Ouch, My Aching Back!!!

My lower back issues began in 1991 when two friends and I decided to skip Senior Prom and enjoy an adventure in northern Michigan. Unfortunately, my adventure ended with a horse back riding accident at the Caple’s Ranch. Ever since, I struggle with regular lower back issues, at times requiring over a week of bed rest. Over the years, I have tried many remedies, some helpful, some not so much. Below are a few regular treatments/life habits with which I found success:

A Relaxing Night’s Sleep: How many times have you started the day with a sore back? Is your bed the cause? 1/3 of your life is spent in bed. Make an investment in a supportive mattress and pillow. Sleeping with a pillow between the knees also takes pressure off the lower back.

Hourly Movement: Do you spend most of the day sitting? Does standing up cause pain? If so, commit to getting up every hour during the day and walking for a few minutes. We aren’t meant to sit all day (Yes, that includes sitting at home watching TV). Hourly movement can reduce soreness.

Acupuncture: I’ve received acupuncture for over 15 years. A traditional 45 minute treatment relaxes and refreshes the entire body. I also found relief in placebo needle placement. Several times, my acupuncturist inserted needles where I had pain, greatly relieving the tenderness.

Ice/Heat: 20 minutes of icing the lower back, immediately followed by 20 minutes on the heating pad works wonders.

Flexibility and Core Work: Commit several times per week to leg and back stretches and core strengthening. You may find this website a helpful start.

Donut Pillow: While a bit embarrassing at first, the donut pillow places extra pressure on the glutes, relieving lower back tension. I keep one in my car and at home. Here’s a more discreet covered pillow.

Massage: Massage can ease tight muscles. Request extra work on the IT Band. Many lower back issues can be linked to tight or weak hips.

Resistance Bands: Speaking of hip issues, utilizing resistance bands can calm the IT Band and strengthen the hips. An appointment with a physical therapist often includes resistance bands to take home and a set of hip strengthening exercises. Make those exercises part of your regular routine!

Remember to use caution and keep in contact with your health care provider when adding a new activity into your regimen.

Thanks for reading!

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What’s a Galette?

Paul, my Farmers’ Market neighbor, is quite the adventurous curmudgeon. A retired house painter, turned baker, he often shares stories about fly-fishing in the western US or sailing our Great Lakes. Paul also has a side-gig in retirement, baking delicious breads and cookies prepared in his homemade, outdoor, wood-fired oven. Last year, he started offering peach galettes, a rustic French pastry. After trying one, Chad and I added this tasty treat to our baking regimen. Here’s our version:

This Peach Galette can quickly be prepared with minimal effort:

  • Place a prepared pie crust on a baking sheet
  • Mix 1/2 tablespoon of flour, two tablespoons of brown sugar, and a dash of cinnamon in a bowl
  • Gently toss peach slices (approx 2-3 large, fresh peaches, peeled and sliced) in mixture and spread in middle of pie crust (allow a 2-3 inch circle of pie crust around the outside)
  • Begin folding the pie crust around the edge, until completing the circle
  • Brush crust with olive oil and sprinkle with brown sugar
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until golden brown
  • Let sit for 5 minutes before eating, pairs well with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream

Looking for other recipe ideas? Try apples or a savory spinach and feta galette…we’re going to try a tourtiere galette this winter.

Note: Unused portions should be covered, refrigerated, and enjoyed within 3 days.

Thanks for reading!

How to Cope with Depression

Why are so many throwing it all away? I hope my story helps those out there who have walked the same road. I have suffered from depression from 1998: The combination of a traumatic delivery, my parent’s divorce, the national scandal, and my eccentricities created a perfect storm that needed to be dealt with. Over the years, I developed a collection of tools to help me cope. If you suffer from depression, I hope you find a few useful tips:

1. Get some exercise: It doesn’t have to be daily, and it doesn’t have to be sweaty or excessive. Go for a 20 minute walk, choose 3-6 sets and lift light weights for 10-15 minutes, whatever helps you move around a bit. Trust me, it makes a huge difference!

2. Find someone to talk with: Whether you rely on friends or a professional counselor, find someone to share those many moments of self-doubt and grief.

3. Eat healthy meals: Do you include a fruit or vegetable with every meal? If not, start now! Are you limiting foods that make you feel low? Are you including foods that bring you up?

4. Limit alcohol: Alcohol is a depressant and will just expand those feelings of hopelessness and grief. I know the first drink or two has the opposite effect, but trust me, limiting alcohol is a positive!

5. Embrace your passions: Do you have an activity that brings joy? Then do it! I love my music! Singing at our local Commission on Aging and performing with my local Irish girls’ band helps me forget the darker times and focus on more positive things.

6. Surround yourself with friends and loved ones: Spend the majority of your time with those who want what’s best for you. Of course, we should make time for our family. However, occasionally we have to spend time with family or family friends who are not kind; you do NOT have to devote excessive time to those who enjoy your discomfort. You have the right to head home early or pass on a get together.

7. Read The Untethered Soul: Do you have a frequent negative monologue? Read this book and learn how to cope with your “Watcher at the Gate.”

8. Have you thought about ending it all? First, take a deep breath. You have options and you are not alone. I strongly encourage you to reach out to someone and just talk, talk about what ever is on your mind, the last day’s adventures, your favorite meal. If you are not ready for that step, have you tried the steps listed above? You owe it to yourself to try. You are worth it!

Be kind to each other!

Shopping with Dad and Keeping a List through the Holidays

I recall one afternoon, sitting in the car with my father after a trip to Penzey’s spice shop. Dad stared in silence at the large bag of recently purchased spices in his lap; then sighed, “I’m sure a sucker for cooking spices. Most of these will probably remain unopened.” This memory reminds me of the current interest in essential oils.

We inhale the lovely aromas and learn how essential oils improve our daily lives; then later, our purchases often remain sealed, only a few seeing regular use. I’m guilty of this, too, even running my farm business. So to avoid Dad’s experience with spices, I put on my organization cap and examined which essential oils I use on a regular basis:

Peppermint: This is my most used oil!

  • Evict mice, bugs, and spiders (simply add a few drops to a cotton ball and place near doors, windows, etc)
  • Laundry need a boost? Add few drops in the washer or dryer
  • Aromatherapy to ease nasal congestion

Lavender: This wonderful oil helps relax at the end of a long day!

  • Make a spray for pillows at bedtime
  • Add a couple drops to hand or body lotion
  • Blend a custom facial toner

Orange: I enjoy this lovely scent year round!

  • Use 1-4 drops in a diffuser
  • Add 1-2 drops to clay mud mask
  • Serves as an antioxidant, the perfect addition to a custom facial toner

Peppermint, lavender, and orange essential oils are my “Big 3,” used daily in my room sprays, personal facial toner, and all-natural cleaning solution. They are also important ingredients in my homemade salt scrub and clay masks. If you are interested in adding essential oils to your life or gifting to friends this holiday season, start with these three. Essential oils truly add quality to our lives!

For the holiday season, I’m offering a starter kit containing my “Big 3,” including a worksheet to create all of the products above.

Essential Oil Sampler Kit

Stocked up on Lip Balm for the winter?

Beeswax Lip Balm

You can purchase through my Etsy site, or please message me for custom orders.

Thanks for reading!

The Summer of 1990: Movies, Memories, and Idle Hour

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Recently, I’ve been thinking about those special times, moments that just happen, no planning involved. One special memory was the summer of 1990 with buddies since Kindergarden, Rick and Matt (aka Booger, a well deserved nickname due to Matt’s ability to belch the alphabet). During those summer days, we all worked mundane local jobs, but most Saturday nights, we usually ended up at Booger’s house.

Booger lived three doors down, and Rick lived around 1/2 mile in the other direction. Often the evening began with boredom at home and a walk down the block to see what Matt was doing. Rick would later show up in his late 80s Gran Turismo. Matt’s house was a stone’s throw from three fraternities. However, most of the college students were home for summer; Hillsdale Street was quiet. We raided the fridge and watched movies, walked to Mauck Elementary School a block away, or drove to Baw Beese Lake to swim or just watch the water.

Looking back on that summer, I can’t remember a particular movie, meal, or noteworthy event. Rather, those Saturday nights blended into a collective, a time remembered with great fondness. What made this time so special? We didn’t do anything particularly memorable. I recently came across the term, “idle hour,” time spent doing nothing in particular. We spoke of our dreams for the future, heading into our last year of high school. Mostly, we laughed a lot that summer, hold your stomach, fall off the couch laughter. Perhaps this was our “idle hour.”

When was the last time you enjoyed “idle hour?”

Thanks for reading!

Cairn Hill Farms Summer 2017

  

Hello Friends!

The 2017 Farm Market Season has finally arrived!! Hope you have time to visit this summer:

Friday’s Middleville (8-1)
Saturday’s Hastings (9-1)

This year, Cairn Hill Farms is offering the following products:

Farm fresh eggs from our happy hens who wander the farm and surrounding woods

Beeswax Lip Balm:

Paddy’s Peppermint
Just the Bees (unscented)
Tangerine Tea
Wild Irish Roses (tinted with hibiscus powder, unscented)
Lavender Nettle
Cherry Hibiscus (natural cherry flavor tinted with hibiscus powder)

Sprays (Use as facial toner, in the kitchen, or even on linens):
Now in two sizes (8ml sample size and 4 oz)!

Lavender
Citrus
Morning Mist (a blend of jasmine, orange, and lavender)
Sinus Blend (peppermint, eucalyptus, and rosemary-8ml only)

Nettle iced tea by the glass and dried nettles gathered on our farm (many products are infused with nettle as well)

Body Butters (Perfect when heavy moisturizing is needed):
Peppermint (infused with nettle and lemongrass)
Lavender

A final bit of fun…
Sparkle plenty-I made a small batch of sparkle lip balm and shimmering lotion (at this time I have VERY LIMITED quantities, so stop by the market or send a message if interested).

Can’t make it to the market? Many of these items are also available on my website.

Happy summer!! Thanks for reading!

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Mom’s Writing about Coconut Oil and Nettles Again…

As the drier, colder winter months approach, I wanted to share one of my newer products that you might find useful this holiday season. Last year, I created a “body butter,” made with avocado oil, beeswax, coconut oil, and Vitamin E. I personally use the product during the drier winter months. I also quickly sold out of my initial offering at this year’s farmer’s market. Even in the summer months, clients used this thicker lotion as an overnight treatment for the face, hands and feet.
I offer two varieties: Lavender (great for dry hands, esp right before bed) and Peppermint infused with nettle and lemongrass. Nettle is a natural anti-inflammatory while lemongrass essential oil soothes minor muscle pains. I occasionally have pain in my right hand and use the peppermint right before bed as a natural remedy for those days when my hand aches.

 “After going through surgery which resulted in a 6 inch scar along my ankle, the peppermint butter helped by providing a cooling and soothing effect around the incision. I continued using the rub throughout my recovery because it wasn’t greasy, moisturized the skin near the scar, and helped the incision heal. The smell is lovely! My husband enjoyed the smell so much that he would rub my ankle if he could use the peppermint rub! I continue to use the rub daily and would recommend it for anyone who wants a rub that soaks in well and leaves skin feeling moisturized all day.”

-C. Fairley

Body Butter

In addition to my line of lip balms (peppermint, cherry, unscented, tinted with hibiscus, and tangerine tea), I’m offering a limited batch of lavender and nettle lip balm, my new favorite! Did I mention that nettle also has anti-wrinkling properties?

 “I love this lip balm! It’s nourishing to the skin and protects from the elements. I have one in every pocket and purse.” -J. Drake


Lip Balm

This Cyber Monday, I’m offering free shipping plus a gift with all orders! Be sure to enter the promo code: FREESHIP

You can find many other items on my Etsy site, including rare books and other unique finds.

Thanks for reading!!! Happy shopping!!