Are You Eating Ethically?

In these days of vegan diets for ethical reasons we need to also look at the impact of eating ancient grains such as quinoa on the indigenous cultures that have traditionally grown them.

It is all well and good that people are choosing their diets for ethical reasons. That is one of the very reasons that I want to raise and grow my own food for my family. We are definitely not vegans here but there are still things that we look at to make our process more sustainable and healthy for the animals and plants that we raise. Here is where we differ from those who have to purchase their foods rather than grow them, do you really know where your food is coming from?

Most quinoa is grown in South America, specifically a little country called Bolivia that many people don’t even know where it is on a map. The amount of quinoa that is consumed in this country has dropped.  As export of this wholesome ancient grain increases the indigenous people’s consumption decreases. They can no longer afford to buy what is a staple food source. 

Then we run into the industrialization of this food product. There is now destruction of land to produce more quinoa. Haven’t those of us on the sustainable train been fighting against monocropping for years now? The destruction of the land costs biodiversity and healthy soil. Monocropping is destroying the genetic diversity of this ancient food source of the Bolivian people. It is affecting the very lives of the indigenous people.

As so often happens, western (caucasian/European) culture is appropriating someone else’s culture without thought to the long term effects. This is just one example of how you choose to eat affects other cultures. This is just one crop of many that are becoming globalized, mechanized, and industrialized. This is just one example of how corporate greed and brainwashing turns people with good intentions into the colonizers. 

The next time you go to buy that bag of ancient grains check out the company selling it to you. Are they using sustainable practices? Are their farmers getting their fair share of the profits? Are the farmers able to put their own native crop on the table to feed their family?

Suggestions on How to Create New Habits.

Contemplating life changes.

There are a lot of “experts” and “gurus” out there who are willing to sell you a way to create a new you. Really there is nothing wrong with you. Maybe you need to change some habits. Get rid of old ones that are holding you back from reaching your full potential. Add some new habits that will make your life more fulfilling. But remember there is nothing wrong with you.

It is very simple really. 

  • It takes about a month to create new muscle memory. Treat that beautiful gray matter of yours like a muscle.
  • Start with one small thing you want to change.
  • Map out the steps you need to take and set a date. 
    • Make a list.
    • Set a short term goal.
    • Keep your steps simple.
    • Write down the benefits you will get from the change
    • Use the scientific method to make a plan.
      • No failures, just different outcomes.
      • Science experiments are fun.
  • Set up reminders and self affirmations to cheer yourself on.
  • You are going to fall off the wagon so to speak. It’s ok don’t be hard on yourself. You didn’t learn to ride a bicycle in one day, you fell you got up and did it again. 
  • Find someone to do it with you or at least someone to be your cheerleader. A buddy is great for accountability but that cheerleader over there will keep you honest as well.
  • Interrupt negative thoughts before they discourage you.
    • Some ways to get rid of negative thoughts are to:
      • Set aside time to think about them and then let them go. Follow with a positive affirmation.
      • Write them down and then throw them away
      • Reframe your situation to move away from what is triggering the negative thoughts.
      • Start your morning with meditation that helps you to feel positive energy.
Image from Carnegie Hall Facebook Page.

On average it  takes 30 days to remove an old habit and replace it with a new one. That does not mean that you will be successful on your first try but you will be closer than you were. I don’t know where he got it from but my maternal grandfather used to “The only way to get to Carnegie Hall was to practice, practice, practice.” For those of you who don’t know, Carnegie Hall is a concert hall in NYC, only the best of the best are ever offered an opportunity to perform there. 

Glazed Carrots

Nothing complicated for this candy like vegetable side.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ lbs carrots sliced ½ inch thick
  • ¼ cup butter
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley

Directions:

  1. Place carrots in a large pan and add 2 cups of water. 
  2. Bring to a boil and then allow to simmer for 10 minutes or until carrots are tender.
  3. Drain any excess water.
  4. Add remaining ingredients, except for parsley to the pan and stir to coat the carrots.
  5. Cook for 5 minutes on medium high heat. Stirring occasionally until a syrup like sauce has formed. 
  6. Top with parsley and serve.

 

Garden House Plans

Learn how I am going to revolutionize year round growing both sustainably and effectively.

What I wish it could look like.

Garden House

I don’t want my garden house to be confused with a traditional greenhouse. It is totally not my intention to create something traditional but something unique. The garden house will allow me to grow produce year round, have a sacred space to escape to, and allow me to work to build my well care center and apothecary. 750 square feet of peace and beauty. My new personal definition of a garden house is a small building that contains a garden and work space that is sustainable and earth friendly.

Design

The foundation of the building will be 25’x30’, hence 750 square feet. The location will have to be excavated a little bit to allow for more even ground. The next step will be to frame the house. The base of the walls and the window and door frames will be made from wood. The roof structure will be a combination of wood and pvc pipe. Windows will be glass and window screen as will the door. Early on in development it will look like a greenhouse but as time goes by it will look more like a cottage on the edge of the woods.

Front of the garden house.

The exterior will be surrounded by perennial garden beds for those edibles that require cold stratification in order to grow. To the rear there will be at least one honey beehive that will have an entrance to the inside of the garden house as well as the world at large. Decor of wind chimes, hanging baskets, bird bath, etc. will be included in each garden bed. This is not going to be a small undertaking.

The interior will have two 10×10 rooms to the back of the building. One will be a sitting room/meditation space. A calming, peaceful place to meet with clients to consult with them regarding their well care. Well care you ask? That is another conversation entirely. The sitting room will also be used as an officeThe other room will be a work room with a potting bench, space for drying/curing herbs and spices, creating tinctures, oils, lotions, etc. The space between the two rooms will house tools, worm compost bins, and other maintenance/service machinery and equipment. The will be praying mantis houses for raising these beneficial insects and butterfly houses as well. Hatch, raise, and release for the butterflies to help with dwindling population. 

Side view of garden house.

The flooring will be done with a garden fabric base, a layer of sand and pea sized gravel topped with paving stones to make a smooth surface that also allows for water drainage. A smooth surface is important so that people with mobility issues can still come and enjoy. The two rooms will be screened off to give a feeling of privacy. Other structures will include 2’x3’x1.5’ raised beds, as well as vertical growing boxes. All style growing beds will be set on risers to eliminate as much bending and twisting as possible. Again, this is to make it possible for people with mobility issues to enjoy the benefits of gardening. 

Water and power needs will be via sustainable methods. Having paid attention to the weather patterns of the last two or three years we seem to get quite a bit of rain, usually at the most inopportune times. So there will be a water catchment system developed, along with a filtration system so that I do not need to tap into our well. I will also be using a very basic solar set up to bring power to the garden house.

Interior layout

The Purpose

The purpose or the combined mission and vision of the garden house is more complicated than just growing food and herbs for my family. I want it to be my office, work space, clinic, apothecary, and education center for my family and my community. I do foresee some expansions in years to come as our society changes and more people are in need of services currently not readily available. 

I will be raising funds for this venture through several different methods. One is simply from current employment. Another is through sales of Herbal Academy goods and services. The sale of Cinderite organic soil amendment. And Paypal donations. 

That is it for today folks.

A Real Update

Farm life can ruff.

So much has happened since my last post. I started a new job and I an learning to be a dialysis nurse. I have had a heart attack and triple bypass, and a few other health mishaps we shall call them. But I am still here, kicking and finally getting the farm, though only as a supervisor because of a health mishap, fully underway.

Going in the right direction.

Our current projects include modifying the new barn to accommodate the chickens and goats. Getting fencing up around the new field. Which includes a pond for our silly ducks. And getting our garden beds prepared. We also have seed starts in the greenhouse.

It’s a hen party.

For those of you that get our not so monthly, monthly newsletter, or on one of our customer emails may have seen that after last year’s abysmal garden we decided not to do a CSA program. We keep tossing it around, especially of late. What we will do is send out an email when we have a surplus of produce. The same with eggs. I will be setting up forms on our Contact page so that you can let us know which list you would like to be on.

I will attempt to post more often and get the newsletter out in a more timely fashion.

Tammy ~SSM~

Creating a Culture of Change

I am not looking to change a business, society, etc. I am looking to change the way I live personally. That includes how I eat, think, buy and sell. Do I hope that others will join me? Of course, but this is really about my personal journey to live a quiet, peaceful life.

What do I want to change?

A lot of things I would love to change about myself. I want my body to be about 15 years younger. I want my brain to not feel quite so bogged down. I want my spirit to be lighter. I want the energy I used to have. This where I started this new part of my journey. I made a list of what I wanted to see happen in my life. The question really has become how do I make these changes more than just what I want to do.

