A Journey in living simply, in living off the land and in giving back.

Category: Family Life

Meet A New Family Member and Company Comes Calling

Meet A New Family Member

We were at the open air farmers market last week and my Mother saw a young girl around 7 years old, kick a kitten. She called me from the truck, to check on the kitten. I went over to the neighboring  vegetable stand  and a orange and white scrawny flea-covered kitten came up to me. The mother of the young girl sat eating and would drop a bite of rice or two for the kitten to eat. I scooped the little kitten up and it started purring. I was hooked, as it snuggled into me and let out several desperate little mews.

I asked the woman three times if she would sell me the kitten. She kept telling me it was her daughters and pointing at her. I came back to the truck and shrugged and told Mom “We cannot take all the kitties we fine”.

When our maid got back from finishing the vegetable shopping, Mom told her to ask the woman about the kitten. Well, by that time the woman’s husband was there and we watched him pick up the kitten and bring it over to the truck and dump it unceremoniously in the back seat of the truck cab.

Matter settled. We were the owners of a new cat.

Just wanted to add, this was not the kitten my Mother saw kicked. It was a black kitten and had scurried off after the assault. We wished we could have taken it home as well.


Meet Stuart Little the newest member of our tribe of cats

Company Comes Calling

I had been out working outside and walked into the house and in the middle of the living room floor, of all things– sat, a crab.


The Crab

I started calling out for our maid and for my Mother, asking “Hmmm, Where on earth the crab came from… ????” And one by one the cats surrounded me and began to investigate our uninvited house guest.


“Hi! My name is Ed the Cat. Nice to meet you little fellow.”


Ouuuuuu–uch He got me guys! He got me!”

And by the time our maid and my Mother came onto the scene, all of a sudden “Mama Crab” released around 30 babies, which soon were scurrying across the tile floor in every direction.


Mama Crab and her 30+ babies collected off the tile floor and  ready to be released by the creek

One of the things about Panama, you never know what is around the corner.

New Pastures

The last couple of weeks our workers have fenced in the open side of the driveway. We now have two pastures there. We have moved the ram there with his ‘harem’, so he doesn’t have to live alone anymore in his solitary pasture. He is a happy fellow! Our five youngest calves currently occupy the other pasture.

I also planted a row of lemon grass alongside the new fence line. I think it will finish it off nice, as it matures and mirror the shape of the pineapple plants on the other side of the driveway. Plus lemongrass makes a nice tea.


The pasture as you enter the driveway


The second pasture as you near the house with our baby calves


Another view of the second pasture

Everyone here is well. Steven will be here tomorrow and we get to spend two weeks together, before he goes back to work again. We are both looking forward to our time together.

We are going to start putting up the greenhouse and we would love to get it completed during this time, but if we do that will be a surprise. We have over 140 pieces of bamboo to cut and assemble, then to add the plastic and insect netting. We also hope to complete our remodel of two rooms in my Mothers home, which we combined into one room, so we would have more private quarters at the end of the house. So little by little.

I pray you all are doing well– happy and healthy dear friends and family!

Much love from all of us in Panama~Rose

P.S. A picture of the beautiful sunrise this morning. (Pretty soon Steven, you will be here to sit and enjoy it again! I have missed you.)


The Circle of Life

(Please excuse me in not posting these past months– I have started and picked up this post a dozen times and until today, have not been up to completing it.)

The last three months–March, April and May– have been a whirlwind of activity from leaving to be with my daughter and son-in-law to be at the delivery of my first grand baby to spending six weeks with them after the baby’s birth to working for several weeks in Louisiana to rushing back to Dallas to getting a same day passport for my grandson (not an easy task), so my daughter, grandson and I could fly out to be with my Father before he passed.

Waiting for take-off with my beautiful daughter and grandson.

Unfortunately, we were unable to make it back to Panama before my Fathers spirit departed his body, as he died the same night we flew out of Dallas.

The biggest heartbreak in it all was not having the opportunity to introduce my Father to his first great-grandson and namesake-Gabriel ‘Lee’.

My Father had told my Mother just a day or two before he died, how he wanted to hold and ‘kiss that baby’ and gave my Mother explicit instructions for his care and made sure she had everything readied for Gabriels visit.

We really tried to make it in time, Dad. I wanted you to be able to have Gabriel in your arms– if just once–for a moment, before you left us… I am sorry.

My Father– Lee Gilbertsons Funeral

I have placed these pictures here for all the family and friends back home, who I know would have been here with us, but could not because of the many miles between us at this time…

For me it was an unreal day–It felt like I was moving in slow motion.

I can remember the different sounds– the tropical birds singing happily from the safety of the dense green trees, the far off wailing through the breeze of a radio playing fiesta time music, the speaker giving the eulogy, muffled somewhere in the background–

I can remember the different sights–watching two dogs playing and running over a portion of the green grass not more than 50 ft from where I stood–healthy, happy and alive… And seeing the four freshly earth covered graves in line with my Fathers and wondering who they were and how their families and loved ones were coping and sending prayers to all of them…

I remember the different feelings–the warm embraces from all the Panamanian friends of my Fathers–as they came to me one by one, each whispering soft comforting words in my ear in their native tongue –not understanding the Spanish words with my head, but understanding every word with my heart. Each and everyone of my Fathers friends to me were the voice and embodiment of God on earth, giving us strength and solace and support on such a challenging day.

And most of all I remember the knowing this day would come, but praying it never would.

My Father– Lee, was buried in a small little graveyard in Chiriqui Province dedicated to the working common people, as we knew he would never want to be buried in the other cemetery in town used exclusively for the wealthy.

Our friend, Cove led the service in Spanish and then in English,  speaking a few words about Lee and his life and shared several  passages of inspirational Scripture with us.

Everyone was able to share a few words about how Lee touched their lives. My daughter shared with how much my Father, was more than a grandfather in her eyes, but like a Father in her life and how much that meant to her.

My Mother tossing a single red rose a top my Fathers simple pine casket before the burial.

 The Burial .

The men take turns shoveling dirt, showing respect and honor to Lee and his family.

Supporting each other.

 Roses laid on the grave– It is finished.

I just want to thank all of you dear ones, for your dear thoughts, prayers and support for the last year. It has meant so much to us.


P.S. And a deep heartfelt  thanks goes out to my parents friends, Cove and Bethany and family, who handled everything before and after my Father passed–They handled the multiple dealings with the health department, brought food, organized the neighbors, the funeral arrangements and much much more.

P.S.S. And a special note of thanks to my Aunt Karen, my Fathers sister, who lovingly put together an obituary  in the Seattle Times, to help bring closure to all the family and friends back home.

“The Lord bless you and keep you;
The Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you;
The Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.”

Numbers 6:24-26

A Visit with My Daughter and My Father Flies to Tijuana, Mexico

Good day dear readers. I hope you all are well and blessed. I have missed sharing with you the last couple of weeks.

My daughter came to visit us last week and it was a joyful reunion! She is 8 months pregnant and we were very excited to get to finally meet Gabriel Lee. Unfortunately my son-in-law was not able to come due to work constraints, but we are hoping after the baby is born, all three of them will come down together. We look forward to having them all here!

My daughter and Mom on the Atv for a ride down our road

Steve and Scoot

Taking a break under shady trees by the creek

My Father flew to Tijuana, Mexico yesterday.

We had been praying for direction in the treatment of his cancer. I have always been an advocate for natural alternative treatments after many years of seeing the suffering and severe side effects from the chemotherapy and radiation that was given at the U of W Medical Center, besides my personal religous views on the matter. However I encouraged my Father, to do what he felt he needed to do, whether it was traditional chemotherapy or alternative treatment. Cancer is aggressive and needs aggressive approaches, whether you choose a traditional or alternative approach. I believe how a person chooses to fight cancer or not fight cancer  is a personal decision and no one can answer what is best for another to do, particularly if we have never walked in those shoes.

