Goats, rabbits, chickens (pages)

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Oatmeal station

Brrr. The cold temps are here in the Midwest. It's time to think of warm mittens (does anyone wear mittens any more?), a warm fire in the fireplace and a warm breakfast. PLEASE, if you and/or your family are still eating those cereals...you know the ones...artificial color, artificial flavorings, artificial health...just stop it! I know you want quick. I know you want good. Here is the answer to both. What I call the OATMEAL STATION.

Let's talk oats. Whole oats, steel cut oats are the best. But, they take a little more prep time. Rolled oats are good. Also called pressed oats. Instant oats, NO. Never. They have been processed within in an inch of their lives. Most of my clients use the rolled oats. Me, too. Let's face it, we have places to go and people to see; we're usually in a hurry. If you have to fool around with cooking every morning, trying to get the kids and/or yourself & hubby out the door, you aren't going to have time to cook. So, let's go for the rolled oats.

I keep my station in glass containers on the kitchen counter. Lined up like little soldiers. You could use any canister type containers, I prefer glass, but then I don't have little ones helping themselves. If you do, you may want to use metal for obvious reasons. I don't recommend plastic. I have the oatmeal in the largest jar. Then I have an assortment of goodies: raisins or other dried fruit, coconut-real, not the sweetened kind, cinnamon, several kinds of nuts-we have pecans, almonds and walnuts. Be creative. If there is something your family loves, add it to the station! I put a small 1/8 cup scoop in each container.

Take your bowl and start with the oatmeal, adding anything from the station. Pour boiling water over the contents and let it sit for 3-5 minutes. Add sweetener, we use honey or maple syrup or raw sugar. Please don't use white sugar! You can add milk or yogurt or you can eat it without either.

Oats are so very, very good for you. They help with cholesterol, support your heart, support your nervous system and s m o o t h out your digestive system. A daily dose of oatmeal will help you feel better, I promise.

Monday, November 17, 2008

In loving memory

John Dickson

A son, a husband, a father, a grandfather, a friend.

When someone passes from this life, it is customary to give them praise, to extol every virtue, to remember their good traits and to remind others of all the good they have done. I don't know all the stories from John's life, am not aware of all the lives he has touched; I'm sure they are plentiful. But, I do know how he has touched mine. John makes being a dad and granddad something bright and beautiful. When my daughter, Cyndi, married his son, Morgan, he took her under his wing and into his life. He gave her the precious gift of acceptance and love.

Morgan and Jenny, his children, were never far from his thoughts. I know this because even when they were not present, he spoke of them with pride and often told funny things they had done and said throughout their lives. Things that brought a twinkle to his eye and laughter to the hearts of all of us.

His grandkids were his very existence. My husband, Gary, and I share a couple of grandchildren with John and Barbara so we have enjoyed many a birthday cake and festive dinners with them. John loved to tease and I'll always remember that mischievous look on his face amidst explosive giggles and squeals.

He was an ardent supporter of scouting; he lived and taught the scouting ideal to generations of boys.

Sports was a driving passion: sleet or snow, near or far, he was a regular at any event his grandchildren participated in. And, John attended basketball games Morgan coached-- to see his son, of course, but also to keep the refs in line. Sometimes at his own peril, sometimes refs don't like being kept in line. This photo was taken at Thanksgiving dinner a year ago. John did his part in doing the turkey justice, but his heart was at Orrick High School's football game across the state. His heart was with his family; Morgan teaches at Orrick. John's Thanksgiving was complete; Orrick won the state championship.

Saturday, John was at another play-off game. Orrick's football team is once again fighting it's way to the state championship. This time John's grandson, and mine, Justin, is on the team so John had an extra stake in the game. John's heart, a heart so full of love, so comletely full of his family, gave out. John couldn't have been anyplace better. He would rather have been at that game, with his family, than any where else on earth. He supported his family in every way possible. He loved his family in every way possible. He was a shining example of commitment, honor and dedication to his family, his community, his country.

You are to be commended, Barbara, for choosing such a wonderful man to be the patriarch of your family. Your graciousness is legendary. Gary and I have always been welcome at your table and invited to share the joys of our blended family. Thank you for that. You will be in my thoughts and prayers for the weeks and months to come.

Saturday, November 15, 2008


Cold and flu season is here. I can tell because all around me at the grocery store, the gas station, the library, I hear a cacophany of sneezing and coughing. There are steps you can take to help get you through this winter.

First, work on having what I call a foundation of health.
1) Eat real food -cut out processed & packaged "faux-food". Eat organic.
2) Drink real water -investigate your water, whether it's tap or bottled
3) Exercise -just walking will improve your health
4) Sleep - be reasonable. America is sleep deprived. It's not lazy to get adequate sleep
Sounds simple enough, but these lifestyle changes can make a profound difference in your health.

Then take action at the first sign...a tickle in the throat, a tingle in the nose, a tired feeling.
1) Vitamin C and plenty of it. 1 to 2,000 units every hour until bowel tolerance.
2) The first famous four: Garlic, onions, oregano & allspice. Cornell University study says these kitchen staples will kill 100% bacteria.
3) The second famous four: Echinacea, elecampayne, elderberry and eyebright. I prefer tincture to capsules. Rule of thumb: 1 drop of tincture per 2 lbs body weight six times a day, 14 days.

OTC remedies - We keep these on hand in our medicine arsenal:
1) Occilococcinium - a homeopathic remedy; tastes good; works good
2) Sinus & Respiratory by New Chapter - has 16 hard hitters in an olive oil base
3)Allibiotic by NOW - has five herbs and a pro-biotic in a rice bran oil base

For more information see the FAQ section on my website: GBHfarm.com

For my writing pals: Some of my fellow and sister writers are far ahead of me in our Nanowrimo quest for that finished draft, others are far behind! That just goes to show, we travel our paths marching, plodding or crawling, but at least we are moving. Another writer friend isn't concerned with a quantity of words, she just pens touching poetry from her heart. Thanks, Linda, for helping me smell the roses during my march through November. If you are unfamiliar with nano? Go to nanowrimo.org. :)

Friday, November 14, 2008

The sun is shining somewhere...

It's overcast today, but I know that sun is up there shining brightly, probably smiling. I just read a most revealing statement on a health website. "Vitamin D is increasingly viewed as important." Really? Vitamin D important? It is amazing to me how bureaucrats, corporate and government gurus and "expert" medical personnel have changed their minds over the years about what is "good" for us. A point in case is calcium. I watched with amusement as their opinion as to the "appropriate" amount morphed over time; quietly increasing in size like my fikus tree until the recommended daily amount was many times more than their original claim.
The same holds true for most vitamins/minerals. Now vitamin D is in the limelight. It's somewhat gratifying to see the "professionals" up their ante. It's now up to 400 IU for under 70 years of age and 600 IU for 70+ years. Other health professionals suggest more, which is what I recommend: 1000 IU for under 60 years and 1200 IU for 60+ years. Vitamin D works in tandem with calcium to keep our bones healthy and also fights inflammation. My herb teacher (hi Kayla) taught us that inflammation is the root of all health evil, so the more we can do to keep it under control, the fewer complaints we'll have and the quicker we can move to hit the snooze button in the mornings.

Now, back to the sun. A sister herb student, who was also a nurse, has a habit I fell in love with. Every day, rain or shine, she spends some time outside. In the sun. Whether you can see the sun or not, it's there. It's like a Christmas present. You see the box, you can't see the gift, but you know it's there. I recommend 20 minutes a day. Every day. Not opening presents (unless you're very fortunate), sitting in the sun. Whether it's shining above or below the clouds. Now, I won't pretend to know how may IUs you get when you spend time in the great outdoors, but you get some. And, who knows, you may end up with warm fuzzy feelings for nature.

Who said this: "The truth is like the sun. You can shut it our for a time, but it ain't goin' away."

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Happy Veterans Day

I dedicate todays blog to an exceptional person who not only is a veteran, but my son. In spite of the physical and emotional traumas and heart-wrenching ordeals he has endured in his life, he remains one of the most postive-thinking, faith-filled individuals I know. Thank you for remaining steadfast in the wake of tragedy. Thank you, Chad, for your service to your country, service to God and service to your family. Thank you for being my son and for all the joy you have brought me. Have a wonderful, monumental birthday. I love you.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Manners, please...

It's embarrassing, and sometimes humiliating, to be in a social situation and not know how to respond to people. Especially if you are young. I remember. I grew up in the country, fairly isolated, and attended a small one-room school until grade 8. We had a modicum of manners, just enough to get by. So, when our school was "consolidated", we were thrown out into the big world of 20 students in a grade instead of 2! I learned very quickly to watch others to learn correct behavior. When you teach your children good manners, you are doing them a favor, a big one. A Business Journal recently published an article on lucrative business deals going down the tubes because the wheeler-dealer involved didn't practice the simple act of good manners. Some of the X generation often feel that having manners somehow puts you in a subliminal subservient position. Not so. Manners are a sign of respect, not only for you, but also for others. Manners will open doors that would otherwise remain closed. Good manners will build self-respect and self-confidence. Knowing what to do or say will put you at-ease whether you are with an intimate group of friends or a large dinner meeting.

Please, give your children the gift of good manners. I teach etiquette classes, but that's only the beginning. Get involved in your child's learning experience. Use the resources available to you: libraries, bookstores, online.

A couple of days ago I was shopping and three teenage boys were headed for the same door I was. Two of them ploughed ahead of me, but one stopped and indicated for me to go ahead of him. I thanked him, and after we all got out the door, I said, "And, thank you for using your manners." He flashed me a huge teen smile, braces and all. His mother would be proud. I was in a fitness center this week speaking with the owner about etiquette classes. His response was, "Well SOMEONE needs to teach them!" Look around you. Bad manners abound.

Check out our etiquette classes at GBHfarm.com. THANKS!! And, have a monumental day.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Feline Wisdom

Cats are a lot like Aquarians. Independent. Loyal. Thinkers. Well, at least I think she's thinking. Professor April McGonagall is sitting by my keyboard, on my mouse pad, thinking. She does a lot of that. I'm not sure what her conclusions are, but I guess when she reaches them, she'll let me know. Now, those of you who do not own, or do not even like cats, may I take just a moment to lobby. For someone like myself who is independent through and through, I appreciate her self-reliance. She doesn't need me to make her feel good, she knows she is spectacular. I don't need to convince her that she can tackle new things. She wriggled through an uncovered vent and found her own way into the basement where new discoveries waited. April is daring by nature. She was born in an apartment complex attic and along with several siblings, fell through the space between the outside of the building and the wall. (I say she fell from heaven, my husband, Gary, says they through her out.) The tenants heard muffled cries, and after demolishing the wall, a kindle (yes, that's a word) of kittens lay squirming in a dusty pile; their eyes barely open. She found her way into our home where Gary and I took turns feeding her with a tiny doll bottle every 3 or 4 hours. April is now a beautiful, loving four year old cat who, never having real babies of her own, spends her days carrying three rubber balls from place to place while purring and cooing to them in a very maternal way.

What do cats have to do with herbs? you say. April LOVES catnip and catmint. I have a couple of gi-normous beds of napeta cataria in my garden. She rolls in it, and purrs and rolls and purrs, and throws it up into the air and jumps up and catches it before it hits the floor. Then she spends a few minutes running, jumping and frolicking around the house. FOR HUMANS catnip works just the opposite; it's mildly calming. One of my most popular herbal teas is SUNSHINE TEA which contains catmint. Read all about it at GBHfarm.com. In the meantime, consider kitten/cat adoption. Regardless of their independent nature, they love to be with you. April is now dosing on my mouse pad. Maybe she's waiting for a mouse.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Go Bananas

I usually eat a banana in the mornings, but several? The new banana diet has given Dole a 25% boost in sales--$730,000! That's a lot of bananas. I loved strolling around the Dole Plantation in Hawaii, it's beautiful. The sad thing is they have moved most of their working farms to other locations and a lot of their land is laying fallow. What a waste.

If a movie star says she lost 15 pounds in one week on the banana diet, it must be effective, right? Lemming syndrome. There are three reasons diets work well in the beginning. One, you pay particular attention to WHAT you are eating. Two, your body is bio-unique. No one else's body works exactly like yours. What works well for someone else will not necessarily work well for you so the diet just stops being effective. When your diet has restricted spectrum of food choices you begin to crave other foods. Diet kaputtt. Three, you get bored and stop paying attention to what you are eating.

I like the common sense diet. Eat whole foods that are as close to the ground as possible. Meaning local food, fresh food, food free from additives, real food. What is more beautiful than fresh, wholesome food? If we eat healthier, we will be healthier. Type II diabetes is raging out of control and most of the cases can be avoided with a good diet. When your diet changes, it changes the world. It changes the way food is grown, cared for, delivered and processed. Prevention is the real health care program, and you are responsible for it. Not your mommy, not your spouse, not the government. You. Eat well. Check out my Basic Foundation for wellness at GBHfarm.com. You'll find it in the FAQ section.

Thought for today:
The Japanese eat very little fat, and suffer
fewer heart attacks than the Americans.
The French eat a lot of fat, and suffer
fewer heart attacks than the Americans.
The Mexicans drink very little red wine, and
suffer fewer heart attacks than the Americans.
The Italians drink excessive amounts of
red wine, and suffer fewer heart attacks
than the Americans.
The Germans drink a lot of beer and eat a lot
of sausage and fats, and suffer fewer
heart attacks than the Americans.
Conclusion: Eat and drink what you like:
Apparently speaking English is what kills you.

Thursday, November 6, 2008


DSL is over...yahoo. Being a lark, a person who is highly functional from dawn 'till noon, as opposed to my husband, the owl, who doesn't reach his stride until afternoon and can forge ahead 'till midnight, I love that extra hour of daylight in the mornings. Although, much to my family's delight in teasing me, I have a little...ok, a lot, of trouble with the fall back and spring forward theory. Apparently, time is malleable. Which is great with me. I can bend it to my own purposes and have time for everything!

Since the days are darker and colder, are you feeling a little blue? With a family member who suffers from SAD, I am very conscious of the effect the sunlight has on your body and emotions. Seasonal changes and added stress can weaken your immune system You are getting less vitamin D from the sun so you may need to beef up with a supplement. Be sure to get D3. You need HEAT so cook your foods longer by baking and roasting. Don't be afraid of PEPPERS added to your food. My mom always kept a bottle of peppers in vinegar on the table with the salt and pepper. Contrary to popular belief, hot peppers are very good for you. And, eat thicker soups such as pumpkin, pea and potato. My daughter-in-law just made potato soup the other evening and it tasted so good--just right for these chilly evenings. Be sure to check mywebsite for good nutritous winter receipes.

A lot of you already visit my website, http://GBHfarm.com. I'm an herbalist and on my website I have a lot of herbal info and products. In this new Green Blessings Blog I will write about all the glorious green things out there and, all those blessings lurking in places you forget to look. Blessings like your heart beat and how you can slow it down to a resting heart rate that will make your doctor smile. Green things like the horseradish growing with wild abandon in my garden that always makes me think of my grandpa Henry and all about my new lavender bed my husband Gary made for me. I love my website (and am pretty crazy about the webmaster, too), but let's face it: I'm a writer and I love to write. Some would say ramble. And, some of you out there love to read. My clients and customers always want MORE... so here you go!

The GBHfarm.com is replacing greenblessingsherbal.com. And, just in case the reason is not obvious -- it's shorter and easier to remember. You can get there with either name, but we hope the new and improved version will get you there quicker. The site slid into the abyss a few weeks ago and my aforementioned webmaster has been working furiously to re-post all the information. As often happens when original work is lost, the new is BETTER. So many things are so much improved, if I wasn't sure the webmaster would strangle me, I'd say I'm (almost) glad it crashed! Navigation in the site is easier, and the shopping cart is fabulous. Have a look and let me know what you think.
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