Well, it’s time for the weekly (or in this case, bi-weekly) report of the Independence Days Challenge. In my defense, I had quite planned to post last week, but… well… life overtook me.
Or rather, illness did.
First, the Wee Goon and I simultaneously came down with colds. How do I love thee, Oscillococcinum? Let me count the ways. Suffice to say, whilst the Wee Goon’s cold dragged on for over a week, mine was gone after a mere day and a half. Wonder of wonders, miracle of miracles! A few days later, and it’s Monday. WG is still snifflin’ and snottin’ and I… am trying in vain to ward off mastitis. More on that later. After battling that off, I got the cold a second time. Only this time it was here to stay. And I was miserable. And the WG was miserable. And I didn’t have the energy to put together a proper blog post. Oh, and then a horse foaled. But again, more on that later.
Thusly, I am reporting on both weeks at the same time.
>> Plant something.
Ah, no. However, it is suspiciously springlike outside and I am contemplating planting those apple seeds that I have saved over the course of the last year and a half. I’ve really no idea how long seeds will stay viable, but I would be happy if even half of them sprouted. Or just one. I would be okay with one. Does anyone know how long seeds stay viable? Approximately? Care to share?
>> Harvest something.
Chicken eggs. The daylight is increasing, and the first clutch that Rafter the Psychotic Bantam hatched out has finally reached laying age, so we’re seeing more and more eggs. I would like to get an incubator and hatch out some eggs from our older, “Heritage Mutt” hens before they get any farther along in age. They’ve been good layers, but they’re a few years old now, and it wouldn’t hurt to hatch out some young’ns. Since Rafter has craftily hid herself away to hatch out the last two clutches of her own eggs rather than allowing me to replace them with eggs from the rest of the flock, I am thinking that an incubator may be my best option.
>> Waste not.
I had a carcass left over from eating roast chicken, but with being sick it never made it into the stock pot. I shall try again this week. I have, however, continued to place usable vegetable scraps into the freezer in preparation for making a vegetable stock, and saved other food scraps for the chickens.
>> Want not.
Ehm. I want a chest freezer. For meeeaaat. Lotsa meat. See, it has come to my attention (translation: I’ve been visiting doctors and having bloodwork done and been pulling my hair out over it) that I have, apparently, a non-celiac gluten intolerance. Which means a sad farewell to my whole wheat pasta, and my rosemary and sea salt bread. But! Ah, but. More veggies and more meat. I like meat. And many vegetables. And any excuse to be eating more meat is one that would probably be well-liked in this family, since my husband is very much a Steak and Potatoes fellow and the Wee Goon would eat a whole cow if you’d let him. But we haven’t gotten one yet. I should probably figure out where we would even put it.
>> Eat the food.
This actually is going to be a tough one in the weeks to come, because of the aforementioned newly-discovered gluten intolerance. I’m going to have to purge the pantry. Honestly it shouldn’t be too bad, and I should be able to give most of it to gluten-consuming families. White Bunny will probably get the oats, because White Bunny likes oats. Profound, I know. So this is going to be an adventure… figuring out what food in our pantry I can eat. I will report back on this.
>> Build community food systems.
Oh! This one went well. I bought twenty pounds of grassfed beef and a couple of packages of beef liver from a local farm. I also threw in a Free Ranger roasting chicken, as she had an extra one in the freezer and I have contemplated raising some meat birds in the future.
I also (hopefully) got back into the habit of buying raw milk. Shhh. Don’t tell the Feds. This, obviously, was also in support of my local community food system. I just can’t tell you where.
Our local village was having a meeting to hear suggestions on uses for their new community park, and I wanted to go and bring up the idea of either a community garden or a farmer’s market, but I didn’t end up making it there, sadly.
>> Skill up.
I made a new batch of hard lotion bars which, as always, is a learning experience.
Also, one of the mares at the farm where I work foaled this past Saturday, and I was able to assist with the birth. I’ve witnessed the birth litters of puppies and rabbits, not to mention goat kids, and was even able to assist with a c-section on a dog, but witnessing a foal was a new one for me!
I learned to cure my mastitis with a poultice/paste, which was a mixture of apple cider vinegar and bentonite clay. Definitely a handy skill to have. When you consider the fact that mastitis generally occurs between two and six weeks postpartum, and my Wee Goon is almost eleven months old, it was a bit of a surprise. Having finally gotten over the candida issues that I believe started when I was on an antibiotic during pregnnacy, I really didn’t want to have to go back to the doctor for yet another antibiotic, but I also knew that mastitis can get pretty nasty, and ending up with an infection raging through my body is.. well, let’s just say that it’s not on my bucket list.
I was calling our local health food store to see if they had loose activated charcoal to make a poultice, and was told that they only had it in capsule form, but that they had loose bentonite clay and that that made an excellent cleansing poultice.
I already had bentonite clay here! So, I mixed it with some ACV until it had a paste-like consistency, slathered it on, covered it in gauze, and then placed a warmed corn bag over it. I did this a few times, including the time that the Wee Goon went down for a nap. I pounced on the opportunity to take one myself while wearing the poultice, and it helped. Immensely.
I’ll be remembering this skill for future reference, that’s for sure!
As far as other skills go, I have been doing a lot of reading on gluten intolerance and how that plays out and has an effect. I’m currently reading Gluten-Free Girl: How I Found Food that Loves Me Back … & How You Can Too and that has been excellent. Very encouraging, especially the part where she reminds you to stand up for yourself and your health, rather than constantly feeling like a bother to people, or acting like it’s somehow your fault, as if it’s just that you’re a picky eater or something. This was definitely something I needed to hear.
One extra category that I would like to put in my challenge reports is ‘helpful links’, because I often come across informative blog posts and websites during the week, and I would love to share them with you!
>> Helpful Links
Root Cellaring Plans: A Review of The Complete Root Cellaring Book
Sustainable Lighting Tutorial: Hand-dipped Beeswax Candles
Real Food: Tips for Cooking with Coconut Oil
The Prairie Homestead: 16 Ways to Use Your Whey
I look forward to hearing how all of you are doing with the challenge as well!
See more reports over at Sharon’s blog, which is hosting the Independence Days Challenge!