Wednesday, October 28, 2015


I have been healing well.  I am feeling more and more like myself.  A few days ago, I found myself able to read again.  I don't know why I couldn't before.  I couldn't focus my eyes right or something.  Now I am feeling bored and restless when everyone leaves to go to the farm, so I know I am getting much better!

Yesterday I went to the farm with Ethan.  I milked the goats (I think they missed me.   April even let me scratch her back).  I drank several cups of fresh-from-the-goat milk.  It is supposed to have healing properties.  Old folk tradition says you have to drink it within 15 minutes of it leaving the udder - there is an "essence of the goat" that leaves it after that.  The milk does change when it cools down.  It felt like drinking a powerfully good medicine.

It wasn't a really lovely day to be out there - misty and drizzling - but it was nice to be there.  I watched the cows for awhile, and they watched me.  Chestnut is still pregnant, but her udder is filling up. Explorer looked so masculine and powerful standing watching over his cows as they were eating hay.  Every line of him was "dominant bull."  I think he has to be on top of things with all his male progeny always hanging around him and pissing him off.  I tried to refill their kelp and minerals, but Ethan didn't tell me he had left the fences on, so I got an awful electric shock stumbling over the fence. It's not a very friendly place to be sick.

We have so much yuca and sweet potatoes, but I am doing a strict, no-yeast diet after all the antibiotics I had, so I can't eat them yet.  I've been eating a lot of yogurt and pumpkin and lacto-fermented roselle soda.  When I first got home from the hospital and thought about doing the GAPS diet, I looked at the whole bin of pumpkins I have - pumpkins I didn't even plant - they all came up in the pig pen, I felt so grateful.  Like the earth knew, I was going to need all these pumpkins, even if the ones I planted didn't survive.  It was such a gift.

I should mention that this year, desperate for something different, I tried eating the yuca greens.  I had heard you can eat them, so I looked it up.  They have lots of cyanide, so you really have to cook them for a long time (like 45 minutes to an hour!).  But they turned out delicious.  They hold up well to the cooking.  I also tried sweet potato greens for the first time, and they were also really good.  They cook down like spinach, but they are much more substantial when you eat them.  I can see these two vegetables becoming late-summer favorites.  That's always when I crave anything green and leafy.

Today is our 9th anniversary.  I wish I felt better, but I am so glad I am still here to celebrate it!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Return from the Underworld

Last week I suddenly became very, very sick.  I have never been so sick before in my life.  For days it felt like I was wandering on my way to the Underworld - darkness, visions, pain, and somehow, strange and beautiful music ringing constantly in my ears.

I finally went to the hospital and had emergency, life-saving surgery (actually, I suspect I would have been ok - just not very comforable for a long time, but that is what they told me).  It was the first time I was ever in surgery where I had to have a breathing tube and be unconscious.  It was terrifying.  I almost died.  I had to bear the consequences of submitting myself to the barber-surgeons and their physical brutality....and the chemicals.  When I woke up my body stank of poison.

Some of the nurses there were very, very nice and wonderful.  Some of them were not so nice, and they did things like tied me to the bed for hours so they could leave the breathing tube in for seven hours too long (the person in the room next to me kept almost dying, so they didn't have time to take it out).

Even so, somehow, beautiful visions came to me, of rocks and sunshine, and strange and wonderful things.  They couldn't believe how fast I recovered.

I am doing better now, out of their hands, away from all the chemicals and tubes and the barber-surgeons.  I am recovering quickly.  Today I woke up and felt life in me again.  I am so glad to be here still, in this beautiful world, with the people I love.  I can't wait until I have my strength back to go to the farm and see Matilda and my goats.  Ethan showed me pictures of how much my garden has grown.  And Chestnut is due to have her calf any day now.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Nature Finds: Insect Life Autumn Jambore

Giant millipedes mating in the path.  Get a room, you guys!

A daddy-long-legs orygy?  Where are the mama-long-legs?
This little guy looks up to no good....
This past week I did a presentation on Sustainable Agriculture for my mom's college class.  Just like last time, it made me lose hope for humanity a little bit.

It's unnerving to speak in front of a lot of people, but especially if those people are asleep or staring at their phone/laptop screen.  You get the sense of not being listened to.  My mom assured me they were the most animated and interested that she had ever seen them during the lecture - so that means they usually show the interest/animation of a pet rock.

I also pissed off the Arcadian Watermelon Queen - who happened to be in the class - because I offended her with talking about how bad conventional agriculture is.  Yes, I'm sorry, it's ruining/poisoning the world.  But we can do it differently - and even grow more watermelons, and not have to apply toxic and expensive chemicals!  And the watermelons will be healthier for people and the world!  She didn't want to hear about it, and spent most of the lecture looking at her phone. 

It's funny how close-minded people are about what is so bad....and it's interesting that "conventional" agriculture is now what is "traditional," because it's all so new, and has been SO bad (and actually really, really decreased the productivity of the land).  Now it's something that's clung to, not out of good sense, or knowledge, but out of a dogmatic, stuck-in-the-mud attitude of tradition and doing what's "normal."  Maybe it's the neurological affects of pesticide exposure or something.  In any case, even though it sounds horrible, I can't help thinking - we just deserve this all, don't we?  The cancer, the birthdefects, the illnesses, death, the being robbed of our world - we're complicit in pet rocks, going about our days, staring at our phones or our screens.  Duhhhh!  The Zombie Apocalypse is here!  We are the Zombies, and if you think clearly, they try to eat your brains and turn you into one of them....

But then I think of the woman I met at the last Florida Folk Festival, whose whole family had been sickened from pesticide exposure at Lake Apopka.  Her sister had died.  Her daughter was dying.  She was dying, and using her last energy to go around and TALK to people about this.  Maybe we will wake up from our beautiful dream-land of amusing TV shows, War-filled news reports, catty Facebook posts, and stupid movies, because somehow, we are personally affected (we will be, we already are).  And maybe we won't believe the doctors and experts who tell us this is all our fault because of our genetics, and just take this expensive medicine that actually kills you, or we can cut out whatever is bothering you (unless your problem is diagnosed as "all in your head" because they can't figure it out) perhaps we will look into it ourselves...and we will find that yes, we CAN solve this problem....or is it too late?

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Roselle, Early Cassava, and Eggplants

I am feeling a little overwhelmed by the roselle this year.  Despite the serious neglect this year, there wasn't the usual mortality rate on the transplants, and we ended up with six enormous bushes.  They are all flowering at once.  I picked the whole gallon pail full off of only one side of the row.  There are two and a half gallons of roselle soda fermenting on the dining room table - exciting, because it's so good and everyone guzzles it as soon as it's ready, but I would also like to use my table again.  There are still Ethan's pickled hot peppers, two gallons of brine he made a week ago, and several pumpkins that are hogging a whtreatole half of it.  We barely can squeeze in to eat a meal together.

I am starting to harvest the cassava already.  I had previously waited until November, but I am needing to pull them early because they are shading the fall/winter garden.  I've never it grow so tall.  It really likes the compost beds and the sandy soil.  It's nearly 12 feet this year.  The roots seem more tender and better quality being pulled earlier, even the very large root was tender.

The eggplants and peppers are feeling the same way I do - they are coming back to life and flowering again.  I was surprised to find so many eggplants on them (I picked the yellow ones for seed - I don't think they would be edible at that point).  I also found several Alma paprika peppers ripe (not pictured because I ate them - unwisely, as it turned out.  I didn't realize they could get that spicy!  My face was numb for quite awhile afterwards.)

This seems to be the last of our summer garden!  Looking forward to fall greens!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Spontaneous Sack Race

A spontaneous feed-sack race was going on yesterday afternoon.  These things are surprisingly fun to play with.  There's so much you can do with it.  Stuff like this gets so many more play-miles on it than anything you can buy.

Clothilde realized you can go WAY faster if the sack goes on the other half of you.  (She caused a few accidents on account of not being able to see where she was going)

We are in our dry fall spell right now - it is bliss.  The air is cool, we have the windows open, and I feel like someone snapped their fingers and brought me out of the damp and drowsy enchantment I was under all summer.  I feel alive again.

We spent almost all weekend out at the farm - Ethan mowed the pastures and I worked in the garden.  Clothilde helped plant carrots, turnips and parsnips.  It's been needing to be done for a month now, but it was just too hot to move, or it was pouring rain when we were there.  It was so nice to be working the ground.

It's funny how it doesn't feel lonely out there - probably because of all the animals.  Twilight Sparkle had her head stuck in the fence for a couple of hours while we were there, and I didn't realize because I thought all the bleating was Night Hawk  She didn't learn from it, of course, and got her head stuck again on Monday.  She'll probably do it again today, too.

We have been talking about how hard it is to work in the summer.  The high heat, the thunderstorms, the humidity, the's brutal during those months.  But the rest of the year is dreamy and lovely.  I think we need to think of July through September like the sort of deep winter that happens up North.  We just never treat it like that.  We work extra hard instead.

This past week I've thought a lot about what happened at the Waldorf lecture, and I feel like something clicked for me somehow.  I feel like the incident was a little push in a better direction.