Friday, July 11, 2014


Once again, projects surmount and the time has shuffled away from me. I've made some space to write today, though, so I'd love to update you beautiful folks on what's been happening around the Farm.

To start, one of our rabbit does had babies! There were ten of them, and if Maya has a say in it, they're all named "Rainbow." Also, two of our hens went broody. One of them hatched three chicks out of 7 eggs. One of the eggs was snatched by renegade chickens, two of the others weren't fertilized, and we put one under the second broody hen, who has yet to hatch any of the 6 eggs she is sitting on. We are starting to think that she may not hatch any of them.

We have also been working to build a new home space for the rabbits, and have decided to decrease the number of rabbits we have as we are finding that selling the meat as a full-time business would take more time and energy than we are willing to sacrifice at this point in time. For now, the rabbit meat will be consumed by ourselves and any friends/family who wish to try some as well. We're still pleased that we have this sustainable source of food!

So what are we working on now? Well I'm glad you asked! (I know... you probably didn't ask, but I'm gonna tell you anyway!) Aside from the new rabbit haven, and planning a new chicken coop (we're going to start raising meat birds as well as layers), our entrepreneurial endeavor has manifested from CHAGA!

"What the hell is Chaga?" Again, I'm glad you (maybe) wondered! Chaga is a fungus that grows on Birch trees (and very rarely on Beech, Alder, Hornbeam and Elm). It is the result of parasitic activity from within the Birch tree. The Chaga "tumor" extracts vital nutrients from the tree, and will eventually kill it, though this may take many years.

All of the vital nutrients that are extracted remain within the Chaga burl (also called a "conk"), and when harvested, can be used medicinally for humans and animals alike!

From our Etsy page:

"What is Chaga?"

Chaga (Inonotus Obliquus) is a fungus that is found growing out of the trunks of Birch trees. It appears as a hard, wood-like burl (also called a conk) that is rough and black (due to massive amounts of melanin) on the outside, and smoother and golden-orange on the inside.
Composed of 215 phytonutrients, polysaccharides, amino acids, essential minerals, trace minerals, Vitamins B1, B2, B3, D2, and K, Betulin and Betulinic Acid, and Superoxide Dismutase, Chaga has rich medicinal value!

"What can Chaga do for you?"

Chaga has been called the "King of Plants," the "Gift from God," and "The Diamond of the Forest," and with good reason: the medicinal properties of this amazing fungus has the capability to treat just about anything! The low pH betulinic acid in Chaga targets cancer cells directly, and has been proven to have anti-tumor effects, is anti-malarial, and anti-inflammatory; Superoxide Dismutase is an antioxidant (with the highest levels of any other food or herb known to date!) which helps to prevent - even reverse - signs of aging cause by freeradical damage; various phytonutrients and polysaccharides help to repair damaged cells, regulate immune system function, and detoxify the body of carcinogens and heavy metals; melanin improves the appearance of skin, hair, and eyes, and enhances one's youthfulness; Vitamin K can reduce the appearance of spider veins and broken capillaries; Triterpenes can improve digestion, assist with liver detoxification, and help in relieving and/or recovering from coughs, chronic bronchitis, asthma, and hepatitis. The list goes on!

"How can you use Chaga?"

Chaga can be used internally and externally! Use small chunks of Chaga, or grind it into a powder to use as a delicious tea; Chaga soaked in brandy or vodka for a month or more makes a super potent extract; added to topical lotions, body butters, face creams, etc., it can assist in reversing signs of aging, scars, and stretch marks, and can even balance the skin tone.

We have been foraging and wild-harvesting Chaga for a couple of years now, and have collected quite a bit (sustainably of course). We have shared it with others who are ill or trying to recover from illness and all have reported wonderful results! We use it ourselves to help maintain good health, and more recently I have started incorporating Chaga into beauty products that I am creating. My products so far consist of Sugar Scrubs, whipped Body Butters, and Anti-Aging Face Creams. I will eventually be offering salves and lip balms, and possibly tinctures and/or elixirs once we get our kitchen space certified. The aforementioned currently available products are available as custom orders, with a myriad of scent combinations to choose from or concoct! This line is called "The Goddess Tree Body Care Products," and are available (along with our chunked and ground wild-harvested Maine Chaga) at We invite you all to come and check out the shop, give feedback, ask questions, connect with me for a scent consultation, and make a purchase! 

