When and How to Use Activated Charcoal

When and How to Use Activated Charcoal

activated charcoalToday at the farmer’s market speaking from one herbalist to another, I was reminded that activated charcoal is a simple treatment to use. That will be my topic for today. It has been years and years since I’ve been sick with anything and even longer since I’ve had any kind of stomach or gastrointestinal illness. Activated charcoal can help.

But first, welcome to all the new listeners and welcome back veteran homestead-loving regulars. That you so much for stopping by the FarmCast. I appreciate you all so much. First up on the agenda, I’m so excited to share with you all the great activity going on at the farm this week.

Today’s Show

  • Homestead Life Updates
  • Stomach Virus – Traditional Remedy
  • Ginger Tea with Honey and Lemon

Homestead Life Updates

The Quail

We have 47 quail eggs in the incubator. These little guys are a joy to raise. They are so hardy. We started with 24 hatchlings and still have 23. The only one we lost was due to a snake. With baby chicks, almost always you lose one or two – or more – due to failure to thrive or some early disease. Not so with quail. We had them outside before they were 2 weeks old. Almost fully feathered, they were fine with the temps in the 70s during the day and high 50s and low 60s at night. They are hardy birds.

In less than three weeks we will have new babies.

The Creamery

The concrete block walls to the milking parlor are complete. There is a video on Facebook with a short tour of that part of the building. Scott has spent quite a bit of time today moving the milking parlor equipment into the area. For the longest time it has been stored just waiting for this moment. Who knows when the actual installation will happen, but it is exciting to see the first portion of the creamery coming into being? In addition to the milking parlor equipment installation, it still needs a roof. There is still so much to do.

The Cows

The cows are moooving along nicely and munching down on all that grass. If you’ve never been around cows you are missing the perfect example of peace in action. One of the reasons that I wanted a milk cow in the first place is the sense of peace that comes from working with them and there is no closer relationship that when you are milking them. They are truly beautiful creatures. Smelly but beautiful.

We still have one more bull calf available. You can call us at 276-694-4369 to get more information on these guys. There are two to choose from, but we are only selling one. The last one we will keep for beef. He will take a couple of years to grow out, but these Normande cows make some great steaks and roasts.

Speaking of beef, we have a limited quantity of beef available. This will be the last for a while so get in touch with us now if you are interested in a quarter or a half.

The Lambs

The lambs and goat kids are frolicking in the grass and growing like weeds. It is amazing how fast they grow. The lambs and kids are nearly the height of their mothers already. Watching them get down on their knees to nurse is comical. Well, it doesn’t look like so much fun for mom, but they seem to patiently endure. They are all old enough to be weaned and we will separate them in the next couple of weeks. It is important to get the boys out for sure. Otherwise, we end up with unauthorized breeding and we can’t have that. No we can’t have that.

The Garden

Let’s talk about the garden. The tomatoes are coming on strong. I have lots of them sitting on shelves ripening. I would prefer to pick them when they are already ripe but the raccoons make that impossible. Every night they go out into the garden and pick a few and take a bite or two out of them. Then they get another one and take a bite or two out of that one and so on. These guys are grabbing them before they even get all the way red. I wonder if they would like fried green tomatoes. No matter. I’ve taken things into hand and am just circumventing their intrusiveness and picking the tomatoes as soon as they show any sign of ripening. The plan is to make lots and lots of tomato sauce. I made some last year for the first time. It was much easier than I thought and I look forward to making more this year. I use tomatoes in stews. I use a lot of tomatoes in stews. Up to four quarts in a 4-gallon batch. If I use tomato sauce instead, I think I can use 2 pints instead. Much less storage space for the tomatoes.

Last night we shelled Mississippi Silver Crowder peas. There is a large bowl ready to be cooked and eaten. There will also be some left over to be canned. I love growing these. The plants are resistant to everything and they put on lots and lots of pea pods. The pods are 7-8 inches long with about 20 peas per pod. They shell easily and they taste of good. They can be dried and cooked similar to black-eyed peas, but I prefer these to be green and I like to add a few snapped green pods. Again, these are very easy to grow and produce very well.

The Orchard

We had a neighbor come over and pick some blackberries a few days ago. I simply do not have time to pick them and process them. Blackberries are a lot of work. I don’t like the seeds and always take the extra steps necessary to get the seeds out. It’s not really hard, but it is time consuming. Besides the issue of time, I still have tons of blackberry jam and blackberry syrup from last year. Our blackberries are always prolific. We grow several varieties of thorn-less and the berries are large and juicy.

I’m probably leaving out a bunch of other stuff that is happening here, but I’m going to close off the farm updates for this time.

The Farmer’s Markets

Oops I almost forgot to mention the Farmer’s Market. Come see us at the Wytheville Farmer’s market on Saturday mornings 8 am to noon. Starting this Friday you will also find us at the Independence Farmer’s market from 9 am to 1 pm. I’ll have lamb, beef and goat as well as lots of information on herd shares. Who knows, maybe even some cheese samples.

I was going to start at the Independence Farmer’s market this past Friday, but I had an incident that has not happened in many, many, many moons. I had a stomach virus or perhaps it was that salami. I don’t know. It was one or the other. In any case, I was sick as a dog for a good 12 hours. Let me tell that story and provide some info on the perfect remedy.

Activated Charcoal – Traditional Remedy for Nausea and Vomiting

And as I mentioned earlier, while at the Wytheville Farmer’s market I spoke with another herbalist and she reminded me of activated charcoal when having issues with stomach upset. In the heat of the sickness I was trying to think of what to do and I was so sick I couldn’t remember what I had on hand to deal with it. When she promptly said “activated charcoal”, it was one of those face-palm moments. Of course, I have tons of it on hand for exactly that purpose. Number one, I’m almost never sick and number two, my head hurt so bad I couldn’t think straight.

I did act on the headache. My sinuses were inflamed and I don’t know why. I was sure that a massive head cold was about to take me out for days. Well, I took out my trusty echinacea and goldenseal formula and dripped some directly into my nasal passage. It burns. Only a couple of drops but POOF, gone. No more sinus issues. If I could only have thought so quickly about the activated charcoal. It’s a matter of what I use more often and what I have never had the occasion to use. Now I’ve had the occasion to use it but didn’t but it’s unlikely I will forget next time. Let me give you the goods on activated charcoal.

Activated charcoal

Charcoal isn’t just for your backyard grill. Even though charcoal makes most of us think of glowing embers and yummy barbecued kabobs or steak, it has stomach soothing medicinal properties too. The CDC reports that 19 to 21 million Americans will get the stomach flu, and charcoal might just help you get back on your feet faster.

What is the Stomach Flu?

What’s often referred to as stomach flu, stomach bugs, or even food poisoning can be caused by bacterial infections or viruses. This inflammation of your gastrointestinal tract might be referred to as gastroenteritis or norovirus, but in either case the symptoms include nausea, vomiting, and/or diarrhea. The illness comes on quickly and can have you off your feet from one to three days. Common treatment recommendations include drinking fluids, getting rest, and following the BRAT (bananas, rice, applesauce, toast) diet. None of those are on my eating list so an old Native American remedy would have been a much better option.

What is activated charcoal?

Activated charcoal is made with a variety of burned materials including bamboo, wood, coal, or coconut shells. This treatment was used by Native Americans hundreds of years ago, and there’s even some record of it being used by Egyptians. Activated charcoal is processed at high temperatures and results in a black powder that is incredibly effective at absorbing a variety of substances. Charcoal is “activated” when a high temperature is used in combination with an activating agent that expand its surface area. This is what gives activated charcoal its incredible absorbing powers.

Why do people take activated charcoal?

Most commonly used to treat poisoning and drug overdoses, activated charcoal is now gaining attention as a remedy for stomach bugs that cause nausea and vomiting. The theory is that activated charcoal can absorb the bacteria responsible for causing stomach flu (the same way it is used to absorb poisons). You can also have a virus that can cause the same sort of tummy troubles, and activated charcoal may help with the symptoms.

How should I take charcoal?

You can buy activated charcoal online in capsules or powder. If you feel the nauseating symptoms of a stomach bug coming on, or if you are actively vomiting, you can put the powder in some applesauce, if you have capsules you can open them up. A common recommendation is 500 to 1,000 mg, two to three times per day. It is recommended that you take other supplements at different time as the charcoal can absorb good nutrients as well as the bad stuff. If you notice any worsening symptoms after taking the supplement stop taking and call your doctor.

It’s important to note that activated charcoal should be bought from pharmacies and health food stores, it is not the same as regular charcoal. Activated charcoal, unlike regular charcoal, is food grade and safe to take internally.

You can give it to children, but check with your pediatrician beforehand. If you get the okay, start with ¼ of a capsule (about 200 mg) in some applesauce and repeat no more than 2 times a day. If you or your child continue to have abdominal pain or persistent fever, you must see your doctor. Home remedies are great but they are not the be-all, end-all for medical treatment.

Side Effects & Safety

Activated charcoal is safe for most adults when used short-term. Side effects of activated charcoal include constipation and black stools. More serious, but rare, side effects are a slowing or blockage of the intestinal tract, regurgitation into the lungs, and dehydration.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Activated charcoal might be safe when used short-term if you are pregnant or breast-feeding, but consult with your healthcare professional before using if you are pregnant.

Don’t use activated charcoal if you have any kind of intestinal obstruction. Also, if you have a condition that slows the passage of food through your intestine (reduced peristalsis), don’t use activated charcoal, unless you are being monitored by your healthcare provider.

Medications taken by mouth (Oral drugs) interact with Activated Charcoal

Activated charcoal absorbs substances in the stomach and intestines. Taking activated charcoal along with medications taken by mouth can decrease how much medicine your body absorbs, and decrease the effectiveness of your medication. To prevent this interaction, take activated charcoal at least one hour after medications you take by mouth.

Alcohol Interacts with Activated Charcoal

Activated charcoal is sometimes used to prevent poisons from being absorbed into the body. Taking alcohol with activated charcoal might decrease how well activated charcoal works to prevent poison absorption.

Syrup of Ipecac Interacts with Activated Charcoal

Ipecac is taken by mouth to cause vomiting after suspected poisoning. It is also used to treat bronchitis associated with croup in children, Amoebic dysentery (a severe diarrhea), and cancer. Ipecac is also used as an expectorant to thin mucous and make coughing easier. Small doses are used to improve appetite.

Activated charcoal can bind up syrup of ipecac in the stomach. This decreases the effectiveness of syrup of ipecac.

For lesser stomach issues there are lots of teas that can help.

Ginger Tea with Honey and Lemon

Ginger tea has been used for thousands of years as a cure for nausea and digestive problems. It offers a variety of health benefits and healing compounds to alleviate upset stomach. Many people reach for the ginger ale when feeling symptoms of stomach pain or nausea, but ginger tea contains higher concentrations of the compounds that alleviate these digestive issues; making it the better choice for feeling better faster.

This tea is made using fresh ginger root and packs a punch when it comes to healing symptoms of upset stomach. Ginger is a natural remedy for nausea and is often used to treat morning sickness in pregnant women and motion sickness caused by planes and boats.

In fact, a Thai study examined pregnant women with symptoms of morning sickness and found that 28 out of the 32 individuals saw an improvement in nausea when given a daily dose of 1 milligram of ginger root. As a rule of thumb, one cup of ginger tea contains about 250 milligrams of ginger so aim to drink two to four cups of this tea to alleviate feelings of nausea.

What You Need

  • 1” Fresh ginger root, grated
  • ½ Lemon
  • Honey, to taste
  • 2 cups water

Equipment

  • Grater
  • Glass container or teapot
  • Strainer

What To Do

  1. Peel one-inch piece of fresh ginger root and grate into a glass container with a filter.
  2. Thinly slice lemon and add it to the container with the ginger.
  3. Add honey.
  4. Pour boiling hot water into the container and steep for five minutes.
  5. Strain and serve hot.

Final Thoughts

Are you keeping up with all the stuff going on at the homestead? It’s a lot to handle but we love it. The cows, sheep, goats, donkeys and quail are a barnyard variety that keeps us in a constant state of wonder and amusement. These guys are a hoot. We love sharing it all with you. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram and come see us at the Farmer’s markets in Wytheville and Independence. Or heck, come see us on the farm. Tuesday mornings and Saturday afternoons. We’d love to share some of this more directly.

Get some activated charcoal and keep it on hand for that occasional stomach upset. It doesn’t to bad. There is no expiration date. It is the porous form that absorbs the toxins and that doesn’t change once created.

And remember that mild upsets can be alleviated with a little ginger tea.

If you enjoyed this podcast, please hop over to Apple Podcasts, SUBSCRIBE and give me a 5-star rating and review. Also, please share it with any friends or family who might be interested in this type of content.

As always, I’m here to help you “taste the traditional touch.”

Thank you so much for stopping by the homestead and until next time, may God fill your life with grace and peace.

Recipe Link

Ginger Tea with Honey and Lemon

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The Traditional Family Cow

The Traditional Family Cow

the Traditional Family CowThe Traditional Family Cow is the topic of today’s podcast. She has just about been pushed out of existence. Lots of us are trying to revive this wonderful, quality food source.

I want to take a minute and say welcome to all the new listeners and welcome back to you veteran homestead-loving regulars who stop by the FarmCast every week. I appreciate you all so much. I’m so excited to share with you what’s going on at the farm this week.

Today’s Show

  • Homestead Life Updates
  • The Traditional Family Cow
  • Crab & Artichoke Dip Recipe

Homestead Life Updates

The cows are doing great. Every day, twice a day, I walk out there and find them grazing peacefully on the grass. I circle around behind them and start calling out, “let’s go, let’s go” and they all start toward the milking shed. They walk pretty slow. Sometimes inside I’m all raring to go and I want to push them a little faster—as if the milking machine would go any faster—and they never really cooperate. They move pretty much at their own pace no matter now anxious I might be. Scott has Butter already up in the shed hooked up to the portable milker. So these guys are just mozying along at a slow pace on their way to the lounging area. That’s where they will hang out until Scott gets done milking Butter. No need to hurry. I’ll take a lesson from them and endeavor to maintain my inner peace. It’s a nice daily ritual.

Lambert does not come running anymore. We weaned him off the bottle about a week ago. I still feel like I’m missing something when I go out to the field. Shouldn’t I be doing something else before bringing in the cows? Oh well, it will pass. And every once in a while, he still comes running up looking for a bottle and I can give him a little petting.

The donkeys sure love their petting. All four of them got their hooves trimmed a few days ago. Daisy and Sweet Pea just stand their placidly—for the most part. They do shimmy a little bit every now and then. But Johnny and Cocoa still dance around a lot. They try to lay over all of their weight on Scott while he is holding up one of their hooves. Or they jerk that hoof around while he is trying to hold it. Cocoa had a little mishap when she did that. The grinding tool that Scott uses to file their hooves nicked her. We put some pine tar on it to keep the flies out and it looked to be a small enough scrape to heal in a few days.

We weaned the one boy kid from his mom a couple of days ago. He’s merged in with the other boy goats. We have six in there now and four sheep. One ram and 3 lambs that will go to the processor soon. Let us know if you are interested. I know I always talk about Wytheville, but if you are in the Winston-Salem or Greensboro, NC area we can help you there too. Pass this along to anyone you know who might be interested.

I still haven’t got the onions out of the garden. Perhaps this week I can get to that. The tomatoes are looking really good as are the black, red, and white beans and the Mississippi Silver crowder peas. Yum, yum.

I wonder how the blueberries are doing. The birds are probably having a field day out there. It has been more than 4 or 5 days I think since I picked them last. I canned eight 24-oz jars of blueberry pie filling and froze two quarts of fresh blueberries that will go in pancakes and yogurt. More yum, yum.

Let’s get on to the topic of the day.

The Traditional Family Cow

In a previous podcast I talked about The Tradition of Dairying. I gave a brief history and finished up with the growth of the large dairies in the 20th century. Today I want to follow up on that and talk more specifically about small dairy farms and the family cow.

What was happening to the family cow while commercial dairying was being conformed to the 20th century model of food as commodity? Along with small farms of every sort, she was being priced out of existence. If you talk to old-timers you will hear the statement, “it doesn’t pay to keep a cow.” American food is cheap, or at least appears to be. Starting early in the 20th century, an elaborate system of subsidies has kept food prices artificially low, part of a cheap food policy that brands food as a commodity and the cheaper, the better. Quality is an afterthought if it comes up at all.

This policy has been continued by every administration. Perhaps you are familiar with farm subsidies, payments to farmers designed to assist them in producing their products at predictable levels. Among the less frequently recognize effects of subsidies is that by covering part of a farmer’s costs, he or she is then able to accept a lower price for the crops or milk, so you pay less for food. Pointed out even less frequently is the government assistance that goes to processors. Everything from special university research projects to tax-deferred production plants may be paid for wholly or in part by tax dollars. Highway costs are shared by all taxpayers but benefit truckers—and the food industry—disproportionately. This is sometimes referred to as corporate welfare. These are some of the hidden costs of cheap food. In reality, you are paying more for your food from the grocery store than you may have realized. It’s just harder to see it because it is in the form of taxes. It is you and I, the taxpayers, that are paying the money in the form of taxes that then goes to the farmer, the processor and the transportation industry all via subsidies.

With food costs comparatively low, even the formidable efficiency of the cow is hard put to offer an obvious fiscal advantage. Milk prices are low because dairy farmers, even taking rapidly diminishing subsidies into account, are paid at a rate that barely covers costs and they cannot market their milk freely. They must sell to consortiums under fixed contracts that are government regulated. And processors have certainly made milk conveniently available to markets. If a plot had been hatched to eliminate small farmers, place milk production and distribution in the hands of a few, and permit almost everybody to forget what milk was meant to taste like, a better plan could not have been devised. Consider also that in terms of buying power, American wages were high during the first 60 years of the 20th century and our dollars still buy more food than in any other westernized country. So keeping a cow does indeed cost more than buying milk at the store.

Most people considering getting a family cow are no longer motivated by the old-timer view that the object of a cow is to “pay”, reasonable as this may be. Quality dairy products and the desire for a more centered way of life are what people now want. Cost is secondary.

Treatment of commercial milk

Pasteurization has its detractors and I am among them, but there is no doubt that milk distribution as we know it today would otherwise be impossible. The creation of the current distribution network ensured the destruction of the small, local dairy farm.

Pasteurization destroys all bacteria including benign strains and it destroys enzymes, besides physically altering milk protein. In addition, by the 1950s virtually all milk was also homogenized. ‘Pasteurized and homogenized’, which appear on every container of milk, are not really related at all. They came about for different reasons. “Homogenized” means the milk is subjected to pressure and agitation which knocks apart the butterfat globule and stops it from doing what cream would naturally do: rise to the surface. This, too, was presented to you, the consumer, as a great advance but first and foremost it served the distributor. Back in those days everybody wanted cream, but after its pasteurization treatment with heat the cream was lumpy and unimpressive. Homogenization offer the advantage of distributing the cream evenly throughout the milk.

The advantage for distributors was less charming. Once pasteurization made it possible to sell milk two or even three weeks after it left the farm there emerged a problem with a sort of sludge settling to the bottom of the bottle. This sludge largely consisted of dead bacteria and the macrophages that consumed them, and the longer the bottled milk sat, the more evident the sludge. With homogenization it becomes invisible along with the cream. Don’t let me put you off store-bought milk all together. Worst things are in ketchup and peanut butter.

This might seem reason enough to get a cow herd share with us, but wait. There is more. Now we have BGH, bovine growth hormone, to consider. Consumers have expressed virtually unanimous objection to the fact that milk may now legally contain BGH which is passed into the milk as a result of the cow’s daily injection. The history of milk distribution does not offer much reassurance that your concerns will end the practice. Antibiotics, contrary to widespread belief, are never fed to dairy cattle; nonetheless, they sometimes do find their way into milk following teat treatment.

The cow as security

Does the future seem uncertain to you? One of the best ways to take charge of your own future that of your family is to raise and grow your own food. This is a life-affirming choice of action and one that may well offer better odds than going about armed to the teeth. Inasmuch as this is hardly a new idea, many schemes for self-sustaining food systems have been devised and revived from traditional methods. One method involves growing algae in vats on the roof. Another promotes earthworms and other insects as ideal basic food. There are systems for backyard fish ponds capable of growing many pounds of fish called tilapia by adding manure and other waste to their water. Some people advocate growing family size patches of soybeans along with other vegetables to provide food security. All of these approaches offer food security of a sort, along with major problems. Algae tastes awful, insects don’t appeal to the Western palette, tilapia are nourishing but boring. An all-vegetable diet is seriously boring and is extremely labor-intensive. I recommend the cow.

If the biggest animal you’ve ever known personally was a golden retriever, the cow may seem like a giant step into the unknown. We can help with that. With a herd share we will do all the work and you still get the benefit of raising your own food.

Amazing cow magic that most people don’t know about

An overarching truth about the traditional family cow is that she drives your small farm economy. By living on a constantly renewing resource, grass, she is able to support herself and her calf and still provide milk for you. And a cow does this on a free resource made of water and sunshine. Through her sovereign ability to convert grass, which otherwise has no value, to milk and meat, which does have value, the cow produces a wealth of nutrition.

Crab & Artichoke Dip Recipe

Dip into this rich and creamy snack and a favorite bottle of wine. Use your slow cooker to make this recipe—it’s a perfect fit for a relaxed “friends” night.

This recipe is keto-friendly if you leave off the crackers and dip your bacon in it.

TOTAL TIME: 

Prep: 20 min. Cook: 2 hours     

YIELD: 

3-1/2 cups.

What You Need

  • 3 cups fresh baby spinach
  • 1 can (14 ounces) water-packed artichoke hearts, rinsed, drained and chopped
  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups shredded Peaceful Heart Gold cheese (or substitute Harvarti)
  • 1 can (6 ounces) lump crabmeat, drained
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • Assorted crackers (or bacon if you go keto)

What to Do

  1. In a large saucepan, bring 1/2 in. of water to a boil. Add spinach; cover and boil for 3-5 minutes or until wilted. Drain.
  2. In a 1-1/2-qt. slow cooker, combine the artichokes, cheeses, crabmeat, sour cream, salt, pepper and spinach. Cover and cook on low for 2-3 hours or until cheeses are melted. Serve with crackers—or BACON.

Nutrition Facts

1/4 cup (calculated without crackers): 158 calories, 12g fat (8g saturated fat), 50mg cholesterol, 279mg sodium, 3g carbohydrate (1g sugars, 0 fiber), 9g protein.

Notes

Peaceful Heart Gold matches well with sugary fruits like figs, raisins, walnuts, hearty, rustic bread, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and light-bodied Pinot Noir wine.

Just as it accommodates spices and other flavors, Peaceful Heart Gold’s creamy-smooth, tangy flavor complements a wide variety of foods. You can shred it on a pizza instead of—or in addition to—mozzarella. It melts beautifully over burgers and in casseroles, and is fabulous in a grilled cheese.

Final Thoughts

That’s it for today’s farm updates and thoughts on the family cow. If you’re interested in that herd share, get in touch with me via email (give email address). You can also contact me through the website. www.peacefulheartfarm.com and go to the contact page. Call us at the farm at 276-694-4369. We’d love to talk with you in person. And give that recipe a try then go to the recipe page and provide your feedback in the comments. Let others know how you did with it and any modifications you made.

If you enjoyed this podcast, please go to Apple Podcasts and write a review. And don’t forget to subscribe. Also, please share it with any friends or family who might be interested in this type of content.

As always, I’m here to help you “taste the traditional touch.”

Thank you so much for stopping by the homestead and until next time, may God fill your life with grace and peace.

Recipe Link

Crab and Artichoke Dip

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Keto Diet and Dairy

Keto Diet and Dairy

keto diet and dairyToday’s topic is how the keto diet and dairy fit together. The keto diet is catching on more and more it seems to me. That might be because it works. Today I want to share some of my story and how I use dairy and still stay in ketosis. I’m even going to share a keto chocolate ice cream recipe with you.

But first, let me say welcome to all the new listeners and welcome back to veteran homestead-loving regulars who stop by the FarmCast every week. I want you to know how much I appreciate you. And I’m going to ask a favor.

Reviews on iTunes are important for this podcast to trigger their algorithm to feature it prominently in search results. I’d like for you to go to iTunes and enter your thoughts about the benefits you receive from listening to my show. Please share with friends and ask them to review it also. Thank you so much for joining me and thank you for assisting me in getting the word out so others can find the podcast also.

I’m so excited to share with you what’s going on at the farm this week. Let’s get started.

Today’s Show

  • Homestead Life Updates
  • Keto Diet and Dairy
  • Keto Chocolate Ice Cream

Homestead Life Updates

Things are getting back to normal at the homestead after our internet outage. It will take a while longer to get caught up again, but we will get there eventually.

It was Thursday afternoon before we got out internet back. Scott and I have discussed how to manage this issue. This is not the first time we have had to put business on hold due to lack of internet. This time we came up with a solution. It was simple. Purchase a spare modem and keep it on hand to be used as needed. When the modem blows out as it inevitably will, bring out the spare. Easy peasy. No waiting for days to find out if that’s all we needed in the first place. Once we get the replacement modem, the spare goes back into storage until needed again. I’ll let you know how that pans out.

Canning

Canned today: 13 qts whole milk, 6 pints peas, 16 pints goat broth, 5 quarts goat meat. Still to come is blueberry pie filling.

I have 36 quarts of cream canned and 26 quarts of ground beef canned. Those projects took lots and lots of time. I have skim milk to can also in the line up.  

Storm Damage

Trees down all over. Scott estimated 3 dozen trees down. Yeah, 3 dozen. One fell on the orchard fence and still needs to be repaired.

Last week I think I forgot to mention that the beehive was blown over. Scott got dressed up in full protection and put the hive back together. Those bees were hopping mad. Even with all that coverage, he got stung four times.

It has been many days since then and the bees are doing well after their incident.

Garden

I have had little chance to set foot in the garden other than a quick walk through to see what might need attention. Here’s what I found.

The onions need to be harvested. The tops have fallen over and that means they are ready to be pulled and set out to dry. The green beans are doing well. The dried beans are doing even better. The Mississippi silver cow peas are doing the best. They always do. That’s why we like to grow them.

I have one tomato that is starting to turn. There are many, many tomatoes that are green. I have those conical cages around my tomato plants for support. Many were blown over during the storm. I set them all back up right and the plants are doing well.

I’m so excited. This year I’m going to can lots of tomato sauce. In the past I’ve canned whole tomatoes, or crushed tomatoes, or chopped tomatoes, or diced tomatoes. Last year, late in the season, I watched a YouTube video on how to make tomato sauce. The last batch of tomatoes I harvested from the garden were used to make a few jars of tomato sauce. It was much easier than I ever thought it would be, and again, I’m so excited to do an even better job this year.

Grass-Fed Beef

We took a steer to the butcher for processing. Almost all of that is sold. Let me know if you are looking for good grass-fed beef. We still have a steer or two that you can snag. A quarter is about 100 pounds of meat and would cost you around $600.00. Speak now or forever hold your peace.

Breeding Season

It’s on. Breeding season is upon us. We wanted to do artificial insemination. That would allow us to have greater control over our genetics, and we could also get sexed semen which would allow us to dramatically increase the probability that our cows would have heifers, or girls. The timing for getting the semen that we desired did not work out. So, we will continue to pursue this option, getting the semen now for next year.

Buttercup

Buttercup was the first of our girls to show obvious signs of being in heat. I’ve noted the date in my spreadsheet that automatically calculates her projected delivery date. For cows, the gestation period is between 279 and 385 days. My spreadsheet calculates the 279 days as that would be the earliest time that she would have her calf.

Claire

Claire is Buttercup’s older sister. She may have been in heat a few days earlier, but I’m not sure. I recorded the date anyway. If she shows signs of heat in a month, I will simply change the date to reflect the new likely delivery date.

I’m not sure I’ve introduced all of our cows to you so I’ll take a moment to fill you in on them.

Butter

I know I’ve introduced Butter. She is our Jersey cow recently purchased from a nearby farm. She is a registered Jersey and produces A2A2 milk. If you’re not familiar with A2A2 milk, check out my podcast, “What is A2A2 milk?” Link in the show notes.

About 50% of Jersey cows in the United States have the A2A2 genetic trait. While we haven’t had our Normande cows tested, about 88% of the breed carries the A2A2 genetic trait. And since we will be using artificial insemination, we can breed for the trait. All of the sires that we have to choose from via our supplier are certified A2A2. Our goal is for our small herd of dairy cows to be 100% A2A2 certified.

Violet

Next up is Violet. She is a beautiful cow. And she is interesting. She only has one horn and she has a big round belly. Like all of our cows, she’s really friendly.

Cloud

Lastly is Cloud. Cloud is only 75% Normande cow. She is one quarter black Angus. Her frame is tall—taller than all the rest.

The Wheel of Time and the Calves

Then there are the four calves. They are all named after fictional characters from a fantasy novel that both Scott and I enjoy listening to over and over. There are 14 books in the series, The Wheel of Time. I saw a Facebook post just this morning that Amazon is rapidly moving forward with a TV series that will be streamed to Prime members. Filming to begin later this year. If you like Game of Thrones, you might like The Wheel of Time as well. It is not nearly as dark and the central theme is more esoteric—a battle between good and evil.

Butter’s calf is Egwene, also a purebred Jersey with A2A2 genetics, and she looks like a little deer. Claire’s calf is Matrim. Buttercup’s calf is Perrin. And Dora’s calf is Rand. We lost Dora 3 days after Rand was born. Violet’s calf was named Galad. He now resides at a new home in Eastern Virginia.

The Donkeys

I want to take a moment to introduce our donkeys as well. They are all miniature donkeys, 36” tall or less. We keep them as livestock guardian animals. Well, they are also pets. Donkeys love human interaction.

We have Daisy, the matriarch. Her daughters, Sweet Pea and Cocoa. And then there is Johnny, sire of Cocoa. He can no longer sire and we keep him paired up with Sweet Pea and the boy sheep and goats. Daisy and Cocoa guard the girls.

Sheep and Goats

I’ll refrain from naming all of the goats. That would take a long time. The does all have names, but the 2 kids from this year and the 9 from last year do not. And only one of the sheep has a name. Remember Lambert? I suppose we will name them all at some point. We’ve just never gotten around to it. We identify them by number because we had around 70 and the numbers were the best way to keep up with who was who.

They are all healthy and happily eating grass is those green pastures. Now moving on to my eating habits.

Keto Diet and Dairy

There is a picture of me and Scott on our website. It’s on the “About” page. That picture is very out of date. I weigh 45 pounds less than that picture indicates. Ideally, in the next year or two, I will have dropped another 45 pounds. How did I do it? A variation of the keto diet.

In order to get to my topic of the keto diet and dairy, I’ll have to fill in the basics of the ketogenic diet. At least the one I use. Dr. Eric Westman’s Duke University Diet Clinic videos are my source. And “Go Keto with Casey” is my support resource. That’s Casey Durango from Greensboro, NC—right down the road from me about an hour and a half. I’ve met her in person.

Basics of Keto

I’ve tried many diets in my life. Until October last year, I had given up the idea that I would ever be able to be small again. The keto diet involves reducing carbohydrate intake to a minimal level. When I started in October last year, I reduced my carbohydrate intake to less than 10 g per day.

Let me briefly describe my current protocol. I consume fatty sources of meat and take in 20 g or less of carbohydrate daily. Ideally, I eat only when hungry and stop when I’m satiated. Those last two points I’m not really that good at. I still tend to eat at the same time every day because I always eat at that time. Or I eat dinner because I always had eaten dinner. Those are not reasons for eating.

That’s it. Eat fatty sources of meat. Keep your carbs under 20 g a day. Only eat when you’re hungry. Stop when you’re satiated. Four simple steps. There are many amazing things that have changed in my life over the past eight months.

Keto Results

The first thing was the reduction of inflammation. At my age I thought I would always wake up with sore joints in my hands. My back was stiff. That went away within a few days. Where before, I absolutely could not close my hand in the morning because of the inflammation, now, my hands close easily.

The best thing I have experienced is that I don’t think about food anymore. Anyone out there who has struggled with their weight will know what I’m talking about when I say that my day used to revolve around food. Before I would do anything, I would first evaluate whether I needed to eat first, or if I was going out, what was I going to eat, or would I wait to eat until I got back home. While eating, I might be evaluating what I was going to be eating at my next meal. I spent a lot of time planning meals, thinking about what food I was going to cook, when, and for which meals. I have a new problem. Very often, I haven’t planned at all. Dinner comes around, and Scott doesn’t have anything to eat. I can throw a burger in the pan and have a meal in 15 minutes.

I literally have to make myself think about food. Planning meals has become a task on my calendar. It is the most radical and bizarre change in thinking I have ever experienced in my life. It’s a great diet plan that fits very well with our traditional homestead. We raise animals and we have dairy. We also have quail now that are providing eggs. They will also provide protein. These are the basics of my diet at this point. Meat, dairy, eggs.

Keto Diet and Dairy

Dairy is where I have to be the most vigilant. It is not unlimited. Milk has a significant amount of carbohydrates. I actually poured a glass of milk today. About 8 ounces. If it was 3.5% milk from the store that would be 12 g of carbohydrates. Still under my goal of 20, but leaving only eight as wiggle room. That’s the first time in the last eight months that I’ve poured myself a glass of milk. I would have a sip here and there, but not a full glass.

Aged cheese on the other hand, has less than 1 g of carb. Still I must be vigilant. Cheese is a calorie dense food. Cream is great. Also, very calorie dense. While I only track carbohydrates, in the end, calories do matter.

Dairy products can fit very well into a ketogenic diet. What matters is keeping your body in ketosis. That means your body is burning fat for fuel. Your carbohydrate intake is so low that your body stops looking for carbohydrates and transforms itself into a fat burning machine.

Carb Cravings Gone

Carbohydrate cravings completely disappear. That part was not quite as easy as I would’ve liked. I went through a time where the carbohydrate cravings were quite cute. The way I made it through was to increase the fat and protein that I was eating. Every time I would want a cake or cookies or some other sweet, I would go and eat another hamburger. I was aware that I was over eating. But it got me through. I got to the point where I couldn’t stuff another mouthful in or I would burst. That overrode the carb craving.

And after a few days, they stopped. I could literally sit and watch Scott eat some sweet dessert and not feel compelled to reach over there with my fork and grab a bite of it. Those of you that are listening that have had issues with weight may find it hard to believe. I know I did and I was experiencing it.

So, on the keto protocol I have to be careful with dairy. But it is totally the greatest part of my diet. And I’m going to finish up here with the recipe for keto chocolate ice cream. As I said, cream is great and there are some great artificial sweeteners out there that keep this very low-carb.

Keto Chocolate Ice Cream Recipe

This recipe does not use an ice cream maker. With heavy whipping cream whipped to soft peaks, the result is similar to a fluffy chocolate mousse.

What You Need

  • 5 oz 85% or 90% dark chocolate, broken into pieces
  • 2 oz cocoa butter
  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • ½ cup powdered erythritol or Swerve
  • 1 tablespoon sugar-free vanilla extract
  • 1 ¼ cups heavy whipping cream

What to Do

  1. Melt the chocolate and cocoa butter in a double boiler over medium heat then cool to room temperature.
  2. Separate egg whites from egg yolks. Using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar. As the egg whites thicken, slowly add the powdered Erythritol. Beat until they create stiff peaks.
  3. In another bowl, beat or whisk the cream until soft peaks form when the whisk is removed.
  4. In a third bowl, mix the egg yolks with the vanilla extract.
  5. After the chocolate has cooled, using a rubber spatula, add about a third of the fluffy egg whites and mix with the chocolate. Add the remaining egg whites and gently fold in without deflating them.
  6. Slowly stir in the egg yolk and vanilla mixture.
  7. Finally, fold in the whipped cream using the spatula, creating fluffy chocolate mousse.
  8. Transfer chocolate mousse to a 9 X 9-inch baking dish lined with parchment paper. Freeze at least 4 – 6 hours, or until set.

Notes:

You can use 1-cup, single-serving containers for portion control. If the ice cream is too hard, leave it at room temperature for 15-20 minutes before serving.

Nutrition

Serving size:         ¾ cup            Calories:   267              Fat:    25g

Carbohydrates:    5.5g               Protein:     5 g

Final Thoughts

I hope you enjoyed getting to know our animals a little better. We love them and hope you do to.

The keto diet is working for me and I am so glad that I can still use my dairy products. Wouldn’t that have been a hoot if I had found something that improved my health dramatically and it completed contradicted my life’s work. That didn’t happen. Meat and dairy are the center of our lives and the center of my diet.

You’ll have to measure that keto chocolate ice cream, but I think it will be well worth your time. A serving is ¾ of a cup and contributes 5.5 g of carbs.

If you enjoyed this podcast, please hop over to Apple Podcasts, SUBSCRIBE and give me a 5-star rating and review. Also, please share it with any friends or family who might be interested in this type of content.

As always, I’m here to help you “taste the traditional touch.”

Thank you so much for stopping by the homestead and until next time, may God fill your life with grace and peace.

References

What is A2A2 Milk? – Peaceful Heart FarmCast

Dr. Eric Westman – LCHF Treatment for Obesity and Metabolic Syndrome

Casey Durango – Go Keto with Casey

Recipe Link

Keto Chocolate Ice Cream

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After the Storm

After the Storm

after the stormIt has been a wild and crazy few days and there are more to come. Today’s podcast will be short. We do not have internet and won’t have it for 5 more days for a total of 8 days.

If you are new, welcome. Thank you so much for tuning in and I hope you’ll engage and comment as we go along. And as always, welcome back to the veteran traditional homestead-loving regulars who stop by the FarmCast every week. I appreciate you all so much. I have so much to share about the farm this week that it is the topic of the day.

Today’s recipe is MIA, missing in action for reasons I will detail later.

Today’s Show

  • Homestead Life Updates
  • The Storm
  • No Recipe

Homestead Life Updates

I’m wanted to start out with the ordinary, the usual. The animals, the garden, the orchard, the creamery, the cheesemaking. I wanted to speak in general terms and fill in details later in the main body of this podcast. However, I can’t really cover it even in general terms without the overlay of the wake of the storm we had three days ago. It is coloring everything at the moment and will continue to do so for quite a while into the future.

I’ll start with describing the storm and the initial damage and the move into how it affects the animals, the orchard, the creamery, and the cheesemaking.

The Storm

It was late afternoon on Tuesday. The second day of several days of predicted storms was upon us a couple of hours before evening milking. The wind picked up and the trees were whipped about like twigs. It was strong. It was sudden. The rain began to pelt down in sheets. I don’t know if I have ever seen it rain so hard. Well perhaps some of the rains in Florida could match it. Anyone driving would have had to pull over. There was no way to see even a few feet in front of you.

The torrent of rain and small hail went on for quite a while. We were late getting started with evening milking and even so, it was still raining steadily as we proceeded with the evening. We didn’t get far.

Evening Milking Plan A

There are two directions to bring the cows up to the milking shed. Scott created what he calls a “travel lane” in several places around the farm. It runs along the edge of the front fields to a wooded area. From there we can get the animals across the driveway with the nifty gate set up that makes a path across. The lane proceeds down the side of the two fields on the other side, past the creamery in progress to the milking shed. That lane also continues past the orchard and across the creek bottom to the fields in the back. So the cows can get to the milking shed (and later the milking barn when it is finished) from either direction.

Scott’s first task is to get the milking shed set up for the cows. Then he comes down the travel lane and ideally meets me in the middle. Ideally means, I’ve finished my first task of feeding Lambert (he’s just over two months old and gets a bottle in the morning and in the evening) and gotten the cows to the driveway crossing. At the very least, I would have them moving in the right direction. Scott joins me, takes Butter with a lead rope and I bring along the rest of the motley crew.

For my task, I head straight up the driveway to where the gates can be opened across the driveway. It is the quickest route to the front pastures where they are all currenting residing. This particular evening, I ran into the first problem. A very large tree was directly in front of me across the driveway. I’d say it was nearly a foot in diameter in front of me and larger at the base. The top branches were laying on top of the tool shed just to my left. I checked briefly but could not tell if the roof was damaged. (Later, Scott said it wasn’t.) My biggest concern at this point was that, not only could I not get to the gates to open them across the driveway, that tree was laying directly across the travel lane to my right. I would get the cows across the driveway, but not very far up the lane. I yelled for Scott.

He came up to assess the situation and immediately went for the chainsaw. I circled around behind the shed, went out to the pasture to feed Lambert and bring the cows up. I was hoping that Scott would have a path cleared by then. But realistically, it was going to take a little while to get that tree cut up enough to get the cows through. Chin up, let’s get ready anyway. That was my thought.

