Friday, October 30, 2015

A Cloth Diaper Odyssey


Swaddlebees Organic Fitted Diapers






I have been cloth diapering little bottoms since 1993 when my first daughter was born. Back then you didn't have all of the nifty options that cloth diapering Moms enjoy today, you had flat diapers and prefolds. I bought several packs of Dr. Denton prefolds from Family Dollar along with the required plastic pants and off I went on my cloth diapering journey. Back in the day it was S.O.P to use a wet pail, I would soak the diapers in the toilet (and occasionally forget about them and Mr. G would flush them down) and then transfer the sopping wet, slightly less poopy article to the bucket where it would marinate until wash day. Gross, gross, gross. But it was cheaper than 'sposies and that was the main thing for me then; I didn't give a rip about the environment or how it was "better for babies" or attach any social activism to it at all. I followed the same path with the twins, that of prefolds and plastic pants but I also used 'sposies for nighttime and when I didn't have any cloth ones clean.

Kawaii, Thirsties, Tweedlebugs




BumWear, Oh Katy








I may have used cloth sporadically on the next two girls, I don't really remember (which is a pitfall of having a big family and not writing stuff down) but my cloth diapering day really dawned when I was expecting Elisabethe. Suddenly there was an explosion of cloth cuteness, diapers designed better than ever before. I bought exclusively natural fiber fitted diapers: Swaddlebees organic, Little Beetle Lites and regular, Cricketts, Tinkletraps, Firefly regular and overnights, Under the Nile organic. I had a major addiction with these little bundles of fluff. I used wool soakers as the outer layer that keeps clothes from getting wet. I have used: Disana soakers, Lana soakers, Aristocrats soakers, Organic Caboose soakers and various WAHM soakers. I *loved* wool, I loved that it was all natural, breathable and cool for little heineys. I loved the way it smelled, looked and felt. I'd get this Zen thing going when I handwashed them and lanolized them. :-) I was not interested in any AIOs (all in one diapers) or any synthetic anything touching my babies. We didn't wear synthetic clothes and I was not going to diaper a baby in petroleum by-products!




close up of a Tweedlebugs and the Oh Katy




So, fast forward a few babies: I no longer own a clothes dryer and I have newly acquired an AUTOMATIC WASHER!!!! after having spent 9 months hand washing clothes for a family of 11. I had sold most of my fitted diapers because you really can't get them clean without a machine and they're almost impossible to dry without a clothes dryer in the Winter. I'm ready to be the Prodigal Cloth Diapering Daughter, but how? Enter the pocket diaper. A synthetic beauty consisting of a PUL outer (water resistant layer) and a microfleece inner. Into the pocket you stuff a microfiber insert that absorbs the moisture. I bought: Tweedlebugs (an OK diaper, not my favorite, but low price), BumWear (another OK diaper, cute prints and good price), Kawaii (the snap version is *great*, the aplix isn't so great), Oh Katy (my favorite daytime pocket, stuffs from the front which I really like) and 2 Thirsties Pocket AIOs (I love these for nighttime, you can use them as an AIO or add inserts to up the absorbency for nighttime. They are being discontinued so snap them up if you can find them). I never thought I would be crazy about synthetic diapers but I am! I love the microfleece against Asa's bottom, he never feels wet like my other babies would with cotton against their skin. The microfleece wicks the moisture away leaving him feeling dry. The pocket diapers are easy to hand wash and even the inserts dry fairly quickly, another plus for me! He never smells like pee either, I can't really figure this one out but it's true. Pocket diapers also don't add a ton of bulk, they're trimmer than the fitteds I had and that's nice under little jeans.




Thirsties Pocket Aios



I am happy to be back to using cloth. Today, I do care about the amount of disposable diapers going into landfills and I know that if I were a baby cloth is what I'd want to wear, not a scratchy paper diaper laden with toxic chemicals. The diapers I have will still be useable for any other babies we have, making the investment even more profitable.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

A Day In The Life Of Maggie

     Several years ago my friend Amy made up the most adorable dress based on an image dated 1848. She recently sent the dress to me in hopes that Maggie could now wear it and I've waited several days for the chance to get some action shots. Amy's original post is here.

    For reasons best known to herself it didn't happen to suit Maggie to pose for pictures, she is pretty hacked off in most of them. Still, the dress is beautiful and these pictures do capture her as she actually is.  :)


Thursday, September 10, 2015

I've Become My Grandmother

     The growth of the "Crunchy" Mom and what she is and isn't seems to be a popular topic on Mom's forums and amongst bloggers that I read. I posted a "You Might Be Crunchy If..." link on facebook recently with a list of typical crunchy behaviors. But I'll tell you a secret, I'm not crunchy at all. Not a smidgen. What I actually am is a traditional country wife; I've become my Grandmother.

     What constitutes crunchy?
  • The crunchy mom uses cloth diapers, mama cloth and possibly family cloth. So did Grandma, she thought throwing money away on paper diapers to dump in a landfill where they will take 5 centuries to break down is foolish. She also realizes that untreated sewage and blood are bound to contaminate ground water with this practice and that disposable diapers might contribute to male infertility.
  • The crunchy mom might choose a birth center or to birth at home. So did Grandma. She birthed 9 children at home, the 10th in a hospital and then returned to birthing at home for the 11th. She felt more comfortable in her own space and didn't need to worry about how her little ones were faring at home without her. The wonder and miracle of Twilight Sleep held no attraction for Grandma. 
  • The crunchy mom makes her own toothpaste, deodorant and shampoo, but Grandma did too. Ingredients were simple 100 years ago and there was no need to pay for what you could do yourself. 
  • Crunchy families recycle. Honey, Grandma invented recycling and the mantra use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without. 
  • Crunchy medicine cabinets are full of kitchen ingredients. One of my Grandmothers was a farm wife, the other lived in town but grew a large garden and kept a pig or 2 in the backyard, but both of them treated 99% of illnesses with what she had in her pantry. A doctor or God forbid a hospital, was for life and death emergencies. 
  • Crunchy napkins and paper towels are reusable. Grandma? Check.
  • Crunchy moms know how to ferment foods and properly prepare grains. Crunchy moms didn't invent either of these practices, they are still common knowledge in traditional societies. 
  • Crunchy tables pride themselves on knowing their farmer and buying local. Most of the meat that Grandma didn't raise was grown by her cousin or uncle or someone she'd known her whole life. Exotic to Grandma was the oranges that they bought once a year so the children could each have one. 
  • Also on the list were: rendering lard, making bone broth and eschewing anything fat free. I think Grandma had it covered.  :)

     I am happy to see any person become more conscious of how their choices affect their family's health and impact the planet. I applaud all crunchy moms out there for going against the norm and working twice as hard to make life cleaner for their loved ones. And I especially applaud Grandma for being hip without even knowing it!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Tetanus!

Since tetanus is one of the most misunderstood of the "vaccine preventable" diseases I thought that I would record my research about it here.

  • Tetanus is unique in that it is not communicable, therefore "herd immunity" does not apply. 
  • Though tetanus is caused by the Clostridium tetani bacteria, that bacteria is oddly found in only 30% of tetanus cases. 
  • The tetanus bacteria is found literally everywhere: in the soil, on your skin, in your mouth & gut. 
  • The tetanus bacteria itself is harmless, it is the toxins it produces under anaerobic conditions that cause the problem. 
  • Most people associate tetanus with rusty nails or deep puncture wounds, yet tetanus has been diagnosed with ear infections, tonsillitis, appendicitis and even in people with no obvious wound or point of entry at all.
  • There are actually 5 kinds of tetanus
  1. Subacute tetanus which is characterized by some degree of neck stiffness involving the muscles at the back of the neck; spasticity, as well as increased muscle stretch reflexes, especially in the lower limbs.
  2. Local tetanus where the contractions of the muscles are only in the area of the injury. These contractions can persist for weeks. Though rare one of our children had this form years ago, that's when I first learned the what we think tetanus looks like is actually not always the case.
  3. Cephalic tetanus: a very rare form which occurs with burst ear drums or after dental work. Again, the key is proper wound management. 
  4. Generalized tetanus, this accounts for 80% of cases. The symptoms begin at the head and work down. Reflex spasms occur within 24-72 hours. Patient will have a hard time opening their mouth (hence "lockjaw") they'll have a stiff neck and difficulty swallowing. 
  5. Neonatal tetanus: this form was eliminated from developed countries both vaccines and antibiotics were invented.
  • Some studies have shown that substantial proportions of unimmunized populations show detectable levels of antitoxin suggesting naturally occurring immunity. 
  • Tetanus via injury does *not* seem to result in immunity, rather, ingesting tetanus spores which appears to stimulate the immune system in the appropriate way. 
  • in 1973 there were 1 million tetanus deaths, 60-90% in newborns. The obvious answer to combating tetanus is safer birth practices, not immunizations. 
  • As of August, 2012 there have been 22,143 adverse reaction from the tetanus vaccine reported to VAERS (estimates say that only 10% of reactions get reported at all).
  • U.S. studies have shown that 2 month old babies have protective levels of tetanus antitoxin in their blood, this is before any immunizations have been given. 
  • Toxic ingredients in the DT shot: aluminum sulfate, thimerosol, formaldehyde.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Magdalena's Birth Story

     I'm just pulling this post over here because I'd originally written it for a now defunct blog and wanted it where I could access it. I had forgotten so many of the depressing details. Maybe it was better that way...

January 15, 2012
It's been 10 days since Maggie joined our family and though I'm ecstatic that she's here and safe I'm still far from working through the myriad of conflicting emotions that I have over the whole birth experience. This pregnancy was a very stress filled one, both of my parents are dying: my Dad from cancer and my Mom has Parkinson's and dementia which is getting worse by the week. What she's dying of though is Pulmonary dystrophy. It has been really hard to be here and to have my siblings begrudge me any information on how they're doing. I truthfully didn't expect my Mom to live until I delivered, but she has! So, I was coping with the parent situation fairly well, my blood pressure was good etc and then at 35 weeks I got a call that my CNM was no longer practicing and I need to come in the next day to meet the OB and newly hired CNM. It was then that my blood pressure really started going up. I went to the meeting and decided to try to get an appointment with the doctor who used to back up my old CNM, he had left that practice and was on his own now. My CNM, Sue, really thought a lot of him, he was very laid back about what Sue chose to do and he'll deliver breeches and let her give back-up care to lay midwives even! Sounds great, right? So I get the appointment with Dr. B and he is pretty laid back, doesn't push the vaginal exam issue (though the nurse had a fit when I refused to get undressed and told her we'd have to discuss it before I agreed). He's fine about me doing my own GBS swab and isn't very concerned about my BP as long as it stays around 140/90. I begin taking all kinds of natural/herbal things to get my BP to return to normal and I have pretty good success. Good! *Until* the day that my 6 year old dislocates her elbow, which coincides with the day that my husband happens not to take his cell phone to work with our only vehicle. I'm stranded at home in a crisis situation and no one to turn to. After it's all said and done my blood pressure has gone WAY back up. It's here that I realize that no amount of diet/exercise/herbs are going to matter since this is stress induced hypertension. A person can only take so much stress until it begins to tell on them physically and I'd met that point.


Around 36.5 weeks I begin to get contractions beginning in the late afternoon and going until around 3 in the morning. They aren't horribly painful but I can't sleep through them either. This goes on night after night and really starts to wear me down. My blood pressure hits an all time high of 158/98 and we decide to induce at 39 weeks. I have misgivings about it but so many things fell into place that we felt God was nudging in that direction. So Thursday, January 5 at 6:00 A.M we report to the hospital to begin the induction. Gill and Asa go with me but they aren't going to stay, I'm going to be doing this by myself. Gill is needed at home and so the plan is that he'll be there until the end at which time I'll call him and he'll come in time for the actual birth. Yes, this stinks but I can handle it, I'm informed and a good advocate for myself. I honestly believed that it would go pretty quickly and fairly easily because I was already having contractions and was dilated 1-2 cm. I know that might not seem like much, but I've *never* dilated before labor begins before, never seen my mucous plug or anything, so any dilation seemed really promising. Nurse #1 blows my vein trying to start the I.V., nurse #2 blows the vein in my other hand and so they call the anesthesiologist to insert the I.V. He chooses to use the same vein as nurse #1 already tried, that's somewhat painful as it's already bruising. They want a blood draw from the same stick but he can't get it so the phlebotomist comes in to stick me again in the arm. Sigh. OK, the pitocin is started at 7:30 and by 10:00 the contractions are clipping right along. By 11:00 the cx are 2 minutes apart and lasting a minute and a half, they hurt etc but I'm coping. I'm only dilated to 3 though. :-( And then Maggie's heartrate takes a nosedive, I have to get in bed (I had been walking, sitting on a low stool, swaying etc) and lay on my right side and then on my left side with an oxygen mask on. Her heartrate stabilizes after they shut the pitocin off, they leave it off for a half hour and she's doing well. I can't be upright though or her heartrate tanks again. We start the pit again and get cx going but the oxygen stays on and I have to stay in bed. Contractions that were manageable before are excruciating when I'm laying down and I doubt my ability to handle hours more of them, it's here that I decide to get an epidural. The anesthesia guy comes back and starts telling me what great shape I'm in and how he can't believe how good I look for having so many children and how I must exercise etc., yeah, a little creepy to be hit on by the guy placing the epidural. I have a talk with him and tell him that I'm not looking for zero pain, I want to retain as much mobility as possible. After a while it becomes apparent that the epidural has come out or is misplaced because I've got way too much sensation, he loads it up with more drugs to see and sure enough, it isn't working. He wants to know if I want it reinserted and I tell him let's just wait and see if I can handle it this way. He tells me that I'll have to let him know because he can't read me, I'm handling everything too well to give him his usual clues about how a woman is feeling. We have several more instances of heart decelerations in which they stop the pitocin and I have to move around until she settles down. Gill calls around 5 and says that Asa is throwing up and has the stomach flu. We decide that Gill had better not try to come to the hospital after all, I get off the phone and have a good cry.
Dilation is agonizingly slow, despite loads of very hard contractions my body just won't cooperate. I end up getting another epidural and tell Jeff (we're on a first name basis now, snort) to forget mobility, I just don't want to be in excruciating pain anymore. The monitor keeps malfunctioning and showing that I'm not having any contractions. I can feel them through the epidural and the nurse can palpate them too, but the monitor reigns so we up the pit more as per doctors orders. I'm having my doubts about the effectiveness of this new epidural but Jeff assures me that it's in place and working and I've got enough drugs on board to almost do surgery with. Well, that's cheerful news. Dr. B then wants to break my water, the baby is posterior and is resting on my pubic bone and he wants her to be down further in hopes that it will speed dilation. He breaks my water and inserts an internal fetal monitor, without asking for my consent. There is no reason to do this, the monitor tracking her heartrate hasn't malfunctioned once, it's just the monitor that logs contractions that won't work right. By 9:30-10:00 I'm only dilated to 6-7 and this is when Dr. B comes in and decides that enough is enough, he wants to get home so he's going to speed things along. He manually dilates my cervix, epidural or no, I can feel what he's doing. I know the dangers of this and I wonder if he does. Read this about Amniotic Fluid Embolism. So we get full dilation and I'm in lithotomy position complete with stirrups. He then swabs me down with betadyne and I think to myself, well, why don't we just do an enema and a pubic shave, maybe throw in a little twilight sleep and then we can really reenact a 1950s birth. Jerk. Then I begin pushing. In an interesting turnabout I now have to tell *them* when I'm having a contraction (apparently the monitor is only to be believed when it suits their purposes) and yes, I can feel them and they hurt. Coached, purple pushing. :-( For the first time ever I watch the birth, the nurse adjusted a mirror for me which is how I know the next part really happened. After her head is born Dr. B unloops her cord 3 times from around her neck. I've read enough to know that this wasn't necessary, it was loose enough for her to be born, but he does it anyway. Too much handling of the umbilical cord makes it quit pumping blood, in case you didn't know. He then jams the nasal aspirator up her nose and suctions her several times. As her shoulders are being born he grabs her and wrenches her from my body, says quickly that the cord has quit pumping, cuts it and places her on my stomach. I had *SPECIFICALLY* said that I wanted to wait for the cord to be thin and white before cutting, but Dr. B didn't follow that. The nurses then begin roughly and I mean roughly, rubbing her down with towels. She is screaming and it takes me a long while to quiet her down. Never have I had a newborn be inconsolable before, never have they not wanted to nurse. Nobody seems very worried about it though or concerned that they've just unnecessarily traumatized a tiny, helpless thing. They're more enthralled with the knot in her cord, it's almost a square knot Dr. B says he's never seen anything like it. He's then in a hot hurry to get my placenta out, so we rush that along as well. He also remarks on how little I'm bleeding and I think to myself, I'll bet you're surprised, you idiot, with all of the crap you just did to me it's a good thing I'm not hemorrhaging.
Three hours later I try to get up to go to the bathroom and my legs collapse under me, the epidural is still that strong. I can't imagine how much more painful that labor would have felt had I not had the epidural, it almost scares me to think about. In all it takes 5 hours for me to be able to stand and a lot longer than that for me to really be able to feel them. I feel beaten up, sore and abused. It took me a while to process this enough to be able to say that I should have walked out. After the first major heart deceleration I should have said that the baby obviously wasn't ready and my body wasn't either. But I didn't. I let this happen to me and to her and I felt powerless to stop it.

Friday, July 31, 2015

There Are No Safe Plastics

     If any chemical deserves a bad rap it's BPA, despite public outcry the FDA has yet to ban it entirely which shouldn't come as a real surprise since the FDA has banned fewer than 10 chemicals since the 1970s. Plastics are everywhere despite conclusive evidence from the CDC linking BPA to diabetes, heart disease and liver toxicity. BPA enters our body when we consume food or drinks that have been packaged or stored in a material that leaches BPA, as such is an every day occurrence for most of us scientists have found that 95% of the U.S. population has measurable levels of this chemical in their bloodstream. BPA is especially troublesome with our hormonal systems as it interferes with estrogen, testosterone and thyroid hormones, hence we refer to it as an endocrine disrupter. In 2011 the FDA did ban BPA from baby bottles and sippy cups, a move that the Environmental Working Group called "purely cosmetic." Even after this ban the FDA maintains that BPA is safe citing numerous plastics industry backed studies as proof while ignoring independent studies which show the exact opposite.

     A good video showing the disastrous effects of raising a generation of children constantly exposed to endocrine disrupting chemicals is The Disappearing Male. With the gamut of problems affecting children today that were unheard of just a few generations ago we need to realize that we're perpetuating a problem by our lifestyle and take steps to reverse the damage. Going completely plastic free is nigh impossible, but we can greatly reduce our exposure. Beginning steps include:
  • replace mixing bowls, measuring cups and spoons and dishes with ceramic or metal
  • avoid plastic take out containers
  • coffee machines leach BPA into every cup of coffee, use a percolator or a traditional French press
  • be selective when purchasing canned goods, acidic foods leach more BPA than non-acidic ones do. Consuming 1 can of soup from a BPA lined can everyday for 5 days causes a 1000% increase in urinary BPA levels. 
  • avoid touching receipts as they are coated with BPA. If you must handle them wash your hands as soon as possible
     The problem with products labeled BPA free is that you are deceived into thinking them safe when nothing could be further from the truth. ANY product containing recycled plastic content is likely contaminated with BPA. Also, since companies are aware that consumers are shying away from BPA laden products they are replacing it with similar chemicals, these are likely as harmful as BPA but the public hasn't heard about them or the fact that they are just as harmful yet. Remember: Industry isn't required to prove the safety of any of this before they put it into your body. 

