Well. This morning started off with a bang. Literally. I was not sure whether to name this post “Family First”, “Farm Life Reality Part II” or the above title.
About 6:30am I heard a very specific series of barks. For those of you who are well tuned in to your dog(s), you know exactly what each bark means. Our dogs have some very specific ones:
As soon as I heard it, I flew out of the house wondering which enemy it was. When I rounded the corner on the back side of the property I knew we had a situation that wasn’t going to end well. Lily, our livestock guard dog, had backed a coyote into a corner (between fences), and no way was she going to stand down. Lily is an Akbash, a dog very similar to a Great Pyrenees, but in my mind, a far superior LGD for many reasons (another post for another day). These dogs are not fighters, although pressed to do so, they will defend themselves and will kill if necessary. No, their instinctive drive is to protect their family at all costs using intimidation first, and force as a backup if necessary.
We do not kill predators for the sport of it, but if we have one threatening our farm family, we will not hesitate. It is a rare day that we pull out a gun and use it for this purpose, but this morning, it was necessary. We have shot sick skunks and poisonous snakes. Coyotes, although they live all around us, generally stay off our property thanks to the dogs. This one had gotten brave, and that’s not good. A brave coyote will find a food source and then our farm becomes Luby’s cafeteria for she and her friends. This means that our chickens, our cats and kittens, and even our calves and smaller dogs become potential meals…… not to mention vet bills that start rolling in as our LGD’s have to sometimes engage the enemy in battle.
Today did not end well for this coyote, and it was stressful for Lily too. She would not back down even tho she is terrified of guns. She held the coyote at bay, and Charlie shot it. Lily scrambled back to the porch, shaking…… not because of the coyote, but because of the gunshot.
Lily prefers to spend her time outdoors guarding her farm-ily……unless there is thunder, fireworks, or gunfire in our area. Any of those, and she’s at the door begging to be let in (which we do). This said, I was concerned about her response to gunfire literally that close to her.
Young Living has an oil that is well used and loved by those who know it: Stress Away. I would venture to say that several million bottles of this relaxing blend have been used and relied upon over the years. It is one of my favorite oils, and for a very good reason too…. it is my ‘go to’ in times of stress. Consequently, I keep a bottle in my purse, and one in my lab coat at work, as well as one on my desk at home. It is literally like letting out a gentle sigh of relief simply by applying it to the neck and wrists.
Now, this morning, while the situation was an elevated one, it was not as stressful for me as say….. driving in Dallas traffic during rush hour…… or working in an intensely busy pharmacy with not enough help (Frankly, that’s waaay more stressful than the previous scenario!). Poor Lily, however, WAS stressed… not from the coyote, but from the gunfire.
So, after all was said and done, I slathered our hard working girl up with Stress Away and gave her some extra special loving for the good job she had done. Young Living oils are amazing for many reasons, not the least of which is that they work just as well (if not even better) on animals as they do on humans. I believe this is because animals have no preconceived notions about what therapeutic oils can and cannot do. They either work, or they don’t for our four legged friends…. but in my experience, they nearly always do.
I am happy to report, that after about 30 minutes, Lily had a very spoiled breakfast (with treats), AND she had no interest in coming inside to recover from the gunfire. In fact, she spent the rest of the morning laying in the midst of the chickens, guarding her peeps. I’d say both she and Stress Away did their jobs well this morning!
Hugs and love from the farm y'all…. Life goes on. ~ liz
A couple of weeks ago, I left a post on my Wellness Prepper’s Facebook page that is really the ‘middle’ of this story of mine. If you know me, you know that I am a lover of animals… I connect with them in ways that most people do not. That said, the evolution of my life (and my thought processes) will likely not make much sense without an explanation. Explanations can answer questions, open a can of worms, or do both. I don’t dread talking about this topic one on one, but writing to the masses who have no idea how much heart I put into caring for my animals is a scary thing indeed. So, that said, I ask you to read onward with a thoughtful mind.
I believe in doing the right thing and living my life transparently. I am what you see and strive to be the same person in all situations. There is no ‘work personality’, ‘farm personality’, ‘church personality’ etc. One of my strongest traits is that of a protector. If I see a wrong, I work towards making it right….. ESPECIALLY if I realize I may have inadvertantly been part of the problem thru lifestyle, ignorance, or social design. (This post is not about my ‘pharm’ life, but this trait has been the driving force behind my personal growth in holistic well care as kind of kismetic gift to those in my world who have struggled with health solutions because they were led to belive that only western medicine philosophy held the right answers).
