Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Farming’ Category

Here’s a great article written about us by Chris Webb on his blog, Live Nakedly. Check it out!

Live Nakedly

“I would find it hard to believe that anyone would be ‘for’ GMO’s. Why would you be? Why would anyone (even if they’re not a health nut) want to put something with the words ‘genetically modified’ into their bodies?”  Dan Soulsby worked in Hollywood, but dreamed of returning to his native Ohio to start a farm.  According to The Soulsby Farm’s website, his opportunity came during the 2007-2008 economic downturn that left him without his job and the impetus to move.  Running his “very small farm” of under two acres with his wife Mindy, these two graphic designers by day are hoping not only to grow their own food, but to bring properly grown harvests to those most in need in their community via a non-profit, Project Garden Share.

“Living in LA, I really missed the country and I would read every book on farming, gardening, and sustainable living I…

View original post 1,160 more words

Read Full Post »

It’s been dry, really dry. In fact one might even say the dreaded “d” word. (Drought) Alas, this evening it rained and all the little water lovers came out to say hi.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Painted turtle and a green frog came out to have a look around. I picked up the turtle to bring inside to say hello to Zoey and then put him back in his same spot. I think he enjoyed the adventure as much as Zo Zo.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The frog was funny. He let me take pics about an inch away from him without even blinking. It’s been about 4 weeks since we got rain, we so needed it. I hope the gray skies come back soon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ahh the obligatory veggie shots…..Pickling cucumber almost ready to pick, radish and hot pepper.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Father’s Day Everyone! Here’s what I got, Thanks Mindy!

Read Full Post »

Chickens are getting big, should start laying any day now. They’re about 22 Weeks Old. Chickens usually start laying (depending on the breed) around 20-24 Weeks.

Spreading the manure with the neighbors Bobcat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rained all week but afterwards the sun came out and flowers bloomed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was able to get the fields disced again after the manure was spread. It supposed to rain again tomorrow so hopefully I can get some seed and plants into the ground before it does.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was a nice day for a swim in the pond as Max and Moose showed their talents off chasing the ball.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lemon Balm is blowing up……and finally Max Photobombing and the plow after use (all shiny)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Mother’s Day to All.

 

 

Read Full Post »

I’m very proud to introduce a Guest Blogger writing an important/must-read piece concerning GMO’s. It’s a fantastic article that could also be titled; Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about GMO’s. Please share with others and leave your comments and questions below, Chris will answer them…..Take it away Mr. Vogliano:

My name is Chris Vogliano and I am currently studying nutrition and dietetics at Kent State University in their Master’s Program.  I am conducting my thesis study on the topic of Genetically Modified Organisms related to Dietitian’s knowledge and perception of them.  According to previous research, the public trusts dietitian’s to relay current and scientific information on this controversial topic.  However, as I hope to prove in my research, there is a significant knowledge gap in the perception of what dietitian’s know versus the knowledge they actually hold.

I chose this topic because genetically modified foods is personal and strikes an emotional cord.  Ever since discovering the topic, I have unveiled more and more unsettling information about this complicated and controversial process.

Most of American’s have no idea what genetically modified foods are, even though over 80% of our supermarket foods contain them.  Many American’s believe that simple crossbreeding is the same or at least a similar process to that of genetic modification.  Some American’s place trust in the “assumed” strict regulatory processes of the FDA, USDA, and EPA.

Politics plays a much more pertinent role in our lives than anyone wants or cares to believe, and I adamantly feel this with GMO’s…

The patenting of a transgenic soybean in the early 1990’s has had more of an impact than we would have ever imagined. We have seen a revolutionary agricultural shift in the way we grow our produce form even twenty years ago.  Many see this synergy of biotechnology and agriculture as a positive step towards our goal of creating a more economically sound production method for our food.  Big agriculture business has consolidated hands over the years to just a few large corporations, leading with the illusion of solving world hunger and bridging the world’s nutritional deficits.  As a soon to be dietitian who heavily values nutritional philanthropy, I could not have been more eager to learn more about this technology that could potentially curb our world hunger problems.
Let’s take a step back and look at the role of corporations in our society.

While we all vary on our opinions of specific corporations, deeming some as good and some evil, we have to remember one simple fact.  Through all the humanitarian efforts some might drape over their figurative bodies to display a positive PR image, corporations have one goal and one goal only.

The primary goal of a corporation is to increase profits for its shareholders. Plain and simple.

While some corporations may choose donations and community building tactics to seem selfless, at the end of the day it is simply to make you feel better about being a customer of their product.  This is not to demean the great things some corporations have done, but to call it an altruistic act is not so valid (arguably, is anything actually selfless? a question better saved for your philosophy 101 class).

Back to the grit of GMO’s – The basics of genetically modifying organisms is as follows:

A desired gene from a species not related to the host organisms is transferred into the cultivar or desired product (while sounding simple, this is actually quite a complex process).  The interesting part is that we don’t know how this transgenic, or crossing DNA from one foreign species to another affects humans or the environment.  This technology was developed and implemented into our food supply less than 15 years ago.

Monsanto is the largest corporate sponsor of GMO’s, fighting for their governmental acceptance worldwide ever since their creation.  A quick lesson on Monsanto’s history:

One of the first products Monsanto created was the artificial sweetener saccharin, which we now know can cause cancer

The next major products were DDT, Lasso, and Agent Orange, which we now know are highly carcinogenic.

Now they are trying to sell the idea of “genetically modified seeds” to us as being healthy and safe, when in all reality they are a self regulating organization whose primary interest is not the health of the consumers, but the money in their pocket.

European countries have strict regulatory standards and most countries have stopped the production of GMO’s until further testing has taken place.  Those countries who do have GMO corn must blatantly label their products with the phrase “this product contains genetically modified ingredients”, which protects the integrity of the food supply and the safety of the consumers.

GMO seeds have NEVER been tested in human trials to determine the impact they have on our bodies.

60% of our DNA is identical to that of corn and soy, and we have no idea how this transgenic process of altering genes in our food will affect us in the short term or the long term.

The only test currently being done to determine the safety of these products is happening right now, in our grocery stores.

As American’s, we deserve the right to know what is in our food. There is a serious need for us to take action on this issue that will help define the future of the agricultural food chain. We need the health of our food to lean in our favor, and not that of large corporate interest.

While there has been unethical practices that have been slipped passed the American consumers unbeknownst to them in the past decade, there has never been a more opportune moment to express out opinion than now.  More than ever, people are forming organizations and events to express their desire to have genetically modified foods labeled.  It is out food supply and we deserve the right to know what we are consuming.

think. be educated.

For more information or to get involved (highly encouraged!) visit:

www.Saynotogmos.org

www.nongmoproject.org

www.labelgmos.org

www.truefoodnow.org

LinkedIn Account:
www.linkedin.com/pub//chris-vogliano/41/806/370

WordPress account
http://chrisvogliano.wordpress.com/

Read Full Post »

I had a big rant written but decided to make my Earth Day wish simple…. Let’s all put an end to GMO seeds and food. Here’s what you can do:

1) Urge the FDA to require the mandatory labeling of genetically engineered foods. You have a right to know about the food you eat and what you feed your family. Go to http://justlabelit.org/ and sign the petition.

2) Do not buy seeds from Companies that sell GMO seeds. Which is basically the majority of them. Here are a couple of links to companies not to buy from: http://myfolia.com/groups/250-life-wants-to-be-free/topics/2867-companies-that-sell-monsanto-products/posts and http://www.garden-of-eatin.com/how-to-avoid-monsanto/

3) Buy locally from Organic Farms – Even if they don’t have the ‘Organic’ label but believe in sustainable farming and do not use GMO’s. I buy from the Amish in my area. They aren’t certified by the government but they also don’t use pesticides.

4) Spread the word. Tell your friends and family. Post it on Facebook. Write to your local congressman or state rep.

5) Don’t invest your money in biotech stock. Move it into something else.

  • Genetically engineered foods are required to be labeled in the 15 European Union nations, Russia, Japan, China, Australia, New Zealand, and many other countries around the world.
  • A recent poll released by ABC News found that 93 percent of the American public wants the federal government to require mandatory labeling of genetically engineered foods.

A Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) results from a discipline called Genetic Engineering which involves taking genes from one species and inserting them into another. For example, genes from an arctic flounder which has “antifreeze” properties may be spliced into a tomato to prevent frost damage. It is impossible to guide the insertion of the new gene. This can lead to unpredictable effects. Also, genes do not work in isolation but in highly complex relationships which are still not fully understood. Any change to the DNA at any point will affect it throughout its length in ways scientists cannot predict. The claim by some that they can is both arrogant and untrue. – Baker Creek Seed Website

Next Week: Chris Vogliano from Kent State University will be writing a Guest Blog on Monsanto.

Read Full Post »

It’s been a while since I updated everyone on what we’ve been up to and we’ve been busy! [Click on any image to see a larger version.]

The chickens are doing well, I finally captured the mutilator. It wasn’t a coyote it was a raccoon. He’s moved on to greener pastures. Think chickens are dumb and didn’t know a monster was coming at darkness to kill them? Look at the pic below, they were roosting all the way on the very top on an electrical cord. So sad….

    

We got a tractor! A 1949 Ford 9N. Runs great. I can’t wait to restore it to its old glory. Still need to buy a plow and disc (it came with an auger, Woods mower and a plow for snow). It’s durable, long lasting and easy-to-fix. It’s basically an engine and transmission on a drive shaft with a PTO on the back. Ain’t she a beaut? Thanks Dad!

  

Built the greenhouse and planted lots of vegetables. Thanks Carrie!

  

On the non-profit front, Project Garden Share had a seed giveaway at Kent Social Services and it was a huge success. Thanks Dave!

  

We gave away over 500 Heirloom (Non GMO) seed packets thanks to our friends at Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds who donated over $1,000 worth of seed to us. Through my work with PGS, I’ve never dealt with a more generous, friendly and fast acting company. If you need seeds, go straight to Baker and place an order with them. You will be happy you did and their catalog is gorgeous and fun to read.

All of their seed is non-hybrid, non-GMO, non-treated and non-patented.

Through my work with PGS, I’ve never dealt with a more generous, friendly and fast acting company. I ask you that if you need seeds, go straight to Baker and place an order with them. You will be happy you did and their catalog is gorgeous and fun to read.

Baker does not buy seed from Monsanto-owned Seminis. They boycott all gene-altering companies. They’re not members of the pro-GMO American Seed Trade Organization! Baker works with a network of about 100 small farmers, gardeners and seed growers.

And they offer over 1300 fine varieties!

Read Full Post »

We had a tragedy at the farm the other night; we lost some chickens to what appears to be a coyote or two. Coyotes are part of the natural circle of life and because we as humans basically eradicated their natural enemy the wolf, we’re forced to deal with these predators. Wolves don’t tolerate coyotes. When the wolves are depleted or hunted to near extinction, the more adaptable coyote moves into the niche.


Happier Times, Zoey meets her first chicken.

To be certain, I’m going to spread a bed of fine sand around at night to see what tracks are left or use a game camera. What’s for sure is that, having had a taste of chicken; whatever it is will keep coming back. Here’s a picture of paw prints and sizes to help you figure out what you might have coming to visit your flock.


We’ve had chickens for several years and have never had a problem with any predator, be it; fox, raccoon, hawk, possum, skunk, or what have you. They are fenced in by 5 ½ ’ walls in the run and a pen fully enclosed in the barn except for a small 15” door to the run.


I’m certain it was coyote based on the fur I found on the outer fence and the fact the chickens were carried away with no sign of struggle or mess in the hen house. From now on, we’ll be locking the chickens in the barn at night by closing and locking the small entrance door.


