Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Fighting flu season

This is the part where I say that I am not a doctor or medical physician of any kind, I am just a mother informing herself and passing along the information I find for you to process and make your own informed decisions with.
Don't replace good quality health care with my recipe just because I said that I read it has health benefits. Inform yourself, discuss it with your healthcare practitioner (whoever that may be) and make YOUR OWN decisions based on that, like a responsible adult. I accept no responsibility for what you do with the below recipe.

Last winter while heavily pregnant, I spent 3 months caring for a sick family.
Mr HomesteadingHippy works in an environment where he travels and is exposed to other fluey virus cell shedding people on a daily basis. So last year he brought home a new flu EVERY ROTATION.
With winter once again on it's way and flu season inevitably around the corner, I wanted to be prepared.

I've read about elderberry benefits before, planned for a shrub or two, fantasised about making syrup one day, but never really made much of an effort of doing much more than that just yet.
Until now.

Last week, I excitedly opened a package of dried organic elderberries, grabbed some honey and spices from the cupboard and prepared to make my first batch of syrup.

Here's my adjuted recipe based on a variety of diferent recipes across the internet. They're all pretty similar, so you could google around yourself and come up with a slight twist of your own if you're daring.

Homesteading Elderberry Syrup.
1/2 cup dried elderberries or 1 cup fresh RIPE elderberries (no stems though, they're poisonous. ONLY RIPE BERRIES should be used)
3 cups water
1/2 cup honey
1 cinnamon stick
15 cloves (this is very clovey, just the way I like it but you can use as little as 5 instead if you like)

Place all in a pot, except for the honey and bring to the boil.
Reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes.
Remove from heat, strain through muslin and squeeze all the wonderful flavour
Cool slightly and stir in honey while still very warm.
Bottle and label.
This recipe made around 250ml give or take when reduced.

We use this at the dosage of:
1 teaspoon daily for prevention and 1 tspn every waking hour for treatment of the kids (not suitable for under 1's due to the honey) and
1 Tablespoon daily for prevention and 1 tablespoon every waking hour for treatment for the adults.

This syrup isn't overly sweet, nor is it unpleasant. The kids quite happily take theirs with no complaint.
I even tried adding a little extra oomph to our adult bottle of elderberry syrup, with a few drops of Four Thieves Oil.
I might only use two drops next time, maybe even one.

Friday, 29 March 2013

Milk confessions and DIY organic yoghurt

I have an admission to make. One most people gawk at upon hearing, when my hubby puffs his chest cockily and dobs me in to our peers... or anyone who will listen really.

I budget and spend $5 on each 2 litre bottle of milk we consume.

That's right, $2.50 PER LITRE of milk consumed. We go through 20 bottles a month. $100 on milk.
"But why, when you can buy milk for $1/litre?!" says hubby.

I know people who pay $7 for 2 litres of raw milk, for bathing in of course.
No, ours isn't raw milk. We can't find a reliable source of raw milk in our area, our cow is dry and the goats are now dry too. This is the next best option and it just happens to cost $5 for 2 litres.

$1 milk comes from cows fed multiple antibiotics and GM canola feed to improve their milking qualities. We know this, hubby used to work in an animal feed plant and physically made dairy cattle feed himself!
Our milk is organic, it CAN'T contain those antibiotics and GM feed we want to avoid and it just happens to be $5 for 2 litres.
The farmers of these $1 milk cows are given attrociously poor wages for their milk. They can't afford to treat their animals better even if they wanted to! They can barely feed their own families.
The big supermarkets are crapping all over the dairy industry AND I WILL NOT SUPPORT THAT!

I get migraines from conventional milk, Miss 6 reacts behaviourally to conventional homogenised milk and dairy products.
Our milk is the only organic, unhomogenised, farmer friendly, antibiotic and GM free milk that we can get in our town.
THAT is why I budget and pay $5 for 2 litres of milk... and I believe it's worth it.

Of course, our expensive milk doesn't come without sacrafices. We buy half the yoghurt we could eat if allowed to. We also sacrafice other areas of our food shopping, just to gain the best health benefits from our food we can at any given time.
We certainly can't afford to buy organic fruit and veg and I personally think supermarket 'fresh' 'organic' ranges are a crock of male cow manure once you know what they're allowed to do to it once it's off the farm. I prefer to grow my own where possible, thankyou.
We have to sacrafice a lot to afford the good stuff, but with the good stuff one can MAKE those things they sacraficed.

