Thursday, July 18, 2013

I am MIA

I am MIA as I am taking the summer off.
Well, at least most of it.
Hope y'all have a good one too.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Former Pro-GMO Scientist Speaks Out


Former Pro-GMO Scientist Speaks Out on the Real Dangers of Genetically Engineered Food


by Dr. Mercola
Who better to speak the truth about the risks posed by genetically modified (GM) foods than Thierry Vrain, a former research scientist for Agriculture Canada? It was Vrain’s job to address public groups and reassure them that GM crops and food were safe, a task he did with considerable knowledge and passion.
But Vrain, who once touted GM crops as a technological advancement indicative of sound science and progress, has since started to acknowledge the steady flow of research coming from prestigious labs and published in high-impact journals – research showing that there is significant reason for concern about GM crops – and he has now changed his position.

To read the rest of the article, follow this link;
 http://occupymonsanto360.org/blog/former-pro-gmo-scientist-speaks-out-on-the-real-dangers-of-genetically-engineered-food/

Friday, May 31, 2013

Spam

I have been getting alot of spam since my blog address was posted on Twitter.
(never have liked Twitter all that much and now even less so)
So went into my settings yesterday and with some help from a friend (L3), I changed up some of my settings about comments and spam.
I sure hope it helps.
If it doesn't than I'll be shutting this blog.
Crossing my fingers here.


Friday, May 24, 2013

Spring?

You have got to be kidding!

I mean, come on, it's May 24th.

Didn't the calendar indicate it was spring?

The temperature right now.... 4 C (39 F) with a wind chill of 1.3 C (34 F).

AND, IT SNOWED! 

Just asking.... whose the jokester? 



                                                       

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Insanity: US Approves Bee Death Pesticide as EU Bans It

Corporate politics is business as usual inside the United States, as I am once again shocked to report the EPA has sided with industry lobbyists over public health in approving a highly dangerous pesticide that the European Union recently decided to ban over fears of environmental devastation. Not only have neonicotinoid pesticides been linked repeatedly to mass bee deaths, also known as Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), but the continued use of such pesticides threatens other aspects of nature (and humans) as well.
What’s even more amazing is that the decision not only comes after the EU publicly discussed the major dangers surrounding the use of the pesticides, but after the USDA released a report surrounding the continued honeybee deaths and the related effects — a report in which they detailed pesticides to be a contributing factor. Just the impact on the honeybees alone, and we now know that these pesticides are killing aquatic life and subsequently the birds that feed upon them, amounts to a potential $200 billion in global damages per year. We’re talking about the devastation of over 100 crops, from apples to avocados and plums.
And there’s countless scientists and a large number of environmental science groups speaking out on this. The EPA has no lack of information the subject. And sure, there are other contributing factors to bee deaths, there’s no question about that. We have an environment right now being hit with Monsanto’s Roundup even in residential areas, we have chemical rain, we have insane amounts of EMF — but it’s pretty clear that neonicotinoid pesticides are at least a major contributing factor. And beyond that, they have no place in the food supply to begin with.
The Pesticide Action Network (PAN) details the EU ban that came right before the EPA acceptance of the death-linked  pesticide:
“The EU vote comes after significant findings by the European Food Safety Agency that these pesticides pose an unacceptable risk to bees and their use should be restricted. Along with habitat loss and pathogens, a growing body of science points to neonicotinoid pesticides as a key factor in drastically declining bee populations.”
So why are they approving this pesticide to now pollute the United States in what potentially amounts to an even larger capacity than the EU? A move that will ultimately escalate the price of food worldwide due to the likely nature of continued bee deaths and subsequent crop impact? That’s the power of phony corporate science.

 Anthony Gucciardi
Natural Society

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Hungary Destroys ALL MONSANTO GMO Corn Field


Hungary Destroys All Monsanto GMO Corn Field

 Source: NaturalSociety.com  by 

burning-gmoHungary has taken a bold stand against biotech giant Monsanto and genetic modification by destroying 1000 acres of maize found to have been grown with genetically modified seeds, according to Hungary deputy state secretary of the Ministry of Rural Development Lajos Bognar. Unlike many European Union countries, Hungary is a nation where genetically modified (GM) seeds are banned. In a similar stance against GM ingredients, Peru has also passed a 10 year ban on GM foods.
Almost 1000 acres of maize found to have been ground with genetically modified seeds have been destroyed throughout Hungary, deputy state secretary of the Ministry of Rural Development Lajos Bognar said. The GMO maize has been ploughed under, said Lajos Bognar, but pollen has not spread from the maize, he added.

Unlike several EU members, GMO seeds are banned in Hungary. The checks will continue despite the fact that seek traders are obliged to make sure that their products are GMO free, Bognar said.
During the invesigation, controllers have found Pioneer Monsanto products among the seeds planted.
The free movement of goods within the EU means that authorities will not investigate how the seeds arrived in Hungary, but they will check where the goods can be found, Bognar said. Regional public radio reported that the two biggest international seed producing companies are affected in the matter and GMO seeds could have been sown on up to the thousands of hectares in the country. Most of the local farmers have complained since they just discovered they were using GMO seeds.

With season already under way, it is too late to sow new seeds, so this years harvest has been lost.
And to make things even worse for the farmers, the company that distributed the seeds in Baranya county is under liquidation. Therefore, if any compensation is paid by the international seed producers, the money will be paid primarily to that company’s creditors, rather than the farmers.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Monsanto Owned Companies


In the recent outrage over the Monsanto Protection Act, here’s a simple list of companies that use Monsanto products. By staying away from products made by these companies on the list above, you can make sure your dollars are not going to support 'Monsanto' and at the same time watch out for the health of your family and your loved ones.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Join Maria Rodale - Fight GMOs


The other day I was feeling overwhelmed and defeated about the whole GMO thing. There is SO MUCH evidence that GMOs and the chemicals that are used in concert with them (like Round up) are destroying our health and planet. Hundreds of thousands of people have signed petitions and answered surveys that they want GMOs at least labeled if not completely out of our food system. (Are you listening, Mr. President?) But then it occurred to me. We have the solution! Ultimately, there is only one way to ensure that GMOs are out of our food supply, and that is to buy, grow, and eat only organic food. Eating certified-organic food is the only way you can ensure that you are not poisoning your children, poisoning yourself, and poisoning our environment. Isn't that worth a few extra bucks in the supermarket? A few extra questions to your farmer at the farmers' market? And the more we buy organics, the cheaper they'll become. So, let's join together and support the businesses that align with our belief that GMOs do not belong in our food. Let's vote with our dollars. The power is in our hands. Will you join me?
—Maria Rodale

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Why Didn't I Think of That?


