Saturday, December 25, 2010

Vermont Says No to Food Bill

In case you haven't heard, the "food safety" bill we have been telling you about (S.510 that became H.R.2751 after the House stuck it into another bill) has sadly passed.

I found this article fitting since the passing of that bill. Maybe Ohio will follow suit. Maybe not though as the Rep. that sponsored this is from Ohio, Betty Sutton, and there was a good handful of Ohio Reps.
(ours included) co-sponsoring it too.

Before we continue to story, I'd like to thank all those that took the time to contact your congressperson(s) to tell them you believe you have the right to food freedom and want to keep supporting your local farmer and opposed this bill!


Vermont Drafts Food Sovereignty to Protect Health, Food Freedom

In response to the recent passage of "food safety" bills S. 510 and corresponding H.R. 2751, the Vermont Coalition for Food Sovereignty has drafted its own resolution called "The Vermont Resolution for Food Sovereignty." Crafted to declare and protect the food and health freedom rights of all Vermont citizens, the resolution is essentially a warning to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that it does not have jurisdiction over the food choices of the People of Vermont.

The resolution declares that food freedom is a "fundamental prerequisite to life," and that individuals have every right to save seeds, grow what they wish, and buy and sell the fruits of their labor without interference from an over-zealous, tyrannical government. And if any federal official tries to infringe on these rights, the People "shall resist any and all" of them.

Additionally, the resolution declares that, on the basis of the 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the People of Vermont completely reject any and all "Federal decrees, statutes, regulations or corporate practices that threaten our basic human right to save seed, grow, process, consume and exchange food and farm products within the State of Vermont."

The recently-passed "Food Safety Modernization Act" essentially hands over control of the nation's food supply to the FDA. The legislation gives the agency free reign to mandate food recalls at will and require even small producers to jump through burdensome regulatory hoops in order to buy and sell their goods. The entire scheme has nothing to do with food safety and everything to do with giving the FDA more control over the food supply.

The Vermont Coalition for Food Sovereignty is encouraging concerned citizens to review the resolution and encourage their local and state politicians to co-sponsor it, both in Vermont and in other states.

Sources for this story include:

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Visiting with Joel

I am a bit late posting this, I know, but I have a love-hate relationship with this computer. Sitting here very long does give my body issues....and I've had issues lately. As they say, better late than never.

On Nov 8, Malone University (a Christian college in Canton Ohio) held a Worldview Forum. The topic of this forum was "You Are What You Grow: Food Systems & the Human Soul. Guest speakers were Joel Salatin (for the food systems part of course) and Dr. Laura Yordy ( human soul part).

Since Joel was 'in town', we decided to go listen and do some catching up with him as it's been a couple of years since Nathan has been back down to visit Salatin's Polyface farm. Even though Nathan does keep in contact with both Joel and Daniel, it was good to do a face-to-face visit! I had not chatted with him since we picked Nathan up at the end of his year-long apprentice program at Polyface.

Most of what Joel said I had heard before but at the end of his allotted time, he did go through what the Biblical model of a farm should look like. Hadn't heard this one before from him so that was interesting to hear.

During the forum...Joel, Joel & Laura taking question from the crowd after their speeches.

Moderator for this forum was, ironically, Joel Soza, a professor at the college and a former pastor of the church both our parents go to here in town. We spent a little bit of time catching up with him and his wife while there too.

Of course you gotta get a picture! Nathan, Joel and Jessica(carrying baby Joppeck)

A chance to meet the speakers.... Joel is a popular guy.

We did get to visit with him before and after the forum. It was a nice visit.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Update on S.510.... now H.R. 3082

Here is an update on the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act that I have posted an Action Alert for these past 2 posts.

This is getting a bit confusing as S.510 did pass the Senate, then went to the House which seem to act like they were going to stall it, THEN today we find out they (House Democrats) put it into another bill altogether! This is NOT good...or honest!!! While it was somewhere (I think the Senate) there was an added amendment to it called the Tester-Hagan amendment which did help small farmers in some ways, but even with this, the bill has serious problems....and ramifications to us all.

I have put 2 different Alert emails that have come through about this bill below to help you wade through this if you have not kept up to date about this.

Your attention is needed on this issue- NOW- if you want to keep your food freedoms.


From..........Alliance for Natural Health USA

On December 8, the House of Representatives passed a Continuing Resolution (CR) H.R.3082. A CR is supposed to provide temporary, stopgap funding for the government while budget bills are worked out. But this CR included the language of the Senate food safety bill—language that will still affect small food producers (organic farms, small farms, mom-and-pop roadside stands, etc.) most of all. It will completely transform the food and farming industries—for the worse.

Putting the text of another bill into a CR is a prime example of the way Congress operates. It is ethically wrong; indeed it is an example of corruption. We saw this kind of slight of hand in the passage of the health reform legislation, and the American public should be fed up with it.

Now this House CR goes back to the Senate, which is expected to pick it up by the middle of next week. The rumor is that instead of dealing with the CR directly, Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-HI) will introduce the Senate’s own omnibus bill (even larger than the CR) that will also contain the food safety language along and who knows what else.

This is a bad bill, on its own or attached to another piece of legislation. We are grateful that the changes we lobbied for have stayed in the bill, including the exemption for supplements from Codex language and the Tester amendment that protects small farms from some of the bill’s provisions. But the bill still gives the FDA much too much control over farming in general and small producers in particular.

Three specific concerns remain, all major:

1. The bill mandates that every registered facility must be inspected by the FDA: high-risk facilities will be inspected initially within the first five years and then every three years thereafter; low-risk facilities, initially within seven years, and then every five. The FDA will need to hire an additional 5,000 employees to do all the inspections. Big companies love this, because the FDA will be so bogged down inspecting all the smaller operations that they won’t have time to focus on the big guys—where the actual food safety problems arise. Food safety legislation should be targeted at the large industrial farms, but, no surprise, this bill does just the opposite.

2. Language in the federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act currently reads:

An officer or qualified employee of the Food and Drug Administration may order the detention, in accordance with this subsection, of any article of food that is found during an inspection, examination, or investigation under this chapter conducted by such officer or qualified employee, if the officer or qualified employee has credible evidence or information indicating that such article presents a threat of serious adverse health consequences or death to humans or animals.

Under this bill, the boldfaced text above would be changed to:

if the officer or qualified employee has reason to believe that such article is adulterated or misbranded.

And remember, as interpreted by the FDA, a food or supplement may be deemed “adulterated” if there have been any record-keeping violations. “Misbranded” can mean that the producer makes a completely true statement about the product but without FDA permission.

So when the FDA is inspecting a facility, if they merely believe an item is misbranded or adulterated—no concrete evidence is required—they can confiscate all of that product. If there is a suspected record-keeping error for a supplement, the entire stock can be taken by the FDA.

3. A company has to be registered to operate. Under this bill, if the FDA finds there to be a reasonable probability that a product may cause serious adverse health consequences or death to humans or animals, the FDA may suspend that facility’s registration, effectively shutting it down. This seems reasonable, but there is only one informal opportunity for companies to reinstate registration, with no opportunity whatsoever to appeal—they are at the mercy of an FDA inspector’s whim. This should not be allowed in America.

Why does all of this matter? Keep in mind the FDA has consistently done Big Pharma’s bidding and has attacked supplement companies and small food producers (such as the cherry and walnut growers). The bill gives the FDA unbridled authority to ratchet things up even further. The FDA needs to focus on large producers, not get its tentacles onto small producers.

Please contact your senators TODAY and ask them to oppose the food safety bill language that is currently in the CR (though it might be found in the omnibus bill next week). This may be our last chance to defeat this bill—please take action immediately!


Click THIS LINK to go to the Action Alert page. Once there, fill out the form with your name and address, etc., and customize your letter. We have a suggested message for you, but please feel free to add your own comments to the letter.


From....... Farm-to Consumer Legal Defense Fund

SENATORS, Vote "NO" on Cloture for H.R. 3082 & Oppose the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act

By a 212-206 vote on December 8, the House passed the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (formerly S.510) as an amendment to H.R. 3082 (the "Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 2011" to fund the government through September 2011). A food safety act should not be part of a spending bill.

House Democrats attached what was S.510 (as passed by the Senate on November 30) to H.R. 3082 because they were worried about Republican opposition to it as a stand alone bill. The next step for H.R. 3082 is to go to the Senate for a vote.

As this is the Senate, the first vote on H.R. 3082 will be on a cloture motion to limit debate before there is a vote on the bill itself.


People need to contact their Senators now to tell them to Vote "NO" on Cloture for H.R. 3082 and Oppose the "FDA Food Safety Modernization Act" (Division D of H.R. 3082).

STEP 1 - Send a live fax message to your Senators through the online petition at

even if you've already used the petition this week.

STEP 2 - Call your Senators and be sure to give your zip code

Call the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121; ask to be connected to your Senator's office.


Go to; enter your zip code on the right side under "Get Involved" and click "Go". Click on your Senators' names then click the "Contact" tab to get office phone number(s).

If you get voicemail, leave a brief message with your zip code. If the line is busy, keep calling until you get through.


The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act is fundamentally flawed and is not in the best interest of small farmers, especially those who produce raw milk.

1. FDA does not respect individuals' rights to obtain healthy, quality foods of their choice. The agency has stated as a matter of public record, that:

"There is no absolute right to consume or feed children any particular food."

"Plaintiffs' assertion of a 'fundamental right to their own bodily and physical health, which includes what foods they do and do not choose to consume for themselves and their families' is similarly unavailing because plaintiffs do not have a fundamental right to obtain any food they wish."

FDA has even participated in armed raids on small-scale co-ops and membership organizations. This agency should not be given any additional power.

2. FDA has adequate powers under existing law to ensure food safety and effectively deal with foodborne illness outbreaks. FDA has power to inspect, power to detain product and can readily obtain court orders to seize adulterated or misbranded food products or enjoin them from being sold. The problem isn't that FDA needs more power; it's that FDA does not effectively use the power it currently has. The agency has power to inspect imported food yet inspects only 1% of food coming into this country from outside our borders.

3. The Act does nothing to address many significant food safety problems in this country, such as those resulting from confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs), genetically modified organisms (GMOs), and various contaminants (e.g., BPA, pesticides, herbicides, etc.).

4. FDA has used its existing power to benefit the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries at the expense of public health (e.g., allowing the overuse of antibiotics in confined animal feeding operations and refusing to require labeling for genetically-modified foods). This Act does not address the fundamental problems at this agency in order to truly protect public health.

5. The Act will expand FDA's involvement in regulating food in intra-state commerce, further interfering with local communities. State and local governments are more than capable of handling any problems related to food in intrastate commerce. All the major outbreaks of foodborne illness involve either imported food or food in inter-state commerce.

6. The Act will hurt our ability as a nation to be self-sufficient in food production because it has more lenient inspection requirements for foreign than domestic producers creating an unfair advantage for food imports. Giving an advantage to foreign producers will only increase the amount of food imported into this country that does not meet our domestic standards. The Act does not address food security--the ability of a country to produce enough food to meet its own needs.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Stop S.510 -part 2

Additional information from Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund regarding Stop S.510.
See previous post for more info on this bill if this is the first time you've seen this.

When someone is trying to stop debate on a bill in Congress, that usually means there is something to hide and/or they want to push it through before the American people find out about it and have a chance to oppose/stop it.

I encourage
you to watch the video (highlighted orange) of Sen. Tom Coburn that is linked below. He says that this current congress has used cloture more than any other congress. He is a practicing physician that uses the recent egg and tomato recalls (and his practice) as examples and is stopping the bill because it doesn't address the underlining problems with food safety but adds more regulation and costs to our government.



An action alert earlier requested that readers call their Senators to ask them to OPPOSE S.510--the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act.

It is also imperative to ask your Senators to VOTE "NO" on CLOTURE.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is trying to stop debate on S.510 by invoking cloture. The best chance to defeat S.510 is to defeat the cloture motion which requires a three-fifths majority of the full Senate [60 votes] to pass.

S.510 is a major threat to the local food movement. It greatly expands FDA's jurisdiction over intrastate commerce and imposes one-size-fits-all regulations that will make it more difficult for small farms and food processors to remain in business. See Talking Points below.


1. Call or Fax your Senators and ask them to VOTE "NO" on CLOTURE and OPPOSE S.510--see contact details below.

2. Call or Fax Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY, Senate Minority Leader) whose support is crucial if cloture is to be stopped. Tell him you want the Republicans to stop S.510 by voting "NO" on cloture.

McConnell's Washington Office

Phone: (202)224-2541

Fax: (202)224-2499

3. Call or Fax Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK). Thank him for his opposition to S. 510 [watch the video ]. Ask him to rally his fellow Republicans to vote "NO" on cloture.

Coburn's Washington Office

Phone: (202)224-5754

Fax: (202)224-6008

4. Send a live email message to your Senators through the online petition to Reject S.510 at

Be sure to follow up with phone calls--see contact details below.

S.510 will significantly increase the power of FDA, an agency which has stated on public record that the American people have no ''fundamental right to their own bodily and physical health" and "do not have a fundamental right to obtain any food they wish". S.510 needs to be stopped.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Stop S.510

This is from the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund. Your action is needed.........


The "lame duck" session of Congress begins today and S.510 --the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act--is scheduled for a cloture vote sometime this week.

S.510 is a major threat to the local food movement. It greatly expands FDA's jurisdiction over intrastate commmerce and imposes one-size-fits-all regulations that will make it more difficult for small farms and food processors to remain in business.

It is urgent that you call your Senators and ask them to oppose S.510.

S.510 will interfere with your ability to obtain the foods of your choice. It will benefit the industrial food system and imports, the two sectors of the food economy that are most responsible for outbreaks of foodborne illness in this country.

Through regulating small, quality producers out of business, S.510 will decrease food safety and this country's ability to become self-sufficient in food production.


1. Call both of your Senators and ask them to oppose S.510.

Go to and type in your zip code in the box in the upper right hand corner.

Click on your Senator's name, and then on the contact tab for their phone number.

You can also call the Capitol Switchboard and ask to be directly connected to your Senator's office: 202-224-3121.

Once connected, ask to speak to the legislative staff person responsible for agriculture. If they are unavailable leave a voicemail message. Be sure to include your name and phone number.

2. Send a live email message to your Senators through the online petition to Reject S.510 at

Be sure to follow up with phone calls.


1. FDA has more than adequate powers under existing law to ensure food safety and effectively deal with foodborne illness outbreaks. FDA has power to inspect, power to detain product and can readily obtain court orders to seize adulterated or misbranded food products or enjoin them from being sold. The problem isn't that FDA needs more power; it's that FDA does not effectively use the power it currently has.

2. S.510 will give FDA extensive power to regulate food in intrastate commerce; state and local governments are more than capable of handling any problems related to food in intrastate commerce. All the major outbreaks of foodborne illness involve either imported food or food in interstate commerce.

3. S.510 will hurt our ability as a nation to be self-sufficient in food production; it has more lenient inspection requirements for foreign than domestic producers creating an unfair advantage for food imports. Giving an advantage to foreign producers will only increase the amount of food imported into this country that does not meet our domestic standards. The bill does not address food security--the ability of a country to produce enough food to meet its own needs.

4. S.510 will provide a competitive advantage to industrial food producers--the sector of the food system causing most of the food safety problems; they will benefit from this legislation because it will cripple many small farmers and local producers--the solution to the food safety problems in this country. The bill will impose burdensome regulations that will punish local food producers, many of whom won't have the economies of scale to comply with S.510's requirements.

5. S.510 gives FDA the power to dictate growers' practices by establishing national standards for produce; the same standards applying to big firms-where the food safety problems have occurred-will apply as well to small growers who have had no food safety issues. Small growers will be forced to change practices that have produced safe, quality food.

6. S.510 does nothing to address many significant food safety problems in this country, such as those resulting from confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs), genetically modified organisms (GMOs), and various contaminants (e.g., BPA, pesticides, herbicides, etc.).

Web Addresses (urls) in this Edition
Suggestion: copy and paste the url into your browser to navigate to the webpage.

FDA Food Safety Modernization Act

Reject S.510

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veteran's Day


We would like to thank any of our family members & farm customers (and those not family & customers too) that have served our country to protect our freedoms and also help give it to others too! Some have volunteered to serve but others where told to serve. Either way....Thank You for your time and sacrifice!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Stinky Visitors

We have been having something that has been digging holes every where in the yard. The neighbor even said the other day that he's got the same problem too. Nathan has also noticed that something has been digging in the cow patties out in the pasture.

We think we may have figured out what is doing all this......skunks.

A week or so ago when we were about ready to go to bed, John looked out the patio door and saw one under the 2 pines trees (they are about 20 ft apart) right off the patio that have bird feeders in them. I grabbed the camera not knowing how the pics would turn out since it was so dark outside....this was about 1:00 am.

I (actually we) learned something from this picture.....

After I took it and looked at it, I notice (and maybe you did too) that the white stripe on his back doesn't go in one line from nose to tail. This is how a skunk is suppose to look right?!?! His goes into a V pattern after leaving the head. HUMM...... this is strange. I asked John about it and he didn't know either....and he knows his animals.

Can't say that I've seen a wild skunk up close before as they are largely nocturnal and seldom come out until late in the day and retire to their hideouts early in the morning. So we don't see them in daylight..... and if I did, I wouldn't stay very close anyway! So I got online to figure out who this guys was.

Well.... come to find out, the skunk that we have always thought was THEE skunk (the one that has a stripe down the back from nose to tail) doesn't even live around here. It's called a Hooded Skunk and lives in the southwest US and Mexico. The guy above is a Striped Skunk and they live everywhere and are the skunk that lives here in Ohio. Well didn't know that! Also learned that there is another skunk (which doesn't live around here either) that I would of never thought was a skunk if I ran into it...not that I would want to. It is the Spotted Skunk and it looks crazy! Click here to see a picture of one.

A few days later.......

Another skunk spotting so back out on the patio to take another pic.....good thing we have zoom. Actually most of the time I can get about 15 ft away from them (I'm still on the patio) as they don't notice I'm there as they are busy eating. this one doesn't have any stripes at all, or much of anything really.

We were thinking it was an immature one as it looks like it's thinking about getting stripes (you can faintly see some), but back online to find out for sure. Well this gets interesting......

This is what Wikipedia says:
Although the most common fur color is black and white, some skunks are brown or grey, and a few are cream-colored. All skunks are striped, even from birth. They may have a single thick stripe across back and tail, two thinner stripes, or a series of white spots and broken stripes (in the case of the spotted skunk). Some also have stripes on their legs.

Another site says: Each Striped Skunk has a unique stripe pattern.

OK.... since skunks have strips at birth, then our theory that it's an immature one developing it's strip doesn't fit anymore. I guess about anything goes in the skunk strip world.

Skunk Convention........

The other night before going to bed, John again looked out the patio door and we had a party going on out there! There were 3 this time! Grabbed the camera again and back out I went.

These 2 were under one pine tree .....

.......and our 'no strip' skunk (or at least we think it's him) was under the other one.

I guess we now know why we have sooo many holes in our yards as it seems to of been a good year for skunks. I do get digging in my garden, but at the moment there isn't much out there, and it seems to happen more in the spring.....right after I plant.....but that can be raccoons doing that too.

Even though we have so many around, we seldom smell any. If the patio doors would of been open while they were all out there, their smell would not of tipped us off as there was no smell to them.

I'm glad they came to visit as we're all the smarter for it. You learn something everyday!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Around the Farm I

I have been meaning all summer to put farm pics that I've taken here and there on to the blog but thought I should have some 'like' pics to go with them. I've waited for more as I don't want to post something for just a pic or 2 with no special topic. Well it never happened. Sooo I am giving up on that and just going to start a new category (or Label as it's called at the right of this page), called 'Around the Farm' and from now on when I get some, no matter if they go together or not, I will put them there.

Here are some that were taken this summer and some not too long ago........

I have a post further back about a rainbow that graced our farm a while back but then again this summer we were blessed with 2 more since then.

This one is later in the day , of course, and if you can see it (you can click on the pic to enlarge it) the end of the rainbow stops right at a white things in the pasture. That white thing would be the broiler pen-- which had chickens in it at the time too. Thought it neat on where the end stopped....maybe this means something?!?!?

This is a big Golden Rod plant.

Waiting for drinks.....

Happy hour!

Path between the fence and the woods.

I sometimes wonder how the electric fence can work with all this stuff in it.

Catching the cattle with the fall color.

I was out not too long ago weeding in the strawberry patch and heard a chicken squawk. We had been having predator problems so I went to see what was going on. There was nothing out there but did noticed that the chickens were following the cattle rather close.....really close that is. After watching for a bit, I figured out why. This year we seem to have more crickets and grasshoppers than normal. The chickens figured out that hanging with the cattle as they walked to graze, they would stir up the critters so the ladies could just grab them when they scoured away. This would be their version of fast food. So the squawk that I heard came from one of the birds not watching where Gabriell (one of our bulls) was walking and more than likely got stepped on.

I let some of my fall red raspberries go to bloom in the spring. It was nice having all these berries at one time. I didn't know which to eat first! But I do think from now on I will just keep the red ones for the fall as it was just too much picking and keeping up with all this when I had so many other things going on at the same time.

Wish I had some of these on the bushes right's going to be a long winter...fresh is best!

basil, squash and tomatoes

First of the Sungold cherry tomatoes turning color....YUM!

Blackberries just getting ripe. It was a very good year for these.

I bought some new fall red raspberry plants to help keep up with demand so these are not that big yet. Blueberry plants in the background....they turn a pretty red color in the fall.

Every now and then something unusual happens at the fairgrounds. This would be one of those occasions. This doesn't happen often (but I wish it would), a hot air balloon took off from there not too long ago. Grabbed the camera! This is actually a close-up.

This would be real life size. Took it from the backyard.

Had a bluebird hang around this spring so I put together a falling apart birdhouse on the fence post up by the house. Yes that is tape holding a section together! I broke the board when I was trying to get the roof was a bit brittle and didn't hold together for long. We didn't know if they would move in as it was close to the patio. Then ended up trusting us and moved in. It was nice to sit on the patio (when we could) and watch them.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Pigs Arrive

Yesterday our new farm products arrived...PIGS!

We are not big pork eater but have had customers over the years ask us about doing pigs so Nathan decided to take on that task. Both he and John have experience with raising pigs, but me on the other hand....nodda.....nothing. I have not dealt with pigs ever, so this is going to be a new experience for me.

I wasn't doing anything at the moment when Nathan needed to go pick them up so I went along for the ride.

Here they are, all ready to be loaded up into the back of our truck. They are about 50 lbs..... a little smaller (and more expensive) than what Nathan wanted them to be, but they will do.

Since they were small enough to be transported in our truck, we had to dig out the old cap from our other 'since departed' truck and put that on so the little guys wouldn't jump out of the bed on the way home. The problem is, our new truck is red and the old cap that went with that old truck is green. It looked like a real nice classy carriage for the pigs ride home-- but I don't think they cared. Me, on the other hand, I was hoping I didn't see too many people I knew..... I was feeling a little bit like a hillbilly in that set up. It did get the job done though.

