Answering Questions About Tent Living

Answering Questions About Tent Living

There have been a lot of questions about our decision to live in tents, and I thought I would take some time to answer them. Some answers are easy, others are a little more involved and deserve a more detailed explanation.

Before I start, I thought I would share a video from one of our TV shows, Parks and Recreation. This episode scene was about camping. Not as a lifestyle choice like we’ve decided, but I think it gives a funny representation of what different people think of when they get a chance to go camping:

Camping conjures many images to the mind. Some are fascinated by our decision to live in tents, while others say, “Yeah, but why?” As they smirk unsupportively.

I’ve compiled a list of questions that were asked of us over the last six months from family and friends.

1. What’s the point in living in a tent? Did I miss something? 

This question is the most obvious but deserves the most attention. There are a few reasons we chose to live this way. Our number one reason…it’s the most economical. It seems like that should be the first thing that people think of when they ask the question, but for whatever reason, it’s not the solution they would come up with. Economically it makes financial sense to not be tied to a massive mortgage! We didn’t want to make a commitment to a bank to spend 30+ years of our lives paying for an overpriced house and land AND that doesn’t even include the interest we would be paying. No. That wasn’t for us. We made the decision to live in a remote rural area where it takes an hour or more to get to a supermarket. There is no major industry in our local area, and to try and get a mortgage requires one of us to have steady 40 hour per week work that is consistent day after day and year after year.

That wasn’t for us. We already went the route of owning a house and land with a big mortgage and it required Dom to work two jobs. His commute time was 40 minutes each way, and when he was done with his main job, he went right to his second job. On the weekends, if he wasn’t on the schedule to be at work, he was digging ditches, doing earthworks, digging garden beds, and laying our farm infrastructure. This is NOT sustainable. He was burning out and exhausted. We live on one income. Our daughter is disabled and very early in her life we made the decision that I would be the primary caretaker during the day. I know that sounds strange since most families with disabled children still work multiple jobs, but due to her food allergies and her neurological disorder, she was most safe at home with us.

Living on land we own in tents while we build our farm infrastructure AND emerging coffee company makes good financial sense. It is a sacrifice of sorts, but not much. We still have a building on the property that contains electricity, running water, and a bathroom, but even if we didn’t have that we were planning on building one from scratch. Having access to the current structure affords us the ability to jump in quickly and be fluid with our coffee company. That was important to us. If we didn’t have the building to work from, we just would have made it happen from a tent. Not a big deal at all.

The second reason for living in a tent is that is completely free of all electricity, the tent can breathe, and it is by far the healthiest environment that we’ve ever slept in. Conventional housing contains some pretty nasty environmental toxins. If there was a leaky roof or water damage and the owner did not address the issue, I suffer. Most (almost ALL) landlords are quick to claim that they have never had a water damaged building. Oh no, they would say, our building is clean! Until I start losing my hair, my breathing becomes labored, and I have an autoimmune flareup. Mold always triggers an autoimmune flare up. Hair dye also triggers an autoimmune flareup, but I haven’t dyed my hair in years. I know my triggers.

Our tents are not moldy, they breathe and provide the best living experience for us to date.

2. Aren’t you cold at night? 

It’s chilly right now. We all have different thoughts about what we can handle when it comes to the cold. Living in a regular home with heat, we became accustomed to having the heat set at night to about 70 degrees. However, when we lived in our little place in Reserve, Dom and I didn’t have the heat on at night. We did have a little electric heater for Simmi in her room, but that was set low. Usually, the nightly temperature in our house was about 30 degrees in the winter after the fire died down in the wood stove. We did have propane heaters as well, but we didn’t use them because the odor from the propane bothered us. That sort of prepared us for the cold nights. Until we moved into our tents, that is…

The first night we slept in our tent, the temperature got down to 22 degrees. We were snuggled under the covers (we have a heavy down comforter) and Simmi sleeps under six blankets all year long. Yes, even in the summer. It’s weird, I know. Anyway, while 22 degrees is pretty cold, we were very warm, and sleeping in the crisp cutting cold air was actually refreshing. I never would have thought that especially since most of my life my body temperature has always been low. I freeze even in the summer. I can wear a sweater all year and still be chilly.

The thing that happens when you live outside most of the day, is that you become acclimated to the cold. We as a society are used to being in 70-72 degrees year round. During the winter thermostats are set to 65-70 and during the summer, air conditioning is set to 70-75 degrees. That’s a lot of money wasted via electricity or gas to keep you warm or cool.

We have wood stoves for our tents but we haven’t set them up. It’s spring and it won’t drop below 20 degrees. We can handle that. This year in the fall, we will set up our wood stoves but we don’t intend to feed the fire through the night. It’s not necessary.

The biggest takeaway living in tents during the cold seasons is to make sure you’re properly dressed and that you have warm bedding. That’s about it. If you’re comfortable (not shivering) there’s no need to worry about the cold. I worried a bit about Simmi being able to handle the cold, but she’s proven herself to be far more robust than I gave her credit for. We were prepared to set up a special propane heater (doesn’t give off the propane smell) in her tent at night if she got upset about the cold…but she didn’t. She falls right to sleep in the crisp air and wakes up refreshed and ready for the day. No complaints. Wanna know when the complaints start? When we’re in the business hub starting a fire in the wood stove in the morning. We fire it up while we’re making breakfast, and she sits there like she’s freezing to death while the stove is generating heat. Why does she do that? Well, that’s exactly what she did when we lived in the little adobe in Reserve. Every morning she would sit in front of the wood stove complaining about how cold she was. This was why I worried about her not having heat in the tent in the first place. It turns out, it’s just a habit of hers. She likes to complain about being cold while she’s getting warm. Go figure!

3. Don’t you miss modern technology?

We have all the creature comforts of electricity, internet, phone, heat, bathroom facilities, and running water. We lack for nothing. We live in two worlds currently. Our business hub which is being rehabbed contains all the creature comforts we have been accustomed to. We aren’t interested in living without those amenities, we just want them to be separate from our living space, aka, our camp.

