Journal 21st August – 12th September

Monday 21st August

Just as I had written my journal yesterday I felt the energy to do yoga – so I did get a little done. Later in the afternoon my son and I went for a walk that was a little longer than usual.

I had Bonebroth with veggies and chicken all day. In the afternoon I added 2 cups of carrots and it actually helped my energy a bit – I think that it has been good for me to go very low carb for a while, but that I need a little more carbs now and I don’t seem to be reacting to whole foods based carbs anymore, so I will have a little every day. I will keep eating soups with GAPS approved veggies and meat for a while, and then see if I can add some egg yolk to it in a week or so. I will drink Kraut juice every morning, and add ACV to my water.

I will be away all day and need to pack a lunch, and get to the vet with a little abandoned puppy that was left more or less on my doorstep yesterday. So I will fly!

Tuesday 22nd August

Yesterday I did absolutely no training – the new puppy took up quite a bit of time: I took him to the vet and they washed him, and got rid of fleas and ticks (not deer ticks, but goat ticks), gave him a de-wormer, all for free! They thought I was a hero for taking in the dog – but how could I not? He is adorable! The vet told me that he is a cross between a bodeguerro (bit like a Jack Russel) and something else. I absolutely love that vet – they are so sweet.

Afterwards we went to see my friend who lives further inland – we were meant to go up to the dam nearby, but since I got there so late it was 4:30 by the time we had finished lunch and the kids were hanging out in the pool, we decided to postpone to another day. I was home by 9 – so I quickly fixed the kids a little food before I went to bed.

My daughter woke me up around 3:30 with growing pain. I can’t help but think that she had gluten yesterday and that might be why – she used to have them all the time, and now hardly ever.

I couldn’t fall asleep again, so at 4:30 I got up and sat in the living room and read some articles about carb-cycling. I had been feeling sluggish for a while and added a little carbs back in the last few days. I feel a lot less sluggish, and my eczema is still improving. I have only eaten a litte carrots and some butternut squash – so only high quality carbs. Not really sure weather I should carb-cyckle or just keep eating 1-2 cups of these a day… but I will try to go with the flow and see where it leads me. Since this GAPS thing really feels good and my eczema continues to improve I will follow that path, at least for a while ((but good god I miss coffee and chocolate).

Around 6 I did some yoga flow for core and hips, after that about 10 min meditation and then 15 min of Wim Hoff breathing – that is really invigorating. Today I am going to pick up a box of organic meat I have ordered, and take my car to the garage, since the servo is gone, and the battery is low again (3rd time in 2 years we have to replace batteries… think there is something wrong with the car).

I will sprint today and walk, but for now I have a sleeping puppy on my lap and cannot do anything.

Wednesday 23rd August

Yesterday I managed to get a walk and a sprint in with my son, who is now very very much faster than I am – a few months ago he had asthma and was just as slow up the mountain as me. It pleases me immensely. He says that he likes running – but the asthma has kept him back because he just gets SO scared when it sets in. Yesterday he managed to run in all 4 sprints and ended up running the last 2 in circles under the oak trees on top, because he didn’t want to run the down hill part to the well.

I actually timed my walk to the well yesterday – and even if my son says that I was really slow I noticed that it no longer takes me 10 minutes to walk up there – so I will have to make my walk longer if I am to continue to walk 20 min every day (and I would actually like to walk 30 mins, so that I don’t have a “should” of 2 hours extra hanging over me every week). I will try to time it today too. I also think that I will go swimming with the kids today.

I also installed an automatic watering system for the chickens, so that they can’t soil their water and I don’t have to give them fresh water all the time. Today I will move the compost bin in there, so that I can empty the compost there – the run is pretty much rat safe, so it would make a huge difference around here (until the pup grows up to chase them I am putting poison out). Eventually I want the black soldier fly larva bin in there too – so that I can clean the coop into that, and the chickens can eat the grubs when they crawl out, instead of the wasps as it is now. I can’t wait to get our own eggs!

This morning I did that same yoga sequence as yesterday and I can feel my strength balance and flexibility improve every day. I can feel my carpal-tunnel syndrome (which improved dramatically after I stopped eating gluten) improving – it has almost disappeared. Afterwards I did 15 min of Wim Hoff breathing – I certainly cannot hold my breath for 3 minutes yet – but I feel so energized afterwards! And then 5 minutes listening to delta-waves (I need to find out which waves are good for what and when).

Food-wise I continued to have bone-broth with meat and veggies, except I had one piece of grilled pork – which had pepper on them, and a mouthful of cashews with dates. My eczema is still getting better, but I have those little blisters with pus inside popping up… very very small, but they are still there. My biggest problem with this is that I cannot find a Doctor down here to treat this, one will just prescribe cortisone creams and the other will put me on an alkaline diet… so I just keep searching. I will order some extra virgin cod liver oil online, and some pro-biotics (any recommendations are very welcome) and hope that my Thorne K2/D3 will come soon. I am currently drinking one shot of kraut juice every morning, but not eating the kraut.

Thursday 24th August

OK – this GAPS intro thing is 100% unsustainable for me… I’ve just had a giant cup of bullet-proof coffee with butter in it… OMG I have missed that! I have no idea how to navigate this eczema thing… but I need coffee – not every day, but once in a while.

Yeah – I was very much neither AIP or GAPS or Wahls or anything in that direction yesterday… I was pretty primal though 🙂 I had coffee and dark chocolate with raspberries and strawberries and I enjoyed every bit of it. I’ve had coffee this morning too. And I will continue to have coffee and dark chocolate when-ever I feel a deep need for it… Or something. And I will also continue to fast once in a while, and to take some GAPS days once in a while, and let most of my meals be primarily Wahl’s inspired, and not beat myself up over a little chocolate once in a while, because life is just too short for that. If dark chocolate and a bullet proof coffee is my version of a “cheat day” then I have come a long way from doughnuts and coke at the gas station when ever I was there without the kids (reality 2 years ago).

I did not walk yesterday, but did go to the river to swim – and I swam a few laps in the pool there (there is a natural pool in the river, full of fish of all sizes). Today we have a birthday party, so I will probably not get any walking in either, but I will bring my swim suit and play with the kids in the pool.

Saturday 26th August

I haven’t been doing very well today – I’ve had a bad stomach the last couple of days and slept badly. Poor sleep = chocolate cravings… well – as long as it isn’t worse than that. I need to find a golden middle ground, where I am not too strict on myself, and also help my eczema heal… that is a little hard right now. But I might have found a functional medicine practitioner who can help me in Madrid (through the ADAPT academy).

Tuesday 29th August

So the weekend was not good… I wasn’t straying from a primal diet more than twice (a little potato chips and a little pasta), but I was WAY off the AIP and sunday morning I was tired and had blisters all over my pinkie… yet I continued down that road, and monday morning I had no skin on half my pinkie. It is oozing, red, itchy and painful. These are the foods outside the AIP that I have eaten: Coffee, Chocolate, Sugar (in the chocolate), Wheat (not until Sunday evening, so not sole culprit), paprika, almonds, tomato (not undtil Sunday night), Cheese (cow, organic, hard), Potatoes (baked and chips), PUFA (in the potato chips), white wine (1 glass). The saddest thing about it is that I might have been 100% symptom free had I not slipped up, because I was almost symptom free last week (my eczema was healed 99%, but the skin was still thin and fragile). I might be able to drink coffee, because I did so from Wednesday and I woke Friday with more inflammation in my eczema (had used a little cream in my coffee Thursday night), but still not those darned blisters that just turns my skin into an oozing mess, but now I won’t know for a while because I have to start over again to heal.