So as most of you already know, my Father began his treatment at home with alkalizing foods, cancer fighting herbs, juicing, green smoothies, etc…

My Father then pursued consultations with different oncology doctors in Panama City in January for traditional chemotherapy and radiation treatments. After a few weeks of consultations and trips back and forth to Panama City, he decided to stay home and continue with and pursue other natural alternative treatments for a couple of weeks and wanted to see what happened.

After the two weeks, I told him “You need to do something because the tumor in your neck is getting bigger and I am not sure if it is just getting bigger from cancer or inflammation of cancer cells getting killed, but I think you need to do something more aggressive.” My Father was looking at natural protocols for killing cancer, but not following a protocol in totality… And it was driving me crazy. Plus I thought even if he wanted to follow a holistic natural alternative treatment, he needed a doctor or coach that could counsel him and give him the best advice for fighting cancer. All of the natural alternative protocols he was reading about, stated this was one of the most important things to do.

The shortly after this, we were at the Farmers Market in Volcan, a week and a half ago, a woman came up to us, looking for the person, who had cancer. My Mother told her, “Well my husband has cancer…” So the woman sat down and told us about the cancer treatment she had and that she was now “cured of cancer”. She had been diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a cancer of the plasma cells and was found to have a couple of tumors in her bone. She had received a treatment in Tijuana called IPT (Insulin Potentiation Therapy). After her treatments, she was found to be cancer free per her blood work and her scans showed there was no more metastasis (she showed us her bloodwork and scan report). Her traditional Dr had told her “I did not want you to go to Tijuana, but I am so glad you did. I could not have done what they did for you.” She also boasted she had absolutely no side effects from the treatment. So after we met her we checked into IPT treatment by searching the internet.

An IPT treatment would look something like this: You are given a dose of insulin, which drops your blood sugar, to a very low-level of around 30. You are then given intravenous traditional chemotherapy at about 1/10th of a dose. You are then given dextrose to raise your blood sugar to a normal level.

The idea is when the insulin is given- it targets the cancer cells because cancer cells have highly active insulin receptors. The chemotherapy then targets the cancer cells more specifically. Thus the chemotherapy is much more potent, much less chemotherapy can be used and little to no side effects is experienced. So after hearing this woman’s testimony and our prayers for direction, my Father decided to pursue ITP treatment. It made sense to all of us. It does not have the severe debilitating side effects of chemotherapy and he will be able to continue with any other alternative treatment, as well as receiving IV vitamins, minerals and supplements at the clinic.

Here is a link to Dr Garcia Perez and about IPT, if you would like more info:

We continue to be ever hopeful and appreciate all of your support and prayers.

My Father in the greenhouse before leaving for Mexico

Keep me posted on how you all are doing… I would love to hear from you!

Yours always, whether near or far~Rose

A Rough Road Ahead…

As some of you know and some of you do not, my Father was diagnosed with cancer this past weekend. The tumor that we were told was benign, which was removed from his neck in October, grew back in a short six weeks. It not only grew back with full force, but also infiltrated his carotid artery, jugular vein and muscle. A CAT scan of his chest also shows three spots on his lungs.

Though cancer has infiltrated my Fathers body, there are things it can never do or take from him.

Cancer is so limited…

It cannot cripple love. It cannot shatter hope. It cannot corrode faith.

It cannot eat away peace. It cannot destroy confidence. It cannot kill friendship.

It cannot shut out memories. It cannot silence courage. It cannot reduce eternal life.

It cannot quench the Spirit.

We have a rough road ahead of us. Sometimes the roads you walk in this life are roads, you certainly would not chose for yourself or anyone you love. However there they are before you and there is no going back and there is no alternate route.

And yet we have great comfort and hope and bravely will walk forward in faith because we believe though the road may be rough, it is a road we do not walk alone on.

The steps of a man are established by Yahweh, And He delights in his way.

When he falls, he will not be hurled headlong, Because Yahweh is the One who holds his hand.

Psalm 37:23,24

My Father

So please continue to keep us in your thoughts and prayers. We love you and appreciate each and everyone of you, for your emails and messages of goodness and cheer. You are each a blessing to me and to every person on this farm.

With warmest regards~Rose


Preparing for Panama: A Hard Day