Thursday, May 29, 2008


While I was out of town I stumbled upon a used bookstore that had a stash of old Organic Gardening and Farming magazines. We now know this magazine simply as Organic Gardening---which many of us read or have read at times.
They were "pricey" at $2 each (I mean they are old after all) so I purchased a few of them thinking that I would read them while I "relaxed" while visiting family. I thought for sure most of the stuff had probably been re written and that it was nothing I might not have read at one time or another----maybe forgotten but read at some point.
However all I have to say is WOW! cool magazine! Lots of lots of interesting stuff that I will post some of onto this site over the summer. I really like them. All of the issues I purchased are from the early to late 70's with a few early early 80's issues thrown in. I like them so much I am sending my relative back to purchase those that I left behind. It is too bad the format of the magazine has changed over the years because the magazine as it is now is not quite like the old version. Similar...but not the same.
I will add a label for Organic Gardening magazine to link to anything I post over time so come back periodically and see what I have added. I will try (very hard) to be diligent about it and get them on here. Some will be condensed but some of the articles I will probably be able to type all the way just to figure out how to get the pics on here. Maybe with my camera.

Also, I have included a picture of my garden. And a link here to how it looked just back in the winter of 2006. Big difference isn't it? The picture with the sheep eating and digging in the piles of leaves is almost exactly the same place that the other picture is taken from.
I figure in another 3 or 4 years it should be smashingly nice!

Lastly is a picture of our movable chicken cage---actually used for many things other than just chickens----that we have our mixed breeds chicks in. It's nice to put them outside during the day. They still have to come in at night because it has been fairly cool and they aren't well feathered yet.
Unfortunately, we have yet to come up with a good top. That would be because we mis calculated and made the cage a few inches too wide for the intended wire . So for right now we use some plywood pieces and just take them off when we need to move it around. Eventually the light bulb will come on for a fabulous, magnificent idea for an easy to handle top.
The cage is a bit annoying (though not really bad) to move if you have animals in it-----only because the corners come apart and are not permanently attached to each other. On the other hand it does come apart for easy flat storage during the winter and is not heavy at all. Maybe we will come up with perfect movable pen someday but..... until then, we like everyone else try and come up with what will work for us for more than just one situation without being expensive or impossible to handle or build. Perfection is a human fantasy--though it is hard to remember that sometimes.

have a great day everyone.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


yES, wE HAVE A SIZE issue wE REALizE.

As you can see from the picture our new boar is...well...a bit short (er). You just never can tell from pictures what an animal really looks like so pictures (when there is no reference item) don't always speak a 1000 words.
AND even though he is a bit smaller than she is, I believe he feels he is more than capable or big enough for the job we got him for (to the dismay of our female). However I am thinking we may be waiting a bit for some piglets. Eventually I am sure they will work things out but right now Pumpkin (aka "oink") is a bit bossy and gives him a nip and a "what for" if he hovers near the slightly more rear aspects of her body. Sometimes she even chases him a bit---and he squeals just like a pig :-D (go figure!!)--- and runs and hides in the little white house that's in with them.
That's o.k. "Munch" as he is now known to us (Munchkin officially ) was well worth the trip I took and his personality is very nice. I know we will have some piglets in the not to distant future and I am very much looking forward to them.

Considering that the guinea hog is very endangered and not many left---a certain amount of "in breeding" does occur. Munch and Oink are about as distantly related as we could have probably hope for so we are very satisfied with him. I have to admit I was a bit surprised by his slightly smaller stature when we saw him the first time but I am told that he should hit his "growth period" very soon. Good thing---or else he'll have his wife beating him up all the time :-) Personally I think he might have lost out on the food issue and not gotten quite his fair share----but we will rectify that for him.
He has a nicer face than oink does too I think. I like his slightly longer nose and less inset eyes. Oink on the other hand has a very very meaty rump-----dreams of roast pop into your head when you watch her walk away :-D. Overall a good combo I we just have to wait for the actual "DAY OF PIGLETS" to arrive.

Now..a few things about our setup that are visible in the picture. That is a doubled up cage that we purchased at Tractor Supply. Originally they were a bit cheaper than they are now. Gas and metal prices having gone up have made these pens quite expensive. However they do have a chain link style that would still, I believe, work well for this size pig. They attach at the corners with two brackets held by a bolt and a wing nut. Our second pen came without wing nuts----just regular nuts that required a wrench to tighten. We spent the extra 3.50 to purchase some wing nuts because they are much simpler to undo when we're ready to move the pen. can see Oink's house in there. If you remember (and how could you forget) I have blogged about pig housing a few times recently. Oink's house is barely big enough for her and absolutely not big enough for her and piglets or Munch to get in and share it with her. So, we NEED to make that new house now. At the rate we finish things though, it will probably be the week before she has piglets that we get it done. It's just one of those time things (always!).
At least it's warm and not cold and rainy.

