Next week is Thanksgiving…..YIKES! Then only a little over four weeks until Christmas! Are you stressed yet??? [Read more…]
Next week is Thanksgiving…..YIKES! Then only a little over four weeks until Christmas! Are you stressed yet??? [Read more…]
We have traveled through New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Washington, Oregon and now in Northern California. Before these beautiful Fall temperatures we had TWO weeks of record setting temperatures in the Sacramento Valley!!
in our RV for ten weeks now. We left Montana the last week of July and headed for Olympia Washington to spend a week with our two grandsons.
I know, I know, we are in the National Forests and it’s summer time, what should I expect??
we have been on the road in our RV for seven weeks . We have been in four states with more to come. The majority of our time has been spent in the National Forests in campgrounds or “boon-docking” (out in the forest away from a populated area). We have seen some beautiful country that includes snow capped mountains, mountain rivers and streams, wildflower filled meadows and wide open spaces. Sounds beautiful doesn’t it? You know what else comes with this??? BUGS!!
It was a wet winter in most of the Western United States and so it’s been a late spring and the bugs are out in force. In Durango Colorado we had biting gnats, in Wyoming we had swarms of mosquitos and in Montana we have biting flies! The good news is, mornings are usually “bug free” because it’s been cool (down right cold in Wyoming!) Mid-morning until around 7pm is prime bug time so we usually head out somewhere “bug free” or in the later afternoons we have a screened in enclosure that we can sit in to enjoy snacks and reading time. You make do in nature!
When we have been out hiking or fishing during the daytime we do have some sort of “repellant” on to keep them at bay. My body does not like mosquito bites! Ed is over them in one day but by the second day I’m swollen up with a large, itching welt and it lasts for three days. So, needless to say I’m a paranoid person around mosquitos (high count was fourteen bites…ugh).
As you can imagine I’m not a fan of the typical repellents loaded with DEET. Anything we put on our skin absorbs quickly into the body and into the blood stream. So, I’ve done some testing on this trip to see what works for mosquitos! As far as the biting gnats and flies, the best we can do is get inside or head to a non-bug area because these guys don’t seem to stop without the heavy duty DEET repellent.
I know a lot of you are going to be outside this summer and may be facing some bug issues like us so here is what I’ve found works and the percentage and time it seems to work.
This is a moisturizer made by the Nuskin company (full disclosure, I’m a Nuskin rep and earn a small percentage when you purchase this product). It is made from the Baobab tree of Africa. It works about 75% on mosquitos (I’ve caught a few landing that I relish squishing 🙂 and for about one hour or until scent is diminished ( unless it’s a “swarm” then I head inside). I love the smell and the moisturizing effect too! (side note, .25 cents of every jar bought goes back to the indigenous peoples of Africa to keep these trees sustainable.) Click here for more info http://chrismckee.nsproducts.com
for essential oils blends to use as repellents. These work about 75% for about one hour as well unless it’s a “swarm”. Here are some common oils to use with 4oz. of witch hazel and 4 oz. of apple cider vinegar in a spray bottle with 40 drops of a combination of oils. I use Nuskin oils because of the purity, click here for more info http://chrismckee.myepochoils.com
We have tried several “natural” repellents and the results are about 50% for 2 hours. Use for moderate mosquito exposure they work pretty good but not for the “swarms”! I actually don’t trust “Natural” on a label most of the time because there are many “natural” substances that can be harmful!
Have I used some DEET spray? YES! I hate to but I hate mosquito bites more. Cover up with long sleeve shirts (unless it’s too warm). Spray your clothing, not my skin. Never spray your face or neck. When possible use one of the above suggestions instead. DEET is a know neurotoxin and I HATE using it but after suffering for day’s with fourteen mosquito bites I succumbed 🙁
The bottom line is, I LOVE being outside in the mountains and bugs are part of summer. We realize that we have to share this great outdoors with natures critters as well! We hope you all are enjoying some fun in the summer sun and nature and as bug free as possible!
See you down the road…
Ed and I drove away from our “sticks and bricks” home in our new tiny house on wheels, a 35ft 5th wheel travel trailer. We are calling this “our last great adventure”!
What prompted us to sell everything and hit the road? A desire to see more of this amazing country of ours and be “unencumbered” from material stuff and debt. We spent the last two summers in the Rocky Mountains. Four months each summer, escaping the Texas heat. When we came home last year we still felt that tug at our hearts to be on the road.
I’m sitting in our RV looking out the window at a beautiful mountain meadow surrounded by snow-capped peaks in central Wyoming. My heart sings every morning. I get up and take a “coffee” walk in the cool mountain air among the blooming wildflowers.
Oh, we have had a few “incidents” in our three weeks on the road:-). The second night out our dog Cooper got “skunked” in New Mexico! In our second week we were “boondocking” ( camping in the National Forest with no facilities) and managed to lock ourselves out of our rig. Both of us went out at 6:30am to start the generator. It was 39 degrees and we wanted heat. When we got back to the door it was locked! Apparently this is not uncommon with trailers. Thank goodness Cooper was out with us and we had jackets on. My husband Ed walked about a mile down the road and a kind soul picked him up and took him to an RV park in town. Thank goodness they had a master-key. They drove him back to the rig and the key worked! Lesson learned, hide a key 🙂
Many people ask how can we live in such a small space and not be at each others throats! The answer to that is we spend most of our time outside and after 45 years of marriage we are still best friends and enjoy the same things. Fishing, hiking and sightseeing are some of our favorite activities. When we are in town if there is a local brewery we love to taste craft brews 🙂 My on-line business keeps me busy about ten hours a week and gives us a “break” from each other.
