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How do you Have Both a Homestead and a Chronic Illness?

 
pollinator
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How do you do it? Today I was fine in the morning and then completely useless. In order to answer my questions it would be good to know what I deal with. I have Schizoaffective Disorder Depressive Type, Borderline Personality Disorder, Asperger's Syndrome, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and a rock once fell on my head from the roof of a building. I was born with the Asperger's, but I got the rest from a rough life. I see and hear stuff that's not there. Days like today they get to me. The Borderline kicks in and tag-teams the SZA and the voices tell me my family is going to stop loving me because I didn't get a lot done. I feel like crap 50% of the time. I force myself to work when I don't feel well. I have so much anxiety that I have other health problems because of it, with stomach ulcers, and heart palpitations. So now that you know...

How do I homestead with these problems? How do I design the homestead with permie principles to work for me? How do I make it work so that if I have a bad day or even a bad week, that it isn't the end of the world? I know someone is going to say I have to figure it out myself, but I'm in terra incognito here, a road map would be awfully useful for choosing a way forward. What are my options here?
 
master pollinator
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As someone with manic depression, my only real advice is, do it slowly, in little bites.  Make a plan or get someone to help you make a plan, and work a little bit of it every time you feel capable of working.  Part of that plan, I think, needs to be Self Care (a subset of the Second Ethic "Care of People."  Make a small, efficient homestead plan, with everything important close to the house.  Kitchen Garden close to the kitchen.  Things need to be as easy as one can make them.

If you need help with a design and a plan, folks here on permies can help.

It's taken me about 20 years to develop my plan, because a lot of those years got shot down by feeling crappy or being distracted by goofy ideas and obsessions.

Are you getting medical treatment for your disorders?  Any kind of therapy?
 
master pollinator
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To answer the question:

1) I go slow
2) I do not compare myself to how I was, or what I could do, before I got sick

Yesterday was a busy day, so I know today I will be completely wiped out. I just have to accept that, nd know I will not get much done, not just today, but because we are supposed to get heavy rains tomorrow...not a lot done this week. Oh well...

For the last few weeks, I have been cutting wood on my homestead, and I found I just go slow. Felling trees and limbing them out is tough physically, but pulling them out of the woods on my skidder is a break from that. So instead of cutting 6-7 trees, I cut 3-4 and then head out of the woods. I burn more diesel fuel doing that, but it gives me a chance to rest more often, and I do get things done (trees out. In my case a load every two days instead of a load out every day.

But there is a downside, someday I will make the world's worst Grandfather, because my Grandson will say, "Oh Grandpa, I got the measles", and I will say, "Suck it up Buttercup, I had brain cancer and I was out logging!" (LOL)
 
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Hi Ryan,

All I can offer is encouragement to incorporate flexibility into as many activities as possible, allowing unexpected change and flux to be the norm.  Maybe devising short term immediately doable workarounds to get one thing done. Then another.  An order of doing that fits you will emerge.  Or, perhaps revisiting the ever moving target of workarounds?  

Do you give yourself credit for being where you are by having grown through the resistance of challenges you've experienced?  

I try not to focus on what is or is not 'enough' by other people's standards.  They have not had my challenges, so I stopped going there and no longer allow anyone to take me there either.  I try to hold in mind that the most satisfying reward is in making the effort.  This is not to give up on a thing, but rather to take a moment or as long as it takes, to regroup and approach something with a different perspective.

* Loosely connected ramble alert *

A friend explained her people's beliefs are that each individual travels the red road.  As such, no one should allow anyone to interfere with the journey.  Interference, short term or long term, is harmful.  And a same or new challenge will appear until the challenged individual does their own choosing, and until the individual who interfered learns not to interfere.  It's way of explaining why and how we each 'find our own way' at our own pace and in the time it takes; not decided by any clock or entity of this world.  Eventually each individual learns to listen to their safe, wiser, inner voice.  The real or true inner voice is not hurtful, though sometimes understanding that comes can momentarily be given attention then let go.  That is less a hurt than a growing pain.  That's how the heart and mind knows which voice to heed.  My friend also told me about spirit guides whose energies when they resonate with the inner self, can lead through a dark time.  A hummingbird always comes first in my thoughts.  I "fly with it" to see where it goes.  Sometimes we fly closer or further away; zoom in or out so to speak.  A former therapist likened it to dissociating.  However, in the way of traveling the red road I was told this is how things are and should be.  Others can label it how they please.  I know next to nothing about the culture(s?) from whence this thinking originated, and still it works with me.

Another friend told stories about people labeled schizophrenic or similar, as being held sacred and highly valued.  If you are unfamiliar with stories like these it might feel somewhat uplifting or provide another view, to learn how important other cultures deem people who whose minds function differently.  It was called walking between realms, communicating with spirits, communing with the invisible, and more.  You are probably familiar already, but it seems worth a mention.

My youngest son has mild(?) Aspergers and other labels.  Some likely due to my struggles to overcome challenges.  When he was in elementary school an incident occurred that nearly zeroed him to the degree he did not want to go back to school ever again.  I explained when people see a cast on a broken arm or leg, there is automatic sympathy or empathy, cast signing, well wishes, etcetera.  When someone has a constant inner struggle that is invisible to others, there is no sympathy or empathy, no well wishes, and not only no support but more likely a scared reaction to what is different from what they are familiar with.  Fear of the unknown can be a beast.  Perhaps it is others' fear, that partially compels us to become pioneering mapmakers through the unknown.  Those of us who effortlessly think out of the box always benefit the world in some way.  None of this diatribe was particularly comforting to him at the time.  Yet I know he remembered because of how he grew toward recognizing and supporting others with invisible challenges.  And when I was at my worst, he and my oldest son took care of me until I found a light at the end of a particularly troublesome tunnel.

A phrase read long ago, suggested during moments of stress or confusion:  "let it come, let it be, let it go", to which I add (for me) 'without assigning fault'.  Sometimes I think unresolved issues, or triggered issues, want to keep the merry-go-round spinning.  Eventually I realize it and start looking for how to slow it down and get off a bum ride without busting my behonkus.  And I have to let that be ok.  I may have lost half a day to zoning out.  I still lose time, though not as much as used to be.  Still, I have to make that always be ok.  Ha.  This reminds me of Mark Inman who wrote:  https://theoatmeal.com/comics/unhappy

Some things that have helped me with various circumstances and space cadet episodes:

  • walking outside
  • studying philosophy, astrotheology, neuroplasticity, orthomolecular medicine and nutrition (sometimes bouncing between them all being driven by an invisible energy that pushes buttons I don't yet understand)
  • getting lost for hours reading random etymologies, or discovering obscure words and ideas
  • scribbling stuff that is not quite drawing ^.^
  • writing to work through churning things with a goal to get out of a stuck place or move past a point where it wants to repeat
  • finding humor or at least a wry smile in what is happening (I once bought $200 worth of socks and still don't know why.  Another time I accused my youngest son of putting a bread tie back on a bag of bread on purpose (perfectly understandable to me at that moment).  Many more where these came from ^.^)
  • sometimes reflection helps me wiggle through a thing, or tactile touch to determine what is real and what is not when I am momentarily caught off guard by something
  • replaying variations of a thing until something clicks and disappears like it came (not sure how or why that works, something like safe-cracking I imagine)
  • reading about what is going on in my thoughts
  • if someone begins telling me how things should be, I might get silently pissy for a moment (ok, a while sometimes) but every day I am getting better at tuning out that crud because quite often it seems what people tell us to do, is what they should do while they are not paying attention to their own needs.  Given that, a broken clock is right twice day, yeah?  Even so, I don't have time (pun) to pay attention to a broken clock


  • I don't try all these simultaneously or religiously.  Rather it is a 'maybe this will help at this moment' list, deferred to when lostness or stuckness occurs.  It is a growing list, mulled and culled many times with countless rethinkings.

    I don't have schizophrenia, but I've known people who do which may sound meaningless except those few had a profound effect on my life in a good way.  So that much seems worth mention.  Which reminds me, are you familiar with Abram Hoffer's work with schizophrenia?  If not, check out orthomolecular.org.  And "Masks of Madness" at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nJfHB4NHUXI ... also Andrew Saul of doctoryourself.com who explains much (about many things) in lay terms with incisive humor and insight.

