Monday, June 01, 2015

No Plow, No Till, and Hardly Any Weeding - You Say?

I will have to add photos later, but my no plow, no till and hardly any weeding style of gardening eliminates much cost and time for gardeners.  Most of my inspiration comes from super gardeners Masanobu Fukuoka and Ruth Stout.  I just adapted some of their ideas to fit my location and available resources.  
Here's how I do it:  First I just clear and mow an area.  Then I put some wood ashes down followed by some compost or manure to start healthy bio-activity.  Because of my clay soil, I put about 3-4 inches of crushed sand on the whole garden.  Planting is done by making a furrow that touches the compost/manure level.  Seeds are covered to appropriate depths, or a little more.  Unless it is very wet, I lightly mulch with some very old or rotting hay that I get from local farmers - they discard them.  As plants grow I add mulch as needed.  If there are weeds, I add a heavy mulch layer.  If weeds grow through the mulch I use  a five-tine fork to lift the mulch up and set it back on the weeds - they eventually become very spindly and weak.  The sand tends to be dry and keeps new weed seeds from germinating.  Also, the sharp dry sand seems to discourage slugs.  When the hay rots into the sand it creates a nice loamy soil condition.  The garden, and produce, stay mud free and there is no need to till because sand does not compact.  The key is to keep refreshing the sand layer to keep the weeds at bay.  Sometimes I need to water if the plants aren't big enough to reach the moisture holding dirt level .  Planting vertical loving varieties makes the process even easier too.  

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The Many Causes of Modern Diseases

Everything we breath, every bite of food and anything we put on our skin has positive or negative potential.  These often work together to cause our modern diseases.  Eating nutrient poor, food with antibiotics, or preservatives can destroy natural protein processing digestive bacteria.  Our body's system is remarkable but eventually one factor can tip us into a health disaster.  We tend to blame the resulting sickness on one cause when actually there are many reasons that contribute, but just one may trigger the tipping point into disease, or death.

Friday, February 06, 2015

Is the Use of Antiperspirant a Cancer Risk?

Everything we breath, everything we are exposed to and everything we eat has potential to benefit or harm our well being.  A wonderful new science, Epigenetics, may help us sort out it out soon.  We are starting to see there is compelling evidence that substances we are exposed to, and the substances (much of what we eat today is not food) we eat influence cancer, allergies and our children's , grandchildren's, and even our great-grandchildren's lives .  We do know that antibiotics destroy essential protein processing bacteria that leads to allergies.  There are many factors and it is quite complicated, but, antiperspirants are likely disease contributing substances.   As mentioned, it is extremely complex but it is also incredibly simple if people learn how to stick to living as they were before man's "improvements".

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Those "Healthy Grains"

Earl“Rusty” Butz, secretary of the USDA under Nixon decreed that we would be a - highly profitable for big Ag - grain eating nation. We have been told to eat grains ever since.
If grains are consumed for more than several weeks the grains begin to have a detrimental effect on digestive systems - this is a plant protection mechanism that insures the plant species will not be eaten out of existence. It is also part of the reason we lose our "taste" for foods after continuously eating them. 
No animal has evolved that eats grains all year long but there is good reason that animals ate the high carb fall foods - they needed to fatten up to survive the winters. 
Grains can be tolerated, but greens should dominate diets in the spring and summer months.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

What's Different About Our Food Today?

Some say that we have always been exposed to poisons and toxic sprays.
Yes, years ago we were exposed to DDT, asbestos and lead but not on the level and frequency that we experience toxins and adulterated food today.  Most people still had home cooked food and there were many small farms that grew decent food.  
We now have fructose in everything instead of sugar and poorly grown food, from huge corporate farms that care only about profits, that is preserved with massive amounts of toxins and preservatives.  Today food is produced for their wealth, not your health.  GMO foods were created to withstand huge amounts of herbicides and still thrive and produce profits - they weren't created to make us healthier.  
Antibiotic use in animal production is used to allow overcrowding and make animals fatter, again, for more money.  
All these "tricks" to produce faster more profitable food has had a negative impact of the health of U.S. citizens.  Collectively the unnatural food and toxins we are exposed to have caused incurable diseases today because the illnesses are due to our system's inability to tolerate it.  
It is complex but if you eat natural food it is vary simple - we are of organic origins and require organic food.  

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Time for Another Wood Stove Post

Wood heat is great but most people do not understand how to use a wood stove. 
Start your fire with newspaper, then kindling which you can shave off your firewood if need be. Use progressively larger wood as the fire heats up. Most people do not burn a fire hot enough. You can burn a small hot fire if necessary but burn a hot fire. A hot fire will burn most volatile gases that cause creosote buildup in your chimney - if you burn the fuel, you get heat from it and it won't wind up in your chimney. 
Once you have a sustainable fire have the bottom, and maybe the top draft intakes wide open. When the fire is roaring and hot you can close the bottom intake some, but leave it open a bit. Keep the top draft wide open unless  the fire is really raging.  The idea is to keep the top draft open to burn the wood gases. 
If it gets too hot use smaller lengths, and some bigger diameter pieces of wood - essentially use half of your wood stove's burn area.
Most chimney fires start after a period of warmer weather when people have been burning a smoldering fire, then, when it turns cold they burn a hot fire which drys and ignites the deposited creosote in the chimney. Because of my set-up and method of burning wood, I have never had to clean my chimney in 35 years - a small amount of creosote does dry and falls to the bottom clean-out however
Since a lot of heat and fuel go up a conventional stove's chimney the most efficient stove would be a rocket mass heater, but few have been UL approved. 
BTW, wood stoves should not have a chimney damper - they help slow and cool the gases causing creosote to deposit in the chimney.

Sunday, January 04, 2015

Are Flu Vaccinations a Good Route?

For children and people with compromised immune system, other illnesses, or generally unhealthy, Flu shots are probably a good idea, however, vaccination immunity is less vigorous and declines in effectiveness much faster than a natural immunity.  
Contracting a particular influenza virus imparts lifetime immunity, even to similar strains. For instance, during the 1918 pandemic, also known as the Spanish flu, many older adults likely had partial protection caused by exposure to the 1889–1890 flu pandemic, also known as the Russian flu. Even so, an immune compromised person could become susceptible though. 
Because vaccination responses are at low levels, immunity is less vigerous and they decline in effectiveness much faster than a natural immunity. 

Monday, November 24, 2014

Food Makes Your Health or Breaks It

Food production today is generally a profit business, not a health business.  Humans were not designed to consume processed, poisoned and adulterated foods, and our declining health is proving it.   Many "incurable" diseases may be simply a bodily response to harmful foods.  From MS to allergies, the culprit is likely that we have corrupted our digestive system's complicated workings with poor food, and substances in our foods, that kill essential gut bacteria.   There are alternative farming methods that use organic methods or use alternatives to the conventional toxic spray approach.  Another source of excellent foods is foraging.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

What You Feed Your Dog Is Determines Your Dog's Health

Dogs may be man's best friend but man is not exactly dog's best buddy because modern humans feed their dogs commercial food that is designed to generate corporate profits rather than provide health or proper nutrition  There is no animal on earth that eats grains all year long except man and the animals he feeds. Nature did not design animals to eat grains continually and there are health consequences for bucking nature.  .
People who have dogs with foot cysts, hair loss and digestive problems have seen their pets make remarkable recoveries simply by making dietary changes to reflect diets of their ancestors.  In many cases dogs that are chronic visitors to the vet yet did not see relief have responded dramatically to a more natural diet that eliminates grain products.  
If you value your dog, feed him healthy, nutritious food and avoid the highly advertised for-profit canine junk food that companies pass off as grub for your dog.  Be sure to check out these sites here and here for more information too.

Welfare Life Isn't Much fun

Does welfare pay better than working?  Some would have you believe almost anything that advances their agenda, however a little wisdom crushes the the wild accusations.  Then too, pointing fingers is so much easier than actually addressing difficult problems - that is ultimately the real objective, and it works so well with easily distracted folks.  Check out this post for a reasoned look at the issue of weather welfare pays better than working.  


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

June bugs are common insects that appear in June - they are also very nutritious

June Bug - Medicinal Insect   (You will need to scroll down to the third article)

Toasted June bugs have a surprisingly sweet delightful taste. The flavor closely resembles thick raw molasses or crudely made ribbon cane syrup. It is difficult to eat just one. Crushed into fine powder, bug-flour added to hot water forms a rich nourishing drink perfectly suited to victims suffering from anemia, dehydration, and other maladies. If mixed with warm milk, it has a malted milk taste. However, toasted June bugs should be consumed in measured proportions because of the heavy concentration of protein and fat. If eaten in large amounts, the rich oily meal can result in stomach ache or mild diarrhea. In conclusion, the June bug remedy works best as a life-saving supplement to other foods. When relieving anemia, the remedy stimulates poor appetite, stirring the patient’s interest in eating again. Also, as a food source, both the larvae and the adult June bug are one of the best insects for eating there is. Grubs should be toasted in hot ashes before serving or adding to soups and wilderness stew. Toasted adult June bugs preserve well when crushed into a meal and sun-dried, storing the meal in an airtight and waterproofed container. -- Zimmerman on June Bug Medicinal Insect --submitted by Julia Traugott

You can read more about them here, and here, too.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Why we don't eat the best foods available to us

When I grew up we trusted the nutritional "experts" and avoided lard in favor of Proctor & Gamble's money making, 100% trans-fat cotton seed oil, Crisco. They said Crisco was a light vegetable oil that was much healthier for us than lard - we now know it causes heart disease.  Of course, corporations want us to buy their products and eschew natural foods because they made big profits selling their product. Naturally, the USDA supported  big corporations and big agriculture - they were influenced by big business through lobbyists and generous campaign contributions to pliable candidates who would further their profit making agenda. Recipes were created that used cheap, and profitable, grains and commercial products, like Crisco while people paid dearly with money and their health.The challenge today is to make people aware of nature's bounty and create new recipes and food combinations that will nourish and satisfy.  

You can find some wild food recipes at Wildman Steve Brill's site:  http://www.wildmanstevebrill.com/

You might also pick up Samuel Thayer's excellent books: Nature's Garden and The Forager's harvest.







Friday, December 27, 2013

Growing your own money - A lazy man's approach

Growing food is like printing your own money.  Done well, you have more fresh nutritious food at your fingertips.  By growing my own food I save on gas (by not traveling to buy food), food and medical bills (by being healthier).  By not plowing, tilling or weeding I save money by not buying garden equipment like tractors or tillers, gas to run them and lots of time.
Gardening can be easy or hard depending on how you do it. After many years of gardening I now don't plow, till or weed - it works for me.
Reading Masanobu Fukuoka and Ruth Stout inspired me to think about changing the way I garden. I have combined their methods to suit my conditions. Because I cannot flood my fields like Masanobu or have deep rich topsoil like Ruth Stout, I have devised an alternate method for my soil type.  Similar to Lasagna gardening, my garden is layered with manure and wood ashes as a micronutrient starter, followed by a heavy layer of sand and topped with rotten hay from bales that farmers discard.  The sand acts as a a dry zone that seems to inhibit weed seeds from sprouting and keeps the soil from compacting since sand does not compact and allows the winter frost to heave the soil up.  Rain cannot pack the soil because it absorbs the force of the rain by vibrating rather than compacting.  Because the soil cannot compact  it eventually becomes loose like the soil you would would find under a porch.  The old hay provides mulch and then rots into the sand making it very loamy.   The results are a very low maintenance garden once you have done the initial work.  I do have some weeds appear but most occur in the fall and spring.  Usually chickweed and dandelions pop up in cooler weather.  I welcome them since I use them in salads and smoothies for a high nutrient boost.
When planting time arrives I either pull the weeds or use a scoop shovel to cut the roots and pile them in a compost pile.  It doesn't take much time to do this since the sand is loose.  I then make a fairly deep furrow to plant seeds in because they need to be able to reach the moisture.  Sometimes watering is necessary to insure good germination.  One summer, however, I had to water weekly because it was too dry.
Once the plants are up I start moving the mulch layer closer and closer.  About 3-6 inches of mulch seems to work for most crops, except potatoes which like a lot more.  Crops that like water should have a thinner layer of sand and a much thicker layer of mulch.  As the hay improves the soil I anticipate less a problem with water retention.  As it is, I am starting with ground that is virtually all clay so I am very pleased.  I also do small raised gardens of carrots, beets, lettuce and parsley.
The sharp edged crushed sand that I use seems to discourage slugs, wire worms and other soil pests.  As I mentioned before the lack of upper layer moisture seems to inhibit weed seeds however maintaining enough moisture is something that must be watched.  I might add that I also plant and save heirloom seeds.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Beans gone wild


Here's one of my Fortex green beans.  These are the most tender, sweetest and productive beans that I have ever grown.  I always save the largest beans for seed.  Did I mention that I don't plow, till or weed?

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

How to regrow green onions - not.

Google "How to regrow green onions", or "re-grow green onions", and you will get hundreds of testimonials on how well it works. This would be great if it actually produced a healthy crop but plants need minerals and micro-nutrients to actually be nutritious. 
Yes.  You can re-sprout onions in water, but the problem with re-growing green onions from scraps is that they really don't last forever if you simply put them in water alone. Eventually they stop growing, because even hardy plants like green onions need nutrients from the soil or other source.  The bulb, or whatever you are using, will totally run out of building block materials to grow.  The nutritional value and taste will wear out too.  Sun and water isn't enough, nor is internet hype.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Wild Sumac & Hemlock Teas



In mid July the bright red staghorn sumac berries will be ready for some delicious and nutritious "pink lemonade".  The staghorn sumac is much different from the poison sumac which has white single berry clusters in the fall.  Be sure to pick them before the rain washes the sticky resin off though since that is what makes tea.  Put about 4 nice sumac bobs, (the bright red berry clusters) into a container of cold water and crush them by hand.  You can also place them in a pan with a little water and mash them with a masher or bottle, then add the water.  Let sit for about twenty minutes, as you would when making sun tea.  Strain through a fine filter to remove fine hairs present, taste and maybe add a bit of sweetener if you like.  Do not boil unless you like bitter high tannin tea.
Hemlock or white pine tea is made by steeping the tips of the branches but in the spring, when the new growth needles emerge, you may want to try hemlock "sun tea" which does not contain as much of the bitter tannins that hot water tea produces. Try to collect the freshest and newest growth for your tea and don't overdo it - some say it affects the skin of their mouths.  These drinks contain a lot of vitamin C.  Also, pregnant women shouldn't drink this.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

A Great Water Cure



A lady goes to the Doctor because she is feels stressed and is beginning to look horrible.  The doctor checks her over and finds nothing wrong with her so he asks her, "What's wrong?"  She replies "Well, my husband has a bad temper and he likes to yell and argue with me." The doctor is concerned and tells her, "Next time, take a drink of water and swish it in your mouth until he leaves."  So she goes home, and to her dismay he starts yelling again, so she gets her bottle of water and starts swishing until he leaves the room. She goes back two months later, much relaxed and refreshed, and exclaims to the Doctor, "It worked! But you have to tell me, what's with the water?" Doctor looks over his desk and says "It's not the water, it's keeping your mouth shut."


Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Jiaogulan: "immortality herb."

Jiaogulan is an herb that has many benefits:
Jiaogulan is a perennial vine belonging to the cucumber family that is native to China, Korea and Japan. Since the herb is similar to ginseng in terms of chemical composition, and grows so abundantly in southern China, jiaogulan is sometimes referred to as "southern ginseng." Residents of the Guizhou Province, who regularly drink jiaogulan tea and reputedly live to a very old age, know the plant as the "immortality herb."

Read more about this fantastic plant here: http://www.livestrong.com/article/140243-benefits-jiaogulan/

and here:

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Homestead Food Preserving

This is a great way to vacuum pack your foods because you don't need special bags or containers - Pump and Seal food saver vacuum sealer  


Sunday, December 30, 2012

Is it a Big Funnel or Are We Just Going Down The Drain?

Not only have we have seen big box retailers displace thousands of small, locally operated stores, but big agriculture has been key to the loss of thousands of vegetable varieties. Consequently our ability to buy items that best fit our needs, and vegetables that make our meals more enjoyable, and nutritious, have been diminished.  While we can do without many "things" we cannot be truly healthy without good nutrition.  Since mono-culture agriculture is more profitable, some varieties which may hold valuable nutritional and genetic traits are neglected and lost.


It would be a shame to lose the ability to save our own seeds and grow delicious and sometimes just beautiful crops, such as this Glass Gem corn that is not commercially feasible for big corporations.







