September 21, 2009

grateful for good beef and the life they lived

I went to the slaughterhouse today to pick up the offals from my dear cows, whose carcasses are now hanging in a meat cooler and today I cut up livers and hearts and delivered to those willing and able to eat such essential parts of the animal. I have a big pot of stock from the tails; Jigs the dog is happy this afternoon.

When I went into the office at the slaughterhouse, the receptionist said "the meat inspector wants to talk with you"

"...uh oh", I thought!

When I called him and he proceded to tell me what fine animals they were and what a good job I done on the finishing, how the meat was marbled so nicely. When I told him they were on pasture and finished on pears, carrots and garden "weeds" (plantain, clover) he was a little taken back. "No GE corn that's the secret", I said. I wanted to tell him they had been happy cattle.

It was sad to see them off and there were tears in the truck driving down the road away from the farm, the 2 bulls and their young Moms, my comrades in the circle of the farm. It was their first and last ride in a trailer. It is not my experience to slaughter 2 year old cows, but their ligaments were prone to tearing and I'm leaving for the winter for work, so it is an expedient and lucrative choice - We are going to sell most of the meat in Halifax.

I am making good head way on my TO DO list, but I ran out of garlic and need to locate more to finish my bed. The barn is cleaned out so the truck and tractor can be locked up, and I have rye growing in almost half the garden with more in today.
There is lots of food for my neighbours to pick (they are doing the market) especially salad and cabbage. I'll get some pics up before I fly out on Friday.

September 20, 2009

by the grace of microorganisms go we

We're one-tenth human; Rest of the body is a swarm of foreign microbes
Winnipeg Free Press

"Scientists are beginning a large-scale effort to identify and analyze the vast majority of cells in or on your body that aren't of human origin.

Only about 10 per cent of the trillions of cells that make up a person are truly human, researchers say. The other 90 per cent are bacteria, viruses and other microbes swarming in your gut and on your skin.

"We really are a superorganism," Brett Finlay, a microbiologist at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, said in an email. "From the moment we are born until we die, we live in a symbiotic relationship with our microbes."


September 12, 2009

My last market today

I have some fabulous salad for the fall markets, carrots, leeks and cabbage too and a mess of this and that. I have passed over the last of the harvests and the market to neighbours in exchange for their attention to the last of the fall jobs: the plastic down, the water off, some more fall rye. I am soon to be unbound from the farm - for the winter. Is it possible?

The TO DO list before I go is daunting but I'm fiesty for it: tuck in a few more beds with fall rye and dare to plant garlic this early, see the first of the cows off and organize delivery into designated freezers. There is also a big hole that water seeps into the basement, and I have the cement mixer out.... and there is a cat to find a home for. Jigs, the boxer bulldog, which was given to me 3 monthes ago (to intimidate the greenhouse thief - she's too cute for that) is going to a friend, and I'll be able to get her back when I return in Febuary. I'm glad for that.

I said goodbye to my great customers today, it was a little sad, to be leaving before thanksgiving, but overall I'm excitement for the adventure. I need to get out, pass on the work like a baton in a endurance race. I need perspective. I don't want to do this alone. I am grateful for folks willing and able to step up to cooperate this fall.

I'll share more of the details later...but my adventure involve a train, dancing, visiting loved ones... and finally (after the feet out and about... a job. Just for the winter mind you because I'm already excited about next year's garden and what can happen there.

CBC reports on Nanotech ignorance

CBC's Kelly Crowe reports on the Nanotechnology revolution and looks at some of the work done tracking the risks and the toxicology of the nanoscale.

Problem is the tools to observe and measure the particles haven't been invented yet! And although Canadian scientist believe key risks are probable, "Ottawa isn't taking action on the advice of its expert panel".

Watch the video.

September 7, 2009

labour day

A verry happy Labour Day everyone, especially those that labour,

mothers, farmers, factory workers
and many others

may the suffering that does arise in the strain of muscle, tendon, nerves be eased by the health and vigor that good labours allows.

May we stand stalwart for fair livlihood for the blessed labourers!

what a difference a year makes. Compare Obama's last year's labour day speech (video below) where we need a "president who doesn't choke on the word Union" to the speech on the whitehouse blog which doesn't mention the word.

September 6, 2009

numb meat

How should we ease the suffering of animals in factory farms? How about genetically engineering them to feel less pain. Yes they have found some genes for it.

Scientists close to taking the pain out of animal suffering

The animals I know and love experience a full range of feelings...who'd want them numb!

I expect its folks who don't fully know how a Mom loves her calf, or triumphs free in a pasture upon excape, that would consider extinguishing feeling.

Feelings are what make us alive.

not proven safe, what will you do.

Dr. Marie-Paule Kieny, head of the WHO's vaccine research initiative, says it best, without having to really say what it means:

"Does it mean that it (adjuvanted vaccine) will be unsafe? No. It means that there is no hard evidence that it will be (safe)."

Canada has purchased the adjuvanted vaccine from GSK and has purchased a limited supply of the unadjuvanted jab for pregnant women otherwise "reluctant" to have the vaccine. These are the (pregnant) women who know that the vaccine is not (proven) safe. Consider please the record of pharmaceutical companies testing their own products - it is troubling; frightening mistakes have been made.

Health Care professional, who may be among the first up for the vaccine, may not be in that line, if recent polls showing less than half believe in the safety or efficacy of the vaccine.

With the vaccine fast tracked and Federal public health officials waiting for the results of clinical trials to be "confident"... the results to be confident? Do they mean confident it is safe (and effective). No wonder most doctors don't want it.

There are ample reasons to not want to take the vaccine, adjuvant present or not.

September 5, 2009

I think this is just innocent parody; it is a bit weird, but they have a great website with designs to build that swell tractor..

September 4, 2009

diddling the properous ideal farm

This is way too bizare for me

Things move way faster on a real farm

September 3, 2009

virtual farming and the educated eater: trends we need to capitalize on somehow.

"Jamie Lynn found a lonely black sheep on her farm.
Marcia got an apple tree from Charmaine.
Tiffany bought a harvester".

Fron the Weds. Globe and Mail

"Three of the site's (facebook) top 15 fastest-growing applications are now farming related: FarmVille, Farm Town and (Lil) Farm Life.

The sites allow users to grow and harvest their own crops, customize their farms with scarecrows, streams and hedges, and send gifts, like wheat and hogs, to their friends.

FarmVille doubled its active users from 16 million at the beginning of August to more than 32 million by the end of the month. Farm Town boasted nearly 19 million users and 1,100,000 fans, from Pakistan to Hoboken, N.J. "

Read the story

But still I they have virtual fresh cow shit, flies, crop failures or transgenic encroachment, factory farms?...any of this on these sites. I'm guessing not. Anyone know

Perhaps if we match this fascination with a farm ideal with the new breed of eater describes so well by Dave Murphy in the Nation recently we can get somewhere.

" a new breed of eater awakening to the fact that food is not just something of convenience, a balancing of flavor and calories and macronutrients, but part of a larger conversation about how our nation's democracy functions. For this generation, the idea that we can have a positive impact on the environment, a farmer's life, rural communities and the welfare of animals by what we choose to eat is only the beginning. Increasingly, Americans want to know where the food they eat comes from, how it was grown and who grew it, because they are beginning to understand the connection between our stomachs and our common destiny".

67 virtual farm addicts, throngs of new eaters awakening...Its a culture that needs the real living soil.

September 1, 2009

Bon Adventure, here for now

Somehow the realities of smallholder community-based sustainable farming, that struggle, that anomaly - the thing that urban ethical types champion sporadically, some suck off of, and many obliterate with consumption (almost) too complexly bizarre for my pen these days.

Sometimes the irony is beyond belief..the facts spin like fiction and I feel naked looking at the specter of how local farming is composing and the choices some find necessary to survive.

a) serve the elite; obama arugula salad.
b) grow maryjane in the bushes on the side
c) resale conventional fare or otherwise cheat and fraud
d) be miserably poor somehow independent of the banks toiling to finger bone until old and sick and then sell the farm, or whats left of it.
e) be lucky/connected/entertaining and or compelling enough to become a celebrity farmer
f) join the designate, nextgen agribiz style, selling your soul to the banks and the multi-nationals to pilot self-regulated, dangerous, wildwest style agri future.

While we watch:
a) complacent people not standing up to stop imports flooding markets at local food intervals.
b) consumers not question the value of labour and the notion of "fair trade" in the local sense.
c) the educated stop listening about GE, Nanotech and Synthetic Biology in our world and notable in our food.
d) popular culture accept class and designate those working the soil as the lowest, along with other honourable professions such as early childhod care.
e) regulators and their lobby discredit and silence open dialogue concerning the status quo (including organic regulators).
f) our colleagues farms threatened by damns, droughts, fires, trade dumping orgies, marketing boards, burn-out and or poverty.

I'm in my garden, tending salad, harvesting for market, preparing slaughter of cattle, looking for winter work and dumbfounded at the work necessary for that. I'm gettin it done. But I'm also watching out for toads and observing the history around me. The unmarked, mysterious buriel ground next door, that is marked on a deed but lost to time and land activities, the black cemetary next door (loyalist free folks or slaves?) the village of Beaulieu close somewhere and the home of Beausoeil, and ancient further the Maritime Archaic; Its the fabulous history that picks me up this time, grounds me. I think then of sacred things and it helps me carry on.
Take care, stay strong; and have a bon adventure!

Blessings to the farmers