    You WILL find your way because you came this far without anyone else's map, yeah? :.)  You have survived because you adapted, as you will surely continue.  Perhaps, if you have not already, recognizing the immensity of what you already achieved, then resigning yourself to that gem of self-understanding might provide some relief from unduly imposed pressures?  Stretching overly much in too short a time can feel unbearably uncomfortable and cause a feeling of being sprained(?).  While stretching a little less can instead be self-soothing, energizing, and bring new confidences.

    I will be 60 next month and just getting a life organized for the first time.  Until recently, everything was somehow about other people.  Most of this life I fumbled the best I could to get where I am.  Feeling a need to make up for lost time and not being able to keep up became a self-defeating, undermining and pointless indulgence that had to be put down and viewed from a rear view window if I were to move beyond all that cannot be undone.  I am just now learning about what I do best.  And just now figuring out how to get moving.  After decades of striving at all manner of things, it would seem I would be really good at something specific.  But, I spent a lot of those decades in utter discomfort attempting to fit in someone else's box.  

    All this said, if I were to make a direct suggestion per your comments, when a thing happens that isn't jiving with your thoughts, maybe practice allowing switching gears to be ok?  Allow investigational discovery of a difficult moment?  What does, or might, jive well for you at that moment?  And if a thing stops going well, go on to the next thing?  Then retry the previous?  Thinking out loud in words...  also remembering you said you make yourself work when you don't feel well.  Invisible challenges are every bit as energy consuming as the visible.  Rest is tantamount.  

    Whatever is being done is only a moment in time and all passes, because:  entropy.  Hold in mind, 'first do no harm' and 'mutual benefit' to invite the inner voice that will never hurt or betray you, to lead the way.  I think sometimes a stress is an invitation to simply pause and let the pause be ok.  Keeping busy is one thing.  Making progress is important, yes.  And though we are designed to be active, we are not designed to be on a balls-to-the-wall schedule.

    If this sounds like rainbows and unicorns hooey, that's ok :.)  It's part of what I have learned so far and there is much left to discover.  Student of life and all that.  Maybe I'll learn something more from this discussion.

    This is a great topic.  If you don't mind sharing what has or has not worked for you, this discussion may help others who struggle with making progress that is important to them.

    /end rambling psycho babble
     
    gardener
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    I don’t know much about the specific challenges you face, so I will leave the advice to others, but I have really enjoyed your posts, Ryan.  I admire your ability to both think big and plan in detail.  
     
    Posts: 64
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    Read up on Spoon Theory. https://butyoudontlooksick.com/articles/written-by-christine/the-spoon-theory/

    Spoon Theory is a great tool to help people with “invisible” illnesses manage day-to-day and stop feeling guilty about not always being able to do everything they want to do.



    The only other advice I can give you is to be careful about incorporating anything that requires end-of-day maintenance/chores.  Some days, I end up so tired I can barely bring myself to close the garage door. I don’t know what I’d do if I had to take care of livestock.
     
    Tyler Ludens
    master pollinator
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    Elizabeth Geller wrote:The only other advice I can give you is to be careful about incorporating anything that requires end-of-day maintenance/chores.



    This is excellent advice.  
     
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    Speaking from the perspective of a chronic pain disorder, it helps to plan things with the assumption that I'll run out of stamina fast. I try to do things in such a way that, if I do have to quit halfway through, it won't be a disaster.

    I try to start the day with one primary goal and one secondary goal. If I get both done, then I'll pick a new set of goals. Some days, I don't even get the primary goal finished, but I refuse to punish myself for it. And if anyone tries to look down on me for it, they'll get an earful!

    Learning not to punish yourself is very important. Your illnesses are not your fault.

    With physical limitations, it also helps to plan things out structurally. I have trouble lifting things or reaching upward, so the house I'm designing takes that into account. Things like putting the kitchen close to the main door, so groceries don't have to be carried very far. And the cabinets in that kitchen are all shoulder-high or lower, so there's no need to reach for anything. Or putting the bathroom, bedroom, and laundry room all clustered together, so laundry never has to go more than 3 steps.

    There are ways around every problem. Some solutions are just harder to find than others.
     
    Ryan Hobbs
    pollinator
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    I didn't expect all this... WOW! I don't know what to say. I tried to give apples to everybody, but it only lets me give out 2 a day. Everybody was very helpful. And I think Catherine Windrose wrote me a book. That post has to be some kind of permie record. I'm still reading through it all.

    An idea is forming in my head, that I should not do livestock that can't care for itself. So stick to cooped chickens. I know that's not very permie of me, but if it's a low energy day, I can't be moving them every day. And if I'm in the hospital and can't move them at all for 2-3 weeks, grandma needs to be able to get to them. Ducks can probably just do duck things once the Food Forest is established... Speaking of the Food Forest: Without livestock, there is no reason not to use the whole back pasture as FF. I mean, is there a food forest that would up and die because of neglect? Pigs would, chickens would, but a FF? And if I get better, couldn't I always just use the FF as a silvopasture? Is this idea worth it?

    What can I use 25 T-posts for? I suppose I can grow grapes and use them to hold up a trellis net?
     
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    I worked an injury I had too hard and now I'm paying for it in hurting everyday. Thanks so much for this post because now I'm thinking I can still homestead, even with an injury. I was worried I wouldn't be able to, but it seems so many other people do. And I'm still quite young. :) Thanks again for posting Ryan.
     
    Tyler Ludens
    master pollinator
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    I think it's fine and permie to not have livestock, not even chickens if they aren't appropriate.  I don't have livestock currently (except for a few aquaponic fish) because I can't expect my husband to take care of them when I'm away helping my dad with his Alzheimer's.  I hope to have chickens again, but that will be several years in the future, probably.

    I use T posts to fence deer out of my food forest.

    A properly designed food forest is supposed to mostly take care of itself once established.  Even after years of neglect it can be brought back into production with some thinning.  
     
    Ryan Hobbs
    pollinator
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    Casey Flynn wrote:I worked an injury I had too hard and now I'm paying for it in hurting everyday. Thanks so much for this post because now I'm thinking I can still homestead, even with an injury. I was worried I wouldn't be able to, but it seems so many other people do. And I'm still quite young. :) Thanks again for posting Ryan.



    It was no problem. I was worried about it, but apparently I need not have. I still think I can do this. And I think you can too. We just have to design our systems to work around our problems. I dislocated my left knee in June. Still hurts. So I know how that is. I wear a brace sometimes if it's bothering me more than usual. I moved house on that knee.

    Tyler Ludens wrote:
    I think it's fine and permie to not have livestock, not even chickens if they aren't appropriate.  I don't have livestock currently (except for a few aquaponic fish) because I can't expect my husband to take care of them when I'm away helping my dad with his Alzheimer's.  I hope to have chickens again, but that will be several years in the future, probably.

    I use T posts to fence deer out of my food forest.

    A properly designed food forest is supposed to mostly take care of itself once established.  Even after years of neglect it can be brought back into production with some thinning.



    I don't mind if wild animals turn my surplus fruit into potroast... I'm thinking chicken run, grape trellis, extra stability for the greenhouse, and holding up netting for peas. I do have plans for prickly trees along the un-fenced side. So hardy orange, sichuan pepper, prickly ash, black locust, and hawthorne are all likely to be in the borders.
     
    Ryan Hobbs
    pollinator
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    An addendum to my comment about the deer turning my fruit into potroast, and I think Joel Salatin and would do the same, I want to bring out the deer-ness of the deer. They should browse and fertilize. And when word gets around in the deer world that my place is the place for all the young bucks, I can shoot up to 3 per season. The food still gets in my belly. Oh and as Mark Shepherd might say, if the trees can't handle it, we don't want them anyways.
     
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    We will never be able to do it all so we are adding to our production slowly and really focusing on how to make the maintenance of what have simpler.  I have a lot of bad days  and some of those days all I manage to do is a little cooking.  I have check lists of things that absolutely have to get done and the rest gets shoves to another day.  It will get done eventually or we will decide it just won't ever happen and move on.

    I have been working on building a homestead with my husband for the last 5 years.   2 years ago my health took a big decline and I have had to reinvent my life and how I do things.  I knew this could happen when we bought our current home and chose permaculture design as a way to homestead while I slowly lose functionality. The plan is design things so we can retire here and/or have my husband's parents move in with us once they can't handle living on their own.  We keep making changes and reevaluating projects to simplify them.  Our natural swimming pond has an EPDM liner because the amount of bentonite clay required to line the pond was cost and labor prohibitive. We are on glacial sand with granite below that so no clay to self seal a pond with.

    I will never be able to do the impressive level of high quality living that the PEP certifications are striving for and I am not worried in the least about it.  My ability to continuing doing an activity is more important than using the best permaculture practices. Right now my main annual veggie garden is currently under silage tarps for the winter to reduce the spring workload.  The weeds got away from us this year due to our natural swimming pond project and needing to change all the annual veggie garden beds to make them easier for me to garden while sitting. Later this fall my husband will finish rebuilding the beds and leave the tarps over the winter so they will be ready for compost and mulch in the spring.  It is really important that I don't just increase his work load because that wouldn't lead to a better quality of his life. We always need to find a way that works for both of us because we don't to add to our stress levels.  

    Anything that can reduce the work load in my  garden is worth trying because it means I can keep gardening longer.  I get too much joy and healthy food from gardening. I can only do it for about 20 minutes at a time and then I need to rest for about 45 minutes before I can go at it again. My husband is currently working on rebuilding my annual garden beds so it is easier for me to sit on a stool while I am working.  They are about 24" wide and have at about 18" between the beds.  Making the beds the right size and height for me is allowing me to continue gardening without putting too much stress on my body.  

    Improving our daily routine so it is manageable on a bad day has been a huge driving force in our homestead plans going forward.  
    We are always looking for better and more efficient ways to do things.  A big one for us was to put an automatic door on the chicken coop along with feeder we need to refill every 5 days or so.  This is a huge help so I don't have to take care of the birds early in the morning.  I can go out once a day to take care of them instead of 3 times a day. Our original plan was to eventually add more animals for meat production but that is on hold till my husband can retire because I can't manage their care on my own.  Luckily I can source locally grown pasture raise meat from local farms so raising our own meat is not a priority.    

    We have also simplified our composting system since we can get free wood chips and we can't free range our chickens till we get more fencing up. They currently have about 800 square feet or so of run for 20 chickens and we dump wood chips, kitchen waste, and garden waste in the run and they chickens do the rest of the work.  My shoulder joints are in bad shape so I stopped turning the compost pile. To solve this problem we combined composting with maintaining the heavily used part of the chicken run and have the chickens doing the work for us.  My husband moves to composted wood chips to where I want and then adds a layer of new wood chips to the chicken run.  It means less work for him and we get compost.  

    I also will only plant shrubs, dwarf, and semi dwarf trees on the front half of my property for ease of maintenance and harvesting.  I need to be able to not worry about them getting too big for me to prune 10 or twenty years from now.  Vines are growing on my fence to easy to maintain.  I prefer light weight tools that can handle being left out in the rain on occasion because it happens when I have a massive case of brain fog and fatigue.  I use mulches to reduce watering and weeding to save my energy and time.    

    The other thing we are grateful for is good friends.  We don't have any family close by but we do have a network of friends to help on occasion. Of course we return the favor when they have projects or need help. When we did the main earthworks projects the first year we had a bunch of friends and acquaintances that were interested in learning about swales and hugel beds so we had them all show up when we rented an excavator and everyone pitched in and we built 3 swales and 7 hugel beds over 2 days.  I have even lured friends into baby sitting me when I was recovering from major surgery by teaching them how to make beaded jewelry while we hung out in my living room. It made a for a great time and my recovery happier.    Another friend and I try to get together every couple of months and we work in my garden together or do a canning project together.  When we visit them we help with some project they have and we have been doing it for years.  

    I have gotten in the habit of inviting friends over for informal dinner parties because is easier for me to cook things safe for me to eat than it is to drive to a restaurant and hope there is something there I can eat. It is an easy way for me to be social and not stress myself out.  I also share excess farm goodies when I have them because I love doing it.  Serving really good home cooked meals is an easy way to get out of state family to come visit me too.  I don't travel well so I feed anyone who visits me with really good food.  

     
    master steward
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    Ryan Hobbs wrote:What can I use 25 T-posts for? I suppose I can grow grapes and use them to hold up a trellis net?



    I'd used them to fence the ducks. While ducks are not that destructive--and generally really helpful--to a garden, predators LOVE them. So, make a secure, safe place for them for the days you can't be with them. Ducks do need supplemental feed, and can't go through kitchen scraps like chickens can. But, having grandma feed them and fill their waters with a hose takes a few minutes and would very much be in her powers. Even on my worst days, with an infant and a screaming three year old and a husband who was unable to walk and sat bleeding on the toilet, in pain, most of the day, I managed to do that. And, I was certainly miserable and depressed and overwhelmed at the time. Feeding and watering them takes maybe 5 minutes.

    The last thing you need when feeling miserable and sick is to have a duck eaten because you couldn't close them into their house in time or weren't watching them while they were foraging. It's utter misery--at least for me.

    I would also suggest UNDERstocking on any animal you keep. Two chickens in a big yard with a big safe coop+run means that, on days you forget or can't feed and water them, they can fend for themselves. My chicken bedding is never stinky, because it's under-stocked and the chickens turn that deep litter. A few ducks in a large area can forage for more of their feed and go without if you forget for a day or two. 18 ducks make a lot of poop and need a lot of food.

    Another option might be geese. They eat mostly grass and don't need feed if they have enough grass. And they can protect themselves better. You don't get nearly as many eggs or for as many months of the year, but you get the lawnmowing, poop making benefits.  
     
    Travis Johnson
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    Having livestock is a tricky situation because while I do not want to present the notion that livestock are too much work for what you get in return, yet I have to admit in my own life...with my physical limitations now...they were too much.

    In my case I had sheep, and it was just too much. I had an ideal barn, ideal pastures, and ideal fencing, and even on the last day of having them, of having them get on the cattle trailer, just ushering them into the back of the trailer was so physically demanding I had to stop halfway through and nearly vomit from exhaustion.

    That is really not said to say that having sheep is a lot of work, but to show how quickly my stamina runs out. I just cannot do that type of farming any more. And you know what? That is okay...
     
    Travis Johnson
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    Ryan Hobbs wrote:I didn't expect all this... WOW! I don't know what to say. I tried to give apples to everybody, but it only lets me give out 2 a day. Everybody was very helpful.



    I am glad my post could help you Ryan, as I said in another post, I do have a lot of respect for you because of how you work through your issues. You NVER have to give me any apples though, use them for the other great people on here that encourage you.

    As for Permies and health Issues, I think that is pretty normal in this day and age. The medical community has gotten so good that they find problems with people quickly now.

    I knew something was wrong with me for about a year prior to finding out, but a logging accident, and four days in the hospital found those problems. For three years I have held hope that the same medical community that found the problems, could fix them, but that is not to be. I even know what limitations I have, and what I can do farming wise despite them. What I am not sure of, is how to get to that point (raising grains like wheat, oats and rye).

    I can either:

    1. Work a real job and take the income and invest in the farm
    2. Try to fund my farms conversion in another way

    But I know I can continue to farm despite having the physical problems that I do.
     
    Ryan Hobbs
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    Well Travis, about your grain, have you considered triticale? It is a wheat and rye cross which stands 6 ft tall and has long awns for easy threshing. I'm planning on putting it in my biomass seed mix personally. My biomass seed mix includes sunflowers, Desmanthus illionensis, triticale, buckwheat, red clover, goldenrod, triticale, and tobacco. All of these plants are useful: some are just for biomass, some are for bioremediation, 2 are medicinal, 4 are insectaries, and there is overlap for all of them. Buckwheat is a pretty foolproof grain, and can be used to make pasta, bread, and cakes. I use buckwheat flour when shaping dough. It doesn't soak up as much water as wheat flour, and it doesn't contain gluten, so it keeps your hands from sticking to the dough. The leaves are also edible and are similar to spinach.

    Nicole, the geese are a great idea. They get bigger too. I imagine as waterfowl they could be cooked the same way as ducks? What if we had a mix of both? Like, geese are the guards and protect the ducks from predators?