I have been back on track since yesterday, I can already feel that my skin is less itchy, but this will take a few weeks to heal I suspect – and I will have to remain on track while going through my husbands birthday party… THAT won’t be easy. I need to focus on the eczema and the healing and not so much on the weight loss until I am on the other side of this. I know if I stay 100% AIP my eczema will heal – I have been there before, I just need to stay.on.track.

Thursday 31st August

Today I have been following the Autoimmune protocol strictly for 3 days. I woke up at 5 o’clock this morning and spent almost an hour just lying in bed waking up slowly (stretching a bit, meditating a bit). Then I got up and did my yoga workout, 15 min meditation and 15 min Wim Hoff breathing technique.

Yesterday I heard Robb Wolf interview Dr. DiNicolantonio about salt, and almost simultaneously Mark Sissons offer for his new keto book lands in my inbox – both talk about how a keto diet drastically increases your need for salt (Mark writes 2 tsp a day extra on a keto diet). While I have been taking extra salt and extra minerals it has not been anywhere near 2 tsp. I have now bought the book “The Salt Fix” and am reading it. Yesterday I took two “salt shots” of around 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp kelp, and 2 cl lemon juice – and even though I was tired after lunch, and regained my energy after resting for half and hour.

My eczema is getting better, but I have also used some prednisone cream – I will stop doing that in a few days, but I figured that it was important to heal it, to avoid infections – and then when I am healed a little more I can stop using the cream to make sure that I am not consuming anything that aggravates it. I will be calling two Functional Medicine practitioners today to hear if we can get some testing going to figure out why I am becoming more and more allergic…

Monday 4th September

So I talked to a Functional Medicine practitioner from Madrid yesterday – we talked education and also some about my journey towards better health. He actually ended up giving me about an hours consultation for free and recommending me some tests to get done – a stool test and a hair test (to test for mycotoxins and heavy metals). He suggested the hair test instead of the triple test, because it is cheaper – I am not sure if it would be better to just do the triple test first. I might also want to order a test for fungus in our house… I have a feeling – the other day I was sitting in my husband’s office for 15 min and I felt completely congested after I left… I did the VCSTest.com and scored below “normal” which does indicate that I have something disturbing my vision – and at times it does feel like my vision is worse (even my functionally blind left eye feels more or less blind on certain days) than others and it feels “chemical” – just like my mood-swings… like it is my brain and not my eye that has a problem, and the the problem is inflammation – now that I now how to eat to make it go away, I can certainly see that it isn’t something I jut have to live with…

I have had one piece of chocolate and one potato this weekend – and have had no reaction. The potato was totally by accident: I had made them for the rest of the family, but when I started eating I just put it on my plate and started eating… a few years ago I was wheat, dairy, egg and nut free for 2 years and I had no problems with potatoes. I am guessing that potatoes cross with something and that I can eat them when I am not eating a lot of other stuff that affects me.

The FM practitioner I talked to pretty much agreed with my suspicions – the AIP diet is keeping me free of trigger foods (I am not sure which at the moment), but not healing my gut, nor clearing my system of any toxins I might have been exposed to (he thinks that some kind of toxic load is keeping my gut lining open which is why I keep being more and more sensitive all the time). I know for sure that I have been exposed to myco-toxins, several times in my life, starting at birth – my eczema usually clear up when I live in a house that isn’t infested, so I have a feeling that this house is… I have also recently had an amalgam filling removed that was broken (and had been so for a while), so that is possible too. AND living in Denmark most of my life, most of the fish I have eaten have come from the Baltic sea which is where most of the rivers in Easter Europe and Russia ends (hurraa for communism) – heavily polluted… it is no longer recommended to eat fish coming from there but that was unknown when I was a kid when to pollution levels were at it’s worst… Now I need to find a way to heal. I will be looking at that the next week. Even if I did find him knowledgeable, and not woo-woo I still feel a need to double check everything he says… just a habit after 11 years of checking Doctors before trusting them.

Well anyways – after now almost 7 days of (almost) strict AIP my brain functions normally again, I sleep normally and I have normal energy-levels. I think I can start re-introducing foods in a week, but I will stop the prednisone cream as of today to see if I am still reacting to something. I hope I have learned my lesson from last weekend: It is such a waste of time to be on this extreemly strict diet, just to fuck it up right before I am symptom free – it stalls me finding out what I am actually reacting to (and I don’t think it is everything on the AIP). I also do not want to waste 3 out of 7 days just for a snack… not worth it. I was actually on the way to being way way too tired Sunday already and I knew it the moment I opted for making pasta with tomato sauce – because I was too tired to cook… I shouldn’t have pasta in the house at all (now I don’t have more fortunately) – I am just too cheap to throw out food…

Tuesday 5th September

Today I bought chicory coffee – because that is where I fall in every time. So now I can have a cup of bullet proof chicory coffee (without butter though) if I really really feel like it. I think that will help a lot! I am also not too strict on the low carb currently, AIP is limited enough – and then when I am symptom free I can maybe add some more foods in, which will make low carb a little easier.

Yoga in the morning really feels like a rutine now – I don’t feel right the days I don’t get up and do it. The challenging exercise I found last week hardly feels challenging anymore (yay me!). I would actually like to do a longer sequence now – but that is conditioned upon me waking up earlier in the morning, and that is conditioned on me feeling better – sleep is still more important than exercise.

Thursday 7th September

Tuesday was my husband’s birthday and I cooked him a full English breakfast – only to realize when I was almost done that I coulnd’t eat *any* of the food I had cooked… including the bacon bc. the organic store had stopped carrying it, since I was the only costumer buying it – so I had bought regular bacon at the supermarket. But since we had breakfast at 7:30 I wasn’t hungry anyway so I just had a few strawberries and ate some sweet potato later in the morning.

For lunch I made a big ass salad for all of us, and hubby and the kids had some of the left-over bread from breakfast – they have actually not touched the bread since, that is how used they are to not eating bread by now, that they forget it is there!

In the evening we went out to eat at a Japanese restaurant and had teppanyaki – they were very sweet and made mine with glutenfree soy sauce (yes soy sauce – not allowed) and without butter. It was delicious! I also had spicy salmon sashimi salad for starter and wakame salad and teppanyaki broccoli. Not 100% AIP but pretty close – the soy sauce, the chili on the spicy salmon, and maybe some MSG (my son whispered to me while eating my beef “I think this might contain the third spice – damn it is GOOD!” – but he didn’t have a reaction at all). We didn’t get home until 0:30 – way past my bedtime. I was very tempted to not ask for gluten free soy sauce, and be too polite to not ask them to cook my meat without butter, when everybody else had butter… and to eat the rice, and have a drink etc. But the podcast I had been pointed to helped me quite a lot – feeling grateful that I am able to heal myself and get better. We had invited one of my husbands’ colleagues and his wife out for dinner, as they were in the area – they visited us 3 years ago before they had their baby – and she has become very sick with fibrosis (not cystic – something else), after they had their baby, and has gained 20kg because of her medicine (prednisone) – I talked to her a bit about my diet and how it helped me, but my condition is not at all as serious as hers, I have no idea if it would help her? But I do have a feeling that if I hadn’t found this path 3 years ago, I would have been going down a route that would be far more like hers, than where I am now…

Yesterday I felt really good and completed 2x12min of yoga exercise, made a huge portion of my anti-inflammatory sauerkraut, cleaned the kitchen, made lunch – and then crashed completely. Took a nap, and then proceeded to clean half the house (with the help of my family). And then we hung out on the terrace enjoying the early fall and the fact that we live such a beautiful place.

My husband and I was talking about supplements, and decided that if quality supplements were that expensive we would rather put that money into quality meat (specifically CQ10 and A,D,E,K and O3) – so we searched the web for places that sell beef harts (most butchers don’t carry them) – and I found a place that sell them online for €1.5/piece – free range though not 100% grass feed or organic, but it is the best I can do at the moment. I did find a butcher in Madrid, that delivers to the whole country who has 100% grass fed (the organic are given grains, just organic grains) – and he has packages that he calls “Caveman packages” of 10kg of beef/€150 – I think I will send him an e-mail to ask if he could source some offal too, because then I would def. buy from him. My neighbor has given me a baby goat that he keeps in his stable until we have found a butcher who will be willing to come up here and butcher it for me – damned EU laws makes that really really hard…

This morning I woke up a 6:15 – spent 15 min in bed, just waking up (love that about waking before the alarm) and then got up because I really wanted to have time to do a longer yoga series. So I found one that was in the same style as what I have been doing lately – but more challenging and 25 min. Then 15 min meditation and 15 min Wim Hoff breathing. I feel really good.

I had a green keto smoothie for breakfast (cucumber, avocado, kale, parsley, lemon, EVOO, salt, kelp, aloe vera juice), cucumber with liver paté and sauerkraut.

Three things that I am grateful for today:
– I am grateful that I am able to be a stay at home mom and not be stressed with raising kids AND a job AND healing my self – but can focus on my healing, while also having time for my kids.
– I am grateful for the fact that even if I am a stay at home mom, my husband makes enough money for us to be able to source healthy food for us.
– I am grateful to be able to live in such a beautiful place and be able to just go out on the terrace and gaze over the mountains, to have my favorite hiking path right at my back door.

Now I will continue to clean the house – so that we are ready for 20+ people for brunch on Saturday.

Friday 8th September

Yesterday I was feeling really good right up until 8 PM where I completely lost my wind and just could not continue. This is one of those signs that really indicate that I am on the right tracks – when I am eating poorly I get tired at 4-5 o’clock, and I am not rested no matter how many hours I’ve slept. OTOH my eczema is really bad – but only on one finger… considering that I had virtually no skin on all fingers on one hand last year, and eczema on my thighs and behind my knees. I did have a little potatoes yesterday and the day before, plus Wednesday I was cleaning the guest bedroom and my husbands office – and he has had an old box from his parents house standing on the floor and it had mold on the bottom and it was on the floor. We also had a lot of bottles of Aquavit sitting in the guest room, which were in boxes that had been water damaged – and as I removed those they completely fell apart from mold. After I had cleaned the floors and ventilated both rooms I felt a little bit like I had a cold coming on – sort of sore throat and sinus irritation. So this finger thing is probably a reaction to breathing in those spores or eating potatoes.

I woke up pretty early this morning – but couldn’t really get myself out of bed. But in the end I decided to get out because I didn’t want to miss out on my yoga practise. I only did the 12 min video because it was already 7:10 when I got up – but at least I did a little.

Today I am grateful for:
– the fact that what I call “bad” eczema is 10x less than it was a year ago
– the fact that doing yoga can motivate me to get up in the morning
– the fact that I have such a sweet and loving family

Later that day

I didn’t wear gloves or a facial mask as I was cleaning out the mold – I should have… I mean usually I wear gloves for doing dishes – but I didn’t think about it when I was almost done…

But I can feel my eczema clearing – and tomorrow is DH’s birthday party… and he has made all the stuff he loves, and I cannot eat much of it. And I get it – he really misses bread and chorizo etc. And he makes the best bread – one of my friends started crying when she ate his cinnamon rolls at his birthday party last year, because they were like her granma’s (and she’s from Mississippi living very far away from her granma). I need to be strong and hold on to the thought that I am grateful for the fact that I *can* heal by sheer will and stubbornness.

Tuesday 12th September

I discovered a new dish for my husbands birthday – gravad lax salad: Gravad lax (home made by DH), cucumber, avocado and kale chips – mmmm! That was goood! I ate that, and mushrooms with bacon all day – plus olives, kombucha and fruit. Thankfully the guests cleared out the cinnamon rolls – so I didn’t have those to tempt me all Sunday  I stayed on the straight and narrow path I have chosen for myself – and felt quite proud of myself. I had no new blisters Sunday morning.

Today (tuesday) I am back at waking up around 6:30, my eczema is healing and my brain feels awake and non-cottony. I am proud of myself for holding ground, and I am thankful that there are people out there who research this kind of thing. One thing is the eczema – but I cannot imagine how my life would be if I had to continue to live with the brain fog and fatigue that I get when I stray from the diet.

I have a few suspicions about what is causing the flare ups – and will not introduce those things first: Almonds, eggs, dairy, sugar, potatoes – those are my primary suspects. Maybe tomatoes, other nuts. Not Coffee, black pepper, peppers. I don’t think I am allergic to seeds, but I might have eaten too many compared to how much fish and other O3 I ate (and they are also relatively high carb).

Again I can note that the more low carb I am, the better my brain works. The past few days I have been eating massive amounts of fatty fish – and it is sooo god for me! I will try to get some small fatty fish as often as possible.

– I am grateful for having discovered this diet, so that I can heal my brain and my skin
– I am grateful for having discovered that I can participate in a party and not have to stuff my face with all the sugar I can possibly find
– I am grateful that I don’t have to think about food 24×7 because I am not constantly hungry anymore

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Journal

I have started a journal over at marksdailyapple.com – but I thought that I would post my entries here too – to the people who are following my thoughts about diet it might bring you something.

I am also micro-blogging on Instagram. You can follow my Instagram feed on the right side of the blog and click any picture to go to my Instagram account.

Tuesday 08-15-2017

So – I have been on the Autoimmune protocol (AIP) for some 3 months now. Today I am starting a 7 day fast – I will have bone-broth, so it will be a bit GAPS-like – and when I break fast, I will try to do it with GAPS friendly foods. I am doing this because ever since my summer holiday I haven’t been able to get rid of my eczema. Last time I fasted I didn’t get enough electrolytes and ended up with a horrible head-ache. I haven’t been 100% strickt on the AIP since I came home from holiday – and I know I need to be to get rid of the eczema.

My reasons for being primal/paleo is the following: I have just reached a BMI of 30 – I would like to get to 25, preferably 22. I have eczema – when I started the AIP I had eczema on my legs and my hands (really really bad on my hands). I had seasonal hayfever – which became worse and worse every year, and the season became longer and longer. After starting AIP, my hayfever has dissapeared. To get rid of the eczema I have to be really low carb – I more or less follow the guidelines in Wahls paleo plus, and have a max of 2 cups of cooked tubers pr. week. I had joint and muscle pain, it dissapeared with removing gluten from my diet. When ever I ate a little sugar my hart would start racing, it was incredibly scary and I really want to improve my insulin sensitivity.

All of my complaints have been improved on this diet. Now I need to stick to it, and only reintroduce foods slowly so that I know what I react to.

Yesterday I had icecream with my kids – the first time all summer. It was an organic chokolate icecream – a teeny tiny little cup, not even 1dl I think – and on my way home my eyes itched, and my legs where I used to have eczema. Last night we were at a birthday party and I also had some birthday cake. What I noticed was that even though I did feel bloated afterwards, I did not have the racing hart that I have experienced 3 months ago before going on the AIP.

I know it sounds a little confusing with the AIP, Wahls and the GAPS protocol all mixed in with each other… most of the foods on these 3 protocol are actually the same. But I will just clarify: I know that if I am strict AIP, and very low carb, my eczema is gone. The Wahl’s protocol guidelines is what I use as guidelines for quantities – I can feel that my brain benefits from this. The GAPS is again, very very close to the other two, and I will use it as a guide to reintroduce foods after my fast, hopefully seal my gut along the way. The most important though is the AIP/low carb, because I know it can keep me symptom free – the other two are more like references, because I think their guidelines are a good measure on how I can feed my gut and my brain optimally.

Exercise:

  • I do yoga every morning – depending on how I feel, I do anything from 5min to 20min (already a habbit)
  • I do the Primal Blueprint Fitness lift heavy things 2x a week (already a habbit)
  • I am working on getting a daily walk in – 20min (a habbit I am working on)
  • I will work to incorporate sprints in my walk once a week (next habbit to implement)
  • I need one longer walk every week on top of that (a habbit to implement)
  • The days that I don’t do the Primal Blueprint Fitness I play with my kids (swim, trampoline, dance, gymnastics, roller skating etc)

Sleep: I go to bed at 10PM on all weekdays, and get up at 7:30 at the latest (usually wake up at 6)

Anti-stress: I meditate every morning after yoga – yoga is also part of my anti-stress strategy, and is mostly stretching and balance exercise.

Food: After my fast get back on a strict AIP diet and stay there until completely symptom free. After that reintroduce one food at a time, to get as much lee-way as possible in my diet, without my health suffering.

Wednesday 08-15-2017

Yesterday I started my fast – and for some reason I was famished and sluggish! I think it might have been the cake and ice-cream from Monday? I only did 2 sun salutes for my yoga practise, but managed to get a little vinyasa flow into them, after that 5 min of meditation.

I had forgotten to put a pot on for broth, and when I put one on I took beef bones out of the freezer instead of chicken – so that took most of the day… So I didn’t have any broth before around 4PM. The sluggishness continued until after I had my broth, then half an hour later I was ready to go for a walk, and after I walked 20min I did 8 20sec. sprints uphill – it has been two weeks since I did them last, but I still did better than I did last – I am NOT a runner, and with some 10-20kg excess weight running is HARD – but I managed to run the first 3 sprints, and then just “power walked” the rest. Last time I only managed to run 2 sprints and walk the rest and gave up on the last one. I almost made it all the way up the hill on those 4 minutes, which is the walk that usually takes me 10 min.

I slept pretty bad… our neighbor moved a donkey and her foal in on his field next door and my little terrier went completely mad and kept barking at them, and my Sct. Bernard joined him, and then all the other dogs on our entire mountain… I finally came out and tied up the little one, but did so right under my bedroom window – and the result was that he was wimping all night… finally around 3 o’clock I closed the window and managed to go to sleep. The advantage of being a stay at home mom – and my husband not being at home this week – is that I can sleep until I wake up, which was at 7:30

I did 20min yoga this morning – and feel great: Not hungry, not sluggish – clear headed, just good. I signed up for Chris Kressers ADAPT academy this morning, can’t really get myself to leave the computer, it is SO interesting!

PS. My eczema is already noticably less – less scabbing, less redness and swelling. I am positive that it will be gone by the end of the week.

Thursday 08-16-2017

So yesterday I spent most of the day on the ADAPT site – really interesting stuff there.

In the afternoon I went for a walk – up to my well and back 10min either way on my mountain – and after that we went to the public pool in the village at the foot of our mountain for 3 hours. I mostly played with the kids but also swam some laps. When I got back home I was famished and tired – as always when I have been swimming. I took at cup of bone-broth, but after af few sips I couldn’t drink anymore, it is simply too much in this heat (~40C). Later I managed to put in half an hour of cleaning in my house. So not 100% sendentary yesterday.

Today I found a new yoga-video to try out – 17min – it was a little more challenging, without making me tired – just waking up the body. I plan on lifting some heavy things today, and going for a walk again.

I am not hungry this morning, the fast does not feel hard at all, and no head-aches – I think I must be fat adapted by now.

I have slept great, even if my terrier did go bonkers over the donkey again (I tied him up again and closed the bedroom window immediately). I woke up at 7 o’clock feeling rested and ready for the day.

Donkeys

Friday 08-18-2017

Yesterday ended up a little different than expected: One of my friends texted me and asked if we wanted to go swimming – the local pool was closed so we went down to the river where we stayed for hours, swimming in a small natural pool there, walking, playing etc. On the way home I went by the animal feed store and bought 3 chickens and a rooster – so when we came home we installed them in our rabbit pen (rabbits are dead due to a virus they caught from the wild rabbits around here). In about a month I should be able to get my own eggs. Now I just need to teach the terrier not to eat them… last night he egged the Sct. Bernard on to start chasing the donkey foal, tied the terrier up – and the Sct. Bernard just went back to the terrace and relaxed. Well at 8PM we were done – I warmed the kids some food, they ate and we went to bed.

I woke up around 4 this morning. I have already done yoga and meditated. I choose a more challenging video again this morning – I will do that a couple more times: I am still so locked in my right shoulder – I could do all the poses on the left side of my body, but simply couldn’t on the right.

My eczema is almost gone! It is amazing how this fasting makes my inflammation levels plummet – would have been interesting if I had done some blood work before I started. Anyway – I am not much into the whole quantified self, don’t have much patience for measuring everything – more into feeling how my body reacts. The fast has evolved into a water only fast – I can’t get myself to drink the bonebroth in this heat, I will have to do the GAPS type thing in the fall/winter.

Chickens

Saturday 08-19-2017

Well it was a good thing that I did a more challenging yoga session yesterday – because that was all I did that day. I am totally geeking out on the ADAPT acadamy (my kids are a little annoyed with my ADHD hyper-focusing…).

I had 3 cups of bone broth yesterday – and I was famished last night. Maybe I should just continue water fasting these 3 last days – it seems to work better for me. Also – maybe not cook a whole chicken for the kids… it smelled amazing. But they had run out of the stew I made them Tuesday, so they clearly needed something to eat.

I woke up quite a bit later this morning – 7:30, and usually I take that as a sign that I am to tired for yoga, but this morning I decided to do a session anyway – I choose a video that was a little longer, and it was def more challenging than what I have done in the past few weeks. A lot of balancing.

I also weighed myself this morning -3kg since last Saturday, including ice-cream and cake Monday. The measurements haven’t really budged, but I can see that my upper abdomen right under the ribs is flatter, I can now see my key-bone and my chin-bone is also more define. I also have more wrinkles – such is life, I am 41 and have been overweight most of my life. If I get out of this with minimal saggy skin, I am happy.

After my weigh-in and yoga work out, I decided to try the Wim Hoff breathing method. I have tried it before but came away from it. I did 3 rounds of 30 breaths – and afterwards I felt AMAZING. So full of energy that I dropped down and did 20 push-ups (hands-feet) in a row – for the first time in my life YAY! After that I figured that since I hadn’t lifted heavy things yesterday, I might as well do it immediately – so I did the entire Primal Blueprint Fitness lift heavy things workout, and took a cold shower afterwards. Man I feel good now. I have decided to try to do the Wim Hoff breathing thing every time I feel sluggish – I think it might be a good way to keep myself going. And then do it in the evening, but breathing through the nose, I have heard that it can drastically improve your sleep.

[QUOTE=DawnHoff;n3004926]So yesterday I cleaned the whole house before my husband came home – being preoccupied with the ADAPT academy was quite visible everywhere… the water-pump wasn’t working so I was worried that I had to do all the dishes by hand… fortunately it only delivers water to the washing mashine, the dishwasher and the toilets – the rest of the house is gravity fed. But mysteriously it suddenly started working again and I was able to run the washing mashine once and the dishwasher twice yesterday (Imagine doing two hole loads of dishes by hand!!).

My terrier is gone! He has run away several times before – but always it has been because he was following us when we left and then couldn’t find his way back, this time he has left on his own accord. We really don’t have much luck with those terriers – the first one died less than a week after we got her – from internal bleeding (the vet said she had been in an accident before we got her from the animal rescue station, and they’d had her less than a day), the second was stolen (he was very pretty) and this third one keeps running away. It is a shame because I would really like to be able to keep rats away from the house without poison… My son is theorizing that he followed the donkey when the came to get her yesterday. I think I will go down to the village today and see if I can find him. Otherwise I will have to report him as lost.

I didn’t walk yesterday, but with all the cleaning I think I have achieved the same number of steps. At one point I felt myself completely lacking the energy to go on and went into the bedroom to lie down and do the Wim Hoff breathing – it completely revitalized me and I was able to finish cleaning.

At some point during the afternoon I had stomach pain, it kept coming and going – so at first I just figured it was a single cramp – but it came back several times, and in the end I decided to break my fast. I had a salad with lettuce (not iceberg – don’t know the name in English, not even in Danish – it is called Corazones de Lucas, small heads, like the ones you use instead of tacos), chicken, avocado, cucumber, EVOO, ACV, baked nori flakes and herbamare salt. Last night my finger, where the last bit of eczema is, was itching. I will totally die if I am allergic to avocado too! Sometimes I feel like I can’t eat anything. The stomach cramps disappeared though so that is good.

I had to pick my husband up at the air-port at midnight – I really hate those late flights, but the alternative is that he gets a plane so early in the morning that he has to take a taxi to the airport in Copenhagen, because the trains aren’t running yet. And the taxi fare would be more than the plane tickets (and the Danish government has closed down Über). I didn’t go to bed before 1 o’clock and then I couldn’t fall a sleep, so I am pretty tired now. Sleep hygiene is really important to me – not that I have to go to bed at a certain time – but the minute I feel tired I need to get in there, because otherwise I toss and turn. So I haven’t done any yoga today… I should be doing the Wim Hoff thing – but I am so tired I don’t really feel like not being tired … or something – I just feel like lying down with an iPad. I promised my son that I would do strength training with him today – don’t know if that is a good idea when I did it yesteday, but he was disappointed that I did it without him.[/QUOTE]

Sunday 08-20-2017

So yesterday I cleaned the whole house before my husband came home – being preoccupied with the ADAPT academy was quite visible everywhere… the water-pump wasn’t working so I was worried that I had to do all the dishes by hand… fortunately it only delivers water to the washing mashine, the dishwasher and the toilets – the rest of the house is gravity fed. But mysteriously it suddenly started working again and I was able to run the washing mashine once and the dishwasher twice yesterday (Imagine doing two hole loads of dishes by hand!!).

My terrier is gone! He has run away several times before – but always it has been because he was following us when we left and then couldn’t find his way back, this time he has left on his own accord. We really don’t have much luck with those terriers – the first one died less than a week after we got her – from internal bleeding (the vet said she had been in an accident before we got her from the animal rescue station, and they’d had her less than a day), the second was stolen (he was very pretty) and this third one keeps running away. It is a shame because I would really like to be able to keep rats away from the house without poison… My son is theorizing that he followed the donkey when the came to get her yesterday. I think I will go down to the village today and see if I can find him. Otherwise I will have to report him as lost.

I didn’t walk yesterday, but with all the cleaning I think I have achieved the same number of steps. At one point I felt myself completely lacking the energy to go on and went into the bedroom to lie down and do the Wim Hoff breathing – it completely revitalized me and I was able to finish cleaning.

At some point during the afternoon I had stomach pain, it kept coming and going – so at first I just figured it was a single cramp – but it came back several times, and in the end I decided to break my fast. I had a salad with lettuce (not iceberg – don’t know the name in English, not even in Danish – it is called Corazones de Lucas, small heads, like the ones you use instead of tacos), chicken, avocado, cucumber, EVOO, ACV, baked nori flakes and herbamare salt. Last night my finger, where the last bit of eczema is, was itching. I will totally die if I am allergic to avocado too! Sometimes I feel like I can’t eat anything. The stomach cramps disappeared though so that is good.

I had to pick my husband up at the air-port at midnight – I really hate those late flights, but the alternative is that he gets a plane so early in the morning that he has to take a taxi to the airport in Copenhagen, because the trains aren’t running yet. And the taxi fare would be more than the plane tickets (and the Danish government has closed down Über). I didn’t go to bed before 1 o’clock and then I couldn’t fall a sleep, so I am pretty tired now. Sleep hygiene is really important to me – not that I have to go to bed at a certain time – but the minute I feel tired I need to get in there, because otherwise I toss and turn. So I haven’t done any yoga today… I should be doing the Wim Hoff thing – but I am so tired I don’t really feel like not being tired … or something – I just feel like lying down with an iPad. I promised my son that I would do strength training with him today – don’t know if that is a good idea when I did it yesteday, but he was disappointed that I did it without him.

Actually – now that I look a little closer: My finger is actually noticeably better than yesterday. Cross my fingers I don’t have to cut out more foods!

Solar Powered!

We are having solar panels installed today! Right now our solar guy is in my room hooking up the entire system to the house – and once he is done, we have power. Well actually that just happened! Which is super crazy – the truck was here yesterday, and now we have electricity without the noise from the generator, for the first time in over 3 years! No more generator – unless it is cloudy for more than 3 days in a row. I don’t know how many of those streaks we’ve had of those in these last 3 years… We’ve had one cloudy week this winter (we’ve had plenty of cloudy days, but seldom more than a couple in a row) – but I think that is the only time I remember… Maybe that is a little optimistic – but if that stat holds we will need the generator once every 3 years. Nah – I don’t think that will hold, but let’s see. This is a big milestone – a really really big milestone. 

Panels arriving yesterday


It will save us a lot of money – since Marcus has needed electricity for his job 8-9 hours pr. day…  Those savings will then enable us to move forward on a lot of other projects around here. Which will hopefully make us self-sufficient in food at some point. We should have done it from the beginning – but hindsight is 20-20, and we didn’t and now we have and that is good 🙂

The inverter??? (gosh and I pretend to be an engineer…)

I am super tired – stayed up way too late last night, and woke up at 5:30 (as I do now with this new diet), did yoga, meditated, made breakfast – woke up my son and had breakfast with him, went to Granada to the dentist (have found a wonderful holistic dentist that make the drive worth my while), back to pick up my daughter who was on a sleepover so she didn’t have to tag along. She was super tired and grumpy too – too little sleep on sleep overs… So I think I will lay down on the couch and enjoy the luxury of electricity 🙂

And the panels were up!

Oh – I just wanted to add this little picture: The fig-tree that died last year has sprouted from the root. To me it represents everything that we were struggeling with last year, which comes to fruition this year.

A little fig-tree sprouting from the root of a dead tree

10 Years of Marriage – How Things Change

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This Friday Marcus and I celebrated our 10 years anniversary. The picture above is our wedding picture.  Looking at it feels like staring into another world… how we have changed! How our values have changed!

Our wedding was a huge deal with all the trimmings, morning suit, silk dress (tailor made), star chef, party in an old manor house an hours drive from Copenhagen. Back then I was working in the medical industry as a statistical programmer/project manager, Lucas was in day-care – way earlier than is the norm in Denmark, because … reasons, don’t really remember them. Marcus had his own business trying to develop some kind of remote control for your home entertainment system (Chrome cast much and a touchpad kind of thing). It never really did fly – and seeing which players he would have competed against, he might not have made it regardless. We were living in a big apartment in Copenhagen, a few weeks after the wedding we bought a big car. Loads of debt, loads of spending. Loads of surface.

We were also really tired: We had a sick kid, two full time careers, we were renovating our apartment. We were arguing a lot… at none of us were getting our needs met. But that one day at our wedding was wonderful. We loved each other and we were going to make it through. This was the dream, we were living it! We had EVERYTHING.

6 moths later, and the first stress breakdown in the bag, I just wanted stay home with my kid. I was so tired! And I felt that someone else got the best hours of my kid while all I did was to lie with him at night trying to prevent him from scratching himself to sleep. But Marcus had married a career woman – he could not imagine that I would be happy as a stay at home mom. He could not imagine that I could live without the intellectual stimuli I got from work. But continuing down the road we were on made me sick, like I could only think about sleeping, and I cried most of the time. At some point Marcus read “7 Habits of Highly Effective People”, I don’t remember when – and it changed everything for us: He decided to listen, he decided to give it a try. I don’t know if we would have still been married had it not been for that… maybe he would have accepted my wish regardless, but I remember that talk, where he said “OK – tell me what it is that you want?” And we put our minds together and figured out how to make it work.

Everything else came later – the consciousness about the value of ecologic food, high nutrition, the consciousness about the economy, environment etc. We moved to Spain, and suddenly we decided to move off grid, to build our own house, to grow our own food, to unschool. But the first step was deciding to listen to each other, to look for win-win situations. It isn’t like we are perfect at non-violent communication yet – but this one step was the first one in a journey of self-development that I could have not imagined possible 10 years ago. Always as partners, always trying to find a better way to be there for each other and our selves, trying to meet all of our needs – including those of our children – without the other party having to sacrifice theirs.

This weekend Marcus invited me for a romantic get-away. We haven’t done that since we had our kids (a few weekends they have stayed with grandma though), for many reasons, but this being our 10 years anniversary we decided to really go to town. He had rented a hotel room, book a table at an amazing fish restaurant in Malaga city, and the children were with friends all weekend (each their own friend, for the first time ever). It was like stepping back into that world again – that world where I had been so comfortable before, but now I was a little out of place – I haven’t had a hair cut at a hair dresser in years, my clothes are a little worn, my shoes a lot! I felt self-conscious, I looked at my husband insecurely and said “I need new shoes before we go to the restaurant!” He looked at me and smiled and said “don’t do it for my sake, I think you look fine! Always!” So we went out to wine and dine, and I forgot my scruffy shoes – and we had excellent local seafood and a lot of cava and enjoyed our little trip back to luxury land. But now we are back on the mountain, after days of walking in Malaga, loads of good food (that hasn’t changed – never will I believe), loads of cava, holding hands and talking. Just enjoying each other’s company – as always, regardless of where we are: He is my best friend, my companion in life, my life-witness.

#thisguy #weekendgetaway #10yearsmarried #feelingspoiled

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The most amazing thing about this journey is that we have been able to travel it together, that we have changed together and moved in the same direction. One of us could have easily have moved in one direction and the other in the direct opposite – but for me the love for my husband has made me willing to listen with intent to understand, to support and help him, and that has made this journey possible for me. I could have not done it without him.

The Rabbit Cage

Not the Cage Aux Folles, but it very well could be 🙂

About year ago i bought two rabbit does, more or less on a whim – I have a tendency to do things like that… sometimes it moves things forward, sometimes it becomes yet another project I never finished. This one seemed for a long time to end in the latter category – but fortunately my husband had helped me out this time and we are now almost finished with a colony setting for the rabbits. They are cute though (but now way too big to fit in one cage).

Rabbits – new inhabitants on our homestead

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First I started building a run that they could be in… but that never really got anywhere, so the fence is now lying outside my office windows. Did someone say scatterbrain?

Progress on building a run for the rabbits

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Then Marcus and I started building the colony setting that we had been talking about. But actually Marcus didn’t really have buy-in on the project and wasn’t too keen on it, so progress was slow… And I could not do it on my own since putting the hardware cloth on the roof was really too hard… And I had horrible hay fever in the spring so I was more or less sick all the time. An then July and August came and any thought of doing anything other than bathing outside was… well… just too much…

But then our worldschooler friends came to visit, and I thought: YAY, there will be two grown-ups to help me, one of them a man who is probably taller than me (he would have to suffer from dwarfism if he were to be shorter, because that is ca. how short I am – seriously not exaggerating). It almost didn’t come to fruition since we went for a long walk and suddenly I had to dash off with the kids to art class, and the next day I suddenly had to run of to go to the bank before they closed… But fortunately they were such nice people they almost finished the colony on their own.

Today we worked on the rabbit cage all afternoon (and I totally forgot that I had a date with an English home schooler in the Botanical garden… scatterbrain…). And all the holes you seen in the cage on the picture are now not there any more. All that is missing really is for me to “sew up” the panels of hardware cloth and to check for holes around the stairs on either side. I have said to myself that it is “almost done” and that “now I can order that buck” like a hundred times – but I will wait for myself to have finished it completely before I order the buck. Because otherwise I might end up with 3 rabbits in my office…

I actually dreamt last night that one of the does had kindled… and that it would have been a while ago because the kids where quite big… (not blind and naked, but little fur-balls jumping around), and that I now had not 2 rabbits in my office but 10… I think the origin of the dream was that my daughter was pet-sitting her friend’s guinea pigs, and the last day we had them, we suddenly had an extra – all lively and furry and all (apparently guinea pigs give birth to kids with fur and open eyes and all), this in spite of our friends telling us that it was two females… must have been immaculate conception then – it was very close to Christmas after all. The result of the dream was that I woke up feeling an urge to finish the colony – but then thinking that Marcus probably wouldn’t want to… and the putting it off for another couple off weeks until our next volunteers/worldschoolers arrive… But then as we had our morning coffee on the terrace (yes it is that warm), he said “I don’t know about your, but I would like to try to finish the rabbit cage today”, and that is when I had a slight feeling, that I should be going to the Botanical Garden for some reason, but thought that “no-one in the Home school group is going, so no you don’t have to if you would rather build the rabbit cage”. Poor lady whom I stood up, not a very good first impression (maybe I should send her this blog post to explain…?).

The idea with the rabbits is that they should provide us with food, manure for the garden, furs for me to do creative things with, maybe function as a lawn-mover (in tractors), and something cute and cuddly for the children, which would teach them something about permaculture and responsibility for other living beings etc. (in Permaculture everything should fill in at least 3 functions that support other systems). Having them in cages inside didn’t really cut it for that last part, and we couldn’t really have kids in the cages we have for them now… and cleaning etc. is a actually quite a hassle… so they have provided compost – great compost, but the rest of their functions have been less fulfilled in the last year. Now, hopefully soon,  we will be able to let them be all they can be.

World Schoolers For The Win!

This week on our little finca we have had visitors – a Danish/Norwegian world schooling family who is traveling Europe for a year came by to visit us.

A few months ago I joined the Facebook group World Schoolers because friends of mine told me it would be a great way of connecting to other home schoolers across the globe and maybe make connection with expats who home school down here in Spain – make connections with people travelling through the area. After a short while in the group I offered up my place as a possible stop for people on the road. My conditions were: You can “camp in my garden” for free if you clean up after yourself, you can stay in our house for free if you participate in chores, and we will pay for food too if you participate in projects (if we have any projects going on at the moment). The response was overwhelming! I received tons of response to my post and I received numerous PM’s from people asking if they could stop by.  This week our first visitors arrived.

A family of 5: Mom and dad, two boys around my sons age and a girl a little younger than my girl. They had told me in advance that they would love to participate in any projects we had going on. Since they would only be staying a couple of days I decided to ask them to help me finish our rabbit colony, so that we can finally move the rabbits out of our house.

The twos days they were here the kids played and played and played, and we went for a long walk up the mountain, and we talked and talked and talked, and we cooked A LOT – and while I was gone on errands in town they put netting on the rabbit cage – I did not participate at all (Marcus did a little when he wasn’t working).

It is one of those times where the gift of our lifestyle just shines: The kids could play for hours on end, they didn’t have to worry about bedtimes or school (even our 1,5 hour art class on Wednesday felt a little disruptive to the whole flow of their play). The boys played with LEGOs for hours on end, and then video-games, and then outside in the sun, and then back to LEGO, and then some more video-games. The girls would dress up, and put on makeup, and make blanket forts on the terrace, and listen to a grown-up reading Astrid Lingreen stories, and jumping on the trampoline – and really only sit down when they were too tired to play anymore. That we can just do this without having much planning around it, that we can just get this help with the rabbit cage, that the kids can just meet other kids from the other end of Europe and play non-stop except for sleeping and eating for two days straight is such a gift. And once again my children shared their toys and their room with complete strangers and there was no conflict to speak of. It is something that I have become accustomed to, even something I expect when my children meet other children, but that other people point out to me: These kids play for hours on end with practically no conflict, and if there is any they are usually able to solve these conflicts themselves, through negotiation. Mostly the grownups are only needed if someone falls and hits themselves, or when hunger and fatigue hits. This of course also means that we are more needed when the guests have gone home – because the attachment needs of the children don’t go away just because they have friends over for two days – so after they left we spent a few days reading stories and snuggling on the sofa. But the fact that having friends over doesn’t mean more work for us, actually less – we can easily have adult time, and carry adult conversations, is such a gift.

(I finally decided to delete my facebook account – I have long had concerns about privacy but this article finally did it for me: http://www.salimvirani.com/facebook/ – the result though has been that I lost the pictures our hosts took of all our children playing – so you will have to imagine those for the time being. Hopefully she will send them to me on e-mail).

Merry Christmas and After The Rain 3

Merry Christmas! I hope everybody has a lovely time and spend time with loved ones, get some time to rewind and relax.

We are celebrating at a very very low pace and it is becoming us well – Christmas eve we were just the 4 of us here, eating good food and opening a few presents, finishing the evening playing a board game with the kids. Christmas day we were with friends, celebrating an English christmas, crackers included.

This past year we have talked a lot about Christmas, because last year Marcus was stressed about all the things he “had” to do to make Christmas special for the kids – but by virtue of him being stressed it turned out less “hyggeligt” than he imagined, which was the opposite of what he wanted… So we talked about not doing anything this year, except presents, and going out on Christmas eve, and not making homemade cookies etc. etc. But we decided against it, because we actually love all those things – including the big Christmas dinner.

We didn’t really decide to cut anything, but to take it slow. We bought the Christmas tree the second week of December and decorated it the next day – it has been standing there in our living room all beautiful and spreading happiness all month – and will be there until January 7th. Cookies were still baked, but a little at a time, and Marcus decided that he was under no pressure to make any specific number, just to do what he felt like – the kids and he have had a lovely time baking together, and there has been no stress. The kids and I went to see the lights in Malaga with friends,  a lovely evening. We have had a traditional Danish Christmas lunch with friends – another lovely evening, and the same day we went to the Danish Christmas market in Fuengirola. So we have been celebrating a lot. But none of it has been stressful, and if any of us have been overwhelmed, we were ready to cancel. Actually we have had more activity out of the house this year than the past 3 years, and we have had more days of Christmas preperation and hygge at home than usual, but it hasn’t felt stressful at all – it is all about the mindset.

Yesterday we were supposed to go to a birthday party with friends in Antequerra, but Marcus and the kids had a cold, and I was coming down from a cold… so we decided to stay home and relax. Miriam and I have been lying in bed watching girly movies, Marcus has spent some time drawing with Lucas (he got an electronic pen from my mother for Christmas), and the rest of the day he was watching some history lectures on YouTube.

Today I have spent most of the day outside – finishing the swale on our terrace where the water is now flowing from the river. The water has slowed down enough for it to sit on the terrace and filter in which gave me a great opportunity to dig the swale while I could see what my efforts meant for the water flow. I’ve included a small video of what I have done here – it is very raw and unedited, but if I am going to make any videos that is how it needs to be!

In the coming year I want to post a lot more on here, including videos – and I want to spend a lot more time in the garden. I would love if we could become almost self-sufficient with meat in 2017. I want to figure out a way to manage my Facebook time! I don’t want to leave Facebook entirely – since I have met so many wonderful people through it – some of whom are coming to help us with our projects January, February and March. But Facebook really fuels my anger, and it is anger at things I have no influence over, so it is really a waste of time. I need to think about how I can find a healthy balance.

After the Rain 2

Last week when I posted about the rain I promised that once the internet was up and running again I would post the pictures. And then the internet worked again, and my computer broke… and since all the pictures were on it I wasn’t really able to just make do with the tablet as I did last week. Well now it is working again (though it might be temporarily – it is old… but I will get and external screen set up in my office and work there). I’m posting the pictures here instead of in the post from last week – that way I make sure that people who have already read the post will see it.

The first video is right after the first rain: The water had blocked the big tube under the road, but then it had washed away the block from an old tube – much much smaller, which we hadn’t been able to see on the neighbors side of the road so we had actually started building a wall in front of it. That wall is washed away now.

The second video is the east terrace, with the rainwater garden – it doesn’t look like it is raining that hard, but it was seriously raining cats and dogs. and yet nowhere is there more than 1cm of water on the terrace, and the garden just absorbed all of it (and now we have mushrooms growing in the rain water garden).

 

Here the water is seriously starting to run over the road, the small pipe is blocked again and the water has no-where else to run… If we had only used one more truckload of rocks to cover that side of the road, I think it would have been able to handle it.

The last video is basically more of the same thing, just worse.

Quick note: We have had a few leaks in the roof… quite annoying. Compared to many others (a friend of mine had a waterfall down her stairs and had to leave the house with her kids), it is minor, but still… really bugs me. One is where the builders didn’t do as I told them to, two is where we have a metal roof and one of those they didn’t put in the silicone plug under the screw so the water could get in through that hole, don’t know what the reason is the last place which I discovered today. It is really annoying that they don’t seem to know how to prevent water from coming in down here – esp. since they don’t take the health risks wrt. mold in the house seriously.

After the Rain

Last week Málaga saw some of the worst rain it has seen since 1989, and large parts of the city was flooded, damages on houses roads etc have not yet been estimated, a woman died and several animals have drowned.

It is a tragedy that is increasing in occurance here in Europe and whether it is climate change or poor watershed management, the solution is more or less the same: Plant more trees, make sure water can seep into the ground, slow the water down. Unfortunately the people in charge at government level seem dead set on not slowing the water down, but quite the contrary getting it away as fast as possible: It  isn’t legal to build gabions or check dams on your land, rainwater collection is illegal, you cannot make terraces where none were etc. etc. In addition the public building projects all add far more hard surfaces, and the water drainage lead the water via concrete drainage canals and drainpipes as fast as possible to the rivers and streams. It is a catastrofe waiting to happen… and last weekend it did.

On top of that, many Spanish houses are poorly built, have leaks in the roof, terraces that lean towards the house etc. etc. And most people here don’t have an understanding of the dangers of mold in their house and will simply paint andy moldy spots over and never report it to their insurance, never get it fixed.

Well we have done our best to aviod theses problems when we renovated our house, and I and I am happy to say that it has worked, for the most part at least.

It actually rained for two weeks prior to the big rainstorm, and we even had a smaller rainstorm a week before the big one, which took out our Internet  (which is why I haven’t put up my post about composting). During the first week of rain, I noticed that the ceiling in the living room had a damp spot, and I called our builder up and told him to come and fix it. He came immediately and crawled up on the roof and saw that one of the silicone plugs that sit underneath the screws that hold the roof in place (roof in the living room is metal) was missing, he fixed it on the spot and we haven’t had any leaks anywhere since. The house is dry, through and through.

Last year we had the east and west terraces done, so that their inclination was away from the house, because every time we had a major rain event we would have a large puddle of water on either side of the house, right in front of the kitchen door and the door in Marcus’ office – the latter often times threatening with spilling in on his floor.

On the east terrace we have installed a rainwater garden that collects all the water from the entire terrace (and most of the water from the east side of the roof, bc. the rainwater collection system is malfunctioning again…) down hill from the rainwater garden we have placed big boulders, underneath the garden is pebbles for drainage, and the garden itself is filled with compost with lots of biological material, and the last year we have been mulching it with straw and rabbit manure, which has added even more biological material. So the garden in itself can absorb a lot of water. In addition the terrace has been layed out with flat rocks on dirt – our builders thought us crazy when we didn’t want concrete, but we wanted the terrace to be able to absorb as much water as possible, while still being able to drive on it, and reduce the dust around the house in the summertime. At no time were there ever more than 1cm of water anywhere on the terrace, even though some reports say that at it’s worst the storm delivered 30cm/hour.

On the west terrace we have made the inclination away from the house was well. The inclination is stopped by a small gabion half way between the house and the arroyo, which we had to put in because the pipe from the rainwater system had to run over the ground  for a few meters, because it was the only way the give it the inclination needed to transport the water to the other side of the house. Outside the gabion is a swale filled with pebbles, and outside the swale is a small berm. I have been worried that the gabion would prevent the water from flowing away from the house fast enough, but even at its worst the water wasn’t close to the doorstep, and at most there was 1 cm of water on the terrace. The swale filled completely, but the water just lay there and nothing was ruined (and now a week later the grass is growing vigorously).

The other earthworks that we have built also worked according to intention and nowhere is there any sign of erosion.

But that is the extent of what worked… because what didn’t work was the bridge across the riverbed in front of the house – our driveway. We fixed the road when we fixed the east terrace, and we made sure that the water would drain off of the road, we put in a stone setting around the tube going under the road, and we put in a sunnibowl underneath the tube to catch any soil running out of it. That actually did work really well. What we hadn’t anticipated was that the tube would clog up from leaves, branches and gravel being washed down from our neighbor’s  land. The tube already clogged after the first rainstorm, and ran over the road and started eroding it next to the stone steering we had made, another smaller tube the un-clogged and the rest of the water ended in the small terrace we have created underneath the carob tree. But the second,  bigger rainstorm clogged up the smallest tube again, and now the water had nowhere to go but over the road. The water masses were so enormous that the eroded the stone setting and started eating away at the road… The only reason we can get out is that the road is wider on the other side, because of all the gravel that has been deposited there… This is not actually on our land, but on the neighbour’s land, and we will have to work with him to fix it. Fortunately his insurance might cover it. At the end for the driveway, the municipal road is badly damaged and is in need of a serious amount of love and care. We will not be able to get our Berlingo out across that part before it has been fixed (thank God we bought a 4WD), and if we wait for the ayuntamiento that will probably not happen any time soon… But one of the neighbor’s have been driving around fixing his part of the road, so I’m thinking maybe I can persuade him to do the same at our end.

The parts of our land that have been left to complete and utter neglect have before entering holding up OK – the fact that the goats haven’t been grazed here for two years means that a lot of small bushes and grazes have sprung up, and this held on to most of the soil. I haven’t made a complete assessment of the damages tough.

I promised myself that I would post this before the end of this week, so I will post it now, and then when I can get to my pictures I will add them (I don’t have electricity and my computer is out of battery, so I am writing on a tablet, while the pictures are on my computer).

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