What could Alan be concocting here, you ask?
Over twenty years ago, when we started homeschooling our children, we soon discovered we did not fit the norm of what most people thought of when they thought of homeschoolers. If using a term from today's vernacular - we would have probably been called 'edgy' homeschoolers and the same probably goes for our pursuit of self-reliance.
Just as we discovered that people chose to homeschool for many different reasons, we even had an acquaintance who home schooled strictly for feminist reasons - to teach her daughter from that viewpoint, so have we discovered our self-reliant peers also chose this lifestyle for a number of different reasons. Some of the reasons that fall farthest from our shared views include:
|What is Arn concocting here, you ask?|
Its not compost - Keep reading.
2. Building community strength - keywords: being neighborly, working together, commune
3. Restoring balance - keywords: back to nature, conservation, tree-huggers
So, based on my keywords to describe these various concepts in the world of those striving for self-reliance, I have been reluctant to share some of our experiments/research which slip into a dalliance with these trains of thought. That is, I don't want readers to think we live 'that type' of self reliance. However, as we jumped with both feet into our new life, we did so with lots of research which led us down many paths, some of which were out of our comfort zone but we were willing to admit showed some merit and thus deserved further study.
By this time, you are probably thinking "Oh, no! what have they gotten themselves into." Maybe I shouldn't have used such an extended build up, it's really not that crazy, but then you can be the judge....
A Cup A Day ... Bone Broth
This healthy addition to our lives did not come from self-reliant discussions or research, but from our daughter. She wrote a blog on the benefits of bone broth and one item on the list was that it helped relieve joint pain. Alan has had pain in his knees for several years, and I had recently noticed I was having some pain when sitting down and standing up, especially from chairs that were lower to the ground.
|The trick to good bone broth - add a bit of vinegar|
to draw the nutrients from the bones.
Alan and I often enjoy a 'hot beverage' before bedtime, usually tea, but we started having a nightly cup of bone broth instead. The broth is delicious and satisfying, so even if it it did not help our aching joints, we were still enjoying a nightly treat. After just three days, I noticed my knees were not hurting as they had been. I did not say anything to Alan because I did not want to skew our experiment by planting any suggestions in his mind, yet that same night he mentioned that he was noticing improvement also. Further proof of the benefits is that we could feel the negative difference when were are away from home for several days and not having our nightly dose of bone broth.
Right after Thanksgiving, I was able to buy several turkeys at 50 cents a pound so I made quite a few gallons of turkey bone broth and canned it. We also enjoyed many cups of it 'fresh' as I set some aside for our daily use while I was canning it. It turns out that the turkey version is even tastier than the chicken.
A Silver Lining ... Colloidal Silver
|Welcome to the science lab.|
- Doctors have been putting silver nitrate drops in newborn babies' eyes for years
- Some keyboards now come with keys impregnated with silver and are marketed to office situations where many people may be touching the same keyboard on a daily basis
- Some brands of bandages (Band-Aid, Curad, etc.) now have a silver impregnated version of their products.
|Time to make another batch|
We have been taking a very low dose of colloidal silver every morning, and though I am not yet ready to say there is a definite benefit, I have noticed some interesting 'coincidences'. For example, during our annual Turkey Palooza week with extended family, the household came down with a very nasty stomach bug. It generally lasted for 12 hours, longer for some, and was very unpleasant - let's just say it was a good thing the house we rented had a washer and dryer.
There were 13 of us staying at the house and one by one everyone was hit by the bug. That is everyone except me. And, Alan was one of the last to get it and he did not have any 'stomach issues' he just slept it off for an entire day.
Many of our friends we gather with throughout the month have all been sick this winter, many with this nasty flu going around. Yet neither Alan nor myself have had a single sick day yet this season.
The colloidal silver also seems to help wounds to heal more quickly when applied topically. Ever since my recluse spider bite, I periodically get small sores, somewhat like water blisters around the area of the bite. The last few times this occurred, I have swabbed the area with the colloidal silver solution and the sores have healed more quickly than in the past.
It is also beneficial in the garden...
Alan has spent hours looking at methods of creating the colloidal silver, learning of many scams on the market, and even learning of some electronic components he didn't know existed (constant current diodes for example). He now has a rig that uses silver bars, measures and holds a constant current (1 ma), and has a motor driven agitator). It takes him about 2 days to make a quart batch of 10 ppm (parts per million) solution.
A Garden Tonic ... Worm Juice
Many worm farmers harvest the castings to either use directly in the garden or to generate worm tea through a process of soaking and aerating the castings in a container of water. What are worm casting, you ask? The definition is "a convoluted mass of soil, mud, or sand thrown up by an worm on the surface after passing through the worm's body", aka worm pooh. Rather than going to the work to collect the castings and generating the worm tea, I have gone with a simple approach. I collect worm juice. What is worm juice, you ask? It is actually leachate which is the liquid run off that settles below the vermicompost or worm castings, aka worm pee.
So this past summer, we constructed our worm farm and placed an order for our worms. We decided to re-purpose Alan's 'hot tub' we had set up on our deck the previous summer to become the home for our worms. This is a 100 gallon watering trough made out of black Rubbermade material. It had originally been purchased as our first rainwater catchment container to provide water for our toilet, it then became Alan's soaking tub when we upgraded our bathroom water system, and now it is home to a legion of worms.
|The bottom of the tub with the nozzle and bottle attached.|
|The completed worm farm.|
|Move-in day for the worms.|
I was just about ready to check Amazon (or possibly petmeds.com) for 'worm diuretics' when we finally started to see leachate draining into the soda bottle. Realize that the liquids had to soak down through the materials in the worm bin and collect enough to fill the end of the tank up to the to lip of the drain hole before we started seeing any production, thus the reason for the wait. But, during this time, the worms were very busy. Each time I take compost out to add to the worm bin, I dig a hole in the current dirt and compost to bury the new food. In doing so, I unearth some of the residents so I am able to check on them at the same time. By the end of summer, I was seeing many baby worms in the bin, so our stock is multiplying.
|Reggie, the wood stove, also provides heat|
for our worm farm (indirectly).
I now have several bottles of worm juice that I plan to use as I prepare my garden this year. I will share more details on that in another blog post. By the way, I've learned that worm juice like we are collecting sells for $60 to $120 per gallon!
What Else May Be on the Horizon?
What are some of my current areas of research, you ask? I have read some interesting articles on Honey, Ginger, Cinnamon, Nuts and Vinegar. And hey, even if none of these pan out as actually being beneficial , they will still make some very tasty snacks.