I LOVE technology. Never forget that for a moment. If I could still have an active cell phone in my possession, I would! I am a technology whore. I would do anything for it. It also lead to me becoming electro-hypersensitive (EHS). No more blue tooth devices, streaming wirelessly, cell phones, or wifi. I used to LOVE wifi! No wires or cords anywhere. That was my favorite. But do you want to know what I love more than wireless capability? The fact that our daughter’s learning disabilities are dissolving. Since being in this place without any wifi signals and no cell coverage, Simmi is now reading and comprehending. She used to HATE to try and read, and now she can’t wait to read us a story. That is a huge win, and it wasn’t a coincidence.

4. How do you light your tent up without electricity?

This was a big question. I guess when we’re all used to having technology we never think of alternatives. We currently use taper candles which give off the greatest light and when you combine it with the beauty of the off-white canvas tents, the glow of the candles becomes magical in the tent and from the outside. I love how our tents seem to glow at night. We’ve found that two taper candles light our tent well, three taper candles make it quite bright. We do also have oil lamps, but Simmi and I can’t handle the odor they give off, especially in a confined space. If we’re outside at night, oil lamps work great, but while in our tents or if we’re in the hub after dark, we use candles. Yes, even in the hub we use alternative light source at night if we’re not at camp.

However, one thing that has changed in our habits is that we try to head down to camp at sunset or before. There have been times during these two weeks that we were in the hub after dark, but we’ve made a point to change.

Here’s why…

We know all too well what happens with farm life. Before you know it, it takes over. There are so many projects, too many things on the list that still need to be done, that our personal lives start to disappear. It happened to us when we previously had a CSA. We would be up till all hours of the night trying to get personal things done because all our time during the day until night was spent on outdoor projects.

I’m more interested in balance these days.

The funny thing about candles is that nowadays candles are used for “romance.” No one thinks of using them instead of light bulbs. But that’s why we’re called Firelight Farm. We do have a flashlight, but we need to get a red filter on it. Artificial light after dark is really bad for our circadian rhythm. Artificial light at night turns off the body’s ability to use melatonin which helps us go to sleep at night. Also, melatonin is very important in the regulation of female hormones. I wouldn’t be surprised if women who have problems regulating their hormones or go into early menopause do so because of the habitual use of technology and artificial lights after dark. If you’re up all night and can’t sleep, shut off all your devices (unplug and power them down), turn off all lights and use candles instead. Shut down the electric where you sleep and above all shut off the wifi! It raises blood pressure, blood sugar, cortisol levels, and causes all kinds of physical problems.

We are only awake for a little while after we get to camp. So far we have used a total of 4 taper candles in two weeks.

5. You’ve mentioned that you were going to have an outdoor kitchen and full bathroom, but I haven’t seen that yet and I’m so curious? Please post pics! 

We are planning on building two outdoor kitchens. The first one is our personal camp kitchen not open to the public. The second is our farm to table outdoor kitchen for events we are planning. We are hoping to start our personal camp kitchen by mid-May after we finish rehabbing the business hub. We currently have composting toilets down at camp, but when we build our full freestanding bathroom at camp, it will be complete with flush toilet. We don’t have a date for when the bathroom will be started.

6. Will you plan on living in tents for the rest of your life?

That would be a resounding no, although, we are well on our way to becoming feral. Our plan is to continue building our coffee business, our farm infrastructure, then build a coffee roastery and commercial kitchen. After that, we will turn our attention to building our house and Sara’s house. Our intent is to build all our structures from the materials on our land or obtained locally and/or repurposed.

7. Are you afraid of wild animals and bugs?

Yes and no. Wild animals are here in the Gila Wilderness. We live in an area that has snakes, bears, mountain lions, skunks, wolves, coyotes, eagles, hawks, scorpions, poisonous spiders, fire ants, and more. Our plans are to build a perimeter around our tents to guard against any dangerous animals, but it has been a low priority. If we start to hear coyotes, foxes, and wolves at night, we’ll step up our game and add fencing.

One of the more pleasant things about camping in fall, winter, and early spring is the lack of bugs…other than flies. When there are farm animals there always seems to be flies. We’re in growing zone 7B which means the winter months don’t get too cold and during the day it warms up nicely here. No need for more than a light jacket during the day in winter. This will be our first summer here, so I’m not sure what kinds of bugs will be active and desperately trying to get into our tents. Haha, We will us diatomaceous earth in the nooks and crannies of our tents as well outside around the base of the tent, but other than that, we don’t use bug spray or other types of chemicals.

Those are the majority of the reoccurring questions we get about our current lifestyle. And make no mistake, this is a lifestyle choice.

Many who have been camping might wonder how we could ever do this. We have our very comfortable beds and bed frames, area rug, and our special chairs, and clothes in our tent. All the comforts we would have had in our past bedroom are in our tent. Simmi has her very comfy mattress, dresser, all her favorite blankets, clothes. What more does one keep in their bedroom? How much room do you need? We spend 7-9 hours per night in our bedrooms. That is a long time each day. That is the same every day of the year, and it’s the same in a tent. I don’t think I would be happy sleeping in a sleeping bag on the hard floor or even on a cot. I wouldn’t be happy waking up and putting my feet down on shifty tarp that’s hard to clean or keep clean. I know that I wouldn’t be happy in a thin vinyl tent that feels like a hobo motel!

That is not my idea of camping full time for the next few years. We live very well here. Anyone that will come to stay with us for the week (family or friends) will stay in a tent like ours, with a comfortable bed, warm blankets, and clean sheets. They won’t be sleeping in a vinyl tent and sleeping bag on the ground. If they visit in the winter, they’ll have heat from a wood stove that they will have the option of using through the night.

Any other questions? Leave a comment, I would be happy to answer them…if I have the answer.

Great Expectations for 2019

Great Expectations for 2019

It’s amazing to me that at this time last year I could barely breathe walking from part of a room to another, I had to shave my head because my hair was falling out so much that it was everywhere. It’s disturbing to see hair all over the place! Moving back to our home state of New Mexico was an act of desperation much like when we first arrived in New Mexico ten years earlier. We learned our lesson that this is our home forever. My mold allergies are so bad that our home state is the only one with the ability to help me recover.

And I am recovering, slowly but surely.

It has been nearly four years since we were raising animals and farming. Now that we have our land, we are moving full speed ahead, biting off more than we can chew, and I’m sure we’ll make plenty of mistakes along the way. I don’t fear making mistakes at all. I never have. It’s how I grow and it keeps me flexible when I want to stay rigid.

Jumping back into farming is something I am so very excited about. Proper planning, however, is key to being successful and profitable. We started the tradition of writing out our goals when we started homesteading in Los Lunas. It feels good to get back into the practice of writing our goals again. In every place that we were at from Vermont to West Virginia, we had grand plans for establishing a garden and keeping small animals, but I would get so sick from each house we lived in that we would need to move.

We moved a total of 10 times since leaving New Mexico four years ago. In 2019 we will make another move onto our land.

2018 was a great year. Our coffee roasting company, Buffalo Mountain, has thrived and made 10 times the amount made in 2017. We can’t yet take an income from it, but I believe by the end of 2019 we will be profitable enough to start paying ourselves. Buffalo Mountain pays for all its own supplies, operating expenses, internet and phone, and electric bill. We will be building the new roastery on the land and it will have an art studio, commercial kitchen, and a farm store attached.

We moved here to Reserve in February, and with the amazing support of our friend Jennifer, who allowed us to rent her little adobe this year, it helped us to get established in Catron County.

Simmi made a new friend named Angel and they have become great friends. It’s the first time she has had a real friend to play with…ever. it’s a pretty big deal!

Simmi has made great progress in her school work. She was evaluated by a dyslexia specialist when we lived in Vermont and we were told that she has profound dyslexia. This is not a bad thing, it just means that she processes information when reading or doing math differently than other children. Children with dyslexia have many strengths. I am also dyslexic, but mine is not as advanced as her’s is. So I work at her pace which is very slow, with lots of days in between for her to process what she has learned. If I do school work with her every day, she goes into overload and won’t stop rubbing her eyes because it’s like there are letters or numbers missing from what she’s reading. She believed that she was dumb and not smart because she couldn’t read like her friend Angel. It was very frustrating for her, but recently she has come to accept that she learns differently than other kids and that it’s okay to do things at a slower pace. I think she’s doing fantastic!

Dom has been working hard this year as a cook at the restaurant next door to us and also taking on side projects and maintenance work. He’s still emotionally recovering from this last move. The emotional stress of my illness over the last three years has really taken a toll on him. While I no longer have to worry about toxic mold exposure, I am still suffering with electro-hypersensitivity. My inability to deal with wifi and electricity, in general, has gotten worse since September of this year. My only solace is being down on our land where there are no frequencies at all, and if neighbors do have wifi in their houses, they are far enough away from our property to not affect me.

We made many new dear friends this year, and some of those friends became family to us.

We have our own land to call home and an emerging farm that is co-owned by Dom, me, Toulousse & Saint, and Sara. Sara will be moving to the property sometime in 2019. Toulousse and Saint are already there. I’ll be adding them to this website in the new year.

We gained a new son-in-law, Kyle, when our daughter Shoshannah was married in June of this year. Kyle is one of those rare, gentle and beautiful souls that captured my daughter’s heart and wouldn’t let go. I feel so blessed that they found such a great love in one another.

As we bring 2018 to a close, it’s time to look forward to the goals for 2019. While our list is extensive and so grand that we may not be able to fit it all into a year, it doesn’t have to fit neatly into a one year span. Let’s look at these goals as part of a Five Year Plan.

Firelight Farm’s Goals for 2019

  • Establish the market garden: Build the greenhouse, stake and build the grow beds, add row covers, install irrigation
  • Build a chicken coop and compost run
  • Line the duck pond and put up fence for the duck run
  • Build topbar beehives
  • Build a freestanding full bathroom: This will have a worm composting flush toilet (Solviva design), sink, shower and bathtub, and a washing machine. The bathroom will be located between the market garden and the French potager garden.
  • Build the produce washing and workstation, and animal evisceration (for meat processing) area next to the bathroom: This is the heart of any market garden or garden in general. It’s where fruits and vegetables are processed for the market either on farm or at the farmer’s market.
  • Build a tool shed between both gardens
  • Build our hybrid canvas tents: We will be building four 12’x12′ tent cabins. One is for Dom and I, the second tent is for Simone, the third one is for guests who come to visit us, and the fourth is for furniture and boxes as well as storing our kitchen supplies and food in. There will be a large covered area where we will have our kitchen and dining room table. The free standing bathroom will not be located too far from our camp.
  • Build a canvas tent cabin 12’x12′ for our coffee company, which will be located near where we will be building the roastery.
  • Establish the French potager garden
  • Plant fruit trees
  • Build a tropical greenhouse: This is for our personal use because we want fresh avocados, citrus, figs, and other tropical fruits that won’t grow in our hardiness zone.
  • Build the coffee roastery: This roastery will be built from logs that our neighbors have sitting up at their property. It was as if it has been there for the last ten years waiting for us to arrive. Haha, at least that’s the way I’d like to think of it! There’s enough lumber for our business complex which will be the roastery, a commercial kitchen for making cold brew and lactofermented vegetables, and the farm store.
  • Begin improving the pasture for the horses
  • Clear and remove rocks from the front of the property along the river for the future flower farm: This area is about 30’x200′ feet by my best guesstimation. 😉
  • Build a horse barn for Sara’s three gorgeous horses that will be coming to their new home
  • Build Sara a house. Sara is like a mama to Toulousse and I. We adore her and feel so blessed that she’s a part of our family.
  • Purchase ducklings and goslings
  • Purchase worms
  • Build a rabbitry and worm beds underneath
  • Purchase meat rabbits
  • Build a quail aviary
  • Purchase quail
  • Build a scaled up black soldier fly shed: Black soldier flies are one of my all time favorite creatures. The larva are highly nutritious for poultry and the adult black soldier fly is an elegant creature, living for only about a week. Adults do not have a working mouth and do not carry vector-borne diseases. I could gush on and on about these little creatures.
  • Build the farm’s outdoor kitchen and covered dining area: This will be for Farm to Table events
  • Purchase EZ Up Tents and things needed for the Silver City Farmer’s Market
  • Purchase or acquire a donated a Suburban or farm truck: We desperately need a large working vehicle that can haul a trailer and for Dom to continue working. Right now we only have one vehicle.
  • Establish a few commercial accounts for our organic fruits and vegetables and animal products
  • Build chicken tractors for meat birds. (See photo of chicken tractors below)
  • Purchase meat chickens and turkeys

Is your head spinning yet? Mine popped off just writing it all down! There’s more, but I think I’ll stop there. When I build the page for our Farmstead Milestones, I’ll add the above list with the rest of our goals, because the list keeps growing. It’ll never stop growing as long as I have breath in me.

I hope you all have an amazing New Year!

2019 is the year of great expectations and will be filled with strength, courage, wisdom, laughter, friendship, financial abundance, and lots of love!

 

 

 

My Secret Life as a Mitochondriac: Part Two

My Secret Life as a Mitochondriac: Part Two

“Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.” Steve Jobs

Becoming a mitochondriac has been a process for me. For a number of years I have been making subtle changes to my life. Nothing happened overnight. Instead, the changes that I’ve made have stood the test of time. It’s not easy to change. Whenever I’ve changed a part of my life, there were unintended consequences but if I stuck with that change it made a huge difference in my life over the years.

My quest for wellness has been a 25 year journey. My children have never known their mother as being healthy and strong, or vibrant and active. I’ve been ill for 25 years now. Let that sink in for a moment. Two and a half decades of being sick. Lymes disease, peripheral neuropathy, fibromyalgia, SLE, biotoxin illness, severe mold allergies, extensive hospital stays being in intensive care with my life hanging by a thread because of pneumonia sometimes twice a year, alopecia, miscarriages and complete infertility, morbid obesity, and the final blow in the latest of diagnoses…Celiac disease.

I’m not well. And it shows. With the exception of going raw for more than a year and finally being in remission, that was the only window of time when I was vibrant, strong, and healthy. Two years in 25.

My quest all these years was to find a way to NOT be on any medication. For someone with an arsenal of ill health under her belt, I’m not on any medication. If I’m diagnosed with something, I have a knee jerk reaction and right away start researching how to get rid of a particular autoimmune disorder. The Celiac diagnosis was particularly difficult for me to handle. I already knew that I had a sensitivity to gluten, but I had no idea that my neurological problems were actually tied to gluten. High blood pressure is also another unintended consequence of eating gluten for me. I’m a fat Celiac. Most Celiacs are frail and thin. However, regardless of whether a celiac is fat or thin, we aren’t getting the nutrients we need from food. I haven’t had any gluten since I was diagnosed in 2014.

Tweaking my diet has been an ongoing challenge. I’ve made lasting changes to how I eat. You would think that someone who eats as healthy as I do, would just drop the weight quickly.

Morbid obesity is a mitochondrial disease. Old school thinking is “calories in, calories out.” If you eat 1200 calories a day, exercise, drink water and stay away from junk food, you’ll lose weight. Here’s a fun little story…

Back after my son was born, we were living in NJ. At the time we were vegetarians. I’ve always provided my family with nutritious food. No junk food. I started going to a doctor in NJ who was famous for his practice of fasting and reversing disease. Back then I was considered morbidly obese, and he said that if I just followed his plan and exercised, the weight was guaranteed to come off. I stuck with the diet, ran three miles a day, and didn’t lose even one pound over the span of a few months. He thought I was lying about exercise and what I was eating. He accused me of binge eating and being lazy. And then he fired me as a patient.

My doctor said he could not waste his time with me if I wasn’t serious about my health.

But I was. I have always been very health conscious. It makes no sense, right?

Here’s what Dr. Jack Kruse has to say about obesity and mitochondria:

The truth is, obesity is a quantum disease that dramatically alters quantum signaling that occurs on the inner mitochondrial membrane. The change leads to a dramatic change in current on the inner mitochondrial membrane due to changes in subatomic distance in proteins of cytochromes that alter vibrational resonance. This makes us very energy inefficient. The changes in protein conformation diminish energy transfers by altering bond lengths in Angstroms. When energy transfers are diminished, people have to eat more to offset the change in the Angstrom distances in the cytochrome complexes found on the inner mitochondrial membrane. The conformational changes lead to protein folding errors in the proteins that couple oxidative phosphorylation to the correct metabolic and environmental signals is lost or becomes very inefficient. The folding errors increase the subatomic lengths of bonds in the chemistry of molecules.

One thing scientists are correct about: obesity is not a disease of carbohydrates, excess protein or an excess of dietary fat or excess insulin. It is a metabolic process to limit collateral damage from a loss of energy transfer in the cell. It is tied to not being able to correctly tell time any day of any season of the year.

Obesity is tied to an inability of the brain to process the proper amount of photons and electrons in the body in all places it matters, specifically in the hypothalamus essentially throwing off energy balance between our semiconductors, our inner mitochondrial membrane, and our leptin receptor. The obese never get the correct signal from their metabolism or the environment, to tell what the energy balance status really is in their fat cells. Because they can not decipher this message correctly, and they are losing photons and electrons to the environment because of a lack of proper quantum tunneling and quantum time; they have the sense and perception that they must eat more to improve the current of flow over their altered inner mitochondrial membrane that now leaks like a sieve because of the altered chemical bond lengths. This is also why obesity is linked to all diseases of aging. Obesity and diabetes are two circles of a Venn diagram in this enigma. That much is crystal clear. Where they intersect is the key to solving the puzzle. To solve it takes systems thinking not reductive science by itself. At their core of this intersection is where mitochondrial inefficiency issues live.

As I stated in Part One of my Secret Life series, it takes a LONG ASS TIME to digest what Jack has to say. It’s so worth it though!

Currently, I’m correcting my circadian biology. Dom and I have been working on correcting it for nearly two years now. It’s not easy. Why? Because it means changing how I do life each day. This is why it is taking me so long to get my shit together. To sleep at night in complete darkness? I would go through phases where we would start to practice it, but then I’d get some sort of autoimmune flare up which always keeps me up at night. Tossing and turning in bed? That’s torture to me. So the vicious cycle of putting the tv on at night starts. Which ruins my circadian biology.

One way I’ve hacked that problem is to wear my blue blockers every night. It takes about an hour for my brain to finally calm down and I get very tired when they are on. Another thing we do is not have any artificial light on after dark. We use candles.

Getting my body to start healing is the most important thing I can do for myself. As long as I’m obese, I know I have a mitochondrial problem. Other people may not have a problem with obesity. Their issues might stem from migraines or other other disease processes where you need medication. High blood pressure is a mitochondrial problem. I used to have extremely high blood pressure. It would feel like my head was going to pop off. The medication I was on was very strong. After I stopped eating gluten, my doctor was able to get me off the blood pressure meds because my blood pressure regulated properly. However, there is one other thing that causes my blood pressure to spike now…EMFs. If I’m in a city or place with lots of WiFi and cell towers, my head will start to feel like it’s going to pop off. It’s scary sometimes. So I avoid going to cities as much as I can.

When my circadian biology is working properly, my hormones will also start to normalize. I’ve spoken to many women who can’t sleep at night, are restless, have problems with their monthly cycle, and are either depleted in progesterone or are estrogen dominant.

Our modern lifestyles are the perfect storm for infertility and hormonal problems.

Natural Fertility Info explains melatonin and fertility this way:

Melatonin is produced by the pineal gland, a small endocrine gland located between the two hemispheres of the brain. In relation to fertility, melatonin is also produced by the follicles (eggs) within an ovary, the mass of cells that surround the follicles, and in the immature follicle itself.

Melatonin has been found to be a powerful free radical scavenger exerting strong antioxidant effects, important for supporting cellular health and protecting an immature egg from oxidative stress, especially at the time of ovulation. One small study of 115 women at the Yamaguchi University Graduate School of Medicine in Japan showed melatonin may increase egg quality by reducing the level of one oxidizing agent called 8-OHdG in the ovum, which is a natural product of DNA oxidation.

Another study in the Journal of Ovarian Research states that, “It has been believed that melatonin regulates ovarian function by the regulation of gonadotropin release in the hypothalamus-pituitary gland axis via its specific receptors… Higher concentrations of melatonin have been found in human preovulatory follicular fluid compared to serum, and there is growing evidence of the direct effects of melatonin on ovarian function especially oocyte maturation and embryo development.”

Melatonin also helps control body temperature, the timing and release of female reproductive hormones and possibly egg quality. In fact, melatonin has been found to control the onset of puberty in females, the frequency and duration of menstrual cycles, and even when a woman stops menstruating and enters menopause.

Preliminary evidence suggests that melatonin may help strengthen the immune system as well.

During pregnancy, melatonin in the blood passes through the placenta not only supporting its function and health, but also aiding in the creation of the fetal suprachiasmatic nucleus or SCN, where a human’s central circadian regulatory system in located. Because of its antioxidant effects, Melatonin may also protect the developing fetus from oxidative stress.

In conclusion, recent research of the role of a healthy circadian rhythm and cyclical production of melatonin is proving to be critical for optimal female reproductive hormone function, menstrual cycle timing, ovarian function (including follicle function- both health and quality), as well as placental function.

One can influence her circadian rhythms and melatonin production simply by waking when it becomes light outside and sleeping when it is dark. While we understand that many of us are not able to sleep the entire time it is dark outside, you can create a routine that allows you to slow and enjoy calm as darkness sets in and avoid bright artificial lights (from televisions, computer screens, hand-held devices, cell phones, etc.) at least one hour before bedtime at night (No TV in bed!).

Learning a new way to live life each day isn’t easy, and yet it’s so simple! I’m still just a Black Swan hatchling. I’m a mitochondriac who is striving to get my mitochondria healthy again. I am getting there, slowly but surely.

Since I started to religiously keep the lights off at night, go out and sun gaze in the morning and throughout the day, drink great water and begin to eat foods that are deuterium depleted (no longer eating foods that are high in deuterium) I’ve dropped one dress size. Go figure! This is something that is working for me. For every pound that I lose, I have gained a more robust mitochondrial function.

It’s a great trade-off.

Dom and I have discussions every day about the kind of center we want to open. It would be a place to jumpstart your circadian biology. This would the place you come and unplug from EVERYTHING. Leave your cell phones and wireless devices at home. It’s a digital detox. It’s actually becoming a trend in many coffee shops and cafes around the country. Cafes are opting no to provide any kind of WiFi or even places to plug in devices, because we as a society have forgotten how to really talk with one another. Our center would be free of all electrical devices. You’ll ground, drink great water, eat food from our garden, and our animals will not be grain fed, but instead pastured so that the meat will be deuterium depleted.

We need a place where artificial light doesn’t exist. Our place wouldn’t have any at all. Just Firelight. Under our dark clear skies at 5700 feet in elevation and not a cell tower in any direction. I want to create this. I want people to get excited about being able to unplug. To know that they aren’t alone in this.

We need land with water rights donated or purchased and away from any other neighbors or town and away from major roads. We need to build the infrastructure.

If a project like this resonates with you, drop me an email at ourfirelightfarm@gmail.com

 

 

 

Sacred Silence

Sacred Silence

There is a place just a few blocks from our house that feels sacred to me. It’s away from the hustle of the main street, distant from other houses, and does not have any electrical lines going to the property, or even near it. In some of the photos you might see them off in the distance, but they do not invade this part of the land.

Being an electrosensitive person means that electricity bothers me. For many who suffer as I do, often their difficulties stem from wireless devices such as cell phones, cordless DECT phones, computers that have built-in wifi broadcasting, baby monitors, cell towers, wifi enabled computer modems, and more. I have friends who are electrosensitive and when we lived in Green Bank, WV, it offered a reprieve from the onslaught of cell towers, wifi devices, etc. I also suffer from a mold allergy which made it nearly impossible for us to live in Green Bank. Dom’s Vitamin D deficiency also required us to be in a place where he can make Vitamin D year round.

Many of our friends and some of our family were concerned about where we were headed since I am electrosensitive. It isn’t easy to find a place that has no cell towers, is very scarcely populated, where I can be safe from many of the wireless devices that cause me great pain and suffering. Without going into all the details right now about what happens to me in an electromagnetic field (EMF), it just so happens that my personal electric affliction is more complex and yet, extremely simple.

When a person reaches that tipping point of electrosensitivity like I did, other electrical things start to bother them as well. This is not fun, especially because I LOVE technology. I was the person who had an iPhone, wifi router, needed the latest and greatest booster if my signal wasn’t good enough. I needed cordless Bluetooth enabled keyboard and mouse, I was ready to throw a bitch-fit if the internet was down for even just an hour, and we had multiple streaming devices in different rooms in our house. Cordless phones were a way of life and keeping my blogs and the freelance work I did online constantly demanded the bulk of my time in front of my wifi enabled computer.

So now that I figured out a huge part of my physical problems, from high blood pressure and heart problems (that was very scary) to migraines and idiopathic hives that were not only painful like having shingles, but embarrassing because my face and chest and other parts of my body would break out in very painful hot welts when I was exposed to EMFs, now also something as simple as the refrigerator and electric stove cause problems. My computer, while wired directly to a modem without wifi, has to be set away from me or I’ll start to get a migraine, and dirty electricity from the utility poles still cause me to break out in hives at different times of the day or night.

For me, all electric has an internal *buzz* or feeling. It’s an incessant presence like a bad spirit I can feel and as it accumulates creates a sense of dread, anxiety, a little bit of despair, and a lot of exhaustion.

There are ways to mitigate these things, and the most extreme is to just shut the main breaker off for the whole house. That does work, but that internal noise is still there, just more faint. The problem with shutting off the main is…you guessed it, nothing works! We live in this electric world, surrounded by devices that are supposed to make our lives better, faster, more efficient. But they don’t. We don’t have more time at the end of the day nor are our lives any better, especially if people are self-medicating with drugs (whether legal or illegal) or alcohol to alleviate the feeling of dread they have in their lives or this sense of hopelessness they just can’t seem to shake.

Dom and I knew after we moved to Green Bank that we would eventually need to leave our electric world behind. To build a home that was free of electricity (even solar or alternative power). A place of solace from the buzzing and noise created by electricity. Until you have experienced what the absence of all electricity is like, while being grounded barefoot near water, you may likely never know the true peace it brings.

We found a place after we moved to Reserve that offers sacred silence. It is a place that to me connects me to my Creator, sets me at peace, and unburdens my soul. Dom and I have visited this piece of land many times and each time, as we walk around or even stand still, I can feel my shoulders release all its tension, the buzzing begins to calm down inside, and I just breathe deep, taking it all in.

There are no wireless devices that can be found near there. No cell tower for more than 15 miles and even that tower is so weak it’s hard to get a signal in town for those who have cell phones. Neighbors are off in the distance. It’s heaven.

My hope is that someday I can find a patch of earth like this sacred space where we can build our non-electric home. Our home should be a place of sacred silence, filled with firelight, natural beauty, and healing. Especially for those with electrosensitivity. It has taken a long time for me to tame my need for electronics. It’s not easy. Those who suffer from migraines would rather take a pill than live without their cell phone, wireless devices, or blue-lit tv and device screens that are often the cause of many migraines. High blood pressure…meds are available. Anxiety? There’s a pill for that. Depression? There’s a pill for that too! ADHD? There’s medication for that as well. There’s a pill for just about everything, but just as those who have heart conditions often need to change their diet or even their environment to help them, the same goes for those with electrosensitivity. You don’t know how electrosensitive you are until you remove it for a week or more. You might be surprised how many people are actually afflicted with this problem but don’t talk openly about it because they will sound crazy, or just don’t think it’s possible.

We are electrical beings. That’s basic biology.

Since reaching that tipping point, living in a house with electric or even alternative power hurts me just as much. We know there needs to be one place in our lives that is electric free. You can always put a little alternative power shed off in the distance from your house, but where you sleep and spend most of your time should be electric free. We observed this first hand in Green Bank. So many of my friends were still suffering even though there were no EMFs actively around them. Just having the power on during the day bothered many of them. For those of us like this, the only answer is non-electricity.

I’ll stop there! I can keep talking for days about this, and I really don’t want my life to be about being electrosensitive. I want my life to be a victorious evolution from how we have always lived in our modern society, to carving out a way of life for ourselves that is not only edifying to our physical bodies but also that brings a great inner peace to our very souls. We are worth it in this lifetime, and it is achievable. It just means learning a new way to live. Now, I’m not talking about living like they lived in the 1700’s, although there are many aspects of old technology that I find fascinating. I believe we can strike a balance between our modern lives that involves electricity and counterbalancing it with time at home away from things that require electricity.

Here are photos I took today as the sun was getting ready to set. We went back to clean up a pile of garbage that was thrown out there. In this part of the forest, cows and other animals come to graze and enjoy the water. Cows will eat anything that looks remotely interesting, and we didn’t want any of them to try and eat cassette tapes or broken plastic. Many years ago when I worked on a dairy farm, I had to sit and comfort cows that were dying from eating tin cans and other crap people throw out their windows. Waiting to see if they pass the can or other things in their stomachs is so painful for them. So we picked up anything plastic around the property.

 

 

My Learning Disabled Child has Awoken

My Learning Disabled Child has Awoken

Simone stopped learning last year. And when I say stopped learning, I mean complete resistance to even trying to identify letters or numbers above 10. She is nine years old and until last week she couldn’t sound out words, count above 12, or even identify different shapes properly. You might think that she is way behind in her learning, and I would agree with you if it were purely about her age and what grade she should be in, but it’s not. Remember, it was only about 4 1/2 years ago that she started speaking. Simone’s progress happens at a different rate than other children. We don’t go by standard “normal” progress of where a child should be. We can’t because that would be an injustice to our child. It would be a crime as well as abuse.

When she was a toddler she had an aversion to bright light and the sun coming through the windows. She would become agitated and would often scream when I took her out in the daylight and into stores. We had to keep dark wool blankets over the windows that didn’t allow any light in and kept only a few lights on in the house. At night she was calm.

We had a visual therapist that would come to our house and trained us on how to possibly make neural connections for Simmi using light and sparkly things. It involved putting sparkles in the paint we used on the walls and keeping shiny things around the room and house. We did this, and in about six months she was able to see without cocking her head to the side or trying to look out the sides of her eyes all the time. There was nothing wrong with Simone’s vision, the problem was in her brain. As those neural connections formed and then took hold, we saw progress made and we were finally able to allow light into the house as well as travel outside during the day.

My reason for sharing about her vision and neural connections has to do with how her brain seems to operate with regard to learning. It takes time for new pathways to form, but once they do, they seem to lock in and stay put. Over time these new pathways open the door for her to learn new things. It is however, all predicated on how strong that pathway is. I say this as a fact because it’s a fact for us. It’s what I’ve observed in Simmi. Is it scientific? Not really because my kid isn’t a guinea pig and she’s not involved in some sort of experiment. But I do still take to heart what the doctors and therapists have explained to us about how she learns. Without their great insights, I would not be writing about her visual progress or her speech progress.

Simone is profoundly learning disabled due to neurological deficits. Simmi had a rough start to life, and up until a few months ago lived in what I now call a nightmare.

It is as if she lived in a dreamscape. Things looked real, and she could touch and hold it, but it didn’t make sense to her reasoning mind. Its the only way I can explain what I’ve witnessed.

And while I’m on the subject of reasoning, there was very little that Simone could comprehend. She had no control over her emotional state. Everything was either fun and happy, or angry and miserable. Swinging between these two states happened often. Most people knew only the happy and fun child. That’s what you see when I post photos or videos of her. That’s who she was when we were out and about and when she would meet strangers.

I do have videos and photos of her meltdowns. I would never post them. They are far too disturbing and heart-wrenching, and it would become online fodder to twisted emotional tourists who thrive on the suffering and pain of others. Have you ever met an emotional tourist? They seem like they are a caring soul and love to have tears well up during feel-good moments, and love to demonize anything that looks remotely uncaring. Because of them and to keep the dignity of my child intact, you will need to just take my word for it. I am writing a book about our experiences, but I think I edit myself far too harshly and always want to start over, so my efforts have taken on a snail’s pace.

Where was I? Oh yes, the subject is a dreamscape. That place that seems so real to your mind, and then you wake up and realize it made no sense at all. Have you ever had a dream where you are at the store buying some milk and then while you’re at the counter your friend from the third grade asks you where the teacher put her fur coat because it was 100 degrees outside and she thought she would freeze to death if she didn’t find her fur coat? Did you ever have a dream like that? Where nothing made any sense, and one thing had nothing to do with the other? This was a daily reality for Simone.

Its the best way I can try to help others make the connection to how she used to be.

That all changed in July.

A few things happened the beginning of July that rocked our world…

While we were getting ready to move to another house in Vermont, Dom was doing dishes in the kitchen and I pulled up a chair next to him so we could chat. It wasn’t normal for me to pull up so close while he did dishes (he gets water EVERYWHERE haha), but for whatever reason, I pulled my chair up. We had an incredibly small kitchen with only one phone outlet that worked in the house. This is where my phone and wireless modem was located.

As I sat there talking with Dom, the right side of my face started to burn up like when I get hives, and then it turned purple. I started feeling really dizzy and sick. I got up from my seat and asked Dom if my face was red because it felt like it was on fire. He said it was purple. I was aware of the dangers of wireless technology and EMFs, but I never thought I was one of those unlucky people! How could I be? I worked from home on my computer! I’ve been working on my computer with WiFi for at least 8 years now.

I stepped away from the modem and within an hour the hives went away. These are the same kind of hives I’ve had been suffering with for the past 6 years! Hives so bad I thought it was the food I was eating. I thought it was something I was drinking. I never once thought it could be wireless technology.

The thought that I could be sensitive to EMFs sat like a bomb in my brain. I began to test it. I doubted that it was true. Dom doubted but not as much as me. We took an inventory of everything we had that was wireless and had a signal pulsing through it. The reason I knew about wireless technology is because I researched it back in 2011-2012 and even wrote about it on this blog back then. You can do a search on my blog and put in microwave technology as the search word to find it!

Anyway, we took inventory:

  1. Wireless modem (WiFi)
  2. Cordless house phone
  3. Two iPhones always on and searching for a signal
  4. Two Roku streaming devices
  5. iMac with WiFi turned on
  6. My Bluetooth enabled mouse and keyboard
  7. Bluetooth wireless speakers
  8. Smart Meter

We turned it all off. All but the smart meter of course. No hives, no heart palpitations, no fleeting bouts anxiety (kind of like when you think you are forgetting something but you can’t remember what). And then something happened that we never expected in a million years…Simmi was calm. She was responsive. She was alert. She was peaceful. She was sweet and helpful. She was interested in helping us. She was singing songs and making jokes. She was a different child.

The transformation seemed instantaneous, but it actually happened without us realizing it over a few hours. We were busy getting the last of our stuff into boxes and ready to move to the other house in Vermont when all this took place. Did we believe it was the EMFs yet? Nope! But the observation was made and noted.

All that week before we moved, we turned the wifi on and off. When I turned my computer on, I would get hives. This was a common thing that happened to me. So common that I never paid attention to it anymore. When I was in the store I would get these same hives. When I was out driving in my car, I would get the hives. But after not having any wireless on at all, when I turned on my computer, my face and neck looked like they had been freshly whipped by someone.

I was catching on. I saw a trend. It was during this time, that I also noticed that while I was getting hives again and heart palpitations, my blood pressure also started going up. Those mysterious times when my blood pressure would spike, all the sudden made sense. Guess what else happened? Simmi would get out of control. Yes, that sweet child who was helpful, calm, cracking jokes, and very peaceful, became unhinged, unglued, unreasonable, and having some of the worst meltdowns we have ever experienced.

This was happening to us. This was happening to her!

Then she said (and it’s not the first time she has said this to us, but the most memorable) “My heart is beeping too fast, it hurts.” Dom looked at me and freaked out. He said, “Shut it down! Shut it all down!”

We shut everything off again. All the wireless technology was off and she calmed down and my blood pressure normalized and the hives went away. No more irregular heartbeats were detected by my blood pressure monitor.

Were we convinced? Nope. It was an experience, just one of many. We’re dense people.

So we move into the next house in Vermont, and there is no cell service available. We had to go a few days without any computer or cable. This time, however, we chose to hardwire the computer and turn off the WiFi capabilities, put our cellphones on airplane mode, and got a wired landline. No more cordless phone. We also turned off the power in our rooms at night, used candles in the evening, and replaced all the compact fluorescent bulbs with incandescent. Last but not least, we had the smart meter switched to an analog meter.

It worked. And then it didn’t. And then it did. And then it didn’t.

We were so confused.

In the other house, it was absolute peace. In this house, we couldn’t understand why we still had some problems with hives, heart palpitations, and behavior problems. Then I realized that all the neighbors on our street had smart meters. When I turned on my cellphone to see what kind of wifi was available, it showed at least 4-5 connections available! There was also a cell tower within a few miles of our house, and everyone has cell phones on our block.

We were still bathing in wireless technology.

We did everything we could to lower our personal exposure, and it helped for sure! We saw all these glimpses of possibility with Simone. I looked forward to actually sleeping at night. Insomnia was another problem I had, and it was gone when we turned off all the wireless technology. I sleep very soundly now at night without a tv or any other device. Sleeping with the tv on is something I did for nearly 28 years. I know this because I remember the year I first slept with a tv on. It was only a few months after my first child was born. That’s how long my tv habit was. I could never sleep at night without the help of a tv. I broke that habit July 1, 2016, and never looked back.

So there I am, marveling at what a different kid Simone is, and then the meltdowns start again. We never attempted to start school up again for her because I wanted her to just enjoy her newfound sense of peace, in between the periods of horrific meltdowns. If I took her to the store, she would start this high pitched screaming if something didn’t go her way, if I said no, or if I said it was time to go.

She would gravitate towards areas where smart meters were and hang out there to talk with the neighbors. It was like she was addicted to EMFs on some level. The other thing that would happen when we would go into town is that on the way I would get really exhausted and she would pass out in the backseat. What was it that we were feeling? I’ll answer that for you…it was the EMFs from cell towers that were everywhere! It was at that point Dom realized that he too was affected by EMFs. He would get in his truck after work and on his way home feel so tired like he needed caffeine. When he saw Simmi pass out in the back seat in the same areas he and I also felt tired, he understood it wasn’t about being exhausted, it was about EMFs zapping our energy.

During this time we were having problems with our neighbors as well. This was all like a big nightmare.

When Dom and I went to visit a friend who lives in the National Radio Quiet Zone, that is when we found real peace. When great jobs were offered to us in the quiet zone, we looked at it as a most assured sign that this was where we needed to be for Simmi’s emotional and neurological well-being, and for mine. It all happened in one fell swoop, and all the pieces of the puzzle fit together.

We live in an area of Virginia that is only about 30 minutes from Green Bank, WV in the Quiet Zone. You can do a little research to read up on what the quiet zone is if you’d like. For the sake of how long this post is getting, I’m not going to talk about that right now.

Anyway, we live where the nearest cell tower is about 10 minutes away. There are no smart meters, and only a few people in my little tiny town have wifi. Cellphones don’t work here. It is here that Simmi started to learn. No more meltdowns at all. Just peace. Does she act up from time to time? Yup, like any other normal child who may want something she can’t have, with one exception, Simmi can now understand why she can’t have something, or why she can’t do something. There are very few arguments or protests if any at all.

We have been in the quiet zone for nearly a month now (with one week under our belt in our tiny little cottage), and Simmi has recently asked to do school work. She has been doing school work every day from 10:00am-5:00 pm with a one-hour break for lunch, which is forced on her or she wouldn’t take a break. Two days ago, I made the mistake of allowing her to do school work from 9:00am-6:30 pm with an hour break and she had a meltdown. She was on serious overload and I fear she may have a setback because of it. I now have to limit her schooling to 10:00am-3:30 pm with an hour for lunch because she becomes overstimulated.

She is catching up. I switch her between three educational online programs, as well as reinforcing what she’s learned afterward. She’s getting it! She has awoken and is hungry for knowledge. She is making new neural connections and new pathways are being formed at this time. In the next few months, they will be fortified and strong! They are still new and delicate right now. If she gets burnt out because she doesn’t want to stop learning, I fear she will reconnect those old pathways she had prior to being exposed to EMFs.

In the absence of non-native EMF, my child is functional. It begs the questions, “Did she always have neurological deficits or were these deficits created when we exposed her to the baby monitor from the day she was born? She has been exposed to WiFi since birth. She has had trouble sleeping, skin conditions, allergies, learning difficulties, emotional instability, speech apraxia, global apraxia, and many other conditions. Where they due to her being born this way, or because of our wireless technology?”

Was all of this our fault, and we didn’t know it?

I can say with confidence that as we keep her away from wireless technology she is getting better. It may have unwittingly been our fault, my fault. My love and need for wireless everything. Every gadget that seems so useful also seems to have caused the greatest harm.

She is learning. She is making connections. This wasn’t a coincidence or a miracle. This was a difficult decision we made over the course of three months to stop using wireless technology, limit our exposure and get her to safety. Safety meant out of harm’s way.

Parents wouldn’t allow their children to play on a very busy street where cars are constantly racing by. They wouldn’t allow their children to be placed in a vulnerable position where they could be harmed. This is where we are at in our lives. We as parents refuse to expose our child any longer to the harmful effects of electromagnetic frequencies and magnetic radiation.

What would you do to help your child learn? Would you give up your devices? Cancel your cell phone contract? Hardwire your computer and turn off the wifi? Get rid of tablets, DECT Cordless phones, baby monitors, Bluetooth devices, smart TVs, smart meters, electric cars and smart cars enabled with Bluetooth and 4G?

It is being discovered that EMFs and wireless technology have a profound effect on children with autism and ADHD, as well as children with epilepsy.

In future posts, I will be talking more about this topic and the impact it has made in not only me and Simone’s life but countless other families who suffered not knowing that wireless technology was primarily to blame for their child’s learning and behavior problems.

In the meantime, we are celebrating Simmi. We are getting to know a little girl who was hidden to us. We are hearing more complex stories from her imagination, watching her form words and learn to read. She has learned shapes, colors, to count to 50, and to do simple math. All in one week! She understands up and down, right and left (still gets a little confused on that one) near and far, tallest to shortest. She is doing math on a number line. She can read three letter words and simple books.

She can read simple books. She can read and do math. She can attend and concentrate uninterrupted for hours upon hours. She used to only be able to handle school work for 15 minutes one time per week, and couldn’t stand sitting at the table with me to learn anything. Now she begs me all day to keep going.

It is more than I could have ever asked for. It is a dream come true. My girl is awake!

In one week she has managed to get through almost all her kindergarten work. In five more lessons, she will officially be in the First Grade. This is a milestone for her. A great accomplishment.

I’m so proud of all she has accomplished, and I look forward to seeing how she does in this next month.