The Value of Venom

Honeybees know the value of their venom, they give their lives for it.  We know how precious is the value of the honeybees’ venom, understanding it as both cure and poison.

In natural healing bee venom is used for all sorts of cures, a number of them painful.  Honeybees can be merciless, even to each other, for the ‘greater good’.

What did I find today outside one of our hives but droves of drones, those are the males, kicked out by those bossy female workers who clearly decided they could no longer be supported. They will also kill and replace an unproductive queen without hesitation.

And me, being the opportunistic and cunning human that I am, collected these evicted dead bodies in order to make Podmore, considered an exceptional traditional medicine used to cure all sorts of ailments.

Quite unknown to American beekeepers, I wonder why, considering its value? Could it be they don’t like the thought or action of collecting dead bees?
Podmore

This reminds me of another big related beef I have with our current cultural climate: Weakness is not a virtue.  And neither is positivity.

I like the way Micheal Tsarion just put it in his last podcast, because I think it’s spot on. Our Prozac smile culture is in a “regressed state of animated autism.”

The Reign of the Terrible Mother

Optimistic bias undermines preparedness and invites disaster, according to sociologist Karen Cerulo.

In Barbara Ehrenreich’s 2009 book, Bright-Sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America, she underscores how hard Americans have been working to adapt to the popular and largely unchallenged principles of the positivity movement, our reflexive capacity for dismissing disturbing news, whitewashing tragedy as a ‘failure of imagination’ and relentlessly spinning suffering as little more than a growth opportunity.

While in fact I am writing now out of a spirit of sourness and personal disappointment, unlike Ehrenreich according to her intro, I nonetheless find much value in her final paragraph: “Once our basic material needs are met—in my utopia, anyway—life becomes a perpetual celebration in which everyone has a talent to contribute.  But we cannot levitate ourselves into that blessed condition by wishing it.  We need to brace ourselves for a struggle against terrifying obstacles, both of our own making and imposed by the natural world.  And the first step is to recover from the mass delusion that is positive thinking.”

The bees know.

One of the very many things that fascinate me about the bees is that the Freemasons so covet it as a symbol.  I can imagine there are many reasons for this, most of which will probably remain a lifelong mystery to me.

At some point the bees simply refuse to adjust any more and they swarm, this is a natural, healthy, cyclical process, which most American beekeepers try to avoid at all costs.

We seem as a culture to abhor natural processes.

As cruel as this is sure to sound, could it be that maybe swarms and cullings are natural processes for humans as well as bees?

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Moving colony from nuc to permanent hive.  How you like my fancy paint job? 🙂
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Setting up a swarm trap. Open invitation to immigrants, move-in ready!

My new honeybee hero and virtual mentor: Dr. Leo Sharashkin!

 

Bleeding $$!!

Apparently the economy is brilliant, according to the Trump-Train.

Well, I believe that, believe it or not.  It’s elementary to me by looking at our own expenditures of the Crazy-Train Spring 2019.

Because health care costs are ridiculous:

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$3,700 for emergency room visit, 5 stitches to Handy Hubby’s hand.  His first on-the-homestead accident/injury. Ridiculous health care costs thanks to insane policies of multiple administrations. Thanks, Corporatocracy!  Great job at outrageous cost.

$4,000 new roof, thanks to increased weather modification/manipulation in our area, Geoengineering being ramped up thanks to widespread approval by the Trump-train.

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$200 and counting for acupuncture treatments thanks to electricity surge on new electric meter that fried my shoulder something awful over 6 months ago.  The garden is neglected, the household, too, my bad. The Trump-train loves 5G tech, bring it on! Yay!

4 days lost paid work for Handy Hubby, who had to take vacation time to normalize the homestead after manufactured ‘tornado’ dropped at least 2 dozen mature trees on our property, a half-dozen right around our house.  Oh, but we are so blessed, none hit me or the house or the critters.  Silver lining, brilliant!

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Two weeks before that was baseball-sized hail, that meant $300 on a new windshield, that had just been replaced.

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And all kinds of folks and communities around our area of East Texas are spending loads of $$ on damages of their own.  Markets are thriving!  Thank you, sir, may we have another?!  Houston is promising to be a well-spring of endless catastrophe revenues, brilliant. I bet Trump did that!  Or, fairies?

That’s including exciting and constant weather whiplash all year, like a weather rollercoaster at Disney Land, resulting in no pear crop this year and a complete lost effort with many other crops in the garden that go straight to seed from the constant fluctuating temperatures. Hurray!

Common sense alert: no crops thrive in weather whiplash! (Don’t rain on my parade, bitch!)

 

We can no longer afford the delusions of this economy.  We are downsizing. Most of our meager holdings will meet freezer camp, unfortunately, as we come to grips with survival mode.

Let’s all enjoy our eternal non-inflation in the fantasmagorical Trump economy!

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When the Going Gets Tough

 

We have all kinds of sayings to ward off all kinds of issues, mostly with the intention of bypassing, minimizing, and moving on.  Shit happens, right?  Don’t let the bastards get ya down, eh?  There’s always a silver lining.  Don’t sweat the small stuff. The sun will come out tomorrow.  Look at the bright side.  Don’t cry over spilled milk.  Buck up, buttercup!

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The falling trees missed the roses, and the deck and house, and all the critters, and me, PRAISE BE!

I know, I know, I’ve heard it all and I’ve probably said half of it myself.   Really though, when someone’s truly feeling down, no one wants to hear another ‘pick yourself up by your bootstraps’ slogan.  A friend to cry in your tea or beer with would be loads more helpful, but sometimes that doesn’t help either.

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Thanks to more experienced friends at Melody Acres Ranch the overturned nuc has been righted and it’s doing just swell.

I count my blessings, really, I do.  I’m very good at that.

It’s just that, sometimes, nothing helps, at least not right away.  Sometimes there’s a ‘something’s gotta give’ feeling that lodges itself for a while after a big, bad event, even if everything mostly turning out fine in the end.

The triumphs still feel too short-lived and the setbacks too many.

I remember to remember my favorite things, but the joy in them seems less renewing. This in itself is solemnifying.

Visitors are welcome, yet distracting.

I know nature is resilient and life goes on.  The very morning after the ‘tornado,’ as I was assessing the damages, the birds were chirping, the critters begging for their meals, and Handy Hubby headed back home from work out-of-state to get us back into gear.

Still, despite my usual mood-shifting tricks, my gears still feel a bit stuck.

The snake getting fat on our eggs in the coop, a rabbit devouring the garden.

Oh, just let them be, I think, which is not really like me.

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Sometimes that’s just the way it is.
And, this too shall pass.

 

 

 

Earning My Mid-Wife Badge

The Girl Scouts was as close as this suburban girl ever got to learning any kind of traditional skills growing up.  I quit it early on, considering ‘badge earning’ to be well beneath my expanding “cool kid” facade.

But if there’s a badge worth earning, midwifery would be up there with the loftiest of them.  I’m humbled and proud to say I got to experience it last night for the first time.

I bit of critical background:  I’m squeamish.  Considering we didn’t have children of our own and I didn’t have my own dog to take care of, let alone any pet previously to our dear Papi, at about age 42, it seems to me squeamishness pretty much comes with that territory. 

It’s because I was well aware of this personal limitation that I NEVER imagined we’d have so many animals.

Chickens, for us and many other clueless homesteaders, are the Gateway Livestock.  Then came ducks, turkeys, sheep, pigs, and more dogs.  But we both swear we’ll never get cows or horses.  (Ahem)

Considering my penchant for ‘Too Much Information’ I’ve now been acclimated to loads of poop, vomit, blood and morbid sounds of all sorts.  It also got me scared, very scared, about all that can go wrong with pets and livestock.  And how painful that is, and knowing this truth in advance is useless.  It does not help the pain by expecting it.  It does help though to be prepared.  So far I give us a C+ on that when it comes to the critters.

My TMI penchant leads also to so much online and in books about serious diseases and awful complications and the myriad very dirty deeds endemic in the farm life.  Talking to others more experienced will also always bring sad stories and sometimes tragic ones.

 Maybe I don’t quite deserve my badge just yet, but I’m fairly certain I saved our ewe and her young lamb last night by being at the right place at the right time and doing my usual C-level work.  🙂

When our ewes have lambed in the past I was not there to witness the actual event, only woke up to find the lambs delivered, sometimes successfully, sometimes not.  On one occasion I found one mutilated by our young puppy and I had to kill it.  I cannot speak about this moment still today a year later without tears.  It was the most confusing, stressful, tragic, sorrowful day of my life.  Like most in the so-called advanced economies, we grew up very sheltered from death and from the act of killing.  Hubby would’ve handled it far better had he been home.  I was alone and a basket case.

I was alone again this time when Buttercup gave an unusual and very loud bark audible from inside the house that clued me in that something was going down.  I went to the stalls and saw mama was in labor.  I was determined to watch it all and learn. 

I was hoping and intending to remain a bystander to nature’s miracle.

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Take a bow, Buttercup!

As it happened I could tell something was wrong right away.  Then I doubted myself.  Then I went back and forth a dozen times, yes, no, yes, no.

Then I concluded, no, something’s really wrong here, get help.  Help?  Like from who?  I called two friends with more experience and they didn’t answer.  I looked through our book on sheep, panicky by that time.  I call Hubby.  He calls his folks and searches online while I pace waiting for the bread in the oven to finish so I can go back to the stalls. 

I muse, even in this stressed state: “Oh, we’re both waiting on buns in the oven.”  Yes, that’s how I cope with stress, and most things really, goofy humor.

It doesn’t occur to me again that the fetus that the ewe cannot seem to push out is in fact dead until hours later.  Yet, I felt it, even considered it immediately, instinctually at the very first moment I saw it.  I just tried to over-ride that feeling with too much doubt and reasoning and wishful thinking.  

On the phone with Hubby we decide there’s really nothing I can do alone in the dark with no experience and no equipment and no nearby vet.  Then he calls back and has changed his mind.  He urges me to go back out, put on some rubber gloves, and see if I can help her.

And he was right!  As soon as I touched the fetus it was obviously dead and my foolishness at waiting hours to “realize” this washed over me.  I strained, along with mama to get it out, knowing if not she would surely die as well. 

At last it came free, followed by another smaller, but wonderfully alive little treasure!

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We did it!

I’m happy to report as of this writing about 16 hours later, mama and babe are doing well, eating and drinking and getting to know each other.

Yes, I was alone, but really, it was very much a team effort.  Thanks y’all!

 

Wins & Losses 2018

A short break from the heavy subject of addiction to share some homestead updates lately as well as highlights and misfortunes from the last year.

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Naughty, naughty!

Starting with the good news, we have two new happy thriving lambs!

They are the first of the year with two more mamas looking full and ready to follow with some of their own any day now.  Or more likely, since today it is beautiful and sunny, it will be the next time it’s pouring rain and freezing cold.

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Their first day roaming the land with the herd.
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Last winter’s model looking great

 

 

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Almost there, so close, but not close enough

That was the weather once again for this rough start.  Unfortunately, our permanent corral space is not yet finished.

I had to cancel a holiday trip at the very last minute and I spent a lot of time stressed and worrying.  I couldn’t handle a repeat of last year, which is such a tragic story for me I haven’t yet been able to tell it publicly.

It was nearly a repeat. Hubby was at work again, and to keep it short and simple, I found one of our not-so-well-trained LGD (Livestock Guard Dog) had jumped the fence, grabbed one just after birth, jumped the fence back and was ‘guarding’ it until I found it barely breathing and injured.

Luckily there was a completely unplanned, last minute visit that cheered me up after my canceled trip.

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Pappa Chop getting friendly!
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It’s hard to think of anything sweeter than kids and animals!

