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!