19 March 2010

The Problem with Seeds

Happy Friday!!!

My seed catalogue finally came!  Let's just say, it's very safe to say I'm in LOVE!  It's 117 pages of colorful, beautiful (mouthwatering) photographs of heirloom foods.  That have been grown by the few remaining farmers who refuse to simply give up and go with GMO's or Genetically Modified Organisms.

So, I bet your wondering what are heirloom foods and what is GMO and how does it effect me?

Well, I'm planning on edumacutin' ya on those questions.

But first just let me say: I want this blog to be about the perils, joys, problems, excitement, and pitfalls of farming and being a farmer/gardener/crazy chicken lady.  I never want to become a political writer to tout some line of propaganda, because lord knows there are many others better suited at doing that than this gal.  However, I feel it is important for myself, Wolf, and you, dear reader to understand exactly what is happening with our seeds and our food.  I do realize that in a society of divided labor, not everyone can make the choices Wolf and I have made; however, that doesn't mean you have to support what is happening to our food and our seeds.

So, onward we go!

What are GMOs?

I asked myself that question not too long ago.  I was under the impression, as you may be, that all seeds are the same and come from the same place.  And ideally, they all have happy little seed lives.  Well, I hate to burst your fatastical bubble, but that simply isn't true.

A genetically modified seed is a seed that has been altered to produce or look a certain way.  And sometimes, the genes of the plant are spliced with genes from a completely different plant, that nature didn't intend.  It would be like a soybean having Brazil nut genes.  Let's say someone with sever allergies to nuts (they'd definitely be allergic to me! ha!) eats a can of soybeans, has a severe reaction to the beans, and falls fatally ill.  All because the genes of the soybean were altered.

They are doing all sorts of crazy things with food genes! Like adding fish genes to tomatoes to make them frost resistant and adding the genes of a naturally occurring bacteria to corn to make it insect resistant.  Should we really be playing God with plant's genes?  It sounds like a good idea, until you start thinking about "super weeds"  and the affect GMOs could have on our health.

I don't know about you, but I've never wanted fish in my tomatoes.  When I eat a tomato, I want to eat just that.  A tomato.  Not fish genes, no extra anything.  Just a good old fashioned tomato.  If the plan geneticists can put fish into tomatoes, then what ELSE is going into our food?

The scariest part about this, to me, is that we aren't told which foods have what!  The "FDA does require the product to be labeled if the ingredient is a potential allergen, or somehow changes the nutritional properties of the food. To date, no approved biotech crop is either an allergen, or has any significant nutritional differences from non-GM counterparts" (Monesto, 2009).  

Seriously?!  Sorry, all you people with peanut, fish, or bacterial're screwed!  They also completely FAIL to mention that the bacteria they spliced into the corn flits in the wind and kills monarch butterfly caterpillars.  If it's killing caterpillars, then what's it doing to my lungs and my body?  My dogs?  My kids?

You can read on the website why the company called Monesto, outright refuses to label their products.  It's down right ridiculous.  Don't you want to know what is IN your food?  However, if you truly wanted to delve more deeply into that subject, I would suggest watching Food, Inc. to get a deeper and more in-depth picture of what's going on with GMOs and Monesto.

What is an heirloom seed?

An heirloom seed is a seed that has not been genetically modified in anyway, at all, ever.  It is a seed that has never been contaminated by GMOs (which is happening more and more unfortunately) and have been naturally pollinated.  So, if you get heirloom tomato seeds, grow them, pluck the tomato from the vine, and bite into the ripe red flesh.  You will be eating tomato. Not tomato plus fish plus whatever-the-hell-else-they-though-would-make-them-more-money.  No, just pure delicious tomato.

Personally, that's what I prefer.

Where do seeds come from?

Well, there's a stork....

The seeds come from farmers and (small) companies who oppose GMOs and seed savers.  All of which are interested in preserving heirloom seeds.

Where can you find heirloom seeds?

You can order heirloom seeds from these websites: (just like I did today!)
Seed Savers Exchange
Sand Hill Preservation Center Seeds & Poultry
The Great Pumpkin Patch
Seeds of Diversity Canada
Marianna's Seeds
Abundant Acres Heirloom Plants
Marianna's Seeds
Raintree Nursery
Slowfood USA

Support your local farmers market and Organic Consumers!  Look for local producers at Local Harvest or Green Peace.