Nope. This post is about my farm life, and all that it represents. We do a large amount of animal rescue, and have spent thousands upon thousands of dollars caring for those animals who otherwise would not be given a chance. We have foregone so much ‘free time’ that I can’t even imagine what it would be like NOT to have the beautiful responsibility of caring for all the unique lives God entrusted us. I cry (believe me, I CRY) every time we lose a life around here… my heart breaks. God patches it with His presence, and I move on. In farming, when an animal is involved, there is going to be death. Sometimes it is a natural death (common within our poultry flock…. we lose one every so often to natural causes), and sometimes it is a pre-ordained destiny. This is the case with the male offspring of our dairy cows.
Before you throw me under the bus (or tractor), please hear me out. I refuse to be an intentional hypocrit in my life, and strive to be part of the solution instead of part of the problem. As a world, we cannot avoid meat products and byproducts. Unless you are the most concientious vegan on the planet, your daily life likely incorporates multiple beef byproducts in it:
So you see, some of these are daily use items we simply cannot avoid. Yes, I agree… there should be a vegan solution for all of them, and in some cases there are… but in many cases, there is not. I certainly respect those who live a vegan lifestyle, but the reality is….. nobody on this planet is fully vegan.
The second part of the equation is this…. if you are a carnivore, are you an educated one? Unless you are eating humanely raised meat, do you have any idea of the quality of life an animal leads from birth to death? For the vast majority, life is uncomfortable, unnatural, stressful, and without kindness. It is easier to block this from your mind, and so most people do. They prefer to pick up their packaged meat and blind themselves as to how it arrived at the store. Feedlot raised animals and Factory Farming are abhorrent practices that should be outlawed…. but they’re not.
I once was blind, but now I see.
I challenge you to click on the link above to learn the facts, and I believe you will understand the message I am trying to convey here. The vast majority of farm animals are treated as objects. Their lives have no value in the eyes of the beholder (unless you are talking about $/lb hanging weight). There is no appreciation for the life that is sacrificed so that the consumer can eat a hamburger or steak, and certainly not for the lesser things…. the glue, binder, ointments, etc.
This is NOT the case on our farm.
We can be part of the problem, and turn a blind eye, or we can be part of the solution, no matter how uncomfortable it makes us. For in our discomfort, we are compassionate.
When a bull calf is born, we celebrate his healthy birth, but with a bit of sadness. One of the byproducts of our liquid gold (raw milk) sometimes is a bull calf. That bull calf will eventually be old enough, after living a well loved life, grazing without fear in our pasture, with no stress, plenty of space, and with a small herd. He will have plenty of natural forage to eat, fresh water to drink, and shelter from the elements. He will be able to enjoy the sunshine, and will play with his peers. Life will be good. Believe it or not, I begin praying for him and thanking God for his healthy birth, and for the sacrifice he will be made so that some of our friends can have healthy and safe meat (grass fed, nonGMO, hormone free, antibiotic free, chemical free). We have hand chosen the processor we use. He is one of the few animal welfare approved processsors in this area of Texas. The end comes without stress for him. As for me, I drive them myself. It is a rough trip, and I cannot say it is stress free for me, because still…. my heart breaks. I say prayers of thanksgiving the entire 140 miles round trip. Do I enjoy this aspect of farming? Heck no. But this is reality… not just for us, but for everyone. We don’t condone what Factory Farming does, so we provide a better way for a small handful of cattle over our lifetime. Like the starfish principle…. we are making a difference to the ones we raise this way.
People have asked me how we can do this, and I respond…. how could we not? We could put our heads in the sand and sell the calves and pretend we don’t know what happens to them. For the record, most dairy calves end up at the sale barn unless they are replacement heifers. They also end up in veal cages (the worst case scenario for a calf). Our calves stay with their mama’s and are dam raised (as opposed to removed from their mama and given powdered milk replacer instead of the good stuff….. another common practice). They stay with them for several months before they are weaned.
The average dairy cow lives a life of about 5 years before being culled (that’s a nice way of saying killed). Our granny cow (retired) Clementine is somewhere around the age of 15. We have two more that are 7+ years old, with a long life in front of them. They have time to recover from each birth and milking season before repeating the process.
Walking the talk is not easy, but it is the right thing to do. It has given me the true meaning of praying over our meals, and the sacrifices it took to get it there. Mealtime prayers frequently get overlooked or understated. Rote. Not in our home.
I doubt this process will ever get easy for me, and I honestly, I hope it never does. Discomfort ensures compassion and gratitude, something we all need more of.
Hugs and Love, liz
Years ago, we discovered guineas as a pest control option. Initially, we got them because grasshoppers can be such an issue around here that gardening can be a challenge. We later discovered that they are also an incredible resource for controlling fleas and ticks. Both of these parasites can be the nemesis to anyone with furry pets, and if you live in the country, they can be especially problematic.
It has been years since I’ve even considered ticks as an issue because we’ve managed our property so well with these birds. Enter Daisy….. our dog we acquired thru adoption last year. No fence will hold Daisy in; she flies over a 5 foot fence with relative ease. Because of her genetic predisposition (she is a border collie / great Pyr cross) she has a strong drive to guard. The perimeter she has chosen includes high grass areas not patrolled by our tick eating fowl. Consequently, ticks have become an issue as we work to protect her (and us) from this disease-laden parasite.
I’ve heard from other sources that this is a particularly bad year in our area for ticks…….the vector to blame for transmitting several diseases, including Lyme disease, and (the new kid on the block)… a tick bite that can make you allergic to red meat. Treatment with antibiotics (for Lyme) is generally effective if caught quickly, but frequently, people get diagnosed much later after the initial tick bite…. and this can lead to lifelong health problems. You can read more about Lyme Disease here, or the tick bite induced meat allergy here.
Everyone’s situation is different, but I thought I’d give some practical tips on protecting yourself and your pets from these little vampires.
*If you live in the country, consider getting some guineas (If you are nearby, I’ve got plenty of adult birds right now, and will donate to your cause).
*Keep your property mowed. If you are like us, it’s not always possible to have your entire property mowed because of the size or terrain involved.
*Keep your pets clean, and consider adding some Cedarwood essential oil to their shampoo as a natural deterrent.
*In tick prone areas, make sure you are wearing long sleeves, long pants, and tucked in clothing. Wear a ball cap/hat to prevent ticks from dropping onto your head (they do fall from trees too).
*If you are an avid outdoor guy/gal, grab some safe bug repellent (one without toxins). Young Living makes a fantastic insect repellent that is incredibly effective. I have found that a quarter sized amount placed strategically on the neck, wrists, and ankles does a stellar job of warding off biting pests. Benefits include:
*Watch for ticks throughout the day, but especially before bathing… being sure to check all nooks and crannies! If you’ve been in a tick infested area, put clothing directly into the washing machine. After washing, dry on high heat for at least 60 minutes to ensure death of any wee little hitchhiking varmints.
If you find that you have been bitten by a tick…. do not panic! Simply remove the tick. Use a pair of tweezers and pull gently, making sure you also remove the biting part of the tick. I’ve read many discussions on using a drop of essential oil directly on the tick to force tick to back out. It is a firestorm discussion with opinions on both sides. I would feel comfortable using this removal technique, but please do your own research!
Once you’ve removed the tick, you’ve got a few options….. but DO NOT DESTROY THE EVIDENCE! Tick testing is ‘a thing’ now…. so you can always send it off, but testing sites do not claim 100% accuracy and it’s about 50$ per tick. If you choose to hang on to the little offender instead of sending its carcass off, put it in a baggie or small jar and throw it in the freezer for safekeeping….. just in case you have some weird symptoms that show up weeks/months later. That tick might come in handy for a proper diagnosis…. after all, these critters can give you a loading dose of bacteria, viruses, fungi, and protozoa… the likes of which we do NOT want. This brings me to the last point….. immune support.
Whenever I know that I am entering an environment loaded with ick, I always back up my immune system. Examples: flu season at work, every time I hop on a plane (1 out of every 5 people get off a plane with a new ‘souvenir’ they’ve acquired from recycled airplane air), or times when I am under abnormal stress/lack of sleep. I would list a tick bite as a time when immune support should occur….. after all, there is a lot of potential ‘ick’ in tick.
My two ‘go to’ products for immune support are Inner Defense, and Immupro. I use Immupro for daily immune support (taken at night before bed), and then reserve the big guns…. Inner Defense….when I feel I need to kick it up a notch. (Helpful hint: be sure to have some fatty food in your stomach when you take an Inner Defense… it does not do well on an empty stomach).
Truly tho, the best defense is a good offense….. which brings me back to my guineas, and the fact that I need to rehome some of my prolific pest patrollers…. Any of my local peeps want some? I’m your (farm)girl!
