Texas Ranting

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Hey all!

Things have been crazy here…trying to do the home inspection, appraisal, research etc. On top of it all Chris had to travel to Texas for business and decided to take me along.

I’ve been watching crappy cable television all week…eating garbage and now I have a cold/flu. Woot. I thank my dietary choices of the week for my immune issues..my own doing..can’t complain much. Oh and because all of my homemade beauty products are in glass jars and bottles they are a no no on the plane…so i’ve been using toxic shampoo and lotion. Luckily I found a small bottle to bring my oil face cleanser along.  😉

Oh did I mention i’m in TEXAS?! YUCK! Sorry all y’all Texans..I can’t hang. Humid..flat..dry..crowded..no and thank you. I will say the people I have dealt with have been very hospitable. So there is an upside to Texas, that good old Southern Hospitality. 🙂

I’ll have more to say when I’m back surrounded by my mountains in Washington…until then.

Sorry for my Negative Nancy attitude!

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WE FOUND A HOME!

Homesteading

We’ve be AWOL for a while..I know. It’s been so time consuming trying to find the right home..but it was worth it. We found the perfect place 🙂

One day Chris and I were sitting around not finding any new prospects when we decided to look on Craigslist…yeah yeah I know but honestly a lot of people post homes for sale on Craigslist that you just don’t find anywhere else. Well that’s exactly what happened.

” Farmhouse in the country with 16 acres, year round creek and pond Newport, WA” it immediately caught Chris’s eye, you see Newport is where we really had our heart set on and also 16 acres was right in our sweet spot for amount of land. A year round creek and pond was intriguing as a secondary water source was on our list of qualifications too but we didn’t have our hopes up since a lot of other properties that boasted year round creeks were fails. So Chris emailed and we waited..and waited and waited and She finally called us back. We set up a day to go view the property and fell in love.

The creek was amazing and the land…was exactly what we envisioned in our heads. It has the perfect combo of sloping and flat and pasture and timber for us to put our permaculture ideas to work. There is an already established green house, a private well and plenty of wild herbs and plants we can use. The house is bigger than we need and does need some work put into it but all in all it isn’t bad.

We went home talked about it, slept on it and decided this one felt right…so we made an offer. This is where the fun began. You see the sweet woman that owns the home is..unique. She has certain circumstances she is working with and we can tell she’s falling apart. While she is well-meaning she is not the easiest person to deal with. It’s been a long week but we finally got all of the paperwork signed for the offer yesterday and scheduled the inspection. *Phew* Glad we got over that bump.

So while we know it’s going to be a long month up until the closing we can’t wait. We celebrated last night..with burgers…and beer..I know…shameful. 😉

I’ll share more details soon…There’s still a lot to do and things can still go wrong but we are hoping for the best!

Our future homestead 🙂

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* S

Why Darci is on a Raw Diet

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First let me say I am not a veterinarian, so these are strictly my opinions and I am in no way telling you what you should do with your dog but I am offering my viewpoint on what I feel is the healthiest diet for our pets.

Yesterday evening I sat on the grass in the small yard behind our Townhome rental while Darci chowed down on dinner. A worker that was doing some gardening for the complex walked by and said ” Hi Pup” and Darci looked up at him with a huge raw chicken leg quarter hanging out of her chompers. The look on his face was one of confusion and intrigue. “Is that RAW chicken she’s eating?!” was his exclamation.

YES WE FEED OUR DOG RAW MEAT AND BONES.

This is not the first time we have been approached with questions surrounding Darci Pants’ diet. You name it worry, confusion, disgust, curiosity we’ve seen it. People have expressed worry that she will get sick, they’ve asked if she’s getting all of the nutrition she needs, and of course what if she doesn’t like raw meat? The answers are no she will not get sick-dogs stomachs are made for raw meat, yes she is receiving optimal nutrition (better than any bag of dog food) and too bad she will eat it anyways because she is not the pack leader and that’s what she gets (besides, she LOVES her raw diet). While we like to pretend we don’t sometimes..we like Darci (ok fine maybe love)..we want her to be healthy and balanced so we would never do anything we thought was detrimental to her health, just as we would not sit around while her health went down the drain.

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I’ve worked with animals quite a bit, especially dogs and cats, in both a veterinary setting and a grooming setting. I’ve watched thousands of companions struggle with allergies, abnormal bowel movements, unhealthy weight, poor dental health, poor skin and coat health and many other conditions that seem to be becoming a regular occurrence among our furry friends. These pets are being diagnosed with human diseases just as often as we are. It’s baffling and honestly quite appalling. What do you think the rate of diabetes occurring in wild dogs such as wolves is? I can bet it’s slim to none. We are making our pets sick, just as we are making ourselves sick with processed foods!

Domesticated dogs are direct ancestors of wolves. They share DNA. Wolves are carnivores. They do not require fruits, veggies and definitely NOT grains. The meat they eat is not cooked before being consumed. Wolves have thrived their entire existence eating nothing but raw meat and bones. Look at the beautiful wolf-lean, strong, full of life and captivating. Why should dogs, their ancestors follow a different diet?

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The answer is they shouldn’t. Dogs need raw meat, raw bones and organ meats in order to survive. That is the diet they were meant to eat. Darci has proved that to be true. Before going raw she was on a conventional diet of packaged dog food. Her first food (the one Chris had been told was good before I came along) was packed full of grains, and veggies and heavens knows what else. Darci was also plagued with Diarrhea, red runny eyes, smelly ears and skin allergies. We decided to switch her to a grain, corn and soy free food in hopes of it clearing up some of these issues. Her allergies improved slightly and her bathroom habits improved slightly, but not enough for us to feel comfortable with her level of comfort.

Then the lightbulb came on! Chris had fed his previous boxer a raw diet and had done a lot of research on it. He remembers Yuna being in great health, never any allergies or bathroom issues and her teeth at age 10 were impeccable. The vet couldn’t believe it. Why we didn’t do this before? I don’t know…blame it on being newlyweds-shameful :(. So the next thing I knew I found myself portioning and weighing out raw meat, bones and organs according to Darci’s weight and throwing raw eggs(shell on) in her bowl every week. And guess what? it worked! Darci’s allergies are gone…no more dry flaky skin and runny eyes (with the exception of the occasional sleepy goop), her coat shines brilliantly, her ears are clean and her poo? Amazing…barely any, almost no odor and it’s firm and basically will disintegrate on it’s own. Plus for us! Her teeth are pearly white and we don’t anticipate having to clean them ever since this diet keeps them clean and healthy. It’s really been amazing to see the drastic improvements in her. The vet recently checked her out and she has actually gained a pound and he said she is in fantastic health.

So yes it takes a little more time to weigh out her meals and yes I make special trips to the farmer’s market to score on great liver, heart and other organs, and yes she eats outside in the grass and I wipe her face down after each meal but she is healthy which makes it so worth it!

These 2 sites go into the benefits, science and how-to’s: Raw Fed Dogs and Raw fed. I used these sites to figure out how much meat, bone and organ Darci needs in her diet according to weight. She eats organ meat 3-4 times a week, and about 1 1/2 pounds of raw meat and bone a day. She also gets a raw egg,shell on, every Monday ( which she gets really excited about). Dogs need a certain amount of protein, raw bone and organ meat for the proper diet. And Yes the bones have to be raw and cannot be weight bearing bones from large animals. When cooked bones become brittle and splinter making them a hazard but raw bones are soft and easy to eat and bones too large and hard can damage teeth and become dangerous. So while it took a little bit of prep work and time in the beginning I now know exactly how much she needs to eat, what kinds of bones she can eat and i’ve got a super easy system down. Another plus is we are spending less money on her food now than we were with pricey packaged garbage!

Here’s what her typical meal looks like..

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So if your dog struggles with health issues I strongly urge you to check out raw feeding…it’s really quite amazing. Whether you are disgusted or intrigued I urge you to read those 2 sites, they really do make sense!

*S

House hunting, GOOD dinners and Outdoor play

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House hunting has been really exhausting…probably because we are still living in EST even though we are now in a different time zone..or maybe because we have yet to find that dream home..or maybe it’s because we had a bad realtor that we finally had to dump. I’m not sure but we are tired. So this weekend we decided we needed some fun time. We went swimming at Bear Lake with Darci and had a blast.

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Then we decided to go for an hour hike…yea it was 100 degrees out but what the heck..without the humidity it wasn’t SO bad and we pulled through like champs! Even Darci 🙂

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Then we decided it was way too hot…so we went swimming in the river to cool down haha. Darci went right in!

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So that was our fun off weekend! Now we are back to house hunting..we found one we loved loved loved last night. We are also really optimistic about the one we will see this evening…I think it will come down to those 2. Keep your fingers crossed for us 😉

OH! I made a new recipe again..and guess what?! it didn’t suck! It was quite delicious…and easy. The meatballs were the new recipe..i just threw together some cinnamon spiced yams and sauteed collard greens to go with them. We chowed down on that after all of our outdoor fun. Yumm.

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I also found these new delicious snacks..both paleo friendly and a good burst of energy. I try not to buy stuff like this too often and prefer to snack on fresh fruit and veggies but once in a while it’s a nice treat.Try them..they rock!

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I hope you enjoyed my terrible food photography and ramblings!

*S

My Natural Skin Care Routine

Natural Home & Personal Care

My journey to finding a natural skin care routine was frustrating if nothing else. When I started to become more aware ( actually obsessed with natural everything) I ditched my toxic beauty products in favor of “Natural” brands. Unfortunately most of these natural brands still contain alarming ingredients. So I ditched those and ventured onto Lush Brand Cosmetics. These are handmade and natural as well. Don’t get me wrong..I was in love with their delicious practically edible products. They were pricey but in the beginning seemed to work well for me. I was addicted to their Garlic Face mask for a while there. Well, probably due to my severe hormonal imbalances my skin stopped responding to these products. Wah Wah. While upsetting intially, in the end it ended up being something incredibly positive. That sparked my desire to make my own natural beauty products that work. It was the start of a whole new chapter in my health. Yay.

I now use Oil Cleansing and Honey Face washing for my skin care needs. Let me tell you…these methods have changed my life!

Oil Cleansing..sounds a little counter productive doesn’t it? Won’t smearing oil on my face further clog my pores and cause more break-outs? Actually no. Oil cleansing is based on the idea that “like dissolves like” or “oil dissolves oil”. The nourishing oil actually works to break down the gunky, nasty impurities from your skin and naturally cleanses, detoxes and moisturizes your skin. I’ve read that for some it gets worse before it gets better while your skin detoxes. I personally did not have this problem. The wonderful Wellness Mama has a great post on oil-cleansing how-to. I personally have combination skin (though depending on the season it will do crazy things) and have found that 1 part Castor oil to 3 parts Almond Oil work wonders for me. I usually mix up 1/4 tsp. Castor Oil to 3/4 tsp. Almond Oil..which will give me 2 nights of washes. I just put it in a little mixing cup and set it in the shower to use. I dip my fingers in and then massage it into my face for about 2 minutes. This stuff works great to remove make-up so i use it over my eyeballs as well. I then put a wet hot washcloth over my face covering it completely and let it sit until it cools down. I usually will repeat this once,  then I lightly wipe my face just enough to remove make-up and that’s it. I don’t even need moisturizer! I Love it! These are the oils I use:

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The other method I use is the Honey Washing method. It’s really easy…you use raw honey to wash your face. The thing is you must buy “raw”, “unpasteurized” or “unfiltered” honey which you can find at your local farmer’s market or online. “All-natural” doesn’t mean anything and usually means it is still heated killing it’s natural antibacterial properties and/or diluted with other sweeteners. yuck. Raw honey is affordable, anti-bacterial, anti-microbial and has probiotic properties. It is perfect for all skin types even sensitive, working to balance them and it gently removes impurities without stripping skin of natural oils. All I do is take a 1/2 tsp-1 tsp. raw honey warm it in my fingers and rub it on my face. This does not remove make-up so I steer clear of the eyeballs, and I will use unrefined coconut oil to remove my make-up 🙂 I usually let the thin layer of honey sit on my face for 5-10 minutes then rinse off and gently pat dry. My skin is super soft afterwards and I love the idea of using food-grade products on my face! This is the honey I am using now:

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I’ve found that either alternating days between the oil-cleansing method or using the oil-cleansing method in the evening and the honey cleansing method in the morning works best for me. My skin has drastically improved and my $$$ shelled out for product has significantly decreased. Try it..i’m not saying it will work for you but it’s worth a shot.

More on how I use honey for a ton of things from allergies to burns and more on natural beauty products to come!

Thanks for reading 🙂

*S

We have arrived!!

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We did it…we made it to Washington!

Finally…

The journey here was nothing short of eventful. It seems like one thing after another just kept happening. First…the day before we closed we were supposed to get our Uhaul in the morning so we could pack it up to be ready to leave at 9 am the following morning. Well that didn’t happen. We didn’t get it until after 2pm. We stayed up until almost 2am packing that night until we finally opted to get a few hours of shut eye and wake up early to continue. So we got up at about 5:30 in the morning and went straight to work..no breakfast..no coffee 😦 just work. We were both sore(mainly me) and cranky. Not fun to move when your like that and Darci tried to help of course!

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Chris ended up going to the closing and I stayed behind to keep working on packing since we were so so behind. Finally we finished and got on the road around 1 or so and we said goodbye to Indiana.

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The first day was not very beautiful scenary..and it was long! We made it to Albert Lea, Minnesota and didn’t get in our room until 1 am. We saw a pretty sunset though. Darci got her own Queen size bed in the hotel..haha what a goober!

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The next morning we woke up feeling a lot better than the previous day and got on the road at about 10am. All was good until I said we are making good time we should be getting to the next hotel at a decent time and have some down time. Well..then we heard a noise, something that didn’t sound good. A car pulled up and flagged us down to stop. A tire had popped and shredded on the tow trailer carrying our car! Ahhhh… I believe we were still in Minnesota and had nothing to look at but tall grass and the smell of manure lingered in the air. It was freaking middle of nowhere Minnesota.We ended up waiting for 3 hours just for road side assistance to get there and ended up losing 4 hours after the whole ordeal. To top it off we had to stand to avoid chiggers and keep Darci on a towel. We also didn’t realize how hot it was because of the lovely breeze and we fried! Great..4 hours lost and now we are burnt to lobster red.

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After that the drive got a bit better in South Dakota. At first all of the lush buffalo grassy hills with no trees were kind of pretty..then it got kind of creepy. haha. BUT..we saw our first mountains in the distance! yay. I always took seeing mountains in the distance for granted when I lived in Cali. Well when you move somewhere where there are no mountains and just sky..you realize just how great they are to see. Needless to say I got so excited I almost peed. JK JK. Lesson learned: those of you that have mountain views..ENJOY THEM! Take them in..they are beautiful! The 3rd picture you can see mountains! woot! We arrived in Sundance, Wyoming that evening..late..I don’t know what time..too many time changes. All I know was we didn’t get to sleep until 1:30 am Eastern time( Our time) Sundance was nice and small. The people were friendly and Chris even met a wonderful lady at the gas station that went home to bring us back vinegar for our sunburns. So sweet!

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Day 3: We get on the road early..ready to start our day. We make it out of Wyoming and into Montana. We are so excited to see Montana! All is well then the check engine light comes on in the Uhaul..and we smell a burning smell! What the eff?! We call Roadside assistance again and manage to make it to a gas station in Billings, Montana where it’s freaking 94 degrees out. Luckily Billings is a major city so we only waited about and hour and a half. A nice gentlemen said the Uhaul may have overheated a bit but the sensor was broken so we should be fine. Woohoo. We continue on. It was pretty in Montana…and we made it to Butte, Montana for the night. Except the check engine light came on again just as we arrived. ughh..we called to have someone come look at it that evening and proceeded to get eaten alive by mosquitoes while waiting. I must have 30 bug bites on me right now. 😦 So now we are sunburned and covered in bug bites. great.  The Uhaul guy confirmed that the sensor was just broken and reset it. Butte was quite nice..it was cute and cozy. Darci got another Queen bed to herself again in the hotel and we all crashed pretty hard that night.

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Day 4 we were pretty psyched to only have a 5 1/2 hour drive and were super excited to see the rest of Montana and Idaho. We were in no way disappointed! Missoula Montana was amazing and Idaho was breathtaking. We fell in love with Idaho and may end up settling down there. Couer d’Alene was like heaven and the lake took our breath away. I took so many pictures and will only share a few, but they do not do it justice in anyway!

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Now Idaho

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I had to get some Uhaul pics of us 🙂

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Chris did ALL of the driving. I have such an amazing hubby. And Darci slept on my lap pretty much the whole time! We made it to Washington and our townhome was inaccessible..couldn’t find the manager or anything so that was our final bump in the road. Luckily it got fixed and now we just have to start house hunting. Oh and unload our Uhaul into storage..which will be done later today. Phew..glad that’s over. Now onto the next journey..finding the perfect land…

Welcome to Washington!

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Mulberry Jam

Homesteading

As I sat here stuffing my face with Paleo Carrot Cake Pancakes I realized I didn’t post what I wanted to yesterday. The day got away from me. We didn’t even eat dinner until 8:00 which for us is really late. Anywho..I made mulberry jam again yesterday using the delicious mulberries off of our tree. If we are going to miss one thing about the house…I think it will be our beloved mulberry tree. I took pictures during the process of making and canning it.

First a picture of those Carrot Cake Pancakes…they are hands down the best pancakes I’ve ever had, Paleo or not. Yep so good. Plus they have raw shredded carrots in them..which makes me feel good about eating them in the morning! I topped them off with some home-made maple syrup that we made from tapping our maple tree earlier this year.Image

Okay Mulberry Jam time!

First I collected my mulberries, which I froze to keep them. They are a lot easier to de-stem when frozen, If they are fresh and ripe they will melt in your hands trying to take those stems off. I also washed my jars and lids then placed them in water on the stove to boil. You have to sterilize them and then keep them hot while waiting for the jam to be ready. I used half pint sized jars and of course new lids and bands. Once you use a lid and band you cannot reuse them to can. I used this pectin because you can use honey as a sweetener rather than sugar..which is great..since that is not the case with all pectin! You would also make your calcium water at this point. The box comes with calcium powder and tells you how much to mix up.

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After De-stemming the berries I measured them out..4 cups for this batch, added them to a pan and lightly heated them to soften, then mashed them up. I also brought my Jars and lids to a boil. After the jars came to a boil I turned down the heat a bit but kept the water hot.

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Then I added 1/4 cup of fresh lemon juice to the berries as well as 2 tsp. of the calcium water mixture and mixed well.

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Then you measure out your sweetener of choice, in this case I used honey so I measured out 1 cup of it. Then you add 2 tsp. of pectin to the sweetener and mix thoroughly. While you are doing this bring your berry mixture to a boil.

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When your berries are boiling mix in your sweetener/pectin mixture and mix vigorously, then bring the mixture to a boil again and remove from heat.

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Remove your jars and lids from the hot water one by one and fill them, leaving 1/4 inch of space at the top of the jar. I got special jar tongs to remove them from the water. Close the lids tightly. After filling your jars, put them in a pot of water, bring to a boil and boil for 10 minutes.

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Remove from the boiling water after 10 minutes and set them on the counter. The lids should be concave..so you know they are sealed. You will also hear them pop after a few minutes. This means the lids sealed properly and you are good to go. If they do not seal properly you must start over! These jars will keep for up to a year unopened and then for 3 weeks in the fridge once opened.

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There you have it! 🙂

We have 2 more days, and we pick up the uhaul tomorrow! So close….:)