Sunday, December 15, 2013

Hop on over to this blog....

There's always something happening in Blissville, be it good or bad. Something VERY good (and fluffy) is going on these days that keeps us as busy as ever. Want to know what? Visit the blog my daughter and I write for HERE.

Enjoy the day-

Monday, November 4, 2013

The Best Dog Ever: Zoe

Our appointment is for 10:50 this morning. I plan on being late. Late on purpose. It's an appointment long coming....for my little precious pup. I won't get into defending the 'why', although that's my instinct. The instinct is to explain and defend why this morning is the last morning that my little Zoe will wake up here on earth. But I won't. Instead, let me tell you the beautiful, amazing story of how God has used a dog.

We met in a pet store in 2000. My sister was one of the managers of the store. Even though this little Boston was technically not for sale because of medical conditions, after an argument with one of her co-workers, my sister let me take her home. She had an eye infection, and her poor little ears turned backwards, along with several other ailments. She was broken. It so happened to be a time in my life, that I felt broken too. She was perfect.

Daughter was 2 at the time going through the 'Elmo' phase, hence, the name Zoe. Zoe rode shot-gun in the stroller, happily sitting along side our toddler. Husband trained her ears to go in the right direction with popsicle sticks and tape. We all loved her. Everyone loved her. She was a big dog trapped in a little dog body.

Zoe especially loved my father-in-law. Even in this last year, being blind and deaf, she still knew when he was almost here. She'd sit in the driveway and look in the direction of his road. And wait. 

She has been a great nurse and comforter. There are things I've been through physically. Painful things. Twice I thought I might die. These are the times that you realize how alone a person can be in life. No matter how many people are around you daily, when push comes to shove, it's just you and God. And thankfully, God's gift to me, my faithful dog Zoe. Whatever ailment or hard time my body went through, she would cuddle all the more close, loving unconditionally, and not leaving my side. 

When we first moved to our home on the lake, it was Zoe that taught me about the dangers of water. She couldn't swim. She sometimes tried, only to struggle and sink. Shortly after moving here, she slipped off a log in the lake and went down, not even popping up once. I ran to the log, laid down and stuck my arm into the murky water grabbing for whatever I could find. Luckily, she was wearing a bandanna, and I found it, pulling her straight up and onto the log, pushing on her back to expel lake water. She was no worse for the wear, but I walked away from that experience knowing that it could easily have been a child.  

Years later, a friend adopted a 10 year old boy from Russia. She was struggling with him and the fact that he didn't believe God was there. This little boy had been through so much. He loved dogs and fishing, so she brought him by for fishing, playing, and the intent to take him downtown for a movie afterward. While visiting, our larger dog (no longer here) snapped, and literally/nearly ripped Zoe's throat from ear to ear. The little boy found her and came running, screaming in his broken English "dog dead, dog dead"! I rushed Zoe to the emergency clinic while my friend and her boy locked up my house and went to the movie theater parking lot, where the boy asked for his new mom's help to pray for Zoe to live. Weeks went by with daily calls and prayers from this little boy. The clinic gave me no hope. I told my friend to prepare her boy for the worse. Zoe's spine was severed, she'd never walk again, and the damage to her throat was irreparable, or so I was told. They reluctantly let me take her home because we were out of money. Poor Zoe was given no hope of recovery. Little did they know about the power of prayer. Long story short, God answered a little boy's prayers. It took a year for her to recover to her new 'normal'. 

There are so many wonderful times we've lived through, and great adventures we've had. Standing on the peak of the canoe, never wanting to get left on shore. Jumping in the chicken brooder. Running away to Gramma's to find me. Chewing rocks. Stealing tomatoes from the garden. I am thankful for the years we've had together, for the unconditional love, for the comfort, and for someone always happy to see me. 

Comfort. Comfort does not come in the form of a 'bridge' or 'rainbow'. Comfort comes in only one fact. The God who made us...the God who made all things including our pets...He is in control.

Life is short. Enjoy each day.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Ketchin' Up - Ketchup Recipe

I find that a hiatus from this blog is a necessary thing when the busy season of summer hits. It's either 'do' or 'write-about-doing'. The preference for me, is getting out there and dirtying my hands. And BOY are they dirty. So, DO, I do.

The garden has been an amazing blessing this year. Photos of the bounty will follow. But for now, as the vines continue to produce tomatoes, it's time for ketchup. 

The question asked often (after people hear how long it takes to make), is, "is it really worth it?" Unbelievably YES! 

People. Have you read the backs of the ketchup containers in the stores? There are very few good ones out there. High-fructose corn syrup and all kinds of other junk! 

The next question I get from friends and guests, is, "how much ketchup can a person really eat? A little bit of gmo on a burger isn't going to kill you, right?" I bite my lip, as the answer I WANT to give is "no, but it will. and ever so slowly :)" But, I digress, and answer, "my family eats a LOT of ketchup". And with ketchup this good, you'll find other uses for America's #1 condiment.

And besides. It's time to 'dump the tea in the harbor'. Revolt against these manufacturer's poisons. 

Ketchup takes a loooong time to simmer down. Like, 5-7 days, depending on how much you make, and how thick you want the end results to be. So the number one ingredient is patience. 

In our household, ketchup is made every three years. 

I used to have the recipe memorized. Luckily, as my memory recently failed me, I keep all my 'sent' emails as far back as 2007 :). Here is a pic of the recipe that I sent to my cousin a few years back.

Literally, toss all the ingredients in a big pot. BIG, chunky, ingredients. Cover and simmer. 

Around day 3 or so, I run all the ingredients through the blender. Process pint jars for 25 minutes in a water bath. When I make ketchup, it's usually the recipe x8 or 10.


Enjoy the day -H

This post linked to: Frugally Sustainable

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Country Living Fair - 2013

Do you have a 'bucket list'? I keep one. Mine's not so profound, and really, I keep it real and short term. 

One of the things that have been on my bucket list is The Country Living Fair. I told you, not so profound. But TOTALLY worth adding to YOUR list of fun things that you need to do. That is...if you consider gardening and gardening related lifestyle-things fun.

We (Husband, Daughter, and 8 other friends) went to the fair in Rhinebeck, NY. This was the first year for the Country Living Fair in NY. Basically, it was the magazine come to life and they did a great job with it! 

The seminars were fantastic! Bees in the Country Garden with John Benzinger, Sow What Now with Ken Greene, Handcrafted Soap Making with Anne Marie Craig, and Courageous Containers with Andrew Koehn were some of my favorites. 

Spectacularly creative vendors filled the fair grounds. This girl had to hold tight to her wallet because the credit card wanted to jump out more than one time. I gathered some great ideas to implement for the home and garden that I'll share as the season goes on. 

Here are some photos of my adventure along with videos of the soap making class:

Bee Keeping - John answered lots of questions I had.

Always learning...Sow What Now turned me on to a new tomato plant Cosmonaut Volkov, which I purchased.

Cari from HGTV's Cash and Cari. 

Fabulous container garden ideas, plus a couple of "new to me" plants. 

CROWDED! But that's the nature of these things.
Below, is a section of video from the soap making class. Ann Marie was a great teacher. Books she recommeded were The Soap Book by Sandy Maine, and The Hand Made Soap Book by Melinda Cross.

Would I go back again? You betcha! Did I mention that we were camping during this fair...and that rains from a tropical storm beat down on us? No? Tomorrow I'll fill you in on all the happy campers. 

What's next on my bucket list? The Mother Earth News Fair, of course. Who's in?

Enjoy the day-

Sunday, March 17, 2013

We Love Our Bunnies!

So I received an anonymous message from someone who wants me to stop breeding bunnies due to an overwhelming number of them in shelters. I can see this as a real problem. Especially for the poor bunnies who were promised to be taken care of for their whole lives, only to be discarded when people become bored.

While this is only our first litter, we plan on interviewing potential new owners before they purchase our bunnies. It is a life long commitment for the life of the bunny. Daughter and I have also decided that in our policy handbook, we would end it with the disclaimer that bunnies may be surrendered back to us at any time.

Enjoy this video:

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Pedigree English Angora Bunnies

Finally! We have babies! Bonnie gave birth to five beautifull bunnies on February 18th. We are selling them with pedigrees and they should be ready to go sometime around or after Easter. Here are some photos and videos of the week they were born. Check back to see how fast they grow!

We are located in Connecticut and welcome inquiries about purchasing our bunnies. Email me at chooserawmilk (at symbol) resetyourways (dot symbol) com.

Bonnie looks a little rough around the edges in the video above. It was taken shortly after she gave birth. She tore out a LOT of her wool and looked like a poodle and her face was pretty dirty too!

All potential new owners need to do their homework before purchasing an angora bunny. They are wonderful and cute, but need a lot of love and care.

Hope you enjoyed a little peek at our world-

Sunday, January 20, 2013

GAPS Tips That Work For Me

I've been on GAPS Intro now for 14 weeks. Things are going along smoothly, it has WELL been worth the sacrifices. My Raynaud's is under control for the most part, my digestion is much better, I feel stronger, and my thinking is clearer.

What do I eat? Right now; soup, bone broth, fermented veggies, eggs (in soup), and avocados (again, in soup), and the GAPS 'milkshake' without the apples. I've tried to add back in dairy in the form of kefir, but the candida let me know it was there for sure!
Cravings, what drove my eating habits all these years, are long gone. Happy am I to get to the point where healthy eating is about nourishment and not entertainment. An easy road to get here? No way. But as I said in my last post: sacrifice a little today - to have an awesome tomorrow!
I have always love to cook, but quite honestly, GAPS cooking is really more like one of those reality 'extreme cooking' shows. It doesn't seem to end. Chop, simmer, eat, clean up, and repeat!
Husband and Daughter are both doing GAPS with me to help with their allergies. DRAMATIC results, but more on that another day.
Keeping up with the meals is a common GAPS complaint. So instead of a dirty kitchen daily, I cook twice a week! Cooking 4-5 big pots of soup takes me about three hours. That includes clean up.
Accidental soup is what I've usually made in the past, you know, the soup you make when you clean out the fridge -smirk-. I've come up with some 'formulas' that make planning and cooking soup less stressful, a list of 15 or so soups to choose from with all their main ingredients. This still leaves room for some creativity. I'll be posting my soup 'formulas' tomorrow.
Another GAPS tip that I'd like to pass on - don't start until you are ready! This means, if you don't have a pantry or freezer full of broth, don't start until you do! Even though you'll be filling the stock pot daily to make broth, there WILL be a time when you're running short. That will also be the moment when everyone around you is absolutely STARVING and bad choices will be made. Peace of mind is a back-stock of broth.
And yes. Make broth everyday. Keep it full and available. Broth - a well made bone broth - will fill the belly, help detox, make you look younger (collagen anyone?), provide minerals that you need, and a HOST of other beneficial things!
These are just a few tips that have kept us going, would love to hear if you have any!

Enjoy the day-

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

GAPS Diet? Me? Really?!

Yesterday, I hinted about the most exciting and helpful weapon I have in my arsenal to detox the heavy metals in a more natural way. Perhaps you've heard of the GAPS diet?
Let me tell you a little story first....
About four years ago, my friend Loretta excitedly called me to tell me about a book she wanted me to read. She, in fact, was so excited she was willing to drive the thirty minutes to my house to drop it off. When she got here, she told me that she'd be back to pick the book up in one week.
ONE WEEK? I couldn't figure out what the hurry was. Or, why I was reading it for that matter. The title was confusing for me and I really couldn't figure out how it applied to me. Gut and Psychology Syndrome? What was she trying to tell me? She knew I was struggling with Raynaud's Syndrome, did she think it was all in my head? The cover of the book didn't stop there: Dyspraxia? No. Autism? No. A.D.D/A.D.H.D.? Not that I knew of. Dyslexia? Nope. Depression and Schizophrenia? Uh, no..?
But alas, I did skim the book and YIKES! What a diet! The restrictions were unbelievable and how could a baker like me give up grains? I flat out rejected the whole idea. Little did I know, God had sent me a boat and I turned it away. Hind site...yada, yada.
Fast forward to 2012. The year started out with the news that my auto-immune disease and the host of other problems taking me down could possibly be because of heavy metal toxicity. Documenting this journey to hopefully help someone else who might go through the same thing, I couldn't quite figure out the new readers I was corresponding with: moms with autistic children. That is, until I read the GAPS book. I get it now.
We are all so connected and we really have no idea. Autism, A.D.D., allergies, eczema, asthma, rheumatoid, auto-immune diseases, you name it!....all these things can be connected to the gut!
The GAPS diet really needs to be announced before it's explained. It is a TEMPORARY healing diet. Remember the word 'temporary' and note the word 'healing'. If you had the opportunity to heal a part of you that is stopping you or slowing you down - would you do it? Even if it meant TEMPORARILY giving up things you loved to eat? Would you do it? Who wouldn't? Life is short. Too short. Why wouldn't you want to sacrifice a little today to have an awesome tomorrow? Maybe I should type that in all caps!
The whole diet can be found for free at, but I do suggest buying the book and reading the whole thing. I have been in what is called the Intro stage of this diet since October (because of who I am, everyone is different) and things are going very well for me. Slow, but very well. I truly believe that this diet can help restore my own detoxification system that's been broken for a long time. I'll still be helping it along the way with herbs and what-not and give updates as I go along.
So, if you happen to have a friend (maybe it's me right now) like Loretta who wants to help you have an awesome tomorrow....get in the boat, will ya? And bring your kids.

This post shared at : Simple Lives Thursday and Thank Your Body Thursday.
Enjoy the day-

P.S. check this out for GAPS tips that work for me!

Monday, January 14, 2013

From the Garden - January 14, 2013

I can hardly believe I'm posting a garden update in January, and a substantial one at that! One goal I have for 2013, is to increase the amount of food we produce on our property. And with property being limited, the real answer is to produce year round.
In early August I seeded a whole bunch of Miyashige Daikon Radishes. At the time, the garden was full of promise and there was no room to be found, so they were seeded in deep 4" pots and transplanted to the garden in late September. They did very well in the pots, and being transplanted.
We ate the greens regularly and the radishes in soup until the ground froze hard a little over two weeks ago. I thought for sure what was left in the ground would only be good for compost, or good for only next year's seed.
The weather was really mild yesterday and today, melting all the snow and ice that's hung around since the last storm. We pushed the leaves aside and saw the most beautiful snow white roots pushing up out of the ground!

This harvest of 8 1/2 pounds has certainly put us off on the right foot with our goals of winter gardening!

The smaller radishes were left in the ground....just to see what will happen next. At the very least, I'll see them through for seed and continue eating the greens. Very yummy in soup, by the way. The buns enjoy them too! 
In the kitchen, the radishes were scrubbed, sliced thin, and put in fermenting jars to be preserved. 

Husband made these fermenting jars for me. Pretty cool, huh?
Later this week, I plan on seeding some more of this radish in our cool sunroom. We'll see if the early spring harvest is as tasty as they are this winter. I'll keep you posted!
Enjoy the day-

Detox/Raynaud's Update - January 14, 2013

Some days I'm just dog tired!

This is one of those posts that I've been dragging my feet on - which has made me drag my feet on all the fun stuff I like to blog about too!

Here's the bottom line on my detox program. I quit. Well, not totally. Sorta.

Detoxing the metals out must continue. Especially since I feel like a ticking time bomb walking around with all these metals. I'll be seeing my doctor soon to go over more natural options. Options that will take the process long and slow, but right now that's a lot better looking scenario. Here are my reasons for stopping the DMSA:

New Pain
I managed to complete five DMSA cycles and things started to get a little scary for me. Pain. Very deep in my bones that I can't really explain. I just knew that it wasn't good and it didn't go away between cycles.

Dumber Than Dirt
Sigh. I'm not the same person I was when I started, but am hoping that as time goes by, things will improve.

Pig Pen
The house was a disaster. You can't really expect a teenager to keep up the pace of maintaining a house for very long. My in-laws have helped (and continue) to run errands, pick up groceries and stuff like that. Our church family helped tremendously with meals when we needed them most, but I could never ask for help with the dirty work around here.  You know, laundry, toilets and things like that. My own (extended) family has been busy with their lives and over the last year I've gotten the occasional call. Probably to make sure I was still alive!

Burn Out
Husband and Daughter really had enough of not having the "normal" me. The word never came out quite like that, but the heavy sighs and mumbling  when the sock drawer's been empty or meals not on time....well, enough is enough. It was time to to get back to some kind of normal.

The Good News
While I continue with periods of exhaustion, poor digestion, foggy thinking, systemic candida, periodic liver pain, leaky gut, and extreme chemical sensitivity, there is good news. The good news is, the Raynaud's is FINALLY under control. Here is it the middle of winter and my feet are almost normal. No black toes. No open sores. AND I can actually walk. EVEN walk outside! I'm still not normal, but far better than a year ago.

Moving On
I've spent a considerable amount of time researching detoxing and all the methods out there and I think I've got a much better understanding of how the body's own natural detox system works....or doesn't. Currently, I'm using Bentonite Clay once daily, Chlorella, Garlic and Probiotics. I plan on using some sort of natural chelator, but in the mean time, I've been working with something that has helped tremendously.

And that. I'll share. Tomorrow!

Enjoy the day-