Eta Aquarid Meteor Shower

The Eta Aquarid meteor shower occurs each year in early May because the orbit of Halley's Comet closely approaches the orbit of Earth in two places. The first is the May timeframe, which leads to the Eta Aquarids. The other point occurs in mid-October, producing the Orionid meteor shower.

When and where to watch
The Eta Aquarid meteor shower is predicted to peak early on Sunday morning, but dark skies and clear weather are vital to observe them. Under ideal conditions (a dark, moonless sky) about 55 to 60 of these very swift meteors might be seen per hour.
The meteor shower appears at about one-quarter of its peak strength for several days before and after May 5. This is a very good year to look out for the Eta Aquarid meteors from Halley's Comet because the moon will be at a thin, waning crescent phase, and just 20-percent illuminated and providing little interference for viewing these swift streaks of light.
From places south of the equator, the Eta Aquarids typically put on very good show. Australian stargazers consider them to be the best meteor display of the year.
But for those watching from north of the equator, it's a much different story.

Where to look
The apparent origin point of a meteor shower in the night sky is known as its radiant. For the Eta Aquarids, the radiant is found within the "Water Jar" of the constellation Aquarius, which begins to rise above the eastern horizon around 3 a.m. your local time. Unfortunately, this constellation never really gets very high as seen from north temperate latitudes. And soon after 4 a.m. local time, the morning twilight will begin to brighten the sky.
So if you are hoping to see up to 60 meteors per hour, forget it. With the radiant so low above the horizon, the majority of those meteors will be streaking below the horizon and out of sight.
In fact, from North America, typical Aquarid rates are only 10 meteors per hour at 26 degrees north latitude (Miami, Fla., or Brownsville, Texas), 5 per hour at around 35 degrees latitude (Los Angeles, Calif., or Cape Hatteras, N.C.) and practically zero to the north of 40 degrees (New York, Chicago, and Philadelphia).
 "So," you may be thinking, "What's the point of getting up before dawn to watch?" The answer: Despite the long odds, you still just might see something spectacular.

Catch an Earthgrazer, or comet crumb
For most, perhaps the best hope is perhaps catching a glimpse of a meteor emerging from the radiant that will skim the atmosphere horizontally — much like a bug skimming the side window of an automobile.
Meteor watchers call such shooting stars "earthgrazers" and they are known for spectacularly long, colorful long-lasting trails. 
"These meteors are extremely long," Robert Lunsford of the International Meteor Organization explained. "They tend to hug the horizon rather than shooting overhead where most cameras are aimed."
"Earthgrazers are rarely numerous," NASA meteor expert Bill Cooke, a member of the Space Environments team at the Marshall Space Flight Center has said. "But even if you only see a few, you're likely to remember them."
If you do catch sight of one early these next few mornings, remember that you are likely seeing the incandescent streak produced by material which originated from the core of Halley's Comet.
So it is that the shooting stars that we have come to call the Eta Aquarids are really an encounter with the traces of a famous visitor from the depths of space and from the dawn of creation.


                                        An Eta Aquarid meteor streaks through the night sky.
















Sunday, May 5, 2013

WTG Seattle

 
 
 
 
Seattle’s vision of an urban food oasis is going forward. A seven-acre plot of land in the city’s Beacon Hill neighborhood will be planted with hundreds of different kinds of edibles: walnut and chestnut trees; blueberry and raspberry bushes; fruit  trees, including apples and pears; exotics like pineapple, yuzu citrus, guava, persimmons, honeyberries, and lingonberries; herbs; and more. All will be available for public plucking to anyone who wanders into the city’s first food forest.
“This is totally innovative, and has never been done before in a public park,” Margarett Harrison, lead landscape architect for the Beacon Food Forest project, tells TakePart. Harrison is working on construction and permit drawings now and expects to break ground this summer.
The concept of a food forest certainly pushes the envelope on urban agriculture and is grounded in the concept of permaculture, which means it will be perennial and self-sustaining, like a forest is in the wild. Not only is this forest Seattle’s first large-scale permaculture project, but it’s also believed to be the first of its kind in the nation.
“The concept means we consider the soils, companion plants, insects, bugs—everything will be mutually beneficial to each other,” says Harrison.
That the plan came together at all is remarkable on its own. What started as a group project for a permaculture design course ended up as a textbook example of community outreach gone right.
"Friends of the Food Forest undertook heroic outreach efforts to secure neighborhood support. The team mailed over 6,000 postcards in five different languages, tabled at events and fairs, and posted fliers,” writes Robert Mellinger for Crosscut. 
Neighborhood input was so valued by the organizers, they even used translators to help Chinese residents have a voice in the planning.
So just who gets to harvest all that low-hanging fruit when the time comes?
“Anyone and everyone,” says Harrison. “There was major discussion about it. People worried, ‘What if someone comes and takes all the blueberries?’ That could very well happen, but maybe someone needed those blueberries. We look at it this way—if we have none at the end of blueberry season, then it means we’re successful.”


Thursday, May 2, 2013

Frozen Yoghurt

I have been making our own yoghurt for a couple of years now. The only problem is when I make it, I have approximately two and a half quarts of it to use up before it goes sour. Oh what to do????

This morning I found my answer.

Frozen berry yoghurt 
Anneka Manning's frozen yoghurt from The Low GI Family Cookbook  is perfect for desserts or snacks and serves 6.

250g (9oz) fresh or frozen mixed berries
3 x 200 g (7oz) tubs low fat vanilla yoghurt
2 egg whites
2 tbsp floral honey

Anneka Manning's frozen yoghurt

Place the berries and yoghurt in a food processor and blend until smooth. Transfer to a medium-sized bowl and set aside. Whisk the egg whites in a clean, dry bowl until stiff peaks form. Add the honey a tablespoon at a time, whisking well after each addition until thick and glossy. Fold into the berry yoghurt mixture until just combined. Pour the mixture into an airtight container and place in the freezer for 4 hours or until frozen. Use a metal spoon to break the frozen yoghurt into chunks. Blend again in a food processor until smooth. Return to the airtight container and refreeze for 3 hours or until frozen. Serve in scoops.

Looks good doesn't it? I can't wait to try it. Maybe today since the temperature here is going to be a rip roaring 27 C (80 F)! 

Monday, April 29, 2013

Organic Mulches



Examples of organic mulches include:
  • Bark, Shredded or Chipped
  • Compost
  • Composted Manure
  • Grass Clippings
  • Newspaper
  • Shredded Leaves
  • Straw
Organic mulch will decompose and have to be replaced, however in the process it will also improve your soil’s fertility and, of course, its organic content. Generally the dryer and woodier the mulch, the slower it will decompose and the less nutrients it will give to the soil.

