Wednesday, March 11, 2020

You feel so empowered when you know this

As of today we have confirmed cases of Coronavirus in our county (Skagit) and we are encouraged to stay home and avoid the public.  In the face of what's happening right now worldwide and in our state, I'm reflecting deeply, taking stock, and noticing things that I might have taken for granted.

I'm not writing this to show off, but to make a point, so read on.

Yesterday Steve and I sat on the porch, drinking some of our homemade hard apple cider while we shaved Devil's Club inner bark to dry into potent anti-viral medicine.




Afterwards, we washed our hands with goat milk soap that I had made months before.

I cooked dinner with onions and garlic that we had grown in our garden, which is fertilized with compost I make myself.  We have food that we grew, canned, froze, dried or fermented, and medicine that we gathered and made into remedies and preventatives like elderberry syrup, devil's club tea, and dried sage for sore throats.





It's gonna be a while til we run out of the gallons of hard cider, Blackberry wine, Oregon Grape wine and Elderberry wine we made in the last couple of years.

Our crawl space is stocked with home made goat cheddar, gouda and manchego.




Our freezers are filled with chicken we raised and butchered ourselves. 

Currently we are drowning in eggs from egg birds.


Steve makes bows for hunting, and he can harvest meat if need be. My sons know how to hunt with guns. They have fished and provided our family with protein since they were little. We know how to identify and gather super nutritious wild foods.

I can just about knit everything you would want to clothe yourself, and I can spin wool into yarn to knit or felt with. Although woollen underpants don't sound too appealing, if you ask me.

If we ever ran out of toilet paper, we would know which plants make the softest substitute (moss and mullein leaves, y'all!).





What is my point?

My point is that I think it's important to know how to do some of this stuff.  You don't have to be hard-core homesteaders like we are, but you can learn to do one small thing. And then another one. It's so very, very empowering, and lots of it is very, very fun.

Wouldn't it be nice to whip up your own medicine/meals/soap if you run to the store and there is nothing left?

It's not too late. There are so many wonderful people teaching skills.

I have several friends who teach herbal medicine courses, both locally and online.

Many homesteaders and teachers have youtube channels and lots of free content to offer.  

I teach many things, and you don't have to pay for them >> HERE - my tutorials on the blog << or >> HERE - my How-To playlist on youtube <<.


My heart goes out to everyone who is severely affected by the spreading of this virus, either health-wise, economic, mentally, or whatever else is coming up for us.  

Boost your immune system, wash your hands, stay away from crowds, be mindful of not touching your face, and stay positive and away from fear!

Sending much love to everyone!

Let us know how you are coping in the comments below.
 

Monday, March 9, 2020

Bittersweet...

Steve and I sit on the sofa - the same sofa our daughter was born on 10 years ago, the same one that sags in the middle because her two older brothers have used it as a trampoline well before she was born.  The sofa is covered with stains - not from the birth, but from one and a half decades of living.

Anyway. Steve and I sip our coffee on this sofa while the sun comes up over the Eastern ridge, lighting up the tip of a snow covered mountain looking like a pyramid. Over the 18 years we've lived here at our homestead in the wilderness, we've watched this spectacle many times. The view was better earlier on, when the Sequoia and Alder trees were smaller and didn't obscure the view of the ridge as they do now. 

Trees do a whole lot of growing in almost two decades. And so have we.

We've done so much growing that we've outgrown this life for now, and that's why we will move in a few weeks.

I kept telling people that they'll have to drag me out of this house on a stretcher when I'm dead. Now, I'm ready to leave it while I'm still very much alive.

We raised our children here (and lots of other animals). We've grown literally tons of food in the garden. We taught numerous kids and adults homesteading and wilderness skills here. Several friends got married here because it's such a beautiful, special place.

There are so many memories on this land.









We love this place with all of our hearts and souls and minds and spirits, and yet, it's time to move on to the next chapter.

Our kids have grown from homeschooled, barefoot, constantly naked-in-nature little hippy people to almost adult (Kai), teenager (Luke) and pre-teen (Eva), and they are definitely not interested in running around the woods naked any more.

I don't blame them.  They need more opportunities, more exposure to a different way of living, other opportunities, a better school system, more peers.

That's why we decided to find wonderful renters who will take care of the homestead, while we live in the Skagit Flats in an area that's famous for its foodie vibe. I bet the money we used to spend on gas now will go to the local bakeries.

I can't show you pictures of our new place yet, because the official closing date is the end of March, but I can't wait to share it with you!

I'm excited about the location! And the great kitchen! And guess what? I'll teach cheesemaking classes in it! Also? I'll show you on the blog what you can do with a blank slate, because let me tell you, the new land doesn't have anything on it.

So stay tuned.

Wish us luck with the moving. Luckily, we have two teenage sons who love lifting weights, so carrying furniture shouldn't be a huge problem!





Wednesday, March 4, 2020

My most powerful strategies against Coronavirus

Are you worried about the Coronavirus?

If you are, I want to share some powerful strategies with you to prepare and boost your immune system.

But first, let me say this. I'm not freaked out about the Coronavirus. I am very, very annoyed at how the media is spreading terrible fear and sensationalism everywhere, and I'm glad we don't have TV at home. 

I do acknowledge that there are populations who are more vulnerable, so I don't want to downplay this.  Believe me, I know what it feels like to have a kid who almost died from a disease, although we still don't know what causes this disease (Even experts do not know what causes Kawasaki diesease. One possibility is that it may be an abnormal response to a common virus that most people do not react to. Symptoms resemble those of a virus or an infection, but no specific viral or bacterial cause has been identified).

Our strategies to prepare for Coronavirus or any kind of flu and sickness here at our homestead include the following:

1) Consume elderberry syrup, a potent antiviral that you can either buy at a store, order online, or make yourself. I have a tutorial how to make it yourself >> HERE <<


Elderberries are amazing medicine with anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and anticancer superpowers. Besides lots of flavonoids and free radical-butt-kicking antioxidants, elderberries contain 87 percent of the daily value in vitamin C, and huge levels of vitamin A, potassium, iron, vitamin B6, fiber, and betacarotene. 



 

2) Wash your hands frequently with hot water and soap


Do this long enough to be effective, not just a quick few seconds of splashing, but a nice 20 seconds rub of the front and back of the hands, and between the fingers.  Just sing the "Happy birthday" song twice, and you're good.   

Don't keep touching your face. So many of us touch our eyes, noses and lips many times during the day without even noticing it. If you refrain from doing this, the chances of a virus entering your body are drastically reduced.  

3) Stop eating sugar

Sorry, I know you don't want to hear this. Sugar is so yummy and addictive... and bad for your immune system.  I stopped eating refined white sugar eight years ago, although I still eat honey and maple syrup.  My immune system has been so much stronger!

4) Consume foods that ward off viruses, and use natural remedies


On my membership site, I list these foods and herbs and also give some awesome recipes to soothe you if you do contract something.

I'll leave you with images of our still wintry homestead. May these pictures soothe and calm you. Remember: Don't let yourself get all hyped up and fearful now!!!




Sitting in the very, very, very rare sunshine with a glass of home made apple cider



Saturday, February 15, 2020

Don't freak out! We're moving downriver. Want to rent our homestead?

This is a difficult post to write. Promise me you won't freak out!

After 18 years of pouring our sweat, blood and tears into our homestead, after spending all this time and effort to create our paradise, we will leave this beloved patch of Earth to move downvalley in June.

Our homesteading lifestyle made a lot of sense when we were homeschooling our kids, growing a lot of our food, and raising animals for all these years.  It was an incredible way for our children to grow up and live in nature.

Ever since our kids started public school 2 1/2 years ago, things shifted. The school bus ride is a daily 2 1/2 hour schlepp.  Driving the kids back and forth to sports and social events costs us countless hours and money.  The public school they go to doesn't offer what they need. 

Transitioning from being the primary homeschooling parent, my life has shifted, too. My job as a Feminine Power coach requires fast internet and reliable electricity, which isn't always the case up here.

And we are not even mentioning Steve's 3 hour commute to work.

It  doesn't make sense any more.

So we are renting our homestead, starting the middle of June, and moving downvalley to a property in the Skagit Flats. We'll still come up to Marblemount to visit, connect with friends and maintain our property.


>> If you want to rent our homestead, you can check out our ad here <<











My head is still spinning around all this. But it all feels right for us as a family.  All three kids are excited.  This is a new chapter for sure.

Our new place is in the beautiful Skagit Flats, feels very rural, but is right between Bellingham and Burlington. It's right on scenic Chuckanut Drive, where  the organic dairy is where Steve and I met and fell in love.  Our oldest, Kai, was born at our friends' place on Chuckanut Drive.  I've ridden my bike there for 25 years, always wondering what it would be like to live there.

Now we're coming full circle.

We'll have a garden, of course, and start from a blank slate. I'll document it all in the blog, so you won't be missing out, and we'll come back to Marblemount on the weekends and summers, so you'll still see beautiful pictures of the wilderness!

And we're excited about teaching homesteading and survival skills classes and workshops downvalley!

Here's the view out the backyard from our new property:



I know this is a lot to process - for us, and maybe for you, too. Many of you have followed our lives for a decade on the blog, and I'm sure this comes as a shock. Please know that we feel 100% right about this, so at least we're not agonizing about this new development!


And if you know anyone who wants to live on a homestead and rent ours long-term, pass them on to our ad >> HERE << !!!




Wednesday, January 1, 2020

... and a happy new year and new decade to you!

We made it into a new decade, people! Frankly, our family was dragging itself across the finish line over to 2020, with snotty noses and deep, lung-rattling coughs, but nevertheless, we are here!

Here's what happened: We got hit with the plague. It was awful. It started three weeks ago for me, and I'm still not right. My voice is still incredibly deep and raspy. You'd think it sounds sexy, but it most decidedly doesn't. I sound like a chain smoker.

Alas, no matter. We are looking forward now, with bright (non-feverish) eyes, and we're excited what this decade may bring.

One of the things that will happen in the coming decade is three kids that will be grown and leave our home, like this guy, our first-born Kai who turned 17 three days before the century turned.
 


Sigh... I'm not ready for this growing up of children. I am digging in my heels, but no matter how much I furrow my ever increasingly wrinkly brow, it's happening. They are becoming their own people. They are turning into men, with broad shoulders and deep voices and insightful humorous remarks that causes me to wonder where these maturing people came from.

One of the side effects of teenage-hood is that the boys don't want to spend as much time with us as we are used to with our formerly homeschooling, adventuring lifestyle. Now, there are sport events, girl friends and ever-present phones that are so much more interesting than their old parents.

So this is why we purchased a used travel trailer, to resurrect old times of traveling and adventuring, and also to save money, because nowadays you can't afford taking a family of five to a hotel or Air B and B. Plus, you are not allowed to bring dogs.

Okay, okay, so I admit it: we bought the trailer so we could bring our dogs along. They are our children after all.

Just before we contracted this horrific flu, we took a maiden voyage with the trailer and journeyed to the salt water on Whidbey Island, which is less than one and a half hours away from our homestead.  It's magical, off grid, and right by the water.





We were crammed in the trailer like sardines, with wet dogs and sweaty teenage feet stinking up the beds, sand accumulating in the carpet, and the smell of rotting fish heavy in the air... but it was magical.  

Truly!

You can ask the kids, and they will tell you so. They will say "Hey, our folks brought a trailer full of food and treats, it was all good." 

Yes, because food is the magic trick to make your teenagers wanna come travel with you.

The other thing that happened was Christmas: a mellow, quiet, sick affair at our house. I spent my precious free time on the sofa knitting a hat for Steve.





December didn't have a lot of free time for me... I've been working many, many hours every week coaching women from all over the world as a part of my job as Global Ambassador for Feminine Power. 

I love this job so very much, and this is why the blog has been quiet. 

I'm giving out a lot of energy every day, doing what I love and what I'm good at, and it has shifted my focus from the homestead and blog to this new soul job. I miss writing here, and sharing our lives, but I hope you understand.

For now, I'll leave you with images from our Christmas Day, which we spent by the river, dragging up salmon carcasses, warming ourselves by a bonfire, and grilling sausages on sticks.



Oh, and three more:

The first picture is poor little Eva sick as a dog, with Hazel as her steadfast companion in misery.

The second picture is our kids sitting at the dinner table after friends took mercy on us and brought us a gourmet home cooked and baked meal when they heard we were sick. Don't we have the BEST community??? (Thanks Delia and Merv!)

The third one is a particularly gorgeous sunset we captured in Bellingham, just for fun.





What's happening in your life? How are you? Did you stay healthy? Do you need me to come by with a meal???

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