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#61 of 329 Old 03-17-2004, 05:29 PM
 
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farmer mama, that is so great. We have a wood stove, too for when the power goes out.

I'm trying to teach my kids about native plants, gardening (dd has helped in the garden since she was a babe- my ds mostly pulls plants out by the roots). If this knowledge is lost and when the oil runs out, which it surely will, people won't know how to live.

You've inspired me to think more deeply about these issues and leave my "comfort zone." I do need to go further and teach the kids more.

Being right is not always fair, but being fair is always right
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#62 of 329 Old 03-17-2004, 07:22 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Survival Skills are a BIG reason that dh and I ever came to terms about this. I've always been a lot more "crunchy" than him, and although he is very political he'd just get pissed about things and never do anything about them.
He's pretty convinced that something is going to happen soon, whether it is a natural disaster, plague, or likewise. Once he started thinking in terms of "how can I provide for my family if society collapses" we began to agree on a lot of things. So although my motives are fueled by what I think is responsible, and his are fueled by a desire to be able to protect, we have both come to the same conclusions and are directing our lives to the ultimate goal of self-sufficiency.
Not that I want to live in a hole and pretend like the rest of the world doesn't exist! But I want to be able to survive if I have to and in the process teach my children to love and honor Mother Earth.
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#63 of 329 Old 03-17-2004, 09:15 PM
 
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Do any of you focus on heirloom varieties in your gardens? This is something dh & I have talked about doing this year (ok, we're a little behind with our garden already : ). I find the thought of the future consequences of GMO practices really frightening.

Keeping busy with 2 boys & 1 girl ('04, '06, '08)
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#64 of 329 Old 03-17-2004, 11:35 PM
 
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Yeah - so many interested in a book discussion group. So, why don't we start?! Would anyone be against reading The Good Life by the Nearings? It seems that's a place of interest. How about if we give a week to find the book at the store or library? Has anyone organized a book discussion via discussion boards before. If so, please jump in! I'm winging this! What do you all say? If we agree, then I'll start a new thread in the book section.

p.s. I started a thread in 'sewing and crafts' called "crazy holiday gift idea already" suggesting we come up with a craft a month to make in bulk so we have presents to give during the holiday season. I thought some of you here might like that idea. If so, go check it out.

(I hope I'm not high-jacking this thread, but just rolling with its progression!)

Oh, and yes VBMama, I do worry about not using heirloom varieties in the garden.
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#65 of 329 Old 03-18-2004, 12:19 AM
 
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Hi all!

Heirloom variety is so important to me and my dh!

We currently grow green zebra and purple cherokee tomatoes each year.

I work at a Organic food market a couple times a week and we deal with local organic growers alot. There is one grower inparticulair that is growing all heirloom and when I purchase any of his tomatoes I dry the seeds to dry to plant in the spring.

He also supplies pepper and tomato plants for our store in the spring.

Heirloom Apples are abundant in our store too and I would love to grow many apple trees when we have our land!

Varieties like Ambrosia, Pink Ladies, Empire, Rome, Elstar are just so wonderful!

My dh and I grow two gardens...one is a rented organic plot and one is in the yard of the house we rent.

I am going to check my local second hand book store for the book by the Nearings and start reading a bit each day. I don't have much time for personal reading but I did make a committment to make personal reading a priority this year.

I am going to check out the craft thread it sounds great. I love to offer hand made gifts to those I love and what a great idea to start now!

Wildcrafter: In answer to your question, I try to wildcraft and/or cultivate most of my herbs. I am very lucky to have a close friend who is also a Herbalist that lives in a different bioregion so we trade out herbs to each other alot. I also travel into the Mountains close by, and manage to find different herbs at different elevations.

I try to wildcraft and cultivate all my stock but alas I cannot all the time. Sometimes a demand for an herb depletes my stock and then I must look for organic herbs to purchase. Or sometimes a herb is just not available in the above bioregions and I cannot cultivate it in the short growing time in which I live in. Then I will source the herb through a reputable grower.
Thanks so much for your interest in what I do!


Take care all!
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#66 of 329 Old 03-18-2004, 12:54 AM
 
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Hi all, I'm on board for starting The Good Life next week! We love heirloom seeds and almost always choose to go with heirlooms when we are ordering ours. The tomatoes seem to do so much better! I will check out the craft thread. Wildcrafter and other herbal moms, I grow a lot of medicinal herbs and wildcraft some to make salves, tinctures and infusions for the use of my family and for friends. I always seem to have a hard time taking plants from the wild unless they are something that is really rampant (nettles, mullien, plaintan, dandelion, comfrey, etc). I know the "guidelines" of gathering, but I still feel extremely cautious. What do you think? Also, it seems like a lot of us are in the pacific northwest, hmmm... maybe that campfire is a possiblity?
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#67 of 329 Old 03-18-2004, 09:39 AM
 
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I can get the Nearing book at the library. Looking forward to delving in. It's been 5-6 years since I first read it and a lot has changed in my life since then.

Someone mentioned life in the slow lane and that made me laugh. Being an at home mom, when I drive I usually have no time constraints and totally take my time. We always slow down at a few farms on the way to town so ds can check out the cows and horses. A couple times I've noticed poeple losing their grip behind me because I've forgotten that there are other people on the road as we go 15 mph to check out cows. Usually we encouter very little traffic but if I go somewhere at 8 or 9am then others are trying to get to work. I have no road rage left in me. But I remember days of traffic, stress and middle fingers.

I'll be driving to Boston for Easter. Actually getting on the HIGHWAY! Makes me glad I drive an old tank volvo!

Farmer mama, I always have a hard time harvesting certain plants that don't seem prevelant. Once I saw a ladies slipper in the woods and I wanted to barricade it I was so afraid someone would step on it! I've found that a lot of herbs around here have cycles and that every year a few do really well and others are diminished. A few that flourish all the time include yarrow, st. johnswort, red clover, plantain, mullein, yellowdock, dandelion, berries/leaves and cinnamon fern. For these herbs I consider myself trimming and encouraging growth, not cutting down.

If I see a pine branch that has fallen during the winter I take advantage and slice out some inner bark but I can't do that to a live tree.
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#68 of 329 Old 03-18-2004, 11:09 AM
 
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Just requested "The Good Life" from my library. Isn't the net great! I used to go a town over to the library and now my local library, just 3 blocks away finally got connected to the internet. Yippee!

I haven't read this one yet, so I am looking forward to discussing it with everyone.

I also requested "This Organic Life: Confessions of Suburban Homesteader" while I was at it.

My family of 3 (plus pup) Indigo (Aimee), Rob (dp), Ryne (ds) & Phebe (dog), plus my BIL's family of 3.

 
"The best way to predict the future is to invent it." - Alan Kay

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#69 of 329 Old 03-18-2004, 02:42 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by Wildcrafter
I've found that a lot of herbs around here have cycles and that every year a few do really well and others are diminished. A few that flourish all the time include yarrow, st. johnswort, red clover, plantain, mullein, yellowdock, dandelion, berries/leaves and cinnamon fern. For these herbs I consider myself trimming and encouraging growth, not cutting down.

If I see a pine branch that has fallen during the winter I take advantage and slice out some inner bark but I can't do that to a live tree.
This is pretty much how I feel about this topic too. I use only non-threatened herbs in my practice that I have a history of wildcrafting.

I wildcraft alot on my MIL's land. She and my FIL are beekeepers and have a lovely variety of herbs. Nettle is abundant there starting in mid June to mid July for wildcrafting.

As Wildcrafter said there is a way to wildcraft that encourages growth and sustainablilty of the plants. Also knowing what is safe and effective to substitute in for endangered or threatened herbs in formulas is a good tool to have.

