The Off-Grid Tea

So pretty

It actually started on the grid, but ended off.  It had been a long time since we’d had a ladies’ tea with Grandma and the cousins, so when the men and boys had their father-son outing for Father’s Day a few weeks ago we decided this was our chance.

My five lovely ladies ready for tea

My mom (Grandma) adds the finishing touches

Grandma (my mom) went all out and hosted the event at their little 5 acre farm near town, and my five girls and I and my sister-in-law and her five girls were there for tea.  Of course the fancy hats and gloves and dress-up gowns and shawls were pulled out of their storage places in the big shed for the event.  The pictures tell it all.

Finally it’s time to start

So many goodies!

Little Bird


Honey Bun


Evensong & Cousin

After the last drop of tea washed down all the delicate goodies that were served, we cleaned everything up and gathered in the living room to watch “Little Women.”  It was during the video that it began to storm and the power suddenly went out. For most people that would mean the video was ended, ready or not.  But my dad has an alternative power system that powers part of their house all the time and is ready for an emergency (wonder where we got it?).

We continued with our video for some time until suddenly everything went black.  Fortunately by this time the father-son outing was over and my dad was home.  He realized he had forgotten to unhook the charger cable and the inverter had gotten too hot trying to charge the batteries with battery power (make sense?).  When the inverter got too hot a safety feature made it kick off, and we were completely without power, even with an alternative system.

Then I had a funny thought.  How ironic that we came to town for the tea party where everyone is hooked to the grid.  The grid went out, so the whole neighborhood was out of power.  But out at our off-grid homestead we still had power.  Since we are off the grid we could have continued to watch our video if we had been there!

My five lovely ladies and me

Well, my dad’s inverter did cool down and we were able to finish the video after a bit.  And come to think of it, back in “the old days” lovely ladies had tea regularly with no power, because there was no such thing as ”the grid.”


Get Real Get Prepared

No Longer Alone

Our family at a recent historical event

It goes without saying that our six children are a huge part of our story here on our little off-grid homestead.  But just seven years ago things were quite different in our family.  Evensong was 10 and our only child after 13 years of marriage.  The vision we felt God had given us for a larger family seemed a distant dream.  After several miscarriages and years of infertility, we weren’t sure how the Lord was going to work things out.

But even years before this God was preparing our children in various parts of the world to be a part of our family.  Evensong prayed daily for siblings, and we gradually became aware of the huge needs of millions of fatherless children in this world who have a special place in the heart of our Heavenly Father.  Seven years ago there were four children already born and one who would be formed in my womb that God would place in our family.

Evensong at age 10 as our only child

The Lord used The Shepherd’s Crook Ministry (TSC) to help us find several of our children.  They have a heart especially for orphans who are hard to place, and were instrumental in helping us to see the possibilities in adoption; how opening our hearts and home to children who needed a family was part of God’s calling for us.

Our first adoption attempts failed.  We were a few weeks from bringing home two little boys from Romania when the country closed its doors to international adoption.  Alex has mild CP, and after Romania closed we were unable to keep track of his whereabouts.  Marius, who is blind, was in a good foster home, but for reasons no one understands he was removed and placed in a state mental institution, the fate of many physically needy children in some countries.  Before marriage I had visited a state institution in Romania, and those memories still make me shudder.  How grievous that a child we thought of as our son is living in this setting.  We can only pray and trust the Lord is ministering to his heart in special ways, and that some day we will meet in heaven.

Honey Bun at the orphanage – age 3 1/2 yrs

When we finally accepted the fact that our boys were not coming home, the Lord brought to our hearts a little girl whose picture was on TSC’s website.  She was 3 ½ and had an issue with her right leg not working properly.  She looked so sad and alone, but she was in Kazakhstan which made her adoption look impossible.  Kaz is difficult and very expensive to adopt from, requiring several lengthy trips by both parents, or one long stay to complete the adoption.

Our God is a God of the impossible, and the summer of 2005 found us in Kaz bonding with this little girl we’ll call Honey Bun.  Ten days into our bonding time with her we were told we couldn’t adopt her after all.  A local woman had stepped forward and said she wanted her, and locals get first chance.  We were devastated!  They gave us a little baby girl instead.

After spending the summer in Kaz we left for home with our darling new 11 month old with very mixed feelings.  We were overjoyed to have our Little Bird, but felt like we were leaving another daughter behind.

We arrived home and discovered I was indeed pregnant!  What joy!  The Lord protected our son from miscarriage and Farmer Boy and Little Bird grew up together 18 months apart in age, but developmentally more like twins (babies in orphanages usually are way behind babies in families).

Litte Bird (2 yrs), Evensong (11 1/2 yrs), Farmer Boy (7 mos)

Butterfly (5 yrs) and Blossom (8 yrs) waiting in Liberia

Meanwhile God had drawn our attention to the children in Liberia orphaned by war and the very tough economic situation.  We ended up getting approved and matched with two unrelated little girls.  They were hard to place because of their ages.  It was the beginning of 2008 and we were preparing to travel to Liberia for Blossom (eight) and Butterfly (five).  Then we got a phone call.

A stanger asked if we were the family who had been in Kaz three years earlier trying to adopt Honey Bun.  They were to inform us that her adoption had been revoked and she was back in the orphanage.  They wondered if we were still interested.

That was an earth-shaking, mind-boggling “God” moment!  It started us on an 18 month journey fighting tooth and nail to bring Honey Bun home from a country whose adoption process had only gotten more difficult and expensive than ever.

Our whole family saw the mighty hand of God many times during that process, moving impossible mountains (some day we promise to write a book).  But our God is a God of the impossible!!  All of us came home from Kaz (yes, it was a family adventure) with Honey Bun after spending another summer there, making her the fifth child God had added to our family in four years!

In Kaz again with Honey Bun (on left, 8yrs old) in 2009

In the mountains in Kaz

Are we done?  God only knows.  There are still millions out there who are alone…who need to know the love and belonging God intended for every child.  What an opportunity to make disciples!  In our family five little girls are no longer alone: the four adopted, and one who prayed daily for siblings.

This weekend we go to Ohio for the orphan awareness event we were filmed for in April, hosted by TSC.  You can make a difference in the life of a child by adopting, by supporting someone else adopting, or by helping provide for needs of children in orphanages around the world.


Let It Rain!

My girls and I at a recent tea party – L to R: Butterfly (9), Evensong (17), Me, Little Bird (7), Blossom (12), Honey Bun (10)

Linked w/Barn Hop, Morris Tribe, White Wolf Summit Farmgirl, Growing Home, Frugally Sustainable, Live Renewed, Our Simple Farm, A Rural Journal, Simple Lives Thursday, My Simple Country Living, Ole’ Saturday Homesteading Trading Post, and Seasonal Celebration Sunday.

Healing Wounds Without a Doctor

Perscription for Nutritional HealingThe other Saturday when we had help building the new deck roof for our tiny house I hurt my ankle.  I brought the little portable generator up on the deck to run the oven because our little off-grid system was maxed out with the power tools.

I know how to start generators by now.  I can pull start them with no problem…usually.  But this one is so lightweight and has such high compression you have to practically stand on it to start it.  I gave it a mighty tug and the rope caught.  My momentum caused the generator to jerk, and the weight of my foot forced it to roll, and I rolled too.  I’m sure the men on the roof were quite amused.  Blah!

I jumped up and Blossom, our 12-year-old, came along smugly and started the thing with one easy pull.  That really made me look bad.  So much for being a tough homesteader!

The inside of my ankle was bruised and skinned, and from one little hole came some dark blood.  I immediately cleansed the area with peroxide and slapped Neosporin and a bandaid on it, and continued my work.  It was a very busy day, and I didn’t give it another thought till late afternoon when my ankle started hurting.  That night I could barely put weight on it and I knew something bad was going on.  An infection was trying to raise its ugly head.

I pulled out my remedy books to get a good game plan, and got to work.  That night and the next day (Sunday) were tough, as it was very painful and swollen.  A red circle about an inch in diameter was clearly outlined around the wound area, but the worst pain settled in the joint above it which made walking difficult.  On Monday we saw progress, and by Tuesday we were definitely winning.  On Wednesday it had healed so much I forgot about it.  That was a big mistake.

