World Breastfeeding Week

World Breastfeeding Week. Why is it that anytime (every day!) there is a focus on bringing awareness or praising one lifestyle or way of doing things, the other side stands up offended.

World Breastfeeding Week offends the formula feeders. Mother’s Day offends the single ladies. World Clubfoot Day probably offended someone with normal feet. Who knows.

It’s like we all just like to be offended.

Anyway. I hear that this week is Breastfeeding Week. That’s cool. I’ve been using my body to feed small people for sixteen years. If they aren’t inside me, they’re outside feed off of me. And sometimes even both!

But let me tell you, doesn’t mean I’m special or a better mom than you. In fact, did you notice my radio silence a couple weeks ago when it was NFP awareness? Because I’m a rockstar in that department, too.

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Actually, I’m just lazy. I stink at NFP, because I’m lazy. I breastfeed, because I’m lazy. You ladies out there getting up in the middle of the night to make your baby a bottle- you totally rock. I could never in a million years do what you do.

I don’t know why you chose formula over breast. It’s not my business and I don’t really care. But I know that you clearly love your babies enough to drag yourself out of your cozy bed to make a bottle. Or think ahead every time you leave the house to make sure you have what you need.

I can barely remember diapers (and I just thank the heavens I haven’t yet forgotten the baby!). But lazy mama can remember the breast milk, since it’s attached to me! And I can feed my baby at night, because all I have to do is roll over! Yay, me!

Keep on keeping on, no matter who tries to raise awareness this week or next. You’re doing a great job, mamas!

5 Ways Seven Kids are Easier the Two

When I was very pregnant with Blaise, I found myself at Mass with Andrew, but with none of the kids. I kindly woman approached us afterwards and asked “Is this your first?”

Of course, once you answer honestly (I admit to being tempted to skirt the truth, but I was still standing in the church!), the questioners eyes kind of pop out and you get a reply along the lines of “I couldn’t handle the two I had!”

I get it! When I had a gaggle of littles, the smallest activity could seem overwhelming. The grocery store, stopping by a friends house, hitting a drive thru. No matter what it was, it was an event. And then the activities that actually *where* events, became nearly impossible. I remember doing swimming lessons one year, with just a couple small kids, and it was so difficult, I swore we’d never return. We tried again this year and had an absolute blast! And I had a newborn this time!

Once you’re through the first overwhelming years in the trenches, it’s like the sun shining through the clouds after a storm. It’s pretty glorious.

Here are a just a few reasons why more isn’t all that much more difficult than a handful.

Built In Friends – We don’t have neighbor kids where we live, but our kids are never without playmates! Dressing up, having tea parties, or a pick up game of ball are always easy to organize, because there are plenty of people around to join in. It’s also great when the bickering starts – just go find a different sibling to play with!

You’ve Done it All Before – This on is particularly great right now. Number seven has been so much fun, because we know what we are doing! His infancy hasn’t been typical, with his clubfeet, but all has been made easier with the wisdom of experience. Even the bigger kids remember how it all goes and are more able to help out. I no longer stand around wondering how to take a shower, like I did with my first! (true story. I think I cried and called my mom!)

Arms to Carry – There are always arms to help out, when there are so many arms around. Someone is always willing to hold the baby, but there are also times when a bag or a toddler need hauling as well. Having big strong helpers makes it all that much easier. Sometimes, my arms will actually be empty! I remember outings being so overwhelming, because it’s so nearly impossible to carry a baby, a diaper bag, and some random child’s abandoned shoes, all while keeping the toddler from being squashed by an oncoming car. All this, just to run into the store for a gallon of milk! It isn’t easy.

Enough for Cards or Baseball – Big families, big games. We love a good round of Euchre or a rousing board game, but many games take lots of people. We always have plenty! Little kids can double up with big kids to make everyone happy. Remember playing baseball or kickball and having “ghost man on second”? Not in a family filled with kids! Bases are loaded and there’s still a batter up.