This means FRUGALITY. Take the time to make your own bread, yoghurt, kefirs, cheese, crackers, biscuits, cake and pudding treats.
You can save money, increase your food intake and even your food vitality and nutrients if you dare to grow a few things for yourself.

Today, I am frugalising yoghurt. Let's turn that $5 milk into a $6 saving!
2 litres of milk makes 2 litres/kgs of yoghurt.
$5 for the milk, about 10 minutes actual work and 24 hours time and you have 2 kg's of yoghurt.
2 kg's of organic yoghurt at the local large supermarket is $11. That's your $6 saving for every two tubs of yoghurt. You've essentially doubled your yoghurt for free. All you need to do is save a starter from your last store bought tub of REAL yoghurt, organic or at least plain natural full of cultures and maybe a few of your old sauce jars and lids, enough to hold up to 2 litres of liquid.

So next time you're about to finish that tub of organic or natural yoghurt full of live cultures, grab a bottle of milk instead and save yourself some money.
The health benefits in homemade yoghurt are heaps higher and stronger too.
Have I mentioned you can make cheese from your yoghurt?

I have shared the slow cooker yoghurt recipe on the old page before, but not sure about here on The Homesteading Hippies.
So here is a link with both the slow cooker method and the stovetop method for those who would like to take a hand at the traditional method.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Martin Farm Update

My new upcycled apron
Boy have we been busy busy, it's just that time of year!
Building, fencing, gardening, paving, sewing, fixing and preparing.
And then add in those few extra stresses that life just loves to throw in everybody's way, along their journies.

Autumn's here and winter's on it's way. I can feel it in my toes on the cold mornings, while I watch the sun rise over our bush from the verandah, sipping my hot morning cuppa.
I'm preparing by organising winter clothes and what I need to buy or sew to fill our wardrobes with warm things to wear. Including aprons to go over simple under layers, like thegood ol' days.

We discovered our rain tank liner is leaking, so we're currently going through twice as much water as normal until the repair man can get out to fix the tank at the same time there is a truck of water here to refill the liner once fixed.

This adds strain to the gardening and livestock side of things, let alone the everyday use which has that little voice in the back of my head as I reach for the tap: "What if it runs out this time? How long have we got until we can have more water delivered? Can we last that long without water?"

My oven blew.When I turn the oven function on, all is good... turn on the heat dial and **poof** oven electrics freak out and the whole thing switches off. So no oven, grill, living area heater/winter clothes dryer and towel warmer. Luckily I still have the gas stove top, slow cooker and grilling appliance for backup.
Not exactly the most convenient thing to happen on a homestead, an oven breaking. All the baking, bread, dehydrating and preserving potential just got halved in this house.
Does anyone happen to know if bread can be baked in the slow cooker at all?
I've read of it being risen overnight in the slowcooker, but baked? and sourdough?

Purple King Bean
(the day before an escapee chicken gobbled it up)
I've been building onto my frog pond, building up the garden bed and soil health around it, adding in a few herbs and planting some quick harvest seeds to use the soil until I have more herbs to plant out. Plus a wall of purple beans, simply because I love them.

Last month we celebrated Miss 2 becoming Miss 3.
Is it just me, or do 'threenagers' suddenly enter a phase of meltdown mode at every little thing, when they didn't before? What the??... Though, I do suspect some of this is more triggered by her sore belly sometimes, poor kid.
I'm sure it can't be easy to be 3, so hats off to her for her efforts so far.

We've been spending these past months experimenting with our diet and how to make it work into our food budget without feeling hungry.
We've found that all but one of us are sensitive to gluten to some extent and the youngest and I are battling candida yet again. So we experimented with cutting out grains altogether and trialling coconut flour. Never. Going. There. Again. Ever!

I'll be switching us back to sourdough, as we didn't seem to have any of the same problems on a controlled ammount of sourdough and it's something I can work with and see potential for baking with (when I get my oven fixed). We also love our sourdough pancakes and crepes as fillers. Bonus being that sourdough doesn't feed candida so it's an acceptable meal filler to have with all the meat, fruit and veg we're eating.

Tumeric Tri colour Quinoa
with Chicken

We've been trialling Quinoa (Keeeeeen-wah) recently as one of our fillers in place of rice or potatoes. The kids love it, but something just isn't sitting right with me about it. I don't know what it is, but I think I'll give it a litte more research before we get into it too much more.

We sold twin baby goats and have kept the single baby to fatten up for the spit. Yup, we're going to eat her if she looks to give some decent meat. It's what we're here for, it's what we're MEANT to be doing here. It's about time we finally got on with living our dream, not just dreaming it.

We're also looking to sell our cow. She's just too big for me to be able spend time with, with 3 small children aswell as the goats that we have.With her gone, I can focus more where I need to.

I am happy for the older kids to walk around and help with most of the goats, they are something we can achieve together and still obtain meat, milk and hide from. Goats are also better suited to our climate than cows who ideally need green grass all year round.
The savings of the cow being gone, in food and water alone is going to be a huge relief for the budget. We can start to focus on improving and developing other areas of the property.

We're getting excited about plans for new chicks, about to come to fruition.
Some are destined for the freezer. Some are destined to be our egg laying and meat making pets. Some are straight out pets for the kids.
Some of our hens are now so old, they don't lay anymore. Some of the other hens are good as broodies, after just a handful of eggs from them. So we're updating and improving the flock. We're also attempting to cut our food bill by buying meat birds.

This year we're 'officially' homeschooling Miss almost 6 in a free schooling manner. That is to say, this is the year that we have to register as homeschoolers, or send her to an educational institution (ugh!).
So, these new chicks have been a source of inspiration and much delightful learning we can use to show how life is learning.
Miss 6 with her rooster I call "FarQuad"
due to his little rooster syndrome.
I printed out some fake money and little chicks for Miss almost 6. 
The idea is for her to learn counting by 10's ($10 notes), monetary  value, multiplication (6 x $10 notes = $60 and 6 chicks @ $10 each = $60) and social interaction/behaviours through play, among a few other lessons that can be had as we ask more questions. Of course, she'll use them to learn from as she sees fit.

And the most important piece of news of all...
This year, I have decided that instead of missing out anymore, we ARE going to celebrate easter. That nasty gross commercial easter I've avoided for 6 years...
We are going to be celebrating the Cacao plant and it's many beautiful and luxuriously wonderful products.
Now, to be able to make the kids some choc body balm and find chocolate that complies with 'kids can eat it' standards to hide around the yard. Aaaahhh, that should get me an hour to myself next weekend.
All hail the reverred cacao products.

So tell me, what do you get up to during late summer and autumn?

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

On Becoming a Homemaker ~ Step One: Sew yourself an apron.

What does that word mean?
My initial feeling for the word was... to say the least, cringe-worthy. Yet, why?

Two words... Social conditioning.
I believe that society has been too focused on the 'revolution of women's rights' to see what that REALLY means!
We're told that to stay at home and not pursue a career is an outdated and primitive choice. That in doing so, those women let down the rest of the women in society and 'all they fought for'. Not true, I say!

The movement of women's rights and independence WASN'T about forcing the woman out of the home and into an 'equal' workforce with the men. No, not at all.
Women's independence movement was about women having the right to CHOOSE what they want to do... and if homemaking is that choice then by all means that is not going against the revolution! In fact it is a very noble and respectable profession.

Yes, homemaking IS a profession. An underpaid, overworked profession where the employee gives his/her ALL.
Homemakers are:
Child Carers
Referees and Peace Keepers
Maintenence Crew
Book Keepers
Tax Accountants
Nurses, Doctors and in some cases Midwives (you don't need a degree to know how to heal or birth)

and even, in some cases:
Animal and livestock carers
and MORE!
No sick leave, no holidays, no pay, no financial bonuses, life insurance or superannuation. On call 24 hours a day, EVERY day.

Of course, conventional society doesn't accept this as a profession and most homemakers go unappreciated and even scrutinised by their peers.
Maybe if homemakers were paid, given sick leave and annual holidays, they may just be seen as worthy of gratitude and praise by others?
BAH HUMBUG to those critics!

