A Heroine to My Own Future Health Story

If you take the time to read all of this, it would mean the world to me. ♥️  It’s a raw & personal, health-related post. I think whether we have chosen a lifestyle that in turn causes illness & disease or made a choice that has affected our health poorly, we can all choose today, to make necessary changes to get it back, so this is my story.

As part of an amazing group of over 100,000 women going through this same thing,  “we” feel the money behind the FDA & Pharmaceuticals hiding this, means our voices & your shares, are the only way to help spread the truth. I’ve already been contacted by several women, so, my embarrassment over a horrible decision is their key to more information.  Ladies, this one is tough AND uncomfortable, but I promise that you know someone suffering silently now or will be in the future who can benefit from this information. 
Guys may want to scroll past but if you have a woman in your life that you love, you may want to read on.

It’s taken me many years (the last two being pretty damn sick) to realize I made a huge mistake. I honestly can’t even remember when was the last time I felt truly healthy instead of comparing a “better day” to a “bad day” . 

I chose vanity, an illness in itself, to think that we are not good enough just the way we are. What a terrible lesson to teach my girls. We should all be striving to keep our bodies as organic & all natural as possible (especially us farmers who preach organic practices) whether that’s what we put into our bodies permanently or on a daily basis. 

17 Years ago, after nursing my girls, I decided to get breast implants. That decision has taken my health from me, as well as the ability to fully be a good wife & mother.

As of March 2019 The FDA Acknowledges BII Symptoms & has agreed to change package labeling to a “Black Box Warning”

I now know, I have what is known as Breast Implant Illness or Silicone Toxicity. This can actually be caused by ANY implanted device, knee replacements, mesh, lap bands etc. I would say within 18 months of making this decision, weird issues from severe migraines to stomach issues, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, & dizziness crept in. I guess I was “lucky” as some experience immediate reactions like rash, fever, hives, blood poisoning -all signs of a body rejecting the “product” . Never did I believe my “issues”  were from that decision as I had been told at the time, it was a “perfectly safe, lifetime device”. Those words make me want to cry for my own young ignorance. 

This is a money making product. Doctors tell you what you are excited to hear in a time where your weakness of being disappointed with your beautiful body overwhelms common sense & rationalization of trusting someone who is about to make a lot of cash off of your decision. I blindly accepted those words as truth, choosing high ranked doctor in CA who told me what he wanted me to believe as well. 

BII is caused by an autoimmune response to a foreign object in your body. The first thing that happens to everyone with an implant is your body creates a capsule around it to protect your vital organs from the invader. This capsule is the reason why some woman do not inherit other symptoms for quite some time while others notice small things right away. This capsule is also what harbors ALCL, a breast implant related cancer that is on the rise.  Every implant, be it silicone or saline has a silicone shell harboring over 40 toxic ingredients. I willingly allowed this to be placed over my heart & lungs, causing an inflammatory response. It’s nauseating to think about the fact that I did this to myself. 

Did you know there was a recent recall regarding a specific implant that is causing “higher” incidents of ALCL cancer? (all implants CAN cause this cancer) The FDA & implant company is “NOT Recommending” removal of recalled implants unless “you show signs” of said cancer. Please keep your ticking time bomb, if you get cancer, we will then pay for removal!

This is not a fluke thing as they want you to believe. I wanted to believe it too. The FDA recently admitted to hiding over 300,000 cases of BII illness complaints in the US.  90% of FDA complaints had been hidden including lymphomas & silicone leakage or travel to lymph nodes until last year when they were exposed. (Link below)

So, in early years of my stages, I was seeking doctor after doctor for for my breathing, food/skin allergies I never had before , Celiac diagnosis, cholitis meds for my stomach, fybromyalgia, migrane meds etc. I was not absorbing nutrients well, iron & potassium was always depleted no matter how much I ate. (Still a huge problem I now know is due to toxic heavy metal loads in my body). My friends joked that I was the healthiest looking sick person they knew. 

With no answers, I then became obsessed with diet & exercise to “fix myself”, became a certified nutrition coach as we discussed moving, starting a slower lifestyle & growing all of our own healthy food. I sold my business & quit working to do just that.  This led to what is now Bad Baxter Farm. You know my passion for wellness, & yet here I am, sick. This past year has kicked my ass.  Luckily now, information is slowly changing & today I have a general practitioner on my side.

The past two years, I was in major denial when I came across a show where someone was fighting autoimmune, Lyme, & major illness when she mentioned silicone traveled into different places of her body making it impossible to remove or fight the Lyme. A mammogram showed no rupture. This is actually very common, as that amazing capsule your body creates, can many times attempt to keep leaks hidden & somewhat contained. I started researching, I joined the national support group for a while & then I left because the information was too much, too overwhelming, too close to what I was dealing with. The amount of woman who not only shared all of the same symptoms & illnesses but also shared the drive to have done anything & everything possible health wise to rule other options out, became something I could not ignore. I was reading my own story, over & over. Nobody wants to remove something that made them happy with their appearance, so the denial is very strong at first. We believe what we want to hear, instead of listening to our bodies. There are plenty of people out there who will tell you exactly what you want to hear as well, especially those doctors who’s practice depends on implant income. 

There are many top surgeons who are now refusing to do implants & help fight this fight with & for us. Their choice is not popular with their colleagues, of course. Most doctors are unaware or don’t do research past what they’re being sold. Many patients won’t ever recognize or “seem” to show signs due to the severely under reported or documented cases to newness of knowledge & difficulty to pinpoint. If a person is already living unhealthy lifestyles, there are so many symptoms all over the board they can be experiencing due to BII but are used living with the negative effects. Many get tired of appointment after appointment without resolutions and sadly, many people are fine with just being given a prescription for an issue without question to why or what is causing it, especially at such a young age.  Smack a band aid on the bleeder & call it a day.  

I really didn’t want to believe what I was reading from so many women, all ages, all types of implant, some had them for months, some years. Now I personally know so MANY women going through this, hurting from this, or healing from this. Our Oklahoma support group is now over 1000. I now personally know women who have “un-leakable gummi bears” with floating silicone in their lymph nodes, arms & neck, who deteriorate so fast, you see the fast aging & illness. I also got to see someone transform quickly after removal. All the before & after photos tell a true story that the public doesn’t want to believe & the implant providers/ plastic surgeons try to hide. I know woman with Mast Cell Activation who cannot walk most days, eat foods or get out of bed but look beautiful & smile through it so you’d never know. I actually consider myself lucky, who functions at some level, most days. I fight it. This is not just small amounts of people we are talking about.

Now, my hair is breaking off & falling out, my body swollen & inflamed, my joints ache, my head hurts constantly. I can’t take ten steps without catching my breath,  I’m nauseous, have neuropothy, my skin is orange and dry, I get eye sensitivity & lose words from my vocabulary, lose concentration, have chronic fatigue, constant food/skin reactions, recurring shingles & unexplained bouts of vertigo, swollen lymph nodes & seem to have the hormones of an 80 year old, just to start. I still go day to day, trying to keep it to myself & not complain because, I DID THIS. 

Just as you can recognize somebody who doesn’t eat well you start to learn the symptoms. Implants be it a breast, ass, lap band, joint, mesh, etc. You hear people talking about unexplained migraines, hormone issues, pain, & just know that some people aren’t ready to accept what it could be because you were once them as well.  Even worse, the people who recently make the same mistake, & are already facing infections, rejection or contraction. All of these things our body is trying to tell us as its trying to fight something that’s not supposed to be there. I mean a person with a donated organ must take rejection meds their whole life, and thats for something natural, without unnatural toxin, poisons, never meant to be inside you. All as the industry does what it does best, take our money, tell us it’s safe, then take our money again as they treat a lifetime of symptoms. Sick care at it’s best. 

