Tuesday, August 28, 2012

How Much Do We Eat in Two Weeks?

Shopping is a habit.  Even when we lived twenty miles out of town, we went to the store nearly every day for something.  Of course, we would always come back with more than we'd planned to get in the first place.  Millions of dollars are spent determining how to place things for an impulse buy, and I am just as susceptible to that psychology as anyone.

What's left of the sugar.
Just to see the difference, we decided that we would only get groceries once every two weeks.  No trips to the store in between.  After all, if you're not in the store, you aren't tempted to shop.  The problem is, we really have no idea how much we eat in two weeks!  So I guessed and here's how our first two weeks went..

I didn't buy enough cheese and had to run to the store for more in the middle of the time period.  Of course I bought some sausages and sauerkraut too, which just proves my point.  We have nearly used up the 10 pounds of sugar I bought, which is rather horrifying.  That means we use at least 260 lbs of sugar a year.  Everything else has pretty much held out, but we could use some more meat.

I'm so looking forward to the time when WeeHavyn can help provide some of the things I am buying now.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

All Moved In

Nearly six months after WeeHavyn became our home, we are finally all moved in. I do not consider us completely moved in until everything we have is here.  Now, everything is out of storage and in its proper place.  Yesterday was spent putting Brad's 800 pound toolbox in the crawlspace, which is shaping up to be a nice little workshop for him.

I have spent many hours over the past few weeks planning Weehavyn's future.  To build this tiny place into a self-sustaining unit that might even give us enough income to support us is like an intricate jigsaw puzzle.  Each piece must be carefully fitted into the others.  There is so much I want to do, but money is severly limited.  So I must prioritize..... what piece is so vital that it must come before the others?

At this point it is the deck extension that is the key to all I need to do.  The deck will shelter the rabbits, provide a back wall for the chicken pen, and serve as a place for the worm beds and milking area.  It will also hold the earthen oven and umbrella clothes dryer while providing a nice place for us to sit outside and admire Weehavyn's growing beauty.  Not too bad for two 4x4 posts and some 2x6's. 

Now, to come up with $400.......

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


As I walked to work this morning I reflected on how many precious resources are spent on automobiles.  An alien anthropologist might think they were in charge.  After all, we cover roads and huge parking areas with cement and asphalt that continually needs repaired to keep determined Nature from healing the wounded land.  Most homes have a "house" just for them.  Many homes have one for each driver and maybe a spare.  We spend so much time and energy buying, insuring, repairing, and washing them.  Many  people have a permanent car payment, buying a new one as soon as the old one is paid for. 

Cars insulate us from the world.  As we fly along the road in our isolated little box, we are basically unaware of the people around us in their own boxes.  The temperature outside is insignificant.  The concept of distance is blurred. 

One of the best things about WeeHavyn is that it is within easy walking distance from nearly everything.  Unfortunately, the only essential not two to three blocks from the cottage is a grocery store.  The nearest grocery store is perhaps 1/3 mile away.  While this is certainly not an unreasonable walk, there is a problem.  Our cities are not designed for walkers.  They are designed for cars.  In order for me to walk to the grocery store, I must walk along busy streets with no sidewalks or crosswalks.  In our worship of the auto, we have made walking downright dangerous.

Still, there is an enormous freedom in being able to walk to necessities.  When we lived in the woods, we were horribly dependent on our vehicles.  Having one break down would have been very difficult.  Losing both would have been a catastrophe.  Here, we could go without both with little difficulty.  In fact, we've decided to sell the car and only keep the truck. 

Best of all, we seldom know the price of gas.....

Monday, August 13, 2012


We had a wild, but brief, thunderstorm before dawn today.  By the time I was up and ready for work it had rushed away, leaving the world cool and clean in the new sunlight.  After such a long hot summer, I can't help but revel in the fresh, crisp air that hints strongly of Autumn's coming.

Early this spring I ordered a couple of artichoke plants along with several varieties of mint.  While I adore tomatoes and peppers, I feel that perennial food plants are much more efficient as far as labor goes.  You do have to get them going and maintain them regularly, but once they are established, they are always there.  I am aiming for about seventy-five percent perennial food plants on WeeHavyn.  The mint and artichokes were the start of this endeavor.

I've never grown artichokes before and it is the opinion of the locals that they wouldn't grow here well.  But I needed a certain number of plants to fill my order anyway so I figured I'd give it a try.  They had a rough trip and came to me wilted and damaged.  After spending a couple of days in intensive care in the house, I planted them in two large plastic tubs.  All my reading told me they like cool summers and mild winters.  The poor things had to endure the hottest, driest summer in 60 years.  Needless to say they pretty much just sat there, loosing leaves just as fast as they added them.  I began to think they were never going to grow.  Still, I watered them daily and left them to their own devices.

To my surprise, they have grown mightily the last few weeks, at least tripling in size.  I'm not sure I will get any artichokes this year, but the beauty of perennials is that there is always next year.  Who knows though, I may feast on artichoke this fall yet.

Next year.... asparagus!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Swept Away

Since I had Monday off for "Happiness Day" (how cool is that!) I decided that I would put together my household broom.  It's one of those little projects that have been sitting on the back burner for a long time, in fact I brought the supplies with me from Wyoming!

A sense of peace and calm washed over me as I soaked and trimmed the broomcorn, scrubbed the willow handle smooth and clean, and assembled the supplies I needed.  It only took an hour (not counting the soaking time) to finish the project and there was such a rush of satisfaction to see it done.  Now I just need to find the perfect spot in the cottage for it to live!

Completing this little job made me realize how much energy these unfinshed tasks draw from me.  I'm sure I spend far more time THINKING I should get them done that it would actually take to do them.  Something so simple as taking out the leftover paneling from the laundry area and cutting it up so it will fit in the trash can would probably only take twenty minutes.  Yet I leave them there to think about at least twice a day.

Well, until today.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Seven Day Fast: Day 2

I was not terribly hungry when I woke up this morning, so basically the hunger yesterday was akin to a toddler having a temper tantrum because she doesn't get what she wants.  I did have a bit of a headache.  It was very mild and I'm sure it's from not having sugar and tea.  Still, it isn't bad enough to bother taking anything for, which I'd like to avoid if I can.  I got on the scales and was down to 148.  I'm sure this is all water, but it was nice to see the number go below 150. 

Even though I don't feel horribly hungry, I still had the urge to eat this morning.  There is so much to eating that has nothing to do with hunger.  So many habit and rituals built around food.  Perhaps this week will help me evaluate some of them.

By noon it became obvious that my usual "leap in with both feet" approach to things was not going to work with fasting.  My head was pounding and waves of nausea flowed over me.  I carefully broke my fast with some chicken soup and reassessed by fasting plans.  While I know my body has the ability to go without food, it has lost this primitive knowledge though years of modern life and regular meals.  I will have to condition both my body and mind to fasting if I am to succeed at this.

Since the 24 hour fast gave me only minor discomfort, I have decided to fast from 6pm to 6pm on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.  This will allow me to eat supper with Brad every night, an important custom for him.  I am also at work these days and being busy and away from easy snacks helps.  I am still planning on longer fasts.  I will try for a 48 hour fast to end on the Autumn Equinox.

I suppose this is a bit like training for a marathon.  One would start by running a mile, not ten.  I will have to learn patience.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Seven Day Fast: Day 1

Since I had to work today, I chose to begin my fast after breakfast.  I figured this would give me half a day before I was really feeling the effects.  I had two scrambled eggs with some salsa for breakfast and headed off for work.

I drank just under a quart of water before lunch and was quite hungry as I walked up the hill to go home for lunch.  I also felt sort of light and fuzzy, I'm sure as a result of my body running out of easily accessible sugar but not used to switching to ketosis.  As was a recurring theme in all of the fasting accounts I read, I felt at a bit of a loss with what to do with my time instead of eating.

One odd thing I'm noticing is a sort of fear.  I watched some videos at lunch and whenever I saw food I kept feeling like I would NEVER be able to enoy that again.  I'm not sure exaclty where this fear is coming from as I know perfectly well I will be able to eat what I want at the end of this week so this fear is obviously emotional rather than rational.

I was quite hungry all afternoon and the walk home from work was filled with aroma of food from the restraunts on the square.  It smelled lovely and I was very hungry.  I almost gave up on the fast, but hung in there.  When I got home Brad told me he'd made me dinner.  There was a huge pitcher of icewater in the fridge.  He made himself some scrambled eggs with salsa that smelled like heaven and I sipped ice water.

I went to bed early.  I was cold and kind of shivery, but the hunger subsided.  I did feel the start of a headache coming on, but I'd expected this as everytime I quit sugar cold turkey I get one.  Hopefully it won't be too bad.

One Day Down!.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Starting on the Inside

It is a lovely morning here.  We had a much needed rainstorm yesterday and the air is warm and moist, hinting at the heat of the day to come.  The mint plants push their unassuming blooms toward the sky.  A spider's gossamer spiral web shimmered in the early morning sunlight.  Grass and weeds wake from their brown dormancy and push geen shoots toward the sky.  Even the great oak tree seems more supple and alive.

As I begin to take care of Weehavyn, I realize I have neglected my own body in the past few years and this neglect is starting to show.  Poor eating habits and stress have added 30 pounds to my frame and my joints feel the extra burden.  I injured my hip over a year ago and it still hasn't healed properly.  My energy level is low and I just don't feel "myself".  A less stubborn person would accept this as the inevitable results of aging.  I refuse to do so.  Silver hairs aside, I will feel my best.

I read about the studies on Calorie Restricion five or six years ago.  While the concept of it makes a great deal of sense to me, I believe the daily practice of it is beyond me.  Then I stumbled upon the concept of intermittant fasting.  While there is some dissention among physicians (who make their money only when you are ill), it has long been known that for a healthy person, fasting "reboots" the system by forcing the body to use resources with optimal efficiency.  After much research I've decided to try a 7 day fast followed by 2 day a week 24 hour fasts.  To take advantage of longer term fasting benefits, I am planning on a 7 day fast to end on each of the Solstices and Equinoxes.

Today is my first day of my 7 day fast which I am planning to document daily in this blog.  I ate two eggs with salsa for breakfast since I have to work today.  I have a 3 day weekend starting tomorrow and am hoping this will allow me to get through the worst days before I have to come back  to work.  I stepped on the scales and am at 150.