Hugs and love, Liz
Good morning friends! This is the time of year where things are fast and furious around here…. garden planting time, berry vineyard maintenance, etc…… all on top of our general busy lives.
Contrary to what you might think, my oasis of busy-ness is milking. The slow repitition is very ‘zen’. I use that time to pray, think, ponder, and enjoy the peace of it all. Honey (Elsa’s mama) has turned out to be an incredible mother and milk cow. I need to write about her story at some point. She and I really got thrown a curve ball when Elsa was born, and she truly rose to the challenge and has become a very special cow to me.
Hand milking is relaxing (it’s also a skill and requires a certain set of muscles most people don’t use). The sound of a cow quietly chewing her cud, and kittens playing. When the weather is right, it’s a perfect ‘bottle the moment’ time for me.
Our diverse animal family are cross species friends, and that makes for some amazing moments. I was able to catch some particular cuteness last week between our retired granny cow Clementine and Velcro (one of our two kittens). Velcro had started chasing Clementine’s tail, and Clementine let her do it….. in fact, even seemed to be encouraging her. The next thing I knew, Velcro had climbed up on top of Clementine….
(I had to stop milking to watch how this was going to play out). Once he got up there, I think Velcro suddenly realized he had a very comfortable perch. I was more concerned about Clementine getting up and accidentally stepping on Velcro in the process. Not to worry tho!…. her response was the sweetest thing to watch.
Velcro decided he was going to take some time to give himself a little spit bath.
Then he decided he was just going to hang out and enjoy the view for a bit. After a bit, he got down and continued to play all around Clementine. Clementine seemed to enjoy the attention, and when he ventured off, she actually stretched her neck out as far as it would go, low to the ground, in his direction, trying to get him to come back (he did).
They sat like this for quite awhile, and then I watched them do what I could only call an inter-species hug. Clementine very gently lowered her head and kind of hugged Velcro with her neck. Velcro, in response, put his little paw up and hugged her back. It was a completely adorable moment (and these pics do not even begin to do it justice). I wouldn’t trade moments like these for anything.
So if you need some cuteness to get you thru your Friday…. here ya go :)! Enjoy your day, and look for the beauty in life wherever you go. It’s everywhere!
Hugs and Love, liz
I am constantly amazed by God and all He has given us. He has given us everything we need from day ONE….. it was all there in the Garden…. and much he did with a little bit of humor and a wink. (I love that about Him…. he has a wry sense of humor at times!)
Pharmacy school has an elective class or two in something called Pharmacognosy: “A branch of knowledge concerned with medicinal drugs obtained from plants or other natural sources.”
This has fascinated me well before I ever even thought about going to pharmacy school (I did a term paper on herbal medicine when I was a Freshman). The list is terribly long, but here are some examples….
Foxglove = Digoxin (heart)
Poppy = Codeine (pain)
Autumn Crocus = Colchicine (gout)
Tobacco = Nicotine (insecticide/ anti-helminthic.. who knew!?!)
Valerian = Sedative
In Biblical times, ‘superbugs’ and diabetes likely didn’t even exist except in the rarest of occasions. The prevalence today of these are the result of man messing with things we shouldn’t have. Go back and research the incidence of bacterial resistance and diabetes in ancient times. Neither one existed with any regularity, yet today, they are both epidemic. An oddity (back in the day) deserves an oddity treatment…. don’t you think? Here’s a few more…..
Gila Monster spit = diabetes
Yesterday, I saw this… Platypus milk! ….. one of my most favorite animals may hold the key to this superbug crisis we currently have. I feel like God created odd creatures as a clue to man (back in the day)…. odd creatures for odd diseases.
God gives us clues to ourselves and His future plans for us ( Jeremiah 29:11). I marvel at how He put events, people, and opportunities in my life (even 30+ years ago), knowing that I would need these things later for what He has planned for me now.
Keep your eyes, ears, and heart (and even your gut) open. God speaks to us all daily. He nudges us in the direction he wishes us to go. It’s up to us to follow or ignore that nudge.
How has He used something in your past to prepare you for what’s going on in your life today?
Hugs and Love, Liz
We’ve lived on our farm for nearly 24 years. When we first moved here, our hometown, Anna, Texas was population 900. Today, I believe it is pushing 10,000. Although we’ll likely never move, we’ve learned some valuable lessons about buying property, utility companies, and government. All these things would play a part in a ‘do over’ if that were possible in life.
