My approach to homeschool is very…. eclectic. I “teach” from a very nature based standpoint. Creating and fostering a great love for Mother Earth and all of her creations is very important to me. I believe it helps to promote a more mindful, gentle kindness in the little ones, and hopefully in turn will create kind and gentle grown ups in the future.
This week we are studying earthworms. We have worms up here in Alaska, but I honestly don’t think I have ever seen earthworms on the ground or in puddles after a good rainstorm like you would see in the lower 48. The only worms I’ve seen here in my garden soil are red wiggler types. And to be honest, we did end up with red wigglers for our worm farm instead of the big fat earthworms that I was kind of expecting.
For our reading and reference books we used (affiliate links) :
For additional resources we used (not affiliate links) :
** I use ENWC as a reference, and absolutely love it, but do not follow it week by week. I cherry pick through the subjects and do them when it suits us best since we are in a bit of a different environment being in Alaska.
With this wide variety of materials, I felt I was able to address the learning needs for all three of the girls’ learning levels ~ from preschool age up to 8 years old.
Throughout the week we read through our great stack of nature books, drew some pictures and worked on handwriting in our nature journals, completed worksheets, and played with these stretchy wiggly worms from the Dollar Spot in Target. The girls LOVED these!
Towards the end of our unit study, our worm farm and live worms arrived ~
First step was to soak the coco peat pods in warm water for a few minutes. While they were absorbing the water, we transferred the worms and soil to the worm farm, added the bright green sand, then the coco peat, and topped with grass seed. I had wondered if there was going to be some “eww” factor from the girls, but they were so excited to assemble the farm and observe the worms, there was zero “eww” from them. They LOVE checking in on the worms and seeing the new tunnels they had formed. I’m honestly surprised at how much they are enjoying their wormy friends.
Later on in the summer, we’ll release them into the garden, give them plenty of room to roam, reproduce, and in return they will help to nourish the garden for us. Win Win 🙂
The plague has hit Keetna Farm. Boo. Thankfully it’s not influenza, so honestly it could be SO much worse, but still, not cool. This bug seems to start with a fever and make you just feel crummy for a couple of days, and then hides, tricking you into thinking you miraculously avoided disaster. Then BAM! Hits you with a horrible cough, lung congestion, stuffy but snotty nose and then all of the fun that comes with that like miserable kiddos, restless nights and snot everywhere. Good times. Time to dig into the crunchy mama wellness toolkit.
Because of the girls’ allergies, over the counter remedies are not an option. Which honestly, is a good thing because most of them are full of garbage anyway. But in a pinch, or panic over a little one’s high fever, (ahem) I totally get the appeal. We actually did pull out some dye free children’s Motrin for Miss J who is 2.5 years old because it was her first high fever and I admit I was nervous for her. I am a huge supporter of letting our bodies do their job, fevers are a good thing, I know. But her little body was 104 and so damn hot, it was the middle of the night, and.. I caved. And 2 minutes after she took it, she threw it up (this was not a throw up virus, she just can’t seem to take OTC meds). Crap.
So I tried the wet sock treatment for the first time ~ soak 2 socks in cold water, wring them out, put them on the hot pocket, and cover with grown up socks, preferably wool. I read to leave them on over night, but her hot body warmed them up and dried them off within half an hour, so I repeated the process twice more, about 30 minutes apart, leaving the 3rd pair on for the remainder of the night. Worked amazingly. She went back to bed less than 2 hours later at 101 degrees, slept 6 hours straight and woke up at 100 degrees where it hovered most of the day and was gone by evening. Highly recommend trying that out if you haven’t already.
She was kid #2 to get sick, Miss V had already passed the fever (although she was not nearly as hot), the deceptive calm before the storm days, and had started hacking. Now, she is terrified of throwing up, so this wet nasty cough really freaks her out because she thinks that she’s going to vomit instead of coughing up lung gunk. So far we haven’t been able to convince her that she’s going to be fine and that she should let herself cough it up and spit it out ~ totally adds to the fun, let me tell ya.
Now #3 has entered into the cough phase, and Miss S never gets sick, so that’s how I know this is a pretty yucky virus and I don’t freaking want it.
Enough about how gross everyone feels ~ here’s what we’re doing about it :
We had to grind up some of our yarrow that I had wild harvested and dried from last year ~ excellent task for the kiddos ~ and pulled the stems out.
You need :
This makes a half gallon of tea. I put a bit more honey in their “sick tea” than I’d normally use to help coat their throat, ease discomfort, and help to calm the cough. Of course they don’t mind one bit. This tea is pretty mild, totally drinkable without sweetener (which is how I drink it) and if it were just for grown ups, I’d probably add more thyme but it’s pretty strong for the little ones.
This tea really helps calm the cough, and safe for them to drink throughout the day. It’s pretty neat, they start coughing and head to the kitchen for more tea, so they know it works!
Respi Relief for Kids EO is my new favorite congestion/cold relief oil for the two “bigger” (4 and 7 years old) girls. I have used RC from Young Living for years on all of the kids, but am a total convert. And Tri Remedy for Kids is absolutely excellent as well, for all ages but is mild enough to use on the littles 18 months and up. I apply these on their little feet and lung reflex points. We oil up at night before bed, and usually once during the day, more if needed.
Oh man the girls LOVE taking elderberry syrup. I made a batch of this earlier in the “flu season” to have at the ready and it’s been stored in the fridge ever since, thank goodness. I give the girls a teaspoon 3 times a day while battling illness.
We have used Sovereign Silver colloidal silver for years for all kinds of illness and ailments with wonderful success. I kicked mastitis 3 times with just silver and homemade elderberry syrup. It’s pretty amazing stuff. I give the girls 1/2 tsp 3 times a day with their elderberry.
As I mentioned above ~ this is awesome. Take two socks, soak in cold water, wring out, put on feet and cover with bigger socks, wool preferably but cotton will totally suffice. When the body heats them up and dries them out, repeat. May not be needed with lower fevers, and may need to be done a few times with stubborn fevers.
What’s your go to when the kiddos get the yuck? I’d love to hear what your tried and true remedies are, I’m always looking for more ideas to add to my crunchy mama toolkit!
Did you know that bees poop?? I don’t know why it never occurred to me? I mean, pretty much everything poops…
This is our first year with bees (obviously… ahem). I picked up our hive kit and started researching the best color to paint it. Basic answer seems to be, it doesn’t really matter. Go plain, go crazy, or stay somewhere in between, the bees don’t really care.
I saw a lot of pictures of pretty white hives surrounded by garden and wildflowers.. and decided that was what I was going to do ~
Is anyone else a sucker for the romantic images of gardening/farming/livestock and now with bee hives? *Totally guilty* Anyway, in the south it is said to help with keeping the hive temps down, which isn’t an issue here in AK, but white is what I happened to have in the closet leftover from a previous project, so white is what I used.
The style of hive we are using is a Langstroth Hive :
Image courtesy Farmer’s Almanac
To start out with, we are using the stand, bottom board, one deep super and the inner and outer covers. We have put a sugar water feeder inside the super that takes up the space of two frames to keep them supplied with food for building out their frames until something, anything, starts to bloom around here. We still have a couple of feet of snow in places! Once they start to really fill those frames in, we can add another deep super box, and then the honey supers once it’s time.
To prep the hive, I applied a couple of coats of latex paint. I thought I had allowed it plenty of time to dry before stacking because I was afraid of the boxes sticking together. They still kind of did, so keep that in mind.
I put the hive behind an outbuilding in our back yard. It’s southern facing, gets tons of sunlight plus the back of the building really radiates some heat. I put a couple of coats of paint on an old table we had in one of the domes and placed the hive on it ~ our ground is still a nasty mix of water and ice.I was really pleased with the simplicity (and thriftiness) of it.
The bees came in a few days later and we drove into town to pick them up from a local bee keeper. The bees were flown up from California, born and raised in an almond orchard. I read lots of articles and watched tons of you tube videos on how to hive bees to where I was nervously confident that I could do it. Of course when I picked them up, to my dismay, they were not packaged in any way that I had seen and my confidence started to waver a bit.
By the time we got home it was very cool, like 38 degrees, they were slow moving and probably hungry. I put some fresh sugar water in their hive along with some of the pollen patty that they came with, and went to work opening the bee box and trying to get them in their hive. In the process, I dropped the plastic queen container down into the bottom of the hive. Dammit. I had no choice but to put my hand down in with all the pissed off bees and find it so I could remove the cap allowing the bees to have access to the sugar plug so she could be released. To seasoned bee people, this is probably silly. But I was feeling a bit overwhelmed at that point. BUT I did it! Fished that baby out of the buzzing abyss, pulled the cap off and put the container where it was supposed to go in between the frames. Phew.
I was instructed by the bee guy to wait 3 days and do a hive check, make sure the queen had been released. I made it two full days before I couldn’t stand it anymore, had to go see how things were going. I get out to my pretty white hive and see this ~
The bees were buzzing around, seemingly happy as could be but there was crap (literately) everywhere. Google tells me that yes indeed, bees poop. And since there is no external food source for them at the moment, they are hanging out pretty exclusively around the hive and pooping pollen patty poop all over their pretty house. Thanks bees.
But the queen was successfully released and everything appears to be good so far, so I am grateful for that. I think this is an investment we intend to make each year for the next few years, but I will probably not be painting any more of the hives white.
Any beekeepers out there? Have any great words of wisdom for me?
Yeah… so… if spring could hurry up, that’d be pretty awesome…. I’m unsuccessfully trying to catch up on loading my Etsy shops during the little ones nap. I have a great window in front of my work space with a (normally) wonderful and inspiring view of my front yard and the woods, but it’s a rather blustery day outside today and I’m having a really hard time wanting to sit here at the moment.
So, I called in two of my best friends for help ~ cbd and fatty coffee, to keep me warm and happy.
Look how cute this little one is ~ I am on a huge bloomer and vintage top kick right now. Little Miss J is set for spring, summer and fall I have made so many of both in her size. Unfortunately, I fall in love with them, and then claim them instead of list them. It’s an addiction I fear. They are so damn cute – the tops layer over long sleeves and under cardigans wonderfully, and the bloomers go over tights in colder weather and then with just bare legs in warmer weather. Seriously a perfect addition to any seasons’ wardrobe.
Obviously I’m stalling… I’d rather ramble on about how cute my little one is in her mama made clothes than actually post them on Etsy, so let’s just move on to the deliciousness that is my Fatty Coffee and forget about work for now.
I follow an anti-inflammatory “diet” for my rheumatoid arthritis. I say “diet” very loosely since the word seems to imply a short term attempt at loosing weight or decreasing inflammation, blood sugar, blood pressure, cholesterol, etc…
Whatever the ailment is, we often try a “diet” for a couple of weeks/30 days, and (usually) revert back to our normal routine. I have followed this lifestyle for over 4 years now so I’m beyond the diet phase into definitely in it for the long haul. I have found myself naturally transitioning over from AIP to Keto over the last year due to some gut bacterial overgrowth issues making even once safe starches like winter squash, cassava, sweet potatoes off limits for me. Not only does it cause some horrible digestive complaints, it also causes my joints to flare up and the brain fog to become pretty unbearable. So for me, it’s pretty easy to steer clear of the “bad” stuff and stay on my path because the consequences are nasty.
Oh, and I never cut out coffee. Huge NO NO in the AIP community, but I do what I want, and I want coffee.
Meet Fatty Coffee. It’s frothy, warms your soul, and fills your belly. My basic recipe is a fresh cup of coffee (does anyone actually only drink 8oz? I think mine is about 12 oz if I’m sharing a full press with Mr. KF, and more like 16oz if I’m keeping it to myself) a hunk (tablespoon ish) of cacao butter and a tablespoon ish of coconut butter all in the blender, blended on high for 30 seconds for frothy perfection. Add sweetener if desired.
If I’m feelin’ fancy, I add homemade hemp milk, and 1/4 tsp of vanilla powder as well.
I always start my day with black coffee but usually find myself craving one of these midday when my brain and sense of motivation starts to slow down. It’s a perfect pick me up – calories and fat for the brain and caffeine for the soul. Love.
*Quick note about the ingredients we use ~ We don’t buy a lot of processed food at all – but when we do, we have to buy as clean of foods as we can due to everyone’s various allergies and sensitivities. Cross contamination with corn is possible in almost any thing due to the way things are grown, sprayed, harvested, processed and packaged, so finding corn safe food is the first requirement for us because Miss V is very sensitive and her corn allergy is probably the “worst” one we deal with here. Corn safe whole ingredient processed foods are hard to come by, and never the cheapest option when we do find them. For example, the vanilla power is stupid expensive. I will absolutely be making our vanilla powder next time. Pure vanilla extract purchased or homemade is an excellent option if it’s something you tolerate well. I always say I’m going to make some with a grape vodka but never end up doing it.
People are funny. Hemp has a weird, and unwarranted stigma. Some people know that it is *just* a plant (a pretty amazing one I will add), but some are almost embarrassed to discuss it with me openly, so it’s in hushed voices or questions hidden in messages. Which is fine of course, any opportunity to educate on the awesomeness of hemp is wonderful and welcome, but I must say that I find it interesting. It’s just a lack of knowledge ~ I get it.
But then there’s those that give me the stink eye, or even gasp when I say I use a hemp cbd oil. AND I give the cbd to my girls, double gasp! Sheesh.
Seriously, we use hemp a lot around here. In seed form to grow hemp greens, heart form on our food and in smoothies, in milk form in all kinds of recipes, oil form in so many homemade products like lip balms, salves, and creams, and yes, even in cbd form. It is said to help with leaky gut syndrome (LGS), food intolerance, SIBO, inflammation, and autoimmune issues. https://wakeup-world.com/2017/02/10/latest-research-on-cbd-oil-offers-new-hope-for-healing-leaky-gut-syndrome-and-autoimmune-disorders/
Between all of us here at KF, we can check off that entire list. So here we are, all taking different sized doses of cbd. We have no negative effects. Hemp causes no psychotropic reactions but instead provides many significant benefits. The main one I see for myself and Miss V (who is 7) is that it helps promote a calmer mind, less anxiety, which leads to an overall better mood and sense of well being.
The list of general health benefits from consuming hemp is long, but here’s my favorite highlights :
Hemp hearts are rich in healthy fats and essential fatty acids. They are a great plant based protein source and contain high amounts of potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, sulfur, calcium, iron, and zinc. It is a “perfect protein” source, containing all 20 amino acids.
* I want to note that hemp is an excellent source of all of your omegas, but IS higher in omega 6 than 3 (like 3:1) so we use a fish oil, especially in the winter when we run out of red salmon in the freezer, to help keep that in balance *
When growing hemp, whether it be for food, fiber, medicine, etc.. you use the whole seed. They have a super hard brown shell on them. When you buy hemp hearts to eat, those super hard shells are hulled, and you are eating the raw goodness that was inside of it. They’re pretty soft and tender. I absolutely love them on a salad with microgreens, topped with olive oil and fresh squeezed lemon. Mr. Keetna Farm is not so fond of them, so he gets them hidden in his food (wink). The girls get them in their daily smoothies (we call them juicies) in either heart or milk form.
What? Hemp milk? Yep. Super quick and easy to make. We are dairy free due to allergies and intolerance, so I whip up a batch of hemp milk any time we need a dairy type liquid for a recipe. You can buy hemp milk in the store, but it has gross additives that are really just not good for you. And it’s not necessary to buy the yuck stuff when it’s so easy to make.
You just need :
And the date is totally optional. I only add it if sweetness is desired for some reason. I usually use it when making the girls’ pancakes. Other yummy additions (if desired) would be a bloop (maybe 1/2 tablespoon?) of honey or maple syrup, or any flavorings like a 1/2 tsp of vanilla, cinnamon, or cacao powder.
So ~ take all of your ingredients, put them all in a good blender together, blend on high for a minute, and done. No straining. This will give you a cup and a half of hemp milk, use what you need and store the rest in the fridge. Told you, super easy.
Are you a hemp lover too? I’d love to hear what your favorite way to use hemp is and what benefits you have seen since incorporating hemp into your daily routine!
Over the last two years I have test run quite a few logos for my microgreen business. I kinda liked my first one, which I used for a year or so, but it wasn’t true love. And in true rebound relationship fashion, the next few attempts progressively got worse and worse…
Until now. I was totally not looking for a logo for my greens today, but true logo love found its way to me anyway.
My logo designer was Kelcie Saunders with KSdesignery on Etsy at https://etsy.com/shop/ksdesignery and @kelciesaunders on instagram. She was awesome ~ highly recommend her!!
SO flippin’ excited to get new labels made up! Seriously you guys, it’s the little things ~
I absolutely love Ostara ~ honestly, it may be my favorite day of the year. Winters here are hard. And long. And cold. Right around this time every year it feels like it may be the year that winter just doesn’t end. The arrival of Ostara lifts my spirits and renews my faith that although it does not look or feel like spring outside, it IS on its way. And then I get all excited and want to start seeds, and order all the chicks, berry bushes and fruit trees. LOVE this time of year ~
I was so giddy unpacking our decorations yesterday. The girls helped me set up our alter and get everything ready for today. Our alter this year was simple, a twig bird next with eggs, bunnies and beeswax candles on a wood slab.
First thing this morning I sat down for quiet coffee ~ the best kind ~ and set my intentions for a fertile season (agriculturally speaking that is… ahem…) full of good health, abundance, and creating plenty of memories. Then the girls got up and we talked about spring, and how in the world could it be spring when there’s still 4 feet of snow outside, and how we will start to hear the birds singing in the morning within the next couple of weeks. Then the begging for baby chickies started. See? I swear I do it for them, not myself. Convinced? Ha, me either.
After breakfast and the venture outside to feed chickens, load the wood boiler, and play for a bit, we came in for some first day of spring tea ~ I made a blend of stinging nettle, dandelion leaf, rose buds, lavender, and a bit of dried lemon peel. Both the nettles and dandelion leaf are excellent sources of calcium (which we get primarily from greens due to dairy allergies) and vitamins A and K. I try to get nettles in the girls most days of the week ~ it’s a great overall anti inflammatory and anti histamine source. Rose buds work to boost the immune system, soothe the digestive system, provide vitamins A,B3,C,E,K, and just make the heart happy. Lavender aids in digestion and helps to reduce anxiety. Seriously, it was glorious springtime sunshine in a mug. Delicious.
While enjoying our tea, we colored the Ostara pages from our Book of Shadows coloring book and I had Miss V work on handwriting with words and phrases pertaining to the day. To finish off our fun we painted new little bird houses, you know the cheap wooden ones at the craft stores? We decorate new ones every spring. This was Miss J’s first year to participate as well (she’s 2) pretty sure I made sure to do them when she was napping last year. It was messy as all get out, but so fun. We kept it really simple this year, but here’s some other neat family friendly ideas to try :
It really makes my heart happy to make these memories with the girls. It’s all little stuff in the grand scheme, but SO important for them. And me.
Do you celebrate Ostara? I’d love to hear how others spent today!
As I sit here with a cup of warm tea, gazing out my window at a perfect view of a gorgeous crescent moon through the silhouette of the tall spruce trees, my heart is at peace.
We live a life that many may find… boring? Weird?
I strive daily to keep our lives simple. It’s definitely not an easy life, but I want it to be filled with wonder, learning, nature, making memories, and love. Not full of “stuff”. Not always rushed. Not overwhelmingly busy, leading to high anxiety, high stress and general unhappiness. I have been there, I lived that life for years, raised 3 of my six children in that life because I thought that was what “we” were supposed to do.
For some reason I had a sharp shift in mindset. Honestly, I still don’t know what caused it. But I was done. I could lay in my bed in the morning and know what time it was by which neighbor was slamming doors and starting cars, no alarm clock needed. We had lived in that house for 9 years, 3 of our children grew up in that neighborhood. And one day, I was completely over it all. I convinced my husband that we needed to put the house on the market and move an hour and a half away, in the woods. At that point we had a very little kiddo #4 and was expecting #5. Talk about nuts. It was a big transition. Still is, 5 years and one more little later.
Not only did we move to the sticks (and bears), but our lives had to drastically adjust from what was our norm as the little girls started showing signs of food allergies, histamine intolerance, and my own onset of rheumatoid disease. We became “crunchy” pretty quick. It’s been such an awesome journey ~ growing, raising and hunting for our food, tackling our health issues as naturally as we can, we home school, and I created a business growing microgreens year round. My love for herbalism has grown so much (Maybe too much according to my overflowing apothecary cabinet) and practicing natural wellness is quickly becoming a way of life for us.
We were never a religious family but always practiced the “traditional” holidays such as Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, etc because… that’s how we grew up. I find now that nature has become my religion, as weird as that may sound to some. We celebrate moon cycles and equinoxes, our lives ebb and flow with the rhythm of the changing seasons. Alongside the girls, I am learning SO much so that I may teach them these things. It’s been such a fulfilling experience. As we continue down this path, I am excited to share in hopes that others may find that maybe they would find joy in being boring and weird too ~ Thanks for joining me!