Monday, April 28, 2014

Monday Morning Amazement

Although I will never achieve this level of fitness in yoga - and I don't have to (yoga is a practice not a competition) - I appreciate this woman's strength and form:

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Quote for the Day

"Democracy is when the people keep a government in check."

~Aung San Suu Kyi

Friday, April 25, 2014

Farm Friday

I can't resist Madonna's sweet babies!
These past few weeks I've been a bit negligent about putting up Farm Friday posts.  I plan to get better.  The following list of activities from the last couple of weeks might explain a little bit why I haven't been good about posting:

I represented our farm at a local autism expo.  Hopefully, we can connect with families who need healthy food for their children.

I'm still working on 90 Things in 90 Days.  Although I haven't been keeping count, I know I've already gotten rid of more than one item a day.  

We've been having repairs done to the farm house and our own house.  Sadly, he hall flooring in the farm house had to be replaced due to old termite damage that had turned many of the boards into sawdust.  The back deck on our house also had some rotting boards so those were replaced and, after some pressure washing, the deck looks brand new.

We went to see Charles Eisenstein speak at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.  That's our idea of a date.

I was out of town for almost a week for a long-overdue visit to see some of my family in Arkansas.  My sister, her husband, and their youngest child were able to drive up from Dallas, as well.

As a result of sitting next to a woman on a flight who said she was suffering from "just allergies," I have spent the last week surviving a very bad cold.  It hit me three days after talking to said seat mate and the worst of it began on my return flights.  I recommend avoiding flying when you have sinus congestion if at all possible.  (***A revision:  I don't mean to sound too critical of the woman; I'm sure she thought it was allergies.  And I'm guilty as well for flying while sick and I apologize to my seat mates on my return flights.)

Tomorrow we're having our annual open house on the farm so, in addition to having a bad cold, I've been getting ready for our visitors.  I'll try to take more photos this year.

Have a good weekend!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Wellness Wednesday

Here are some tips to help you live a more stress-free life:

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Animal Products in Your Life

Beware - there are animal products lurking everywhere!  If you participate in the modern world, you will at some point consume animal products, whether you want to or not.  Elephant Journal shared this infographic to raise awareness and to help those who want to avoid animal products as much as possible.

Looking at the chart, I realize I avoid a lot of the products listed because I make many of my own personal care products and make much of my food from scratch.  But I also know there are many items that I cannot get around.  It's all about doing the best you can do.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Monday Morning Amusement

Cats are not easily impressed:

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Wellness Wednesday

Although not normally discussed in polite company, here's some important info:

Monday, April 14, 2014

Friday, April 11, 2014

Farm Friday

Because I was getting ready for a craft show last week, I wasn't able to put up a "Farm Friday" post.  Today has turned out to be just as busy, so I'll be really brief.

Madonna had her kids last night - probably the two smallest kids we've ever had.  A boy and a girl:*

Have a great weekend!

*Please ignore the unfortunate goat poo in the shots.  But as they say, poo happens.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Wellness Wednesday

One way to ensure getting a balanced diet and all of the nutrients your body needs is to eat a rainbow of colors (and I'm not talking artificial colors).  Spring is here and it means many farmers' markets have opened or will be opening soon.  It's the perfect opportunity to take advantage of the bounty of fresh produce that will provide that rainbow.  

Monday, April 7, 2014

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Quote for the Day

"The concept of conservation is a far truer sign of civilization than that spoilation of a continent which we once confused with progress."
~Peter Matthiessen

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Wellness Wednesday

Squeaky endorses this message
In the past, I've shared about how my great-grandmother Estelle died from a disease caused by a nutritional deficiency - pellegra.  She died at a young age - in her 20s - leaving behind three small children who were sent to an orphanage for a time as my great-grandfather was a policeman who worked odd hours.  It was a rough childhood for my grandmother and her siblings.  The disease itself was rough on the victims, as well.  It was characterized by the three D's:  dermatitis, diarrhea, dementia, and ultimately death.  A horrible way to die.

At the time, the cause of pellegra was unknown.  There was a link between poverty and the disease and there were a number of theories as to the cause.  Many experts believed it was a contagious disease caused by poor sanitation; some thought it was due to a toxin or germ in corn.  However, ultimately it was discovered that the disease was caused by a niacin (vitamin B3) deficiency.  Little was known about micronutrients at the time and we've come a long way since then.  

