Is The Fog Finally Lifting?

I can’t say for sure yet and certainly don’t wanna jinx it, but things appear to finally be improving around here.

It’s been over a year since my last post. Last summer, I ran into a Lyme flare-up that led to garden neglect and more general non-functioning. It didn’t get much better through the winter but I kept hanging on, working with the medicine I had (when I could afford it – the on/off of which probably led to my issues).

Spring found me a bit better and we did get the garden started at least. I found a different medicine (have to keep switching it up every so often because Lyme bacteria loves to adapt). Though still expensive, and gross tasting, I was optimistic.

Fast forward to summer, a new flare-up and more garden neglect (thinking the heat may be affecting my illness at this point, as it happens around the same time of the summer – planning to re-do the garden to make next year easier). It’s so overgrown right now, so no pics! I’m hanging in there, planning to harvest what I can and make some medicines for Autumn as I’m able to. If I can manage wild-harvesting jewelweed, goldenrod, more of my garden yarrow, making fire cider, and bringing the kitchen herbs that made it closer to the house for continual harvesting, I’ll call it a win. If I can also make salves and vinegars, get some ferments happening, plant some sprouts, additional kitchen herbs, and salad greens for my porch or windowsill…even better! It’s been a tough year for salad…even the local farmer’s market didn’t have it. I miss a good salad (car broke down so grocery trips are minimal).

I’m excited for Autumn! The medicine seems to be working, though I can’t afford to buy more before it runs out – hopefully it doesn’t set me back any.

We’re still unschooling. My oldest graduated, though we could’ve done it last year, as well as he was doing. My youngest got his portfolio assessed and I re-applied for the coming year (8th grade). Honestly, though, we simply don’t stop learning for summer break in this house. He’s been at it continually, with new goals to tackle this “school year”. When it’s self-directed and (at least mostly) fun, it’s simply not a chore to avoid.

I’ve been working toward goals for the house and garden. When a project runs the budget dry, it’s simply more planning for the next phase. Progress is slower than we’d prefer but still a faster pace than before I started getting just that little bit better. On the spiritual side of things, I have been exploring some new things, re-learning others, and finally felt up to answering the call to revisit tarot (something I enjoyed and was good at in my younger years).

My brother, who has done psychic readings for years, came out of the blue and told me about a new site he’s working through, asking if he should connect me to who hired him. Not sure if I’m comfortable doing readings again yet but it’s something to think about, should my old aptitude re-emerge and I’m up to the energetic toll it can sometimes take to do an intense reading. Lyme can rob you of all of that – I’m out of practice on spellwork, general holiday observance (save for a minimal thing I do), and all that but eager to jump back in.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I’m finally feeling up to working again and not a moment too soon…we could really use the money! Soon, I’ll be adding a portfolio page to this site (until I can justify the cost of moving it to a site of its own, with more going on), to offset the samples I can’t add to my actual work profile (formatting issues and that). Rick, my partner, is making changes to perhaps shift to a job that suits his needs better. That’s been a long time coming and should be way better for his mental health. So me finding some steady work will assist his transition too.

With all that, things finally feel a bit on the uptick. We’ve been suffering and fighting for it so long. Part of me feels like it’s about damn time we see progress and/or results from all our efforts and part of me doesn’t want to count our chickens before they’ve hatched out and shown their fortitude.

So, that’s the update. I know I’m always saying “I hope to post more often in the future”, but I really do mean it. Hopefully, this time, the ‘fog of sick and overwhelmed’ lifts enough to allow me to stick to it properly. This blogsite is largely a ‘get my many interests organized and talked about’ kind of diary project for me, with plans on turning it into something more meaningful for the community at large…but, that said, I’m grateful for every view and comment it gets. Every bit of genuine interaction it generates. Every bit of community it inspires. Thank you for the time you spend here. You are appreciated and I hope you have a wonderful day!

Spring Catch-up

Just when I think I’ve gotten a handle on things around here, something throws me for a loop and I fall behind again.

It’s been months since my last post. Often, it’s due to my seeming inability to balance my health issues with the times I feel well enough to play catch up. Here, I’ll try (yet again) to mash together a catch-up post I can follow with more regular and focused posts. Please bear with me. 🙂

Health Re-claimed

Last summer, I finally found out why I was sick – Lyme disease. Looking up natural treatments, I realized the invasive plant growing behind my barn was just what I needed. Oddly enough, it sprang up about the time my symptoms got worse, a few years ago. This was before the studies came out about its effectiveness for Lyme. Gotta love Nature!

I took the antibiotics my doc gave me and followed them with an herbal treatment I bought. It works surprisingly well and has been helping me re-gain my life. However, it’s expensive, so when I’m out, my symptoms creep back in before I can re-up. I am going to have become an affiliate for the company, because I love their products. I can help others discover them and any purchases would help offset the cost of my own medicine.

To harvest my wild knotweed, I had to wait till early spring. My tincture is extracting and should be ready soon. I also kept some roots to dry for use as tea. It won’t be a complete replacement for the purchased treatment (which has other effective herbs in it, too costly to make my own version) but may help me fight it harder and stave off a re-surge when I’ve run out. I’ve had Lyme for 10+ years…it’ll take many years of diligence to beat it and likely many more to ensure it doesn’t strike again.

Spring Gardening & Repairs

Despite my best efforts to put together a garden my boyfriend couldn’t kill with his mower every year, it didn’t come together until now (after lumber went up, of course). We worked hard and have 20 beds of varying sizes, 10 potato bags, 20 vertical stacking planters, five 30-gal grow bags, and an assortment of pots for flowers and such. If we want, there’s still room for a few more beds later.

It’s much further along now but I have no updated pics yet – soon to come!

The front landscaping has to wait for now, as does the gravel for the garden. But, we did a respectable repair on our porch (new stringers for the steps and a fix on a few deck boards). It’s back in decent enough shape until we can rebuild and expand it. We’ve been saving up the materials for building a greenhouse and roadside landscaping for a while. Those will get done after the garden’s finished (many days of hauling dirt still ahead).

So far, I have my roots, bulbs, tubers and greens planted, as well as putting in my dormant berries and some of the herbs (valerian, marshmallow, yarrow, tulsi, etc). The orchard trees (fruits and nuts) are coming out of dormancy and I hope to plant them in the fall. My kiwi vine, however, died in the porch greenhouse.

The live plants will go in after the last frost date in the remaining beds. Among these are some medicinal herbs I’ve coveted – ashwagandha, comfrey, skullcap, etc. My mullein plant died but the company (Grower’s Exchange) refunded my money for it. I am still waiting on the sweetgrass and tobacco for my ceremonial bed, as well as the wood betony and nettle seeds. I wanted white sage for smudges but it’s in need of protection until it can be re-established – green garden sage is a fine enough substitute.

It’s a lot to take on at once but it had been put off for so long (I may have mentioned my dream of transforming our humble acre into a sustainable mini-farm?). I had to grab and growl while the gettin’ was good, you know what I mean?

Other Changes

In my last posts, I mentioned prepping and ensuring a healthy stock on necessary items. I’m still at it and still encourage it. Probably more so now, with so much instability ratcheting up. For me, though, prepping isn’t about a fearful mindset. It’s about putting to use the frugality I was raised with and taking it up a notch or two, the way my more distant ancestors would have. It’s also about making the most of available resources and squeezing every drop out of the dollars spent. And it’s about planning ahead to ensure my family’s taken care of.

We got a large water tank last year and hope to get another, then add a first-flush system to the gutter to feed it some rainwater. In the meantime, I can keep my filtered faucet water in it. A good filtration system for the rainwater is also on my list of things to buy.

The tank has since been wrapped in black sheeting

Food is a major area to prep, right? We got lucky last year when Dad gave us a load of canned goods. His doc put him on a special diet and he couldn’t have those things anymore. We’ve been helping him re-up on what he can have and also stocking up on dry goods. I have an order in with a friend who farms for bulk meat. This year, we got another freezer to store the extra. I’d been experimenting with fermenting but also just bought a dehydrator and pressure canner, so the preservation game is afoot!

Again, it’s a lot. But it feels good to finally knock some of these things off my to-do list. They’ve been simmering for years. And, when they’re all set up, I can move on to back-up cooking and energy sources…and, eventually, small livestock and bees!

And…the wind-down…

Hopefully, I can set up a posting schedule when things cool down a bit. Regular posts will be more focused, and informative to read, than the random chaos I’ve been putting out (does anyone even bother reading them through? in any case, it is therapeutic for me to write them out).

Have you all been dancing the dance of Spring? What have you gotten done, or plan to do? A garden? Repairs? Taking on new endeavors for 2021? Just taking a few moments to relax for a change?