Petting Zoo

(Gabriel took these photos of Mabel clapping. This is her new trick, and she’s already learned to clap when she’s happy about something.)

Thank you, thank you, thank you for all the support, kind words, and commiseration over my Hoshimoto’s diagnosis. I can’t believe how common this is! I’m following my doctor’s suggestion and am on day 6 (I think) of no dairy. Mabel’s eczema is really flairing up right now, so I think I am going to go egg free for a little while too and see if that helps her. It’s easier to eliminate foods thinking that doing so might be best for her too. I joked with some friends that I’m feeling pretty convinced that I can reverse my Hoshimoto’s by eating only coconut oil and lettuce. No big deal. I’ve got this!!!

Today, I looked out the window and thought to myself that it looks like we have a regular petting zoo. (I think this is a good thing.) Some of my younger kids were sitting around the little chicken coop we set up this week, having finally moved our chickens over from the other house. (We are keeping them confined for a couple days to adjust to the new place, and Jonny is still working on their larger house.)  It was so warm out that Larkspur even carried a barefoot Mabel outside to get acquainted with the chickens. Apparently, Mabel doesn’t like our petting zoo, because there was absolutely no clapping. Every time the rooster crowed, her little bottom lip would protrude for a second, but then she’d pull herself together. Larkspur carried her over to see the goats, whom she was also pretty unsure about. The rooster crowed while she was looking at the goats, and that combination finally sent her over the edge. She burst into tears, so I grabbed her, snuggled her up and carried her inside. I couldn’t help but think of Beatrix when she was about this age. Poor, sweet Bea! Looking back at those photos, I must have wanted to take some photos of her in the little pink dress, but a teenage chicken interfered.

I pulled my Nurmilintu shawl off the blocking board today, though I won’t be needing it this week. It’s so crazy how warm it is! We’re having to feed our bees almost constantly because they have been flying all winter. We’re still waiting for a cold stretch of days so we can move them and wondering if it’s ever going to happen.

We won’t have a big shop update until March, but I have a couple of batches of goat milk soap ready to go along with some stitch markers and shawl pins. Actually I have a couple skeins of the same yarn I used to knit my green shawl, though in a nice smoky, pale blue–I’ll list those too in case someone wants to knit this pattern. It’s a fun knit and I think the yarn is well suited to it. I’ll update the shop on Tuesday, the 7th at noon (EST).


  1. Gwendolyn says:

    Oh I couldn’t believe I missed the shop update, but thankfully was able to snag some of Greta’s Goat Milk Soap. I loved those pictures of Beatrix and the chicken…so adorable. I would have framed those pictures. Ha! Ginny, I am so glad you are doing better. I will be getting a hysterectomy on March 3rd, so I will be spending more time at home and will be loving it! I’m so excited for your new property. I hope the other one is going well and getting closer to being sold. Take care! Gwen in Iowa

  2. your shawl is beautiful!! I always love to visit your blog and see what you are up to, bummer about the diagnosis but isn’t it great to know what it is and what to do about it? That is a blessing 🙂

  3. Love your zoo! What a wonderful sight to see out your own windows. I wish our animals were more penned in…they poo & so close to our house. Add the winter mud to that & it makes a very unwelcoming combination. Someday I hope to convince my husband that free-range chickens don’t need to range so close to our home!

    Good to hear you are feeling well, Ginny. I’ve been dairy/free for 13 months now due to my baby’s intolerance & now allergy to milk & I’m going crazy….I’m so ready for cheese and cream, but he is so small & so very allergic to everything I need to keep nursing him, so avoid dairy I shall. I have lost an incredible amount of weight, however, but it really doesn’t look like you need any help in that department…hopefully you won’t wither away on the new diet! 😉 The shawl is lovely!

  4. Oh her little lip. My oldest used to make that same face. My youngest never really got the lip out. But he makes a fabulous “angry” face (which is really just a front for mischief – he’s going to be such a troublemaker).

  5. Thankyou for your lovely, honest posts. The only eating ‘lettuce and coconut oil’ made me laugh. My daughter has been through the mill with my grand daughter with food allergies, but after several years and eliminating nearly everything except pears at one stage, she has worked out what she can and can’t eat (mostly). It seems from reading the comments on that last post that nearly everyone has some sort of allergy (made me not feel alone). Blessings to you in your road to health.

  6. I was diagnosed with Hoshimoto’s when I was 30. I’m now 71. Really, (and I am not against natural remedies) the easiest thing for you and your body is just to take the proper dosage of thyroid medication. It takes some management at first, but I am forever grateful that one little pill a day can keep me healthy. Good luck to you, and I hope you don’t mind getting this bit of advice from an “old lady!”

    • I agree, Carol. I have a cystic thyroid, and an obvious goiter that has always been part of me since my teens. Now 52, diagnosed with Hashi’s at 45, but I am sure I had it for a bit before that. Thyroxine in tablet form is a true and tested medication that is simply a replacement for what your damaged thyroid gland can no longer produce. I would not want to be without it. A chronic lack of thyroxine leads to psychiatric problems, as well as the hair loss, draining fatigue and other hormone issues that follow. And, yes it takes a bit of management to get the dose right, plus regular blood tests (and ultrasound checks in my case) to ensure the levels of TSH and tablets are at the best level they can be. You cannot grow back damaged thyroid tissue; it is an autoimmune disease, just like diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis… You’ve just got to learn to love your body for what it gives you and treat it like a temple. For about 2 years I tried all the natural remedies before I was set up on thyroxine by an endocrinologist. It takes 3 months for a turnaround in thyroxine to show up in your blood tests, and nothing was showing up before I began the thyroxine. In fact, my TSH was getting worse and the antibodies were off the Richter scale. All good now, as I monitor the TSH levels with blood tests and have increased the thyroxine over the years as the degeneration of the thyroid tissue sets in with the autoimmune disease.

  7. Sandra Davidson says:

    Hi Ginny I have Hashimoto’s disease to . Dr Izabella Wentz is my go to for help because she also has Hashimoto disease and just had a super online seminar on it and all thyroid problems. She has also written two books. She has helped so many people. Her web site is I know you are busy but try and go to her site.. Blessings to all Sandra

  8. Michelle Bingnear says:

    Thank you for your posts. I love hearing about your family and homestead. I wish i had had the opportunity to homeschool my own children. And, my Nurmilintu is about to come off the needles by the end of the week! Yours looks lovely.

  9. My eczema has been grumpy this winter because of our crazy weather fluctuations between cold, dry and frozen to warm, humid and damp and back again every week or two. My poor skin can’t adjust as fast as the weather. Normally I can keep it in check by eating right (no preservatives, artificial anything), avoiding products with lanolin, and making sure my soaps and detergents are dye- and scent-free. I really wish winter would either just freeze up hard and stay that way or get on to being spring.

  10. lovely!! So sweet… I have heard via IG of another I know who I think is in W. Virginia and she has bees and the drones have still been there and she said other bee keepers are having the same thing… wonder if they are confused by the weather… God bless and protect the bees!!!

  11. Oh, poor Mabel! That little face is so precious!
    I just cleaned up my yarn stash and here you are tempting me again with more yummy yarn. 🙂

  12. Love your shawl! It’s gorgeous.

    My daughter had eczema problems as an infant & it turned out to be a dairy & egg allergy.

  13. Becky Barry says:

    Hi Ginny,
    Your girls are beautiful! Love seeing little Mabel smiling and clapping! I hope she will grow to love the rooster crow! Your post sounds like you are doing just a bit better, don’t rush yourself. Heal completely as you can and little Mabel too.
    Your shawl is beautiful!
    As always thanks for sharing!

  14. Yes, and I can help with the Alpaca!

  15. Anne Weber-Falk says:

    Time for you to get an alpaca. Then your zoo will be complete.

  16. Nancy Mosley says:

    I just love the shawl. Do you know of any good online instructional videos to watch someone knit something like your shawl step by step or would you suggest really finding someone to do that with in person? I can crochet and knit just a little and I love what you do but it looks so hard, so complicated and I’m afraid I’d give up without guidance or someone to see if I’m doing something correctly. To me following a book or written instructions is hard to understand. I need more visual or one-on-one help. Anyway I’m just curious from an avid knitter what the recommendation would be for a beginner.

  17. We were in the middle of a move this weekend, so I didn’t get a chance to read your previous posts. I’m all caught up now, and I just wanted to say it must be such a relief to know what’s going on! At least now you know what’s causing the sadness, and you can make a plan of action (which you already did, so you’re right on top of everything! :))

    I’m loving the pictures of Larkspur and Mabel by the goats and chickens, by the way. So adorable. The ones Gabe took are so good, too!

    And ha, that Beatrix! Hilarious.

    Have a good week, Ginny 🙂

  18. That little face is just too sweet.

  19. Oh Bea! I remember that post <3
    Give Mabel and yourself a good 30 days for the dairy to fully leave your system. It takes so long compared to other things 🙁

  20. Oh, of course a (productive, useful) petting zoo is a wonderful thing! Now you need horses…. In time surely even Mabel will love the animals as much as the rest of you do!

  21. Brian has eczema really bad too, totally flaring up right now. What are you doing for Mabel? Btw, I need to get your new address. We need to visit!

I love to hear from you!