Little towns everywhere (but especially those within an hour or so of booming metroplexes) are frequently the assailed and hostaged of the aforementioned entities. Things happen. Deals are made behind closed doors. Money exchanges hands. The voices are too few to fight back. In a town of 900, those who try to fight are easily outnumbered by big business and big government. It is tragic. There is a difference between growth and what I can only call a hostile takeover of urban life. Residents in small town USA bear the brunt of the outcome.
In the last 24 years we have fought:
Last week, Erin Brockovich (yes, that one!) drew the NTMWD into the spotlight for the quality of water it has been delivering to its people. Hundreds upon thousands of families. No longer is this a small town situation. Thank God. I’ve seen mention more than once that Anna, Texas might be of particular concern.
If you’d like to read more about this particular fight, please read on here.
Suddenly, we have thousands of people interested and concerned about their health and their personal safety. We are such a litigious society these days….. it’s so easy to place blame for woes we have (on others) without giving due introspection on how we ourselves have played a part.
Friends, the water quality is important and we do need to fight it hard…. but it is a ‘drop in the bucket’ (excuse the pun) when you look at the bigger picture. The chemicals in the water are causing rashes and other health concerns. This is truth ya’ll, and unfortunately, we have no choice but to use the water that is supplied to each of us.
I know thousands of families in this area buy and drink bottled water to circumvent the crummy tap water, but this still leaves themselves exposed to the SAME chemicals when they take a shower or bath. Our skin is not like saran wrap…. keeping everything out. On the contrary…. it is our largest organ and absorbs chemicals like a sponge. (Precisely the reason that drugs applied topically have a systemic effect! ).
Now, here comes the self introspective part of this post that may hurt a little …. people are squealing about the water quality…. which we pay for and have no choice but to allow into our homes…..But what about the items we DO have the choice on what we do or don’t bring into our homes? These things cause equal damage (if not greater)…. and yet you may unconsciously do this every day.
Toxic words to look for in your products:
Fragrance (about 300 chemicals hide behind that word)
Dyes of any sort (Red, Blue, Yellow, Green)
SLS (Sodium Laureth Sulfate)
This is only 3 in a LOOOONG list of harmful chemicals that are in nearly all standard body care products.
We point fingers at the water company who is doing us wrong , but we may also need to begin to take a close look at ourselves too ….. are we grabbing things at the store that are also causing insidious damage? Just because it’s for sale, doesn’t mean it’s safe……. case and point with our water source. Our government does not do an adequate job of regulating chemicals in our country…. again… just look at this water situation.
I know many of my friends have also realized this over the years and now make conscious decisions when buying products…. whether that be food, house cleaning supplies, or personal care products.
The problem, is that now we have companies who operate on subterfuge to sell…. they brand themselves as ‘healthy alternatives’ but then slip in damaging chemicals. One bad apple then spoils the barrel. Take a look at this article by Food Babe (one of my vocal heroes) on the company LUSH as an example: https://foodbabe.com/lush-bath-bombs-not-think/…… and DANG, their products aren’t cheap ($8.95 for a bath bomb?)
I put my pharmacist detective hat on each time I look at a product… and for a long time, that made shopping incredibly time consuming. Over 4 years ago, I found Young Living, and quit reading labels. Originally, it was about the incredible health properties of their oils (because I believe in doing life’s ups and downs naturally instead of with man made chemicals), but YL has evolved into my ‘everything company’. I pretty much just shop once a month for TRULY non-toxic body care products and household cleaning supplies (and yes, they have bath bombs that actually have heal-th benefits, smell great, and cost less than Lush’s… or, you can make your own if you are a DIY’er for even cheaper!).
People argue that living healthy is expensive, but I would argue that just the opposite is true. Studies have found that people spend (on average) 16x more on their health on the backside (when all heck has broken out in your body), versus taking care of things up front by eliminating toxic chemicals, exercising, eating right, etc. Our environment really does determine (90%) our health outcome, and we have to take some personal responsibility for creating that environment.
I see the ramifications of NOT doing these things every day I work at the pharmacy and it breaks my heart. It is the reason I have slowly stepped back (not yet completely away) from pharmacy and looked toward ways to help people become whole again. Dolphin MPS, Health Coaching, Christian Yoga teacher training, Young Living product education, other holistic modalities…. all of this. The need for repair in our bodies is HUGE and we need more people being part of the solution instead of part of the problem.
But it starts with what we choose to allow into our own homes …. and that starts with us as individuals…. you and me.
If you aren’t sure where to start, reach out to someone you know who is already walking this path. We all had someone lead us initially too, and I don’t know any one who isn’t happy to share tips and life hacks on how to live a healthier life.
To learn more about the personal care products that Young Living offers, you can take a gander here: http://oilyfarmgirl.com/ms/view?page=ms-personalcare
Even our makeup usually contains ‘dirty’ ingredients. Young Living has that covered as well: http://oilyfarmgirl.com/ms/view?page=ms-savvy-minerals
Be Well my friends ~
Hugs and love, Liz
Lordy, the first quarter of 2018 came in like a lion, and then took over my life. Here’s a toast (of raw milk) that 2nd Qtr 2018 will be a little gentler on my time. The good Lord only gave me 24 hours in a day, and they’ve been filled to overflowing. Thank goodness I’ve been blessed with a fast metabolism and have access to NingXia Nitro.
Rain: Henceforth known as “The Great Flood of February 2018”. While we desperately needed rain, in this part of Texas, the weather is feast or famine. It’s either scorching hot, windy as heck, insanely beautiful, or swampy wet. February was cold and wet. In fact, it was too wet to be muddy some days. The mud came later tho….. lots of it. Chores that typically took an hour sometimes took two hours for days on end. As I sit here and type, the wind is blowing hard…. (Wyoming hard if you are from that part of the world). I don’t enjoy the hard winds, but I’m enjoying it today, knowing it’s drying the ground out faster.
Friends: This crazy quarter has been filled with so many good things…. Elsa survived (and is thriving), my vision is coming into fruition, and we’ve been blessed by connecting with friends old and new. Humans are interesting creatures. We thrive in community. Studies have shown that over and over again…. even introverts (myself included) need community to thrive. That said, we introverts just need time alone after we’ve spent time with our tribe. I read recently that most introverts are generally highly sensitive and some are bestowed the blessing of ’empath’. Work with me here while I try to explain this in basic “Joe science” terms….. Each one of us is a bundle of energy. This is a scientifically proven fact. Electrical current frequency is measured by Hertz, and we all have varying degrees of energy frequency (Again, not new-agey stuff… this is a fact). Some people have the ability to sense or ‘feel’ subtle changes of energy in people and in our environment (Animals are VERY good at this). I hear massage therapists speak of it often, but didn’t really understand until I began my Dolphin MPS certification process and spent more time with my hands on people. Christian Yoga certification training has taught me even more about it. There are people who could be termed ‘energy vampires’ in that they leave you exhausted after spending much time with them. The same can be said for those who recharge your spirit. And then, there’s the chaotic ‘energy chatter’ that many of us introverts try to avoid when we can. This is a real thing, and I am learning to embrace the gift that God has given me. It has also enabled me to understand why my quiet/ recharge time is truly so important for my physical and mental health. Chronic low frequency (meaning low Hertz) will lead to dis-ease and disrepair within the body. I know… it sounds hokey…. but do some research if you think I’ve dived off the deep end. There is truth to what I just wrote. Fascinating stuff! The body is an incredible machine, and the more I learn about it, the more I marvel at how easy dysfunction can occur.
Elsa: Our little miracle calf has had some milestones in the last month. About 6 weeks into her life, she figured out how to mechanically overcome her cleft palate and begin nursing on her own. Huge kudos to her very patient mama, Honey. It takes her quite awhile to eat, but Honey has definitely been the unsung hero in all of this. I will tell you more about her someday. Elsa has been able to latch on to both front teats, but because of the angle and length of the back teats, could not nurse on those. That is working out well, so I’ve been milking the back quarters while she cleans out the front two. (A cow’s udder has four separate compartments that produce and then store the milk)
We noticed several weeks in to Elsa’s life that her ears had gotten frostbitten, and it looked like she was going to lose the tips of each ear. Sure enough, a couple of weeks ago, the dead areas simply peeled off. I’m posting a pic here, and although you really can’t tell unless you look hard enough, her left ear is a little different than her right ear now. (I’m telling you…. it gets COLD here sometimes in the winter!).
She is starting to eat regular food now, and we’ve come to realize that there is a new problem emerging. The solid food keeps creating a bolus that lodges in her nostrils. I have created a gentle rinse recipe along with a way to remove the bolus when it forms. She doesn’t like it, but I can tell she is appreciative of our efforts afterwards. The rinse is a mixture of distilled water, colloidal silver, and a small amount of Thieves Mouthwash. The latter two create an inhospitable environment for bacteria….. important because my fear is now that she will develop a bacterial infection if food sits there too long and is allowed to ferment. (And yes, I did put a little up my own nose just to make sure it wouldn’t burn…. for those of you who are wondering ;)! We’re just taking this ‘Raisin’ Elsa’ thing day by day. She is healthy and strong, but I feel like I need more information on cleft palates that are not surgically repaired. Surgery does not seem to be an easy option here, but perhaps I’ve not dug deep enough, or contacted the right resources? She is growing so rapidly, and it seems like any repair would need to be able to grow with her somehow.
