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Posts Tagged ‘politics’

It’s time for a little update.  First, in the garden front, our tomato and pepper seedlings are growing splendidly.  We are expecting some excellent peppers this year.  We are increasing the number of Ghost Pepper plants and expect to be North Georgia’s First Choice for fresh Jolokia Peppers.

For the Jalapeno Pepper lovers out there, we are featuring two varieties this year, Gigante and Biker Billy.  Gigante Jalapenos are large, zippy and perfect for poppers, stuffing, roasting or pickling.  Biker Billies are my favorite Jalapeno variety.  They have all the flavor of a traditional Jalapeno with the heat of a Habanero.  These little fireballs will kick your nachos clear into outer space.  We can hardly wait for summer.

We may have a few bell peppers to offer, but we keep so many of those, that we don’t know yet how many we’ll have to spare.  As for tomatoes, keep your eyes open.  If the weather is kind to us, we will have a couple varieties of juicy slicing toms to offer after mid July.

We’re already getting excited about canning up green beans, zucchini and squash.  I think B is planning to make pickles this year, too.

On the meat front, we have a couple spaces left for reserving turkeys, but time is running out.  Turkeys are $55 including the $10 deposit with the rest payable at processing time (First Saturday in November).  Chickens will be available June 18.  You can still pre order chickens as well.  Reservations are the best way to guarantee your order.

Requests are starting to come in for rabbit, both as meat and as pets.  We will have a few ready to go the first weekend in March.  They are $12 each.  You can order online.  Just let us know whether you want them live or if you want your rabbit processed for you.

Finally…. the egg report.  Demand still outstrips supply by a huge margin.  Please be patient.  Our girls provided us 11 dozen eggs last week.  We had requests for about 15 dozen.   We are overwhelmed with the response to our eggs.  We are so happy that you are enjoying them as much as we are.  We will continue to supply on an ‘as available’ basis through the summer.  By September or October we expect to be able to handle demand comfortably.

I guess that’s about it for this weeks commercial break.  We now return you to your regularly scheduled surfing.

 

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I have a dream.

Hmm, that line may not be original….

It is, however, true.  My dream is about eliminating hunger.  I can see it as clearly as I see the laptop screen in front of me.  The dream does not require vast fields of grains or reeking ‘cities’ of livestock crammed together, milling about in their own waste.  I also does not require train loads of chemicals or genetically modified seed.  My dream even minimizes the use of fossil fuels and improves, rather than degrades, the environment.

Here in the burb, we are demonstrating that my dream is a possibility.  We could be totally self sufficient on our little half acre lot.  Our farm is only required because of ridiculous HOA rules.  We’ll have that discussion another day.

Every day, I drive by seized housing estates that were never built.  I pass derelict gas stations, abandoned strip malls, empty Church lots, and acres upon acres of verges and green medians that could be converted to edible landscapes.  I see countless wasted green space that could be used for grazing goats, sheep, cattle, fish and poultry on a small scale.

If done correctly, rather than being stinking eyesores, these spaces would be oases in the asphalt jungles we have created, providing employment as well as food for multiple millions.  Yes, a boarded up gas station could become a mini permaculture, a visual and practical attraction on the morning commute.

Virtually every school has space for educational and community gardens, as do the overwhelming majority of Churches.  And let’s not forget about prisons.  Opportunity for abundance is all around us.  Even our inner cities have spaces on the ground and on those gosh awful ugly flat roofs for creating life changing and sustaining food.

Country based farmers would be able to focus on raising and growing the things they love and creating larger permacultures that would look vastly different from the deserts many of our farms have become.

I can see food pantries better stocked than grocery stores, with healthy, fresh produce, meats and dairy.  Even better, I can see them closed down because they are no longer necessary.  I can see the health of our elders and our children improving, thereby decreasing pressure on our healthcare system.  Food costs would come down, not by Government intervention, but because of abundance, allowing a surplus of cash to flow into the economy.

It could really be done.  It would take work, there would be opposition, but it could be done.  For now, I’m only a small voice crying in the wilderness, but as I understand it, some pretty impressive fires have been ignited by a single spark.

One last thing:  In my dream, I see God smile.

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I try and avoid politics in this space as much as possible, leaving that to my “Paridigm Shift” page.  Once in a while, though, something jumps up and demands attention.  An article I read this morning is one such case.  It even has a local flavor.  There are no good words to describe the silliness of a local Government charging a local farmer with growing ‘too many vegetables’.  It’s a much better idea to restrict growing edibles locally and ship them halfway around the world, right?  Oh, my life.

You can read the whole article HERE.

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I get up way too early in the morning.   I do it because I have so many irons in the fire that I could not get everything done without rising early.  I’m not proud of it.  I’m not ashamed of it.  It is what it is.

This morning is a rare leisurely one.  I got the rabbit chores done, checked out a few of my favorite news sites, then sat in my recliner with a cup of coffee and started daydreaming about what I would do if I was forced into a survivalist mode here in the burb.  Some people dream about winning the lottery, my miswired mind runs toward self sufficiency.  I blame talk radio.

So, what would I do (and…what would Brittan let me do…..) if I was suddenly thrown into a situation where I had to fend for myself?  Here’s what I’ve come up with so far…

  1. Since we grow so many fruits and vegetables already, I’d be pretty good there.  But I would need to save more seeds.  Right now, it’s easy to buy them off the internet, but B got me a good book last Christmas about seed saving, and I could easily make that move.
  2. I would grow more beans.  They are prolific, nutritious and provide most of their own fertilizer by pulling nitrogen from the air and trapping it in the soil.  They are also a good food source for the animals we would keep.
  3. I would pay more attention to my berries.  Raspberries and blackberries are easily grown and spread.  They are an excellent food source for humans and animals.  I should consider more strawberries.
  4. We already have fruit trees.  I think I’m good there.
  5. I would grow more cantaloupes.  If I could figure out how to keep the dogs from eating them, that is.
  6. I would pay more attention to my worm composting.  I would greatly expand that project.
  7. If I could only keep one edible livestock, it would be the rabbits.  They are quiet.  They easily reproduce.  They eat what we grow in our garden and yard.  They provide the best fertilizer in nature.  They are a tasty and healthy food source.
  8. Next, I would sneak in the Nigerian Dwarf Goats.  A buck would be a bit of a challenge, because of odor potential, but we’d work it out.  A buck and two does could provide an ongoing supply of dairy and meat.  I don’t love goat’s milk, but it’s healthy and the goats are small and quiet.  Our Nigerians are much quieter than sheep, chickens or cows.  They would eat the brambles and weeds in the yard and would help with post season garden clean up.  Since they are small, they’d take up little space and would not tear up the yard.
  9. I would try to keep some chickens.  This is the tough one.  I could hide two or three laying hens, but that would only work for two or three years.  Without a rooster, the chicken thing comes to a halt fairly quickly.  Roosters are noisy.
  10. Finally, there is a piece of the puzzle I have yet to acquire, namely the aquaponics tanks.  With a 200 gallon aquaponics tank, I would be able to raise tilapia, all the food for the tilapia and additional vegetables and greens for human and animal consumption.  It would also require a breeding pair of tilapia.  Since I don’t have that, but live near a major lake and raise my own worms, a supply of fish is fairly convenient already.

Many other pieces of a suburban survival plan are already in place.  Brittan already cans copious quantities of produce that we grow.  So those supplies are available.  We have stockpiled things like candles, soap, toilet paper and toothpaste.  We have a pretty good quantity of water purifying tablets and all weather clothing.

With a little tweaking, we are ready for the apocalypse.  I figure that if something really dramatic happens, our HOA would become irrelevant, so I don’t worry too much about them.

This may be the oddest post I’ve ever written.  But, hey, it’s Saturday morning and I don’t watch cartoons.

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This is our third year having a garden in Georgia.  I have yet to see a honey bee.  Bumble bees, yes, but no honey bees.  Zero.  Nunca.  None.

A simple google search will bring up an abundance of articles, websites and youtube clips, decrying and pondering the rapid disappearance of honey bees in the USA.  In many places up to 30 percent of the population has vanished, in others it is claimed the number is perhaps 70 percent.  I don’t know the actual percentage, but the phenomenon is real.

I remember going out on recess at Clays Mill Elementary School in Lexington, KY when I was a kid and seeing bees everywhere.  We would sit in the clover and catch them.  We would see who could catch the most or hold onto one the longest without getting stung.  Honey bees were as much a part of spring as the flower blossoms themselves.

The disappearance of the honey bee is a complex issue, with as many twists and turns as a horror novel.  Only this story is terrifyingly true.

First, the honey bee is politically incorrect.  The once beloved garden companion and producer of honey is a pariah in many parts of the country because some people are allergic to them.  So they are exterminated in many places.  Granted, no one wants to see a neighbor or classmate rushed to hospital unable to breathe for any reason, but the overall benefits to society (pollination of food crops and honey), counterbalance the risks.  What happens when the bees are gone?  Albert Einstein is famously quoted as saying that if the bee population disappeared, the human race would follow in four years!

Without bees we would be hard pressed to have most fruits, nuts and many vegetables.  Birds, butterflies and the like could never keep up.  For example, both the California almond industry and the Florida citrus industry truck bees in to pollinate their orchards.  You owe that morning orange juice and the nuts in your bowl of cereal to the honey bee.

Viruses and mites, among other things, are decimating the bees.  Buy why?  Bees have been oppressed by both adversaries for millennia, why are they now losing the fight?  I would like to offer a hypothesis that the human commitment to the weed free lawn is a major contributor to weakening the constitution of the North American Honey Bee.

We saturate our lawns and flower beds with chemicals to kill the weeds and grow the flowers.  The harsh chemicals affect more than just the dandelions and crabgrass.  The birds, bees, rabbits and other wildlife are constantly ingesting the toxins.  Can anything good come of that?  Think about it, when the lawn service leaves a location, they put a little flag in the yard in part as a warning for the home owner to take care of their pets and children until the chemicals neutralize.  But who keeps out the bees (or the bunnies for that matter)?

When the exterminator sprays around our houses to eliminate the creepy crawlies, the good insects are also vulnerable.  In our drive to win the ‘yard of the month’, we may inadvertently be killing our future.

B and I cancelled our lawn service over a year ago.  It shows.  We have a lot more weeds and need to mow more often that our neighbors to keep the front lawn looking civilized.  I know some of our neighbors look at our yard in disgust.  It doesn’t look bad, but it’s not as lush as it used to be.  We have planted bee balm and other bee, butterfly and hummingbird attractants, but we are also attracting a whole bunch of weeds.

In my opinion, a handful of chickens and a couple sheep or goats would do just as well as the big expensive lawn services and would provide food for the table as well.  But our Home Owners Association would have a fit.  I guarantee that a few chickens would control the bugs without creating a bio hazard and a goat would work wonders on the weed population.  Together they would provide natural fertilization as well.  But the Beverly Hillbillies are not allowed in our neighborhood.

Conventional farmers contribute to the problem as well, in my opinion, with their tons of pesticides.  They don’t intend harm, it’s a by-product of our industrial farm system and in needs to be fixed.  I know most farmers agree.

The honey bee is nearing endangered status.  The problem can be reversed if we moderate our chemical use.  Let’s welcome the honey bee back into society.  Our very future may depend on it.

Finally, those who can, should set up a box or two and take an active role in regenerating the bee population.  Brittan and I will add bees to our operation next spring.  We will put them out on the farm since the poor creatures are not welcome in the burb.   Home Owners Associations of the world……..REPENT!

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It’s happened again.  Just as the weather heats up and Americans decide a nice cool salad would hit the spot, we have an e.coli outbreak in the lettuce supply chain.  So far, slightly less than 2 dozen people have been reported as sickened, but 23 States are involved in the recall.  Please be careful when you head to the grocery store.

I have included an MSNBC article about the outbreak.  What troubles me more than the e.coli, is a comment about halfway down the article about calls for stricter food safety regulations.  It sounds righteous, but it is merely, as Solomon would have said in Ecclesiastes, “Chasing after the wind.”  The only people who will be affected by more regulations are small farmers and producers.  The real answer is to buy local, from a grower in your area, maybe someone you know.  An even better idea is to grow some of your own lettuce.

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B and I finally took the plunge and are cutting ourselves off of commercially produced meat, poultry and milk.  It has been a difficult decision, because our financial and ‘nutritional’ convictions have been in conflict.  We are fairly frugal.  We live on a budget and every dime screams for attention.  We don’t like to waste money.  I write frequently about financial issues on my “Recession Proof Living” page.

But we are also very conscious about what we eat.  We have grown weary of chemical laced canned foods and tasteless, pesticide soaked, wax coated ‘fresh’ food.  That’s one of the reasons East of Eden was born.  We have come a long way in creating and consuming better fruits and veg.  But meat and dairy have lagged behind.  Mostly, that’s been financially driven.  We can produce our plant products as cheaply and usually more cheaply than we can buy them, so our nutrition has gone up while our cost has gone down.  We can’t produce our own beef, pork, poultry or dairy, so we are reliant on supermarkets.  In the supermarket, there are some very inexpensive cuts of meat, some very low cost eggs, and at the right stores, milk goes for a song.  Those prices meet my financial expectations.

So, tightwad Sam is happy, but Sam the natural food and animal lover is dismayed.  Brittan has had a full fledged crisis of conscience.  We like meat.  That’s a fact.  But we believe animals should be treated with respect and allowed to live as naturally and die as humanely as possible.  Most commercially produced beef, poultry, pork, eggs and dairy are loaded with chemicals and the animals live despicable lives.  The treatment of animals in feed lots, poultry farms and processing plants is a violation of God’s created order.  And in the end, God’s plan will always trump my pocket book.

After reading, discussing, researching and much praying we decided several things:  1.  We will find a way to provide as much of our own meat as possible.  That means raising meat rabbits and probably fish right here on in the burb.  2.  We will do more hunting and fishing.  3.  When we purchase, we will buy only pastured chicken, pork and eggs; grass fed beef and milk.  3.  We will eat out much less frequently.  4.  We will accept the fact that our grocery bill is going up.

We started today.  We are content with our decision.  We do have some meat in the freezer that we will eat.  We paid for it and waste would be disrespectful, too.  But from today, our lives have changed.  Here we stand.

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