On Friday, September 21st, Earle and I packed up the Escape and hit the road for our weekend getaway to the Seven Springs area. Hard to believe that when Earle ordered the tickets for this year’s Mother Earth News’ Fair breast cancer wasn’t even on our radar. We tried to relax and forget about our problems for a while, but it proved almost impossible. Even eating became a problem. Earle had started to research the causes and/or preventions of cancer, so eating had become an adventure. One thing we could try to control in a situation out of our control. We stopped at Boston Market and made sure we ordered lots of veggies for our sides. We had regular soda – not diet. (Baby steps!) We made it to our Bed and Breakfast (Ligonier Country Inn) pretty late. It was lovely, but we were surprised to find that we had worse internet than we do at the farm! Even our iphones didn’t really work. Oh well – at least it kept us from googling more about breast cancer! I was mostly surprised by the fact that one minute I would be fine and the next I would begin to cry. I was so grateful to have the strong, loving arms of my husband wrapped around me when this happened. I can’t even imagine going through this alone. Women have to be truly strong to do this on their own.
We woke up relatively early on Saturday to get over to the Fair. We didn’t want to miss too much. We got there in plenty of time to walk around before the first workshop we wanted to attend – “Alpacas 101”. We then headed over to see Pat Foreman, “The Chicken Whisperer”, give a talk on “Gardening with Chickens”. I really enjoyed seeing her last year. Some of what we heard was repeats and Earle got bored and headed out to wander. But I stayed to absorb what I could about chickens and a little more about nutrient rich soil and eating healthy. I went on to see her next workshop – “Discovering the Chicken You Never Knew.” while Earle went to a talk on “Practical Pond Management”. (I know you all think we are very weird at this point – but I can now have my chickens eat out of my hand and turn them upside down to calm them down!!) We joined up again to see “Turkeys Aren’t Chickens; The Basics of Keeping Turkeys”.
Then we went to the workshop which set us on a new healthy eating path – Janet McKee’s workshop, “The Delicious Power of Food to Heal”. She talked about the importance of eating lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grains and little meat. Organic and hormone-free was very important. She told her own story of her health issues in her 20’s and how food healed her when medicine failed her. She also told stories of her father and other clients that were cured of diabetes by eating this way. Janet is also a local representative of “The Cancer Project” and told stories of people thriving after a cancer diagnoses. She said that if your Great-Grandmother wouldn’t recognize it as food – it wasn’t food – including sodas and artificial sweeteners. We sampled one of her green smoothies and bought her book, “Fabulous Recipes for Vibrant Health.” We couldn’t quite get behind the idea of not eating meat or eggs – but everything else sounded like it would help and wouldn’t harm us. We went back to the Bed and Breakfast and tried to order food that would be “healthy”. I stuck to ice tea with real sugar this time!
The next day we headed back to the Fair. This time I test drove Ford’s newest hybrid the C-Max. It was really nice – might be my next car. We also bought some garlic and some heirloom seeds, watched a solar cooker bake bread, bought some chicken treats, learned about Garden Soxx and chatted with a lady about spinning alpaca fleece. We decided to hit the road early and enjoyed the beautiful scenery in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Maryland on the way home. It was starting to look like Fall. On the way home I read a post my friend Jean put on Facebook about the dangers of soda. I read it out loud to Earle and we decided then and there to stop drinking soda from now on…a huge commitment. I used to drink at least one 20 oz Diet Cherry Dr. Pepper a day and Earle drank untold amounts of diet soda. I have not had any soda since that day (except a little ginger ale added to fruit juice one day.) It is not as hard as I thought it would be.
Today we are drinking lots of juice and green teas. Earle makes me green smoothies most nights, buys tons of fresh vegetables and fruit, shops in the organic aisle and at the local farm stand, cooks me fabulous meals and makes sure I take my vitamins and flax seed oil pills. I should be really healthy! Now we just need to wean us off sugar and other natural sweeteners….like I said, baby steps!