I did a little googling for blogs about homemaking and how others felt about it and how they made it work for them. It changed my mind about everything.
I don't want to just be a 'housewife'... I WANT to be a better homemaker. So I am on a journey to discover homemaking and what it means for me.
My mother wasn't what I would exactly call a 'homemaker' and I don't feel that I learned any of those needed skills from her directly.
I've been out of home since I was 17. In those years I have learned many skills, but really don't put them to good use in combination.

I have to admit, that part of my slobbishness is because my house doesn't feel like home. Granted, I want to come back here after a long hard day out because it's what I know, but it's not "home". I have failed as a homemaker!

Our walls are bare, unsealed, unpainted gyprock walls that shed dust at the slightest breeze. We haven't been able to afford to paint it. I haven't been able to hang photo's and pictures on my walls like most can in their home.
I don't feel the pride one should, of their home. I am out to change this.
I am on a journey that will incorporate my current knowledge, with what I will learn.

So, without further ado...
Sew yourself an apron... or three, or more.

I admit, this was my third step, but I truly think it should be step one. So I'm posting it as step one.

I believe that with an apron comes pride, responsibility and a fresh perspective. Putting on an apron in the morning gets you in the mode, so to speak.
I didn't think it before, until I read this post on Down to Earth.

I chose to make this apron by , tweaked a touch.

There are hundreds, maybe even thousands of different free apron tutorials out there on the net. A simple google will bring up many different styles to choose from, or take and combine to make your own.
I'm keen to try this gathering apron next, from On Just a Couple Acres.

Are you a proud homemaker?
Do you have an apron?
Please DO share a photo of yours, if you do.

~HH Mumma

Monday, 1 October 2012

Growing Potatoes

Usually I simply whack my potatoes in the garden bed with some compost and let them go, hoping for the best. We've had some ok crops turn out like this, but this year I want to give our potatoes the best chance possible, so I've devised a new plan.

The garden I have chosen is a slightly depleted bed. It has rotten down over the years since it was started, making it lower than originally intended and the retic has caved in so it looks quite dry. A little love and water and she'll come good.

This works for my potato plan because A) you need to build up the soil and mulch around a potato plant as it grows and B) potatoes like rich soil, so topping up the garden bed with compost, manure and mulch will benefit both garden and spuds.
I'll continue to water with a hose and when hubby whinges about it, I'll whinge back about the retic and hopefully it will be fixed.

Planting usually starts around July, but that was when I bought my seed, so shipping time and chitting time has meant I am planting late. No harm done, just a slightly later harvest.

Get yourself some heirloom certified seed potatoes and chit them. To do this, place them in a light airy place but not in direct sunlight. When the shoots are a good cm long or more, scrape off all but the two strongest. Your potatoes are ready for planting.

We even found some buried treasure when we were preparing the ground for planting... yummy jerusalum artichokes!!

Carefully we planted out our 10 seed potatoes and buried them. Later I will go up and rake up some goat poo to scatter over the soil and provide slow release fertiliser, but for now just a small handful of blood and bone and a good watering will do.
We have 30 more potatoes to plant out these next few days. I hope there's enough goat poo!

As the potatoes grow and expose their green shoots, I'll cover them again and again with mulch and compost, awaiting the day they flower and I can start the month long countdown from the death of those flowers. Potato harvest is so much fun for the whole family!

I plan to plant some beans beside and around the other patches to help feed the potatoes and double my crop production. Beans and plants make great companions, the problem is to decide WHICH beans to plant.... broad, borlotti, red kidney? oh the choices!!

I'll keep you updated along the way as to how well our spud crop goes with the added love this year.

~HH Mumma

Friday, 28 September 2012

Books to Inspire the Gardener Within: Repost from old blog to new.

Upon thinking of what I may write to help inspire or encourage people to get out and stick their hands in the earth, I became lost for words. I decided instead to share with you some of the many books that have inspired me over the past few years to make the choices I have in gardening.

Our relationship with food is what got me out in to the garden. I wanted to ensure my family eats healthy nutritious, organically homegrown food as much as possible. To know where our food had come from and that we had raised it ourselves.

Reading these books made me think more and inspired my persistance for gardening when I felt like a failure and wanted to throw the trowel in.

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbera Kingsolver
This book is the journey of an American mum and her family to endeavour on a year of seaonal locavore eating. It includes recipes at the end of each month using the vegetables they were able to source or grow that month.