I am a list person, including putting my goals down on paper. So I have set out to make these changes happen by creating a culture in my home that accepts change. There is no reason to keep doing the same things over and over again and expecting different results. So I made of lists of who, what, when, where, and how I want those changes to happen.

Where do I begin?

I began with searching for a job that would bring me closer to home. It has been a drawn out search but a friend stepped in and helped me find what appears to be a perfect match. We will see, honeymoon phase begins in that but I have a feeling becoming a dialysis nurse is what I have been looking for.

I also I have had to step back and look at things that stress me. Finances is a big one. So how do I change from spending and living pay check to pay check. I have to look at expenses that can be cut. Look at the items I buy and become more conscientious about whether or not I really need them. This includes chickens and ducks, I really need to do a 12 step program of some sort.

Another big stressor for me is clutter and disorganization. For so long I have lived in organized chaos. The chaos has to go. This goes with every part of my daily life. I need to find a system that works for me. Including getting my children on board with how things need to be done to create a peaceful household. I am not talking about the energy that kids bring into a home. I love that actually but I cannot enjoy it when things are helter skelter.

Making a plan

I am making a map of my life. I am taking all of the lists I have made and setting goals. These goals include health changes, organizing time, organizing my home, and organizing my finances.

Health goals include keeping my diabetes under control. Working on rebuilding my health and energy through meditation, yoga, and exercise. They also include gardening and creating a landscape that is productive.

Organizing goals are a little more difficult. I am great at making a plan but sticking to it can be hard. So instead of making big huge changes in how things will get done I am making mini goals that are easy to accomplish and will make a more permanent change in the life I live.

Finances are undergoing a change as well. I should be able to live off of the money I earn at work. It is a matter of getting other spending under control. This is going to be one of the biggest challenges on board for me.

Changing with the seasons

Maybe it is the influence of the changing of the seasons. I have always felt a draw to the sun, moon, earth, and stars. We are heading into autumn. My goals seem to be following the path of the seasons as I create this culture of change in my life. As the Earth changes with the passing of seasons so must we.

 

Calendula Flowers

Common Name

Standardized: calendula
Other: marigold, pot marigold

Latin name

Calendula officinalis L.
Plant Family: 
Asteraceae

Overview

Calendula is a well-known herb and garden plant that has been used topically, ceremonially, and as a dye. It is also used as a companion plant in many vegetable gardens. This is an edible flower used in teas, tinctures, and various other recipes. Used in home crafted skin care products it helps with dry skin.

Flower Background

This is a self sowing, annual that will come back year after year once you establish it in your garden. It is a member of the Asteraceae family and produces a daisy-like flower with orange or yellow petals and pale green leaves. Though it can now be found through out the world it was originally native to Europe, the Mediterranean, and Middle East.

Cultivation and Harvesting

There is no need to start this plant in a green house it has simple requirements and does well as part of a garden or a pot. Simple spread the seeds or mix with other wildflower seeds and cover lightly with soil. They require full sun and well draining soil. They bloom from early summer and until early fall. Mid summer is the best time for harvesting flower to dry. The middle of the day when the resins are high and the dew has evaporated, clip the flowers just below their base. Place them on a screen to dry, avoid high temperatures and direct sunlight when drying to keep the bright colors.

Common Uses

  • Dried
    • Teas
    • Tinctures
    • Infused Oil
    • Skin Care
  • Fresh
    • Salads and other dishes (was once known as the poor mans saffron)
    • Teas
    • Tinctures

Medicinal Uses:

  • Anti-inflammatory to skin and mucosa
  • Lymphagogue (moves lymph)
  • Vulnerary (promotes healing of damaged tissue)
  • Anti-fungal
  • Anti-bacterial
  • Emmenagogue (stimulates menstrual flow)
  • Cholagogue (stimulates bile)

Indications:

  • Gastrointestinal: Purported to help with gastrointestinal disorders and discomfort. Use as a tea.
  • Lymphatic: Used for various infections of the respiratory system and localized infections. Also used to boost immunity by stimulating the lymphatic system. Use as a tea or topical salve.
  • Gums and mouth: Make a tea to gargle with for sore throats, periodontal disease, inflamed gums.
  • Emmenagogue: May help to stimulate menstrual flow.
  • Topical applications: rashes, stings, wounds, burns, sunburns, abrasions, swellings, eczema, acne, surgical wounds, scrapes, chicken pox, cold sores.

