Saturday, April 30, 2011

Raw Milk: My Hero

 My mom is a really smart lady. She's very savvy about nutrition, herbs, supplements, and things of that nature. She recently had a BioMeridian test which tested the function of all the systems in her body. When she went in to get her results, the doctor reading them to her had never met her and he was very surprised when he saw her in person. My mom is 68, and from the results of her test, the doctor was expecting someone in their early 30s.

Growing up, we didn't have anything processed in our house: no white flour, white rice, white sugar. And we almost always had raw milk. We moved around a lot, but Mom would always find someone with raw milk. At one point, she had to drive almost an hour each way to get it and we went every Saturday and got 8 gallons.

A lot of people are misinformed about raw milk, they think it will make you sick. I've been drinking it literally all my life and never been sick from it. In the 1920s, a lot of people got sick from unpasteurized milk, but it was factory produced milk from sickly cows kept in filthy facilities. Pasteurization was a solution to that problem. But when milk is pasteurized, the good enzymes and bacteria necessary for digesting the milk are killed, making it very difficult for our bodies to break it down properly. Can you say lactose intolerance? Lactose intolerance isn't milk's fault, it's pasteurization's fault.

And what about homogenization? Homogenization changes the molecular structure of milk so that the cream cannot rise to the top. It also changes it into a food that our bodies cannot properly utilize. It subjects the milk to intense pressure and heats it yet again. Bleck.

The are an extremely impressive amount of health benefits from drinking raw milk. I don't want to take up too much space with talking about them, but I found a great resource (YAY INTERNET) HERE, if you are interested.

Anyhooo.... When Marty first told me that he wanted to marry me and take me to Orderville, I asked him if he knew someone with a milk cow. We've been able to get raw milk most of our marriage until just this last year. And I've been having a hard time. I've had digestion problems I've never had before, I've had canker sores, which is pretty unusual for me, and gotten more colds than I've ever gotten in my life. I really think it has something to do with not having raw milk anymore.

But happy day on Monday - Marty called and told me that someone in our valley was selling raw milk. We went up and got some earlier this week and I feel like dancing with joy. The cow is a Brown Swiss. I haven't met her yet, but they pretty much always look something like this:

She gives so much milk that she's feeding several calves, her own family and our family with lots left over. I'm planning to meet her soon, give her a big apple and tell her how much I appreciate her wonderful milk.

We needed some containers to hold all our newly acquired milk, so we went down to Marty's dad's house and found some half gallon bottles. They contained tomato juice and prunes and rice (respectively) that were bottled in 1976. We washed them out and sterilized them and now they're holding milk in my fridge. Look at this great old bottle:

It's an ATLAS strong shoulder Mason Jar. And it's blue. 

 How cool is that?!  A couple of the other jars are kinda square with vertical ribs on them. I love old junk.



Saturday, April 23, 2011

About Horses for a Change

I don't often blog about horses even though they're such a big part of our lives. I guess that's because this blog has been more of a way to chronicle the adventures of my kids and family. But once in a while, I really should blog about my horse kids as well.

About a year ago, we got a new horse. Her name is Lady. For the record, that name is one of my all time LEAST favorite horse names - it's right up there with Princess and Midnight. Bleh! Totally cliche and unoriginal. But I didn't change it because I'd known Lady before we got her and had been calling her that for a long time so she was already Lady to me.

She'd belonged to a gal who lives in Kanab and was a farrier client of my good friend/boss, Jen. Every time Jen went over to trim Lady and her buddy Splashy's feet, the owner would tell Jen horror stories about Lady and all the times she'd been dumped and scared and how many problems she'd had with the mares, especially Lady because that was who she'd ridden the most. Jen, who could tell that Lady wasn't much of renegade, kept telling this owner that she needed to get me to come out and help her and her horse. She finally called me and I went out to meet them.

When I showed up, the mares were tied to the hitching rail looking very innocent - not at all like evil, calculating monsters. The owner immediately pointed at Lady and said, "That horse is stupid!"

Hmmmm. I've never met a horse yet that was stupid, but I thought to myself, "This outta be good." and I said, "What makes you say that?"

And the owner said, "Every time I want to catch her I have to chase her for an hour - then she'll finally stop and let me approach, but I have to crawl the last 15 feet."

And I said, "Huh! I've never met a horse who was smart enough to teach a human to crawl before."

Well, needless to say, that shocked the owner a bit (and I have to admit I was pretty proud of myself coming up with that one right on the spot like that). People so badly want to blame the horse. Ray Hunt, one of the fathers of the modern natural horsemanship movement and one of my mentor's mentors said, "I'll be the horse's lawyer 90% of the time."

So I proceeded to try to help Lady with her people problem, but the biggest problem was that her people didn't really want to change. It didn't take me long to realize that Lady was actually a very good girl who had put up with A LOT from this person for a very long time. It was a testament to her good nature that she hadn't just offed this lady and had done with it. Anyway, after the gal realized that I didn't have a magic pill to "fix" her horse - translate: make her horse instantly capable of putting up with all kinds or rude and ignorant behavior while at the same time forgetting she was a horse altogether, she decided she could no longer "afford" the horses and asked me if I could take them. (To be fair, this was a very nice lady who loved her horses and took very good care of their physical needs, but was completely clueless about horse psychology and didn't want to put a lot of effort into learning why her horses didn't want a thing to do with her.)

We really couldn't afford another horse, but I worked out a lease arrangement with my good friend and photography mentor, Molly. She grew up riding and had wanted a horse for years, but because of her hectic travel schedule, needed someone else to have primary care of the horse. So we took Lady, Molly pays her bills and everybody is happy. I also arranged for my good friend Linda, who is also a Parelli student, to take the other mare. That mare, Splashy, has turned out to be Linda's dream horse.

Here's Molly riding Lady after a few days of us getting her home.

Within a week of living here, Lady was coming up and meeting us at the gate like all the rest of our horses. The first time I put her in a pasture, she whinnied and trotted to me when I came back to check on them. She beat all the other horses to the gate to greet me. Gee, it turns out that there wasn't a thing wrong with Lady after all. Molly rides her bareback in a halter all over heck and gone. She's learned the Parelli 7 games and is teaching them to Molly.

In related news:

Marty's brother Ed has a horse. He's had her for years, and honestly thinks she is the best horse in the world, but he's a truck driver and has a hard time caring for her during the week. He's been keeping her with a gal from his riding club, but he hasn't been happy with how she's been looking lately and he decided to bring her to us. Again, we didn't need another horse, but Ed is going to pay her way. So the mare showed up at our house about a month ago - 300 pounds underweight and with long, distorted feet and nasty saddle marks up by her withers. Ed told us to fix her up and ride her, and he made sure to leave us her gag bit/german martingale contraption for us to ride her in. (Yeah. Uh huh.)

Well first of all, we needed to fatten her up, take care of her feet and let her back heal a little. We've worked on her feet and fed her A LOT, and played with her a little, but we've mostly just left her alone for the last month. Today we decided we'd (and by we, I mean Marty) would try to ride her for the first time.

In Parelli, we have a saying that I love, "Does that horse look rideable?" In other words, we don't ever climb on a horse who is hyped up on adrenaline, worried and tense, or afraid of us. We want our horses in a rideable state of mind:  calm, relaxed, and feeling safe with us as their partner. So we played with Ed's mare for a while this morning and she really settled down and got looking rideable. Marty usually rides in a halter, but this mare's usually been ridden in a very nasty mechanical contraption. He wanted to try, though, and she was giving us all the green lights, so he got on and rode her around the arena. She was trying really hard to do everything he asked her to do and she was light in the halter, so we decided to go on a little trail ride and then ride her and Lady over to the pasture. She did SO GREAT. We could tell that she's used to being ridden full speed ahead, but whenever she'd start to think about getting high headed and frantic, Marty would just bend her, wait for her to relax and then head off on a loose rein again.

What's that you say? It's possible to ride a "hot" horse without a bit?! Through town?! (I had to take along my little point and shoot camera to document the occasion - I was afraid Ed wouldn't believe us without proof.)

 I love this one  - we're waiting for a break in traffic to cross the highway and she's looking at the horses across the street. But she's able to keep her feet still on a loose rein. Cool!

(She's still a little thin, but is looking so much better.)

We took Ed's mare and Lady to a pasture a few blocks away and they thought they'd died and gone to a field full of chocolate.

And here's another cool thing - Ed's mare looks A LOT like Lady.


Is that an uncanny resemblance or what? That, my friends, is a picture of absolute bliss.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Thirteen Already

My last post was about our wedding anniversary and since our first child was born a year and 4 days after we were married, that means that yesterday was Jaxon's 13th birthday. I'm officially the mother of a teenager. Whew. I'd be scared, but Jaxon is such a good kid that I just can't bring myself to be. When he was a colicky baby, my mom used to tell me, "This is front end loaded, he'll be an easy teenager". I suspect that she was right.

Anyway. We had a fun day yesterday, we had a family birthday party. We went to see the new movie, Rio and went to the Pizza Factory for dinner. Jaxon kept telling me "thank you" and that he'd had a great day. I also made his favorite birthday "cake", banana bread, and he put the candles on.

A couple of years ago we took a picture like this with his birthday banana bread and he wanted to take another one.

He's pretty easy to please.

And this movie was fun:

I'm so thankful for my big boy and that he doesn't seem to mind being my parenting guinea pig. I'm looking forward to life with a teenager.

Happy birthday, Bud. We love you.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Fourteen Amazing Years

Back when I looked like this: 

I met the perfect guy and we did this:

And now, exactly 14 years later there are three more people who live in our house. They look an awful lot like this:

And I wish I still looked like this:

But I'm still married to that handsome man and we've had a really, really good 14 years.  I wouldn't trade him for anyone in the world.

Monday, April 4, 2011


 So it started with this birthday boy:

And this party plannin' Mom:

And it turned into an epidemic! :

Miss Alison didn't wear the mooo-stash, but her face did not go unadorned. 

Happy 5th Birthday to my good friend Jenna's big boy Dallin. It was a lovely party.