The Business of Being Born

I have been meaning to start chronicling the part of my life that has to do with being a mother, since I DO have a beautiful seven month old baby girl.  So I will rewind a bit and talk about pregnancy and childbirth.  I believe I have a different, yet valuable perspective on the two subjects. 

I chose to have an intuitive unassisted pregnancy and childbirth.  

This is a little different for most people to wrap their brains around, since we live in a technological age, where it's easier to watch and monitor what's going on inside of our bodies with machines than reach inside of ourselves with meditation and intuition and feel our human instincts at work.

What this means during pregnancy: No Ultrasounds, No Monthly or Weekly Checkups, No Blood Tests (except one at the same time as my pregnancy test which showed I was low in iron, which I quickly ameliorated with Yellow Dock and Burdock Root tinctures), continuation of a regular exercise routine which included: Pilates, yoga, walking, and light strength training, drinking Raspberry Leaf Tea, and lots of good healthy food.   

I am not here to speak against hospital births, or doctors, or anything of the sort.  I just want to display that it is possible to produce a perfectly healthy human without those things.  My choice wasn't based on anything but an instinct, and a desire to follow what was in my heart.  I am not alone in this choice, however.  There is support out there for U.P.'ers and U.C.'ers!  

 My pregnancy was relatively complication free, minus some aches and pains right under my ribs where her feet took root and jabbed me every few minutes all day and all night.  The only craving I remember having was soups and breads in the beginning, and bananas all the way through.  I gained 30 lbs, which came off relatively easily and quickly.  I'm sure the second one is/will be much harder to get the weight off!  At least that is what most two-time mothers say. 

At 25 weeks I did meet with a midwife in Green Bay for an external checkup (heart rate, blood pressure, position of baby) and to discuss her possible attendance at the birth.  We were due April 20th.  Around mid-March the midwife informed us that she would be away in Texas during the week we were due, so she could help us find backup, or another midwife.   Green Bay is over an hour away from our house, a hospital is a little over 30 minutes, and the next closest midwife is about an hour and a half, in Appleton.  I felt more nervous about having a stranger in our house monitoring me than I felt about going it alone.  With only a few weeks to go, we decided we'd probably end up having this baby by ourselves, though we did draw up an emergency plan, if, when the time came, we thought something was wrong, and that were incapable of pulling it off (or out!).  As my belly grew larger and larger, I inhaled as many birth stories as I could.  I read Baby Catcher,  Ina May Gaskins Guide to Childbirth, and Unassisted Childbirth by Laura Shanley.  I frequented the webforums on freebirthing, watched water birthing videos, ordered a birthing kit from Cascade HealthCare Products, Inc. , wrote my birth plan for before, during, and after labor, and relaxed and watched some good movies.  

On the full moon, April 9th, at Midnight, while watching The Darjeeling Limited, my water broke.

Birth Story to come.....


Reese's PB Cup Blondies

Totally sinful, slightly screwed up, edible nonetheless.
I combined a brownie and a blondie...used an extra egg, melted the butter (instead of creaming, as I probably should have), and used sodium bicarbonate which I could have done without.  I think.  Baking is Chemistry.  Sometimes you have to botch an experiment to get results.  And what resulted here was: a delicious goopy pile of coconut and reese's peanut butter cup under a semi- bruleed crust.


My Organic Pantry - STOCKED!

OK, I might not have a diversified portfolio, at least not in the eyes of Wall Street.
I do, however, have a long list of stocks that I've built up over the course of the late summer/early fall.  I'm talking about my food stores.
I'm not done with the canning and preserving yet, but I figured I might as well start the list, and add to it as I count & continue to process.

Canning List 2009
Bread and Butter Pickles - 12 Quarts
Garlicky Dill Pickles - 25 Pints
Spicy Pickles - 12 Pints
Rasta Squash Pickles - 24 Pints
Mixed Vegetable Pickles - 8 Quarts
Pickled Cauliflower - 5 Quarts
Pickled Beets - 20 Pints
Zucchini-Apple Relish - 12 Quarts
Sweet Pickle Relish - 14 Half Pints
Tomato Sauce - 12 Quarts
Tomato Puree -  10 Pints
Tomato Juice (v8) - 5 Quarts
Salsa Verde - 6 Pints
Caliente Enchilada Sauce - 6 Pints
Zucchini Corn Salsa - 10 Half Pints
Chopped Cherry Jam - 5 Half Pints
Cherry-Rhubarb Jam - 5 Pints
Raspberry Jam - 10 Half Pints
Raspberry Syrup - 12 Half Pints
Raspberry-Lavender Jam - 8 Half Pints
Peach Preserves -
Blueberry Cherry Preserves
Strawberry Jam
Strawberry Rhubarb Jam
Strawberry Peach Jam
CherryCider Rhubarb Jelly
Apple Butter with Mulling Spice
Apple Butter with Cinnamon
Apple Sauce
Pear Sauce
Pear Plum Sauce
Vegetable Stock
Yellow Beans - 6 Quarts
Green Beans - 6 Quarts


Tea Time with Ginseng

Tonight I am sipping on a hot cuppa Rooibos Earl Grey Tea with a Ginseng /Honey stick swirl.

This evening's ROOIBOS is a fair trade organic variety that I purchased from Starwest Botanicals .  It is tasty, and hard to mess up.  Rooibos has a very low volume of tannins, which are what makes tea bitter after brewing too long or getting too hot.  So, you can leave your leaves in as long as you want, and it doesn't ruin the taste (at least from my experience!).  So, I'll fill an entire press pot of the brew and cup by cup drink the entire thing.  This helps me fill a huge craving I have for hot beverages, as well as avoid brewing a second pot of coffee for the day which I often ponder right around mid-afternoon.   The ginseng in my cup is from ManRoot , a producer of 100% pure wisconsin ginseng, extracted with organic vodka.  Many people think ginseng is just for men and their sex drive.  It's good for more than that!
A recent pilot study at the Mayo Clinic showed positive results for cancer patients who used Wisconsin Ginseng to reduce cancer related fatigue. Patients taking large doses of Wisconsin Ginseng showed improvements in overall energy levels, reported higher vitality levels and less interference with activity due to fatigue. They also reported an improvement in overall mental, physical, spiritual and emotional well-being.

There are two real species of ginseng on the market today, Panax (Korean or Chinese) and Panax Quinquefolius (Wisconsin).  Since ginseng has been used for thousands of years in China it is easiest to explain the differences in ginseng by using traditional Chinese herbal philosophy.
Wisconsin ginseng is considered a "cooling" type herb and Korean or Chinese ginseng are considered "heating" type herbs.  As a cooling herb Wisconsin ginseng is used as a preventitive medicine.  Here in the U.S. Wisconsin ginseng is considered an adaptogen.  As an adaptogen Wisconsin ginseng acts to normalize body functions and strengthen the immune system and other systems in the body.  Over a period of time it builds up energy and maintains the body at a higher level acting to reduce stress and fatigue.

As my energy wanes, and my 6 month old is busy making crazy noises, looking around the room for what else she can grab and put in her mouth, I keep one eye on her, one hand on the keyboard and the other on my hot cup.  It's cold and rainy outside and it's been a long day of pickling, chopping, canning, and pressurizing.
Today I canned 5 quarts of green and yellow beans, 4 quarts of mixed pickled veggies (cukes, carrots, red peppers, onions), and 2 half gallon jars of veggie stock (which simmered on the stove all day).  I have sweet pickle relish all ready to go for tomorrow.  The veggies for that recipe are being iced down and salted overnight in the refrigerator.  I also have some "Old South Lime Pickles" being limed and iced overnight in the cold garage.  Tomorrow is going to be another busy day.  An end to the season's harvest is barely in sight.  I'm halfway through my to-do list with squirrel-like anticipation of the winter to come.  It's not even mid-October yet, and the temps are hovering at freezing.  I see no Indian Summer in the near future.  With my eye on the prize, a new pressure canner at hand, and a seemingly interested and entertained 6 month old at arms length, I continue channeling the grandmother/manroot energy and do my best at being matriotic.  Organic and Chemical free preservation is my new best friend.


If Armegeddon Comes At Least We'll Have Pickles

Here's an article on sexy sustainability.
Canning Get's It's Sexy Back (click for linked article)

And a picture of some devilishly good Apple Butter that I made and canned the other day.  I'm working on a list of all that I've "put up" this season.  I don't know if it's me, or where I'm living, but it seems everyone is doing it this year.  And as long as we're all doing it safely, it seems like the easiest way to cut the winter costs, continue on our hig vibration locally grown diets, and just, well, BE COOL.


let's salsa to get things going!

Tonight I am canning a zucchini corn salsa with some habaneros I picked up at the farmer's market.  It is going to be hot enough to help me combat the sub zero temperatures that will be arriving shortly.  Texas girls like it HOT!
I made 3x as much as the recipe, as I'm still trying to work through a bushel of yellow squash, using up the last of it in this salsa.

This recipe is adapted from the book Preserving The Harvest by Carol Costenbader.

3 medium yellow squash washed, diced
1.5 tsp canning salt
2 ears yellow corn, husked, silks removed
4 T olive oil
2 large tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 cup raw apple cider vinegar
2 habanero peppers, seeded and minced**
1/4 cup chopped red onion
3 cloves minced garlic
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 T cilantro (optional)

1. Toss the squash with the salt and "sweat" it for 10 minutes in a colander.
2. Coat the corn with 2 tsp of the oil and roast on a cookie sheet for 30 min. @ 400F.
Cool.  Cut off kernels.
3. Combine all ingredients into a saucepan and bring to a boil for 3 minutes.
4. Ladle into hot, clean jars.  Cap and seal.

Yield: about 2 pints

**Be very careful when handling hot peppers, since their heat and oils can cause skin irritation and burning.  Be conscious of what you are doing during this preparation and after.  Use gloves.  They aren't a crutch.  Capsicum does not mix with water, nor does it just get washed away since it is a volatile oil in the pepper that causes the heat, you must wash hands with soapy water or rinse with milk if necessary.
When you wash or reconstitute dried chiles, use cold water, as hot water will create strong fumes that may irritate your eyes and nose.


Years Later, She's Back

Ok, the last post date on here is over three years ago, so naturally, a few things have changed.  But here I am, giving it another whirl.  On a whim.  With vigor.  Things are going to be different around these parts.  This translates to more posts, more subject matter, more helpful and useful information.  Less personal rants, though some will undoubtedly be unavoidable.
Life updates include a move to the "thumb" of Wisconsin, a partner, a baby, and a business.  That's a lot, yes.  But that's how I roll.  With the changes.
I'm excited about the renewed sense of self that I've gained, and am looking forward to exploring this form of expression and documentation.
Happy Blogging, Folks.


If you're high, why not get higher?

That's what they say here in Summit County, Colorado.

