Healthy living, healthy parenting, healthy gardening. One Family's approach to off grid living.

Archive for June, 2011

For Manda Gail

If you were an animal you would be a sparrow

wild and free

split tailed and tornadoing downwards

in a spiral of glory

you would know where old time wheat grows wild

in ghost farms of the rural south

content in the gabels of a composting barn

you know the weary arms of a farm woman; modern day

work undone even after all these years.

Show me your prize roses, still in bloom,

Show me your peach preserves.

You are a woman, soft and warm.

Yield to love, love is unyielding.



Dirt Rich; Mid June photo gallery

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I may as well start at the start.

Suddenly, as I was driving my mood lifted and I felt genuinely happy, a calm happy, safe secure.

Finally. It’s been 6 days since I have felt much of anything, which was a mixed blessing. I just had a fairly major medication overhaul. The first few mornings I awoke with a weight in my heart and by late morning felt emotionally flattened which stayed for several hours. Then I was hit by how productive I felt.

Last month during my cycle I just didn’t post for 3 weeks. During those weeks, I had a darkness. Everything felt clouded with grief and my chest ached. Nothing had changed around me. Plenty of things changed inside me. I have Bipolar Mood Disorder. Which basically I have had two major depressions and one major manic period. To me, it doesn’t feel like a mood disorder- it feels like an energy disorder. Lucky? For me my moods have a bit of a schedule:

When I ovulate Severe migraines with auras. Hyper sensitive to criticism. Weepy.

A few days later- really “up” mood, go go go, edgy, snappy. I start getting OCD about this time- about whatever I happen to be into at the time. Usually in a productive way.

After a few days of high production, little sleep I fall into a darkness. I ache. I retain water. I am cold all the time. Migraine auras bring me in and out of consciousness, the pain is so intense. I have great difficulty paying attention to my surroundings. I just want to sleep. I must surely die, I think. For 3-4 days I am in agony and misery. It hits like a wave.

People tell me that I don’t seem bipolar to them.

That’s because I stay away from people I know when I am depressed. My moods change so quickly that only after 14 years of menstruation have I finally begun to chart in detail.

The last 7 years have been insane, with 5 pregnancies (two early miscarriages, which I am at peace with, but mentioning because that was a special hormonal roller coaster in and of itself) and continuous nursing. During my first miscarriage, I was just 20 and Mr. T and I were relatively new to our relationship. I went crazy. Totally bat shit crazy. I tried to use mind control to plead people to help me. I wanted to die. I felt as though I was dying. I had severe constant nausea and vertigo and completely delusional that the baby must not have died. There was some mistake. I now know I was rapid cycling and had amazingly severe migraines.

I was convinced deep inside that I was schizophrenic (which heck, maybe I am) and I was scared as hell. My brain was constantly moving, flipping through images like a Rolodex. Mr. T yelled and stomped his feet and was generally angry to be around.

Mr. T and I parted ways for almost a year shortly after that. I think we were both scared of how badly the whole thing went down.

I tried to find Jesus with all of my heart. I opened it all the way up. When I couldn’t find Jesus I looked for God.

I felt immense solace in communion and prayer. I went to church several times a week and to a bible study here and there.

Months later, after a 10 day silent Buddhist retreat I found atheism, which has been a comfort to me over the years.

During the Buddhist retreat I found the solace I was looking for in meditation.

I also came to terms with the fact that I would marry Mr.T, and left the retreat no longer resenting him, much. We had not spoken to one another for ages.

I didn’t even really like him. Seriously.

But I was drawn to him and I swear, we are just starting to like each other now- and it’s been 8 years. We share the same vision, and we just happen to be the person who is in the others perfect future, so I suppose we rode it out hoping we would get to where we are now, still alive and still married.

I am sharing my story upon multiple requests. I am at a place where I can write about it now. I didn’t write, journal, take may pictures, make art for most of my motherhood journey. I was just too damn tired. I don’t regret it really, because I carry it here in my heart. And there is a lot I have forgotten and would rather keep that way. I’m at a place where I don’t need to be worried about. I have a great doctor, a supportive husband, amazing parents and extended support. After 7 months of mood stabilizing meds, the cocktail still isn’t quite right. I cycle between low production and high production and feeling like I am dying and like it might possibly be the best day of my life. I’m sorta striving for the middle ground, which is a bit confusing, because there are days truly, many of them, where I feel exceptionally great, and in between I’m very good at faking it, which feels like many tiny little lacerations on my spirit. Other days I can’t get out of bed.

I’m pretty sure that pre puberty I was quirky, but not yet crazy. At 16 I went on the pill because I was having really bad cycles. Right before and during my period I had/have hot and cold flashes, aching kidney feeling, nausea, migraine auras (which I just just figured out what they were. At that time I thought everyone’s vision was like that. I frequently have had the sensation I am going blind and dark bars slide in from the side. For me auras are strobing lights, bars, boxes. A true aura of fading rainbow colours around objects. I have a strong sensation of dejavu and the feeling of watching the scene from outside of it. I frequently have a hard time telling what was reality and what was an idea or dream. I see things move out of the corner of my eye and hear buzzes, beeps and other non specific sounds. Today I swore I could hear a cat meowing loudly, but the kids swore it was quiet. I’m pretty sure most of this is migraine related, because I have some rx meds for migraines that take care of all of these symptoms.

I literally feel like I am going insane after a few days of migraines. Last month I waited 17 days of on again off again migraines until I went to the ER and begged for help. The little dissolve in your mouth discs cost $20-$60 per dose, depending on if the first ones work, or the migraine comes back 8-12 hours later. I am having a brain freeze on what it is called….Even after I have taken it, it is still extremely difficult to keep my attention focused.


Why my kid isn’t in school; Photo essay.

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Little House on the Prairie

this was my idea

harsh winter

little house on the prairie

you went along with it

I am sure to prevent

20 years of me convincing you, what a great idea

this is where my roots are

woven into thin black horizon and sparse tree

frost etched windows ache in the wind

trees more dead than asleep

took me all day to turn up the heat

never thought of it until

tea bag in hand, baby on hip

I realized I was crowding the kettle

No jobs for me

So, it is already June 2nd.  Happy Birthday Mum!

I’ve spent the last few days looking for a job.  The lack of jobs in the Kootenay’s is staggering.  I’ve been searching within 50km of us in every direction and have only found a handful of jobs to even apply for.  I’ve dropped resumes off at quite a few places that aren’t hiring, just in case.  I went to the employment center and well, my resume and approach is fine.  There just isn’t any unskilled work available.

My top 3 hopefuls are a greenhouse, the Kidney Foundation as a coordinator of volunteers and doing a kids art camp in Salmo during the Farmer’s Market.  The art camp job would be through the Community Center, and if it pulls through will be a made up by me job and only a few hours a week.  As in 5-7 hours/week.  Which isn’t quite enough.

Mr. T has also been looking for work.  No luck there either.  I am looking for jobs for him to apply for too.  There just aren’t any.  Some hope about some work, later in the summer.

It’s kinda depressing.  I mean, we WANT to work, but not even Wal-Wart is hiring.

Currently all our projects that cost money to complete are pretty much on hold.  We are waiting for a plumber to be available for the well pump- I’m hoping in the next couple weeks.

The lady at the employment center suggested, kindly, that maybe we should give up our dream and sell our land.  Le Sigh.  Because then my family could try and find a house to rent at way more than our land payments are and then we would have no equity at all.  And the land beside us has been on the market for 3 years.  So it’s not like anyone is beating a path down to our door to buy it from us anyway.  The economy here is just dead.

When we bought the job market was fairly slow, but it existed.  The face of our town is a-changing though as retirees move out and young families move in.

So, if you have a job and live close to us- we would be happy to take it.

Interestingly, I don’t think I really *got* the economic crisis and job market until I actually started looking for work myself.  Even though I know lots of people who have had trouble finding work- including my husband.  I always kind of felt like I was good at getting jobs.

All the projects are pretty much on slow mo as we work at securing income.  Maybe it’s time to reconsider the farmers market…