If you wildcraft consistently in an area then you get to know the rythym of the land and its growing characteristics. You get to know the weather and other factors that affect growth. If an herb is abundant one year it may not be so the next due to a varied and vast number of reasons.

I haven't found my copy of the nearing book yet but I will!!!

Farmer Mama: I think it is super how you are formulating and making your families medicines and care products. Very Sustainable!

Be Well
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#70 of 329 Old 03-18-2004, 04:19 PM
 
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Count me in for the book. I'm heading to the library this weekend.
Yay!
I am also going to check out that crafting thread.

Jennifer, Wifey to Stevenwinky.gif, Mommy to Gwhistling.gif and Hfairy.gif. TTC for 5 years.
Praying for God to bless us again!

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#71 of 329 Old 03-18-2004, 04:59 PM
 
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YAY!
I want a farm so bad! I want to be completely subsistent. This is such a great thread. We are planning on building a cordwood house too! And we hope to grow our own preoduce, and I want an herb garden and chickens for eggs, and flowers and all this stuff.
Not there yet, but this post is an inspiration to me.
I am so excited I can't articulate my words at all.
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#72 of 329 Old 03-18-2004, 05:03 PM
 
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I've been lurking on this thread for a while but haven't had time to type out the reply I would like. I think I've found my tribe here! My family and I are living in a small cabin on 40 acres that we bought ten years ago. We weren't thinking of living there permanently at the time but now we think it's the best lifestyle for us. We are in the process of building a larger house there that will be off the grid, heated with wood, and will incorporate some passive solar design features for heating and cooling. We have chickens and I had a very small garden last year; this year I want to raise a lot more food! We also have a pond that I hope to raise fish in. I'm very interested in learning about permaculture design concepts and biodynamic farming.

I guess I'm into sustainable living and self sufficiency because I don't believe the current way of life as most people know it is sustainable, and I don't want to be dependent on "the grid" for power and food. I want my kids to know where their food comes from. I don't want to be chained to a 9 to 5 job for the rest of my life just to make enough money so I can have the bigger house, the better car, etc. It's not a healthy lifestyle physically or mentally.

I just read The Good Life about a month ago! I would love to discuss it--I am totally inspired by the Nearings. A few other suggestions I have for future reading are:

The Contrary Farmer, The Contrary Farmer's Invitation to Gardening, both by Gene Logsdon

Wilderness Mother, by Deanna Kawatsky

Living More With Less, by Doris Jansen Longacre

I also belong to a couple of homesteading message boards some of you may be interested in if you're not on them already:

Homesteading Today
Today's Homestead

I look forward to discussing more with you!

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#73 of 329 Old 03-18-2004, 06:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I just reserved the book at the library! I'll pick it up this weekend or early next week and delve in!
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#74 of 329 Old 03-18-2004, 09:08 PM
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hi all....
i'm really looking forward to the book discussion! it'll be great to get thoughts flowing between us and all of our diverse experiences and perspectives! i am honored to be part of a group of such awesome intelligent women on this journey.
i am Deaf- and at times I do not get the opportunity to freely share thoughts and perspectives with like-minded people, so this is a especially great thing for me.

about biodynamics- i had the great experience of living/working with a strong waldorf community in north CA and lived next to a master biodynamic farmer, ANdrew Lorand. if y'all read or hear some lectures, his name may be familiar. We just loved his garden- it was so ALIVE... felt all the vital forces flowing and just so much love. His favorite message to us, when we were planting, was to plant with love, being and feeling and doing love, if that makes any sense.
we started reading up a bit about biodynamics then- but it is so intense and really works with our spirit- that I honestly can't say that we are experts or anything. i have a few great books that i'd be glad to bring some passages & quotes to share with y'all sometimes if y'all are interested.
one thing that i really relate to is- looking at the farm as a whole living organism. INCLUDING the farmer! our individualities really play a major role in our gardens. biodynamics is at its best when all aspects of the farm support each other- having a cow for milk AND manure, using manure as fertilizer, having wild areas to support the farm ecosystem, and so on..... so i'm loving this discussion and am really into learning to make salves and other home remedies. my neighbors, who practice biodynamic farming, gave us a beautiful bunch of comfrey last year. so i'm excited about using that...
biodynamics also works a lot with planetary influences, planting at specific times to work with strengthening root/fruit/leaf/seed times. however, this is only our third spring on the farm- and i can't say i've noticed any specific influences benefitting our planting times. so this year i've committed to doing a gardening journal to record my experiences and improve on them every year.
but- of course i got to get my garden beds prepared!:
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#75 of 329 Old 03-18-2004, 09:17 PM
 