Take care and enjoy the rest of your day! I’m headed out to feed. Although the wind is blowing hard, the sun is glorious and shines on my face.
Hugs and Love, liz
Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. Honestly, as much as Charlie and I love each other, we are not huge proponents of this particular advertising holiday…. ’cause we just love each other every day, and do our best to show one another that we still do #evenafteralltheseyears. I mean, why limit your love to just one day? Of course we both fail spectacularly on occasion…. but the point is, that we both do try.
Have you heard of the 5 Love Languages? It’s a concept that has been around for several years and was outlined in a book by Gary Chapman. My love language is service, and Charlie nails that one for me every time. It wasn’t always that way tho. When we were first married, he gave me a few gifts that resulted in a hairy eyebrow from me. Although he was giving from the heart, it was not in a ‘love language’ that my receiving heart understood.
I know my blog is primarily about health and farm life, and ya’ll might think I’m deviating from that venue in this post. Not so. Our heart, body, and emotionally health is completely and utterly dependent on healthy loving relationships….. not just with our significant other, but also with friends, family, and/or ‘framily’ (those friends who truly become our family). Do a little Googling on this topic, or take a peek at some of the benefits here.
I posted on my personal Facebook page about this topic last week, and my dear friend Miss Dottie added to my musings. She is a little older than I am, and infinitely wiser! ….. there is a distinct advantage to aging well, learning from life, and then passing along golden nuggets to others. Life lessons should shared so that others may find their road a little less rocky in life!
From Miss Dottie:
“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.”~John 15:12
As a former relationship coach, matchmaker, & author of the Dr Romance column, I was immersed in the world of love & what makes us tick (or not). Each February my thoughts return to that season with a smile & I love writing about all things of the heart.
My friend posted this little chart this morning. Since Valentines Day is just around the corner I thought it might help you in showing love specifically to each person you care about. I know the media pushes roses, candy, & cards but sometimes that’s not what means the most. Valentines Day isn’t really about YOU, it’s really about THEM.
It’s really important for all of us to communicate what’s important to us. For me words of affirmation & quality time are the wind beneath my sails. Want to crush me? Use words that make me feel less than. Want to bruise my heart? Never spend time with me or come alongside me.
If you’re alone or maybe not in a healthy relationship, I would encourage you to meet my BFF Jesus. I would also encourage you to “romance the self.” Need a friend? Be a friend. Love flowers? Plant your own garden. I think you get my drift.
I think I Corinthians 13 offers the best definition of love: “Love suffers long & is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things…”
Enjoy your day tomorrow, regardless if you are single or have a significant honey in your life. You are loved by someone no matter who you are or where you are in life. Don’t ever forget that! Miss Dottie is a wise woman, and her words are golden!
Hugs and Love from me to you this Valentine’s Day, liz
It’s Tuesday January 30th. Tomorrow is Elsa’s one month birthday, and I feel the concern about her living (or not) washing off of me. She is a normal calf in all ways barring her cleft palate. Scratch that… well, maybe not exactly normal. She plays with the dogs, loves human attention, and follows me around like a toddler when I’m outside. Her feeding schedule is now on official every 8 hours (whew!). In my book, that makes her better than normal, right?
As in all other aspects of my life, when the major stress is over, that’s usually when my body lets down its guard and my immune system fails me. No better time for that than smack dab in the middle of flu season. I have been praying that my body does not succumb. It’s particularly nasty this year if you haven’t heard. In our area of Texas alone, entire school districts have been shut down for days at a time, and the lingering effects include a hacking barky cough that lasts for weeks on end. I’ve got no time for that nonsense.
Last Friday evening, Charlie wanted to go see the movie 12 Strong (a fantastic patriot inspired true story) after work and chores. As we were headed home, he said “I think I need an Inner Defense“. UGH!!!! We had just shared a bottle of water throughout the movie. By Saturday morning, it was clear that my sweet husband had fallen to the flu, and I knew I was (and still am) in the direct line of fire.
This is the moment that I take no prisoners when it comes time to caring for myself, and I immediately went in to full throttle defense mode. We don’t do Tamiflu or any other pharmaceutical ‘remedies’ around here unless an emergency warrants it (although I would personally never touch Tamiflu), and my farm guy is already on the mend. I imagine that he will be 100% again before the week is out.
I am still standing strong, but my body has given me clues that if I let my guard down, the situation will likely escalate. I know many of you are worried about this season of illness, but I’m here to tell you that the best offense is a great defense…… Here is what I am doing (in addition to prayer):
Y'all, I went for about 2 weeks with only taking catnaps in early January…. stressing about Elsa, and still working at the pharmacy in a flu ridden environment. Knock on wood….. I am still standing strong.
My goal is and always will be to empower people to take charge of their own health. You alone are the only one who can read your body’s signs and know what it feels like when you are about to be knocked down a notch or two in the wellness department. It is in that moment that you act quickly. The first line of defense is to not fall below that wellness line!
Hugs and love, liz
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……. stands a man who supports me in all that I do. My farm guy and I have been married for 25+ years, and he truly never ceases to amaze me with his support, care, and love.
I’m not gonna lie, these past three weeks have pushed me to the limit and have brought out the cranky side of me. I feel like lack of sleep has called out my evil twin. Charlie has been awesome despite all this, and has picked up where I’ve had to leave off to keep Elsa fed and cared for. (She is doing INCREDIBLE by the way… and feedings are now spread to every 5 hours!)
Charlie learned early on that my love language is service. We make a great team…. I say something like, “I wish I had a ______________” (this blank usually requires power tools to complete), and the next thing you know, he’s out there building it! No joke. My dad was a handy guy, and I married an equally handy one. My guy is gifted beyond measure and can visualize something and then the next thing you know, it’s built. He is a man’s man, and he is also a tenderhearted sweet soul that God gifted me.
Last year, he encouraged me to step out and pursue a passion that I’ve been carrying in my heart. He did this verbally, and then backed that encouragement by physically stepping in and being present when I was absent. That is no small feat when it entails caring for 60+ animals, managing farm chores, being an elder at our church, AND holding down a 50+hr per week job that is a 2+hr round trip commute each day. He sees value in what I am passionate about, and he supports me 100%. This is a gift beyond measure, and he does it without complaint.
Last week, I pretty much hit my stress limit. I’ve got alot going on here…. at times, I wonder if I’ve bitten off more than I can chew (especially when you throw Elsa’s care into the mix). In some ways, I feel like I’ve gone back to college…. but these things I’m doing are part of a much bigger vision that God has on my heart, and I have a sense of urgency in completing them. People are hurting (physically and emotionally) and feel it. It is driving me to learn how to help them find healthier ways to heal (instead of being ‘band-aided’ by meds).
This is a season, and it won’t be forever, but it’s a busy time right now, especially with Elsa’s needs. (I only have words of admiration for you moms of special needs human babies….YOU are amazing if someone did not tell you that today!)
My ‘to do’ list of farm chores is steadily falling further behind. For having a working farm, I’d say we run a pretty tight ship around here. We both like ‘neat and tidy’, and my efforts with Elsa mean that other duties have fallen to the wayside. We’ve recently hired a young man to help us for a few hours a week…. I think you might have heard us both audibly sigh in relief.
We are in the process of converting our barn apartment into a home office to house ‘my vision’ that has become ‘our vision’. Charlie has been working tirelessly to get the physical upgrades done, and it is looking awesome! I am the caulker and painter in the family, and both of those duties have fallen to the side. He knew that was stressing me out (falling behind on my end of the work project), so he quietly arranged for a dear friend who owns a commercial painting company to come out and do what I have not had time to complete, and then surprised me with it. If you want to see a grown woman cry, that was it…. a blessing beyond measure.
He even surprised me with my dream of a purple door on ‘The Dairy Palace’. The whole palace (another ‘wish’ that became a reality) isn’t quite done yet (there is a little more to complete), but I love the whimsical pop of color!
I’m a tired farmgirl. It’s a passing season, and I’ve got a farm guy who is my favorite person in the world, my best friend, and greatest cheerleader. It is a blessed woman indeed who has a man such as mine. (And by the way, our animals are blessed too, because his heart is big enough for all of us).
Hey there....thanks for stopping by! This is me (Liz James)... an eclectic mixture of holistic (and organic) farmgirl meets pharmacist. It's a synergy that works well as I speak truths and dissect fact from fiction. If you're looking for healthier living options, you've come to the right place!