Sunday, April 23, 2006

Sickness and health

The Illinois Sustainable Living and Wellness Expo was quite an interesting event. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say that the people were interesting. I can see why so many doctors insist on merely medicating people rather than even suggesting that they change their life (diet, exercise, meditation, etc). Our display was situated between two supplement vendors, and they easily had twice as many people stopping at their tables as we did. We'd listen to people tell them about their arthritis or fibromyalgia or other medical conditions, which can be improved by lifestyle changes, but all of them wondered which supplement would help them. It never occurred to them that our display would be of interest to them -- they weren't interested in healthier eating.

This reminded me of a friend from about 10 years ago. Between the two of us, we would order about $800 worth of food from a health food co-op every month. Her husband once complained to her that it was too expensive to be eating all of that organic and natural food, and she said, "No, this is our health insurance." What a great reponse! She was the first person who opened my mind to the idea that what our society calls health insurance is really sickness insurance -- it pays bills when you get sick, but having a health lifestyle is the best insurance you can have to keep you healthy.

That's one of the reasons I wanted to move out here. Although I have been consciencious about nutrition for almost two decades now, I was never able to get as much exercise as I knew I needed. I tried memberships to the YMCA and health clubs. I had a treadmill and a stationery bicycle. I tried walking around the neighborhood every morning. I couldn't keep up any of those things for more than a couple of months. It always felt like a waste of time -- so dishonest. Drive to the Y to exercise? Walk on a treadmill to nowhere? Walk around the neighborhood ... why? I needed to do something real.

Now I get tons of honest exercise. I carry 50-pound feed bags and 3-gallon water buckets. I walk all around our 32 acres for real reasons -- checking fences to make sure there are no new holes or that an electric fence isn't shorting out, checking sheep to see if anyone new has lambed, checking the hay field to see how it's growing. I gained seven or eight pounds over the winter, but just in the past few weeks since spring has pulled me outside daily, I have lost it all without even thinking about it! Some days I never sit down between lunch and dinner, and I don't even realize it until that evening when I notice that my legs and feet are sore.

Overall, I did enjoy the expo, mostly because of the few kindred spirits I met. Looks like I found a source for fresh, all-natural fish, and three different people talked to me about wholesaling my goat-milk soap, which would be wonderful!

Now, I need to get outside and start working on cleaning the barn. Yeah, it's time to clean the barn again. We didn't actually get it completely clean the last time we worked on it. Before moving out here, I never thought about the fact that a barn would have to be cleaned, but it does. We need to muck out stalls again, and we need to continue working on the storeroom. We got half of it cleaned last time. Now we need to work on the other half. I can't believe how dirty it gets over the winter.

We also need to get the milking parlor painted so we can start using it again. Currently, the girls are milking in the middle of the barn, which means there can be cats and chickens around, and that's not the cleanest environment to have your milk sitting around. The milking parlor was built more than a year ago (maybe 2 years ago?), but it's never had walls inside, just studs, so we've avoided adding shelves and things like that, which would make milking easier.

Looks like our young chicks are learning to go back into their shelter at night, so we'll be able to let them out of the smaller fenced area today so they can run around in the bigger pasture. That will be my entertainment for the day!


june in florida said...

Deborah you are so right about eating healthy, i do that but unfortunately cant seem to exercise much.I take supplements and stay away from doctors.I am 66 and have a sit down job, i know more effort.Its so much easier when you have a physical job.I lived in NW Arkansas about 9 years ago building a round stone house with one of my sons and got down to 83 lb's, i know it sounds awful low weight but i never felt better.Btw do the cats bother the chicks?Also your pictures are beautiful, ty for taking the time to blog,...June

Deborah said...

Hi June,
The cats that are here now were born here, so they don't bother the chicks. New cats that show up usually get taught a lesson by a banty hen once or twice, then they leave the chicks alone too. I'll never forget the time we got a new dog, and I saw him running out of the barn like his tail was on fire. About 20 feet out of the barn, a banty hen jumped off of him and ran back into the barn while he kept running in the opposite direction. She had attached herself to his side and was pecking the crap out of him for messing with her babies! The little banty hens are the most fierce mothers!


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