CovId. Kefir. and Diabetes.

if it wasn't for these little piranha's some days i'd never get out of bed. 

That's a mouthful. But the focus of my life right now.  C-19 the corona coaster of the century. It seems after the initial infection goes away, it keeps on giving. Inflammation is the key word. And then comes histamines. and Allergic reactions. After the initial can't breathe, can't move, can't get out of bed, sleep all day ends - It starts to hit various organs in your body. 

I have read numerous accounts of people having emergency appendix surgery or gall bladder's taken out etc. It's pretty scary to think. In my case, it hit my pancreas and my gut long-term. And hit it hard.  

For anyone that understands a bit about Type 2 Diabetes, will know I was (should have gone) headed to the hospital. My A1c was 11.8.. and my fasting BS was 564. She said go to the hospital ... NO..  Can't. Won't. I felt ok. I really did. Except, for the reasons I was there. Overall, I did not think I was emergency worthy. She gave me some antibiotics for infection, and Metformin for the T2 and, off I went. In three months got it back down to normal. Only 3 weeks on Metformin (had to stop taking it from side effects), my A1c is back to 5.4 and BS 135 on average its even lower these days... 

C-19 has really taken it's toll. On me. On the farm. With the animals. Little did i know that the last 11 months of my life would be centered around NOT FEELING WELL.. It sucks. It's not me. I'm not this person. The one struggling to breathe. To walk to the mailbox. To feed the kids.  I am one of the most independent people I know. And that in itself is a disease of some sort, especially, when sick. I don't like asking for help. And I am wholly uncomfortable receiving it. I have no clue where this independent streak came from. And it's not in line with being sick. This is torture. 

So I've explained a bit of the virus. And the Diabetes. Now, on to the Kefir. 

A few years back, I started making it and hated it. Ugh. I just didn't want to make it, whatsoever. But, a funny thing happened. Every single person in 50 miles with any kind of IBS, Cron's, Gut biome issues, stomach upset, etc. was knocking on my door. I was making it, and selling it faster then the milk. Or was selling the milk to those that made their own. 

Kefir is truly a wonder food. 

And I couldn't wait to get back in milk to figure out if it would work with me.  

My symptoms these days run the gamut of: headaches ( head imploding headaches). Cognitive impairment. Foggy brain. Dizziness  Gut pain. (excruciating gut pain). Painful flatulence ( i know, right? wtf). Slow digestion. Neuropathys. Joint pains. Shooting leg pains. Interstitial Cystitis. Pelvic floor changes. Urine pain. UTI pain (but no UTI - been tested). Lower back throbbing and pain. Eye pain. Blurry vision. Periodic lymph node swellings. Leg swellings. Ankle and foot pains. Rashes and abscesses. Let's not forget exhaustion. 20 hours some days of sleeping and still exhausted upon waking. and then breathing issues that require daily inhalers. I have become allergic to chemicals that I've used all my life. Allergy and histamine related things that have never bothered me before. And all of his is inflammation related. Thank you COVID. With out a true diagnosis, Mast Cell Activation Syndrome is the catch all. MCAS. and its here. To stay is the question. 

Kefir grains were delivered and I've started my journey - slowly.... The other day I had too much and had a scary Herxheimer Reaction. This was not fun. Now i'm going a bit slower in taking it daily. Like I mentioned above Kefir is truly a wonder food. And it's potent. Not the store bought but the fresh from goat milk made this morning.

Thru some research Kefir is well known (scientific and anecdotal) to reduce inflammation. Reduce Asthma. Reduce cholesterol levels, beneficial in righting your gut microbiota. It combats food allergies.. and this is new to me but, is beneficial in wound healing as well.. There are claims it also has 'anti tumor activity against multiple cancer cell types'... But, i'm not going to be worrying about that. I just want to be pain free and wide awake. 

I don't think this is too much to be asking from my body. PAIN FREE.  WIDE AWAKE. Without these two things, nothing much is getting done around here. There have been times during the 11 month, thinking i'm out of the woods, till another wave hit. Till another symptom started. It has become never-ending pain fest. I'm not a wuss either. I spent two days shooting that video *upper right of the blog* with PBS while having a burst appendix. Shooting ended Thursday, by Friday evening, i was in emergency surgery. I have a high pain threshold. 

The kefir IMO is working. Slowly. And I have a feeling it's going to take more then just a week on it. It has been over 11 months from infection and the corona coaster.  So, this could take some time...

This quote was interesting. found here:


The fact that kefir can induce shifts in the immune system in both directions is promising as it may mean that the organisms in kefir are capable of regulating this balance in the immune system. This may be in part due to the increased number of regulatory T-cells observed in some of these studies, as regulatory T-cells play an important role in maintaining tolerance and supressing unnecessary inflammatory immune responses (Sakaguchi, 2011).

I read that study. It's helpful and explains in detail many things that make me believe (HOPE) that Kefir is going to help right the body. It's not the only thing I'm doing. I am trying to figure out what low histamine foods are also diabetic friendly. As this is it seems harder then it sounds. And anything I eat right now is a potential 3 days in bed with excruciating pain. It seems some foods good for a diabetic diet are high histamine foods and cause inflammation. Balancing act. See Saw. Corona coaster... 

Here is a good blog post on how to make kefir. 

So, there it is in a nutshell. My life. CoVid. Kefir. and Diabetes are taking over the farm, my thoughts, and my life...



Desdemona letting the 2019 kids eat from her bowl.
Not every dam would be so kind.

Time it seems... has gotten away from me. It's been over a year since I've posted a blog post. And before that it's been sporadic at best. 1 year at 4 months nothing between 2018 and 2019. I recount why below..

It's more then likely because not much has gone right. No one wants to hear about the bad stuff... 

Some years are like that. 

But, for me to realize, i've not posted in over a year is crazy. 

Here is a quick or not so quick timeline of life. 

In 2018, I had a part time job that made things worse not better in terms of what I was trying to do with it. That snowballed into, I need to get a full time job to make ends meet better. I was trying to supplement income to save money to do needed repairs around the farm.  This homestead is 20 years old.  (but that didn't pan out with the lack of hourly wage promised). The part time job just became too timely. And the full time job became too caustic. 

The full time job lasted till September of 2019,  and i was relieved it was over. Sad, but relieved. It was a learning year. And i learned a lot. About me. About others. Before this job, it had been almost 18 years working in another office setting. I walked away learning a great deal. But no better off. Both jobs left me worse then when I started. Things were not going well.

Then came another seasonal job for the livestock shows at the fair grounds which lasted till mid January 2020. Huge endeavor. I was proud of the work... and again, great learning experience, on how an entire livestock calendar for 2 weeks is created, staged, implemented. Aside from the politics, it was so interesting. I woke up every morning excited to go to work.  But, it was seasonal only and it was over. Just in time for the pandemic to start. 

In between all this - I started a book design project and 200 pages later and 1 year, still working on it. It was put on hold for months with the height of pandemic lockdown. 

Because of the working outside the farm, there was not much milk in 2018 and 2019. I tried. But just wasn't in the cards. I had 4 of my seniors die that year. I was deflated and defeated. My fault for keeping so many of the same age first fresheners. 2 died mysteriously. 2 died of old age and parasite related reasons. And time was not on my side. It's difficult to be gone all day and then tend farm at night. 

It was the first time in 17 years of milking that i dried the girls off earlier then 305 days, and i went once a day till July 2019,  and then just realized, I can't do it all. In that time, I tried to get a buckling from a friend up North, who also died early in his development. And realized again, I can't do it all alone, and work full time. 

2020 rolls in and Covid -19 takes over. Lets just start out with the worst of it.... I got the virus in late February. I still have issues from it, today. I could go on and on, but suffice it to say, you don't want this. I am what they call a 'long hauler'.. And, it's a corona coaster of symptoms and pains, and illness. I'm just not well. And its migrated around my body for months. 

Because of being so ill - I dried the girls off in April 2020. I just couldn't do it. First time, and they were not happy. I was not happy. Back then was a blur... Actually, from April to today was a blur. One giant sleep fest, sickness and pain. 

I buried "Iggy the piggy" he was 17 years old. I buried Thatcher he was 11. Both blurs and both devastating. Thatcher had a tumor growth near his anus, and within weeks of seeing it, he had died. May was a terrible month for me. I couldn't even dig the hole, I was so sick. I remember that. Feeling guilty, I couldn't even dig a hole.

In August, I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. And my A1c was 11.8. which is crazy high. Blood sugar was 570 range. And i was heading to the hospital.  Scared at the thought of spending any time in a hospital full of Covid patients, worried I would be re-infected. I dug in, and changed everything. Lost 15 lbs. Took Metformin, and ate a low carb. low histamine. low calorie ... And by November,  my A1c was back to normal. 5.4 and BS was 134. I'm off the meds, but not out of these woods. I guess I never will be. 

Feeling a bit better, I was offered a buck and jumped at the chance of new bloodlines and a new start.... Charles my new buck came to stay, he's one gorgeous boy. He was here about a week before he jumped the fence and bred all the goats. Christmas week, we kidded.  I have 5 gorgeous kids (4 does. 1 buck). I'm milking 3 healthy goats. Not the numbers of what I normally milk (between 8 and 11 goats), but, enough for the time being, and my lack of energy, still with issues from the virus. And once a day. I'm not making cheese or soap at the moment. But preparing for it soon. 

My life is in dis-order. The house. The farm. All in disorder and its going to take some time to come back from all this. If, I can come back from all this. The pandemic. The lockdown. The lack of income. The deaths. My farm business. My health. I'm trying is all i can say about it. 

Which leads me to friends. If it wasn't for them - various times this year of helping out, I don't know what i would have done without them. Bringing food. Supplies. Getting me hay. Helping me kid. The list of things are just so enormous.  I can't even begin to say how thankful for them. 

So, that leads me up till today. The purpose of this blog (in the beginning) was to document my life journey with the goats. Up until the 2019 time frame, I had been so diligent with this goal.  

Hopefully, this will be a turning point for me. Wish us luck. I hope that time is on my side in 2021. 


The Season Begins...

Before the season begins... Before I can sell milk... This has to happen. (see video). Newborns need to be tended to. In my instance, I pull them at birth. Mostly, because my dams lost the momma gene. They give birth, look at them, see me, and then lick me. Not the newborns. Mom's don't care.  Kids disappear into the house and the momma's could care less. 

Pulling them at birth is a standard procedure for many farms. While not for my particular reason, they do it for biosecurity. CAE is a serious disease and its passed thru milk and other fluids (discussion on what fluids is always on going i.e.. amniotic, mucus etc.). Milk is the key in transference. I don't want, and other breeders don't want, to allow them to milk off of mama.  

This is called CAE prevention management. I have colostrum and milk waiting that is guaranteed CAE free. I thaw and feed. Over the years, I've tested. and tested. But the only guaranteed way to suppress this from continuation is not to feed the dams colostrum or milk to the kids as raw milk. Testing is only as good as the day you tested. There is so much complication to this that pulling kids for this reason alone is enough.

Another reason is weaning. If you keep the kids on mom, 3 months from now, they will need to be weaned. And that experience isn't always pleasant. If you pull now, and you have dams to be milked they really never experience the weaning process, it at the outset you milk them. The dams bond to me. I'm not going anywhere. The kids bond to me, and i'm well versed in weaning easily and without drama.  It's a win- win. I have tried both over the years. The constant screaming from both sides can be awful. When you pull at birth none of that happens. EVER.

If people want to purchase a kid still on milk, they're already on the bottle. Try putting a kid on the bottle that have been dam raised. Not always a fun experience. or healthy because transferring over to either milk replacer or cow milk is not seamless. One bout of scours can kill a small kid. Selling to a new owner and now the kid is being fed in a new way, with a new ingredient, disasters happen. 

The other reason I like to bottle feed is when they get sick. As they age, they look to me as the herd leader. As the momma. This is without fault. When I need to do something - Tube feed. Shots. Control or restrain. Guess how they behave?  Dam raised kids turned adults are not the easiest patients. Sometimes, not able to be caught, as they don't trust you like they would if you bottle fed them, and they think of you as momma...

Whether you farm for fun or for business, the last thing you need is a goat that won't come to you when needed. The added stress chasing them around to try and dose them is not productive. 

Overall, the 3 months of extra work, I believe makes for an easier farm life over the long haul. But, not until these cuties come along. :) 


Agriculture should be promoted and living in the RSA

One of the things that upsets me to no end is our county touts being the largest Agriculture county in the state. But with that said, in our unincorporated areas of Eastern Palm Beach County they are doing everything in their power to quash any Ag related endeavors on smaller acreages. They do this by denying AG exemptions, citing codes not meant for a lean-to, harassing homeowners by fear, and overall trying to white wash the area into compliance. Unless, you have a bonafide AG classification, code just keeps coming after the smaller homesteads.

When you head West on 80 towards Lake O, you see thousands upon thousands of acres of crop, sugar cane, etc. We do have the largest areas still in the county for these mega corporations. But to tout this as a positive thing, while backhandedly, trying to stop it in other areas is disingenuous at best.

We have some very unique rural areas of the county, (where I live) in that every home is ZONED - AR. Zoning and code are two different things, but, go hand in hand. We are zoned 'Agriculture Residential'. It is also in our Palm Beach County Comprehensive Plan 'guaranteeing' our right to livestock.

If you didn't know, you (I) live in the Exurban Tier, in the RURAL SERVICE AREA (RSA) Rural Residential (RR-2.5) in the UnIncorporated area of Palm Beach County. (Exurban includes The Acreage area).  The county commissioners and their staff must follow the rules set forth in our Comprehensive Plan. Written by the county and staff. You can do a google search for the whole pdf file. Its quite long. Look for the 'Future Land Use Element'. (FLUE).

The county can not surreptitiously change something in our FLUE ( Comp Plan), without much consideration from the people that live in the area, the staff, and the Commissioners tasked with making sure this Plan is abided. Changes go thru months of discussion, and changes. And then the BCC must vote on them.

In the FLUE, I've highlighted in yellow pertinent paragraphs. The most important of them is #4.


The other item of importance is the keeping of RURAL character of the area.

Keep in mind that what the county says, and what they do, can be two different things. And they have in the past, change the Comp Plan to suit their needs. (ie. Minto and Westlake prior to them incorporating).

It's upsetting and unnerving for them to use ULDC or state statutes and back door slap homeowners wrists that want to live their lives with livestock. My previous post depicts CE usurping the code to their interpretation, citing a homeowner to get rid of temporary housing, metal structures that are movable,  and cross fences on her property. She is just one of many... Why is that? Because code likes things simple, and in line. This is easily managed in urban areas, where all homes are the same. All homes are zero lot line. All homes essentially have no land. But, there is nothing easy about our area. The homes sit on different areas of the land. Some have ponds. Some have wetlands. Cyprus trees that can't be cut. Or they have septic and water in various locations that make it difficult for the CEO to state - ' this must be here' and you can't 'do this here' ... When it comes to livestock, bottom line you do what you need to do to keep them!

The Acreage, Jupiter Farms, Loxahatchee, and all the other surrounding rural developments are truly the last areas in our county to allow for this unique style of living. Anything EAST of 441, sadly, has succumbed to being in the URBAN SERVICE AREA and those rules are different. Even if you live on 2 acres...

Remember you (WE) live in the RURAL SERVICE AREA. And this is a designation we don't ever want to lose. It separates us based on our lack of amenities. Want more amenities and you might find yourself one day not able to keep livestock any longer.

As for the AG classification - this is something you must get from the property appraiser. This office is not a part of the county staff, or fall under their management. The property appraiser office is state maintained and managed. Getting an AG classification is different then our zoning of AR. I have another blog post about that.


You can easily find your AR designation on the property appraiser site.


White washing Loxahatchee And Palm Beach County Code

It's getting worse -

Years ago, they tried to take away our right to farm, by limiting our property rights. We are Agriculture Residential zoned, and in our Comprehensive plan says 'guaranteed by right'... to have livestock and equines in the Acreage and Loxahatchee areas.

Slowly, and without ado, or any public discussion, our rights keep getting chipped away.

Last year, I stumbled upon two sentences (that is all it was) in the ULDC, that had been strickened from the code, no one picked up on it, and no one in County staff said a word to anyone - deleted. GONE....  One sentence changed with a few words, and decades of property rights gone... slashed. We've been arguing to get it back for over one year -- County and zoning/code departments just giving us the run around....

It had to do with owning vehicles, sport vehicles, RV's, horse trailer's, Swamp buggies, Air boat's, on your land. (This will be another post.)

More recently, this is happening... again....

Another recent attempt at whitewashing is code hitting up small farm homesteads with tiny coops, and claiming they need to be torn down... OR permitted... OR get an engineering survey done for the FEMA flood plain management requirements. Needless, these requirements are based on large barns, larger then a simple dog house 'type' lean to - housing small goats. They are also exempted in the FEMA manual based on size. (the county fails to acknowledge this part)

The homeowners get nervous, code officers threaten fines, liens, and hearings, needing of attorneys. The average owner is going to worry, and pull it all down to fall into compliance.

That is exactly what the county wants to happen. They are wrong...  and... someone needs to put this to the test! Sadly, young families with busy lives, doing this as a hobby... they crumble and comply.

... And we lose just one more homesteading family to the urban whitewashing machine.

There is no rule that pre-empts your RIGHT TO FARM- locally, statewide or nationally...

Anyone that has a small structure (like the one pictured below) should not be THREATENED, or put in fear that they will be fined exorbitant amounts of money to farm goats, or any livestock.

It is our guaranteed RIGHT in our state statutes, and in our Palm Beach County Comprehensive Plan in the Exurban/Rural Tiers of the RSA (Rural Service Area) in Rural Residential parts of Unincorporated Palm Beach County. 

It is quite clear none of these ''buildings'' are permanent... NONE OF THEM. What they are - not pretty to the urban viewer. They house goats, chickens, and rabbits. Farming animals can be unsightly.

Animals, this week, a young girl is showing at our South Florida Fair.  we tout the farmer on one hand, lambast and embarrass, on the other.

Read below.  It's quite clear by the compliance deadline verbiage it is  meant to scare the homeowner into compliance. $1000 fine a day is nothing to sneeze at. C'mon people... really? Stop being fearful of this.... I know this is easier said then done. So, do they.... and it's why they write it. But you do need to be found 'guilty' and you have the right to be heard via magistrate. After that, you have the right to go to court and fight any fines ...before they can start slapping these fines on you.

This is a single mother, raising a daughter, alone. She is keeping her child busy, and honest, trying to bring her up in the most wholesome of ways -- Farming, breeding goats, homesteading, husbandry, with chickens and rabbits. I think its working. I've met a smart, cordial, helpful, and well rounded 15 year old when visiting.

This whole situation is just unconscionable to think about. This is our RIGHT to keep farm animals, (unincorporated loxahatchee and The Acreage areas). And its OUR RIGHT to house them as we see fit, with economical forethought. The whole point of these endeavors is to save money, not spend it to make the county happy.

YET, it becomes insurmountable, if one needs to constantly, pull permits, every time an addition is made to the fencing, the lean to's, temporary shelters, or pole barns. People should not have to get expensive engineering surveys done for a lean-to.

This is how farming is... and isn't .... Put up shelters, take them down. Move them around. And none of it should need to be 'permitted'... by the county. They do this to limit our endeavors and it needs to stop!

My last photo is the PPM written by the county zoning director about 8 years ago, when this was first addressed, when they were trying to limit our right to animals.... we thought it was final. It specifically states small sheds/lean to's and such did not need to be permitted if housing livestock..Nor did any cross fencing to keep them contained. As it happened, they lost the push to limit our right to animals. But instead seem to be coming at us from a different angle. Make it so difficult to build a small enclosure, or fence, or lean-to for them...

This mom works 2 full time jobs to keep above water... and raise her daughter out here...

We can do better Palm Beach County.

ps... I keep editing this page. As I remember items,  I've written about in the past. Below,  is one link to the Florida Building code that EXEMPTS farm buildings. While it has changed over the years, becoming more complicated, one thing still comes up... the word "OR" and that is where the interpretation comes into play. Read the bill. Past and Present. Another item to note is the ADDITION to Flood Plain Management to the statute. When researching this,  FEMA's manual is explicit in that a barn, within smaller sizes, CAN BE exempt from these requirements. Its our county that is ignoring this....


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