Plan B

It was still raining. Not heavily at this point, but steadily. As I brought the cows up, I could hear Scott with the chainsaw. I could see he was working on the upper part of the tree first. The part that was across the driveway. That made sense. However, the chain saw was giving him issues. It wouldn’t stay running. He persevered, got the tree cut up into 3 or 4 pieces on the driveway side, left them laying there and moved into the travel lane. The plan was to cut the part in the travel lane into a few pieces and roll them to the side, just enough out of the way to get the cows through. All of the debris could be removed later. Tomorrow. But the chainsaw really started acting up. The tree originated in the field to the left and was pushed over with the roots sticking up in the air. The part of the tree trunk in the travel lane was the larger diameter portion of the tree nearer the base, more than a foot wide.

Plan B gets set into motion. Let’s take them across the driveway and into the field instead of the travel lane. Hopefully we could move them all the way down the field to a gate that came out into the travel lane coming up from the other end, at the corner of the orchard. We would then drive them up the travel lane from that direction. I hurried into the field to open the gate.

As I approached the gate, low and behold, another tree lay across the travel lane smashing the orchard fence. These were big trees. They were living trees. It was hit and miss with which ones toppled over. I have no idea why these two trees fell and the others didn’t. The entire travel lane is lined with many trees of the same size and relative condition.

I immediately turn around and head back to the way I came, heading off Scott and the cows. Back into the travel lane they went. Maybe a half hour or 45 minutes has passed and now it is pouring rain. We are drenched, the chainsaw is faulty and we are stuck. We decide to take a break. We left the cows in the travel lane, closed in where they couldn’t go back across the road or into the next field. Then we trudge back to the house to wait a little bit for the rain to subside at least a little.

Plan C and Success

On the second try, Scott chose to work on the smaller diameter tree that had crushed the orchard fence on the lower end of the travel lane. He was able to keep the chainsaw running enough to get a section cut out of the middle wide enough for the cows to pass, maybe 6 feet or so. Whew. We finally got the cows to the milking shed and things proceeded nicely from there. Only a couple of hours later than usual. Scott finished up with cleaning the equipment shortly after 10:00 pm.

Dinner was really late and we got right up again at 6:00 for the morning chores and milking – and to assess the extent of the damage. 

After the Storm

There are still trees down everywhere. We will have plenty of firewood this winter. The tree with the bat house came down. The bat house is smashed.

There are a bunch of trees across the path from Field 10 to Field 14. The boys have been hanging out back there. The rams and bucks were in Field #10, but the Steers and bulls were trapped in #14. Either the chainsaw gets repaired and the trees cut apart and moved – OR the fence has to be cut.

On Wednesday Scott took the chainsaw into town to be repaired. On Saturday he finds out it is going to be a week or more because they had to order a part. Big sigh. That means the fence will have to be cut. We need to get the boys out of there. One of them has an appointment at the meat processing plant on Tuesday. And another has an appointment with Butter and Cloud.

Being creative, Scott cut the fence between two trees, moved the steers and bulls out to field #11 and temporarily repaired the fence with some old downed branches and small trees. That should hold them for the moment. Well perhaps not the goats. We shall see. However, they may get through but they can also get back by the same path.

The Internet 

Those were Scott’s most pressing issues. Mine was the internet. At the start of the storm there was a lightning strike that took out the DSL modem, my monitors, and later my network card. I’m sitting there minding my own business when the first peals of thunder can be heard. A mere five minutes or so later, a flash and an immediate boom outside produced a pop and the smell of burning circuits just to the right of me. This is not the first time we have lost a modem to lightning. That brief light and sound show let me know I should have stopped at the first sound of thunder and unplugged the phoneline from the modem.

I have a spare modem and wireless router from the last incident, so I hooked them up. No luck with the DSL. I have the home network working via the router, but the modem for the DSL and the internet do not connect.

I opened a ticket with our internet provider late Tuesday afternoon and was assured it would be resolved by 2:00 or so on Thursday. Around five pm on Thursday, I called and received a new automated message. That’s when I learned there was an issue in the area that would be resolved by Friday 7:00 am. Great, I could live with that. I even got a call at 8:00 on Friday morning that the issue was resolved. Wrong! At least for us it was not resolved. We are three days without internet at this point.

I call again and find out that my original appointment for resolution had been moved to a different date and time. Wednesday next week. I spent another hour on the phone trying to get it escalated. I need my internet connection to publish my newsletter and this podcast. The agent was polite and helpful but no luck. The repair schedulers wouldn’t budge. And they wouldn’t give me the contact information for the local office so I could try and plead my case to the actual repairman. In the end, I’m still stuck with no internet for another 4 or 5 days.

I’m recording this and have no idea how I am going to get it published. It requires hours and hours of online time to get the audio post created, the recipe created, and to connect all of the details to the various podcast distribution sites. I have contacted a neighbor that has offered assistance with internet, but I need to save that favor for uploading the podcast after getting all of the background work done at a public Wi-Fi location.

It has been a rough week on the homestead. Around here we like to be prepared for just about anything. One saying we repeat often is two is one and one is none. We only have one source for internet and when it is out, we have none. There is no decent cell phone signal here, so that cannot be a backup. Maybe you guys have some ideas on how we can come up with a backup internet system. Let me know.

On to the normal farm updates.

Herd Shares

Please let your friends and loved ones know about our herd share program. Raw milk, yogurt, raw milk cream and butter, and raw milk cheese. These are all available via our herd share program. If you are near Winston-Salem or Greensboro, North Carolina, we can serve your needs as well. Contact me and I’ll get you started on the path to healthy dairy consumption.

Go to www.peacefulheartfarm.com and select “Herd Shares” from the menu. You can also call us at 276-694-4369 or send an email to melanie at peacefulheartfarm . com.

The cows are providing A2A2 milk. Check out my previous podcasts on A2A2 milk and Why We Drink Raw Milk. Click on the links in the show notes or go to our website and select “podcast” from the menu to find and listen to those podcasts.

The Animals

The breeding schedule for the cows is starting. We are still working out the details of learning how to do artificial insemination. That project is currently delayed because we want to get “sexed” semen. I have no idea how they do it, but they have narrowed the likelihood of having bulls with “sexed” semen. It worked with Butter. We bought her just 11 days before she calved and she had been artificially inseminated with “sexed” semen. It worked. She had a lovely heifer.

We really need some Normande heifers. The problem is the supplier for the Normande semen tells us it may be several weeks before we can get what we are looking for, hence, Butter is going to be bred with the Normande bull that we have on hand. It is important that we have calves in late March to early April so milk for herd shares and cheesemaking is available well before the first week of May. Who knows, maybe she will have another lovely little heifer. With the others we will take no chances.

The sheep and goats are all healthy and lively. With the storm I was worried about trees falling on them and injuring them, but all are safe and sound.

The quail, born just 7 weeks ago have started laying eggs. We tried some yesterday. They were delicious. It takes 4 quail eggs to make one chicken egg sized portion. Additionally, we have scheduled thinning out the roosters. There are three cages full of quail. About half in each cage are male. We will thin that down to one rooster to five hens. At least that is the end goal. We shall see how close we get to that number.

In a few weeks I will begin gathering their eggs over a weeks’ time in preparation for incubating the second batch. Likely the second batch will fill out our breeding stock. Six sets of six birds. Again, one rooster and five hens in each of six cages. So far it has been easy.

We lost one bird to a snake a week or so ago. I think I forgot to mention that. It was necessary for me to enlist Scott’s excellent help to get that snake out of the cage. A small black snake was in one of the cages and one of the birds was dead. I have no idea how it killed the bird. There was no way it was going to be able to eat it. Anyway, Scott grabbed it with some pruning shears, pulled it out of the cage and – snip – that was the end of that snake. Normally we would leave a black snake alone as they eat mice and a relatively harmless. However, this one was small enough to get in the cage. He had to go. Earlier, a much larger one was perched on one of the braces at the back of the cage. He got relocated and we haven’t seen him since. His head and body were far too wide to get through the ½” hardware cloth cage.

I’m excited to see how this quail project progresses. It’s a new adventure and so far has been a really fun one. They didn’t seem to be affected at all by that storm. Scott did a great job on their shelters.

The Garden and Orchard

The garden is producing peas. The potatoes have been dug. The early onions are ready. The tomato plants are loading up. We are going to do very well there, I think.

The dried beans are blooming and producing lots of bean pods. Those we will let grow and grow and then leave them on the plant until they dry out. That comes much later.

The Mississippi Silver cow peas are coming along nicely. We eat those before they are dry. If you are not familiar, they are like black eyed peas without the eye – an little more rounded. Black eyed peas are somewhat oval. Anyway, we pick those after the peas have formed in the pod but before they dry out. We also pick a few that do not have the peas filled in. Those get snapped and put in with the shelled peas. It’s a wonderful dish.

We are getting blueberries out of the orchard and the blackberries will be ready in a week or so. Yum, yum. I’m going to can both the blueberries and blackberries. I’m going to try my hand at making pie filling. It will be so handy to be able to pull out a jar and pour it into the pie shell and toss it into the oven. Your mouth is probably watering right now. I know mine is.

The Creamery

Finally, the update on the creamery. With all of this craziness going on, Scott has been hard pressed to make any progress there. But he is persistent and the walls are rising.

He also makes cheese once a week, as do I. It’s a lot to fit into our days and weeks, but we make it happen.

It’s as great life. Busy, busy, busy all the time. No time for boredom. No time for getting caught up in social media scandals or endless watching of television. It took us three days to watch the movie Sherlock – the one with Robert Downy Jr and Jude Law. An hour – sometimes less – and we are off to sleep.

No Recipe This Week

I apologize for not providing a recipe this week. Due to the issues we are currently having with internet access, I have opted to leave that part out of this week’s episode. It requires an additional hour and a half of internet time when our high-speed connection is functioning. As I mentioned earlier, my plan is to only impose a little on my neighbor for uploading the completed project. The hours and hours of prework will be done at a public Wi-Fi location. Wish me luck.

Final Thoughts

That’s it for this week’s adventures on the homestead. Next week all will return to normal, right? Not likely. I’m sure there will be some new adventure that will arise. As I’ve said many times, we never get bored here. Life comes at us fast and furious sometimes as we kayak this river. We just move along with the current and try not to get too battered by the rocks in the rapids.

