Really Nourish Faith Garden: By Any Means Necessary
Faith Gardening, food, gardening, Herbs, no pesticides, non-gmo, Plants, recycle, upcycle, Urban Gardening

Faith Garden: By Any Means Necessary

Well, maybe not by any means, but I write this post: Faith Garden: By Any Means Necessary because in spite of all the changes I have endured in terms of the roof over my head, I will find a way to grow some food.  At the moment, all I  have around my apartment door is concrete.  Nonetheless, a garden now grows.

Take that, 2017!  You tried to knock me down but you couldn’t.  I’m a Genesis 1 Daughter of The Soil no matter what.  So I prayed for a way.  Little by little the answer came and now I present my Urban Faith Garden in the Trinidadian countryside.

 

Like I said, Faith Garden: By Any Means Necessary

After we lost our bed in a fire this year, we were given this old rusty cot to use until we were able to buy a new one.  Once we did, we had no place to put the cot.  It sat in our apartment for a couple of months, and I was begrudged to look at it day in and day out.  This did not seem to bother my husband, who used it to hang the most recently removed sweaty shirt or wet bath towel on it.  I said numerous times “I want this out of my house”.  And indeed I got what I asked for, but God’s plan was better than mine!

Faith Garden: By Any Means Necessary
Really Nourish Faith Garden: Upcycled Cot and Recycled Water Bottles

So here’s the cot.  As soon as a friend started talking to me about using water bottles to make a garden, the cot came to mind as the perfect venue.  She had suggested I use the fence outside my home.  I can imagine this will grow and we will need that fence before too long.  Nonetheless, I thought first how much I’d like to make this a full-on recycle-upcycle project, while clearing the large piece of debris out of my home. Another cool feature about this garden is that it is on wheels, so I can shift it and turn it for whatever reasons – sunlight for plants, catch a rain shower, move it away from the wall to paint…

What’s Growing

I was given a little selection of plants and a window box pot.  There’s pimento peppers, bodie (a long, green string bean that is very popular in Trinidad) and ochro (aka okra) in that.  Along the front up top we are regrowing spring onions (aka scallions, locally known here as cive), chandon beni (aka culantro) and mint.  We have two larger-leaved varieties of thyme and some Jamaican mint.  We seeded one row of bottle-pots with organic salad blend seeds, and one bottle that once held coconut oil with some sugar daddy snap peas.

 

Prepping the Bottles

 

Faith Garden: By Any Means Necessary
I heated a screw driver up on the stove. I did this while cooking so as not to waste gas.
  1. This screwdriver has a set of changeable bits that go into the top.  I used a small hexagon-shaped head.
  2. I used this to get nice even holes in the bottoms of the bottles, as well as a couple of holes one either side about a 1/4 inch from the lip of the cut open edge to pass the strings through.Faith Garden: By Any Means Necessary
  3. Stringing them up first made it easy to work with my pregnant belly limiting my ability to bend down.  I scooped some soil into each bottle and, dangling it by the strings, I tapped the planter on the ground gently several times to compact the soil a bit.  Then I topped up if needed and either stuck in plants and bulbs or set seeds.

 

Updates to come, so subscribe or join the mailing list so you don’t miss anything!  Also, please pray along with us for success.  What does “success” mean for the Really Nourish Faith Garden, you ask?

As far as Really Nourish is concerned, success is that we grow more than enough food for our needs.  We will share the overflow with our neighbors!

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apps, blood pressure, health, Herbs

Bush Medicine in Modern Times: Why it is so important to have this information

I Got 16 Problems… 

My dad was doing so well after the kidney transplant!  He was like a new man, foot loose and fancy free.  The only downside of his new life was that his medication list had now tripled.

He was already on 4 hypertension medications, plus a baby aspirin daily.  The nephrologist added another 6 medications – three to suppress his immune system so his body doesn’t attempt to reject the kidney (since it is not his native kidney, the body would think it was a foreign object) and then another three infection-preventing medications (since his immune system is being suppressed).  They put in prostate medication, since he is almost 70 now.  Also, during the process, a cardiologist somehow found his way into my dad’s regiment.  He added a cholesterol lowering drug and a blood thinner.  He has about 16 different medications now to sort and take daily now.  SIXTEEN DIFFERENT PATENT PHARMACEUTICAL DRUGS! 💊💉💊💊💊💊💉💊💉💊😒

Patent drugs used to be shunned by the general public.  Those that sold them were patent medconsidered charlatans.  The idea that some mystery syrup in a bottle could cure your ailments was for fools to buy into.  We still use the terms “snake oil” to identify products that don’t live up to their claims, and “snake oil salesmen” to characterize a con artists.

Fast forward to 2017.  Patent drugs are now the only way health care is administered by doctors and in hospitals, and bush medicine has to be labeled and prefaced with long disclaimers as to their efficacy.  Are the patent medicines better now than back then?

In my dad’s most recent hospitalization, he complained about burning in his chest, and was told that the fresh, healthy kidney he just got last year was only operating at around 25%.  How did this happen???

  1. Numerous doctors told him and I that when one is on that many medications, they are bound to have some burning in the chest as the stomach acids respond vehemently to these kinds of chemical cocktails, and could even result in ulcers. LET ME BE CLEAR: DOCTORS WHO PRESCRIBED THE MEDICATIONS ADMITTED THAT THE MEDICATIONS ARE CAUSING ADDITIONAL PROBLEMS TO THE ONES HE STARTED OUT WITH.  
  2. That many medications taken daily cause damage to the kidney and liver.
  3. A medication regiment that large is bound to result in errors.  The only thing worse than taking that many patent medications is taking them incorrectly, because now you put yourself at greater risk of more medical problems with little recourse.

 

Mere Ena

My grandmother, known to her neighbors in the tiny fishing village of Pointe Michel in the Commonwealth of Dominica as Mere Ena, was a government certified Bush Doctor🌱🌱🌱.  She diagnosed my dad with kidney damage almost 30 years ago in casual conversation with her son not long before she passed.  He did not follow up on her diagnosis, but it was indeed accurate, he found out the hard way.  She had no medical degree, probably no real schooling at all.  But she had a God given gift.  She knew the human body, she knew a wide variety of ailments that could afflict it, and she knew how to administer the medicine God has been providing us since creation to CURE – not suppress symptoms, not relieve pain – CURE those diseases.

Bush Medicine – Pros and Cons🌿🌱

Pro – It’s accessible.  You can get yourself bush medicine cheaper than patent medicine or even free (as in “in the bush”, or you can grow it yourself).  And you don’t need a prescription.

Pro – It usually doesn’t have harmful side effects.

Pro – You know what your taking.  There is no ingredient list concealed under the guise of “proprietary information” or “trade secrets”.

Pro – They have been tested and proven time and time again over millennia.

Con – It cannot be patented.  No one can make millions of dollars purveying bush medicine.

Con – They are not FDA approved (because they can’t charge anyone fees to get their stamp of approval on a leaf).

 

Patent Medicine – Pros and Cons💊💉

Pro – They’re colorful.

Pro – They come in child-proof bottles, like most other poisonous substances kept in the household.  The prescribed ones are even labeled with your name, for an extra personal touch!

Pro – Doctors love ’em. So do pharmaceutical companies and lobbyists.

Pro – They all contain some form of bush medicine.

Con – They have nasty side effects because all they really did was take the bush medicine and doctor it up (pun intended) with lots of crap that makes them patentable.

Con – They are FDA approved and marketed after only 2 trials.

 

It is so important to know bush medicine, know a bush doctor or have access to information about what natural remedies are available to you where you live.  The great thing about bush medicine is that much of it is normal stuff you would have around anyway.

Here are some examples: 

Garlic – All around anti-fungal, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory. Can be applied cut or crushed in any area you need it.  Chew and swallow to relieve tonsillitis, use as a suppository for hemorrhoids, crush into a paste and apply topically to kill fungus such as ringworm.

Thyme – Steep in hot water covered for 15 minutes and then inhale the vapors to get rid of cough and clear

sinuses, then drink while still hot so you get the steam up your retro-nasal passage and down your throat to take care of general common cold symptoms.  When giving it to my little ones, we joke that it’s “Thyme Tea Time!”

Rosemary – Steep in hot water, then cool and drink about 8 ounces every 8 days to keep blood pressure in check.

Aloe Vera – The gel inside the leaves works better than any packaged ointment on the market on cuts, scrapes and burns.

Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar – A panacea, hard to list here all its uses.  We take a tablespoon of it when cold virus germs are bouncing around the house, and we have used it to sooth the itching and speed healing of mosquito bites and fungal infections (except in the vaginal area, where the acidity would change the pH and make things worse).

Those are just off the top of my head and based specifically on what I have used on myself and my family personally or my parents used on me in the past.  Once, during a year when I made too much money for Medicaid but too little to afford any of the Obamacare plans, I had to use stuff from the supermarket to heal myself of something I might otherwise have gone to the hospital for.  Not only did I save myself hundreds of dollars in potential bills from an urgent care visit, but I proved another bush remedy and avoided taking patent medication.

Also worth noting is that the world of bush medicine, which I refuse to refer to as “alternative medicine”, must include preventive medicine.  What you choose to consume in your daily life is all part of disease prevention and should be a matter of deliberate choice. A life of bush healing needs to encompass all of this, which can supply you with a lifetime of learning about what God provided us to sustain the kind of life He wants each of us to live – a life free of disease and suffering, a life free of tethers like medication regiments and being hooked up to machines on a regular basis.

So if it’s the medication that is causing my dad’s problems, then the logical next step is to wean off of the medication.  Guess how many of the doctors he encountered recommended this.  Did you say 0?  You are correct!!!  If this is your plight, it’s up to you, the individual, to do this on your own.  Your doctor is unlikely to assist you in this.  They don’t learn bush or even nutrition in medical school.  They just learn patent medicine.  Their continuing education is in pharmaceutical drugs.  I spoke to my dad, but it is ultimately up to him, and it is ultimately up to YOU to free yourself.   Looking at his options, he must continue to take the immune suppressant stuff to keep the donated kidney functioning, that’s 3.  Changes in his diet and bush replacements can eliminate pretty much all the rest – the blood pressure, cholesterol lowering, infection preventing, blood thinning pills can all fade away.  Then the kidney, which has sustained some damage under the pressure of all the pharmaceutical drugs, can last a lot longer into his future.

Right now, in this age of over indulgence in harmful foods, agricultural chemicals, technology and patent drugs, it is time for a reboot for every man woman and child.  Bush medicine is the future.  The spirit of Mere Ena lives on.

Do you have a favorite app for this?  I’ve seen Memorial Sloan Kettering’s Herbal Medicine app.  What if there was something simpler that people could interact with?  Certainly  you swear by some herbal remedies and can share them with a community of other individuals and families who want better solutions than the current medical system.

Please comment, let’s talk about this.

 

apps, Crops, Faith Gardening, food, gardening, God's word, Herbs, Moon, natural, no pesticides, non-gmo, Organic, scripture, sprout, Urban Gardening

Faith Gardening is A Ministry of Patience🌛🕛🌱

Faith Gardening is a ministry of patience, like the branch on which my patience fruit ripens. (Fruit of the spirit, Galatians 5:22-23) There is a built in patience requirement in gardening, as one awaits the flow of the natural life cycle of plants.  Then, I imposed another cycle of waiting periods on myself by timing my gardening activities with the moon. 🌑🌒🌓🌔🌕

Faith Gardening is a Ministry of Patience
Lune & Jardin App by JOCS

Sounds very esoteric, right? Not that woke. I have been able to approach this faith gardening with biodynamic vibes using the 📱Lune & Jardin (Moon & Garden) app by JOCS.

Faith Gardening refers to gardening without chemicals, synthetic fertilizers, or growth enhancers.  It relies heavily on natural factors and forces, like the phases of the moon as in biodynamic farming.

I started this practice with a shade of skepticism, not about the practice itself, but about the accuracy of the app. Nonetheless, through a combination of research, practice and sky gazing, Lune & Jardin has proven itself. It has even enlightened me to concepts about the moon’s travels I had never known before, like the earth inhaling and exhaling depending on what part of its revolution path it is on around the planet.

Faith Gardening is a Ministry of Patience
Waiting for bananas to ripen…patiently. #MorningInTheFaithGarden

How My Approach to Gardening has Changed

When I get the urge to put some new seeds in soil, for example, I have may to wait until next week when the moon is on its ascent again. Right now, it is descending, the earth is inhaling, the energy is in a downward direction so it is not a good time to expect seeds to sprout. This faith gardening is a ministry of patience indeed that perhaps is lost on the chemical gardeners and the hothouse farmers who flout natural seasonality in favor of profits.

Faith Gardening is a Ministry of Patience
During a descending moon, the downward pressure can even shift soil. Today I am able to see the roots of my heirloom tomato tree!

Gardening this way has given me a deeper understanding of Ecclesiastes 3. There is, indeed, a season to everything, a time to every purpose under heaven. When we submit to that timing, we are in harmony with creation. When we attempt to force our will out of timing, we create chaos. Yes, faith gardening is a ministry of patience that many of us need in our lives.

Faith Gardening is a Ministry of Patience
My neighbor blessed me a cutting of her Spanish Thyme, in the background are eggplant sprouts from seed. These will transplant into the garden today.
Books, Boycott, Faith Gardening, food, Fruit, gardening, health, Healthy, Herbs, no pesticides, non-gmo, nourishment, nutrients, Organic, Produce, salad, sprout, trees, Urban Gardening, vegan

The Faith Garden: Evolution

Up until this point, I have been in the gardener’s equivalent of preschool. Success in pots on a highrise terrace with seedlings during a summer season or two were my first very large, crayon-scribbled attemtps to write my name.  

Visions of multiple clever urban gardening installations both outside on my terrace and inside by that expanse of east oriented windows in my livingroom, like trash can potatoes and dwarf citrus trees 🍊and vertically inclined shelves of fresh herbs 🌱🌱🌱, they danced in my head, but my reality was much less inspiring. Nonetheless, like the simple days in Pre K where toddlers learn each vowel and consonant on its own, my five little terrace pots provided just the right amount of learning for my experience level. They would lead to bigger things in God’s good time.

Even my first gardening book was a children’s book. 📖Reading Molly’s Organic Farm by Carol Malnor to my children at bedtime taugh me about companion planting, beneficial insects🐝 and crop rotation among other things. I have since graduated. I am in big kid school now! 

Currently Reading📚: Guerilla Gardening by David Tracey, on loan from the 

Trinidad National Library System (NALIS) 

🍅Currently Planting: Marvel Striped Heirloom Tomatoes and Sugar Daddy Snap Peas from seeds, and a tamarind tree sprout on a small patch in my backyard. 

My children saved seeds from eating Tamarind balls and planted them with full faith

Current techniques in use🌴: Adding topsoil to plant on top of dense clay, 

Judah planted this tiny seed in January, look how tall they both are!

preparing my next spots by laying down a bed of food scraps interlaid with grass cuttings to proactively attract soil life and help nourish the future residents – more food crops and a patch of flowers. Also using Lune & Jardin, an app that helps you plan your gardening in relation to the phases of the moon. 

Next 🌺phase plans: Expand vegetable patch, help the children create their own Friendship Garden 💚🌾and utilise items dumped in the back (old wooden boards, pvc pipe, a broken swing set and some kid’s forgotten homemade pushcart) to help create a lovely Faith Garden oasis for my little apartment complex community. 

I will update frequently!

Crops, farm, food, gardening, God's word, Healthy, Herbs, no pesticides, non-gmo, nourishment, Organic, Urban Gardening

The Faith Garden Part 1

We are enslaved if we must rely solely upon our jobs, money, supermarkets and agribusiness to eat.  Thank God for His (yes, it’s His) system of seed time and harvest that never ceases.  We can all grow at least some of our own food.  You will start small but you will want to grow more because it was God’s first job for us.  He gave us the power to feed ourselves.

Children, eating, farmer's market, food, Fruit, God's word, Healthy, Herbs, natural, no pesticides, non-gmo, nourishment, Organic, Produce

Summer Gardening in the City

For the last two summers,

we have been using any available space we have in our 12th floor apartment in Staten Island, NY to grow our own food.  Now is the time, April in the northern hemisphere, to get your garden ready for the season!

Train up a child in the way he should go,
And when he is old he will not depart from it.

