Search Results for: yogurt

Making Yogurt

This past summer a friend of mine taught me how to make yogurt and in doing so saved me $450 a year. So being the good friend that I am to all of you, I would like to give all of you $450 dollars.  (Feel free to take me out to dinner in order to say “Thank you”.) Alright enough with the small talk, lets make yogurt.

What to buy:

  • Starter culture (plain yogurt, you can use fat free, low fat or whole milk)
  • One gallon of milk, you choose fat free, low fat or whole.

To find in your house:

  • 4 quart jars.  I use wide mouth canning jars (there is a picture below of the jars that I use)
  • 4 lids to go with the jars, for some reason this always takes the longest in our house, I just don’t understand where those lids go.
  • Cooking thermometer
  • A pot large enough to fit your 4 jars in.
  • A wash cloth
  • A timer
  • A cooler with a towel in the bottom.

Now that you have all of your supplies together give your jars a good cleaning, the best way to do this is to just run them through the dishwasher, but hot water and soap work just as well.  Now fill the jars with milk, leave about 3/4 inch at the top. Put your washcloth flat on the bottom of your pot.  Put pot on stove and place the jars with no lids in the pot.  Fill the space in the pot around the jars about 1/2 fill with water.  I have noticed that if I fill it too much the water boils out onto the burner of the stove.  But you have to have enough water in there to help heat the milk. (There is a picture of the jars in the pot)

Turn the stove top on and let the water boil till the milk gets to 185 degrees. This takes about 20 minutes depending on your stove top.

Turn off the stove top and place the lids on the jars of milk.  I have learned the hard way that this milk is really hot, I put the lids on now to prevent splashing when I remove them from the pot.  Place the jars of hot milk on the counter and let them cool till the milk is 110 degrees.  This takes about 2 hours depending on the room temperature.  If you forget about your milk, it’s ok, at this point it is just milk.  If you have to heat it up again to 185 degrees and start over.

After you remove your jars of milk from the pot, put a lid on the pot and place it in the cooler.

Once the milk is 110 degrees add two tablespoons of starter culture, for those of you who are  not paying attention that is your store bought yogurt,  to each jar.  Stir gently.

Place the jars of milk and culture in the cooler and remove the lid from the pot. (see picture below) Close the cooler and forget about it for 4-8 hours. I leave mine for 8 hours because I like a good thick yogurt.  If you want it to be thinner for smoothies or something take the yogurt out between 4 and 6 hours.  (If you are using a really large cooler, you might need to add a tea pot of boiling water to the cooler to keep the temp of the milk around 110 degrees. You don’t want it to go below 90 degrees.)

Remove your jars from the cooler and put them in the fridge.  Let them cool and enjoy.  At this point you can add sugar if you must, fresh fruit, cereal, granola… whatever you like on your yogurt.

The best thing about making my own yogurt, other than the $450 it saves me a year, is that I know whats in it.  I can control how much sugar the kids get and how much I get too.

Cliff Note Version:

  1. Heat milk in jars to 185 degrees.
  2. Cool to 110 degrees.
  3. Add 2 scoops starter culture to each jar.
  4. Put in cooler for 8 hours.

My favorite way to enjoy the yogurt is with applesauce, crushed almonds and cinnamon.  It tastes like apple pie.

Enjoy your yogurt and your money!! Let me know it turns out. And please feel free to ask questions.

Pantry Update

We are really working hard to become as food independent as possible.  We know that we will still need to buy grain products; flour, rice and chips. As well as, baking products, like baking powder and chocolate.

Here is an update on what we are doing this week to get closer to that goal.

The tomatoes and peppers are producing great which mean salsa!  We have put up several batches of salsa.  As of today we have 28 jars.  My boys love salsa so I am estimating that we will need 48 quart jars for the year.  This will be made up of 24 jars of HOT salsa and 24 jars of mild- medium salsa.

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So far we have canned 7 jars of beets.  This is no where near enough.  We are praying for a strong fall beet harvest.  We need at least 15-20 jars of beets for the year.

Peaches are in season.  We work with a local family owned orchard for all the fruit we do not grow on the farm, or we do not grow enough of.  We will have to plant several more blueberry plants to not have to buy those.  Peaches, back to peaches, free stone, yellow peaches are the only way to go.  They are amazing.  The only problem is while I am canning I believe I ate at least 5 peaches one slice at a time.  We canned 7 jars of peaches with two can in the fridge to get us through the week till we go to the farm again.  I see a peach coffee cake in my future! We also froze blackberries.  Can you say ice cream and smoothies!

Our onions did not do well so we had to get a bushel of onions.  I have been using them for salsa as well as freezing chopped onions for the winter. I have frozen 12 pounds of chopped onions.

Peppers have been doing so well that I have been freeing them as well as adding them to salsa.  We have frozen 5 gallons of chopped green peppers.  These are great in the winter for chili, omelets, sloppy joes, and pizza.  We easily can go through 10 gallons in the winter.

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Okra!  This is a new one to freeze for me.  I put away 2 gallons of chopped okra.  I am hoping to use it in stews, soups and sloppy joes for the winter.

There are at least 4 months that we do not milk the goats. So we freeze milk during the summer. Whole milk for winter yogurt.  As well as spun milk for drinking.  The cream from the spun milk gets turned into butter.  I have frozen several pounds of butter.

The summer squash is slowing down. So I am freezing some yellow squash for winter muffins.   I will freeze about 8 cups, which is four batches of muffins. I already froze zucchini for bread.  I may try to freeze zucchini noodles, but I am worried that they will be mushy.  I also froze some zucchini tortillas for tacos.

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Alright, back to chopping!  Happy Harvesting!

 

 

Menu for 5/3-5/9 and Farm Update(Sorry I never hit publish)

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Thank you to all our Front Line Workers!

Soup Sunday:  We had a very lazy day and I made a big pot of soup.  We had not electronics, other than church online and a book on tape while we played cards as a family.  A pot of soup seemed fitting.

Monday: Burgers.  The rest of the week it looks like we are going to have rain, so we had a fun night of burgers and fries.

Tuesday: Cinco De Mayo falls on Taco Tuesday!!!!  We will  be doing a taco feast!  Tons of extra veggies, like carrots and radishes, to add to the tacos just to take them to the next level. Homemade chips!!  It will be wonderful!  I can taste the lime and cilantro already!

Wednesday: This is suppose to be a cold day.  Turkey and gravy over rice with pan fried radishes and kale salad.  If you have never had pan fried radishes you have to try them.  Just a little butter melted in the pan. Half all your radishes or cut them up however you would like.  Top with pepper, garlic and onion powder.  Just let them cook in that heaven till they are soft and slightly brown.  It is really just heaven. One of my favorite things from the garden.

Thursday:  My daughters night to cook!  I think she is planing something with steak!  I told her to work in a ton of veggies.   If I had to guess, I would say she is going to do hobo packets on the grill with cabbage, potatoes and steak.

Friday: Breakfast for dinner.  Sausage, kale, onion and cheese quiche.  I make this recipe with kale or chard.  Goat cheese or cheddar.  This is such a flexible meal.  It takes the pieces that I have in the fridge and turns it into an amazing dinner.  I will probably make baked apples to go with this.  Just a simple farm dinner.

Saturday: Fried Chicken.  We save all the drum sticks when we butcher the chickens and we put them to the side.  We use them sparingly throughout the year to make them last.  Fried chicken is such a treat.  We only eat it every couple of months.  We savor every bite!  I am going to break tradition and make Brussels spouts instead of cabbage, might even make sweet potato fries.  I’m hungry!

Sunday:  Mother’s Day!  I am the Mother and my favorite food is pizza!  Or kale soup.. it will depend on the weather.

In the kitchen: Made Greek Yogurt, make cheese, churn butter, freeze butter milk and feed whey to pigs. Freeze kale for future soup.  Yogurt starter.  Kale chips.

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Garden:   In the garden we are harvesting kale and radishes.  Last week we planted potatoes.   We have planted the tomatoes and peppers outside under plastic.  The seeds we have sown so far in the ground outside are: beets, radishes, lettuce, carrots, peas, chard, kale, and onions. In the high tunnel we have started carrots, beets, radishes, peas, beans, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, and kohlrabi. Please feel free to jump in where we are!  Go out and plant the things we have planted outside!!!!   There is still frost to be careful of, know when the last frost is in your area and plan around that.  We are a zone 6.  We could still get frost for another 2 weeks.

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In the Barn:  We have 9 bottle baby goats.  They are all little cute jumping beans and keeping us very busy.  The vet visited today, took care of the goats and drew blood.  It was a routine visit.  We have 10 turkeys doing well in their new outside turkey yard and house.  We have 28 sustainable meat bird chicks in the brooding pen.  These are meat birds that will hopefully be able to provide our family with meat for a very long time into the future.  The chickens are not liking being locked out of the garden and they have stopped laying.  The ducks do not currently like the goat roommates.  We still do not have piglets but we keep hoping for a miracle.

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Menu Plan April 26-May 2, 2020

Today has been a crazy day.  I am thankful for the moment to sit at the computer and type out my menu plan for the week.   I also plan daily to-do lists, cleaning plans, (I follow FlyLady) and any farm projects.  I am a box checker, just in case you did not pick up on that yet.  Friday, I made a grand check list of everything I wanted to get done all day, went out to do farm chores and found a goat in labor, whole day took a different turn.  I like checking boxes better than “hello emergency!”  but farm life does not always work that way.

Sunday: Roasted Turkey, mashed potatoes, mac and cheese and beets.  Don’t judge me, we all have our thing, mine is turkey, mashed potatoes and mac and cheese.  They have to be made together.   It was fabulous.  I stuffed the bird with apples and onions.  It will be lunch meat for the next two weeks and I will get three more meals out of this bird this week.  I have no idea how big it was, maybe 15ish pounds.

Once I finish cleaning and picking the bird, I will put carrots, onions, celery, water and the bones into the crock pot. I cook this down for at least 24 hours, adding more water if needed.  I can or freeze the turkey stock when it is done, I get about 4 quarts.

Monday: Turkey sandwiches, chips or turkey on salad.  I cooked all day yesterday.  Today I am keeping it easy.

Tuesday:  Tacos.  When we make tacos we cook dry beans in the InstaPot.  Rice in the rice cooker, saute onion and hot peppers and cut up lettuce and tomatoes.  We also fry our own corn chips.  It makes the night extra special. This is also a night the kids cook and clean up.

Wednesday:  Pork Loin in the InstaPot, roasted acorn squash and Brussels sprouts. The pork loin is a complete cheat.  This I got on sale, it is not from our farm!  Gasp!  However, it is an easy night. The loin is fully seasoned and it goes in the InstaPot for 15 mins.  I cut up the acorn squash in slices and half the sprouts.  Roast 350 for about 10-15 mins. The squash depends on how thick I cut it. Easy prepare and easy clean up.

Thursday: Turkey enchiladas.  I take more of the leftover turkey from Sunday, cut it up really small and mix it diced onions, bean, shredded cheese and a little salsa.  Wrap in a gluten free wrap and lay the wraps into a baking dish.  Cover the wraps with a spicy white sauce and salsa.  Bake 350 for about 25-30 mins. Serve over rice or quinoa.

Friday:  My daughter is cooking, it is going to be a surprise she said.  Wants to make up a complete menu and present it to me tomorrow.  It will have beef on it, that is the only hint I was given.

Saturday:  Turkey drop biscuits soup with sweet potato gravy.  This is like chicken and dumplings or chicken pot pie but with whatever veggies I have around, and the left over pieces of turkey.  I will cook a sweet potato in the InstaPot to make a nice thick gravy that has that something special.

This week I will bake something with apples in it for breakfast or a treat after dinner.  I have a feeling the kids are just going to want the baked apples, like the filling of an apple pie with no crust.  It goes great on yogurt with almonds for breakfast!

 

 

 

Menu Plan April 19-25

Back to the menu planning!  Right now the whole world is cooking at home and working with what they have in the freezer or pantry.  The same thing happens on the farm, our freezer and pantry just look different.  We have a cold cellar in the basement.  This allows us to store all of our food from the garden for winter.  We also raise our meat and have 6 months to a year of meat in the freezer.  For our pantry items that we can not raise ourselves, we buy in bulk.   Sometimes buying in bulk means buying a month or two worth of a food at Aldi. There are some items where it is cheaper to buy the smaller packages at Aldi, than it is to buy at BJ’s or other bulk supplier.  I also shop at Aldi for our processed foods, I love chips. I am a salty food lover.  So we do have some processed foods in the house.  I would say we raise about 60-70% of what we eat.  I would love to see it higher, but I need a cheese curl every once and a while!  What can I say I’m human.  The kids also prefer store ketchup.

Something you can do for your family right now is to menu plan.  Keep it simple.  Below is our menu plan for the week.

Sunday:  Chili, cornbread and kale salad. It is still cold outside, so it is still “Soup Sunday”.  My husband will be making chili in the crock  pot.  We have whole frozen tomatoes in the freezer from last years garden, homemade tomato paste, chopped onions, frozen celery, and dried beans from the cellar.  He will also add ground beef. Corn bread goes great with chili and corn meal is a pantry staple for us.  He likes the Pioneer Woman’s corn bread recipe. It is low sugar.  Kale is fresh from the garden, so I will make a salad out of any veggies we have in the crisper.

Monday: Chinese Chicken, stir-fried cabbage and quinoa. The chicken is a mock recipe from PF Chang’s spicy chicken.  Start the quinoa in the pressure cooker, rice cooker or on stove top. Cut chicken breast or thigh off the bone, toss in corn starch, cook in a tbsp of oil or lard. When the chicken is cooked, add 1/4 onion.  Once chicken and onions are done add 1 cup chicken stock.  We use frozen chicken stock cubes. The sauce is 1 minced garlic clove, 1 tsp sesame oil, 1 tsp rice vinegar, 1 tbsp honey, dash red pepper flakes.  Add this to the pan and let thicken.  Add water if it is too thick.  In another pan cook 1/2 cabbage chopped with red onion, and carrots.  I add about 1 tbsp of soy sauce or aminos.  Cook till cabbage is al dente.

Tuesday: Tacos.  Every Tuesday is Taco Tuesday.  This is a day when one of the kids cook.  Then after dinner they fight of who has to do the dishes and who cooked most of the food. I go out and milk the goats!

Wednesday: Asparagus, in a butter garlic white sauce over pasta.  I just make the pasta al dente. Roast the Asparagus in the oven 350 for 10 mins or so with olive oil.  On the stove I melt a tablespoon of butter, minced garlic clove, table spoon of flour, a cup of milk and a cup or so of stock.  When the sauce thickens I add it to the pasta, slice the asparagus in bite size pieces and mix everything together.   Might serve a side salad if we have lettuce left after tacos.

Thursday: My daughter’s day to cook.  She has not decided on a menu yet, she likes to plan all week.  Right now she is thinking popcorn chicken bites with broccoli or green beans with baked potatoes.

Friday:  Hamburgers and sweet potato fries. I make gluten free hamburger buns, they are quick and taste great.  Bake sweet potatoes in the instapot, then fry in the fryer.  They are out of this world!

Satuday:  Calzones.  A simple no yeast pizza crust, add whatever left over meat from burgers, tacos onions, pepperoni, homemade sauce and homemade mozzarella.

Every week I try to bake a breakfast item. This week the item will have pumpkin in it.  I am thinking pumpkin oatmeal muffins.   I have not figured it out yet.  We freeze our extra pumpkin, ripe bananas, shredded carrots, shredded zucchini and berries. I use these to bake and it is cheaper than cereal.

Also we make a batch of goat’s milk yogurt for the week.  This is a great snack item or breakfast item.  There is a blog post on how to make yogurt https://shadesoflavender.wordpress.com/?s=yogurt

Let me know what your favorite go-to meals are!  Enjoy!

 

 

Baby Goat and Garden

This has been a busy week.  Spring is coming in with a long to-do list.  With the added stress and to-do of working from home, educating the kids and other COVID-19 stresses the farm is a source of stress relief.  We have been taking advantage of nice days and working inside early in the morning or when it is raining, in addition to having a modified “Spring Break”.  Many friends have asked, “what’s going on down on the farm?” I think this has just been a conversation starter to talk about anything other than the virus, but I promised to do a blog post with pictures of what we have been up to.

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I’ll start with the cutest thing first!  This is Captain Crunch, Crunchy for short. He is the baby boy born to Cherrio today!  He is super cute!  He arrived right on is due date.  My husband when back to check on Cherrio this afternoon and there he was, not a peep out of Mom.  The baby was all dried off and happy as could be.  Mom did a great job taking care of him.  We have about 9 more babies coming this week.  This is based off the ultrasounds at the end of January.  God willing, we will be posting a lot of baby goat pictures this week.  This also means there will be new babies for sale on our Sale page!

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In other goat news, we have a new milker on the stand.  We sold her kid so she is ready to join the milking ranks.  She did not think this was a good idea.  She does not want to be milked so she just sits down.  We have to train her with positive reinforcement that the stand and milking is a good thing.  It normally takes a week and lots of patience.   A stressful process for us all.

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Inside the high tunnel things are growing well.  We still have another week or so before harvest, but the kale and radishes will be right on time.  There is a hard frost warning for Friday night, so we will be waiting till Saturday to transplant tomatoes and peppers.  The average daytime temp in the high tunnel without the sides open is about 120 degrees.  With the sides up it drops down into the 80’s.  At night the low is about 40’s.  That is a huge temperature swing, we are looking forward to some warmer nights soon.

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Outside, we are shaping garden beds, mulching isles and laying down row covers when they are needed.  The garlic bed is at the bottom of the picture, all the logs and wood around it is holding down the wire we have to use to keep the chickens out.  Chickens are a huge frustration when we start moving dirt around in the garden, they are overly helpful.  We spent a whole day this week, re-fencing the chicken yard with 6 foot chain link.  This is in hopes to keep them out of the garden while we prep the beds and plant the crops. We are keeping our fingers crossed.  Until we know for sure we can keep them in, I will keep my garlic covered!

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When I am not working on the farm, cooking, teaching my kids, teaching for school or cleaning the house, I am making masks.  The Governor issued an order that everyone must wear a cloth mask when they go out in public.  This is like a step above “cover your cough”.  Other teachers at school have helped me gather supplies and now it is time to cut and sew.  I’m happy to be able to contribute to my community and help maybe slow down this virus.  The link to the pattern I am using is below.

https://tianascloset.com/index.php/2020/02/06/face-mask-against-the-coronavirus-epidemic/

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Lastly, I will leave you with this strange photo.  Can you figure out what we were doing in the kitchen this week?  We roasted the peanuts from last years garden.  I know we should have done it a long time ago, I normally roast them before Christmas, but I just never got the chance.  They still turned out great!  Growing peanuts is one of our favorite things.  There is nothing like the taste of a home grown peanut.  We all look forward to the day we can grow enough to make peanut butter.  Until then, we eat them plain, on yogurt, and in ice cream.  We roasted these in honor of all the baseball games we are missing.  It seems weird to be working on the garden without the soundtrack of baseball in the background.

So many things right now seem different.  We are trying to cherish the blessings, like the time together and online concerts.  We are praying for hospital employees and the sick.  Life is uncertain and seems like it is out of control, but we will hold tight to the truth that God is in Control.  We pray God’s will be done in our lives and that he guides us to be His hands and feet.  I hope you all have a great week.  Thank you for catching up with us.

Seed Starting

I hope that everyone has had a chance to order some seeds, grab some at a local store or save some from the food in the fridge.

I have been doing all of the above.  We placed an order for seeds last week from Southern Seed Savers Exchange and the seeds came this week.  Orders are still going out and they appreciate your business and patience.

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These are onions, celery, romaine and ice burg lettuce bottoms.   All of them will regrow.  Eventually, you can plant them or you can just continue to harvest them from your kitchen window. In this picture below, you can see the celery we have transplanted from the bottom of celery that we bought at the store. We also planted lettuce in this glass aquarium for the winter.  It stays warm, we can harvest when we need it and it reminds me of warmer weather.

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Okay now, back to starting seeds.  March and April is the time to start tomatoes, herbs, peppers, cabbage, lettuce, kale, etc.  All of these seeds need to be started inside.  We use our master bathroom.  It gets great sun all day, it is warm and we do not forget to water them.  When we put the seedlings in the basement I always forgot to water them.  In the bathroom they are a part of my everyday life.

You can start your seeds in seed starting mix or you can start them in just dirt from outside.  We have done both.  The seed starting mix is better, we use something called Jiffy Plugs.  However, in a time when we are all asked to stay home, just use the dirt from your yard. Bring it in and allow it to warm up before planting for better germination. Empty yogurt cups, and old egg cartons make great containers to start seeds in. You will want to poke a hole in the bottom of the yogurt cup before putting dirt in it so the extra water can drain out.   Place your dirt filled yogurt cups or egg cartons on an old cookie sheet with a little bit of a side to help you control the dirt and the water.  Place a couple seeds in each cup, find a sunny window, water well and you are off to the races.

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The most important thing with all of this is to try!  I always remind people the first year we planted a garden we had nothing that we planted grow.  God was generous and some of the seeds from our compost grew, but none of the seeds I planted grew. There is no time like the present to take control of some of your food supply.  Look at what is happening in the world today, things will get worse before they get better. Now is the time to learn!

 

Don’t be hard on yourself

I don’t know about you, but I am always so hard on myself.  No matter what I do or how long I work, there is always more to be done.  There are goals I have not met and food I have not preserved and floors I have not cleaned and games I have not played with the kids.  I beat myself up.  I collapse into bed at night and promise myself that tomorrow I am going to work harder and get more done.   Well, this morning I was slapped in the face with a piece of bacon, and it woke me up!

This morning alone, I have chicken stock cooking in the crock pot, from a chicken that we raised, with veggies that we grew. I have cured bacon for dinner and extra for breakfast, I took out ground pork to make sausage tonight, all from our pig raised on our land. I cheated for breakfast and had store bought greek yogurt, but I added home made strawberry sauce.  Made a cup of coffee and added goats milk that I got out of the goat yesterday and pasteurized last night.  Do you know that I had the audacity to be upset with myself because I did not make the yogurt from scratch and I added store bought sugar to my coffee instead of honey raised on the farm.

As homesteaders, we put so many expectations on ourselves.  And I feel like I can say “we” because I have talked to many others that feel the same way.  We feel like we have to do it all.  Bake the bread, raise the animals, grow the veggies, hand make all our clothes and gifts, clean the house, homeschool our kids…. the list goes on and on.  Why do we not take a step back and be proud of what we do and stop criticizing ourselves for what we don’t?

There is just not an easy answer to that question, I believe most people, no matter their profession, are hard on themselves.  Homesteaders especially, it is not like we can call ourselves lazy, we raise most of our own food!  Something inside of us strives to do more and to be better!  What is the answer?

Right now, I am going to take a step back and be proud of what we have been able to do!  I am proud of the fact that we raise almost all of our own meat.  I am proud of the garden and the food that comes out of it.  I am proud of these sore hands and back.  Yes, I want to do more.  But today I am going to be proud of what I have done, and not feel guilty about buying bagels for breakfast tomorrow, instead of making them from scratch. Take time today to be proud of yourself.  You are an amazing person,  no matter what you do, you do not have to always be perfect.  Hold on to your drive and let that motivate you, but don’t put yourself down.  Feeling good in what you have done is not a sign of weakness, but one of strength. Have a great day!

 

Lyme Disease

I know that this is not homesteading or home making related but it is something that is effecting my family greatly right now and I wanted to share it with you.  I am still struggling with my Lyme Disease.  Earlier in November the same bulls eye rash that I had on my leg a year and a half ago came back.  It was in almost the same spot and it looked just like it did before.  I am lucky enough to have a Lyme Disease Specialist and he started me on another round of antibiotics.  Today I took my last pill and to be completely honest with you I do not feel any better.  I wrote a journal of the last couple of weeks and I wanted to share it with you, just in case one of you is struggling with Lyme Disease and needed to know you were not alone.
Lyme Disease Journal
11/14/14 Friday
This is my second full day on the antibiotics.  The last two nights I have slept at least 8 hours and I wake up still wanting to sleep some more.  I have even wanted to take a nap in the afternoon.  On Wednesday I fell asleep on the couch at 730.   My body is obviously fighting something.  The other major thing that I have noticed is my hands feel stiff and weak.  I am not able to open lids, write for a long time or type.  I have also been dropping things when I am doing dishes or folding laundry.  My legs are also stiff and weaker and I notice it when I am walking up the stairs.  My headaches are mild, but present.  I am able to function and have been drinking close to a gallon of water.  I have not been taking any Tylenol.  The mark on my leg is still there, but not as bright. I have tried to take pictures but it is not bright enough to show up with my phone camera.  I can still see the halo and the skin is wrinkled or scar like in that area. 
11/18/14
The rash is completely gone.  Now my symptoms are starting to get much much worse.  Typing is painful.   My hands and joints hurt.  I have weakness all over and it is even hard for me to write.  It even hurts for someone to touch me.  The kids want to sit on my lap and it is just too painful.  I had a low grade fever last night of 99.9.  The medication has taken away my appetite and I really only eat when I have to take the medication.  My stomach does not feel that great, almost like a sea sickness.  Today I am going to take some Tylenol to try and help the pain, especially in my hands. 

11/23/14
The medication is really bothering my stomach.  I started eating two bowls of yogurt a day when I take my medication, as well as, taking an additional probiotic. This has really helped and I think I am going to continue to do this as long as I am on the medication.

11/27/14
Yesterday I baked pies all day for Thanksgiving,  I peeled, sliced, mixed and rolled out pies.  My hands are so sore!  I was able to take Tylenol to help me get through the day, but today was really bad.  The tylenol did not help at all.  I am very tired and have to sit down more than normal.  I am glad my family helped me cook some of the meal.
11/30/14
I crocheted my daughter slippers for her birthday.  My hands are so frustrating.  Crocheting hurts.  This project normally would have taken me a couple of hours took me 2 weeks.  I had to stop and start every couple of rows. 
12/2/14
My greatest challenge is still having no energy and my hands hurt.  Even typing has become something that is uncomfortable.  My right hand seems to be much worse than my left.  I wonder if that is because I use it so much more.  Secondly, I just have no motivation or energy.  I have to force my self to get up and get moving and I can fall asleep sitting at a table.  Today I took my last medication.  I was hoping that I would being feeling better, but honestly there are days it feels worse. 

Seed testing

I know Christmas just finished but I have spring on my mind.  I am so excited to get the garden growing this year.  We had quit a few packets of seeds from 2010 that I wanted to check and see if they were any good.  I hate to just throw them away when I can turn them into food.  I put about ten of each type of seed on a wet paper towel in a ziplock bag.  Each bag is labeled and I set them on the table inside the “growhouse” Ryan just built for me.  The “growhouse” is a small part of the basement that we sectioned off with shower curtains.  Inside the shower curtains we put two tables that make up a space that is 6 foot by 4 foot.  We suspended two 4 foot fluorescent light fixtures above the tables and a heat lamp.

This “growhouse” is also where I plan to start my seeds in a couple of weeks.  I don’t know how I already feel behind, I guess the warm weather is tricking me into thinking that spring is coming soon.  I will let you know how my seed testings turns out.

 

Update: 1/10/12- So the seeds that I tested turned out to be no good.  One two seeds sprouted out of all the seeds that I put in bags.  I am glad that I decided to test the seeds before planting them.  This is heart breaking but not as heart breaking as planting them and having nothing come up.

The yogurt cups that you see in the picture have onion seeds in them.  Three of them have just started to sprout.  I am so glad I am starting early.  I would rather have big onions then no onions at all.

Seed testing in the new temporary grow area.