Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Pretty cool

So I stumbled on this fiber site called Pluckyfluff and it has the neatest yarns. Really gets the creative juices flowing for sure.
Take a look at their site --- they have some interesting idea, classes, already knitted products and some odd fiber to add as additions to your knitting or spinning projects.

She also has a blog about spinning and knitting so if you are into that---check it out. She also link into some others

knitting and spinning blogs.

Another site to check out is the yarn museum. It has some interesting things to look at. Some not quite as "far out" as the pluckyfluff yarns.

Oh yes let me add this link too: taos sunflower

Running late today---need to water, plant and care for everything. Have a great day!

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Middle Tennessee Fiber Festival

So we have made it back from the first annual Middle Tn Fiber Festival. It went very well I thought with the weather really being nice (of course I was hoping for rain here at home while we were gone!).
We met some amazingly interesting people---both customers and other vendors and really had a great time. There were demonstrations, instructions and fiber animals too.
We had a drive of about 3 hours to get to the festival, getting up at 4:30 in the morning and back home at 10:30 pm. which made it a very long day. One other vendor came from about as far as we did: Peaceful Vally farm (no web site on them but fresh veggies, honey, eggs, fiber, flowers and herbs fresh and dried.) They are in Taft Tn.---931-425-6551 Which is near Huntsville Alabama. Extremely nice people---we also took shearing classes with them a few years back. It was one of those "I KNEW I recognized you from somewhere!" situations. Here they are:

One really great vendor there was Jacque Dumas of The Outback Menagerie. She raises angora rabbits---of which she traded me fiber for fiber and I definitely got the better deal for sure (thank you Jacque!) Gorgeously soft soft soft fiber. Magnificent. Jacque is located in Waverly Tn.

Here are some pictures of one of her rabbits (he's a national champ!) and of her interesting electric spinning wheel.

Jacque sells her fiber dyed and not dyed and also breeding rabbits.

Then there was Far Out Farm of Jane and Kim Caulfield (email They sell the fibers of their sheep mixed with silk, quiviet, mohair and a number of other fibers. They also sell tussah and another (can't remember name--though it was super soft) silk ready to spin already dyed in luscious colors. My favorite was a blue/green blend called Opal. Gorgeous. Here's there picture:

The last vendor I would like to mention is Deer Trace Farm. Gary and his wife Carole do fiber (think exotic: camel, mohair, yak etc) but even better is that Gary is an excellent woodworker and makes custom crafted spinning wheels. Very nice people with excellent products. Reach him at or 931-433-0936 Sorry no picture (!???)

And though I thought my husband took pictures--he thought I did-- so we didn't get many unfortunately.
There were some other vendors---some we didn't meet and some we didn't really talk with much but overall it was an excellent day.
So---Next year: Make plans to attend the Tennessee Fiber Festival near Nashville Tn. Though this one was put together in under 3 months and was a bit small: Next year will be bigger and even better since we now have a whole year to plan it. What more could you ask for than a day of Fiber, Friends and Fun. Such a convenient time of year too!

Friday, May 25, 2007

You better get ready

Remember those tests in school you had to take? You know the ones about how our government works and the three divisions, checks and balances and all that. Well, guess what---they wasted your time.
I am here today to harass whomever might read this. We need to do something. It is becoming imperative.

When Monica Goodling testified before the house committee recently she asked for immunity: not for helping to fire Democratic attorney generals and replace them with Republicans----but for her role in "caging" which is a felony. Caging is where some people are mislabeled purposefully to keep them from voting:

In 2000, I cracked the computer disks (CD-ROMs then) from Katherine Harris’ office showing 56,000 names of voters “purged” from voter rolls as felons who aren’t allowed to vote. In fact, every one — every one — was an innocent voter, though most were guilty of VWB — Voting While Black. That was the 2000 “purge.”

In 2004, it was nearly identical. Except, instead of calling voters “felons,” they called them “suspect” voters, fraudulently using a false voting address. The effect was the same: the voter would lose their registration; or their vote on election day when they showed to vote; or, in the case of soldiers, their absentee ballot would be challenged and tossed.

the above is taken from

ALL of the above "caged" voters were Democrats. Just a bit strange don't you think?
This is not the first or last article that will mention voter fraud and the current president. However---why doesn't someone research it? Why did the committee that Monica Goodling spoke in front of ask not ONE question of her about what she knew about the caging incidents?? They are the two monkeys: see no evil, hear no evil. Lalalalalalala I am closing my eyes. WHERE is the media coverage on this?

Next topic: how about that all polls show that 70% of Americans want out of the war in Iraq? WHY are we compromising then and giving the supposed leader of the country a blank check----because everyone knows that all the "binding" parts of the compromise are not at all binding. He can do whatever he wants. What the hell are these idiotic representatives doing for us!?

Now this: Supposedly the VP has been, and is, working on the bombing of Iran. This is nothing new---they were moving war ships to the coast of Iran months and months ago. I personally do not want to be in another war. I do not think that it is feasible to get involved in another conflict. Personally---I can understand why the Iranians would want to protect their selves from us and be scared of the leaders of our country---we can't even control them and even though 70% of us supposedly disagree we all sit on our butt and do nothing. Our government has gone crazy. It doesn't listen to us, it is seemingly corrupt, changing laws to suit it's own agenda and yet we DO NOTHING. What the hell is wrong here? This is not the country I thought I lived in. The one that taught me that the majority makes the rules not the theocratic few. See an article here

If we end up at war, even after I write every single representative including the speaker of the house, my husband and I will be marching in Washington. I have NEVER before felt the need to go that far.

Please write your reps, or call them, or email them----just do something please. It has never ever been more important than now.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Two more down

Well, we lost two chickens last night. My fault---I forgot to close the door to the roost. Two roosters though---yeah! Not another hen this time.
It was odd though---one was dead in the chicken yard and another out in the pasture with the sheep. (Maybe Aleda is still trying out those chickens and couldn't get a good bite since sheep only have bottom teeth and no top ones).
However it is: it's odd. The chickens were just "dead" not ripped to pieces or half eaten as you usually find them. Stiff already so hard to tell much. Really not much to see overall.

Opinions on that anyone? Raccoons will definitely rip them apart and I though possums did too. Maybe I am incorrect on possums or maybe it was startled by the sheep coming to see what was going on. The sheep are not scared of the chickens and let them eat with them and roost around them so they would not be nervous of "chicken sounds" and therefor might come to see what was going on. That alone might send a predator away without having done much damage. I guess Mikey needs to come and walk that area for a few nights. We have had him in another pasture recently and he can't see into this one. If he can see the pasture he will usually bark so much, even if he can't get close, that we won't even have wild animals get in the trash or cause any other problems. So obviously he needs to come back and "patrol" to remind all the bad guys that "hey this is our property---stay away and leave our chickens alone!"

They might get a Pyrenees butt kickin' if they don't!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Drought & Desperation

Well,maybe the long term, on going drought is driving the sheep to desperation. I think Aleda, one of my Icelandic ewes (yes, females can be with or without horns) decided she needed to see if there was a back up meal just in case the pastures turn to dust and we can't find more hay.

For those of you wondering: Yes, we are still in a very very bad drought. We have had microscopic amounts of rain and about 1/2 of our pasture is now brown.
Sorry to those who live on the coast but we are hoping to have a hurricane hit and bring us some rain! Unfortunately, hurricanes are one of the ways that we get quite a bit of our yearly rain. For two years now they have pretty much passed us by: last year we got a bit fat zero from any of them. Odd considering how damaging they were to other parts of the country.
Yes, I know it is a weather pattern related to the change from el nino to la nina and back again ---and we should have rain as it finishes---however that does not make the grass grow or the trees quit dying. Bummer huh.

One last thing: yesterday evening we had very very "smoggy" skies. Why? Well, of course the smoke from the wild fires in south Georgia and north Florida. The wind was blowing this way and it was fairly thick (though Atlanta was much worse supposedly) and you could even smell it just a small bit---odd isn't it.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

2007 Farm Bill

Now is the time as congress decides what to do with our farm bill for a few more years for EVERYONE to weigh in. Don't know much about farming? That's o.k. Contact your representatives and tell them you expect them to help support small and local farmers since that is one sure way to supply ourselves with safe food. Tell them to quit giving our tax payer money to CAFOs (confined animal feeding operations). CAFOs destroy our water, foul the air around the area they are in, and are inhumane and disgusting.

Here is some more information that comes through PASA (Pennsylvania association for sustainable agriculture). By the way: PASA has a very nice sight and offers classes throughout most of the year. They also send a nifty little newsletter to keep you up to date on "wutz happnin" The rest is directly taken from the email:

First, if you are interested in knowing more about the Farm Bill, and specifically some of the positions being taken by the sustainable ag community, you can find a wealth of information at the following website:

This site details a comprehensive set of policy objectives that were developed over the past couple years by some of our policy partners across the country. It has been endorsed by over 400 organizations, including our own board of directors at a meeting earlier this year. You can also find some information there about how you can get more involved in the ongoing process.

However, a very quick and easy way to get involved it so go to another website, as follows:

We encourage you to go to this site and follow the simple instructions there for sending a letter to your representatives in Congress...the whole process will take you about 5 minutes! The letter condenses many of the most important points of the Farm and Food Policy Project statement into a convenient format. As you can tell, the emphasis in this case is to generate a large volume of mail in favor of the general policy agenda, so we also encourage you to send a note about this website to your friends and associates who would be interested. It is hoped that the largest impact of this approach will be realized this week and next.

For those of you with an inclination to get more personally involved -- especially you farmers -- we have an excellent option as well. PASA's good friend Kathy Lawrence, who formerly directed the National Campaign for Sustainable Agriculture, is now working with the Community Food Security Coalition on a national Healthy Food and Community Initiative. In a nutshell, the initiative is pushing for a package that includes:

1. Seed funds to support innovative projects that increase profitability for farmers and increase access to healthy foods for under- served markets.

2. Changes in procurement policy to make local purchase easier for school districts and other institutions.

3. Support for distribution (e.g. transportation, processing and marketing) of healthy foods to new markets in ways that ensure maximum return on the food dollar to the farmer.

Kathy is looking for farmers who are interested in these types of policy tools, and would be willing to call their Senators and Representatives to promote these initiatives during the 2007 Farm Bill process. She would be happy to get you more information on these three priority areas, and to talk with farmers about how she can assist you with background info, talking points and timing details so you can weigh-in during this critical phase of Farm Bill debates.

She knows this is an extremely busy season -- and will be careful to make the most of your limited time and vast knowledge.

If you're interested, please be in touch with Kathy directly at or
(845) 361-3205.

The process ahead for determining the next Farm Bill will be long and arduous, and believe me, there's already plenty of shenanigans underway in Washington as part of this process. Simply put, not all of the wealthy interests represented in our nation's capitol want to see local and community-based food systems continue to gain the momentum we have recently enjoyed. Your time and effort to communicate your opinion will be well spent, as we only have this opportunity to make a more significant difference once every five years or so. We at PASA will be careful not to overload you with emails on every minute detail of the process, but we also don't want to miss giving you this opportunity to get as involved as you wish to be.

As always, feel free to contact me or others here in the main office if you have further questions.

Take care,

Brian Snyder
Executive Director, PASA
(814) 349-9856

Monday, May 21, 2007

Have you met Ron Paul yet?

I have always always considered myself a Democrat. Why? Because of course I am and have been for most of my life, an environmentalist. So based mostly on that, plus a few other small things, I always thought of my self as a "demi".
However as I became older and began to study and understand history because I wanted to not because I had to: I realized maybe I was not what I thought. Actually all my life I have found history interesting and informative when I didn't have to write some stupid report on what major economic products came from Georgia (or pick any state) in the 1800's. However it took becoming an "adult" to realize how really important history is to understanding so many issues that effect us in on this very day.
Now, having studied and understood what and why things are the way they are I realize, oddly enough, that I actually am a Republican. Oh not some stupid radio show host or leader of the country kind of "republican"----but a real follow the constitution, everyone and all states have individual rights kind of republican. With just a small dash of "demi" thrown in for good luck :-D
Anyways--to wind this down---I have found, though not the perfect candidate, the candidate that so far I like the best for President. How could you not like a guy that says it like it is. Not some jerk(s) who wants to play "pretend we don't see" and go on with things like they are as soon as they get elected.

So have you met Ron Paul yet?

I like this story BEST

and also this ONE where he really speaks his mind

I want a change! Not some old man that's kissing the big guy's rear every time something happens (McCain who I actually used to kind of like but not any more). Not some person that, though I somewhat like the voting record of, smacks of an aristocratic family running the country. To bad one didn't have a son---they could have married the two families together and kept on running the U.S for many more years to come. Or even some of the others that don't really seem to know what they are doing and are without any fresh ideas. Give me another Perot. I like it. Nay! I want it. Not some glad handing , I'll kiss yours if you kiss mine kind of President.

Garbonzo Beans

I have grown beans most all my life.
Just about every were that I have lived I have grown beans and then canned or frozen them. Homegrown are of course much better tasting than canned/store bought, though I think that's a given with most produce.
Years ago I stumbled on what I consider the perfect green bean called "emerite filet" (which has become my favorite canning "green bean") but have never found another variety of bush or any other type that I have felt inclined to stick with over and over.
This year since I had so much room----I expanded to grow a number of different types of beans I had never tried before in my search to settle on the "perfect" beans for me. We have both bush and some other pole varieties that we will try. Now don't get me wrong---I will always try different varieties, however I like to have some that I know for sure I will like. I mean if you only grew unknowns you might end up at the end of the year with nothing to can. Or eating things that maybe were only o.k-- instead of perfect.
So this year one of the types of beans I also decided to try growing was garbanzo beans. I really like a fresh humus. You know--homemade with maybe a hint of garlic or other seasonings. Fresh is the operative word here though. None of that store bought imitation humus thank you very much. Whether on pita, on chips,on good bread---no matter the base--- as long as it's fresh. What better way than to have fresh humus I thought than to grow my own "chick peas" as my mother calls them.
My mom has always eaten them in her salad so I have had many years of exposure to these guys.
However-- I have never grown garbanzo beans before so-- was I surprised to see the plant (shown in the above picture) sprouting in my bean bed. I did not know they had those "ferny" style leaves. Their difference really makes them stand out in the bed of bush beans that they are in with.
Since, as I said, I had not grown them before I really didn't know which variety to choose. Not that there are thousands of garbanzo bean varieties to pick from or anything but... ..well anyways, I settled on the heirloom variety named "Kabouli Black Garbanzo" from Kabul, Afghanistan from Baker Creek heirlooms. Interesting I thought in light of what is going on. Supposedly places that are in the midst of turmoil and/or war have trouble keeping hold of their traditional seeds because of the upheaval. A good reason in itself to grow this bean. I hope however, that I like it, and then I can settle on it as a "for sure" pick each year.
So in a few months---humus along with some homemade pitas and a garden fresh salad will be on my table for dinner. What's for dinner at your place? :-D

Friday, May 18, 2007

A little bit more about me (plus a picture)

By the way Tim if you read this: Thanks for picking out a good picture. You didn't even have to chop out my head :-D

Sustainable farming enhances Chickamauga couple’s life
Tim Carlfeldt
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Byron and Monica DeLoach, owners of Small Meadow Farm in Chickamauga, inspect a newborn lamb. (Messenger photo/Tim Carlfeldt)

LISTEN: Monica DeLoach talks about dealing with hay shortages due to the drought (0:42)

Tucked away on a dead-end road on the outskirts of Chickamauga, Small Meadow Farm is a work in progress for owners Byron and Monica DeLoach.

The couple bought their house and 6½ acres at the end of West 12th Street back in the fall of 2004, and they now raise a variety of livestock and have a small garden.

The DeLoaches consider themselves collectors of old-fashioned knowledge. “We’re history buffs, so a lot of our drive comes from the desire to learn what people knew back in the day.”

They moved to the area from Ellijay to ease Byron’s commute to Chattanooga, though he now oversees the computer operations of Ringgold Telephone Co.

They have two children: Alek, 19, is studying to be a teacher, and Torrey, 15, is finishing his first year at Gordon Lee High School. He also likes to help out on the farm.

They wanted to own some acreage for farming, and when they found the land in Chickamauga they quickly moved to buy it.

“We’d live even farther out if we could,” said Byron. “I grew up in the country, so I had plenty to do to keep me out of trouble, remembering being outside most of the time tending gardens and horses.

Not long ago the DeLoaches lived in a subdivision for a time. “Seeing the kids live such sedentary lives really motivated us to get back to the land,” Byron said. “They get more exercise and they get to see where their food comes from.

Monica says that if someone decides that they’re not going to be a vegetarian, “Then the next best thing is to raise your own meat. You know how it was treated, you know it had a happy, healthy life with a sunny field to roam about rather than stuck in an indoor industrial manure pit.”

