Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Obama takes comments on NAIS

This came in my email today. One of them ends today supposedly but if you see this late double check it. Don't miss the second web site ---one is his "official" and the other is a more personal (if that is the correct way to say it) web site. Both are taking comments on Nais.
SPEAK is our chance to be heard!!

Online Action Items!
First round of voting on ends today
Two websites are allowing people to speak up about the issues they want President-Elect Obama to address when he takes office. The first is his official website: The second is a private website: On both sites, only the top ideas will be presented to the administration, based on a voting process.
Both sites are currently running questions related to stopping the National Animal Identification System. The Change.Org site closes voting on the questions today! So as you make plans to ring in the new year, take a moment to make your voice heard.

Change.Org - Voting Ends Today!
The private website,, will present the "Top 10 Ideas for America" to the Obama Adminsitration on Inauguration Day.
The first phase of the voting ends today, and the top 3 ideas in each category will be selected for the second round of voting. "Stop NAIS" is currently in third place in Agriculture, and the voting is very close! A few votes may make the difference between the Stop NAIS message making it to the next round, or not!
Step 1: If you are not already signed up for the site, register at:
Step 2:
Go to Be sure to click the box labeled "vote!" to the left of the Stop NAIS! Simply leaving a comment does not count as a vote.

The Obama Transition Team has set up a section calld "Open for Questions" on the official website. They have not specified the deadline for submitting or voting on questions, but said they will respond to the top issues "in the new year."
Step 2: Type "animal identification" or "nais" into the box next to "Search Questions"
Step 3: Click on the checkmark by the question to vote "yes". If you are not already signed in, you will be asked to, with a link at the top of the box.

We wish everyone a safe and happy New Year! Thank you for all of your activism and support in 2008.

Judith McGeary
Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance
Phone: 512-243-9404
Toll-free: 866-687-6452

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

We're making progress but.....

This was in my mail today from Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance.
One is to write a quick, brief email to your Congress person and/or Senator.
The other is to make a quick comment on a USDA proposal that closes for public comment on December 23rd.
These are fast and quick to do...but have big impact. Hopefully you can get to it.

P.S Anne...I found that link for you for the 10/16/08 post.

Appropriations Process Moving Forward with NAIS!

Last summer, the House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee included a provision to require USDA to purchase meat products for the School Lunch Program from premises registered with National Animal Identification System (NAIS). After a public outcry, the Senate Appropriations Committee did not include this provision in the Senate version of the bill. Both versions of the bill included funding for NAIS and related programs (WLIC, FAIR, and RFID research) of approximately $14 million, much less than the USDA had requested.

The appropriations process for Fiscal Year 2009 got stuck due to unrelated issues. Now the process is beginning to move again. Although the bills never made it to the floor, Congress is skipping several steps and moving straight to settling differences between the House Subcommittee-passed bill and the Senate full Committee-passed bill in a "staff conference." Staff will come up with a draft final bill in December, and are aiming for the end of this week (Dec. 19). The Congressional members will begin consideration of the appropriations bills in early January.


1. If you live in one of the following states, please call the Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee member(s) from your state:
California, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Florida, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

The names and phone numbers of the Subcommittee members are listed below.

2. If you do NOT live in one of the states listed above, please call your own Congressperson. If you do not know who represents you, you can find out at or by calling the Capitol Switchboard at: 202-224-3121 or toll-free at 866-340-9281 or 800-417-7666.

When you call, ask to speak to the staffer who handles appropriations. If you get their voice mail, leave the following message, or something in your own words that makes the same points:

My name is _________. I am a constituent [or live in your state, if you aren't in their district]. I am calling about the Agriculture Appropriations bill for 2009. I am opposed to NAIS, and I do not want it to be tied to the School Lunch Program. I ask that you work to keep this provision, which was in the House Subcommittee's version, out of the conference version of the Appropriations bill. Please follow the Senate version, which did not include any such provision. I also urge you to stop all funding for NAIS, particularly any mandatory or coercive programs. Thank you for all of your work.

It is very important to be succinct, brief, and polite! The staffers are extremely busy right now and working under a tight deadline. A short, clear message will be more effective than an in-depth conversation. And if you can, find something positive to say - whether about a specific position the Congressperson has taken recently, or simply a generic "thank you" - please be sure to add that.

U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture:

· Diane Feinstein (D-CA) - 202-224-3841
· Tom Harkin (D-IA) - 202-224-3254
· Richard Durbin (D-IL) - 202-224-2152
· Mitch McConnell (R-KY) - 202-224-2541
· Sam Brownback (R-KS) - 202-224-6521
· Kit Bond (R-MO) - 202-224-5721
· Thad Cochran (R-MS) - 202-224-5054
· Ben Nelson (D-NE) - 202-224-6551
· Byron Dorgan (D-ND) - 202-224-2551
· Arlen Specter (R-PA) - 202-224-4254
· Jack Reed (D- RI) - 202-224-4642
· Tim Johnson (D-SD)- 202-224-5842
· Bob Bennett (R-UT) - 202-224-5444
· Robert Byrd (D-WV) - 202-224-3954
· Herb Kohl, Chairman (D-WI) - 202-224-5653

U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture:

· Sam Farr (D-CA) - 202-225-2861
· Rosa DeLauro, Chair (D-CT) - 202-225-3661
· Allen Boyd (D-FL) - 202-225-5235
· Sanford Bishop, Jr. (D-GA) - 202-225-3631
· Jack Kingston (R-GA) - 202-225-5831
· Tom Latham (R-IA) - 202-225-5476
· Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-IL) - 202-225-0773
· Rodney Alexander (R-LA) - 202-225-8490
· Jo Ann Emerson (R-MO) - 202-225-4404
· Steven Rothman (D-NJ) - 202-225-5061
· Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) - 202-225-6335
· Marcy Kaptur (D-OH) - 202-225-4146


Comment Period On Proposed Rule for Organic Livestock Ending Soon
Earlier this month, we sent an alert out about the USDA's proposed rule for organic livestock. As stated in that alert, FARFA and several other organizations requested that USDA extend the comment period on its proposed rule for organic livestock because of the complexity and scope of the rule.
The USDA has not responded to that request, and the comment period will close on Tuesday, December 23.
The new USDA rule proposal and its analysis total 26 pages, as published in the Federal Register. The draft rule complies with organic community requests to close loopholes being exploited by factory dairy farms confining their cattle. But it is also a much broader rewrite of federal organic regulations than anyone sought. The new rules, if enacted as currently written, would put many family-scale organic livestock farmers out of business.
Several organic organizations have collaborated on an "alternative" proposed rule that would stop factory farm abuses of the organics label, while not imposing overly burdensome and potentially harmful requirements on organic producers. You can find a copy of the "alternative" rule on the Cornucopia website The website also has a sample letter that you can use for your comments to the USDA.
If you wish to submit comments online, go to the Regulations web portal: Use the search terms "organic pasture." Cornucopia has also offered to hand deliver comments to the USDA if you email them to Cornucopia by noon on December 22 at:
Remember that public comments must be received by the USDA by December 23

Monday, December 15, 2008

Winter Gardening

Sorry but I also posted this at womennotdabbling so if you read there it is a repeat. I don't usually do that but I wanted I liked how pretty the cabbage was so I decided to post here too :-D

On August 24th I started plants of Red Express Cabbage, Calabrese broccoli and some Nero di Toscano and Lacinato Kale. I put them out in the garden when they were still small and had just about 4 leaves each. Though they have not grown immensely in that time I wanted to post pictures of them to show encourage those of you that do not winter garden that it is easier than you think. The cabbage looks beautiful and the broccoli and kales look as if a few leaves have been tortured. We have though had two stir fry meals off the broccoli tops (no flowers bud yet) and many many meals off our kale. In actuality I have other larger Kale plants so don’t think I am a miracle worker getting many meals off these littler guys. My other kales were from this past spring and lasted through the summer and our waist high to me now. A few leaves will get burnt when it drops low at night but they keep growing new leaves each week and most never do discolor. We eat kale at least once a week if not more — yum.

There are a few reasons why people don’t plant winter foods. Sometimes summer burnout occurs (definitely my main problem) but another is lack of cold frames or frost fabrics and then there is also procrastination. We are all, of course, guilty of this last one. I know I do it when I am uncomfortable or unsure about how to do something. But just by looking at my pictures you can see that though we have had many nights that have dropped into the mid 20’s my plants have made it through without dying. No they do not have a cold frame cover on them nor did I drape frost fabric or quilts or any such thing over them. I could have of course…and they would look a tad nicer. But since my days have always come up in temperature I have not felt that I really HAD to mess with any of that yet. January and February are usually the months we really need frames and fabrics.

Now I know that I live in North Georgia, so of course it is a bit warmer. However, just by tweaking your dates you can accomplish the same thing that I have even if you live in colder areas. My point wasn’t really to tell you when to start or any of that but to show you that even if you don’t have a green house or huge cold frame or spun fabrics…..there are varieties of veggies out their that can do their thing really well even when cold. Which brings me to variety choices.

Part of the reason I decided not to cover some of my plants is I wanted to see if I could find varieties that would take my weather without really needing lots of help. One of the reasons I wanted to do this was because when it does warm up I keep forgetting to uncover the darn things–another of my problems with cold frames. I get busy and forget to open them on a sunny day. Another reason was I am essentially a lazy person on the inside so simpler is better as far as I am concerned. I felt if I could find varieties that will tolerate my nights and days then I may not need cold frames or at least won’t need them as long. Of course a green house would be lovely but since many of us do not have one we must experiment experiment experiment. Since each package of seed is a few dollars at most—less if you seed share—then it is an cheap experiment. My many meals have already paid for my experiment and I still have more lunches and dinners out there. All we needed to do was to read the descriptions on our choices to find some that were suited to colder weather. Here is were I will encourage you to join a group like seed savers since you can find seeds grown by people near you or even in colder areas than you. They can usually give you very good information on how each variety stood up to different weather patterns. Cold and dry, wet and warm, icy, snowy etc.

The last problem I find with growing winter veggies this late is finding meals to use them up in. But that is no big deal now is it? So…again…I am going to encourage you to try this “out of season” growing thing. You could start early this spring with your own experiments. Though do remember the smaller the plant the more likely it will need some cover. But don’t be afraid and don’t procrastinate because your not sure if you can do it. It’s really easier than you think and you will do the V8 smack on your forehead when you finally realize you put it off for so long.

And….last note. I am so sorry Dora didn’t make it M.P. Though I didn’t have time to put one together for today, next week I am going to do an article on sheep/goats and dog attacks and how to treat the animal. I hope to even have a very good friends home made salve recipe to add in—one that can be used for many types of wounds and has an excellent proven track record.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A great big THANK YOU

Thank you so much to everyone that helped Phelan.

In just a few days the total was raised to help her and her family save their house. Yeah!!

I have to admit....I worried that not many would come through. I think based on what we see in the news, day to day and sometimes (even worse) how we see people that are suppose to be "believers" act---that we can feel as if there is no hope in humanity. Everyone is out for their selves it sometimes seems.

As I walked through those days I prayed and wished that at least half of the amount would come through ---and I hoped it would be within the time frame that it was needed in.
Yet to my surprise (and yes, I did cry) the WHOLE entire amount came through in just 2 days. Wow!! I can't even use enough superlatives to describe the feeling of amazement I have. I am astounded. Really! And for the rest of my life I have a story of how good people can be to tell others.

So....I wanted to thank every single one of you that donated and thank those that missed out because Phelan "pulled the button" and thank those that would have loved to---but have your own financial problems like many across the country do right now. Bless you and no matter who you are...where your from...what you believe...thank you. It is truly amazing what caring people can do for each other when we see someone in need.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

It is better.....

to give than receive.
I don't believe you could find any religion or human that doesn't agree with this.

And so I will tell the story of a friend.
My friend Phelan of A Homesteading Neophyte.
Who's family is just one of the many that we now know that have been affected by this terrible economic crisis affecting our country...and the world we are told.

Her family may lose their home----just in time for Christmas.
And though her husband and she have worked hard to make their payments and feed their children, her husband's new job does not pay close to his previous job lost earlier this year. Like many.

So...could I ask you to please read her story here? Read Monday Dec 8th's entry and the 9th's please.
And then...even if only a dollar .....could you please try and help her family make up the $1600 dollars they need? Also...could you send out a prayer or a wish of goodness to her and her husband and children? (There is a paypal button for convenience....she fought it but we -- her friends-- prevailed!)