We are grateful for the continued support and encouragement we receive from friends, family, acquaintances and strangers alike! You're all awesome and we love you dearly! <3

Thursday, April 17, 2014

New Additions!

This post is going to be a bit here-and-there-and-everywhere, because I have a lot of thoughts today.

So to start, a friend of ours who we met through a Craigslist ad (when we were looking for materials to build our coops, hutches, etc) has started a Pollinator Project which will help communities reintroduce bees to the environment. Most of you have heard that bees are dying at alarming rates (thanks Monsanto and all of your selfish, careless cohorts), and if all of the bees die... we die, too. I know that sounds incredibly gloomy (and it is!), but there is hope through people like Edward Wynn! Here is a synopsis of what he is raising money for:

I am establishing an organization to promote practices and methods to support all pollinators, and to support beekeeping as a hobby.
*Solitary bees (including Miner Bees and Bumble Bees)
*Honey bees
I seek to do these five things:
*raise awareness of the needs of pollinators
*provide education oppotunities to foster support for local pollinator populations
(plants that feed bees and butterflies, etc)
*encourage backyard beekeeping
*encourage bee and butterfly gardens
*provide free or low cost honeybees and equipment plus promote DIY native bee housing
We had spoken to him in the past about our interest in beekeeping, and recently he set us up with our own beehive and gave us our own bees!!! They arrived this past Monday, and we set them up in front of the little pond in our front yard. 

 This was just after installing the bees. I know... that sounds weird. They aren't an electronic device after all.... but that's what it's called!
 Flight of the Honey Bee!
 We have had to feed them sugar water for now until the flowers start to bloom. Between those and the garden which we hope to put in this year, our property will be alive and well!!!

In addition to the bees, we welcomed two new poultry pals into our flock recently. Meet our guinea hen, who our friend have lovingly nicknamed "Flannery O'Connor." She's super neat, and super noisy as well. Wanna know what guinea hens sound like? Take a listen! And yes, she does tend to make that sound for much of the day sometimes. You get used to it..... mostly.

And today I went and picked up the absolute most adorable freakin' rooster on the face of the planet (yes, I'm serious). He's a Serama rooster, and they are tiny compared to your average-sized chicken. Lookie!!!
That's him in the front lower-right. So small!!
 Maya got to introduce him to his new coop!
 Love his tail feathers!
We also had (have) the potential to acquire two baby goats for dairy purposes, but as of right now we don't know how we would be able to afford them. They are 2 - 3 weeks away from weaning, which would mean that we would have to provide them with milk until they are finished. This equals a little over $100 for those few weeks. Then we would need money to get their shots and supplies for milking, as well as some more materials to build an outdoor pen.  In all honesty we would LOVE to take the goats! Fresh milk every day and hilarious, adorable, fascinating companionship would be so fantastic! And this is all part of where our GoFundMe campaign comes in again. 
Financial stress has been getting the better of me lately. I get frustrated (and sometimes angry) that it is so much harder to afford working from home... working YOUR LAND... being together as a family every day, growing your own food, benefiting your community.... it is so much harder to do these things than to go out and get a 40 hour a week job, working for someone else, and missing out on things you'd rather be doing at home (and please don't chastise me for saying this... I know that there are a lot of folks who WANT to work outside of the home and love what they do, and that's awesome. I'm talking about my personal feelings on the subject).
We bought our house because we wanted to settle down and create a little piece of Heaven on Earth in our own backyard (and frontyard... and inside the house... you get it). We wanted to own something that - because of the love and work we put into it - flourished and bloomed and provided the most wonderful food, medicine, companionship, health, and joy that we could use for ourselves and share with our community. And we are creating that right now, but it feels very challenging. We aren't making any money off of it yet because we're just starting out. If either of us got a full-time job outside of the home, then we'd never accomplish anything here
People are already interested in our rabbit meat. We will have honey to sell next year. If we could build a bigger coop we could get more chickens and sell eggs and meat birds. If I could acquire the ingredients I use most in bulk, I could start selling soups and baked goods from home! There are so many possibilities, we just need the start-up money to move ahead.
We are definitely looking into our options. I know it sounds like I'm complaining, and I guess to a point I am a little.... In reality, though, I know that we will succeed no matter what. This is what we've wanted for a long time, and it's happening, much more quickly than we imagined it would! I'm holding on to that hope, and that feeling of success, because I know that these things (plus visualization and a little magic) make manifestations come to life so much easier. 
So if you haven't already (or if you have, but want to again), please consider supporting our efforts! We will be tanning our rabbit hides starting this Spring, and as promised, everyone who donates will receive one (and those who donate larger amounts will receive a handmade good created with a hide, feathers, etc. from our farm)!
We love you guys, and we hope that - no matter what your visions for your future are - you succeed in ways you never could have imagined. <3 <3 <3

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Wild Hairs

Two posts in one day?! Can it be real??? Yes. It can be. And it is! Because Sophia is sleeping, and Ryan is playing with Maya, and it's Sunday so I don't have to work, and it's raining so we have an excuse to not be up "doing something!" Yay!

So in this post I will continue giving you all a tour of our latest home improvement projects. This one was for fun, but also to give Maya a bigger, more awesome space to play in her room.

We painted her room very shortly after we moved in, because it was plain white with a floral wallpaper border around her windows, and she did not seem too thrilled about sleeping in there by herself. Up until Sophia was born, Maya had been co-sleeping with us, so we knew that moving her into her own room with her own bed was going to be a big transition, but we were hoping it wouldn't be too difficult to get through.

As luck would have it, as soon as daddy and Papa Jim gave her white walls a beautiful lavender-purple wash, and mama gave her dull yellow dresser a bright and cheery yellow and lavender update, she suddenly loved her room and began sleeping in their by herself with nary a complaint!

However, we soon began to realize that her already-small bedroom was being taken over by her toys, books, movies, and furniture. We tried weeding out toys, putting in a bookshelf for the books and movies, making use of her closet to store some of her things... But it just never seemed like there was enough space for her to really move around and spread out whatever projects or creative endeavors she happened to be interested in on any given day.

Our solution? A super-fantastically-awesome new bed with a clubhouse underneath!!

We started by taking apart a futon frame we had that was in great shape, and re-using the slats for the base of her bed...
 There had to be some sort of safety railing so she wouldn't fall off while sleeping (the girl tosses and turns mucho)...
 There was much drilling, hammering, and a teensy bit of swearing happening over the course of about a week... BUT...
 The end result! The top and bottom steps were left open so she could store her shoes and games in them...
 What's inside the door???
 Her own playhouse! With a bookshelf, and some fun pillows....

 And whatever else her beautiful little heart wants to take in there with her!

After helping daddy decorate the interior and exterior with frogs, flowers, turtles, and owls, she loves it, and we have had a couple of picnics, My Little Pony plays, and reading sessions in there so far, and I have to say it's a pretty cozy, good-vibey hideaway!


Holy.... mackerel.

Why has it taken me so long to write another blog post? Well, aside from the fact that whenever I actually had time to write one, I simply didn't want to, we have been experiencing a veritable whirlwind of changes recently. Some planned, some not-so-much. I will break everything up into a few separate posts so as not to overwhelm you (or myself for that matter), as there is a lot of info to be shared.

Where to begin.....?

Okay, so tax time rolled around, and - as we always do - as soon as we had every shred of paper we needed to do our taxes, we did 'em. We file online because I have no idea how to do it myself, and it's just easier that way. Boy were we excited to find out that we were getting back way more than we thought we would! What to do with that money? Well, first we paid up a bunch of our debts, and then we were going to use some of it to buy a second vehicle because our truck is constantly flipping us the bird and we wanted to like... save gas money for some stupid reason.

But one day while driving to town Ryan made a different suggestion: "What if we took the money we were going to spend on a car and invested it into the kitchen so we can get certified and get crankin' on selling our stuff?" (If any of you know Ryan, you'll know this is probably exactly what he said... verbatim).