Proverbs 22:6 (NKJV)

Some of my fondest childhood memories growing up in Brooklyn were of our summer gardens.  I remember how my mom and dad used to go to the garden shop on Foster Avenue in April to get the little baby plants and lovingly plant them in our backyard, our mini Eden.  Even on those tiny plots of land (the small plot behind our home on Hubbard

IMG_0850
Summer memories!

Place, and the even smaller spot of backyard when we moved to our one family house on East 43rd) mom and dad grew enough food for us to have lots of fresh salads and homegrown veggies all summer long and into the fall some years, depending on how the cold weather started.

One summer, we grew so many tomatoes, my mom piled the surplus up in one of those big DuaneReade shopping bags and took them to work to share with her friends.  I have never departed from his spirit of growing my own food, putting my hands in dirt, and sharing some of what we produce at home.  It was important training indeed.  As soon as I had children flourishing under my care, my maternal spirit lead me to create the terrace garden.

This year, I’m excited to be moving to the Trinidadian countryside, where my father-in-law blessed my family with some land that we can build, live and cultivate on, but my heart is still with my fellow urban gardeners. As cities sprawled wider and wider over the last century or so, urbanites became more and more detached from the source of the very food that sustains them, so much so that many wouldn’t recognize the vine that a cucumber grows on.  Just think about that.  If you don’t know food or where it comes from, how can you take proper care of your body?

Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.

Hippocrates of Kos

Also, if you have no idea how food grows and where it comes from, doesn’t that put you at a big disadvantage to whomever provides the food?  That is indeed the case.  What is even more cause for great concern is that we are learning that we can’t trust those who provide the food, specifically the corporations that are on the warpath to gain control of all the farms and all the minds and hearts of consumes nor the governments, whom we entrust with the task of ensuring that our food is safe to eat but instead put profit over people by allowing lobbying and campaign finance determine how they legislate the industry.

Here are some ways you can take back control of your food at home.  Combine these ideas with participation with the creation or the maintenance of gardens in your community and you can greatly increase your own control over your food and reduce your dependence on Big Food and, by default, Big Pharma.

EPSON MFP image
Summers in Brooklyn: My childhood urban backyard garden Circa 1990-sumpin.
  • Just get started
    1. Plant SOMETHING.  ANYTHING!  Watch it grow.  It will expand your consciousness.  Next year, you will want to plant more!
  • Any dirt patch is fair game
    1. Postage stamp-sized yard in the back and/or front of your house? Small sliver of dirt along the side? As long as there is soil, you can bring forth life and food!  Plant smaller plants like thyme and basil or bulbs like spring onion and garlic in these small spots.
  • Pots of many sizes and shapes, plus fences, railings and other resources
    1. Pots: It’s good to get a sense for how big the plant is going to be as you select pots.  Conversely, if you already have some pots, buy plants that would work well in the pot sizes you have and think about adding pots if you want to expand your repertoire.  I used my taller, deeper pots for bell pepper plants and tomato vines and my more shallow, rectangle shaped pots for herbs and leafy greens that didn’t need as much space for root growth.

      Urban Herbs
      Two varieties of Thyme and Greek Oregano in the NYC Summer Terrace Garden.
    2. Fences and Railings: For vine plants, plan those around the edges of your garden if possible so they can climb on existing structures.  Not only will it look great, but your plants will be happy as they reach for the sun and bear you good fruit all season long!
    3. Other Resources: Observe your plants as they grow.  One day last summer, my children and I went to the park to collect sticks.  We brought the sticks home and used them to stablize our tall, lanky tomato and pepper plants as they grew.  We stuck them into the soil next to the “trunks” of the plants, and loosely tied the plants to the sticks so when the wind blew them on our well exposed 12th floor terrace, they would remain standing.  They thanked us later with delicious produce.
    4. Soil: The term dirt cheap has real meaning, because bags of soil in the home good store are pretty cheap indeed!  The good news is that although organic soil is more expensive than stuff that is not labeled organic, it is still cheap so might as well go all the way with it!
  • Kitchen counter herbs
    1. You can keep some herbs on your kitchen counter.  Your kitchen light (yes the ceiling one) can substitute for the
      IMG_0932
      Genesis 1:29-30 Status! #SoDelicious #TheReallyNourishMovement

      sunlight if you don’t have a window in there – your potted thyme and oregano can still photosynthesize from that.  Just keep them watered and don’t be shy about pruning them often for use in your food.

  • Regenerate bulbs
    1. Ever notice that the bottoms of some of your veggies have little scraggly beards?  Like scallions (some call these spring onions or green onions ) for example. Some have had them chopped off, like celery, fennel and garlic. These are bulbs.  You can cut the tops off to eat, but don’t toss the bottoms!  Set them in some water and allow them to regenerate.  Then you can plant them out and keep repeating the process as many times as you like.  Here’s a link with a detailed list of these wonderfully nourishing gifts from God.  Now that’s what I call the gift that keeps on giving!
  • Seedling plants at farmers markets
    1. OK, this is my FAVORITE DETAIL: Check your local farmer’s markets right now img_3082because many of them will be selling seedlings.  But here’s the exciting part: You can buy them with your EBT card!  No excuse now, family!  The other great thing about buying these at the farmer’s market is that you can ask the farmers advice about how to plant.  Last summer, I even brought pics of my grown plants back for my local market guys to see.  Like “Look, the kids have grown so fast!”
  • Dwarf trees
    1. This is a great solution for city dwellers, one that you can eat from all year round.  Dwarf citrus trees can live in relatively large pots in your living room and bear delicious fruit that would cost you a small fortune in supermarkets with no chemicals necessary.  Choose a spot near a window that gets lots of sunlight – eastern facing works well, so the tree can get strong rising sun exposure all morning.
  • Savor and Share the experience! 
    1. The best part is harvest!  I enjoyed going onto my terrace to pick from my plants to enhance my meals with what I grew.  My children
      IMG_0931
      Ché is a happy garden princess!

      enjoyed picking with me.  We all learned together how to grow our own food, and when we had visitors, we were proud to show them what we were doing and give them a taste of the the bounty whenever we could.

 

 

Plants on sale at Whitehall Terminal Farmer’s Market

 

cooking, eating, food, God's word, Herbs, natural, non-gmo, Organic, recipe, sprout, vegan

Nourish Nugget: Chick Pea Acra

“And God said, “See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food. Also, to every beast of the earth, to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, in which there is life, I have given every green herb for food”; and it was so. Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day.”

‭‭Genesis‬ ‭1:29-31‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

http://bible.com/114/gen.1.29-31.nkjv

This little protein and nutrient-packed pancake is inspired by a fave West Indian snack I ate more than my fare share of in my omnivorous past life. Some call it Acra, some say fish cake. The original recipe is made from salt cod 🎣 mixed with flour (I used to use a 50/50white all-purpose – and whole wheat blend), a little baking powder and water. Embellishments of whatever else is available to the cook – diced onions, garlic, scallions, parsley, spicy peppers – personalizes the recipe, as does the fish-to-flour ratio. My recipe was always generous with the fish. I maintained that tradition with my sub. I also substituted the flour blend for sprouted flour, the conventional baking powder with an aluminum-free version, and added ground flax seeds for extra nourishment. These Chana Cakes really nourish! 😉
  
Ingredients (organic whenever possible)

1/2 cup chickpeas, cooked, cooled, and rough chopped 

1/2 cup sprouted wheat flour

2 tablespoons ground flax seeds 🌾

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt 

Embellishments 

6 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped

1/4 cup Spanish onion, chopped

small minced hot peppers (to taste)🌶

10 sprigs thyme
Method

Combine the chopped chickpeas, flour, flax, and baking powder in a large bowl. Sprinkle the coarse sea salt all over the ingredients in the bowl.

Add enough warm water to moisten into a thick batter consistency. Stir as you are slowly adding water so you can know when to stop. 

Add in your embellishments. Stir. Add a little more water if you need to re-adjust your batter. 

Preheat a stainless steel pan. Lower the heat to low, add your preferred oil (I used a tablespoon of Earth Balance vegan buttery spread). Add one tablespoon of batter to the pan so you can cook one to taste. Allow it brown on both sides. If the pepper or salt are too prominent, add two tablespoons of flour and a little more water to remedy and cook another test cake. 

These were delicious with some brown rice and spinach.  Good, nourishing, obedient food! 

#VeganLife

#VeganLove