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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Visitor Cleaning day

Well, I have a visitor coming this weekend; my mother. She is coming to see her grandkids, she is also taking them to meet their great grandparents. She is suppose to leave tomorrow from Chicago, I am guessing she will take the kiddo's on Saturday. that way she will have them back for the 4th celebration near us on Sunday. My grandparents live to the south of us, I'd wager an hour of 2 drive.

So this morning after my normal rounds, we had the kids do some work around the front yard. Silver got the weed wacker out and cut down some of the grasses and they got added to our growing compost pile. I turned it this morning and was happy to see that it was starting to turn blackish in color. I also weeded my herbs, my basil is taking off. Also the Chamomile is forming flowers and I hope it gets some runners soon. I cut our dill back and I put it into the dehydrator and plugged it in... and it didn't start...

Well I hope with the heat we have been getting and the fact that our window a/c unit takes the humidity out of the air, it will dry on it's own. We will see, and now we are in the market for a new one. I wonder how much it would cost us to build a big wooden one?

Oh interesting news article I came across today:

..and I just love this quote:
"this year's corn crop will be 92.3 million acres, the second-biggest since 1944."

Now I have a couple problems with that, first... Yep lots of acres planted, I bet if you look it up it's feed corn. which if you figure in feeding it to cattle/chickens/pigs yep meat prices might go down. Second figuring in the "feed corn" statement again that is GMO corn... YIPPEE!
Then there is my last, but most important problem with this. That number is based on the planted corn, not what has grown and been harvested. We don't know for sure that every acre that has been planted will grow correctly.

This goes along the "counting chickens before they are hatched" thing. That article states that food inflation will go down because of this, again. Only if... the crop harvests to that amount as well. No one can say with 100% accuracy that this crop will grow exactly like it's suppose to with no problems.

Maybe people who say that we will be harvesting that much because that much was planted need to go back to the age of 5 when you learned not to plan on everything on your Christmas list appearing under your tree.

Be Well and Blessed Be....

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Busy Wed Morning

Wow only 10 am here and it's been a busy day already. Did my feeding rounds and watering ones. Then I harvested about 6 squash flowers which we are planning to have for lunch today. I went out and harvested some raspberry leaves which are now in my dehydrator to use as my daily morning tea. As it is a good herb for women. I use to take raspberry leaf in a pill form when I could find a good retailer with it.

Then we spent about an hour digging in the root cellar, widening it a tad more. It's at full length and I am guessing after tomorrow it will be at full width. I then went and did some berry picking and before cleaning and "picking through" I had a little over 4 Cups of black berries with about 7 wild blue berries. After I went through them I had just over 3 1/2 Cups that went into the freezer and the remainder is going to the chickens this afternoon.

..by the way I did all that before breakfast...

I like berry picking early in the morning, it's quiet and serene; especially when you get to do it by yourself. As my girls come home from camp this evening and my son just got himself a super grounding (he might get off it by age 18). It was funny when I told Silver this morning i wanted to go out and check the black berry canes he told me that they couldn't be ready. He was surprised by how much I brought back. I didn't even get all the ripe ones I saw, as part of the property I got to; to pick them was sprayed last year by the power company with Round Up. Yuck.. those berries are not touchable in my opinion now. I did have a funny moment with the berry picking, I had bent down and grabbed a couple to see if they were close to being ready as they were partly hidden. Well, it seems they were a tad overripe and exploded in my hand.

I should be able to get many more berries off those canes this year! They are still laden with unripe fruit. I also think that next year blueberry will be a bigger hit as the plant is spreading out into the woods a bit.

Tomorrow I'm getting more Lambs Quarters for another wilted salad. Silver and the girls loved it, I was told it tastes like Spinach; but I didn't think so. I couldn't place the flavor though. Provided the raspberry leaves are ready I will be drying dill tomorrow before they start going to seed. Well at least I'll be harvesting the plants with the flower heads anyway.

Hope you have a good day!

Be well and Blessed Be...

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A "Home Cooked" meal

We had home made Chicken soup today, the stock has been simmering for the last 2 days:



This stock has:

approximately the bones of 4 chickens
1 whole chicken
3 large field carrots
1 very large white onion
1/2 a head of garlic
basil
fresh rosemary (about 4 inches)
curry powder
1 whole dried hot pepper
about a dozen pepper corns
Now this was started at about 5pm Sunday night only thing I did with the onion was chop it into quarters. Left the skin on it and just cut the carrots into thirds, did not peel them. I strained it completely at about 2pm today and after running it through 2 strainers and pulling apart the meat from the whole chicken and putting it back the above picture is what we had.

I then added about a cup of wheat berries and put it on simmer and covered it till I was ready for our evening meal. Right at about 5 pm I diced a medium onion not too finely and added it. Then I made some egg noodles.



These are the noodles as I made them, ingredients:

2 cups of flour
2 eggs
salt
garlic powder
about (give or take) 1 cup of water




It's very simple from there, mix all dry ingredients together, then make a "well" in the center and crack your eggs into it. Start mixing the eggs in, then slowly add water and maybe flour till you get the consistency your want. Which is about equal to biscuit dough.

Then form it into a ball and cut off small portions to roll out. I have a rolling pin, but I never use it folks. I generally just use my hands. Then you cut them into strips, how thin should they be? I don't measure it so I really can't say... but not above 1/2 an inch I'd say.

Also you should note that while you are making your noodles if you are planning to cook them separate from your broth start your water when you start your noodles. Once the water is boiling drop them in wait a couple minutes and give them a gentle stir just in case they stuck to the bottom. Then let them float on the surface a while then you can take them out and they are ready.

Here is my finished product:



Doesn't it look good? Oh, the carrots I used to make the stock went to my chickens, and they were very happy about it. I was going to add some cut up carrot at the end and forgot. You can always "finish" this soup differently than I have, as I work with what I've got.

By the way, we save all chicken bones when we cook chicken just for stock making, when I have a ton of bones me or Silver or both of us makes a chicken stock and it gets "finished" based on what we have. A handy bit of info here, we also keep some whole carrots frozen just to make sure we have them for soup stocks. As my kids go through carrots like you would not believe. I also prefer field carrots for stock making as they have a stronger flavor than "cello" bag ones do. Though if I ever get some carrots growing here you know I'll be keeping some just for my soup making!

Be Well and Blessed Be...

Another comment on the Weather

The weather for the last week has sucked.. big time. I know we need the rain here, but for the last week we have gotten rain every overnight. With the heat during the day, and humidity we can't do any digging in the root cellar.

Which is annoying me greatly. We did manage to have one day I think a week ago when we managed to dig in it twice in one day. In the morning then again in the evening. Maybe we need to tarp the current hole and then we could work on and off all day. Something to think on here I guess.

While I'm annoyed with the rain my plants love it, I'll have to tie up the tomatoes on that trellis very soon as they are really getting tall. I imagine these ones will be taller than anything I have ever grown tomato wise.

I'm still waiting to see if the riot of flowers on my squashes will produce anything. As last year was my first year growing any kind of squash.. I am a tad inexperienced in it. I am use to watching cucumbers grow. Seeing many, many squash flowers form then just wither with no "fruiting body" makes me wonder the mechanics behind how they grow?

I know last year on the zucchini I grew, once in a while I could go out and look at a flower just starting and see a mini zucchini forming before it open and say yep that's one. Is that normal? Do I need those other flowers that don't form anything? If not I want to know so I can fry them up!

Any help?

Be Well and Blessed BE...

Monday, June 27, 2011

Lots of flowers going on here!

Wow! again I am amazed by these tomato plants that have myself started and planted. Like I said I have grown tomatoes before, however I have never started them myself before this year. I counted this morning 28 flowers on one plant!

I think I have identified the paste tomatoes and if I am correct I already have about 5 mini tomatoes on them. Not to mention the abundance of flowers on them. Seems that every tomato plant now has flowers on them and if I am right about which is the purple smudge and they produce as much as they just have in flower I'm defiantly voting for them for next year. We still have to check taste of course *winks*.

My rice beans are still in flower and they are defiantly a bush type (I need to get more pictures dang it!) The Tiger's Eye are flowering as well, no flowers on the pole beans as yet though. The long beans are still behind on the growth compared to my standard pole beans.

My squashes are now covered in blossoms and one I noticed this morning had a double flower! I can't wait for them to start producing! The butter pumpkin is starting to vine out, which I am taking as a good sign. IT is going to be loaded with flowers from what I can tell.

Over in my "flower" bed one of the melons did come up and is getting ready to flower as well.

We've had 2 lazy days due to heat and rain as Silver does not do well in the heat and our root cellar is full of water due to the rain. Yesterday it was so humid I didn't even want to set up a bath.. but I'm not going to HAARP on the weather.




But... don't take my word for it...

Be Well and Blessed Be...

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Enviropig™

I read something startling today that there is soon to be approved in Canada something called “Enviropig™” a genetically modified pig. There is a website for Canada against it:

http://www.thinkeatact.ca/campaign/enviropig%E2%84%A2-attacking-wrong-end-problem



This is the Wikipedia entry for this “animal”:



The Enviropig is the trademark for a genetically modified line of Yorkshire pigs with the capability to digest plant phosphorus more efficiently than ordinary unmodified pigs that was developed at theUniversity of Guelph.[1] Enviropigs produce the enzyme phytase in the salivary glands that is secreted in the saliva. When cereal grains are consumed, the phytase mixes with feed in the pig's mouth, and once swallowed the phytase is active in the acidic environment of the stomach degrading indigestible phytic acid with the release of phosphate that is readily digested by the pig.

Cereal grains including corn, soybean and barley contain 50 to 75% of their phosphorus in the form of phytic acid. Since the Enviropigs can now digest phytic acid, there is no need to include either a mineral phosphate supplement or commercially produced phytase to balance the diet. Because no phosphorus is added to the diet and there is digestion of the phytic acid, the manure is substantially reduced in phosphorus content, ranging from a 20 to 60% decrease depending upon the stage of growth and the diet consumed.

The benefits of the enviropig if commercialized include reduced feed cost and reduced phosphorus pollution[2] as compared to the raising of ordinary pigs.

The Enviropig was developed by the introduction of a transgene construct composed of the promoter segment of the murine parotid secretory protein gene and the E. coli phytase gene.[2] This construct was introduced into a fertilized embryo by pronuclear microinjection, and this embryo along with other embryos was surgically implanted into the reproductive tract of an estrous synchronized sow. After a 114 day gestation period, the sow farrowed and piglets born were checked for the presence of the transgene and for phytase enzyme activity in the saliva. Through breeding, this line of pigs is in the 7th generation, and the phytase trait is stably transmitted in a Mendelian fashion.





Seems from what I have read that the idea behind this is the concern of contamination from the manure that is spread on farms from the large scale pig farming pigs. Well, in my opinion; that is the problem right there. Large scale pig farming, a sustainable pig farm would be better especially if it were a pastured pig farm.



That means the pigs forage for at least 75% of it's food, not get fed 100% of it's diet through commercial feed. We still do not know what any of the GM anything will do to us down the line, but I doubt it will be good for anyone.

Here is a good question what if these pigs escape into the wild and breed with feral pigs? Somehow I doubt that would be good, and it would spread those genes where they were not meant to go. Maybe even into the US.

Stand up and say something about this, and stop it before it becomes a reality in Canada and here.

Take Back Urban Homesteading Day of Action

"Mother Earth News" email writing campaign:

Seems that the good people at MEN have decided to fall to the whims of the D-family, and switch out from the term "Urban homestead" to "Modern Homestead". I for one have an issue with this as do the members of Take Back Urban Homesteading on facebook. This weekend is a "day" of action in an email writing campaign against this to MEN. Here is my contribution:

Dear Mother Earth News,

I have read your magazine for years learning as much as I can about the Homesteading way of life and anything having to do with “off grid” living. I now live on a 5+ acres homestead in Missouri. While I am not an “Urban Homesteader” I do believe in what they do and offer my own help through what I learn in my process of making my home a “viable” home for my family.


It has come to my attention that you are succumbing to the “machine” by changing your use of the term “urban homesteading” to “Modern Homesteading” because of the Dervases institute. I have to say I am greatly disappointed in this move on your part.


That family did not create the movement, nor had I even heard of them till you did one article on their family and at that time I though “wow that's cool”. I have not heard a thing about them anywhere since then. At least not until they pull the lawsuit against the people who use the term “Urban Homestead”. A term that has been used in the movement well before Jules and company claim to have started it.


Almost 8,000 people on facebook alone are protesting this and are outraged by this happening. I am no different, this term cannot be “owned” as it is general use. Your magazine has in the past been a beacon to many people trying to live with limited intervention from the “machine” that is modern society. You have also helped those who cannot leave their city lives and chose to live within the “machine” to do what they can.


It saddens me to see that your magazine no longer truly supports this. Also due to the fact that you are putting this one family who happened to just be “lucky” enough to make it better than most in their endeavors above others who have been doing it for years I cannot in good conscious buy/read your magazine.


I hope that eventually you change your stance and I'm sure if you do I will hear of it, through the web of the true “Urban Homesteaders”.

Rivenfae Wolf


Please support us in this attempt to make MEN see that we don't care for this bow to the D-family.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Another Movie Review

Yes I have another movie review for you today as we watched this one this morning after discovering that the rain was going to hamper any progress on our root cellar today. (yeah a big just up out of bed when I noticed looking out the window while half awake that the air was yellowish orange) Just a minor freak out then run out to get my morning feeding chores done.

But anywho the movie in question:

"Ingredients"
Directed by: Robert Bates


This movie is about how some chefs who love eating "good tasting" good foods, have been sponsoring sustainable agriculture. It follows a few different farms and those farmers from those farms talked about how they got started in sustainable agriculture based on these chefs needs.

It also touches again on CSA's and also something else. Remember the last movie I reviewed about the girls? Well it seems since that movie was made and this one one of the farmer's market "owners", that was trying to get fresh veggies into the little corner markets has succeeded in getting the food into the markets in Harlem and other areas in the NY city area.

This movie also goes season by season and does show some of the crops/veggies garnered from those times. Which can be eye opening if you don't know about things like "winter vegetables". There are many winter vegetables out there, or at least vegetables that are harvested in the winter.

So take some time and check this one out, as i am sure you will like it!


Thursday, June 23, 2011

Foraging day!

Yep “foraging” , as foraging is one of the good things about living in a country/woods setting you can gather a lot more food than you can just by growing. Today was a blackberry day. As you can see my harvest was not big as it is still early in the season.


We have a great many blackberry canes along the road here, so many and so big that they over hang it in spots. The canes are so swollen with unripened fruits right now they are bending quite a bit I'll try to get a picture of in in a day or so.


We should have a great many more berries in about a week based on the coloring of the remaining berries now. Oh, that smaller bowl is of blueberries that grow wild next to my property. The blueberries seem to be spreading as well so next year we should have a good crop from those along with my lone one in my berry patch. I do hope to add to my berry patch next year.


For now any berries that I forage are being put into a baggie and being frozen (don't yell at the moment the baggie takes less room in my freezer than the jars and the jars keep getting broken by kids). I am freezing as I am hoping in a month or two, to be able to make my first jam/jelly. I am planning it to be a mixed berry jam possibly with rosehips in it for vitamin C.


I need to look up some recipes on jams/jellies online and look through the few I have stored on here and see if I have one I can modify for my use. Lowes right now has a anniversary edition water canner that I'd like to buy this month if we can afford it. Then I'll get some jelly sized jars and anything else I need and make my first attempt!


I am so excited by the thought, and I hope it “jells” correctly as I'll be doing this completely from a newbie standpoint. Any helpful hints would be appreciated!


Now take some time and find out if you have something “wild” near you to forage. Most areas that have any hint of wild berries sometimes will have “berrrying days” where someone will guide you to go to the best “patches”. Though I am sure they don't show you the town's favorite spot, why give out a good secret?


I have noticed the mandrakes (or Mayapple if you prefer) are not doing well this year I have only seen one with a growing fruit. So I am guessing I am not trying that jam out this year. I hope to next year though.


Be Well and Blessed Be...

Root Cellar Update!



OK, I know it's been a while; but while Silver was sick we put the root cellar on hold. Now even though he feels better he's still coughing bad, and by his choice we got back to work on it this morning.

This first picture is of it when we started this morning:




Ok, I took this a few days ago; but still this is what it looked like before we worked on it this morning.






Now here is what it looks like now:



I put the shovels into the "hole" to give you some perspective on what it looks like now. Even though the one is "tipped up" a bit the soil under the handle has been loosened. We had to stop for a bit now due to my back and Silver's back. As of now it is about 9 1/2X 6 1/2X 1 1/2.. a bit closer to 2 ft on the depth.

We have noticed due to here that the hardest part has been the first bit of ground as there is so much rock in the top layer. I am sure it would be taking much longer if we were not using the hammer drill with the planting bit. I wish we could find another one of those bits as it has be a good tool for us. We were in Lowes the other day and hunted for one, but it seems they are out. I guess it is past the "season" for those.

Well we have decided the walls will be done with the ferrous concrete to save money. It will still be strong and keep the soil/clay out of the cellar. Silver is also thinking about making the floor into a concrete floor. Not fully sure on that one as yet though.

So what have you managed to do before breakfast? almost time for me to cut our bread for breakfast this am, and it's already been a busy day so far.

Oh, fun news on the kid front, my son left this morning for a 2 day one night camping trip with the local church. I do hope he has fun, seems they are going to go canoeing and he's really looking forward to that.

Be Well and Blessed Be...

Here is the Tomato Trellis

Yep it's just pretty much a (I think it's called) a cow panel.. could be one of the hog ones though. Any who it was one we had around the humanure pit and because our dogs are tied up a good distance away from it we are figuring that it would be safe to pull it down and repurpose(SP?) it.

All we used on it was 2, 2X2's on either end and we nailed those to the box then we stapled the panel to the 2X2's. So far the tomatoes are doing Ok on it.

Every tomato plant but my 2 "puny" types have flowers on them as of now. I hope the other ones will get them soon as well. My Tiger's Eye beans now have flowers and I think some of my squashes will flower soon. Also I think one of the plants I put in the flower bed by the dogs is getting ready to flower. I think it's a melon.

Well the plan for this morning is to get back to digging the root cellar, right after my bread is done baking. Did you know I love baking bread first thing in the morning? It's such a nice smell first thing in the morning.

This is generally how my day starts off:

I get up start Silver's coffee. I go out get the dog food bowls and feed the dogs, then feed the chickens (and get them water). Then I water my garden plants, which are in 3 different spots. I also fill the dog's water then and use the hose to get rid of their .. errrmmm.. poo. Why don't I just pick it up and dispose of it? Well it does just as much good if I "hose it" down and the "water" goes into the ground, it's what nature would do eventually anyway. So why use a plastic "doggie bag" to clean up their mess? Especially when I can dispose of it in a better way? When I am done with all that I generally get my bread making done, and after this batch is done we are going out to do some root cellar digging. All this before breakfast!

Be Well and Blessed Be...

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

WOW!





Well it seems I have been awarded the "stylish blogger award", given to me by from Krazo Acres. WOW, I have just never truly won anything and well considering I know this is a "pass around award I will do so. Now I also hear that I need to tell folks 7 deep dark secrets about me... well Ok lets give it a go!


Once as a preteen I put bubble bath into a toilet to see if it would make bubbles when you flush. then I forgot about it and my father was not amused by it. ...I also never got to see if it did make bubbles...

I discovered also as a kid that when your big brother is trying to act macho pointing out his ticklish spot to his new girl friend will come back to bite you in the butt!

I have this awful habit of picking scabs, that I picked up as a child and never seemed to out grow.

I never owned a video game system as a kid better than an old Atari system.

I have this god awful fear of thunderstorms at night when in bed, it's so bad that I can't do anything but curl up in a ball and wait it out.

I never ate a tomato in any form other than catsup till about 3 years ago...

And....

Some days I miss the city... scary huh?


Now who will my victim for this award... hmmmmm... (insert evil laugh here)

over at "The Last Half Of Life"

Right now she has been detailing her and her family's move out here in my neck of the woods. So my dear come on and get it! You deserve it!



Monday, June 20, 2011

Plant Pictures!!!!



Yep I got my camera running again so here you go some pictures of my many plants:

To start off pictures of my tomatoes:




These are the ones in the back garden, 2 sets of these have very thick stems so I am wondering if they will need staking at all.











This flower is on one of the ones in my back garden. i do also have flowers on one set of my tomatoes in my box, I think those in the box might be the purple smudge ones. I'm not sure yet but we will see.










This one compared to the others in my back garden seem on the puny size. The stems on these are not as thick, and while this plant is very lush the other ones in the back seem to have more leaves and bigger ones.








This is one of my "boxed" tomatoes, doesn't he look happy? today we set up a trellising fence on the back for me to tie them all too and we will see how they do with it. also i will take a picture of it tomorrow morning.







Here is my "puny" one in the box, now it is a lush plant and if it weren't for the fact it won't stay erect it would be the same height as the other ones. I have a feeling this is a "vining" type of tomato.





Now here are my bean plants:



This is really an "overview" shot, but as you can see it is mostly my "bush" beans the tiger's eye's. Which in my opinion are very tall bush beans. I do hope they produce well.








Here are my pole beans, and they seem very happy they are climbing on their own now after quite a bit of encouragement on my part. i did not get a picture of my rice beans but they seem to be more a bush type than a pole and they are flowering already.







Now for those of you who don't know what this is, it is Bitter Melon. I am growing it for Silver's Diabetes, as it is suppose to regulate blood sugar levels. it is the oddest looking thing I have ever seen. It took forever to germinate and out of 6 seeds only one did germinate. the leaves are maple leaf shaped which to me is odd looking on it's own. it is also slightly lighter in color than a cucumber leaf.




This here is a newbie plant in my garden it is a Black Mission Fig, it already has some figs growing on them. I am hoping to see this one take off a bit in the next few months, I am also expecting it will take over the spot I planted it in. It has been years since i have eaten a fresh fig as I have a couple times when i was younger as a neighbor behind us when I was growing up had one growing in her yard. I don't know what kind she had, but she didn't even eat the figs, but she grew the plant. I think in the case of most "fruiting" types of trees most people buy and plant them with no intention of eating from them later. They want the "pretty" flowers but not the fruit later. I on the other hand want the fruit. So right now in my "budding" (yep I said it!) orchard I have 2 Elderberries, and one Fig. I hope to add more to it soon, I really want to get one of those "cold hardy" banana trees I've seen advertised recently. I also know they will not taste like a "banana" I know, but if they will survive our winters it would be a big help as we eat bananas like you would not believe.

Oh, a note on buying plants late in the season. It is actually a good time to buy them, as you can get them much cheaper than during the "standard" buying time. One year a number of years ago i lived someplace where while I could not grow food plants I could have a flower garden and 90% of all my plants were half "dead" plants stores knocked down to almost nothing. If you are very careful with them they will live and thank you for getting them buy sometimes producing much more than the "healthy" ones you buy early in the season. I'll get a picture of my Stevia plants tomorrow and show you what I mean.

Be Well and Blessed Be...

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Movie Review: " What's on Your Plate?"




I watched a really cool and wonderful movie with my kids last night, it was called “What's on Your Plate?” It is directed my an activist named Catherine Grund and has her daughter Sadie Hope-Grund and her daughters best friend Safiyah Kai Riddle as the hosts/stars of it.


In this movie the girls after experiencing the taste of a “farm fresh” tomato and how different it tasted decided to figure out all they could about where their food comes from. Including the food in their school.


My girls at least were very interested in what was going on in this movie and about how these 2 girls where showing how much the children of NY city had access too. ...provided you look for the “good food”.


These girls visited 2 major farms in NY state that had dealings with the NY city school system. One was an apple farm seems it took quite a bit to get NY apples into the NY city school system. The other farm was a carrot farm (I'm sure they had more than carrots), the carrot farm was trying to get their carrots into the school system. By the end of the movie you find out that the carrots did make it into the school system.


They also learned about CSA's and about families in the city who farm. Also a friend of one of the girls lives in Harlem and drives out of that area to buy good food. Then the girls found for them a farmers market in their area, just down the street from them. It had been there for 12 years and the father of the family didn't even know it was there.


I think this was truly a wonderful family film that everyone should watch with their kids, especially if their kids “don't get” what mom and dad are telling them about food and how important it is to eat good foods. I know my kids (the girls anyway) asked quite a few questions during and after the movie about food and where it comes from.


It's funny, though as we have been telling my kids all about good food verses “bad” food and they didn't quite listen to it. Well, at least they are paying attention now.


So go check this movie out again it's called :”What's on Your Plate?”


Saturday, June 18, 2011

"Bad?" Corn



I have come across a strange/startling discovery lately while we are driving around. It has to do with our local corn (feed corn) crop. Now last year I had seen some areas in fields that were not as well grown as they others. No big deal right?


Well this year, while driving past at least 3 different corn fields (feed corn). I have seen some puny plants, also large portions of the field just aren't growing at all. I know and you also may know that old line about how corn should be” knee high by the 4th of July.” At this moment I do not think that thses corn fields will manage that height at all.


Which made me think about something else, people here have heard me talk about what I think of GMO crops. Also my concerns about what they -might- do. Well what if we are already seeing some kind of affect on our crops now from it? Maybe something is going on in their genetics that is making them harder to grow? What if we are heading to a corn blight? What if...?


There is just to many questions about these crops (in my opinion anyway), also to many “what if's'” to really want to have anything to do with those crops. I don't think I will ever grow corn as I worry even with sweet corn that I would have some crossing with a GM product.


My other concern about at least the GM corn, but the others as well. When you have a crop with that “terminator” gene, where does the company get the new seed every year? The whole point on having that gene is to prevent them from producing viable seed. So where are they growing the corn that they use that gene in and how is it that the “seed corn” is/has the “terminator” gene in it?


Am I the only person asking this question?

Friday, June 17, 2011

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Odd moments while driving

Dang I wish I had my camera working, because then I'd get pictures for what I'm about to comment on here.

For what it looks like here there are a good amount of farms now up for sale, and that bothers me. A year ago these same farmers were doing fine, and even considering the happenstance that these people just might have only just decided to go to the city to make life easier. That is still a lot of farms.

I saw at least a dozen farms up for same and 10 of those dozen were not up for sale last year. I think it is a disturbing trend. I do hope that it does not continue. I also wonder if it is due to the current issues in farming over the big M and it's policies? Especially with their GM products.

I personally don't want GMO food any where in my diet. Not even in the feed for the meat I may/ may not eat. Once it gets into the "system" where does it stop? What happens down the line? Maybe this will happen:

The farmer walked out to his field shaking his head, looking at the corn crops all dead; and not knowing why. This has been the first time this has ever happened as far as the farmer knew. He had been growing corn for about five years after his father stopped and gave him the farm. As he looked around even across the street he could see those corn fields dead as well, and those weren't his fields.

As far as he knows all the corn fields are dead, the only place he had heard of any growing still was on a tiny farm about five miles away. He knew though that he couldn't grow that corn, it would kill him. About a year ago someone had gotten into the county grain silo some of that corn, and it had mixed into the rest of the good corn. It was a disaster, all the livestock fed that corn died and so did the people whose food was tainted by it.

The farmer shakes his head thinking about what else that farm was growing. What was a tomato anyway? He had never heard of such a thing as a tomato, and what were beans? The only food that existed (at least as he grew up knowing) was corn made or processed meat. Everyone who grew food grew either corn, chickens, or cows. So what weird kind of food were those people growing?

He could not believe it, as he was offered food from those people the one time he went over to there. He was sick for a week after and the doctors gave him five bottles of pills to get rid of what ever was in that food. He was told by the doctor later that whatever that farm grew it did not have the one thing that all life. It was a a non-modified food, the farmer had never heard of such a thing before. His father when he had asked him told him that when he was a kid they had such foods. Also that people had only started eating the modified foods.

So he guessed someone must have hid those seeds when they were destroying all the non-modified seeds. It didn't matter now if there were as now people could only eat the modified crops now, same with the live stock. The farmer shakes his head again, his dad's childhood days were over 50 years ago, it must have been an odd time.


While yes, this is not going on now; we do not know the future affects of GM products. What if... one of the future side affects is that anything fed with them can then only eat them? What will happen if humanity becomes dependent on those alterations in the food to survive? It would change our genetic code, and then people who stayed away from them would be a different species from the “normal” humans. While this might not happen, we just don't know. We need more study of these products before humans should ingest them in any form. Even 2nd hand form.



I do truly wonder about it...


Be Well, and Blessed Be...

Sunday, June 12, 2011

No rain and heat?

Well I guess my title for today isn't100% true, we got a cold front move through yesterday and we might get some rain today as I took a gander at the radar this morning and there was a lovely green spot heading for us. So we might get some rain out of this after over a week with nothing.

We have spent the last couple of days without working on the root cellar as Silver has not been feeling well, he seems to have a bit of a cold with congestion. The first day of it he had an awful sore throat and felt yucky. So I made him this wonderful tea... (just ask my kids about how wonderful tea is when you get sick around me), it had some black tea, red pepper, and candied ginger in it. His complaints were mainly sore throat and that his lungs hurt from coughing. So I gave him the pepper for his lungs and the ginger for an all around antibiotic affect, and also to take care of the throat. Now while it helped, he has not asked me for any more.

I have finally perused the homeschool info Penny sent along to me and I love this particular site:

It is a really cool site that has some fun learning games that even my 14yr old likes. also through it I found an "online learning game world" for them to join. Heh, I never thought I'd see the day that my kids would fight over a learning game. As yet they were arguing over how much time one of the others got in it. even better I saw my son working on the Anatomy section on it and I don't think half the questions they asked he knew anything about. So over time I do think the kids will gain some info from this that is good.

