I have not blogged in a while. Why? Because we have had health issues. That is the sense of failure part I reference above. We are an organic farm that started over 20 years ago when our daughter had serious food allergies. Allergies to wheat, corn and yeast made our little one sick, very sick. But, as a mother, I always focused on her food allergies knowing my father, her grandfather, had Celiac Desease.
Well, as it turns out, after 20 years of ignoring my own symptoms, I finally got tested for allergies myself. And, low and behold, I am a walking allergy. And, it breaks my heart to find out I am allergic to dairy, as in all dairy, including goat milk. I have been raising dairy goats for a very long time. I also raise bees. Yes, I am allergic to honey too. And, I raise turkeys. I am allergic to those too. I have been doing this for decades to help my other sick family members eat organic foods they could themselves digest without major gut problems.
There is a huge sense of failure when one learns about how their body really works and how, even though the efforts were hard fought well intentioned ones, they are making themselves sicker. I am so saddened on our farm that the dairy and milking I do, the honey harvests that I sweat over, the turkeys that I hatch from eggs, are all for not. This is the sense of failure I have as an organic farmer. It is when I realize that decades worth of work and knowledge accumulation are all for not.
That is why I have not blogged recently.
However, on to the doubling down part, it is quite apparant after all of my allergy tests that it is imperative that we grow organic foods. I can eat beef, lamb, chicken, ducks, fish …. just not turkey. I can drink soy, almond milk, coconut milk…just not dairy. I can eat all vegetables and fruits, just not oranges, grapefruit or papaya along with lettuce. I cant have gums that thicken food nor can I have what is called meat glue. And I can not have rice.
You know what that means folks? It means doubling down. It means that while the mix of what we raise here on our farm here may need to change, the purpose of our farm is that much more imperative for me and my family. It took me about three weeks of shock to confront the fact that I am ten times more allergic than my daughter. As a mother I never looked at my own health, only that of my family. Well, now is that time. And, after the shock wore off, it occurred to our whole family that it is imperative that we continue to farm. We will continue to raise beef, lamb, goat meat, chicken, duck and fish. I will curb the dairy portion of what we do. We must continue to raise chickens for eggs as well, just not turkey. I will continue to do bees as the doctors hope those allergies will subside with time. Plus, I use the wax for all my salve making.
If you can believe it, I am even allergic to lettuce – all lettuce. I will need to eat kale, spinach and greens for ever more. Do I want to have to go to the grocery store for all my organic vegetable needs? Seeing as I am allergic to gluten, all wheat, rice, dairy, and so forth, the best thing for me to do is simply walk out into my garden and pick the vegetables I have grown specifically for my body’s needs. I can literally eat almost zero packaged foods. I am allergic to the ingredients in cosmetics even. So, a homegrown garden seems ever more practical afterall.
After the shock wore off it occurred to me how much more precise my livestock raising can be. And, how much more clarity I have about what I grow in my garden. It also rules out so many foods I have bought in the store that I simply can not eat. Not only is the shear clarity of it all beneficial, the money that will be saved by not buying foods I cant eat will be huge. I, and my whole family, began to see the goodness in this whole thing.
My family is very supportive as they can see that with a very clean vegetable, fruit and meat diet with noc carbs or dairy – we will be eating soy instead – that the overall health of the entire family will improve. And now I am motivated to learn how to cook with more exotic flours that we tend to not eat in the West but are common in other parts of the world.
So indeed, life on the farm can often feel like one of failure when big obstacles get in our way, but like so many farmers do, we double down. We dig deeper to make a meaningful healthy life for our family. And, in the end, we reconfirm our desire to raise our own food organically, sustainably and in ways whereby we have control of what is in the food to assure our allergy prone family thrives.
From now on I will be blogging about our journey into being gluten, corn, dairy and yeast free and how to eat and live an abundant life in spite of these dietary realities.
God Bless! L. Davis