The nano-second after he said this I felt a little irritated... We need a second vehicle, and I had my heart set on buying one with this money! But the next nano-second my thoughts shifted, because we had just found out via the Maine USDA website that if you wanted to sell perishable food-items containing meat, uncooked dairy, etc., you have to have a separate commercial kitchen... Which means that we couldn't use our current kitchen to produce anything except baked-goods and foods that don't contain meat, and even when we are able to build our kitchen out in the garage, we would still have to use our already-existing kitchen for our own personal cooking and food preparation.

So I turned to him and said I could agree to hold off on buying a second vehicle so long as he didn't raise a stink about how much gas the truck uses when I want to take the girls out or go somewhere. We both agreed, and we started on our kitchen!

Now for those of you who have never seen our kitchen before, it wasn't the loveliest of places. It wasn't actually horrible-looking by any means, but it had indoor/outdoor carpeting in it.... seriously. (It's in both bathrooms, too..... gross.) So our first order of business was to find some hard flooring. Obviously we would have loved to put real wood flooring in the kitchen, but the reality is that we are on a strict budget, so we went to Marden's and found a great deal on some American Cherry laminate flooring. The results? Awesome. We struggled a bit trying to lay the flooring down because A) the subfloor (concrete) was uneven and we had never leveled it before so that didn't exactly turn out perfect, and B) we didn't have the right type of pry-bar for the job, so getting certain pieces tapped together properly was a challenge.

I'm sure we could have done a more precise job had we had some experience with laying down our own flooring, and of course if we'd had the right tools, but even with those shortcomings the kitchen turned out pretty awesome!

So in this photo you can see the carpet being ripped up... it was seriously gross. It's been in the house since 1979 I think..... ew.

 Here you can see our "Mauve" walls, and the glue-y floor that was underneath the carpet. The beige stuff near that wall is the floor leveler.
 And here we have our wall during the process of peeling paint-covered wallpaper off of the wall... the glue remained behind... I never should have picked at that little spot next to the door. Just look what it led to!!

 Our first few rows of flooring. Exciting!
 Sophia testing out the newly-finished laminate flooring!
 In addition to the flooring, we painted the walls "Americana Blue" and painted the door, trim, and cabinets "Marshmallow White." It seriously looked like Marshmallow Fluff when we opened the paint can, and inspired me to make a batch of healthy homemade marshmallow fluff using this recipe!
We have also put in a new light fixture over the sink, and the trim is nailed back up, but the kitchen hasn't been photo-worthy yet so as soon as it is I'll take a photo of the almost-completely-completed kitchen. Our last projects are to put chocolate-brown tiling up as the backsplace behind the sink and (if we have enough) stove, and to remove or cover up the popcorn ceiling, neither of which we are really too excited about doing, but the ceiling has to be easily-cleanable in order to get the kitchen certified.... and so we must.

We could not be more happy with the way it has turned out thus far, and it's extremely gratifying to know that we did it all ourselves! Now why don't you mosey on over to the next post to see the other home-improvement/fun projects we've been working on lately? :D

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Dream A Little Dream With Me....

Okay folks. I have not been able to stop thinking about the biggest, most exciting part of our manifestation that I really really hope to have completed within the next five years (though hopefully much MUCH sooner)....

The certified Greenhouse Kitchen.

Just saying the words makes me feel like I'm standing right in the middle of it, surrounded by lush, blossoming plants.... inhaling the aromas of rosemary, citrus, fig, thyme, white sage..... looking out onto our property as I put together some of the most amazing baked goods and soups you've ever tasted.... Seriously!

So I'd like to take a moment to create a visual for all of you lovely people who are following along with this manifestation, in hopes that maybe you can help us make it happen even faster than we could ever dream!

Let us begin.

This is our garage:

Now, this is just your typical garage (although much neater and cleaner than many garages I've seen, thanks to Ryan and is anal-retentive penchant for being organized), but the potential for this space gets my whole body buzzing with excitement!

Imagine, if you will, stone flooring shimmering here and there with smooth pieces of sea glass... A beautiful recycled-glass island in the center of the room, with a large farmhouse sink at one end... Imagine, on the left side of the room, a beautiful six-burner gas range with a double oven and a pull-out drawer to store our cookie sheets and baking pans (like THIS ONE)... Along that same wall will be more counter space, along with a beautiful large-capacity refrigerator (maybe like THIS ONE?)...

Along that front wall where the garage door is, will be two french doors that open to the parking lot (and the fresh air and sunshine), maybe something LIKE THIS - but without the shutters... Oh, and that little door on the left will not exist... The whole front wall, as well as the side walls will be glass (because... it's a greenhouse kitchen)....

We will take the ceiling out of the garage to expand the space upwards, where a U-shaped catwalk will be, gently flowing with all sorts of wonderful herb plants, fruit trees, and veggies which can all be accessed by a spiral staircase over in the front-right side of the garage/kitchen...

And above the sliding french doors at the front of the room will be a giant stained-glass spiral, in gorgeous colors that will wash over the interior whenever the sun bursts through!!

Each day, you will find me in that kitchen creating the day's soups and baked goods... Everything will be made from scratch, and from organic and/or local foods, many of which will be grown and raised on our own property. The selections will vary on a daily basis, and will manifest based on whatever I happen to conjure up! A few days ago, I made almond-flour banana cupcakes with Elderberry buttercream frosting... and oh my god... they were delectable. The cupcakes were so moist, yet they held together beautifully... and the Elderberry frosting was not overly-sweet, but the perfect complement to the banana and spice flavors. And Creamed Cauliflower Meatball soup? Oh yes... savory... hearty... creamy... hot and soothing on a cold Winter's day....

You all will want to come to our kitchen.

This kitchen is going to be the focal point of our entire endeavor. Folks will be welcome every day to come in and partake of the nourishing goodness that we have to offer, and to get to know us as we get to know our community. And the whole family will be involved, which is equally as exciting because I really feel like it's so important that families work together, especially when you're trying to live sustainably, cultivating your own property.

I cannot wait until this creation comes to fruition! So if you would, please pass along our GoFundMe link if you think there are people in your circle who would help us make this a reality. Or if you feel so compelled, send us a word or two of encouragement because sometimes it's hard to keep the faith that it will happen (even though I know it totally will because we want it to). Any and all support is welcomed and we are grateful for all of it!!!

You guys are awesome. Thanks for letting me share with you. :)

Monday, January 13, 2014

Bridging the GAPS

I don't know if any of you have heard of the GAPS diet before, but it's basically a gut-healing protocol that can actually reverse symptoms of autism, food and seasonal allergies, anxiety, depression, and all sorts of other mental and physical ailments, both chronic and occasional.

I have tried to do this diet a couple of times before, but it never seemed to be the right time to successfully make it through the Intro stage... Holidays seemed to loom big and full of delicious crap that I wasn't supposed to eat... and if you know me well, you know that I absolutely adore food and have a sweet tooth the size of one of the moon's biggest craters, and so.... well, my will-power was powerless. And I failed. More than once.

But I am not going to judge myself or say "Oh Lindsay, you're pitiful! How come you can't just stick to this diet and heal your body when you know you need to?!" Truth be told, the GAPS Intro diet is hard. There are 6 stages to the Intro portion of the diet, and you start with eating only bone broth and well-boiled vegetables and meats basically. At stage 2 you can add in raw egg yolks and soft-boiled eggs... And little by little you are able to add in more foods, watching closely to see if your body reacts negatively to any of them as you go.

I have a history of anxiety, very low energy, irritability, constipation, and chronic fatigue. It makes for kind of a miserable existence at some points.... but that's why I'm trying to heal myself! I want to have energy, and experience joy and bliss, and POOP! :D

So anyway, I'm on Stage 2 right now, and hoping to breeze through it quickly, because on Stage 3 I can start eating nut butters, and you have no idea how hard it's been for me NOT to grab a heaping spoonful of our homemade peanut butter!!!!!

I haven't experienced too many die-off symptoms yet, which are a result of the body killing of the bad bacteria. When bad bacteria die, they release toxins into the body which can actually make your symptoms worse before they start to get better. So far, I have experienced some mild nausea, headaches (which I never get), super-irritability (oh how I feel for my family right now, lol), mood swings, and some pretty intense cravings. This morning I was cutting a banana in half for Maya, and the very end broke off and I could literally feel myself pop it into my mouth and cut through the soft, sweet fruit with my teeth... and I got kind of emotional again  because I knew I couldn't actually eat it without messing up my progress thus far.

Believe it or not, healing begins the day you start the diet! I experienced die-off symptoms on Day 1, and it's only Day 3, but I can tell my body is changing. It isn't exactly comfortable... and I didn't expect it to be... but it's proof that healing is taking place.

And I know many people will say "But aren't you hungry????" I'm actually not. The idea is to begin by consuming foods that are very easily digestible and healing, which is where the bone broths, well-boiled veggies and meats come in, along with probiotic foods with each meal and each cup of broth. Plenty of animal fats are a necessity, and I find that I feel satiated and nourished even when a big ol' sandwich is what I'm craving. Oh how I will miss bread..... at least for awhile... *sob*

Anyhow, I will post here and there about my progress just in case anyone is interested to know if it's working. And if anyone is interested in learning more about the diet, and possibly doing the GAPS protocol, I highly suggest getting a hold of Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride's book "Gut And Psychology Syndrome." It explains the origins of many diseases and allergies affecting much of the world today, and how the brain and the gut are so closely related and affected by one another. It is an invaluable source of information for those struggling with these dis-eases, especially for those who want to HEAL them!

Right now, I feel a lot of brain-fog... lethargy... and an all around "Blah-ness." So I'm going to stop writing for now. But stay tuned, as I'll have more updates on the rabbitry, GAPS, family-life, and so on in the days to come!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Whoever Said Rabbit Feet Were Lucky....

....obviously never had a rabbitry. Seriously, the crap that's been going wrong seems to be outweighing the things that are going right... and that probably isn't true, but you know how it feels when setbacks just keep happening.

For starters, let's discuss the watering system. Ryan spent quite a bit of time hooking up a rain-barrel watering system so that we didn't have to keep filling up water dishes for each of the rabbit cages. We purchased some nipples online so the rabbits could drink whenever they pleased, without the risk of them pooping in their drinking water. At first, it seemed like it was going to work pretty well... but then the water froze. We needed the water warmer for the barrel, and thanks to the donations we've received so far, we were able to purchase one!

"YES!!!" we thought, as the water in the barrel started to warm up nicely. And then.... the water in the lines going from the barrel to each nipple froze. And then the T-connectors that linked the tubing to each nipple started breaking. Why? Because they're cheap plastic.

So shortly after this happened, my parents surprised us with a visit (they live in Missouri and I hadn't seen them since last Christmas)!! My dad is pretty handy in various areas, and they spent quite a bit of time outside in the barn messing around with the rabbit set-up. They insulated the lines to help keep them from freezing, and again... everything looked great. Until..... the water got TOO hot. Seriously the little rabbits were gonna burn their tongues. According to the description of the warmer we bought, it is  "Thermostatically controlled to operate only when necessary." Well, it was operating when it wasn't necessary obviously.

So then Ryan and my dad went to the hardware store and purchased a timer for the warmer, which would allow us better control of when and for how long the mechanism warmed the water. Ryan first set it to come on for 30 minutes, then go off for 30, etc. That still kept the water too hot. Then he readjusted it so it came on for a shorter period of time, and stayed off for a longer period. Hooray! That seemed to work! The water was nice and warm, not scalding, and the rabbits seemed quite happy.

Until...... we forgot about sexing the rabbits and chaos ensued one night when one of the males in our silver doe's cage started to get possessive of the females and began fighting with one of the other males in that cage. They were literally screaming and chasing each other in circles around the cage, which got the rabbits in the adjoining cage riled up, and soon the whole cage was swinging from the rafters.

Ryan took one of the males out and put him in a smaller cage by himself, and eventually slaughtered him as we needed meat, and it also solved the issue of him fighting the other male to the death. Or so we thought. Why? Because there was actually one more male in that cage. Yep. 

We ended up making a few more small cages so every rabbit that needed to be separated could be, and Ryan recently reattempted to hook up the barrel watering system (and it works!), so for now, all is as it should be. Let's hope it stays that way!