Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Monday, March 30, 2009
It snowed a little Saturday night but we just got a light dusting. By the time we left, it had all melted off & the roads were dry. We plan on going back up this next weekend & hopefully every weekend after that for a while. We would like to get involved with the movement to keep the CAFO out of our county. (It would be great if they were outlawed altogether.)
Oh, we did celebrate Earth Day by switching off the light and reading by the solar lantern.
It's so hard to imagine not having the farm. :-(
A farmer/neighbor up the road stopped by as we were packing to leave Sunday with a petition to stop the CAFO & another petition stating we would not let them spread their manure on our property. You see, they have to get rid of the manure. If enough area people won't take it, they'll have to pay to truck it somewhere else. And then there is the road. Our road gets little traffic. A lot of Amish buggies, milk trucks from the small dairies and very little truck & car traffic. An operation like this would produce a huge amount of truck traffic. It makes me cringe thinking of all those trucks on the same road as the Amish in their buggies & the children walking to school. That's one thing that might be in our favor. The Amish school is practically next door to the site.
The way the law is in Wisconsin, it is only possible to fight a CAFO from an environmental standpoint and there are several loopholes (of course). Even if all the people in the area sign a petition against it, they can still do it if they want. We have what is called "Karst" topography in our area. Karst topography is a landscape created by groundwater dissolving sedimentary rock such as limestone. This creates land forms such as shafts, tunnels, caves, and sinkholes. Groundwater seeps into and through these land forms. The result is a scenic landscape which is beautiful but fragile, and vulnerable to erosion and pollution. This should be enough to keep them out of our area but Wisconsin is a very pro-agriculture state. Which is fine but factory farms aren't agriculture. They are corporations who mistreat animals and the land with no regard for the health of their neighbors or the environment.
And speaking of health...here is a article from the Westby Times quoting Peter Holzhauer, who is an emergency room doctor at Elmbrook Memorial Hospital, Milwaukee, who used his medical expertise to research the health hazards of CAFOs in the 2008 fight against a CAFO pig farm.
"Two direct human health risks have been linked to CAFOs: airborne particulates (with attendant odors serving to add insult to injury) and antibiotic-resistant bacteria.“The air pollution is a health risk, which, depending on prevailing winds and distance to populations, basically dissipates with time and wind. And generally there is a siting rule that the CAFO has to be half a mile from any population or even a farmhouse,” he said, noting in particular the dangerously higher incidence of hydrogen sulfide and ammonia near CAFOs.The other danger, he adds, is both less immediately detectable and more deadly. “The so-called MRSA (Methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus) show a higher incidence near CAFOs,” he says, explaining that this and other e-coli bacteria have managed to build a resistance to human antibiotics through the overuse of animal antibiotics prevalent in CAFOs. “Part of the problem there is that about 70 percent of our antibiotics go into animals, and not for the purpose of preventing disease, necessarily, but for fattening them up for market. Therefore a CAFO is a prime situation for developing antibiotic-resistant bacteria.”He noted that the bacteria first show up among CAFO workers and eventually, through personal contact, can infect family and neighbors. It also shows up, Holzhauer said, in surface water runoff."
So, we are a little upset. The farmer/neighbor up the road is putting all his projects on hold until this is resolved. It leaves us in a similar situation. Do we keep working on our home and land in the hope that it won't happen or do we stop for now? We won't live in an area with such health concerns. But our land values would plummet and who would buy a farm downwind from a CAFO?
The land he owns up the road is only one of the sites. There are three other parcels of land he owns. We are in the middle of them.
I hope this resolves itself soon. There is a huge (stinky) cloud hanging over all of us now.
Sunday, March 29, 2009
Friday, March 27, 2009
After cooking the apples until soft, you run them through the food mill. The wide, flat area is where the sauce comes out & the cone-shaped attachment is where the skin & thicker apple parts come out. The part I call "gunk". I always cut up the apples before cooking, making sure no seeds are in the cooked apples. I really hate to throw away anything that might useable so I put containers of it in the freezer. I take it out & use it for smoothies in the morning. The pectin in the skin makes the smoothies quite thick after it sets a while so I add more water to thin.
I wouldn't recommend this to anyone using apples treated with pesticides. The chemicals are most concentrated in the skin. Please eat organic if at all possible. I know you pay a little more, but the savings come from less doctor visits. Really. Chemicals, bad. Nature, good.
Can you think of more ways to use "apple gunk"?
We are headed to the farm this afternoon..for sure...no doubt about it. Can you tell I'm excited???
Thursday, March 26, 2009
We don't own a tractor yet but our neighbor is nice enough to let us use his or even till it himself like last year. We also have Amish neighbors who will walk the horses through, rough plowing the garden and adding manure from their barn. This year we asked them not to add the manure because it isn't composted, it's fresh. They will instead dump some for us in a place not yet determined, so it can age for a year before using.
This year my garden might grow to almost twice the size it was (I know, I'm a little crazy!) We would like to grow cover crops and rotate every year by taking a quarter of the space for cover crops. I haven't researched cover crops much yet, so if you have any advice on that, I'll take it. We need to decide on the no-till or till question so we can plan the layout of the garden. With a tractor & tilling, we need access for a straight shot across the garden. In a part of the existing garden (on the right), I would like to have all perennials (blueberries, strawberries, asparagus, herbs, etc.) This cuts off the long run of the existing garden. The blueberries, a few strawberry plants & asparagus are already in place so we don't wish to move them.
So, that is the dilemma. Any ideas?
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Liberty-ripens in October & is a good sauce apple & keeps for months in storage
My mouth is watering as I type :-) This will give us apples that will ripen at different times & for different uses. We will have a lot of apples when they all start producing! Cider is always an option. There is a cider mill in Illinois we go to every year as much as possible. It's called Gould's Cider. Good old-fashioned non-pastuerized cider. They have over 400 trees on site & purchase apples from other growers (usually Wisconsin).
The Gould's have been friends of my family for years. I went there when I was little to watch them press the apples which is run by an old tractor.
We can always take our excess there or the Amish down the road also press apples. We have asked our kids to save wine bottles for us so we can process some hard cider too.
Speaking of old tractors...here is my daughter & son-in-law on their wedding day posing in front of his dad's restored tractor. It was his grandpa's first tractor on the farm.
So one more thing crossed of the long list of to-do's. It feels good. I decided yesterday was "apple day" & stuck to it. Today is therapy day again so I probably won't be doing much tonight. But that's okay. I'll go home & see if I can find another pint of frozen applesauce in the freezer...
Monday, March 23, 2009
We've always been close. I consider her my best friend. When my younger brother was born, we joined up together to have an "all girls" club. Poor Bob. And she was the one who scared the daylights out of me letting me think there was a "furnace monster" down in the basement. We shared a room until she got married. Playing Barbie dolls & paper dolls until we got older & fell in love with The Beatles. Since she was older, she claimed Paul & I got George. We were also awesome badminton players. We'd play for hours, until it got dark & then go after the lightening bugs with our rackets (at least until the bats started flying around). In summer, as teens , we would stay up until early morning playing gin rummy. We were pom pom girls at the same time, she a senior & I a freshman.
She met her husband while attending the local college & they were married soon after. They are still happily married to this day. For that she is a role model. I haven't always had such luck in that department until I met Steve.
We don't always get to spend as much time together as we'd like due to the farm but when we do it is always a good time. A week of vacation in Minnesota each summer is our major time together. We've been going to the same lake since we were kids & now our kids (and her grandkids) still spent the time there.
So again, Happy Birthday Cathy & many more!
Saturday, March 21, 2009
Yesterday I took my mom out to lunch. She has been going through a lot of boxes, sorting out the stuff she doesn't want. She gave me some sheer curtains that used to hang in the house we moved from when I was four. When I was scanning the slides, I found a picture of them hanging in that house. They are in perfect condition. Not sure where to use them but they are nice to have. She also gave me a lot of old linens (tablecloths, napkins, dresser scarves). I'll post a picture of them some other time. That's the laundry I'm doing.Did your parents ever use a tripod to get the whole family in the picture? Here my dad looks like he's about to get up to check why the camera hasn't gone off yet. My sister Cathy is the only one ready for the picture. How do you like that lamp/planter on the table?
Got to get back to work or I'll never get done. Need to leave some time for a walk. It's another great day.
Friday, March 20, 2009
Okay, I've said it many, many times..."I can't wait til spring gets here!" It's here today & I am so happy it is! In the last couple of weeks there have been signs of it approaching. The sun is stronger, the birds are singing, worms are popping out after a rain. The tulips are up but not flowering yet. Not as many this year due to a very hungry family of chipmunks we had around here last summer.
Here are a few pics of spring...
The other one isn't there anymore.
What an angel I look like. Ha ha. I still have the dress but not the veil.
An early Sunday morning all ready for church. We usually only went to church two times a year, Easter & Palm Sunday. My Mom is Catholic & my Dad wasn't. We still went to catechism on Saturday mornings though. The highlight was going to the drug store afterward & spending our allowance (25 cents) on candy. My favorites were Sweet Tarts, candy cigarettes, bubble gum, big jaw breakers, the straws with the flavored sugar in them... I guess I liked about every kind of candy :-) My mom required us to go to catechism until 8th grade when we were confirmed & then we could quit. We all did. None of us are practicing Catholics now.
Thursday, March 19, 2009
So yesterday I was extremely tired. It doesn't happen too often. But when I'm tired, I can't think straight or concentrate. Brain fatigue they call it. It's a lot worse since the accident. I think part of the fatigue was from the therapy session on Tuesday. We really did a lot of testing. My brain actually shut down. If you've never experienced that, it's kind of frightening. It just quits working. Period. And it doesn't take that much testing to get to that point. We are doing the tests these next couple weeks because I'm almost finished with therapy. There isn't anything else for them to do. I have reached a plateau. It's not because they or I didn't try our hardest. It's just all I am capable of. They taught me how to study with no distraction (put earplugs in & headphones on & go to a room with no distractions), but they can't teach me how to remember what I've studied. See, my long-term memories are still there, my short-term memory is the problem. Coming up with the right words in conversation is still hard too & other things too numerous (or boring) to mention. So I think the bright side (which there is usually at least one) is that I won't have to travel to the appointments anymore. Okay, there's two. I won't have to pay for the appointments anymore :-). That said, I will be trying to stay positive about all of that & not be blue for too long. That is a good thing about the brain injury...I don't remember things for too long so they can't bother me that much. No dwelling on, well, anything.
So by tomorrow, my mood will have brightened & all will be good here in Illinoisland. And I'll try to get a good night's sleep!
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
1. Fish sticks
2. All soups-never had "real" soup as a kid
3. Tang-the astronauts drink
4. Frosted Flakes
5. Canned vegetables-rarely had fresh
Most nights for dinner we had meat, potatoes & a canned vegetable. Milk to drink, bread & butter always on the table & sometimes desert. When my parents went to play pinochle once a month or out to eat for their anniversary or birthday we would sometimes eat TV dinners. Most often though, we would eat pancakes for dinner those nights. My parents were "frugal". One piece of meat, you know, the "old size" not the new super-sized portion. Fill up on bread if you were still hungry. Actually I am grateful for that "portion control" of my youth. None of us have had a weight problem as we got older & I think it might have something to do with that.
Breakfast was usually cereal from a box or oatmeal with a glass of milk. Lunch was soup & sandwiches & again milk (or Tang when that came out. We really thought we were cool drinking what the astronauts drank). Bedtime snack was a small glass of milk or when we were older, Coke-A- Cola. The caffeine/sleep connection apparently wasn't made yet :-)
So that in a nutshell was my youthful diet. It kept me thin but not healthy. I suffered with asthma from the time I was seventeen until I changed my diet six years ago. Live & learn.
So...what are your top five processed foods as a kid?
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
On Sunday, we went to a local forest preserve to watch a maple sugaring demonstration. We've never seen a tree being tapped or sap flowing so it was a great learning experience. We started out by walking around, identifying trees & looking for signs of Spring. The ranger then taught everyone how to measure a tree for age & also to see if it is big enough to tap. It was nice to see so many kids there. A tree needs to be 10-20 inches in diameter for one tap, 20-25 for 2 taps & over 25, three taps.
This little guy seemed to like it!
Then on to where they were cooking the sap down into syrup. It takes 40-60 gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup and the energy used to boil it down. That's why it's so expensive to buy.
After the demonstration, we took a long walk around the forest preserve.
Hopefully this weekend we will be able to go up to the farm if all goes well at work. I wonder if Eli is still collecting sap? I would like to see their method. I'm also going to bring them some echinacea tincture to trade for some maple syrup & maybe some butter. I miss the farm!
Here are a few things the Irish were said to do for medical cures.
1. For the Mumps-Wrap the child in a blanket, take it to the pigsty, rub the childs head to the back of a pig, and the mumps will leave it and pass from the child to the animal.
2. For Water on the Brain- Cover the head well with wool then place oil skin over and the water will be drawn up out of the head. When the wool is quite saturated the brain will be free and the child cured.
3. For toothache-Carry in your pocket the two jaw bones of a haddock for ever since the miracle of the loaves and fishes these bones are an infallible remedy against toothache and the older they are the better as nearer the time of the miracle.
4. How to Go Invisible- Get a raven's heart, split it open with a black hafted knife, make three cuts and place a black bean in each cut. Then plant it and when the beans sprout put one in your mouth and say- By virtue of satans heart, and by strength of my great art, I desire to be invisible, and so it will be as long as the bean is kept in the mouth.
Okay. Not going to try any of those! Hope you all have a safe & fun St. Patrick's Day!
Monday, March 16, 2009
1 cup plain yogurt
3 tablespoons mild-flavored honey
1 1/4 cup mashed strawberries with juice
In a medium bowl, blend together all the ingredients,
stirring until well mixed. Cover & chill until needed.
Serve with fruit.
Makes 2 cups
Sunday, March 15, 2009
Saturday, March 14, 2009
Not many people were outside today. It is so nice out. Where is everyone? We usually don't see too many kids outside playing. I think they must be inside playing video games or watching TV. It's sad. They need that connection with nature. How else will they learn how to take care of the earth & respect it?
Steve called a little while ago & has landed at the airport. Glad to have him home. Now if I can keep him away from the shop tomorrow :-)
Make more bread dough & let rise
Finish the gardening book I started
Do more garden planning
Finish looking up stuff for our taxes
Put misc. papers, etc. away in our spare bedroom
And most important...take a walk
Steve won't be home until midnight, maybe I'll get it all done :-)
We'll see how I do. Once I wrote it down, sounds like more than I want to tackle in one day. There's always tomorrow...
Speaking of tomorrow. There is a maple sugaring event at our local forest preserve from noon until 4. It's supposed to be another beautiful day, high 55 & sunny. See if I can keep Steve away from the shop so we can go together. If not, I'll probably go by myself.
Time to stop writing & get a start on the list. Blogging is really addicting.
Have a great weekend!
Friday, March 13, 2009
Here is what I did. This shirt is the stretchy jersey-type material. Just cut off the top of the shirt, turn inside out & sew a bottom hem.
There is a great food co-op in Wisconsin by the farm that has a lot of bulk food. I just couldn't stand the thought of using plastic bags to buy the bulk items any more. These will be easy to throw in the wash & re-use again & again. The smaller one I made for the raw nuts we bring for lunch everyday at work. They are a staple in our vegetarian diet. I am also planning on making some bags lined with nylon-type material from a couple of old windbreakers we have laying around. Who knew that saving old clothes would pay off in such a good way.