City girl "gone country" blogs about life on the farm. Marriage, animals, gardens, goodies and organic living.
|Posted on August 24, 2013 at 6:05 PM||comments (295)|
In a dirty world it's important of course to get clean every day. We have so many choices for soaps, shampoo's and lotions and potions and most of us just buy what works or what smells good or what is on sale. I was that way until I had my eyes opened to the incredible amounts of toxic chemicals that are allowed in our cosmetics! The industry allows such words as "natural" and 'Eco" and it doesn't mean a thing as far as safety goes. Organic products mean that by law 95% of the ingredients are organic (of which there are very few products in this category) Most of us thought the FDA was there to protect us from harm. There is a check called GRAS which means that so far nobody has proven the ingredients are harmful. It doesn't mean that they have tested them.
Here is a list of ingredients that need to be avoided for our health:
Parabens (methyl-propyl-butyl) has been linked to cancer in animal studies including elevated estrogen levels in women and higher breast cancer rates
DEA which is linked to cancer, respiratory and skin difficulties.
Sodium Lauryl sulfate, sodium laureth, mercury (thimersol) petroleum, Phthalates are all known cancer causing and neurological disease causing chemicals, so I don't know about you but I will pass.
Avalon organics, Natures gate, Jason, Mill Creek, Shikai, Dr Bonners, Daisy Blue, Pangea organics, Trolley farm organic girl, Herbatint and Henna.
Make your own toothpaste with Baking soda and sea salt and peppermint oil. Using Hydrogen peroxide and baking soda is excellent for gum disease. As is oil swishes. (Take a tablespoon of oil and swish it for 20 minutes spit into toilet only) the science behind this is amazing! Your teeth and gums will be much healthier and whiter for the time it takes!
Wash your hair with baking soda and rinse with vinegar about once a month. You will be amazed how soft and shiny your hair will look when you get all the junk off of it!
Perfumes are the worst for Phthalates which have been tested and proven to cause cancer and hormone disruption in mice and are implicated the same in people. Please hear me when I say "There are no safe perfumes!" It is far better to find an essential oil that you love and dilute it with water or oil (sesame or saflower or olive oil) use it in your bath, rub it on your skin in the shower, it will become your signature scent and the body loves it! (test first of course)
Lavender, Veviter, Rose, Jasmine, Vanilla, Bergamot, Lemon, Chamomile are all good options.
Important also is lipstick! Think about what happens with your lipstick. You eat it off right! Lipstick is made with petroleum and waxes and oils that contain artificial colors and flavors some of which are linked to cancer. They estimate that the average woman is eating up to 4 pounds of lipstick in their lifetime! Something to think about!!! Yikes!
Colorgenics organic lipsticks are made with hemp and organic coloring. Burts Bees lip colors are options.
Remember you can be healthy and beautiful at the same time. Do your homework and read the labels. Your health is worth it!
|Posted on August 1, 2013 at 10:30 AM||comments (3)|
There is something so lovely about summer eating. Just like summer living, we lighten up, throw on the lightest of coverings and enjoy! So in the spirit of light I am offering you some truly wonderful ideas for Pure and fresh eating!
Lets start with dessert, even though we are told growing up that dessert is for" after all vegetables are eaten." I say why not combine the two of them?
Blender Ice Creams offer you an endless opportunity to experiment with fresh fruits and vegetables!
The basic recipe goes like this (All ingredients are organic)
4 ounces of raw milk cream
4 ounces of raw milk
1 raw egg yolk
1 tablespoon of raw honey
1/2 to 1 cup of fresh or frozen fruit or vegetables or if your adventurous mix them together! (I love blueberries with apples and kale)
dash of sea salt
1/2 capful of vanilla extract
Mix in a high powered blender and freeze in a covered glass dish of some sort for 3 hours Enjoy!!
If you love salads in the summer this one is fun and different!
1 red pepper
1 small onion
1 cup of red cabbage
1 cup of cooked chick peas
chop and mix the flavors with parmesan cheese and a light dressing
2 cups of mangoes
2 cups of orange juice
1 cup of cucumber
1 red pepper
2 garlic cloves
3 tablespoons of lime juice
2 tablespoons of cilantro, basil or mint
1 tbsp of olive oil
sea salt and garnish on the side for added taste
Garnish can be avacado, salt and pepper
This is a savory and sweet soup. Great with a salad and fresh bread/ goat cheese
Remember that light doesn't have to be boring!
Also, the table setting is equal to the dish being served. Linens and fresh flowers and festive glassware make it all come together for a memorable meal in the garden or patio with friends and family.
|Posted on July 28, 2013 at 5:30 PM||comments (5)|
It's a beautiful thing a wedding. It is this promise, this belief that life is worth the commitment of love. It is a happy and joyous day that warms our hearts. Country weddings are especially beautiful to me, as they are usually simple and heartfelt and warm.
Today two friends of ours John and Tama, married their best friend. In the little white church after the 2nd service. The Pastor who blesses me so much, brought it home by sharing this at the end "Then when life is done and the sun is setting, may they be found then as now, still hand in hand, still very proud, thanking God so much for each other."
The women in the packed church were patting their eyes, the men blinking in rapid sucession. A baby hollered "YEA!" and it was so! Yea!
Yea to the promise, yea to the future, yea to the joy of finding such grace.
My husband reached out and bridged the distance between us since a morning of short directives and indifference. Not alot of grace was found in our little pocket of "Happily ever after" both of us tired and stressed from our pressing on the potters wheel within the confines of our marriage. Job, health, finances and a bad neighbor. We had sat in the church earlier a distance apart in our hearts until the reminder of Gods promise to us and the hope of the Pastors final words "May they be found hand in hand, thanking God for each other."
I turned and looked into his eyes and found his soul and I thanked God that I had someone by my side after all these years who knows me and still takes my hand. It's called grace and it is what holds us together. (Picture is of my husband and I renewing our vows on the farm in 2011)
|Posted on July 25, 2013 at 3:25 PM||comments (3)|
When you think of a bed & Breakfast what image comes to mind? A manor or a castle or a Victorian home? How about a Trolley?
What? A trolley car? Yes...a beautiful and unique trolley. A place of comfort and romance, a place of views and art work and a chandelier above your bed. Sprigs of lavender on your pillow. Tea or wine in the sitting area. Classical music, horses thundering by. For extra pampering and joy, how about a side by side massage, or a soaking in the jacuzzi under the stars. On good nights you can have a fire and watch a movie. It's a place where magic can happen. It's a place of reconnection. It's a beautiful place and the hens, with names like Chickee and Ruby, will present you with breakfast eggs, served in beautiful wares. Charm abounds here...memories are made.
|Posted on July 23, 2013 at 10:45 AM||comments (104)|
In this world that is going ninety miles an hour, constantly "connecting" with the world, I have found that the need for a quiet and peaceful" recharge" Is more important than ever for the health of your body and your heart. We weren't meant for this crazy chaotic and constant barrage of stimulus. The phone is ringing, the television is blasting, the kids are yelling, the computer is calling, the Ipod is playing, Facebook is waiting. There was once an old commercial of a mother who needed a "Calgon take me away" bath! Those days of noise were tame compared to our stresses today and that's why the country with it's wide open spaces and skies, it's fresher air and sounds of birds and breezes and animals conversing is a giant hug to a cyber weary mind! Take a moment to stop and just breathe deeply. Inhale to the count of 4 and gently hold the breath and then release the breath and picture yourself in a warm and welcoming garden with butterflies and flowers that scent your senses with healing Lavender and peonies. The sky is blue and the air is calm. Just breathe and see the countryside around you. The open fields with 2 white horses running and playing, the chickens laying in the dirt taking their bath, the mini horses grazing in the meadow. A small rabbit nestled in the shade having breakfast. Peaceful, slow and easy are the days of summer in the country. A jacuzzi under the stars, with a glass of organic wine or herbal tea, classical sounds of beethoven floating above the garden. Cherish the smile on your loved ones face, and watch the sun rise and set in the open expanse of sky. Pick a movie and lay under the dark of night and watch the adventure on a large white sheet while the night air bathes you in peaceful preparation for a nights rest in a trolley bed. Romance yourselves with organic chocolate and sheets and lavender sprigs on your pillow. In the morning you can have breakfast in bed or out in the garden. Farm fresh foods from happy chickens. When your body has been soothed and refreshed you can go for a hike in the greenbelt amongst the pines, or across the open fields. Ride a vintage or a mountain bike, feed or brush a mini horse, cuddle with a bunny named Bart.
If this sounds wonderful, we want to help your dream of a country experience come true. Come stay with us.
Mention this Blog post when you book and get a free upgrade on your visit!
Just remember to breathe and be thankful
Life is a gift!
|Posted on July 12, 2013 at 5:15 PM||comments (8)|
I could begin by saying that I used to be a BIG, adventurous eater. I ate foods from greasy diners and Mexico was my home away from home. I lived and played amongst Desebuqui Indians who ate dogs. (Got ya! No I didn't eat the poor things, I played the pied piper with fish and lured them all out of the village, but that's another story). I ate in Germany and drank so much beer once I sloshed when I walked. (Maybe I swooshed...anyway I sang "Singing in the rain" while I waddled with pain.) I ate shrimp, lobster, okra (Yuck), duck, cornish hens and so many kinds of corn I could've popped. I never weighed a pound over 100 until I went to college and lived in a dorm. I feasted on anemic lettuce and cake by the pound. From double fisting M&M's and corn nuts to omelets with cheese, I grazed my way through life without a thought as to what went into my mouth. Food was glorious and I was molded and shaped by my dancing, the gym and the pool. Then in the summer of my 24th year of life I was blissfully minding my own business and was literally doused with a pesticide that was being applied by workers, in white protective suits, as they sprayed a large tree on the other side of a hill I happened to be riding on. On my bare legs and in my open mouth, I took a full hit of the poisons and my world shifted into a lifelong fight with my beautiful body. Overnight I lost all ability to eat normally. I was hospitalized for almost a year. I entered into this bizarre world of "poison" and the healthy, strong eater became an 80 pound emaciated girl. But I am a fighter and out of the ashes of this horrendous lesson I began to emerge a stronger spirit. Out of the poisoning came "Organic girl!" This shift in my life changed completely the terraine of my eating. I found a place I call the garden of happy endings. When your so sick you can't swallow you have to find other means of supporting life. Enter the world of liquid proteins. I drank shakes with organic berries and whey proteins and I ate huge sweet potaotes right out of the garden. My world narrowed to green drinks and dried, organic fruits and raw nuts. I learned about tofu (which at first made me wrinkle my nose, but now is one of my favorite dishes), scrambled with vegetables and sea salt. I am no longer a BIG fan of eating. I became an eat to live girl, not the live to eat gir,l that I once was. My idea of a big date with food is a rice cake with butter or organic cheese. (I know right?) I share all of this because the world is food obsessed. I once had a man whom I had been dating say he could never marry me because his family was all about the food...Yea ok, I realize now that he was not the one for me, (did I mention he gave me a tire for my birthday?,) but the fundamental issue was his food obsessed world did not match mine.