     What about "safe" plastics?  The problem with plastics that test safe is that tests are performed on plastics that are new and unused, when subjecting plastics to the stress of everyday use via heat and light most plastics will test very differently. An excellent synopsis on why we can't trust BPA free labeling is here and another article called Scary New Evidence On BPA-Free Plastics both are worth reading. Most of our grandparents grew up without plastics and it is possible to closely achieve that again, I think it's worth the effort for our family. I hope you do too. 

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Know Your Beekeeper

     This spring we began working with bees again for the first time since moving South. We placed the hive in the back corner of the yard facing East, close enough to keep an eye on it, but not too close. We always feed bees a 1:1 ratio of sugar water in the spring if there aren't many flowers in bloom for the bees to work, it prevents starvation and I know of no beekeeper who doesn't use this emergency measure.

A sugar water feeder similar to ours

     I'm not crazy about the fact that white sugar generally comes from Monsanto's GMO sugar beets; how ironic to feed bees with a product that is made by a company who is largely responsible for massive bee die off. I'm not really aware of any viable alternative though.

A swarm that didn't settle inside a hollow tree, but hanging from a branch

     We bought our bees from a local beekeeper, a mutt strain that we thought would be already adapted to our particular climate/altitude etc. While in his bee yard, located in the suburbs and containing 50+ hives I noticed feeders on every hive. I asked if there were enough sources of nectar locally for his bees to survive and was met with an astounding answer. He said that he feeds his bees year round as a matter of course. B-b-but then, my mind is racing, all of the honey you sell is garbage, it's all junk food made from GMO sugar and would have NO health benefits at all. You probably would never know what you were actually buying.

     In the years when we didn't keep bees we have found local beekeepers to buy honey from as it greatly improves Mr. G's allergies. But never again will I buy honey without asking some gentle questions about what these bees have access to. There is no point in paying $5+ per pint for pseudo honey. Bees are such an easy thing to keep, I'm so glad we have our own again!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes

     Hey there friends, sorry that I haven't been around much. This spring and summer have been a whirlwind of activity and some days I feel like I haven't had a moment to get my bearings.

     On April 25 our oldest, Aleks, and his beloved, Melissa, made a lifelong commitment before God and their families.


Aleks and his youngest brother, Asa.

       And then....... Aleks & Melissa announced a week or so ago that we're going to be entering a new phase in life. Grandparents. Our girls are over the moon with excitement as are we. March can't come too soon!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Facebook

     I've begun to set up a facebook page for the house website, you will be able to see pictures and other updates there (eventually anyway).

     You can find us here: Thornburgh Hall

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Thornburgh Hall

     Our house finally has a name and a website. I was asked when we first bought the house if I was going to name it and I emphatically said NO, this house is hardly grand enough to merit a name. But two years have passed  and we've discovered so much more about this place and the people who built it in that time. Though the house might be a derelict wreck, we're making great strides toward restoring it based on what it was in 1850 and though there are many, many houses finer and grander in its day it was something pretty special. When construction was completed in 1850 this was a respectably fine house befitting the social station of a Senator, contrast that with Frances Hodgson Burnett (author of The Secret Garden, The Little Princess, and Little Lord Fauntleroy) who lived just down the street in a log cabin! So I named the house after this family, as a tribute to them, as seems fitting.

You can find out all about the history of the house, what we're doing to restore it, as well as how it's decorated at:



Saturday, May 23, 2015

What happens when you put on your makeup.......

     Asa, who is 5, came to give me a picture and tell me the story that he "wrote". It goes a little like this:
"One day she was putting on her makeup when she accidentally lit something on fire and cut her head open."
     End of story and he runs out to play. I've appropriately captioned the picture so you can enjoy this too.  :D


Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The Parlor Floor

     After almost 2 years we finally have the parlor floor finished! We began a few weeks ago with rented sanders (2 different kinds), a belt sander, a random orbit sander, a heat gun and a wire brush on a drill all in the attempt to remove 1 layer of latex paint over ancient varnish over the original milk paint. We got 90%+ removed and called it good enough; an 150 year old floor will never look new and we are content with that. I didn't sweat removing all of the milk paint, I'm intrigued by the red floor edges and the green baseboards, it's an old house quirk that I love.

     And then the floor finish, I AGONIZED over it for weeks. I loathe polyurethane, I think it looks fake and we do try to avoid petroleum by-products whenever we can. I really want to keep the house as much as it was when it was built including what finishes they would have had access to so in the end we used raw linseed oil. I researched it and we bought this product, using it avoids the mold issues that linseed oil can have and it's completely organic, an important consideration because really, if you can't eat your floor finish then why use it?  ;)  We applied 2 coats, wiped the excess (there wasn't much) and then let it rest until the wax came. The wax arrived today, we applied it, buffed it and and voila'! My lovely floor. Every year we will need to reapply the wax, but that's an effort that I'm willing to make for such a beautiful end product.


     Should the floor become scratched we just reapply wax in that spot, no fear of lap marks as with polyurethane. If the scratch is deep enough we would apply linseed oil first then wax, so much easier than brush-on products.
     Now we can begin to move furniture in that's been sitting on the porch while this project d-r-a-g-g-e-d on and figuring out how to arrange paintings that have been in storage since we bought the house. I'm excited!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Growing Old Gracefully

     This post will not be a literary tour de force, it will instead be a stream of consciousness, quasi-coherent ramble on my thoughts about growing old. Go forth at your own risk.

     So, I'm 44 and youth has been heading South for a while now.  My hair has/had a blond streak in it and I was told it would be the first thing to go grey. Yes indeedy. Except I don't have grey hair, it's white and it's pretty uniformly turning that color. I used to color with a "wash out in 28 shampoos" jobby, but I hate the fakeness of it. I just think that at a certain age brown/blond/black hair that comes from a bottle looks silly. I don't want to be that person, but I hate feeling like the only one who is just letting the aging process go unimpeded. I tried some herbal stuff, Bulk Herb Store has a mix that they don't advertise as a hair color, but lots of people give reviews and say that it does lightly cover grey. It did absolutely nothing for me. So I got a henna mix from Mountain Rose Herbs and in one of my more brilliant moments decided that heck yeah, 10 days before my sons wedding is the PERFECT time to take that baby for a spin. Bep looked at my hair and said it was really pretty, but the grey is "an unfortunate shade of orange." I busted out laughing, I laughed until I cried. Apparently nobody has ever said anything as witty as that. Maybe it's hormones; who cares at this point.

     I do occasionally see women going naturally grey, I saw a gal recently in a parking lot and wanted to tell her how beautiful I thought her hair was. I got scared that she'd think I was some sort of psychotic lesbian though, so I didn't. I mean, look at this woman. Lovely, no?
    I know that I'm not the only one who struggles with this, so does this blogger. And the increased cancer risk worries me too, see this page for a start. I just hate feeling so out of step with everyone else. I guess maybe I thought that by the time it happened, I'd be ready for it.

    I'll try to muddle my way through this, but when the time comes for you to cross this bridge, I'll be here to support you. And pass you the henna.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Spring RUSH



"The year's at the spring,
And day's at the morn;
Morning's at seven;
The hill-side's dew-pearled;
The lark's on the wing;
The snail's on the thorn;
God's in his Heaven— 
All's right with the world!"

 Robert Browning, The Year's at the Spring


     Spring comes with a pounce here, unlike other places we've lived where it slowly, almost shyly meanders in. One week it's winter and the next the temperatures soar into the 60s and 70s. We got our first sickness of the season right about the time that oh, everything had to get planted or transplanted. We put in blueberry bushes last year (or was it the year before?) that needed a more suitable spot to live in, so we transplanted them and acidified the soil to make them happier. The 2 blackberry bushes that are coming will be planted close by them later this week. I finally, FINALLY got to plant strawberries; long looked for come at last. 25 plants now and another 25 this fall. We built a raised bed following hugelkultur principles and will do the same with the other bed that we build later on. At the end of the strawberry bed we put in some sugar snap peas and set out 60ish red onions. The garlic is growing great guns, the rhubarb and comfrey are shooting up, daffodils are blooming everywhere and the peepers are singing. How can one be unhappy in the spring when the hope of everything is new?