Fast forward to now.  We know everything about food, nutrition, and micronutrients.  Not.  We assume that with modern science we know what we're doing with food.  We process food to the point that it no longer has nutritional value, then we add some vitamins and minerals.  We spray our food with a variety of poisons that we assume are only harmful to the weeds and bugs.  Yet, we have a variety of epidemics and new ailments to deal with.  Allergies, autoimmune diseases, cancer, and autism spectrum diseases are widespread.  And we don't know the cause of these health problems.  One of my pet peeves is the "awareness" movement (today is Autism Awareness Day).  Awareness is a point.  With 1 in 63 Americans affected by autism and most every family touched by cancer, allergies, and autoimmune disease, I don't think we need any more "awareness."  We need prevention.

I propose that maybe we don't know it all.  Maybe some combination of processed food and synthetic chemicals remove some critical micronutrients - some that might yet be undiscovered - from our food or prevent the uptake of essential elements.  If you follow scientific news, you know that scientists are making new discoveries every day.  And it has now been proven that not just one chemical but a soup of chemicals and practices is killing our bees.  However, politics has broken our food system.  Just as pellegra was a political hot potato in the South when my great-grandmother was alive - Southern politicians didn't want to admit they had a problem, especially with poverty - we also have a political situation.  The large corporations that control most of our food supply don't want their gravy train to be upset, as was evident in the attempt in California to require labeling of food containing GMOs.  Since these companies are the major source of campaign funds for both sides of the aisle (and they do contribute to both parties at the same time), studies that reveal any problem with our food system are either nonexistent or quashed by the companies at the slightest hint of a problem.  This is because the large corporations now control the studies.

We can circumvent many of the controls on our food supply and improve our health.  How?  Eat close to nature, avoid processed foods, buy organics when possible, shop at farmers' markets, and, most importantly, get to know your farmer so that you know how your food is raised.  Again, just as over 100 years ago when my great-grandmother and thousands like her suffered a painful death from a nutritional deficiency, we don't know everything about our bodies, our food, and what is required for good health.  The best thing we can do is to avoid the artificial products that pass as "food."

An Apology

Today's post is brief.  I want to offer an apology to the owners and writers of the numerous blogs that I read, enjoy, and learn from.  I have been neglecting you.  I have about 100 blogs in my reader and, right now I have over 700 unread posts.  This after I cleared my cache of almost 1000 a month or so ago.  I'm sorry - because I love blogs.  It's such a great way to expand my community and my horizons.  Living in an ultra-conservative and typically not-very-well-educated community can be very frustrating (although I'm certainly no genius), so I do appreciate how blogs on the internet allow me to expand my world.  Now that, for the time being, I have a little extra time on my hands, I plan to get better about reading - and commenting on - the blogs that I enjoy.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Changes and Challenges

Random goat photo:  Me and Sheeza, one of my favorite girls
A while back, I intimated about some upcoming changes that I wasn't ready to reveal.  Well, now I'm finally able to talk.  After much careful thought and the counsel of people whom I respect, I have stepped down from my position at Danita's Children.  It was a difficult decision but the right one at the right time.  Over a decade ago, while still living in Florida, I felt a draw towards Haiti.  I just didn't know what I could do to help.  Fast forward a few years and I visited an organization that was doing something positive in a very bleak place.  After the earthquake, I made myself available to help in any way I could.  Ultimately, I became a part of the stateside-staff, directing the missions program.  After five years of involvement, I need to move on. That said, I still plan to work in the nonprofit world.  I'm looking into my options and will take my time to find the right position within the right organization.

On another note, after having come off my "buy nothing new" challenge, I'm ready for a new one. In my next challenge, "90 Things in 90 Days," I'll be focusing on eliminating some of the clutter in my house.  While I tend to pride myself in not having a lot of excess "things" in my house, clutter happens.  At first, I plan to focus on some of the items left behind by my grown children; then I'll start in on our books.  Just those two areas should keep me busy for 90 days.  And, as I've said about past challenges, maybe this one will also set me up with new habits.