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Instead of Gatorade, Try Haymakers’ Punch

“For I will give you abundant water for your thirst and for your parched fields. And I will pour out my Spirit and my blessings on your children.” (Isaiah 44:3)

There are many things I miss about working in living history. I miss “my” herb garden. I miss spinning wool into yarn on the Great, or Walking, Wheel. I miss filling the bobbins on the loom tool (another type of spinning wheel). I miss weaving. I miss braiding straw for making hats. I miss cooking and baking on the hearth. And I miss the clothing.

Except when it was 90+ degrees outside and I had to get a fire going both on the hearth and in the bake oven (that little beehive-shaped cavity next to the kitchen fireplace).

Housewives in the 19th century did bake…even in summer. Southern ladies had summer kitchens; those were rarer in New England. However, New England housewives were sensible enough to rise early and get their baking done before that afternoon sun rolled directly overhead. In 2018, in a living history museum, where you have to demonstrate during normal business hours, you simply endured.

Or not.

I remember one afternoon that I felt extremely tired, and even a little dizzy, after baking all day. During the long walk back to my car after the work day was done, I was hailed by a fellow co-worker. I turned to greet her and almost fell over. She looked at me funny. I think I mumbled something about heat exhaustion but that was all. Exhausted, I drove the 30+ miles home and figured a good night’s sleep would have me feeling better in the morning.

The next morning the alarm went off. I sat up in bed, intent on turning it off, and the whole room spun. I nearly passed out again. Instead, I sat there, chilling, thinking it was the longest minute in history before the alarm stopped on its own. Finally, I got up but I felt weak and shaky, and I had to cling tightly to the banister as I made my way downstairs. It took me 45 minutes to feed the barnyard; normally, it was a 25 minute job. I decided to call in; there was no way I could interpret for visitors this day.

I also decided I needed to go to the hospital.

Now, one would think I would’ve had the sense to call a friend, to wake Mom, etc. to take me to the hospital. There’s a reason why dehydration is equated with inebriation: both make you stupid.

After calling work, I got in the car and backed out of the driveway. At the end of the driveway, I turned my head to look both ways for traffic and the whole road spun out…much like my room had done when I first awakened. As soon as it was clear, I drove myself to the hospital (yes, folks, we’re out there…).

The folks in the lobby must’ve seen me zigzagging like a drunk across the parking lot. They had a wheelchair waiting for me.

I must add here, for the benefit of future heat exhausted patients, that emergency room workers should NOT run with their patients down to the ER. As I was hurled along those stark green and white fluorescently-lit halls, it was all I could do not to “hurl” in another sense.

Long story short, two hours’ later, the doc told me that I had flushed most of the electrolytes out of my body the day before. You see, I thought I was okay, all but immune to dehydration, because I had been sipping water all day. Apparently, when it’s 90+ degrees and you’ve got a couple of infernos going behind you…and you’re wearing three layers of clothing…you need to replace those electrolytes, not just slake the thirst.

The doc recommended either Pedialyte or Gatorade; I prefer something a little healthier…and less expensive.
Fortunately, folks in earlier centuries made something called Haymakers’ Punch, or Switchel. I got to try some while visiting another living history museum in New Hampshire over a dozen years’ ago and they gave me the recipe. It’s an acquired taste for some. Others, like myself, think it’s delicious. Here it goes:

1 cup apple cider vinegar
¾ cups of honey (preferably locally grown)
4 teaspoons of molasses
¼ teaspoon of ginger (there’s that ginger again…)

Place all of the above ingredients in a cup of warm water, stirring constantly until dissolved. Pour the mixture into a 1 gallon container (preferably glass or ceramic; I don’t recommend plastic for any recipe). Fill the rest of the container with water. Keep in the refrigerator.

A word to the wise: Switchel is meant to be sipped, not gulped, or drank straight down.

Though it does not have all the fancy labeling, coloring, and artificial flavorings of either Pedialyte or Gatorade, Switchel will keep you hydrated during those hot summer days when you need a little more than just plain water to keep your cool. And it’s definitely an inexpensive alternative.

May God bless you & keep you!

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Wednesday’s Weed Walk – Zingiberis officinalis

“And God said, ‘Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed to which it shall be for meat’.” (Genesis 1:29)

I use ginger (Zingiberis officinalis) for everything! It’s in the asthma tincture I shared about recently; it’s in my digest tea (see recipe below); it’s in the golden milk I drink to control my Irritable Bowel Syndrome. I put it in a winter tonic. I also make and eat gingerbread and ginger snap cookies (or small cakes, as we used to say in the 19th century). I mean, it is so versatile and I’ll bet most of the people reading this have it in their spice cabinet right now.

Ginger has many healing properties. It is said to be a “stimulant, diaphoretic, carminative, emmenagogue, expectorant, antiemetic, analgesic, antispasmodic, stomachic, antipyretic, and antimicrobial (Tierra, 2003, p. 87). It has been used to treat motion sickness. It’s great for any lung complaint, such as asthma, bronchitis, and even pneumonia. It’s a stimulant for people with poor circulation. It has been used in poultices to ease the pain of arthritis. It’s capable of soothing sore throats and easing menstrual cramps. It’s also good for indigestion, nausea and flatulence. In fact, if you’ve ever had candied ginger, this was one of the earliest “treats” found in the local “country” or “general” store, along with horehound and lemon drops. Candying these “medicines” was a way to get children to take them. Think of Mary Poppins and her “spoonful of sugar” to help the “medicine go down”.

The FDA has not evaluated these statements. This blog post is for informational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any diseases.

Despite being a Christian, I have spent years studying Wicca and have a lot of respect for this religion. According to their traditions, ginger is said to “lend power” when “performing spells” as ginger is warming by nature and is particularly effective for “love spells” (Cunningham, 2006, p. 125). Supposedly, if you plant the whole root, you will attract money into your life, too. It is also recommended that you sprinkle some powdered ginger into your pockets, which could be interesting, to say the least ;).

Though we had ginger growing in the herb garden at the living history museum I used to work at, I have never tried growing it at home. My garden is still in the landscaping stages owing to when I have the necessary resources, such as time or money, to finish…or I dig down into that Yankee ingenuity to re-purpose something for the job. However, it seems to grow just fine in New England and overwinters with a healthy layer of mulch covering it. The only issues we had at the museum was that the groundhogs liked it a little spicy; we could never keep either the ginger root (it’s the root we use, not the leaves or other aerial parts) or the horseradish completely free of their nibbling. Surrounding it with chicken wire might do the trick. It’s worth a shot.

Whether you’re healing a bout of indigestion, casting a love spell, or baking some gingerbread to enjoy with family and friends, planting some ginger root in the garden, or simply buying some powdered organic, I’m confident you’ll find some new and effective uses for this little powerhouse.

May God bless you & keep you!

Digest Tea

1 tablespoon chamomile
½ tablespoon fennel
1/8 teaspoon of ginger
1 pinch of cardamom (with both the ginger and the cardamom, this is more to taste rather than science)

Heat water in a stainless steel kettle or sauce pan (water should be hot but not boiling; I often bring it to a boil and then let it sit for a few minutes so as not to damage the healing properties in each plant). Pour over the measured herbs/spices. Cover with a lid and allow it to steep for 20 minutes. Strain (or you may use a tea ball) and, if desired, add some honey to sweeten.

This is great about ½ hour before a meal…or as a soothing treat before bed.

REFERENCES

Cunningham, Scott (2006). Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs, 2nd edition. Woodbury, MN: Llewellyn Publications.

Tierra, Lesley (2003). Healing with the Herbs of Life. Berkeley, CA: Crossing Press.

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Stay tuned…

…our regularly scheduled program will be back as soon as I’ve finished my final exam this week! =)

Stay safe, stay healthy…May God bless you & keep you!

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Getting Back to What Matters Most

“To learn, you must want to be taught. To refuse reproof is stupid.” (Proverbs 12:1)

I don’t usually post on Sundays. It is the Lord’s day and I try to keep work out of the picture–even if it is work that I thoroughly enjoy. However, this morning while I was eating my usual breakfast of cereal, fruit, and a spoonful of peanut butter, I decided to read through some older posts at random. What I noticed was the overall change in the tone of this blog.

I read my very first blog post first. There was a bittersweet feeling in my heart as I re-read that happy and upbeat tome. I had such high hopes for building a working, thriving homestead here, but life has thrown so many curve balls at me, I’ve forgotten why I started both blog and homestead in the first place.

There’s been a long theme of indecision. Do I stay or do I go? Can I be content working with what this tiny property will support? Or do I want to reach out for bigger, better, more? If I can’t financially support “tiny”, how will I support “more”? Or, does the limitations this smaller parcel presents make it next to impossible to thrive the way I’ve always hoped and dreamed I would? With everything that has happened–especially in the past year or so–my finances are in such disarray that I’m liable to come away worse for wear.

Or will I?

I keep thinking that maybe this is His answer, this is the “why” of my coming back full circle to facing foreclosure yet again. This is the decision I have to make…and see through to the end. Whatever that end is. Yes, He’s asking me to trust Him. But I’m of two minds as to what He may want me to do. Stay? Or go? (Yes, I believe that’s a song, too)

Even my heart is divided.

This is home. It has been for a long time. But it’s fallen into disrepair and dishevelment. Depression, lack of adequate income, and indecision–boy, I am certainly proof that people get dumber the farther they fall down on their luck!–have wreaked havoc here. It no longer resembles a homestead but a war zone along Tobacco Road. The only denizens of my time and attention are my “babies”. If I ever start to neglect them, it’s time to call it quits completely. However, this is home. Disheveled as it may be, there are 19 years’ of memories attached. My first blog post mentions two St. Bernards. I lost Roxy in 2014 and her son, Bear, 9 months’ later in March of 2015. She was 14, an amazing age for a Saint; he was 11, still a remarkable lifetime, as St. Bernards have a life expectancy of 8-10 years. Roxy, Mom’s dog, Max (Australian cattle dog) and the two lovable mixed-breeds who graced this place before the Saints, Tessa (Black lab/Belgian shepherd/pitbull mix) and Hooch (Beagle/German Shepherd/pitbull mix) are buried here. As are most of the cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, rats, birds, chickens, and ducks who have passed before (I have Bear and Trooper’s ashes). The thought of their remains being paved over, or dug up, for the next strip mall breaks my heart. Ditto for Helen being cut down (Norway maple in the front yard), or any of the other trees and shrubs that have become familiar friends. I can still see the bare bones of this fixer upper and know that, with a little bit of a boost in income–and a lot of TLC–she could easily be a real beauty again. A big part of me would rejoice in being able to revitalize her again.

The other side sees limits everywhere. It is a fixer-upper. I am NOT a carpenter. Last night the outside light’s motion sensor burned out. The light stayed on until I hit the switch instead. I worried for long minutes, before finally nodding off exhaustedly, that it might short out and cause a fire. If I do find that sustainable income, once bills are caught up with, there’s a roof to replace. The house needs lifting so a new foundation can be poured. The electrical and plumbing need updating. The water softener has been on the fritz for years; the toilet bowl is perpetually rust-colored. In short, it is a money pit. And, after so many years both working and volunteering in living history, I would be perfectly content in an old fishing shack in the woods somewhere, off-grid, living a life that most people would consider “roughing it”. For me, it would be heaven on earth…as long as I can bring the goats and the roof doesn’t leak.

I’m limited there, too.

One acre means dwarf varieties and only a small handful. I have three goats. I could easily house 8 in the barn…and still have plenty of space in the barnyard as well. But that’s only enough milk for my own household; it would not provide a surplus to make into soaps and lotions, etc. for sale. It also doesn’t allow for raising a few Angora and Cashmere-grade goats for fiber production. I would have to choose one or the other. And there’s not enough room for sheep.

Or the agility field for the Border Collies and Corgis I dream of owning someday.

I’m limited in growing space, too. There’s been an on-going landscaping project for years…and I’ve completely overwhelmed myself. I love all the shade trees, but they cast a shadow over the ground. In retrospect, I probably should’ve fenced in the shaded front yard for dogs, goats, etc. and left the ever-sunny back for planting. But I wanted some space between them and the interstate that runs past that front lawn. So far, no goats have escaped, but there have been chickens, ducks and St. Bernards roaming free in the past.

All of this leads me to the conclusion that He’s already given me the answer. Do I have the courage to step out in faith to follow where both heart and head are leading? Can I overcome feelings of longing and nostalgia to brave the unknown? And how do I get there? I don’t have sustainable income anywhere else either. And my credit’s bad.
At this point, I really would welcome that rustic fishing shack in the middle of nowhere. But I’m not sure what would happen to the goats if I got arrested as a squatter. This homestead’s going bust at an alarming rate. Got a bunkhouse available? I’ll trade labor for rent (no joke)…provided I can bring the farm with me…including the roosters, who really do crow all day, every day.

Wish I knew what they were so happy about? Or are they complaining that the girls got all the sunflower seeds again this morning???

May God bless you & keep you!

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Wednesday’s Weed Walk – (Salvia officinalis) Sage

“And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat” (Genesis 1:29)

As tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and most will be dressing their plate with a delectable mixture of bread crumbs, onion, celery, butter and sage (among other ingredients), it seems befitting to write about a herb that has become pretty synonymous with this holiday.

But, before I go any further, there’s this:

“These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, cure, or prevent any disease.”

Now, back to our regularly scheduled program…

Though we may also dress our tables with cardboard cutouts of Pilgrims and First Nations’ peoples, and though I also found this herb in “A Handbook of Native American Herbs,” sage is NOT native to North America, but a southern European plant that has long been naturalized here. I was thinking of smudge sticks, which I use to clear negative energy from a room, my home, even a client, before they enter a room or home, and how popular culture has connected them to Native American culture. As the book in question does not say how long this herb has been naturalized in this country, perhaps it does fit into the Native American materia medica botanica, but I will refrain from making a direct connection and instead, share a use found in this book that I also learned about when I worked in living history: a tea made with sage leaves is an excellent gargle for a sore throat (Hutchens, 1992; OSV Training Materials, 2017).

An herb tea, or infusion, is made a little differently than a cup of, say, Lipton tea. With herbs, you heat the water and remove it just before it boils (too hot will kill the natural healing properties of the plants). Then you pour the hot water over the herbs, cover the cup, or teapot, and allow the herbs to steep at least 20 minutes so that whatever you’re brewing will be strong enough to take effect. In this case, this is a gargle so you would use it the same as a swig of Listerine or Scope. If the flavor is too strong (and even the herbalist here considers it slightly gag-inducing in such a raw state), a bit of honey will counteract its astringent taste and have the added benefit of further soothing that raw throat.

**Another note here: when heating the water (or herbs, when making a decoction), it is not recommended to use cast iron as the iron may change the desired effect. Also, NEVER use Teflon-coated, no-stick pots and pans–even for cooking food. There has been too much controversy surrounding their negative effects on our health and, like the iron in cast iron, may leach into whatever you infuse. Metal pans/tea kettles are a better vessel; ceramic, glass, etc. vessels for steeping in.

Renowned herbalist and champion of natural rearing of animals, Juliette de Bairacli Levy says that sage’s very name bespeaks its healing property. It’s Latin name, that is: Salvia officinalis. Salvia comes from the Latin word, salvere, to be well (de Bairacli Levy, 1991). She, too, recommends it as “first-rate…for the treatment of all disorders of throat, lungs and ears” and as external “application for bruises, watery swellings and tumours”. Further, she says that our neighbors south of the border, the Mexican peoples, “make brushes from branches of the herb, using them to cleanse and dry off the sweating bodies of their horses and cattle, the leaves being both absorbent and invigorating to tired flesh”. In her book The Herbal Handbook for the Dog and Cat, she also recommends it for mastitis…in dogs, cattle, goats, etc., the latter of which are more prone owing to the unnatural removal of their calves and kids for commercial milk production. In this case, you would infuse the leaves as above for a gargle but instead bathe the udders (or breasts if a dog or cat) with the sage “tea” 4-5 times a day, making sure to gently press out all milk beforehand. The area should then be “bathed with a brew of elder and dock leaves – one handful of each brewed in 1 1/2 pints of water” (de Bairacli Levy, 1992).

In humans, many of the same uses seem to apply. Herbalist Michael Tierra recommends it for “excessive perspiration, night sweats” to “clear vaginal discharge and to stop the flow of milk” and says it is also “useful for diarrhea, dysentery, the early stages of cold and flu, sinus congestion, bladder infections and inflammatory conditions” (Tierra, 1998). In this case, the infusion is made with 1/4 ounce of sage to a pint of hot water steeped “in a closed vessel for 10 minutes”. He also recommends combining it with equal parts rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), peppermint (Mentha piperica) and wood betony (Betonica officinalis) for headaches…and, again, I’m finding mention of its uses as a gargle for sore throats. Though I could not find any specific remedies mentioned in his wife’s book, Healing with the Herbs of Life, Lesley Tierra does mention how white sage (Salvia apiana) has become endangered due to over-harvesting.

And, lastly, herbalist Rosemary Gladstar recommends sage as a facial tonic, hair rinse, in foot soaks, to aid digestion (which is probably why it is added to stuffing/dressing on Thanksgiving Day, considering our over-consumption at mealtime this day), help lower cholesterol, as part of a throat spray(!), and to combat hot flashes. This last one combines 2 parts each of black cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa), motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca), and sage, 1 part each of blue vervain (Verbena officinalis) and chaste berry (Vitex agnus-castus) and a measure of mint for taste. These are combined together in their dried form. Then a teaspoon of the mixed herbs is infused for 30 minutes (see sage infusion above) and 1/4 cup is drank throughout the day as needed, not exceeding 3 cups in a 24 hour period (Gladstar, 2008). She recommends, if the tea’s taste is too strong, to instead fill a couple of OO size capsules and take 1-2 capsules 3-4 times each day.

Though I knew all of this stuff, having read these books many times over (as their tattered spines will attestify), I always appreciate the reminders as I peruse them yet again to share the love and knowledge that herbs have given to my life. I hope this little powerhouse, sage, will enrich the quality of your life, too…even if it is only to enrich the flavor of your Thanksgiving Day stuffing. Bon appetit!

May God bless you & keep you!

Works Cited

De Bairacli Levy, Juliette. The Complete Handbook for the Dog and Cat. London, England: Faber and Faber, 1992.
De Bairacli Levy, Juliette. The Complete Handbook for the Farm and Stable. London, England: Faber and Faber, 1991.
Gladstar, Rosemary. Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health. North Adams, Massachusetts: Storey Publishing, 2008.
Hutchens, Alma R. A Handbook of Native American Herbs. Boaston, Massachusetts: Shambhala, 1992.
Tierra, Lesley,L.Ac, Herbalist, A.H.G. Healing with the Herbs of Life. Berkeley, California: Crossing Press, 2003.
Tierra, Michael, L.Ac, O.M.D. The Way of Herbs. New York, New York: Pocket Books, 1998.

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Summer Rayne Oakes and the Chicken Skirt

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick; but when dreams come true at last, there is life and joy” (Proverbs 13:12)

Okay. So the Proverb I quoted above is misleading. I can’t exactly say it was a “dream come true” to meet Summer Rayne Oakes of Plant One on Me fame, but I will confess to feeling giddy in the days and weeks leading up to her visit at Logee’s Greenhouse two weeks’ ago (yes, I am a bit behind…). Though I am not on the regular schedule at the greenhouse anymore, I still make myself available for busy seasons and special events, of which Summer Rayne’s visit was a bit of both. The anticipation of her visit, being with friends again, and being surrounded by beautiful plants really didn’t seem like work at all. It was good to be back, if only for the day, and fun to meet a fellow plant and chicken enthusiast.

Yes, chickens.

For those of you who have never visited Summer Rayne’s YouTube channel, Plant One on Me, Summer Rayne shares her New York apartment with a chicken named Kippee. And it was Kippee’s seemingly miraculous adaptation to apartment dwelling that really caught my interest with Summer Rayne.

How does she do this???

I raise chickens. And I have had the occasional convalescing chicken in a cage in the kitchen from time to time where I can more adequately care for them while they heal. I’ve also penned the whole flock of them, along with ducks and goats, in my laundry room/rabbit room during a snowstorm. However, I can’t imagine letting any of them free-range the house.

Like Kippee.

Obviously, that was one of my first questions for Summer Rayne…and I made sure to wear my infamous quilted chicken skirt to help spark that early rapport. How on earth did she house-break Kippee? Is she house-broken? It appears not 100% but one chicken alone is not so overwhelming to clean up after regarding an errant “accident” along the way. Kippee even sleeps on a roost over her human’s bed…with a hammock underneath, just in case.

All I can think of is this ROCKS! I mean, totally ROCKS!

No, I’m not planning to roost 22 chickens indoors now. Ditto for the 7 ducks and 3 goats…though the latter have figured out how to open the backdoor if Mom & I don’t latch it properly. But I like how warm and comforting her abode looks on YouTube, with so much beautiful greenery and a chicken gently clucking away at her side. During the aforementioned snowstorm, I confess it was rather comforting to have my many “children” so close at hand. It’s, like, the ultimate of bringing nature indoors with you. And the word I’ve been searching for is harmony. Again, with my crew, it’s simply not feasible for the long-term, but it tickles me pink nonetheless. (No, I’m not your average bear…)

Oh…and as for the chicken skirt?

Long before my ill-fated sojourn into living history, I have always had an affinity for long skirts and dresses. Like my honorary mentor, Tasha Tudor, I am convinced I once lived in the 19th century. And, like Tasha, I hope that my brand of heaven has me wearing those long skirts and dresses, and spinning wool on a great wheel to make yarn. It’s a goal for this life, to be sure. And, many years ago, I took some steps to make that dream a little more of a reality by slitting the inseams of my trousers and jeans and searching fabric stores for the funkiest, wackiest fabrics to fill the triangles between those ripped-out inseams. I love the modesty of long, full skirts and high necklines…but I also like to have fun. I like my clothing to be fun.

So, without further ado, here I am with Summer Rayne, having received her autograph inside her most recent book, How to Make a Plant Love You, in my chicken skirt, though the skirt is rather cut off; will have to take a picture of it and upload for a future post (sorry!) (And, yes, I really do need to lose those extra 40 lbs….after seeing this picture, I am so on it!).

May God bless you & keep you!

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Finding My Stride Again

“I will bless the Lord who counsels me; He gives me wisdom in the night. He tells me what to do. I am always thinking of the Lord; and because He is so near, I never need to stumble or to fall. Heart, body, and soul are filled with joy.” (Psalms 16:7-9)

Back in November of 2017, shortly after I had first started working in living history, I witnessed something that bothered me greatly at my new job and I made the mistake of blogging about it–first. The proper channels would have been to report what I saw to management first and, then, if I didn’t get the results I hoped for, take it higher within the organization. Blogging about it probably should have been the last course of action, if at all in this instance.

I suppose I don’t need to tell everyone reading this that I got myself into some serious hot water over it. Of course, a co-worker saw the post and brought it my manager’s attention. I saw it coming almost the moment I hit “Publish” but, the activist in me, squashed the Nervous Nellie voice inside, insisting that what I saw was wrong and needed to be brought to “light”.

Wrong assumption.

I had one manager get in my face and tell me I didn’t see what I said I saw, threaten my job, and then with litigation if I ever posted anything like that again. The only reason I hadn’t lost my job right then and there was I had never been issued an employee handbook when I first started so, legally, they couldn’t let me go. I spent the next several weeks going back through all of my blogs and changing every place where my employer’s name might’ve been to “living history” or simply “my employer”, etc. I also removed the offending post…and then another that they found objectionable, and on another subject entirely, that I hadn’t even considered might be offensive in any way.

Yes, it was the responsible thing to do after such a misjudgment. And it had far more serious implications than anything threatened in that fateful meeting.

First, my credibility regarding what I saw came into question. Such a misjudgment meant that I also might not be a reliable person to ask. I saw more of the same actions/behavior over the next year or so but, even with another co-worker backing me up, my complaints and concerns fell on deaf ears.

Second, I went from being in complete awe that I had had the good fortune of snagging this job to, in many ways, hating it. Oh, sure, I loved the skills they taught, I loved learning more about the history of the time period, and especially, the day-to-day lives of people in America prior to the Civil War. As I am in the northeastern part of the country, I learned a lot about abolition and the anti-slavery movement. I loved the fashions I felt privileged to wear. And, when they still allowed/scheduled me to work in it, I loved working in “my” herb garden.

After that fateful meeting, however, I felt more and more the outsider in certain corners.

And found friends and allies in unexpected places.

Lastly, thoroughly chastened, I stopped blogging almost completely. I went from publishing a post nearly every week day to weeks without a single one. I found myself alternately depressed and angry. Stress and anxiety took over. Joy showed up only on rare occasions. Burnout quickly followed. More, I felt–and still feel–guilty for failing those without a voice by my hasty actions on their behalf.

In short, I lost my stride. And now I’m struggling to get it back.

Prior to this event, and its aftermath, I had regular posts, such as Wednesday’s Weed Walk where each week I talked about a different herb, its uses, and even some of its history. I had regular posts regarding frugal living (I am the eternal tightwad and proud of it!). Throughout my first October of regular blogging, I shared stories of my haunted homestead. And even some more personal stuff about growing up in an abusive, alcoholic home. The latter may not have had much to do with homesteading, the original theme of this blog, but it certainly had a hand in shaping this would-be homesteader. I would truly love to get back to this…in some capacity.

Of course, I am also facing a new challenge: time management.

My weekdays now consist of an early rising to meet with my instructor by 7:30 a.m. to spend an hour on the road behind the wheel of a school bus. Before I leave home, I have goats, chickens, ducks, rabbits, cats and Smoky the Cockatiel to feed, water, etc., and yoga. Then I head several towns’ over to the Town Hall to work with the tax assessor’s office. I have more of the same animal care when I get home, class work to complete for college, and a novel that I am already promoting, though it may be several months before it is completed.

I’m not sure I can squeeze a daily post in again, especially with a second blog on my author’s page (lisaburbank.wordpress.com) to keep up with also, but I am certainly going to be more intentional with my blog. I’m going to commit to 2 posts per week. And I’m asking, you, my readers, what would you like to see more of? I’ll do my best to deliver. In the meantime, I would like to thank everyone who has stuck by me, read, followed, and liked my posts, and who have shared the rather sporadic posts of the last year or so. Here’s to hoping I can catch my stride again soon!

May God bless you & keep you!