  • Bark mulches are best used around trees, shrubs and in garden beds where you won’t be doing a lot of digging, like front walkways and foundation plantings. These woody mulches don’t mix well into the soil and it can become a hassle to have to keep moving them aside to make way for new plants.
  • Compost and Composted Manure can be used anywhere, as long as they are relatively well composted and weed free. You can use them as a coating of mulch or simply side dress plants with them during the growing season, to insulate and give a boost of slow released nutrients.
  • Grass Clippings are a mixed bag and are best suited to remote areas of your garden where you basically want to suppress weeds. Grass clippings, like most green plant debris with a high water content, decompose very rapidly and in the process they can get somewhat slimy, with an unpleasant odor - so use with discretion. Grass clippings also tend to mat down and not allow water to pass through. 
  • Ideally you should use a mulching mower and leave the clippings on the lawn to add fertility to that soil. However if you do bag your grass clippings, don’t throw them away unless you have used weed killer or some other pesticide on your lawn. Synthetic lawn care products can be bad for some flowers and you certainly don’t want to use them in your vegetable garden. But untreated grass clippings can either be dumped into your compost bin or used to mulch open, unplanted areas.
  • Newspaper as mulch is becoming more and more popular. Most newspapers have switched over to organic dyes, especially for their black & white sections. Shredded newspaper has been used for years to keep plant roots moist while shipping. Layered sheets of newspaper also have great moisture retention abilities and they act like other organic mulches as far as suppressing weeds and controlling soil temperatures. They are also great for smothering existing grass, to jump start a new garden bed.
  • To use as a mulch in the garden, spread a layer of 4 - 8 sheets of newspaper around the plants. Moisten the sheets to keep them in place. On windy days it’s easier to moisten the sheets before you place them down. Cover the newspaper with a 1-3 inch layer of another organic mulch and the weed protection should last throughout the growing season.
  • Shredded Leaves are natures favorite mulch. Shredded leaves can be used as mulch anywhere and have the added bonus of being free. I have never had so many earth worms in my flower gardens as I’ve had since I started using shredded leaf mulch about 3 years ago. Even my compost pile doesn’t have as much activity as under these leaves.
  • Some gardeners don’t like the look of leaves in their garden and they probably aren’t appropriate for formal gardens. But if you spread a layer in the spring, before plants spread out, the leaf mulch tends to blend into the view within a short time. Shredded leaves are perfect for woodland gardens and I always spread a layer over my vegetable garden in the fall, to begin decomposing over the winter.
    Unshredded leaves can mat together and repel water, in rainy areas. But I have to confess that if my leaves get too wet to shred, I’ll use them as mulch anyway and simply stir them up a bit if they appear to get matted.
  • Straw and Salt Hay are popular mulches for the vegetable garden. They keep the soil and soil born diseases from splashing up on lower plant leaves and make paths less muddy. Straw decomposes very slowly and will last the entire growing season. It also makes a nice home for spiders and other beneficial insects who will move in and help keep the pest population in control. And finally, it’s easy to either rake up or work into the soil when it’s time to plant a new crop or put the vegetable garden to bed. 
  •  Whatever mulch you choose, apply it soon after planting, before new weeds sprout. Apply a 2-4 inch thick layer of mulch, avoiding direct contact with the plant stems. Piling mulch around the stem can lead to rotting and can provide cover for munching mice and voles.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Time Flies

When you are having fun they say.
Well, I have been having fun. Playing in the dirt.
I have planted out, peas, beets, lettuce, spinach and radishes.
Inside under the lights I have tomatoes, melons, peppers, cucumbers, pumpkins and squash.
Which I can hardly wait to start hardening off prior to planting them in the ground.
Oh and the rhubarb is coming up very nicely.

And, how does your garden grow?

Friday, April 19, 2013

Raised Bed Gardening

Grow Food Anywhere; Raised Bed Gardening


DETAILS HERE: http://www.seedsnow.com/blogs/news/7724113-diy-raised-beds-growing-food-anywhere

SEEDS THAT GROW WELL IN RAISED BEDS: http://www.seedsnow.com/collections/seed-personality-grows-well-using-rasied-beds



We have 8 raised beds in our vegetable garden and 5 in-ground plots. I much prefer the raised beds for this old arthritic body. We have been growing vegetables this way for 5 years now and I wouldn't change this ever.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Lyrid Meteor Showers April 22, 2013

The Lyrid meteor shower will be peaking this year on April 22, 2013. The annual meteor shower typically puts on a good show, averaging about 10-20 meteors an hour, but sometimes featuring “surges” of activity that peak as high as 100 meteors an hour. The Lyrids also tend to produce rather bright meteors with long highly visible trails. All in all it’s worth getting out to see them if you can make the time.

 The meteors will appear to be generally originating from the Northeastern portion of the sky, in the constellation Lyra. This year, the moon (waxing gibbous at the time) will be setting rather late, so it’ll be best to watch for them then. They tend to peak towards the early morning hours anyways, so it works out well. For those in the US, that’ll be sometime between 3:45AM and 4:30ish, the further north the later. But even if that’s too late or you, you should still be able to catch some of the meteors earlier in the night, though the Moon’s light may obscure them somewhat.

The Lyrids occasionally produce fireballs so that is also something to watch out for. And on occasion, in the somewhat recent past, they have put on truly incredible shows, as a result of the Earth passing through a particularly dense patch of dust. During the 1803 meteor shower, the Lyrids peaked at more than 700 meteors an hour as seen from Richmond, Virginia. Huge bursts of activity like the 1803 shower are referred to as meteor storms.

For those that are planning to watch this years Lyrid meteor shower here are some basic tips: Get comfortable. A nice reclining chair, some warm clothes and blankets, and some hot cocoa or coffee, go a long way towards making the experience enjoyable. The further away from cuty lights that you can get, the better. And you’ll need to give your eyes some time to adjust to the dark in order to see the meteors easily and in high numbers, so keep your bright mobile devices turned off or with the screen dimmed really low.

For those interested in knowing what exactly meteor showers are, here’s Wikipedia with more:
“A meteor shower is the result of an interaction between a planet, such as Earth, and streams of debris from a comet. Comets can produce debris by water vapor drag, as demonstrated by Fred Whipple in 1951, and by breakup. Whipple envisioned comets as ‘dirty snowballs,’ made up of rock embedded in ice, orbiting the Sun. The ‘ice’ may be water, methane, ammonia, or other volatiles, alone or in combination. The ‘rock’ may vary in size from that of a dust mote to that of a small boulder. Dust mote sized solids are orders of magnitude more common than those the size of sand grains, which, in turn, are similarly more common than those the size of pebbles, and so on. When the ice warms and sublimates, the vapor can drag along dust, sand, and pebbles.”

