Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Being And Feeling Fabulous

I remember when I turned 30 years old, and my then husband, gave me 29 red roses and one black rose. That shows you what people program you to think the future will be when you reach a certain age. I think it should have been a gold rose instead, or at least white or blue. But black? Everyone should look upon their birthday as a celebration...........not because they were born that day. But they have survived and lived one more year. Look at all the people you know who did not make it to the age you are right now. Or the ones you don't know! There are even more of them.

This year I reached the age of 60 years. Does it depress me? No, not at all. That is hardly the source of me ever feeling depressed or sad. It is usually caused by others in my life who are sad or angry about their lives. Or not being able to carve out a living for myself on this thing called the internet. Not my age at all. I am not sure why but maybe it is because I don't think about it that much.

No matter what age you are, the sky is the limit!

Nowadays, 60 can look good! We have many products that can hold the aging process off, sometimes indefinitely. Olay Regenerist Night Recovery Moisturizing Treatment is only one of many, many products that are available to help us keep our skin looking young and moist. No, you will not look like a twenty year old, but it will make your skin look fresh and moist. I find dryness is one aging process I have had to deal with. After many years of beautiful skin, it is a never ending battle for me.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder!

I loved the 60 & Fabulous line of tee shirts and cards I found recently. I may get myself a few of these items to reinforce this way of over powering the thinking that being over a certain age is old. Shoot, you can be old at 25, if you think you are. If I think positive, then good things will happen. If I think negative than it is my own fault. Besides I love the idea of being 60 & Fabulous!

Copyright © 2012 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2012  Kathleen G. Lupole,
Unless otherwise noted

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Memories Of My Grandma

Anna Leonard Neer

Today would have been my grandmother's 111th birthday! I think of her so often, that I have dreams about her. I can picture every nook in her old house. I remember all the good times we had there before my family moved to Florida in 1962. All my aunts and uncles and their families would be there on Sunday. Getting together there with all my cousins. It is a wonderful memory.

Grandma holding one her grandchildren!

Mickey, my brother got sick and ended up in the hospital with Polio, which was a big epidemic back then. So my mother spent the whole day at the hospital with him. My grandmother stayed at our house during that time, and took care of me. I was just a baby, and I think maybe I bonded with her then. Years later, she'd tell me how I would cry terribly if she took her glasses off. She thought it was funny when telling me the story. 

Grandma holding my mother!

She told me many stories about her childhood and growing up. I spent a lot of time with her up until we moved to Florida. I missed her so much. Her and I wrote letters back and forth but it wasn't the same. Now looking  back, I am so sad that I missed those precious years with my grandmother. I am thankful that I had the years with her that I did. She was a wonderful grandmother. Her and I celebrated our birthdays together. Her birthday being today and mine being tomorrow. I love you, Grandma! I will be with you again! 

Copyright © 2012 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2012  Kathleen G. Lupole

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Father's Day Is Here!

Daddy and his hunting dog, "Stinky."

I really have the best father. He was always a good provider. He could fix or make anything. I remember how he used to repair our toys or make us unique ones from scratch. He taught my brother how to drive at the young age of nine years old.....I am NOT kidding! He had a 49' Dodge that was left at our gas station and we had a huge field across the street from the station and he taught him how to drive around that track on the field. He also taught him to hunt at a young age and my brother still hunts today, but with black powder.

Daddy in his garden, in 1986.

My father is the one who taught me how to can for the first time. We canned grape juice and grape jam from the grapes he grew. Then he showed me how to make cucumbers too. He still makes them every year at the age of 93 years old. He keeps telling me that no one in his family lives this long. I guess he's the first one. Maybe the cycle is being broken!

My son, Jeffrey and his Grandpa, 1974.

He has always spent time with his three grandchildren as they were growing up. To this day, my son who is all grown up, calls his grandfather up just to talk several times a week. So does my niece. Staying close to him even after they are grown and away from home. My mother always said she couldn't have chosen a better husband and father for her children. She was right. 

UPDATE: Not long after this post was written, my wonderful father had a stroke in July 2012 and passed away on August 11th. Sad time for me, made doubly stressful by my niece and her boyfriend who went through my father's home and trashed it and stole items and involved my uncle who assisted them. It was a very hard time made harder by these so called family members. 

Christmas Day 2011

Happy Father's Day to all the fathers out there reading this today! It is the greatest job you do, being a father!!!!

Copyright © 2012 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2012  Kathleen G. Lupole
Updated July 2016

Friday, June 15, 2012

Surviving Cancer As A New Mom - Guest Post

“It takes a village to raise a child.” That’s how the saying goes. It means, of course, that a child’s upbringing happens with the support of so many people. We each have our own community that we call our “village.” My family could not have survived the cancer diagnosis I received shortly after my daughter’s birth if not for the efforts of an entire village of family, friends, and acquaintances who stepped in when times looked darkest.

My daughter, Lily, born by emergency C-section on August 4, 2005, was a beautiful, perfect baby. I was overjoyed following her birth and motherhood suited me. Yet within weeks of my return to work, I knew something  was wrong. All new moms are tired, but I was breathless and had no energy at all. My doctor agreed that this wasn't normal. Following tests, he diagnosed me with a form of cancer that attacks the lining of the lung, malignant pleural mesothelioma. I was unknowingly exposed to asbestos as a child and it became the cause of my cancer.

Lily was just over three months old. On receiving the diagnosis, she was all I could think of—Lily and the idea of my husband raising her alone. I was willing to try anything to save my life, not for my own sake but for my family. The prognosis for mesothelioma is poor. Luckily my husband and I learned of a treatment that was available in Boston. It would mean months in the city away from my baby, but the alternative was worse.

Under the care of doctors in Boston, I endured the removal of my left lung and all of the surrounding tissue through surgery and week of chemotherapy and radiation. During this time, people rallied around my family in ways I could never have imagined. My parents in South Dakota took care of Lily. Lily’s village expanded to include people I’d grown up around, gone to church with, even people I used to babysit. In Boston, the love and support of new friends on the same journey that my husband and I were enduring enlarged our village even more.

Being away from Lily for such a long time was heartbreaking. I missed her first bites of solid food and watching her motor skills improve as she learned to roll around. But my parents did their best to include me with emailed photos that my husband printed off on a hospital printer and shared with our nurses. We all knew that those grainy prints were the reason I was fighting so hard.

Thanks to the efforts of my doctors, my own fighting spirit, and our village, my family and I survived. Lily now shares a bond with my parents that would never have otherwise existed. Having cancer was a terrible thing, but we have all learned to embrace life in a new way and even to find the good from the worst situations.

Heather Von St James is a 43-year-old wife and mother. Upon her diagnosis of mesothelioma, she vowed to be a source of hope for other patients who found themselves with the same diagnosis. Now, over 6 years later, her story has been helping people all over the globe. She continues her advocacy and awareness work by blogging, speaking and sharing her message of hope and healing with others. Check out her story at the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance Blog.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Rural Life At Peaceful Forest

The heart of the homestead!

Living in a rural setting as this, our horses are used to just hearing the sounds of nature. The sounds of the birds, the frogs, the owls or coyotes at night. None of those sounds scare them at all. They are comfortable here in the middle of the forest.

Earlier this spring, before the bugs arrived!

The soft sound of my husband mowing the lawn with our electric lawn mower excites them. In fact, they nicker when he gets it out, since he empties the grass clippings in the paddock for them to devour. 

Free power from the sun!

Vehicles go by more on the week-end or people partying by the creek across the road at night. Of course, we run a generator during the day when the sun is not doing its job, so they are quite used to that also. I think it bothers me more than them. For the most part, it is a very quiet, peaceful way of life for all of us. 

Copyright © 2012 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2012  Kathleen G. Lupole

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

My Garden

As I told you last week, I have a new blog that I had to get started for Homesteading On The Internet. The biggest reason came to light to me yesterday when I put this blog's URL into the Whois box, and found out my name doesn't come up at all. This blog is owned by Blogger. Not me. So I am getting started right now, moving my posts from here to the new one. I am doing this myself and taking my time. Until then I will write a post with a link to the new one. I hope this works for you. It will for me.

My new post is Watching My Garden Grow and I'd love for you to stop by there and check it out!

Copyright © 2012 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2012  Kathleen G. Lupole

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Learning And Trying New Things

Robin Redbreast keeping an eye on the strawberry plants!

Learning to be self-sufficient does not have to be hard. I know many people write to me saying that their spouse or children refuse to do it, otherwise they would do it. You can learn to be self-sufficient even without their help. Did you know that? Yes, it is a fact that if one person starts doing something and it becomes a habit or routine, then the other family members will follow along. In the same way that your parents did things raising you. Do you ever do things exactly as your parents did? That is because they taught you to do it that way!

Chives! Easy to grow!

If you are new to self-sufficiency getting started can be easy as planting a garden. Or planting some containers of vegetables. Or purchasing produce from your local farmer's market and learning to can it. Or freeze it. Whether you live in a city or suburban area and are not in a rural area makes no difference. Even if all you do is buy a book about gardening and start learning this year. Plan to have a garden next year for sure. If you can possibly start one now though, would be best.

Green bean seedlings much bigger than this now.

Take little steps, spending small amounts of money or finding useful tools at auctions and thrift stores. Taking the steps to be self-sufficient now, before you really need it. The reason to do this is not because civilization is going to crumble necessarily, but because it will provide you with peace of mind. In my opinion that is the best reason to do it!

Copyright © 2012 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2012  Kathleen G. Lupole

Monday, June 11, 2012

Chocolate Tops My Gift List

Photo Source: Wikipedia 

Since I have a big birthday coming up, people have been asking me what I want. Do I want flowers? Perfume? Jewelry? No, I tell them to order chocolate from Serenata! I drool looking at their website! No kidding, chocolate is something I love and actually, my whole family does too. Next best thing is to have someone bake a chocolate dessert for my birthday. It doesn't have to be a cake, whatever, as long as it is chocolate. Hey, Jeffrey, did you read that? My son has become the baker in our house lately. Chocolate birthday cake, chocolate candy for a gift, what more could a woman want?

Photo Source: Public Domain Photos

After all those years of being warned about eating too much chocolate, we are now discovering the benefits of it. Just what we want to hear for a change! Something that  is good for us and that we love too. According to the Harvard Men's Health Watch, the richest source of flavonoids is dark chocolate, surpassing cherries and apples. Not only that, but there are benefits such as:

  • Antioxidant activity - Reduces LDL oxidation while actually increasing levels of HDL cholesterol.
  • Endothelial function - "The endothelium, the thin inner layer of arteries, is responsible for producing nitric oxide, a chemical that widens blood vessels and keeps their linings smooth. European studies have shown that dark chocolate improves endothelial function in healthy people, that flavonoid-rich cocoa can reverse the endothelial dysfunction produced by smoking, and that dark chocolate may improve coronary artery function in heart transplant patients."
  • Blood pressure - Dark chocolate can lower blood pressure, though the effects wear off quickly.
  • Blood clotting - It has been found that dark chocolate reduces platelet activation, a step in blood clot formation.
So don't write off chocolate as something that is not good for you anymore. Eaten with moderation it  bestows many health benefits, as well as the psychological benefits. How many times have you been depressed and the only thing that relieves you of the blues is a box of chocolates? I know it works for me! What about you? Do you find it helps you through a depressed time? Or not?

Photo Source: Photos Public Domain 

Chocolate has a long history of being considered a drug, as as well as a food. In even earlier times it was used as a form of payment instead of money. Wanting to give someone special a box of chocolates, a chocolate cake, a mug of hot cocoa or even a bar of chocolate is a considered a significant gift that has special meaning. What is your favorite form of chocolate to receive as a gift? 

Copyright © 2012 Kathleen G. Lupole

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Bread Making For Modern Homesteaders

Hubby making our bread!

One job that stands out in my mind as the job that all "wanna be" homesteaders do in the beginning, many times the very first thing they learn to do is to bake their own bread from scratch. There is something about baking your own bread that makes you feel like, "Yes! I am a homesteader! I bake my own bread. From scratch!" I know for us, my husband started baking our bread while I was at work and he was home. It was great coming home to the smell of freshly baked bread!

Source: Amazon

It isn't long after doing that when you become obsessed with wanting to grind wheat berries, to make your own flour. One job that is very satisfying because you know that your bread will be even better. It will be very fresh and excellent tasting. Of course, it helps to have a good source of wheat berries. If you are searching for it online there are many sources. I found Palouse Brand that has been owned by the Mader family for five generations. They can tell you exactly which field your wheat berries were harvested from and on what date. No middleman will touch your food. They do it all from planting it, harvesting it, trucking it, packaging it and getting it to the retailer who will ship it to you. Best of all is that it is genetically modified organism free and grown in the U.S. (state of Washington).

Source: Amazon

If you choose to use fresh wheat berries for making your bread you will need a good quality hand mill flour mill. The reason I say hand mill is because then you can use it in a power outage. Electric grain mills are available also. It is a matter of choice. Of course, the electric one will make this job much easier. So if you aren't very strong you may need to have an electric one instead.

Source: Amazon

One other appliance will help make your bread making a very easy job would be a  bread maker. Then all you have to do is to grind the berries, mix up your recipe in the bread machine and set it to bake. What could be easier? Maybe it is not the old fashioned bread making like your grandmother did, but this is where the term "modern homesteading" comes in. Making our jobs easier so we can spend time doing other things. What is so bad about that?

Copyright © 2012 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2012  Kathleen G. Lupole

Friday, June 08, 2012

Start A Garden Of Heirloom Plants

Heirloom cucumbers grown last year in my garden.

Experienced gardeners almost always choose heirloom seeds over hybrid seeds. It doesn't matter to them if the tomato is perfectly shaped. It matters to them whether they can save the seeds for future gardens. It also matters to them that it is not genetically modified organism seeds. Saving seeds has been done for centuries. That is the way the immigrants who came from other countries bringing their precious seeds with them to plant in the new world did it. I am glad they did that.

You cannot save the seeds from hybrid or GMO (genetically modified organism), in fact it is against the law to save GMO seeds for the next year. Research Monsanto to find out more on that. It is very important at this point in time for everyone to start growing gardens and sowing heirloom seeds. We need to protect the integrity of our food supply. If we don't do it now, the future food supply will be tainted by Monsanto and nobody will be to blame for it but us. Take a stand now!

How to get started? Easy, as pie! Research the information on line for saving seeds. A good book on Amazon that is highly recommended is The Complete Guide to Saving Seeds: 322 Vegetables, Herbs, Fruits, Flowers, Trees, and Shrubs written by Robert E. Gough and Cheryl Mooore Gough. It will explain the process of saving the seeds and give you all kinds of information on how to start.

Hopi squash seeds I saved

The biggest reason to save your own seeds is that you know the seeds hasn't any chemicals sprayed on it to keep it good or to prevent pests from attacking your plants. Yes, it sounds good. But is it? I'd rather fight the pests than to eat what is sprayed on that seeds. Look at how many children are now born with some sort of a disability. Why is that? In my opinion, it has to do with plastic use, microwave use and tampering with the food supply. Let's stop it in our own backyard first! 

Copyright © 2012 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2012  Kathleen G. Lupole