And it’s hard to think of anything worse in the garden than poison ivy and wasps!

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Poison ivy in the same spot 3 times, many weeks of torture.
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And wasp stings 3 different times, miserable.

And my bee colonies didn’t even last the summer.  This is an enormous disappointment.  But I don’t give up easily and have next spring’s bees on order, locally sourced this time.

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Last spring’s packages brought home from Arkansas

Additional misfortunes include the duck that was mysteriously fried by our electric pole in the front yard.  And another incident that shot an electric impulse through my hand, up my arm, and landed in now nearly 2 months of stabbing shoulder pain.  Then there’s the ram that’s butted me 3 times and therefore will meet his demise prematurely ASAP.

I don’t think Hubby shares this sentiment, but in my case, I’ve definitely had better years.

Here’s to better fortune in the coming year, for me, and for all y’all!

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I still love making cheese 🙂

 

 

 

What’s Growin’ On?

We just wanted to share a few updates from the wee homestead, on the winter garden and other news.

Dreary weather whiplash here, hard to say if our holidays will be white, green, gray or brown, but thankfully we still eat fresh, easily, every day.

 

Growin’ on now are: broccoli, lots of lettuces, carrots, cabbage, brussel sprouts, beets, kohlrabi, garlic, onions, kale,  our favorite herbs–dill, chervil, cilantro–loads of collards for us and the critters, planted thick as green manure and spring bee food, too, like hairy vetch.

It’s high maintenance, we cover and uncover the boxes as weather requires, and it’s slow growing with shorter days and an abundance of overcast days.

But, the limited harvest results are DELICIOUS!

Triumph for the season:

I was interviewed about natural living on Crow777, a site I’ve mentioned here many times as a cutting edge, paradigm shifting, life affirming podcast I highly recommend.

https://www.crrow777radio.com/137-leaving-hurricanes-and-citified-chaos-for-self-sufficient-natural-life-free/

They follow my nervous-nelly ramblings patiently and pleasantly and thankfully follow me up this week with a professional, a doctor saying exactly what I’m wanting and needing to hear!

https://www.crrow777radio.com/138-healing-medical-doctors-still-exist-dr-franco-lenna-talks-natural-medicine/

Blessings for the season:

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Thought for the season:

Manufactured outrage?!  They go berserk over a cute old song and meanwhile, Paradise is lost?!

 

https://www.breitbart.com/entertainment/2018/12/11/radio-station-ends-puritanical-ban-of-baby-its-cold-outside/

 

 

 

 

A Spoonful of Sugar

Some not-so-random quotes and links, interspersed with happy homestead snaps for better digestion.

 

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Cleaning up the acorns on the deck, so helpful!

“Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed on them.”
Frederick Douglass, former slave (1818-1895)

Six deceptions needed for Agenda 21/2030/Sustainable Development
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sGCkSRXo-jk

Despite a vast body of scientific knowledge, the issue of deliberate climatic manipulations for military use has never been explicitly part of the UN agenda on climate change. Neither the official delegations nor the environmental action groups participating in the Hague Conference on Climate Change (CO6) (November 2000) have raised the broad issue of “weather warfare” or “environmental modification techniques (ENMOD)” as relevant to an understanding of climate change.

The clash between official negotiators, environmentalists and American business lobbies has centered on Washington’s outright refusal to abide by commitments on carbon dioxide reduction targets under the 1997 Kyoto protocol.(1) The impacts of military technologies on the World’s climate are not an object of discussion or concern. Narrowly confined to greenhouse gases, the ongoing debate on climate change serves Washington’s strategic and defense objectives.https://archives.globalresearch.ca/articles/CHO201A.html

 

“an attempt to eradicate human violence” William Sweet  Minds of Men film 2:02

 

Solutions?  #1 self-directed learning
https://www.crrow777radio.com/131-the-higher-education-political-money-machine-free/

birdsofafeather

Life eats life. Deal in reality.

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It’s not always pretty and sweet, that’s why we have sugar. And salt.

And why roses have thorns.