So here I am telling you my story. I wanted to show I practice what I preach. I have been willing to do the work to come to a tough conclusion & act on it to heal myself no matter what it takes.  My doctor has referred me to a micro surgeon in Tulsa who believes in BII & specializes in proper explant, people are flying in from all over to use him. He took a look at my file & confirmed medical necessity for insurance.

One month from today, I will be admitted to pre-op at St Francis Hospital for a total enbloc/capsulectomy & muscle repair. Total capsulectomy or enbloc is removal of the capsule with implant inside so as not to expose my body to any more toxins or seeping from the implant. Seeping is something all implants do over time, even if they dont rupture. Things like the moisture & heat from your body to elevation compression from flying, all create an atmosphere of expansion & deterioration, even mold growth. Some implants have been known to have no shell at all at removal so it is important to find a doctor who specializes in total capsulectomy.  At one point when we thought insurance wouldnt cover, we were looking into flying to a top explant surgeon in Costa Rica. Crazy right? That’s how sure & how ready I was to be healthy. There are a few top doctors in Florida, Los Angeles & Ohio who only practice proper removals & are loudly speaking out on our behalf with a huge list of patients as proof of what horrible things they’ve seen & on a much more consistent basis than what’s led to believe. Most plastic surgeons don’t want their money makers taken away & sadly most of us woman would rather buy what their selling. I’m so sad that I was one of them but choose not to be a victim, but the heroine to my own future health story.

What if it doesn’t resolve anything?  This question makes me sad but I understand the topics discomfort because I had that thought in the beginning too. I no longer do at all. There’s a realization that happens when you’ve done everything you possibly can to fix things. Becoming a part of a group of amazing woman who are able to discuss, communicate & show support for thousands, sharing diagnosis, blood tests, results & stories of healing makes me positive. The doctors willing to risk their reputation to speak unpopular truths about what they are now seeing daily in their practices make me positive. Would you ask somebody who has cancer “what if it’s not really cancer” ?

I’ve been living with this long enough to admit I was wrong in my choice to get these toxic bags, BUT I did not make this explant decision nearly as lightly. I’ve gone through the struggles of denial, naysayers, the looks I get when I discuss it, even the eye rolls. The “trying to be supportive” pal who says things like “I hope that works for your case but it’s not the norm” . Really it is, more a matter of time & it’s just not something that’s openly discussed. We want to believe we are fine. Implants have to be replaced or removed & with each surgery comes more complications. Each time , a new capsule forming.

Through this group, fighting the fight, going to the FDA, sharing their stories on TV shows, YouTube, blogs, I truly have no doubt this is me. I don’t want it to happen to you or someone you love. That’s worth it to me to keep sharing & accept that some people aren’t ready to hear it. I was them. You. I also know that there’s a positive aspect of sharing the knowledge & feel that it’s my duty to continue because that’s how I learned. Just like anything in big pharma they may have the money to cover up the truth, & plenty willing to blindly accept it, but we have voices to use so I want to be heard by those open to it in case it can help one person. My new Motto will be “Choose to be nontoxic, organic, & all natural, inside & out! “

Luckily I have an amazing & supportive husband who never wanted me to do this in the first place so there’s guilt in that. I’m preventing our home from being finished in order for me to get back my health from something that I chose & he didn’t want. I’m so mad at my younger self who couldn’t see past her own insecurities. He’s made some awesome & funny remarks to keep me in high spirits making this choice easier. Struggling with words, brain fog, vision, & noise he was able to jump in & ask those questions to my surgeon that I couldn’t get to come out of my mouth. I know he & my girls want me healthy & my only regret is that I didn’t find out, that I didn’t listen to others or my body sooner. I want to be the best influence to my three girls & showing them that health is more important than body composition should always have been number one. Check out the hashtag #notOURdaughters

So I will be soon taking off 8-10 weeks of healing time for what I am deeming ” #toxictata eviction day”. Trying to keep a farmer down for that long is going to be the hardest part! 

So PLEASE, tell the world you know me & my story. If it can help one friend or family member, it’s worth it. Don’t argue with the nay-sayers, their defensiveness oftentimes means they just aren’t ready to hear something that hits so close to home but some day they may be & you could have been the one to plant that seed of knowledge. That’s powerful. I will end with a huge list of info, links & details for anyone wanting to begin the research or share it with someone else who is struggling. Also know there are tons of woman in the support groups who did this as reconstruction after cancer. How terrible is it that they have had to deal with these consequences, after already fighting such a tough battle? 

If you’re still with me, I really appreciate you taking your time & thank you for caring enough to read & share. Please reach out if you have any questions regarding this topic, there is a lot of help out there, even non profits willing to help you with insurance approval.  I hope to be at 500% by Spring. 

 Peace. LOVE. Chickens.

Blaze Baxter

Support group for BII

 https://www.facebook.com/groups/Healingbreastimplantillness/?ref=share

 https://www.facebook.com/groups/ALCLinwomenwithbreastimplants/?ref=share

Silicone bleed/seepage:

Explant Only Surgeons:

Dr Feng:

Explant info & stories:
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLcSq05v8rgLH4svp7t4Z2b6O0SKFi9eJg

https://m.facebook.com/busteddoc/photos/a.103058004397696/137337637636399/?type=3

Dr Chun: his Facebook with many explant posts as well as his recorded testimony to the FDA

Dr Rankin: FB page full of explant stories & his findings

https://www.facebook.com/davidrankinmd/

Report on FDA Findings Here

Ex- FDA
https://www.facebook.com/102105571159606/posts/131528661550630/?substory_index=0

Here’s a video from a Canadian chemist contradicting the FDA’s claim that breast implants are (or were since they’re changing their tune) safe:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I3sdJ4GQT4I&feature=youtu.be&t=248&fbclid=IwAR1cV8EGDlHZ7JIgZ5HC2Pz35ym6UrMqUQND0mwt3SfOixwOJCr_jLkJnco

Implants cause autoimmune:

https://opmed.doximity.com/articles/an-introduction-to-breast-implant-associated-autoimmune-disease?_csrf_attempted=yes

Saline implants & mold toxicity:

Personal Stories:

https://m.facebook.com/MariaMKang/photos/a.639085266122432/2803349989695938/?type=3

https://m.fengclinic.com/plastic-surgery/my-breast-implants-slowly-poisoned-me/

Here’s a compilation video showing multiple brands and types of implants at the time they were removed from women’s bodies:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZJdILkP-P4&feature=youtu.be&fbclid=IwAR0J-3GO7tz7iMoxdZnTEjmL_SMa6dk0lxhmgm9zruWPDTmBRGR6xpnPw90

The newest Documentary “Toxic Tits” Here

Stay tuned for “Busted” coming soon

Preserving the Harvest – Tomatoes

There is nothing better than a perfectly ripe off the vine tomato from the home garden. Kissed in sunshine and wonderfully sweet, don’t we all wish that we can have this delicacy year round? The Spring & Summer garden season is sometimes overwhelming and exhausting but if we plan ahead there are things that we can do to make sure that we have tomato products preserved for the off seasons. Will it taste as wonderful as that vine ripe tomato? Nope. But it will keep you from buying the bland, tasteless, wax covered faux-matos from the dreaded grocery store. 

You can Can!

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So first and easiest is canning salsa, tomato paste, enchilada sauces and marinara. Tomatoes can be water bath canned most of the time, making them the perfect product for beginners. I prefer to use cherry tomatoes for canning just because I dont even peel or cut them!  Here’s a super easy caning recipe to start with! Prick whole cherry tomatoes with a pin or toothpick and use a plain pickling recipe. These are fabulous and probably as close to a fresh tomato taste in mid winter as you are going to get. Here is a simple recipe, I would omit the sugar, of course. Snack on them whole, top a salad or blend up for a “fresh” salsa.

So first and easiest is canning salsa, tomato paste, enchilada sauces and marinara. Tomatoes can be water bath canned most of the time, making them the perfect product for beginners. I prefer to use cherry tomatoes for canning just because I dont even peel or cut them!  Here’s a super easy caning recipe to start with! Prick whole cherry tomatoes with a pin or toothpick and use a plain pickling recipe. These are fabulous and probably as close to a fresh tomato taste in mid winter as you are going to get. Here is a simple recipe, I would omit the sugar, of course. Snack on them whole, top a salad or blend up for a “fresh” salsa.

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Red and green tomato salsas are the best thing to start with. We use green salsa for chicken enchiladas and my kids prefer as a dip, over the red.  Marinara is an easy second to salsa and after trying many, many recipes, I will never use another after trying this one,  thickened with carrots and super easy (think crock pot)! Next comes enchilada sauce and BBQ sauce! We use apples or pears in our BBQ sauce- No Sugar! Don’t forget your tomato soup & my personal favorite, bloody mary mix, strain the juice for your mix and can the pulp for tomato paste!

Finding or making time to can is always the tough part but in the end well worth it to have those cupboards stocked for winter. One thing we do is freeze them until we have down time to batch can. 

For more of my favorite canning recipes follow my canning board on Pinterest!

Freeze

Next up is –  Freeze the tomatoes whole in zip lock bags if you have the freezer space. Even temporarily. This frees up time for gardening and you can get to those tomatoes at a more convenient time or a rainy day. The other great trick with this is that you can throw those tomatoes in warm water and they peel easy…super easy. I never feel the need to peel, I usually leave peels on for most recipes, unless….

WHICH brings me to one of my favorite tips……

Dehydrate

Dehydrate those peels! Did you know the trick to many Mexican food restaurant salsas is tomato powder? Tomato powder is the secret to fresh tomato taste, year round. Dehydrate your peels, throw them in a bag and freeze (this step is important for a fine powder). Then pop them in an herb (or coffee) grinder to create a fine dust of deliciousness!  Add this to dips, soups, salsa, home made salad dressings, everything!

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While we are talking about dehydrating, don’t forget your overabundance of cherry tomatoes! Split those bad boys in half and dehydrate those with a pinch of sea salt or basil for a cheater version of sun dried tomatoes. Store in a jar dry, or soaked in olive oil. I throw these in everything from eggs to stews until tomato season rolls back around. 

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So, I hope this brought you a few new ideas on different ways to preserve this very important harvest.

Tomatoes have huge health benefits if your are not nightshade intolerant, and are easy to grow.

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So take advantage of every way to preserve them as you can. If you don’t grow them, contact your local farmer to reap the benefits of vine ripe, beyond organic, produce.  Follow Bad Baxter Farm for more healthy holistic homesteading recipes and ideas. 

So what is your favorite tomato preservation tip, trick or recipe? Do share!


GMOs, Hybrid, Heirloom & Organic, Whats behind a label?

I asked a friend to help me out with a guest blog post on a sometimes touchy subject. Bruce created the Facebook Groups Oklahoma Frugal Gardening and Oklahoma Plant Swap as well as being an Administrator on Oklahoma Gardening Network. I Constantly strive to provide good quality information to my customers on why we feed and grow the way we choose to. I love teaching others that healthy foods are not always expensive. To learn this, you have to sometimes look past those fancy taglines…like Organic. 

Remember when reading this article, he is specifically talking about garden seeds for the most part. There is plenty of hidden GMO issues with most grocery store foods containing canola, soy, and corn oils. The first step in affordable healthy foods is either growing it yourself or being able to ask your farmer these types of questions, just don’t get stuck on the terminology. Most of us are trying to grow in a way that replenishes land and body…we cant’ put a label on that, or the government will find a way to make us pay for that as well……

Blaze Baxter – Bad Baxter Farm


My name is Bruce Hopper and I’ve been gardening most of my life, but over the last several years I decided to break away from standard Ag driven gardening practices and started researching and questioning. A few may know me from some of the Oklahoma based gardening groups on Facebook and won’t be surprised at what I’m writing.

Recently, I was reading a Facebook post about CSA chickens and a few other poultry options being offered. One individual asked if it was organically grown which prompted the response by the OP, it’s beyond organic! That got me thinking about how some of the same things we see in the vegetable gardening world are very similar to what our small farm meat producers are faced with. We get questions all the time from
individuals that have been bombarded by all kinds of BS information. We see it in the grocery store, in the seed catalogs and pretty much everywhere we go. I won’t go into my usual tirade on how I feel about companies that use labels like non-
GMO, heirloom or organic.

Randy Fath


Let’s just take a step back and look at some of what is going on and maybe clear up some of the confusion. One misconception I’ll point out revolves around hybrid plant varieties. Hybrids are bred using two or more cultivars. They are not genetically modified using gene-splicing techniques. Several varieties have been around longer than many labeled as heirloom. Generally they are bred to promote disease resistance and increased production.

Now, let’s look at the term Heirloom? The definition has changed a few times down through the years, but the seed companies use a 50 year ruler to determine whether the label fits or not. I won’t waste a lot of time blowing holes or pointing out several I know of that are mislabeled, instead let’s focus on understanding the common link. Open Pollinated would be a much more accurate means of labeling and simply tells us we can save seed and grow them year after year.

no one cares

When it comes to genetically modified organisms in the seed industry, there is basically zero chance of anyone ever purchasing GMO vegetable seed. It simply isn’t possible unless you pay big money and sign a contract with one of the huge corporations that invest huge sums in producing GMO varieties. Now, grains, primarily corn, soybeans, alfalfa and wheat are a different story. Maintaining purity in all crops near GMO planted fields is an issue but with corn the biggest concern is because of the way it pollinates and that’s by air movement or wind. Viable pollen can travel to the neighbor’s field or even the next and contaminate someone else’s crop. Obviously there is more of a chance of this happening in highly developed agricultural areas.

If ever there was an argument to purchase wholesome foods from the small farms this is one of the best in my opinion. The main concern when it comes to soybeans, alfalfa and wheat is much of it is being sold as being Round-up ready. I won’t go too much into that one, simply because of lack of unbiased data sources when it comes to glyphosate. And being Round-up ready doesn’t always mean what it sounds like. The
term is often used to label plants that have been bred or modified to produce more insecticides. The issue with this is those insecticides kill beneficial insects right along with the pests and that’s a rabbit hole I chose not to go down. I could dive off into the various methods used in gene modification, but the one that is the most controversial is called trans-genesis which is done in a lab under extremely controlled conditions. It might surprise some to learn that the actual gene movement or transfer, using agro bacterium, which is a bacteria genus that occurs naturally in sweet potatoes. Gene modification using mutagens puts us more at risk, simply because many of the resulting plants or seeds are approved as organic and aren’t tested like they should be. Regardless which side a person takes on the GMO issue, the end result is higher production of food that is lower in nutritional value.

Joshua Lanzarini

Now let’s look at the term Organic? When the movement started years ago as a way to identify foods grown using more holistic methods, someone decided we had to have a standardized way of growing. The Organic Materials Review Institute or OMRI was formed and they put together the OMRI Approved List. Over time we’ve seen changes in what’s approved and what’s not and frankly I’m of the opinion it’s
borderline useless. It’s reached the point where money, politics and the ensuing corruption have ruined it. So, when I hear friends and other people use the term ‘beyond organic’ my respect level goes up and I realize there are others that see and recognize some of what I’ve wanted to talk about for a long time!

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1720449321533392/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/OklahomaPlantSwap/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/121479271277853/

A Healthy Homestead starts from within…. Our Rule of Five

I hate resolutions. I feel like they set you up for unrealistic expectations. Life happens. I also hate the word “diet” other than pertaining to what you eat on a daily basis, always. It shouldn’t be used to define a new and usually only part time, short lived experience. It definitely shouldn’t include non-foods, fake supplements and quick fix promises that never work. Labels drive me crazy as well, but in a world where people are looking for the next big thing….I do sometimes use them to relate to our daily “diet” of real food.  Call it what you want. Back in the day of Atkins, The Zone, then Paleo, Primal, LCHF, now Keto… one thing is for sure; it stays around because it works and it works because it is focused on REAL FOOD IN REAL FOOD FORM. You cannot go wrong with that.  

Real Food in Real Food Form. Vegetables, nuts, meat, and even some fruit for dessert(hopefully all pasture raised/grown without chemicals and pesticides). If we all stuck to those 4 food groups in real form, our bodies would be in a better place.  No counting calories, no starving or suffering, no gimmicks; eating real food automatically gives you a low carb/or good carb, high (healthy) fat, balanced nutritional “diet”. 

Our family has eaten a LCHF lifestyle for five years now. My husband, who’s family seemed to be suffering “genetic” obesity, heart disease & diabetes, has managed to keep his weight, cholesterol and blood pressure in balance when sticking to our healthy way of eating.  Whodathunkit? A family full of “genetic” obesity and illness and the one person who eats right and leads a healthy lifestyle is the one who didn’t get those genetics? I think not. We, ourselves, have allowed extra treats and dreaded sugars over the holidays and our bodies have suffered the consequences…so this is also a reminder to myself, that our health matters and what we fuel our bodies with is important.

Our Family Rules are Simple. Five or Less…..

  • Five Ingredients or less. 
    • When you must purchase something in a box or package, read your labels. Look for items with five or less RECOGNIZABLE ingredients. If you don’t know what that strange, long ingredient is, your body will not either. 
  • Five grams of sugar or less. Five carbohydrates or less.
    • This is a big one and a tough one for a lot of people, yet it’s the most important. Fat does not make you fat, sugar does. When the above named “diets” fail, its because of this rule. Most people do not realize the brain, body, and even taste bud addiction they have to sugar. Some people point out they don’t eat sweets often not realizing that grains, processed breads, pasta (even that “whole wheat” dyed with caramel coloring) all have as much sugar as a candy bar or are quickly converted to sugars in the body. This spikes blood sugar and creates an addictive cycle in the brain. Bottom line is it does not fall under “real food form”.  Soda, Sweet Tea and even “fruit juice” as well as yogurt, salad dressings, etc. all fall into this category. So look at that label.  Also, chemically laden “sweeteners” are even worse. No stevia, splenda, agave, none of that is going to help you break the cycle and most are even worse for your body. If your body tastes something sweet, it reacts the same way, there’s no tricking the human biome, or Mother Nature.  If you were to do one thing right now that would make a HUGE change in your health and lifestyle, the five or less rule is it.

From a Homesteading perspective. Lets talk about seasonal eating and growing your own food. This is a great way to understand the “fast food” epidemic. Let’s take potatoes as an example. Potatoes are a high carb vegetable but if you were to use the above guidelines, it is a real food in real food form (think beans as well). Technically potatoes would be allowed, but that doesn’t mean its the best way for you to meet your nutritional needs. Here is where the homesteading comes in. If you were to grow your own healthy potatoes, beans, corn, grain (all high carb high glycemic load) harvest them and store them, only eating what you grow, they would be a treat, and you would likely:

  • eat a lot less potatoes (corn, beans, or grains)
  • have a healthier product cooked in healthy fats instead of the fast food industries hydrogenated “vegetable”, corn or soy oil.
  • there would be physical exercise involved in the process

This goes for most foods that we overindulge in right? If we had to shell our own beans, we would eat less beans and even I, the hardcore carnivore, eat less meat when I am dependent on only myself for growing, and harvesting it. Look at bread the same way, no human body needs wheat to sustain a healthy life when you can get healthier, more digestible carbohydrates from real vegetables and fruit. BUT, if you were to grow your own grains? To you I would say “touche” , go for it, you did the work..you deserve your treat. (we can get into anti-nutrients of beans and grains in another blog post!) Just remember any of these high carbohydrate “treats” convert to sugar quickly in the bloodstream and therefore should be considered your desserts.

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 I really hope that paragraph makes you think. Fast food. When we can go grab a XL box of fries, drenched in unnatural fats after preservatives and unneeded chemicals are added and we eat them so quickly without any effort or thought of where they came from or how they were grown…there’s a problem. Grow those potatoes, slice them up, and fry them in your cast iron skillet. Not only will you be proud of controlling the entire process, you will enjoy them more, because its a rare treat that you grew, and did the work of harvesting. Those few pounds of potatoes will have to be thought more about as to when, how you should eat them. Something to be proud of as well as an easy way to balance you “diet”. Mother Earth provides what you need for each season, listen to her. There is a reason winter squash is higher in carbs and a reason tomatoes are ripe in the Summer. If we only ate what we grew, we would automatically have a more seasonal eating approach and a healthier, more balanced diet.  I don’t say that expecting everyone to do it, I say that hoping you think of food in that way, while making daily choices. The disconnect with our foods and sources is what got us into this mess.

Now, I know not everyone can grow ALL of their own foods but I guarantee you can do more than you are now.  The tiniest apartment patio can grow more than you think. The exercise will make you healthier, as well as the outdoor exposure and vitamin D. Start one more movement than you did last year. Your body deserves it. After we get past all the “I cant because….” excuses, the “yeah buts” or “everything in moderation” BS. I’ll say this: Its your choice to do it, instead of making excuses. We all have them. Bottom line is you and your family need to know you are worth it and there really are no reasonable excuses to put your family at unneeded risk of diabetes, cancer, heart disease, obesity etc. Just do it, or you will have to deal with even more setbacks and illnesses later in life. If you’re breathing, its not too late to start, nor an excuse good enough to make me believe it viable. You just have to want it. Health.

One small step…. Seasonal eating.

If you just “can’t” which, we’ve established that I don’t believe.  We all can do something, on a large to small scale. Start with seasonal eating. Buy local, from markets and whats in season. I despise the excuse “we cant afford to eat healthy”. YES, YES YOU CAN.  First let me explain that in the beginning of my health journey, I too said, “I can’t afford organic & pasture raised”. So, I chose to do it myself which lit a fire to get educated in nutrition and farming, realizing along the way that the expensive “organic” label is not all its cracked up to be. 

  • If you buy “organic” labeled produce from a big box store, your paying for a label and extra plastic. If you buy from local farmers, you are going to save money for a better product while supporting a family farm. Not only are the prices usually much cheaper but you can ask questions about growing policies that are important to you and end up with a product that is grown even better than an organic label allows.
  • Skip the middle aisles. Period. If you were to only visit the outside aisles of the grocery store, grabbing your fresh fruit, veggies and meats while omitting the “filler” foods (I begrudgingly use the word foods at all), you will save money. Skip the soda, chips, pasta, gummy snacks, cookies, breads, (all unnesceary in a healthy “diet”). You will save money. How often do you eat out? Buy a Starbucks FrappaHighFrutoseCornSyrup Latte? 7-11 Big Gulp? Don’t tell me you cant omit SOMETHING to get your pasture raised eggs and fresh tomaotes and basil. 
  • Breaking the sugar addiction. Here’s another excuse I roll my eyes at “my husband/kids wont eat that”. Ummm, yes they will and as the person who cooks most meals, I feel it’s my job to make sure I’m fueling my family’s health, not illness. They eat what I cook and have no choice…. I married a meat and potato man raised on McD’s. He loves my cooking and enjoys things he said he’d never try. Broken. Sugar. Addiction.  Once you break the sugar addictions, your palette will open up to a huge array of foods you never thought you would enjoy! I’m a foodie, I love food and I love to open up that world to other people. 

When this becomes a lifestyle and no longer a “diet”….

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Look, I’m all for treats, but ours have changed over the years and until you look at this as a lifestyle, there shouldn’t be cheating.  Those will be the persons with the excuses or “it doesn’t work for me”. “Cheat days” don’t work until the sugar addiction is recognized and dealt with, that takes a while. BUT WE ARE HUMAN. A rule that works for our family now, is following all the above and not falter on what comes into our home. If and when we choose to eat out, each family member can choose (or not) to splurge at that time.  Slowly, the kids started ordering water instead of pop, salads instead of fries, etc because they knew it upset their stomach and gave them headaches. Something, of course, you will never notice while in full on addiction mode. 

Im not saying this is one size fits all... your Primal, LCHF lifestyle will and should look different than mine.  Some will do better on mostly vegetables or a few more starchy carbs (preferably in squash and sweet potato form) while I tend to need more proteins, you can even do a modified vegetarian approach, by adding some sustainable fish and eggs.  Just love yourself enough to make changes now. 

Start now. In the coming months I will share tips and tidbits on ways you can make your homestead healthier. I’ll leave a list of little starts and pointers to take into consideration:

  • Start with the Rule of Five when shopping – five recognizable ingredients or less, 5 grams of sugar or less, 5 carbohydrates or less
  • Pay attention to ingredients (if you cannot pronounce it or understand what it is, put it down)
  • Stay away from hydrogenated oils “vegetable, corn & soy”  
  • Stay clear of Soy, period. (especially if you are a woman) 
  • Sugar Substitutes are not food – avoid them 
  • Don’t count calories, count sugars
  • Get your carbohydrates from fruits & vegetables
  • Get your natural sugars from fruits and vegetables (if you are trying to loose weight or balance your sugar levels you still must watch your carbs & sugars -refer to the five or less rule, even on whole foods at this time)
  • Consider making your own condiments and dressings with less additives and healthier oils, no sugar and soy. (plus they cost less!) 
  • Plant a garden – for food and exercise
  • Raise some of your own meat/eggs (we always tell people to start with quail & rabbit for small spaces)
  • Consider starting with a Whole 30 reboot. A 30 day plan that my doctor recommended to me & I learned so much about my body’s reactions to foods. Everyone should do this, at least once.
  • Eat foods that don’t come with labels and packaging!
  • Choose pasture raised  – not grain fed meats
  • Get the whole family on board and don’t take NO for an answer, their health is important.
  • Buy local, from your farmers, markets & CSA’s – Ask questions!

 In conclusion I hope to encourage you to take your health into your own hands or at least stop and think about the foods you choose, where they came from, why it needs to be in your “cart”.   I wish everyone a healthier, happier, 2019! If you are interested in our Healthy Homesteading classes, I encourage you to follow us on Facebook or sign up for our email list to get notified on classes and seasonal offerings of goodness.

Small Homestead Hogs for Meat

I didn’t know what to name this blog post. Although a boring title, the words “small” & “homestead” are of huge importance in making our decisions regarding our choice of pig breeds. Trying to decide between the many breeds of pigs to raise is difficult and confusing. Our path to self-sustainability has led us to making many decisions through trial and error. I’m sure many can relate. We knew that we wanted to raise pork for a sustainable meat source and I had no idea where to start. It is also extremely important to us, to know how to do all of the process, from farm to table, on our own. This led us to decide on the small homestead hog varieties, it was less intimidating and they seemed easier to manage alive and during the butchering process.

So here is a breakdown of our pastured pork journey that has led us to the amazing Kune Kune Pig, a true grass-fed hog.

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Self-sustainability is important to us, so knowing how to butcher is on that list. I’m not saying that we would never consider sending a pig or other livestock to a butchering facility but we would take that choice very seriously. What is stopping us from doing it ourselves? Why, after all this time put into the health and wellness of this animal, would we now turn it over to a stranger? A stressful drive, a new and unknown environment, possibly not even receiving our own grass-fed meat back in return. The stories are out there and endless. Can we say that we know our animal did not suffer extra stress or pain? I do feel that it is important to learn how to butcher, from a prepping standpoint and taking care of your family, but also for the love of your livestock. Consider the love, time and care that you put into an animal to making sure it has a good life, is fed well, is stress free. All these things that are so important to us can be ruined by the stress of loading up that animal and taking it somewhere it has never been. How else can you make use of ALL usable parts, but to butcher on your own? Stress can even change the flavor and composition of the end product.

Now first, before you get all judgy judgy on me, please note: Pot Bellied pigs are NOT pets, they are livestock, and don’t even get me started on the malnourished Micro Mini pig BS. Pot Bellies are Asian Heritage Hogs. They came to the US from Vietnam and Thailand as meat sources. Secondly, all small homestead pigs are known as “lard” pigs. This comes from the large pig breeders and tendency to overfeed crap bulk rations more than anything and is simply not true. A pigs meat is the product of what you feed it. A “lard” pig is one who is overfed and it can happen in any breed.  Our pigs work for their food and we have had great meat to fat ratios on all 3 breeds that we have experimented with. Though I do love me some good lard to cook with!

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We looked into other small to medium breeds and in doing so, decided to purchase some American Guinea Hogs from a homesteading friend. We also attended a Farm Convention where I was lucky enough to go to an amazing introduction to an entire butchering process.

This class was done by the female author of “The Ethical Meat Handbook”,  Meridith Leigh. I highly recommend this book. This class inspired me hugely. She was so caring in her words regarding the impact and ethics of agriculture and sustainable food. A woman, like myself, made me know, I can do this and I should be doing this. It is also the class that introduced me to the wonderful world of the KuneKune.

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GRASSFED PORK Y”ALL!

We were turned on to the Kune Kune at first due to its grazing qualities. We were living on one acre and the thought of it being torn up by pigs, did not excite me. Kune Kune can be raised on good quality grass without the need for supplemental feed. How does that fit into your prepping, self-sustainable, homesteading plan? No feed costs?  What would happen to all of your livestock if a catastrophic event took place. I’m not telling you to stress over it but everyone should have a bit of a game plan in the back of their head…just in case.

The KuneKune pork is, sweet, succulent and enhanced nutritionally by its grazing diet and slow growth. You can feed supplemental nuts & acorns to help gain, this is how we finish our pigs. They are lawn mowers! The only time these pigs root, is to make a mud pit for summer bathing, mine get a kiddie pool and they love it! Their personality is more docile than other pigs. Kune fit the bill on our homestead, for natural, healthy, & cost effective, grass-fed pork.

The breeder that we purchased from, informed us that he feeds his Kune no more than ½ cup of grass/hay/nuts/kitchen scraps, twice a day! I love the fact that we can put them in our orchard or garden and let them “clean up” without doing damage. The gentle nature is another huge plus.  Butchering is a breeze and we did 2 last season, proudly, ethically, & stress free. Remember, too much feed does not result in more meat. Overfeeding is expensive and unnecessary.

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A HEALTHIER CHOICE!

Grass-fed pork, like grass-fed beef is just better for you, with higher and more balanced Omega 3 ratios, vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin A, has higher CLA’s, the list goes on. Don’t let big farm and AG, steer you different. Cheap profit vs quality? Quality wins in my book.

Most pigs are fed grain and garbage “feed” to fatten them up fast, I’m sorry but the health and flavor of such pigs, cannot compare. A pig that matures naturally on grass over a slower period of time will not only be healthier but will have a richer taste and texture. The same rings true for heritage breed chickens. To feed and fatten fast on crap, gives you crap!  I’ve said many times, if you are raising something cheaply for a quick turn around, why not just go to the grocery store and save the hassle if the end result is of the same quality? I want the best for my family, and for us, that is the happy, healthy,  Kune Kune.

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So Kune Kune is the pig for us, if you can’t already tell by now. We highly recommend this breed to the homesteaders big and small. We hope to post a blog about our butchering process soon.  I highly encourage you to do your research when it comes to any homestead decision that you make and hope this information helps you in your journey!

Getting My SH*T Together ( AKA Getting Organized)

Its cold. I hate the cold, and if you don’t, you are wrong. So what better thing to do than to stay inside with a cup of tea and plan out the year as best as possible. We can all be more organized, I think we all intend to, right?  This is the only time of year that we have time to plan. It’s cold. Once garden season hits, then harvest, then canning, dehydrating, processing…you get the point. This is the time of year that all the homestead blogs and farms are in full force on Social Media. We are! Everywhere right? As we should be all year but as the Winter warms to Spring you read less of us and see more of us “doing”.  So this is it guys, our only hope of keeping it together better than the year before. We can all continue to learn and do better , so let’s go! (end pep talk, begin the plan…)

I gave up. Really.

Last year I spent around $20 on a fancy little planner to “stay organized”. I kept up for about 3 months but within the first few weeks I realized that the monthly planner just wasn’t working for our homestead. After many scribbles and scratches, then going back and not being able to read my tiny notes or where I put the incubation or kidding schedules, I kinda  just gave up. No, I gave up. Really.  Mr Bad Baxter would say, “make sure you are keeping all this for our records”, or ” le’ts keep better track this year”(KEY WORD: LET’S – meaning LET US, really meaning ME, ME, I better! not HE) So at the end of the year I had one big ugly disorganized box of receipts and papers and notebooks). Boo. Not cool.

I would rather be playing outside

Well like all resolutions, starting off strong and positive, I vow that this is the year that I get my sh*t together. (Don’t forget, I already warned that I cuss a lot – get over it, K, thanks) SO! I knew a traditional planner would not work, I had originally decided to make my own and I purchased a cheap binder to start. I already had a few forms for our poultry processing and meat orders, online egg sales, etc. But I quickly fell behind due to beautiful weather and the fact that I would rather be playing outside –  AKA building fences and pens for livestock on the new homestead.

Then I run across these wonderful Homestead Printouts for the year from Reformation Acres. I was skeptical but after finding a coupon and realizing that it was under $10 to get over 100 pages of pure, fantastic, homestead and garden minded planning, I thought why not try – it was less than I spent on the dumb planner last year. Well let me just say, they thought of just about everything. There are plenty of free printouts on their website if you just want to try a few but paying for the 100+ printables is well worth it.  Monthly “to do” lists, egg count, dairy tracking, expense reports, bees, goats, cows, you name it. I will not need every single page but how cool is that? Best part, you can save paper by only printing what applies to your farm. This is going to make daily documentation much more simple. Hopefully if I use this a year or two, I can modify a few for our uses and be done with it.

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Garden Planning….

The best part is they include a seed planting chart that you can modify with your frost dates and it updates to tell you when to plant it all. This brings me to my next part of getting it together. Garden planning. My only happiness of winter is having the spare time to plan the better part of the year. In the past, I have used the Mother Earth News Garden Planner. I highly recommend it. You can try it for a week for free and honestly, that’s plenty of time to create a good template if you know what you want to plant and where you want to plant it. It has an annual fee if you want to continue.  This year I am going to try Zucinni. It is a free garden planner. I can already tell it’s a bit wonky but I don’t have to pay to use it and do not have limited time to get the garden planned. This year, being on a new homestead and starting from scratch – naked. We will actually have 3-4 separate garden areas so it will give me the time I need to modify them all. This site will also send you email reminders for when to plant. This, you would have had to pay for through Mother Earth. Be honest, have you always remembered where you planted everything, once you got started? Not me, nope. I get in there and get crazy, and creative and change my mind. I need these maps to keep me on track and to edit as I go. So, we shall see. I hope to have a good comparison of these two at the end of the year.

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Between the planning pages and the garden planning apps I feel much more prepared this year, to take on the chaos of a new, larger property. We have an amazing camaraderie in the homestead world and these busy families are sharing their secrets with us for FREE or a small price, so why not support them back, or the pages that cater to the farm and garden world? I guarantee they know what we need more than a generic purchased planner from Wally World, most likely made in China. Here is another spreadsheet set from Longbourn Farm, for animal records, all for FREE. So be sure to check them out as well.

Wish me luck! What are your tips and tricks for homestead organization through the seasons?

Here is one from me: Decide on the pages you will use most on a weekly/monthly basis. Slide them in a plastic sheet protector or laminate them and use a dry erase marker. This save money, trees and you can easily transfer needed info weekly/monthly to the homestead analysis and yearly records pages. 

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Now take the next few weeks to get organized so you can focus on the seasons and more easily keep track. Cheers to a great 2017! Happy Homesteading All! Blaze



The Naked Homestead

Here we go again! The Naked Homestead. Because….there is nothing. No house, just a naked, clean slate.

Our 3rd time of starting over in 4 years.


Welcome to our new journey and oh what a mess we are. I’ll own it. Our 3rd time of starting over in 4 years. Goodness! 1st by choice, selling a business in CA and moving to OK for a small farm, some needed health healing, needed family time & bonding and just a better way of life.  2nd, wiped out by a tornado and forced to see what really matters in life. After going through it, we understand why that was a much needed part of our path More here: 

http://www.badbaxterfarm.com/the-naked-homestead/cali-girl-gone-okie

Introducing, the Naked Homestead….

Now, today, we FINALLY signed papers and paid cash for our new “Naked Homestead”. Oh my geez! How exciting, how fun, our dream come true…. how naïve and bat-shit crazy are we? (Yes, I say shit a lot, get over it. Much love to those strong enough to not cuss through any crazy life venture).

Our goal in moving to this wonderful state has always been better health, more family time AND to become/ live debt free. We got sidetracked, who doesn’t? Life is busy, stuff happens. Well, we went from a large overpriced CA home;  to  a cute, quaint home on 1.3 acres. This was then rebuilt completely , compliments of the May 2013 Tornado. We recovered and had our cute Lil’ homestead with a brand new home working practically perfect and symbiotically.  I had happy, naturally fed animals and healthy humans, a small farm business selling, teaching homestead classes and butchering poultry for others on the side. I had my grocery bill cut in half, a beautiful garden, and were raising chicken and pork for our family.  I was very proud of all that we accomplished in such a small space. So why not just go and jack that all up? Why not start over again just for “shits and giggles”?

A Debt Free, Self Sustainable goal….


We had always talked about wanting, at some point, more space for better self sustainability. We started talking about 5 or 10 acres so we could continue our journey of healthy, natural living. We knew that the tornado gave us equity due to the new house build and we decided to just throw our new home on the market, priced a bit high to see what happens. What happened is it sold at full price in 4 days. Fu#ckity, fu#k,  f!ck! Long story short, we panicked, we packed, we moved livestock and searched for homes. Wonderful farm friends boarded our livestock and we quickly moved our RV to the lake! Lesson 1-Just go with the flow and laugh when you aren’t crying. There will be a lot of both. Embrace it.

We no longer need a fancy house or things to fill it with …

We searched and searched but quickly decided that we both cared more about the land than the home. My how far we have come. We no longer need a fancy house or things to fill it with. We want our own perfect paradise fully paid for. After not feeling good about 2 offers, I stayed up all night looking for less acreage, more acreage, and then I found it. A naked homestead! No house, just 20 beautiful acres with all of our criteria for the property met…just no house. Naked!

So 3rd times the charm and today we signed and paid cash for our 20 acre homestead! Yes it’s crazy, but we never want to have regrets for not trying, and we will succeed! We are totally in over our heads and thrilled about it because, together, we know we can do anything! We will work, cry, laugh and want to strangle each other. We will do it together, love each other, be proud of our accomplishments, learn from our failures and let you laugh your asses off at our ridiculous adventures…let the fun begin. Follow us on INSTAGRAM and FACEBOOK for vlogs of our future home plans, hilarious failures and awesome accomplishments! Cheers to an amazing 2017! The Baxters

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Say NO to Fast Food – Heritage Chickens VS Cornish Cross for SUSTAINABLE Meat

March 2016 Throwback

Cornish X are raised to grow extremely fast, you cannot breed them yourselves effectively. This makes you dependent on someone else immediately. We personally live this lifestyle to be as self sufficient as possible so, to me, the Cornish X does not make sense for that reason alone. Rangers grow more slowly but definitely faster than a traditional heritage chicken. They cannot be effectively bred either. We do order and grow Freedom Rangers for our meat market sales as they seem to be a much more “normal” chicken than the mutant called Cornish cross. I mean seriously? People want super fast and easy, big breasted meat. But for what cost? Health and loss of quality of living for the Cornish X? Loss in quality of taste, slimy white fats low in omega 3’s? Loss in nutritional content?

Lets talk about taste, Cornish are bred to have huge breast meat but tend to be a bland flavorless, dry bird, just like you would buy at the grocery store. Ask a chef if his first choice would be a Cornish X over a game hen or heritage, pasture raised bird. If he had a choice between my Bresse or Barbezieux over a CX, I know what the answer would be. These birds go for an upward of $200 in France and not because they were raised fast and cheap but because they get their amazing flavor from grasses and foraging over a longer period of time.  Once again, I am trying to do things much differently than anything you buy in a store. If the end result is the same…why not just save yourself the time and trouble? The fat on a CX bird is not anywhere near the golden yellow of a heritage bird raised to forage and gain muscle tone slowly. The temperatures are higher as they have had their immune system practically bred out and down to nothing as they are hybridized to grow fast, not live long. And boy do they drop like fly’s! We butcher 100’s of CX for people each year and each time they smell terrible compared to a traditional chicken. They have sores, bruises, cant walk from growing so quickly, we have seen many a broken leg or wing. Their hearts and livers are pale from the stress of their weight, It makes you want to put them out of their misery. I will butcher whatever someone asks me to but I will never feed a Cornish X to my family. I have learned through educating my customers, that they really do want a healthy, happy chicken if they know the difference. I have given a chicken or two to customers just to try, and they come back wanting more, never knowing there was a choice!  Education is important and the choice of a better meat bird is as well. I don’t want the fast, easy route. I want a healthy raised bird with beautiful, golden yellow fats & amazing flavor.

There are plenty of heritage breeds that have been raised for meat and dual purpose for decades. Granted, they don’t have mutant sized breast meat but they never were intended too. We raise White Chanteclers, American Bresse, and French Barbezieux as well as several other more standard known breeds. We have processed Jerseys, Marans, Delaware and many more to find they are all great dual purpose breeds.

French Barbezieux


 I cant argue with time if that’s the comeback I get. Yes, it takes less time to raise your unsustainable Cornish X but that’s all you get.  Trust me I get a lot of grief from the Cornish X lovers. I compare them to McDonalds Lovers VS a Fine Restaurant (and sorry, I’m a REAL food lover, I’d never step foot in MCD)  Don’t believe that the cost is more either, the argument doesn’t stand up. Yes you have Cornish for less time but in that time they eat you out of house and home (and normally not any kind of feed I want my chickens around). They will literally eat til’ they die, if you let them. Feeding a naturally raised heritage breed chicken may take longer but the cost is the same, maybe even less (depending on how much free range time and space they have, of course). Lastly, every time you purchase a CX bird, you are padding the pockets of Tyson Foods who owns the CX Hybrids via Cobb – Vantress.

We don’t give heritage breeds enough credit, they will find what they need if they have the space to do so. We have found that allowing them to free range and forage daily, feeding them fodder in the winter and finishing them with raw organic milk has provided us with a great meat for the family, from happy, healthy, chickens. These chickens, we know, had a wonderful real chicken life. That, we are proud of. I hope others will continue to choose quality of quickness and educate your friends, family, market vendors that we all have choices.



Cali Girl Gone Okie

Cali Girl Gone Okie….One Year Anniversary & what I have learned.  Today is a special day. One year ago today my husband led us to our new home for the first time. We were so nervous and excited.  I fell in love immediately.  The lush green surroundings with fall colors reminded me of Yosemite Valley (without the traffic). Our house, nothing more than we needed and my husband did so good to know what was right for us.

Do we HATE California? NO . Let me start by saying we are so grateful for our time in California.  We have amazing friends there, some who sat with us sharing our dreams of escape. Strangely some of those seem to be the ones who are most offended by our not missing it there. I created a wonderful business that helped us to move here and move us toward living debt free. My husband worked his time for a company that allowed us the opportunity.  Do we HATE California? NO, we hate what it has continued to become. An unclean, unsafe, expensive, overcrowded, welfare state. The most beautiful of places too expensive to live,  I mean really LIVE , not work to survive. I think this was my biggest lesson in moving here, learning the difference.   I miss our Sierra Nevada camping trips but think of the last few years of overcrowding and trash from the people who did not respect the beauty.  Not being able to drive to the ocean is really not missed.  Though it was nice to get away, again, we have been fortunate enough to travel and west coast waters are not  our favorite.  Most being cold, crowded and not that beautiful shade of blue of the beaches we have come to love.  We loved our trips to Monterey, San Francisco, San Diego and Yosemite but the true value in our move is living in an economy that more affords us to  go, see, do, more. To work less and have more quality time to create memories and learn that there is more beauty in this world than just one state. We did not want our children to be trapped in the bubble that we were at one time. I think our kids deserve more and we want to give them as much knowledge of this world as possible.

Oklahoma? Really? If you know me, you know my running joke to Hubby was “I will follow you anywhere, but not Oklahoma”.  Bottom Line; and this is even more true today than when I said it as we were nervously discussing our big move; where my husband and girls are at is my home. Right now that’s in a 16 foot camper and yet I am truly happier than I have ever been.  I did not expect to really “LOVE” Oklahoma. I knew that my husband has always done everything for me, has always supported my dreams 100%. This was my turn to do that. We both had been stressing a move out-of-state and this was his chance. He went from cut hours, cut pay, and miserable working conditions to a moving bonus and sustainable hours. The really good thing about living here is not only the affordability but the amazing amount of jobs available. If something happened to Hubbys Job I have no doubt we would both have our choice of  good jobs as soon as we wanted them. No joke.  I am not working and have realized how much time I lost with my husband and kids over my drive in business. I have focused my energy on my family, our health more than ever I know that this is where I am supposed to be in life.  We are making less money, but living healthier, safer with more. Our goal is to be completely debt free and I see that happening very soon. We are much less stressed about money and excited to plan adventures that we can afford,  not charge!

A tornado did not happen to us. It just  happened. How we handled a terrible situation is what happened to us. I still believe in Karma. Karma had nothing to do with weather, it had to do with giving us the chance to see how we handle any situation to pull together or fall apart. To accept negativity or squash it.  To see the people who were truly there for us and the people who knocked us down when we were at a low. It gave us the choice to handle things with dignity, pride and still growing strength.  Our biggest fear was a tornado (and a Recluse Spider) I have now survived both, ha-ha. It doesn’t seem nearly as scary now. I am no longer afraid of a tornado. They are amazing, beautiful, powerful and mean.  I now know my family comes together in terrible times and we can get through anything. My girls have grown and amazed me more in the past 5 months than ever. We have all grown closer as a family since moving here but my girls are hardcore awesome in how this tornado has turned them into strong woman; caring, loving, get it done kind of girls. I can’t express in words how proud I am of Baby Blaze and Daddy’s Girl. We all have a bit of PTS from that dang storm, I try not to think about the first 48 hours but when I do, I remember hugs, work, love and support. Support from friends, neighbors, family and an enormous amounts of strangers! For weeks they came, helped. We didn’t have to ask for anything it was the most wonderful and amazing thing I have ever experienced. People here really come together. We sat up all night the first 2 nights with guns in hand thinking if this were Cali, we would already be looted dry.  We relaxed and started meeting amazing people of faith, non-faith, just here to help however you ask or even if you didn’t. My husband’s Company has been by our side sending food, money, people, machines to help get life back to normal. We are amazingly lucky and it would take pages and pages to write of all the stories funny and touching about all the things we have experienced through this. Maybe someday. All I know is we are where we are supposed to be, no regrets and after a year its time to start considering us to be Oklahomans. We have earned it. Our life is getting back to normal slowly and we deserve it! We are Oklahoma Strong, Tornado tough and the best is yet to come!

Dewey the Dickhead Duck – Our First Experience at Processing

Aug 2012 Throwback –

We had a plan. Hewey & Dewey tortured & tormented my chickens. They especially “loved” in their nasty style, my beloved Barred Rock, Cruella & Black Star, Ursula. These poor ladies had become bald & traumatized by these two brutal rapist assholes. These sneaky little bastards knew when I yelled their name to stop all attempts & run or face solitary confinement once again.

Now we are a small homestead, I do not believe in confining my animals in small cages, I want them all to live as freely and eat as naturally as possible. If these ducks can not live in peace with my beloved chickens, well then, they had to go. The decision is made. My hubby & I discuss the date of Hewey & Deweys execution. We had a plan.

I knew that we started our beautiful homestead to have fresh meat from our chickens sooner or later. The more I fell in love with these ladies, the more I had decided on much later. I knew the day would come that I would have to do it. I knew if I had a plan, that I could do it. I set a date at the end of fall to butcher our first chickens so as I would have 2 whole seasons to drill this into my head, mentally prepare & accept this idea. I would be ready.  Well, one thing I have realized is when you have a plan, mother nature, fate, what have you, decides to shake or twist things up a bit.

So back to Dewey the dickhead duck. We decide, tomorrow is the day. We make sure we have all supplies ready, I refresh via books, notes & of course, YouTube. I am relieved I will self teach via culling a much deserved (in my mind) death of two ducks whom I have no emotional attachment.

Here’s the twist.  So that evening, I go to the chicken coop to “tuck in” my ladies & for the first time ever my headcount shows that I am missing one! Panicked, I recount over & over. My Silver Lace, Alice is MIA. Flashlight in hand I search the yard, over & over. All favorite hiding places, nothing, no sign. After a long search, we go to bed hoping that she will be at the back door in the morning. She wasn’t. I was confused and sad, missing a beloved chicken on D-Day for DickDucks. I start my AM animal rounds which begin with feeding my dogs first before letting the ladies out to free range. The dogs & I have always had a hard time fending off all birds from the dog food. These poor dogs put up with so much & have been harmoniously living side by side with the chickens & ducks, no problem but of course, they get cranky around meal time.

So, the dogs are eating slowly as I enjoy my coffee and envision a smooth Duck Death Day. I have a lot to do & its going to get hot. I see the dogs are almost done so I head to the coop to release the happy hens. Like a stampede they race out to grab the leftover dog food. Gross. This had been our daily ritual for some time but today I jumped the gun and all hell broke loose. The hens are out. I head for the pullets to check food & water, I hear a bit of commotion with the dogs chasing off the hens, normal sounding stuff. About this time, my mastiff comes to me, insistently staring at me then at an overturned bucket. I ask her what she is trying to tell me and kind of nervously pick up the bucket. Under it is Alice, the missing hen! I swoop her up to give her a hug and ask her how the hell she managed to spend the night under a bucket. She didn’t answer, I think she was hungry. I thank my mastiff, Naboo & realize my hubby has been yelling for me. Silver Lace in tow,  I excitedly yell my happiness to him as I stroll towards the house. I see in his face, something is wrong. He tells me to put the chicken down and come over.

My happiness was short lived for as I walk around the corner I see my sweet, fat faced, Americana, Cinderella, laying on the porch barely breathing. I am mortified. I pick her up and apologize over and over as I knew my hurry to get everyone fed led to her getting in the way of the dogs and their food.  I hear her gurgles as blood spills from her beak and I tell Mr. Bad Baxter to get the butcher knife. She needed to be out of pain. As he is trying to get set up, I feel she is suffering, through my tears I see a zip tie on the ground and pick it up. I zipped her feet, hung her on a tree nail and before my husband even knew it, I had quickly dispatched my poor chicken.  I was traumatized.  I sat there crying while he finished setting up and we then quietly and sadly cleaned our first chicken for the freezer.

I should have kept going and did the two deserving ducks as well but I was emotionally drained from the whole experience. That day I lost a chicken, found a chicken, then lost another and so the dickhead ducks lived to see another day. They lived on ruining the happy foraging of my hens. I knew that it was going to be difficult to do that first feathered friend but I was not prepared that day. I blame myself but also learned that when it needs to be done, I can do it.

I have toughened up a lot since that first experience and I’m also happy to announce those ducks did meet their demise. We also now have Anconas who we love and manage more properly. We have butchered hundreds of chickens and though we are not in tears we still take it seriously and thank them for the food they provide. I also take much comfort in knowing they have lived a wonderful, spoiled chicken life on our farm. It does get easier, it should never be thoughtless or inhumane. Some people don’t understand how we can butcher our own meats. I don’t understand how they can blindly purchase meats from the grocery store when those animals never got to live real animal lives, or even eat real foods. We don’t want that for them as living creatures, nor would we put that low quality food into our body. We can all do better, try harder and just continue to learn.