Photo courtesy of linsdomain.com fur on gate I found

List of non-lethal methods to reduce damage done by coyotes:

  1. Use net-wire or electric fencing to keep coyotes away from livestock.
  2. Confine livestock in a coyote-proof corral at night when coyotes are most likely to attack livestock.
  3. Use lights above corrals.
  4. Remove dead livestock so coyotes won’t be attracted to scavenge.
  5. Use sirens or strobe lights to scare coyotes away.
  6. Motion detection lights are also useful.
  7. Use guard animals, such as dogs, donkeys, and llamas, to protect livestock.
  8. Harass coyotes with loud noises, clapping hands, yelling, throwing rocks at them and waving our arms to create fear.
  9. Don’t feed your pets outdoors.
  10. Don’t ever feed coyotes.
  11. Don’t let coyotes have access to rubbish or compost heaps
  12. Don’t feed feral cats / stray dogs / wildlife / anything except your own kids
  13. If you have sheep / goats / cows etc then collect any placentas in the birthing season as these will attract coyotes
  14. Call the local Fish & Wildlife or local law enforcement agency if coyotes attack humans, become too aggressive by approaching humans and showing lack of fear of humans, or if they attack small pets.

My favorite is the donkey. Who’d a thought donkeys are the ass-kickers of the animal world? Get it….Ass kicker? If you have the appropriate fencing, a donkey is worth considering. Donkeys have an unrelenting hatred of anything dog-like and are quite capable of dealing with coyotes and probably even a wolf or two donkeys can’t be fooled by coyotes, who have been known to befriend the farm dog and be allowed the run of the place.

Reinforce your fencing
Bury your chicken wire into the ground, go 18″ or so into the ground and then bend the wire to form an L shape so that a persistent digger digs into the “crotch” of the L and gets no where fast. Otherwise, some animals will dig under your wire even if its two or more feet deep.

Also, you can try running a line of barbed wire at the bottom of your chicken wire fence. That will keep burrowing critters out. Works with wild pigs and they are pretty persistent burrowers.

For diagrams and instructions on livestock fences please reference the following PDF document: http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/nreos/wild/pdf/wildlife/COYOTES.PDF

Coyotes are not protected animals. Check your state’s Fish and Wildlife laws to see what is required to hunt coyotes. Some states do not require a license. Coyote are considered non-game mammals and can be taken at any time. In Ohio there is No closed season for hunting or trapping of coyote.

You want to let your flock free range but you have to ensure the safety of the birds. You can’t be upset with the coyote, it’s part of nature, part of farm life but what you do about it is up to you. If you shoot it, more will just take it’s place. I read once that a family had a dog to protect the flock but the coyotes were smart enough to lure the dog away and grab the chickens. It wasn’t until they got 2 Pyrenees dogs that the flock was safe.

Coyote Stats:
Weight: 15-45 lbs.
Length with tail: 40-60″
Shoulder Height: 15-20″
Sexual Maturity: 1-2 years
Mating Season: Jan-March
Gestation Period: 58-65 days
No. of Young: 2-12, 6 avg.
Birth Interval: 1 year
Lifespan: 15 years in the wild
Typical diet: Small mammals,
insects, reptiles, fruit & carrion

Coyote Facts:

  • Only 5-20% of coyote pups survive their first year.
  • The coyote can run at almost 40 mph and can get over a 8′ fence.
  • Coyotes can breed with both domestic dogs and wolves. A dog-coyote mix is called a “coydog.”
  • The coyote is more likely afraid of you than vice-versa.
  • Coyotes maintain their territory by marking it with urine.
  • Urban coyotes survive far longer than their rural cousins. A coyote living in urban Chicago has a 60-percent chance of surviving for one year, while a rural coyote has a 30 percent chance of living for another year.
  • Coyotes also do some good – they help control rapidly growing populations of Canada geese throughout North America
  • Coyotes are found in most of North America, except the cold Arctic tundra. Coyotes can adapt to most climates quite well.
  • Coyotes account for 65 percent of all cattle and calf losses to predators and 61 percent of sheep and lamb predation
  • The coyote is able to detect hunters coming from a mile away or even more.

Have you ever had any experiences with coyotes or other predators? How did you deal with it?

Here is a great link on how to protect your chickens from coyotes: http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/coyote-chicken-predators-how-to-protect-your-chickens-from-coyotes

Ohh and thank you everyone for putting our blog past 800 followers. We are so very grateful!

Next Post, I’m going to go over the Poll from a few weeks ago, If you haven’t voted yet, Please do so: If you had all the land you wanted, what livestock would you keep?

Update: I think it might be a raccoon after all but I’ve already completed this piece on coyotes.

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »