Jul 152012
 

I decided to try to do something creative on those days I feel like I can do nothing but lie down. I can’t really figure out how to explain these days to you – they are very painful and hard. It feels as though your entire body is about four times heavier than usual, you can’t always walk in the direction you are trying to go, can’t always say the words you are trying to say. The more you try to make a normal day out of it, the worse you get, sometimes to the point the cain can’t even help you walk.

When one of these days comes along (too frequently lately), I decided to respect the MonSter and let go whatever small task I thought needed done (it’ll be there tomorrow – and so will I if I take care) and grab my camera. I bought a Cannon Rebel Xsi for my birthday a few years back. I LOVE this camera – it is one of the only things I’d grab if the house was on fire (of course Danny and all the critters are safe, also :)

This is the first digital camera I have ever owned. I wanted to learn everything about this new wonder – but was too busy. Well, guess what? I have fairly often higher authority imposed days that I can’t do much other than read and take pictures (most of these days, I can’t even comprehend much more than a basic crochet pattern – that I’d been working on for weeks).

So, this muggy day when I’d done too much (not much at all by normal standards) the last few days – today was my first picture day. All the pics on this site were taken with this camera. I have a very hard time holding the camera still anymore, so any clear photos make my day!

 

Jul 022012
 

After 12 years of almost daily pain, and several days to weeks each year of utter incapacity – it’s hard to explain really, like life itself has been sucked out of you – I’ve been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. This lifeless feeling has prevailed since April this time, not letting up ever entirely. This has made the realities of running a homestead a glaring issue to be faced. There is always something to do on a homestead, always weeds to be pulled, produce to be processed, meals to be lovingly cooked, hungry creature mouths to be fed, house chores to be done, fences to fix, the list is endless. There is normally precious little time for the breaks to enjoy what all of us work for – deep peace and appreciation for our natural world. There is really no time for incapacity – no time when ‘nothing’ can be done.

With the mobility and balance issues and extreme, indescribable fatigue – I’ve been able to do very little in the gardens, very little around the house, and consider it a blessed good day if I can make our supper. The stairs in the house have become the most frightening part of my every day. Waiting on starting a treatment, it has been explained to me that the cost will be more than we can pay when my benefits are dropped – the job that paid for the environmental improvements to this home now slipping quickly away. I discovered the Swank MS Diet and have returned to veganism and an extremely low fat diet, following Dr. Swank’s plan, in combination with a lot of factors from Dr. McDougall’s plan. Still researching my herbs, I believe nature has what we need to treat anything – we just haven’t found a lot of it.

Danny has been the greatest support a girl could ask for, but has his own issues to deal with that are doubling the difficulty of keeping this homestead going. Oskar has been my constant companion, and Jet and Bella have become avid hunters and protectors of the property.

Wild Rose Herbs is closed. The domains were sold. Please do not contact wildroseherbs.com in search of my products.

As we struggle to find a new order at Dharma Dogs Farm, we’ll keep you posted.

Peace,

michele

Jun 062012
 

Hello all! It’s been a very trying several months since we last wrote. Let’s see if I can sum up the homestead happenings.

We were very happy to have food in the greenhouse all winter this year. It was a very warm and strange winter, but we can’t complain when beets, carrots, greens, even a few tomatoes and eggplant were with us until January. We tried covering the greenhouse with plastic this year – just gave her a blanket of 6mil over the roof and secured with 1x4s along the sides. We have to think this and the additional water barrels (total of 3 now) helped, but it’s hard to tell when Mother Nature is being so cooperative.

In contrast, the cold spring, and several medical issues, have kept us from getting the summer gardens completely in this year. We finally do have tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, some squash, and melons in – not where we had planned, but they are doing okay. Raised beds are going in to make the gardens a little easier to manage with the limitations now faced. Oh, and how can I forget, the zucchini was started early this year in the greenhouse – so the Zucchini Times are coming sooner than usual!

We are still working on the house – added four new windows and will be beefing up insulation on half the house this summer. We are adding a woodstove this year to see if we can get enough heat to keep the geothermal down. We are selling our Harman Pellet Stove if anyone needs one – just send us an email. It’s a good stove, we just want to reduce the electric draw in winter.

The dogs are all doing well – Bella will always be the ‘baby.’ She cries anytime one of us takes Jet or Oskar (her mom and dad) away somewhere. What ever would she have done if we had sold her? I promise to follow with some pictures soon. I do have to say – for those of you who do not know – the name of our homestead, Dharma Dogs Farm, came from our first German Shepherd Danny and I had together. His name was Storm, and our world revolved around him. So, when we decided to name this little half acre homestead, Dharma Dogs reflected the movement we were trying to make (the right path) and our love of our dog :) Little did we know then, that we would end up with a whole pack! Even so, we don’t sell the dogs, only a few puppies from an unexpected litter. As much as we would love to do German Shepherd rescue, we don’t have the land we would need to be fair to the dogs. We’re just trying to live a peaceful existence, providing for ourselves as best we can, and sharing with all of you to build a community of like-minded friends – just like many of you :)

We hope you all are healthy, safe, happy, and excited to have the Zucchini Times so near! :)

Peace,
michele

Dec 112011
 

Thankful for the sun ten days from Winter Solstice, I took the annual pictures of the December greenhouse. We are very lucky this year to have had eggplant and habanero peppers right until Thanksgiving. We pulled those that weekend and seeded some Radicchio and Peas to see what they would do. Here is the roundup:

We had not been able to grow Lettuce all year this year (we only used seeds we had from previous years and germination was not good this year), but finally it is growing in the greenhouse.

We have Swiss Chard,

Kale,

Red Beets,

Endive,

Carrots,

and Leeks.

The Chives have been cut back inside the greenhouse. There are still harvestable Chives outside – these will grow throughout the winter.