Nathan taking them out of the truck and getting them to go to the other side of the barn. They don't look that big (and they aren't) BUT they are really strong. I tried to get one to go further into the barn as it stop just after the concrete and it wasn't going anywhere.

It wasn't long and they started their routing. They route because they are looking for food. They can tear a place up pretty good after a while. I don't think they had the chance to do this at the place they were at so this was letting them do what pigs want to do....and they seemed to be enjoying it.

Checking things out.

I was right beside this guy (he was facing the other one you see in the pic) and he turned around and froze when he saw me.

The little guys were kind of cute to watch them play with each other, running in circles (and each other) once they got use to being in their new, very open place. I know they will be MUCH happier with their new home.

To change the topic slightly: If you are interested in any freezer pork, please let me know. I am forming a list now of those interested and when we have more info on prices and all I will get back to you. We are shooting for them to be finished in January.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


Since we started the blog way back when, we have been using it as a blog but also as our website of sorts for the farm. One of our hopes was to get a real website up and going before too long. I'm happy to announce that Nathan has finally accomplished that task!!

In light of that, we won't be using this blog for that purpose anymore, but we'll still continue to use it for farm events or info (a more detailed look that the website may not give), recipes, health and political articles/info, etc....OH--and a little bit of family thrown in here and there.

If you come across some article, information, picture that you find interesting/helpful or a yummy recipe using our products that you would like share with all of us, please pass it along to me (by email) and we'll try to include it here for everyone to enjoy.

The website address is:

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Engine Show visitors

The visitors:

Last weekend the Lagrange Engine show was at the Fairgrounds. When something is over there, we keep a few extra eyes out for rif-raf. So... John went out to check on the cattle and noticed that they seemed flustered, worked up and were running around in circles. Then he figured out why....he noticed 2 ropes over in the fence row, one with a horse tied to it and one without. It wasn't too long after that discovery that a horse popped out of the trees and into the lane that we use to get around on the outside of the fence. The cows really went wild. What in the world is that doing there?!?! Then an Amish man came through the trees too and carefully walked up to the horse grabbing it's reins and putting it back on the rope. The cattle are not use to seeing horses so close by.

John came back up to the house to tell us the story. Of course I wanted to go out and see this for myself. So off we went.....

On the way there, we past one of the cows that was standing right by the fence so we stopped to get a profile shot. She wasn't too far from where we need to go.

Yep there's horses out there all right. Looks like they are both where they need to be this time.

A closer look at the easier to see one.

Upon coming out of the 'hole' in the tree line and into the fairgrounds, we looked back and saw this. There they were! Two guys watching the buggies and and horses while their friends went into the show. You never see Amish at the county fair but they show up for stuff like this.

Lagrange Engine Show:

It had been a while since we had been there last, so later that day we decided to go over to the show and see what they had going on over there. It does have a strong farm theme to it. Here are a few things we found....

We are not totally sure what this is but we think it might be what we would call a 'hand powered rototiller'. This looks like a lot of work!! I'm glad we use motors and gasoline now!

There were all kinds of styles of transportation around. This one cracked me up.

These chain saws look dangerous!

This is what I would call the horseless carriage. I think this guy was giving rides as I saw him drive by quite a few times (with different people in it) as we sat on a bench to watch and rest.

It was actually quite entertaining to just sit on that bench and watch to see what would come by next. Lots of vendors selling their wares so to see it all some would fire up their souped up lawn mower, golf cart, 4-wheeler, etc and shopped using that (some of the things they were riding we didn't know what they were). It was definitely different!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Relax This Weekend

Stinkers our cat (John named her that as she has skunk patterns but in reverse-under instead of over) has a very good idea!

We hope you find a good place this weekend to 'chill out' and relax, just like she did.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Bad Lettuce

Since we are on the subject of CAFOs (feedlots), I thought this new info would fit into place here.

E. Coli on Lettuce Likely Came from Feedlot

Analysis of possible sources of the E. coli 0145 infecting romaine lettuce from an Arizona farm has been conducted by Food Safety News. One of the largest feedlots in the country is located about 20 miles from the heart of Arizona's leafy green production in the Gila and Dome valleys. Conditions in the feedlot produce huge volumes of mud, as dirt mixes with manure and water. When dry, hot, windy weather hits, the mud dries, the cattle break down clumps into dust, and the dust blows, often for many miles.

The FDA is pushing ahead with the process of establishing new leafy green safety regulations. The new requirements fail to target the core sources of the problem--sick or stressed cattle shedding E. coli 0157, and other pathogenic strains in their manure. (Acres USA Sept '10)

This is sad (and uncalled for) that the veggies producers lives have now become more regulated because of mismanagement 20 miles away that doesn't have anything to do with them. And the article is right that the new requirements are not addressing the real problem--feedlots. This is the same problem we'll likely have with the recent egg recalls; there is talk of pasteurizing eggs now when all that is required is better management (which will result in downsizing) and better treatment of the animals.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Death of a Lake

In light of the recent eggs recalls, I thought this would be a good time for this post. Factory farms are causing more trouble than just food recalls. You might find the map links to CAFOs in Ohio and the spreading of boisolids enlightening.

Death of the Lakes: The Spreading of Toxic and Infectious Wastes and Disease

By David Michael

Human illnesses and animal deaths have occurred recently from neurotoxins secreted by a heavy slime of blue and green algae floating on Ohio’s largest lake—Grand Lake St. Mary’s (Grand Lake) in Auglaize and Mercer Counties. This is a lake that has been deteriorating for decades, but especially so in the past 10 years as factory farms have sprung up all over the area, and more are being built.

A high concentration of factory farms and the application of composted manure from CAFO (confined animal feeding operations) manure and sewage treatment sludge (humanure, now called biosolids—a mixture of concentrated human excrement and industrial discharges) is spreading toxic and infectious substances on farmlands close by and in the watershed. CAFOs in the watershed area account for 3 million chickens; while sewage sludge spreading is permitted on 8800 Ohio farmlands—several close to the edge of Grand Lake.

Pollutants discharging into the lake also include fertilizer runoff (phosphorus, potassium and nitrogen (PKN) as well as some pesticides and herbicides—as is commonly known. But there is far more to the story, including heavy metals (like lead, arsenic and chromium), pharmaceuticals, neurotoxins, cancer-causers, viruses, bacteria—and just about every known chemical (60,000 some) known to man and being placed on the farmlands.

EPA and state officials know about this—as does USDA, and their partners in the big food and big agriculture corporations. Yet the smaller farmers are being accused for causing the mess, and homeowners too—while the CAFOs and spreading of sludge are being expanded rapidly though state and federally funded “green” programs and contracted out to a few individuals.

This and other similar situations occurring all around the US are coming to a head and, in sum, may be a far greater impact than the BP Gulf oil spill. The polluted farmlands may never be recovered without being excavated.

This news video on the situation does not feature a CAFO but rather a small 250-head farm using a natural treatment system as an example of the problem, rather than a superfarm. The big farms have gates and security procedures.

Make no mistake, there are increased deaths and illnesses for animals and humans living near CAFOs or lands where human waste is spread, which is well-documented. So far at the Lake, a 43-year old man may be neurologically impaired for life after washing the scum off his dog before the dog died from exposure. The man spent five days in the hospital and is now home hoping to recover. Two other dogs have died from exposure as well as innumerable fish.

The Data: High Levels of Toxins

Both CAFO wastes and sewage sludge contains these types of contaminants and EPA data shows many of these are extremely high levels.

Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs);

Chlorinated pesticides — DDT, dieldrin, aldrin, endrin, chlordane, heptachlor, lindane, mirex, kepone, 2,4,5-T, 2,4-D;

Chlorinated compounds such as dioxins;

Polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons;

Heavy metals — arsenic, cadmium, chromium, lead, mercury;

Bacteria, viruses, protozoa, parasitic worms, fungi; and

Miscellaneous — asbestos, petroleum products, industrial solvents

EPA data shows high levels of known toxic compounds in these sludge “fertilizers” and are provided in a 2009 report on 74 sewage treatment plants. It shows high levels of contaminants including Arsenic (49 ppm, parts per million), Mercury (8.3 ppm), Aluminum (57,000 ppm=6%). Fluoride (234 ppm). EPA limits on Arsenic is 75 ppm (an additive in chicken feed) and Cadmium, 85 ppm. These are the maximum levels detected on a dry-weight basis. These are so high the wastes would be classified as a hazardous waste requiring treatment– but not is it used as soil amendments.

Pharmaceuticals (Ciprofloxcine, 50 ppm—Fluoxentine 3.1 ppm (this is Prozac)—Ibupropen (119 ppm), triclocarban (44 ppm). Levels of the tricloscan , the anti-bacterial compound in hand soap, was 133 ppm. These are maximum levels on a dry-weight basis.

In addition, CAFO manure lagoons overflow into ditches at times and are affecting groundwaters., some of which feed ditches and streams. These lagoons are laden with antibiotic-resistant superbugs, virus and other bacteria multiplying rapidly during composting and field applications and many persist for a month to a year.

Spreading CAFO and sewage wastes are increasing rapidly. Federal and state funds are being used to generate a small amount of electricity from the sludge by the way of new bioreactors. This makes the sludge and its contaminants. These are called “green, clean energy programs”. The pathogenic biology of the wastes from CAFOs are not much different than those from sewage treatment plants, sans pharmaceuticals, synthetic organics. Chicken CAFOs use arsenic compounds as antibiotics in the feed, so high Arsenic levels in the manure are either spread, but has been also blended in the feed of the factory dairy cows or hogs.

Now that Grand Lake is in crisis, the Ohio governor and several state caretaker agencies are scrambling in an effort to clean up the toxic brew and circumvent a worsening health epidemic. The State has not mentioned CAFOs as being a source, only agriculture in general. But small farms are being singled out in other areas. For instance, in Lancaster PA, small Amish farmers are being targeted as a cause of the deterioration of the Chesapeake Bay 180 miles to the South. Home septic tanks and lawns (which only account for an estimated 2% of the problem) are being blamed as well. The lake’s remarkable degradation is not a result of small farming operations and suggestions to the contrary are ridiculous.

Jim Bynam wrote the Scandal of Sewage Sludge, where he states:

Research shows: 1) chemical build up in animals that may effect the first and second generation, as well as those who eat certain animal parts; 2) bacteria were found to be viable for over 70 weeks on grazing land; 3) composting cause bacterial desiccation (dry up) which only lasted until proper moisture was available; and 4) there were even problems with land filling sludge.

EPA states, “Environmental and public health risks include leachate contamination of water and soil resources, destruction of native fauna and flora, obnoxious odors, aerosol and dust generation, pathogen transmission, and other related nuisances.– The risk of transmitting disease is of major concern for the various sludge disposal practices. The direct pathways for disease transmission from sludge land filling operations include aerosols, vector transport, direct contact, groundwater and surface runoff.”

The Major Sources

Egg factories with 100,000 to 250,000 hens in huge, enclosed buildings account for 3 million egg-laying hens (3,000 animal units) in the watershed of Grand Lake. There are many more in the 25,000 to 100,000 range that do not require a CAFO permit. There may be more than 6 million hens in the the area. The map below shows the appalling extent of the most concentrated factory farms in Ohio and probably the entire US. These are only the EPA-“permitted” farms -CAFOs– with 1000 animal units or more (equivalent to 1000 cows/steers or 100,000 hens). See the heavy concentration of CAFOs in the western part of the state map and then zoom in to see the Lake.

The map below shows the EPA-approved land areas for the application of what is now termed Biosolids, an Orwellian-like term for human sewage treatment sludge, so named when the public did not like the humanure term. You will need to select Mercer County to view the map of the Grand Lake area.

“Green” companies have sold a “cleaner” grade of BioSolids at big box stores for a few years as a soil enhancement for homeowners and landscapers—without any labels disclosing it is 100% derived from human sewage and industrial discharge concentrates. In the Shit Show published this month in the San Francisco Bay Gazette, we see the mayor has pushed Biosolids all over the city and from homeowners, creating an uproar from experts and citizens who know what it contains.

David Kirby, author of the new book Animal Factory, recently investigated Grand Lake, and penned the piece for Huffington Post, The High Price of Cheap Meat: A Lake Dies in Ohio, said this:

“Factory farms, in addition to their insatiable demand for subsidized feed, also generate thousands of tons of animal waste each year, far more than the surrounding land can absorb. The manure — in this part of Ohio, most factory farms are either pork, or “layer” (egg) operations — is sometimes liquefied and sprayed from giant sprinklers that spew brownish-yellow water onto cropland which — too often — runs off into streams and ditches that feed into rivers and lakes, including Grand Lake St. Marys.

It is not logical to blame most of this mess on smaller, more sustainably run farms where animals are not packed in by the hundreds or thousands, and where there’s enough land to adequately absorb the waste, thus reducing the chance of nutrient runoff.

Besides, small farms have graced this area for generations on end, and the lake did not become a Petri dish for liver toxins until now. Something has changed, and that something — in my opinion — is factory farming and its excess manure. And local people know it. Local residents “say stricter regulations are needed on large farms,” the Associated Press reported, “limiting when they can apply manure to their fields and how close they can plant to streams.”

When I was researching my book Animal Factory – The Looming Threat of Industrial Pig, Dairy and Poultry Farms to Humans and the Environment – I came across this same situation wherever CAFOs had invaded: the tidewater area of North Carolina, the mega-dairy region of Yakima Valley, WA, or the “poultry belt” of Arkansas (whose big chicken growers like Tyson have been sued by the Oklahoma Attorney General for allowing nutrients from poultry waste to cross the border and pollute lakes and rivers). In each case, once pristine waters had been spoiled after the CAFOs showed up.”


David Michael is an environmental specialist and has spent his 35-year professional career in Ohio in all phases of industrial environmental controls. David is also a food health and safety advocate for naturally, unprocessed food– fresh from the farm.