My Inspiration

My family and I at the cabin. Left to right ( My mom, my dad, brother Carl and I’m petting my dog Lucky, my sister Susan not pictured)

I spent the majority of my childhood living in a log cabin with no electricity in upstate New York where we lived off the land on 52 acres. I spent most of my days foraging for herbs, wild fruits and berries, playing in the creek, helping tend our huge garden and orchards, helping bring in firewood for the long winters, and working in the greenhouse. We lived a simple life, we were vegetarians and we ate mostly what we grew or raised. My parents were pioneers in the homesteading world in the late ’70s, early ’80s, teaching classes on solar, living off the land, etc. They had been executives in high powered jobs in Pennsylvania where we lived in a huge Victorian house in town and one day they quit their jobs because they wanted a simpler life, they sold everything we owned we took only what we could fit in the back of a pickup truck. My Mom took on the challenge with grace, she cooked for her family of 5 on a wood-burning stove and taught us how to forage and preserve foods while she was learning herself. 

My Mom, Gigi and her husband Tom (we call him “Pops”)

My mother is still an inspiration to me.  Life has taken us both on many paths since that day, but I am forever thankful for my start at such a young age. My Dad has since passed away, my Mom has moved to a different property and has since remarried.  A few years after my mom remarried she suffered a stroke and it left her with a damaged optic nerve in one eye. 

My mom making one of my favorite dishes for me! (Maple Acorn Squash)

Since beginning my journey as a Master Herbalist my one desire has been to help my mother restore her sight.  We have been working on her eyesight for 4 years now.  We have started her on a plant-based diet, she faithfully does eye exercises, herbal eye washes twice a day, breathing exercises, and many other things including cleanses and detoxes as she wants to restore her eyesight as well.  Every year she goes in for her eye checkup.  The first two years the doctor was amazed at the numbers she scored on the “eye test” because they were getting higher and higher.  He told her to keep doing what she was doing because her eyesight wasn’t degrading as he had seen so many times. This past year, she went in for her checkup, and he was amazed that there was some oxygen and blood flow back to the nerve.  She started noticing that she could make out the color red on her digital clock beside the bed, not fully but certainly more than she had been able to see in the past. There would be no better gift than to see my mom get her eyesight back.  Even with one good eye she continues to sell real estate, paint, garden, preserve foods, she takes care of her many animals, and generally has more of a social life than most 20-year-olds. She is truly my inspiration and friend and I feel blessed to have her as my Mom.

My mom, my sister (Susan), and I, foraging last year on my mom's current homestead

The Cabin Years