The Farmer Cure

I got a sudden cure last night.  And before I tell you what happened, let’s say that my hips feel better than they have since December, my coughing stopped completely and my nose is no longer stuffy.

So … When I came home from work at 9:20 pm,  a flash of headlights showed that one of my horses was in the wrong pasture. Assuming it was an unlatched gate, I went inside, donned my insulated coveralls, wool hat and scarf for a short run out to the barn yard. Well, turns out little dominant Arabian Dyana had threatened huge Castagana into jumping the fence, bending a steel T-post 45 degrees to the outside on the way over. She only had a two inch scratch on her back leg, thank goodness. After letting Castagna back into the pen, I thought I would straighten the steel post by using my body weight to unbend it.  I start this process by gripping the top of the post and swinging my body weight backward over and over, the post straightening little by little, when suddenly the thing broke.  Yes.  The steel snapped on my backward swing so that I hit the ice with my head first, then my back and then my elbows, as I was still holding the top of the post.  Hooves scraped backward across the ice.  I lay on my side for a minute, wondering why I had horses, and felt a warm exhale on my ear.  Recovered, I pounded in some thin spikes to hold up the fence ’til spring thaw.

I slept with an ice pack on my head, feeling very sorry for myself and planning how I was going  reduce my herd by one.   Today, the bump is much smaller and I feel remarkably good.

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Horse Heaven 4th of July Sourdough Pancakes

Our 4th of July Breakfast—Horse Heaven Sourdough Pancakes ♥∞

We ate them so fast there was no time for a photo.

Important note:  Save 1 cup, more or less, of your starter to continue your culture.  Feed it now.


1-1.5 cups starter, 1 egg, 2 Tbs. oil, 1/4 cup dry milk or protein powder

Mix until smooth

Blend 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp baking soda, 2 Tbs. sugar with a little water.

Beat salt mix into starter mixture.  If it feels too thick, thin with milk or water.

Fry on oiled griddle when it is so hot that a sprinkling of water droplets skittle across the pan.  If they immediately fizzle out of existence, it is too hot.  Measure about 1/3 cup of batter and pour onto hot griddle.  It should spread slowly and you can help it by gently pushing it outward with the measuring cup.  If these are too thick, gently stir in a little water and enjoy thin, crisp cakes.  With Maple syrup, butter or sour cream and a nice cup of coffee, these make an excellent cowgirl breakfast.  Your horse and dog will appreciate any leftovers.

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Kombucha tea, the new micro brew

Kombucha comes and goes from my kitchen garden, mainly because of the temperature.  Winter in Montana is cool and so is the house.  It can take 20 days or more brew a batch of Kombucha.  In summer, it can take 8-10 days.  One blogger claimed to get her brew in 5 days.  She must be in the tropics!  I should have brewed this when I lived in Botswana, where I could start yogurt at lunch, set it on the window sill and have it set up by dinner time.

It is basically a fermentation of tea and sugar by a Kombucha scoby.  The old Kombucha “Mother” scoby goes into your jar of black or green sweetened tea.  It sometimes sinks or turns on it’s side, but no worries because the new baby forms at the top of the liquid.

This site has my favorite instuctions with pictures.  Ok, she lives in Texas, not the tropics.  I brew mine and squeeze ginger juice into it using a garlic press and fresh ginger at the second fermentation.  If you don’t have friends with a scoby, start talking to strangers in the health food store, post it on your Facebook.  I tell you, there are closet Kombucha makers out there in your friend network.

If you can’t find a scoby, buy a bottle of organic, raw Kombucha and add it all to a couple of cups of sweetened tea–one black or green tea bag, couple tablespoons of sugar. Use a wide-mouth glass jar, cover with cloth or coffee filter held on by a rubberband. Store it in the dark or wrap the bottle in a dish towel to keep from direct light. When the Kombucha mother grows on the surface to a thickness of 1/4 inch or so, start your gallon jar with that scoby.

BTW.  This stuff is really good for your digestive system, but you might want to buy a few different bottles to see if you even like it.

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Open winter

Horse are happily eating hay now, still grazing fall grass and browsing on fallen leaves.  It is Dec. 1 and there is now snow on the pasture.  We had a few inches early in November that bent trees and sent cars into the ditch.  Now we have 7 days of sun on the forcast so we are all soaking up vitamin D…wishing we could store it for the winter.  A new friend told me that she takes about 1500 units of Vit D3 each morning.  Keeps her sane and happy.  I’m planning to get my 15 min of sun each day this week, playing with horses and dogs and maybe walking in Glacier NP.  Nature and sun will keep me sane and happy for the next 7 days.  Next post..a visit to an energy balancer and spiritual healer, Jim Mackimmie.

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Horse/Human Partner Yoga

Human/Horse Yoga — Rib opener side bend. Start by teaching your horse to give you a hug.

When her head is bent around to touch her side, touch her tail or hug you, her opposite ribs are open and she is curved. Make sure all four hoofs are either even or the feet on the inward side are closer together. The human is standing with feet facing forward, same as the hoofs and even with the horses front feet or slightly behind. You will be able to move farther back along the horse as she becomes more limber. As the horse hugs you, fold your upper body outward as your hip pushes slightly into the horse. Reach up with the arm nearest the horse, laying it over her poll as she comes around to hug you with her head. The outside arm can support her muzzle in a comfortable, loose hug or hang at your side. Let the horse release as soon as she wants to. Exhale as you fold as it will let your horse know you are relaxing and not making her do something. Repeat on other side. Give your horse a massage along her spine and ribs before or after. Notice that she is horizontal in the side bend and you are vertical. This will increase flexibility and schwung for both of you.

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Horse Spring

After 7 months of dry hay, nice hay, but dry, Castagna and Dyana Star are anxiously eating their greens. Horses may eat up to 16 hours a day to gain enough nutrition from their low protein/high fiber diets.  In May they began lipping up the first sprigs of green from their 2 acre winter pasture along with the hay.  As I open other pastures to them, they ignore the last big round bale and grow glossier each day from the fresh food.  Castagna is now into a larger girth size and Dyana’s ribs have disappeared.  Dapples cover their sides as their winter coats shed and new hair sprouts.  One of them has springtime runny manure, so they are back on hay and a dose of probiotics.  I want to do an egg count of their droppings and worm them naturally with copper sulfate this year.  It requires counting eggs in a tiny amount of fluid that was mixed with 4 grams of manure.  I need to find a source of a sodium nitrate or just regular salt and sugar for the solution, special microscope slides and a 100X magnification microscope.   E-Bay, here i come.

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Why Does The Skunk Cross The Road?

Why, at 6:30 A.M. today when it is 9 degrees C,  does a little skunk head west?  I have no idea but I’m glad the road wasn’t so icy that I couldn’t slow down for the little critter.  This was a day for wild things doing their thing.  An hour after the skunk, I glanced up while at a stop sign to see a pair of Bald Eagles begin their aerial courtship display–fast side by side flight, one veering quickly below the other and acrobatically flipping onto it’s back, each bird extending talons toward the other.  They performed a momentary hand holding until their loss of speed tumbled them apart.  If that wasn’t enough, a few hours later, we passed six hundred or so Canada geese hunkered down in the snow of a wheat stubble field and counted 11 rough legged hawks and one dark phase red tail in the seven mile drive across the north end of Flathead Lake.  The day isn’t over so I’ll keep looking out the window to see who else thinks this snowy day feels like spring. Oh yes, the chickadees started singing their end of winter song, “spring’s, here. Spring’s coming.”

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When full moons happen each month, I prowl the fields and later the windows, looking for that perfect picture.  Today, Winter Solstice 2010, a rosy-fingered dawn is preparing itself behind the Swan Mountains to the east, but the west is lined with jet stream stratus clouds that hide all but the glow of the full moon.  In the wee hours of the morning, I ordered myself to the window to find out if the full lunar eclipse could get on without my supervision this time.  There was a dark frown across the bottom third of the moon’s normally smiling face and the inaudible opinion —You are missing the greatest show on earth!! I smiled, acknowledging the rebuke, but returned to bed assured that all was well with the alignment of the planets.

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Rosy Fingered Dawn

A day before Winter solstice, 2010

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Where I spend Saturday morning

Saturday mornings are unique.  The ritual of opening the Montana Athletic Club gives me focus.  Ramping up the music in my private lair, I dance off into the dark to balance pool and spa chemicals, brew coffee, assemble fruit and yogurt parfaits, click on TVs and finally—lights, camera, action—let my people come.  Smiling faces, friends old and new, proud to be here so early.  Excited spirits headed to spin class, challenging yoga and hip-wiggling Zumba.  Basking in positive energy makes my day.

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