Celebrate the culture of agriculture & share skills (Growing! Cooking! Eating!)

I was wondering if there are others out there homesteading that have a chronic illness or physical disability?  I was diagnosed with Mutable Sclerosis  7 years ago after my first child was born. 
I would like to hear from others on how they overcome their setbacks.

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I am not disabled and cannot pretend to understand what it's like to have to overcome similar set backs. But! I often run into folks who are gardening that are worried about what physical deterioration due to age will do to their gardening careers/hobbies.

Ruth Stout is a wonderful woman you might like to get acquainted with. I recommend her books to everyone who is worried about the physical aspects of gardening. "How to Have a Green Thumb Without an Aching Back" is her most famous title. She's very incredible. She began gardening at 70 and continued into her 90s. She maintained at least an acre large vegetable garden. This might be a place to start... Then I would look into similar gardening philosophies that approach crop maintenance from a hands-off perspective.
This is a wonderful topic idea!
I have some personal health issues/chronic illnesses, but I find that being outside and doing my gardening thing is very peaceful and calming which helps me a lot. Besides the scerenity, I eat healthier which is bound to be good no matter what ailment you have!

As far as working around it, the hardest part for me is getting motivated to get out there! For physical issues, I'd recommend some sort of cart with a seat on it. I know they have one at Walmart for around $50. You can sit on it and scoot along. Coupled with say 12" raised beds, I'd say it would open a lot of doors for those with limitations there.

     I'd recommend looking at the following website:  www.ahta.org .  It's the American Horticultural Therapy Association

website.  I am involved with them through the Missouri Botanical Gardens in St. Louis, Mo..  I learned to walk again in my garden.  I was denied therapy by the state medical board and did my own therapy in the garden before I ever knew about them.  Now I'm working with other people incouraging them to move again in the garden.  There isn't a better place for therapy!    

I have RA and had a spinal fusion twenty five years ago. I work till I can't then rest. what takes the average person a few days will take me a month, But it still gets done. I've gotten away from tillers and turn my garden over with shovel and pitch fork. The constant shaking of the machine hurts more and causes my hands to swell so fooey on that

the feeling you get when your shovel sinks into the ground beats a tiller anyway. I have three bee hives and for me getting stung helps with the pain in my hands. Soon I'll have my Chickens back after the great raccoon massacre of 2010. (Wife was in the hospital and the kids forgot to put the chickens up we lost twenty five Buff Orphingtons in one night). On good days I get alot done, on not so good days I crawl to weed, On Bad days when a front moves through I'll feed and drink coffee on the back deck.  As long as I don't allow my self to fall back into the self induced pity party I was having for over a year everything is fine. I thought my world was coming to an end till I went to the rhumatologist  and saw a six year old girl with her poor little knees swollen to the size of a ripe cantalope and she was running as best she could and playing in the lobby waiting room. I watched in disbelief as she was a happy child and here I was a grumpy old man {55} Her mother told me she had been born with sever R/A and that was normal for her. She changed my outlook on this condition. Yes I still moan and groan but I back to doing what I love.

It seems to me that any outdoor activity instantly makes me feel better! The combination of being in nature and growing something healthy for myself is a feeling that can't be beat - just listen to your own physical cues and go with what feels good for you. There are lots of ways to modify living HOMEGROWN or homesteading to meet your needs - be it smaller-scale gardening, raising some backyard livestock, or processing the food you produce and enjoying it with family year-round.  This is a wonderful discussion, and I'm eager to hear more!

At first I was scared to ,worrying about the "what if's" like if I have an MS relapse who will weed, water and feel the animals? But I am realizing that my chances of relapsing are bigger if I  sit around eating crap processed foods then if I get out their and grow and make my own:)  Guess it's a win win! Thanks for all the positive encouragement keep it coming!

P.S  I also just finished a great book called  Trauma Farm: A Rebel History of Rural Life that I found encouraging because the author himself had medical issues he was dealing with while running his farm. 

Your second sentence hit the nail on the head I believe.

MS is rough, Lizz.  I imagine that all of the labor-intensive tasks that go with this lifestyle are so much more difficult with your condition.


I have had arthritis since I was 18 and I have a weird kind of diabetes that appears to just do as it pleases, no matter what drugs the doctors put me on.  They tell me I'm going to die at approx. age 55 - I'm 48 now.  I take it all as a challenge.  I am determined to prove them wrong, make them eat their words, and heal myself, or at least prolong myself long past their prognosis, by changing the way I eat and work and live.  


So, I just get up in the morning and get to work.  I can't do everything others can, but I can do more than others think I can, which is good enough for me. 


I admire your determination.  Keep it going and you will keep yourself going, too.


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