Family Matters and More

Our little equine family is a tight unit.
They've all been together most of their lives,
and if I have my way... will live out the rest of their lives
in each others' company.

It makes my heart happy.

We've developed a trust over the years... the equines and I.

Whereas the donkeys seek my company and enjoy my attention, 
following me around like shadows...

the horses take note at my presence and continue their business.
I'm sure, most days, they'd rather I didn't fuss with them.
But when I ask them to stand still for me, they oblige.
I am, after all, the "bringer of food"!

Occasionally, curiosity gets the better of them,
and they must see what I am doing... 
but, most times they could care less.

Still, they have a gentle way around me...

and a gentle way around my little people as well.

I trust this herd and they trust me.

One of my favorite moments here on the farm is to just sit in the midst of them
while they peacefully munch.
Sitting still, mind quiet, surrounded by so much strength and gentleness...

my heart is happy.

I thought we could continue our discussion on sustainable practices...
if you don't mind.

I had talked about our use of food-safe silicone bags as a way of
replacing plastic food storage bags, but wanted to show you another alternative.

BioBag is a company that makes compostable storage bags.
I began using their kitchen compost liners years ago,
and this year bought some of their food storage bags.
I am happy with these.
They also make trash bags, pet waste bags, etc.

I purchase mine through my Grove Collaborative subscription.
A subscription gives you free shipping.
Each month I receive a box that contains whatever I might need for the month...
tree-free toilet paper and tissues
(made from bamboo and sugar cane... and yes, I like them),
 cleaning supplies, personal care items, etc.
This service and a little pre-planning keeps me from having to run to the store
for these items.
(again, I am not compensated for sharing these ideas with you)

I have completely changed the way that I shop.
Whereas I used to just buy everything that I needed at the grocery store,
I have had to diversify in order to make sustainable choices.
This is an ever-changing process, too, as I strive to completely eliminate plastics
from our home life.

We have also made a conscious change in how we eat and how we prepare what we eat.
We buy what little meat we eat from local farms.
Going meat-free, or greatly reducing your consumption is one of the
best changes you can make for a healthier planet.
(this is a subject that could fill an entire blog post if you want)
We eat a lot of salads, soups, and stir-fried organic veggies.

Because of the dangerous chemicals used to make non-stick cookware,
I have switched to mostly cast-iron,
with a few stainless steel sauce/soup pots as well.
I recently found this cast-iron wok by Lodge and am really happy with it.

Somewhere along the way, years ago, bad information was disseminated
about the consumption of saturated fats in our diet.
It was about that time that non-stick cookware came onto the market...
eliminating the need for fats in cooking.
What we, as consumers, didn't know was that the chemicals used to make
this cookware and bakeware non-stick caused cancer and birth defects (verified).
Sadly, these PFOA/PFA's are already in each and every one of us...
and in the environment around us.
(Thank you, Dupont.  Make sure you see "Dark Waters"... a movie dramatization
of a true story about this very subject.)

Fast forward to today, and research has shown that butter
and naturally occurring fats are not bad for us.

(However... man-made fats such as margarine and shortening 
should be avoided like the plague...
they are manufactured with hydrogenated oils, or "trans-fats"... which are "bad" fats.
Trans-fats are associated with a higher risk of coronary artery disease, type 2 diabetes,
obesity and high blood pressure.
I hesitate to call these "foods".)

Personally, I cook and bake with butter and extra virgin olive oil, and occasionally coconut oil;
and for high heat I use high-oleic expeller pressed sunflower oil.

Wow... I hadn't intended to go off on that tangent...
obviously, you can see that I am passionate about this subject.

Lastly, I love my kitchen and have tried to fill it with wonderful
old pieces from days gone by.

It's one of my happy places and I try to make it as homey as possible.
I do love burning candles in the kitchen.
But, I only burn candles made with beeswax or soy wax (vegetable-based).
Normal wax candles are made with paraffin which emit petroleum
by-products  (VOC's) when burned... basically causing air pollution in your home.
(Sorry, Yankee Candles)

As you can see, I put a lot of thought into what we consume...
it's the byproduct of an overly-developed sense of right and wrong...
(not always a good thing!)
It has been a process and it is ongoing.
Please don't hesitate to share your own ideas with me so that we can all learn
to be better Earthlings!!

If you've had enough of my un-solicited advice, don't hesitate to type "Stop"
in the comments!


Anonymous said…
We are trying to lessen our carbon footprint also. But in our Municipaliy they won't take those compostible bags because they don't compost fast enough and cause issues in their machines. It's a shame. I've finally convinced hubby to eat butter instead of margarine. One small step.

Spring Peeper Farm
Katmom said…
Brb, I totally agree... fyi, I have added flax seed oil to my list of oils I like. Hugz
Katmom said…
Opps!, 'Bev' not Brb, darn auto correct!
Lynne said…
Enjoyed the video . . .
Munching “songs!”
Liking your “sustainable practices” info and thinking about bits, pieces, pluses, minus . . .

daisy g said…
The munching makes great "white noise". I wouldn't mind dreaming of horses. ;0D

I am also reaching toward more sustainability and will take measures this year to decrease the amount of plastic in our lives. It does make it difficult when others in the house are not on board.
Wondering what you use for small trash can liners and dishwasher (machine) soap?
Keep the great ideas comin'!
Marsha said…
Love some of your recipes and meal ideas!
Anonymous said…
Thank you so much for the detail on your product purchases. Love it when someone else does the research and testing for me!
Yesterday as I stood in Trader Joe's I looked at the entire refrigerated wall of items in plastic- fruit, cheese, meat, made me so sad. I didn't buy any of it, I just couldn't. It seemed overwhelming to think of how we eliminate this dependency on plastic. We personally have started making changes, but boy is it hard. But...we all have to start somewhere!
Love all the photos, stories, loved the snow video this week! Lisa G in TN.
I love your advice! And I admire the way you live. I do have a question for you ( I seem to always have questions). Do you make biscuits and how do you do it without shortening?
Kathy said…
I am loving this series and appreciate all the shared information. I was wondering about that pan and will be ordering! You are to be commended for all the changes you are implementing. I am trying to switch to a whole food plant based way of eating and am about 75% there. Totally convinced our way of eating is the leading cause of disease. For anyone interested, I would recommend The Game Changer on Netflix and the book How Not to Die(facetious title) by Michael Greger,M.D. Thank you, Bev for all your inspiration!
Bee Haven Bev said…
Patsy.... I make all butter biscuits.... recipe from Magnloias Joanna Gaines cookbook
This N That said…
You are doing a great service to those of us who don't take the time to research "How to be a better earthling"..Don't stop..Some of us may change some things if not all because of your info..I can't use cast iron..Way too heavy but I do use stainless steel..
Your kitchen is very photogenic..Pictures taken with you plastic camera...sorry, I just had to throw that in there..just kidding of course..
You have a wonderful equine family..You have taught them well...I know....horses live in herds naturally xxoo!!
Enjoy your weekend..
Karen said…
I would love to see your recipes. I have lost 120 pounds the last 17 months by changing to a mostly plant based diet and limiting white sugar and carbs....... and stress by retiring!!!?๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿ˜ŠStill have a bit to go but do not feel deprived at al. Also working on using less plastic, etc by buying in bulk and eliminating bags, etc: definitely not as far along as you but you have to start somewhere!
Margy said…

I too prefer to burn candles and am always looking for something that burns free. Will you share the best candles you have grown to love and their scents? I love a good scented candle and would love some new ideas.
Thanks! Margy in KY
Bee Haven Bev said…
Margy.... I use candles that are made locally by the family of the gentleman who built our log home.
Sadly, they do not have a website. I always tend to buy candles that smell like baked goods. I suppose I like to torture myself in this manner! HAHA!! There are also a few primitive shops that I like to buy my candles in as well... and enjoy brands such as... Antique Candle Co. and Finding Home Farms Candles
Karen said…
LOVE learning about new products, green living, etc. DON'T STOP! Your lifestyle is so wonderful and you MAKE A DIFFERENCE. I'm proud of you two - we NEED more (way more) people like you in the world.
Joyce M said…
Don’t stop! Your ideas and the educational Content you provide are so helpful! While I’m not, “all in”
At this point. Even the small incremental changes in thought and action I have made are useful and there are more to come. Thank you for always being an inspiration on so many fronts!
You are a MINDFUL consumer in a MINDLESS consumer world!
farm buddy said…
I appreciate the effort you and your family are making to minimize your impact on our planet. However, I cringe at the remark that eating less meat is the best impact one can make. Please add the word "feedlot" in that sentence. Grazing animals that are managed in a holistic manner are ABSOLUTELY BENEFICIAL for our planet. Please check out the book, Cows Save the Planet, by Judith Schwartz or Dirt to Soil, by Gabe Brown. Or else you can check out the numerous and very interesting talks by Gabe Brown, Greg Judy, or Joel Salatin on YouTube. It is the huge monoculture agricultural techniques that are extremely detrimental for the planet and our health, and our rural culture. It is tillage that is damaging, and that is not how grass-fed meats are raised. Ironically, tillage is used to raise what is eaten in a vegan diet. Please check these recommended sites out and let me know what you think. I offer these suggestions in a respectful manner.
Bee Haven Bev said…
I appreciate your sentiments and agree whole heartedly. Which is why I said that the subject should be a whole blog post. Yes, it is the CAFO that is the culprit with regards to meat production, but that was a lot to say in a brief statement. I believe that the vast majority of people buy their meat in grocery stores... and that is why I suggested eating less meat.

Barbee' said…
Bev, I was trying to search back for your posts regarding the changes you've made to be better citizen of our world, but I guess your change to the new format has made it impossible to go back into the old blog. May I suggest, that someday maybe you could put a list in your sidebar of URLs to the old blog's posts on that subject? You have so much to offer on that subject, but some of us are just now catching up. For my family, 2019 was the year from hell. Big Thank You for your blog, it has helped keep me sane.
Bee Haven Bev said…
Dear Barbee,
I actually changed to this particular style of blog so that you can easily access old posts. If you check the sidebar, you will see my profile. Directly beneath that is "archive". Click on that and you can access every old post. Also, at the top of the blog... on the right hand side is a search bar where you can look up specific words that appeared in posts and a list of posts with that word will appear. Hope this helps!!
Hugs from the farm...
I enjoyed hearing the equine munch away on dinner. It reminded me of when we had horses and cows and I loved meal time and listening to them eat. Don't stop. Personally, I need reminders on what is environmentally safe and what is not. Still have a non stick pan and occasionally use it. Need to throw it out and only use my cast iron. We are big on eating vegetables but recently saw where I shouldn't bag everything at the store with plastic. I use my home made cloth bags for shopping and there is no need for plastic at the store. Thank you for this great post! Patty McDonald
Dee J. Hartman said…
I love your kitchen...
I love your ideals
And the advice that you give
For serving "good" meals,
for caring for earth,
by doing what's right
to be a good Earthling
with all of your might.
I look up to you, Bev
for all that you do!
Wish I lived on a farm
and worked just like you.
But I can't be a farmer
It is such a pity...
My exercise is Zumba,
Since I live in the city.
As a widow, alone
at my age: seventy five,
I feel I am blessed
To be healthy, (and) alive!