Getting Better

Lately, our family has been so very sick with one thing after another and it has become more than just an annoyance. We made a list of potential issues that could be affecting us:

  • Dirt: We had a yard full of it and dogs and cats coming through all the time. Many of the parasites that the boys pick up are from dog poo, so we knew that was definitely an issue. Shoes was an obvious solution to us, but it’s very, very hard to get children to wear them all the time. Especially my children, since they have the same aversion to shoes that I do.
  • Water: This is a possible issue. We don’t drink tap water, which varies drastically in quality depending on when they feel like dropping chlorine tabs into the tank. Some stuff, like giardia, which we recently had, is not killed by chlorine. We buy purified water but let’s face it, there’s no guarantee those five gallon jugs are anything but tap water and since we keep getting things like giardia, I was getting suspicious.
  • Food: We eat a lot of salads and lettuce is supposed to be one of the most easily contaminated and hardest to clean veggies around here. I’ve heard all sorts of horror stories about how fields are watered with raw sewage (which would explain the giant carrots available here) and I always peel what I can and soak things in bleach water. But maybe it’s not enough.

So, with those three big factors (there are other smaller ones, too, which we’ll be working on), Irving and I sat down and figured out how to combat them. Our first move was to eliminate the dirt issue. We did the concrete which you saw in the last post. We still have some dirt, but not much and once the lawn is in and the flowerbeds planted, there will no walking on it.

The concrete is easy to hose down and has made cleaning the bathroom easier, too, since I can actually just hose that down, too. In addition, we are putting in a gate to keep dogs out. We can’t do much about the cats yet, since they run around the top of the wall, but I’m not so worried about them since they do tend to stay up high.

We also invested in a water filter. I want one for the whole house eventually, but for now, we have one that attaches to the kitchen sink and we can use it or switch easily to regular water for other tasks. That eliminates my worry about potentially contaminated water and the most likely source of giardia.

Finally, I am setting up a container garden and using a ton of ideas from Pinterest to start growing the most dangerous foods myself. That will allow me to ensure that they are grown safely. I’m starting with a wall garden for lettuce, but herbs, carrots, strawberries, tomatoes and other veggies will be close behind.

While we have other ideas in mind, these are fairly easy to implement (well, most have already been implemented) and if nothing else, at least now we don’t have dirt in the house all the time! And happier kids, since they have more space to play. Hopefully we will see an overall improvement in health, as well.

7 thoughts on “Getting Better

  1. Combatting some of those WILL be difficult… Wearing shoes, in Australia at least, should be easy to get done, as if they are not on, you don’t play! Simple as that! we have a lot of spiders and bugs that bite, so its more for protection than anything else…

    As for the water, I hear you, and purification is just a step in the chain… We are SO lucky here that we have good water (although, Sydney Water would also like to think its GREAT!!!

    As for the veges, it depends on what and how far you want to go… Staying organic, or using (synthetic) fertilisers to increase your yield? Its a tough call, but if you know some basics regarding the N:P:K ration, you should be ok…

    Good Luck!!!

    • I think parasites are far more abstract than spiders for kids and they have a hard time thinking of it. Our problem isn’t so much playing, they do put shoes on for that, but the bathroom is separate from the house and they would run there without shoes on the premise that it’s just a short distance. ?

      I don’t worry so much about fertilizers (I’m hoping to get a compost bin going), it’s the diseases and parasites that worry me most. So by growing in my own soil, with regular water, I figure a lot of the potential risk will be eliminated. Of course, I have no proof that this is what is making us ill, but getting rid of some factors should help.

  2. I hope those changes help keep your family healthy! I often wonder about the purified water. We have thought about buying an eco-filtro, but haven’t done that yet. I would love to have a water filter connected to the kitchen sink…maybe when we aren’t just renting we will invest in one!

    • This is a FiltroPlast from Rotoplast and it’s actually super easy to install. Provided you have a regular faucet and not a weird one like we did, you should be able to just screw it on and then take it off when you move. Super easy and they are in Walmart (the old HiperPais on Roosevelt) with an extra filter for free right now (each filter is 6 months if you use 5 garafunes a week).

      We did look at the EcoFiltro, but one of my friends has one and it does change the taste of the water. It kind of tastes like dirt. If you have sensitive tastebuds, that could be an issue. Apart from that, it’s really easy to use and a bit cheaper than the option we got.

  3. My advice on the vegetables is to make friends with a vendor you like and then ask to see their farm. If they are watering off a well then you should be good. The truck farms north of town across the inter American are well water farms from what I could see on my last trip through that area.

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