Glass houses and Gallstones

(I know, I know. I’ve been on a blogging break–I was on a quest this summer to do more and document less. And never fear, it’s certainly not because I wasn’t writing. It’s been awesome to unplug and plug in out on the homestead with Mika–but now, the time to get back to it is here!) 

If there is one thing we’ve been talking about a ton the last few weeks, it’s how to better be sharing with y’all what our journey has been like thus far. The Forager is spending her days talking to ME about how SHE wants to be sharing. I’m trying to figure out how I can do a better job with all the amazing new folks we’ve gotten following us in the last few weeks. Yesterday, we came to one conclusion at least…. if we are going to do it… go big and start sharing more with y’all about where to start…. you’re going to get it all. The good, the bad, the manure covered.

What we want, is to get real with y’all about this Eight Owls Experiment we are on. Explain what it is, how we started, and where it has led us. Start sharing more of it… and not just the easy to share parts. Share the pitfalls we fell into along the way. It’s not all skinnier ladies toting squash–there’s bad parts too. And we don’t want that to catch anyone off guard if they are thinking of following us up this trail we bushwhacked up the homesteading hill, to what we hope is will be better health.

So, that’s why you need to know the other side to that picture of me and the wheelbarrow of squash that landed so many new followers on our Facebook and instagram. And that’s this…. a picture of me yesterday–laid out with my gallstone. The one I got as a crappy consolation prize for losing 150 pounds, trying to wait patiently for my doctor to call and tell me when I’m having my gallbladder taken out.


I found out I had it about 6 months after I finished losing the weight, when I got sicker than I think I’ve ever been in April of 2015. I had no idea until that point what a gallstone was or how they arrive in your world. But… I sure do now. They are common for women who have lost a lot of weight. They are also incredibly painful, make me super sick, and can be dangerous as all get out. You can read about them here. Because, you know, I’m not a doctor and am only sharing my own personal experience here.

I felt leveled by finding out I had that stone in spring 2015. It broke my confidence down for the better part of a year because I hadn’t known to expect it. Didn’t know what it was. Definitely didn’t know that my weight lost plan could land me needing surgery. How could I keep sharing with folks how I homesteaded off a 150 pounds and have not known about this part of it? Well, I suppose its because I’m also supposed to share this part of it so that others would know its possible.

For the last year and six months, I’ve tried to treat this thing naturally. Kept adjusting my diet more and more, took supplements, kept up with my exercise, tried to keep down the number of slip ups with gluten and dairy since they aggravate it–and prayed a lot. That it would shrink and I could pass it. Or that it would just rattle around in there and not give me any trouble again. For most of the last year and a half–it seemed to have worked and it for the most part, left me alone.

But then, 12 days ago–I found myself in yet another episode of “When gallstones attack”.  The first time I had an attack it lasted five or seven days. This attack hasn’t ended yet. On day 10, I finally caved and went to the doctor. “Rocky” (he got dubbed that from the beginning) is now 2.3 cm instead of 2.2. I also have “sludge”, which I didn’t last year. Yes, it is as disturbing as it sounds–google it if you like. Today is day 12, and here I sit at six am–patiently waiting for the doctor to call me and tell me when I’m going to be scheduled for surgery to have my gallbladder removed. He says it has to come out. At first I was devastated we couldn’t keep trying to treat it naturally. Now, pain has started to trump my principles and passionate desires for things to be certain ways–and I just want it out and done.

Look y’all–we are so much healthier (in our opinions) than we were 4 years ago when we bought the farm. We are light years happier. We LOVE being homesteaders. But… we are also humans. And this wasn’t a magic trick like… POOF, pounds gone, healthy shiny new humans left behind! There has been A LOT to the story and the journey. There have been some of the most amazing experiences and events. Neither of us knew what it was like to truly be happy and in better shape, physically and mentally. There have also been pitfalls. If we are going to really start to share our journey from then to now–we’re going to do it the way we both want to and share both the good and bad sides of climbing the trail up homesteading hill.

Like I already said, I ain’t no doctor. But I do know that if I was back at the starting line–I’d do different. I’d do research from the beginning so I’d understand what I was up against. I’d talk to my doctor, natural path, and local health food store owner and make a plan to caretake my gallbladder while I lost weight. I’d adjust my diet, teas, and tinctures right from the jump and make sure they were supporting my liver function. I’d make sure not to lose more than 1-2 pounds a week (at least I got this one right the first time!).

Look, I know I talked about this some on here last year when I first got the gallstone–but I really wanted to again. Because it’s what is going on in my homestead world right now, but also, because I do not ever want to be a hypocrite. I’m not the type to sit in a glass house and throw gallstones at people by not also sharing that this is a possibility if you homestead your way to a smaller waistline. I’ve never wanted to pretend that it’s all pumpkins, cute puppies, permaculture, food preservation and baking pies. I’ve been saying for a few years now via this blog, farm tours and workshops, it ain’t. It IS an amazing way to live and we love it SO much still–but there are plenty of hard or bad parts and we want you new folks and followers to know that too. We LOVE that we are inspiring you with what we do, but also want you to be ready for what to really expect if you want to try our approach. Winter and more time for writing is coming, and as we get ready to really share our story… please know, it has two sides, a farmer’s and a forager’s. and that there are good parts, and bad parts. And we both, want you to know to expect both.

–Rain, “The Farmer”