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A Beautiful Life!

This life of ours is one that I am so grateful for. It is not luxurious or extravagant but it is oh so rich. When the children all have full bellies and school bags are packed, off they go on the bus. Then comes my favourite time of day! There is nothing more peaceful than heading out to the barn. Milk pail in one hand and wash bucket in the other. Chickens are peeping and scratching in the dirt as I walk by them. Our dog comes along, up she climbs to her favourite spot high up in the hay. She is now ready to watch over the world.


Now it's time to scoop out the grain and whisper So'leena... Yes a whisper is all it takes for that pretty lady to come running across the field to shower you with her love. She is happy to come in and get all washed up for milking time, have some of that sweet grain and give you all the milk she has got.

                                                    

Next the other cows get their new hay and fresh water. Of course non of this happens before they all come for a scratch here and a rub there. A little loving is all they need to ensure they will have a good day. The chickens give up there beautiful brown and blue eggs and the cats need to curl up beside me for a few minutes while I enjoy a cup of herbal tea. This is a beautiful life. It is peaceful and wholesome, never boring and always unpredictable! Just as you think you have your day planned something will always change! Sometimes there is a cow in the front yard, the dog may have brought home a treasure and left it on the front step. There have been times someone has been so kind to leave little puppies under our car. A neighbouring farmer will stop to chat just to check in, one time he even showed up with a 6 hour old calf for us. Or a special friend will call and ask me to come for tea.


No matter what my day is filled with, it is a wonderful life. There are always challenges, there is always something that needs attention right now and that is always when there is no time to spare. There are certain parts of my day that really don't change much but those are the things that make me smile. A phone call from my husband while he is at work just to ask, " so what's on the agenda for today"? A hug and kiss to greet me as soon as he walks in the door. The kids getting home from school and all 4 of them have tales to tell. Dinner time, eating wholesome food that we have grown ourselves and sharing conversations that the kids will always remember. The evening chores getting done, kids getting tucked into bed and time to relax with my man before the so called routine starts again in the morning.



There is something very special about knowing that I am able to be home and provide for my family at the same time. We strive to be as self sufficient as possible. It is difficult for families to be able to make time for it all when both people have to work full time. There was a time when my husband worked 40 hours a week and I owned and operated 3 retail stores. We did it because we had to, after all how else do you make ends meet? Some major events took place and I decided it was time for change.

After I was trampled by one of my own horses and air lifted by helicopter to the hospital I was left with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. 2 weeks later our house was hit by lightening and ten minutes after that, our son who was at a soccer game 15 kms away was struck by lightening and taken by ambulance to CHEO. I was 4 hours away at a conference I was hosting for my stores while that happened. Needless to say it was the quickest drive home I ever had. It was also the quickest decision I had ever made. That's it, I was coming home, debt and all, it would work out!

What do you with your days? What is part of your beautiful life? We need to share and inspire one another as no one can go it alone.







Soap Nuts - Free Give Away

 

There are not many laundry soaps out there that can claim the status of having a 100% certified organic laundry detergent. We can make that claim because this laundry detergent grows on trees. USDA & ECOCERT agree that this is an organic laundry detergent and allow us to put their stamp of approval on our products.
A combination of different chemical substances to clean our clothes is what we call laundry detergent. When mixed with water this detergent creates lather and the chemicals penetrate deep inside the clothes to clean the dirt and the harmful microbes present in them. But studies show that long term usage of these detergents can lead to skin troubles, not to mention about the water pollution which disturbs the balance of the aquatic life!

A question arises, is there something to make the earth greener and pollution free? Yes, there is. Most of us are unaware of a natural substance which can substitute this laundry detergent and is 100% natural. The substance is known as Soap Nuts which are a fruit of the Sapindus Mukorossi tree. Native to Nepal, India and some other South Asian countries, this tree requires a warm and tropical environment to grow. The harvesting process of soap nuts is completely natural and does not call for any toxin or chemical involvement.
Soap Nuts consists of a solid and hard outer shell and a small pit inside it. This outer shell is used for making cleaning products. After the fruit ripens, it falls to the ground. It is then harvested and dried in the sun. Saponins, a natural substance, are present in the Soap Nuts. When the Soap Nuts are soaked in water, the Saponins are released. This helps the water penetrate the fabric and clean it. Soap nuts are a good replacement of commercial detergents due to the fact that they have a natural anti-microbial property which kills harmful microbes present in dirt. Soap Nuts do not contain any added dyes or chemicals. They are low sudsing, but are capable of cleaning clothes as effectively as commercial laundry detergents without side effects of skin irritation from chemicals.

Organic and chemical free, Soap Nuts can actually help us to take a step ahead in a greener and more natural world. Soap Nuts do not disrespect technology but rather attempt to save the world from a chemical overload. Using soap nuts as a natural laundry detergent is a tribute to nature and the solutions it gives us.

Soap Nuts as a Natural Organic Laundry Detergent to Wash Your Clothes:


No matter how much care you take in washing your clothes and personal items, you will often see your garments fade in color and fall apart much before you expect them to. They are still young and new but something is taking away life from them. You go to the store you bought them from and complain of bad quality, you curse your washing machine but the real culprit is hidden safely in your house. The harmful synthetic detergents and fabric softeners are the actual cause behind the loss of shine from your clothes.

They take away the softness, the color and reduce the life of your garments. And while all this is happening, you are unaware and keep using the detergent again and again. The deadly ingredients in these detergents are not just harmful for your clothing but also act harshly on your skin. That mysterious rash, allergy, itch, pimple or even sinus problems can well be a result of your sensitive skin coming in contact with some harmful chemical that you are literally wearing on your sleeve.

This is the time to look for alternatives and increase the life of your precious clothes. This is where natural laundry detergents come in the picture. Yes they are natural, easy to find, and soft on your clothes as well as your skin. They protect your clothes and give them the gentle treatment that they deserve which any of the synthetic detergents are unable to provide. By choosing natural detergents you will not just protect your clothes, but you will also be lending a hand in protecting the environment. These environment friendly detergents are increasingly becoming the favorite of people the world over.

Another advantage is their ability of protecting your skin. While washing clothes you are directly exposing yourself to chemicals that are harsh and harmful in a number of ways. Natural laundry detergents are great for your skin as they will not harm it in any way.

Due to the increasing demand of these natural products companies are looking to tap this market and coming up with new products. You will find bio-degradable detergents, detergents containing the extracts of eucalyptus, enzymes and many other ingredients naturally available. You will also find these detergents in various smells like lavender and rose. However you may want to double check to see if what you are buying is actually “natural” or just a synthetic product in the guise of a natural one.

Another natural detergent that has given new meaning to washing your clothes safely is the “Soap nut”. Soap nuts are a revolutionary and interesting natural detergent and the best part is they grow literally on trees. A soap nut tree to be precise. In the Asian countries of India and Indonesia they have been used for centuries with great results. They are good for both your clothes and you and are a gift of nature. They grow on a tree called sapindus mukorrosi or the Chinese Soapberry Tree. Their outer shell is dried and can be used as soap by combining 2-3 of these nuts in a small bag.

Imagine buying something that has no harsh chemicals in it. Something that was made in a 100% natural way and gives you no anxiety or fear of disease. Along with all this something that comes from the bounty of the nature and helps us restore and preserve. When you buy soap nuts you are giving back to the environment by not polluting it via synthetic detergents. So go green, go natural and go the soap nuts way.

Soap nuts are tiny berries or fruits of the soap nut tree, which is commonly found in places like Nepal and India. A native plant of the tropical regions, the soap nut tree bears fruits containing one to three seeds. While the seeds are crushed and used to make detergents for washing clothes, the soap nut is also famous as a medicinal ingredient. In fact, soap nuts have had a long and successful track record for treating several skin conditions effectively. Totally natural and gentle, these soap nuts are wonderful for the skin and don’t cause any side effects.


Soap Nuts & Eczema

Soap nuts are well known to help relieve skin of problems like eczema and psoriasis. Many a time, people try complicated and expensive treatments with little results. Soap nuts on the other hand, are inexpensive and free of chemicals. A lot of people are extremely sensitive to the mildest of skin detergents and products. With soap nuts, you do not have to worry about that.

Soap Nuts for Dry Skin

Itchy and dry skin is common with mild cases of eczema. But with increasing severity, the skin becomes totally dry, lifeless and may break or bleed. People suffering from eczema are advised to stay away from regular soaps and cleansers that might irritate the skin. Soap nuts have a gentle cleansing effect. Soap nuts contain a substance called saponins, and these saponins are the reason behind the antimicrobial action of soap nuts. While bathing, try using soap nuts instead of regular soaps and see what effect it has on your skin. Soap nuts are also odorless when washed away, which eliminates further possibility of allergies to fragrances.

Scaly Skin & Soap Nuts

If you suffer from scaly red patches on your skin, it might be a case of psoriasis. In extreme cases, the entire body might be covered with patches. But even with psoriasis, soap nuts are equally effective. The mild cleansers are safe to use for babies and adults alike. Soap nuts soothe the irritated skin cells and reduce the discomfort. Soap nuts are also good as shampoos. A few spoonfuls of soap nut liquid can be used everyday to clean the body.

Soap Nuts are also used to make your own Tooth Paste, Shampoo, Soap, Liquid Laundry Detergent and Dishwasher liquid. We use the liquid Laundry detergent made from the soap nuts as we wash in only cold water and this method cleans best in cold water. Our clothes are as clean as ever and a little goes a long way. With a front load washing machine we are using only 3 tablespoons of liquid laundry detergent per load.

If you would like us to mail you a trial of FREE soap nuts all you need to do is become a follower of our blog and leave a comment here. If anyone is interested just ask and we will post all of the other recipes as well. Deadline is December 2 2011.


                                                










Why Raw Milk?

There has been lots of hype lately regarding illegal "Raw Milk" sales. Why would a person choose to drink Raw Milk? Whats the big deal, why not just buy the watered down, over heated falsely advertised vitamin enriched white stuff at your local grocery store?

Well for us it's simple! It returning to old paths that have been carved out by generations of the past. A whole food diet that nourishes our mind and body. It is knowing where our food comes from, how it was raised and what is in it. There is noting more wholesome than a glass of organic milk from grass fed cows. It could be from your cows or a local farmers. We all have the right to make that choice.

When milk is pasteurized everything in it is destroyed, both good and bad. Commercial milk is advertised as being fortified with vitamins and there for as good as raw milk! Well that is an interesting thing. Milk can not be sold as pasteurized if it has anything added to it after it has been pasteurized, so the vitamins and all that special "good stuff" is added to the milk before pasteurization! Government inspection is carried out to ensure your milk has had the vitamins added! That's good right? Well they are testing the level of vitamin ash content left in the milk after all of those vitamins have been destroyed by the pasteurization!

When our Government claims drinking Raw Milk is a "Food Safety" issue I have to laugh. When I read articles like this -
Cantaloupes contaminated with listeria have triggered the deadliest outbreak of food-borne illness in the U.S. in 10 years, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reported on Tuesday.

So far, 72 people in 18 states have become ill after eating the tainted fruit, reporting fever, muscle aches and diarrhea. Thirteen people have died from the infection, but that number could rise with forthcoming test results by state health departments. Full article here http://healthland.time.com/2011/09/28/listeria-laced-cantaloupe-6-things-you-need-to-know/

or this

Canada has confirmed its first illness related to the outbreak of E. coli involving spinach grown in the U.S. A 43-year-old woman in Renfrew County, Ont., became ill in early September and had to be hospitalized, the province's Health Ministry said Monday. She has since been released. Health officials said she had a strain of E. coli that is an exact genetic match to the strain that has killed one American and caused 173 to become sick. It has yet to be determined exactly where the woman purchased the contaminated spinach, but officials say it was in Canada.
Full artical here http://www.cbc.ca/news/story/2006/09/25/contaminated-spinach.html

The list goes on and on. What about all of the contaminated chicken? It is sad when the Canadian Food Inspection Agency has to have a web site to list all of the food recalls here:
http://www.inspection.gc.ca/english/corpaffr/recarapp/recaltoce.shtml

If you do nothing else take a look at that page. Clearly our government can not manage our food safety. Everything from Glass Mragments, Listeria Monocytogenes, Salmonella Bacteria, Paralytic Shellfish Toxin, Pieces of Metal, Dangerous Bacteria, Improperly Declared Peanuts, Undeclared Fish/Shrimp and Sesame and Undeclared Milk. These are only the items from November and October 2011. Salmonella in Coriander powder, Pieces of Metal in ground beef ??? Do you feel safe?

I have a little saying that I try my best to abide by. If you can't grow it or make it don't eat it! This may sound impossible to some, and I will be the first to admit we have days this is not 100% possible but 90% of the time we do it. Yes it takes time and planing. But no more time than it takes to, make a grocery list, get in the car drive to the grocery store, fill up your cart, stand in line at the check out, pack the groceries in your car, drive home, unpack them from the car, put the groceries away and then decide what to eat! Now to me that is exhausting and expensive, both in time and money. I could have all my baked goods prepared for a week within that time frame.

I can see people saying well then how am I going to get even those whole foods you are talking about if I don't do all of that? Well there are many options a few easy ones might be, purchase bulk dry goods such as rolled oats and flour in bulk at a health food store. Keep your pantry full! Have everything you need to bake on hand. Join a local food buying co-op (we offer this option). Plant a garden. Can extra produce, dehydrate or freeze. Purchase your organic meat each season to have on hand. Join a CSA if you do not wish to garden. Visit your local Farmers market. Just stay away from the grocery store where you are sure to be surrounded by processed foods.

Almost everyone that reads this post will have some sort of Doctor, a Lawyer, a Banker, Insurance Broker, Real Estate Agent and so on. Why is it then that most people do not have a Farmer? We all need someone to provide us with Clean, Organic Food. Food we can trust to feed ourselves and our families.

If you need help finding a local Farmer in your area just ask here and I will get you connected with some Local Farms.

What do you do now to ensure your food safety? What can we do to help you on your journey?

Fall Farming

Many people have been asking us, "So what do you do now with all your spare time?" They are thinking that the garden is done so the work must be done as well! I can understand that as so much of what we do is the produce portion of our CSA. With that being said there is never a lack of projects that need to be completed. We are often looking forward to this time of year so that we can get some things done that we can't get done when it is so busy. Yesterday I was out working in the fields and I was thinking about how much the scenery had changed, not so long ago everything was lush and green. It is just as beautiful, it's just different. I took a few photos to share with you. This is how things look around here in fall/winter!






Here we have the winters worth of parsnips left in the garden and covered with hay. They will stay here all winter and as I need them I simply remove the hay and dig them up fresh and crisp. They will be oh so sweet, as with the frost their starches turn to sugar. Our carrots have been dug and placed in trenches in the green house. Tops were removed and now they will keep fresh until needed. Also in the green house you will notice we have a beautiful supply of Kale, Swiss Chard and Lettuce. These are all cold weather crops so they do well. We will continue to harvest crops well into January or February. I do keep them covered with a heavy frost blanket for added protection.



As you can see the pastures are pretty bare. They cows are now enjoying this years hay harvest and are enjoying it very much. Being Dexters they are very hearty. They will stay outside all winter, we do have a run in that they can use but more often than not they don't bother with it. The herb garden is looking pretty sleepy, although I am still able to gather fresh sage and different mints. The last photo is a little guy that was brought to us by a neighbouring farmer when he was 6 hours old! His mom wouldn't take care of him. He came to us and was raised for 3 months on Dexter milk. Now he is weaned off the bottle and is out with the other little boys. This guy is a Black Angus and will be much larger than our Dexters. He is now healthy, happy and spoiled just like all the others!

This is also the time of year that all our or freezers become full to the brim with fresh grass fed meats. I collected 1500lbs of pork and beef from our butcher this week. We pasture raise all of our animals. Our beef is strictly grass fed and is the healthiest meat a person can eat. The benefits of grass fed meat are tremendous. For all of the health benefits of grass fed  and pasture raised meat just take a look at the article Health Benefits of Grass Fed Products at the top of our Blog. We have a selection of chicken, beef and pork cuts. But we also have our own Nitrate Free bacon, ham, wieners, farmers sausage, bratwurst sausage, chorizo sausage and breakfast sausage. There is nothing like going to my freezer and knowing that not only is the food I am feeding my family safe but it is also the Healthiest option available.

Things are Changing

Up until this point we have run our CSA as a seasonal one, from June through October. This past season we served 30 local families and feel very lucky to have been able to do so. Their veggie baskets were delivered to their doors each Friday. We are always looking for ways to improve! But not just improve in terms of customer satisfaction, although clearly that is of utmost importance. We strive to improve family relationships, self sufficiency, in maintaining a simple life, in following what we believe, in personal growth and so on. In running a 30 member CSA it means working 40-60 hour weeks from April trough October. It also means employing our two oldest children in the garden. It means that we are literally tied to the farm with out having the ability to enjoy other daily activities. This upcoming year our CSA will drastically change as will the posts on this blog.


We will now offer a Full Diet Year Round CSA to a handful of members. We will host several workshops for our members to help them with some self sufficiency skills. Some of those will include bread making, canning and preserving, dehydration, wild crafting, herbal teas and remedies. There are several others we are also considering such as soap making and designing planters as well as wreaths. We encourage our members to come out to the farm and participate in the daily happenings. We want our members to feel like they are part of the farm and have a connection with where their food is coming from. The families that join us will be welcome to take what they need from the garden. Anything they can make use of with in the week can be picked. We will encourage them to take extra and put them up for wither use just as we do. We will not be delivering door to door any longer as in order to keep up with all that needs to be done we need to be on the farm. We will however have a Farm Gate Stand open Friday and Saturday for anyone wishing to come by and purchase organic produce. In addition to our Full Diet CSA we will host a buying club program with Mountain Path Organic and Natural Foods and possibly ONFC (Ontario Natural Food Co-Op).

Up to this point the main focus on our blog has been a seasonal one in that it offers members a place to find recipes for some of the produce they find in their baskets each week. We would like to be able to share topics that we feel very strongly about. We would like to offer resources for you to look into these things and come up with your own conclusions. Food Safety is a very scary thing today. For my family, the only way I can be confident they are safe is by raising our own food. That means raising organic food, not using anything containing GMO`s and pasture raising our animals in their natural environment. You will notice that our other pages will slowly change. We will offer you links and recipes that we use in hopes that you to will love them as much as we do.

We value your input. Please let us know what topics interest you. Tell us what would you like to know more about. Share with us what you do. Let`s learn from one another.

Cheap Meat: An Accident Waiting to Happen

By Jo Robinson

The latest fiasco in the U.S. livestock industry is that thousands of hogs and chickens have been raised on feed contaminated with melamine, the same chemical that has sickened thousands of cats and dogs. According to the U.S.D.A., some meat from those hogs and chickens has already entered our food supply.

How did this happen? The story begins in China. Melamine is an inexpensive by-product of the coal industry. In a deceptive practice, some Chinese producers have been adding melamine to rice, wheat, and soy meal to make the products appear to contain more protein. (Melamine is not a protein and has no food value, but it is rich in nitrogen and mimics protein on standardized laboratory tests.) Melamine costs less than true sources of protein, so the manufacturer makes more money.

The story continues in the United States. In order to lower the cost of pet food production, U.S. companies have been importing cheap protein meal from China. The pet food manufacturers had no way of knowing that some of these products were spiked with melamine. The exact number of dead and sickened pets is unknown.

But how did melamine get fed to our pigs and chickens? A common cost-cutting practice in the livestock industry is to supplement animal feed with floor sweepings and other leftovers from pet food manufacturing plants. In recent months, however, some of the sweepings happened to be laced with melamine. In this serpentine fashion, a cost-cutting adulterant that was added to protein meal in China found its way into U.S. pet food, then U.S. livestock feed, and then the food on our dinner tables.

The F.D.A. and the U.S.D.A. do not foresee any health consequences from eating melamine-spiced pork and poultry. This may prove to be true. The family pets that died ate the melamine itself; we are eating chickens and pigs that ate the melamine, diluting its concentration.

We may have dodged the bullet this time, but as long as we continue to raise our livestock on a least-cost basis, our health is at risk. For example, many cost-cutting practices lower the nutritional value of our meat. Research shows that the nearly universal practice of fattening cattle on straw and grain instead of fresh pasture gives us beef that is higher in total fat and lower in antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids. The practice causes no immediate harm, but our health may suffer over the long term.

Some cost-cutting strategies are deadly. In the 1980s and 90s, feedlot managers tried to save money by feeding cattle scraps back to cattle. The tragic result was mad cow disease. Eating meat contaminated with trace amounts of melamine may cause little or no harm. Eating just one serving of beef from a mad cow can kill you.

Adding more governmental oversight is a stop-gap solution. We need a sea change in the way we raise our livestock. We need to raise the animals on their native diets or on quality ingredients that match their original diets as closely as possible. When we feed wholesome feed to our animals, we can serve wholesome food to our families. We are what our animals eat.
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Jo Robinson is the founder and director of www.eatwild.com, a science-based website that details the benefits of raising animals on pasture. She is also the author of Pasture Perfect, How You Can Benefit from Choosing Meat, Eggs, and Dairy Products from Grass-fed Animals.

Jo Robinson is a New York Times bestselling writer. She is the author or coauthor of 11 nationally published books including Pasture Perfect, which is a comprehensive overview of the benefits of choosing products from pasture-raised animals, and The Omega Diet (with Dr. Artemis Simopoulos) that describes an omega-3 enriched Mediterranean diet that may be the healthiest eating program of all. To order her books or learn more about grassfed products, visit http://eatwild.com.