A year of Slow Food by David and Gerda Foster
This an Australian story very similar to Barbera Kingsolvers book. It also contains recipes for seasonal eating. What inspires me most is Davids cow and bee keeping. A joy I have yet to experience myself.

For beginners that are confused on where to start in the basics of gardening I always say the key to success is reasearch, learning and SOIL and COMPOST
For great reads on soil and compost have a look at:

Soil Food-1372 ways to add fertility to your soil by Jackie French
This is a great book that details the dynamics of soil, how it works and ways to feed it for maximum potential. There is a section that tells how to treat soil for specific food crops.

The Compost Book by David and Yvonne Taylor
This book is a very detailed book compared to others I have read. It tells of what compost is, how to make compost and even has an alphabetised list of all the different things you can put in compost nad how they benefit it.
Did you know you can use Yarrow and Yoghurt to accelerate composting? We throw these down our composting toilet instead of having to buy the accelerator from the company we bought the toilet through.

When it comes to actual planting I like to keep these books on hand and refer to them constantly

The Seedsavers' Handbook by Michel and Jude Fanton of the Seedsavers Network in Byron Bay
This book tells of how to propogate, grow, select, save and store seeds from your garden ensuring good stock of open pollinated plants. It even includes plants that you may not have heard of before such as Aramanth, Kale, Celeriac and Celtuce.

Companion Planting in Australia by Brenda Little
Companion planting is a process of planting certain plants together that compliment one or boths growth by the output of root excretions or leaf exudates.
These plants can benefit each other by repelling isects and providing nutrients to each other, such as beans providing nitrogen interplanted with potatoes which use that nitrogen.
In the same way plants can be harmful to each other, like tomato roots excreting toxins that only herbs like basil and parsley can tolerate. These herbs also ward off insects and benefit the growth of tomatoes.

And for those with chickens or thinking of having backyard chickens you really can't go past...

Backyard Poultry-Naturally by Alanna Moore.
This is a book to be read to believe how fantastic it is. It includes breeds of chickens and ducks, generous pen ideas, chook medicianl herb listings and even natural ways to rid chooks of illness and disease.

With the use of good organic open pollinated seed, healthy soil, great compost and companion planting I have been able to reduce the ammount of pest problems my gardens encounter, increasing the output of produce for us to eat.

I hope these help you to feel inspired and head outside with bare hands, pick up that manure, soil or compost and take in a great deep breath of it's true beauty and feel it's potential to feed your family.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

A Worm Farm That Kids Can Make: A repost from old blog to new.

We've decided that with the main of our scraps now going to our animals, we will downsize and improve our compost bay and in the meantime use a worm farm. This meant we were in need of said worm farm.
So I decided to give you a photo tutorial on a worm farm that is cheap and so simple even a 3 year old could make it.

In fact I was so adamant to show how easy it is that MY 3 YEAR OLD DID MAKE IT!
The only part I helped with was showing her how to stab the first holes in the box, I shovelled and collected the compost from our bay for her to put in her worm farm and I collected the dirt full of worms from the raised garden bed she couldn't reach... oh, I also lifted the heavy box to it's final home after forgetting to move it BEFORE the compost was added.

Now I must inform you right here that we don't use worm farms to harvest worm casting juice like most people, but rather refresh and renew the worm farm during the year and use the contained compost FULL of worms and castings in our garden.
Hence why our worm farms have drainage holes instead of a draining tap. I like to move the farm around to different spots and plant a new plant in the last used spot that is now rich in wormy goodness.

First you'll need to collect the materials needed to make your worm farm....
  • The tub can be anything you like. A plastic storage container, perhaps a slatted wooden box lined to reduce spillage if you can afford one or find one to recycle or you can use a CFC free vege box (available from your local fruit n veg market or small supermarket for just $1 or $2)
  • A screwdriver, stick, pen or drill bit to put holes in the bottom of your farm.
  • Some straw or shredded newspaper
  • Soil or well rotted compost
  • A newspaper
  • A hessian bag and some rocks, or the containers lid if you wish to use it on your worm farm.
  • A watering can and water

Poke some holes in the bottom of your box, so that when you turn it up it looks something like this:
Add a layer of straw or shredded newspaper

Fill box with your soil or rotted compost

Hunt, dig up and add worms and some of their surrounding soil into your worm farm.
Give your worms and their new home a little shower

Cover with a thick layer of newspaper and moisten

Add your hessian and rocks (or lid)

You will find that if you feed the farm properly, worms will come out of the ground underneath and up into the farm vis the drainage holes. So starting with only a handful of worms is plenty fine.