OK, back to the weather a minute. I have been watering my plants every morning and after seeing the lovely grey skies I decided this morning to not and hope that it pours here, if it doesn't it probably won't hurt my plants to go one day without water as I have been watering them well every day. I am so happy about my tomato plants, no flowers yet; but they are about the size of the plants I bought last year at this time. However, these plants are in much better shape. Funny thing is, and I know I'm going to keep say this. The tomatoes in my box planted have thicker stems, than the ones in the ground. One of my Steviea plants might not make it, but as long as one of them does I will learn about caring for them and maybe next year I can get more of them.

We did have a minor incident yesterday morning. When I was out feeding the dogs one of the kittens from the second litter followed her mom (who has no worries over dogs) and walked right up to our spaniel's food bowl. Spaniel+small animal= hurt kitten
She is alive, but we think she has nerve damage, Lucky just did what most untrained hunting type dogs do... he caught the animal that came near him that he did not recognize as "family". We have kept the dogs away from the momma cats since bandit the first momma decided that anything not human was not coming near her babies. Also last year when Pagie had her kittens we mysteriously lost one of them when we were out one day and everyone was inside due to weather. We knew it was not Paris as we know what Paris does around any baby, she tries to be momma. So right now we are trying to get the hurt kitten recovered from her shock and see how well she will walk, if she stays Ok we will be keeping her and she will be called Dottie. We are also deciding if Lucky's actions are something we need to worry about. I don't think it was done in malice as there was no growl, it was just like he was trying to catch her. *shrugs* I don't know...

I am hoping Silver will feel well enough to get outside and inflate our flat tire and see if it is just a "over worked" air loss (I'm crossing my fingers on that one). We will need the car running by Wedsnday(SP?), so we can go grocery shopping. We are hoping to show our newest neighbor's on the 17th the one discount grocer.

Well I guess I better wrap this up as the sky outside is getting darker (yeah for open windows and doors!), I turned the AC off this morning and opened the house up, I've been getting the obligatory sore throat from dry air from the AC unit. So maybe we can get some humidity in here.

Be Well and Blessed Be...

Thursday, June 9, 2011

I hate Fleas!

Good thing flea is a four-letter word because I about to start using it like one. Our little kittens are covered in them and so of course now our house is infested. We spent the morning pulling every ounce of bedding out of our house and hung ti on the clothes lines. Then we went and totally swept out the house (the kids were amazed at how fast we got the floor clean). We booted every cat outside and set their food out there then we hosed the interior of the building down with a flea and tick spray. I hate using such stuff but right now we have not much choice in the matter.

In about an hour I'm going to attempt to wash 8 kittens and hope just some Ivory bar soap will get the fleas. Then I'm going to see if I can get the mommas into the bath water too, hopefully with almost no lacerations.

On another kitten note, for some reason the second mom has not taught her kittens to use the litter box. I do not know why not, does anyone know the best way to teach one that has no idea? The first mom cat taught her babies to use it, and it was interesting to watch.

She stood in the litter box and called the three over, then she called one into it and stepped out. I'm guessing she told them what to do, as they them "went" crying as I think it was their first times. They buried it and are now very good about using it. I guess you learn something new everyday.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Update day!

We as I can't take any pictures *pouts* I just decided to give an update on what I can. First thing, we did not work on the root cellar this morning, we instead we got my herbs that I have been growing from seed in ground finally. Used my favorite new garden tool (the drill) and tilled the soil that we amended last year for some flowers we had then. We added a bunch of the semi-composted chicken "stuff" from the brooder in it. I do hope they wind up very happy herbs. I did discover that yes the rue did sprout, and I have placed that in a separate spot; as i have heard that is grows very large.

Our chickens for some reason other than eating will not go into their coop. We need to put a door on it and keep them in it at night, also I am hoping they will spend more time in it when the rain comes this weekend. I have had no more dead chickens so i think we solved that problem, by putting heavier things around the edges of the fencing. Granted if they burrow under that will not stop them what so ever, which is why we need to get the door for the coop done as we put chicken wire under the dirt on the coop floor.

My pole beans are starting to vine, now if they would just go up the poles... I wish the rice beans had grown better I only have 2 out of 18 seeds. The Tiger's eyes are getting their secondary leaves now, so I am sitting here hoping to see some flowers in a couple weeks on them. I do not know how fast pole beans flower as these are the first ones I have ever grown.

My potatoes are getting ready to flower, and they have what the kids call "stink bugs" on them. they look like those green shield bugs, but they are brownish in color. does anyone know what they are and will they eat my plants? My bushel gourds are planted near the potatoes and seem to be doing Ok now, though I have no idea how quick they grow. It seems it is starting to get their secondary leaves as well.

Out in the vine bed my bitter melon has sprouted (one anyway), it took a while to sprout and I'll be keeping an eye on it closely. It is suppose to be a good supplement for diabetics to lower their blood sugar. I am hoping to put them into a stir fry with the long beans, and zucchini once I have all of them.

I believe I do have some melons coming up but as yet I am not sure which ones they are. We will see as time goes I am really hoping to try the Tigger melons this year, as i have heard they are wonderful.

Well that's it for now, back to the root cellar tomorrow; and we will see how my herbs do in their new home.

Be Well and Blessed Be...

Monday, June 6, 2011

Is summer already here?