As the result of being outside the majority of the time in the summer, at high altitudes, we are exposed to a lot of sunlight. I’m sharing some information that can potentially save 600,000 lives world-wide. In the U.S. alone 150,000 lives. Please share this blog!
The researchers from the Moore’s Cancer Center at the University of California, San Diego, estimated by increasing vitamin D3 levels, particularly in countries north of the equator, 250,000 cases of colorectal cancer and 350,000 cases of breast cancer could be prevented!
This is an unprecedented study, it’s the first to take satellite measurements of sunshine and cloud cover in the same countries where blood serum levels of vitamin D3 had been taken. In all, surveys of serum vitamin D levels from 15 countries were evaluated for the study, during the winter when sunlight is at a minimum.
Have you had your vitamin D levels checked? The beneficial effect begins in the range of 24 to 32 ng/ml of vitamin D concentration in the serum BUT. The ideal range should be between 45-55 ng/ml. Make sure and ask for the 25-hydroxyvitamin D, also called 15 (OH) D test.
Sunbathing far outweighs the benefit of D3 supplementation. Yes, this flies in the face of everything you read about being in the sun. It’s really important to know that the dangers of sun exposure have been greatly exaggerated and the benefits highly underestimated. Regular sunbathing is extremely important and you can’t cram all of it into a two week vacation!
Vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin, is entirely different from any other vitamin you have heard of because it is not really a vitamin. It’s a pro-hormone that your body actually produces from cholesterol (this could be a blog in itself, cholesterol is good stuff!) Because it is a pro-hormone it influences your entire body! Receptors that respond to the vitamin have been found in almost every type of human cell, from your brain to your bones.
When suggesting supplementing with Vitamin D is you have 2 receptors for Vitamin A for every 1 receptor for Vitamin D. Why do you suppose that is? There is a vital role between Vitamin A and Vitamin D.
When you receive too much vitamin D, vitamin A will protect your from the excess. Start supplementing with vitamin D and not addressing the need for more A can easily create an overdose of D. If you are going to supplement with vitamin D take about 50,000 IU of vitamin A once a week, it’s fat soluble and stays in the body so no need to take it daily. Make sure your vitamin A comes from a food source like Cod Liver Oil. When taking a D3 supplement make sure it’s the “cholecalciferol” form of D3. Start with a small amount, around 5,000 IU daily, unless directed by a health care professional to take more. You want someone to be watching your levels every six months or so.
Here is why vitamin D from the sun is better. It’s almost virtually impossible to overdose on vitamin D from the sun! The body will convert the UVB light into a “pre-vitamin D3” over a couple of days. If you get too much exposure the body just converts excess pre-vitamin D3 into a biologically inactive substance and clears it out. Nature is ALWAYS a better choice over a supplement.
We have been give such a mandate to stay out of the sun that we are all paranoid we will get skin cancer. Have you ever wondered why just two generations ago people didn’t wear sun screen and many times being outside was often their occupation, yet we didn’t’ see skin cancer rates like we do now.
One of the leading reasons why is the diet was completely different from now. Two generations ago (early 1900’s) there where no fast food restaurants. Grocery stores didn’t have thirteen isles full of man-made processed food. Food was raised and bought locally in many cases and the fats came from animals primarily. The food had higher levels of nutrients because they were not GMO, hybridized and heavily sprayed with pesticides, herbicides and other chemicals.
Antioxidants, the more you take in the less likely you are to get a sunburn. They are the “protectors” of your skin much like the outside of a leaf is protected from the sun. They are also “anti-cancer” nutrients that prevent the free-radical damage that leads to cancer.
Omega 3’s from nuts, seeds, grass-fed beef and seafood will dramatically cut down your risk of skin cancer. As a general rule people in the U.S. are consuming way to many Omega 6 fats from fast food, fried food, chips, packaged and frozen food, canola oil, corn oil etc. They are not eating enough Omega 3’s.
Ideally your ratio should be 3:1 – three Omega 3’s for every one Omega 6. A study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found a low omega 6:3 ratios (3:1) was the key to preventing skin cancer and Omega 6 fats demonstrated an increase risk for skin cancer. Supplementing with high quality Omega 3 fish or krill oil and reducing your intake of Omega 6’s will go a long way in preventing skin cancer.
In the spring you want to start exposing 40% of your body to the sun 3-4 times a week for 10-15 minutes. As you begin to adjust to the exposure you can lengthen the time. Use common sense and don’t wait until your sunburnt! It’s the sunburns that can increase the risk for skin cancer.
I usually go out in the sun for 15-30 minutes without sun screen to get my dose of vitamin D3. After that put on sunscreen if I’m staying out longer. Being at higher altitude I am closer to the sun and therefore I have to be even more cautious on the length of time without sunscreen.
Finally, when choosing a sunscreen go to www.ewg.org and look up their approved, non-toxic sunscreens. We have hundreds of sunscreens on the market and many of them have cancer causing agents in them!!
I hope that you get to enjoy the great outdoors this summer and soak up that vitamin D! It is one of the most cancer protective nutrients (pro-hormone) that you can get for FREE!