Friday, December 27, 2013
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
Tuesday, July 30, 2013
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
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 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
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Sunday, January 20, 2013
Here's yet another description of a easy-to-make soil block maker.
Sunday, December 30, 2012
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 Niño 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
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
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!
Thursday, September 02, 2010
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
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
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
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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
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.
Sunday, January 06, 2008
"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
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
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
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
War Is A Racket
By Major General Smedley Butler
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!
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?
Sunday, August 27, 2006
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
Sunday, August 14, 2005
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.
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.
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
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
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
"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
Monday, March 07, 2005
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
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
Thursday, February 24, 2005
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
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
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
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.
Check out their site. They even show how making wind generator blades is not as difficult as one might expect:
Sunday, February 13, 2005
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.”
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. The graph below illustrates this steady decline.
Tuesday, February 08, 2005
“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.
Insuring that a parcel delivery service doesn’t damage or lose my package is like insuring the auto mechanic’s brake job. Why pay for a service and pay to insure that they do the job correctly. I actually have a policy about that myself.
When I buy an appliances clerks usually ask if I want an extended policy to cover any failures or breakdowns. I always tell them that if the item doesn’t perform as expected I would be purchasing a different brand that did. A delivery service that loses or damages a package I mail would not see any more of my business.
These service insurance policies aren’t accident policies - they are incompetentancy policies - insurance that they should pay themselves! I might insure myself but I refuse to insure the whole world!
Monday, February 07, 2005
Saturday, February 05, 2005
When my work required me to drive late at night through an area of high deer population I used deer alerts but not with much success. I noticed that horses and deer would often react to the high pitched whistle by running. On a straight level stretch that was fine, but when rounding a bend or cresting a hill the whistle would often spook deer into running across the road as often as it caused them to run away. Unfortunately my deer kill with the alerts was much higher than without them. I had never hit a deer prior to my late night driving through this area and the deer alerts didn’t help at all - I hit three or four deer, bumped several, not counting the many near misses! In fact, I quit using alerts and have not hit a deer since. Of course, I do not travel through that area at night either.
If you drive on straight level roads alerts may work for you but don’t expect them to work on hilly or winding roads.
Thursday, February 03, 2005
Ever hear of Monkey Pox? This disease was introduced (As in: Hi, Mom. Meet my date - umm, Death), in to the Midwest by pet traders who brought in a rat infected with monkey pox from Gambia. It infected some prairie dogs who were sold at a “pet swap”
The prairie dogs in turn infected 37 people, some of which died. But it works the other way too.
In Rwanda around the late 1980s a high death rate of mountain gorillas was attributed to measles contracted because they had more contact with humans due to their popularity given to them by the mountain gorilla researcher, Diane Fossey.
More locally rabies is on the increase thanks to human tinkering. As reported by the CDC:
Rabies in raccoons was first described in Florida in the 1950s and spread slowly during the next three decades into Georgia, Alabama, and South Carolina. Through translocation of infected animals, raccoon rabies was unintentionally introduced in the mid-Atlantic states. In 1977, near the Virginia-West Virginia border, reports of a single, rabid raccoon in Hardy County, West Virginia, and three more rabid raccoons in the adjoining counties of Virginia in 1978 initially drew little attention. Since then, this unremarkable focus of rabies in raccoons expanded to form the most intensive rabies outbreak in the United States. More than 45,000 raccoons have died of rabies, as well as over 4,200 cats and nearly 3,000 dogs. Moreover, with the close association of raccoons and humans in suburban settings, an increased number of people have been exposed to potentially rabid animals and have needed post-exposure rabies prophylaxis. At present, an estimated 20,000-40,000 people are exposed to rabies each year in the United States. Raccoon rabies now extends throughout approximately 1 million square km along the eastern states from Florida to Maine, and is now invading the midwest at the Pennsylvania-Ohio border.
Weather it is our activities affecting climate through increased CO2 , pollution, environmental destruction, translocation of animals or just simple travel it appears that humans are a disease’s best friend!
Monday, January 31, 2005
The June/July issue of Mother Earth News has an article on the nutrition of food.
Another study reported by Vista Magazine finds the same conclusion:
A study by Firman E. Baer of Rutger’s University compared the mineral content of organically-grown foods with non-organically grown foods. The study showed significant differences in the mineral content of these foods. Organically grown snap beans had over 22 times more iron than their commercial counterpart, while organically grown spinach provided 80 times more iron than the non-organic variety. Organically grown food has at least twice as much mineral content in many cases.If that doesn’t convince the skeptics they can send their own samples to be tested.
If this discussion were just about good tasting food it would be trivial compared to the benefits of nutrient rich food:
….a 1992 USDA report estimated the following potential health benefits if everyone in the United States could be convinced to eat a diet containing the recommended daily amounts of primary nutrients shown in the table:So while big businesses may have the money to persuade people that there is no difference in their food homesteaders know and understand the difference because they live closer to the earth and reality - not profits.
20 percent reduction in cancer
25 percent reduction in heart and vascular conditions
50 percent reduction in arthritis
20 percent reduction in respiratory and infectious diseases
50 percent reduction in infant and maternal deaths
Saturday, January 29, 2005
Another gravity remedy used for hiatal hernias is to jump off a chair after a meal. The gravity will tend to pull the stomach, and contents, down to relieve the pressure on diaphragm and upper portion of the stomach.
I do not advocate or recommend these home remedy but offer them as examples of what some people have found to work for them. Obviously, you can break a leg jumping off a chair or tumble down the stairs while performing a folk remedy. Furthermore, these remedies came about when there were fewer options for medical cures. It would be foolish to not utilize modern medical treatments for ailments today.
Thursday, January 27, 2005
The One Straw Revolution : An Introduction to Natural Farming (1978) by: Masanobu Fukuoka
The Natural Way of Farming : The Theory and Practice of Green Philosophy (1985) by: Masanobu Fukuoka
The Ruth Stout No-Work Garden Book (1971) by: Ruth & Clemence, Richard Stout.
How to Have a Green Thumb Without an Aching Back : A New Method of Mulch Gardening (1990) by: Leta MacLeod Brunckhorst, Ruth Stout
The Complete Tightwad Gazette : Promoting Thrift As a Viable Alternative Lifestyle (1999) by: Amy Dacyczyn
Tuesday, January 25, 2005
Monday, January 24, 2005
One example of a smarter approach to our energy consumption can be found in the recent issue of The Mother Earth News magazine. There potential new home builders will find information on super efficient energy wise homes that the average person can afford today. In fact they are looking for participants.
“Super-efficient (“Net-zero”) solar homes are now available that reduce monthly energy bills 50 percent to 70 percent compared to comparable conventional homes. Today, anyone can have a zero-energy home by paying, upfront, roughly 10 percent to 20 percent more than the cost of a traditional home for renewable-energy technology, which generally has a payback in energy bill savings of about 20 to 30 years.”You might want to consider an efficient, money saving, new home like the ones mentioned above before rising energy prices get out of hand.
“Net-zero-energy means the homes are super-efficient, with much of their electricity produced by rooftop solar panels; they draw electricity from the grid at night or on cloudy days, but overall they generate at least as much energy as they consume each year.”
“Jeff Christian, director of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Buildings Technology Center, has been studying energy efficiency in homes for more than 30 years, and he wants to make zero-energy homes affordable for everyone. To do so, he needs real-life data from homeowners so his team can refine and improve the homes’ engineering and cost efficiencies. To that end, he hopes to organize a mass purchase of these types of houses: “If we can get a few thousand people who will all order houses at the same time — not all with the same size and floor plan, but the same efficiency principles and materials applied to each, it would add some economies of scale and help us bring the unit cost down,” Christian says. “From a research standpoint, it would be immensely valuable to get the feedback about what works and what doesn’t work from homeowners who really care about these issues.”
If you would like to learn more, send an e-mail to Jeff Christian.
Sunday, January 23, 2005
This is a good time of the year to read and plan so I am using the winter lull to look for new vegetable varieties and plants that produce earlier or later to extend fresh garden cuisine. The South Carolina Nursery & Landscape Association has a website with garden related links and information on new vegetables worthy of checking out. Also, the Cornell Cooperative Extension has some information on plant varieties that can aid the gardener in deciding on a particular variety.
Garden Web is another great gardening resource to include in the gardener's cabin fever surfing.
Toss another log on the fire and soak up the information.