7 Things My Mama Told Me

Mom Joking Around

If you’re looking for eloquent words of inspiration, this may not be the post for you.  My momma was a plain spoken woman – she called things as she saw them.  As simple as these phrases might seem, they help keep me on track, and I’ve shared them with my kids, too.  I also remember her for her sense of humor.  She was a bit of a joker – like me.  :-) (Thus the photo above.) Here are 7 things my mama told me, which I also tell to my kids. [Read more...]

Homeschool Family Raided by SWAT Team for Possession of Raw Milk and Thorium Reactor

Homeschool Family Raided by SWAT Team for Possession of Raw Milk and Thorium Reactor

A Wisconsin homeschool family was held at gunpoint by a multi-agency SWAT team yesterday on suspicion of possession of raw milk and fissionable materials.

The official in charge of the raid stated that the family was first suspected of dealing in raw milk when the children were spotted out in public during school hours, sporting smiles and milk mustaches.  Upon further investigation, a cow and calf were found in their backyard.

“This is just not right,” said FDA official Mr. Imablowhard.  “After all, it’s not as if people have the right to choose the foods they eat to keep their family’s healthy.  Government experts know better than any consumer, no matter how well educated they are or how much research they have done.”

While they were conducting the raw milk raid, the SWAT team also stumbled upon the homemade thorium reactor the family had built in the basement.  The homeschool mother explained:

“Ever since my kids read on the internet about how 1 gram of thorium produces the equivalent energy of 7,500 gallons of gasoline, they’ve been obsessed with building a home reactor.  Since we live close to two nuclear plants, we were able to request some of their spent fuel for homeschooling purposes.  The boys were convinced that a sample of thorium about the size of packing peanut will provide all of our energy needs for years.  How could I say no?”

FDA official Mr. Imablowhard shrugged off the possession of fissionable material as a minor offense.  “We know the homeschooling movement has been growing in this country, and other government agencies have been working to slow that down through the use of ever more burdensome regulation, but the raw milk is what’s really dangerous here.”

The family’s root cellar, canning pantry, two freezer and refrigerator were all emptied and the contents placed in a hot warehouse, guaranteeing food spoilage and growth of pathogenic bacteria so that the family could be sued at a later date for selling unsafe food, even though they hadn’t actually sold anything to anyone.  Imablowhard stated. “You just can’t be too careful.  They might have decided to sell something to someone at some point in the future.”

Although the above story is pure spoof – this sort of thing is happening in our country right now.  A lot of you have probably heard about the Rawsome raid in California.  Maybe you haven’t heard about how the Stowers family was held at gunpoint while their food was taken?  What about Estrella Family Creamery?  And the FDA has said repeatedly that we have no right to choose what we eat.  It’s official, documented policy.  (Follow the link if you want to know more.)  Our rights are being stripped more and more each day.

The thorium bit was a hat tip to the gentleman building a nuclear reactor in his kitchen.  The thorium technology exists and is being kept from commercialization by copious amounts of government regulation and folks with a vested interest in keeping energy rates sky high.  (Completely serious on this one folks.  In my former life I was a mechanical engineer and have studied power plant technology and toured various power generation facilities.)  I firmly believe that we should be working on moving forward, not backward, when it comes to energy policy, and that new technologies such as thorium reactors and sewage based ethanol are the way to do it.  (Sorry, I don’t think solar is the answer we’re looking for, for many reasons.)  When you hear there’s no way we can produce enough power for everyone, don’t believe it.

We owe it to ourselves and future generations to do better, in terms of nutrition and energy production.  We can feed and power the world.  We can make things better.

So there you have it – my bit of Monday Madness and some food for thought for the week.  Let me know if you think I’m crazy, or if you’d like to learn more.  As always, if you enjoy the article, please pass it along.  Have a wonderful and productive week, and watch out for those SWAT teams!

This post has been added to Fight Back Friday.

How to Brew and Flavor Water Kefir

kefir brewing

Water kefir is a great way to kick the soda habit, and an easy way to get more probiotics into your diet.  My kids like it better than kombucha, because it has a milder, less acidic flavor.

I was inspired to give water kefir (kefir d’acqua) a try late last year after reading Kelly the Kitchen Kop’s post 5 Reasons Why Homemade Kefir Soda Pop Is Better Than Kombucha Tea.  I read Rebuild From Depression’s post about Fruity Kefir Cocktails, and that sounded good, too.

I ordered the water kefir kit from Cultures for Health to get started.  I debated about just getting the kefir grains, but thought that the strainer set included with the kit would be helpful.  I’m glad I purchased the kit, as I ended up eventually ordering milk kefir grains as well, and the strainers have been very handy. [Read more...]

A Day in the Slow Life

A Day in the Slow Life @ Common Sense Homesteading

Annette at Sustainable Eats (a truly inspiring woman with very interesting blog) tagged me in a meme that asks participants to share a day in their slow lives.  I have to say, from what I’ve read so far, most of the “slow life” folks have pretty busy days.

In an effort to get this posted in time for Simple Lives Thursday, I’m going to try to recollect this past Monday.  The days sometimes seem to run together.  There’s always so much I’d like to do, and then there’s what can reasonably be accomplished (at least by me, an individual who requires sleep).

6:00 am-ish – Hubby gets up to shower and head out for two hour drive to work.  Since having to take a job out of town last year, he now comes home on weekends and stays in a small condo near work during the week.  It’s been tough being apart, but for now a lot of things are still up in the air and we’re hoping to hang on to our current home (our “dream house” built on 35 acres in the country back in 2005).  I say a little prayer each day that eventually he’ll be able to find a job back in the area.

While hubby is in the shower, I gather the trash and recyclables for him to drop at the end of the driveway on his way out (we have a really long driveway), and pack some food stuffs for him to take to the condo (this week it’s homemade gluten free vanilla cookies).

6:30 – Hubby is gone.  Eat a tablespoon of coconut oil.  Put on exercise shoes and do about a half hour of aerobics followed by 15 minutes or so of stretching.

Snap and minipig
Minipig (left) and Snap

7:15 – Feed inside and outside cats.  Put away dishes left to dry from previous night.  I usually do dishes/run the dishwasher in the evening and let things air dry overnight.  Went downstairs to go out to the garden to grab some kale for breakfast (we have a walk out basement and the basement patio door is the closest one to the garden), got sidetracked cleaning up the basement.  I have an eight foot folding table down there that was covered with four types of shell beans, melons, seed heads, tomato ties, clippers…uh…well, it was a mess.  We’re talking with some homeschool friends about blowing things up down there instead, so I had to make room.  Melons to the counter (there’s a kitchenette), beans upstairs to be shelled, seed heads upstairs, tie bands to the laundry room, clippers to their storage bin, etc.  Grab a gallon bucket of walnuts from where they’re curing in the greenhouse and take them upstairs to shell, too.  Go back down and outside to finally grab the kale I’d forgotten earlier.

8:15 – Dice up kale and throw it in a pan with some organic butter and the last of the cherry tomatoes.  Usually I have tomatoes that store a little later, but I got hit with late blight at the end of the season and my remaining tomatoes did not keep as well as usual. Once the kale is tender, shove veggies to the side of the pan and throw in a small duck egg from the neighbors.  Cover and cook a few minutes for sunny side up, then dump the whole mess on a plate and add a little bruschetta for extra kick.  Boot up the computer and munch breakfast with a side of Toffee Apple kombucha (kombucha w/ apple cider and a little English Toffee liquid stevia).

8:45 – Boys awake (yes, they are night owls).  Get them some breakfast (bagel with cream cheese and coconut oil (not homemade), peanut butter and strawberry rhubarb jelly sandwich (all homemade), apple slices on the side.  Let them play a while and munch breakfast, have them sort the laundry.  Get the laundry going, pay some bills, catch up on email, do some research.

10:00 – Get the boys started on bookwork for the day.  We homeschool, but we keep a pretty relaxed schedule.  Dunc starts working on adding and subtracting decimals, August on algebra.  Hang up the laundry on the line and start the next load.  It’s a sunny day, so even though it’s cooler the laundry should be almost dry by evening.  We’ve got a porch that runs along the south side of our home and acts as an overhang for the passive solar aspect of the home, and I’ve got my laundry line right on the porch so it’s very convenient.

laundry on line

11:00am – The boys shift to handwriting, grammar, and vocabulary.  I hang up the second load of laundry, and help out as needed.  I put some milk kefir and chia seeds in the Vitamix to soak in preparation of making a green smoothie for lunch.  Start another batch of milk kefir.

Noon – Lunch time.  The boys put on a special about earthquakes to watch while they munch.  I make up some toasted cheese sandwiches and tomato soup for them (they’re not big on green smoothies, but I keep trying).  For myself, I raid the fridge and freezer – green beans, cucumbers, dried coconut, nutritional yeast, Superior Reds powder, blueberries, strawberries, banana, peach (last four all frozen) – everything goes into the Vitamix.  Turn up the power and I’ve got a smoothie.  I pair this up with a few slices of raw cheese and Nuthins, and that’s lunch.

1:00 pm – Science time.  We’re studying geology right now.  We read a section about ocean vents, and then watch some cool footage on YouTube.  I love the internet.

2:00 – The weather is nice, so we’ve got to make some progress in the garden today.  The boys work on pulling the last of the tomato trellis parts, and I work on cleaning the pathways around my center wagon wheel shaped permanent beds.  The herbs and weeds went a little nuts this year with all the rain, and the garden got rather overgrown.  The center-most herb bed is still a thicket, but at least now the paths are walkable.  We start putting down cardboard, old newspaper and bird food bags to block the weeds, covered by wheat straw.  We manage to get about half of the paths done.  The bean plants are clipped back, a few more stray dry beans are found.

This year we had Calypso, Bumblebee, Tiger Eye for dried beans, and Emerite pole beans for green beans.  I brace up the cilantro plants, hoping that more of the seeds will ripen yet this season.  We’ve had a light frost, but the plants survived.  I grab a dill weed seed head, and take that inside to save, too.  We have cabbage, kale, and Swiss chard ready to harvest.  We’ve been digging up carrots and sunchokes as we need them, but will dig up the remainder of the carrots before the ground freezes.  We eat some sunchokes, but the patch produces way more than we care to eat now.  The parsnips will stay in the ground over winter.  There’s still celery and parsley, too.  I’ll dig those up and move them into the greenhouse soon.  The green beans are still alive, and I grab about a gallon of beans to eat.

kefir brewing
Kefir brewing

5:00 pm – We head inside.  The boys crack some walnuts and grab the laundry off the line while I cook supper (and eat a tablespoon of coconut oil).  Tonight’s special is modified breakfast leftovers – tomorrow I cook “for real” again.  We’ve got diced and reheated breakfast sausage from the little meat place down the road with scrambled duck eggs from the neighbors and a side of the green beans I picked earlier.  The boys are drinking local apple cider and I’ve got some heavily fermented raspberry lemonade water kefir.  This bottle was forgotten in the basement fridge for about a month and has a heck of a head on it.  Thus far I prefer my water kefir flavored with citrus (lemon-lime, raspberry lemonade).  The boys will drink root beer flavored (I currently use extract, but did recently buy some roots to experiment with).  I want to experiment with hibiscus and other herbs, too.  That’s what winters are for.  :-)

nutcracker boys
Nutcracker boys

6:00 – Sneak in a dry brush and shower (with hot/cold rinses at the end – I’m working on detoxing).  I’ve got some lovely vanilla mint soap I made with a friend, and I use coconut oil to clean my face.  Sort laundry, do the dishes, tackle the rest of the stacked up mound of paperwork (more bill paying, balance bank statement), more email, visit with friends.  The boys like to play online games.  We are all in one room together, so I can keep tabs on what they’re up to.

9:00 pm – Head the boys off to their showers and bedtime prep.  Somewhere between 9:30 and 10, we all pile into my bed and read some history.  This week we’re covering the 1900′s, and that night was about President Roosevelt.

10 – ish – The boys head off to their beds and I get a little reading done.  I’m working my way through a new whole foods cookbook, but I’ve been a little disappointed.  Way too much soy, no soaking or sprouting of grains (although it is gluten free, which is why I bought it in the first place), no soaking their nuts to reduce phytates, and heavy use of spices (I know they’re good for you, but our palates are just not into overly spiced food).  Fat use is minimal – I like my fats, and they like me.  Lots of use of fresh fruits and veggies that are not available in my area for much of the year.  Very little fermenting – a couple of sauerkraut recipes.  Sigh.  I guess I just keep assembling recipes off the internet.  A big thanks to all my real food blogger friends who share their awesome recipes (and the problems they’ve run into :-).

10:30 or so – I use some coconut oil I keep by the bed to coat my feet and hands.  They get so dry in the cooler months.  Another goal I have for this fall is to make a couple more dry skin salves to try out.  I want to make one with burdock root (we have a TON of it around here) and one with hibiscus flowers (I found a recipe online and the flowers were on sale recently through Frontier).  Lights out.

And now I’m tagging Pamela of Seeds of Nutrition, Paula of The Chicken Coop (see, this is what you two get for chatting with me regularly on Facebook) and YOU! I’d love to read all of your “day in the slow life” posts in this Thursday’s Simple Lives. Please consider it – we all learn so much from each other.

Painting with a Living Pallet

When I was growing up, I used to spend a lot more time painting and drawing and working on arts and crafts.  Nowadays, I confess, most of my standard artsy-craftsy projects are on the back burner.  There’s just so much that has to be done, between homeschooling and homesteading, that the days seem to slip away.  I was a feeling a little down about this, until I started thinking.  I’m still being creative – now I’m just using a living pallet.

Each of those little seeds that gets stuck in the ground this spring is part of a vision of a bountiful garden.

From a rainbow of cherry tomatoes…

colored tomatoes

to the delicate sherbet-like variations of a Swan Lake melon…

swan lake melon

and a welcoming bird bath in my herb and flower bed.

birdbath and flowers

They may start out small (the boys and the plants)…

boys and plant stand

But they sure do grow quickly.

potato boys
cub with tomatoes

I’d like to raise a virtual toast to all my homesteading, homeschooling and gardening friends.  May your living pallets always be filled with joy, wonder and a bountiful harvest.

This post has been added to Fresh Bites Fridays at Real Food Whole Health.