Two more things...I have one ewe I thought went open this year that I have found IS actually going to lamb. She will lamb about the first to middle of July (poor sheep!!).

Also I stumbled on this blog while out of town and would like to share it with all of you: Homesteading Hickory Hills.
I happened upon it while looking for examples of root cellars. After last years drought cracked and dried out the bottom of our pond so badly we need it to be re dug (it doesn't hold water now) and I figured I would have them dig for the root cellar while they are here. Now just to figure out where to put it hmm.......

Thursday, May 22, 2008

After these messages....

I'll be right back.
I just need to go out of town for a week to get my guinea hog boar. I'll see you when I get back ---and have pictures to post of him.

Good weather to everyone!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Another new link

Here's a link to a site called Len's Garden in Australia that has to do with downsizing, sustainable, permaculture etc. It has a number of interesting articles ---that may go over some of what you already know---and some interesting outside links to other interesting places.
Sometimes links like these go over things we are already doing but it's interesting to read other people's thoughts on sustainable/permaculture etc and to see how their way may differ from ours. Besides---sometimes they have great ideas that maybe I haven't thought of or was searching for. Plus I love looking at pictures of how they set up their gardens, water systems, food, houses, and on and on.
Check it out if you'd like.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Another bit of "hog" housing

Stuart and Gabrielle from over in Brittany sent me these pictures of their Kune Kune housing after reading that I was doing a search for an idea for our pigs house.
They actually ate their Kune Kunes not too long ago--yes, those two cute pigs in the picture. Well maybe they didn't eat all of them yet---but their ready to eat! :-D

This time they are raising Old Gloucestershire Spots instead of KuneKunes so I don't know if this house will fit those pigs all the way to the end or not. Not sure why the changed breeds---I may have missed that or maybe they didn't say.
I have emailed them to find out the dimensions and will probably make something just about like theirs. The only difference? A few bars around the inner edges for piglets to roll under in case mom lays to close to the wall, so mine might be just a bit wider. Since I am breeding my pigs, not just eating them, I thought maybe I might need that in there. I have heard mixed things about the bars. Some say "no,you don't need them" and some say "yes". However it is it won't take up much room to add them and could be the difference between a dead piglet or live one so....why not?
Anyway I thought this was another pretty snazzy picture of a pig house and thought I would share it with all of you.
Hope the weather is being nice to everyone. We have had great spring rains and all our seeds have sprouted without us having to water them (Yeah!!) So hopefully this will continue on.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Legal Defense Fund---for farmers

A while back---at least a year ago but I think longer---I spoke with a lady that was part of a group trying to start a legal defense fund for farmers. The premise is similar to the home school defense fund in that money is pooled by yearly or monthly dues to help each member in case of need. Need being defined by harassment or actually suing by local, state or federal governments.
In both homeschooling and farming---"needs" seem to arise frequently. Going against the grain in society seems to create a certain amount of unease in those that are not---and they feel the need to punish people for being different.
Or if you just want to go completely conspiracy theory---then big business tries to monopolize us and force us into going out of business so we won't get a portion of or cut into their profits.
Anyway....we were interested and told them to contact us when they got their group up and running. And at one point we did get an email or something from them but at the time I must have had other things happening and it disappeared (probably into the trash bin of my email).
Today though as I strolled over to read Phelan's most recent post she pointed out something Caroline had told her about this group now suing the state of Michigan and the US government over National Animal Identification System.
Well lo and behold if it isn't the same group---now up and running and doing good deeds.
The group is called the Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund. They have both farmers and consumers as members and also take donations. The monthly/quarterly dues are not terribly high considering what good they may be able to do with them.
Wondering why a consumer might need to join?
Well if you just start with NAIS and then the stories of people losing their cow shares when the governments "attack" dairy farmers have two good examples right there and unfortunately I am sure there are more.
So...even if you don't join or donate keep up with their site with their action alerts and maybe pass it along to a local farmer or another consumer if you can.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Oh yes, I forgot

And in my search for the pig ark---and to see others web sites that may have used it or one similar -- I came upon this link:

Musings from a Stonehead

Really good farming link (their in Scotland!) and they have some great blog links to check out through their site.
So..happy reading everyone.

Housing for animal links.

As usual housing is always a concern with animals. Thoughts of ease of use, maintenance/cleaning, durability, costs and looks always play into the decisions of which form to choose for each animal.
Sometimes--you choose incorrectly as we have done before and end up rebuilding later.
Sometimes---what you thought you needed and what you ended up needing are different---and you rebuild or add on or adjust in some way. Or maybe you just didn't know at all what would work so you chose based on someone else's idea.
Sometimes---you don't have much money and do what you can. Later maybe you can improve when cash flow is better if aesthetically you disliked your initial project. Our chicken housing fell into this category. We now have a very nice chicken coop that I am happy with BUT....I would still like a movable pen so chickens can safely go into the garden or some other places. Sometimes I need them to dig specific areas ---but not destroy everything around them!

In regards to our pig---we really didn't know what we needed so....we made do. However with the advent of a boar and potential piglets at some time, we will need a larger home for them. Again..movable.

So. I have come up with two ideas. One for the chicken coop comes from CoffeeCoffeeCoffee and is really pretty decent. I like the fact that it is constructed from light weight material but has the wood to help keep it anchored. Very good idea. movable chicken house soon to come. I just need to get off my duff and do it! :-D She has a couple of post showing the coop but added a few pics after I requested them to show how to feed/water. I thought it might be under the tarp---but just couldn't tell for sure. Now obviously PVC and chicken wire won't hold up to coyotes or dog packs---but within the pasture or garden that is already fenced this is a great idea for us---and it looks MUCH easier to move that the wood contraptions we have tried and always hated for their difficulty in moving.

Next is this link for a pig ark. Very nice units---this will look fine in my yard with my pigs in it. I will base my on the Kune Kune size since that is about the size guinea hogs are.
Remember---I live in a "residential" area. As a matter of fact I am technically not zoned agricultural but single family residential so....though it doesn't expressly say NO to animals---it doesn't say YES either. Hence....we try and keep things looking tidy so the neighbors with their much larger and brand new homes don't fuss :-)
Sometimes we look a bit cheesy here---but we try to improve with time so they will know we aren't going to be an eye sore always :-D
(Funny thing about people---they want to live in the country but not have any of that "country funk" around them).

Lastly I have 9 more chicks born yesterday. I think that may be it for us with this batch. We had a lot of nest switching and so I think a number of eggs were "lost" to cold ---not sure though that's just a guess on my part.
Originally we had pulled out all the roosters for a while then put in our only Silver laced Wyandotte rooster. I have Silver Laced Wyandotte hens (black laced), Delaware hens (white with black on the ruff and tail) and Cuckoo Maran hens (black barred)
Anyway---look at the pics of these chicks that were trying hard as heck to get away from me and the camera and get under their mommas. Now...with all black and/or white hens where did these little tan birds come from? Their not yellow like a white bird, their not black like the others so...My husband thinks they may be the Wyandotte rooster/Delaware hen cross. Who knows. Wonder what they will look like. I also have one chick that looks as if it could be (maybe) a "blue". We will see.
Fun stuff this cross breeding ---since I have no clue what they will look like :-D
I think I kind of like this.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

On the lighter side plus a FAB picture!

Gorgeous isn't it? My peonies this year are (or were) awesome. Sorry I didn't post more pictures. They're on the downhill now but the colors were outstanding! And along with my Constance Spry rose bush---they just scented up the whole side of the garden. Imagine what they will be like in a few more years! Wow!

Anyway---thank you for all the wonderful comments on my DNA posts---I so appreciate it.
Today though, we are back to blogging about food. One of my favorite subjects.

I ordered some wild plum trees a week or so ago to put along the side of our property and form a shrubby hedge area. They came yesterday and I want to highly recommend the place I bought them from: OIKOS purveyors of "native" and uncommon fruits *don't forget to notice that under the green bar/link section is a "subcategory" section----I missed it the first few times through and thought they didn't carry very much at first*.
They didn't say why but they up graded my size of trees on 3 of the 4 varieties I purchased. No extra shipping or anything did they charge and the trees---though in paper tubes---look great.The prices are excellent though most are seed grown which is why they are cheaper. If you have access to seeds of some of these you could easily start your own plum hedge however they no longer grow around here that we have seen so...purchasing was the only way to go for us. Yes, we could have chosen a grafted/domesticated plum but we needed a hedge to hide one side of the ram/chicken pen and we liked the idea of using something most people won't know is usable :-) So since today is cool, cloudy and rainy---perfect for planting trees---I will go outside and get started soon planting.
I would have liked to have a few more of their items, but they were either sold out or I just wasn't quite ready to purchase yet---but after this experience I will go back later this season probably.
I know some of you are wondering why I keep planting all these permanent items.I had told some of you earlier this year that we may sell our home ---but things have changed so we will be staying here. This is really good news for us since moving would have created a few problems difficult to solve easily---but some good things too which was why we considered it. However the choice is out of our hands now (in a very good way though) and so planting goes on. We are still downsizing some of our animals because of a few personal things we would like to do or accomplish now that our children are getting older. Unfortunately without farm sitters animals make some of our dreams difficult to do (Like a month long bike trip through Europe???? A long long long time dream!)

Anyway---off the rambling topic and back to food. Eventually I would like to add some paw paws and a few more persimmons to our property (we lost a few adult trees to storms). Oikos site has those including apricots which I would like to add and some more figs. Anything that can extend the season of food production here.
While doing a quick search for eventual size of my wild plums (I bought without thought of size or space!) I stumbled on a site called the natural food hub. Most of the external links are dead now but it had some interesting little tidbits on food so I thought I would share it: The Natural Food Hub.

Oh yes---SUPER SUPER SUPER congratulations to my brother and sister in law. I am going to be an AUNT again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yeah! (thinking girl here brother in law!!) Oh yes---and on their new home too! We didn't get to talk to you brother in law but we wanted you to know how glad we are for you! However---we notice we don't have an address yet---maybe you don't want us to know where you live now!!?? :-D

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Awesome Video!!

On March 11 a new documentary was aired on French television (ARTE – French-German cultural tv channel) by French journalist and film maker Marie-Monique Robin, The World According to Monsanto - A documentary that Americans won’t ever see.

Very good! It's an hour long---but even the first 5 minutes will ASTOUND you!! I kid you not!
By the way just in case you miss it or don't have time the film says Monsanto was sued in 1997 in the U.S and in 2007 in France for false claims. Roundup in these two countries can not be labeled as "biodegradable" because it has been proven that it IS NOT. Only 2% degrades in the first 28 days. So, how come people still think it is??

A comment that I must discuss

This comment was left for me in regards to yesterday's post on the DNA law and I just had to share it with all of you. Normally I don't do this but.....How could I resist this one :-D

This is voluntary. There's been discussion about this on other bb's and it's voluntary
to have these tests run.

Check out They are overjoyed this passed. The article posted is an alarmist/extremist article so don't panic - yet. :)

Actually Anonymous:

I looked on the government site and had a bit of trouble finding that particular statement for it being voluntary. But we'll leave that up in the air ---even though a number of people that are fighting it are saying there is not a voluntary statement attached to it. I agree---we should only believe what we read with our own eyes.
Also, I think voluntary is open to interpretation---it was suppose to be voluntary in Minnesota. Being in NAIS is suppose to be voluntary ----but how come so many of us are in there without are express approval?? I have thrown away my Nais form 3 times---never sent it in. Yet at one time my farm WAS registered.
Here is a fine link to what a Dr. and Congressman Ron Paul had to say---it hits on Constitutional reasons which is one of the best reasons to be against this bill after all.

Also consider Minnesota's state program which tested over 42,000 children WITHOUT parental permission by THEIR admission--and they are working on changing the law so they will have mandatory permission and no one will get in trouble for previously testing outside the "law". It has already passed in the state house and senate and is awaiting the Governor's signature. He has already said he is for this law. You can see who voted for and against the Minnesota state program here. They have some PDF files and links with video for who voted how and their reasons why. Previously the Minnesota law required written informed consent (which our government law does not state) prior to the collection, storage, use, or dissemination of private genetic information by government and others. Specifically, the law stated that genetic information could only be collected and used with written informed consent; it may be stored only for as long as the person consents; and it may only be shared with others, including researchers and pharmaceutical companies, with written consent. The consent to allow sharing for specific purposes expires in a year and must be signed and dated. However---it was not followed and was abused. And to this day NO ONE has been punished for it.
This new legislation would allow the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) to exempt the collection, storage, use and sharing of newborn DNA from the informed consent requirements of the genetic privacy law. Without informed consent, MDH would be allowed to contract with hospitals statewide to prick the heel of newborns, use and analyze the baby's DNA into adulthood, and give the DNA-filled blood spots to researchers and others.

Do you absolutely believe that never ever will their be a person in the government that through political threat of job loss (just one way it could happen) might not do this very same thing?? Hahahaha ----you lie to yourself about human nature. Not that I feel every one is waiting to be bad but "absolute power corrupts absolutely" I know that even about myself. Which is why I don't trust "vagueness" in laws. Being "vague" leaves everything open to some one else's interpretation. If there is nothing else I have learned by living in different places in the southern bible belt is that interruption can take many many forms. Many of them are whack and way out there---and all this from "normal" people that vote.

If this legislation passes, the informed consent protections of today's genetic privacy law will not protect any baby born after July 1, 1997 -- the day health officials began building a government "DNA warehouse" for the purpose of genetic research. On that day, without legal authority or parental consent, MDH began keeping baby blood and storing it indefinitely.

Furthermore, few citizens are aware of the 1980 decision of the Supreme Court making it legal to essentially patent "life" in the form of genetic codes, bacteria and genetically modified animals.
In June of 1980, the Supreme Court held, by a 5 to 4 majority, that living organisms could be patented.
As another example, in 1976 a leukemia patient named John Moore had surgery at the University of California to remove his cancerous spleen. The University was later granted a patent for a cell line called “Mo,” removed from the spleen, which could be used for producing valuable proteins. The long term commercial value of the cell line was estimated at over one billion dollars. Mr. Moore demanded the return of the cells and control over his body parts, but the California Supreme Court decided that he was not entitled to any rights to his own cells after they had been removed from his body.

Don't fool yourself----things like this can be abused and it's funny how people who don't want these types of laws are always told to "calm down" it's nothing to worry about. While everyone else sits on the sidelines and says "it's for a good cause NO ONE would EVER abuse it". Or they say "well, I could see how it MIGHT be abused but it's for such a good cause!"
hahahaha---that's what always gets me---people always think politicians are the best when their trying to "save" or help us---but we gripe about them being corrupt the rest of the time.
All it takes is one Karl Rove type character in the right place and WOW-- you got what you didn't ask for. Not to bash Karl Rove---but he manipulated a lot of things (all not completely proven but the evidence is overwhelming that he had a hand in many things) and yet to this day.....No punishments. He wasn't even the President.

Lastly to comment on the thoughts of others that we, as a democracy, should just blow this law out of the water.
Well I have some problems with that:
1) I watch main stream media, listen to NPR and "surf the web" every day for news and I NEVER heard of it until now. Why is that?????? Doesn't seem like our news outlets are being very helpful.
How can I vote for or against something if I have no clue it was up for grabs??

2)Sometimes I am a minority anyways (yes, I know---a problem but then I would still rather have a democracy). My problem with the minority factor though is this: A family member very close to me once said these words to me "Yes, I would give up some of my freedom and allow the government to track me if it would insure the safety of my grandchildren from danger from terrorists and other people wanting to do harm" What the F$%@ !!! I absolutely DON"T believe in that-----but many many people do. Now just interject "give up my freedom so that they can study diseases no matter how they may use the information later----I want my grandchildren to live".
When do you draw the line between safety/security and freedom??

On another blog about environmental issues they asked the question that fits here somewhat: What are you able to give up and what are you WILLING to give up? How about you?

Fear mongering?----and your saying I am buying it the other way. Hahahaha.
All I see is that you bought the opposite side of the "fear spectrum" from me. At least I want you to have your freedom and my fear imposes NOTHING on you-----you don't care if some government official eventually uses my DNA or my kids or grandkids for something maybe good but maybe bad. You can still have the testing---I can't choose not to.
Won't matter----because people are giving away my choice for the short term solution. Without me being able to say no or even yeah---I didn't get to vote on it.
At least my choice creates absolutely no problem for anyone else---we all still have freedom. The other choice---is no choice. Someone else gets to make it for me. Essentially.....My grandchildren will eventually be much less free than our founding Father's hoped for. Total Bummer.

Good Luck with that anonymous---hope you are as free as you ever hoped to be.

P.S---added later after more thought.

Historically people bring up the Nazis when talking about topics like this, however I say why go back so darn far? Let's look at some other places more recently where just the color of your skin or your religious orientations created issues for you to be exterminated: Cambodia in the 70's with Pol Pot. Rwanda in the 90's, Bosnia in the 90's, Darfur---currently occurring. (or as one commenter reminded me---The black sharecroppers of Tuskegee and our governments 40 year experiment on them and syphilis. Now THAT actually fits with this issue) All this without even using DNA. Yes, those countries where supposedly not as Democratic as ours---but what about the thought that this type of law just allows us to go with LESS kicking and screaming. Why chase the sheep when you can trick them into the barn with some grain?

Also the question of does this law violate the Nuremberg Code comes up. Depending on how it is eventually used---it could.
Here is the starting part of the code:
The voluntary consent of the human subject is absolutely essential. This means that the person involved should have legal capacity to give consent; should be so situated as to be able to exercise free power of choice, without the intervention of any element of force, fraud, deceit, duress, overreaching, or other ulterior form of constraint or coercion; and should have sufficient knowledge and comprehension of the elements of the subject matter involved as to enable him to make an understanding and enlightened decision.
Does signing a card while your being wheeled into labor while having strong contractions mean you are giving consent without being incorrectly "situated" as the code states? Or maybe while Dad is trying to hurry and fill out paper work and sign things to get back in the room as fast as he can---does that count? All things to consider. (Wondering about the code---see it here)

These are all things to consider. Laws like this are never "cut and dried". They have far reaching consequences and MUST have protections written into them. Is it a bad idea---no. Not on the surface anyway. However it's not the top of the pond that worries me---it's how deep it is when I jump in and how far I have to swim to get back to safety.

Monday, May 12, 2008

I feel overwhelmed!

By Bob Unruh
© 2008 WorldNetDaily

With virtually no fanfare, President Bush signed into law a plan ordering the government to take no more than six months to set up a "national contingency plan" to screen newborns' DNA in case of a "public health emergency."

The new law requires that the results of the program – including "information … research, and data on newborn screening" – shall be assembled by a "central clearinghouse" and made available on the Internet.

According to congressional records, S.1858, sponsored by Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., was approved in the Senate Dec. 13, in the House April 8 and signed by Bush April 24.

"Soon, under this bill, the DNA of all citizens will be housed in government genomic biobanks and considered governmental property for government research," said Twila Brase, president of the Citizens' Council on Health Care. "The DNA taken at birth from every citizen is essentially owned by the government, and every citizen becomes a potential subject of government-sponsored genetic research."

Brase has objected extensively to plans in Minnesota to provide state government the same option now handed to the federal government by Congress.

The bill, she said, strips "citizens of genetic privacy rights and DNA property rights. It bill also violates research ethics and the Nuremberg Code.

"The public is clueless. S. 1858 imposes a federal agenda of DNA databanking and population-wide genetic research," Brase continued. "It does not require consent and there are no requirements to fully inform parents about the warehousing of their child's DNA for the purpose of genetic research.

"Already, in Minnesota, the state health department reports that 42,210 children of the 780,000 whose DNA is housed in the Minnesota 'DNA warehouse' have been subjected to genetic research without their parent's knowledge or consent," she said.

The federal plan sets up the coast-to-coast DNA collections then report the results to "physicians and families" as well as educate families about newborn screening.

"We now are considered guinea pigs, as opposed to human beings with rights," said Brase, warning such DNA databases could spark the next wave of demands for eugenics, the concept of improving the human race through the control of various inherited traits. Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood, advocated eugenics to cull from the population types of people she considered unfit.

In 1921, Sanger said eugenics is "the most adequate and thorough avenue to the solution of racial, political and social problems," and she later lamented "the ever increasing, unceasingly spawning class of human beings who never should have been born at all."

Such DNA collection programs are offered as screening requirements to detect treatable illnesses. Currently, the type of tests conducted varies from state-to-state, but the Health Resources and Services Administration has requested a report that would "include a recommendation for a uniform panel of conditions."

"Fortunately," Dodd said when his plan was launched, "some newborn screening occurs in every state. … This legislation will provide resources for states to expand their newborn screening programs."

So what's the big deal about looking into DNA to hunt for various disease possibilities?

Nothing, said Brase, if that's where the hunt would end.

However, she said, "researchers already are looking for genes related to violence, crime and different behaviors."

"This isn't just about diabetes, asthma and cancer," she said. "It's also about behavioral issues."

"In England they decided they should have doctors looking for problem children, and have those children reported, and their DNA taken in case they would become criminals," she said.

In fact, published reports in the UK note that senior police forensics experts believe genetic samples should be studied, because it may be possible to identify potential criminals as young as age 5.

In Britain, Chris Davis of the National Primary Headteachers' Association warned the move could be seen "as a step towards a police state."

Brase said efforts to study traits and gene factors and classify people would be just the beginning. What could happen through subsequent programs to address such conditions, she wondered.

"Not all research is great," she said. Classifying of people could lead to "discrimination and prejudice. … People can look at data about you and make assessments ultimately of who you are."

The Heartland Regional Genetics and Newborn Screening is one of the organizations that advocates more screening and research.

It proclaims in its vision statement a desire to see newborns screened for 200 conditions. It also forecasts "every student … with an individual program for education based on confidential interpretation of their family medical history, their brain imaging, their genetic predictors of best learning methods…"

Further, every individual should share information about "personal and family health histories" as well as "gene tests for recessive conditions and drug metabolism" with the "other parent of their future children."

Still further, it seeks "ecogenetic research that could improve health, lessen disability, and lower costs for sickness."

"They want to test every child for 200 conditions, take the child's history and a brain image, and genetics, and come up with a plan for that child," Brase said. "They want to learn their weaknesses and defects.

"Nobody including and especially the government should be allowed to create such extensive profiles," she said.

The next step, said Brase, is obvious: The government, with information about potential health weaknesses, could say to couples, "We don't want your expensive children."

"I think people have forgotten about eugenics. The fact of the matter is that the eugenicists have not gone away. Newborn genetic testing is the entry into the 21st Century version of eugenics," she said.

The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons has posted a position statement on the issue, noting that many good things can result from genetic testing.

However, it expressed two significant areas of concern.

"History shows that this information will sometimes be leaked or misused, regardless of who controls it. When private companies leak information and break people's confidence, they have often been exposed and punished, as people no longer buy their services or sue. In contrast, when government agencies do the same, the guilty bureaucrats have often been protected and rewarded instead of suffering meaningful consequences," the group said.

The AAPS said in order to do the best possible job of protecting privacy, anyone who has access to DNA data should be "individually liable in the event of unlawful disclosure of genetic testing information. …"

The other area of concern is equally significant.

"Genetic testing could be used for purposes found immoral in the Hippocratic medical tradition. For example, a utilitarian use of testing, in this example also immoral, would be to test for conditions which would make an individual less useful to society for the purpose of killing that person, as has been done in some totalitarian systems, such as Nazi Germany. Likewise, the use of genetic testing in attempts to breed a super race would be immoral and unethical. In these examples, the utility of the person to the society is the deciding factor, a position antithetical to the Hippocratic tradition of primary responsibility to the individual patient rather than to an amorphous society or relativistic social policies," the group said.

U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, was one of the few voices to warn of the dangers. Before the plan's approval, he said, "I cannot support legislation, no matter how much I sympathize with the legislation’s stated goals, that exceed the Constitutional limitations on federal power or in any way threatens the liberty of the American people. Since S. 1858 violates the Constitution, and may have untended consequences that will weaken the American health care system and further erode medical privacy, I must oppose it."

Paul said, "S. 1858 gives the federal bureaucracy the authority to develop a model newborn screening program. Madame Speaker the federal government lacks both the constitutional authority and the competence to develop a newborn screening program adequate for a nation as large and diverse as the United States. …"

He also said as the federal government assumes more control over health care, medical privacy is coming under assault.

"Those of us in the medical profession should be particularly concerned about policies allowing government officials and state-favored interests to access our medical records without our consent … My review of S. 1858 indicates the drafters of the legislation made no effort to ensure these newborn screening programs do not violate the privacy rights of parents and children," Paul continued.

"In fact, by directing federal bureaucrats to create a contingency plan for newborn screening in the event of a 'public health' disaster, this bill may lead to further erosions of medical privacy. As recent history so eloquently illustrates, politicians are more than willing to take, and people are more than willing to cede, liberty during times of 'emergency," he said.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Some interesting articles

An article out of Canada about the phase out of 80 chemicals and 300 products that experts say pose a potential health risk----and Home Depot is doing it voluntarily. Wow! I wish all companies would do that.

Did you know that they start chickens on antibiotics before they even leave the egg? I didn't. See that one here.

And a food shortage article. Which brings home the point that we should all be putting in at least a few tomato plants in our yard this year----and maybe some beans and potatoes too by the way things are looking right now.

And a few things President Bush has to say about the Farm Bill and food prices. Maybe once, just once, he may get something worthwhile done. But maybe I am expecting miracles.

Another Guinea hog update

So it is officially official.
On Memorial weekend I will travel to Arkansas to visit with my family and while I am there I will pick up our new Guinea Hog boar. Hopefully everything will go smoothly as I may be by myself on this trip. Now....we just need a name for him.

Pumpkin---aka our "pig"---has been dieting a bit the past few months. We kicked it into high gear recently when we found we might actually have a male to breed her too. She had gotten a bit "porky" over the winter time. A bit too much corn and too much time in her home during the colder windier days of winter left her a bit paunchy. Paunchy is not good when your a pig who will soon try and get pregnant.
With the advent of warmer weather and bugs and grubs to dig up now (and a reduction in extras) she is just about slim and trim for her meeting with her new beau and future sire of her piglets.

Speaking of pigs and feeding I learned some very interesting things yesterday when I stumbled on this site: They have a great web site with butchering videos, feeding information for the more lard style pigs, and a number of other things. Meander through their site---I think some of you will find it as interesting as I have.
Now that I have had a pig for a while some of the "other" ways of feeding stick a bit better in my brain. So now, when we have piglets we will do a different style of feeding than we have been previously. Actually we need to switch our pumpkin to eating hay part of the time. She's not always on pasture, since she's in the gardens tilling them for us and our neighbor, and so we feel that hay will be better for her than purina pig chow (made with who knows what---and I DON"T want that in those I will eat).
We figured we could trick her into starting to eat good alfalfa hay by spritzing it with a bit of something she likes---or maybe rub an avocado on it. She LOVES avocados---she goes crazy for them. O.k..she goes crazy for most food---but you can tell she likes them particularly well.

As far as WoolyPigs goes---I would take one of those pigs that they raise if I had the space---and a way to get it from Washington state! But alas, I don't. However, I do like my guinea hog and I am happy to have a small hog to fit my smaller farm. She's really turned out great. So...soon we will have two. And I have to admit I am definitely looking forward to that.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

I have..

Two new baby chicks courtesy of my hen hatching them. There are about 50 more eggs being brooded by 5 hens altogether so maybe we'll get a few more.

And I have some left over Jerusalem artichokes. Not very large---that is a nickel in with them in the picture---and only a few red and also some white tubers. Free to two people for only the cost of the postage--which would absolutely be under 2.50. Want some? Contact me through my email.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

A bit more about Oca

Hayden asked me to supply a tad bit more about Ocas (Oka) so here is what I know of it (which is not much bigger than my tubers):

Supposedly it is hardy to my zone 7. Supposedly it take 4 to 6 months for tubers to develop but the tops are frost sensitive. thoughts are that I would usually start them a bit earlier than I am now (I had to order them this year) and then if I needed to I could put a temporary plastic tunnel or some remay fabric over them in October, or even when starting them, if needed to allow them to have enough time to mature fully. The end of October will be 6 months for me this year so I should be o.k.---but just in case I will use a tunnel.
Here is a link to the plants for a future data base on the Oca. And a decent article from a guy that grew them already---he might have been in a warmer climate than mine though?

Lastly I don't think I said where I purchased mine. It was Nichols nursery if you are interested.

Oka (or Oca)

Here's the picture of my Oka tubers I promised. Their kind of small though supposedly you can get much larger tubers. Probably depends on growing conditions.

Also, here is an excellent (really!) article on Jerusalem artichokes.

Friday, May 2, 2008

An interesting article

Here's a blip from an article. Check it out---it's kind of thought provoking.

At some point in the proceedings a senior official from the Bush administration stood up and said that he thought climate issues were too complex for average Americans, implying that climate change needs to be solved by experts, not the people. Jan couldn't hold her tongue even though it wasn't her turn to speak.

See the article entitled The Birth of Blue to read more.

A few things done

We have had an out of town guest here this last week so my routine has been a bit different. So, for an update here are a few things I have marked off my to-do list:

I have found a guinea hog boar "husband" for my sow. I will be picking him up in Arkansas at the end of May or early June. You can see the farm that I am buying him from at the link Rudugast's ideal Livestock.
The boar we are purchasing is a boar out of Skyfire Oreo and by Skyfire Sargent Pepper. Both our boar and sow will be "shared" with our neighbors to do tilling, compost turning and in the fall cleaning up under the nut and fruit trees. Of course they will also "help" us by having piglets. Think Hawaii here (unless your a vegetarian then just think Cute).
By the way--- I may have some piglets for sale in the fall for anyone interested.

I have a platform set up to raise my 250 gallon water container up off the ground. It is a mini deck like structure and it is under the chicken roof and though I would like to use it for watering the garden, I have such a large garden that when a drought occurs 250 gallons is just a drop in the bucket. (It can be used for emergency water for us though--along with our Big Berkey if we really needed it.) Instead, I think we will set it up as an automatic gravity fed watering station for the chickens and any sheep that are penned in there---or who have access through the neighboring pasture. That way we can travel a bit more during this summer without worrying about who will water the sheep, chickens, etc. Always an issue in this day and age of small farming.

I have tomato plants ready to plant out. Some of the seed was sent to me from a fellow blogger and then I also have the tomato "accordion" that I really enjoyed last year and did well in the drought. I also have more asparagus seeds sprouted for me and some friends. I am working towards another 40 foot row of asparagus so we can have a large harvest each year. The plants that I grew from seed last year are very tall now and seem to be doing well. Last year they never got taller than a foot---this year they are all at least 5 feet tall.
In addition, basil will also go out soon---in about another week. Their still rather small.

A 40 foot row of sweet potatoes went in on two very rainy days---only to get sun burnt on the first sunny day. So they are now under some burlap shade and looking a bit better. Hopefully they will make it since they are the two purple varieties of sweet potato I purchased. The rest of my sweet potato slips (about another 40 foot row) come at the end of May from Sandhill Preservation.

I got a 40' bed of raspberries planted ---but not mulched yet. Hopefully I will finish that by tomorrow. I am using old bedding from the ram/chicken pen so it should be full of good stuff for the berry plants. All my berries came from Nourse farms and look really nice. I even got a few extra--which I shared with my neighbor.
I have the yellow "anne", black "bristol" and two reds: "carolyn" and "taylor". By next year we should be snacking on berries and in a few more making jams and jellies hopefully. We had raspberries at our previous residence--but of course we didn't bring them with us.

My perennial oxalis bulbs/corms (aka OKA or OCA) came today and I will take pics of them to show what they look like before I plant them tomorrow. They are part of my expanded perennial beds that I am adding and posting about last post. Of course I only was able to get a few corms of these--they are rather expensive. We will see how they grow and taste and maybe in the not to distant future I will have my own to sell or trade with others.

Lastly---my lambs are growing like weeds this year. The grass is green and growing---unlike last year when it stayed short and stumpy. I will have to put up some new pictures soon. This batch of lambs has been very fun as most all are about the same size. They are like one huge school of "fish" swimming around the pastures, ignoring their mothers and overall trying to get into trouble. Baaaaad lambs! ;-D

Have a great weekend everyone!