Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Burn on top of a burn?

So, in my regular fashion I whipped up my usual remedy for sunburn on the weekend. I cut open a fresh aloe leaf and scoop out the gel, then add one drop of lavender essential oil. This usually works really well for me. This time I had a new bottle in the cupboard waiting for its multitude of uses. I put on my trusty remedy and it stung like heck... I thought I spent a little too much time in the sun, but nothing serious ( for a redhead it seems like enough time to water the garden without 45 sunscreen can be too much time in the sun these days!) , but it felt like a really awful burn now... stinging like a regular kitchen burn. I thought it seemed weird that the sunburn seemed to be " showing up" so fast all of the sudden but thought nothing more of it, other thatthe fact that it was hurting so much. I woke up the next morning and everywhere that I put the remedy I had a bright red dry chapped burn, which included around my eyes. It seemed weird because I had never gotten a sunburn so close to my eyes before. Finally today, as the burn is looking worse instead of better and unlike the regular course of any sunburn I have ever had, it dawns on me that this looks like a chemical burn. ( I was freaked out about it thinking that I was having an unusual reaction to the sun and googling lupus symptoms... darn internet!!!) This can happen sometimes when solvents or chemicals are added in the oil distillation process, but the company I use states that thier product is guaranteed 100 percent pure. I wrote a letter to the company just in case they get any other complaints. I patch tested the aloe earlier and have no trouble with it. I just bravely patch tested the lavender on healthy skin and it seems ok so far... but I can't exactly replicate the damaged sunburnt skin... nor would I now. But it doesn't look as if I am having an allergic reaction to it at all. Thank goodness I didn't use this on the kids or on a larger burn. Lesson learned... be absolutely sure where the product I am using comes from. So disappointed! Don't know if this shows it well but you can see the big patch where I applied it... it looks awful in person and is still very angry and red and really painful.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

End of a nice long weekend!

Another weekend in the garden again! Today we made a plot for the echinacea in the front of the garden, weeded the rhubarb patch and built a fire pit. It was beautifully sunny and I think I got my first burn of the year... even though I was wearing sunscreen. Yesterday we went for a wander down to the marsh... we spent a long time in a secluded spot just sitting there watching. The red wing blackbirds were putting on a show with their mating ritual, the ducks were out, the frogs were active. We spent a while digging some early spring burdock. Boy those are a pain to dig! They were delicious though, quick fried in a pan with other root veggies and braggs and sesame oil.
Papa is still of of work, though some should be coming soon. We went to the beach last week on a weekday. Secluded and gorgeous. Another day we went to the docks in the next town over and looked at all of the sea life. The jellyfish were thick! There are definitely some bonuses of a few extra days off.
Here are a couple of pics of the week. Here is my toilet super hero. He has been wearing these all week.

The garden with the netting up... isn't so pretty, but we make do. The neighbours don't mind! Besides , it will look lovely when everything is green. Everything looks a little drab in the spring!

Our fire pit trail run. Should be fun. As usual it is all scrap material! It ain't no show home!lol ( I think we are going to take it apart and do it up proper... maybe a washing machine drum one?)

And our treat. When I was a youth my friends mom used to make these banana treats in the campfire. They had chocolate and marshmallows I think. Since we don't do the refined sugar thing, and I haven't yet perfected my own marshmallow recipe, we do ours a bit different. We cut the banana , spread some peanut butter or other nut butter and a drizzle of honey. Then you sprinkle on chocolate chips( except youngest who hates melted chocolate) and maybe some crushed nuts and chopped dried fruit. We wrap it all up in foil( arg... I hate using the stuff... this is the only thing we ever use it for) and nestle them into the coals. We have done them in the oven too. Cook it until they are all gooey like a hot banana custard. If we weren't casein free I bet it would be good beside some vanilla ice cream!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


What a beautiful time of year! The garden is now officially ready to go. We finished the deer fencing on the weekend and put in our lettuce seedlings and kale and planted some peas. It is going to look great in the summer. It feels like we have added another room to the yard and I am even contemplating trying to come up with some sort of seating in there. The neighbours are moving and passed us along a really cute outdoor table. Now I can go and enjoy a cup of tea out there! I had to include this pic of the hummingbird... it looks like it is joyfully diving in for the nectar! That is how I feel in spring too.

Friday, April 17, 2009

dirty nails!

Finally spring is really here! We have been spending a ton of time revamping the garden. We tripled the size now. Dug double deep, AND broke up all of the clay underneath with the mattock. We also lay the sod down underneath that all root size up. Later we built a wall to tier our incredibly sloped yard and papa built some little stairs in. We hauled in 10 buckets of compost and have dug holes for posts since we need to put up a deer fence. We found a large amount of netting to use for it.We still need to find posts for, and put up, the deer fencing. As well as finishing my old herb boxes, build our potato boxes.... then plant! It still looks a little rough, though it always does this time of year. ( it was -4 out the other morning!) I had to go take pics, because it looks a lot different from the top picture. It really isn't anything fancy, even though we are proud of the progress! We only used scrap materials for it because it is a rental after all ( it only took us almost 7 years of living here to actually take the plunge and do some more work on it!)

On top of that I have harvested and dried buckets of nettles, made violet medicine, dried violet flowers and made a batch of violet oil for papas tinnitus. I painted the inside floors with linseed oil, cleaned up the workshop... plus the other multitude of busy things that happen in a regular day around here! That is why I haven't written... if you need an excuse!

It looks like papa is layed off for a while. There were only two housing starts in the whole valley this month. 7 permits pulled for anything at all in the whole area. ( I think that the population is around 60 thousand in the entire Valley) Yikes! I hope things pick up. We are enjoying having papa home for the extra couple of days though. I need the break and the boys always have more fun when papa is home. We always get a ton done, plus a bunch o fun along with it!

The kids are incredibly whiny and needy right now. Hayfever is making them stimmy and chaotic. Picked up some fish oil and some enzyme mix that a natural pharmacist made up for us. Hopefully along with some herbs we can get the allergies under control. I feel so badly for the boys. It just looks exausting. I have to encourage them to try to take it easy in a hepa filtered room and just to chill and watch library videos.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter!

We have been trapped in the house with very bouncy children because it has been pouring rain all day. We got about 3 hours of sleep between waiting for the kiddos to finally fall asleep and the boys waking us up about5 times through the night asking if the easter bunny came yet and if it was time to get up. Easter bunny brought allowable gluten/ casien/dye free treats ( hence being sugared right up!) , a mason bee observation nesting box and life cycle poster, gardening gloves, seeds... and bug/sunscreen lotion for when we bike through the marsh to the lake!
Now we are all crashed and sleepy... enjoying a supplementary cup of coffee and a square of 85% vegan chocolate! Yummers! The sun is peeking out at this very moment and I am contemplating running out to work on the garden.
We picked up some fish compost and bone meal yesterday from papas old boss. He didn't charge us at all and gave us some fantastic gardening advice and told us to come back next weekend and he will help cut us some netting for deer fencing and give us some bedding plants!. Thank goodness, because I had no idea how we would manage it all this year!
Happy Easter all!

Thursday, April 9, 2009


Spring has finally sprung! We had a guest this weekend... papas birthmom who we have only met a couple of times. She is so amazing and fits into the family so easily that it is almost comical!

Papa is trying to take as much work as possible right now, as the work situation in the valley seems to be drying up somewhat. He has been working some evenings... sometimes we all tag along if it is sunny and the kids and I explore the different neighbourhoods.

The days have been busy. We only have 4 weeks of school reporting to do until we meet our requirement for the year, so this time next month and we will be " done"! Nothing really changes... but I don't have to write down what we do all day, or type out reports weekly for the boys. I still have a bunch of funding to spend. We are thinking of getting a rock tumbler, audobon mineral and rock guide, rock picks( and eye protection!) and some mineral guide books of the area. We will probably get a couple of other guidebooks to beef up the collection as well. I don't know what to allot the funding to for my youngest. I purchased a LOT of paper becauase he was so into bookmaking, some Sensory Therapy play books and the Autism book Building Bridges for ideas to help through the social/ sensory issues( dairy is still helping amazingly by the way!), and the mantis egg stuff with his funding. He has met with all of the ministry guidelines for the year so doesn't need any actual curriculum at this time. He is really a builder and a maker... he has k'nex and lego.. Does anyone have any ideas of neat things that they have spotted? I was even trying to find a good source of online art supplies that was good quality ( not crayola) that is based in Canada, but wasn't having any luck. The Canadian dollar isn't doing so hot and I don't want to spend all of thier funding on huge shipping expenses!

A few weeks back we recieved an order of ours from Lee Valley Tools for my oldest sons learning plan.They did a reprint of the 1915 book series ( maybe it was a magazine then?) Boy Mechanic. It is a series of four books, each with around 1000 projects. Everything from kite building ( 10 different fancy types even like box kites, separate leveled kites, etc) , glider making all of the way to human sized, how to fish/ set traps/ build shelters/ camp. Then it goes all of the way to building steam powered motorcycles/ boats/ cars etc.!lol Anyhow , the stuff that was acceptable fun for kids/ youth back then is so different than it is now. Of course we use more safety precautions now which is fantastic, but now we just buy prefab things and set them loose on structured activities. When it snows for example, there are 2 dozen ideas for making different sleds. Some are beautiful and complicated patterns if you have the time, some can be thrown together in an hour out of scrap just in time to have fun still. Now we just buy a sled from Walmart when it snows.( well, not us cause we still have my hubbys old GT snow racer from when he was a kid) It feels like your mind would be so expanded by trying to make more things for yourself. Anyways... the boys freak for these books! My oldest reads them for hours and the youngest looks through them for ages( he is the engineer type) and then builds cool stuff with k'nex. They do have older materials that are hazerdous to use... but next to impossible to find these days anyways. Many of them are awesome projects to make with creative kids though... to get them used to using tools and being creative with what is available. Anyhow, I highly recommend them!

We are definitely looking forward to building some great stuff with them this summer.

This was all a little bit fragmented... kind of like real life feels right now! Now the clock is ticking on getting the garden finished! I planted some inherited raspberry canes in the old side garden last night. I still have to finish cleaning up the newly 3 times expanded main garden, and tier the darn thing before I plant anything. Looks like that will be the plan this weekend. In the rain!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

April Fools?

It isn't the first year that we have lived here that it has snowed on April fools day. Maybe nature has a good sense of humour? I have the feeling that this may not be the last of it... which will definitely make it the latest snow that I have seen. Pretty anyhow. Truly though, I am so ready for more springtime weather. The snow in the trails and hills behind our house is still crusted, making biking tricky and demanding that we walk certain sections if we are with the kids.

Heres to fingers crossed for a beautiful spring!

I made gluten free bagels yesterday for that boys. They had never had a bagel before. I did the whole baking/ boiling/ baking routine. They looked great. Since I don't tolerate any grains, I couldn't try them. They looked a little dense. The boys gave them BIG thumbs up and ate so many that they had to lay down afterwards. lol I guess that I can count that as a success?