Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Tomatoes, Tomatoes, Tomatoes!!!

Everyone loves tomatoes - all sizes, shapes, and colors.  For instance, the Cherokee Purple Tomato.  It isn't really purple but more of a beautiful dark maroon with green on top.  That first year I bought four varieties of heirloom tomato plants from Seed Savers Exchange.  A novice at gardening, the space I left between plants in my garden made it very difficult to harvest later.  So many gorgeous tomatoes.  The Cherokee Purple are particularly sweet and juicy, perfect for tomato sandwiches and canned tomato juice.

The first seed I ever tried saving was a tomato seed.  Now several years later we have our own family variety.  I was told that tomato plants do not cross pollinate but I don't believe that's totally true.  Our family variety seems to be a conglomeration of those first four varieties that I purchased and planted so close together.  My friends, the pollinating insects, took care of spreading the pollen around.  Sharing it.

In my email yesterday I received this beautiful blog post on growing tomatoes organically.  Great information altogether in one short article.  Sharing it.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Monsanto's Dirty Dozen

Between 75% to 80% of the processed food you consume every day has GMOs inside, and residues of Monsanto’s RoundUp pesticide outside. But it’s not just processed food—fresh fruit and vegetables are next: genetically engineered sweet corn is already being sold at your local grocer, with apples and a host of other “natural” produce currently in field trials.

When you take a moment to reflect on the history of product development at Monsanto, what do you find? Here are twelve products that Monsanto has brought to market. See if you can spot the pattern…

#1 – Saccharin

Did you know Monsanto got started because of artificial sweetener? John Francisco Queeny founded Monsanto Chemical Works in St. Louis, Missouri with the goal of producing saccharin for Coca-Cola.

#2 – PCBs

During the early 1920s, Monsanto began expanding their chemical production into polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) to produce coolant fluids for electrical transformers, capacitors, and electric motors. 

#3 – Polystyrene

In 1941, Monsanto began focusing on plastics and synthetic polystyrene, which is still widely used in food packaging and ranked 5th in the EPA’s 1980s listing of chemicals whose production generates the most total hazardous waste.

#4 – Atom bomb and nuclear weapons

Shortly after acquiring Thomas and Hochwalt Laboratories, Monsanto turned this division into their Central Research Department. Between 1943 to 1945, this department coordinated key production efforts of the Manhattan Project

#5 – DDT

In 1944, Monsanto became one of the first manufacturers of the insecticide DDT to combat malaria-transmitting mosquitoes. Despite decades of Monsanto propaganda insisting that DDT was safe, the true effects of DDT’s toxicity were at last confirmed through outside research and in 1972, DDT was banned throughout the U.S.

#6 – Dioxin

In 1945, Monsanto began promoting the use of chemical pesticides in agriculture with the manufacture of the herbicide 2,4,5-T (one of the precursors to Agent Orange), containing dioxin. 

#7 – Agent Orange

During the early 1960s, Monsanto was one of the two primary manufacturers of Agent Orange, an herbicide / defoliant used for chemical warfare during the Vietnam War. Except Monsanto’s formula had dioxin levels many times higher than the Agent Orange produced by Dow Chemicals

8 – Petroleum-Based Fertilizer

In 1955, Monsanto began manufacturing petroleum-based fertilizer after purchasing a major oil refinery. Petroleum-based fertilizers can kill beneficial soil micro-organisms, sterilizing the soil and creating a dependence, like an addiction, to the synthetic replacements.

#9 – RoundUp

During the early 1970s, Monsanto founded their Agricultural Chemicals division with a focus on herbicides, and one herbicide in particular: RoundUp (glyphosate). 

#10 – Aspartame (NutraSweet / Equal)

An accidental discovery during research on gastrointestinal hormones resulted in a uniquely sweet chemical: aspartame. Twenty years later, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released a report listing 94 health issues caused by aspartame. (Watch a quick video here.)

#11 – Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH)

This genetically modified hormone was developed by Monsanto to be injected into dairy cows to produce more milk. 

#12 – Genetically Modified Crops / GMOs

In the early 1990s, Monsanto began gene-splicing corn, cotton, soy, and canola with DNA from a foreign source to achieve one of two traits: an internally-generated pesticide, or an internal resistance to Monsanto’s weedkiller RoundUp.

A Baker’s Dozen: #13 – Terminator Seeds

In the late 1990s, Monsanto developed the technology to produce sterile grains unable to germinate. These “Terminator Seeds” would force farmers to buy new seeds from Monsanto year after year, rather than save and reuse the seeds from their harvest as they’ve been doing throughout centuries.
Working hand in hand with the U.S. Government through a handful of key people.....

Saturday, April 6, 2013

GMOs Create Genetic Problems In People?

Gilles-Eric Seralini says the US should label GMOs and Roundup should be banned.

thanks to Professor Gilles-Eric Seralini, the first scientist to ever complete a full lifetime study on GMO crops, a full two year lifelong assessment as compared to Monsanto's own tests that were always limited to no more than 90 days.

Have you planned more research on GMOs and Roundup?
"Because of all the difficulties and deformations its very difficult to continue without money but we have several projects, we don’t want to put our arms down. We have a lot of projects to do if we can financially continue – I have 4 PHD students. I have to pay them in order to do some research on trans generational effects but also to measure the pollutants inside the brain, inside the tissues of the brain, inside the testes and ovaries and breasts after people or rats have received these products in their food. We will then have definite proof that they enter into the body and that they create genetic problems in people."
How can your followers support and learn about your work?
"Actually there are some interesting web-sites where you can find all the data like GMO Seralini . I have also published some books which I hope will be translated into English soon. The CRIIGEN website is a good source too."

Friday, April 5, 2013

“The Seed Underground”

"Ray begins The Seed Underground: A Growing Revolution to Save Food by explaining how we lost our seeds. Feeding ourselves has always been a burden for humans, she explains. “So when somebody came along and said, ‘I’ll do that cultivating for you. I’ll save the seeds. You do something else,’ most of us jumped at the chance to be free.”
But, according to Ray, when the dwindling number of farmers who stayed on the land gave up on saving seeds and embraced hybridization, genetically modified organisms, and seed patents in order to make money, we became slaves to multinational corporations like Monsanto and Syngenta, which now control our food supply.
In 2007, 10 companies owned 67 percent of the seed market. These corporations control the playing field, because they influence the government regulators. They’ve been known to snatch up little-known varieties of seeds, patent them, and demand royalties from farmers whose ancestors have grown the crops for centuries. The result is that our seeds are disappearing, and we miss out on the exquisite tastes and smells of an enormous variety of fruits and vegetables. More alarmingly, “we strip our crops of the ability to adapt to change and we put the entire food supply at risk,” Ray writes. “The more varieties we lose, the closer we slide to the tipping point of disaster.”
However, The Seed Underground is not a grim story. It’s a story about seeds, after all, which Ray calls “the most hopeful thing in the world.” Moreover, it’s a story about a handful of quirky, charismatic, “quiet, under-the-radar” revolutionaries, who harvest and stow seeds in the back of refrigerators and freezers across America."

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Monday, March 25, 2013

When One Lie + Another Lie = ‘Honesty’

In an article, entitled 

Big Dairy Petitions FDA to Allow Unlabeled Use of Aspartame in Dairy Products

written by Dr. Mercola the latest food assaulted with the threat of mislabeling is dairy products. 
"The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) and the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) have filed a petition with the FDA1 requesting the agency “amend the standard of identity” for milk and 17 other dairy products. This was done to provide for the use of any safe and suitable sweetener as an optional ingredient — including non-nutritive sweeteners such as aspartame to deceive you by not having to indicate its use on the label."

"Artificial sweeteners are allowed to be added, but must currently be listed on the label. Quoting Section 130.10 of the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act of 1990, the IDFA and NMPF claim no extra labeling is required for artificial sweeteners because sugar is added to milk without labeling it, and 'the modified food is not inferior in performance,' and 'reduced calories are not attractive to children.'"

