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Survival for a Disabled Me

I just found out yesterday that my horrible leg and back pain, the tingling, burning, aching, etc.... are caused by severe arthritis in my back. 

The plan is to lose weight (a LOT of it!), eat healthy, exercise, go through physical and water therapy, and if need be, steroid shots.

Chances are thought, because it is so advanced, I might end up in a wheel chair in a few years. While we do only have two acres, it is just too much for me. We live on top of a ridge, so I need to walk down the hills to get to anything, especially the chicken and goat pens.

After a long family discussion last night, we decided to move. Why?
  • Closer to town means closer to doctors and therapies.
  • Being in a less-spread out means we might find some friends for my son. He has none.
  • Maybe we can find a house near a YMCA so I can continue water therapy on my own, and my son can get exercise in the pool too! Maybe there might even be a rock climbing wall..
  • Maybe we can find a house near a library so my special needs son can get a job shelving books. He is obsessed with things being in the right order.
  • Even if we just 1/2 an acre, we can still have chickens, turkeys and maybe 2 mini-nubian goats.
  • If I have 9 4x8 raised beds for annual veggies, that's 288 SF of veggies. Plenty of room. Doesn't count tomatoes (in pots), fruit and nut trees, berry brambles, a raised bed herb garden, and raised beds for rhubarb and asparagus.
  • I prefer dehydrating so as long as a I have my choppers, dehydrators, seal-a-meal and so forth, I will do just fine putting away food.
  • Assuming Hubby or friends can help, I might still be able to can jams, salsa, pickle relish and on and on.
  • Hoping to make a decent profit on our current farm to install solar panels on our new home.
So many other things to think about. Yes, we're giving up our privacy and will be surrounded by people AND will be easier to get to for raiding, but, well, let's just say I'll convince robbers with a bit of lead.

Can you think of other ways I can prep as a person who won't be able to walk for too much longer?

Homemade Healthy MRE Recipe - Finnish Turnip Casserole

I love this recipe for Finnish Turnip Casserole. (Hubby is Scandinavian.) This is a single-serve dish, best baked in a dish over a campfire, in a toaster oven or a kitchen oven. BUT combine the dehydrated ingredients ahead of time so it's ready any time. Place the bread crumbs in a tiny 2 oz plastic cup with lid (I get them at Wal-Mart), and put that in the bag of mixed ingredients before you seal it.

Note: You'l have to dehydrate the turnip yourself.

1 cup dehydrated shredded raw turnip
3 tbsp whole egg powder
3 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp butter powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
pinch ginger powder
pinch ground nutmeg
salt/pepper to taste
4 tbsp breadcrumbs

Combine in small baking dish (ramekin) with 2 cups of boiling water and mix to a thick consistency. Top with breadcrumbs and bake until casserole top is brown.

Usually served with special meals, like for holidays.

= = = =
This is not the typical recipe. For my Homemade Healthy MRE recipe cookbook, I am including the usual soups, stews and so forth, but also am branching out to the unusual. Please comment below with any unusual recipe you would like me to write, using dehydrated ingredients.

Research Livestock Before Buying

I can't walk, sit or even exist without constant excruciating pain. No cause determined but hopefully by the end of the week. 

Hubby fell down a flight of stairs 2 weeks ago and still has so much dizziness (and a swollen leg) that he went back to the ER last night.

Because of our health problems, we're selling off bits and pieces of our farm.  Goats, chickens, turkeys and things like a hay rack.

I have to mention that I am bowled over with how LITTLE people understand about the livestock they are calling about!

  • A lady bought two chickens from me this morning, and expected to take them home in a tub, with a tight fitting lid. With no air holes.  Huh?  Made her take one of my boxes.
  • Young lady called yesterday asking about the two goats we have left (buck and a wether), then because she couldn't get her dad to commit, she told me to call them when he decides.  Again, huh?
  • Questions I've gotten recently: "How do you milk a goat?" "What do I feed them?" "Why do you say your buck is stinky and in rut? What does that mean? Can we eat him anyway? Why not?"
ARGH! Seriously, people need to actually research goats BEFORE considering buying them. They are NOT a house-pet, they are livestock. They breed. It's called sex. There are stinky pheromones involved. Bucks attract mates by their stinkiness, and to get the best of them, will spray their stinky urine all over themselves, in their mouths, on their faces, and on you!  If you butcher them while in rut, the stink is into the meat and will be too disgusting to eat.  Yes, you COULD bath the buck IF you can get him to stay still, but as soon as he pees, he will be stinky again.

And...yes! A 2 month old buckling can get any girl goat above 4-5 months old pregnant!

  • Oh, and a boy goat is a buckling or buck (NOT a billy) unless he's castrated, then he's a wether (not whether or weather). And a girl goat is a doeling or doe, NOT a nanny! People who say billy and nanny drive me crazy. Do you call a female deer a nanny?
  • No, chickens (come on people...HENS) don't need a rooster to lay eggs! Brooding hens (chickens or turkeys) means they want to brood (i.e. set [not sit] on eggs and hatch them).
  • That big bovine animal group is called CATTLE. A female that has given birth to (and that we get milk from) is called a COW. A female less than 1-2 years old that has not gotten pregnant is a HEIFER. A baby is a CALF. A boy that has all of his working parts is a BULL.  A boy that has been castrated before maturity is a STEER. There are other subcategories, but how about we start referring to them as ... "Look Mom, I see a herd of cattle in that pasture!"
We bought this place 4 years ago, but before we did, we researched ALL farm animals (except horses because we never intend to get food value). Goats, pigs, chickens, turkeys, ducks, guineas, quail, rabbits, sheep, and I'm sure I'm forgetting something. We raised quail and rabbits in our apartment, had a garden on our balcony, and I learned how to make bread and other goodies.

Sorry, just a pet peeve. I've been dealing with these idiots for weeks now, and I am sick of people calling at 9 p.m. asking to come right out and get the boy goat to take for processing the next day. Or saying they will be right out, so we cancel our plans to an epilepsy picnic (my kid) only to have them show up on the third day.

Please please, before you decide to call someone to look at their farm animals, do a little research.
  • Will your property sustain the animal and babies?
  • What will you feed them? What about in Winter?
  • How to house them? Forget about the fancy smancy ... do basics for warmth, shelter, and a little comfort.
  • What diseases does the animal get? What regular health and maintenance things will you need to do?
  • Correct terminology.
  • How to milk the doe, ewe or cow, even when your hands are tired.
  • ... ... so much more.
Get some books, even if just from the library, and read read read! Visit working farms or urban homesteads. Ask if you can try to milk their animal, or help gather eggs.

I'll shut up now. Just had to vent!

Nutrition for Bibb or Butterhead Lettuce

My tiny garden has a HUGE amount of bibb and butterhead lettuces, much more than we can eat right now. I began to wonder if these lettuces have any nutrition in them, as I know iceberg lettuce does not.

Research shows these do have nutrition! So much so, that I plan on harvesting everything I can today, and after our dinner salad tonight, placing the rest in the dehydrator. Will add to dips, soups and other dishes this Winter.

Will also be harvesting my chocolate mint and flat leaf parsley, both to dehydrate.

But I digress!

The following the info for 1 cup shredded greens (bibb and butterhead lettuces). Doesn't include all of the MANY minerals in it!  Source:

Update: 8/29/14
I have harvested big bunches of our greens and dehydrated them. Last night I had scrambled eggs (from our chickens!!) and sprinkled 2 tablespoons of my dehydrated bibb lettuce powder on top, along with some parsley.  Talk about a bang of nutrition!

Radishes for Good Health

Hubby and I were watering our tiny garden this morning. We picked a radish each, a teeny not-even-as-big-as-a-toothpick carrot, and nibbled on some parsley. Why only one radish? I researched radishes this week, and found out they are super-good for prostate (hubby's problem), anti-cancer, and they fight free radicals.
French Breakfast Radishes

Radish (Raphanus sativus), Fresh, raw,
Nutrition Value per 100 g,
(Source: USDA National Nutrient data base)
PrincipleNutrient ValuePercentage of RDA
Energy16 Kcal1%
Carbohydrates3.40 g3%
Protein0.68 g1%
Total Fat0.10 g<1%
Cholesterol0 mg0%
Dietary Fiber1.6 g4%
Folates25 µg6%
Niacin0.254 mg1.5%
Pyridoxine0.071 mg5.5%
Riboflavin0.039 mg3%
Vitamin A7 IU<1%
Vitamin C14.8 mg25%
Vitamin E0 mg9%
Vitamin K1.3 µg1%
Sodium39 mg2.5%
Potassium233 mg5%
Calcium25 mg2.5%
Copper0.050 mg5%
Iron0.34 mg4%
Magnesium10 mg2.5%
Manganese0.069 mg2.5%
Zinc0.28 mg2%
Carotene-ß4 µg--
Carotene-α0 µg--
Lutein-zeaxanthin10 µg--

Health benefits of radish (from:

  • Since ancient times, Chinese believe that eating radish and other brassica group vegetables such as cabbage, cauliflower, and napa-cabbage would bring wholesome health.
  • They are are one of very low calorie root vegetables. Fresh root provides just 16 calories per 100 g. Nonetheless; they are a very good source of anti-oxidants, electrolytes, minerals, vitamins and dietary fiber.
  • Radish, like other cruciferous and Brassica family vegetables, contains isothiocyanate anti-oxidant compound called sulforaphane. Studies suggest that sulforaphane has proven role against prostate, breast, colon and ovarian cancers by virtue of its cancer-cell growth inhibition, and cyto-toxic effects on cancer cells.
  • Fresh roots are good source of vitamin C; provide about 15 mg or 25% of DRI of vitamin C per 100 g. Vitamin C is a powerful water soluble anti-oxidant required by the body for synthesis of collagen. It helps the body scavenge harmful free radicals, prevention from cancers, inflammation and help boost immunity.
  • In addition, they contain adequate levels of folates, vitamin B-6, riboflavin, thiamin and minerals such as iron, magnesium, copper and calcium. 
  • Further, they contain many phytochemicals like indoles which are detoxifying agents and zea-xanthin, lutein and beta carotene, which are flavonoid antioxidants. Their total antioxidant strength, measured in terms of oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC value), is 1736 µmol TE/100 g.

We decided to eat at least one radish a day for as long as they will grow. BUT we are also going to harvest extras, slice thinly, and dehydrate to powder. They are super-hot when they grow large, so we plan to use them when we want heat in a dish, like instant turkey taco meat.

Also great to make "horseradish" sauce or cocktail sauce!

Suggestion: grow some!

Homemade Healthy MRE Recipe: Instant Pancakes

Easy to mix in a mug!
I love pancakes! Such a comfort food, not just for me, but also a lot of other people. My son prefers them with chocolate chips. You might like powdered bananas in them. Experiment!

4 cups all-purple flour
1 cup instant powdered milk (goat, cow, rice...your choice)
3/4 cup malted milk powder
1/2 cup powdered buttermilk
1/2 cup butter powder
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup plus 3 Tbls whole egg powder
2 Tbls baking powder
1-2 tsp salt (to taste)
1 tsp baking soda
dash of cinnamon
dash of nutmeg

Measure and sift the ingredients. Combine well. Store in an airtight/moisture-proof jar or baggie until needed. When ready to use, measure out 1 cup of dry mixture and add a little over 1/3 cup of water. Combine. Remember, it's ok to have lumps! Cook on a hot and sprayed griddle or frying pan as you would any other pancake, flipping when the first side bubbles and the edges become a little dry, about 2 minutes on each side. I like to top mine with instant or ho
memade jam.

Homemade Healthy MRE Recipe - Cajun Gumbo

Here is another recipe to make from your dehydrated or freeze-dried ingredients.

Cajun Gumbo

Many years ago, I had the pleasure of driving through Louisiana. I made a point to stop in the French Quarter, and tasted my first gumbo. So very yummy.

This recipe is so delicious and super-easy to make. Add freeze-dried cooked shrimp if you'd like. Spice it up or tone it down. Your choice.

1/4 cup instant rice (brown or white)
2 Tbs dried diced sausage
2 Tbs dried diced chicken
1 Tbs diced onion
1 Tbs diced bell pepper
1 Tbs diced celery
1 tsp powdered chicken broth (or 1 chicken bouillon cube)
1 tsp Creole seasoning
1/2 tsp garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all and store in water-proof air-tight container/bag. When ready to eat, add 1-2 cups of boiling or very hot water. (Amount will depend if you want it soupy or quite thick.) Stir. Cover. Let sit approx 20 minutes, or until all ingredients have reconstituted.  Stir and enjoy!

If you can't find a freeze-dried or dehydrated version of your favorite sausage, do it yourself! Just thinly slice, cook, then drain/pat away every bit of fat, and dehydrate at a high temp. Check regularly to see if any more fat is accumulating, and if it is, pat it off.  When the sausage is super crispy and dry (not greasy), it should be ready.

Another Note:
Lots of people put okra in their gumbo. Finding dehydrated okra is impossible (if you know a source, please please let it in the comments below!). So, here's a tip about dehydrating okra: freeze it. That way, it won't get all oooey goooey. So... freeze till almost solid, slice thinly, place on dehydrator sheets, and dehydrate at around 115 degrees F till crispy.  See:  frozen to dehydrated, with a brief stop in between.