Monday, September 17, 2012

My Gosh...Your House Must Look Like a Nursery

Hi Folks,

I had a reader make this comment.  You know how we decorate our house is individual. Some people put works of art, beautiful paintings, beautiful furniture.....one of the those homes that could be featured in one of those decorator magazines. There is nothing wrong with that but not all of us want or have the money for that kind of home. I have visited homes that are very beautiful and perfect. I was afraid to touch anything. I could not feel that warm feeling that comes from sitting in a well worn couch. Houses carry the vibration of its owners and who they are. I once dated a man (one date) who drove an expensive car with leather seats. I had a 1979 Mercedes that was not in perfect condition. As I drove up to his home, I said to myself, well we are in the wrong neighborhood. He opened the door which led into a perfect house, with nothing out of place. Did he really live here?  I walked in on its white carpet and knew immediately, I was in the wrong lifestyle for my heart. We never had a second date for I knew that my heart and soul would never be happy living in that kind of life.

 I have always been a country girl from humble beginnings. I have never been on great vacations or seen the world.  Although it might have been nice, I chose a different life. My focus has been alternative medicine, books, growing things, and animals. I am afraid that having livestock and trips don't easily go hand in hand. When we leave our home,  we must have backup for feeding the dogs and livestock. It is a choice we make....our choice for our lives. Where some women spend money on clothes, I willingly spend money on plants, books, and animal feed. I would rather buy grow lights over other things.  It is where MY heart is.

My husband and I are older. My children and grandchildren are in Denver and Florida.  My son is in San Diego. We don't get to see each other often. We don't entertain.  I take that back, we do entertain in our living room. My beloved guests include scented geraniums, Moringa Trees, and other non-house plants that must be kept inside including two pau d' arco trees.  They provide me with beauty unmatched in my eyes, over expensive paintings. Since we only hang out in the living room when watching a movie, my plants make up the living room decor.  It makes US happy. Here are some pictures of our living room. Each corner of the huge living room has a collection of plants or trees.

This picture shows the Moringa Tree collection,  that hang out by this window in the living room. It is one of the two best places in the living room for light. The bookcase sits next to my trees. I love books and they keep me company as well. I am excited about this house because for the first time in a long time....my books are all out on our bookshelves, not in boxes. It is a very simple arrangement but I love having my trees in the house.

The house has a wood stove in the living room and here are some scented geraniums, a pau d'arco tree, and a large house plant. It is a simple card table but it works.  The one on the right is a Vick's plant that when you rub the leaves, it smells like Vicks Vapor Rub.  In fact this plant is where that product comes from.


This corner harbors our hutch, kit table, my fathers shelf he made 50 years ago or so, highlighted on top with two apple scented geraniums. The leaves smell like real apples. To the side are two trash cans that contain Moringa trees.  Grow lights overhead, give the geraniums enough light to survive there. It also keeps our bad house cats from destroying them. Pictures of my husband's parents decorate the wall there.  Not fancy, very simple but we love it.

Our house is simple, but warm and smells wonderful with all my plants. In the stark winters here in Nevada, they comfort me and give me green in the brown winters here. All of the trees here lose their leaves so outside is not pretty in winter.  But here in the beauty of our living room I can still have green leaves.

As you can see the house does not look like a nursery. It does reflect the heart of this herbalist and her husband whose heart lies in the earth and its animals. We have quail in our back yard everyday. I give them water and food. There are wild horses that visit our yard and neighbor's yard every week. I hear the quail call as I do my chores and write this column.  The doves come to visit as well. Our neighbor has goats and a donkey. As I look out on our property, my ducks and chickens roam freely on our fenced property. Our new young goats climb up on their pallet pile to play.  They call out to me to feed and pet them.  My life is not filled with trips and shopping....and is certainly not the choice for many reading this blog....but it is where my heart is and now my husband's as well. When I die someday, I want it to be in the country, with room to breathe. We all make choices in life......and living in the country in our simple house with all my animals and plants...is ours.

When I hear the quail call, I see the hand of God and his beauty. I see God in the hills and in the mountains he created here in Nevada. It is hard to see God's hand in blacktop and concrete buildings. I hear him in the silence of this remote place......as well. I hear him in the whisper of the winds through the leaves.

It took my husband several years to see the beauty in the country such as the sound of the wind blowing. We dated for a long time.  I told him I would not marry him and  live in a condo. He was determined I was the right woman even if I did love chickens. I was determined not to marry him unless he could find in his heart to love the country. He was used to car noises and city sounds. I showed him the beauty of the country over time. It took him a long time to hear the beauty in the hills. I would tell him to stop the car and listen. I don't hear anything but birds...he would say. Yes, yes, that was my point. He hears them NOW and loves them today. The first time we got chickens, you would of thought they were elephants. He now has built his forth chicken coop. He loves our country life now. There is a different vibration in the country....one you must feel with your different senses. He feels it now as I do.  I hope some of you get to experience the beauty we feel some day.

Signing off for now...May God Bless you
Kate Freer, the Herbladyisin


Sunday, September 16, 2012

An Unusual Visit From God

Fall is here....the nights are down to 50 degrees. We are closing up the windows at night to help the Moringa Trees keep their leaves longer.  We had to put a plastic wire fence around the trees to keep the inventive cats from destroying them.  I have ended up with about 9 good sized trees and some babies that are not doing well.   The nine should make it through the winter in the house.  We will use the wood stove later or a small heater in that corner of the room, to keep the temperature higher.  Records show that it could freeze by the last week of this month.  I am building cold frames outside for some of the plants that cannot come inside. We did not get the greenhouse done because our truck died...leaving no easy way to bring materials home. The cold frames will hold the Swiss chard, kale, and tomato plants.  I may try bringing the tomatoes in 20 gallons in the house. They have a ton of small green tomatoes on them.  Nevada is like a war...battling all the elements from winds, to cold, then to heat.  I have gotten great bell peppers and squash, beans, cabbage, and more grown all in containers.  I made some awesome stuffed bell peppers from our plants.  Next year I will grow more beans, more of everything  I have seen people here, experienced in this area with  beautiful potatoes and lots of veggies, so you can grow here....it is just a challenge.
 
The chickens did well on C. Silver and garlic soaked dog food.  In fact they are doing much better on the dog food then the laying mash. Looking at the ingredients, the dog food is much healthier with a higher protein level.  There were four chickens with whom the rooster had removed the back feathers. Even though I had gotten rid of the rooster long ago for that reason, the hens did not re-feather. Since feeding them dog food, they are finally getting new feathers.  Unless you buy organic food which is a fortune, the corn in laying pellets as in the corn we eat...is GMO. 

In looking at our first 8 months here....I can look at my goji berries and say complete success. They survived 3 moves that were not kind to them. All of them but one survived and are growing well. Next year I should have a mess of berries from them.  The grape starts have done well. I had to box around them with pallets to keep the goats away but next spring we should have grapes to eat.  The blueberries have grown well and they can take the cold here as well.  I have done well with the veggies planted with wind breaks. I had success with fennel here, reviving the original plants here, and mints.  So all in all, there were more successes than failures, this first year.  I have learned from neighbors some tips that should make next year more successful.  The chickens and ducks have done well here...with no real problem predators at all.  The rabbits have also done well here.  So we will have a lot to be thankful for on Thanksgiving. 

An Unusual Visit from God 


In these troubled times, we need to take time to focus on the good in our lives....not the problems. There is good in all our lives, even in the weeks and months that seem to filled with battles on one sort or another. 

Finding peace, does not come from a trouble-free life, but from the peace we find in our hearts, despite the ill.  You must find that place inside- to keep you positive and on track. It cannot be found outside, only within.

I had a bad day this past week and was not feeling good about life in general. I was sitting in our office, where my chair faces the window. Outside the window is our large dog house where I have placed some plants on the roof,  to keep them away from the goats. One scarlet sage in a one gallon container had two small blooms. Not much else is blooming here right now. I looked up and a hummingbird was at our window.  I went to the window and she came  right to the glass, hovering for several minutes looking at me. I knew she was trying to tell me something....it was just so out of the ordinary.  Now the interesting thing, is that we have seen no hummingbirds at all here or at our other house in Mina.  We had no hummingbird feeders up. I have missed the joy of seeing them. We have always had hummingbirds where we lived before. There has not been one sign of any all this time. That was why I was so shocked to see her that morning. I knew immediately there was meaning in her visit. The night before she appeared I had prayed for answers to what I should be doing with my business and in my life. I asked for a sign from him on how in the years remaining of my life, I could be more useful to others.

She appeared I feel as a sign....from God...that even in the worst of times...when we feel that all is going wrong.....that he can find us and comfort us.  That even in the wilds of Nevada where only one bloom is visible, his light and love can find us.  She found us and the one little bloom.

We need to remember, we are never alone and without his love. 

The answer did come....without the details....that my role is to be there as a strength and support to others. I am not sure yet what path that means fully.  For those of you who also had a difficult week, know that there is a God who loves us and can find us...where ever we are and what ever we are going through. I am extending this invitation that if you are having a time where you really need a sounding board ...someone to talk to....give me a call. Our phone number is 775-629-9868.   I will call you back for I am often outside with the animals. I cannot legally give you health advice...because of the AMA and Nevada laws.

I am here if you need to talk...because of rough times.

God be with all of you this week.

Kate Freer, the Herbladyisin