Disclaimer:

If you have a known allergy to other members of the Asteraceae family such as feverfew, chamomile, or Echinacea species be cautious when using calendula.

Always consult with a qualified healthcare practioner before using herbal products. If you are pregnant, nursing or have medical conditions and are on prescribed medications this is essential.

This information is for educational purposes only not to be used to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease. None of this information has been evaluated by the FDA.

Herbal Remedies or Modern Medicine?

As you know I am a registered nurse. I also am a diabetic with a strong family history of cardiac disease. Luckily so far I do not have any signs of cardiac disease. Though my risks are increased due to diabetes. There is a lot of information out on the web regarding health decisions. Personally I believe that holistic medicine and modern medicine can work well together. My personal goal is to eventually obtain my nurse practitioner and continue my herbal studies.

Health Education

I truly believe that in order to maintain or even obtain good health requires education. Maybe that is because of the nursing model of education which focuses on the entire person, their socioeconomic status, education status, family dynamics. The medical model has become very specialized, there are no longer general practitioners. Specialists are necessary for care of specific diseases and illnesses. There are so many factors, though, that need to be assessed as part of a person’s general well being.

Good health begins with knowing your body, good nutrition, and healthy activity. In order to make good decisions you need to educate yourself on all your options. Some illnesses are caused by a genetic predisposition, such as my diabetes, there is a strong family history of that as well. Some conditions are due to environmental causes, work, play, etc. Knowing how to support and maintain a healthy body also requires knowledge of how the world affects your body.

Where to get information

You can most definitely support a health body with good nutrition, herbal support, vitamins, etc. There are even many illnesses that are easily treated without modern medicine, usually with supportive care. Educate yourself on holistic care and modern medicine. One thing I often tell my patients is that their healthcare provider works for them. If they are not willing to be your partner in your health then fire them.

When choosing what is right for you educate yourself on the benefits. Avoid self diagnosing your condition. The internet is a wealth of knowledge but so are books and practitioners. I will caution on using the internet as a sole source of knowledge. There are many less than reputable sources. Companies willing to sell anything without proper knowledge.

Holistic vs Modern Medicine

Both holistic medicine and modern medicine have their place in our health. They can be used together. I know some of the biggest concerns about modern medicine is the influence of Big Pharma and side effects of medications. Well natural remedies have the same/similar issues. Any medication or treatment does. When soliciting advice do research on the person/people you are asking. It is not rude to ask them how they came into their knowledge. Also, keep in mind that just like modern pharmaceuticals have contraindications based on health conditions and other medications so does natural medicine. Educate yourself on what works best for you. There is never a one size fits all health program.

Venison Tenderloin

Bambi

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs venison tenderloins
  • 1/2 lb bacon
  • 3 cups dark brown sugar
  • 2 cups soy sauce

Directions:

  1. Mix brown Sugar and Soy sauce together in a bowl. They should combine nicely into a soupy soy liquid.
  2. Put Deer Loin in a cooking tray and pour Brown Sugar/Soy Sauce mixture over loin. Roll tenderloin over in mixture, completely covering it.
  3. Let meat marinate in mixture at least 3 hours or overnight in fridge. 
  4. Remove loin from tray and place on a bake sheet. Save the marinade.
  5. Wrap a piece of bacon around the very end of the tenderloin, securing the bacon strip with a toothpick. Repeat this process until the entire loin is wrapped in ten or so bacon “loops.” 
  6. Drizzle remaining marinade over deer loin. You can continue to baste the loin with the marinade throughout the cooking process with either a brush or a turkey baster.
  7. Place on center rack in oven and bake at 350°F for 30-40 minutes.
  8. Remove from oven and place on cutting board. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before slicing. 

Check Your Local Code Before You Get Urban Chickens

IMG_1197Looking to keep poultry in town? Here is an example of our local code that says yes, we can keep chickens within certain limits, such as keep your chicken house clean. It even says that pygmy goats would be permitted as pets. So are you allowed to milk pets to keep them healthy? Hhmmm…something my urban and town living friends need to look at. I just wish we could do it in our apartment complex!

While most of us would like to do what we want but when you live in town or a city it doesn’t hurt to check out the local codes. Avoid becoming a news item because someone who doesn’t like gardening and such turns you in, become a news item for doing it according to code or working to change code so that everyone can enjoy gardens and such.