“Each time a comet swings by the Sun in its orbit, some of its ice vaporizes and a certain amount of meteoroids will be shed. The meteoroids spread out along the entire orbit of the comet to form a meteoroid stream, also known as a ‘dust trail’ (as opposed to a comet’s ‘dust tail’ caused by the very small particles that are quickly blown away by solar radiation pressure).”
Comet ISON, predicted to be the “comet of the century” later this year, is also likely to cause a meteor shower when we pass through its debris trail sometime in mid-January .
The Lyrids themselves are theorized to have originated from comet Thatcher, a comet which follows a 416-year orbit almost perpendicular to the plane of the solar system.



Monday, April 8, 2013

Monsanto's Dirty Dozen

When you take a moment to reflect on the history of product development at Monsanto, what do you find? Here are twelve products that Monsanto has brought to market. See if you can spot the pattern…

How sick does this make you? 

#1 – Saccharin

Did you know Monsanto got started because of artificial sweetener? John Francisco Queeny founded Monsanto Chemical Works in St. Louis, Missouri with the goal of producing saccharin for Coca-Cola. In stark contrast to its sweet beginnings, multiple studies have shown that saccharin causes cancer in test rats and mice. Meanwhile six human studies, including one done by the National Cancer Institute, showed that consuming artificial sweeteners such as saccharin and cyclamate resulted in bladder cancer. Better living does not always come through chemicals…

 #2 – PCBs

During the early 1920s, Monsanto began expanding their chemical production into polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) to produce coolant fluids for electrical transformers, capacitors, and electric motors. Fifty years later, toxicity tests began reporting serious health effects from PCBs in laboratory rats exposed to the chemical.
After another decade of studies, the truth could no longer be contained: the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a report citing PCBs as the cause of cancer in animals, with additional evidence that they can cause cancer in humans. Additional peer-reviewed health studies showed a causal link between exposure to PCBs and non-Hodgkin Lymphoma, a frequently fatal form of cancer.
In 1979, the United States Congress recognized PCBs as a significant environmental toxin and persistent organic pollutant, and banned its production in the U.S.  By then Monsanto already had manufacturing plants abroad, so they weren’t entirely stopped until the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants banned PCBs globally in 2001.
And that’s when Monsanto’s duplicity was uncovered: internal company memos from 1956 surfaced, proving that Monsanto had known about dangers of PCBs from early on.
In 2003, Monsanto paid out over $600 million to residents of Anniston, Alabama, who experienced severe health problems including liver disease, neurological disorders and cancer after being exposed to PCBs — more than double the payoff that was awarded in the case against Pacific Gas & Electric made famous by the movie “Erin Brockovich.”
And yet the damage persists: nearly 30 years after PCBs have been banned from the U.S., they are still showing up in the blood of pregnant women, as reported in a 2011 study by the University of California San Francisco.

#3 – Polystyrene

In 1941, Monsanto began focusing on plastics and synthetic polystyrene, which is still widely used in food packaging and ranked 5th in the EPA’s 1980s listing of chemicals whose production generates the most total hazardous waste.


 #4 – Atom bomb and nuclear weapons

Shortly after acquiring Thomas and Hochwalt Laboratories, Monsanto turned this division into their Central Research Department. Between 1943 to 1945, this department coordinated key production efforts of the Manhattan Project—including plutonium purification and production and, as part of the Manhattan Project’s Dayton Project, techniques to refine chemicals used as triggers for atomic weapons (an era of U.S. history that sadly included the deadliest industrial accident).


 #5 – DDT

In 1944, Monsanto became one of the first manufacturers of the insecticide DDT to combat malaria-transmitting mosquitoes. Despite decades of Monsanto propaganda insisting that DDT was safe, the true effects of DDT’s toxicity were at last confirmed through outside research and in 1972, DDT was banned throughout the U.S.

 #6 – Dioxin

In 1945, Monsanto began promoting the use of chemical pesticides in agriculture with the manufacture of the herbicide 2,4,5-T (one of the precursors to Agent Orange), containing dioxin. Dioxins are a group of chemically-related compounds that since become known as one of the “Dirty Dozen” — persistent environmental pollutants that accumulate in the food chain, mainly in the fatty tissue of animals. In the decades since it was first developed, Monsanto has been accused of covering up or failing to report dioxin contamination in a wide range of its products.


#7 – Agent Orange

During the early 1960s, Monsanto was one of the two primary manufacturers of Agent Orange, an herbicide / defoliant used for chemical warfare during the Vietnam War. Except Monsanto’s formula had dioxin levels many times higher than the Agent Orange produced by Dow Chemicals, the other manufacturer (which is why Monsanto was the key defendant in the lawsuit brought by Vietnam War veterans in the United States).
As a result of the use of Agent Orange, Vietnam estimates that over 400,000 people were killed or maimed, 500,000 children were born with birth defects, and up to 1 million people were disabled or suffered from health problems—not to mention the far-reaching impact it had on the health of over 3 million American troops and their offspring.
Internal Monsanto memos show that Monsanto knew of the problems of dioxin contamination of Agent Orange when it sold it to the U.S. government for use in Vietnam. Despite the widespread health impact, Monsanto and Dow were allowed to appeal for and receive financial protection from the U.S. government against veterans seeking compensation for their exposure to Agent Orange.
In 2012, a long 50 years after Agent Orange was deployed, the clean-up effort has finally begun. Yet the legacy of Agent Orange, and successive generations of body deformitieswill remain in orphanages throughout VietNam for decades to come.
(Think that can’t happen here? Two crops were recently genetically engineered to withstand a weedkiller made with Agent Orange’s primary ingredient 2,4-D, in order to combat “super weeds” that evolved due to the excessive use of RoundUp.)



8 – Petroleum-Based Fertilizer

In 1955, Monsanto began manufacturing petroleum-based fertilizer after purchasing a major oil refinery. Petroleum-based fertilizers can kill beneficial soil micro-organisms, sterilizing the soil and creating a dependence, like an addiction, to the synthetic replacements. Not the best addiction to have, considering the rising cost and dwindling supply of oil…


#9 – RoundUp

During the early 1970s, Monsanto founded their Agricultural Chemicals division with a focus on herbicides, and one herbicide in particular: RoundUp (glyphosate). Because of its ability to eradicate weeds literally overnight, RoundUp was quickly adopted by farmers. Its use increased even more when Monsanto introduced “RoundUp Ready” (glyphosate-resistant) crops, enabling farmers to saturate the entire field with weedkiller without killing the crops.
While glyphosate has been approved by regulatory bodies worldwide and is widely used, concerns about its effects on humans and the environment persist. RoundUp has been found in samples of groundwater, as well as soil, and even in streams and air throughout the Midwest U.S., and increasingly in food. It has been linked to butterfly mortality, and the proliferation of superweeds. Studies in rats have shown consistently negative health impacts ranging from tumors, altered organ function, and infertility, to cancer and premature death. Reference the above “GMO Risks” page which includes countless references to support these statements.


 #10 – Aspartame (NutraSweet / Equal)

An accidental discovery during research on gastrointestinal hormones resulted in a uniquely sweet chemical: aspartame. During the clinical trials conducted on 7 infant monkeys as part of aspartame’s application for FDA approval, 1 monkey died and 5 other monkeys had grand mal seizures—yet somehow aspartame was still approved by the FDA in 1974. In 1985, Monsanto acquired the company responsible for aspartame’s manufacture (G.D. Searle) and began marketing the product as NutraSweet. Twenty years later, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released a report listing 94 health issues caused by aspartame. (Watch a quick video here.)


#11 – Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH)

This genetically modified hormone was developed by Monsanto to be injected into dairy cows to produce more milk. Cows subjected to rBGH suffer excruciating pain due to swollen udders and mastitis, and the pus from the resulting infection enters the milk supply requiring the use of additional antibiotics. rBGH milk has been linked to breast cancer, colon cancer, and prostate cancer in humans.


#12 – Genetically Modified Crops / GMOs

In the early 1990s, Monsanto began gene-splicing corn, cotton, soy, and canola with DNA from a foreign source to achieve one of two traits: an internally-generated pesticide, or an internal resistance to Monsanto’s weedkiller RoundUp. Despite decades of promises that genetically engineered crops would feed the world with more nutrients, drought resistance, or yield, the majority of Monsanto’s profits are from seeds that are engineered to tolerate Monsanto’s RoundUp—an ever-rising, dual income stream as weeds continue to evolve resistance to RoundUp.
Most sobering however, is that the world is once again buying into Monsanto’s “safe” claims.
Just like the early days of PCBs, DDT, Agent Orange, Monsanto has successfully fooled the general public and regulatory agencies into believing that RoundUp, and the genetically modified crops that help sell RoundUp, are “safe.”
Except Monsanto has learned a thing or two in the past 100+ years of defending its dirty products: these days, when a new study proving the negative health or environmental impacts of GMOs emerges, Monsanto attacks the study and its scientist(s) by flooding the media with counter claims from “independent” organizations, scientists, industry associations, blogs, sponsored social media, and articles by “private” public relations firms—frequently founded, funded and maintained by Monsanto.
Unfortunately, few of us take the time to trace the members, founders, and relationships of these seemingly valid sources back to their little Monsanto secret. (Read more on this page.)
Fooling the FDA required a slightly different approach: click on the below chart to see how many former Monsanto VPs and legal counsel are now holding positions with the FDA. And don’t forget Clarence Thomas, former Monsanto attorney who is now a Supreme Court Justice, ruling in favor of Monsanto in every case brought before him.






Monsanto FDA



A Baker’s Dozen: #13 – Terminator Seeds

In the late 1990s, Monsanto developed the technology to produce sterile grains unable to germinate. These “Terminator Seeds” would force farmers to buy new seeds from Monsanto year after year, rather than save and reuse the seeds from their harvest as they’ve been doing throughout centuries. Fortunately this technology never came to market. Instead, Monsanto chose to require farmers to sign a contract agreeing that they will not save or sell seeds from year to year, which forces them to buy new seeds and preempts the need for a “terminator gene.” Lucky for us… since the terminator seeds were capable of cross-pollination and could have contaminated local non-sterile crops.


What’s the Result of our Monsanto Legacy?
Between 75% to 80% of the processed food you consume every day has GMOs inside, and residues of Monsanto’s RoundUp pesticide outside. But it’s not just processed food—fresh fruit and vegetables are next: genetically engineered sweet corn is already being sold at your local grocer, with apples and a host of other “natural” produce currently in field trials.
How is it that Monsanto is allowed to manipulate our food after such a dark product history? How is it they are allowed to cause such detrimental impact to our environment and our health?
According to the Organic Consumers Association, “There is a direct correlation between our genetically engineered food supply and the $2 trillion the U.S. spends annually on medical care, namely an epidemic of diet-related chronic diseases.
Instead of healthy fruits, vegetables, grains, and grass-fed animal products, U.S. factory farms and food processors produce a glut of genetically engineered junk foods that generate heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer—backed by farm subsidies—while organic farmers receive no such subsidies.
Monsanto’s history reflects a consistent pattern of toxic chemicals, lawsuits, and manipulated science. Is this the kind of company we want controlling our world’s food supply?
P.S. Monsanto’s not alone. Other companies in the “Big Six” include Pioneer Hi-Bred International (a subsidiary of DuPont), Syngenta AGDow Agrosciences (a subsidiary of Dow Chemical, BASF (which is primarily a chemical company that is rapidly expanding their biotechnology division, and Bayer Cropscience (a subsidiary of Bayer). View a complete list of companies doing genetic engineering on this website.




Olive Oil Lamp to Make at Home


 This olive oil lamp is fast and easy to make at home, and it’s a safe, reliable light to have around during power outages.

You don’t need much in the way of equipment and if you don’t have olive oil, you can replace it with other types of cooking oil — or any kind of liquid fat or grease in a pinch. However, I must warn you that while olive is a 99 percent pure renewable fuel that won’t produce smoke or odor, I can’t vouch for canola or corn oil as being smoke-free or that it won’t make the house smell like burnt popcorn.
Making your lamp is relatively easy, and most likely you will have many of the materials on hand already. Here’s what you’ll need:
  • A wide-mouthed glass jar (a quart-size wide-mouthed canning jar works really well)
  • A short length of flexible steel wire (1 1/2 or 2 times the height of the jar)
  • A wick
  • Olive oil

Putting Together the Lamp

1. Form one end of the steel wire into a long hook, about the same height as the jar. This hook holds the wire on the jar and doubles as a handle to pull the wick up for lighting. (See photos in the Image Gallery.)
2. Take the other end of the wire and wrap it into a coil, creating a wick stand about an inch or two tall that sits on the bottom of the jar.
3. Pinch the top of the metal coil onto about 2 inches in length of wick so that about a quarter inch or less of the wick is sticking up above the wire coil. Any longer and the wick will smoke. The other end of the wick will be soaking in the olive oil.
4. Add enough olive oil to your jar so that the level is just under where the wick is pinched by the wire. Any higher and you risk putting out the lamp with the oil.

How the Lamp Works

The olive oil is drawn up the wick where it vaporizes and gets burned by the flame. A few ounces of oil will burn for several hours, so if you are concerned about the cost, it is much cheaper than most candles. If you can find lampante oil (olive oil not suitable for eating, but for burning), you can save money by buying that instead of culinary olive oil.

Want to get fancy with your olive oil lamp? You can infuse your olive oil with herbs, spices or essential oils for a more scented experience.

