Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Curly Light Bulbs

I have never been a fan of the new curly light bulbs (or any of them for that matter) for a number of reason. Some being they are super expensive and NEVER come close to lasting as long a say.   I have even more reason to not like them now......

Skin Damage With Energy-Efficient Bulbs

The hype of energy efficient, 'curly' fluorescent light bulbs, which fit into an incandescent light bulb socket, is fading.  Once slated to completely replace incandescent bulbs, a planned phase out on old fashioned light bulbs was postponed due to impassioned testimony from individuals highly sensitive to fluorescent lights. 

Now new research funded by the National Science Foundations has scientists warning consumers about the potentially harmful effects these energy-saving bulbs can have on the skin.  Conducted by Stony Brook University and New York State Stem Cell Science, the study found that UV light emitted from the bulbs can cause skin damage.  The researchers found that cracks in the fluorescent bulbs' phosphor coating yeilded significant levels of UVC and UVA in all of the bulbs.  Skin damage from exposure to the bulbs was consistent with harm caused by ultraviolent radiation. 

These bulbs also contain mercury, which can escape if the bulbs are broken.  So much for the argument that these bulbs are enviromentally friendly. 

By the way, skin damage was further enhanced when low dosages of TiO2 nano particles were introduced  to the skin cell proir to exposure.  TiO2 is a chemical found in sunblock.

(Photochemisrty and Photobiology 20 Jul 2012 DOI: 10.1111/j.1751-1097.2012.01192.x)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Proposition 37-- Right to Know Act

If you haven't heard there is a GMO labeling ballot initiative --Proposition 37--(the California Right to Know Act, a.k.a. Label GMO)  in California this fall. 

They want to make it law that it will not only require labels on genetically engineered foods (like what they have in Europe already), but will also ban the fraudulent (and highly profitable) industry practice of marketing GMO-tainted foods as "natural."    

But guess what??  There are a lot of businesses not liking this and are pouring big bucks into the fight to defeat it.  You get 1 guess in who the leading contender is--yep--you guessed right--Monsanto...the king (and a nasty king at that!) of GMOs.   A bit of a surprise though for some, there are a good deal of the parent companies, to those smaller organic companies that we are all familiar with, that are fighting to defeat this too.  And then there are some true organic companies that are just sitting there doing nothing to help out.

Want to know more about this, who those companies are and what you can do?  Check out these links:





Sunday, September 2, 2012

Drought 2012

Who knew in the last post that more than the fruit farmers would be using crop insurance this year...that's if they have it.  It's been very hot and dry!  A total turn around from last year when they needed to use it then too but for completely different reasons.  

Things have been a bit rough here as well.  No rain means no grass and when all you do is grass feed your animals you don't want the grass to run out!  There are no grain back ups here.  Hay is hard to find and when you do find it, it's super expensive.

I have heard it's the worse drought in 50 years but then I've also heard it's the worse drought ever (for Ohio).  Not sure which is right but either way, it's pretty serious.

Here's a small glimpse in what has been happening with other farms in Ohio.

While late rains have helped some 
crops recover, for many farmers 
across Ohio, the damage was
 already done. 

Buckeye Farm News
A difficult drought — a clear reminder of the risk involved in farming — continues to trouble Midwestern farmers.

Ohio has been spared from the drought’s most extreme damage, but many of the state’s farmers are expecting losses more severe than in recent memory.

More than 180 Ohio farmers had shared their drought observations and concerns through an informal Ohio Farm Bureau survey in July. Here are quotes and figures they shared as of the end of July.

Losses Forecasted
“The corn is beyond help at this point. Hay fields are browned out.... 18 bales from a 2nd cutting field.”
Survey respondents said they expect yield losses around 48 percent for corn, 35 percent for soybeans, 7 percent for wheat and 42 percent for hay compared to average.

“We farmers must find a way to make our reduced income stretch for a whole year, then be able to afford to plant a new crop next year, and finally pray that this kind of thing doesn’t happen 2 years in a row.”

Respondents predict they will lose about 39 percent of their farm income this year.

“There are the four major crops in Ohio but the specialty crops are also hurting, these crops are those that feed our food banks.”

Other yield loss estimates ranged from 35 to 50 percent for most fruits and vegetables, with possible higher amounts for pumpkins, and some total losses at fruit farms also affected by freezing weather this spring.

Feeding Livestock
“Livestock producers are in jeopardy because feed costs are higher and there is less of our own feed for use.”

Sixty-five percent of livestock farmers said feed supplies will not be sufficient. 

Seventy-two percent will purchase more feed than normal.

Livestock farmers expect to pay 38 percent more than their annual budget for feed. Thirty-six percent are concerned water supplies may run short, while 19 percent said they will “definitely run short.”

Emergency Haying and Grazing
“The drought is serious now but the real impact on our type of farming will be the shortage of hay for the fall, winter and spring months.”

Twenty-four percent of farmers said they would benefit from Emergency Haying and Grazing provisions for acreage enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program, which USDA authorized for all of Ohio in late July.

Crop Insurance
“Farming today is completely different than our fathers’ era. We have crop insurance and marketing tools available today that our younger generation will use to run a successful operation. Again, it’s all about managing risk. Sometimes that’s easier said than done though.”

While 62 percent of survey respondents said they find non-insured crop disaster assistance programs useful, many indicated increased interest in crop insurance programs.

Farmers with crop insurance said about 41 percent of their production losses and 38 percent of their income losses this year will be covered by crop insurance.

“Our farm has always strived to produce a little more than we need. Most years this is a headache but this year we will be using this surplus. Farmers should be responsible enough to plan ahead and insure their crop to sustain themselves.”

Forty-five percent with crop insurance said their agents have been “very helpful” during this drought period, while 39 percent of respondents had yet to talk with a crop insurance agent.

 full article -  http://ofbf.org/news-and-events/news/2769/

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Blooming Worries

Last year it was the grain farmers using crop insurance...this year it will be fruit tree farmers.

While I was thoroughly enjoying the warmer temps in March (boy what a difference a year makes), I was also thinking about the fruit tree farmer and the potential problems this could cause as it meant early blooming....which they already can have issues with blooms death in a normal year.

Some of our blueberries are in bloom and I don't know how well they survived the cold nights as I'm not good enough yet to know if a blossom is dead or not b/c of the cold... I usually don't have to worry too much about that. I've have had it frost on them a few times in the past and they did OK but freezing is another matter.

The strawberries seem to be doing OK for now as John has kept them covered to slow their growth down so they wouldn't bloom too early. We, at times, have to drag out the big frost cover mat to protect the blossoms from frost in a normal year so adding extra work is not something we are fans of.

We wish the fruit tree farmers all the best in that the damage wasn't as bad as first thought!
I really hope that is the case or I will miss my apple cider.

Snow Adds to Farmers Worries
The Chronicle Telegram -Elyria

BROWNHELM TWP. — Every time he goes out to check his trees, Roger Miller sees more signs of frost damage interrupting a profitable fruit-growing season.

Buds that burst into bloom after record-breaking heat in March are dying by the thousands, and it isn’t pretty. “You look inside the bloom, and it’s black,” Miller said. “Once they freeze, it’s gone for good for the season.”

If frost warnings weren’t enough, snow fell this week. According to meteorologist Martin Thompson of the National Weather Service, 0.1 inch was recorded Wednesday and 0.3 inch fell on Tuesday.

Temperatures overnight Wednesday were expected to drop below freezing again, according to Thompson. To make matters worse, it was expected to be clear, and “any moisture will turn to frost,” Thompson said.

Miller, who operates Miller Orchards with his brother Dave, said he estimates 50 percent of the apple crop is gone. Miller said fruit farmers may have to turn to crop insurance to make up their losses this year.

Meanwhile, Kenneth Spiegelberg of Spiegelberg Orchards in Lorain said he is staying calm and hoping for the best after 50 years of operating the orchard founded by his father in 1920. If just 4 percent of the blossoms turn into apples, that will still be enough to bring in a crop, he said.
“You’ll get a better size,” Spiegelberg said.

He said 16 hives of bees were delivered to his orchard this week by his “beeman,” who said things are even worse in Traverse City, Mich.
“They took a heck of a beating,” Spiegelberg said of Traverse City, which is known for its spring cherry blossom festival.

So far in April, the lowest temperature was 27 degrees, recorded Saturday at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport, Thompson said.

Average temperatures in March were 51.4, or 13 degrees above normal, according to Thompson, who said the average high temperature was 61.3 degrees, or 14.7 degrees above normal.

For the month of March, Hopkins airport recorded 10 consecutive days where the temperature went over 70 and four consecutive days when it went over 80.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Wind Map

Check this out! http://hint.fm/wind/

This is a map of the USA in real time wind direction and speed. Can you spot the current warm or cold front(s) by which way the wind is blowing?

Pretty neat looking don't you think??

Monday, March 26, 2012

I Dream....

I dream of a better world where chickens can just be outside to cross the road.

Friday, March 23, 2012

We're on Polyface

Nathan finally got around to giving his info to Polyface Farms for their apprentice page so he's now online with them. If you'd like to take a look you can check it out here:

To check out the whole apprentice page go here:

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

No Science for You!

Just came across the air waves from Alliance for Natural Health. I'm sure you would want to know scientific research results & information to help you make informed choices about your health without having to pay for it twice and to get it in a timely manner. Congress is up to it's tricks again.

I've included the article here with the 'take action' link at the end, but if you'd like to see it directly click here


Congress wants to limit your access to research—even though your tax dollars paid for it. If this bill passes, you’ll learn only what mainstream medicine wishes you to know. Action Alert!

In 2008, the National Institutes of Health required that all federally funded research publications be made openly available. PubMedCentral (PMC) is a free full-text archive of biomedical and life sciences journal literature at the National Institutes of Health’s National Library of Medicine.

The publishers of the journals weren’t so happy with this new arrangement—they were afraid no one would pay for their publications if the research results were immediately accessible. So the government agreed to give them a full year of journal sales before their research papers had to be posted on PMC, which lets them keep their subscriber base. Journal subscriptions to educational and medical institutions are expensive—and they’re big business.

But even this generous arrangement isn’t good enough for the Association of American Publishers (AAP). The trade group liked the old rules, where they could sell the tax-funded research back to the taxpayers. So the AAP got two members of Congress, Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), to introduce HR 3699, the Research Works Act, just before the end of 2011.

This bill would prevent the NIH or any other agency from causing or even allowing private-sector research work to be disseminated online without prior consent of both the publisher and the study authors—even if the funding came from our tax dollars.

The AAP weren’t the only publishers involved. Elsevier—the Reed Elsevier Publishing Group, a multinational company that publishes around 2,000 journals and close to 20,000 books and major reference works—happens to be in Rep. Carolyn Maloney’s district, and Elsevier employees made campaign contributions to both Issa and Maloney. (Apparently, it only takes $10,500 to buy two members of Congress.)

Said contributors all work for Tom Reller, vice president for global corporate relations at Elsevier. Interestingly, an email about the bill from Rep. Maloney to one of her critics contained language that was nearly identical to language used by Reller when he was defending the same bill! Are members of Congress employing lobbyists as ghostwriters now?

This is about access to peer-reviewed scientific information—research that we pay for with our tax money. If this bill passes, Americans who want to read the results of federally funded research will have to buy access to each journal article individually—at a cost of $15 or $30 apiece. In other words, as the New York Times recently noted, taxpayers who already paid for the research would have to pay again to read the results.

Access to peer-reviewed scientific research is essential if you are to make informed choices regarding your family’s health—especially if you choose complementary and alternative medicine. Good research will let us choose wisely when it comes to questions of treatment modalities, vaccines, diet, nutrition, and medicine. Right now, supplement companies aren’t even allowed to tell you about the science behind their products, so we must get the scientific information directly from the source.

But that’s just the problem: consumers, integrative doctors, and small businesses might not have the funds to access all these scientific journals—which means your access to the science behind natural products will be limited to what mainstream medicine may wish you to know.

PMC compiles entire studies and has 2.3 million articles going back to 1965. It allows patients, physicians, students, teachers, and advocacy organization like ANH-USA to read about and cite the discoveries that our tax dollars paid for—to keep you informed in these pages, we may review as many as a hundred studies every year. If we needed to pay a publishing company every time we viewed a study which taxpayers have already paid for, we’d be giving thousands of dollars to a publishing company every year instead of protecting your access to natural health.

So what can you do? Two things will make a huge difference!

  • First, help us gain co-sponsors for the Free Speech about Science Act (FSAS). This landmark legislation enables the natural health products community to share peer-reviewed scientific findings about natural health products with the public. The problem, of course, is that if it becomes more difficult for supplement companies and consumers to access the scientific studies themselves, the entire point of FSAS is effectively undermined.
  • The second step is to ask Congress to defeat this new Research Works Act. Please send your message today and explain why limiting access to the results of important studies—which your tax dollars have already paid for—is such a terrible idea. Take action immediately!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Farms on Tour

"The first farmer was the first man. All historic nobility rests on the possession and use of land." Ralph Waldo Emerson

Life began in a garden (Garden of Eden) with that first man (Adam) and has continued through today. It's time to take a look at some of this farm land.

Napa Valley farms.....California

Rolling farm fields

Morning mist on a Tuscan farm (actually I think it's a vineyard but it's close enough)

Fish farm

Fish farm

Behaving badly on the farm!

Wheat threshing floor..... Asia....still doing it the old fashion way.

Fall foliage on the farm

Sheep farm....Ireland

Tuscan farm

Strawberry farm. I think we need one of these!

Salt farm.....Thailand.

Oyster farm

Trying to farm. Who needs a horse anyway? Gotta give him 5 stars for effort and for being resourceful.

Wind farm. Is this really a farm?

Potato farm.....1943

Village in rice farm terraces...Asia. Now aren't you glad that you're not the poor sap that had to build this?!?!

Rice farm....Asia

Rice farm...China

Sunflower farm....California

A farm with an amazing view!!

Ostrich farm.

Seed farm.

Organic farm...Aurora Dairy, Boulder, Colorado--the nation’s largest organic dairy producer. The largest private-label organic milk supplier in the United States. Is this really organic...or the organic you think you are paying for?

Lavender farm....British Columbia

And lastly....
To the farm market...Asia. At first I thought they just had to be dead while being transported this way but the closer I looked the more I saw they were not. Is this USDA approved?