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I found the book, but it will take 10 days to arrive Can you believe that library system here does not carry it? This is a large city of about 900,000+ people Wow. I will just have to catch up.

A couple of my good friends have a biodynamic farm coop. Their produce always seems greener, richer, more flavourful. The benefits also, I believe, are so subtle. Its is in energy of the item grown biodynamically. I formulate my tinctures by the rythyms of the moon and planets and their is something so subtle different about the energenics of the medicine.

I love this thread!

Colleen
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#76 of 329 Old 03-19-2004, 03:00 AM
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joyful heart-- i'd love to hear about that lecture on biodynamics that you attended!
VBMama-- I too grew up in an fairly affulent suburban lifestyle- shopping was a also big part of growing up- but i was always the one who went to Goodwill & came home with huge bags of clothing. i get your drift about moms buying 'stuff'... i am really trying to encourage my parents to make things for dd, which they do, yay! but of course we still get junk. i get rid of it eventually.. less is more!
i always wished i had parents who were in touch with the old ways- farming, gardening, earth wisdom, creating.... but. that just allows me to find things on my own time and cherish the things that i realize- and that most other people don't realize. at this point, i'm getting rid of excess baggage in my knowledge (TV & media!!) and make room for new knowledge and skills. i try to learn something new all the time and keep on moving forward.
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#77 of 329 Old 03-19-2004, 03:57 AM
 
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WAhooooooo.....I found y'all! Hi Rebekah I'm also reading the Nearing's book "The Good Life" and am in love with stone buildings. For now...most of it is dreaming and planning; as we are staying with relatives in a Tacoma apartment. I just spent 3 weeks in rural central Pennsylvania...enjoying raw Jersey milk, fresh raw cheeses......my 3 year old tromping around in the mud/snow.....feeding bunnies and little calves and pregnant goats and getting eggs from the "hairy" chickens (as Indy calls them...the ones with feathers on their feet)........and have made some definite life decisions/goals. He is a total farm spirit and deserves no less. Now.....I have to inspire DH to share the dream He's halfway there.....just need to light a fire under his arse.....

I've felt for a long time that MDC is almost too mainstream for me....yikes, am I that crunchy??? Nahhhhhh

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#78 of 329 Old 03-19-2004, 11:35 AM
 
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quote:
"I've felt for a long time that MDC is almost too mainstream for me....yikes, am I that crunchy??? Nahhhhhh"

YOU KNOW WHEN YOU'RE CRUNCHY WHEN......that's too funny!

flutemandolin - welcome from lurkville! thanks for the great links and book titles.

You know this wilderness and unity with mother nature really gets into your veins. So glad that my ds is having the opportunity to grow up with fresh air, good water & food and lots of nature as a playground. It's just so darn GOOD for you!

I believe that buying stuff is another addiction that replaces the good things in life that are missing for most. Like food, (that's my final frontier on addictions), alcohol, TV, even the internet. Material objects being substituted for human touch, bonding, emotional stability etc. It's easier to give the bad stuff up when you can replace it with things like strong family relations, community bonds, oneness with nature and peace with what you are doing, how you are living. But so many folks are so far from that point it's just easier to keep on with what they're doing. I've done it myself. It's hard to change.

Sorry to ramble. I love this thread!