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Nemo, a Special Snow Storm?

High blasting wind, snow measured in inches per hour, loss of visibility, flashes of lightning?
My cell phone just announced a Blizzard Warning with alarm noises!
Why does this storm have a name?

Certainly cute even with that angry face.

  I tell a story of a special storm with no name just The Snow Storm, December 1971.  Everything we owned stuffed into a '55 Chevy.  Nine dollars and a Standard Oil credit card, this was our third move since August when Jennifer was born.  Tennessee, Georgia, Missouri, and now to Minnesota.  Between Missouri and Minnesota is Iowa where corn grows and dirt blows in the summer.  In winter however, snow blows.  Lots of snow.  Feet of snow.

 The morning started with promise.  A bright, cloudless sky.  Decently comfortable for a winter day.  Al, me, baby Jennifer, and Inga, our miniature black and tan Dachshund piled into the car.  In seven or eight hours we'd  see our friends in Minnesota where a job and house waited for us.  Traveling with a nursing baby isn't difficult.  Don't need to stop for meals.  Changing diapers...cloth tricky though.  But we should be there by tonight so a plastic bag to hold the dirties is sufficient.

 Half way there the sky thickened and the wind picked up.  Near Ames, IA, we stopped to call a college friend who warned us of the coming snow.  She tried to convince us to stop and spend the night with her.  No, we thought, better keep moving.  By sundown Mason City, the half way point between Ames and Minneapolis, was still miles off.  The snow swirled in the dark.  The headlights illuminated the trillions of flakes.  We couldn't see anything else.  Nothing at all.  

 When up ahead through the blizzard - lights!  The taillights and running lights of an 18-wheeler.  Speed up, speed up or we'll lose him.  Then his left turn signal blinked.  We were determined to follow him no matter where he went but he didn't turn.  Catching up to where his signal had flashed, we passed an abandoned car off to our left.  He had signaled us to make us aware of the car!  Several more times his signal flashed and several more times we passed abandoned cars.

 Up ahead the lights of a city appeared, Mason City...and the truck lights disappeared.  No tire tracks in the snow.  He had indeed vanished!  Left on our own, we ran the snow drifts in town.  Each drift deeper than the last until one drift would not let us go.  Two snowmobilers immediately ran out of a small building to push us out of the snow.  But they refused to push us forward and insisted we stop and come into the bar.  The owner cried when she saw Jennifer.  "I knew I was suppose to stay open."

 By morning bright sunshine replaced the storm clouds.  As soon as the snowplow passed, we started again. Dozens of abandoned cars lined the highway.  A black Monte Carlo left the pavement and ended up at a 45 degree angle in a huge drift near an overpass.  Who knows where the driver went?  

So even today, as I remember The Snow Storm, I know that angels drive 18-wheelers and God is in control.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Drone Memo

Obama and drones...The paper states that the U.S. would be able to kill a U.S. citizen overseas when "an informed, high-level official of the U.S. government" determines the target is an imminent threat, when capture would be infeasible and when the operation is "conducted consistent with applicable law of war principles."
The white paper suggests that such decisions would not be subject to judicial review and outlines a broad definition of what constitutes “imminent” threat.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Ready For Wonder?

When should I start my veggie garden?

After your first attempt to grow a vegetable garden, you probably have more questions than answers.
 Should I start my seeds indoors then transplant into my garden?  Should I plant seed directly into my garden?  When should I plant?  Which veggies like it hot and which like it cold?  What varieties will grow in my area? When should I fertilize and what should I use?  What soil pH does my tomato plant prefer? Or my asparagus?  Or my blueberry bush?  What is nitrogen, where does it come from, and why does my garden need it?

Let's start with The Garden Planting Calendar for your area from All Things Plants.


Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Single Winter Thoughts

Clear winter morning
A single snowflake floats by
Brilliant dot of light
Sunlight shining in
Greeting and caressing one
Warms the lonely soul
God's love surrounds me
Embracing and forgiving 
Freeing sin's captive