I am no expert, but want to share what has worked for me, and mistakes I’ve made.  These are great opportunities to learn so we are not completely helpless if no doctor is available.  Here are some things I have learned from experts:
1)  Begin treating sickness or infection immediately, at the first sign of symptoms.
2)  Be very aggressive and consistent in treating it.
3)  Don’t stop treating it until two days after symptoms are gone.

I did great with the first two, but sadly failed with the third.  The infection was still active enough that it crept back before I realized what was happening.  A few days later it started to hurt again.  The second time around it wasn’t so easy.  I’m still babying that thing.  It’s slowly progressing, but taking its good old time.  If I had stayed on top of it the first time, it would probably be healed; an important lesson to learn.  Now I can go to the doctor if things get out of hand.  Some day I may not be able to, and a mistake like that could cost a life.

Practical HerbalismThere are many tried and true remedies out there.  I looked at the lists of antibiotic and anti-inflamatory herbs in Dr. Philip Fritchey’s book “Practical Herbalism.”

Remember a few weeks ago when the goats ate all our plants except aloe, rosemary, and milkweed? I didn’t have much left to choose from.  I did have some rather oldish cloves of garlic on hand, peppermint oil, and cayenne in the cupboard.  I also had another powerful tool:  kefir grains!

I soaked my foot in warm epsom saltwater, used ice packs, and elevated it to help with swelling.  I alternated different combinations of herbs for added benefit. One was peppermint oil and cayenne with a thin layer of garlic clove laid across the wound.  Another was raw honey and flour as a paste.

My favorite was kefir grains and aloe vera.  What an infection fighting and inflamation soothing combination!  I cut a slice of aloe plant, shaved off the thorny edges and peeled the inner side.  The outside peel I left on (washed with water) and carved out a little hole on the peeled side to stick a kefir grain into.  Kefir grains are powerful, but they will dry out rather quickly under the bandage alone.  Placing them into a piece of aloe leaf keeps them moist and active for some time, and adds aloe’s healing and soothing qualities.  It brings instant relief to the wound.  I used this method a few years ago to heal my infected finger when Eventstar’s pet squirrel bit me.


A kefir grain on an aloe vera leaf. This particular time I also addes a few shavings of garlic.

Comfort for the Burned & WoundedI also used B & W Ointment (Burn and Wound Ointment) on the open parts of the wound.  This salve is formulated by Amish man John W. Keim, author of “Comfort for the Burned and Wounded.”  He’s had phenominal results treating burn patients with this salve and burdock leaves.  A few hospitals are even using his methods in place of the painful standard protocol.  I used this salve regularly at first, but when the infection returned I stopped for fear of healing the outside of the wound before the inside because it contains comfrey.

When the infection returned it needed an extra boost, so I began taking things internally as well:  echinacea, garlic, vitamin C, and whole kefir grains.  The fight is still on, but symptoms greatly reduced.  The Great Healer deserves glory for healing taking place, and for creating tools and knowledge needed.

Foot wounds can be hardest to heal because they are farthest away from the heart.  A few years ago my dad had a little crack in his foot from dryness, and it got a staff infection.  He ended up in the hospital.

We read a biography of a family who immigrated to America years ago.  A few weeks before their ship sailed the father got a little splinter in his arm.  It became infected, and he died.  They came to America without him.  Modern medicine takes care of many things like that, but what if it’s not available?Be Your Own Doctor.

The Lord has made so many options for us in herbs and other natural remedies.  The ones I’ve mentioned here only scratch the surface.  What methods do you use when treating a wound or infection?  It would be great to share ideas!


Let It Rain!  Part Two

Disclaimer:  This website is for educational purposes only.  It is not intended to replace licensed, professional health care providers.  The author and Live Ready Now! disclaim any liability in connection with the use of this information.

Linked w/Barn Hop, Morris Tribe, White Wolf Summit Farmgirl, Growing Home, Frugally Sustainable, Live Renewed, Our Simple Farm, A Rural Journal, Simple Lives Thursday, My Simple Country Living, Ole’ Saturday Homesteading Trading Post, and Seasonal Celebration Sunday.