So; I'm adding photojournalism to my list of blogger activities...because people out there are wanting to SEE.. thirsting for what it REALLY LOOKS LIKE. This either means that I can't write well enough, or that our culture has gotten to the point that we cannot deal without visual images (the printed word not clear enough an image to fully satisfy today's reader).
There I go again, all that to say this:
I bought myself a handy little point-n-shoot (Nikon Coolpix) digital camera and shall be using it to more thoroughly document my musings.
I'm writing from the top bunk of my new-old-RV; that is, newly mine, lightly used 1973 Dodge Fourstar Sportsman {or woman}.
I'm an Escape Artist driving an Artful Dodger. If you are confused, maybe it would help if I tell you this, countless hours of solo-driving are liable to drive thoughts to their strangest. I've begun to seriously imagine my life as being in the middle of a book about to be written. Every person I come across-- a character study, every problem or mishap-- a lesson. I've named my vehicle the Artful Dodger for many reasons. If you care to ask me of these reasons, do, but otherwise I won't get into them all here, now.
I'm camping amid humongoid mountains whilst here on my MacBookPro at ele. 9407 Frisco, Colorado around the corner from the Natural Foods Store that I thankfully stumbled upon at dusk. Devoured the most hearty vegetarian sandwich I've ever eaten: $5.29 for at hot grilled vegetable <> pesto and provolone sandwich, a banana, and a pickle. 'Twas tasty as fuck after having only eaten pb&j and apples for the past two days. PB&J and apples are almost as good as it can get, don't get me wrong, but balance, variety, and moderation (as they put it in Treatment!) are key to a healthy life.
There's some locally made Kombucha in their refrigerator that will be mine in the morning when I roll out of my warm bunk and into their wonderful little grocery store. It's the first place I've really felt at home (in terms of food) since I left Austin and Whole Foods World Headquarters behind.

p.s. I have not showered since Saturday. This is Tuesday.
p.p.s. That's only REALLY 4ish days, you can start to call me a "transient-tree-hugging-pot-smoking bum-of-a-hippie" when we get to 7.
p.p.p.s. right now you can just call me "ripe".


I'm on the road to SOMEWHERE.
Well, not exactly.

I'm in Butler, Missouri. Stopped.
RV is already in need of service. Alternator to be changed this morning before I get back on the road to my Grandparents house in Kansas City. Yesterday the alternator failed to support my headlights as I drove through dusk trying to make it before the whole thing quit working on me. My cell phone was plugged into the AC inverter, but I soon realized that power was not being added to my phone, instead, the battery seemed to suck the power OUT of my phone.

I quickly dialed my Grandparents house to inform them what was happening and then I lost all power. I put reflectors on the road behind the disabled vehicle and then I crawled into the over-cab bed with 6 sleeping bags, shivering and cold--it began to snow. I figured I'd be there til morning.

A Missouri Highway Police Officer knocked on my back door not 15 minutes later. My grandparents told them I was somewhere on US-71N between Kansas City and Nevada, Missouri.

The Officer came into the RV and checked out the place, saw that I store my shoes in the refrigerator and looked at me like I was an alien.
He called for a tow truck and both it and I were towed to the next closest town, Butler. So here I am, day 3 on the road and things are looking grand.

Don't let my tone disguise the fact that I knew something like this would happen before the trip REALLY got underway... and I'm OK with it.

I now know what an alternator is.


SXSW in full effect

FLATSTOCK (http://flatstock.com) begins today at SXSW in Austin.
I probably wont make it until tomorrow but that's ok cuz I didn't think I'd still be in Austin to check it out anyways. But, why not stay for one of the coolest graphic arts shows in the country? Flatstocks exhibition and sale of gig-art has something for everyone....Visual stimuli coming out the wah-zoo. I'll beeee there, man.

If I had the gumption, I'd make it to ALL of these shows tonight (Thursday/16)

Blackalicious (Hip-Hop)-- free Auditorium Shores -- at 6pm

Ethan Rose (Experimental) -- the Hideout - at 9pm

Daedelus (Electronic) -- Zero Degrees -- 10:40pm

Jean Grae Pt. 2 (Hip-Hop) -- Backroom -- 11pm

Gomez (Rock) --Stubbs -- 3/16 12am

Busdriver (Hip-Hop) -- Zero Degress -- 12:30

1/2 Swollen Members (Hip-Hop) -- Zero Degrees -- 1am
1/2 Devin the Dude (Hip-Hop)-- the Backroom -- 1:10am