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Dairy CalfWhy We Moved

The Story Begins...
I had been losing energy over the years. After delivery of my fourth child in September 2000, I figured I was tired due to having a new baby and not getting enough sleep. With children ages 5, 3, 1 and the newborn, the house was always busy. Sleep was a luxury for the future. People would tell me, “of course you’re tired, you have four little ones”.

The tiredness continued after my baby started sleeping through the night. My husband asked the question, “Maybe you’re sick. Should you see a doctor?” To which I would quickly disagree. I imagined that after the hot summer passed, I would feel more energetic. I began praying daily for more energy.


Summer Passed
I would wake up and have enough energy to last until 10am. I fed my kids, started laundry, dishes and put the house in order. After 10am, I would run to the restroom with excruciating pain, diarrhea and vomiting. I wondered how I would be able to handle raising a family if the pain did not stop soon.

I was on the couch until my husband came home to save me. I rested, slept, and was grouchy. My oldest took care of things during the day and my husband took care of things in the evening without complaints. My family was such blessing. Gary would occasionally comment, “Maybe you are sick”.

After a few weeks, I finally admitted I was sick. I called our family doctor and they referred me to a specialist. But I couldn’t get in to the specialist for a couple months. I told the nurse I needed to care for our children and was losing my ability to do so. Upon hearing all my symptoms, she moved my appointment up to within a week. I was to go to the day surgery where they would send a scope down my stomach. If they saw any inflammation, they would treat it with antibiotics.


Video "Draw My Life" - Story of our Homesteading Adventure so far...



Start of the Solution
I had been in denial so long I needed to verbalize it toHeirloom Pumpkin from our Garden

someone. I reluctantly decided to tell my mom. I didn't want her to worry but I knew she would want to know. To my shock, upon telling her, she replied, "I know. I knew you were sick when I came to visit." She insisted on me telling her all my symptoms.

She called the following day after talking to someone in her local nutrition store. She bought a product to help my digestive system and had already mailed it to me. I was desperate for help and it would be a few days before I could get into the doctor.

On the third day of taking the supplement, I woke up on my back. This was unusual because I always slept curled up in a ball with stomach pain. I got up quickly in excitement. I had some energy back. I said “thank-you” to God and made a run for that bottle. What was that stuff? Was it a caffeine pill? It was Primal Defense Probiotics Formula and is just a probiotic. It was a miracle for me. I changed direction that day. However, what I thought was simply about my health, wasn’t really Miniature Jersey Milk Cow - Comes with Raw Milk!about me at all. This would lead to a pursuit of better nutrition for the whole family.

What Next?
I cancelled the doctor visit and began to research healthy foods and came across the book, Breaking the Vicious Cycle: Intestinal Health Through Diet by Elaine Gotchall. In it, the author recommended avoiding foods I had thought were healthy. But within a week of trying out the new diet, it was working. I stayed on that regiment for about two years. Many of the meals I cooked, the family ate as well. To my surprise, they were benefiting from these same foods. We were noticing behavior differences in the kids and Gary made comments about how much better he was feeling.



I now understood the concepts of better health for me. It was simple. My body could not break down complex carbohydrates (i.e. in potatoes & rice) or 2-part carbs (i.e. in milk & white sugar) but I could handle 1-part carbs (i.e. ripened fruit & honey). I made yogurt regularly, as the cooking process would cause the "friendly bacteria" to eat the milk sugar, Lactose. We would have strawberry or orange smoothies almost daily and they became my kid's favorite drink.

By understanding the principles of my digestive problem, I was able to determine what I could and couldn’t eat. I began to add foods back into my diet, like pure maple syrup - much to my husband’s delight.

When I would read nutritional material, I would focus on the makeup of the carbs. Jordan Rubin came out with a book called, The Maker's Diet where he mentioned sprouted flours and how the sprouting process broke down the carbohydrate in grains. I found sprouted grain bread at Trader Joes. For the first time in years I could have bread like the rest of the family - even French toast!


Key to a Better Life

Nutrition became not only a way of life but a curiosity. We read numerous books. We were convinced that nutrition was the key to a better life for us. The kids were vibrant and healthy. Gary was feeling better than ever. I was waking up early and bouncing out of bed with a new idea every day (I’ve never been an early riser).

We found grass fed beef, range-free eggs and raw goat's milk for our kids who were allergic to cow's milk. Then the thought occurred to us...why can't we raise chickens, goats and cattle ourselves?

City Zoning
We checked the zoning laws for our half acre in town. Goats and cattle did not qualify for that location, but we could have chickens. We purchased 20 chickens and took a chance on two Nigerian female goat kids. We had plenty of fresh eggs. The goats were too young but we planned to milk them after they matured. To hold us over, we bought goats milk from a nearby farmer.

The paradigm shift was happening. After looking at available real estate for over 2 years, we were becoming convinced we were meant to stay in the city. However, before we despaired, an opportunity came up. We found 10 acres listed on the internet with two “fixer uppers”. Trying to find the place was a challenge but after several wrong turns on dirt roads, we ended up locating it.

I was speechless. The homes were so ugly I didn’t even want to go inside them. I worried about what kind of critters and insects lived in them and what was ready to pounce on my children. These homes appeared abandoned and to say they were “poorly built” was an understatement. I was taking it all in as the kids began running around and my husband, Gary, turned into Inspector Clouseau - off on some clue finding adventure. When he returned he stated, “This is perfect!”

Shelly Curtis

Original: 2007
Rewrite: November 28, 2012