Stacking Wood (May 1999)

I smile as I look at this photograph, for it does bring back a lot of memories. I wonder what Michael is thinking as brother Bill carefully balances the load for him. It takes experience for both of them to know that this load will not get lifted, for Michael needs to get his feet under him. I am sure they figured it out for they both became great wood haulers.

It took lots of cooperation to live in the woods and keep a family warm. I can remember doing my share of the wood hauling, there had to be communication between two people. When I was being loaded, I had to tell my brothers when my load was heavy or feeling unbalanced. With practice we all learned how much we could carry without either the arms or legs collapsing. A few times I lost my load because it was one stick too high and I couldn’t see where I was walking on the gravel pathway. Learning to work hard at a young age, within a large family, taught me much about life.

As a teenager I lived with Mom, for my parents had separated and Dad took the boys with him. Mom and I lived in town with Grandad and even though we had an oil furnace Mom and Grandad preferred the wood cook stove, so I kept hauling in the wood till I was seventeen and left home. One day I was in a hurry and grabbed a piece of wood too heavy for the shift and down it fell — right onto my big toe. I limped for a few days till the pressure became too great and I complained to Grandad. He offered me an option and said “Drill a hole in your toenail.” He pulled out his pocket knife and started carving a small circle just above the darkest spot. He was not sensitive to my pain so I asked for the knife. Easing up when I couldn’t take it and breathing out as I scraped deeper I punctured a tiny hole in my black and blue nail. I remember being amazed at how soft my nails really were. As the blood squirted out, the pressure released and I could walk again. A month later the nail fell off with another winch of pain, for the skin was not completely dead. This had been a most interesting experience that taught me how to look after my body — with some guidance from Grandad.

As many of you may realize my Musings is typed a month before you read it. This is the Easter weekend and I am fasting for my body has asked for a rest from food. For the past twenty years I have done an annual spring clean. I know I am ready when I get an irresistible urge to tidy my cupboards, scrub floors and clean outside. Then I tune into my body and see if my system needs a bit of cleaning, and I check my schedule to see whether I can slow down and do paperwork for a few days. This year I noticed the dandelions were just perfect for eating, the day was warm and it was easy for me to skip the first meal. Dandelions need to be picked before they blossom and become bitter. I know the dandelions in my garden haven’t been sprayed so I gently dug two or three inches deep around the plant and gave them a good pull. I scrubbed the roots with a brush or dull knife, washed them well and rinsed them in citrus seed extract diluted in water to kill off any bugs. I enjoyed the sweetness of the closed buds, the tender young leaves and chomping on the white root. Dandelions stimulate my liver to cleanse itself. I had five days with no solid food except the dandelions but I did enjoy carrot juice and lemon with honey, and I mixed some Pascalite clay, herbal tinctures and psyllium husks in warm water with apple juice to help scrape the debris from my colon. The herbal teas I make are quite stimulating for the various organs and give my body an extra boost to activate the cleansing process. With no food in my belly to warm me up I was cold till the sun shone in our East facing windows. I went to bed when the sun went down and did some breath work till I feel asleep.

I know from experience that if I have one nibble, the fast is over and I start to crave food. Cooking everyday at the Juicy Carrot made this year challenging but the long weekend helped get me off to a good start. Coming off the fast slowly is best but I don’t do many things slowly and I didn’t feel like eating fruit, so I had a small salad and hot soup, later that day my homemade cookies smelled so good I rewarded myself with one of them and chewed it ever so slowly. I will continue to take my hot water in the morning with wormwood and dandelion juice in it. When the bottle in empty I will see what next I want to try for I have discovered that all herbs are beneficial to my body and help me cope with living life to the fullest. I thoroughly enjoy fasting so it is no hardship as long as I don’t have to do a lot of physical work.

Over the years I have followed many various cleansing programs that I bought at a health food store. I have also done parasite cleanses, the gall bladder cleanse, the grape cure, the Master Cleanse and more. This year I decided to use what was outside my back door… dandelions. The timing was perfect. Easter came early and Gerry went home to Ontario to help his folks make maple syrup. My body was ready and when I listen to it my life becomes so much more in the flow.

Looking back I see why I chose to become vegetarian for I feel so much lighter eating vegetables but now I know better and make a conscious effort to include more protein in my diet, a little bit all the time. For those of you who think fasting is impossible may I suggest a one-day fast of fruit or fruit juices diluted with water, followed by salads on the second day and rice on the third. Breaking the habit of eating bread everyday is beneficial, as is a one-day juice or water fast. Eating simply becomes easier and helps my body get rid of excess toxins on a regular basis. The only way I know I have gotten the flu bug is I feel a cold sensation in my wrist, then I notice l am a bit tired and get to bed early. It has been at least twenty years since I needed a day to rest to get over something. I sometimes get mucous build-up in my throat and chest area when I eat too much dairy or flour products and I can feel myself moving slower and thinking less clear so I try and limit these products.

From experience I have learned how much I can eat of rich, heavy foods and if I don’t, my body rebels instantly and I get a heavy feeling in the stomach and my head feels foggy. I am delighted to talk with so many people who are reviving this very old tradition of fasting. Eating with the seasons and becoming instinctive about my food is helping me feel strong from the inside. I would love to hear your spring cleaning stories.