Harrison Farm

for now, the only thing we're growing on this farm is kids - not the goat variety

Category: Health (page 1 of 4)

Attempting Sourdough Starter

I’m giving sourdough starter a try (again!) I’ve had limited success with sourdough in the past, and my dissatisfaction with our current bread situation is pressing me to try it again.

For a long time, I soaked my wheat Sally Fallon style before using the aid of my bread machine for the kneading and rising. Then I’d transfer the dough to bread pans for a final rising and bake. The process required several steps, but they were easy steps and the kids helped out a lot…until the non-stick coating started to peel away from the bread machine pan, so I decided to stop using it.

Then I started using a modified whole-wheat recipe from the Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes book, but for some reason the bread is rather dry and crumby. I can’t stand putting so much time and effort into making bread when I don’t really care to eat the finished product. So here I go with trying sour dough again.

Another motivator to get this started now is that I have a birthday coming up, a perfect excuse to try out a version of Wardeh’s healthy Chocolate Sourdough Cake. Doesn’t it look Dee-licious? I’ll be using whole wheat rather than spelt and sucanat instead of cane juice. Can’t wait to give it a try!

The Tick Infest

Marathon and Carman recently did some semi-serious mountain biking. They came home sweaty and pumped about their climb. They did a tick check (found nothing) and showered. All seemed happy-happy.

In the middle of the night, Marathon woke me. Something was irritating him and he couldn’t sleep. After my eyes adjusted to being awake, I checked his ankles, and I could see little, tiny dark dots on him. You’d think they were freckles, except that he doesn’t have many of those. I actually got out Carman’s magnifying glass to get a closer look. They were ticks. I must have gotten about 20 off of him. We woke up Carman and found 2 on him.

A couple of days later, something was irritating me. We found 2 on me too. Thankfully no one has gotten a rash or fever. But these were so tiny – less than half a millimeter or smaller in size – they must have been the infamous deer ticks.

Having a few friends in the area who have had serious battles with lyme disease, I know some of those little critters pack a really mean punch. Sobering thought that so many were in our house.

Bruise-Be-Gone with Witch Hazel

image compliments of flickrs sea turtle

image compliments of flickr's sea turtle

I’m one of those souls who bruises easily. I’ll occasionally find a large bruise, and I’ll have no recollection of how I got it. For a long time I’ve suspected that witch hazel, an astringent produced from the leaves and bark of the North American Witch Hazel shrub, helps me not bruise. Now I have proof.

A couple of days ago I whacked my right shin on a stool. The skin turned pinkish almost immediately. It hurt!

I dropped what I was doing, soaked a cotton ball with witch hazel, and dabbed it on my sore shin for a couple of minutes. The discoloration faded quickly and now there is not a hint of blue or purple bruising on my skin!

There seems to be a correlation between how soon the witch hazel is applied and its effectiveness. If I wait until my skin is already turning blue, the astringent doesn’t seem to make much of a difference at all.

I did a quick search and it seems that witch hazel is helpful for other ailments too from relieving pain from varicose veins, to soothing the itchiness and swelling of poison ivy, to helping nicks and cuts heal. Have you had success using witch hazel? Seems like handy stuff to have around.

Making Yoghurt

homemade yogurt

I finally tried my hand at making homemade yogurt. The process is easier than I had expected. Continue reading

Storing Lacto-Fermented Condiments

The question of storing lacto-fermentation has been brought up. One of the beauties of lacto-fermentation is that you don’t have to “can” them in a water-bath or pressure canner. The thought of boiling all that water in the middle of summer is stifling. Continue reading

Niedlov’s Bakery

Niedlov’s Bakery

At Chattanooga’s Niedlov’sNiedlov’s Bakery, bread is made the old fashioned way. It tastes sour, chewy, delicious – especially with a pat of butter.

Carman, Sudoku, a sleeping Rosebud, and I had the pleasure of visiting Niedlov’s Bakery with some fellow homeschoolers. Continue reading

Soaking Grains and Flours

I’m about to write a post on my current bread recipe, and I realized that it probably won’t make sense to most people because there are a few additional steps I do that are unfamiliar to most. Before making the bread, I grind the wheat, then soak it in buttermilk (or other acidic liquid) for 12-24 hours before mixing the ingredients. Here’s why. Continue reading

Flax Seed Meal

Flax Seed Meal

In a package of Christmas gifts from my mom, I received some flax seed meal. I had never used it before, but I’ve since been adding some to our bread each time I make it and I like the slightly nutty flavor it has added. Flax seed is low in carbohydrates and high in fiber, anti-oxidants, and omega-3 fatty acids, and phytochemicals, so in addition to the nutty flavor, we’ve added nutrition too.

The bread I make uses 4 cups of whole wheat flour. I’ve been substituting 1/4 cup of flax seed meal for 1/4 cup of flour. The bread rises and bakes just as it does without the flax seed meal.

Tongues & Bird Brains


Carman & Sudoku attended an educational program at our local nature center yesterday. The program was about the endangered red wolf and the local revitalization effort. When I asked about what they learned at the program, they were excited to tell me about woodpeckers – not red wolves.

The woodpecker, as you might already know, has a very long tongue that it sticks deep into the holes it has pecked to find those tasty grubs and bugs. Do you know what the tongue is doing while the woodpecker is pecking? Continue reading

A Post about Fats

Saturated fats do not cause heart disease. I know it sounds shocking the first time you hear it. I was rather scandalized several years ago when first confronted with this theory. After all, I have a degree in home economics with lots of college nutrition and cooking classes under my belt. But there is actually no evidence that saturated fats cause heart disease. It seems to be a scary case of making the data fit a hypothesis.

In an article by Dr. Mary Enig and Sally Fallon titled “Eat Fat, Lose Fat: The Research,” they argue that “for the last four decades, saturated fats have been blamed for the misdeeds of polyunsaturated fats, trans fats, and refined carbohydrates.” (Caution: Don’t confuse saturated fats with the awful-for-you trans or hydrogenated fats!)

The article lists the following as benefits of saturated fats: Continue reading

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