Worms like cool moist conditions, so place your worm farm in a shady spot and ensure that the top layer of newspaper is always damp. Provide protection from excess rain so you don't drive your worms out with too much water.

Don't feed the worms too much. Place a small offering in at first and see how long it takes to be consumed, add a little more or less as you see fit.
Worms don't like to be given too much citrus, onions or coffee rinds. They do LOVE tea and coffee rinds, but too much of a good thing CAN be bad. You don't want to drive them out, so keep an eye on what goes in and have a little dig often to see how happy your worms are.

At first activity will be slow, but within a couple months your worm farm will be teaming with lots of juicy yummy worms.
You can even set up a second box exactly the same and just sit it on top of the first. Make sure the first box is full to the brim so the worms have a way to get to the new home through the drainage holes. Otherwise, just empty onto your veg patch and start again.

Get out there with the kids and give this fun activity a go... it only takes an hour of your time to spend enriching your kids awareness of life cycles, composting and the glorious work worms do for us.
Happy worming my friends.

~HH Mumma

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

The birth of Little Dude: Our baby water dragon.

42 weeks pregnant. I had had enough.
Not enough of being pregnant, I actually enjoyed pregnancy this time around. I had enough of waiting to meet my baby.

Neither of my girls had gone this far over and I knew my dates exactly.
Beside the fact my hubby works FIFO (Fly In Fly Out) rotations and was hardly home that cycle, I know my body. I felt when I ovulated and I could swear I could feel implantation. I knew when my baby was 'due'.

I also knew that going to 42 weeks and over IS normal, but I still had learn to have faith in that fact.
Getting the public opportunity to answer with my (kind of affirmation-ey) chant about 'normal' term pregnancy and why I wasn't being induced any time soon, both helped and shook my confidence slightly.
Other people questioning your body can be frustrating and counter productive to say the least. All that good positive thinking and researching, gaining confidence in your body in solitude kinda gets a little kink when someone throws stones at it. Being new to the unconventional situation had me repeating their questions in my head for a while afterwards.
My remedy? Head to bed and snuggle Miss 2 and read more Ina May. Aaaahhhhhhhhh, that's better.

I had had typical early labour signs a good few times already in the past weeks and I was getting frustrated about being ready to birth, but unannounced visitors would pop around and it'd throw my sense of security off and my body would stop.
All that vomiting and tightening's becoming just a small step in a long term plan, it seems.

As the full moon approached, I'd hoped it'd help influence things along as she's so reputed.
We lit a nice sized campfire out the back and gathered around it. The kids and Daddy eating their dinner, I quietly stood by the fire and basked in it's warmth, listening to my music, swaying and dancing.
I was watching as the full moon appeared to become partially eclipsed. Wow. Venus was eclipsing the full moon and if that wasn't magickal enough to start labour, I was going to give up hope and officially become the mother who WAS pregnant forever!

I woke up pregnant and miserably disappointed.

A day or two later, someone reminded me that the full moon is still in effect over a few days.
I had had a good cry and gone past the 'why doesn't my baby want to meet me?” stage and was in a state between acceptance of the situation and letting go of the situation.
While hubby cleaned, I got out my oracle cards and asked for guidance.

The message was simple, but so clear... Meditate, let go and stop trying to control.
So I did. I meditated and I did my best to let go of the idea of when my baby will arrive and I accepted that it'll be when he's ready.

I went for a shower and ahem, cleaned the tiles with hubby before heading to bed late for another night of tossing and turning.
Laying in the dark, breastfeeding my toddler I felt the usual tightenings that I get when feeding her lately. I tried to ignore them and get off to sleep but they grew stronger and closer. By the time I got up to check, they were a few minutes apart.

I walked around the house a little, not wanting to wake anyone if this was just another practise run.
2 minutes apart and getting intense. I knew this was it. I messaged my support person to head over and woke Hubby to get the birth pool filled and ready. It had a puncture and was going down as we filled it with water... shit.
Some gaffa tape and it was holding ok enough to use... but there was another leak on the opposite side... shit again. Solution: More gaffa tape and continuous pumping of the pool. Lucky we have a large air compressor out here.

I hopped in the shower and used the rest of the hot water to get through a very intense and fast labour. Intense waves of tightening, short but frequent. I talked to my baby and body and encouraged us all to work together. Open, Move down baby, Mummy's ready to work with you here.
As the waves reached their peak, I blew my horse lips. As Ina May says, relaxing one set of lips, relaxes the other set. By loosening my jaw and lips, I was relaxing and loosening my cervix to allow it to stretch almost effortlessly.

When the shower ran out and my support gal arrived I lay across my exercise ball and rode through the rest of the journey as hubby and Alyssa heated water on the stove and in the kettle, trying to warm up the now cooled birth pool.
All I wanted to do was hop back into warm water. I could feel my body starting to push at the end of waves. I wasn't ready to push yet, I wanted that water.

Finally, the water was ready and it was heavenly to sink into.

Such a peace and calm that flowed over me.
It didn't last for long. Within seconds of sinking into that water my body suddenly and strongly started pushing my baby out.

I don't remember how many pushes, but I do remember following my instincts and changing positions until it felt right, feeling for his head and realising he was still in his sac!!

His head came out and I knew it was normal to wait a bit for the next tightening but something was telling me to push... hard.
So I did.
It wasn't my body trying to push so it didn't quite feel right, but something was telling me to push.
I pushed hard and my baby turned. Boy, did he turn. I felt him spin around, but I also felt something unusual. Almost like he had kicked me in the upper uterus really hard, or had knifed me there.

One more push and my baby was out to his waist or hips and I felt the gush of his sac breaking, followed shortly after by our beautiful baby boy emerging peacefully into his Daddy's hands in the warm water and Mummy pulling him up for first cuddles.
Little Dude was here. Finally I get to meet my baby boy. A perfect birth, for a perfect baby.

Sadly, our camera is old, cheap and nasty, so didn't take clear pictures of the birth.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Springtime Sunkisses: DIY Sunscreen Links

We don't use commercial sunscreen here. I firmly believe it's toxic.
Look at the ingredients on the tube or bottle, google them and look at their effects on our health.
I personally believe that commercial sunscreen causes cancer, not prevents it. So I won't put that stuff on the skin of my family. Not to mention, more often than not the actual sunscreen itself would burn our skin when we did use before turning to natural living.

Normally we've had to resort to sensible sun exposure. Early morning and late arvo sun for our cancer fighting, sleep inducing and immune boosting vit D rays. Under shade during the 'dangerous' hours with shirt and hat if going out in the sun (a pretty rare occurence in summer here with constant high 30's and low 40's).

Over the years we have tried a few 'natural' sunscreens, only to have them burn our sensitive skin in a short time. I'd rather take the sunburn thanks, it hurts less than chemical burn.

This year I'm going to do it... I'm going to try make my own sunscreen.
I've gathered a few recipes and will give them a try, before coming up with our own variation that suits our family perfectly.

The main ingredients seem to be about the same. Beeswax, Zinc Oxide and some form of vegetable based 'butter'. Give or take a few oils and essential oils, that's your basic sunscreen.

Here are some links to check out if you're interested also.

Please feel free to link any other good ones you know of, in the comments.

Have you made your own sunscreen?
Want to share your tips and suggestions you learned along the way?

~HH Mumma

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

The Name Game

The Name Game is a simple but effective game designed to help with beginning letter recognition and name spelling. Starting simply with the few letters of one's name.

I cut out squares of pretty shiny paper, backed by contrasting cardboard and wrote the letters of the children's names on them.

We discuss the letters and their sounds. How when they're put together in a certain order, they spell our names.
Given a piece of paper with her name written down, Miss 5 explored the letters and then making her tiles match her paper.
Miss 2 enjoyed freeplay and investigating the many letters of her name.

The tiles are kept together in the free play games draw, where the kids grab puzzles and games from for entertainment.

Who says learning can't be fun, free or willing.
I love freeschooling!
~HH Mumma