Humble Garden

ReSkilling for future food independence

Archive for the ‘Asides’ Category

One year tornado anniversary

Posted by Nika On June - 1 - 2012

Today marks the one year anniversary of the EF4 tornado that devastated 40 miles of south central Massachusetts and which came very near our home.

We are marking the day quietly, solemnly.

We burned sage in the garden to begin to bring healing and to hope all beings are brought into peace and balance with less suffering.

Joyful Summer Solstice!

Posted by Nika On June - 21 - 2010


I wish you and your families a bright and joyful summer solstice today!

Take a moment to frolic in the sun and to smell the flowers!

Humble Garden 2010: poppies

Elderberry and Swine Flu Vaccine Update

Posted by Nika On November - 29 - 2009

Swine flu H1N1 vaccination

This is an update from my post on Elderberry Elixir and Swine Flu.

As I am a scientist with some experience in genomics, I follow the evolution of the H1N1 virus. I do this because changes in the genetics of this novel flu are part of my risk equation with respect to vaccination. When I wrote this informative post on the use of Elderberry Elixir as a prophylaxis (Elderberry Elixir and Swine Flu) against all viral syndromes in the winter season here in the North East and in particular against H1N1 I felt that the genetic and phenotypic profiles were of a relatively mild though fast spreading flu.

Things have changed.

As is expected with a recently evolved RNA influenza virus, its genome (8 genes) is unstable and is probing its environment for the best means to improve it’s lot in life: namely, how to increase its’ transmissibility, resistance to our medications (like tamiflu) and its virulence (damage that it does to it’s host as a function of it’s replication or multiplication in host cells which leads to death of those cells).

These changes happen constantly in each infected host. The virus is like a little computer. It reproduces so fast the collective viral population can test many experimental changes.

In recent weeks, mutations (or successful collective viral population changes) seem to be switching more of the circulating second and third wave virus to a more virulent (damaging) and transmissible (infectious) population.

The hallmark of one of the more concerning changes (D225G) is the preference of the virus for deep lung tissue that leads to rapid full lung degradation, collapse, and bleed out – the same mutation and symptom found in the 1918/1919 virulent second wave of the Spanish Flu.

This ticked my risk equation in the direction of vaccination for my kids. They got the first half of their vaccination last week and we have to wait 21 days for the 2nd half. Then 21 days after that to achieve the immunity that it will confer.

I know that some of these mutations have also invalidated the vaccine on some levels (one isolate has been shown to be a “low reactor”).

What this means is that vaccination might not = full immunity but there is some scientific evidence that suggests that even seasonal flu vaccination provides some partial immunity.

Swine flu H1N1 vaccination: vax cards

My kids have now been vaccinated as follows:

  • pneumococcal vaccine (to stop the deadly 2nd half of H1N1 – bacterial pneumonia)
  • seasonal flu vaccine
  • and H1N1 vaccine.

Its likely that some of the backbone of the H1N1 will be recognized by our immune systems. I also believe that we have been exposed to mild H1N1 now twice. We are JUST now recovering from a nasty virus from last week. I view each of these non-deadly exposures as further strengthening of our immune systems. Its important, though, to boost our baseline health as much as possible between these illnesses.

Swine flu H1N1 vaccination: vax cards

Your equation might be completely different than mine, thats fine. I am not telling you what to do! I just wanted to be clear about my change from the previous post.

NOTE: My husband and I are not vaccinated (not available) and we continue with the elderberry. We will not give elderberry to the kids during this time as their immune systems are mounting their primary and secondary immune reactions against H1N1. Do not want to supress natural function or to artificially boost reaction – just want normal function, supported by good nutrition (not supplements).

Learn more about our immune systems

About Me

We are a family of 5, including Nika, Ed, Q (14), KD (7), and Baby Oh (4). We garden 1024 square feet of raised beds plus assorted permacultural plantings. We also have 13 LaMancha dairy goats, 40 chickens, and one guard llama.



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