18 March 2010

New Layout

Dear Beloved Readers,

My deepest apologies for the horrible new layout.  In my attempt to understand and correct the problems I was having with my old layout, I accidentally deleted an important part of the HTML code and have been unable to retrieve it.

Please bear with me with I curse, yell, hurt insults, cry, give up, and curse at the HTML code.

Many thanks,

Your Discombobulated Farmer

ps - you can however finally leave comments! woo! Take that you idiotic HTML code! BAH!

17 March 2010

Run Away

Our beloved cat Reaper, escaped last night.  The little bugger.  This is his 3rd escape attempt, the last two times he has been caught by Wolf, but last night he had evil intent.

The first time he busted out of the cat bathroom (our tiny half bathroom) through the itty-bitty window.  Wolf was up and heard him thump on the ground.  (How he ever got his huge butt through there I'll never really know.) The second time he looked right at me as Wolf was looking out into the nite and darted out the door, fortunately Wolf caught him again.

But this time it was all MY fault.  It was really.  I had just given Remmy a bath and a hair cut. (think of washing your demented grandfather and then giving him a hair cut where he shivers and shakes repeatedly throughout the whole process - that's pretty much what it's like to trim Remmy) Which I do myself because we live in the middle of no-where land and I'm simply not paying $40 for someone to cut my poodle's hair.

Hell, I wont even pay that much to have MY hair cut.

So, after I chopped Remmy's hair down to nothing cut Remmy's hair, I set him down and grabbed the hairy towel that he was sitting on to shake it off outside.   However, I didn't shut the door behind be firmly.  By firmly I mean slam the everloving bejezus out of it.

Which left Reaper the perfect opportunity for silent escape.  All, 'I'll just slip out the door and she'll never notice...'  Sheesh, if he would have wanted to get out that bad, I would have let him out.  He didn't have to go all Animal Farm on me.  He did have the perfect opportunity.  Especially since I am usually hanging out at the other end of the house on the computer, when I'm not tearing up and cursing at the earth outside.

Then Wolf came home, which is when I feed Reaper.  He is usually meowing like I actively starve him for food at least 30 minutes before Wolf ever sets foot in the door.  I always cave and feed his lard-butt early....seriously, he weighs 15 pounds...he is ENORMOUS...  But he didn't come. He didn't meow. He didn't reappear.  And it was dark outside.

Have you ever tried to find a BLACK cat in the dead of night? Yeah, IMPOSSIBLE.

That's when Wolf discovered the ajar door.  Well, hello horrific thoughts and countless what-ifs.  A handful of pessimistic morbid thoughts immediately  ran through my brain...

What if a coyote gets him?  What if he runs to the road?  What if someone picks him up?  What if he goes next door to the 40 pigs? Poor guy...I mistakenly had him de-clawed (I'll never put another cat through and thankfully neutered.  I was slap eat up with guilt.  I love this black lardo cat to bits.  I just couldn't bear the thought of ME being the introducer of death, loneliness, and starvation for him.

As I tried to put the whole thing behind me, Wolf and I did dishes sans dishwasher, which I miss terribly, made delicious Pizza (thanks Pioneer Woman!!!) and watched Animal Farm. snort Which sadly turned out to be odd, seeing how our Reaper had rebelled and run out the door and strange because it was highly reminiscent of Nazism.  Disturbing.

After the movie and devouring pizza (motzerella, feta, spinach, katamala olives and bears oh my! - it is always delicious), we headed to bed at 4am and Wolf opened the door one last time to call for Reaper.  And in walked the black devil himself....the little bastard.

I was relieved he was alive. I hugged him and kissed him and fed him.

Then I locked him in the VERY secure cat bathroom for the night.

I don't think he minded ....much....

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

Courtesy of Wikipedia

I'd never really sat down and THOUGHT about St. Patrick day before.  I just knew you had to wear green (or bet the crap pinched out of you) and drink beer (primarily Gueiness - the thought of that just makes my stomach roll...ugh).  Actually there is quite a little history to St. Paddy's day (I can't spell Patrick to save my life....)

