Moving On

I haven’t written in quite a while, mostly because I haven’t felt as though I have anything of importance to write about, and partly because I’ve been incredibly busy living life.

My children and I have settled into a “new normal”. Single parenting has been a far better experience than I ever could have imagined, and I’m grateful for the experiences I’ve shared with my children over the past several months. Our farm is thriving, and it hasn’t been nearly the struggle I feared it would be to keep up with everything. Quite the opposite!

As with all good things, it is time for our adventures on this farm to come to an end. We were notified just before Christmas that our landlord will be selling this house, and so the kids and I have spent months house-hunting. We’ve found ourselves the perfect little homestead, near a national park and a beach! The sale was finalised today, and we will move one month from now.

So, this is the end of the Trinity Acres blog. Thank you, dear readers, for sharing this journey with me. It was so very rewarding for me to keep record of my experiences as I learned the ins and outs of small-scale homesteading, and I always appreciated the kind and loving comments you left for me.

I haven’t decided whether I will begin a blog when we move to our new place. I suppose if the interest is there, I’ll keep on with writing about the trials and triumphs of this way of life. For now, this is goodbye, and thank you.

Juno’s Quest

About a week ago, I was wasting time on the internet when I came across a contest for dogs – a “casting call” for Fido (the mobile phone company) – in which the winner is selected through votes.

On a whim, I entered our sweet Border Collie pup, Juno. I don’t know WHY I entered, as it’s totally out of character for me, but I did. And when Juno started steadily moving forward in the contest, I got the crazy notion that we might actually win.

Right now there are over 5,000 dogs in the Fido Casting Call, and of those Juno is sitting at 418th place (at the time of this writing). Last night she was in 523rd place, and a few days ago she was in 1278th place. She’s gaining ground, pushing ahead by the day.

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So, our family is going all out for “Team Juno” and having a lot of fun with this. Out of character, yes, but we are loving it! Juno has a fan page on Facebook, which you can join for updates and photos, and where you can post words of encouragement. And if you want to vote for Juno (which I know you do!!), all it takes is less than a minute out of your day. CLICK HERE, and once you’re on the contest page, click the big yellow button that says “VOTE”. It’s so simple, takes no effort on your part, and can mean all the difference for Team Juno! Best yet, you can vote once per day until Sept 10!

 

Poky Little Puppy

Last year, we had a beautiful Border Collie in our lives named Miss Molly. She was wonderful in so many ways – smart, fun, loyal, affectionate – but there were also some problems with her behaviour as well that made her incompatiable with life on our farm. I trained with her for months, went to private training sessions and group classes, saw three different trainers for help & advice, and when I felt like we were making great progress, Miss Molly started killing our chickens and ducks. We found her a new home, a GREAT new home with three other Border Collies, but I was devastated at saying goodbye (and my kids were pretty upset, too!).

For many months following Miss Molly’s departure, I wondered if I had done the right thing. I missed her terribly (and I still do). Oddler and Echo helped to fill the void, but still I wanted a Border Collie, a dog to work with me on the farm.

Spring came and my birthday rolled around. On the morning of my birthday, Jae surprised me by telling me I should go ahead and start looking for another Border Collie to bring into our family – his birthday present to me. I applied for a few rescue dogs, but each time I was denied for one reason or another: no fenced yard (we’re a farm!!), two other dogs, small children in the home. I gave up and began looking for a puppy, a wee little bundle to start fresh with.

At the beginning of June, Juno came home. She was 10 weeks old when I picked her up from the breeder, and pretty nervous about leaving her mom and siblings. The poor pup got carsick several times on the way home, but once she got out of the van, recovery followed quickly and she began settling into her new life on our farm.

Juno at 10 Weeks. Photo by my friend Jeanette.

I still miss sweet Molly, but my oh my, has Juno ever filled that aching spot in my heart! She’s been a complete and utter delight to have around. Every morning at 6am we get up and start the day while the children snore. Juno comes outside with me and accompanies me while I do the farm chores. We work on some simple obedience commands and go for a brisk walk with the other two dogs on the Greenway Trail.

