Today I am honored to bring you a guest post by one of my favorite bloggers, Dina-Marie from Cultured Palate! As soon as I started my grain-free get healthy journey, I went into full on google mode. I am so glad to have stumbled upon her! She's a real foodie and a GAPSionista; I have learned so much from her blog, and I hope you can too!
I am so excited to be able to share some of my story with you today! I am Dina-Marie from Cultured Palate blog and I would like to encourage each of you to make the most of where you are and what you have. In 2008 our family made a major life change - we traded the "secure" corporate life in Alabama for the "exciting" life of starting a vineyard in west Texas. Little did I know then that the changes would go far beyond the geographical or profession changes!
Lifestyle ChangeYou might wonder, why in the world someone would leave a secure job to venture out into something else, and especially something as unpredictable as grape farming! Well, we have always desired to have a family business in which we could work together. When our oldest son married a farmer's daughter from west Texas, we visited her family for about a month in preparation for the wedding. This was our exposure to an appealing lifestyle! We home educate our children - all 10 of them (or we did, until the oldest 3 married) and yes, they are all ours - 1 husband, 1 wife and we still love each other ;) So, the prospect of working hard together with time for each other and being more self sufficient was appealing!
We hired a grape consultant (whom we had met at our son's wedding) over the phone and he began looking for land. After only a couple of weeks, mid November 2007, land was found and we purchased it. The next hurdle was the tasks of finding vines. Normally, vines are ordered a year ahead since they must be grafted and grown, but amazingly, we found desirable varieties available. We started in 2008 with Roussanne (a French white) and Aglianico (an Italian red) to total 5 acres. In 2009 we added an additional 15 acres which included more Roussanne and Aglianico, as well as, Montepulciano (another Italian red). We continued expansion this year with 2 acres of Petit Verdo and 1/3 acre Muscato Giallo. But, back to my story...
Using most of our savings and retirement to start the vineyard, we watched as the remainder quickly disappeared with living expenses. To make ends meet, my husband took a paper route until our first harvest (a small harvest is expected in the second year followed by more abundant ones).
Thankfully, we had a decent harvest the second year and this year was phenomenal. We even purchased our own grape harvester and are building a barn!
Dietary ChangesLifestyle has not been the only noteworthy change. In my late teens I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and even before that had become a vegetarian because of meat allergies. With each pregnancy the arthritis symptoms worsened until finally even simple tasks like cutting my own pancakes was impossible due to pain! This is when my daughter-in-law introduced me to the GAPS diet. I was desperate, so, I gave it a try. It was an amazing transformation - my pain was gone in 2 weeks. Of course, the swelling took longer but it too disappeared! I am even eating meat after 30 years and it is delicious! This is why I began Cultured Palate - to share real food recipes/information, spread the news about the healing possibilities, and give family/vineyard updates!
Linked: The Healthy Home Economist, Frugal By Choice, Homestead Barn Hop