I am obsessed with problems of global warming and Monsanto being given so much power over our food supplies. Our beautiful ecosystem is failing with the GMO seeds and foods that Monsanto and our goverment, (in greedy beds together), peddle to consumers. The death of GOD given food production begins when you inject a seed with a pesticide that will kill much of the fragile ecosystem called "Life". Our precious honey bees and the birds that bring so much joy in song are dying at alarming rates. So I am searching once again for the answer to the problem of foods that will heal, not hurt us. I am back in the garden. You know, the garden of happy endings, where "organic girl" lives. I realized that you can garden and grow your own beautiful healthy food in pots on your deck, or acres on your farm, or rows in your green house. I am learning the art of composting and the natural way to kill a bug. It's cool because I think it's the answer to life, to keep things simple and not use the cancer causing chemicals to do the 'lazy' gardening ways. Nope, give me a morning on my knees pulling out weeds and watching beautiful, tiny villages of creatures and bugs (ladybugs, praying mantis and butterflies to name a few) do what they have done for thousands of years, control the population of bad bugs and pollinate flowers. Let me watch the dance of bees who will bring their hard work back to their hive and make Gods nectar "honey." It's a simple, beautiful dance and it keeps me happy and healthier than I could ever be eating the easy American, fast food way. So as the garden slowly beckons me again, I share my thoughts of making peace with a junk obsessed world and I suggest you keep it simple. Eat to live, eat to nourish and to heal. Find your spirit grow light and find your garden of happy endings. Plant to nourish the bees and give them a chance to survive by NEVER spraying a chemical in your yard. Think about affirming life and being a guardian of the gardens of grace. You'll be amazed at the joy when you see the bees dance. It's remarkably sweet really.
|Posted on July 12, 2013 at 2:30 PM||comments (2)|
When I married my dear cowboy I was living in a downtown penthouse. He lived out on the Eastern plains. He came from a blue collar family and I came from a white collar family. We met and married in a whirlwind of 8 days. That was 18 years ago and it has been a wild ride!
If there were ever two people more different in their ways it would be us. When we first married, we moved south of Pueblo, Colorado at the base of the Greenhorn Mountains, built a home from the land and named it the 'JLB Ranch'. Our neighbor, Roy, was an old cowboy who spotted a greenhorn (me) and proceeded to welcome me to the neighborhood by bringing me a dead rattlesnack in a bucket. (Yea that's right) I was the laughing stock of the neighbors for quite awhile until I took two of Roys sick calves and tried one winter to save their poor little lives. It was colder than... well there is that expression, which if you don't know what it is let us just leave it at that and move on. I would drive up with my cowboy and sit in the freezing barn and bottle feed the calves. (If it had been up to me they would have been inside the house.) I sat on the hay bale with one of them in front of me and pretended to be "mama". I grew to love that little critter and Roy grew to grudgingly respect me. When that calf died I cried so hard that I thought my heart had broken and Roy was softer in the handling of me after that. Still, I was living in the middle of "Nowhere" (actually the road was called Last car,) so that gives you an idea of where we were. My cowboy worked a hundred miles away and I wandered the property in my fur coat and my pointy boots until I saw a rerun of Green Acres. I realized that I was (Dear God) that Gabor woman and so I hung the coat in the closet and later donated it. I started researching cowgirls and country duds, and the attitudes of the neighbors began to rub off on me a bit. I could haul water into a cistern and bridle a horse. I stood fascinated as a 5 mile long swarm of bees went making their way across the property and into the valley. I saw a blonde bear at the end of the driveway and I wanted to take its picture, Yea I know, fearless. I stopped painting my fingernails and only polished my toes and then, only in summer. We threw a big party one weekend for my city friends and they commented how much I had changed. I was changing, and sometimes I embraced the change and sometimes I fought it with every city cell in me. My husband became a more well rounded person as well. When my family took him to the theatre for the first time in his life, he told me he thought he would hate it, but he loved it. He listens to classical music with me now and even seems to appreciate it. He will let me give him a facial on occasion and I will muck a stall now and clean a chicken coop without saying things like "ewww." Yea, we are becoming a melting pot of the best of the both of us and that gives me joy.
Now we live closer to the city and a drive into town only takes a half hour. We are known to once a year go to the symphony or the theatre. Most nights we are home on our little farm, hanging in the garden or brushing the horses. My clothes are mostly jeans and boots and I couldn't wear a high heel if you paid me. I have one pair, never worn, in a box on the top shelf that stares down at me from time to time, as if to say "Give me to someone who appreciates me, TRAITOR!" I think when I am done here I am going to pull that box down and take one last look at the life I have left behnd, because I am a country girl now and shoes like that belong to some poor girl in the city who doesn't have a clue. The Goodwill store and teetering hearts on heels will be happy tomorrow.
Happy trails to you sweetheart,because these feet were meant for boots of another kind.
|Posted on July 10, 2013 at 6:10 PM||comments (105)|
I have always thought that weeds were alot like sin. How easily they grow under the worst of conditions. There can be a flood and the first thing that returns is a weed. There can be a drought and in the middle of the cracked and barren soil is a weed. The soil can be sand, clay, rock, where nothing of value grows except for,( you guessed it) weeds! While flowers and vegetables take nurturing and compost and nutrients, water and prayer. Lots of prayer. Weeds grow in every condition and in every place (much like hair when your older and it grows in WRONG places but that is a story for a different time)
So I started to research weeds from a medicinal stand point and I found some fascinating facts about the plants we call "weeds." They can be really good for you! My favorite "weed" in the world, the dandelion. I personally do not understand why a dandelion is considered a weed. Have you ever seen a meadow of them in the sunlight? In their yellow glory they are magnificent! Did you know they are full of Vitamin A and that they are great for you liver? That they compliment a salad with a tasty flavor and when steeped make a decent tea? There are a number of different weeds that bring a beautiful salad to a new level. Did you know that most weeds are edible? Ok I know that a lot of you are saying "Yuck" right about now and I understand. I think however it is important to keep in mind that with the bees collapsing in large part because of herbicides to kill weeds (Roundup being the most widely known and used) cancer rates soaring and babies being born with 250 chemicals in their umbillical chords, (which translates to a chemical bath invitro) it is incredibly important to stop using these unbelievably damaging chemicals and make peace with weeds. There are ways to make peace. One is to accept that weeds are a part of life and can be managed without chemicals. You can burn them, use vinegar on them, salt them in a cracked driveway, or use them as I do as therapy and pull them out after a rain or a good soaking with the hose. You can grow them like flowers which some of them look just like flowers you buy, you can mow them low and use them for ground cover in your garden. I love dandelions because they feed my rabbit a healthy treat, they bring food for honey bees, they brighten up my yard and they make me smile in their cheerfulness! In the later stages they make a great photograph. Which always leaves me smiling.
|Posted on July 9, 2013 at 6:45 PM||comments (3)|
They hang like twinkling diamonds in the ink of might. We lay on our backs upon quilts sewn by hands that were narled and divine. My grandmothers hands. I can feel her love pressing against my back and my heart swells with the memories of summers past. I am 8 years old and I am laying in the pickup bed of the old red Chevy. My cousin's are wrestling around me and all I wish for is to be peaceful and look up into the stars. My grandmother is leaning over the bed with a cherry pie in her hands. The cousins stop rough housing as the scent of the crust, made with butter and the cherries hand picked from the trees that afternoon are beckoning. I can't really make out her beloved face in the dusk but I can feel her breath upon my cheek as she whispers into my ear "Your favorite"
That summer was the beginning of many summers with my grandmother. Each memory becomes another layer of my heart for the country. Though I was raised a city mouse I was always eager for the country. Laughing with my grandfather as he taught me how to ride a horse and sitting on his lap I learned to drive a Chevy pickup. I can still remember the scents of his cologne and his pipe and the homemade bisquits and pies my grandmother made. The ranch was sold after their deaths, one at 87 and the other at 100. Amazing love between them and I am the bearer of the quilts that came before.
I have called my husband out to join me and we lay on our backs with our hands entwined and we look up. Into the expanse of sky with stars that are a constant. When generations have come and gone the stars keep shining. We call out the galaxies we see as they appear. We watch the last vapor of a star streak across the night sky. It's a country tradition to just be still and count the stars. To know that from the beginning of time stars kept watch by night. These days we don't eat many pies but we still watch the stars and we court our love beneath them