Archive | May 2008

Hope springs eternal…

We’ve taken part in that annual leap of faith known as a garden, yet again. In the left foreground are tomatoes, 3 rows of potatoes near center, and onions, mangel beets & cukes to the left. In the left background are mixed rows of shallots, carrots, radishes, beets, kohlrabi, 3 kinds of lettuce, broccoli, and cabbage. There’s corn near the fenceline and to the right are green beans (including 2 kinds right out of a Bosnian garden, thanks to a coworker) and onions.
Here’s the squash pit. It was a giant heap of manure & straw that we cleaned out of Stella’s stall last summer. After a good going over with a tiller, it was perfect for planting our butternut, buttercup & delicata squash. I had planned to grow Uncle David’s Dakota Dessert squash this year, but somehow left it out of my seed order. We’ll try it next year. We’re already planning for next year’s squash pit, and planning to dump this year’s stall clean-out in paddock 2 to mature into another squash pit.
It’s been so green and lush lately that even 3 cows can’t keep up. So we need to scythe down the weeds and seedheads once in a while. Look at Doug peeking out from behind mom.

Fergus got a new swim jacket. He always gets tired while swimming at Birch Bay, and this helps him stay above water. He got the hang of it very quickly, but the water was still so cold he didn’t swim long. Stew tore off a toenail in his rush to bolt out the back door the other night, and we though a saltwater swim might help. It didn’t, but he looks to be healing up anyway.

Here’s Maggie, demonstrating just how tense his life is. Or is he catatonic?

And Fergus, either doing his impression of Magnus, or maybe a roadkill possum.

You are what you eat – sugar

This spring, commercial sugar beet farmers in the western U.S. will begin planting Roundup Ready sugar beets, which are genetically engineered to survive multiple direct applications of the weed killer, Roundup. At the request of Monsanto, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency increased the allowable amount of glyphosate residues on sugar beetroots by a whopping 5,000% — glyphosate is the active ingredient in Roundup. Sugar is extracted from the beet’s root and the inevitable result is more glyphosate in our sugar. GE sugar beets are wind pollinated, and there is a strong possibility that pollen from Roundup Ready sugar beets could contaminate non-GE sugar beets and important food crops such as chard, and red and yellow beets (or “table beets”). Such biological contamination would also be devastating to organic farmers, who face debilitating market losses if their crops are contaminated by a GE variety. Contamination also reduces the ability of conventional farmers to decide what to grow, and limits consumer choice of natural foods.
The sugar produced will be mixed in with other types of sugar, unlabeled and untraceable. You couldn’t avoid sugar from Roundup Ready beets even if you tried.
But David Berg, president of American Crystal Sugar Co., the country’s largest beet sugar manufacturer, is confident that food processors will accept GM sugar. “We have not run into resistance…”

What can you do about it? Nothing. Roundup Ready sugarbeets will be available in 2008, saving farmers a whopping $80 per acre, and the hassles of hiring questionable laborers to hand weed their fields.

For more info: