Friday, June 29, 2012

Aahhhh, Routine!

Finally, the chicks have reached stable. Which in English means; I didn't find any more dead this morning. I did however find that the fox can smell where I buried them. Never a dull moment. Never.

I'm exhausted from the week, but am looking forward to watching them grow and seeing how they benefit my family. Just today, I went out to pull weeds in my garden, and walked through a batch of a billion grasshoppers. He-he-he... enjoy it now awful grasshoppers, your day is coming!

As I type this, I am also putting on a batch of eggs to boil. I love boiled eggs and am going to enjoy a lovely Eggs and Greens Salad for my lunch. It's good to be getting back to regular routines, like making my lunch and not hovering over birds.

Wont you join me?

Greens & Egg Salad
Inspired by Vegetarian Times July/August 2012

½ head of lettuce
2 cups chopped rainbow swiss chard
1 cup chopped arugula
1 english cucumber, sliced
6 radishes, sliced
1 heirloom tomato (or beefsteak)
4 – 5 boiled eggs, peeled and cut into quarters

Assemble ingredients of salad first, then set aside. (lettuce, chard, arugula, cucumber, radish, tomato and eggs)
Dressing: ½ cup plain coconut yogurt; strain excess liquid through cheesecloth to thicken a bit. Add to yogurt: 4 tbsp olive oil, 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar and 1 cup fresh chopped dill. Blend in a blender on low speed.
Serve salad with dressing on the side. Top with sea salt or dulse and pepper.

This is a simple, hearty, healthy way to enjoy eggs. 

I'm sure I'll be sharing a lot more recipes for chicken and eggs in the years to come. 

In vibrant health,

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Wait!! There's MORE!!

This morning I slept in. All week I've been getting up at 5. Today it was 7:30.
The birds!
Out I run, in jammies to check temperatures, feed, water, and oogle. They still are cute. Though I did lose another one. The little one I told you about yesterday? Well, she died last night. Then, so did the one sitting by her in the picture.
I don't think they are heartless creatures, and maybe, just maybe, losing her friend was too hard on her. so, they both died together. sigh....

Then, through the door comes Auriel. "Mom, I almost forgot, the post office called. The pheasant are here!"

Off I go - yup, jammies and all to the post office. Pheasant in car, back home, then doing my best to mimick my hubbies efforts in making a bird brooder. I think I did alright. Alright enough that we lost one today who drowned in the waterer. Yikes~ these birds are so small that they will drown in the bird waterer. ...

Jim added marbles and praised my brooder when he came home, so now we can sleep.

The chicks? Well, they have tons of feathers and tail feathers and are beginning to challenge each other to belly bumping contests. They chase each other over wood flakes, and come running when I put my hand in the brooder to offer mash.

So far...overall anyway... doing good...

In Vibrant Health,

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

3 Day Old Chicks, The Saga Continues

There was never a dull moment in my home to begin with, but these little ones sure have brought a lot to talk about! Over all, we've lost 5. Of 52, that's not too terrible, given most we lost in the first day. I did lose one yesterday to an obstruction in her throat. I cried when I buried her this morning. (Uh-Oh, I'm already attached, not good for the prolonged intention.) It just didn't seem fair. I guess really, none of it is if you think about it. 

Most of them are growing quite well, full of spunk and are quite funny. There are a few cockrels who have HUGE attitudes already and when they see me they come running. I don't think because they like me, but rather to see what I'm doing and decide if I'm going to do anything of interest. 

There is one little one who seems to not be growing. I can't tell if she's eating at all, most of the time she's sleeping. I've decided to offer her food and water each time I go out. Sometimes, it's followed by interest but mostly not. I don't think that is a good sign for what is to come. So far, though, she peeps a lot and is hanging in there. She's the small one in the picture below. 

The tiny one in the bottom of this photo is about two inches in length - still the size of an egg.
Not much of an appetite, but lots of spirit if she's disturbed.

This is one of the cockrels. He's really pretty and you can see is developing feathers on his wings.
He's getting a few tail feathers as well, as are quite a few of them.
What an amazing opportunity to learn more about life and to grow as a person. I'm so grateful for these little ones and that I can be such an active part in caring for my self and family. In overseeing these chicks, I am able to control cleanliness, water quality, food quality, and the quality of life they live. In a farm to table type approach, I can't see a better way to provide! 

In vibrant health and happiness,

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

2 Days Old...and holding my breath

Wow, it's a bit stressful actually. Having chickens. They are too cute, but now we've lost four to ... stress? Overhandling? The heat? Temperature fluctuation? I'm just not sure. It's very sad.

Today is a new day. The temperature when I went to bed at 11:00 was 92, perfect, finally.
This morning, the temperature was 80! Not so perfect!! Ack!
So, I moved the little heat lamps closer and now they are all sleeping and I'm crossing my fingers that I don't lose them.
Sleeping Chickies. They pretty much just pass out.
It 's kind of funny to watch!

As the temperature adjusts, they rush to eat.

Aren't they cute?

Finally, some stability around here lady!

This little boy is drinking water, they lift their heads back to
swallow it and you are looking at the underside of his face. 

Just like any corporate job, they huddle around the water cooler.

And back to naps...

I think we finally have some stability. Over all, I'm very excited. I'm grateful to have the space to free range them, and to have the opportunity to provide for my family. I think this will be a great experience and a way to provide healthy natural food for my family. 

The chicks that will be egg layers are pretty much in one brooder, while the little cockrels are in another. Mostly, anyway. 

An adventure it is! 
In Vibrant Health,

Monday, June 25, 2012

The Chickens Have Landed!

It's official! I'm so excited to announce that we are a official Home Hobby Farm (or is it Hobby Home Farm?) Whatever, the point is we have chickens!

They arrived this morning. We did lose one grey one in the shipment, and one yellow at about noon. There is one more that I think we'll loose because she's acting like she can't breathe. (I totally know how that feels) 

It took me all morning to get the temp just right, but I think I finally have it. 
They are super cute, really peepy, and fuzzy.

Dominik thought they were the bomb-diggity this morning, but his attention span is on to other things now!

I'm learning so much already. The temperature during a heat wave is really challenging. They should be kept between 90 and 95 F. Really? It's 102 F outside, should I refrigerate them? (kidding, of course)

I learned they are born to hunt bugs. There was a moth that flew in there and it was hysterical watching these little ones chase that bug, then each other, then argue over it. I guess I should feel sorry for the bug, but it was entertaining none-the-less.

These chickens are not our first attempt at meat, but our first fully knowing what we are going in to. I have a group that have been purchased strictly for eggs. The rest are meat. Hence, only the egglayers, once we figure out which ones those are supposed to be, will have names.

Here's to LIFE, a true adventure!
In Vibrant Health & Happiness,

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Serious Upgrade in Smoothie Land

  I love a nice cool creamy smoothie in the morning more than I love starting my day with any other food in the world. My WORLD'S BEST HUBBY surprised me with a Vitamix for my birthday yesterday, so I started my Operation Anti Aging (I'm 40 now) with a beautiful Simple Sunrise Smoothie.

Simple Sunrise Smoothie

1 Large Beefsteak tomato
1 Yellow Sweet Pepper, seeds and stem removed
2 small Red Peppers, stems removed
2 stalks celery
1/2 lemon juice
dash of pepper

Put all ingredients into blender and blend until smooth. Serve with 2 boiled eggs.


Monday, June 18, 2012

In the Wild Frontier

  Well, it's my garden, but with the burst of plants, weeds, bugs, and heat...I feel like I'm definitely in the wilderness.
Chocolate Mint
  I took a bit of a walk, this morning, with intentions to share with you this amazing place I call my garden. 
  I'm so blessed to have a husband who is intent on building paradise because I have a near commercial sized green house that grows the BEST tomatoes and HOTTEST jalapenos this side of the border! I have a lot of space to put whatever I like and this year's harvest will be even more diverse than last year's with God's Grace as the grasshoppers have officially taken residence. 
Yarrow Bursts Yellow - Like the Sun!

This does worry me a bit, but I realize these creatures are like the plague and if I'm meant to have food in my garden, we will be spared. Otherwise, they'll eat everything that is green in their path.

  However, soon, we'll have chickens - next week, actually. I'm excited and anxious for that new adventure. With chickens come eggs, meat, nutrients for our soil (ala chicken poop) and... ORGANIC GRASSHOPPER CONTROL. As I understand, the only true control there is.

  Even though I've lived in this beautiful country for over a decade, farming is pretty new to me. My husband is really the true gardener, with me always being the onlooker, participating when necessary. In the past few years, as I've shifted careers and become quite passionate about food, my hands are getting dirty more often than not. It's a learning curve and a lot of hard work. I LOVE IT!

The greatest reward comes in knowing where our food is coming from and that it has been grown with love and in the best conditions possible. We are learning, some years have been better than others, but it is ALWAYS worth it! 

In Vibrant Health and Happiness,

Saturday, June 16, 2012

More on Nutrient Preservation

In yesterday's post titled, "Is Heat Destroying Your Food?", I shared with you how you might be sabotaging your efforts to eat well by over-heating your foods, destroying some of the essential nutrients naturally present in these foods. The nutrients I wrote about were the B Vitamins. Today, I want to take this same topic to the next level and give you even more tools to preserve the nutrient content of the healthful foods you are choosing.

As you learned in the previous article; heat, light, and air can destroy some essential nutrients. Already you know you can avoid this by simply adding more raw foods to your diet. Is that good enough? Maybe.

To preserve these volatile nutrients when cooking, you'll want to cook your food slowly at a reduced temperature.

As an example, my husband is notorious for turning our electric stove nearly all the way up. He'll boil water, then add the rice. He doesn't reduce the temperature but "quick cooks" the rice. This ultimately destroys those much needed B vitamins. (The moral of the story is quicker is not always better.)

Rice should be prepared as follows: bring your water to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer. Add rice. Cover, cook for thirty to forty minutes at a very low heat. Medium / low would be ideal. Turn off heat, and allow to sit for an additional five to ten minutes before serving. Voila - nice, perfectly done rice. (Rice should always be soaked at least an hour to remove phytic acid, drain and add fresh water to cook)

Other thoughts on this subject are:

  • Store grains and oils in an air tight colored container out of direct sunlight
  • to protect them from light, store vegetables in a breathable container in your refrigerator (they are alive, you know)
  • Don't over heat, instead - cook or steam fruits and vegetables until just tender.
  • shorten duration of cooking times for those that you can, ie. vegetables
  • Serve fresh, raw vegetables with your meals
  • Pass up the microwave use, of course Nuking your food is not going to help this effort! 
Enjoy your food, knowing you are getting the best nutrients out of it possible! 
In vibrant health,

Friday, June 15, 2012

Is Heat Destroying Your Food?

   You might eat for pleasure or for comfort, but you also eat because food is the substance of life. 

You need food to give you energy to do ANYTHING.

Food is the fuel that allows you to drive from point A to point B on any given day. This includes your trip from bed to bathroom!

You might be aware of the epidemic that looms over everyone these days called obesity - but did you know that even as you choose to take control of your health and well being you might be sabotaging your success by how you choose to prepare your foods?


It's TRUE!

Many essential vitamins are DESTROYED by heat, air, and sunlight. .... let me just say that one more time...heat... air...and sunlight. Yes.

Essential nutrients are those nutrients we need because our body cannot manufacture them on it's own. Examples of these essential nutrients are the B vitamins. These vitamins include: Thiamin (B1), Riboflavin (B2), Niacin (B3), Pantothenic Acid (B5), B6, Biotin (B7), Folate, and Cobalamin (B12).

B Vitamins are available in a wide variety of whole natural foods such as Leafy Greens, Beef, Salmon, Whole Wheat, Peas, Rice, Tuna, Black Beans, Mushrooms, and Lentils to name a few. These nutrients are responsible for a whole list of duties in our body; from energy metabolism to supporting and facilitating reactions between cells as a coenzyme.
Mushrooms are a good source of B vitamins

If you're not getting enough of your B vitamins, you are at risk for deficiency complications like ariboflavinosis, or cheilosis, or ...pellegra, or...if pregnant, you run the risk of neural tube defects in your newborn. Nope, not good.

To ensure you are eating foods rich in these B Vitamins, eat some of your foods raw, every day.
How much? 
Well, that depends on you, where you live, and your access to fresh food.
In the summer, I like to focus on about 35 - 50% of our meals to include raw foods.
Raw foods - like a salad, tomatoes with a bit of sea salt or dulse, celery with nut butter, or making sure I offer raw options for the burgers at a bar-b-que.

For my little guy, I always try to offer a plate of crudites as a snack at least once a day. Most kids will go for this if you are creative with your presentation. Can you make a picture out of the foods you are using? 

It's actually quite easy, but if you aren't thinking about it, it's just as easy to not do it.

In Vibrant Health and Happiness,

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Sweltering in Parker

 Last weekend my husband, son, and I journeyed South to the annual Parker Days Festival. It was hot, probably near 90 and the festival was on top of asphalt - well most of it. It was incredible how hot it felt. I love going to outside events and finding reasons to celebrate, especially if it will involve food, laughter and my family. The heat sure wasn't going to stop me from having a good time. I was prepared with a bottle of water, and we had eaten just before we headed out, so we didn't show up starving. 
 After we arrived, we took a good stroll through before deciding what to do. This involved finding the food and drink, which landed us on the asphalt. 
 In the first place, I couldn't believe they would do that to the vendors - placing the food in the hottest area, and to the people. I'm always hungry, unless I'm too hot to eat. This was one such case. Upon doing a bit of people watching, (one of my favorite hobbies), I wasn't alone. 
 A small family caught my eye, but only because the littlest member's face was so red. She was in a pull along wagon. She was quiet and obviously miserable. Her cheeks were beet red, her hair tousled and sweaty. She was lethargic. 
 In the heat, I wasn't surprised by this. No, what surprised me, was she was sitting in the sun, while the family took a break sitting down....IN THE SHADE. 
 I'm always floored by the lack of thought I see in the world, but it makes me ache when I see things like this. This went on for some time, and not knowing how long they'd been there before we strolled along...I decided to walk by and glare at the Mom to get her to come to her senses. She pulled the little girl out of the wagon and set her on her lap. (Sheesh, thank God dirty looks work, I'm sure words would not have been fun.)
I'm sure she wasn't leaving her daughter in the sun to overheat on purpose, but sometimes we need to be pulled back into our bodies, even us Moms, who better to do this than another Mom? 

Water Play


I'm thinking back to my younger years and always remember June as a cooler month. My memory could be wrong, but I don't think so. Well, either's HOT and... it's JUNE.

I love the sunshine, so am pulled to be outside, but I keep finding myself back inside, drinking water. I'm pushing smoothie pops and water on my son, hoping to keep him properly hydrated and cool. We don't have a built in cooling system, and are trying to be conscious of the energy we use - so try to go without, leaving the house cooler than outside, but still mighty warm.

In this unusual heat, I've decided it's a good time to open the door to reminding how essential drinking enough water is.

To help you have an idea why water is so important, all you need to do is look at the fact that your body is 70 - 75% water. Yup. That's the foundation of our body. Water.

With that in mind, you can imagine that even slight dehydration will give you a headache. There are other signs to look out for though. Symptoms of dehydration include:
  • low energy
  • dry sticky mouth
  • lethargy (low energy)
Extend that for a few days and you have:
  • constipation
  • sleeplessness
  • dry skin
In the heat, or a run of hot days, dehydration can come on quickly! 

Watch closely for:
  • lightheadedness and dizziness
It's truly imperative to know just how badly the effects of dehydration are, so I'll just get to the point. Severe dehydration can cause death.

Children can become dehydrated in the heat quickly and sometimes the symptoms are overlooked. Watch for a drop in energy, lethargic behavior, irritability or their eyes appear to have become sunken. 

I don't think parents intend to dehydrate their children but because we, as separate beings, cannot feel what our child is feeling, it can be mistaken for just being tired and cranky. 

If you find your child may be suffering from dehydration, add water. If symptoms persist, visit a doctor!

If you haven't already made a habit of giving your child water, now is a good time to start. To make it more palatable and much more fun, try adding raspberries, strawberries and / or mint to give a dazzling fun flavor and some color. You can add the fruit/herbs to the water in a pitcher and stick the pitcher in the fridge.
Serve with a berry or two to add a splash of color!

Here's to staying cool!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Embracing 40 and FABULOUS!

I think it's interesting that whenever I get near a birthday I begin to reflect on my life.

I've been looking forward to this birthday, like a child, I am always excited to celebrate life. But this birthday in particular holds something really dynamic for me.

Ten years ago, gearing up toward my 30th birthday, I was deeply depressed. My life just wasn't at all what I imagined it to be.
Picture this...

10 years into a boring dreadful career, crunching numbers in a grey cube, surrounded by women who for some reason found pleasure in making me miserable for 9 hours a day. I would commute an hour each way to get to this place.

Oh, don't get me wrong, it had it's benefits, like health insurance and a solid paycheck. A vacation day here or there and a ton of guilt each time you used one. I had an amazing boss, who I love and try to stay connected with still today. Not everyone gets to say that, for that gift I am truly grateful.

I remember clearly early mornings, standing at the window, watching my daughter - who by this time was nine, waiting for the bus at the end of the drive way. I would cry because I knew I was missing so much and that she was missing me too.  My heart ached deeply and I was sure hers did too.
I failed her in so many ways when she was young, not giving her my time was the ultimate of failures for a Mom, in my mind.

Within a few years of starting with my last employer, I knew that I needed to commit to a change of direction.Yet, I did not know how. How could I leave a job that paid me more than I've been told I'm worth? How could I leave a place with a nice 401k plan and health insurance benefits? No matter how miserable I was, I was doing what I was supposed to do. Provide, contribute, and that is what mattered most.

What's worse is by 30, I was gaining weight quickly, deep in emotional eating disorder and deeper in financial and emotional debt. I was in pain, I was on medication for depression, I was struggling to stay focused and I was missing my life.

I got really, really sick.... 

I created Irritable Bowel Syndrome in my body. I developed chronic migraines, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and panic attacks to boot.

"How did I get here?" I kept asking myself. And I could see my 30th birthday looming ahead. With all it's underlying meanings of being grown up and responsible. I felt like I failed.

Needless to say, the birthday was greeted with tears and dismay.

This year is a complete contradiction to the space I was in then.

I'll be 40 and I FEEL FABULOUS! 

If anyone told me age could make a person better I'd probably have punched them right in the face.
I chuckle now, but you can see the space I was in was no laughing matter.

I'm looking dead on at my 40th birthday on June 20th. Wow. I don't feel a hint of dread. Not a hint of sorrow. No I should'a or I could'a.

Today, I sit in my favorite chair in my living room, facing two doors that look out onto my back yard. My GREAT BIG GREEN BEAUTIFUL country back yard.

This is my office.

Well, one of two. My other office faces west and looks out to the distant mountains to my GREAT BIG BEAUTIFUL GREEN front yard. (It's not always green, which is why I emphasize that.)

My coworkers have fur and are quiet, most of the time. They love me and think I'm GREAT at what I do.

Best of all, my daughter (and now 5 year old son as well) both get to see me a lot! We have one "adventure day" a week, where we travel out into the world and look for fun things to do. We share stories, I get to cook their meals and love them up when ever I like.

Every thing is better. I feel better, I definitely look better - my skin is clear, my eyes are bright, my skin is tan, I am my healthy ideal weight and my relationship with food has totally changed.

I live a life that I have designed. It has it's pitfalls, like I'm still learning how to create a healthy work/life balance. (That's pretty hard when you like what you do and your office is in your house.)

But I get to honor my family, I get to honor me. I get to LIVE MY LIFE!

At 40, things are AMAZING! 

I am so grateful for being able to celebrate this year with my family and friends. I am grateful for each person who has believed (and those who continue to believe) in me on my journey toward living my best life. I am truly grateful for my husband who has shown me how incredible his love for me is in the many ways he has supported me in the past few years. I am grateful for being here for the last year or two of my many furry critter's lives, so I have been able to love them the way they have always loved me. 
I am grateful to experience this amazing place I live. I am so grateful for my beautiful children and finally the time to experience motherhood in all it's challenges and glory.
I am so grateful for my practitioners and for my clients for having trust and faith in me. 
I am grateful to IIN for showing me how to cross the bridge.

At 40, I am so grateful and will say that if this birthday brings tears, they are ones of sincere and deep gratitude for being here and getting to fully engage in my life. 

At 40, I get to say, "I DID IT!!!!"

In Vibrant Health and Happiness,