    Kate, I totally get the having spates of bad days thing. From what I have learned from this conversation, I think I'm aiming for mostly plants. I got a book at the library yesterday about wild edible plants of Ohio just so that I can add those native species to my food forest. Maybe my strategy would work for you too? I also love gardening. But I can't seem to get up any earlier than 9 am what with my meds. My favorite time for picking vegetables is 7 am. I used to be up early every day before I was on them, but I was also a wreck before meds, so it's a fair trade. I can't even function before coffee because of the trazodone. But without it, I couldn't sleep through the night.

     
    gardener
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    We are really just getting started. We bought this place a year ago, and moved in 8 months ago. We both have our lists of (physical) disabilities that can - and often do - screw up our plans for the day. But, we are discovering that being in the 'just getting started' phase, we can add just a little at a time, and see how well we can cope with that, before we add anything else. It's come down to prioritizing. The physically hardest part of our chickens, is bringing the feed to the bins we store it in, because the bags are 50#@. So, on a day when I have the strength to move one bag, I go get 2 or 3. They load them for me, at the feed store, then at home, I back up to the coop, and move as much as I feel possible, without over-taxing myself, against the next day's spoons. If that means only one bag, then so be it - I've still saved myself at least one or two trips to the feed store, by having it in my vehicle, where it will be safe, and out of the way, until I'm ready to move another bag or two.

    Repurposing pre-made items has helped a lot, too! I like to get sturdy pallets, and use them as 'whole' as possible, because it means someone else has already done most of the work. We are getting a family of 3 goats, in a couple weeks, and I've built stalls for them, from whole pallets. A (VERY DEAR) friend helped out, in a HUGE way, by bringing her truck (we don't have one!), a joy in the work, and an amazing attitude. She and I brought in a load of pallets, then a load of straw, for insulating the garage-turned-barn, to keep my Nigoras warm, safe, & dry. We did the hauling on 2 separate days, because she's got a life, and her own disabilities, too. I'm a little nervous. I've never raised goats. These are an unusual, relatively new breed, with great wool, and great milk - but, they're small, and going to need some observation-intensive protection, until we can deal with a specific predator problem that wiped out half of our chickens, as well as the one our awesome friend entrusted to our care - we failed. So, there will already be more work involved, than I was expecting to encounter with them, right off the bat - which is actually to be expected, lol. But, I've built in time cushions. We are getting puppies - but, there is no heavy lifting there. There won't be any additional livestock, until we know we can comfortably care for what we have, with enough normal energy, to spare, for more.

    My takeaways are - know your limits (or slowly, carefully find them) and build up to them; do all things in moderation; take every shortcut you need to; don't indulge in guilt, just because you *have* limits; accept any help offered, with joy and gratitude - and no guilt; do what you can, when you can, and if possible, more than the minimum, to make another day easier; take full advantage of any and all energy/labor-saving resources available; and finally, adjust your self-expectations. The world isn't going to end, if you don't get it done in the time frame you originally expected of yourself. Honestly, in the grand scheme of things, every step you take is progress, but the steps you don't take until later aren't really a detriment. They're just steps you take later.
     
    Kate Muller
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    Ryan Hobbs wrote:

    Kate, I totally get the having spates of bad days thing. From what I have learned from this conversation, I think I'm aiming for mostly plants. I got a book at the library yesterday about wild edible plants of Ohio just so that I can add those native species to my food forest. Maybe my strategy would work for you too? I also love gardening. But I can't seem to get up any earlier than 9 am what with my meds. My favorite time for picking vegetables is 7 am. I used to be up early every day before I was on them, but I was also a wreck before meds, so it's a fair trade. I can't even function before coffee because of the trazodone. But without it, I couldn't sleep through the night.



    I am useless in the early morning.  My husband lovingly calls my his zombie wife for good reason. I am slow, foggy brained, with my proprioception off and I look like a stumbling drunk who keeps dropping stuff.    I am very fortunate that I don't have to hold down a job on top of taking care of the homestead.  My foody  husband claims that keeping him fed is a full time job since we have the large garden and I cook everything from scratch due to my inability to properly digest far too many common foods.  I pop in and out of  garden in short chunks and things slowly get done. My garden will never be a perfect highly efficient showcase ready to join a garden tour.  It always has far too many weeds, neglected plants, and far too much critter damage.  We still get a lot of food out of it and we are happy being in the garden which is really important to us.  

    My husband does the shoveling, heavy lifting mulching, mowing and other activities.  For him it combines exercise, reducing stress and time outside.   He spends most of time in the garden in the brief time between getting home from work and the sun setting.  It may only be 10 to 20 minutes for him but it is his favorite way to unwind after work.  If there he isn't moving mulch, working on the pond project he spends most of his time seeing what is growing and snacking his way through the garden.  I do the planting, watering, and most of the weeding since I can do most of it sitting down and at my own pace.
       
    Going with plants that can stand some neglect is a great way to go.  I know I mentioned my annual garden beds but we also have quite a large collection of perennial plants in the garden including a lot of native plants.  We have American Hazel nuts, blueberries, raspberries, high bush cranberry, aronia berry, a sweet crab apple, lots of native wildflowers, and other non edible native plants. We will keep adding more natives  and non natives as we can create the right growing conditions for them. I try to stick with things I know I would use.  We planted the aronia berries and we hate eating them.  So they are bird food but I won't plant anymore of them.

    I also have added things like seedless Concord grapes which are an easier variety to work with than a native fox grape.   I want to add chinquapin shrubs next year but I will get the chestnut chinquapin cross from Okios Tree crops so I have a larger harvest and lest risk of blight taking the shrubs out.  The long term plan it to use the back acre for a fruit and nut food forest but I want nuts faster so the shrubs will  go in where some other plants have died in areas we already have developed near the house and driveway.  
     
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    ?
    That’s a tough situation to be in . Good luck and best wishes. I just take miniature sized bites at a time these days. And get a surprising amount done.
     
    Ryan Hobbs
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    Carla Burke wrote:We are really just getting started. We bought this place a year ago, and moved in 8 months ago. We both have our lists of (physical) disabilities that can - and often do - screw up our plans for the day. But, we are discovering that being in the 'just getting started' phase, we can add just a little at a time, and see how well we can cope with that, before we add anything else. It's come down to prioritizing. The physically hardest part of our chickens, is bringing the feed to the bins we store it in, because the bags are 50#@. So, on a day when I have the strength to move one bag, I go get 2 or 3. They load them for me, at the feed store, then at home, I back up to the coop, and move as much as I feel possible, without over-taxing myself, against the next day's spoons. If that means only one bag, then so be it - I've still saved myself at least one or two trips to the feed store, by having it in my vehicle, where it will be safe, and out of the way, until I'm ready to move another bag or two.

    Repurposing pre-made items has helped a lot, too! I like to get sturdy pallets, and use them as 'whole' as possible, because it means someone else has already done most of the work. We are getting a family of 3 goats, in a couple weeks, and I've built stalls for them, from whole pallets. A (VERY DEAR) friend helped out, in a HUGE way, by bringing her truck (we don't have one!), a joy in the work, and an amazing attitude. She and I brought in a load of pallets, then a load of straw, for insulating the garage-turned-barn, to keep my Nigoras warm, safe, & dry. We did the hauling on 2 separate days, because she's got a life, and her own disabilities, too. I'm a little nervous. I've never raised goats. These are an unusual, relatively new breed, with great wool, and great milk - but, they're small, and going to need some observation-intensive protection, until we can deal with a specific predator problem that wiped out half of our chickens, as well as the one our awesome friend entrusted to our care - we failed. So, there will already be more work involved, than I was expecting to encounter with them, right off the bat - which is actually to be expected, lol. But, I've built in time cushions. We are getting puppies - but, there is no heavy lifting there. There won't be any additional livestock, until we know we can comfortably care for what we have, with enough normal energy, to spare, for more.

    My takeaways are - know your limits (or slowly, carefully find them) and build up to them; do all things in moderation; take every shortcut you need to; don't indulge in guilt, just because you *have* limits; accept any help offered, with joy and gratitude - and no guilt; do what you can, when you can, and if possible, more than the minimum, to make another day easier; take full advantage of any and all energy/labor-saving resources available; and finally, adjust your self-expectations. The world isn't going to end, if you don't get it done in the time frame you originally expected of yourself. Honestly, in the grand scheme of things, every step you take is progress, but the steps you don't take until later aren't really a detriment. They're just steps you take later.



    I have also begun to change my way of thinking. I'm starting to come around to the no deadlines concept. In the city any job you have will have deadlines, quotas, earmarks, and schedules. I have to break my old habits. I have to take it easy and do a bit every day, no matter how small. I look forward to your posts on the little goats. If you post one and I miss it, just drop me a purple moosage. I love all cute things. (Some of my helpers when I'm feeling down are stuffed animals. I have a large collection. My favorite is a penguin named Mr Grape.) \

    I really gotta try that conversion thing. We can get weathered wood and old hay here for free. I recouped a spoon by shooting my bow about half an hour ago. I was shooting an old bale of hay that I'm using to start a Ruth Stout bed. And then I used the spoon to put the ribs in the oven covered in my spicy-sweet pear and ginger bbq sauce. I think I could use the weathered wood for building things. I need a spice cabinet. I'm planning to build one once I get my workshop all sorted out. If I can find free wood that is nice and sound, that would be best.


    Kate Muller wrote:I am useless in the early morning.  My husband lovingly calls my his zombie wife for good reason. I am slow, foggy brained, with my proprioception off and I look like a stumbling drunk who keeps dropping stuff.    I am very fortunate that I don't have to hold down a job on top of taking care of the homestead.  My foody  husband claims that keeping him fed is a full time job since we have the large garden and I cook everything from scratch due to my inability to properly digest far too many common foods.  I pop in and out of  garden in short chunks and things slowly get done. My garden will never be a perfect highly efficient showcase ready to join a garden tour.  It always has far too many weeds, neglected plants, and far too much critter damage.  We still get a lot of food out of it and we are happy being in the garden which is really important to us.  

    My husband does the shoveling, heavy lifting mulching, mowing and other activities.  For him it combines exercise, reducing stress and time outside.   He spends most of time in the garden in the brief time between getting home from work and the sun setting.  It may only be 10 to 20 minutes for him but it is his favorite way to unwind after work.  If there he isn't moving mulch, working on the pond project he spends most of his time seeing what is growing and snacking his way through the garden.  I do the planting, watering, and most of the weeding since I can do most of it sitting down and at my own pace.
     
    Going with plants that can stand some neglect is a great way to go.  I know I mentioned my annual garden beds but we also have quite a large collection of perennial plants in the garden including a lot of native plants.  We have American Hazel nuts, blueberries, raspberries, high bush cranberry, aronia berry, a sweet crab apple, lots of native wildflowers, and other non edible native plants. We will keep adding more natives  and non natives as we can create the right growing conditions for them. I try to stick with things I know I would use.  We planted the aronia berries and we hate eating them.  So they are bird food but I won't plant anymore of them.

    I also have added things like seedless Concord grapes which are an easier variety to work with than a native fox grape.   I want to add chinquapin shrubs next year but I will get the chestnut chinquapin cross from Okios Tree crops so I have a larger harvest and lest risk of blight taking the shrubs out.  The long term plan it to use the back acre for a fruit and nut food forest but I want nuts faster so the shrubs will  go in where some other plants have died in areas we already have developed near the house and driveway.  



    Gardening zombies crave graaaaains...... LOL I'm a zombie in the morning too.

    I also snack my way through gardens, but I seem to have developed an allergy to raw purple vegetables. Cooked they're fine. I just quit growing them though. I like munching through the rows of peas and carrots. I just wipe the dirt off and eat. I even eat raw potatoes as long as they aren't purple.

    Mark Shepherd sells his hybrid chestnuts and says they start making nuts in their first year. I plan to get a few so my American Chestnut won't be lonely. It's not pollinating well alone. Mark Shepherd's nut trees I also plan to add grapes in 2 rows. One row will be in the front yard, and one along the side of the garage. I plan to put seedless in the garage row for eating and wine grapes in the front yard. I can't have alcohol, but I know how to make non-alcoholic wine and I enjoy a good glass of wine every now and then.
     
    Tyler Ludens
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    Ryan Hobbs wrote:Oh and as Mark Shepherd might say, if the trees can't handle it, we don't want them anyways.



    My trees can't handle 25 deer at a time!  
     
    Carla Burke
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    Ryan Hobbs wrote:
    I have also begun to change my way of thinking. I'm starting to come around to the no deadlines concept. In the city any job you have will have deadlines, quotas, earmarks, and schedules. I have to break my old habits. I have to take it easy and do a bit every day, no matter how small. I look forward to your posts on the little goats. If you post one and I miss it, just drop me a purple moosage. I love all cute things. (Some of my helpers when I'm feeling down are stuffed animals. I have a large collection. My favorite is a penguin named Mr Grape.) \

    I really gotta try that conversion thing. We can get weathered wood and old hay here for free. I recouped a spoon by shooting my bow about half an hour ago. I was shooting an old bale of hay that I'm using to start a Ruth Stout bed. And then I used the spoon to put the ribs in the oven covered in my spicy-sweet pear and ginger bbq sauce. I think I could use the weathered wood for building things. I need a spice cabinet. I'm planning to build one once I get my workshop all sorted out. If I can find free wood that is nice and sound, that would be best.



    Yup - deadlines are not usually your friend. I've put up some goat pics here, somewhere...
    I'll put up some more, soonlyish. We don't have them, yet, so my pics are just the ones I've received from the lovely woman I'm getting them from. I will meet them for the first time, on 11/5. After that, I'm sure y'all will get sick of seeing them, lol.

    The trick I employ with the conversion thing, is trying to alter the items as little as possible. So, the pallets stay pallets, as much as possible. For fencing, I just screw or bolt them together. There are pics of the pallet stalls in that link, too.
     
    Ryan Hobbs
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    Tyler Ludens wrote:

    Ryan Hobbs wrote:Oh and as Mark Shepherd might say, if the trees can't handle it, we don't want them anyways.



    My trees can't handle 25 deer at a time!  



    Do you have 4k stems per acre?
     
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    I'm going to post my reply, and hopefully will have time to come back later and read the other responses.  I have a bad back (some days it's not too bad, as long as I'm careful; other days it's all I can do to hobble around the house a little bit).  I also have auto-immune diseases, and sometimes depression.  In addition, I am the sole caregiver for my youngest daughter, who is now 39 years old.  She is autistic and severely mentally handicapped (can't read at all); she also has lupus in addition to other auto-immune diseases, and, I suspect, suffers from depression or some other mental illness as well.  (It's difficult to impossible to test her for these conditions.)  

    My 'homesteading' activities have been severely curtailed.  I'm still trying to figure out how to manage.  I have a free-range flock of chickens that I manage by filling their large feeder with several days worth of feed at a time on days when my back allows me to get outside.  If they run out, they manage to feed themselves pretty well by foraging, but we don't get as many eggs.  The barn cats and the little dog are fed in the house (the cats on the enclosed porch).  The livestock guardian dog is fed outside, but near enough the house that I can manage.  The goats are a bit of a struggle -- I only have two at this point, and am able to fill their feeder with several days worth of hay at a time.  I had hoped that my back would get enough better to allow me to milk at least once a day, but I don't think that's going to happen (I've been keeping goats for most of the last 36 years, so this is rather distressing).  So it's looking like the goats are probably going to have to go.  I use a hose to fill water pans and buckets; one reason I chose to move to a warmer climate was because there would be prolonged periods during the winters in Eastern Oregon where I had to carry water to the animals.  Here, we may get weather cold enough to freeze the hoses, but from what I've seen so far, those will be short, and usually in the afternoon the hoses will thaw out.  

    Gardening in the ground is looking near impossible; I think I'm going to have to build raised beds on legs next year and work with that.  It will be a much smaller garden than I'm used to having, but better than none at all.   I got help from my oldest daughter, who lives about four hours away, to plant some fruit trees this last spring.  I was able to manage one or two holes myself, but it would take me forever to plant everything without help.  So getting help is crucial.  

    So I guess the key things are limiting what you try to do to what you are actually capable of doing; setting things up to make everything as easy and self-managing as possible (like my free-range chickens); doing things in small bites; and getting help when you need it.  It's really hard to have all kinds of plans for your place, and not be physically able to implement them.  You have to reduce your expectations (the old champagne tastes on a beer budget, with the budget being what you are mentally and physically capable of actually doing).  It hurts, and it's disappointing.  But attitude makes all the difference in whether we are happy and content with what we have, or the opposite.
     
    Kate Muller
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    Jeremy Baker wrote:?
    That’s a tough situation to be in . Good luck and best wishes. I just take miniature sized bites at a time these days. And get a surprising amount done.



    This is exactly what I have spent the last 2 years learning to do.  In my case I have a connective tissue disorder called Ehlers Danlos Syndrome.  The symptoms can vary tremendously from person to person even in families.  In my case it effects all of my joints, skin, nervous system, circulatory system, vision, and my digestive system.  I have immediate family members who have  life threatening problems from it so I am hoping to slow my progression of the condition.  Since the underlying cause is genetic with no cure at this time you try and minimize the long term damage and find hacks, work arounds, and treatments to keep functioning.  

    While I have been dealing with my whole life things got harder 2 years ago when I had a big increase in symptoms that we haven't found treatments or relief of yet. I had to take time to morn the loss of functionality and reevaluate what is most important to me. I basically took last year off to sort myself out.  I am still frustrated with how long it takes me to get anything done but I am finding ways to do more everyday.  I have to be careful about scheduling and allocating my resources.  I used to be a very busy doer type of person and now I have to pick and chose.  I get about 1/4 done of what I used too in a typical day.

    Like most middle aged Americans we have way to much stuff and our family members keep trying to give us more stuff.  With my husband's help we have been simplifying our homestead chores and processes and decluttering our stuff with the goal of reducing our work load so we can do more with less effort.  This is paying big dividends and we are putting off homestead expansion till we get the house decluttered,  organized, and have function routines for daily activities and projects.  It is happening in little baby steps but it is happening and we are happier because of it.  



     
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    I have suffered from depression most of my adult life and since getting in a car accident a few years ago I have had back pain that never really goes away. I'm also suffering through wrist pains from having to work at a computer a lot... all in all not fun and it makes things hard.

    In the past I really did not know what to do about this and in many ways I'm still struggling. One thing I did was really start paying attention to when I would start to feel depressed and when I would suffer the most pain. I started to learn that my depression seems to go in cycles so at least now when I'm feeling depressed I know it won't last. This makes it easier to deal with. I also learned what makes me feel better and I try to incorporate those things into my life on a daily basis--but this is still a work in progress...

    Going to bed early (8:30-9:00pm) and getting up early (5am) is really good for me but I have struggled to always do this. Life loves to get in the way of this sort of schedule... I also try to take time to walk around my land or hangout by my pond before bed and in the morning. This is very healing for me and helps to make my depression better. I want to take time to meditate but I have never been consistent with this... but when I do it I feel better. Exercise helps me a lot--when I work hard physically I tend to feel a lot better.

    I have never taken medicine for my depression (same with my chronic pain) so I have tried to use some of these techniques to manage it. Sometimes I'm better at it than other times. I try to not be hard on myself when things get rough and to understand that it's temporary. The people around me are also very supportive and understanding and that helps a lot.

    With my physical pain I have made some changes such as building a standing desk to use at work. This helps with my back a fair bit. I ware a brace on my wrist when I'm typing and I try to not push myself too much. I have also taken to improving my overall health. Changing my diet a fair bit has resulted in me losing over 10 lbs and I hope to lose another 15-20 lbs. This could do a lot to help my back pain. I also would love to do yoga on a regular basis both for physical health and for mental health. But time is hard to find...

    As others have suggested I also break my projects up into small steps and not try to get everything done in a day. As long as I'm making steady progress I can feel good about my work.

    What has made the biggest difference for me was learning how I respond to different things and not being hard on myself when things are not working. This gave me the space I needed to make little adjustments that then gave me space to make more adjustments. Things are getting better but I'm still a work in progress!

    Good luck and I hope this helps!
     
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    A bit off topic Ryan, but have you looked at your electrolyte balance? Regardless what else is going on, heart palpitations and cramps (not to mention anxiety) are often immediately due to an imbalance of potassium/magnesium/sodium, which is actually pretty easy to correct. People on the spectrum (like you and I) are notoriously bad at absorbing magnesium, even if we get enough in our food. Carol Dean is all over the 'net pushing supplements but she has some good info: https://drcarolyndean.com/2012/10/when-magnesium-makes-me-worse/
     
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    "I feel like crap 50% of the time. I force myself to work when I don't feel well."
    ...Okey dokey, Ryan, slow down. I'm old, I've been through alot and sometimes tact is a waste of time. So here goes.
    Admit to yourself the limitations on what you are going to be able to do homesteading-wise. You sound fairly accepting of your mental illness, but double check that. It sounds to me like you're looking for a work-around.
    I am a recovering alcoholic. I have type 2 bipolar disorder and lots of other fun things. My best friend has dissociative disorder, anxiety, manic depression, PTSD, alcoholism, and drug addiction. She suffers terribly. Some days she can't get off the couch. Most days she can't take a shower. Medications that she has been on for 25 years have caused a tremendous amount of damage to her internal organs. She is grateful for an hour she can do anything.
    Many recovering alcoholics remind ourselves every single morning that we are alcoholic, because our default setting is to forget that (that's a bad thing - shit goes south pretty quickly). Many of us have experienced trauma and have mental illness to manage in addition to addiction. We take life 24 hours at a time. That's all. We are not whiners, we are admitting to ourselves we are not like other people. Boy, people that don't live inside our heads hate to hear that.
    90% of people don't understand. They come up with a lot of pablum and lighthearted hopeful advice but unless they walk in our shoes, God bless them, well, we just have to wait for them to stop talking.
    There's no magic bullet answer. When you have a complicated mental and emotional life, it's important to design your life to accommodate that. Sure, you can make a check list and prioritize tasks, but when shit goes south smack in the middle of the day and you can't work anymore, that to-do list can become a source of shame. It doesn't mean a list is a bad thing, it just might be a bad thing for you. Pay attention to that. Walk out the door and do what you want to do.
    And treasure the times that you feel good, for they are precious. Please try not to forget that (that's a tape it on your mirror thing).
     
    Posts: 27
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    I am disabled also, have good and bad days. Only do the essential chores on bad days, saving the other chores for good days.
    Have had to scale back over the last couple of years, but i still keep a few goats and chickens.
    They help me and my land stay healthier.
    They force me not to give in to my conditions, i fight the most painful and zero energy days enough to keep their basic needs well met.
    They provide me with milk, eggs and even meat at times.
    Contary to the experience of many,  Milking a couple of goats "slowly" through the pain, has actually helped the severe arthritis i have in my hands. The warmth of their udders and the gentle exercise of my stiff painful hands helps stop them seizing up.
    I leave their babies with them, and milk around their needs. This lessens the burden on me to milk large volumes, as they have fairly high milk production with plenty to share.
    My few goats and their free-ranging chicken buddies also help keep the parts of my land i am unable to tend cleared and fertilized.
    I am not able to mow or use a weedeater, they do those chores for me.
    The chickens also help keep the bugs down.
     
    pollinator
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    My husband and I are now both disabled, with a variety of illnesses. Part of mine is Major Depressive Disorder, but I have recently been re-evaluated and been diagnosed with bi-polar, and now have new meds, that are helping tremendously, enough that I have taken an outside part-time job to help with finances. I also have some physical ailments, including heart problems that make heavy lifting impossible. I have never been a physically strong person. My husband, on the other hand, had always been a strong Mountain man. He now has a terminal lung illness. His diaphragm is paralyzed up so that his lung cannot expand or collapse. Which causes gunk to collect. Constant coughing has now caused his airway to collapse. He has been on oxygen for over 5 years, and gets weaker by the day, spending most of his days in bed. Because of his illness, we can no longer have livestock especially birds of any kind. We still have a small raised garden, and I think raising it up will help. With the help of family, we have planted a few fruit trees around the front of our house. There are also lots of general repairs to the house that have gone far too long, but with little strength and little income, things are just falling behind.  I find that I have to adjust my dreams to work within both my physical and financial decline. It is sad, but we all must do what we have to do. Here at permies, I learn things, and we are much more of a caring family than ever expected. I am grateful to everyone here.
     
    pollinator
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    Ryan Hobbs wrote:An idea is forming in my head, that I should not do livestock that can't care for itself. So stick to cooped chickens. I know that's not very permie of me, but if it's a low energy day, I can't be moving them every day. And if I'm in the hospital and can't move them at all for 2-3 weeks, grandma needs to be able to get to them. Ducks can probably just do duck things once the Food Forest is established...


    Sounds like a good concept!  I recommend free-range muscovy ducks.  According to everything I have read and everyone I've talked to who has raised them, these are the closest you will ever get with domestic livestock to a self-sufficient wild animal.  Don't clip their wings, and they will roost in trees at night - no pens needed.  And it's okay to let them fly, because they have no migratory instinct, unlike other ducks.  Don't attempt to collect their eggs, and they will populate the woods with little ducklings and raise them themselves - no incubation or brood hens needed.  They are great omnivores, so with good mixed habitat they should totally take care of themselves, so long as they aren't overstocked - no chicken feed needed.

    They are large and fierce and armed with sharp claws.  They make good quality meat.  They don't even make much noise.  They are the perfect homestead livestock, at least so I have decided for my own needs.  Just let them go wild as much as you can, and then declare a duck hunting season once or twice a year to fill the freezer.

    Also, do you have room to build ponds?  I mean real ponds, with real pond ecosystems; not overstocked fish farm ponds.  If so, consider that fish stocked in such a pond are pretty much zero maintenance.  And fishing is generally considered a relaxing activity!  : )
     
    steward & bricolagier
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    I'm on both the physical and mental sides of it all, and they interact badly some days. Part of what keeps me going is the phrase "And this, too, shall pass." Some days I write it on my arm to remind myself.

    I put a lot of effort into figuring out what factors make me crash, and figuring out how to mitigate them, or at least expect them so I don't feel so blindsided and overwhelmed, and I can schedule different tasks knowing what's likely to hit. A couple of examples:

    I'm reactive to the weather, I keep an eye on it closely, Windy.com is a great resource for that. I know that if the barometric pressure is going to change quickly, or if the temperature drops suddenly, I will be in severe pain. So I watch the predictions, and if I know there will be a front coming through, with pressure drop and temperature drop, then rain, I don't even TRY to schedule outside work. I figure out what I can do inside, put my outside energy the days before into making sure I have the things I need for my indoor work ready to go, and when the weather slams, I don't have to move anything heavy, or go get anything, I did it ahead of time when it was easy for me. I also try, when I have energy, to cue up everything I need for a few projects of varying difficulty, so there's always something that can be done at the level I'm able to handle that day, physically or mentally. Some days I can move heavy objects but I do NOT want to deal with people, there will be no phone calls made but lots of stuff will get moved. Some days I can't pick up my cat, but feel stable, those are the days I tackle my phone call list. Always having something ready to go makes it easy to do something, even on bad days.

    I'm reactive to foods too, not allergies, but some foods have effects that are hard for me, dairy products affect my sinuses, sugars affect my energy, white flour gives me headaches. I don't always avoid them, I just schedule them. There's a restaurant near here that is classic southern cooking, OH MY yummy, OH MY not good for me. I go sometimes, knowing I WILL pay a price for it, choosing to do so, and choosing the day, so the next day I can be useless. I cook, I know the difference between a fresh from the oven roll and one that was baked earlier and reheated. I will eat that fresh from the oven roll, knowing it's white bread, and knowing it will hurt, I choose to do so, with my eyes open. And I will eat their gravy, knowing it's cream gravy and will affect my sinuses, and just schedule time I can be non-useful. If I can't schedule the time and am not willing to pay the price, I will go there with others, and order coleslaw, and eat just that and talk to the people I'm with. Doesn't kill me to do so. I HAVE to be willing to pay the price, or I do not eat things that I shouldn't.

    So a concrete example: I need to run my brushcutter, that involves having the strength to get on the tractor and be on it for several hours (at least,) and the grass needs to be dry enough to mow. So I look at the weather coming up in the week, rain Monday and Tuesday, clears up, then comes back in Saturday as rain, with the front coming in Friday. So I need to mow Wed or Thurs. On Monday and Tuesday I WILL NOT eat anything bad for me, I'll make sure I do everything that helps me, so I have as much strength as possible. Wednesday I plan to go out there, that leaves Thursday as back up. So say I make it out there Wed, but crash at noon, no problem, I still have Thursday cleared for this, and can try again. After doing this for a while you get the feel for what is likely to happen on Wednesday by Tuesday, and know whether to schedule it or not.  

    Every day I do all I can, and I do the best I can. Some days I do an amazing amount, some days I can't, but as long as I know I did the best I could do that day, I try not to feel bad about the low output days. Some days my mood and my strength totally are at odds, there is nothing wrong with using a good screaming rage to dig some serious trenches or take a mattock to bamboo roots. And there is nothing wrong with singing and being silly while I sit very very still and do work that doesn't weigh much. I look at my lists, and do the thing that needs doing that fits best that day.

    I always have lists, I always have things cued up, I always know what is priority. Doesn't always happen, but it's more likely to than if I just wing it. And I always do something, even if it's "look up raising eels" instead of something more productive. What I do NOT do: lay in bed and stare at the walls, read books or watch tv or videos that I don't learn from (at least not during my "work" times) (I'm a reader, not a watcher, the idea is the same, things you learn from during work hours) I do not sit and mope about how bad it all hurts or how horrifying my head is that day, I find a useful task I am capable of doing, and do it. I have done the "lay on the couch and cry" bit, didn't fix anything, and the work still needed to be done the next day. So these days I pace myself, at get at least something done.

    YOU ARE NOT ALONE IN THIS!
    Even if you are alone all day in the real world (I often am) the people here are supportive, a lot of us have issues too, some people talk about them, some don't. But a lot of people understand, even if they don't mention their own issues. You are not the only one who is learning this stuff, you are not the only one doing it. The more we all share what works, the easier all of our lives can be.

    :D
     
    Posts: 3
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    Dear Ryan and Permies

    I have studied and practiced Holistic Health and living for about ten years now, and continue to slowly improve my overall condition, which is not really a physical but more an emotional dis-ease. I have come to the understanding that all disease is rooted in a belief in the false sense of I, or put another way an emotional dis-ease (emotion = energy in motion - disease being restricted flow of energy, or resistance to what is, causing mental and physical tensions) which if left unattended eventually manifests as physical illness and death of the body.

    Therefore, to "heal" any physical disease it is vital to integrate our un-integrated emotions, invariably created during early childhood, and onwards. By integrating these emotions, physical health tends to naturally return. Alongside this there are many physical cleansing modalities we can use to detoxify the physical body, which allows the immune system to do its job properly so the body can heal itself, which in turn helps the un-integrated emotions rise to the surface so we can deal with them. It works from both ends, as long as we are aware of this and what we can do (or perhaps better put, stop doing the stuff that is causing the disease).

    My favourite emotional integration procedure is The Presence Process by Michael Brown, a ten week self facilitated journey (which we are advised to do at least three times), all contained in a book of the same name. I can share a link if requested to this, and if anyone is unable to buy the book I can help with this.

    My favourite physical cleansing therapies are all free or virtually free, and include a plant based diet, juice and water fasting, colon cleansing, oil pulling, urine therapy, MMS cleansing, use of DMSO, Magnesium oil, Borax, and many more. Each on their own have been reported many times to cure virtually any physical condition. When a few are combined, then it is almost guaranteed that physical health can be restored. Again I would be pleased to share links to webpages, articles, audios, videos and books (virtually all free), for anyone interested to learn more.

    It is however, as I mention above, vital to combine the physical cleansing with an emotional integration process or the physical disease is very likely to resurface later in another and stronger way. Physical symptoms are basically the body calling out to us to deal with our emotional issues. If we ignore it, or suppress it as we tend to with addictive habits such as overeating, overthinking, smoking, drinking alcohol, recreational and pharmaceutical drugs, overworkingy, basically overdoing anything, the body will shout louder and louder until we pay attention or die.

    This is a very short summary of I have come to know about holistic healing, as best as it is possible to know in this dream of life, which has and continues to help me (and many others) to return to the natural state or peace and contentment and live a more joyful life.

    I share much more on my website, social media and at my own little homestead in Bulgaria. I would be delighted to share more, either here or by personal online coaching (by donation) on request, or even to come and visit me. (I host volunteers sometimes).

    With love
    Atma (aka Pete)
     
    pollinator
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    25 years ago I figured I probably could not work until I was 67 if even live that long.  So I looked for a career change that might help with my physical problems which turned out to be massage therapy. Now in my 80th year I have to do an hours therapy on myself and 2 hours of rest for ever2 hours of work on the homestead. But I am still alive and helping others be able to manage therir physical problems. It only takes me a half hour to recover from giving therapy to my clients and that s mostly eating time.
    If you have a specific problem that no one is explaining I may be able to help; let me know..
     
    Pearl Sutton
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    More ways I cope with doing what I need to do through serious health issues:
    I plan ahead. When my brain is running amok, obsessing about everything, I write down everything I can think of that can be done to deal with it all. Later, when I am calmer, I go through my notes and add the good ideas to my lists. Basically, if my mind is going to obsess about stuff, I try to choose what I’m obsessing about. Brains are neat little computers, they’ll answer any question you give them. If you ask “why is it all a mess!?” it will tell you all kinds of things, that aren’t helpful at all, and make you feel worse. (“It’s a mess because you are lazy!” That ain’t useful, bet you have heard that answer though.) If you ask it “How can I fix all of this?” then you’ll get some good answers! (“If you start here, and get this person to help you on Thursday, then Saturday you could...” THAT is useful information!) Take notes, and use the information.

    I keep lists of everything. I went to the lumberyard, got a 4 x8 sheet of white hardboard panel, which is the stuff they make dry erase boards out of. (most lumberyards have it, places like Lowe’s and Home Depot definitely do) White hardboard at Lowe's, $14.48 a sheet They will cut it on their panel saw for you, at least one or two cuts, wherever you want them. (Plan ahead, decide where you want boards, in what sizes, so you can get them to cut it.) Get a package or two of dry erase markers (I have fat ones and skinny ones, same colors, so I can make headers and notes, and color code it all.) Hook them to the wall however you like (4 nails in the corners works well) and you have note and list space. I have one on the wall right by my desk, my look up board, if I read something on Permies that gives me an idea, I write it on the board. When I want to read stuff, I look up things on the board. Right now my board look up list includes: rhubarb, raise eels, key limes in greenhouse, and land crabs. The organizing list board includes: TOOLS: Volvo heater core, mark padlocks  LOGISTICS: electrical outlet, Ed’s tractor, etc.  I keep paper lists, and phone lists too, I have my phone with me, so it has lists like “from the barn today” and “hardware store” that I toss things on when I think of them, and later, when I’m at the hardware store, I check my list before I walk out, “Oh yeah, I added that item two weeks ago, never did get one! Got it!” Paper lists get eaten by my desk, so I keep them in a spiral notebook, it has a better chance of being found again. Whatever system works for you that you’ll actually do. But keeping lists keeps you more focused, especially when you are scattered or doing a lot of varied tasks. Other lists people find useful are calendar types, in April you need to do this, this expires on that date. Those never work for me. Maybe I need to white board them!

    Any day I have extra energy I cue up projects, get things together so I can do them with little effort. A lot of times that happens at the end of my day, I’ll stop and buy stuff on the way home, so it’s there when I need it. The other day the weather was bad, and I wasn’t feeling strong, so I went in the garage, where I had lumber I’d bought and had the big cuts done, and made a set of shelves. Took a few days after that before they got moved and installed on another strong day. If I had tried in one day to say “I’ll make shelves today!” I’d have had to go get lumber, realize I need brackets from the barn, go get them, get the car out of the garage to work, figure out the tools I need, find the tools, build them, move them, and install them. Ain’t gonna happen on most days. All I had to do was move the car, I had it all cued up, ready to do final cuts and assembly. I had been tossing the tools I’d need in the area as I saw them in the days before, and when I couldn’t sleep at night, I figured out exactly how to do it, and what tools I’d need, added them to the area. So on a bad day, I could do something very productive, that would have been too big of a bite that day. I try to have things cued up for different mixes of pain and coping, as I deal with both. That way I can always do SOMETHING off my lists. I can't plan to always do heavy work, it's not realistic for me. And I can always at least look up raising eels :)  

    Sometimes I run energetic, sometimes I run slower, they used to medicate me for bipolar, but I figured out why I did what I did, and have controlled it differently. When I was in down mode, I spent my time planning what I’d do when I could bounce, and I’d buy the things I needed, so when I bounced, I could keep working without interruption, plus it let me spread the expense of big projects across more time. it also kept me from doing things impulsively (common with bipolar) I had a shrink say "If I could bottle how you do that,and give it out, I'd have a MUCH easier job!" I'd do what I had planned with my energy, instead of get in trouble.

    I try to always have tools at hand. Any time I have to break my workflow to go get a tool, it’s time that sucks energy out of me. Part of my planning is figuring out what tools I will need to do a job, and how to have them with me. I have wagons, and sled things that I can pull, backpacks and tool pouches. My tractor and riding lawnmower each have bags I call their luggage that they carry, with things like fix a flat, the wrench and hardware I need to replace a shear pin, etc. I use whatever is best for what I’m doing. If I’m going far from the house or truck, I take a snack, a sitting place, tea, water and a book too. My breaks can be where I’m working, I don’t have to go back. Anyplace I always use a tool, I leave one there. I have gloves by the big freezer, several types of glasses in the truck and on the desk and in the barn, a full set of small tools for repairs on my desk, the kitchen tools I use easy to reach, anything I can think of to keep from having to stand up and go get a tool I need. Sheds in far flung corners of your area might be helpful, carrying shovels etc around is a lot of effort. I buy tools secondhand, so I can afford to have duplicates to leave them where I need them.

    I try really hard to not get distracted, it blows my flow, and if my energy is low or scattered, a small distraction is sometimes enough to totally derail me. I eat before I work so I don’t need to stop for lunch unless I choose to take a break, and if I will want to eat, I have it already prepared and with me. I have my tools and parts, I look at my phone if it rings, if it’s not something urgent, I return the call later. If I have only 10 points of energy to work with, using 4 of them for “oops, forgot that” or “go to the store and get one of these” or simply “ok, where was I?” just means I get very little done.

    :D
     
    Catherine Windrose
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    Pearl Sutton wrote:... Other lists people find useful are calendar types, in April you need to do this, this expires on that date. Those never work for me. Maybe I need to white board them!  



    The detail you described altogether reminds me of me :>)  I will add the calendar list, though.  It was made with a notebook and applicable dividers, and reduced stress and necessity of remembering a multitude of tasks.  Mine was for 1-31 days.  At the end of each day, a page was turned.  Bills were turned sideways to peak out from the edge.  Quarterly and yearly tasks were sorted by due date and put in the back.  It might seem like overkill, but it was extremely beneficial when my sons were in school while I worked simultaneously as a real estate agent and managed the husband's band and gig dates aside a handful of other local musicians who covered dates he couldn't accommodate.  It was useful when I became a self-employed IT contractor.  And useful again when coordinating orders and billing for CSA members aside various local growers' schedules for planting, harvesting, and pick up or delivery.

    Many years ago, I learned this basic organizing system as a legal secretary.  We had a few tickle files going simultaneously because a single sorter couldn't serve separate needs.  

    A 31-day sorter for documents to file with the clerk of court, or that required action in court.  

    A new 31-day sorter for each month with Monday through Sunday noted throughout, of tasks for the attorney we were assigned to, and from which a typed 'next day list' was made and clipped to the front of the sorter and put on the attorney's desk.  Always due before the attorney left for the day so that time, calls, and appointments could be rescheduled when necessary.  At the end of each month, this sorter would be added to a legal file so that daily actions throughout the year could be effortlessly referenced for time and billing purposes.  Not all attorneys do this, but it was very handy when completing time and billing sheets that became a permanent record after going to the judge stuck with oversight for how attorneys billed for their time.

    An A-Z sorter with a daily written list client files that were pulled that day (usually between a dozen to two dozen-ish on the high end) that included preparing documents for signature(s) prior to filing with the court or an appointment with a client, then the stack of pulled files was placed on the attorney's desk.  Because there were about a dozen attorneys in our firm, it was important to know who had which client files.  If I or the attorney I worked for were not present, another attorney or secretary could look in that sorter for the alphabetic list to see if we had pulled that file.

    Initial appointments, and the outcome of each appointment or court appearances, drove the process.  This system worked so well I began doing this at home and used variations on this system with other jobs later.  

    It's funny that people say I am organized.  Few things would be as opposite of the reality.  Without timely list making, some days would be skidding all over the place :.)  If I made it sound complicated, it isn't.  I just still think in hyper detail and too often write that way.
     
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