Enough, More and Too Much

Share
Overcrowded tomatoes waiting to be transplanted.

Overcrowded tomatoes waiting to be transplanted.

Sometimes when I’m engaged in a meditative process like weeding, doing dishes or milking the cow, my otherwise-unengaged brain cells turn to rumination. In this case, I was ruminating on enough, more and too much. When do you need more? When does more become enough? What happens when enough becomes too much? How can you predict the future so that you know how much is enough (and if you figure out how to do that one consistently, let me know!)? There are practical considerations to this enough/more/too much equation. For example, if you have too much, what do you do with it? Is it better to plan your life around enough, or should you have a little cushion of more so you have enough in cases of disaster or to share with friends and relations?

If you want an average of 6- 8 eggs a day, better get at least 12 chickens.

If you want an average of 6- 8 eggs a day, better get at least 12 chickens.

That’s what happens when you ruminate — at least when I ruminate — you wind up with lots of questions; when the cows ruminate, they turn green grass into manure. Which is not necessarily a bad thing, as manure is vital to fertilize the garden so you can grow more. However, I digress (I do that a lot).
Most of these ruminations revolve around food production, since I spend a good chunk of my days growing, milking, processing and preserving food, either in the hands-on direct sense of putting seeds in the ground, watering and weeding, or in the indirect sense by feeding my animals hay or bringing home the food scrap bucket from the local school.

Winter goodies for toast, sauces and jam cake!

Winter goodies for toast, sauces and jam cake!

Take gardening as an example. When you start your own plants for transplants or direct seed into the garden, how do you decide whether you have enough to make up for the vagaries of poor germination, hailstorms, disease or the cat that jumps on the seedling table and sends a tray crashing to the ground? Experience helps. I know, for example, that whatever the seed packet says about the germination rate, odds are high it will be different in my garden. Usually that means it will be lower — not a lot, maybe 70 percent instead of 80 percent. But that means if I want to have 12 tomato plants, I need to put at least 16 seeds in the pots, because a 70 percent germination rate means only 8.4 of the 12 seeds I’ve sown will grow. And since I’ve never been able to figure out how to plant 0.4 of a seed, I need to add at least one more to cover the fraction of a seed.

Setting up for seed germination testing.

Setting up for seed germination testing.

See? Plant more in order to have enough. And if I’ve guessed wrong or the germination rate is much better, and all 17 actually germinate, what do I do with the extras? My garden space is finite, and so are my time and energy. So I plant more in order to have enough, and when I have too much, I give them away or sell them.
So, OK, I think we’ve developed some basic principles here:
1. Make sure you have enough, which you determine through careful research, thought and experience. And remember, we’re talking about what you NEED here, not what you WANT — they’re very different.
2. Plan to have more for a little cushion, because we all know things can go wrong.
3. When you have too much, share. Or sell, but I think sharing should come first.
4. Apply these precepts to your finances, your garden and the rest of your life.

Pretty good life plan, I’d say.

Share
Posted in Farms, Food, Health | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Altered Genes, Twisted Truth

Share

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
I’ve just finished reading the book above. Although I’ve been pretty sure for a long time that the official spin on GMO foods was misleading, Steven Druker’s book was an eye-opener. Druker is a lawyer who (along with a number of other concerned citizens) sued the US Department of Food and Agriculture to release its files on genetically engineered foods. In the process, he realized that there was a vitally important story to get out to the rest of the world, so he wrote this book. Among his (extremely well-substantiated) findings:
1. Scientists in the field of molecular biology deliberately manipulated the public and their fellow scientists on the subject of transgenetics. Transgenetics occurs when you take a gene from a species such as a zebra and insert it into a completely unrelated species such as a tomato. Many people defend transgenetics (a more accurate term than genetic modification) as being the same sort of thing that happens in the natural world with breeding and selection. Hmmm — I don’t know about you, but I seriously doubt that mama zebras are birthing tomatoes. By the way, this was long before Monsanto got into the picture and started manipulating foods. Once Monsanto got on the bandwagon, however, the picture got blacker and blacker.
2. The scientists in favor of transgenetics made it look as though there was no disagreement in the scientific world about whether transgenetics was risky. Totally untrue. Those who spoke out against it, however, were vilified, ignored or otherwise silenced — often by their peers, respected scientific organizations or professional journals.
3. When the USDA got into the act, it ignored the objections of its own scientists in putting forth a political agenda.
4. Worse, the USDA actually broke the law in exempting GMO foods from testing.
5. The media colluded in the process (are we surprised?) as did many politicians (ditto).
6. There IS darned good evidence that GMOs — especially in food — are very risky for people, and especially for children.

I’m not going to go into any more detail, because you can read the book for yourself.
I strongly urge you to so. It should damn well make your blood run cold.

Share
Posted in Farms, Food, Health | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Quick Shots

Share

Short on time right now, but I do have some pictures for your viewing pleasure.

Seedheads for next year's calendulas.

Seedheads for next year’s calendulas.

Coreposis.

Coreopsis.

Wild violets.

Wild violets.

Hen turkey "helping" us feed.

Hen turkey “helping” us feed.

Middle granddaughter's sunflowers.

Middle granddaughter’s sunflowers.

Share
Posted in Farms | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment