in our bodies or we open up huge opportunities for chronic inflammation and what not.

Omega 3 foods?   Flax.  Beef.   Fish.  Walnuts.  Tofu.  Things we do not eat a ton of.  Unless you’re like me, who is racing against the clock to see if I can eat 900 lbs. of beef before it goes bad in our fridge.

Cod liver oil is a great way to supplement so you can stay balanced.   I am reaching a point in my vitamin supplement journey that if I had to give up all but one of my supplements, I would keep the cod liver oil.

Let me just say that in my research on cod liver oil…I have found most oil has been processed with heat and has synthetic vitamins added back in.  NOT GOOD. Might as well not take it.    It keeps  coming back to the same brand.  It is the best on the market.  It is the bomb.

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It is the real deal.

I may have said before, that I am bankin’ on donuts galore in heaven.  Succulent cookies falling from the sky.  Ice cream fed to me from my chaise lounge down by the river.   I get my “version” of those things every so often but not as often as I would like.  Until then, I fill in the holes with cod liver oil.  I ain’t complainin’.

God bless,

Karen

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Where’s The Beef?

The Shieling has hijacked the beef.

When Pops came home with the hijacked beef,  the scene became something out of an I Love Lucy episode.   Lucy was making a special dish and ordered a side of beef thinking  a small package was going to be delivered to her door.  She freaked when the side of beef was a mere more than a pound of hamburger.   She knew Ricky (is that is his name?) would have a fit so she stuffed it in the incinerator in the basement to hide the evidence for a while.  Hours later, they all wondered who was grilling out.   If I had had an incinerator, I may have resorted to the same thing.  There was SO much meat coming into our house, I wanted to stuff it in closets, under couches, in pillow cases.  Instead, I was on the phone with Lowes at 9:00pm ordering yet another freezer.  I  kept searching online for someone to tell me a whole cow could fit into 15 cubic ft. freezer.  As you know, if you search  hard enough,  you will find the answer you want to hear.   Bad answer.  We have an upright large freezer, and TWO chest freezers full of cow.   By the way, on the phone with Lowes at 9 pm, delivered to my barn by 9:00am the following morn.  I love my Lowes.   I love beef too.

We ordered our cow  not to be trimmed of the fat.  Oh my goodness, is it good.  Maybe that is why our freezers are busting.  Did you know beef fat is very good for you?  It’s not what we hear from all the people “in the know” but…….my sources say right farmer + raised with care  = good fat.   I am well into middle age, eat tons  of good fat, not overweight,  my cholesterol and triglycerides are better than better.  I’m going to believe my sources.  Weston Price Foundation.  Their word makes sense to me.  We keep blaming healthy food on our bad health.  Sugar?  Processed foods?  Fake food?  Over eating or drinking?  I can’t go there today.  It is a day of celebration.

We had them package the hamburger into 1 lb. packages.  We have 230 of them.  This is insane.  Do you know how big a cow liver is?

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But glory be, we have succeeded in something here.  It tastes as good as the best beef I have tasted.  We kept one whole cow at the insistence of my “shady”( but really.. sunny)  friend.  And we sold one cow to four friends.  It is wonderful (and a relief) to hear our good friend,  Dan, who is ALL about food, call every time he puts it to his lips, to express his love.  Come to think of it, he has been eatin’ some beef lately. We have been hearing from him quite often.  Oh well.  We love him.

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It still blows my mind that Pops and I have raised a cow.

We have had lots of goofs and blunders and what-have-yous since this glorious journey began.  But I can already look back upon the blood, sweat, tears, but mostly laughter,  at the going ons around here,  with so much fondness, love and gratefulness.

I am really good at run on sentences, aren’t I?   My English teachers would cringe if they knew I actually wrote something that others read.  I use commas like they are dust particles.  They must be free.

Come on down for some beef sometime.  We would love to have you join us around our table.  Bring a beef recipe when you come.  And if you can’t come, send us a recipe anyway,  please.  Have any favorites you would like to share?

God bless,

Karen

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Off On Another We-Dont-Know-What-We-Are-Doing Adventure

But these little fellers are ready and waiting.  They don’t care, they just want to participate.  IMG_4385

I wish I was childlike enough to want to participate not having any idea what the event was.  I could learn a lesson or two from my animals who trust in me to guide them without question.  I want to  do that with God, but for some reason I think I should be in the driver’s seat with the control panels.  EVERY time  I get in the back seat with my animals and let go and let God,  life is better.   And fruitful.   Not always easy.  But it sure lightens my burden a ton.

But we are off to the sugar bush.  What did I just say?  Never used those words until now, but like I said, new adventure using words I’ve never used.  We are tapping some of our maples to make Shieling Maple Syrup.  Found in a grocery near you.  Well, maybe someday.  Not in this lifetime.   Last year we went out to pick our Maples and realized it was a little difficult to do in the winter since there are no leaves on the trees for identification.  This past summer, I actually had a moment of forethought and skidaddled out there to mark the trees.

We are on track for something.

Sugaring season is about a 4-6 week period beginning in mid to late February.  From what I read and hear, we tap the trees when the temperatures reach  40’s-50 during the day and sink below freezing at night.  This is the ideal environment for the sap to run up and down the tree  getting ready for who knows what.  I will let you know when I know.   Probably getting ready to fruit and leaf out and all that wonderful stuff trees do in the Spring.  Tapping the trees is the easy part.  It took me all of an hour to tap 10 trees.

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I then hung two gallon plastic bags on to the spouts.

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And then, we wait.   I tapped the trees two days ago.  Yesterday, each bag had about 1/2 cup of sap.  The temperatures were not high enough for much activity.  We are expecting some good solid 40’s in the coming days, so we should be in business.  But who knows.  I read that when temps reach high 40’s -50’s the sap can just pour.  That would be a sight.

The hard part is gathering the sap into 5 gallon buckets to place over a wood fire outside and watching it boil down into luscious syrup.  It takes 40 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of syrup. It takes A LONG time to get there.  Days, my friend.  Days.  Someone has to be on hand to feed the fire.  My goal is to get 2 gallons of syrup.  Is that a reasonable goal with 10 trees and the time we have to stand by the fire?  I have no idea.  We’ve never done this before.  But I can tell you that little Virginia and Samdog are goin’ to be lovin’ it.   That means major time with Mom and Dad in the coming days.

The highlight of our tree tapping day was the game that the dogs (and Farmer Bob) played with an opossum.  It was the first time I have ever seen an opossum play dead.  It was alive and well then just rolled over.  At first I thought, “oh not, that opossum is not right.  Something is terribly wrong”.  But then remembered that is what they do.  Oh yeah.  I forgot.

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I hope our efforts bear wonderful fruits.  How do you keep a fire burning for days on end and get anything else done?  hmm.

God bless,

Karen

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A Lesson From Someone Who Has Been There

Take in this scenario and try to imagine your feet standing in these shoes:

You are born by two parents who have no qualms about telling you they don’t want you.  They neglect and take advantage of you by getting you drunk and high by the age of 7.  They are never there to tend to your needs at home.  They use you as a ticket to get in places they do not belong.  You develop drug and alcohol dependency by the age of 12 and enter into rehab twice by the time you are 14.

Enough?

This is the life of Drew Barrymore.  I saw an interview last night that I am still thinking about.   I have always known who she is but have not really given her a second thought.   What I know of her is that she might be a little flighty,   is nice enough and has had some hard knocks.   For those of you who do not know who she is, she became famous in the movie ET in the 80’s.

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Photo from interview

Photo from interview

Seems normal enough. huh?  Is going to court at the age of 15 to get “emancipated” from your parents normal?   The courts granted that freedom.  She no longer had to be the daughter of these people.  She always knew from day one that it was she that was going to have to care for herself.  That is tough business.

Whew.

What I am so bowled over by, is what she did with that history of abuse and neglect.   Most of us are not too different from she.  While I never was taken to Studio 54 at age 7 as a ticket to get my mom in, I was left at Glendale shopping center for 3 hours after my mom said she would pick my up.  I was 20 years old when that occurred.  She just forgot me.  Oh, and my Mom and Dad went to New York during my 10th Birthday.  Ugh.

But seriously, we  all have wounds. Wounds. Wounds.  Some of us are aware of them.  Some of us choose not to be.  But those wounds mold us if we allow them to.   It makes us who we are.   Or aren’t.

If  I allow myself to live with the wounds, then I become one, some or all of the following:  sad, lonely, self-loathing, cynical, brash, angry, fearful of many things, isolated, depressed,  self loathing,  cheated, slighted, etc.   It WILL take shape  because we have been hurt and we will protect ourselves at all costs.

If I choose to face my wounds, I can be free of all that.    How do I do that?  In most cases, mine included, it usually involves outside help.  An objective perspective.   It often takes the help of an outsider to help us even recognize the wounds.  They are sometimes so ingrained and part of our fiber that we think that it is normal.   Something is wrong if we are the things mentioned above on a regular basis.  Of course it takes heavy-duty strength to move our pride aside to admit that we are  any one  of those things.  Cynical. Who moi?  No way.  It is a process whereby we admit.  Then accept.  Then take action.

Drew Barrymore, I am sure, has had her share of outside help.  She chooses to not go that route of being emotionally tortured inside.   She chooses freedom.  YEAH.  I heartily applaud her.

She has admitted  the problem.  She accepted that problem.  Now she is  choosing not to spend her life blaming and finger-pointing and being angry.   She is taking action to choose a life rich and happy.  She just first had to come to grips and understand how she got to the place she is and then moves on to a road of freedom.

WE HAVE THE POWER.  To live life joyfully.  WE HAVE THE POWER.  To change ourselves.  NOBODY CAN MAKE US BE THE WAY WE ARE.   

We have the power.

You have the power.

Oh, and by the way, God plays a major part in healing.  Just ask Him.  In this case, He’ll say,”Yep, she’s right on this one.”

Sunny days ahead.

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God bless,

Karen

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Are We Feeding Our Chronic Ailment?

Just a  quick note on flu shots before I step into my post today.  What do you actually know about the flu shot?   I encourage you to learn what a flu shot is and does/doesn’t do  so  you can make an informed decision.   I have attached a short article about flu shots for you enjoyment.  At the very least just scan the 11 reasons.  In all matters concerning your health, be informed.

http://goodworkswellness.com/why-i-refuse-to-get-a-flu-shot/

Ok.. Hello.  About 7 years ago I realized that my chronic sinus headaches were a result of me eating wheat.  Who woulda thunk?  I think that we associate food sensitivities to gastric/digestion problems.

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Removing wheat from my diet made huge improvements in my overall well-being for a time.  The following year, I discovered that my respiratory infection symptoms were a direct result of ingesting dairy.

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 I LOVE milk and bread.

There lies the problem. 

Fast forward 7 years.  I have been sailing along pretty well and very healthy.   When I eat those two things, I am ok if I just dabble one time but if I dabble over and over in the course of  a couple of days,  the symptoms return.

This past year I have gotten on a nut butter kick.  Every morning I whip up nut butter in our coffee grinder.  I even upgraded our grinder to a sorta commercial model. I was ALL ABOUT THE NUT BUTTER.   I have been buying large quantities of raw organic nuts.  I soak them for 24 hours and then dry them in the oven for a few days.  Man, they taste 100 times better than what you get at the store.  By soaking them, you release enzyme inhibitors that otherwise would inhibit digestion and the flavor is greatly enhanced.

  I grind pecans, walnuts, almonds, etc.  and spread it everyday on an apple.  DELICIOUS.  I cannot even tell you.  It made me jump out of bed in the morning.  Christmas morning, every morning.

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About 6 months ago I started having excruciating pain in my neck, lower back, hips and knees.  If I had been sitting for any length of time it was unbearable standing up.  It was hard to turn over in bed at night.  I am positive that 90 year olds were more mobile than me.    My body had seized up.

 I recently went to the doctor to find out  how I could go from absolutely normal to almost crippled in 6 months.  It felt as if a virus or a bacteria (are those one in the same?? I have no idea) had settled into my bones and joints.

We did some blood tests.  I left the doctor’s office and when I got in my car it occurred to me that maybe it was the nuts I was eating.  So I took time off from my Christmas mornings.  Guess what?  Within 3 days, I had no symptoms.  That was a month ago and I am completely normal for an aging old hag.

A couple of things……

I read that if we find we are sensitive to a food, it is common to become sensitive to more foods as time goes.  ugh.

I am learning  that we can avoid becoming sensitive to foods if we aren’t pounding them every chance we get.  Like I do.   I think the reason so many people become sensitive to wheat/gluten is that they are eating it at every meal.  You could probably say that about dairy too.

There is something to say about the old-time people who ate what was in season, and did not, when it was not, therefore,  they were never eating any one food more than a season in the course of a year.   Huh.  Suppose that makes sense?

If you are suffering from a chronic something or other, it is very possible it is food.  Each food that I have grown sensitive to has its own cute little symptom to go with it.  And all of the symptoms would appear to have nothing to do with food.

The key is to incorporate  a large variety  of food into our  diet.  If I enjoy nut butter, enjoy it once a week not everyday.   I read that it is best to not eat any one kind of food more often than every 3 or 4 days.   ok.  I think I got it.

Please, investigate this if you are experiencing chronic symptoms.  It could be a simple answer using no chemical medicines.

Have a good Thursday.

God bless,

Karen

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We The People.

Over and over, in the past few weeks, I have either been a  part of  conversations about community or an eaves dropper of a conversation.

When I was little, in my head, I thought a community was a church basement filled with women in skirts, and children running around.  Asbestos tiled floors.  Fluorescent lighting.  I don’t see the men in my mind. I am fairly confident they were around.  A buffet displayed by the people.  Foil covered dishes filled with different homemade casseroles and delectables.

I was always on the outside looking in.  Always.  Always.  We, as a family, didn’t participate in many events like this.  In fact, I don’t remember  attending a single event with my family that included the near by community.

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I did not participate in sports when I was little or bigger.  I did not experience community there.  Maybe I was locked in a closet then, but I didn’t know they really existed.  Kickball.  I remember that.  If you are older than 50 and female….  Did you play a sport?

Anywhoooo.  I am thinkin’ community is important.  I’m guessing that community might be an integral part in the success of this whole plan.   Are we suppose to lean on, share, draw from one another?  Use each other?  Learn from each other?  Heal each other?  Have fun with each other? Come together for common causes?

For most of my life I have not understood.  It is becoming clear.  God has a serious plan and it is not just about He and I.  Even though, I would really like that.  I like my little thing I got goin’ with Him.  I forget that the people to the left and the right of me are His also.  He loves them too.  Oh I get it.  I am supposed to include them too.  Ah.  Darn.  Really?  How ’bout the guy who believes the opposite of me.  Him too, huh?  Huh.    And the gal down the way there, that looks at me like I’m nuts?  Her too?  Hmmm.

I am by nature and/or experience somewhat of a loner.   I  think it is a combination of liking solitude, and lacking  experience in community.    It never ceases to amaze me how much our little childhood experiences fiercely affect our adult lives.

So, what am I learning about community now that I am more aware of them and my part(or lack there of)?  I am learning that I want to be a part .

I am learning that the members have to be actively participating in the community using care, kindness and patience in order for it to be a healthy, vibrant group.

It is extremely easy for me to withdraw from this desire.  Because I don’t know how.   But I am trying to put my left foot in.  Next, I will put my right foot in.  Next thing you know, I’ll be shaking all about.

Then helllooooo,  Community.

Karen has arrived.

Someday.

You sure I can’t just join the community of chickens?  I love their conversation.  They make me laugh out loud.  I have to remind myself that people make me laugh too. And that I like being with them.

Chicken Community

Chicken Community

Or the doggie community?

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I can snarf around with the best of them.

I love people.  I am just afraid.

P.S.  I penned this post last night.  This morning we attended Mass in our  little church in our cute little village.  Fr. Eric, our priest, was giving his last Mass at our church as he moves on to a new parish elsewhere.  The sermon was about community.   He cried through the homily.  We all cried.  It was profoundly moving.  Our tears tasted of love, togetherness and community.

God bless,

Karen

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