Resistance and Gratitude

Chores! Why do I sometimes feel like I'm the only one who does them? Right now my bathrooms desperately need to be cleaned, especially the master, and I just don't wanna do it!
So here it goes, instead of feeling put upon to clean a filthy dirty bathroom, I'm going to be grateful that I have a chore to do which gives me purpose and in the end joy, because I LOVE a clean bathroom.
I'm making room for gratitude.
I recently cleaned out our closet and had the same feelings about it. Clothes were scattered everywhere, I had to dig through a pile on the shelf every morning for underwear and turn a blind eye to the piles of unused shoes and clothes that filled the corners.
After removing everything we no longer needed or wore, there's space! When I open the door to my closet in the morning I feel happy and peaceful instead of agitated and overwhelmed. I love my closet now and that's just a closet, imagine how a whole room feels!
I know the idea here is simple, and definitely not new, but I have to stop and think sometimes about why I get so resistant to doing the simple things that need done. I can be pretty good at putting my blinders on and moving through a space without taking the care that it needs, when I get busy or am rushing. The mistake I make is feeling like I'm the only one. Life is busy. Physically taking time to put effort into simple chores gives my brain time to slow down.
Often the perspective I gain through these intentional chores (while it may feel like pulling teeth sometimes) has potential for as much a source of joy as the end result.
On this morning I am grateful for the ability to provide clean bathrooms and closets for myself and my family.
It's the little things ;)


Live the Life You Have Imagined

Sometimes the end of the world is merely the best beginning you never could have imagined.
Feel it fully, breathe it in, then get to work.


Ellie's Popsicles

What you'll need:
muffin tin (12 holes, regular size)

1.5-2 cups organic grape juice
1 organic apple, cored
1 cup fresh spinach
1.5-2 cups water

What you'll do:
Add all ingredients to the blender (I use the "whole juice" button on mine)  
Blend until liquefied
Pour into muffin tin  
Place in freezer 
After 15-20 minutes, add toothpicks
Freeze solid (approx. 1 hour)
To release popsicles, dip pan in shallow warm water, grasp toothpicks and turn popsicle slowly then lift out of tin


I Need Your Help

I know what I love about Bem General: local crafted artisan goods, vintage funk and junk reinvented, heirloom seeds, organic pure teas and herbs, holistic spa services, and our strong Bem community.
I would love to hear what YOU love about Bem General online, storefront, or historic building. Tell me a favorite good, story, or idea. It can be something you've purchased or something you'd like to see for purchase. 
I can't wait to hear from ya'll.
Until then, here are a few more pics from our booth at Spring Fling in the City.


Coming Clean

Today is THE DAY for me! I'm starting my road back to complete health. I'm making room in my fridge and my life for space! No more saving anything that I don't use " 'cause somebody may need it."
I'm starting the Specific Carbohydrate Diet lifestyle plan today. At first glance it may seem extreme or too restrictive, but I am actually rejoicing and feeling freed by its simplicity today. (Stay tuned, that may change by the end of the week ;-) )
In all honesty, I have been really sick. So sick I didn't fully realize how bad it was until I started feeling better. (In February I started seeing an integrative health practitioner and committed to a grain free diet, that was when i started to see a real change.)
This morning as I was cleaning out the fridge AGAIN, I thought now is the time, I need to share this story. I know I'm not the only one feeling this sick. I know that because, the progress I have made and the things I have learned already on my journey back to full health have been from others who have been brave enough to share their stories. I also know because, when no one else is looking, people talk. People who share many similar experiences and symptoms, but somehow have felt like that's just how their body reacts or maybe it's just the power of suggestion. Because, you know, gluten-free-whole foods are just the latest health food fad. We have laughed and cried and laughed until we've cried about all the crazy things we've done or thought about doing.
But what I do know for sure is, we have amazing power to heal when we provide the space for it to happen. So, for the next 90 days. I want you to watch for the stories from my healing journey here as I tackle "the whole enchilada" of life. Feel free to share and cheer me on (I know I'll be needin' plenty of that).
I promise there will still be plenty of the normal stuff on here too, like goats in cars, and trucks, and school busses.


A Stick-in the-Eye

I realized when I gave myself time this morning, time to think and be, that I've been holding myself in pain this week. Small pains, like the worry of overwhelm, the fear of judgement, and then the stick-in-my-eye physical pain. Literally, I jammed a stick in my eye while cleaning up the yard this weekend! With my eye on the mend this morning, the physical pain and discomfort subsiding (I don't recommend a stick in the eye, trust me it hurts!), I stopped to think about the choices we make in life and where we choose to dwell. This place of pain and fear, no matter how big or small, is a place of limits and stagnation. While thinking about where I was dwelling this morning in my small pains and in the bigger pains of our world, I began shifting my thoughts to love which is exactly what I needed but couldn't see for all the busy-ness of my brain.
Of all the places in the world to dwell, I choose love.
From love comes healing, and peace, and strength, and bravery.
I've seen people posting a Mr. Rogers quote about looking for the helpers in tragic, disturbing situations. That thought and mindful image are great reminders of the balance in life. Where there's hurt, there is help and where there's pain, there is love.
Just look for it, be open to it.
I love love; it's warm and fuzzy, light and tingly, it's melty and gushy, and safe. Love is peace.
In looking for love, remember to find it within first. When we can find space to extend love to ourselves, we are able to cultivate true peace and healing with an abundance to share. When we choose to extend love to ourselves, our families, our friends, our communities, our nations, and our world, we choose a better place to dwell.
May true peace and love be yours today, my friends.



This year at Riverbluff Farm, we had two of our does bred to kid. Pearl, our purebred Saanen (and daughter of the beloved Tasha and Wyatt) kidded first adding a another girl to the herd and a boy. The boy went to his new home over the weekend, (Yay!) and is now destined for the Gasconade County Fair. Ella can't wait to visit him there this summer. "The County Fair is her faaavorite fair," she says. 

Pearl and her 1 day old babies.

Birth of the baby boy. 
I was lucky to capture a little video this year. Pearl had escaped from the barn and wasn't with the rest of the herd when I found them. Knowing she was due to kid soon, I went looking for her. It was the day before our last big snow storm came through. We needed to find her and get her back to the barn or her babies would freeze. When I found her, she had already started the birthing process; I could see two tiny little hooves. After trying without success to coax her back to the barn I just settled in, watched, and waited. I was an hour late getting the store open that morning, but it was worth it. Witnessing a birth never gets less amazing, it is the most exciting and scary and moving process.

Beautiful Tasha and my favorite sweet boy Wyatt

One week following Pearl's babies, Gertie had two of the most adorable and sweet girl kids I've ever seen. Gertie is our sweet and social Nubian. She's the first to come to the fence to say hello, and don't even think about going in the barn without giving her an ear-scratch. This year her babies took on more nubian characteristics than last, so we got some color and long floppy ears. :) One is a pale peachy white and the other a lovely latte color. Latte became Lottie, but we may need some naming help again this year for Pearl's girl and Gertie's little peach.

Lottie, Gertie and peachy girl.


Pops, Poppy, Dear ol' Dad

I don't know what I would do without my Pops, who makes me feel like I can do anything just by telling me "I'm gonna need your help."
A couple weeks ago on my way to Sunday school with Ella, we headed down Hog Trough Road. I love that we go to church by way of dirt roads. When we got to Mom and Dad's farm, Dad's new semi-truck was blocking the road. They have a short steep drive and every time he edged forward  to gain more momentum for backing up the hill, he lost more traction.
By the time I arrived, he was out of forward room and stuck. I pulled over and jumped out to be sure he was okay. As he came walking through the yard with a chain draped over his shoulder, he said "I'm gonna need some help." He hooked one end of the chain to his semi and the other to his pickup truck. I jumped in the pickup, sunday dress and all. He said over his shoulder as he went to climb in the big-truck (as the kids call it) "When I give the signal ease back until I can get some traction." Slow and steady we pulled the semi back up the hill. I got down out of the truck and climbed back in my jeep where Ella was patiently waiting. We headed down the road to church again.
It was worth being a little late.
Later, I was thinking about how such a simple task could make me feel so proud, useful, satisfied, empowered even. I thought what a gift my dad has given me, to feel like I can tackle anything I choose. By him simply believing I can, I believe I can too.


Hot Start

I'm not saying I'm giving coffee up, but I have to have something hot to drink while I start my day. Call it a habit, call it a morning ritual, call it whatever you want, but I need it. And, because I need more than 1 cup, I could use something other than coffee or tea to sip on in the morning.
I tried the hot water with lemon drink, but it's just not enough to satisfy. I've been drinking it anyway hoping I would acquire more of a taste for it. (I'm still hoping...)
This morning I decided maybe I could add some coconut oil since I'm always looking for ways to add more coconut oil to my diet, other than cooking with it.
So, I added a teaspoon or two of coconut oil to my hot water with lemon and enjoyed it so much I had two cups! The coconut oil adds a richness thats almost like fresh cream, yum.
Now I'm putting it in my coffee AND my lemon water. Since I am a multiple cup drinker, hence the trying to cut down my caffeine intake, I use 1t at a time. If you are a one-cup-and-done drinker, use up to 1T per cup.
It's lip gloss and a cup of joe rolled into one!

I use Dr. Bronner's brand which has a nice light coconut flavor. The mug is a Susanne Harmon original; her work is available at Bem General.


Daffodil Spring at Bem General

Friday was my birthday and by far, the most beautiful day of the year. We had all the windows and doors open at Bem General, the birds were singing, Ella was running in and out playing, and we were dancing to the music as we cleaned and created. My mom "the decorator extraordinaire" cleaned and spring-i-fied the bathroom, as you can see in the photos below. {Everything in her display is for sale, including the light fixture, at Bem Gen} by the way. So this was our day of bliss, and then winter returned. 
Enjoy the photos and the beautiful days of spring!


Meatless and Wheatless

What you'll need:

  1. veggie peeler
  2. knife + cutting board
  3. saute pan
  1. 2-4 carrots, peeled in large ribbons
  2. 1-2 portabella mushrooms, rough chopped
  3. 1/4 onion, fine chopped
  4. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  5. 12 oz pasta sauce
  6. 2 handfuls fresh spinach
  7. sea salt + pepper to taste
  8. olive oil and/or coconut oil
What you'll do:
  1. over medium high heat add 1 T. coconut oil and 2 T. olive oil to sauté pan
  2. add carrot ribbons and sauté until just softened, set aside and drizzle with more olive oil as desired
  3. add onion, garlic, and mushrooms to sauté pan over medium heat, adding more oil if needed
  4. sauté onion, garlic and mushrooms, adding salt and pepper as desired
  5. add sauce to onion mixture to heat through
  6. plate one handful spinach, top with carrots, and finish with sauce for each serving
What mine looks like:



March and April are months of deadlines for me. Deadlines for finishing projects and beginning new ones. While I'm super excited for the new projects, I'm feeling a tad bit overwhelmed about pulling everything together in order to move forward. My house feels like it's in a varying state of disaster, outside garden projects are looming (at home and at the General), fencing needs reworking, animals (inside and outside) need tending, and the list goes on. I need better organization I think. How do I manage that when I'm already feeling overwhelmed? My best strategy is dive in and tackle one project, usually early in the morning before I'm really awake enough to think. Action is the best antidote for overwhelm. That works great; but do you ever feel like you finish one thing, turn around and there are ten more?! You see where I'm going here. I'd love to hear your best strategies for tackling multiple projects at once, at home and work. Help!  :)
Here's to the season of change!


Veggie Hash

What you'll need:

  1. vegetable peeler
  2. spatula
  3. griddle/skillet
  1. 2-4 carrots, peeled/shredded
  2. 1-2 handfuls fresh spinach
  3. 1 T. coconut oil
  4. salt, red pepper flakes (optional)
What you'll do:
  1. heat griddle to medium-high heat, add coconut oil
  2. saute carrots, browning if desired
  3. turn heat off, add spinach and cover to wilt
  4. ENJOY as a side to eggs or Cereal Substitution 
  5. OR top with almonds for a complete breakfast dish
What mine looks like:


Cereal Substitution

What you'll need:

  1. cereal bowl
  2. spoon
  1. 1 banana
  2. sprinkle of walnut pieces (~3 T)
  3. sprinkle of dried cranberries (~2 T)
  4. 1 T flax or chia seed, finely ground
  5. coconut milk (~1/2 c)
What you'll do:
  1. using spoon, chunk banana into bowl
  2. sprinkle walnuts, cranberries and ground seed over banana bits
  3. add milk
What mine looks like:


Truth Telling

It's all about truth. Telling the truth. 
I don't mean just saying the truth or hearing the truth, I mean how to tell what the real true-to-you truth is. Have you ever noticed when you discuss truth with someone in order to resolve a conflict, suddenly the discussion turns to a blame game. You go from talking about how you feel to sorting out who said what.

The blame can go wherever it needs to go, I am not concerned with that. What I am concerned with is knowing, feeling what is true. I'm not talking about what someone tells you is true, and then says they don't know how to make you believe it. Truth isn't something you believe, it's something you recognize. It's something your gut recognizes, your mind sees. It's not something that requires convincing, it requires knowing. How do you know? You already know, it's that feeling that something just isn't quite right no matter how convincing the circumstances may be. Need help? Use the tools I wrote about in Turn and Face the Change.

After recognizing and knowing, comes acknowledging and acting; that's where bravery comes in 'cause it is not easy. It's easier to put truth aside or bury it and go on about your way, but then that gets complicated too. Your body, mind, and spirit reside somewhere in conflict when you do that. 

Why does it even matter? For a body, mind, and spirit to reside in health, they must be in a state of ease. Conflict and ease don't live together well. So, the next time someone you love says "tell me the truth"  and you're tempted to tell them what they want to hear, think of the anxiety, regret, blame, and worry you'll save yourself in the long run. And the more you practice living by truth, the really true-to-you kind, the more at ease you will become.


Community. Connection. Creativity.

"The cure for what ails us—both in our bodies and in our nation—can be found in the kitchen. It is a place to rebuild community and connection, strengthen bonds with family and friends, teach life-giving skills to our children, enrich and nourish our bodies and our souls.
In fact, real food can be inexpensive. Choosing simple ingredients, cooking from scratch, shopping at discount club stores, and getting produce from community supported agriculture associations (CSAs) [see BEM GENERAL'S CSA info below], community gardens, or co-ops all build health and community and save money.
I believe in the power of collective intelligence. Within my community are hundreds, if not thousands, of unheralded chefs experimenting with food and creating extraordinary meals and recipes." --Dr. Mark Hyman
[insert artisans, crafters, artists, creative workers] The creative work of my community BLOWS me away! It's one of my MOST favorite things about my work at BEM GENERAL. While I'm on the subject of creativity, doing something creative does not necessarily mean throwing caution to the wind, being impractical, focusing on whimsy and beauty over practicality and function.   To me being creative is often "doing with what is available" whether it's in cooking, home-keeping, farming, educating…whatever our life's work may be. Creatively useful things are often the most beautiful and inspiring to me. Some may call this more innovation than creation, but what we choose to call the process isn't important. What is important is that the process is intuitive and deeply fulfills our desire for self-reliance, for knowing that "by damn, I can make something" whether for fun, whimsy or necessity. Practice doing something intuitive, creative, innovative, see what happens.
"Within our individual and our national communities is the cure for what ails us. We are the answer. We are the revolutionaries who will change the face of food in America and around the world.
In this way—one by one, kitchen by kitchen, community by community—we will take back our health together!" --Dr. Mark Hyman
See the article "Why Cooking Can Save Your Life" by Dr. Mark Hyman from which these excerpts were taken.


1 whole pasture raised chicken from Stuart Farm, LLC
2 lbs grass fed, finished ground beef from Moon Dance Farm
1 dozen free range eggs from Riverbluff Farm and Hydrangea Hill Farm
pick up- Bem General front porch every Saturday 9 a.m. June-September                                         price- $464 due by March 1 (payment options available)
1 whole pasture raised chicken from Stuart Farm
2 lbs grass fed, finished ground beef from Moon Dance Farm
1 dozen free range eggs from Riverbluff Farm and Hydrangea Hill Farm
pick up- Bem General front porch every other Sat. 9 a.m. June-September
price- $240 due by March 1 (payment options available)

fruits, veggies and other farm fresh goods available at the front porch market during pick up!
Full Share = 32 lbs. grass fed, finished ground beef, 75-80 lbs. pasture raised chicken, and 16 dozen eggs
Think that's more than you'll need for the summer? Stock your freezer for the winter with the excess!

Message or email me to sign up or answer payment questions. We can't wait to see you on the front porch this summer!


Morning Sunshine

What you'll need:

  1. blender
  2. knife + cutting board
  1. 4 large carrots
  2. 1 apple
  3. 2 lemons, juiced
  4. 2 T. coconut oil
  5. 2 c. water
  6. 1 c. ice
What you'll do:
  1. chop carrots + apple, place in blender
  2. add coconut oil
  3. add lemon juice and water
  4. blend until smooth
  5. add ice, blend until smooth
  6. pour it in a glass and drink it up, serves 2
What mine looks like: