It’s Almost Mushroom Time!

Dabney Creek Farm will be a vendor this year at the Downtown Rogers Farmers Market!  We will be bringing our freshly picked, oak-grown shiitake mushrooms.  Last year during our trial run, the guys had a great time building community with other local farmers and just about sold out.

The guys have now inoculated around 150 logs, including some a few shiitake mushroom log kits that will be available for purchase this Fall.  They can be grown indoors or outdoors with very little effort and you can enjoy the harvest without all the prep work!

Daniel has also been doing a lot of work this year rehabbing a shed on the farm, in hopes of preparing a fruiting shed that will be well-shaded and safe during our spring floods.  Last year we lost several logs during the April floods.  Thanks to Daniel’s labors, our logs should be safe, shaded, and ready to grow!

The shed is a convenient distance from our house and will be set up for more ergonomic harvesting.

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But first, some intense cleaning had to happen.

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I think Daniel is probably the hardest working person I know.

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We’re so glad it’s springtime and are looking forward to becoming a regular vendor at the Downtown Roger’s Farmers Market!  The (covered) Market opens May 5 and we’d love to see our local friends there!

 

 

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Birding

The girls and I attended Botanical Garden of the Ozarks Young Birders’ Class for Homeschoolers hosted by Kelly and Donna Mulhollan and Kitty Sanders.

It was quite frigid, but we all had a lovely time.  Kelly and Donna played and sang which was a huge plus, especially for Eva who was humming their tunes even this morning.

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We learned all about birds common to the Ozarks and even got to see preserved (neglected) nests.

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Including a hummingbird’s nest which was fascinating.  They use plant down and spider webs to keep it together and to allow it to expand with their babies’ growth.

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The girls then made their own nests from a nice supply of preferred nesting supplies: grasses, feathers, twigs, fabric strips, and wool.

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They loved it!

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Birds along the Buffalo with diminished numbers were also featured and honored with song.

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The girls were enjoyed trying out the scopes to watch a robin building its nest.

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The girls also received a take home activity where they were asked to imagine a new type of bird and describe it.  I love these activities.  Imagination time is the best.

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Eva’s Bird:                                                           Audrey’s Bird:

Name: The Eva Bird (Peter Pan, anyone?)   Name: The Wasp Bird

Feathers:  Gray                                                   Feathers: Green & Purple

Habitat:  Builds its nests on top of tables      Habitat: Builds nests on rooftops

Size: As large as a heron                                  Size: As large as an elephant

Eats: other birds’ eggs                                       Eats: other birds’ nests

Behavior:  Runs a lot and is noisy                  Behavior: likes to jump and talk

An Owly Homeschooling Perk!

Because we homeschool and have this excellent, nearly wide-open schedule, we get to go to Story Hours of our choosing at several local libraries.

Today, we went to Elkins Public Library and we thoroughly enjoyed listening to Lynn Sciumbato (along with a feathery friend, Sidney) from the Morning Star Wildlife Rehabilitation Center.  She’s like an OT for hurt or orphaned wild animals.  Be still my heart.

The girls were mesmerized.  I loved it. I think Audrey was afraid that Lynn was going to ask them if they wanted to pet Sidney 😉

We had front row seats.  Gosh, those girls are growing!

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Tyler Azalea Trail

We went to Tyler, Texas last weekend to visit family and tour the Tyler Azalea Trail.  My youngest sister was an official greeter, an Azalea Belle.  The girls were so excited to see their Aunt Grace dressed up!  They (at least Audrey) wish that I would dress like this every day.   I just don’t think Target is ready for that yet.

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The homes and their yards were exquisite and not even in full bloom yet.

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The yards are open to the public weekends until April 1st.  The homeowners were so gracious to open their homes to tourists.

Next, we toured the Tyler Rose Museum.  The dresses featured were worn last year at the Tyler Rose Festival.  I have never seen anything like them in my life.  The girls were mesmerized. I think I was a bit too.

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I mean, look at that train.

Thank you Tyler, for a lovely weekend!

 

Alpha-Gal

Because we are on the cusp of warmer weather, flowers blooming, and parasites, I want to share about Alpha-Gal allergy or Mammalian Meat Allergy in the hopes of possibly helping prevent others from getting it and increasing awareness for those who might be suffering from it unawares.

Alpha-Gal allergy is not well known but has some claim to fame-John Grisham has it.  Put simply, it’s a tick-borne mammal meat allergy that can cause hives, GI upset, asthma-like symptoms, and even anaphylaxis.  It’s an allergy that’s caused by a Lone Star tick bite.  You can read all about its interesting history here.

I was diagnosed with Mammalian Meat Allergy/Alpha-Gal seven years ago.  I went to a holistic physician because I kept getting unexplained facial swelling, asthma, and hives on my eyelids.

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((Those are pictures of my affected eye last Friday just before Daniel and I went out to a fancy restaurant on a rare date night.  That’s after Benadryl.))

So seven years ago, my physician ordered a blood draw for an IgG and IgE food allergy test.

The results were shocking.

Besides learning that I am wheat (gluten and gliadin) intolerant, I also learned that I am very allergic, bordering on anaphylactic, to mammal meats and mammal products.

That meant:  No beef.  No pork.  No lamb.  No milk.  No yogurt.  No dairy cheeses.  No butter.  No beef-derived magnesium stearate.  No casein.  No whey.  No chicken sausage with pork casing.  No Colgate toothpaste because it has gelatin.  No lotion with mammal collagens or proteins.  Etc.

This was a huge, huge shock.  I think mostly because Alpha-Gal is such a hard allergy to cipher.  The onset is delayed and varies on metabolism and reactions differ from person to person.  Also, from my experience, there is a lack of knowledge regarding the allergy in the medical community.

Many people with Alpha-Gal allergies are only allergic to mammal meats, not byproducts.  I have read that people like me who are also allergic to byproducts too might have been bitten by an infected tick more than once.  So gross, right?

I don’t remember being bitten by a Lone Star tick.  But they are numerous in our area and I do like to spend time outdoors.

There is no cure for the Alpha-Gal allergy.  Researchers say that some people’s allergies simply go away with time.  Mine hasn’t yet and it’s been seven years.  The only way to prevent reactions is to avoid the foods you are allergic to.

There is a way to try and prevent getting Alpha-Gal.  Tick protection!  You can do what the experts suggest and wear light colored long sleeves and pants if you plan on being in an area where there might be ticks.  And always do tick checks!  Daniel went to a Hunter’s Ed Safety course and the instructor highly recommended wearing PANTYHOSE if you’re going to be outdoors around ticks.  I have terrible childhood memories of sagging pantyhose under my Sunday best, but maybe the drifting crotch was just something that happened to tall girls.

And I do not like chemicals in my food or on my body but I have only found Deet products to be effective in keeping ticks away.  I have tried all kinds of all-natural oils, lotions, and sprays but have not found one that works.  That is, when I use them according to their instructions, then go outdoors, I still find ticks crawling up my legs getting ready for a snack.

So, if anyone has unexplained hives or anaphylaxis, you might consider having blood drawn for a food allergy test.  And for the nature lovers out there, may the ticks leave you be and may you enjoy your adventures even if you’re wearing saggy-crotched pantyhose!