Blue was actually the original color of St. Pat's day.  The associate of the clover with St. Pat is he used the clover to explain the trinity to the pagans (which is slightly brilliant, but also misleading.  I promise I will try not to delve into spiritual matters, well only when ABSOLUTELY necessary....)  And the reason for all that drinking is a break in Lent.  It's been forever since I've participated in Lent...  Well, that makes more sense....sort of....

But how does that explain this:

I use to go to Savannah regularly and I happened to go one year right around St. Paddys.  I have a Dublin T-shirt (because I use to be a hard core fan of an Irish Band, but not anymore....)  and people kept shouting out at me (while I was wearing this green T-shirt) and I could not figure out WHY.  I later learned it was due to St. Paddy's and their lovely dyed green fountains gave it away.  Though I still don't quite get that.

Hummm...I might pull a fast one on Wolf and dye our milk green.  That would be kind of funny (and slightly disgusting)....I'll have to let you know how that goes.

Have a Happy Saint Patrick's Day!  Go Green!! And sustainable!!!

16 March 2010

Strange Things in the Ground

I was gardening this morning (and by morning I mean well after 9am, more like 3pm - Wolf works second shift and while we are trying to start getting up at a reasonable hour (like 11), it simply hasn't been happening.  Partially because for some reason Wolf thought it would be a good idea to take sleeping pills last night though I haven't had trouble sleeping.  Maybe I've been looking really tired.  Strange.  I don't know...I've been avioding mirrors - don't ask.) and noticed the blooming daffodils..

They're so cute and so in the wrong spot.  I actually picked the little buggers and plopped them in a cup to spruce up the currently swamped kitchen table.

They are right smack in the middle of my new gardening patch.  I mean this baby is PERFECT! (when I figure out how to get pictures (ie use Wolf's camera... or get the phone to upload some yeah right...I might as well be trying to speak Chinese... - it's impossible to upload anything from here....)

It is a dark rich each surrounded by old (rotting) railroad ties.  Unfotunately some baby pines (I wont even tell you what horrible name Wolf has for them...whew) have also taken up residence there.  I can't pull all of them up.

I mean I guess I could be really adventurous by forcing Monica to start (snort), backing her up (oooh, lordy something would die), attatching a tow strap (whatever that is), hooking it to the tree (however you do that without losing an eye), gunning Monica, throwing her in gear, and yanking those annoying little buggers right out of the beautiful earth our little plants are going to inhabit.

Yeah, right.  I'd rather not be THAT adventurous.

All I can envision is shattering glass and a black eye.  Hooray! Not only would the truck NOT run, but it would no longer be weather proof.  So, I shoveled mightily into the ground, grunting at the roots and pulled up two.  Which Rowdy promptly attacked and probably devoured.

She's gotten really bad about that.  The attacking part.  Whenever I pull something out of the ground, she's all snapping fangs and ready to kill.  She actually nipped my hand last week.  So, I don't let her as close now....but she still sneaks up on me.  Little bugger.

I digress.

In addition to the pine trees and crazy JRT root loving dog, there are these strange tubers growing there.  They look like pale carrots or orangish parsnips, but they don't have the same greens as carrots (At least I think they don't!); I am guessing they are some kind of flower.  Obviously a far I haven't been able to figure out what they are exactly.  I just know there were a TON of them.

Strange Tubers

Man, my fingers are sore from losing my trowel in the move and not wearing any gardening gloves.  Which is going to have to stop...sometime soon...

I love to feel the dark rich earth in my warm hands.  Feeling the sun beat (bake) down on my shoulders and warm me.  The earth cold beneath my knees.  It was blissful.  The sun.  The soil.  The crazy dog.  Ahhh....

Except now I have some exceptional sore fingertips!

I suppose that is the price I am going to pay for idealistic gardening and plain old stupidity.  Ah well, no harm, no foul.

I'm going to have to make these

Wolf and I are serious chocoholics. As much as I wish we could get away from processed foods, I think chocolate may be the make it or break it for us. However, these cupcakes with this frosting may just help us make it:

From the Pioneer Woman (of course):

A Tasty Recipe: That’s the Best Frosting I’ve Ever Had – Tasty Kitchen Blog

15 March 2010

Friend Making Monday

We had a great time hanging out with our neighbors!  I can already tell that we are going to be one crazy happy bunch of people that have wonderful weekly or daily get togethers...(now I wish I would have taken our neighbor up on that cup of tea she offered yesterday, but alas there will be other times and other cups of tea...)

