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Posts Tagged ‘farming’

Back when I first saw Food, Inc., I was surprised and excited to see them interview Joel Salatin about sustainable farming practices. It served as a great introduction to the work that Joel is doing on his farm, to all of the people who are more apt to watch a movie than read a book (and believe me, I love Joel’s books!). But now? Now they’re doing a seventy-minute documentary just about Polyface Farm and Salatin’s family.

They’ve invested $50k into the project thus far, and need another $95k to finish. Sustainable agriculture is growing more prevalent in the cultural eye; there are enough people out there to get this important project finished. This system can work. This system does work. So ;et’s continue to educate. Let’s continue to grow.

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Well, it’s time for the weekly (or in this case, bi-weekly) report of the Independence Days Challenge. In my defense, I had quite planned to post last week, but… well… life overtook me.

Or rather, illness did.

First, the Wee Goon and I simultaneously came down with colds. How do I love thee, Oscillococcinum? Let me count the ways. Suffice to say, whilst the Wee Goon’s cold dragged on for over a week, mine was gone after a mere day and a half. Wonder of wonders, miracle of miracles! A few days later, and it’s Monday. WG is still snifflin’ and snottin’ and I… am trying in vain to ward off mastitis. More on that later. After battling that off, I got the cold a second time. Only this time it was here to stay. And I was miserable. And the WG was miserable. And I didn’t have the energy to put together a proper blog post. Oh, and then a horse foaled. But again, more on that later.

Thusly, I am reporting on both weeks at the same time.

>> Plant something.
Ah, no. However, it is suspiciously springlike outside and I am contemplating planting those apple seeds that I have saved over the course of the last year and a half. I’ve really no idea how long seeds will stay viable, but I would be happy if even half of them sprouted. Or just one. I would be okay with one. Does anyone know how long seeds stay viable? Approximately? Care to share?

>> Harvest something.
Chicken eggs. The daylight is increasing, and the first clutch that Rafter the Psychotic Bantam hatched out has finally reached laying age, so we’re seeing more and more eggs. I would like to get an incubator and hatch out some eggs from our older, “Heritage Mutt” hens before they get any farther along in age. They’ve been good layers, but they’re a few years old now, and it wouldn’t hurt to hatch out some young’ns. Since Rafter has craftily hid herself away to hatch out the last two clutches of her own eggs rather than allowing me to replace them with eggs from the rest of the flock, I am thinking that an incubator may be my best option.

>> Waste not.
I had a carcass left over from eating roast chicken, but with being sick it never made it into the stock pot. I shall try again this week. I have, however, continued to place usable vegetable scraps into the freezer in preparation for making a vegetable stock, and saved other food scraps for the chickens.

>> Want not.
Ehm. I want a chest freezer. For meeeaaat. Lotsa meat. See, it has come to my attention (translation: I’ve been visiting doctors and having bloodwork done and been pulling my hair out over it) that I have, apparently, a non-celiac gluten intolerance. Which means a sad farewell to my whole wheat pasta, and my rosemary and sea salt bread. But! Ah, but. More veggies and more meat. I like meat. And many vegetables. And any excuse to be eating more meat is one that would probably be well-liked in this family, since my husband is very much a Steak and Potatoes fellow and the Wee Goon would eat a whole cow if you’d let him. But we haven’t gotten one yet. I should probably figure out where we would even put it.

>> Eat the food.
This actually is going to be a tough one in the weeks to come, because of the aforementioned newly-discovered gluten intolerance. I’m going to have to purge the pantry. Honestly it shouldn’t be too bad, and I should be able to give most of it to gluten-consuming families. White Bunny will probably get the oats, because White Bunny likes oats. Profound, I know. So this is going to be an adventure… figuring out what food in our pantry I can eat. I will report back on this.

>> Build community food systems.
Oh! This one went well. I bought twenty pounds of grassfed beef and a couple of packages of beef liver from a local farm. I also threw in a Free Ranger roasting chicken, as she had an extra one in the freezer and I have contemplated raising some meat birds in the future.

I also (hopefully) got back into the habit of buying raw milk. Shhh. Don’t tell the Feds. ūüėČ This, obviously, was also in support of my local community food system. I just can’t tell you where.

Our local village was having a meeting to hear suggestions on uses for their new community park, and I wanted to go and bring up the idea of either a community garden or a farmer’s market, but I didn’t end up making it there, sadly.

>> Skill up.
I made a new batch of hard lotion bars which, as always, is a learning experience.

Also, one of the mares at the farm where I work foaled this past Saturday, and I was able to assist with the birth. I’ve witnessed the birth litters of puppies and rabbits, not to mention goat kids, and was even able to assist with a c-section on a dog, but witnessing a foal was a new one for me!

I learned to cure my mastitis with a poultice/paste, which was a mixture of apple cider vinegar and bentonite clay. Definitely a handy skill to have. When you consider the fact that mastitis generally occurs between two and six weeks postpartum, and my Wee Goon is almost eleven months old, it was a bit of a surprise. Having finally gotten over the candida issues that I believe started when I was on an antibiotic during pregnnacy, I really didn’t want to have to go back to the doctor for yet another antibiotic, but I also knew that mastitis can get pretty nasty, and ending up with an infection raging through my body is.. well, let’s just say that it’s not on my bucket list.

I was calling our local health food store to see if they had loose activated charcoal to make a poultice, and was told that they only had it in capsule form, but that they had loose bentonite clay and that that made an excellent cleansing poultice.

D’oh.

I already had bentonite clay here! So, I mixed it with some ACV until it had a paste-like consistency, slathered it on, covered it in gauze, and then placed a warmed corn bag over it. I did this a few times, including the time that the Wee Goon went down for a nap. I pounced on the opportunity to take one myself while wearing the poultice, and it helped. Immensely.

I’ll be remembering this skill for future reference, that’s for sure!

As far as other skills go, I have been doing a lot of reading on gluten intolerance and how that plays out and has an effect. I’m currently reading Gluten-Free Girl: How I Found Food that Loves Me Back … & How You Can Too and that has been excellent. Very encouraging, especially the part where she reminds you to stand up for yourself and your health, rather than constantly feeling like a bother to people, or acting like it’s somehow your fault, as if it’s just that you’re a picky eater or something. This was definitely something I needed to hear.

One extra category that I would like to put in my challenge reports is ‘helpful links’, because I often come across informative blog posts and websites during the week, and I would love to share them with you!

>> Helpful Links
Root Cellaring Plans: A Review of The Complete Root Cellaring Book
Sustainable Lighting Tutorial: Hand-dipped Beeswax Candles
Real Food: Tips for Cooking with Coconut Oil
The Prairie Homestead: 16 Ways to Use Your Whey

I look forward to hearing how all of you are doing with the challenge as well!

See more reports over at Sharon’s blog, which is hosting the Independence Days Challenge!

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It’s really too bad that we’ll never see this in New York. Then again, even if New Hampshire passes this bill, the Feds are likely to trample on it anyway, since they have no regard for the tenth amendment and haven’t for generations now…

Edit:
It makes me even more skeptical that the states will succeed with such moves of sovereignty when I read articles that discuss Obama’s movements in the past three years and his further attempts to streamline government. Normally I would welcome “streamlining,” but with his track record, I wouldn’t trust the man to streamline a mosquito. Mark my words, this is going to be about consolidating power and money, not dispersing it.

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The Independence Days Challenge is back!

…yeah, I must be the only one who signed up who didn’t even realize that Independence Days is apparently one of Sharon’s books. I’ve been reading her blog for years now, but have yet to read one of her books. (Please don’t throw something at me, Sharon. Unless it be one of your books, heh.) With the advent of this challenge, now would be an excellent time for me to purchase the book, except that I have a large to-be-read pile right now as it is, thanks to both my library card and relatives who buy books off my Amazon Wish List for me for Christmas. (Gracias!) That said, the amount that would have once taken me maybe a month to read through will now likely take me all year, as one’s reading pace tends to slow when one has a near-toddler underfoot. As in, I started Joel Salatin’s Folks, This Ain’t Normal in the very early days of January, and I’m still only about halfway through it. Parenthood, thy name is picture-filled board books flung at thy knees!