Sunday, December 23, 2012


It has been quite warm here until this week but we may be seeing unusually  warmer weather for our area as The Old Farmer's Almanac explains:

 "If the upcoming solar max of Cycle 24 is normal or robust, and especially if an El NiƱo follows it 2 years later (as often happens), then the middle of this decade will be the hottest period since humans arrived on Earth."

A warmer climate might allow us to grow more food and reduce heating bills but there are the problems of higher air conditioning costs and crop failures due to heat and droughts which also drive up food costs.   

Perhaps more serious is the northerly advance of new species and diseases though. In the South there is an insect called the Kissing Bug that transmits a tropical disease called the Chagas disease.  In the northern U.S. deer are dying from Black Tongue disease which is becoming more prevalent in the northern Whitetail populations that lack natural immunity.   In northern states hikers and campers are finding that a variety of ticks are becoming more prevalent than in previous years.  Of course, there is the enormous economic cost of severe weather events like Hurricane Sandy.  




Thursday, December 20, 2012

A Super Early Spring or Hoax on Nature and People?

While woods walking yesterday I noticed that the leeks (ramps) were poking up.   So I returned today and dug a few for soup.

Never before have I ever seen leeks growing in December although I did harvest a few a few ears ago, during a very warm spell in January.  
Long gone are the traditional "killing frosts" of early September here in North Western Pennsylvania - we haven't seen them for about 25 years.  Then there are those who have predicted a "long hard winter" for several years because we have had such hot summers.  Those predictions are often followed by a prediction of "a cold wet summer" that hasn't happened either.
I wouldn't doubt that the drought affecting areas of the mid-west and plains states  is here to stay also.
All this climate changing will ultimately force a huge change in the way food is grown in the U.S.

Friday, May 27, 2011

The Highwire Act of Genetically Modified Organisms and Technology

When a performer does a highwire act they endanger themselves, but when cooperations decide to alter food, compounds and lifeforms they endanger those far beyond their act. Take, for example, DDT, trans-fats and medical drugs like the sedative drug Thalidomide. These were all approved as safe but found to be harmful. Now we have some that tell us that genetically altered organisms, that may contain antibiotic properties, new lifeforms and viruses and/or funguses pose no problems for us – what could go wrong!

Corporate scientists SAY that they know what they are doing – again. At least a highwire performers only endanger their own lives. Why don't GMO developers experiment on themselves to see if they are correct? The answer is in the amount of money they will get by foisting unknown technology on an ill-informed public.

There are many who know nothing about genetics. Some of these people embrace the technology while others shun it for whatever reason they have - these people really just follow whatever sounds best to them. Then there are the scientists who know how to splice genes and create new lifeforms and many of them believe that because they can do this they understand the process and deem it safe - they don't. The problem with these people is that just because you can get on a highwire does not mean you can go through the act without killing yourself – you really need to be an expert or you are in trouble. That is the current problem with GMO's today – there are those who claim to be experts who, in reality, are merely just able to grasp the basic mechanics of the process - it's much more complicated.

To get to the bottom of the GMO controversy you need to go to the people who live there and find the real experts – the ones who aren't tied to the economic profits of their positions.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

New Kid in the Woods


Took my usual walk a few days ago and Chase, my dog who loves to tree everything, chased this little Fisher up a tall tree. The Fisher wasn't a bit happy and barked down at us but stayed up high.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Nutrition and Essential Trace Elements



Looks like the Pot-o-gold is right in my garden - taken during a sunny rainstorm.



Some call them trace minerals or nutrients, but they are on the periodic chart of elements - over 100 of them. Weather you know them as elements, minerals or nutrients they are vitally important to our health. We previously knew that calcium was essential for our bones. Recently we have learned that Zinc is essential to our immune system and Chromium, Selenium, Potassium and Copper are, to name a few that we are currently aware of, essential to our heart function. Some believe that sixteen minerals are required to support human biochemical processes. Those may indeed be essential for life but not necessarily sufficient for optimum health, furthermore, today’s understanding reveals much of what we took for granted a few years ago was not the end of the story; the importance of macro elements, and trace elements is growing. Then too, there is now an awareness that too much of a nutrient or vitamin can cause deficiencies of others. The challenge we face results from taking a simple solution to a complex process and making it a complex solution.
Since humans were on earth they consumed plants grown on generally nutrient-rich soil and the animals that consumed those nutrient rich plants. Humans survived directly or indirectly on the nutrient rich plants for thousands of years, until modern food processing began to remove many vitamins and minerals; to compensate for that vitamin and mineral supplements were developed. The problem with that is we don’t know precisely how much of what our bodies really need. However, if we would eat as nourishing food our ancestors did a few thousand years ago we wouldn’t need supplements at all.
Our dilemma is to find a way to obtain food with high nutritional value in a commercial world that doesn’t recognize food's valuable relationship to one’s health. To be nutrient healthy a person must either obtain their food directly from the wild or consciously seek out food grown in nutrient rich soil.


Links for additional information:
The Role of Elements in Life Processes


Sunday, August 16, 2009

How well do you eat?


We assume that if we eat some fruits and vegetables we are getting good nutrition. That is probably not the case for over 90% of the population. You have to realize that commercial growers are paid by the grocery store’s corporate buyers. They are paid to produce large quantities of nice looking produce not nutritionally superior food. The incentive is NOT in your nutritional welfare but in favor of PROFIT. The prime objectives are to raise a visually attractive product that will entice the customer to hand over their money for the product. If the buyer does not know what is nutritional and what is not, that is not a care of the grocer and if you are not well because of lack of nutritionally adequate food, your problem is passed on to the medical profession. It should be the concern of every individual that the food they eat is good for them.
So, how do you determine if that tomato is good or not? This is not rocket science folks - nutrient dense produce maintains its quality more readily than nutrient deficient ones and it tastes really good. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Well, it was when plants grew on their own but that is not true today with the modern NPK method of farming today. You have probably, at some time, eaten a delicious home-grown tomato or cantaloupe and thought that it was great. You assumed that the commercial ones were just not as fresh or ripened quite as long due to the trucking time. In reality your sense of taste was telling you what good food is. The full bodied and sweet taste is a result of nutrients in the produce. Commercial Brussels-sprouts are bitter and I refuse to eat them, however after a fall frost we eagerly gather them from my garden; they are sweet and packed with flavor.
Another interesting trait of nutritionally dense food is it’s ability to resist rotting; take a organically home-grown cucumber and place it in a refrigeration along a commercially grown one and see the commercial one turn to a moldy, mushy mess in a few days while the home-grown one will just start to shrivel up as it looses moisture. No doubt, the commercial produce begins its deterioration as it goes through you digestive system. If tasty produce were only a mater of taste there really wouldn’t be much harm in tasteless food, however, we have the sense of taste for a very essential survival reason; we need proper nutrition and taste leads us to it! Our bodies need food for fuel, yes, but bodies need minerals and trace minerals to build and operate properly; you might think of carbs as fuel and the trace minerals as the oil and grease for your system. Without essential nutrients our system cannot develop immune responses or maintain optimum cellular health; our system won’t operate at peak efficiency, if it can even function adequately. Lack of calcium, we are now aware, can cause bones to break. Lack of Magnesium can cause sleeplessness or anxiety. It would be a simple mater to add these to our diet is a pill but we do not know enough yet. Too much, or the wrong form of calcium may deplete essential magnesium levels causing health problems. The interaction between nutrients in food just is not understood well enough. As we learn of one aspect of nutrition, we uncover a dozen new connections and relationships of nutrients in our bodies. The one fact that we can rely is that we have been eating naturally grown food until the recent advent of “modern” farming practices. Plants naturally take in the right size, combination, quantity and form of minerals that our bodies need; since man has been on earth plants and animal that ate wild plants have been man’s source of nutrition. A deviation utilizing refined food like white sugars, flours, and stabilized oils does not meet our established nutritional pattern which can contribute to negative health consequences.
There is an undeniable fact that our food production has made an unhealthy choice in favor of profit over nutrition and it is up to the consumers to set them on the right path.
The simple solution is, well, simple; eat tasty food similar to what our ancestors ate - but that is not so simple today given our modern day population, habits, economy and logistics in general. It IS ironic, however that those plain, simple people of our society have returned to nutritionally dense food similar to that which our great grandparents enjoyed. The Amish are developing nutrient dense farming practices that fit their plain lifestyle.
Some might think of them as backwards, however their methods are rather cutting edge compared to current farming techniques. They use soil analysis to determine the nutrient composition of their soil. Then they add the appropriate minerals to achieve a healthy soil composition. Their crops, grown in healthy soil grow faster and do nor suffer from insect or disease nearly as much as conventionally grown crops - it seems pests, like the mold on the cucumbers, prefer less healthy plants. The progress is checked with
refractometers to ensure total dissolved solids (or Brix). A pH tester is used to check for proper alkaline/acid balance. Plant temperature stress, measured with an IR (InfraRed) Sensor. EC (Electrical conductivity) meters are used to determine nutrients not yet complexed into sugars.
Plants grown on nutrient dense soil resist disease and insects thereby eliminating most sprays and chemicals, they grow faster, produce more without costly annual applications of chemical fertilizers. Some spraying is still done, however, it is mostly foliar fish emulsion or mineral nutrient sprays while utilizing chemical sprays as minimally as possible.
Nutrient dense makes sense on many levels. Once grown, the produce has a remarkable ability to resist rotting due to the nutrients they contain; this allows a much longer shelf life. Your food is not contaminated with unnecessary chemicals or pesticides. The food is nutritionally matched to you body’s needs. It is more economical to raise for many. It is most like the diet of our ancestors since man set foot on earth until relatively recent changes in agricultural practices. Finally, the food tastes wonderful.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

No Knead Bread


I saw this easy bread recipe for no knead bread in the Mother Earth News, (Its a great magazine that I recommend). When it costs more to go to the store than it would to buy bread you might want to consider making you own!

No Knead, Dutch Oven Bread

1/4 tsp active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting. You may use white, whole wheat or a combination of the two.
1 1/2 tsp salt
Cornmeal or wheat bran for dusting

  1. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Add the flour and salt, stirring until blended. The dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let the dough rest at least 8 hours, preferably 12 to 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.
  2. The dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it. Sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let it rest for about 15 minutes.
  3. Using just enough flour to keep the dough from sticking to the work surface or to your fingers, gently shape it into a ball. Generously coat a clean dish towel with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal. Put the seam side of the dough down on the towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another towel and let rise for about 1 to 2 hours. When it’s ready, the dough will have doubled in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.
  4. At least 20 minutes before the dough is ready, heat oven to 475 degrees. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in the oven as it heats. When the dough is ready, carefully remove the pot from the oven and lift off the lid. Slide your hand under the towel and turn the dough over into the pot, seam side up. The dough will lose its shape a bit in the process, but that’s OK. Give the pan a firm shake or two to help distribute the dough evenly, but don’t worry if it’s not perfect; it will straighten out as it bakes.
  5. Cover and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and bake another 15 to 20 minutes, until the loaf is beautifully browned. Remove the bread from the Dutch oven and let it cool on a rack for at least 1 hour before slicing.

Yield: One 1 1/2-pound loaf.
Adapted from The New York Times.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Sunset in America

Enron and the subprime meltdown are wake-up calls for Americans. Our time as the world leader appears to be setting as we struggle with a materialistic and dishonest administration. Having a corporate compromised media has complicated people’s ability to make the best decisions.
Yet, there is hope. After the sunset there will come a dawn. While there are those who seek to dictate the lives of Americans the powers that be may delay but cannot prevent truth or superior paths from emerging any more than they can prevent their sun to set or a new dawn.



Tower Sunset

Sunday, January 06, 2008

RELIGION Gone Wrong

I had thought about writing about the direction of religion today but this article sums it up. It appears our mainstream religion that passes for spirituality today has become, as Carl Rove puts it, a useful tool of the corporate beast that runs counter to Biblical teachings.

"Many Christians outside the right-wing camps have hidden their identity as Christians because of embarrassment and shame that fundamentalists and evangelicals have brought upon the Name of Christ."


Read more here.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Just like doing the back stroke?

You Think, You Decide:

Via: Think Progress

Waterboarding is not “simulated drowning.” It is drowning. As Reps. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and William Delahunt (D-MA) explained, “The victim’s lungs fill with water until the procedure is stopped or the victim dies.” Former Navy survival instruction Malcolm Wrightson Nance explained to Congress:

In my case, the technique was so fast and professional that I didn’t know what was happening until the water entered my nose and throat. … It then pushes down into the trachea and starts the process of respiratory degradation. It is an overwhelming experience that induces horror and triggers frantic survival instincts. As the event unfolded, I was fully conscious of what was happening: I was being tortured.

Read more here ...... http://thinkprogress.org/2007/12/12/comedian-waterboarding/

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Politicians at Work?

This bunch couldn't do worse than our current leader and his yes-men!

Then again, they would probably be better than our Mainstream "Managed Media" who wait around for their managed news handouts.

Maybe this group would be better shoppers than our current compliant consumers.

Might Black Friday shoppers be wise to consider - What Would Jesus Buy?

The possibilities abound!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving Endangered



Here's an Eagle that I photographed the other day near my house. I never saw one when I was growing up here but they are fairly common sights now.

Today we celebrate Thanksgiving but maybe we could do a better job of creating healthier citizens by producing better, not poorer food!

As I mentioned before the beneficial Omega-3 oil is derived by animals eating living food. Animals raised in pens have a very low ratio of Omega-3 to potentially harmful Omega-6.

Pick up the November copy of AcresUSA and see what I mean or do a search on the internet.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

History (DELIBERATELY) Forgotten

Our freedoms are in danger because the people do not follow or understand politics or the methods politicians and corporations employ. Perhaps we are too busy, but the cost of remaining uninformed is too great. Every individual should read these words!


War Is A Racket

By Major General Smedley Butler
Contents
Chapter 1: War Is A Racket
Chapter 2: Who Makes The Profits?
Chapter 3: Who Pays The Bills?
Chapter 4: How To Smash This Racket!
Chapter 5: To Hell With War!

CHAPTER ONE

War Is A Racket

WAR is a racket. It always has been.

It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.

A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small "inside" group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes.

In the World War [I] a mere handful garnered the profits of the conflict. At least 21,000 new millionaires and billionaires were made in the United States during the World War. That many admitted their huge blood gains in their income tax returns. How many other war millionaires falsified their tax returns no one knows.

How many of these war millionaires shouldered a rifle? How many of them dug a trench? How many of them knew what it meant to go hungry in a rat-infested dug-out? How many of them spent sleepless, frightened nights, ducking shells and shrapnel and machine gun bullets? How many of them parried a bayonet thrust of an enemy? How many of them were wounded or killed in battle?


Link

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Free Food


Recent rains brought out this choice Chicken-of-the-woods, or Sulphur-shelf growing on an old oak stump. This mushroom is not to be confused with the also orange, and very poisonous, gilled Jack O'Lantern. The Sulphurshelf is a choice eatable, however up to 50% of the population can have an allergic reaction so even if you positively identify this one, only try a very small bite to determine if you are allergic to them. Do not consume any mushroom unless you are 100% positive of its identity!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

In the Woods


I took a walk today to check out the woods. Blackberries are ripe, Ginseng berries are red and some good mushrooms are out after the recent rain.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

nO gLOBAL wARMING - REALLY?

So we don't have Global warming?

A vast expanse of western Sibera is undergoing an unprecedented thaw that could
dramatically increase the rate of global warming, climate scientists warn today.
Researchers who have recently returned from the region found that an area of
permafrost spanning a million square kilometres - the size of France and Germany
combined - has started to melt for the first time since it formed 11,000 years
ago at the end of the last ice age.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/climatechange/story/0,12374,1546824,00.html


But that's waay over there - right? ...Ummm, not exactly. Via the Suburban Guerrilla:



FAIRBANKS -- Interior Alaska's permafrost has warmed in some places to the
highest level since the ice age ended 10,000 years ago, its temperature now
within a degree or two of thawing.
Earth frozen since woolly mammoths and
bison wandered Interior steppes has been turning to mush. Lakes have been
shrinking. Trees are stressed. Prehistoric ice has melted underground, leaving
voids that collapse into sinkholes.

http://www.adn.com/news/environment/story/6815494p-6707211c.html


As the permafrost melts it releases methane, a gas 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide, into the atmosphere. The faster the permafrost melts the faster methane heats up the earth. That is sure to really boost the non-existant global warming. Talk about cooking your goose!

What is the real price of greed, stupidity and corruption? ...we may find out sooner than we want!



Monday, April 11, 2005

Want To Save Hundred Bucks And The Environment?

You can cut the amount of gasoline that you use by simply checking your tire pressure regularly . Check out this site and this one.

Statistics compiled by the American Automobile Association (AAA), show that fuel economy is compromised by 10 percent when tires are under inflated by only two psi (pounds per square inch.) So if you spend $80 a month for gasoline, this can cost you almost $100 a year. Now wouldn't you rather have that hundred bucks in your wallet?

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Making Your Own Newspaper Seedling Pots

Why pay a lot of money for pots for plants? Here are 1, 2, 3, 4 ideas to make your own.

-------- Okay where's the PICTURE??

Why Garden?

In case you need them to convince your neighbor or friend here are some good reasons - of course I have already mentioned the quality of food is enough alone!

Gardening is the world's best-kept exercise secret, as I found out (albeit the hard way). But that's changing. Recent medical studies have documented what backyard enthusiasts have known for years: gardening is good for us. More @ Garden.org

Zone Finder


If you garden you'll need to know your zone. Find it here at Garden.org.



USDA Hardiness Zone Finder

The Measure of a Successful Lifestyle

You would think that if we were the most powerful and advanced nation in the world we would have the best health too, but this is not the case. Perhaps we should rethink our priorities. Perhaps having a healthy and satisfying life is better than having material “stuff” and a living a short unsatisfying life - ya think? First we might look at a lifestyle that promotes a longer, healthier life. AskMen.com has some information you should read:
"Notorious for their longevity, the average life expectancy of the Japanese is 81.6 years, compared to the 77.1 years expected for Americans (and only 74.5 years for men). This puts America at par with Cuba on the human durability scale."

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Global Warming? You Be The Judge

The peak of Mt Kilimanjaro as it has not been seen for 11,000 years ....but now you can see it!!

Monday, March 07, 2005

Alternate Refreshments

The drink of choice today is common at our nation's fast food stops - 32 ounces of liquid candy. Pop has taken over the United States as our source of liquid intake. There are more than one or two reasons besides tooth decay to remove sodas or colas from your everyday beverages.
Considering that a can of pop has about 10 teaspoons of sugar, any drink that you create with two teaspoons has five times fewer calories! But it is not only the sugar that is the health culprit. Women who drink diet pop increase their of risk bone breakage.
Besides coffee and tea there are better alternatives. For instance, tea mixed with real peach or apricot juice makes a tasty relatively low calorie drink. You can buy cherry concentrate at health food stores and mix your own flavored water- you can always add a bit sugar. The old standby, lemon water, with or with out sugar, makes a satisfying drink.
Switchel is old-time thirst quencher from the hayfields: mix a half cup of brown sugar, half a teaspoon of ground ginger, a quarter cup of molasses with three-fourths a cup of cider vinegar and two quarts of water. There are many variations of this recipe too. Then again, good old water should be a major source of your liquid intake.
It’s a matter of taste and it may take awhile to develop a pop free lifestyle but your health will thank you.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Food As Medicine As Food

The possibility of an outbreak of avian flue is in the news. A new strain of flue is always unwelcome news, however this strain could be one of the worst in years.
Among the steps people can take to avoid or minimize the effects of this potential killer are: getting plenty of rest, washing ones hands with an effective virus killing alcohol hand cleaner, wearing a good quality mask and avoiding groups of people as much as possible. Another powerful preventative is our food. See here, here and here.
In our world of “meds” we forget that people relied on food as their medicine for centuries. Granted modern medicines can be more effective than diet. However knowledge of nutrition can keep us from becoming unhealthy enough to need medications that are often detrimental to our kidneys or liver and produce undesirable side effects.
Several studies and doctors now advocate food alternatives as safer cures for illnesses.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Lazy Chef

I've got to be the laziest cook! Picked up a cheap cut of pork shoulder steak and threw it into a covered fry pan with 3/4 cup of apricot juice and sliced up that leftover onion I found in the frig. Put it on the woodstove and went back to the internet. Three hours later the smell called me off the web and I had green beans and tender, absolutely delicious pork for dinner. Only thing, I forgot to add the organic rice. Well, I didn't starve without the rice.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Tomatoes For 2005

Since last year was a great year for a tomato crop disaster I have decided to try two varieties with more disease resistance. Although the web is littered with sites that say there are no late blight resistant tomatoes I have decided to try a couple I spotted at Tomato Growers Supply. They should be better than last year's anyway. One is an early variety and the other is a mid-season tomato. However neither is a paste tomato which is a bummer. Here they are:

Legend - Introduced by Dr. James Baggett at Oregon State University, this very early variety sets large fruit that are glossy red and round with a very good flavor that is a nice blend of sugars and acids. What is also exciting about Legend is its strong resistance against the late blight fungus, a problem that has thwarted many a tomato gardener. It sets fruit well under cool temperatures, and contains few seeds. We think this combination of great taste, earliness, and strong disease resistance makes Legend truly memorable.

Floralina VFFFA Hybrid - A cooperative effort between the breeding programs at North Carolina State and University of Florida, this variety is the first available to homeowners with resistance to all 3 races of fusarium wilt. It produces beautiful, smooth 8 to 10 oz. round red tomatoes with very good flavor. Even though it was developed in the South, Floralina grows equally well in other regions.


My theory is that where consumers spend their money businesses will pay attention. Maybe we can have disease resistant tomatoes without having genetically altered ones.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Cucumber Crop for 2005

I'm going through my list of varieties for the 2005 planting season. Starting with cucumbers I plan to plant Country Fair a pickler that was a great success for me last year with all the rain and those cool nights. Country Fair is the only cucumber resistant to bacterial wilt (the last I checked), and is fairly resistant to many other diseases. Normally my cucumbers produce for a while and then die. Last year I actually ate a fresh vine picked cucumber in November! While the cool summer temperatures delayed the start of the crop, production, once started never stopped until the heavy frosts of winter killed them. Another plus for these cucumbers is they also have the bitter-free burpless gene. I would rank their taste as good.
Our cool moist area near the Great Lakes is a haven for plant diseases, especially bacterial wilt, and this variety has proven its place in my garden.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Inert My Dog Fleas!

The October/November National Wildlife Magazine has some interesting information for pet owners. It seems that the “inert” ingredients in dog flea control medicines may actually be petrochemicals! All the more reason to go organic for your pet’s health too. If you are like me, you may wonder what else in hidden by the "inert" lable!
Manufacturers do list active ingredients on packaging, but trademark laws allow them to keep secret so-called “inert” ingredients—dangerous petrochemicals and solvents such as benzene, toluene and xylene—even though they can make up 90 percent of the product. “Inert ingredients are not necessarily safe, nontoxic or even chemically inert,” says Maria Mergel of the Washington Toxics Coalition, a nonprofit organization in Seattle. “The term usually means only that these ingredients are not intended to kill fleas.”

They suggest using citrus oil extracts containing D-limonene and linalool - both are some of the many natural alternatives to chemicals.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Neat Feet

Those who works in boots will appreciate these tips:

For persistent athletes feet soak feet in warm water with 6-8 teabags - almost any kind will do.
For smelly feet soak feet in Kool-Aid.
For sweaty feet and to prevent athletes feet use cornstarch.
For toenail fungus use Vicks Vap-O-Rub.

Windy Project

Wind generators are actually more efficient energy producers than solar cells, and although they require more cost and maintenance, their output is greater. OTHERPOWER.COM is an indespensable source with great information on making you own wind power and they even some energy saving tips for lighting. They have comparison on types of generators and information on how to build them yourself. The three-phase altenator looks like a project I would consider.

Check out their site. They even show how making wind generator blades is not as difficult as one might expect:







Sunday, February 13, 2005

The Dark Side Of Lighting

From the folks at REPP (Renewable Energy Policy Project):
How much do you think it costs to have one 100 watt light bulb on? If left on 24/7 it probably costs about $85 dollars a year! Now, add up all your lights. If you were using a Florescent light instead the cost would be about $17, or a $68 savings per light.

“(I)t doesn't cost a whole lot of energy to have a light bulb turned on. A 100-watt bulb, in a home paying about 9 cents per kilowatt-hour, costs about a penny an hour to operate. But leave that bulb on needlessly for 12 hours a day and you just spent an extra $3.50 or so a month for that bulb—about $40 per year. And how many light bulbs do you have in your house right now? Count them—I'll bet your surprised at how many there are. That penny an hour for one bulb can quickly become hundreds of dollars per year for all the bulbs in your home.”

Better Beef

Eat Wild has some interesting nutritional information on feedlot beef:
Mass produced feedlot beef lacks the nutrition of pastured beef. Switching to higher quality food can result in a higher quality life.

Because meat from grass-fed animals is lower in fat than meat from grain-fed animals, it is also lower in calories. (Fat has 9 calories per gram, compared with only 4 calories for protein and carbohydrates. The greater the fat content, the greater the number of calories.) As an example, a 6-ounce steak from a grass-finished steer can have 100 fewer calories than a 6-ounce steak from a grain-fed steer. If you eat a typical amount of beef (66.5 pounds a year), switching to lean grassfed beef will save you 17,733 calories a year—without requiring any willpower or change in your eating habits. If everything else in your diet remains constant, you'll lose about six pounds a year. If all Americans switched to grassfed meat, our national epidemic of obesity might diminish.

Omega-3s are most abundant in seafood and certain nuts and seeds such as flaxseeds and walnuts, but they are also found in animals raised on pasture. The reason is simple. Omega-3s are formed in the chloroplasts of green leaves and algae. Sixty percent of the fatty acids in grass are omega-3s. When cattle are taken off omega-3 rich grass and shipped to a feedlot to be fattened on omega-3 poor grain, they begin losing their store of this beneficial fat. Each day that an animal spends in the feedlot, its supply of omega-3s is diminished.[8] The graph below illustrates this steady decline.

Omega 3s vanish in the feedlot



Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Just A Matter Of A Few Degrees


Glaciers are melting in the Alps at an unprecedented rate. The polar ice caps are rapidly disappearing. Worst-case scenarios from scientists predict a dramatic increase in temperatures across much of the globe. For parts of the Northern Hemisphere, however, some scientists warn that ocean-current changes could produce radical cooling. Our world, so go such arguments, is about to change radically for the worse.”

Catastrophic floods, hurricanes and heat waves are not figments of our imagination. Record rainfall and cold temperatures throughout the world aren't either. One might suggest that these are normal climatic trends that the earth moves through, but increasingly the skeptics are falling by the wayside. Serious science is gravitating to the global warming theory. On the other hand, Joe Average is just plain confused. A fellow at a country store recently chirped that the seventeen below temperature proved that global warming was nonsense. What he doesn't think about is that heat drives our weather and global warming causes abnormal weather. This poor fellow can't comprehend the South Sea Islander who watches his land disappearing beneath the sea, nor can he fathom why global warming could possibly cause an ice age.
Global warming is about extremes. Insurance companies and some farmers are experiencing deep financial losses caused by extreme weather. Sure we have roller-coaster cycles in our weather, but global warming is like bungee jumping while riding on a roller coaster. Heat flow can suck artic air further into the south or drown the driest deserts in floods.
In reality global warming threat is not about a few degrees in temperature, it's about hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, drought, disease and famine.