Lent 2018: Pope Francis on Fasting

Without going into details, I am doing some extended fasting during Lent and found Pope Francis’ words of warning against what he called “fake fasting” timely and helpful:

When fasting, Pope Francis said, a true Christian must be consistent, not putting himself on show, never despising others or engaging in quarrels or disagreements.
Warning against behavior that is inconsistent with the Lenten spirit, the Pope invited those present to ask themselves how they interact with others.
He reflected on the First Reading of the day that highlights how the fasting that is acceptable to the Lord aims to “release those bound unjustly, untying the thongs of the yoke; setting free the oppressed, breaking every yoke”.

…Isaiah, he said, highlights so many inconsistencies in the practice of virtue, like “carrying out your own pursuits, driving all your laborers, and yes, your fast ends in quarreling and fighting”,
Fasting, the Pope said, is a little like “stripping oneself” of pride [and]… he said “you cannot talk to God on the one hand and to the devil on the other”.
He also warned against the temptation of ‘showing off’ by fasting: “by making a fuss of it and letting people know that we are practicing Catholics and we do penance, so that people think ‘what a good person’. This is a trick” he said: “It’s pretending to be virtuous”.

Also, Pope Francis has invited all Christians and others of goodwill to fast and pray for peace this coming Friday.  If you are able, please consider his words:

“Faced with the tragic protracted situations of conflict in different parts of the world, I invite all the faithful to take part in a special Day of Prayer and Fasting for Peace on February 23rd, the Friday of the First Week of Lent”.

Lent 2018

There will be no cultural or political commentary posts during Lent, but I may post a few hymns or prayers from the Divine Hours.  Farm-related posts can be found on the Thiry Farm website.

Here is a beautiful rendition by the Annie Moses Band of an old hymn to listen to while contemplating the sacrifice our Lord made on our behalf:

Migraines without meds: Ketogenic diet and intermittent fasting for prevention, plus comfort techniques

Instead of going to work today, I’m lying on the couch with an ice pack and heated rice snake, recovering from an increasingly rare migraine headache.  Although I get FAR fewer migraines than I used to (now I get one that lasts less than 24 hours once every couple of months, whereas as recently as 18 months ago I was getting 2-3 day migraines a couple times per month), I have unfortunately been prone to migraines my entire life, even as a child. I tried a number of prescription medications that various doctors recommended over the years, some of which had to be taken daily whether I had a migraine at that time or not, none of which proved to be particularly effective.   As I have gotten older, I have become less and less trusting of the pharmaceutical industry (see the articles Doctors on the Take and Clinical Practice Guidelines or Legalized Bribery by nephrologist Dr. Jason Fung) and decided to try managing my migraines without medication.  This is what has worked for me.


1. Following a ketogenic diet (evidence), including intermittent fasting (23:1 on weekdays, 16:8 on weekends) with an emphasis on whole (rather than processed) foods.  Not only is this research-based, but it has been the most effective preventative for me. I currently keep my daily carbs below 50 g per day,  with the goal of staying under 30 g at least 3-4 days per week.  However, I have upped my carb level from the standard <20 g daily in order to incorporate more vegetables after reading “The Microbiome Solution ” by gastroenterologist Dr. Robyn Chutkan.  Dysbiosis has been found to correlate with migraines in a number of studies (citation) and eating a diet rich in vegetables is associated with a healthier microbiome.  Basically I just eat pastured poultry from our farm, grass-fed red meat from nearby farms, our own free-range eggs, and LOTS of vegetables.  Nuts, cheese and plain full-fat yogurt are once-in-a -while treats, but these foods do increase migraine frequency for me.  When I stray from this way of eating, not only do I start to gain back the weight I lost but my osteoarthritis and migraines start up again.

This is becoming one of the most common reasons (after weight loss) that people adopt a keto diet. One of my high schooler’s friends suffers from debilitating, frequent migraines, and her doctor actually put her on keto, as medication was useless for her.

2. Magnesium supplementation

There is a robust body of research supporting the use of supplemental magnesium for migraine prevention (synopsis). I use 250 mg magnesium citrate twice daily (but be aware that gel tabs often contain carbs) and a magnesium chloride body spray after showering.

3. I try to avoid regularly eating dairy products and nuts, even though they’re low-carb, because those foods trigger migraines for me (and many other people as well). Unfortunately, cheese and nuts are two of my favorite foods.

Comfort techniques for pain relief

1. Gel ice pack placed across the front and sides of the neck (evidence)

2. Heated rice snakes for referred pain along abdomen/back on the affected side (my migraines are always unilateral but will occur on either side)

3. Pressure applied to the posterior top of the skull (bribe your kids to do this for you)

4. Peppermint essential oil (some people report relief from lavender essential oil but for me lavender worsens my headaches and also increases other migraine symptoms such as auras and vomiting)

5. Lying quietly in a darkened room.

This last one ties in to how the pharmaceutical industry has changed our way of dealing with illness. Many drugs we take, such as cold medicines, are not in any way curative. Rather, they simply mask symptoms of illness so that we can continue our frenetic production/consumption lifestyles.   However, as recently as a generation or two ago, illness meant a period of quiet rest at home. While reading Virginia Woolf’s (1882-1941) personal diaries I was struck by how she frequently referenced either herself or someone she knew “lying recumbent,” which meant the person stayed home on the couch or in bed when they weren’t feeling well.   But we don’t really do that so much anymore; we pop a few ibuprofen tablets, some Benadryl and a sudafed and drag ourselves to work or school.   And now, research into the gut-brain axis and microbiome (here is one example, but this is a hot area of research and new studies are being published frequently) are beginning to reveal that our processed food diet, frenetic pace of life, and national addiction to popping pills in place of nurturing our health is beginning to result in a significant decline in our physical and mental well-being.

These are the things that have helped me get some control over my migraines. Because different people have different triggers for their headaches, some or all of these might be helpful or not helpful for you; if you have found a really helpful tip or trick for managing migraine pain naturally, please do share it in the comments.

There are no atheists in foxholes and no feminists in snow mounds.

This is funny now that it’s over.

Before I tell the story, let me preface it by saying that my phone is an iPhone 6 Plus and is one of those covered in the big Apple battery scandal. We took it to the Apple Store for our discounted mea culpa battery Apple promised everyone to make the bad publicity go away, and they said, “No problem. We’ll have that for you…at the end of March.”  Well flippin’ great, two months with a phone that keeps dying when the battery is still 50% charged.

We’ve gotten close to a foot of snow over the past couple days. My husband took his 4-wheel-drive truck to work last night because he’d be going straight to Mt. Brighton for his ski patrol shift Sunday morning, leaving me with the Mini Cooper and minivan.

This morning I needed to get our middle-schooler to a 9:30 a.m violin lesson, after which we planned to make the long drive to church in Plymouth.  It was raining ice at 9:00 a.m and our high schooler had to stay after church for a meeting, so I decided she could take the minivan and I’d drive the Mini Cooper. I dropped violin girl off and turned around to go home and get dressed since I was still in my pajamas.

We live on a dirt road off another dirt road, so our area is not exactly high priority for the plows and salt trucks.  Our road wasn’t too bad, but when I turned onto the dirt road that runs past the nearby sheep farm, I realized just how low to the ground this car is:


We bought this car while we were town-dwellers; not exactly a useful vehicle for navigating slushy county roads.

Coming up to sheep farm corner, I got stuck in a mound of snow in the middle of the road and could go neither forward nor backward.  I got out and tried to kick the deep snow away from the tires but it did no good because the underneath of the car was sitting on a pile of wet, heavy snow.

“Crap,” I thought to myself. “I’m going to have to call AAA to tow me out and who knows how long THAT will take?”  I got back in the car to call Miss High Schooler to pick Violin Girl up from her lesson.

And then my phone died.  And my charging cord had (AGAIN) been the victim of an absconding teenager.  Had I not gotten panicky, I would have remembered the battery pack and cord Phil gave me in my purse in the backseat, but I’d only had one cup of coffee and wasn’t thinking so clearly.

I started to freak out a bit as a car approached with its turn signal on because I was blocking the corner; I waved my arm trying to indicate that I was stuck and that they should carefully go around me.  I honestly didn’t expect them to stop, but they did, and out got a man in a three-piece suit and dress shoes along with a teenaged boy I took to be his son, who was in nice jeans and dress boots.  I thought maybe they’d let me use their phone to call AAA but instead they insisted, over my protestations since they were clearly dressed for church, on pushing me out.

I thanked them profusely and went home to swap the useless Mini for the minivan so I could pick up Violin Girl. We never did make it to church today, but I was grateful just to make it back home, thanks to the good will of the passing man and his son, the kind of good will I referenced in my previous post that feminists are rapidly depleting with their ugly, rude, entitled, delusional behavior.

On the way home from picking up our daughter from her violin lesson, I took a picture of the corner where I got stuck:


It doesn’t look that deep, maybe eight-ten inches, but in a car that only sits a few inches off the ground, it was plenty.

More Self-Contradictory Feminism: My body, your choice (beverage edition).

An angry feminist beseeches men: Will you please STOP shirking your responsibility to decide for women that they may not have something to drink?

A little while back I was talking with a man I knew about consent. He was commenting on an article I had shared earlier that day on men who get women drunk in the hopes that it will increase their chances of getting laid. He sat in my living room and told me that he took issue with the essay’s insistence that this behavior was predatory or abusive […] As a woman who had experienced this sort of pressure and manipulation multiple times, it was clear to me, from how it made me feel, that it wasn’t okay. I decided to ask him a few questions.

“Hey, so if you know a dude at work and you think it’s cool and you want to hang out but he doesn’t really want to — he wants to go home, but you just keep buying him beers so he’ll stay — would you say that he really wants to hang out with you?”

“No,” he admitted, “But — ”

“Okay, and so if you kept buying him beers, knowing full well that if you did not buy him beers he would leave because otherwise he wouldn’t want to hang out with you, and at the end of the night he felt sick and angry and liked you even less than when you first asked him to hang out but he wasn’t into it, would you then call your buddies and brag about the awesome hang-out time you just had?”

“No,” he said, no longer trying to interject.

“And if you thought that was the only way you could get people to hang out with you, to get them drunk so that they wouldn’t say ‘no’ as strongly as they would otherwise, would you feel good about yourself as a person? Would you consider yourself a friend?”

It was clear by the look on his face that no, he would not, so I concluded my questions with one more.

“So, if you wouldn’t dream of coercing a dude against his will to hang out with you and still call it a ‘fun hang-out session,’ why would you coerce a woman to sleep with you and still call it consensual sex? Why don’t women get the same basic respect in sexual intimacy that you afford your bros while watching the game? Is that the type of man you want to be?”

TL; DR: feminists believe women are too stupid to decide whether they want something to drink or not.

Seriously, it has been illegal (as it should be) for quite some time to sleep with someone who has had too much to drink. So she’s not addressing that.  She apparently believes a woman has no autonomy or ability to refuse a drink she doesn’t want; if a man offers her a drink, she is literally helpless and must drink until he stops buying.

I mean, this is not exactly the message we were led to believe feminists were advancing in Wonder Woman and GI Jane.  If I’m following correctly, the current feminist thinking is that women are all strong, tough ass-kickers who are totally helpless and dependent on men to keep them safe.

Erm, I’m confused.

What I find especially fascinating about this is that feminists went nuts when Emily Yoffe advised college girls not to binge drink because it put them at an increased risk of being sexually assaulted.  Feminists berate women for telling other women not to drink, while simultaneously demanding that men force women not to drink.

Huh. Feminists sure do have a low opinion of women’s ability to make decisions for themselves.  Whatever happened to “My body, my choice”?  But the truth is that this feminist’s demands actively endanger women by giving them a false sense of security.  In reality, good men don’t take advantage of drunk women and evil men who do take advantage of drunk women will not follow some feminist’s advice not to buy drinks for women who don’t want them.

Never send a feminist to do a speech therapist’s job, I guess. Women, I’ll help you out here. Instead of waiting desperately for your male date to cut you off, try saying this instead:

Man: “Here, let me buy you another appletini.”

Woman: “No thank you.”

Man: “Oh come on…”

Woman: “Well, thanks for hanging out but I have to get going now.” (leaves)

Doesn’t that sound a lot more empowered than the feminist version?  Now you don’t have to sit around helplessly drinking drinks you don’t want in the presence of a man who might have evil plans. You’re welcome.

Woman To Shelve Belief That Gender Is Social Construct For Few Minutes While Boyfriend Changes Flat Tire On Side Of Road

From the Babylon Bee:

LOS ANGELES, CA—Local woman and self-described feminist Ruby Alexis decided to temporarily shelve her firmly held belief that gender is nothing but a social construct while her boyfriend changed her car’s flat tire on the side of the road, sources confirmed Tuesday.

[…] At publishing time, sources had further confirmed that the woman also betrays her feminist ideals and embraces traditional gender roles every garbage day, when her yard needs to be mowed, and whenever in the vicinity of a crime or possible physical altercation.

It’s funny ’cause it’s true even though the article is just satire. This self-serving contradiction is the thing that I find the most galling and offensive about feminism as a philosophy because it makes women look like illogical idiots, which we aren’t.

Feminim says:

Women are super strong and powerful and can do everything men can do, including fight in wars, plus have babies!


Women are absolutely powerless around men, are perpetual victims, and are too terrified at all times ever even to say the word no, and therefore need men to grant them (and enforce) all kinds of special physical and legal protections, plus give us money.

Mmkay, that makes no sense.  Discerning cultural commenters have to ask the hard questions here, namely:

Are feminists master-manipulators just trying to extract maximal resources from men while placing maximal constraints on them, or are they just idiots incapable of logic?

A few years ago I read a book on raising chickens and noticed the authoress had a blog and a small farm. I love reading farming blogs, so I started following her. She was single, unemployed, and a self-described feminist, and I quickly noticed a lot of grrl power BS in her posts. She wrote non-stop about being tough, scrappy, and independent, but I started noticing that her farm was in a perpetual state of crisis and chaos, and she seemed to be able to solve almost none of these problems by herself. Truck broke down? Call a man to tow it to a man in town to fix.  Pipes frozen? Call a plumber (male). Time to slaughter and butcher animals? Call in men to do it. She couldn’t even cut her own firewood, for Pete’s sake, something plenty of non-feminist women manage to do.  Yet she never had any money to pay these men and was constantly trying to bargain her way into paying a reduced fee at a later date.  I finally stopped reading her in disgust.

In no way am I saying that women can’t run farms. I’m not handy at coop-building, but I can haul feed bags, slaughter ducks, and fend off maniacal ganders, and guess what? Women have been doing this kind of stuff for all of history without a useless, helpless, illogical, contradictory philosophy like feminism, which not only doesn’t help women but actively harms them by burning through men’s good will and natural inclination to help us, the way the feminist farmer-blogger burned through the good will of men willing to fix her shit for free.


Rejoicing over the lost and found.

Thiry Farm

So many times I think to myself how interesting life on our little hobby farm is and how I ought to get back to writing about all the odd and fascinating happenings, but busyness kept me from it and then it seemed awkward just to start writing again.

But there is nothing like the thrill of new eggs to get me excited and wanting to tell the story…

In June, we received a shipment of 15 Midget White turkey poults, five of whom died within 48 hours before I figured out they must have arrived carrying coccidiosis. One of the girls and I fairly flew to Tractor Supply for a package of Corvid, and the other ten poults lived and thrived.


Then December came and five of the surplus toms flew off to freezer camp, and I have to say they were emotionally the hardest of all the poultry to…

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