If you enjoyed this podcast, please hop over to Apple Podcasts, SUBSCRIBE and give me a 5-star rating and review. Also, please share it with any friends or family who might be interested in this type of content.

As always, I’m here to help you “taste the traditional touch.”

Thank you so much for stopping by the homestead and until next time, may God fill your life with grace and peace.

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Peaceful Heart – Peaceful Mind

Peaceful Heart – Peaceful Mind

peaceful heart peaceful mindIs a peaceful heart and peaceful mind possible in this wacky world? I’m waxing philosophical today. I hope you find this podcast educational and entertaining at the very least.

As always, I want to take a minute and say welcome to all the new listeners and welcome back to veteran homestead-loving regulars who stop by the FarmCast every week. I truly appreciate you all so much.

Today’s Show

  • Homestead Life Updates
  • Peaceful Heart – Peaceful Mind
  • Parmesan Peas

Homestead Life Updates

Herd Shares – When you purchase part of our herd you will benefit from fresh milk and yogurt in the summer with cheese and butter available year-round. Your cows graze each and every day on lush green pasture and freshly baled hay in the winter. They live a life a peace and tranquility in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Plan a trip to the farm to visit them and see how we care for and manage them. Go to www.peacefulheartfarm.com/virginia-herd-shares for more information.

We have only three lambs this year. Speak up now and claim a half or a whole or forever hold your peace. Well at least until next year.  

Same with the beef. This may be your last chance for beef raise on our homestead. We are streamlining our cattle operation to be strictly dairy. In the future, you’ll have to purchase a young calf and raise it up for beef on your own.

Choices, choices, choices. We are constantly faced with hard choices these days.

Should we get more Jersey cows or stick with the Normandes? New opportunities seem to continually present themselves. I’m leaning more towards sticking with the Normandes. Sure, Butter, the Jersey, is giving more milk, but we can breed for higher milk production. It is the temperament of the Normande that is so compelling. And the dual milk/beef characteristics. We have the option of selling every single calf we birth on the farm. But we can also keep one as needed for our own use as beef. Normande beef is superb. Yeah, I’m leaning toward keeping the Normandes central and the two Jersey girls will be the cream on top. (That’s a dairy pun.) Corny, I know.

Choices again. As we move forward at the farmer’s market, the interest in lamb is increasing. That’s another dilemma. I only have so much time in a day. At this point, my days are consumed with milking, making cheese and marketing milk and cheese. Scott and I have discussed significantly reducing the other animal populations. Specifically, the goats and sheep. It’s another task in my already overcrowded schedule to market those specialty meats. Who knew we would be faced with these kinds of choices? We love all of our animals. However, I have 10 lambs to sell next year. Will I have the time to do it effectively? Or will we fall into the trap that so many other small farmers do? Will we end up selling them at a loss just to make room for more that get sold at a loss again? Not likely. We are aware of the dilemma and are addressing it. But there it is. The choice is always before us of what we do with our time.

How much garden is the right amount of garden? If I don’t have a garden at all, then I must spend money at the market to make up the difference. Part of the choice of living the homestead life is the simplicity and living on less. It becomes like drinking water, a necessary part of your life. Else you go back to the rat race of spending the hours you currently use to garden with working for someone else. Nah, I think I’ll pass on that. Yeah, the garden will likely endure.

Not much in the way of updates there. We continually have choices to make, but for right now we have Normande cows, goats, sheep, donkey’s and quail – and a very large garden and orchard. Those will remain as they are and we will power through. Oh yeah, we can’t forget the bees. But we do. They are going fine on their own. One day we will rob some honey. But not today.

I’ll bet you guys have similar choices. Should you move to the country and build a homestead or create peace in your life right where you are and visit us every chance you get? Either will bring peace to your life. It’s always your choice is it not?

Peaceful Heart – Peaceful Mind

How does one get a peaceful heart? That’s a deep subject. I’ve worked on it for years and I continue to work on it. Maintaining peace, both inner and outer, is a full-time job – a lifetime job. There are techniques that help. Different choices can be made that will help. Self-discipline with your thoughts and mind helps. There are lots of things that can be done.

Here at Peaceful Heart Farm, we are constantly reminded of the desire for peace because of our name. What you think about becomes your life. We think about peace a lot. Living in the environment we do helps also. But it is not required. Not everyone can live the life we do – or even desires to live as we do. Having peaceful surroundings is not a prerequisite for experiencing peace. I must say, for us, it certainly helps. Whenever you get tired of the rat race and just want to escape to the country, you might have to make plans, drive a certain distance, hope that it is as you remembered, and so on. For Scott and me it is a matter of waking up in the morning and going outside to do morning chores and we are immersed in it – for the most part. We have awakened to disasters – animals we love may be ill and die. We lost Dora earlier this year. That was not pleasant and it disturbed my peace. But we move on.

Technique and Practice

One technique that I believe helps more than any other is maintaining a positive attitude. Looking on the bright side is another way to put it. I know it sounds trite and it is. The reason it is trite is it is ancient wisdom that works remarkably well. The idea has been passed down through the ages. Maintaining a positive attitude has endured because it works.

With practice, it becomes more and more a daily routine. Something happens, you choose to the see the positive. I know, I know, it’s easy to get caught up in the negative. And truly there are some experiences that have no easily identifiable up-side. The loss of a loved one comes to mind. Sure, you can intellectually tell yourself over and over that they are in a better place. They are no longer in pain. The suffering is over and so on. But that does not take away the deep grief that grips your heart for quite a long time. But these are the exception to the rule. Most of our negative ideas about anything in our daily life are interpretations that we put on events. These interpretations are based on our beliefs, perception of the facts and past experiences. Yes. They are choices we are making. And you can get out of it.

A key phrase I put in there is “perception of the facts”. Likely you believe that facts are facts. (And there is truth in that.) Yet there is so much that we accept as fact that in reality is based in false perceptions. Our senses can fool us but we believe them anyway. It can become a kind of mind-reading that we believe to be fact. We make our belief that something is true into absolute knowledge that something is true. Confirmation bias is the common way of identifying the resulting misinformation.

Let’s say you are sure someone frowned at you because they don’t like you. Or you assume they are judging your weight, or your appearance, or your whatever. It is an illusion. One hundred percent of the time, it is an illusion. Truly, you have no idea what they think of you. In fact, they may not have even be truly aware of their surroundings and therefore are not thinking of you at all. Here’s an example.

Many years ago, I was standing in line at a grocery store. At the young age of 20 something, I had very little self-awareness. My thoughts ran wild and I lived in my own little world, often completely unaware of those around me. Surrounded by people, I would be in my own bubble of thoughts, floating along like a bit of flotsam on a river. Rolling along merrily without a care in the world – or at least completely unaware of what I cared about.

So, I’m in the grocery store checkout line and behind me a lady accidentally bumped into me. As a natural reaction, you would turn around, right? Just to see who it was. I turned around to look at her. I will never forget her reaction. She apologized profusely. Over and over she apologized. I frightened the bejesus out of her because of the look on my face. She said I looked so angry that she thought I was about to hit her. I apologized to her. To this day, I have no idea what I was thinking but it had absolutely nothing to do with her. Who knows what negative idea was roaming around in my head that day?

Two things came to my awareness from that experience. Number one, I saw that I needed to pay attention to my thoughts and how I displayed them on my face. Open anger at the world displayed in an unconscious manner was not how I wanted to live my life. It was not how I wanted others to know me. And number two, I began to wonder how many times I had assumed I knew what someone was thinking based on the expression on their face as they looked at me – or looked in my direction. What if they were not even looking at me but at someone else, or simply staring blindly in my direction. What if I was the farthest thing from their thoughts? How many times had I judged myself based on an inaccurate perception? And today, I recognize how self-centered that idea actually is. In reality, the most normal thing in the world is for every person to be spending so much thought energy on worrying about what someone else thinks of them to even consider making a judgement about what to think of the person in their field of vision.

One positive effect of that experience was that I purposefully trained myself to automatically smile at everyone I meet. It made an amazing difference in my life. I wanted to reflect to others that they are loved. No matter what they are thinking inside their very busy head. I wanted them to know that they are loved and that life is worth smiling about. Not everyone responds positively, but most do. Perhaps I made a small difference in their life. I can hope.

Personal Responsibility and Judgement

To make the transition to living a peaceful life, you have to stop thinking it’s somebody else’s fault. You have to stop thinking it is anyone else’s fault. There is no fault. Your life is a continuously playing video in your head. Whatever you think and believe shapes your reality. Think on something long enough and believe it hard enough and it becomes your reality. The good, the bad and the ugly. Take a care. The risks you take, the actions you perform, and your everyday experience of reality shape your life.

If you spend your time judging everything negatively, your life will continually reflect that negativity back to you. Here’s an example. A small one. Let’s say you are having a wonderful day. You are optimistic. Life is going along as you planned and you are content and peaceful. Now you stub your toe. Not enough to break anything, but hard enough to make you yelp. Perhaps you will take a moment to sit down and examine the damage. No blood, but perhaps a bruise will arise later. In this circumstance, the pain will dissipate fairly rapidly.

Now imagine you have that angry face that I just described. You are not even aware of the negativity that is boiling just under the surface. And you stub your toe in the same way. What is the result? Perhaps you start cursing to high heavens. Perhaps you scream loudly. You sit down and cradle your foot and begin to examine your toe. You howl and moan and curse because of the pain, your stupidity for not watching where you were going. Maybe someone left something in your path, you weren’t paying attention, and it caused you pain. But in your mind, it is the fault of the person who left it in your path. The pain, the wrath, the unhappiness, the negativity, the lack of peace can last a long time. Perhaps you feel a momentary jolt of happiness. Someone else did you wrong and that makes you right or righteous. But this is a very, very short-lived and fleeting experience. You may not even be aware of it, yet it is there. That brief experience – that split second of feeling good about yourself because you are better than someone else or they were wrong and you were right. Petty, egoic ideas that so often run wild in our minds.

That guy is fat. Her dress is rumpled. This other person is really stupid and slow and so on. He or she is a loser. Who left that tricycle in the walkway right where someone might trip on it? The more you make these kinds of judgements, the more you are going to separate yourself, the less peace you will have. And yes. You will feel good for an instant, a split second, because you’ll feel good about yourself. You will think, “I’m better than that” or “I’m better than them.” But later you are going to feel lonely. Later you are going to continue to see negativity everywhere. Your world is constantly reflecting your own negativity about yourself back at you. It is a never-ending cycle until YOU change. Not the other person. YOU.

Reality is neutral. Reality has no judgements. Reality simply is. To a tree or a chair or that door you stubbed your toe on, there is no concept of right or wrong. There is no good or bad. You are born. You embark on a journey of sensory experiences. There are lights, colors and sounds. And how you choose to interpret that is up to you. How you interpret them IS your life. You have that choice.

Happiness is a Choice

Peace and happiness are choices. Love is a choice. If you believe it’s a choice, then you can start working on it. You can affect your life. Life is peace because you choose to remain peaceful. Because reality is neutral, I can’t tell you how to find peace. It is your own conditionings, judgements and out of control thoughts that create the experience of unhappiness. You have to fix it for yourself.

Start with believing it is possible. Just because you are miserable today, does not mean that you must be miserable for the rest of your life. Perhaps you have dreams that seem out of reach. You may believe you will never get what you want in life. Sure enough. You will never get what you want in life. Your life will continually reflect that negativity back to you. “See, I knew I would never get that job,” you say. While all the while you unconsciously presented yourself as a loser to the interviewer. After all, in order for you to fulfill your vision of negativity, the pieces must be in place. On the other hand, if you went to the interview with confidence (even if you were faking it), your chances of landing the job just improved 10-fold or a 100-fold.

Let’s say you are looking for your dream property to live your idyllic life in the country. You have a specific budget in mind. There are specific activities you want to do on your homestead so infrastructure to support that ideal need to be in place. And then there are the optional things that you would like to have but they are not absolutely required. Once you have that idea in place, you set out on your journey to find the perfect place. You may look at fifty or a hundred or more properties. It’s easy to become discouraged. This one is the right price but no buildings. This one has buildings but they are not usable. The perfect one comes up and someone underbids you and steals it right out from under your nose. These things can lead to greater negativity and more feelings of “I’ll never get what I want.” The cards are stacked against me. And so on.

But you have to believe it’s possible. For much of my life, I was miserable and now I’m happy. I’m content. For the most part, I’m peaceful. And it’s not just the homestead. I got most of the way there before moving here permanently. I think that on the outside, it didn’t look like it. There were so many challenges. Listen to my podcast “Our Virginia Life” where I talk about the crazy path we took to get here.

Effecting Change

How did I develop greater peace before the homestead? One thing was getting older. I just realized that life is short the time to live is now. Each step toward my ideal is where peace and happiness exist and nowhere else. I can see the future when I reflect, but I don’t focus there exclusively else I miss the wonder of today.

Confucius has a great saying. “Every man has two lives and the second starts when he realizes he has just one.” It’s your unlimited desires that are clouding your peace and happiness. Have desires, of course. But be mindful of your life as it exists today. Marvel at it. Fill your mind with the wonder of this moment. Isn’t it truly amazing that you even made it this far?

Change is gradual. It’s ongoing. It’s very personal. You have to decide it’s a priority. In everything that happens you can look at the bright side of things. Literally train yourself to think positively. There are always at least two ways you can see everything. As I mentioned earlier, there are some things that create acute suffering. Let’s put those aside for the moment and focus on every day experiences.  You have the ability to slowly work through every negative judgement that you have until you see the positive in it. As you practice, it becomes second nature to you.

A Clear Mind. What’s That?

What you want to have is a clear mind. You want to let go of thoughts. Here’s an idea that you may not have noticed. Happy thoughts disappear out of your head automatically. It’s very easy to let go of them. On the other hand, negative thoughts linger. They play themselves out over and over and over. Normal daily experiences will trigger them and the record starts playing again. Over and over and over. We don’t let go.

When you develop the skill to interpret the positive in everything – and you learn to do it quickly, you let it go. You let it go quickly and easily and you are on to the next joyful and positive thought. How do you do that? The usual stuff you have likely heard throughout your life. Get out in the sun. Spend more time in nature. Learn to smile more. Learn to hug more. Create outward representations of happiness. These actions are feedback loops. You are literally choosing to experience happiness and your world reflects it. Reality still contains every single aspect of negativity also. All you have to do is look for it. Reality contains it all, but it is your mind that is judging it all.

Watch your mind. Watch your mind all day long as often as you think of it. Do not judge it. Do not try to control it. This is literally what it means to meditate 24/7. Watch your own thoughts like you would watch anything else in the outside world. Ask yourself, “why am I having that thought?” “Does that serve me anymore?” “Is that conditioning from when I was 10 years old?”

Beware of “why am I having that thought? Is there something wrong with me? Should I be thinking something else?” And so on. That’s not the same thing. That kind of thinking is a disease that keeps you from being happy. Let’s say your mind is just running and running, imagining what you are going to say to this person or that person when next you Meet. Perhaps you start rehearsing what you will say to that person – you may even rehearse speaking to them about how your mind is running on and on imagining what you are going to say to them. This is kind of thinking indicates a habitual thought pattern. You may think it is out of your control. It is not.

This line of thinking comes from the desire to sound smart. Not the desire to be smart. The desire to sound smart whether you know what you are talking about or not. It is a skill that was perfected at an earlier time in your life. That practiced skill hardwires you to always rehearse things to ensure you always sound smart. Literally, it’s a disease that keeps you from being happy. When you can see it – when you can realize that truth, when you understand it, your mind will naturally calm down. When you get there, you will stop rehearsing as much, though it will still be a trained habit. It will still clutter your mind from time to time. Keep at it. Note it. Be happy you noted it and it disappears.  

You don’t have to live out in the country on a lovely homestead to be peaceful and happy. I won’t deny it makes it much easier for me. It makes it much easier to maintain, though there are still many things that can disturb my peace. Scott and I chasing escaped goats comes to mind. We often disagree on the best approach to getting those guys back inside a fence. Afterwards, I choose to love him and he choose to love me – even though we both may have treated the other poorly during the crisis. Peace in our hearts is regained – re-established.

Maybe someday peace will never elude us. I don’t know. Would we be bored then?

Parmesan Peas

Peas are not exactly peace but close. Especially peas straight out of the garden. And don’t forget that wonderful cheese. You can use frozen peas if you need to. However, this time of year, fresh peas make all the difference in the world. Here’s what you need.

What you need:

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 small shallots, sliced 
  • 1-pound fresh peas, (14 oz bag of frozen, thawed)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice 
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • black pepper to taste

What to Do:

  1. Melt the butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots and a pinch of the salt and cook until soft and translucent, about 4 minutes.
  2. Stir in the peas and remaining salt and cook until the peas are soft but still bright green, 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Add the lemon juice and toss.
  4. Remove from heat and stir in the Parmesan and black pepper. Serve hot.

That’s it. Let that flavor of fresh peas bring peace to your tongue and tummy.

Final Thoughts

Life is about choice. We choose happiness. We choose peace. We choose love. I hope my words helped you gained some insight into how you can add just a little more peace to your life. And you’ll certainly want to add those lovely fresh peas to your life. Visit us at the Wytheville Farmer’s Market. We have dairy not peas, but others will be there with their lovingly grown products. Visit us and visit them. We look forward to meeting you.

If you enjoyed this podcast, please hop over to Apple Podcasts, SUBSCRIBE and give me a 5-star rating and review. Also, please share it with any friends or family who might be interested in this type of content.

As always, I’m here to help you “taste the traditional touch.”

Thank you so much for stopping by the homestead and until next time, may God fill your life with grace and peace.

Recipe Link

Parmesan Peas

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The Tradition of Father’s Day

The Tradition of Father’s Day

fathers dayThe Tradition of Father’s Day is the topic for today. It’s two weeks away for those of us here in the US.

But first, let me take a minute to say welcome to every new listener and welcome back to the veteran homestead-loving regulars who stop by to listen to the FarmCast every week. I appreciate you all so much. I’m so excited to share with you what’s going on at the farm this week. And a fantastic recipe for grilling on Father’s Day.

Today’s Show

  • Homestead Life Updates
  • The Tradition of Father’s Day
  • Gourmet Chevon Burgers

Homestead Life Updates

Our homestead life is humming along. Yes, I’m still way behind on taming the weeds in the garden, the beans still need to be planted. And to top it off, harvesting is beginning. I’ve already picked green peas for shelling and snow peas. I froze four packages and had plenty left over for several meals. Now the shelling peas need to be picked again. This time there will be lots and lots and lots of them. I may freeze some and can some. We’ll see. Freezer space is at a premium right now. The potatoes are ready to be dug up and dried and I have plenty of spring onions available to add fresh to any dish.

Happy and good lamb news. We had a late arrival a few days ago. That brings our total to 10 lambs this year and zero loses. We’ve never had that kind of success rate. Mother nature usually has her way with at least one or two. We have been truly blessed this year.

The herd shares are going gangbusters. Only a couple of slots left there. And so many are interested in the cheese. During the summer we offer milk, yogurt, butter and cream, while winter will provide lots of cheese and butter. My schedule may change in that area due to the requests of the herd share owners. Many want the cheese now in lieu of the milk. Next month their wishes will become reality.

The quail are growing like crazy. Scott devised a way to alter their feeding trays so they don’t waste so much. That’s working out fine. The roosters are beginning to crow. It’s not a like a chicken at all. When I go and visit them and care for them, they are all standing in a row in front of the door looking out. They are so cute and funny.

Scott is moving along with the creamery walls. And that’s about it for the homestead updates. Let’s get to the topic of the day.

The Tradition of Father’s Day

Last month we looked at the tradition of Mother’s Day. Today we look at the tradition of Father’s Day. And more importantly, why children need fathers (or at the very least father-figures) in their lives. Today retailers and marketers, in an effort to make a quick buck, have completely changed the original meaning of Father’s Day. A holiday that was created to honor dad and enumerate his special qualities is now used as a marketing tool. Such is the way of life in our very affluent country.

Let’s take a look at the roots and history of Father’s Day.

The Religious Roots and Tradition

A customary day for the celebration of fatherhood in Catholic Europe is known to date back to at least the Middle Ages, and it is observed on March 19, as the feast day of Saint Joseph, who is referred to as the fatherly Nutritor Domini (“Nourisher of the Lord”) in Catholicism and “the putative father of Jesus” in southern European traditions. This celebration was brought to the Americas by the Spanish and Portuguese, and in many countries Father’s Day is still celebrated on March 19. The Catholic Church actively supported the custom of a celebration of fatherhood on St. Joseph’s day from either the last years of the 14th century or from the early 15th century.

The History of Father’s Day in the United States

Father’s Day was not celebrated in the US, outside Catholic traditions, until the 20th century. As a civic celebration in the US, it was inaugurated in the early 20th century to complement Mother’s Day by celebrating fathers and male parenting.

There are two stories of when the first Father’s Day was celebrated in the United States. According to some accounts, the first Father’s Day was celebrated in Washington state on June 19, 1910. A woman by the name of Sonora Smart Dodd came up with the idea of honoring and celebrating her father while listening to a Mother’s Day sermon at church in 1909. She felt as though mothers were getting all the acclaim while fathers were equally deserving of a day of praise (Likely she would be displeased that Mother’s Day still gets the lion’s share of attention).

Sonora’s dad was quite a man. William Smart, a veteran of the Civil War, was left a widower when his wife died while giving birth to their sixth child. He went on to raise the six children by himself on their small farm in Washington. To show her appreciation for all the hard work and love William gave to her and her siblings, Sonora thought there should be a day to pay homage to him and other dads like him. She initially suggested June 5th, the anniversary of her father’s death to be the designated day to celebrate Father’s Day, but due to some bad planning, the celebration in Spokane, Washington was deferred to the third Sunday in June.

The other story of the first Father’s Day in America happened all the way on the other side of the country in Fairmont, West Virginia on July 5, 1908. Grace Golden Clayton suggested to the minister of the local Methodist church that they hold services to celebrate fathers after a deadly mine explosion killed 361 men.

While Father’s Day was celebrated locally in several communities across the country, unofficial support to make the celebration a national holiday began almost immediately. William Jennings Bryant was one of its staunchest proponents. In 1924, President Calvin Coolidge recommended that Father’s Day become a national holiday. But no official action was taken.

In 1966, Lyndon B. Johnson, through an executive order, designated the third Sunday in June as the official day to celebrate Father’s Day. However, it wasn’t until 1972, during the Nixon administration, that Father’s Day was officially recognized as a national holiday.

It took a while, but we got there. Fathers are celebrated in our country every year on the 3rd Sunday in June.

Father’s Day Around the World

Other countries also picked up on the idea of Father’s Day. It is, after all, quite profitable. While many followed suit by celebrating it on the third Sunday in June, some decided to honor dad on different dates. So, to make sure you know when to pay your respects to dear old dad wherever you may be, here’s a list of the two most prominent dates and associated countries where Father’s Day is celebrated around the world.

  • March 19– The religious celebration, is observed in Angola, Belgium, Bolivia, Croatia, Honduras, Italy, Lichtenstein, Portugal, Spain, and Switzerland.
  • Third Sunday in June– The US version, is also observed in Antigua, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Columbia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, France, Greece, Guyana, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Jamaica, Japan, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Netherlands, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Puerto Rico, Singapore, Slovakia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Trinidad, Turkey, United Kingdom, Venezuela, and Zimbabwe.

A few made the list twice. Once for the religious celebration and the second for the secular celebration.

Why Fathers are Important in a Child’s Life

This is a topic I’m very interested in these days. In a time where men are often demonized at every turn for the smallest infraction, I feel the need to reiterate the facts and truth of the importance of men and father’s in the family. It is my opinion that way too many children are born today without a father’s loving presence. It has become common place for modern feminists to think they can “do it all” and they don’t need a man. It may be the biggest lie being perpetrated out there. I’ve spoken of this before and likely will again. It is detrimental to the health of women, their children and their relationships with the loving fathers of their children.

It’s simply ridiculous to think that the full-time job of parenting and a full-time job providing financial income can be done at the same time. There simply aren’t enough hours in the day to do both simultaneously and do them well. The reason there was a separation of a wife and husband’s duties was not to somehow suppress the intelligence and creativity of women. Nope. It was simply the best arrangement for the best outcome of family cohesion and stability. There was never anything stopping women from having careers. In fact, many did have careers. It was a choice then and is still a choice now to be a wife and mother. And in today’s environment, having a career is still quite feasible after the little ones reach their teens and begin experimenting with adulthood. Moms will sometimes have lots more time to pursue whatever they desire.

The children are raised by someone else and jobs often become drudgery for working mothers today. According to an article a few years ago in the Huffington Post, woman are unhappier today than ever before. It’s no wonder. We have to make choices. No one can “do it all”. We all make choices. And sometimes the choice is simply a matter of timing. Kids now, career later. Do it all in a linear fashion as opposed to lumping it all into a limited 24-hour day.

The traditional family evolved over time and has sustained itself over time because it works. It works to ensure that society moves forward in an orderly fashion. Sure, there are all kinds of fancy family configurations in our world today and all have value. All families have value. Having said that, it does not change the scientifically proven fact that children do best in a stable household with both a father and a mother. The special family configurations seem to be getting all the attention these days, which is great. I’m just bringing a bit of attention back to our traditional family structure. It’s what this podcast is all about.

It is my opinion that the traditional family structure is being neglected and pushed aside. There are many reasons, but my current pet peeve is for the welfare state that encourages single motherhood and discourages fathers from being part of their children’s lives. Money and other resources are severely cut back if a man is present in the household. As I said, it encourages single motherhood. This makes the life of mother and children much more difficult than it would be with a man in the picture. But for many growing up in the second and third generation of welfare, they know no other life. They know no other way to survive. My heart goes out to them.

Anyone can father a child, but being a dad takes a lifetime. Fathers play a role in every child’s life that cannot be filled by others or state provided financial benefits. The role of the father can have a large impact on a child and help shape him or her into the person they become.

Fathers and Emotional Development

Fathers, just like mothers, are integral in the development of a child’s emotional well-being. Traditionally, children look to their fathers to lay down the rules and enforce them. They also look to their fathers to provide a feeling of physical and emotional security. Children naturally want to make their fathers proud. An involved father can promote inner strength and personal growth. Studies have shown that when fathers are affectionate and supportive, it greatly affects a child’s cognitive and social development. It also instills an overall sense of well-being and self-confidence. Fathers are important to your children’s emotional development.

Fathers Set the Bar for Relationships with Others

Fathers not only influence who we are inside, but how we have relationships with people as we grow. The way a father treats his child will influence what that child looks for in other people. Friends, lovers, and spouses will all be chosen based on how he or she perceived the meaning of the relationship with his or her father. The patterns a father sets in the relationships with his children will dictate how they relate to and interact with other people.

Fathers and Their Daughters

Young girls depend on their fathers for security and emotional support. A father shows his daughter what a good relationship with a man is like. If a father is loving and gentle, his daughter will look for those qualities in men when she’s old enough to begin dating. If a father is strong and valiant, she will relate closely to men of the same character.

Fathers and Their Sons

Unlike girls, who model their relationships with others based on their father’s character, boys will model themselves after their father’s character. Boys will seek approval from their fathers from a very young age. As human beings, we grow up and mature by imitating the behavior of those around us; that’s how we learn to function in the world. If a father is caring and treats people with respect, the young boy will grow up much the same. When a father is absent, young boys look to other male figures to set the “rules” for how to behave and survive in the world.

Enter social media and online father-figure personalities. Enter the gangs. Enter the unsavory characters that can lead naïve youngsters astray. Again, mothers need to be at home with their children and they need to have stable relationships with the father of their children. A two-parent household consisting of a man and a woman is the ideal situation. Fathers are just as important as mothers. The online community is filled with great people that can be role models. But why have a substitute? Why not continue the tradition that has worked for as long as there have been humans? Have we thought deeply about what we are leaving behind?

That online community is also filled with evil people who wish to do harm to others – often targeting children and young adults. The primary job of a parent, I would argue, is to protect our children – to keep them safe from harm. We need to be there for them. Fathers need to be there for them.

As you celebrate your father on the third Sunday of June, ask him to show you how to grill a delicious, grass-fed burger. Tell him you love him and how much you appreciate him.

Gourmet Grilled Chevon Burgers

This recipe calls for ground goat. It’s a great alternative to the same old hamburger. Goat, or chevon as it is widely known, is a staple red meat for much of the world outside the US. However, you can use whatever ground meat you prefer. The instructions call for using a cast iron skillet with lots of butter or oil. However, the grill works just as well.

What you Need

  • 1-pound goat burger, grass-fed is preferable
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt (or to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper (or to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon rosemary leaves, dried
  • 1 teaspoon thyme leaves, dried
  • 1 teaspoon cilantro, dried
  • 1 teaspoon cumin, ground
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 6 tablespoons vegetable oil or butter, divided

Instructions

  1. Place the goat-burger in a mixing bowl, add Worcestershire sauce, mustard, salt, pepper, rosemary, thyme, cilantro, and cumin. Mix well.
  2. In a medium skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium to high heat. Add the onion, lower the heat, and sauté for about 2 minutes until nicely browned and caramelized.
  3. Add onions to burger mixture. Mix well. Shape into 4 patties.  In a cast iron skillet heat the remaining olive oil or butter over medium-to-high heat.
  4. Cook the patties in oil or butter until medium to medium-well, about 8 – 10 minutes on each side.

Notes

NOTE 1: Don’t skimp on the oil when using goat. Grass-fed chevon burger is very lean and needs the fat to help retain moisture and to prevent sticking.

NOTE 2: As an alternative, you can use your gas grill.

Final Thoughts

That’s it for today’s Peaceful Heart FarmCast. If you are keeping up with the activities on the homestead, let me know what questions you have about what we do and why.

As you move closer to the celebration of Father’s Day in a couple of weeks, why not contemplate why this structural tradition has been in place for as long as it has? And there is nothing better than smiling across the table at your dad while chomping on a delicious gourmet, grilled, grass-fed burger with all the trimmings.

If you enjoyed this podcast, please hop over to Apple Podcasts, SUBSCRIBE and give me a 5-star rating and review. Also, please share it with any friends or family who might be interested in this type of content.

As always, I’m here to help you “taste the traditional touch.”

Thank you so much for stopping by the homestead and until next time, may God fill your life with grace and peace.

Recipe Link

Gourmet Grilled Chevon Burgers

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