Always a Baby to Hold! – Is there anything better than a sweet baby to snuggle? I really don’t think there is! Besides the time between Kateri and Blaise, we’ve never gone much beyond a two year old without having a new baby. I figure, at the rate we are going, by the time I don’t have my own baby to hold, it won’t be long until my biggest kids are married and starting their own families. The circle goes on and there’s never much time without a snuggly squish. That’s just how life should be!

It’s not always easy to be open to welcoming the many little people God may see fit to send you. But the laughs outweigh to hardships. And the friendships you’re giving your children are immeasurable.

What are your favorite advantages to having a houseful of little people?

Guide to Amazon Prime Day

Amazon Prime day is a great time to stock up on gifts for Christmas or birthdays. The deals this year are looking pretty great.

(This post contains affiliate links)

I’ve mentioned before that we really like Kindles around here and there are a few on sale today. We like the Fire for little kids, because of the audio book option. Just be careful to turn on AAAALLLL the parental controls.

For the bigger kids, we stick with the regular Kindle. We have one older child with a Kindle Fire, but we have to watch it carefully. It’s pretty easy to pretend to read a book whilst browsing Pinterest.

I haven’t tried it yet, but I’ve heard great things about Audible. It looks like Amazon is a pretty hot discount today, too.

Not a Prime member? There’s a 30 day trial for that. Try it, grab the prime deals, and bug out if it’s not for you!

Have you tried Prime Pantry? We love it for regularly stocking up on things like dried goods and cleaning supplies. I’m a huge fan of avoiding the grocery or big box stores, so Prime Pantry really works well for us.

Also! Get $5 of $20 in books with code PRIMEBOOKS18

I am sure my most beloved Instant Pot will have a deal, too. I’ll let you know if I find one! {UPDATE} Found the deal! You won’t be sad.

How to Make a Nature Journal

The kids went to an outdoor event a couple years ago and came home with the most fantastic nature journals! They were made with typical household items, plus a stick they’d found. It was so cute and so easy.

I thought I’d write it all out to share with others, but also to encourage us to recreate the project at home. This is a perfect project for a rainy summer day.

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Materials:

copy paper (water color paper would also work and make a lovely book)

brown paper grocery bag

rubber band

small stick, about 6-7 inches long

Scissors

Hole Punch or Awl

Decorating Options:

Markers

Nature Magazine to cut and paste pictures

Scrap Fabric

Instructions:

Cut 3 pieces of copy paper in half, so you have six sheets. Fold in half, so you have a little booklet.

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Cut a piece of the paper sack about half an inch larger than the cut copy paper. Fold in half.

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Decorate the front of the brown paper with markers, pictures from a magazine, or fabric scraps. Label it as a “Nature Journal” and put the date somewhere, so you’ll always remember when you made and recorded your nature findings.

Now put the copy paper into the folded brown paper. With the hole punch or awl, put a hole about an inch from the top, along the fold and another an inch from the bottom, along the fold.

Thread the rubber band through the top hole, along the inside of the booklet, and out the bottom hole. Put the stick through the rubber band at both the top and the bottom to secure everything.

Now tuck it into your adventure bag, along with your colored pencils or water colors and you’re ready for your next adventure!

Make A Nature Journal with Kids

Best Cocktails from the Back Yard

Just a quick post, because we love this book SO MUCH! It’s been such fun to browse, learn, and create the cocktails.

Gift giving (or receiving) is not my love language and because of this, I kind of stink at it. I’m just not very creative or thoughtful in this regard, even though I want to be!

But this book actually went over really well! I got it for Andrew to Father’s Day and it seemed to hit a number of his interests – outdoors, nature hikes, and drinking!

It is called The Wildcrafted Cocktail. It’s a book of cocktail, syrup, and infusion recipes using wild foraged ingredients.

We made the mulberry liqueur using mulberries from the yard. It made a beautiful spritzer when we mixed it with club soda!

It’s definitely a book that will take us a long time to work though completely. It’s full of ideas and recipes, some of which have to steep or sit for long periods of time. Also, since it is all foraged ingredients, you can only get them at certain times of the year!

I’ll be sending the kids out to harvest young walnuts for the nocino (I don’t know what that is!), that goes into the drink called Ducati, soon! I wonder what young walnuts even taste like!

And nettle cordial! It’s hard to choose what to make next.

Wild Things Garden Update

As we approach the Summer Solstice, gardens everywhere are bursting with goodness. Little flowers on long stems are slowly turning to the beans or squash or tomatoes that will soon grace the family table.

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This hasn’t been the easiest year to get the garden in, here at Wild Things Farm. I was still enormously pregnant when it was time to start the seeds in late winter. And as the time came to move seedlings into the garden, we had a sweet, fresh baby. None the less, we all worked together to get the garden in. It was a bit late, so some of our plants are a little behind, but even still, I think we will end up with a decent harvest this year.

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After a couple years of trial and error, we finally set our garden up as 8×4 boxes with four foot mulched pathways. This is our third year with this set up and it has worked beautifully for us. It truly does keep weeding down to a minimum.

Mulch can be expensive, if you buy it bagged or even by the truck load from a landscaping company. We get it for FREE! by flagging down the county road crews as they are trimming trees. They love it, because they don’t have to drive all the way back to their dump site. We love it, because we use so much mulch in the garden, pig shed, and chicken coops.

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A couple years ago, Andrew and a couple  kids made some trellises from our garden boxes. They’ve held up really well and are perfect for beans and peas. We have planted Kentucky Pole Beans every year and just this year we added Asparagus Yard Long Beans. The plant is beautiful, but the beans are yet to be tested.

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My squash plants were taking over the pathways, so I knew I needed another trellis. I mentioned it to Andrew and the next thing I knew, I had a hog panel trellis arching over the box of squash! Easy, beautiful!

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My one other experimental plant this season is luffa. Have you planted luffa before? I’m excited to see how it does. One plant is huge, but the other is still small and neither have flowered.

What are your growing or experimenting with this season?Wild Things Garden Update

The Hog That (Almost) Got Away

Hogs are graceful in the way they run up and down steep ravines with only a two-pointed hooves to balance their massive bodies. Yet, they can also be found unrecognizable while wallowing in self-made waterholes. They are gentle, yet powerful and sweet, but also destructive. A picture tells a thousand words, and this one tells a story.

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Yes, this is the picture I took when I arrived to the butchering facility and checked on the hog before I went in to fill out my “livestock drop-off” paperwork. Except that, I had NO LIVESTOCK to drop off! I could blame it on a thousand reasons, but here are the top 5:

  1. I should have reinforced the crate with 2x4s across the sides.
  2. When I was driving, I didn’t check the passenger side rear view mirror often enough.
  3. My co-pilot and son, PeterXavier, fell asleep on the drive, exhausted from a day of pig wrangling.
  4. I was driving too slow.
  5. I am being punished by the corporate gods for raising free-spirited, pasture roaming, all natural pork.

At any rate, I had no hog. She was about 250lbs that just vanished into thin air. She was our Christmas ham, our sausage and gravy breakfast on the weekends, our pull pork BBQ sandwiches, and the list goes on. Then, to think we were splitting her with another family and they too had lost out on all those wonderful meals and family gatherings centered around a delicious free-roaming and pasture raised hog.

What happens next?

We called the sheriff’s department on the off-chance that someone would call it into Animal Control. They were very friendly and helpful, even suggesting we post our lost hog on the local Lost and Found Pets page on Facebook! Then we drove the same route back to the house scanning for a slow-moving black and white mass on the side of the road or rooting up a McMansion’s perfectly manicured lawn (praying for the latter).

Finally, we resigned ourselves to the fact that we may never see her again. We said a few peayers to St Anthony and headed to the ball field for PeterXavier’s game. We were sitting on a picnic bench waiting for the baseball game to start when my wife got the call from the sheriff’s department. A farmer had our hog in his barn! Our call in to Animal Control had paid off.

I headed home to repair and reinforce the crate, before heading off to retrieve my livestock. I also picked up my teenaged son, for some personal reinforcements!

When I got to his house, you can imagine my gratitude and excitment. We backed the trailer to pen in the barn and loaded her up. He said a neighbor from a few houses down the road had called him to say that a large pig was eating her flowers, digging up the lawn, and making a mess of the landscaping (I teach my hogs well). He walked her down to his place via the road, got her into the barn, then called it into the Sheriff’s office.

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As it turned out, the processing facility had another drop-off time the next morning and I could still bring her in for processing. I have no idea how I got so lucky. This time, the crate was reinforced with added 2×4 boards, I made sure PeterXavier was looking out his side view mirror the entire drive, and not taking any naps on the way. It worked!

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Oink!

We got her dropped off at 7am and she had a live weight of 254lbs. When I pick up the meat, I’ll be sure to stop by the generous rescue farmer’s house and give him a share of the bounty!

The Hog the (Almost) Got Away

5 Most Forgotten Necessities for New Seasoned Moms

Our Blaisey boy has been here for one month now. Talk about time flying. We’ve been intentionally savoring every cute little moment with him, but it’s still bittersweet to see him grow so quickly!

After a five year span with no babies, this little guy has been a real treat.

After a five year span with no babies, this mama has become very rusty!

In the first few days after he was here, I began to realize just how out of practice I’d become and just how much I’d forgotten.

(This post contains affiliate links.)

To help any other rusty mamas out, here’s my list of my Top Five Forgotten (or nearly forgotten) Necessities!

Nursing Bras – after a few years of living a more free and hippie style of dress, the need for a good bra completely fell off my radar, as they say. It literally never crossed my mind. Oops. Let’s just say it’s more of a necessity these days! I’m loving this brand that I purchased, a couple days after Blaise was born.

Nursing Pads – these go hand in hand. You forget what engorgment is. And it has to go somewhere! Maybe grab some extra t-shirts while you’re at it. You’ll need them for those middle of the night soaked t-shirt changes.

After Pains Remedy – this was actually on my list, but Blaisey boy showed up before I made it to the store. Especially if you already have a few kids, this is a must. Oy. The pain can be worse than labor!

Diapers – obviously, right? This is somewhere in the back of my mind. I love cloth diapers, so I was pretty excited about it all, but I don’t think I really acted on that. Thankfully, a couple sweet friends made sure I had what I needed before his arrival.  I had this brand on my amazon wish list and was gifted some. For the price, they’re pretty wonderful.

Boho Bandeau – my sisters have been singing the praises of the Boho Bandeau for years, but I’d never actually purchased one for myself. After long nights and showerless days, I figured it was time. This makes me look a bit more put together and hides my dirty hair pretty well!

Bonus Item: The Diaper Bag. I don’t think I’ve carried a diaper bag since I had some cutesie thing with my first. Diaper bags are less diaper baggie these days and my hands are a little more busy. I caved and joind the diaper bag club. It’s really nice to have everything all ready to go and to have what we need when we are out. Gone are the long days at home with babies and this little guy is often out and about. The diaper bag has been a savior.

Raising Backyard Hogs: A Beginners Guide

So, you have this great idea to put some of your wooded lot to use by raising hogs? Fantastic! Let’s do it! I had the same idea three years ago and have not regretted a moment of it. Yes, there was a time when eight piglets were running down road, or just the other day, a 250lb hog jumped out of the trailer just before I left for the butcher shop. Trust me, it’s worth it.

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After our acrobatic hog climbed out of the trailer, we stashed her in the chicken run until we could get the hog fencing set back up. The hens were not amused!

You’ll love it when every scrap from your garden, kitchen, butchering table, or dinner leftovers are turned into bacon. Even weeds, poison ivy, and, kitchen gray water gets devoured by pigs. Eventually, you’ll wonder how you ever got anything cleaned up without them.

According to Edmund Morris in the famous 1864 classic guide to independent farming, “The business of raising and carefully attending to only half a dozen hogs, is worthy of every farmer’s serious study and attention.” (link)

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These were our first hogs! They love the fresh air, green grass, and companionship.

The first step is to check and see if your land is zoned for agriculture use. If so, you’re well on your way. If not, you still may be able to raise hogs depending on your zoning and city/county ordinances. You can always raise them and see if anyone complains 🙂

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Hog love the woods. Trees provide plenty of shade, lots of roots and plants for a snack, poison ivy to munch on, and best of all – hills and ravines to run up and down. Hogs are like children. They need a space to play, make a mess, and shade for an afternoon siesta.

Piglets

Piglets are known in the farming community as feeder pigs. A feeder pig is a hog that has been weened from it’s mother and is less than 40lbs, give or take. I would look for a producer who is trying to support the heritage breeds and understands the value of trait diversity. Remember, you want hogs that can withstand extreme temperatures, exposure to the outside elements, and have the natural instinct to forage. A confinement breed wouldn’t last a season in my backyard, hence, I stick to old world heritage breeds. I raise Hampshire and Herefords because they are the earliest recorded breeds in America and because it’s what my producer grows! If you are in the Indiana/Illinois/Ohio area, I’d highly recommend using Maddhawg Farms.

Shelter

Although hogs love rain and don’t mind snow, I went ahead and built a three-sided 4 x 8 pallet shed for them to at least get out of a hail storm.

4 pallets

1 sheets of 4×8 plywood (roof)

3 2x4x8

1 box of 2 1\2 in deck screws (T25)

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These hogs are supposed to be napping, but I see at least one eye open.

For the flooring, I went ahead and built a deck out of leftover boards. The deck extends further than the front of the shed, which gives them an area for kicking the mud off their feet before entering, but they really only used it for sunbathing. Silly pigs! Otherwise, it can just be dirt, but keep in mind that you’ll have to constantly add bedding. I’ve found that the bedding provides warmth in the winter and soaks up their urine. For bedding, you can use just about anything: straw, pine shavings, ampalaya vines, grass clippings, or whatever you have on hand.

Fencing

The big questions is how to keep them contained. When they are piglets, this can be tricky. The best way is to acquire some hog panels (cow panels have larger spacing) and metal stakes to create a pen in front of your new pallet hog shelter. In the beginning I used the metal wires shaped for connecting hog panels to metal stakes, but now I just use zip ties. Zip ties won’t hold in a 150 pound hog, but do a decent job for the piglets. Zip ties are much easier to remove when we are ready to remove the hog panels.

Wait…remove the hog panels? Yes, you don’t want to raise hogs in a confined area right? Remember, they are like children. Can you imagine raising children with no access to parks, green space, creeks, mountains, ponds, or lakes?

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Look closely and you can see the electric fence wire connected to the round red posts in front of the hog panels. In the foreground, are hogs that are already trained on the electric fence wire.

Once the panels are up, you can toss the piglets inside and start planning for your electric fence. The plan is to get the electric fence setup and train the piglets on one or two lines of electrified wire before you remove the panels and run the fence anywhere you want. They’ll respect it even though it’s only a line or two – as long as it’s set to the proper height. A pigs nose is very sensitive, so make sure to run your lines right at snout height. I run one bit lower, as well, just to be safe.

With this set up, I’ve successfully run electric lines through ravines, creeks, and in an open field. I prefer using the following materials, in order to get a no-hassle fence setup in about 30 minutes. (This post contains affiliate links)

Gallager 110-Volt fence charger  – this is the only charger I would trust to really push back a big hog. It’s tempting to save money by going with a smaller charger, but the bigger one is worth the peace of mind. I wouldn’t use anything with less than three joules.

Gallagher Electric Fence Wire – I love this polywire because it is easy to setup and wind up on a reel for storage.

Gallagher Wire Reel – a reel is not absolutely necessary. You could wind up the polywire on a stick, but when it comes to setting it back up, you’ll be glad when the polywire isn’t a tangled up mess.

Zareba 50 ft Underground Wire  – after you measure the distance from your charger (mine is in the basement) to your electric fence, purchase plenty of hook up wire  the underground electrical connection. I buried mine 6 inches deep with a shovel. It’s always nice to have extra for connecting gates, paddocks across a road or trail, etc.

Posts and Insulators  – I started with 25 posts and 50 insulators (two insulators per post). This will give you a decent size area for three hogs. You can also always add more later.

Clothesline Tightener

Bolt Connectors  – I use several of these on every electric fence setup to connect the hookup wire to the polywire.

Gate Holders  – Normally, I would just walk over the electric line when visiting the hogs and lay the posts on the ground when driving the trailer into their paddock. But last year, I started using plastic gate holders and now I’m never going back. It doesn’t take more than a few mins to setup.

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Feeding Your Hogs

Back to Edmund Morris,

“they shared with the cow in the abundant trimmings and surplus from the garden, eating many things which she rejected, and appropriating all the slop from the kitchen. In addition to this, we fed them twice a day with boiled bran, sometimes with a handful of corn meal, but never upon whole corn.”

In essence, you can feed them whatever you have on hand and for the most part, if they don’t like it or it’s not good for them, they’ll stay away from it. I’ve never had a hog that liked onions, potatoes, garlic, or peppers. So, don’t bother with those. In order to ensure that the hogs have a balanced diet, I would recommend that you purchase feed from a local grain elevator or supplier and only supplement 50% of their diet with food/garden scrapes. The feed ensures that they receive the proper vitamins and protein to grow strong and healthy. If you don’t have a lot of food or garden scraps, I would suggest looking at other supplement food sources to keep your feed costs down. Here are 3 that I use regularly:

Spent Grain – talk to you local brewery and ask them if they would fill-up a tote for you of their spent grain. Spent grain is the boiled grain used to make the wort. The wort is then poured into a secondary tank for fermentation, while the spent grain is dumped into a compost or trash bin. Yet, there are a lot of nutrients left in the grain and it still has about 8-12% protein (hog grower feed has 16-18% protein). If you are able to convince the brewery that giving you the spent grain is mutually beneficial, then you need to provide them with containers to fill. I’ve heard of farmers using everything from storage totes to trash cans to load spent grain, but you want to make it as convenient as possible for the brewer. I would highly recommend purchasing used IBC (intermediate bulk container) or pallet tank, which is a reusable industrial container designed for the transport and storage of bulk liquid and granulated substances, such as chemicals, food ingredients, solvents, etc. Be sure to buy ones used for food grade substances only.

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Typically, your brewery will have a fork lift to move the IBC/pallet tote to your pickup truck or trailer once it is filled. Once you get it home, you can use any number of creative or labor intensive methods of unloading it into the hog pen.

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The hogs love spent grain from the brewery, but always best feed it to them fresh. Since it’s basically, boiled grain, the moisture content is high and it’ll spoil quickly in the summer.

Food Distributor or Grocery Store – unlike the spent grain, you have to be picky dealing with these folks. They want to get rid of everything to save space in their trash compactor, so I have a few rules on what I’ll pickup from a food distributor or grocery store with whom I have partnered for food pickup.

Rule 1: I only pick up bulk items that are in their natural state. Fresh veggies and fruit are the most common. I’ve picked up totes of apples, tomatoes, watermelon, cabbages, etc.

Rule 2: Don’t pick up anything with excessive packaging. Trust me! When you are opening a 1000 bags of lettuce and your farm is littered in plastic, you won’t be happy. It’s not worth the work. If it comes in large 20lb bags then that works. But opening individual salad bags then having multiple little bags of croutons, dressing, and cheese fall out? You’ll be cursing your beloved hogs!

 

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Although, the hogs aren’t allowed to eat junk food, we made an exception for the Button vs PeterXavier pie eating contest.

Community Garden

Just about every community garden has a scrap pile where everyone dumps their rotten veggies, vines, weeds, etc. Stop by with your pickup truck and help them clear it out! When I stop by the community garden scrap pile, I’m looking for melons, tomato vines, and pumpkins. Every garden has too many pumpkins.

Finally, have fun with your hogs. They are like children. Joel Salatin has a great line from his book, The Marvelous Pigness of Pigs,

“one of my favorite joys, is stepping across the electric fence to commiserate with a group of our pastured pigs. My special treat is to sit down, preferably on an old stump, get real quiet and still, then just wait. Sure enough those pigs eventually ease over to check me out. They snoodle up and down my pants pushing their wet noses into creases. Others nip at my shoelaces and chew at the soles of my shoes…the friendliest and most docile sidle up alongside and place a chin on my knee, waiting for a rub. Feel free to pet  your piglets often and they’ll reward you 6 months later with a gentle snout on your lap when they are twice your size.”

 

When Home Birth Doesn’t Work Out: Birth Story Part 2

For the beginning of this story, see my Birth Story, Part 1.

I arrived at my appointment feeling pretty good, but a little nervous as to how everything would pan out. I really didn’t want to get flack from a doctor about my home birth choices, my seemingly high risk pregnancy, or my supposed geriatric age.

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It turned out, I had nothing to worry about. The doctor was so sweet and understanding. She reviewed all of my issues and risks, but assured me that she would make sure everything went as smoothly as possible. She did reiterate that going past 40 weeks was not a good idea. I mentioned that I didn’t think I would, seeing as I’d been having contractions on and off, but she dismissed that as typical of a pregnancy with excessive amniotic fluid.

We chatted a bit more and then she wanted to check dilation, just to get an idea of how things we going. She immediately got a shocked look on her face and I believe her words were: “Girlfriend! You’re at 5 cm and need to go to Labor and Delivery!” My brain was saying “But I have stuff to do! The laundry! The dishes! Can I go home first?? I promise I’ll come back!” But I knew that this wasn’t my time to argue. She left to alert L&D that I was on my way and when I walked out of the room, I heard a nurse say “Do I need to wheel her over? {looks at me walking out} Oh, nope. She seems fine!”

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I called Andrew to let him know what was going on and then called my parents to let them know that the kids would be over soon. I drove myself over to L&D, which was mostly just driving around the parking lot, trying to find a space to park.

I got all checked in and sent to triage for monitoring and waited on Andrew to arrive. It was all pretty boring and uneventful. Eventually, my doctor came and determined that I was, in fact, progressing and sent me to be admitted. Que more waiting, aimless walking, and general boredom. I’d rather be at home doing laundry! I did struggle a bit with having nothing to do to distract me. I usually work, clean, and go about my day during early labor. Obviously, that wasn’t an option this time.

Things continued to progress, but I still wasn’t really uncomfortable. The nurse began monitoring baby and me again, which meant being in the bed instead of walking. About that time, the doctor came in to very carefully break my water.

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The main risk we were dealing with was a prolapsed cord, which could be extremely serious and result in emergency C-section (best case scenario) or even death. Needless to say, I was extremely nervous about break the water, but also felt more secure since we were at the hospital and I felt that my doctor was taking everything very seriously.

With great care, she broke my water and guided his little head down, to ensure that the cord wouldn’t prolapse. After this, I knew it was pretty much go time. I figured that, if I had to be in the hospital, I might was well take advantage and request just a bit of pain killer. I don’t remember what it was called, but they put something magical in my IV and I hardly even noticed when I hit transition.

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Soon enough, it was time to push, which turned out to be some sort of wacky show. I felt like those cows at Fair Oaks Farm where everyone stands around watching and waiting.

Awkward.

Finally, someone suggested a squat bar, but of course, no one knew how to use it. Thankfully, Andrew can figure things out, even under pressure. He got it set up for me and once that was situated, everything moved pretty quickly.

One big push later and we were holding our sweet baby boy.

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In an instant, our high stress, crazy pregnancy had safely come to an end. We were relieved and over joyed to finally have this little guy in our arms.

Bonaventure Blaise, you were worth the trouble, my boy. We are so happy to have you in our family!