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

Setting the scene




Accidentally deleted my 200 best photos of 2012, Garden Bliss

This was supposed to be a series of photo galleries.  But, thanks to my own tech-stupidity I managed to erase all files during a failed transfer to a too full hard drive.  Cry.  My sensible mother’s response- take 200 more pictures.  

It’s been a rainy spring but warm enough that my garden is loving it. Left it behind with reservations despite the King promising to water it, and 2 different friends offered bounty in exchange for some tlc.  I just don’t trust anybody else!  Not that it really surprises me I guess, my plants are my babies and I’ll have been gone for almost 3 weeks.  This is a matter of life and death people.  I need to make a laminated illustrated guide to the main weeds in my garden for garden sitters.

In the front yard of our yurt I have built my stepped Kitchen Garden.  It currently hosts about 10? 100sq foot raised garden beds made of stone found on property.  I don’t work out, I work outside.  I was blown away by what I found after the snow melted, what was a few short years ago wild forest thick with prickly brush and trees is now an orderly(ish) assembly of growing space.  I have filled my beds with a combo of on site dirt which is clay and decayed organic matter- lots of old cedar, a ton of lime, compost, vermiculite, manure, etc.  I just add another couple inches every year.  I’ve been making my compost pile where I intend to make a new bed, and it has been working really well. On the 15th the 1st round of peas were heady in bloom, the 2nd planting still shy with it’s flowers.  The 3rd round went in, along with my corn and cucumbers.  June 15th seems late to put corn it, but it has been so cold and wet.  If  none come up I might try my luck with a short season variety planted early July.  I am hoping for some warmer weather, but no luck yet. I’ve been using companion planting combined with square foot spacing and having fantastic results.  I have 18 broccoli with lovely little heads forming in neat little rows that some how are making me feel more like a real gardener, red cabbage, kale, brussells sprouts, rainbow chard, carrots, several salad beds of mixed greens, radishes and flowers, pumpkins, squashes, beets, onions, strawberries a plenty, raspberries, blueberries, young fruit trees, herb and flower beds and I am sure I have forgotten about some others.  It really is a magical place; I wish I had not lost all the photos!  We are a zone 6a, I believe.  In our area (even just our property) there are crazy diverse micro-climates.  I’m homesteading about 50K from Nelson, BC.  The difference in a couple of gardening seasons to a property is amazing!  I feel like I have a yard now.

We have a cast iron tub and our spring is running really swiftly now, the gravity fed gushing into the yard by the yurt and a genuine waterfall tumbling into the pond! (not a puddle anymore) in the Water Garden.  I’m eager for when I have time to get digging again.  It seems that ever since we got going in the Kitchen Garden I’ve been neglecting the other one.  

The trio of terror are all thriving, and have wonderfully cute suits to wear to my cousin’s wedding this weekend.  I’ll take lots of pictures of them, dressed as our mountain man neighbor would say “uptown”.

Off to go weed in my Mum’s garden.  Once I thought of this as a chore, now it feels like a guilty pleasure.  I never really did fully get my mother’s love of plants until I started feeding my family the fruits of my efforts.  

I’ve been really happy with for seed quality!

Erie Kingdom Winter Photo Gallery 2

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Erie Kingdom Winter Photo Gallery 1

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Gingerbread bird feeder

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This was a fun and simple after Christmas project. I bought a gingerbread kit for $1 and threw out the candy (okay, I ate the ju-jubes), and set the kids up with a muffin tin full of pantry scroungings. I had some old peanut butter and some lard saved up for a project like this as well. We mixed peanut butter, lard and sunflower seeds and stuffed the gingerbread house leaving one roof panel open for easy access. The kids had a ball!

The year of the Box.

I am mostly well following my gyno surgery. I ended up having the ablation, laproscopy, tubal (can’t remember the name) and the hysteroscopy as excepted as well as the endometriosis that was riddling my belly removed. My intestines were pretty glued together and everything feels very strange as it settles back in.

I am stuck back on a couple of days of strict bed rest and a reminder of how little 10lbs is after overdoing it a bit near the end of last week. 2 full weeks on half assed bed rest now and mostly I am bored of it. I either feel like NOT being in bed, or so crappy that I just want to sleep. I am tucking away some time here and there for writing though, which feels good. Mr.T and the Trifecta of Terror are at the yurt today leaving me alone in the motel. Let me tell you though, I have been dreaming about being alone for years. I have taken advantage of some mint chip ice cream, had 1000 baths and have watched plenty of movies and read several novels and slept in often.
I used to love to fill days with nobody but myself, before children, just lost in my own head. This whole experience with the surgery and recovery has felt much like a birth and newborn, except I am my own hatch-ling.

The past year has been such a year of growth for me as I have learned to advocate for myself and my health. I am becoming a better mother, by becoming a better me. I had to learn when to step down from myself. I have always had such big dreams and visions of what I should be able to do so it has been really difficult to admit defeat.
With regards to my health: I finally got to see a good Neurologist and we instantly hit it off. She feels like she can indeed help me feel better, but it might not be a straight road. I have EMG’s ordered for both of my hands and another EEG and an MRI as well. my Dr’s still don’t know what is going on but they keep throwing MS around like a 4 letter word.

My short list: Bipolar, migraines with auras, extreme trouble with heat (new the last 2 years), this weird “numb gun” sensation in the top of my neck on the right hand side that shoots off tingling zaps down my arm and spine and up around my head like an electonic spiderweb, passing out randomly (I don’t have a driver’s license anymore because of this), memory problems, and episodic pain and numbness in my hands, legs and lower back. I’m tired a lot. Sometimes the pain hurts so intensely my bra straps feel like weights and the keys in my pockets like knives. I ache like a lead blanket lays between my skin and muscles. Some mornings I wake up and the pain and stiffness is unbearable. My hands have been crippled in pain like I imagine my grandmother’s as she died. Suddenly the symptoms change as quickly as they arrive. I awake and my hands are not quite fine, but useable. Am I losing my mind?

I’ve been struggling with some of this for the last 10 years. It is hard to know what is endometriosis, how much of the chronic lower back ache, cold flashes/hot sweats, migraines, mood disorder, nausea is related to that? I have about a 40% chance of needing endo surgery again. How much is not? It’s pretty obvious that isn’t the only thing going on. To be honest, I didn’t even really register the difficulty of things (eg living in a tent with 2 boys under 5 while pregnant and your husband is 1200km away) because my internal world was so painful. I was numbed to it, in fight or flight. Being in that state of urgency kept me focused. Keeping me focused kept me in reality. Anytime the focus slipped, so did my grip. I’ve always felt like for me bipolar was more of a symptom than a diagnosis. It never answered the chronic pain, extreme fatigue, electrical storms. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I do agree that I fit the diagnostic criteria for Bipolar 1, no doubt, it just doesn’t explain enough. Having a mental health crisis can be overshadowing, I guess.

I’m in a really good spot right now with my marriage, my kids, and mostly my health. I’m fitter and healthier in many ways than I have ever been in my life. At times I also feel sicker. I feel really good about this spring and settling into our little valley and becoming a more engaged part of the community. I’ve just been in survival mode for so long that it’s nice to be able to sit back and breathe a bit, I have really quite enjoyed surgery recovery. I really like all my health care givers and am feeling confident that no matter what diagnosis I end up with, my quality of life will improve. It pretty much has to. It’s looking like I am going to go to either a MS clinic or a neuro/psych clinc in Vancouver sometime this year for diagnosis, since nobody really knows what to think, and it is unlikely the MRI will give enough information.

Love to you,

Surgery date= Halloween

Ack! It’s really real.