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Archive for the ‘Sustainable Living’ Category

We’ve been taught from a young age that rabbits are cute, cuddly, adorable little creatures. They fool hunters and outsmart monsters…They sell us cereal and batteries… They help a young prince grow up and learn to skate… They save the world, promote naked women and are sometimes late but what they really are……..are garden destroyers.

You’ve been brainwashed,  Ya been bamboozled into believing these creatures are harmless and I’m here to say, No! All my hard work from; preparing the soil, planting, watering, weeding and general upkeep can be shattered in a single day by one of these varmints.

You can’t really trap a rabbit during the summer. Why would a rabbit enter a metal trap (with whatever bait) when there is a cornucopia of fresh veggies and herbs all over the place? Besides, live trapping of rabbits is not recommended because rabbits can carry certain diseases which may be transmittable to the trapper. Here are a few.

I recommend a .22 , a steady aim and patience. I know it sounds terribly cruel and inhumane but its all part of being self-sufficient. You can’t be self sufficient if you don’t have any produce left to consume and can. Here are some Delicious Rabbit Recipes, my wife is Italian and her Grandmother would always make tomato sauce with rabbit. Don’t worry about the rabbit population, it’s booming.

Rabbits have a very fast reproductive rate. The breeding season for most rabbits lasts 9 months, from February to October.  Normal gestation is about 30 days. The average size of the litter varies but is usually between 4 and 12 babies, with larger breeds having larger litters.  A kit (baby rabbit) can be weaned at about 4 to 5 weeks of age. This means in one season a single female rabbit can produce as many as 800 children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. A doe is ready to breed at about 6 months of age, and a buck at about 7 months.(Source)

Here’s a link to 10 Ways to deter rabbits from your garden in a feel good happy way: Click Here. Of course, none on this list has actually worked for me. I think I have mutant bunnies.

Rabbits eat a variety of fruits and vegetables, which make it difficult to keep them out of vegetable gardens. Rabbits enjoy eating lettuce, carrots, apples, strawberries, pears, broccoli, kale, spinach, celery and tomatoes. Rabbits will eat almost any leafy vegetable. Rabbits will eat garden vegetables to the ground and damage the bark around certain bushes.

I know some of you have rabbits as pets and I think that’s great. They’re not eating your garden. So, let’s end on a fun note……

My Top Ten Famous Rabbits of All Time:

  1. Bugs Bunny (Our buddy)
  2. Rabbit (Winnie the Pooh)
  3. Thumper (Bambi)
  4. Velveteen Rabbit (my favorite)
  5. Peter Cottontail (Thornton Burgess)
  6. White Rabbit (Alice in Wonderland)
  7. Roger Rabbit (from Who Framed?)
  8. Playboy Bunny (Classic)
  9. Trix Rabbit (Love me some Trix)
  10. Energizer Bunny (I hate him)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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…

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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!

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Cucumbers are coming in real nice. We’ll be pickling soon.

Zucchini’s blossoming and the Brandy-wine Tomatoes are loving this heat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Peas need trellised, corn is coming up and so are soybeans.

Pumpkins popped up a day ago and the bush beans are getting big.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chickens frolicking and a bunny. I gotta do something about the bunnies. They’re eating up all my beans.

Broccoli. Nothing better than fresh broccoli marinated with soy sauce and garlic and cooked on the grill.

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A double rainbow from yesterday. I think that’s a sign of a plentiful garden this year. Sounds good right?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We have been planting. Thanks to my brother Dave who enjoys waking me up before sunrise to get some seeds in before work. We’ve got corn, peas, bush beans, beets, radishes, carrots, pumpkins, cucumbers, watermelons, basil, dill, parsley, and lots of flowers to attract pollinators.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Zucchini is blowing up and my tomatoes are already flowering. Shouldn’t be long now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Peas popping up and the peppers are doing great. They are already flowering! The rabbits are eating my beans so I have to take steps to deter them today. Maybe some Cayenne pepper.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I planted the pumpkins a bit differently than last year. With the tractor, I made a long mound instead of individual mounds. Here’s how to Plant pumpkins in small mounds: https://soulsbyfarm.wordpress.com/2011/06/16/how-to-plant-pumpkins/

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chives are flowering. I just found a great recipe on Barrows Farm blog: cut off the tops, fill a mason jar 2/3 full with the blossoms and cover in white vinegar. Place the jar on your porch or window sill as if you were making sun tea and you’ll have a fabulous dressing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks to Dave (again) he put in the Soulsby Vineyard this past week. Zoey helped manage and Jeff is installing the trellis. I’m still not 100% sure about the spacing. I’ve read everything from 4′ to 8′ up to 20′ between the vines. What do you do for concord grapes? Any tips?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have a great Sunday everyone! Happy planting!

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Got rain on the brain?

It hasn’t been very rainy yet, but it sure will be again soon. Have you thought about where all that rain water is going to go? Rain gardens will capture the rain water and get into the ground where it belongs!

Every time it rains, we generate a ton of water.  Every drop collected with all of our neighbors, every parking lot, every business, every hard surface, generates rain water.  When we collect all that rain water together, it is usually too much for our local streams, creeks, and lakes to handle. When we pipe all that water to our local waterways, we create a lot of harm – we increase erosion and flooding, reduce native plant populations, and can even increase the spread of invasive species.

Rain gardens were developed as a way for a homeowner to do their part and beautify their property, while also trying to manage rain water at home and get it into the ground where it belongs.

What is a Rain Garden? Rain gardens are shallow depressions, usually six inches deep, that are hand-dug and planted with deep rooted, water-loving native plants.  Essentially our rain water is directed from our roofs to a sited rain garden where water can be captured and temporarily stored it for one to three days in duration.  Once there the plants, soil and microbes in the soil work together to clean the water, while the deep rooted native plants create capillaries that help it to soak into the ground .

When these gardens are not soaking up rain water, they are looking great and enhancing our landscapes.   Native plants have great leaf textures, a variety of flower colors and heights to create interesting and unique gardens for our homes.

How to Build a Rain Garden:
For more “how-to” information on rain gardens, please visit our resource page at: http://www.formecology.com/resources/education/projects/Rain_Gardens_How_To_Guide_For_Homeowners.pdf

Rain Garden Plant Lists for sunny & shady sites available on our website at:http://www.formecology.com/resources/educational.php

 

 

 

 

 

 

This article was written by my good friend John Gishnock of Formecology. John is the foremost authority in Rain Gardens in the Midwest and gives lectures throughout the US on subjects that include rain gardens, natural stone hardscape features, native landscape design, and sustainable landscape features. For information about John and his company please visit his website or click on the links above.

If you have any questions about Rain Gardens or Native plants, please leave it in a comment on this page. John will answer and others can share the knowledge.

John Gishnock – Owner of Formecology

 

 

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Bush beans planted by Uncle Keith and rows of peppers and tomatoes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cabbage, Black Berry Bush and Chickens love Watermelon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cucumbers and Zucchini

 

 

 

 

 

 

There’s always time to take a break and find a dragonfly resting or watch the kids canoe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Pepper Plant, Manure in the Wheel Barrow and a long garden shot of the pepper rows. Of course I like to plant a couple of cherry tomato plants on the corner. That way I can grab a snack as soon as I walk in the garden.

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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.

 

 

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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/

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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!

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