Juno at 12 weeks, with Lynden

Juno’s been coming everywhere with us for socialisation and training – to the splash pad and the beach, to market, to the homes of friends and family, to various parks and trails – and we’ve been going to a puppy obedience class. So far, so good! She is fitting into our family beautifully and is becoming a very well-behaved, well-socialised, eager-to-please little pup. We’re so delighted to have her here!

Juno at 16 weeks, enjoying the park

I felt a little crazy when I brought home a third dog, but it’s worked out pretty wonderfully so far. I’m really excited to see what Juno’s future brings!

A Necklace to Birth With

I’ve been enjoying the Wooly Moss Roots blog for quite a while now, and always love looking at the new items the Wilson family puts up in their Etsy shop, Mystic Orb.

Imagine my delight when this lovely necklace appeared:

When I saw this beautiful Goddess, I knew She was meant to be around my neck while I labour. I don’t usually make purchases for myself (not even clothes!), but I went ahead and bought the necklace within moments of seeing the listing. I just couldn’t help myself.

Yesterday, my Goddess arrived in the mail, along with a little tin of Healing Salve for the new baby’s bottom from the Wilsons’ other shop, Wooly Moss Roots, and a lovely handwritten note from the Wilson family. What a pleasant surprise on a beautiful day! The Goddess pendant is even more lovely in real life than it is in photographs, and I was immediately in love. The feel of the sassafras wood is so pleasing – I can’t stop running my fingers over it, smooth and warm. And turquoise is my favourite stone, nearly the same colour as my sweet Raina’s eyes, and the birthstone of my husband. How perfect to have my Goddess made of turquoise inlay!

After Lynden took a turn wearing the Goddess pendant, She made Her way to my neck, where She’s been ever since. I fully intend to wear this necklace continually until the baby is born, a reminder of the Goddess wisdom and power of the Earth that all women have somewhere inside of them (even if it seems to be hiding for some – it is there!), a little symbol of strength and love to carry with me while I bring forth new life into the world.

So, thanks Wilson family! Your necklace has brought great happiness to this pregnant mama!

 

(And don’t worry, readers, soon I will post photos of my preggo belly as so many of you have requested, complete with my new Goddess pendant!)

Healthy and Well

You may recall that Raina had an ear infection a few days ago, which we chose to treat with Echinacea concentrate and Tea Tree Oil drops instead of running to the doctor for antibiotics.

So, what happened?

After two days of Echinacea concentrate, Raina’s ear infection was gone – no pain, no redness, no complaints.  We never even made it as far as using Tea Tree Oil drops!  Not only was her ear infection gone, but she recovered from her cold much faster than Lynden, who refused to take his daily dose of Echinacea. I’ve got the whole family drinking Echinacea tea on a daily basis now to support immune function.

Three cheers for natural approaches to health and well-being!

And the Verdict Is…

After writing this morning’s post about the bug in our house, I got dressed and prepared to take Raina in to see the doctor.  Before we could leave, she fell asleep, and since she had been up all night I decided the doctor visit could wait until she woke up on her own.  By the time Raina woke up, her jaw pain was totally gone, and in its place? Ear ache.  Bad, bad ear ache. Redness inside the ear. An ear infection.

It was only a matter of time before Raina suffered her first ear infection.  Aside from the common cold, ear infections are the most common affliction of young children.  Approximately 95% of children have suffered an ear infection by age six (holy smokes!). And ya know what? While almost all doctors prescribe antibiotics for childhood ear infections, antibiotics actually increase the likelihood of repeat infections by interfering with the body’s natural immunological response.  There are much more effective natural ways of treating ear infections that assist the body in curing itself.  

So, how are we treating Raina’s ear infection? Instead of heading out to the doctor this morning, we went to our local herbalist, The Ginger Jar, where we were given alcohol-free Echinacea concentrate to be taken orally each day and instructions to eliminate all sugar, dairy and wheat (our only true challenge here is the wheat, as our children are dairy intolerant).  After much reading, I’ve decided to also give Raina daily ear drops of Tea Tree Oil diluted in warm water, at a ratio of 4 drops of oil to 1/4 cup of water.

Echinacea is a lovely member of the daisy family that has always grown in my perennial gardens.  You may know and enjoy Echinacea as “Purple Coneflower”.  Consuming this wonderful plant can cut your chances of catching a cold by more than half (University of Connecticut studies confirmed it!).  Echinacea stimulates the immune system and wards off infections.  Aren’t plants amazing?

Tea Tree Oil is pressed from the leaves of an Australian tree. It has awesome antiviral, antibacterial, antimicrobial, antiseptic and antifungal properties (which just blows me away; Mother Earth provides for us well!). It’s even more effective in head lice control than pharmaceutical remedies!

Armed with Echinacea and Tea Tree Oil, I’m confident Raina will heal up quickly and be back to her chipper self in no time.  Stay tuned for an update on the effectiveness of our natural remedies!

If you’re interested in learning more about the healing powers of plants and the importance of nutrition in healing, here are some great resources that have been on our family’s bookshelf for many years:

The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants by Andrew Chevallier
Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year by Susun S. Weed
Staying Healthy with the Seasons by Elson M. Haas
Staying Healthy with Nutrition by Elson M. Haas
Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon

A Bug in the House

Wednesday morning, it started. Raina awoke, sat up in bed, and promptly puked all over me. Robin woke up moments later, coughing and crying. Lynden made his way downstairs for breakfast, but threw up halfway down.

It’s that lovely time of year again – cold & flu season.

Lucky for us, the puking passed quickly. The kids are now battling sore throats, coughing, epic snot, and mild fevers.

And, for Raina, really horrible jaw pain that doesn’t seem to be linked to ear infection, toothache or swollen lymph nodes. It’s concerning enough (and painful enough) that I called Telehealth and was advised to bring Raina in to a doctor.

It has been a very long time since my children have seen a doctor. By and large, I find them unnecessary – especially for a healthy, thriving child who is developing well. As a new mother, I dutifully brought Lynden in for his “well-baby” visits, and quickly learned what a joke those visits are. I don’t need an “expert” to tell me that my child is growing well – I can see that with my own eyes. I don’t need an “expert” to give me feeding advice (particularly when that advice is flat-out wrong and outdated, and doesn’t pertain to an exclusively breastfed baby). I don’t need to be given a biased, misleading sales pitch on vaccinations at every turn.

After several well-baby visits, I decided to stop going. Some families really do need this service and can benefit from it, but why does a healthy child of a well-informed mother need to see a doctor on a regular basis? It doesn’t make sense.

So, Jae and I decided we’d limit trips to the doctor, going in only when illness or injury made it necessary. When 2-yr-old Lynden became quite ill with vomiting and diarrhea for days on end, we returned to our doctor. She barely looked at my son, told me there was a virus going around, and said he’d be fine within days. To make a long story short, Lynden wasn’t fine within days, and over the next six weeks continued to deteriorate. We made FOUR trips to our doctor, who kept telling me Lynden had a virus, until he went to hospital for dehydration and I decided enough was enough.

We never went back to our family doctor, and my children have not seen a doctor since. Instead, we went to a Naturopathic Doctor, who sat down with me and my child for nearly an HOUR, going over our history in very thorough detail. What was Lynden’s diet like? What did mama eat in pregnancy? What was Lynden’s birth like (a beautiful midwife-attended homebirth)? What was the colour and consistency of the diarrhea? Etc. No stone was left unturned. By the end of that appointment, our Naturopathic Doctor was fairly certain that Lynden was dairy intolerant. Within days of eliminating pasteurised goat’s milk, the vomiting stopped. Within two weeks, the diarrhea went away. Colour came back to Lynden’s cheeks.

Doctors are useful, sometimes, when they are needed to diagnose or fix a very real problem. Unfortunately, the Western world has set doctors on an untouchable pedestal, where they are looked at as an absolute authority on health. It’s sad, because doctors typically only address symptoms with prescription medications instead of determining underlying cause and promoting genuine health, balance and well-being. They know only what they were taught, and rely on (often flawed) textbook knowledge to treat problems that can usually be permanently solved with diet and lifestyle changes. They create dependence on pharmaceutical drugs (which carry their own problems and side effects) instead of promoting genuine healing. And in a society that reveres doctors nearly as gods, we do not question their solutions to our problems.

I’m not interested in pharmaceuticals as a fix for non-life threatening problems, and over the last three years we’ve been very successful in healing ourselves naturally. We’ve used food and dietary changes to combat gut problems, rest and herbs to battle the flu, and a vibrant & healthy lifestyle to stay mostly in good health, avoiding the majority of the bugs that have swept through my music students and our homeschool friends. When one takes care of oneself, eats well, gets enough sleep and treats the body as a precious temple, one finds that health is the norm and doctors are very rarely needed.

That being said, I do feel that mystery jaw pain with a fever warrants a little bit of investigation. So, for the first time since infancy, Raina will make a trip to the doctor today. Once we know what the problem is, I’ll be able to form a plan of action to solve it. Wish us well!

The Ebb and Flow

Life has fallen disgracefully out of rhythm since this pregnancy took hold.

Once upon a time, I found inspiration in Waldorf-inspired and Enki-esque rhythms.  My children and I would snuggle in the morning before rising to greet the day. I’d make breakfast in the kitchen, we’d eat together, and we’d start the day with some sort of song & activity, usually seasonal.  Then the kids would run off to do their thing, and I’d do mine – feed the animals, collect eggs, clean a bit, do some laundry, get some knitting done.  We’d reconvene for lunch, then perhaps do a floor puzzle together or read a book.  Our rhythm was very loose and fluid, with lots of room for impromptu trips to the park or library.

Now, dear readers, there is nothing of rhythm to speak of.  Jae is carrying the weight of the household on his shoulders while I spend far too many days in bed, throwing up or dealing with a migraine.  I have ceased all efforts at meal preparation (I can hardly stand to be in the kitchen), I rarely find the energy to play with my kids, and I haven’t done the animal care since the end of June. On days when I do get out of bed, I put in the bare minimum and spend a lot of time sitting on the couch.  I feel pathetic.

I’m sharing this because we are shifting into Autumn, and normally this time of year would consist of nature walks, art projects like leaf rubbings and acorn necklaces, and delicious hot meals cooked fresh.  Instead, Jae is stressed about having to take care of the farm, the house, the kids, AND a sick wife.  I just miss our usual Autumn escapades, I miss life as it was, I miss my days with my kids & household chores.  I know that the way I’m feeling will come to an end, sometime, because I won’t be pregnant forever – but in the meantime, I’m longing for the rhythm I used to find such comfort and joy in.

Thanks for bearing with me, faithful readers.  Hopefully I will have something of interest to post for you soon.

Market Day

Today was another successful market day!  This week we were at the Amherstburg Farmers’ Market, and although it was much slower than the Downtown Windsor market last week, sales were decent and encouraging.

Last night my sister came to help me paint up a new sign.  Visual appeal, ya know?  There were a few compliments on the sign today, so I guess it had the effect I was hoping for.

My delightfully tangy Kombucha was a hit again.  I’ve come to realise that I’ll need to ferment at least three times as much for future market days.  Once I tell people what Kombucha is all about, it flies off the table!

ItchNoMore salve went fast again!  I was amazed by how many people didn’t have access to natural body care products.  There was a lot of enthusiasm over my shea butter & body care blends.

After two market days at two separate markets, I’ve learned a few things – bring way more than you think you will sell, and pack everything the night before.