Sarah Koster

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since Jun 03, 2018
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duck forest garden fish fungi trees tiny house chicken cooking
Semi-feral pseudo adult human. Intends to establish food forests and incorporate permaculture principles into lifestyle to facilitate non conscience-mangling existence.
Quail hatcher, chicken herder, garbage re-purposer.
SW Ohio
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Recent posts by Sarah Koster

It would definitely be an awesome service. I don't know how many times I cried in dressing rooms as a teen and young adult before I finally started to understand that a LOT of people have trouble finding clothes that fit, and that there was nothing wrong with my body. That my proportions are correct as they are, and that the clothes are not. Fit issues with mass produced clothing have serious consequences for mental health, self esteem, body image and feelings of alienation for like... most people. I don't want to feel like Cinderella's crappy stepsister trying to shove my foot into a shoe (or dress, or jeans, or blouse) that wasn't made with me in mind.
Also, most seasons the choice of garments available is about 95% total crap. Bad fabric, ugly colors, unattractive designs that are pushed just because "it's trendy!!!" I want clothes that won't make me look/feel like an idiot if I wear them 5 years from now. I can't really find any blouses off the rack that don't look either redlight worthy or retirement home chic. Why womens' clothes in particular look so ridiculous and unprofessional, I will never know. As a consequence I mostly just wear t-shirts, and it's part of what steers me away from a lot of more lucrative jobs. Feeling like I'd have to dress like a ridiculous peacock and stuff a bra so the front of my blouse wouldn't collapse.
Having a set of custom patterns would make it really simple to alter thriftstore finds, too. A lot of things I find are just a size or two off, or just not cut right for my shape. ANY pants that fit my hips have extra inches up at the waist, petite pants drag on the floor until I cut the bottoms off, "maxi" skirts are so long I'd have to wear them as dresses to keep them from dragging on the floor and I can't fit my ribcage into any dresses that fit my hips (although there is a huge a void where there would normally be bosom.) I haven't tried a dress on in... oh.... 12 years because it just makes me feel like hideous prepubescent troll.
Anyway. Yes. We need custom patterns designed and/or altered to our needs, by people who know how to design and construct garments that don't suck.
2 months ago

Amy Arnett wrote:
Mental health treatment is available to anyone, anywhere. They just have to go. Some clinics will pick you up if you need. If you are embarrassed, you can go to the next town where no one knows you. National health insurance is available to everyone and accepted anywhere in the country. All medication is covered. There is a monthly cap on how much you have to pay. Cost is not a barrier for anyone. No referral is necessary, just go to the doctor you think you need. You don't need to convince a primary care physician that you need a specialist, you just go to the specialist.

My experience with Japanese doctors has mostly been positive. They have listened compassionately and never dismissed anything I've said. Of course, I read up on the doctors I choose, so of course there will be some doctors who are not so great...There is no in-network bullshit, I can go to the qualified doctor that's 50 miles away without any insurance problems. And I could likely get there without a car using pubic transportation.

Suicides and hikikomori (staying inside) are issues for sure and complicated. I don't think it's for lack of access anymore. There is still some stigma depending on where you are or who you are with. But if families were found to deny medical treatment, they would be charged with abuse and neglect. I have seen it on the news a couple times, but it's not the general culture anymore.

I am correctly diagnosed and treated thanks to a Japanese doctor. I never have to worry about the cost of medication for the rest of my life. I, even as a foreigner (granted I speak japanese), have experienced less barriers and more compassion in Japan than I ever did in the US. Sorry to jump on your post, Sarah, I just didn't want anyone reading to be put off Japan.

I'm fortunate to have found a very open minded village with new residents coming from all over with new ideas. We kind of joke that our village attracts people who couldn't take the mainstream culture and want to live in peace and heal the earth. The only difference to consider would be that sometimes drugs that are approved in the US take some years to then be approved in Japan, so anyone coming to Japan with medication should check on that.

So maybe the documentary I watched was outdated or just incorrect? It stated that therapy is not covered by health insurance, is very expensive and that there are not enough therapists or doctors trained in psychiatry to be able to treat most of the people who need it. Maybe my source of information is just incorrect? That would be very encouraging. I actually want to go WWOOFing in Japan (I got my degree in Japanese, but I'm still not fluent, how lame is that?) but my concerns about persistent depression and PTSD and potentially being unable to cope have held me back. (And now the virus and such.) I assumed I would just frighten people. My teachers never gave me that impression, in fact I felt a lot of warmth from them and a very deep connection with them, but they were Japanese expats living in the United States.

Like you I just lie on certain questions whenever I'm getting any kind of medical care. If I tell them I have to talk myself down on a daily basis, or that I fantasize about my death and bodily decay in order to stop panic attacks, they'll invariably put me on a useless 36 or 48 hour hold, which means I'll be in a strange place with lights on and strangers milling about and I won't sleep, which lack of sleep will cause me to become psychotic. So it's better to just lie because they don't know how to differentiate between ideation and intention. "No no doctor it's okay, I don't want to kill myself, I just don't want to be alive." But I refuse any meds because they make my symptoms worse so they give up and let me out eventually.
2 months ago

Pearl Sutton wrote:And then's there's the flip side of what has been mentioned about how how society treats someone with issues: I had severe physical illness ignored because of my mental issues

Dude, one time I went to the hospital because I was having a severe asthma attack and it wouldn't calm down on its own. I had taken a shower hoping the water vapor would soothe my lungs, and then not brushed my hair. I hadn't been able to sleep so eventually just went to the hospital to get a breathing treatment. Not only did they NOT treat my asthma attack, they pink slipped me (labeled me as a danger to myself and forcibly kept me in the hospital to be "observed") because I "looked disheveled" after almost dying and not being able to sleep.

Unfortunately, instead of having tribal physician/medical people who have a rich oral history and intimate knowledge of natural pharmaceuticals in the surrounding environment, who know the people they're treating and interact with them on a daily basis. We also have much more complicated ailments because of all the toxins and bizarre experiences we're bombarded with in modern society. SO much physical contact with plastics, rigorous school and work schedules, repetitive activities that our ancestors never had to endure and a plethora of microbes that used to be geographically isolated. Our immune systems and bodies in general are bombarded continually with chemicals, stimuli, physical stresses, biological materials and types of radiation that were not in play when we evolved or were created, whatever line of thought you fancy.

And on top of it, medicine is now practiced primarily for profit.

But... at least in America we have and ATTEMPT at mental health treatment. Things are changing. We no longer lock people up permanently in glorified prison wards for having bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. (Although we do lock a lot of people in actual prisons because of substance abuse related behavioral problems.) Electrocuting peoples' brains is no longer standard treatment. Some doctors are realizing that our minds are an integral part of our bodies, and vis versa. Something that the medicine men and women and shamans have known all along.
So as much as we are in an age of burgeoning new knowledge, we are also in a dark age of medicine, having lost most of the knowledge and wisdom that was preserved for thousands of years through oral tradition. Thankfully we still are able to preserve some of that knowledge. But I guess in a sense we humans are victims of our own species' success. Not the only victims, heh.
Some places like Japan for example, there's little to no mental health treatment available for most people. There are a lot of suicides and people who lock themselves up in their rooms or apartments and don't come out for years. If they ask for therapy or to see a doctor about these issues, there's a tendency for their family to discourage them ("Don't embarrass us!") and they may be ostracized by classmates, co-workers etc. They still have the cultural assumption that mental health problems are a problem of will or character, and emphasize the importance of not causing trouble for others, to the point that people suffer so much on an individual basis that it very negatively affects their society as a whole. I think it's a holdover from the period of fascist military rule that culminated in Japan's involvement in WWII; anyone dissident was killed in the years leading up to that (and there were many fantastic scholars that were dissident!) so even now the emphasis is on tow the line or be totally ostracized. Anyone who struggles or stands out tends to be psychologically abused by basically everyone else.

When I spent some time with a lady with multiple sclerosis, she was really revved up about some research about the blood-brain barrier. She thought that it was the perforation of the blood brain barrier that allowed particles normally excluded from the brain, to enter into the brain and totally ravage the glial stuff on her neurons by inciting her immune system to cause inflammation. Gliation basically being the coating on neurons that facilitates communication via stuff like seratonin and all those other things scientists pretend to understand. I've been taking methyl-b12 for years, I noticed it really helped with my cognition in like 2009 or so. Methyl folate can help with gliation of neurons. SO even though dead neurons cannot be replaced.... neurons that have compromised gliation, can be helped by restoring the gliation.
2 months ago
To be honest I think that going through these painful losses as a child and having loving, supporting adults help them through it, is a crucial part of learning how to cope with loss later in life. I think your daughter is going to be a much stronger (and happier) person for it in the long run.
3 months ago
Also, the search function is very convenient! You can click the search link at the top of the page and just type in "quail" or "pigeons" and you will get a list of the threads that mention them. I do this whenever I want to read about something a little obscure or that I just can't find immediately.
3 months ago
Although they do not have their own forum, there is a significant amount of discussion on here about quail at least. I myself have raised quail and found them to be very economical, and the eggs are very tasty. They're small so it's a lot of work to do for meat, compared to larger animals. I think our american serving sizes are so large now it would take at least 3 quail for one adult entree. If you're raising them yourself that's a lot of killing and cleaning, and if you're not, that's about $27. Basically our culture has given in to easy... if it isn't convenient, it isn't marketable.
I definitely recommend raising them for eggs. Much better return for the food you feed them that way, plus you can eat the extra roos you have to cull anyway.
The quail that are commonly raised now commercially (coturnix) are all descended from a very few extremely inbred quail that narrowly survived WWII in Japan. The famine during and after the war was so severe that there wasn't food to spare for livestock, so they got eaten instead.
The quail that are endemic to America lay a lot less eggs and are not tame. They are considered game birds and most of those eaten would have been hunted from the wild, rather than raised by people. I did find some very interesting books with (outdated) care instructions for guineas, chukars, quail, pheasants etc. at the library that was from the 50s, so at least as a hobby some people did raise them here in the not so distant past.
3 months ago
Trauma that forms PTSD is inescapable, unavoidable. The body's fight or flight response has been thwarted; adrenaline and other stress hormones remain elevated long after the threat has passed. (Months or years after.)