Along with remodeling their house, the DeLoaches continue improvements to the farm, where they raise Icelandic sheep, Irish Dexter cattle and three heritage breeds of free-range chickens.

“The Icelandic sheep and the Dexters are easy to raise. I can handle all these animals by myself, which is essential if Byron gets called out of town on business,” Monica said. “I can chase down a loose cow or pull apart two rams that are fighting if I need to.”

Becoming profitable

The output of the farm certainly helps with the family budget, and even on their small scale the DeLoaches are hoping the farm will be financially profitable within the year from selling animals and their products.

In their farming they espouse genetic diversity principles which seek to preserve traditional livestock breeds that have become unpopular to commercially mass-produce.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, preferred methods for quick mechanical harvesting or qualities that endure long storage on the way to market has caused the agricultural diversity in the world’s food supply to be greatly reduced in the past century.

“We like to live a little more sustainably, like people did 50 or 60 years ago,” Monica said. “Even now you can’t always run right down to the grocery store and buy the most healthy food possible for you.”

Their garden is all organic and heavily mulched with piles of leaves they arranged to get from citywide collections.

They’ve learned how to spin their sheep’s wool into yarn for making a variety of apparel. “That’s not something that I want to do with all my clothing,” said Monica, “but it’s been a very interesting thing to learn.”

The drought that Northwest Georgia is currently suffering has affected farms both large and small, and with their pastures growing slowly, the DeLoaches say it’s been stressful to find hay to augment their feed supply.

“Under normal conditions we feed hay through the winter up into March,” Byron said, “but this past season we started in August and we’re still feeding hay now.”

Monica said she is thankful to the local hay growers for keeping their prices level despite the drought. “None of them have raised their price beyond what they were selling at last year or even the year before that.”

That isn’t the case in all parts of the country, she said, “And if the prices get too high, we have to butcher our animals before we really want to because we can’t afford to feed them.”

By rotating their livestock through four separate fields, they’ve managed to keep from having to do that. “Once it starts raining regularly again I think people are going to let out a big sigh of relief,” Monica said.

FIBER FESTIVAL--near Nashville

Well! How about that! Someone is trying to start a fiber festival for my "area". Well, it's not actually IN my area, I will have to drive about 3 hours north to get to it, but that will be the closest festival we will probably EVER go to.

It is going to be very very close to Nashville Tn and is going to be titled from this year on the "Middle Tennessee Fiber Festival". It is hosted by a farm named Three Creeks Farm (who raises Icelandics too, but also has some other breeds of sheep.) It is going to be held in Dickson Tennessee on May 26th 2007 from 9-5. How about those apples? Maybe I will see some of you there!

Since we are going we will take our felting batts and some roving that we still have left of course---I mean that is what a fiber festival is about after all. However we will also take some of our sheep so we can show them off. Maybe a ram or two and I do have one ewe without a lamb that currently can go with us. Secret is still not quite up to it---we would be worried about stressing her so soon after her ordeal. Maybe one of the ewes with older lambs.....maybe.

The Festival is also going to offer a few classes and lots of demo's. Over time it should build into something greater with spinning classes and dying classes and weaving classes and.......maybe just like Michigan or Maryland or some of the others! Yippee!

Anyways---hope some of you can come out to join us!

Monday, May 14, 2007

The last lamb of the year

Well unfortunately we have come without a bang to the ending of lambing. Our last one died. Luckily our ewe did not die with it. She is a great ewe and her lamb was breech plus had it's head turned back. So once we got out the legs---stuck again. We had a bit of trouble because my fingers are short---and the vet and my husband both had very large hands. Which cause a bit of problem in getting to a quick efficient solution.
To bad it was a nice little moorit ewe lamb. Exactly what I was hoping for. Secret luckily looks good---and the vet said it doesn't seem as if there is any damage. So we will hope for success with her next year. She is such a sweet sheep---very personable. She was so good through the whole thing and I know it was somewhat painful. So on to the milking stand she will go. At least there are always "lights at the end of tunnels". How about "making lemonade from life's lemons"? And of course we will "Keep on keeping on".

So hopefully you won't be seeing lamb and sheep posts as much from me. At least for a while. We will be purchasing a new ewe and a ram from a couple of other farms so trips and travels will ensue in the line of "sheep business" with plenty of pictures to come since we will go up into Michigan and possibly Canada for some fun during our trip(s) to get them.