Enough of my babbling. This challenge. It has categories that you’re supposed to report back on each week (Fridays, in this instance). If I recall correctly, they are:

Plant something.
Harvest something.
Preserve something.
Waste not.
Want not.
Eat the food.
Build community food systems.
Skill up.

If you go over to Sharon’s Independence Days post, you can read up on what each of the categories entails (it can be as simple as gathering eggs from a hen… or learning to crochet… or composting… she has lots of suggestions), as well as sign up in the comments to let her know whether you’ll be checking in on her blog or reporting on your own, as I will (attempt) to do. I figure if I can at least hit two categories a week, I’ll be good. Oh yeah, and blog about it. Because we all know just how hit-or-miss I am with that these days. (The good news is, home internet connection may be looming in our near future, which would mean no more typing on a cell phone keypad. Praise the Lord and pass the peanut butter!)

On a related note, I have an e-mail subscription to Preparing Your Family, which is a blog that focuses on… err… preparing for emergency situations. With… your family in mind. (Sometimes my explanations are so profound that I amaze even myself.) Anyway… one of today’s posts was Five Prepper Skills To Pick Up This Year, which I thought was rather timely and thus am including it as inspiration for my fellow Independence Days Challenge participants. Because, you know… there’s that whole “skill up” category, and if you’re anything like me, you love lists.

Aside from posting over at Sharon’s blog, if you decide to participate and will be blogging it, please leave a comment for me here under this post, as well. I love to make connections with my (few) readers and would love to be able to follow what you’re doing for this challenge!

Now, I am off to muck stalls before the Wee Goon awakens from his nap!

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Those of you in the Northeast may have heard (or know firsthand) how hard-hit the farmers in areas such as Vermont and southern/eastern New York were by the remnants of Irene and then, I believe, Lee, during the tail end of August and through early September. Some lost portions (or all) of their farm, others had to destroy crops touched by floodwater due to the possibility of sewage contamination, et cetera.

Back on September 12th, Sharon Astyk posted “How to Help Folks Recovering from Flooding” – there are lots of links and resources within her post regarding support and resources for farmers in Vermont, as well as a few localized New York links. I won’t re-post them here, as she did a fine job over on her blog, but I wanted to add a new resource that I just discovered yesterday in a local weekly paper.

A new online forage exchange created by Cornell Cooperative Extension is now available to ensure that flooded New York farms will not run out of feed for their livestock.

Hurricane Irene devastated many New York farms, damaged others, and left still other farms relatively untouched. Many flood-damaged farms are in desperate need of feed and forage. The Forage Exchange provides an online venue for farmers who have available feed and forage to post that information, and for farmers in need to lcoate feed and forage. All transactions (including making arrangements for transportation) will take place between the farmers themselves.

The Forage Exchange is posted online at http://ccetest-lamp.cit.cornell.edu/forage

Additional resources for farms damaged by the flooding are available at www.cce.cornell.edu

Cooperative Extension educations and Farm Bureau staff across the state will be available to assist farmers in using the exchange. For more information, call the county extension office or log on to www.cce.cornell.edu

Cooperative Extension created the exchange in cooperation with the New York Farm Bureau and the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets.

So, there you¬†have it. I wasn’t sure how publicized this information was on the internet, and I know that¬†there are some local New York farmers who read my¬†blog, so I thought I would share it here! If you know of someone who¬†could use the help of this program, or who might be able to help someone else in need,¬†please feel free to pass along this information, cross-post, et cetera.

God bless!

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..at ParentsGlobal now! They’re a newer website that started fairly recently, and they cater to.. well… parents! There are a variety of topics covered by a variety of authors, from do-it-yourself household cleaning recipes and¬†interviews with authors, to child development and time-savers! So far, I’ve had just two posts (though I am currently working on a third), which center around making pick-your-own fruits and¬† vegetables a family tradition. You can see my two-part series here:

Don’t “Pick” on Me… Or Do!

Peter Picked a Peck of Pickled … What?

I know, I know… “two” does not a series make, but… humour me. ūüėČ

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