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I am so excited to announce that a radio documentary that I have been working on these last few months is going to air on this coming week’s edition of Mountain News and World Report on the local public radio station WMMT. The topic is cesarean awareness and how it affects the women of the Kentucky mountains and nationwide. We interviewed a local obstetrician, a certified nurse midwife, and a certified professional midwife on the topic, as well as a local mother whose daughter’s life was saved by cesarean surgery.
The airdate is August 1st (Sunday) at 10:30am EST and again on August 3rd (Tuesday) at 6pm EST. You can listen locally at WMMT 88.7 and also online at www.wmmt.org where you will find a link for listening live. The piece will also be available for download after the airdates if you click on the link for the Community Correspondence Core.
This issue is close to my heart and the piece is airing right after the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology issued revised guidelines that are more supportive of vaginal birth after cesarean. It also airs on the week that we will celebrate Deladis’s 5th birthday and my 5th year of motherhood. 🙂 I hope you will get to celebrate with us by listening to the piece.
“You must speak straight so that your words may go as sunlight into our hearts.”
– Cochise (“Like Ironweed”) Chiricahua Chief
I’m going to try to speak straight here and everywhere. We can manipulate language in so many gratifying and harmful ways when we are fluent in it. We can make the truth read/sound a thousand different ways. Sunlight too, comes to us in unique and varying ways. It can be just enough to warm us on a day between fall and winter. It can beat down on us relentlessly with its burden of heat and sweat. When words touch our hearts they feed us – our state of being. They allow us to form opinions, to react emotionally, to prepare for great triumphs or damaging winds. To render ourselves steadfast. Cochise just asked that we talk straight. We talk straight so that our words feed our hearts like sunlight. So that there is fairness all around.
Summer has become that overbearing master once again. Restricting us indoors. The garden is out of control, though still producing well. Peace from the summer sun is hard to find, and you become a worshipper of conveniences like air conditioning. Deladis absolutely hates the summer sun, and though she wants to play outdoors, she cannot. Her skin is really sensitive because of the eczema and she sweats which makes her itch. Her face turns apple red, and then she starts to feel poorly. Ivy is restless from being cooped up like the hen and diddles. She takes an evening run through the living room and into the kitchen, slamming against the door and back again, like clockwork, everyday sometime after dinner. We only have a wall unit a/c and a fan, and we don’t turn it on until about noon everyday, and turn it off again at night. Our cabin is not extremely cool. We try our best to acclimate for summer and winter. We tend to freeze or burn up when we visit our family. But, right now, indoors is the safer place for us. This is the first summer since living at The Confluence that it has been this way. Though I remember many summers like this.
The sun zaps my energy. As a child I tried to play softball, and would end up vomitting on the field because the sun makes me sick. I’m no different now. It’s why I love the mountainside. The shade. The cool breezes. The altitude. What is harder on me this summer is that I’m not well. I’ve been reluctant to post about it here. I am a believer in what you put out into the world is what you will get back. People tend to avoid those that don’t feel well… or pity them too much. I’d rather not deal with either of those things. Writing about it here is more about talking straight. Writing about things being difficult, my patience being short, or my being tired all the time would be just complaints without being honest as to why. I don’t want to complain. And, I’m not trying to feel sorry for myself.
John and I do without some things in order that the girls can have them, or that I can stay home and be the primary caregiver of the girls. One of those things is health insurance. So, I’ve put off seeing a doctor for a detailed workup of my health for sometime. However, we’ve saved and worked it out so that now I can, and I am relieved. I’ve been so angry at the fact that I should be healthier than I have ever been in my life. My lifestyle, my diet, my physical activity are all joyful and healthy. Yet, I feel awful many days. I have horrible headaches that don’t go away, sometimes nagging for days. I’m always tired. It’s a challenge to keep up with my chores. My moods are up and down. I have stomach aches. I’m dizzy…. etc… The doctor says at this point she knows that it is my hormones and my glandular systems that are causing the trouble. Nothing contagious. Nothing that keeps me from doing my best. Tomorrow, I go for a blood draw for something they are calling a whole panel. This will give her a whole picture and then we’ll go from there.
I’m excited at the thought of feeling better. Of restoring my body to proper function. Healing mind, body, and spirit. Wholeness. I know any improvement I experience comes from my Creator, and the journey is of most importance. It is a way to grow. It is to be accepted and worked on from a place of peace. Being able to just go through the outward movements of going to the doctor, getting results, is allowing me to release the anger at the problem. I’m hoping it will help me to be still as well.
I suppose I’ll write some about it here because it will be my focus for sometime. And, as the summer brings other exciting things I’ll have share some of those too. Opportunities are everywhere right now. I don’t know whether to chase them all or pick and choose. 🙂 The Creator will give me the work of my day upon the unfolding of it.
Introducing Little LuLu
I am working on a post. Lots has been going on. This song really speaks to my heart right now.
First, you start with real good garden soil, a set of plant starts, and eventually you will have a gorgeousness that looks like this.
When the first pea pods appear, they will be tender enough to put in the skillet without steaming first. If you like peas in the pod, you’ll leave them on longer, but to make this dish, you’ll need to string them, and/or steam them for tenderness.
Make some bacon. A whole pack is nice because you can eat while you cook. I prefer to buy bacon free of nitrates or nitrites and sugar when I can find it. Sautee some onions in bacon grease until they start to brown.
Cook them over medium to high heat until they are fully greased and tender. The amount of grease you use depends on your tastes. I use the whole pan from making the pack of bacon. When tender, crumble in some bacon and serve.
You’ll notice that this dish is similar to the Appalachian green beans and kilt lettuce and onions. Pork was a mainstay of the Appalachian diet, and used to flavor many dishes from cornbread, beans, to greens. Because chickens provided eggs and cows provided milk, they were not butchered as regularly as hogs. When not eating pork, or chicken for Sunday dinner, Appalachian peoples ate the meat of hunted animals including, rabbit, deer, squirrel, wild turkey, opossum (some folks didn’t care for it), and groundhog (has a reputation for being greasy). In our family we eat rabbit, deer, and wild turkey, as well as fish caught from our lakes and streams. I prepare a traditional foods diet for my family most days. I have found that if we eat foods that we are genetically predisposed to tolerate, then we have better outcomes physically. My family has lived in the mountains for generations. My ancestors were Irish and Cherokee primarily. My husband’s were Melungeon. By keeping the traditional Cherokee and Appalachian food ways we were familiar with, and researching those that had been lost to industrialization we have found healthy eating. Being involved in where your food comes from both animal and plant forms, is extremely rewarding.
Find more Wordless Wednesday at 5 Minutes for Mom.
Yesterday, we went on a trip spearheaded by illustrious Nathan Hall to tour the Abingdon, Virginia Farmer’s Market and the organic farm of Anthony Flaccavento. He is the director of Appalachian Sustainable Development, an organization that supports local economy, especially in the form of sustainable agriculture and local eating. Flaccavento along with others in the area brought about a change in the local economy of a region of Appalachia that is an inspiration to folks living in the coalfields of eastern Kentucky. Opposed to common thought, not all of Appalachia is filled with coal nor is dealing with the results of surface mining (strip mining or mountaintop removal – all other words for it). The questions for us in the coalfields being whether a coal economy is serving us now, or whether it will provide an economy for us in the future. However, many Appalachian towns are looking to rebuild or redevelop their local economies in order to provide opportunities for their citizens and to keep their towns alive and thriving. Some see the answer as being the urbanization of Appalachia, or the move to a more universal American pop culture for all. Others see Appalachia surviving on a more modern version of going back to its roots, and that is where the Haywood’s fall.
Hello, this is me, and I will be your tour guide for this adventure showing some of the possibilities for a future for the residents of eastern Kentucky.
This is Nathan Hall, the brains and organizer of the adventure without which folks like me would not be able to focus enough to pull this sort of thing off. 🙂
He’s fixing to be a world traveller soon, to learn more about sustainable economies throughout the world. He’ll be leaving the holler on July 22nd and will be blogging about his adventures at There and Back. My greatest wish for the year without him is that John and I can continue to move forward with all the biggness that has come about at The Confluence this year.
Our first stop in Abingdon was the Farmer’s Market. It was lovely to see such a bustling place in a small town. There were about 60-80 vendors. It warmed my heart to see that many of them were family operations with the children fully involved and content to be there.
All of these were area farmer’s, merchants, food businesses, and crafts people. One farmer recently said he makes $30,000 a year off of a little more than an acre of veggies. That would be a nice living for our family. The ownership of your own livlihood is a great thing.
There was a wide variety of things represented there both organic and conventional.
The market is completely ran by the growers/vendors, but is supported by the city. The market is its own entity with its own board.
Next, we took a lunch at Harvest’s Table, a restaurant running on the influence of Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. In the foyer, local artists, writers, musicians, and crafts people are supported through the selling of their wares. The food is all local and seasonal. I had the corn and tomato salad with a garnish of fruit and goat cheese. It was so yummy! I didn’t expect it to be when I saw it, but it was. Another interesting thing was all of the soups were chilled for summer – cantaloupe, cucumber, and gazpacho.
After eating, we went out to Anthony’s farm.
The farm was not tremendously large, but it was much bigger than what we are attempting at this time. Flaccavento has employees and interns on the farm. He is certified organic, and uses methods that I have never seen before to achieve store quality results. I’m used to traditional, personal gardening techniques, and it was all a little overwhelming and intimidating. We are definitely not ready for large scale production, but we can work up to producing for more than just our family, learning as we go and following the market.
Flaccavento and other farmers sell to area grocery stores, restaurants, and at the Farmer’s Market. They have developed a distribution center called Appalachian Harvest that works with grocery stores and some restaurants.
It was most definitely an motivating trip. John says we’ll be old before we see any kind of business result from our work. He insists we must build slowly, and on that point I agree. But, I think with focused work, we can begin to broaden our views sooner rather than later. I have dreams, and a lot of the time they leave me pining for the grass is greener rigormoroar. I see us working side by side on something that brings us even more together. Making our living through our own two hands, enjoying the land, and using our talents in a more relaxed way. Creating something to pass on to our girls. I try to live in the present. I try.
This is a video that made me so happy to see. Leave it to Sesame Street to help us all have a positive, pure respresentation in the media of this world. This clip is of a mailman who delivered mail in our area (not too far from where we live, in the same county) in the 60s/70s. Roads like we have today are relatively new here. Most of our parents and grandparents grew up kind of like our girls are growing up on our holler. No “true” road, or a creekbed for a road. Because of this, horse was still the most convenient means of gettting from here to there. In the county where we live, many women were still having their babes at home, doing the doctoring for their families, organizing church meetings, and teaching the children the 3Rs at this time. It has not been that long ago that many of us lived in intentional communities where most of our needs could be met within a few miles from home. This was out of necessity, but something that, if you were to talk to the elders in our hills, was a thing of pride. I think our future will look similar. Our economy will eventually return to our own two hands, and be ours to create. The truth is that Appalachia is not urban, and cannot be made urban, and any effort to do so will only continue to bring ruin to our people. OK, off my soapbox. I hope you enjoy the video.
I typically don’t like to cross my birth blog with this one, but this issue is close to my heart as a mama, and I think it is a crucial one to think about as a country. What is motivating the opposing sides on this issue, and what can a constructive dialogue look like between the two? It is important to our discussion on improving our maternal and neonatal outcomes in this country. There is no excuse that we, who supposedly has top-notch medical care available to all citizens, has such a poor outcome for our mother and babies. No excuse at all.