As most of you know, my family and I try to live a whole foods lifestyle. In part of living this lifestyle, we have been trying to raise and grow some of our own food in the city (or just outside of the city of Reno, NV).
I must say, it has been a learning experience and I have a new found respect for the wholesome organic and non-GMO food that I purchase.
On our little Funny Farm, (I call it funny, because we are city folk who live on 8 acres and know nothing about farming, and that’s just a little funny) we have 3 honeybee hives managed by the beekeepers, we have some old fruit trees, a new garden with raised beds, and some free range chickens. We have not tried to have livestock, but have joked about it.
The honeybees have been a fun learning science experiment. We have learned about the health benefits of propolis (the waxy stuff the bees use to repair the hive has antibacterial and antifungal properties), royal jelly (also has healing properties and is where the queen bee is grown), and the wonderful health benefits and sweetness of the raw local honey. Since we don’t care for them ourselves, most of the honey goes to the beekeepers. That is fine with us, since this sweet nectar is only enjoyed occasionally and given as gifts. We have even watched a few swarms happen on the property.
We have apple and pear trees on the property too. In the few years we have lived here, the only folks enjoying the fruits have been worms and the bears. This year, we have no fruit because of the late frost. I was considering a natural resolution to the worms this year, but didn’t get very far. If you happen to know of a natural herbicide or have had success with worm prevention, please share. Maybe next year I will have the opportunity to try.
The garden is new for me this year. In the past, I have killed the few plants I have had because I forgot to water them. So although I got the garden in late, we did set up a good drip line on a timer, so I wouldn’t kill it. Honestly, I was really excited to be a gardener and enjoy fresh vegetables and leafy greens from my organic garden. Fresh fruits and vegetables from good soil have a high vitamin and mineral density over those shipped. But alas, I have failed again. The sun was too hot for my rainbow chard, spinach, and kale. The squirrels, voles, rabbits, and birds have decimated everything else. We even bought a pellet gun, but haven’t used it because we have never caught the animals in action. I tried a high frequency noise maker to no avail. I am consulting with pest control now, but I feel terrible. If I am lucky, I may get some tomatoes this year, possibly a cucumber, but I am not holding my breath. The only thing survived is the mint, rosemary and oregano. Not bad, but I wanted my blueberries, raspberries and strawberries too. Maybe I need night vision goggles to stay up all night long to keep the garden safe. For now, I will appreciate that my neighbor knows how to garden and will keep sending me her extra booty from her garden with a huge smile.
I LOVE my organic, free-range chickens. I LOVE my fresh eggs. In my efforts to free range them in the back yard, one was taken by a hawk. I went from 5 down to 4. Now I don’t free range, but they have a huge run and plenty of fresh air and sun and water. Our impenetrable coop apparently was compromised due to the squirrels trying to get to the scraps. We secured it back up. Today, I lost another chicken. She was our Americano with the puffy cheeks and laid green eggs. I think it was Sudden Chicken Death, because there were no signs of struggle or maybe she was egg-bound. She didn’t lay an egg every day usually, so maybe. I will keep an eye out on the others.
We won’t be considering any livestock soon since we can’t get the basics down.
It is rough on the Funny Farm. Not always funny I guess. Maybe I should throw my hands up and say forget it! I don’t know. Maybe I simply don’t’ know what I am doing? Or maybe I need to keep trying for a bit longer and read more books or consult with more professional farmers? Who knows…..
For certain, I have a new respect for the challenges of farming. I appreciate my food more than I ever used to. Even my kids do too. I appreciate the store bought organic and non-GMO and even grass fed meats that much more. Good food takes a lot of time and effort to raise and harvest. Especially if you take the high road and avoid the things that make it easier like pesticides, genetically modified organisms and mass production.
Thank you organic farmers for working so hard. I don’t know how you do it, but I am glad you do even if you lose sleep at night to keep the vermin away and protect the food that nourishes my body.
Remove. Replace. Restore.
Remove fear of trying to grow and raise your own food.
Replace trial and error. Go to the Farmer’s market and get to know the farmers. Gratitude. Savor fresh whole organic food for it feeds us in more ways than we know.
Restore health and a connection to the earth.
Eat Well. Move Well. Sleep Well. Thrive On.
Dr Carolyn Dolan DPT, Cert MDT, MSHN
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