Sunday, November 26, 2017

We're on the other side of it now

This was a hell of a week.  First, I got sick and couldn't eat or drink anything for three days, and then our valley flooded, and then my neck went out.  And the worst thing: I couldn't eat any of the Thanksgiving feast, because every time I swallowed, I wanted to pass out from the pain.

Fun, eh?

A week before Thanksgiving, I headed down to Oregon's off-the-grid Breitenbush Hot springs with two of my good friends for some major relaxation time.  The day was awesome: walking in the snow, soaking in the hotsprings, eating amazing homemade food, taking saunas, laughing with my friends.  Then I started getting sick and spent the rest of the time throwing up and sleeping. 

In a place like this, with a warm cabin and no responsibility, that was doable.

But on the eight hour drive back, curled up in the backseat, trying not to throw up on my friend's backseat, something must have happened to my neck, because it started seizing up more and more, until a couple of days later on Thanksgiving morning, I woke up in such tremendous pain that I took some heavy duty painkillers left over from a tooth extraction a year earlier.  At the time, I never used the painkillers prescribed to me, since I have a high threshold of pain tolerance.

I've given birth at home naturally three times, so I can deal with pain.  But that Thursday morning, I wept, holding my head as straight as possible, because I could neither look up, down, right or left.  I can't describe it.

And the worst thing: I couldn't eat the Thanksgiving feast because swallowing every bite felt like a knife was being pushed into the back of my head.

Lovely, I tell you.

But here's the upside to this: Being as sick as I was for a week, my family didn't fall apart.  Why?


1) I am married to the most nurturing, capable man on the planet, and besides rubbing pain ointment on me several times a day, waiting on me hand and foot, and taking excellent care of me, my husband also whipped up the most delicious turkey and green beans (I was able to eat leftovers a couple of days later).

2) We have trained our kids to pull their weight in the kitchen.  So while I did some heavy Lamaze breathing on the sofa for two days, my children loaded and unloaded the dishwasher, scrubbed countless pots and pans, and made food.  Lots of food.  My oldest son's speciality: bread sticks.

You can make this bread after taking my online fermentation workshop.

They also helped Steve deal with all the homemade wine we got brewing.  No, don't worry, they are not allowed to drink it, but they can help rack it.  We have a huge amount of Oregon Grape wine fermenting, and we think it will be excellent.  You know, medicinal.  Especially for women.  Yes, I think I'll reserve it for myself, since I need the medicinal-for-women aspect.

They also made root beer, which, by the way, is excellent.  It costs 25 cents to make a bottle, versus buying it at the store for $3.50 per bottle.

And while all these storms raged inside our own home, there also raged one outside.  The whole Skagit Valley (and beyond) flooded after a huge amount of rain and snow melt with the unusually warm weather.

Houses flooded, backyards were submerged in torrents, roads were impassable, and guard rails washed away.

It started like this in our backyard, and then it never stopped.  Our place doesn't flood because we sit up on a bench, but many other people got into trouble.

The Skagit River on Wednesday, about to flood over the road on Highway 20.

Two days later, after mud and water washed away the guard rails and messed up the highway.

Another highway (Hw 530) got shut down for a while as well because of all the water on the road.  Here, it is receding again.

With all this rain, I always feel bad for the wild animals.  Steve assures me that bitter cold is much harder on them than rain, but still.  Poor dripping deer.

I hope I haven't completely bummed you out with our tales of sickness, floods and pain.

Let me leave you with some heart-warming pictures.  For a day after Breitenbush Hot Springs, my middle child got sick as well.  As he lay on the floor (don't ask me why the floor and not the sofa), our dog Raka came up to him and first put her paw around him in a hug, and when he didn't responded to that, she just sighed, put her head on his back and watched over him.

My little dog Yoda, in the meantime, was curled around my belly, keeping me company.

And one more picture: if not heart-warming, then stomach-warming: a batch of Chevre I made with cow milk, so you have to call it Farmer's cheese, but it does taste like Chevre. It makes the best cheesecake, or herbed soft cheese, or marinated morsels, or lasagne, or anything that calls for cream cheese.

I'll teach a free webinar on how to make this cheese on December 14.  Sign up here.  You should totally come watch it live, and if you can't make it live, I'll send you the replay. But when you're on live, you get to ask me questions!


  1. When I heard "Skagit River" on the news last night my ears perked up and I immediately wondered how you guys were faring. Good home on a bench! I thought, perhaps, the weather was to blame for us not hearing from you but now I know the real reason. So sorry! I'm glad you are better now and cheers for the team! I remember when I was so sick in 2011 and my lovelies bought Thanksgiving dinner from Black Bear Diner and I sat there trying to eat what tasted like cardboard to me. Don't times like these make us feel grateful for our health?

    1. Yes! The Skagit River is less than a mile from our house! That's us! The road washed out, actually, and I don't know yet how that will affect us. The kids' school bus will have to drive by there every day, and it's our way downvalley. We'll see.
      And yes, I'm totally grateful for my health... when it comes back! Ha!

  2. As usual, pictures tell the story both good and not so good. Sounds like you contacted something you did not like at the spa.

    1. Either at the spa, or earlier sometime. Sickness is weird that way, eh?

  3. So sorry to hear you have been sick. I hope you are feeling much better. So good that your husband and kids were able to make Thanksgiving dinner and fend for themselves over the holiday. You sure got a lot of rain there. Some of your photos reminded me of when I lived in Pendleton, Oregon and we would get a load of rain like that. So hard that the ground couldn't absorb it fast enough. Glad to hear you guys are ok though. Love your blog and information you put out. I'm also signed up for the webinar for next month. -Rose Felton-

    1. Thanks, Rose. Yes, I am an amazingly blessed woman! Glad to have you on board with the webinar!


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