And for those of you that are somewhat skeptical about things like this let me just say that there is a time to take a leap of faith.
Faith in humanity and our ability to move past the ugly we can sometimes encounter and help someone instead of just giving to an organization or a change jar or passing by altogether. I know many times in my life I have walked past someone struggling with something as simple as a door and not thought twice about helping---only later to kick myself for not doing something. This issue is much more important than the door though so please....don't walk past it.

And since we want everyone to realize we are on the up and will be able to read Phelan's blog and keep up if she is able to stay on line through the library. If can keep up with her through my blog here or my group blog at We will absolutely keep everyone posted about how this turns out. computer is not "interfacing" with blogger correctly. Though I am told others can see this and I can get into this part to write, I can not see the actual blog nor reply to comments. Hopefully I will figure out this issue soon. Thanks for your understanding.


I seem to have trouble yet again with blogger. I can't seem to see my blog. anyone out there?!

Monday, December 1, 2008

New idea for power

Check this out (taken from the Telegraph UK)

Ocean currents can power the world, say scientists

A revolutionary device that can harness energy from slow-moving rivers and ocean currents could provide enough power for the entire world, scientists claim.

Ocean currents can power the world, say scientists
Existing technologies require an average current of five or six knots to operate efficiently, while most of the earth's currents are slower than three knots Photo: AP

The technology can generate electricity in water flowing at a rate of less than one knot - about one mile an hour - meaning it could operate on most waterways and sea beds around the globe.

Existing technologies which use water power, relying on the action of waves, tides or faster currents created by dams, are far more limited in where they can be used, and also cause greater obstructions when they are built in rivers or the sea. Turbines and water mills need an average current of five or six knots to operate efficiently, while most of the earth's currents are slower than three knots.

The new device, which has been inspired by the way fish swim, consists of a system of cylinders positioned horizontal to the water flow and attached to springs.

As water flows past, the cylinder creates vortices, which push and pull the cylinder up and down. The mechanical energy in the vibrations is then converted into electricity.

Cylinders arranged over a cubic metre of the sea or river bed in a flow of three knots can produce 51 watts. This is more efficient than similar-sized turbines or wave generators, and the amount of power produced can increase sharply if the flow is faster or if more cylinders are added.

A "field" of cylinders built on the sea bed over a 1km by 1.5km area, and the height of a two-storey house, with a flow of just three knots, could generate enough power for around 100,000 homes. Just a few of the cylinders, stacked in a short ladder, could power an anchored ship or a lighthouse.

Systems could be sited on river beds or suspended in the ocean. The scientists behind the technology, which has been developed in research funded by the US government, say that generating power in this way would potentially cost only around 3.5p per kilowatt hour, compared to about 4.5p for wind energy and between 10p and 31p for solar power. They say the technology would require up to 50 times less ocean acreage than wave power generation.

The system, conceived by scientists at the University of Michigan, is called Vivace, or "vortex-induced vibrations for aquatic clean energy".

Michael Bernitsas, a professor of naval architecture at the university, said it was based on the changes in water speed that are caused when a current flows past an obstruction. Eddies or vortices, formed in the water flow, can move objects up and down or left and right.

"This is a totally new method of extracting energy from water flow," said Mr Bernitsas. "Fish curve their bodies to glide between the vortices shed by the bodies of the fish in front of them. Their muscle power alone could not propel them through the water at the speed they go, so they ride in each other's wake."

Such vibrations, which were first observed 500 years ago by Leonardo DaVinci in the form of "Aeolian Tones", can cause damage to structures built in water, like docks and oil rigs. But Mr Bernitsas added: "We enhance the vibrations and harness this powerful and destructive force in nature.

"If we could harness 0.1 per cent of the energy in the ocean, we could support the energy needs of 15 billion people. In the English Channel, for example, there is a very strong current, so you produce a lot of power."

Because the parts only oscillate slowly, the technology is likely to be less harmful to aquatic wildlife than dams or water turbines. And as the installations can be positioned far below the surface of the sea, there would be less interference with shipping, recreational boat users, fishing and tourism.

The engineers are now deploying a prototype device in the Detroit River, which has a flow of less than two knots. Their work, funded by the US Department of Energy and the US Office of Naval Research, is published in the current issue of the quarterly Journal of Offshore Mechanics and Arctic Engineering.