Anyway, after some much needed laughter, I am finally feeling the urge to make friends again.  I stumbled across this cute little blog and noticed they were having a Friend Making Monday.  So I decided to participate.  No harm afterall!!

I am.... ready for an adventure.

I think....about goats and chickens and a big dog named Jake daily.

I should...stop being afraid of new relationships with other women.

I dream....about having a successful farm of our own one day.

I animals.

I know...that this is all going to work out, some how, some way.

I don't like....our shower....blech.

I smell...the remains of cooked fancy macaroni.

I hear....some seriously LOUD frogs.

I fear....failure.

I usually...wake up at 11.

I search...for farm animals

I miss....Capernwray and the people there.

I always...think about plan B.

I regret....nothing.

I wonder....when we will be able to get moving on some projects.

I place in life.

I remember...all the good times.

I need.....alone time.

I forget....where I've put something, unless I repeatedly place it there.

I feel....slightly overwhelmed.

I can....get it all done.

I can't....get it all done alone.

I am happy....
that I met Wolf and moved here.

I lose.....nothing.

I sing....rarely.

I everyone.

I only.

I eat....every few hours.

I love.....Wolf

Fancy Macaroni

We've been invited up for a farm dinner. All the (3) families are getting together and bringing a dish. This is good considering I turned down a perfectly good opportunity to get to know the "lady-of-the-land" better.

(I don't know what happened there, except I felt like I was running away.  I think it had a lot to do with Rowdy being there around her 2 year old son, which she isn't use to adoreable little people and other big dogs on a regular be that was it.  Can I just blame the weather?)

So I guess its more of a pot luck.....

Anyway, this is what I'm taking:

Fancy Macaroni courtesy of the Pioneer Woman:

The Pioneer Woman Cooks - Ree Drummond

can you tell I'm super excited about it!?!?!?

14 March 2010

Monica is Sick and Other Random Sunday Thoughts

Our truck Monica is most definitely SICK.

She's a beaut' ain't she?

She is spewing black smoke, squeaking, and before Wolf did something with the plugs, she wouldn't even idle.  He is working on it, all I can do is sit there and stare at the gloriously loud roaring engine and look bewildered.  I do wish I knew something more than how to check the oil regarding a car.

But I don't.  I think I am in love with the idea of being a sexy female mechanic.  But I guess there is nothing really sexy about crazy hair, grease, monotone coveralls, and smelling of gas on a regular basis.  Okay, so I'm definitely in like with the idea, but putting it into practice would take that idea to a whole other level of some place I'd rather dreamily visit than actually make it a reality.

Rowdy is laying by my feet looking out the door way, towards the sounds of sick Monica being worked on and is being adorable and quiet.  She is a very well suited farm dog.

Today, I am hoping to go explore the barn.  I've been rather tentative in my meanderings....I'm not sure just why...  I love this place and feel right at home.  I suppose it takes me a little time to encompass the whole 12 acres as "ours".  But I'm getting over that.  Blogging about this odd, funny, and strange experience is helping.

Wolf and I are about to DIE to get chickens in.  I would rather have the goats, but really with vacations coming up, it might be best to wait...just a little.  Not to mention we are lacking in the fundage department from moving and eating out and having to buy drinks because we didn't have any water.

I'm really wanting to get a fence up for the chickens and for this guy:

I dream about him.
Dontchya just want to cuddle the heck out of him?
Look at his ADOREABLE wrinkly head...awwwwww....

He's an Anatolian Shepherd.  They are lovely, calm, HUGE, protective dogs.  I fell in love with this giant breed when I met Bou, my former Super's Dog.  I remember him quietly stepping out of the van and letting me pat his head.  He was wise, quiet, adorable, enormous, and he stole my heart.  He died the year I was working for my Super.  It was heart wrenching; however, I can't say that I was sorry to meet him.

Uh-ho....Monica isn't starting...I think I'll go lend some moral support!!!