Depression is a black hole inside of me. It appears as an emptiness, but in fact it is full to bursting yet constrained and confined, crushing in on itself with unfathomable force; as a black hole sometimes explodes streams of gamma radiation, so my sorrow and despair can explode in bursts of rage and overwhelming, paralizing agony. I have gathered up all the pain, sadness and rejection of my family and taken them for myself from a young age; and yet while their suffering multiplied into mine, they were not relieved of their burden.

I felt that if I could only swallow up all of the pain and sickness into myself, I could neutralize it. I could purify it and make all the dysfunction disappear, letting only love remain. But it remains in me, poison; and it remains in those I drew it from, poison. Clearly my early notions of sin, sickness sorrow and brokenness of heart, were born of a desire to heal but lacked any understanding. I hurt myself and sacrificed my own wellbeing for nothing. But somehow, even contaminated, jaded and broken, I still feel like I must be a super hero.
3 months ago
So I have a LOT to say on this subject, two years out from severe trauma plus having dealt with severe depression with the occasional psychotic episode for over 20 years.
What I have learned in the past year and a half, mostly from a support group of peers who have been through similar trauma, has been extremely empowering. PTSD is not a mental disorder in the sense that we commonly think of mental disorders; it involves the entire body. The neural paths that were altered during the trauma in order to survive, that are now functioning in maladaptive ways; the limbic system pumping out massive amounts of adrenaline at any given startle response; the part of your brain that decides which sensory information is important, which sights, sounds, smells and sensations are benign and which signal danger, is in total confusion. In PTSD the feedback loop that helps the body to reduce stress hormones back to normal levels, is broken. It's 24 hour fight or flight mode. It takes a heavy toll on your entire body, including of course your mind. But a lot of the things we can do to help our body recover, are actually physical rather than talk therapy, especially in instances where the person cannot remember the trauma. During a flashback the rational brain literally goes offline... the rational brain alone is not enough to talk our bodies down.
Anyway I can recommend the book "The Body Keeps the Score" by Bessel Van Der Kolk to anyone suffering from PTSD, anyone living with a person who suffers from it, and anybody who's really curious about neurology, trauma and healing.
The first thing to understand for anyone suffering this way, is that you're not alone. A lot of people have the same symptoms, and a lot of people spend decades recovering or carry it with them the rest of their lives. But there absolutely are ways to heal. To teach your body that the threat has passed, that you are not helpless anymore, that it is okay to relax.
FYI the book does recount some horrible stories that will be triggering to a lot of people, but the insight into how PTSD forms and how to work towards recovery are valuable enough to me to push through it, although I am still on page 83. It was recommended to me by a lovely librarian in my support group.
3 months ago
Persimmons must have rotting wood nearby in order to grow. I put a rotting log on the drip line and one tree is huge, another I planted at the same time is stunted and has only begun growing now after like... five years. I burnt it with fresh chicken poop when I planted it, and we have heavy clay soil that is rich in lime. They would rather have good drainage! But they will not grow without the rotting wood as far as I know... like their growth hormones are suppressed without it or something. So they don't compete with the parent tree, they just establish themselves and then bolt when the mature tree nearby falls and starts to rot. I think my stunted tree may be inhibited by its proximity to the larger one? I think it may give them an evolutionary advantage since persimmons are sexed, if the male saplings competed with the mother tree it would compete with the mother tree. So an established female persimmon tree is kind of a precious thing among the persimmon trees. They need a male tree nearby to produce fruit, but like, one male tree would be enough for several female trees.
Short of it I would just put a rotting log on the dripline of the tree and see if it perks up.
3 months ago
I think it depends how much you want the grapes... There is no guarantee that the grapes are actually from the original cultivar vine, rather than just wild grapes or a hybrid or whatever. (Unless you saw the old vine and were like "whoah that's a gnarly old vine!" Unless you want grapes enough to be okay with ending up having to plant a new vine after finding the existing grapes unpalatable, it might not be worth it. If you're really excited to salvage that arbor it's more likely to be worth your time. You could wait and see if any grapes survive to harvest, and taste them and see what you think, but usually the grapes here fall off or get eaten by birds before we can try any because we don't tend the vine.
3 months ago