Hope all of you have a great day

SmallMeadow Farm--registered Icelandic sheep

Friday, May 11, 2007

Who's decision was that?

My husband found this on line:

Report reveals '06 nuke spill

9 gallons of enriched uranium solution leaked at ET plant, NRC says

By DUNCAN MANSFIELD, Associated Press
May 9, 2007

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission revealed in a new report to Congress that a nuclear chain-reaction accident nearly occurred 14 months ago at a nuclear fuels processing plant in Tennessee.

About 35 liters, or just over 9 gallons, of highly enriched uranium solution spilled March 6, 2006, at the Nuclear Fuel Services Inc. facility in Erwin, about 15 miles south of Johnson City, the NRC said in a report published Friday in the Federal Register.
he solution leaked into a protected glovebox, then flowed onto the floor and into an old elevator pit at the plant, which has been making nuclear fuel for Navy submarines and commercial reactors since 1957.

"Criticality," or a sustained nuclear chain reaction that releases radiation, was possible as the uranium pooled in both the box and the elevator pit, the NRC said.

"If a criticality accident had occurred in the filtered glovebox or the elevator pit, it is likely that at least one worker would have received an exposure high enough to cause acute health effects or death," the NRC report said.

"Nobody got hurt. There was no danger to the general public," NRC spokesman David McIntyre said Tuesday. "(But) they were lucky, and we don't like them to be lucky, we like them to be careful."

The incident might never have been disclosed publicly if not for laws requiring the NRC to annually report "abnormal occurrences" of its license-holders to Congress.

By definition, abnormal occurrences are considered "significant from the standpoint of public health and safety," NRC Chairman Dale Klein wrote in the 35-page report, which covered fiscal 2006 and was addressed to Vice President Dick Cheney.

The incident at Nuclear Fuel Services was one of three mentioned in the report.

"The commission decided a few years ago in the wake of 9/11 that operational details at this facility would be treated as sensitive, official use-only information," McIntyre said. "So we don't publicly discuss the operational details of NFS."

The Department of Energy is far more open about incidents involving similar materials at the high-security Y-12 nuclear weapons plant in Oak Ridge, but spokesman Steve Wyatt refused to draw comparisons Tuesday.

Nuclear Fuel Services said in a statement that the company spent months on reviews, safety assessments and procedural changes stemming from the spill. The glovebox was removed, pipes were replaced and the elevator pit was filled with concrete, the NRC said.

"The company took immediate action to shut down manufacturing operations and commence a complete review of all process equipment, procedures and physical structures within the facility," company spokesman Tony Treadway said.

"The thorough review resulted in a redesign of some process lines and additional engineered controls to enhance safety and process efficiencies," he said.

The operation has been trouble-free since it restarted in October, Treadway said.

The NRC did report the spill to the International Atomic Energy Agency a couple of months after it occurred without identifying the facility where it happened, McIntyre said.

That was "just to let regulators and licensees around the world know about the potential safety aspects of this spill," he said. The NRC had no plans to tell the public unless there was a possibility of a radiation release or someone was injured, McIntyre said.

Notice in the above that is says that they had no plans to tell the public!! I want to know why?!?! I think we have a perfectly legitimate reason to hear about what goes on. No thanks to the government or to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

O.k---so did you know there is a law that says even if they have an accident---the government doesn't and won't hold them responsible financially for anything? They could, with blatant disregard for our safety, anywhere in the country, have problems and never never ever be held responsible for property destruction, human or animal injuries OR even death. Makes you feel warm and snuggly doesn't it?

Come on----there ARE other ways of producing energy. Let's not let the government boondoggle us into believing we have no chose but this one.

Good day all

registered Icelandic sheep and Irish Dexter cattle.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Taking care of the rich

Have you heard the news out of Wisconsin?

Consumer fraud investigators in the state of Wisconsin released their findings this week after a three-month long investigation into allegations that Wal-Mart stores throughout the state of Wisconsin had misled consumers by misidentifying conventional food items as organic.

Here is the whole story: Cornucopia Institute

This whole thing makes me wonder about my government and those who run it YET AGAIN:

While Wisconsin regulators have completed their investigation, the USDA has yet to formally weigh in on the matter, despite being notified of the food fraud problem last November, two months before Wisconsin officials were contacted about the same situation.

So what IS the government doing for us other than trying to shove NAIS down our throat? Well----they obviously aren't going out of their way for us. Though it looks like the red carpet for some of the bigger businesses and manufacturers.
First this food problem then this other one. The only true way for food security is eat local, eat American grown AND expect greater things from our government.

Do you want to know what I really think the problem is??
It's US. Yes that's right.

Let me draw and analogy. Two months ago I posted about how a number of people (including us) are trying to get their property into the city. The Manager of the city has been aggressive and obnoxious in his refusal to even LISTEN (remind you of someone in the government??). So.....most of the original people have dropped out. The other day I asked one why and she said this to me: "They have made up their minds and once they do that there is no changing them so it's not worth it".

Is that how it is when "fighting" stupid government programs?? Just give up after the first NO. Last time I looked supposedly I lived in a democracy---both a government one and a city democracy---and more than one person had to say no. Isn't that supposedly the reason all these people are dying in Iraq---for democracy? HOWEVER if you say "it's not worth fighting for" THEN it never does change----and you better be prepared to live with what you are sowing. Because weeds may come up eventually and it will be your fault. I will never be a quitter just because it's difficult. Washington didn't quit because they said no. Jefferson didn't quite because they said no. What is no? A word and a not very powerful one at that. It has no effect on my life: actions do though. So stand up and speak---what can they say to you?? No? Big deal. It would be a shame if they didn't like you anymore because they said no and you didn't accept it. Boo hoo---we don't need democracy---we need people to like us better.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Nothing much here

So I notice I haven't been posting much recently. That might be because currently our life is Boring (with a capital B). Not in the sense that we are doing nothing---but in the sense that all we are doing is just more of the same ole thing or something everyone else does: mow lawns, trim weeds, and trying to keep up with getting the garden planted, potatoes hilled, feed animals, clean etc etc. We have fallen into the mundane. It's that time of year. The busy time---when everyone is just trying to keep ahead of all the things building up to do. Soon though---I will have my son to help me since school will end within the next few weeks. That will be great---maybe I will be able to get a step ahead in the "must do this" category instead of barely keeping up with it.

Yesterday we had a new lamb---Now I just have one ewe left to go. My goodness---they dragged this out this year. I tell you what! For just 11 ewes we have lambed from March 25th to.....well we don't know yet do we. Here is a picture of the lamb: A solid black ewe lamb. The lamb doesn't look very big right now,especially since some of my other lambs are 5 weeks old now, and maybe she won't be. You just never know though--- her dam is one of my largest ewes. Next year when Bit (this lambs mother) is fully grown she may be my largest. Not large in the sense of tallest or longest etc----but big. Bit looks like a linebacker. So we will see how this little ewe turns out. She has a little "flash" of white on either cheek and the middle of her forehead. Cute. The "flash" says: I am not spotted----but I carry it. She's so black I could barely get a good picture of her---besides the fact that she was in the shade.

We had a boyscout troop come Saturday to see our sheep and cows. It seemed like they had a good time---and we did since we enjoy telling them about our animals. They got to pet Rose our smallest Dexter and then Ike our ram (who was very good and even let them rub his horns which most rams don't like) and they even got to hold and pet some of the lambs. I sent them home with some fleece so they could see if they could make something with it. If nothing else they will have fun trying to felt it since felting is just mashing and rubbing soapy wet fleece to get it to turn it into something. In the end they get to earn a badge for it which is the best part about the whole thing.

Sunday--we tattooed, tagged and gave shots to ewe lambs.
First you take this thing pictured on the right with the little needle looking things (numbers and letters). You put them in the hand held "squeezer" and you squeeze the numbers/letters into their ear ---being careful not to squeeze all the way through which sometimes happens. Then you rub tattoo ink into it. After you put letters in one ear and numbers in the other, you take the other nasty looking plier type things with the single needle on one side--slip the needle in the hole of the green tag (or whatever color you choice) Put the other half of the tag in the slot on the opposite side and ---Poke it through their ear. Bummer huh. Now how much do you think they like us after that! Of course they do forgive us and I try and remember that we humans "tag and tattoo" ourselves too---but I can't say it's the best part of lambs. Glad my sheep don't require castrating or tail docking---Yik.

Now here's a baby that doesn't like her new tag. Eventually she will quit hanging her ear like that. They get bigger/stronger over time. Though I imagine it still hurts a bit today which is probably why she is hanging it so much in this picture---she usually has it up a bit more than that.

Lastly---over the weekend we went to see Spider-Man 3. Did I like it? Well, it was o.k. Had lots of cheesy "moralistic" parts to it. I don't mind moral---but I don't like cheesy. The one thing that bugged me the most is even at the end when Peter Parker/Spider-Man decides he was not doing things "correctly", you never do you hear him tell anyone "sorry". Even if it wasn't completely his fault. When you see the movie you will understand what I mean about that. This was definitely not as good as it could have been. AND (don't read this if you don't want to know more) there really is not happy ending---for ANY of the characters in the movie. Even the side bit characters don't get a sorry---or even something fun/good to look forward to. Blah! I liked my pop corn and drink though :-D

I will try and post more frequently but it may be sporadic for the next month. Registered Icelandic Sheep and Irish Dexters

Thursday, May 3, 2007

More outside work.

So I have been working outside long and hard recently.
Since all but two of my ewes have lambed---they are again all in the same pasture. Since their old pasture was now empty I got a chance to put 1300 lbs of lime on it, mow it since they left some seed heads and a few weeds and things and----if it rains today/tomorrow as they say----I will go out after the rain and spray it with the kelp I purchased. I don't want to put the kelp on right before it rains since the bottom of the hill will get all of it and the top none.
This pasture has apple trees in it at the top of the hill.Which by the way are lacking in apples this year (thank you late frost). When we had it limed last fall---the guy couldn't lime near the trees since the truck couldn't drive through them without damaging them. A lower portion of the pasture also needed a bit more lime since it's ph is still out of whack. One of the reasons we know this---we still have spots of dead grass in between clumps of grass that won't decompose. Higher acid hinders decomposition in the soil surface---which leaves you with bare spots of no growing or sprouting grass.
And of course---I had to spread it by hand. No easy job, but since I don't own a tractor and powdered lime will just clump in a walk behind spreader, definitely a necessity. Powdered (bulk) lime is only $28 a ton versus bagged pellet lime (which will spread out of a walk behind) which is about $4 for 50 pounds. Big big difference. Well worth walking around with a large can slinging it and sifting it out. Took me a number of hours but....hey, what price doth good soil and grass have. Well, let me tell you: After this last year and half of drought---I am tired of spending my bathing suit money on hay! Good soil means grass less subject to drought stress!

During the last week we also finally got a fence put up on the left side of the barn. We had a fence on the right side already up so this now creates an "alley way" of about 30 feet x about 75 feet long--ending at the opening to the barn. We will use that as a catch area and hay feeding area in the future. Now we just need MORE gates. For heavens sake. Every time I get a new gate and gate "hole" opens up somewhere and I seem to need two more. I feel like I will never have all the holes covered with a real easy swinging, open it with one hand, GATE. Currently some of our opening have fence panels across them. Attached at both ends some how. Opening them can be a pain (to your feet to when they skip in the grass and jump up on your foot!).

I am happy to announce we have beans UP^ Yeah! Lots of them. My corn hasn't made an appearance yet though hmm....After all the work it better come up by golly.

By the way---I have been outside so much recently that you will be surprised to know that I HAVE NOT gotten my nail holes in my molding filled yet (from the wall I blogged about recently) Oh well---I"ll just tell people I am "saving" it for a rainy day. Just not this one LOL

Oh yeah! One of our roosters is now crowing---A feather footed cuckoo maran. Quite the fellow he is!

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

quick pictures

here's my two from the other day. The lighter color one is a badgerface ram---badgerface lambs look well...kind of like a badger is colored. It isn't quite so splotchy as they get older. Anyways---see that "bump" by his ear? That is his horn getting ready to burst through. This little guy is going to have some good size horns. His are pretty big horn buds---but every so often you see some with even bigger horn buds. Sometimes---they can cause the lambs to get stuck while trying to be birthed. Usually not a problem with older ewes---but is sometimes with first time moms.
The darker one is the girl. We haven't decided what to name her yet. We will have to see what fits her. We have a couple of names in the lineup so far---but somewhere along the way sometimes one just POPS out as the right one. That's the name we are waiting for. If I were keeping the ram I might name him "groucho" for those huge eyebrow patterns above his eyes. Seems like a groucho to me hehehe. Cute aren't they though?