Mary
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#79 of 329 Old 03-19-2004, 11:40 AM
 
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quote:
"i always wished i had parents who were in touch with the old ways- farming, gardening, earth wisdom, creating"

Lou, I believe that these old ways which were so ingrained in our ancestors are still part of our genetic code. They're inside all of us somewhere waiting to be tapped. Maybe not as strong as if you're parents had lived that way but it's there nonetheless. It's just a matter of being reminded, right? I hope so.
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#80 of 329 Old 03-19-2004, 01:40 PM
 
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Okay, I've been reading this site for a while and now I can hardly stand it, I'm so excited.

Monnie - I totally relate to you. I grew up on a farm, in a homemade "foxfire" log cabin. We made our own soap, grew all our own food, slaughtered our own animals, and then used the hide to make our own furniture. When my dh romances with the idea of going off the grid, I wince. I REMEMBER what it was like to use an outhouse, draw water from the well and then heat it for a bath, etc. It wasn't always fun. I was also very envious of friends who had the comforts of modern living and tv. I guess I was insecure. All I ever wanted was to be "normal" and to "fit in." I guess I've come full circle b/c now we really are trying to do the sustainable thing.

Farmer Mama - I, too, bow down to you. Your life sounds awesome. My dh has wanted for years to make his own brew, wine, etc. He's serious and I know he'll do it one day - maybe even soon.

CeraMae - I love your idea of a simplicity circle. I wonder if I can start one of these.

We've lived in a loft for years - no yard. Now we're in Mexico, but will be moving soon to a house with a yard!!! Yeah!!! I can hardly wait to join the rest of you in the outdoor work, although mine will be more along the line of urban sustainability.

Keep up the thread, you mamas!

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#81 of 329 Old 03-19-2004, 02:01 PM
 
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I'm going to post the book group idea in "books, music and media" today, so we can just start a new thread for the book talk and let others know.

Should we do a few chapters a week? What are your opinions on this?

Lou, the biodynamic talk is next Thursday, I goofed with the dates. I'll be happy to share what I hear. What books have you read on the topic -- you stated that you had read some??

flutemandolin -- Thanks for the additional resources. I checked out some of the books on Amazon. I'm interested in reading The Contrary Farmer.

And, yes, it does seem that many of us are in the PNW. I'm gonna make that camp fire happen yet!
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#82 of 329 Old 03-19-2004, 03:46 PM
 
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Joyful please let us know when you start the new thread, Thanks!

I hope my copy is hear in time!
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#83 of 329 Old 03-19-2004, 05:04 PM
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Wildcrafter- I definitely agree with you that the old wisdom is available to all of us- just waiting to be tapped! It just takes time to re-learn all the skills that are necessary in sustainable living- but it's so much fun, learning new things that support the self-sustaining lifestyle! I love being able to create instead of purchase-
Joyful heart- I have the biodynamic agriculture books-
A Dirt Farmer's Dialogue- 12 discussions about Biodynamic Farming, by C.J. Pank,
Companion Plants by Helen Philbrick and Richard Gregg,
Agriculture by Rudolf Steiner, which is really esoteric,
and Studying the Agriculture Course by JOhn Soper.
I mostly use the Companion Planting book, and try to study the Agriculture book by Steiner here and there. I still have a long way to go in allowing the knowledge of planetary influences/biological systems to live in me. Small steps!
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#84 of 329 Old 03-19-2004, 06:23 PM
 
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Okay, you lovely mamas (and papas?), I've started a new thread in "books, music, media" for our discussion group. Please, check it out.

Lou, I'm going to check into those books you suggested. Thanks!

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#85 of 329 Old 03-19-2004, 09:21 PM
 
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Happy Ostara/ Spring Equinox everyone! We are having a fire and music tonight. Good point about the old wisdom in us all, we just need to tap into it. Lou and other moms about BD farming, have any of you read Culture and Horticulture: A Philosophy of Gardening by Wolf D. Storl? I am reading this right now. As a beekeeper I want to read Steiner's work on bees. flutemandolin- thanks for the book titles, I looked them up on amazon as well! I am guessing from your name you play these instruments; I play the violin and the harp, mainly celtic music but I am exploring more bluegrass fiddle tunes. Joyful- you are so good at organizing, well done! Let's put all our heads together and get all the PNW (and others too) moms at this fire.
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#86 of 329 Old 03-20-2004, 12:07 AM
 
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Okay, I'm new to this. Can anyone tell me what "biodynamic" gardening means?

Also, what does "EC" mean in reference to diapering?


Thanks!

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#87 of 329 Old 03-20-2004, 02:12 AM
 
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loftmama -- I don't think I could give a satisfying definition to what biodynamic gardening is, at least when it's past my bedtime!

This link may be helpful: www.biodynamics.com

farmer mama -- Can I join your fire and music at least in spirit? And, thank you for your kind words. I don't think I caught before that you are a beekeeper. I'm curious. If you take the bees honey, what do they eat in the winter? Or do you just take enough that they still have some? Do you use their wax for crafts? What do they do with the wax?

Everyone -- happy spring equinox and happy ostara!

King Winter be gone,
then soon cometh spring!
The ice is breaking,
the flowers awakening,
and green groweth each thing!
King Winter be gone,
then your rule put away.
The birds one and all,
now with jubilant call
now bring tidings of May.
(Waldorf verse from school -- dont' know who wrote it.)
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#88 of 329 Old 03-20-2004, 06:02 AM
 
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Hi, Joyful- It is funny that you say that because I was sitting out at our fire and thinking of you all. Thanks for the verse and I will write it down for future reference. I was looking for something appropriate for the kids, and that one is perfect. Loftmama- EC means elimination communication (do a search and I am sure you will get lots of info) which means not using and diapers and instead going by the cues your baby gives you that mean she has to go and holding her over a diaper, toliet, sink, outside, etc. At least this is my definition of it. I think it varies from person to person. My version of EC is that at home my child is diaper free, but when we go out or at night he wears a diaper. I do this primarily because both of my kids have really fair, sensitve skin that rashes easily, as well as I like to wash less diapers and like to let them be naked. About beekeeping, the first two main hive boxes (hive bodies they are called) hold all the honey that the bees need to make it through the winter. After they fill these with honey and larvae, we put on smaller honey boxes (called honey supers) that only get filled with honey (no eggs laid in these ones). We stack these up as much as they fill them and this is our honey for the year (about 70 lbs per hive, seriously) and this is where we get our beeswax as well, they use the wax to make the combs to put the honey in, and in the hive bodies they raise their babies and store honey and pollen in these combs. We check the hives weely (although dh usually is because I am holding a toddler) wearing no gloves or special suit, only a bee veil to protect your face (yes, you get stung every once in a while, although our bees are pretty mellow). At the end of the summer we take the honey supers off and get our honey and wax. We use the wax for candles and salves. We check on the hives in late winter and make sure they still have enough honey and sometimes make a syrup for them to eat if they need a boost. With our mild winters they always have plenty of honey. As I see it, it is a mutally beneficial system, they provide us with honey, wax, pollinate our fruiuts, veggies and berries, and are pretty cool, while we give them a home, plant flowers they like (especially borage) and provide food or medicine if the hive has trouble, and judging at how docile our bees are, I think our hives might see it this way as well. sorry that was so long, but there you go. fm
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#89 of 329 Old 03-20-2004, 12:42 PM
 
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I am tickled beyond belief!

The biodynamic website is great.

I had no idea about the EC. Since we'll have a yard for the first time in years, I've been planning on letting my newbie go naked. Now I know I'm not the only one.

Thanks for answering my questions and sharing all your great ideas!


Homeschool Planet http://planethomeschool.net
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#90 of 329 Old 03-20-2004, 12:57 PM
 
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farmer mama -- ooohhh....I read your about your bees with great interest. Thanks for sharing that!
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