Olive oil lamps have been used for thousands of years and people have relied on oil lamps in general up until the last few generations. They are reliable, plus they burn bright and long. The benefit of olive oil is that if the lamp gets knocked over, it stops burning because it has a high flash point, meaning that it’s not a very flammable material. As a result, an olive oil lamp is far safer than a candle or kerosene lantern. If you are having problems with it smoking when you blow it out, use wet fingers to put out the flame, or just douse it with the oil in the jar.
 
One of the benefits of using a canning jar is that, when the oil lamp is not in use, you can put a canning lid on top for storage. A wide-mouthed pint jar will also work well, you just need to adjust the size of the wick holder.
 
For your wick, you can use 100 percent cotton string or twine and salt it to ensure that it burns long. To salt your wick, take your cotton twine, put it in a bowl with a little water and then cover with table salt. Squeeze it dry and let it dry overnight, or until it is no longer damp.

If you need or want your lamp to emit more light, try using a braided, flat wick (a half inch or narrower), adjusting the way the wire supports this kind of wick by crimping it to accommodate the extra girth. You can buy flat wicks from stores that carry supplies for oil lamps. Or, you can cut up an old 100 percent cotton tea towel into strips and use that instead.






Sunday, April 7, 2013

I'm Becoming Obsessed - GMO seeds

 

My blood is running cold as I read more about GMOs!!!!

 

 

 Independent Experts Find GM Foods Contain Dangerous Gene

The European Union’s official, independent food watchdog group, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), is reporting that the approval process for GM crops failed to identify a poisonous gene discovered in 54 of 86 GM plants.

Most alarmingly, this viral gene known as “GENE VI” was discovered in the most widespread GM crops, notably corn and soy, which are heavily used in animal feed for livestock producing meat, milk, and eggs.
How did the viral gene get into the GM crops in the first place?

The problem starts right in the laboratory where GM foods are synthesized by an army of scientists playing God with millions of unsuspecting guinea pigs blithely buying unlabeled GM laced products at the supermarket.

These scientists insert foreign genes from other organisms (plant or animal) into a target plant using a technique which allows these foreign genes to “piggyback” on common soil or plant based viruses. 
Assumption is the Mother of Error it seems as these scientists had expected that the virus genes transporting the foreign genes into the target plant would not be present once the GM plant was actually grown in the field.   

The EFSA research (Independent Science News) has now conclusively shown that this major assumption upon which the supposed “safety” of GMOs is based is not the case.

Not. Even. Close.

How the presence of this viral gene could have been missed by the biotech companies, government regulators, and even university scientists is beyond comprehension.  
The EFSA research indicated the following:
This situation represents a complete and catastrophic system failure.
There are clear indications that this viral gene might not be safe for human consumption. It also may disturb the normal functioning of crops, including their natural pest resistance.

A reasonable concern is that the protein produced by Gene VI might be a human toxin. This is a question that can only be answered by future experiments.
Dr. Julian Little, chairman of the Agricultural Biotechnology Council (ABC) which represents the biotech companies, had this to say in response:
... nearly three trillion meals containing GM ingredients have been eaten without a single substantiated case of ill-health. The combination of these two facts can give consumers a huge amount of confidence in the safety of GM crops.
I guess Dr. Little isn’t really paying attention to the skyrocketing cases of food allergies and digestive complaints in the past decade or so, particularly allergies to corn and soy, the top two GM crops.
It’s always easier to just continue with business as usual and hide behind PR campaigns focusing on starving children and fudged reports about the “safety” of frankenfoods when the corporate bottom line (and the McMansion mortgage payment) is at stake, isn’t it Mr. CEO?

 Source:  Uncovered, the “toxic” gene hiding in GM crops: Revelation throws new doubt over the safety of foods

Friday, April 5, 2013

Preserving Fruits and Vegetables

 This is too cool not to share....

Nothing is more frustrating than finding the perfect cucumber or head of lettuce at the farmers market, paying top-dollar for it, and then... tossing it out a week later when it has gone moldy or slimy in the refrigerator.
No doubt one reason so many of us eat too many convenience foods and too few fruits and vegetables is that it can be hard to get our busy schedules in sync with the produce we bring home with the best of intentions.
Food scientists, however, have discovered a remarkably effective way to extend the life of fresh-cut fruits and vegetables by days or even a week. It doesn't involve the chlorine solutions, irradiation or peroxide baths sometimes used by produce packagers. And it's easily done in any home by anyone.
This method, called heat-shocking, is 100 percent organic and uses just one ingredient that every cook has handy — hot water.
You may already be familiar with a related technique called blanching, a cooking method in which food is briefly dunked in boiling or very hot water. Blanching can extend the shelf life of broccoli and other plant foods, and it effectively reduces contamination by germs on the surface of the food. But blanching usually ruptures the cell walls of plants, causing color and nutrients to leach out. It also robs delicate produce of its raw taste.
Heat-shocking works differently. When the water is warm but not scalding — temperatures ranging from 105 F to 140 F (about 40 C to 60 C) work well for most fruits and vegetables — a brief plunge won't rupture the cells. Rather, the right amount of heat alters the biochemistry of the tissue in ways that, for many kinds of produce, firm the flesh, delay browning and fading, slow wilting, and increase mold resistance.
A long list of scientific studies published during the past 15 years report success using heat-shocking to firm potatoes, tomatoes, carrots, and strawberries; to preserve the color of asparagus, broccoli, green beans, kiwi fruits, celery, and lettuce; to fend off overripe flavors in cantaloupe and other melons; and to generally add to the longevity of grapes, plums, bean sprouts and peaches, among others.
The optimum time and temperature combination for the quick dip seems to depend on many factors, but the procedure is quite simple. Just let the water run from your tap until it gets hot, then fill a large pot of water about two-thirds full, and use a thermometer to measure the temperature. It will probably be between 105 F and 140 F; if not, a few minutes on the stove should do the trick. Submerge the produce and hold it there for several minutes (the hotter the water, the less time is needed), then drain, dry and refrigerate as you normally would.
Researchers still are working out the details of how heat-shocking works, but it appears to change the food in several ways at once. Many of the fruits and vegetables you bring home from the store are still alive and respiring; the quick heat treatment tends to slow the rate at which they respire and produce ethylene, a gas that plays a crucial role in the ripening of many kinds of produce. In leafy greens, the shock of the hot water also seems to turn down production of enzymes that cause browning around wounded leaves, and to turn up the production of heat-shock proteins, which can have preservative effects.
For the home cook, the inner workings don't really matter. The bottom line is that soaking your produce in hot water for a few minutes after you unpack it makes it cheaper and more nutritious because more fruits and veggies will end up in your family rather than in the trash.
___
HEAT-SHOCKING GUIDELINES
The optimal time and temperature for heat-shocking fruits and vegetables varies in response to many factors — in particular, whether they were already treated before purchase. Use these as general guidelines.
— Asparagus: 2 to 3 minutes at 131 F (55 C)
— Broccoli: 7 to 8 minutes at 117 F (47 C)
— Cantaloupe (whole): 60 minutes at 122 F (50 C)
— Celery: 90 seconds at 122 F (50 C)
— Grapes: 8 minutes at 113 F (45 C)
— Kiwi fruit: 15 to 20 minutes at 104 F (40 C)
— Lettuce: 1 to 2 minutes at 122 F (50 C)
— Oranges (whole): 40 to 45 minutes at 113 F (45 C)
— Peaches (whole): 40 minutes at 104 F (40 C)
___
W. Wayt Gibbs is editor-in-chief of The Cooking Lab, the culinary research team led by Nathan Myhrvold that produced the cookbooks "Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking" and "Modernist Cuisine at Home."