Italian Parsley has germinated and should grow the rest of the winter.

and my prize every December – my Greek Oregano is doing fine.

Outside, there are still onions, radishes, leeks, and broccoli.
Head on over to Wild Rose Herbs Blog for the herb garden walkaround :)
Happy Holidays everyone!
Peace from Dharma Dogs Farm
Jun 042011
 

Early morning bird songs fill the air
Knelt down in the early morning dew
Face toward Mother Earth – I am free

A faint click of the inverter signals Father Sun is rounding the oaks
Jingle of tags on collars prove my companions-protectors are with me
Grandmother spider scurries in front of me, snatching bugs as I pull up their cover
Daddy bluebird watches over chattering little ones while mommy catches a bite

Peach, pear, cherry, and hazelnuts rustle in the light breeze while almond sways gently
Barn owls who their good night-end as they settle in -
Second totem, after Wolf, before Raven
Pain reminds me my daily path is not true

Tiny yellow flowers dance like faeries over the lady’s mantle
A snap of peppermint floods childhood memories -
Incense and peppermints and strawberry alarm clocks
Pretty red roses remind me of a friend who saved me
Sun-soaked to the core of my soul – I am happy

Charentais flowers unfold their faces toward the sun
Mason bees buzz happily in the tomato forest
A tribe of chipmunks sounds the warning
As hawk settles majestically in the white pine

Cackling hens signal fresh eggs
An old squaw – some say medicine woman – creaks without groaning
Red beet soldiers line up for thinning - the selection process is brutal
Black swallowtail dances effortlessly-carelessly through the air

Strawberries half red, blueberries almost blue
Raspberries are plump with promise
Air heavy with the intoxicating smell of honeysuckle
It must be June at Dharma Dogs Farm

Wanishi
Weli Kishku

Lenape for:
Thank you
Have a Good Day

Apr 092011
 

If you want to call it that here in central PA. It has been very cold, damp, raining – and yes, we even have had snow in the last few weeks, depending on how high your property is.

This is the weirdest spring for us in a lot of ways. First, there is no real garden planted. Normally, St. Patrick’s day would be the day we put in broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and plant onion sets, spinach and peas (not together). Normally, I would put a few lettuce, carrot, and beet seeds out to see when the soil warms enough for them to germinate (that’s the time to plant them). But this year, there has been carnage to the vegetable garden. Most of my herb garden is gone – I was happy to see a few stragglers I can rebuild with:

The Lady’s Mantle is coming back pretty well.
A few pretty flowers for encouragement
Sure, there’s one echinacea making a valiant effort, as well as a yarrow – but most of the gardens have been flattened, muddied, and are barren. What could cause this kind of destruction?
Yea – we still LOVE them and our lives revolve around them :-)
None to fear – there is plenty in the greenhouse gardens to eat:
Kale
Spinach
Endive
Romaine Lettuce
An over-wintered Swiss Chard, and
Chives
In a year where the economy and radiation are both looming threats, we are thankful for our greenhouse. Food costs are increasing at an alarming rate, and pesticides, herbicides, and genetically-modified produce is getting harder and harder to avoid, we encourage everyone to grow at least some of their produce this year.
Here’s to a healthy growing season!
Peace, Love and Laughter,
Dharma Dogs
Nov 032010
 

We have an abundance of dragonflies every year, but last weekend while walking around our property, I saw the biggest and most beautiful dragonfly I’ve seen in many years and I just had to stop and spend some time with it. After all, adult dragonflies only live for about two months and it’s getting pretty frosty around here the last few days.

There is a creek (the Conewago) just across the field from us where the dragonflies likely lay their eggs. This one will need to find a mate and get laying soon so the nymphs can spend a cozy winter beneath the water. We’ll meet them next spring (sometimes as early as late February).

Peace from Dharma Dogs Farm
Oct 142010
 

We have been in shock and sorrow over the last week. You may have noticed we did not post six-week photos. We have actually not looked at the blog in over a week.

The puppies all had a second vet-check and weight taken and received their first shots last Tuesday afternoon. Curly’s x-ray showed a very unexpected result. We found that the funny noise he made in his throat which the vet had originally thought was his funny way of learning to pant, was actually a horrible condition known as megaesophagus. Our vet explained to us that this is not common in puppies this age, and that several things could cause the condition, in which the esophagus is stretched, creating pockets where food gets stuck. We researched the condition and could not believe our biggest, most weight-gaining puppy, who ate well every meal and played hard, claiming himself the alpha male from almost day one, could have this condition. We made a decision that we’d like to keep Curly and notified the family who had a deposit on him that the choice was theirs, to cancel, pick another puppy, or keep Curly. They chose another pup and we were happy to keep Curly, who we were going to rename, Thor.

Wednesday morning, after breakfast, Curly began to cough and lay around, uncommon for him. He went back to the vet in late morning and had another x-ray which showed his lungs were full of his food. The vet explained that this is what will eventually happen to a dog with megaesophagus and there was nothing they could do. Our hearts were broken. We held Curly and he showed us nothing but love, though we knew he was in pain. He passed around lunch time on Wednesday and we have been in shock ever since, doing our best to continue as usual for the rest of the pups sake.

All of the other pups were deemed healthy and all have been growing, learning, playing and eating more and more every day. They had their second worming today and are doing really well at housetraining. Each is unique and all are a joy. We suspect the emptiness we feel at the loss of Curly will be increased by the power of four in such a short space of time. We will not mourn the pups moving on to new homes, though. We feel confident they are all going to great new homes. We will miss them, but only mourn the one who has passed.

Now for the 7-week photos of some very special pups – all are spoken for.

Bear
Bella
Gizmo (who has a new name)
Precious
Oskar
Jet
Sweet Curly (Thor)