Blog Archives

Sodium Nitrate and MSG in Processed Meat Linked to Cancer

New studies suggest that the chemicals used in processed meats increase the risk of certain types of cancers by 50-67%! THAT is scary.


Chilisalpeter (Sodium nitrate)





Check out the full article here:




Processed Meats Declared too Dangerous for Human Consumption.




Common food items (some of which I love 😦 ) must be checked for sodium nitrate and MSG if you are concerned about health risks. Here’s a short list:




  • bacon
  • sausage
  • pepperoni
  • deli meats
  • any frozen or canned food that contains meat


Public domain photograph of various meats. (Be...


Of course, common sense tells me that it all makes sense…but it is still shocking news. I’m passing this on so that hopefully more people will see this and become educated about their diets. Please, be careful what you put into your body–you are what you eat!




There is some good news here, so listen up. Even if you’ve eaten processed meats (I’m sure a majority of us have), you can change your diet now and help decrease your health risks. Vitamin C is known to help prevent cancer. So, stock up on oranges and other fruits and veggies high in vitamin C!




Now I’m even more determined to help my family eat more natural, healthy foods. What do you think?









It’s Tick Season Again!

As the weather warms up and we all spend more time outside enjoying our yards and gardens, be on the look out for ticks!

Ticks carry a variety of diseases, including Lyme’s disease. It’s a bacterial infection spread by tick bites, especially if the tick has been attached for more than 24 hours. Remember, check yourself and your wee ones for ticks when you come back inside every day! It really makes a difference.

These black-legged ticks, Ixodes scapularis, a...

These black-legged ticks, Ixodes scapularis, are found on a wide range of hosts including mammals, birds and reptiles. Black-legged ticks, I. scapularis are known to transmit Lyme disease, Borrelia burgdorferi, to humans and animals during feeding, when they insert their mouth parts into the skin of a host, and slowly take in the nutrient-rich host blood. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This article popped up on my Facebook newsfeed: Lyme Disease: Signs, Treatment and Prevention – NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather. 🙂 It inspired me to write about this topic!

Lyme disease is becoming more prevalent among tick-borne diseases. Please do yourself and your loved ones a favor and be vigilant about checking for ticks! Also, if you find a tick, be sure you remove the tick in its entirety–including the head. Some redness is normal, but a ring or bullseye that forms around the bite should be checked out.

Other syptoms of Lyme’s disease include fever, chills, fatigue, and headaches. If you feel like you’re catching the flu, it might be a good idea to look for ticks and head to the doctor for a checkup. Lyme’s disease can have life-long consequences if it’s not treated early!

None - This image is in the public domain and ...

Here at my farm, we have TONS of ticks! I check myself, my kids, and my animals daily for ticks. Have you seen any ticks yet this year?

Hip Strengthening for Iliotibial Band Syndrome

Weakness in the hips can be a cause of iliotibial band syndrome. One the flare up has subsided and you feel comfortable stretching, it is time to start strengthening those muscles. Strengthening the hips and thighs is key to preventing another IT band flare up down the road.

The article linked below provides a lot of insight into ITB Syndrome as well as stretches and strengthening exercises. The exercises I’m showing you today were found at this link.

A Runner’s Guide to ITBS

Bridging with Single Leg Raise

Strengthens glutes, obliques, and thighs!

  • Lie on your back with your hands on your hips.
  • Lift hips and shift weight onto one foot.
  • Extend other leg without allowing pelvis to drop–keep it level!
  • Hold for 10 seconds, lower pelvis, and repeat on the other side/leg.

Clam Shell

Improves gluteus medius control and function! 😀

  • Lie on one side with hips bent at a 45 degree angle and the knees at 90 degrees.
  • While keeping your heels together, lift the upper knee by turning your leg out at the hip. Keep your pelvis straight, don’t roll back to lift your leg!
  • Hold for 10 seconds and work up to 10 repetitions. Repeat on the other side.

Step Downs

Strengthen the quads and improve knee control!

  • Find a stable step. It can be between 2-6 inches high.
  • Slowly step down from the step with one leg. Keep your leg straight (knee following toes, not angling inward towards other knee).
  • Keep your pelvis level! Put your hands on your hips to help you see if your pelvis stays level.
  • Repeat, working up to 3 sets of 10. Do both legs evenly!

Stretching the Iliotibial Band

Since my leg has been feeling usable again, I’ve been researching ways to stretch the iliotibial band. Since it is such a large band, it can be tough to get a really good stretch.

Boy, it sure feels awesome when you find that perfect stretch though! I’ve been using the IT band stretch and the bum stretches for my hip pain. It really makes a difference in my day if I start out with these stretches.

The link below is the original page I found these stretches. It is illustrated with cute little stick figures! I thought I could show you the IT band stretches a little better with actual photos though.


IT Band Stretch

Stand on one leg and lean sideways away from that hip. You can put your other leg in front crossways for balance.

Bum Stretch 1

While lying down on your back, cross one leg over the other. Pull the lower leg up towards your chest.

Bum Stretch 2

Sit with one leg bent and cross the other leg over. Press the hip of the crossed leg downwards to stretch.

Iliotibial Band Syndrome = No fun!

Remember a few months ago when I posted about my bum knee? Well, I wanted to share the cause of my problem. Hopefully some of this information can help another person experiencing knee pain!

I found some great information at the link below. Check it out!

Iliotibial Band – A common source of hip and/or knee pain.

My pain was caused by ITB Syndrome. It’s often associated with runners, but apparently horseback riding and even walking can cause it. Basically, it’s an overuse injury. The pain can be excruciating.


The IT Band is illustrated in red                                        (Photo credit: fickleandfreckled)

A few weeks ago, the knee pain finally subsided (it only took 4 months). I wasn’t very happy when it was soon replaced with hip pain on the other end of the iliotibial band. Apparently the inflammation can occur at both joints it connects to. Thankfully they don’t both hurt at the same time!

I’ve been doing a lot of reading up on stretching and strengthening exercises. Once the inflammation starts to go down (this can take quite a bit of time), you can work on relaxing the IT band with stretches. The condition can also be treated by strengthening surrounding muscles. ITB Syndrome is often caused by muscle imbalances in the legs.

I’m going to try to post something soon that illustrates the different stretches you can try to relieve IT band tightness. I’ve also found that massage works great! My wonderful husband has spent many evenings trying to massage the tension out. He’s the best! ❤

ITB Syndrome can also be caused by a gait disorder. I’m not sure what caused mine, but I’m going to do my best to stretch and strengthen my leg back into condition.

Do you have ITB Syndrome? What have you done to relieve the pain and tension?

Raw Meat Diet for Your Dogs?

Wolves eat raw meat and bones as the main source of their diets. What about our domestic dogs? Genetically, dogs and wolves are practically identical. Heck, my dogs hunt voles, rats, squirrels, and even birds down all the time! Stray domestic dogs hunt and scavenge anything they can find to eat and survive, too–including raw meats and animal carcasses.

Would you feed your dog a diet of raw meat, bones, and forage? The article below considers the issue.

The Raw Diet for Dogs | Marks Daily Apple.

I’ve found that two of my dogs, Malachite and Bandit, have some kind of allergy to several commercial dog foods. Their skin gets dry and itchy and their fur turns coarse and wiry. Sometimes we’ll be feeding the same thing for months before they have a reaction, other times it is as soon as they start eating it.

Meet my puppies!

sandy yellow lab

Sandy (yellow lab)

sage german shepherd lab mix

Mama Sage (Sable German shepherd X yellow lab)

butters german shepherd yellow lab mix

Big Brother Butters (Sable German shepherd X yellow lab)

malachite german shepherd lab mix

Daddy Malachite (Sable German shepherd X yellow lab)

bandit german shepherd yellow lab mix

Little Brother Bandit (Sable German shepherd X yellow lab)

Corn, soy, gluten, chemicals, preservatives, and lots of other ingredients in commercial dog food can be troublesome to sensitive dogs. I’ve also heard of popular brands being recalled for making dogs get very sick and die all across the nation. Plus, the hubub about GMO corn and soy is enough to make anyone want to go organic.

We usually supplement our dogs’ dry food with leftovers, raw fresh fruits and veggies (like apples and carrots), rice, and olive oil. I think this helps keep them healthier and they certainly appreciate the taste!

german shepherd lab mix sleeping

Malachite snoozing with my niece

german shepherd lab mix

Butters and me

We often buy “soup bones” at the grocery store for them. My mom used to get these for our dogs when I was a kid, too. They are usually cow or pork bone with marrow and sometimes even a little meat left on the bone. The dogs LOVE them.

Mom likes to cook hers, but I leave ours raw. The marrow cooks out and the bone splinters easier when you boil them. Plus, I always figured it would be fine raw because…well, wolves and coyotes chew on raw bones and survive. Our dogs also get dewormed and vaccinated regularly, so I’m not worried about them getting “something” from the raw bones.

german shepherd lab mix

The boys hanging out in the snow

german shepherd yellow lab mixes

They loved hanging out in the snow

german shepherd lab mix

Bandit, Malachite, and Butters out in the snow with the kids

german shepherd lab mixes

Sleeping brothers Butters and Bandit

Anyway, I’ve been seriously considering this raw diet “fad.” There seems to be pros and cons on both sides, but  my intuition tells me that natural is healthier. What do you think? Would you give the raw diet a try with your dogs?

Doctor’s Orders


Well, it finally happened.


My knee has finally decided it doesn’t want to carry me around anymore and has been loudly protesting at my every move. After a week of agony and praying that it would feel better the following day, I dragged myself to the doctor. She immediately recommended that I see an orthopedist and said my injury could not be diagnosed without an MRI.




As of now, I have no insurance. And it is less than a month until Christmas. And we have yet to buy ANYTHING for the kids. I’ve got to get my butt moving on my holiday crafts, since that is likely all that is going to happen at this point.



Presents (Photo credit: Alice Harold)

I am at a loss…I feel like I have to choose between my health and well being or having Christmas this year. Things are always tight for us, but this is really pushing us over the edge. Plus, I am not allowed to go horseback riding until further notice. Ugh.



No horseback riding for me… 😦

So, here I sit in front of the computer, resting my bum knee, and racking my brain for ways to either make some extra money very quickly or find a few gifts for my girls that are free or very cheap. All I can think about is how depressing this is for me.


Any advice out there? The world feels so cold, dark, and hopeless right now. A friend of mine suggested I ask for donations, but that makes me feel like a total mooch. Any other ideas out there?



Miniature Horses from Person County | Central Virginia Horse Rescue

CVHR helped with an Animal Control seizure in Person County, NC and took in 15 miniature horses. Over 100 animals were seized from the 10 acre residence.

Of the minis CVHR rescued, they are all in poor health and 10 of them are stallions in need of gelding. Initial vetting is expected to cost over $200 PER HORSE! The gelding surgery costs $250-300 per stallion.

CVHR expects costs to reach over $5,000 in the first month while rehabilitating these ponies. These minis need our help–please network and share, we can help them if we all work together!

Miniature Horses from Person County | Central Virginia Horse Rescue.

It Ain’t Easy Savin’ Horses

Each week a new group of horses runs through the auction circuit. Some of the horses have been there before, some haven’t, and others will never see it again. Many horses ship to slaughter each week, slipping through the cracks to their doom. Horse lovers from coast to coast do what they can to rescue these animals.

White horse in field

White horse in field (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here on the East coast there is a big auction every week in New Holland. Lots of horses of all kinds end up there. Old horses, cart horses, gaited horses, young studs, yearlings, registered horses, successful race horses, polo horses, and show or event horses can (and have) ended up on the slaughter circuit. We try to save these horses by supporting groups who are able to work with the auction circuit every week. They share pictures, information, and stories about the horses. Some of the registered horses can have extensive documented history of winnings, lineage, points, et cetera.We do our best to save as many as we can by working together.

Thoroughbred racing at Churchill Downs. França...

Thoroughbred racing at Churchill Downs. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I wish I could save them all! Every week I watch the horses that go through…the ones I know about. For the dozens that I see each week, I know there are thousands more across the country that I’m not seeing. I’m actually glad for that…it would probably kill me to really know how many horses really are going to slaughter each week.


Herds (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The only way we can keep more horses (many of them are perfectly fine, sound, and trainable!) safe is to work together. We must share their stories and spread knowledge about the industry. Learn what’s going on around you and tell that story! It may be awful to discover some news, such as finding that a slaughter plant in the US wants to process horses for human consumption…for now these horses are shipped to either Canada or Mexico.

The best news is always good news, right? Well share that, too!

Speaking of good news, I would like to share Tinker’s story with you for a moment. She is a registered 12 year old Quarter Horse mare. Tinker was hip #549, a slaughter-bound horse in New Jersey. She was one of the last horses standing on the lot!

Hip #549

Saved! (Photo Credit: Sarah Andrew)

Now, Tinker has been rescued! We all worked together by networking, sharing, and donating within our social network to find a home and funds for her…and saved her! Tinker will be going to live on Equus Springs Farm in Scottsville, Virginia.

If we can do it, you can too! Every little bit helps save a horse, even word of mouth!

Today, I Am Thankful

It is important to step back and really think about the things in life that matter as often as you can. Although it can be incredibly easy to worry, fret, moan, complain, and become overly concerned with everything you DON’T have, it is absolutely imperative to be thankful for what you DO have.

some lucky clovers

A few of the 4 leaf clovers I found in our yard the other day

We are all blessed in some way. Take a moment to recognize your blessings and be thankful for them. Nobody has everything, and I mean NOBODY. Even the richest person in the world doesn’t have it all. There are things in life far more important than any material object.

my puppy

My trusty sidekick, Sage ❤

So, today I am thankful. I appreciate everyone and everything in my life.  Lately I have been fretting about money, I’ll admit that. We need money, but it isn’t everything. Sometimes I need to force myself to sit back and be thankful for the things I do have. It is healthy to consider life and view it in a positive way. When I consider these things, it is easy to see that I have a lot to be thankful for.

happy & healthy pony

I'm thankful our recent rescue is happy and healthy

We are blessed with good friends, family, a roof over our heads, food on the table, dogs that love us no matter what, horses that nicker at the sight of us, and cats that sleep on our heads. We have clothes, shoes, a ton of arts and crafts supplies, jewelry (and the ability to make more), toothbrushes, soap, coffee, chocolate, wide open spaces, random building materials, grass out the wazoo, and so much more. I am thankful for all of these things.

horse sign

We're lucky to be living out in the country

No matter what curveball is flying this way, things always work out for the best. Everything happens for a reason, somehow, someway, it will all work out. You may not know how, but have faith that it will. Life is too short for incessant worrying and griping. Look for the silver lining, the light at the end of the tunnel, the lesson to be learned each day. It can be hard to adopt this lifestyle, but once you have you will feel blessed no matter what happens.

tattoo idea I designed for my brother

I drew this as a tattoo design for my brother--but we are blessed to be native Southerners 😉

Our little family is blessed with love bursting at the seams, laughter louder than a sonic boom, and enough happiness to overflow the world’s oceans ten times over. Some days it is easy to become upset, angry, or grumpy…but despite those days, we still have what matters, and that is each other. In the end, that’s all that really matters.

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