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Herb Companions in the Garden and Kitchen

                          Basil
In the garden: Plant with tomatoes. Repels flies and mosquitoes.
In the kitchen: Use in tomato dishes, pesto, sauces, and salad dressings.
 

Chives
In the garden: Plant with carrots.
In the kitchen: Related to the onion, chives enliven vegetable dishes, dressings, casseroles, rice, eggs, cheese dishes, sauces, gravies, and dips.
 
Dill
In the garden: Plant with cabbages. Keep away from carrots.
In the kitchen: Use seed for pickles and also to add aroma and taste to strong vegetables like cauliflower, cabbage, and turnips. Use fresh with green beans, potato dishes, cheese, soups, salads, seafood, and sauces.
Mint
In the garden: Plant near cabbage and tomatoes. Deters white cabbage moth.
In the kitchen: It is common in Middle Eastern dishes. Use with roast lamb or fish and in salads, jellies, or teas.

Oregano
In the garden: Good companion to all vegetables.
In the kitchen: Of Italian origin, its taste is zesty and strong, good in any tomato dish. Try oregano with summer squash and potatoes, mushroom dishes, beans, or in a marinade for lamb or game.
Parsley
In the garden: Plant near asparagus, corn, and tomatoes.
In the kitchen: Use fresh parsley in soups, sauces, and salads. It lessens the need for salt in soups. You can fry parsley and use it as a side dish with meat or fish. It is, of course, the perfect garnish.
 
                         Rosemary
In the garden: Plant near cabbage, beans, carrots, and sage. Deters cabbage moth, bean beetles, and carrot fly.
In the kitchen: Use for poultry, lamb, and tomato dishes, stews, soups, and vegetables. Try it finely chopped in breads and custards.
Sage
In the garden: Plant near rosemary, cabbage, and carrots; away from cucumbers. Deters cabbage moth and carrot fly.
In the kitchen: Use in cheese dishes, stuffings, soups, pickles, with beans and peas, and in salads. Excellent for salt-free cooking.
Tarragon
In the garden: Good companion to most vegetables.
In the kitchen: Great with meat, eggs, poultry, seafood, and in salad dressings, marinades, and sauces.

 Thyme
In the garden: Plant near cabbage. Deters cabbage worm.
In the kitchen: Use in casseroles, stews, soups, ragouts, and with eggs, potatoes, fish, and green vegetables.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Full Worm Moon

The full Worm Moon was given its name by the Algonquin tribes from New England to Lake Superior.

At the time of this spring Moon, the ground begins to soften and earthworm casts reappear, inviting the return of robins. This is also known as the Sap Moon, as it marks the time when maple sap begins to flow and the annual tapping of maple trees begins.

And, if like me, the robins have yet to return to your area, here's a site with all the song sounds of the robin.
 http://www.learner.org/jnorth/tm/robin/Dictionary.html

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Seven easy ways to help the honeybees


1. Include nectar- and pollen-rich plantings in landscapes. Focus on plants that bloom during the important feeding windows of late winter, pre-spring (February – April) and during the high summer when there is usually a dearth of nectar (June – November).2. Choose bloom colors that will attract honeybees. Honeybees cannot see the color red, so selecting blooms that are white, yellow, violet, orange, blue and ultra violet is a good idea. Also, plant in clumps or cluster patches of same-color blossoms. Single plants/blooms are much less attractive. 3. Ditch the chemicals (even the organic ones). Herbicides, fungicides, insecticides, pesticides and synthetic fertilizers are detrimental to honeybees. Even organic Neem-based products are a no-no.  Instead, implement beneficial companion plantings and other no-spray practices in your yard, garden and farm.4. Welcome the weeds. White clover and dandelions are honeybees’ early- and late-season food sources for nectar (carbohydrates) and pollen (protein). Nutritional deficit may very well be a contributor in honeybee Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), so the more natural food sources you can provide, the better.
5. Provide fresh, safe water. Placing layers of large pebbles just above the water line in your birdbaths or even a shallow dish will give honeybees a safe place to rehydrate and rest before returning to their hives. Birdbaths, otherwise, may drown honeybees.
6. Spread the word. Encourage your friends, family and neighbors to follow these simple steps to support foraging honeybees across your local community.
7. Buy local and sustainable. Purchase not just honey, but as much of your groceries as possible from local producers who are using all natural methods and practices. Sustainble honeybee stewards ensure their bees are treated well and local, organic farmers provide the right environment for both native and cultivated pollinators.



Thank you Amanda at Rodale Institute for this.




Monday, March 25, 2013

Gardening to Reduce your Grocery Bill

 
Food prices are climbing, the economy is weak, and food safety
scares are rising. The solution is as close as your backyard.
More than 43 million Americans are planning on following
Michelle Obama's example and planning a vegetable garden.
 
For the frugal, it makes perfect sense. According to the US
Department of Agriculture, for every $100 you spend on
gardening seeds and supplies, the potential harvest is $1,000.
Not to mention the satisfaction and pride in knowing your hard
work paid off in healthier and tastier food for your family.
 
Begin by deciding what vegetables to plant. There is no sense
planting something that no one likes, although fresh from the
garden taste has been known to change minds. Kids who wouldn't
touch peas or spinach with a ten-foot pole are fighting over
who gets to pick the latest batch. Tomato haters find
themselves melting to the burst of a sun-ripened tomato
plucked right from the vine and washed.
 
There are three types of gardens, including in the ground,
raised beds, and container gardening. Decide what is right for
your area. Then lead with location. Most crops want six to
eight hours of sun daily with a handy water source nearby.
 
Search for suitable soil. Well-drained soil is best. Check
with local horticulturists or an expert gardener to see if any
additives are needed. Then mix a potting soil mixture, manure,
or humus into the soil about nine to twelve inches. Another
good additive is shredded dead leaves.
 
Sketch a layout of your garden plot. Keep in mind that some
plants, like tomatoes, need two or three feet in between,
while other vegetables like lettuce or carrots can be planted
close together. Don't be overly ambitious your first time out.
Start small so that you don't become overwhelmed.
 
Pick the perfect vegetables to plant. Local plant dealers and
nurseries stock the varieties that are suitable for your
growing region, and tend to stick to the reliable varieties.
Bonnie plants are known and sold coast to coast in a large
variety. Hybrids are a blend of different qualities and are
sterile, meaning they will only produce one season, while
Heirloom varieties will keep producing year after year. Remember 
my warnings about GMO posted earlier this month.
 
Check with fellow gardeners or your county extension office to
determine the best time to plant. All threat of freezing or
killing frost should be past, which varies region to region. 
I am in two different zones, 5 and 4b depending on what zone 
map you use. 
 
Starting from seeds is the most economical way to garden. They
do require more care, transplanting, and about six weeks headstart, 
so the beginning gardener may choose seedlings and established
plants. Here are the steps to starting from seeds.
 
- Plant the seeds in a seed mix, not potting soil. Use
whatever clean, empty containers you have, including paper
cups, margarine tubs, or deli trays. The clear plastic lids
make ideal mini-greenhouses.
 
- Put holes in the bottoms of the containers for good
drainage.
 
- Keep the seeds moist by misting them daily. Pouring water or
spraying heavily can damage or kill tender young shoots.
 
- Once you've planted the seeds and moistened them, cover with
plastic or the clear top some containers have.
 
- Give the seedlings adequate light by putting them under a
fluorescent shop light or ultraviolet light. Hot, direct
sunlight may be too drying or kill the tiny plants.
 
- When the seedlings get three or four sets of leaves, they are ready
to go into the garden
 
Whether you started with seeds or plants, you are ready to
plant your garden. Read the directions carefully on seed
packets or plant containers. Follow the recommended depths and
spacing carefully to ensure your plant's best productivity.
Provide trellises, cages, or other support for climbing plants
like peas, beans and tomatoes.
 
Adding a layer of mulch will control weeds and eventually
decompose, adding nutrients to the soil for next year's
garden. Old newspapers, wood chips or shredded leaves are
excellent inexpensive choices.
 
Choose easy to grow plants, especially if you are a first time
gardener. Here are ten crops that even a beginner can nurture.
 
- Tomatoes are the most popular backyard plant. Pick disease-
resistant "Better Boy" or "Bonnie Original." Or go with the
extra-easy cherry tomato "Sweet 100."
 
- Summer squash are very productive and easy to grow. Try
zucchini "Black Beauty" or yellow crook-necked squash, my fav.
Ambitious gardeners can do a follow up crop of winter squash
if your area has a longer growing season.
 
- Parsley is rich in vitamins and sweetens breath. Choose flat
Italian parsley or the curly type.
 
- Lettuce is a garden staple. Pick easy leaf lettuces like
"Buttercrunch," "Red Sails," or "Romaine." You'll never want
supermarket lettuce again.
 
- Eggplant thrives in hot summer weather and is a favorite
among gardeners. Try "Black Beauty" or the white-skinned
"Cloud Nine."
 
- Cucumbers should be planted after the weather warms. Choose
the standard "Burpless Bush Hybrid" or the mild Japanese
cucumber.
 
- Chard is a leafy green that tolerates cooler temperatures.
"Bright Lights" have brilliantly colored stems.
 
- Bell peppers can be harvested when green or red. "Bonnie
Bell" is a standby, or go wild with the new hot pepper
"Mexiball."
 
- Beans come in bush types like "Bush Blue Lake" or taller,
pole-types, which have a higher yield.
 
- Basil is the perfect complement to tomato dishes. Plant
sweet basil or "Spicy Globe."
 
Planting a garden can boost your bottom line. Most crops are
ready in the fall, which is why canning for the winter is so
popular. Also, fall is the perfect time to pick up supplies
for next year's garden, including seeds, tools, compost, mulch
or metal trellises at rock-bottom prices. Learn to appreciate
the value of planting, nurturing, and hard work to reap a
bounty of produce, and even a budding gardener will bloom.
Growing your own food makes you more self-reliant and can
bring in a harvest of savings. Now excuse me; I have to go
pick some groceries from my backyard.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Sunday, March 24, 2013

How to build a Mosquito trap


Materials Needed:

2000ml (2 liter) bottle
50 gram coarse sugar
1 gram yeast (comes in little packet in baking section of store)
Thermometer
Measure cup
Knife
Black paper

1. Cut the top of the bottle at the neck to create a funnel top and open bottom.
2. Put 200ml hot water in the bottle, stir with 50gram coarse sugar. Put the sugar water in cold water to cool it down til 40C (temperature).
3. After cooling down, put the sugar water in the bottle then add the yeast.
No need to mix the yeast with the sugar water. When yeast ferments, it creates carbon dioxide.
4. When you cut the bottle, don't throw the top part away because that will be needed for step 4 - put the top upside down to fit into the bottle.
Carbon dioxide will be released from where we drink the bottle so make sure to seal the edge.
5. Put black paper around the bottle since mosquitos like dark places and carbon dioxide.
This mosquito trap will then start working.

TIPS: Put the trap in some dark and humid place for 2 weeks, you'll see the effect. You'll have to replace the sugar water + yeast solution every 2 weeks. Or, the whole thing if it causes you to be queasy dealing with a lot of dead mosquitoes.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Repurposed drink cartons

What a nice cheap way to get seeds started. Drainage would be some holes in the bottom of the carton, or, opening the cap if you overwatered that much!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Phenology

Gardening: Successful gardeners in the old days were adept at watching natural indicators to know when to plant their seeds. The science of appearances, called phenology, has given rise to a few planting “rules.” Here are some examples.

Plant corn when elm leaves are the size of a squirrel’s ear, when oak leaves are the size of a mouse’s ear, when apple blossoms begin to fall, or when the dogwoods are in full bloom.

Plant lettuce, spinach, peas and other cool-weather varieties when the  lilacs show their first leaves or when daffodils begin to bloom.

Plant cucumbers and squashes when lilac flowers fade.

Plant tomatoes early corn, and peppers when flowering dogwood is in peak bloom or when daylillies start to bloom.

Plant pansies, snapdragons, and other hardy annuals after the aspen and chokecherry trees leaf out.

• Plant beets and carrots when dandelions are blooming.



Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Vernal Equinox

Spring begins with the vernal equinox bright and early tomorrow morning, March 20, at 7:02 A.M. EDT.
The word “equinox” is derived from the Latin words meaning "equal night."

So why hasn't anyone told the weather fairies? We have about a foot of new snow on the ground since midnight and are expecting more today. AGH! 

Wind northeast or north at noon of the vernal equinox, no fine weather before midsummer. If westerly or southwesterly, fine weather till midsummer.  

Don't know where this little ditty came from so can not give the author credit.

Little old me...

My photo
Canada
An american yankee up past the 49th parellel.

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