WOW! it's been hot! So hot that we have only been digging our root cellar in the morning when it's the coolest. Over the weekend we bought one air conditioner for $40 at a yard sale. It has made sleeping at night in all this humidity wonderful. However the down side is it makes it so that we don't want to go outside in this heat. During the middle of the day that suits me fine, we just have to make sure we are doing our outdoor work as necessary. I don't recall it being this hot this early last year either, but then again I don't know the 'norm' for here either.

If you see me on facebook you'll know that I posted that we have lost one of our young hens. It was one of the white ones, something (Silver thinks it was a fox) dug under part of the fence and got into the yard. I think the one that died was probably defending the others as it was on of the more aggressive young hens, also due to the fact we had smaller ones in there that should have been easy targets; but they were not touched. So today's project is to (hopefully) finish the chicken coop today.

I wish I could get some pictures right now but, my batteries are dead in my camera and the ones we recharged did not last long. The root cellar right now is about7X7X2, It needs to be a bit bigger in two directions and a lot deeper.

I did get some pictures of my berry plants before my batteries died so here we go with those:




This is one of the three raspberry plants I got for my birthday, now I have not been watering these. I am thinking of starting too, but they seem to be doing well. Oh the picture of the blueberry you can't see the actual plant so I won't be posting that one. The lavender is in bloom, and the "red hot poker" lilies are coming up; I hope they flower this year. Oh, my bleeding hearts are looking lush, one of the Dahlias is looking well as well.

Here is one of the Black Currents:



Now to be honest I did not think these would do so well, however they seem to be growing fine. Though a couple days ago I did discover that one of them is broken in the middle, so I am down to one plant. I hope we can get a few more.

I am hoping (very much so) that we can dig up a spot for my herbs to go into later today. They are getting pretty nice sized and a few of them have been drooping in the heat so I need to get their spot set up very soon. I do know for sure now that my basil and Sage have both come up, I still have to figure out the rest of them though. My rosemary is doing fine, the Stevia though; I think I might lose one of them. The one that looked stronger seems to be drooping more than the one that looked worse. Go figure.

I do want to mention in this last little bit a minute bit about food storage. I have seen a good many people writing about it of late, and I'd like to comment on it.
#1 it doesn't hurt to keep extra food on hand.
Why? think, if there were some kind of weather problem and you couldn't get to a store you'd need it. Also if one of those is predicted people seen to rush to stores to wipe out what they think is "essential".
#2 Store what your family uses.
It does you no good to store 20 pounds of dried beans if you don't eat them.
#3 Stock up on non-perishables.
Why the distinction? I have seen people who plan for possible power outages by buying TV dinners... come on folks those won't last!
#4 Rice,flour,sugar,dry beans can go a long time in storage.
It is good to have these items "in stock" in your house as they can be used in almost anything.
#5 Don't forget your pets!
If you are stocking up for you it would be good to buy extra for Fido as well, if you can't get to the grocery store for you; you aren't going to make it for you dog/cat.
#6 Remember water!
You'd be surprised at how many people do not remember they might need to store water, but if you do not have power; you might not have water either.

Only you know how much your family uses of anything, or even what you use. So take a moment and figure out what you use the most, and my suggestion would be to buy those in bulk. I but flour, sugar, and rice in 25 pound bags, I am going to start buying them in those every month, not just when we get low. Now please folks this is just my suggestions on this, you don't have to follow it; but it wouldn't hurt you either.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Catch Up Day



Well as it is the second today is our catch up day for having spent yesterday out doing things, that we needed to do when we get some money in the house. We found a very good price on cat food at the one farm store we stop at. I also found these there:



2 sad looking Stevia plants that were $1.36 a piece, that was a good find as it is the end of the 'buy plants' season here. Does anyone out there know and can tell me if they are a perennial or an annual? ...and... would it be better to have them in a pot or in the ground? I am hoping that they will do well as after my first taste I do have to say YEP! They are sweet! The 'growingyourowngreens' guy on youtube commented that it has an odd taste to it as well. Well, I wouldn't call it odd; I think it's just a little different. However I can see myself drying this and powdering it to use in tea, or Silver's coffee.


So, in case you were wondering; no we have not done any digging in the last 2 days. We will be out digging in the root cellar in about an hour once the sun starts lowering here, or gets behind some trees anyway. I have a pot of spaghetti sauce simmering away right now, and for my white wine in it this time I used a local sweet white ST James Winery "Velvet White". We bought a bottle for $4.99 a bottle, and Silver thinks due to it's delightful flavor; that it would be a good dessert wine.

Here is a picture of what we did get done last in the root cellar:



As you can see it is much wider than it was in my last picture of it. The shovel is in the same place that it was before, my arms have been feeling so heavy after about 10 wheel barrow's full of dirt that I dig out. That I think I might wind up with some impressive muscles by the time we finish. My youngest daughter in her infinite wisdom thought that just pushing the barrow was hard. OK, so I let her try the digging out, she could not even fill it up once. She stopped complaining about how hard it was after that. Funny thing is the first day she had no issues doing the work, it was the second day that she had the issues.

I hope to have more pictures up, once I get more batteries for our camera. It seems recharged batteries don't last long in it. Oh well, lesson learned; right?

Be Well and Blessed Be...