Saturday, December 7, 2013

Girl Talk

Ok, time for the men to step out a bit if they're squeamish about lady things.


Coast clear?

Ok, so PMS...  During the years I suffered from fibromyalgia, I always had trouble remembering if the P was for Pre or Post, because I never seemed to get PMS.  I just felt worse than that all the time.  Now that my health is improving, I notice.  My major symptom is emotional, I get anxious, and as a result find it very hard to concentrate on difficult tasks (AKA the stuff I'm paid to do every day.)  I think I may have a minor magnesium deficiency.  

Wikipedia on the symptoms of Magnesium Deficiency: "Symptoms of magnesium deficiency include: hyperexcitability, dizziness, muscle cramps, muscle weakness and fatigue."

Boy, that sounds familiar.  That pretty much described me to a T during the fibromyalgia years.  I'm getting better on most of those fronts, weakness takes time to work out, and I'm not sure I'll ever know how to change the emotional patterns I have when encountered with a surprise.  

Wikipedia on biological roles of Magnesium: "The symptoms of people with fibromyalgia, migraines, and premenstrual syndrome are less severe, and magnesium can shorten the length of the migraine symptoms."

Hrm...  Fibromyalgia...

Studies show that oral Magnesium helps PMS symptoms:

So what am I doing about it?  First, I have a supply of calcium, magnesium and zinc pills.  I'm supposed to take them three times a day all the time, as my lady doctor is concerned about calcium levels (based on my gender and statistics, not any testing) but I've never managed to make a habit of it.  During PMS though, when I start to feel anxious, I do remember them.  I'm not really sure if they help in the short term, I'm going to try to take them more regularly.  Secondly, I eat dark chocolate.  Yes, it's a stereotype, but Chocolate is a good source of Magnesium, and I accept it as wisdom of the generations of women before me.  I'm not a huge chocolate fan, but I'm definitely more interested during PMS than other times.  I don't know if my increased interest is really strong enough to call it craving, but between episodes I can leave good chocolate in my cupboard untouched and not care, and suddenly remember it and consider it a worthy snack during PMS.  Thirdly, I'm eating more fruit during this time.  The carbohydrates help elevate Serotonin levels, and fruit has a lot of micro-nutrients in it, unlike the potato, rice, grain carb alternatives.

Friday, November 22, 2013

My Cup Of Tea

The best flavored beverage for me is tea.  And not some sort of iced tea mix, just real plant parts steeped in water.  No sugar, just flavor, water, some antioxidants, caffeine sometimes.  (The health benefits/costs of caffeine are frequently debated since it is America's favorite drug.  I try not to make a daily habit of it, but it sure is helpful if I've had a short night or I have to prop my eyelids open long enough to get through a long procedural document.)

I'm a bit snooty about my teas.  I'd like the whole experience to be pleasant, not just getting my caffeine hit as quickly and cheaply as I can.  I find the better quality teas are all loose leaf teas.

I don't normally recommend products, but I'm in the mood today.

First of all, I recommend Upton Tea for caffeinated teas.  I've not been real impressed with the herbal selections, but every green tea I've tried has been of good quality.  My absolute favorite is Jasmine Pearls.  I was initially spoiled by a gift to my mother and now I can't go back to ordinary tea.
Jasmine Pearls
It is quite pricey, I recommend you try a variety of Upton's 15g sample packets before you spend a lot of money on tea you may not like.  If you are a daily drinker this may be a bit steeply priced.  I have it as an occasional treat so I justify it to myself.

For a long time I used a normal tea ball for brewing my tea, but somehow it got misplaced during the move.  I picked up a new one at the local grocery store, and it was a complete piece of junk.  So with my next Upton tea order, I looked at their infuser options, and settled on a Finum Brewing Basket.

Finum Brewing Basket
The mug that you can get with it is just a small clear mug that has no integration features with the basket.  Just get the basket and use with your favorite mug.  It even fits in my tapered mug that's a little narrow at the bottom.  It could get lost in an extra wide mug, the handles are designed to sit on the mug rim.  The basket has lots of room for the leaves to move around and open up, it's easy to remove, the lid serves as a good drip tray, and it's easy to dump out the used leaves.  I highly recommend it.

I'm still considering my options for herbal teas.  I'd like to move to a loose leaf tea, but I've not been fond of Upton's offerings I've tried.  (All the bags, tags, individual wraps are wasteful and don't brew as well as the basket.)  Maybe I could order plain hibiscus from Upton and blend in my own fruit/spice flavorings.

I'm currently drinking Twinings Orange & Cinnamon Spice.  It's a nice warm-up when I come in from the cold in the morning and don't need caffeine.  If I'm really cold I will spike it with a little honey to get the internal furnace going.

So that's my cup of tea, what's yours?

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Picking a Breakfast Sausage

I saw these two products on the shelf, but the serving sizes were way too different to do the math in my head to intelligently pick one.

Serving Size (g)Fat (g)Carbs (g)Protien (g)%Fat CaloriesKetogenic Ratio
Bob Evans Precooked Link Sausage451001069.23%200%
Jimmy Dean Precooked Link Sausage68242983.08%268%

Next Time I'll pick Jimmy Dean.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Bean Feast

ProductServingsFat grams per servingProtein grams per servingCarb grams per serving
Refried Beans24716

Total Calories712
% fat Calories51%
Ketogenic ratio70%
At home this dish is served with fried onions, peppers, ground beef, and sour cream, but when cooking at your desk one must simplify.  Higher carb than my average lunch, but sometimes you just crave a little comfort food but you don't want to totally jump off the bandwagon and buy a sub sandwich.

Refried bean selection is tricky, but if you look carefully you can find a brand made with lard.  Look first at "Authentic" brands and not "Fat Free" or "Vegetarian" varieties.

Salsa doesn't traditionally have fat or sugar in it, so most brands are seed oil free , corn sugar free, and grain free.

I have to be careful with my shredded cheese selection because I'm allergic to one of the common preservatives, but most folks won't have a problem with any of the traditional cheeses.  Beware of "taco cheese" and other convenience blends that may have vegetable oil in it.

I have to admit, I further blew my Kotogenic ratio on this one by having orange juice with it, tanking at 41% ketogenic.  Hopefully I can stay away from the other fruits I bought for a couple hours until I'm done metabolizing the lunch carbs.  (Sometimes you just get in a mood for fruit/veg that are high carb.)

Assembly: Half a can of beans, 1/3 a jar of salsa, half a bag of cheese into a bowl, stir, microwave.

Serving Suggestions: 
  • Eat with a spoon.  
  • I've tried serving on tortillas, but the store tortillas don't have the sturdy scooping capacity of homemade ones.  
  • Chips would be nice, but I've not found any seed oil free chips in the store, and the attempt to bake some with olive oil in the company toaster oven was a dismal disappointment.
The bonus with this one is that you have enough ingredients to do it again tomorrow.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

A Real Sneeze

For years, I've been known for my ineffective sneezes.  They have been called "cute", "tiny", "kitten sneezes".  My husband was convinced he could teach me how to sneeze "properly".  But even when I tried to go with the sneeze, the best I could manage was a heavy breath along with the sneeze, which didn't really clear anything up.

Seemingly unrelated...  I've had issue with my rear molars for years.  I have a small mouth, and orthodontic work pushed the molars back further than they were meant to be, and I was always getting cavities in them.  One was removed because it was in too rough of a shape to save, and that quadrant of my jaw felt an incredible release of pressure that I lived with in the other three quadrants of my mouth.  Next time the other molar needed filling, I asked the dentist to pull it, and he assured me it could be saved and should be saved and did the drill/fill routine instead.

Recently, that tooth started hurting real badly.  I'd just moved and had not picked a new dentist yet, and was driven into a nearby office.  Between the delays of getting my records copied over, and the dentist being out of town for two days, I couldn't wait for an appointment and went to the emergency dentist in town.  They also refused to pull my tooth, and instead drilled out my old fillings, drilled out some decay forming under the filling, and put in a temporary patch, recommending I have my regular dentist put a crown on it.  It was still sore, but nothing like the pain that was making me sweat while on multiple pain killers.

I finally got in to see my new dentist.  Dr. Dupre was wonderful.  We had a consultation, and agreed to give the tooth a few weeks to heal from the emergency work before making a decision.  After the healing period I got a cleaning, exam, x-rays, the works, and had a chat about the situation, and he referred me to an excellent surgeon to remove the tooth.  The specialist was quick, efficient, and as painless as possible.  (The needle itself hurts, not the procedure.)

The day after my procedure, I sneezed.  Not a "kitten sneeze," but a real sneeze.  This felt very strange to me.  For a week I had real sneezing, I was slightly worried about the possibility of this being the beginning of some strange side effect and went back for a follow up check.  The dentist examined my socket and tested my sinus integrity and declared all to be well.  His suggested that I may have had a cracked tooth jutting up into my sinuses causing perpetual irritation and sinus infection.  If that's so, I've had that cracked tooth for years.

So the take-aways?  One, listen to your instincts, insist on the medical care you need unless you can find a doctor that can give you a good reason why you're wrong.  Two, this may be an alternate explanation to the amalgam filling theory of fibromyalgia.   Some people have gotten fibromyalgia relief from having teeth pulled, and attribute it to the mercury in the fillings, but they may have had cracks under those fillings causing infection in sinus or bone that was a constant source of inflammation.

It's allergy season for me, I'm struggling with the same runny nose and post nasal drip issues I have every year, but the sinus congestion is totally gone.  I can breathe out of both nostrils most of the time, and when I sneeze it seems to actually clear things out.  I'm grateful for my new sneeze.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Boursin Stuffed Peppers

Mini Sweet Peppers

ProductServingsFat grams per servingProtein grams per servingCarb grams per serving
Total Calories546
% fat Calories79%
Ketogenic ratio167%

Use pocket knife to cut off the top of the pepper and remove the seeds.  Use a disposable knife to stuff the peppers (unless you have time to clean your good knife.)  Easy-peasy.

This meal defeated me.  I only ate 4/5 servings, and I wasn't on any kind of time constraint that day.  It is time consuming, I recommend keeping this by to snack on in the moments that you are sitting back to think about your work rather than trying to cram it into a half hour lunch.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Mozzarella-Tomato Salad

This is my absolute favorite.  There will be no assembled pictures, at lunch I gobble it down as soon as it's made.  In larger batches at parties I tend to let it mellow a few hours or overnight before serving.  If you let it mellow too long, the moisture in the bottom gets milky, which is not as good as straight seasoned oil.

Rough chop one tomato.
Sprinkle with salt and oregano (yes, I keep salt and oregano in my desk at work)
Tear up one small ball of fresh mozzarella cheese.
Pour on 1 tablespoon of olive oil (yes, I keep olive oil in my desk at work)
Stir.  Eat.

For variety you can put other spice mixes in, I like McCormic Perfect Pinch Tuscan Rosemary and Sun-dried Tomato.  Experiment with the salt, a little less than too much really brings out the flavor of the cheese.

ProductServingsFat grams per servingProtein grams per servingCarb grams per serving
Fresh Mozerella8550
Plum Tomato2.870.120.552.41
Olive Oil11400
Total Calories683
% fat Calories72%
Ketogenic ratio187%

How Dark is your Chocolate?

Lindt Excellence 70% Cocoa

ProductServingsFat grams per servingProtein grams per servingCarb grams per serving
85% dark Chocolate118515
Total Calories242*
% fat Calories66.94%
Ketogenic ratio93.91%
ProductServingsFat grams per servingProtein grams per servingCarb grams per serving
70% dark Chocolate119317
Total Calories251*
% fat Calories68.13%
Ketogenic ratio89.53%
*Note, servings are small enough for rounding to be an issue.  The manufacturer claims slightly different calorie counts.

Here's a very interesting one to me.  My friends always talk about how the darker the chocolate is, the better it is for you, but then I was surprised by this little tidbit that 70% dark has more fat than 85% dark.  I realized that cocoa solids have more protein than fat, and the chocolate is bitter enough at 70%, they're going to try to cut fat more than sugar as they push the percentage higher.  I had to sit down and do the math on this one.  Turns out my friends are not far off.  70% has a higher percentage of calories from fat, but since protein is less ketogenic than carbohydrates, the 85% is still a higher ketogenic ratio.  If you were treating epilepsy you might want to melt this down and mix in some clarified butter, but for the average sugar intolerant person I think both choices are good.  For now I'm sticking to the 70%, no point in having chocolate at all unless you enjoy it.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Just Cheese

Sometimes simplest is best

ProductServingsFat grams per servingProtein grams per servingCarb grams per serving
Fresh Mozzarella8650

Total Calories592
% fat Calories72.97%
Ketogenic ratio220.00%

Mozzarella and Prosciutto Roll

No prep needed, but I like to slice it and add a bit of salt and spice...  You'll find this with pre-made appetizers, or near fresh mozzarella.

ProductServingsFat grams per servingProtein grams per servingCarb grams per serving
Mozzarella roll with prosciutto415183

Total Calories876
% fat Calories61.64%
Ketogenic ratio145.78%

Monday, August 5, 2013

Deli and Fruit

This was actually a breakfast...

From the local grocery store.  (The fancy chain, but a less fancy location.)
1/4 lb of deli roast beef
1/4 lb of deli provolone
1 tangerine
1 bottle of vitamin D milk.

$6.69, comparable to fast food in my area.

I was a bit surprised that they have recently changed the labeling on the milk.  It used to prominently say Vitamin D Milk, and the term "Whole" was in fine print, and the percentage had to be calculated from the nutrition label.  Now they feature the word "Whole" and say "Vitamin D" and "3.25% milkfat" in finer print.  I call this one a minor victory for the high fat diet.

Oranges are not part of my normal low-sugar diet, but I had a hankering today.

I'm not awake before 10 AM, so breakfast was very simply prepared.

Ok, down to the nutrition.

Milk, 2 legal servings times 70 fat calories, 32 Protein calories and 48 carb calories
Seasoned Roast Beef, 2 legal servings times 20 fat calories, 40 protein calories, 0 carb calories
Provolone 4 legal servings times 70 fat calories, 20 protein calories, 0 carb calories
Tangerine: We'll call that one a large, 3 fat calories, 4 protein calories, 64 carb calories

851 Calories
54% fat calories

For my size, weight maintenance is 2100 calories a day, this meal is more than 1/3 of that requirement.  It did feel like a lot of food.  I have been lately eating heavy breakfast and lunch with light suppers, so it is only a little bit over.  I was surprised that the bottle of milk's carbs were on the same order of magnitude as the tangerine's, but it still had a more favorable ratio than the tangerine.

A third of a pound of meat and cheese with only water would have been more ideal:
640 calories
67% fat

Next time I'm going to present the nutrition more compactly and get you a ketogenic ratio...

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Paleo Lunch

I generally find the trend of blogging about your meals rather droll, but I was struggling for a bit about what to do for quick cheap paleo lunches during the work day, so I'm going to start recording some of the solutions I've found.

Here's some generic tips:

Tip#1 Eat at a grocery store.
I have two grocery store choices for lunch, one grocery store is within walking distance of work, the other is further away, but fancier and has a food bar and sit-down dining space.  Grocery stores generally have a plentiful supply of things you can eat, it's just a matter of how to select reasonable portions and assemble them quickly without a lot of tools.

Tip#2 Have minimal prep materials handy.
I carry in my purse a pocket knife for cutting into packages and ingredients that were not sold as convenience foods.  At the food bar place I can get an empty food container, plastic spoons, salt packets, and other little touches.  In my cube at work I have a small cutting board, a table setting, some salt, oregano, and olive oil.

Tip#3 Eat at an unusual time.
If you want 1/4 lb of quality cheese, you may have to go to the deli counter, and that may be a bit of a time hog at rush hour.

Tip#4 Spend like you're eating out, not like you're grocery shopping.
You might shy away from $8/lb foods for making dinner, but if you're spending $8 on a fast food meal, you can surely spend $4 on a half a pound of quality ingredients for lunch.  Your budget may limit variety, but don't let your budget steer you into buying stereotypical lunch foods.

Tip#5 Drink some of your calories.
Most stores have single serve bottles of Vitamin D milk and juice.  Personally juice has too much sugar for me, but a bit of milk polishes off small meals nicely.  Even if you're stuck at a fast food restaurant, milk is often on the menu.

Obviously you can do lunch better and cheaper if you just make your lunch at home, but sometimes it is more convenient or social to go out for lunch, and it's nice to have some options when that comes up.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

A Race Between a One-legged Man and a Grandmother

"If you change anything in the average American diet you’re going to improve it. Improving the American diet is not a trick. It’s like a race between a one-legged man and a grandmother. Who cares who wins that?"

Pain Killers - Haying

We all know them and love them, those little pills that make the pain go away and let us go back to our normal lives.  I'll leave discussions of the side effects and long term damage to the more informed, but how about the primary, advertised effect?  What is pain, why do we have it?  It is a signal from your body that something is wrong.  If we take pain killers in order to ignore this signal from our body, then we at the least are not fixing what is wrong, and at worse are injuring ourselves.

Now the experts claim that pain killers promote healing, which I might believe is true given equal actions of the patient on pain meds and off of them, but pain medication affects behavior, and behavior affects healing.

For years I was on daily pain medication.  I took them like vitamins morning and night.  But they never made the source of the pain go away, so I kept needing them, and I kept shrugging off minor injuries until I'd aggravated them for a couple weeks and escalated the severity.  Only when I addressed the source of the pain did I get true relief.  It took some experimentation and ignoring the advice of my doctor, but I got to the bottom of it and got off the pain meds (and off doctor visits).

Given that experience of ignoring pain on a daily basis until I'd hurt myself, I'm very careful now about how I use pain medication.  If I'm in pain, I give myself permission to take it easy and rest, if it's so bad that I have to take pain medication, I command myself to rest until the meds wear off, since my body's communication to my brain about my limits is muted while under the influence.

Last Sunday must have been a blue moon because I took pain meds.  Saturday was our first hay day.  On hay day, a fellow comes and harvests our hay.  He keeps a share for his labor and fuel, and gives us a share.  The hay wagons are his, and have to be emptied as soon as possible so he can use them on the next field he's doing today.  A small square hay bale weighs about 40-45 lbs, and a hay wagon holds about 100 of them.  That's 4000+ lbs of hay that has to be moved by hand.  We have a hay conveyor, but there's 20 feet from the hay wagon to the bottom of the conveyor, then the bale has to be lifted four feet in the air to get slammed firmly down on the conveyor spikes, then up top they have to be pulled off the conveyor before they cause a jam or get sucked onto the underside of the machine, and stacked up in the mow.  We had a good deal of help, but it was still a lot of work for each person.  I probably personally handled about half the bales, so 50 reps of lifting 40 lbs, and some of those had to be carried a short distance, not just lifted.

Needless to say, I was a sore puppy.  I made it through Saturday night, but Sunday morning the DOMS set in and I caved enough to go for the pill bottle.  I then rested completely.  Not even computer time, just napping and reading.  Monday morning I was still feeling like my arms were massively overworked.  Tuesday the arms were better, but I noticed the leg that had been doing the pushing during the turn-and-slam-hay-on-conveyor move was still not real happy about full extension.  Wednesday I did some back stretches when getting up, but was mostly fine.  Thursday I noted I was back to waking up before my alarm clock and felt fine.  I really don't think I would have recovered so quickly if I'd taken more than the one dose of pain killers.  I know in the past that a setback like that would have required a week of painkillers until I could get to the next weekend and take the maximum dose of muscle relaxant (always makes me sleep in so I don't do it on work days)  in order to get a good rest and  finally heal up.

I did experience foot cramping when I tried to do something else after haying.  But my hip and my calf that always used to trouble me were silent.  I hope to eventually strengthen my feet so they don't cramp any more, but I'll take a few hours of foot cramping over weeks of perpetual hip pain any day...

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Outside Perspective & My First Tractor

Improvement is often slow, so it's nice to have an outside perspective of my progress.  Last week my in-laws  came to visit, and we spent a couple days doing touristy things.  The subject of my health came up, and my father in law noted that I did seem to be much better and inquired further.  I expressed disappointment that I still had to sit down at both museums when my feet were tired, and he noted that it wasn't just me, everybody had to sit down...  So I guess that confirms that I've come up to couch potato level of fitness, although I'm still a ways off from farm girl fitness.

Speaking of farm girl fitness...  I bought a two wheeled tractor while on vacation.  Behold, the BCS 732 with electric start:

And yes, that is a tractor.  It pulls things, and has attachments that do different farm jobs.  I do have to walk with it, so I do get some exercise while using it.

I got the sickle bar mower attachment, but I'm not giving up on scything.  Scything is a way better exercise and it doesn't wake up the neighborhood when I want to mow early in the morning.  On the other hand, I can't keep up with the garden paths by scythe alone and this lets me get it done more quickly.

The sickle bar may be an unfamiliar mower type to you, it's primarily used in harvesting hay, but it can clear a garden path pretty well, maintain a pasture, and even take out small saplings.

Above mentioned father in law came along with me to the tractor store, and gave me credit for not being afraid to tackle the machine.  I've never run a powered lawn mower before, and I bought a big complicated one.  I brought the manuals along on a long drive to one of our touristy stops, and the next day I brought out my cliffs notes and fired her up on the first try.  Next challenge will be finding the right oil to change after the first four hours of run time.  She's got three or four different oil pans, and I've never done engine maintenance before either...

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Minimalist Mowing

The morning was still cool, the dew lightening but still there, heavy in the shade.  It's the right time for mowing.  My skill with the scythe is still growing, but I start out with my freshly tightened and sharpened blade just to get the exercise.  I try to keep my spine straight, only twisting it back and forth, letting my legs do the shifting beyond that straight posture.  Swish...  The grass falls...  Perhaps not as wide or consistent a swipe as I'd like, but satisfactory for simply mowing tall grass for later use as garden mulch.  Swish...  My mind is not empty, the uneven ground keeps me busy guiding the blade along it, but there is something meditative about it.  Swish...  Every five minutes I must stop to sharpen the blade.  This too requires mindfulness for safety, but has a rhythm, a comfortable pattern that allows the busy part of the mind to be quiet and just soak up the morning sunshine and breezes.  Swish...

I highly recommend the scythe for: postage stamp lawns, growning small quantities of hay or grain, and any place where you might otherwise use a string trimmer.  Enthusiasts rise at dawn and mow an acre or two before the sun burns off the dew, so far I'm only up to about a half hour of work at a time, just trimming around the edge of the garden.  Do spring for the full outfit, with such a simple tool using it correctly is important, and the accessories and book help with that.  My outfit cost about $200, which is more than a cheap string trimmer, but I'll never have to buy new string or fuel, it's not hard to get started, and it's very good for my body to do this tai-chi-like exercise in the morning.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Ice Cream

I bought an ice cream maker.  A Cuisinart ICE-21 to be exact.
I've always been intrigued by homemade ice cream, it was an occasional treat growing up, but it's nearly impossible to make enough ice in my freezer to make the old family machine work correctly.  The new machine has a freezer bowl.  I just put the whole bowl in the freezer the day before I want to make ice cream, and I put it into the machine cold.  No mussing with ice and salt.  I'll keep the old family machine, it could be fun to buy ice for a party and make more than one batch at a time.

Discovery 1:  I've totally gotten used to a low sugar diet.  I'll really dig into a bowl of unsweetened cream and strawberries, but ice cream made to the standard recipe is really too sweet.

Discovery 2:  I've totally gotten used to straight heavy whipping cream, the 2/3 cream and 1/3 milk mixture in the recipe seems thin to me.  I'm going to try experimenting with heavy and light cream.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Two more pounds

I've been cheating on my diet entirely too much lately.  Between all the convenience foods consumed while moving, tempting free food at my new job, a couple big parties (although the second one I managed to keep most guests from bringing food I shouldn't eat, and avoided eating the crackers they did bring), it's been hard to stay strictly on my diet.  My throat has been slightly swollen for a month now, I really need to be strict for a few weeks for that to go back down and I keep slipping up...

So, I knew I'd been cheating and decided it was time for a weigh-in.  It has been four months since my last weigh in, and I've lost two pounds.  Well below my pound per month average, but still not bad for eating as much as I want, indulging in rich fatty foods, enjoying all the food I do eat and not being hungry.

Hopefully as the weather improves and we finally finish emptying the city house I'll be able to get a bit more sunshine and exercise and pick that weight loss rate back up.  Gardening season is coming soon.  My indoor seedlings are pushing up out of their little trays, getting themselves all ready to go outside...

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Improved but not cured...

Saturday was my 35th birthday.  I of course used the excuse to cook, a lot, and run up and down my hill between the bonfire and the house, a good number of times.  Needless to say, at the end of the day I was very happy, but rather worn out, and I had a blister from wearing barn boots without socks.  Sunday morning I awoke rather stiff, and proceeded to climb downstairs backwards on my hands and knees.  (We have very steep old stairs, a bit better than a captain ladder.)  Things loosened up as the day went on.

Monday I got downstairs the normal way, but my knee went out a few hours later, putting me pretty squarely back in fibromyalgia territory for the day.  It was rather disheartening.  Then I got the reminder to update my blog, and I commented to my husband about it, that I'd improved but not been cured.  My dear man put it back in perspective, "but you've improved a lot".  Yes.  Yes I have.  It's Tuesday, and I'm fine again.  Only three days after the stress, one day after the worst of the effects.  I should probably take it easy for a bit longer, but I have indeed improved.

Friday, March 29, 2013


Most of my seedlings are up, some are getting too tall for humidity domes already.  It's time for one of the slightly sad duties of gardening: thinning.  Uncertain of how good my older seeds were, and confident seed was much cheaper than space under plant lights, I planted more than one seed per cell in my pots.  In some very poorly germinating seed this turned out to be very prudent, as even with the extra seed only a few cells are showing any sprouts, but then others have 2-3 plants in every cell, and one of my sources of broccoli seed was incredibly fertile and the pot is overflowing with sprouts.  Right now both sprouts in the cell are cute little promises of future mature plants, but if I let them continue they will crowd each other out and not do so well in the garden, so out come the scissors, and I have to choose one to keep, and one to be thinned.

*clip*  A sprout falls to the floor.  It's promise gone.  But yet I've given more promise to it's brother that is left behind to thrive.

Sometimes I have to do thinning in my life too.  Just this week I unsubscribed from one of my gardening e-mail lists. It was educational, but it took too much time to filter for useful info, and that took time away from more targeted reading and actually getting away from the computer and using what I'd learned.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Mid-Victorian Life Spans

The above article discusses how aside from infant mortality and poor family planning, mid-victorians were often more healthy than we are today.  This seems to suggest that farm life plus vaccination and proper prenatal care might do very well for me.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Week 1

Wait, week 1?  Hasn't this blog been running for 2.5 years?  Well, yes, but note the very first words of my first post: "Well, I had planned to start this blog some time from now, when the really big experiment begins..."

Well, it has begun.

This week I planted a couple trays of seeds.  This alone is not all that unusual, I did this for many years while living in the city, but this year I have 17 acres to manage.

Obviously my two trays are not going to go very far in the grand scheme of things, they are just the start of my personal garden.  In the future I hope to have a greenhouse against the south wall of the house, but for now I'm just going to be content with my trays.  The majority of the land will be put to small livestock or hay and sold to support the farm.

I'd like to start chickens soon so I'll have them ready to eat before my June company comes, but I'm putting that on hold until the credit card has been paid off, and at the rate that repair bills are piling up in this old house, who knows how long that will take.  I may have to settle for showing off live chickens to my company...

So what does this have to do with health?  Long before I found my way into the paleo type diet, I theorized that
A) Almost all processed food is bad for me.
B) I'd get a lot more exercise if I gardened more.
C) I seem to be healthier when I eat more meat.
The farm is going to encourage me to eat mostly fresh foods or minimally processed foods, get some exercise producing them, and also provide as much meat as I need.

This is a really huge experiment for me, it is not an ordinary hobby that I can give up easily on, I've moved to another county, and purchased land with an old home in need of lots of repairs.  There is a lot at stake here in me being successful at this.  I have a bit of the sense of the founding fathers when they said "And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor."