Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Resources for Healthy Living, Part 1

Here is a list I started after a friend asked me for resources about superfoods, nutrition, and juicing.  It’s a short list, not heavy enough on the books.  Over time I will add more to this and repost it.  For now, this is plenty for getting started!

Superfoods, Nutrition, and Juicing

Books:
Superfood Kitchen by Julie Morris
Eat For Health by Joel Fuhrman

Documentaries (Netflix):
Food Matters (nutrition and superfoods) and the Food Matters Mastery Program (my favorite)
Sick, Fat, and Nearly Dead (juicing, nutrition, weight loss – inspriational) (Keith’s favorite)
Hungry for Change (juicing, weight loss, and nutrition) (our 2nd favorite)
Forks over Knives (nutrition and health) (very good – for us, this movie takes us on from a starting
point with juice and raw foods to long-term lifestyle and diet improvements)
Fresh (nutrition and eating local)
King Corn (nutrition)
Food Inc. (nutrition and eating local)

The following I have not seen, but hope to watch soon:
Veducated
Food Beware: The Organic French Revolution
Food Fight
Fast Food Nation
Earth Voice Food Choice
What’s On Your Plate?
Processed People
Ingredients
The Gerson Miracle
Dr. Andrew Weil: Healthy Aging
The Beautiful Truth
Fed Up!
Our Daily Bread
Deconstructing Supper
The Future of Food

Toxin-free Living

Books:
The Healthy Home

I’d love to hear about any you have seen that we can watch and add to this list!Lacy

Enjoying THIS Season

The seasons of gardening are enjoyable.  First the planning and dreaming before the ground has thawed.  Then the first dirt on my hands when I  start my seeds indoors, and week after week of watering and watching the miracle of sprouting take place.  Soon preparing the beds and planting the cool weather crops take center stage, and slowly the masses of seedlings near the east and south facing windows begin to find their way outside.  For a while, watering and mulching and hopefully only a little weeding keep time in the garden to a minimum.

Then I discover the first fruit on the vine.  The lettuce is bright with the green of spring.  The broccoli forms baby heads, and the carrots grow unseen beneath the soil.  It seems as though the harvest will trickle in.

The first days of preserving the harvest finally come, canning carrots and then freezing broccoli.  After a while the tomatoes finally arrive on the scene!  At first I try to eat them all, each red fruit a treasure to be savored.  Then I realize I could never eat them all before they rot, and I am canning tomatoes, canning peaches, canning pickles.  The counter tops are covered with zucchini, the freezer is full of frozen cantaloupe, and the fridge always boasts sweet watermelon ready for feasting.

This week I began planning for next year’s garden.  I saved some seeds!  Next year we shall hope to have cantaloupe, watermelon, and brandywine tomatoes as wonderful as we have this year, for their seeds will lie in wait all winter long for the warm earth to bring life from a dormant seed to bear the delicious and life-giving fruit again next year.  I can hardly wait to start all over again.

Life truly does come in seasons.  Amazingly, the transition from one season to the next comes gradually and we often do not know when a season has ended, nor when another has begun.  Like the harvest, it seems it will be a long time coming, but then it is suddenly upon us, and we wonder where the time went.  Today I stood in my garden and soaked in THIS season.  My daughter stood atop a woodchip pile and sang spontaneous worship songs that must have commanded the attention of all heaven.  I know Jesus was listening and beaming.  The water fell on my garden plants and on my soul as I realized how blessed I was today.  How blessed this season is.  And I want to enjoy it deeply, as many moments as I can, never knowing when another season may make this season only a memory.  Surely each season has many things to be thankful for, and today, let us give thanks for the bounty in our kitchens, and the bounty in our lives.

~Lacy

Is it July yet?

Life around the Haugan farmstead has been all but normal lately.  May was a crazy month.  We paired fixing up an old planter, planting cotton, brooding baby chickens, and feeding more than 1000 chickens together, and life became a count-down to when the pace would slow down.  June was supposed to be that slow down.

We were supposed to be feeding chickens in the morning for an hour or two, and doing that same thing again in the evening for a few hours.  That would make the rest of our days pretty relaxed, right?  I wish.

The owl doing his dastardly deed.  Night cam is cool.

An owl doing his dastardly deed. Night cam is cool.

First we had an owl preying on our chickens, one each night.  He stopped after a week or so.  Then we started our weekly journey to the processor 2 1/2 hours north of here.  All Monday evenings have been spent chasing 200 chickens to put into transport cages.  Keith leaves at 4 am Tuesday to be there on time.  We were hanging in there with that routine, making a recovery the second half of the week.  Then a few weeks ago a big storm blew through here, sending us fleeing from our mobile home at 2 am.  3 hoop houses blew hundreds of yards away, and were flattened like pancakes, leaving hundreds of chickens without shelter.  The next 2 or 3 days were spent moving chickens into various makeshift shelters.  Three days later we took another 200 chickens to the processor, leaving 3 shelters empty, so we moved the chickens again into those shelters.  Have I mentioned that chasing and moving chickens is exhausting?

Having sort of recovered from the storm and making it through another week of catching chickens and taking them to the processor, our first month selling chicken on the Oklahoma Food Coop began.  Learning how to list products, write descriptions, figure out inventory and product weights, packaging, labeling, and delivering the chicken to the Coop in Oklahoma City took a good deal of effort that week.  We enjoyed the trip to the Coop though.  It was great to meet other farmers who raise local food, and to see first hand how the distribution system works for delivering local food all over the state of Oklahoma.

It was just days after that when the heat wave began to gather steam. Yesterday was the worst so far – we reached 105F.  Sadly we will reach 108 today and tomorrow, being over 100F for the entire 10 day forecast.  Two days ago we lost 10 chickens to the heat, and yesterday we lost more than 40.  We spent both days filling the 10+ water buckets every few hours, buying and putting bags of ice into the chicken cages to try anything to cool them down, spraying them with water, and putting fans near their cages.  Last night we gave them a few hours after sunset to de-stress and go to sleep before putting them in their transport pens.  Catching chickens in the dark at 11pm last night, after a full day/week/month of craziness… well, let’s just say it wasn’t a fun time.  Thankfully we had the help of my son, brother-in-law, and nephew.  Jeremiah and I made it to 11:30pm, and the three others finished the last shelter of chickens until 12:30 or 1am.  Keith was gone on his way to the processor by 7:30am this morning.

Needless to say, we are exhausted and weary.  I wish we had been able to take all the chickens in this week, but some of them were just too small to pay for processing them.  We will have to water and ice and spray and fan and feed these hot chickens for another week or two.  Then we’ll go on vacation.

We have learned a lot this year, just as one does the first year of any big new venture.  We have a list going of improvements that will greatly help in the coming broiler seasons.  We are still tinkering with the best chicken shelter design for our situation (high winds, big heat), and next year we will shoot to be finished by June 15 (hopefully before the intense heat).

It is known that many teachers quit after the first year of teaching.  I can sympathize with their struggle – a classroom full of other people’s children is not an easy work environment to face everyday.  Being a teacher for the long haul takes fortitude.  I would venture to say that if a new farmer can make it through the first year, and then not quit, they too will join a group of very few who make it for the long haul.  It’s been a rough few months.  The end of our first broiler season is coming, and things should be looking up.

Here’s to the seasons.

~Lacy

 

Gardening…

I read a good paragraph about why gardening is enjoyable – besides your product of great vegetables and fruit.  I think more reasons can be added to the following thought, but all in all this does a great job of describing the ideal gardening time.  I hope I have some times like these this spring, when I can garden alone and enjoy an unencumbered flow of thoughts.  I do love to see my children enjoy the garden as well though.  Now for the quote:

“Anyone who has spent time in a beautiful garden knows the tranquility and sense of connection that can be found there.  In this age of technology and urgency, being in the garden can allow us to release our stresses and transcend time.  As we sit in the midst of beauty, watching the bees, butterflies or birds, we begin to let go of our cares and worries.  If we are actively involved in creating the beauty of the garden, we find the acts of planting, weeding and trimming bring about the feeling of being grounded and centered.  As I work in my garden I appreciate not only the physical work and sensory perceptions, but the endless flow of thoughts, spontaneously appearing unencumbered by intellectual musings.  Before I know it, hours have passed.  Thousands of thoughts have come and gone, but as I worked, they required no more attention than the birds singing in the trees.  I leave the garden feeling refreshed and connected to the world around me.” – Swami Atmarupa Saraswati

For the first time ever I have hope that at least some of my seedlings might make it to the garden and perhaps even thrive.  I may be speaking prematurely, but with the new found step of repotting my seedlings, I have reached new heights… and so have my seedlings.

🙂  Looking forward to getting into the garden…

Lacy

 

 

Tennis shoes aren’t cutting it…

Today I did the chores by myself (oh yeah!). Jeremiah was with my mother, Keith is in Mexico (having a great time, by the way), and Judah was inside.  First I had to clean off the church sidewalk – it was amuck with green sticky wet turkey poop.  Nice.  A dry broom wouldn’t cut it, I had to lug a pail of hot water over there and soak it down, then scrub it off with the broom.  Those turkeys are eating more feed now because it’s cold and the forage is quite limited – and they keep my sidewalk and the church’s amply supplied with nasty wet turkey poop.  Their processing day has been put on the calendar for the coming week.  Turkey tetrazini, here we come.  Next year if we get turkeys we will put them farther away from the house.  There will be no turkey poop on my new back deck.  I hope.

Another thing today’s chores brought to mind is that my tennis shoes aren’t cutting it.  I thought I had managed to stay out of the poop, but alas both shoes were marred with it by the end of chores.  I’m a one pair of shoes kind of girl, mainly because I wear orthotics and I don’t like taking them in and out of shoes to change shoes.  It’s hard on the orthotics and I’m too lazy to do it.  My tennis shoes are keeping the orthotics, but I am now convinced that as an official farm girl, I need a pair of work boots.  I posted a picture of the hot pink rain boots I wore last month, but those do not have enough support in them to wear very often.  So I’m on the hunt, together with my husband who is also in need of new boots, to find the perfect work boot.  Perhaps we’ll have a little time to shop in Little Rock this weekend during the Southern Sustainable Agriculture conference we are going to.  Anyone have recommendations?  😉  The farmer wears Ariat boots, and thinks they’re pretty comfortable.  I may start by trying on a pair of those.  Also, the sporty knit pants aren’t cutting it either.  Gonna have to don some jeans.  There’s a reason why farmers and ranchers wear jeans and work boots.  Nothing else can handle the work load.

 

So yay!  We are going to a sustainable agriculture conference this weekend!  We’re excited to pick out what workshops we want to attend, and meet other like-minded folks from our area.  I think it will be a great experience for us, and one that we will want to repeat year after year.

http://www.ssawg.org/2012-Conference-Program/

I’ve been perusing Reformation AcresPinterest page today.  I needed some rest (and still do), so it was a good way to just sit and relax for a while.  On her gardening and homesteading pin boards I repinned almost all of her favorite ideas.  And I put together a to-do list for things to print off (great gardening resources) and projects to plan for the next months.  I wish we didn’t have to move in the next month, or that we were already moved, because I’ve got other things I want to do.  If you’re interested in gardening and homesteading, you’ll love Quinn’s blog and her pinterest page.  There are a few years worth of ideas and aspirations to aspire to there. 

Happy Trails, until next time.

Lacy

 

Heirloom or Hybrid?

So I am still a novice when it comes to gardening. I have planted a small garden twice. Once it

The Farmer and His Son in the World Hunger Relief Garden - Spring 2011

produced fairly well, once it pretty much shriveled up and died during a terrible drought. I have also helped with a few gardens. One of them had really huge tomato plants… with no tomatoes. The other died when I went out of town for a month. 😦  So for all my good intentions and attempts, I have yet to raise a garden that has truly produced a lot of vegetables. And that, my friends, is my aim this year.

I have five seed catalogues sitting next to me on my couch, and I have circled some things I think I’d like to raise. I am hoping to be successful in my attempts to grow my own seedlings. But I’m stuck on one point.

Heirloom or hybrid?

To be truly sustainable, it must be heirloom. To raise one’s own food from one’s own seeds is the ultimate in self-sufficient food production. To that goal I aspire. Yet, I am but a novice! Should I start with more disease resistant hybrid varieties to help ensure success? Or would it be like false confidence? Just because I can raise a hybrid vegetable doesn’t mean I can raise heirloom vegetables, or does it?

Does anyone out there have experience raising hybrids versus heirlooms? I would love to hear any advice you have for a beginner gardener in this area. Also, any pointers you have on ensuring that my seedlings do well would be much appreciated. I hate trying to raise my own seedlings but then running down and buying plants from the store because my seedlings were so pitiful.

~Homemade Poptarts, Graham Crackers, and Dishsoap~

Well, the new year has begun and we’re off to a running start! We have spent our first week back in the cotton fields harvesting in over a month! It’s been so rainy, it’s been too wet to harvest. We will have been harvesting for about 9 days when our next big chance of rain hits: 50% chance on Monday. Keith will be taking Tuesday off anyway because he needs to pack his bags. He is heading out to Oaxaca, Mexico to do a video project for some missionary friends of ours. Kerry and Maury Johnson have been working in Oaxaca for many years and are hoping to start a new women and children’s center to help women in distressed situations. Keith will be making a video of existing projects in the villages and hopefully doing some interviews about the women and children’s center. He is going together with my Dad and a friend of the family, so it should be a good time for them all. Hmmm… I just realized as I was writing this that Keith will not be doing the chores while he is out of town for a week. Farm girl on the job training continues.

This week I wanted to share some of the projects and things I’ve been doing lately. I am hoping to revamp my “snack cabinet” this year and largely do away with processed boxed foods. So far I have experimented with a few things. The kids have liked some of them, and a few of them not so much.

Homemade "Poptarts"

Cheese Crackers

Dehydrated apples, bananas, and strawberries: 4 stars (healthy, full of fiber, non-messy fruit)

Homemade cheese crackers: 2 stars 😦 (the kids didn’t like these too much)

Homemade Chocolate Graham Crackers: 4 stars (a hit!)

Homemade Poptarts: 3 stars (only because strangely they kind of give us heart burn)

Popped in a pan on the stove “homemade” popcorn: 5 stars (a classic and easy favorite!)

Homemade Chocolate Graham Crackers

Homemade Chocolate Graham Crackers

Here are the links to some of the recipes I tried.

http://heavenlyhomemakers.com/healthy-treat-for-today-homemade-whole-wheat-graham-crackers

http://heavenlyhomemakers.com/homemade-healthy-poptarts

I also wanted to share my favorite new addition to the kitchen:

This is a ceramic coated skillet, which I use almost every day for pancakes or eggs. For anyone who’s interested in the health and safety of the cookware you use to prepare your food, this pan is great! It is a much better non-stick surface than stainless steel, and is also non-reactive with your food, a great improvement over anything using Teflon or other chemical non-stick surfaces. I have also seen these in a nice white ceramic. Either way, I LOVE mine so far, and I feel good about cooking my family’s food in this pan.

Another favorite Christmas gift was this indoor Piratos Swing Seat my mother got for my son. It’s been a real hit with both kids, and my son enjoys reading in it, twirling around in it, and just general lounging in it. It’s the perfect gift for lots of winter days spent indoors. The book he’s enjoying in the photo is a Bible comic book called “Good and Evil”. Good stuff.

This week has been “No Dryer Week” around here. I’m giving my clothes dryer a rest and have returned to hanging my clothes “out to dry”, but indoors on a wooden rack and using hangers for shirts. So far I have really liked it. Doing a load every day or two takes only a few minutes of my time, as opposed to doing it all on one day and ending up with 4-5 baskets of laundry sitting around in the living room for days waiting on me to fold it or put it away. 😉 Who, me? Never!

I also attempted homemade dish soap this week. I did a simple low cost “recipe”. Shred a bar of soap (I used unscented Dove), add 2 cups hot water and let sit overnight. Then put it into a soap bottle and you’re ready to go! So far I like it! One reason I did this was because you wouldn’t believe how hard it is to find truly unscented dish soap – a must for sensitive skin like mine. I usually use Seventh Generation’s Free and Clear dish soap, but at my local health food store it’s $5.50 per bottle, and it’s out of my way because I don’t go there very often. So I decided to try to make my own!

http://www.diylife.com/2009/08/03/how-to-make-your-own-dish-soap/

Mrs. Haugan’s 2nd Grade class (of 1) is back under way – sort of. This week Jeremiah has participated in two mornings of “Bring your son to work day” with Keith. This has a few purposes – 1) One on one time with Dad, 2) Jeremiah spending time on the cotton farm (preparation for a few years down the road when he’s old enough to drive a tractor and join the work crew), 3) One on one time for Mommy and Judah. Monday he swept out the cotton stripper (that’s the real name for the cotton harvesting machine) which is truly helpful.  Our other main event for this week was a field trip to the Stillwater children’s museum, “Wondertorium”. We went together with my mom and my sister-in-law and her 3 sons and spent 4-5 hours playing our hearts out! It was a great place, so much so that we bought a year pass. We hope to spend many more field trip days there. We hit the books next week in Mrs. Haugan’s 2nd Grade Class (of 1).

I have been perculating on the topic of why I homestead lately, and wondering if any one might wonder why I think that drying my laundry on a rack is cool, or why I attempt to make homemade crackers and dish soap. Perhaps why is a valid question in this case, so I thought I’d spent some time putting it into words. That’s coming up next time, which should be soon.

Lacy