Category Archives: Family

Dangerous Christmas Gifts

Yes I know that Thanksgiving is still 2 days away. However, many parents and grand parents are in Christmas Shopping Mode.

Think about child safety before buying that cute, neat toy, crib or baby clothing item.

The Illinois Attorney General has posted a Very Useful list of dangerous and Recalled Toys, Cribs and Clothing that you should avoid buying this Christmas season.

Dangerous and Recalled Toys, Cribs and Clothing

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Lighting, Thunder And Much Needed Rain

Dogs, thunder and bright flashes of lighting shook me out of bed about 4.30 am Saturday morning. I received about 4 inches of very noisy rain. I think it has been 3 or maybe even 4 years since our last 4 inch rain. Winter wheat patches(fields) were in serious need of a soaking rain.

Those that have feeder calf’s will move their herds onto wheat pasture starting the first week of December. If wheat fields are not over stocked can stand grazing until the middle of March. After the middle of March feeder calf’s must be removed if the farmer plans on harvesting a good crop of wheat.

This rain will do little to kick start new growth on grass pastures. It’s simply to late in the year and the weather is to cool for new growth of warm weather grasses.
The good news is, most livestock watering ponds are at or near full capacity. Our pond is full again and I don’t think we lost many catfish due to low water levels before this rain.

The cattle prices are still in the insane territory. Last Thursday at the Apache livestock auction, certified impregnated heifers were selling at the low end for $2,800.00. Some of the better quality heifers were topping the $3,300.00 dollar mark. Un-frigging believable!

Ham, turkey, cornbread dressing and an assortment of pies. My favorite is pecan with a large scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Have a happy, safe Thanksgiving Day.

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GMO Is Not A 4 Letter Word – The GM Food Debate Continues

Kind of a long read, but I think it’s worth the time invested.
When most if not all consumers hear the term GMO the first picture most see in their mind is (Monsanto) developed crops that are resist being treated with herbicides(roundup) for weed control. The truth is this is a very small segment of GMO crop development and Monsanto is not alone in developing GM crops.

Before you go Postal on me, read the entire posting.
The answer is yes. I will and do buy and plant some GM crops. Corn for one. If Monsanto or others market tomato, squash or cucumber plants that repels or kills tomato horn worms, squash bugs or vine bores, I will most likely buy and plant these GM garden crops.
If they develop a crop that is more cold, heat or drought resistance. The answer is Yes. I will most likely buy, plant, grow and eat those GM crops.

I have said this before and I will repeat myself now. In the late 1940’s and 1950’s I heard the very same arguments being spouted by home gardeners, farmers and consumers fearing the development of Hybrid crops.

The Truth is, Nature has been altering the genetic (DNA) of plants for billions of years. In the 20th and 21st centuries, man has learned how to speed up natures GM plant development. Man can now insert DNA to make a glow in the dark tree. Mmmm Is this a good or bad thing?
Man can now remove undesirable dna or add dna to plants to produce more desirable plants. Larger fruit, sweeter fruit, disease resistant, cold or heat tolerant, plants that are resistance to drought conditions.

Plants (strawberry for one) that bloom and fruit for the entire growing season. Produce larger or miniature fruits (mini watermelons). Man can now add dna to make plants more disease, cold, heat and drought resistant increased nutrition content and crops that stand up better for longer storage and are less damaged during shipping and handling.

In the 1920’s Sorghum (maize) was the first commercially successful hybrid (GMO).
Hint: I won’t play word games with anyone that insist a hybrid plant has not been genetically modified to produce a new different (hybrid) plant.
Hybridizing did not really take off and become excepted by farmers and the public until the years after the end of WWII when there was a world wide food shortage.
As an example 1945 (dry-land) wheat yields of 10-15 bushels an acre was common. Today 2014, (dry-land) wheat yields are typically 30-50 bushels per acre. Irrigated wheat crops may produce in excess of 100 bushels an acre. These yields are a direct result of (GMO) Hybrid developments and better fertilizers and chemical weed control.

Here is a little tid-bit for my Anti-GMO friends. Consider this. Pope Francis gave his personal blessing to Golden Rice, a GMO rice crop. Golden Rice Project
Vitamin A deficiency is responsible for 500,000 cases of irreversible blindness and up to 2 million deaths each year. Particularly susceptible are pregnant women and children. Golden Rice has a High Vitamin A content!

FYI: Flavr Savr (aka CGN-89564-2) tomato developed by Calgene was the first commercial use of genetically modified vegetable(fruit) and was released to commercial tomato growers (farmers) in 1994. Calgene stopped selling Favr Savr seed in 1997. {This GMO tomato has been around for 20 years and to date I have not heard of any tomato eater growing a third eye.}

Whether you approve of or hate GMO’s. The real fact is, if you eat you are consuming GMO products. A large percentage of vegetables, fruits and grains are GMO’s. If you eat any product containing Corn, corn oil/meal/syrup/sweeteners, canola oil, soy beans, soy oil/meal/milk your consuming GMO’s. Most if not all miniature vegetables, mini-melons, many varieties of strawberries have been genetically modified.
Most assuredly wearing or sleeping on cotton products, your using GMO cotton.

Before you attack and beat me-up I do whole heartily believe consumers should have the choice on using or not using GMO’s. However should we not require the same standards of labeling for Hybrid crops?

Mmmmm but that’s the rub of the whole GMO debate. How are processors to segregate GMO’s from Non-GMO’s? Corn and soy beans and rice are commonly harvested and trucked to the processor by custom, contract harvesters. Harvesters and processors have no way to determine if a truck load is GMO or Non-Gmo grain, fruit or vegetables and no way or place to store GMO and Non-GMO crops in segregated facilities.

Businesses that process crops, oil pressers, milling plants(flour and corn meal) etc. commonly receive many tons of grain, fruit or vegetables everyday. A business that processes farm crops has no way to identify a GMO crop from a Non-GMO crop.

If you have a workable, cost effective plan on how to identify and segregate GMO’s from Non-GMO’s. How to label processed foods containing GMO’s and how to label fresh fruits and vegetables as GMO crops. Now is the time to put your plan forward for growers, harvesters and processors evaluation.

For my Monsanto hating friends. There are ‘Many’ businesses such as DOW, DuPont and others as well as businesses that develop and sell crop seed that have in the past and currently are developing new crop seeds that are being developed via Genetic Modification.

That should allow you to expand your hate for the many businesses that through their massive investments on research and plant developments both GMO’s and Non-GMO’s feed the world. They are working along side Americas farmers keeping fresh healthy, cheap food on your kitchen table and keeping your belly full!!

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Dried White Beans – Taste Good And Is Good For You

White beans are marketed under more specific names, such as Navy beans, Great Northerns, or Cannellini. Often their containers are only labeled ‘white beans or small white beans’. Though different white bean varieties have slightly different tastes and sizes, their nutritive values tend to be very similar, and they are generally interchangeable in recipes.
Don’t confuse small white beans and Lima beans. Lima beans are white but they have a much difference flavor and are generally cooked, spiced and served differently from small white beans.

One of the biggest complaints of bean eaters is flatulence, which is caused when the body fails to break down all of the sugar molecules. In many cases, simply rinsing the beans thoroughly or soaking dried beans can reduce some of the bean’s sugars. Using the freshest beans possible may also be helpful.

White beans are used in the cuisines of many different cultures. They can be boiled in soups and strews, mixed with rice or other grains, used in casseroles. Baked beans, a popular side dish in the United States, is usually made with white beans.

It is also common for white beans to be boiled and seasoned, then served as an accompaniment to other foods, from spicy sausage and smoked chicken to roasted vegetables and grilled meats. Beans can also be mashed or blended to make a vegetable or chip dip.

Most white bean varieties are typically very high in fiber, usually between 10 and 11 grams per 1/2 cup serving. Beans are also a protein source, which can make them an attractive meat substitute. White bean varieties are typically high in potassium, folate, vitamins C and B6, calcium, and iron.

Medical professionals may recommend diets rich in white beans. Beans are believed to help lower cholesterol, and can regulate blood sugar levels. A number of academic studies have also linked regular bean consumption with a decreased risk of heart disease thanks in part to the heart friendly minerals, like manganese contain in white beans.

Easy Bean Soup – Keep It Simple
2 cups small dried white beans
4 cups chicken stock / water to cover beans or
Optional – 4 chicken bouillon cubes
1 or 2 Jalapeno peppers de-seeded and diced
1 small onion diced
Optional – 1 or 2 cloves garlic thin sliced or finely chopped

Rinse pre-soak beans in warm water.
Saute onions, garlic and pepper in a small amount of olive oil. When tender add beans, chicken stock or bouillon cubes add water to cover beans.
Simmer over medium heat until tender.
Add more water as needed during cooking process.

Serve with crackers, cornbread or butter-garlic toasted bread.
Add salt and black pepper ‘at the table’ to your taste.
Optional – Top bean soup with grated cheese.

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Mint Tea And Mint Jelly

Mint is fragrant and fast-growing herb that compliments almost any fruit, vegetable or meat dish. It’s also a great addition to your homemade ice cream. Mint is easy to grow and is really fun to add to many recipes, whether it be breakfast, dinner or dessert. Don’t forget to add a sprig of mint to your glass of sweet iced tea on a hot summer day.

Mint is easy to grow, however, its roots which are called “runners,” are also incredibly invasive. They grow quickly sprouting new leaves and new plants as they go. Mint will overtake a flower bed or garden in no time if you’re not careful.

To successfully grow mint.
* Choose a location for your mint where the plant(s) will receive morning sun and partial hot afternoon shade.
* Plant in a large patio pot.
* When planting the mint in a flower bed, first dig a hole to hold your large pot. Leave the pot rim above ground level when potted, so the mint’s fast growing root system will be contained. Otherwise the herb will take over your garden and lawn.
* Harvest mint sprigs before the plant flowers.
* To extend the harvesting season, pinch off the flowering buds as they appear.
Hint Mint does best watered regularly and feed mint with a fairly high nitrogen fertilizer as needed.

Mint is a perennial herb that once established will not need to be replanted for many years.
[Thank you Wikipeda]
Mentha aquatica – water mint
* marsh mint
Mentha arvensis – corn mint
* wild mint
* Japanese peppermint
* field mint
* banana mint
Mentha asiatica – Asian mint
Mentha australis – Australian mint
Mentha canadensis – American wild mint
Mentha cervina – Hart’s pennyroyal
Mentha citrata – bergamot mint
* orange mint
Mentha crispata – wrinkled-leaf mint
Mentha dahurica – Dahurian thyme
Mentha diemenica – slender mint
Mentha laxiflora – forest mint
Mentha longifolia (syn. Mentha sylvestris) – horse mint
Mentha piperita – peppermint
Mentha pulegium – pennyroyal
Mentha requienii – Corsican mint
Mentha satureioides – native pennyroyal
Mentha spicata (syn. M. viridis, M. cordifolia) – spearmint
* curly mint (a cultivar of spearmint)
Mentha suaveolens – apple mint
* pineapple mint (a variegated cultivar of apple mint)

Simple mint tea
Bring about 3-4 cups water to a boil.
Pour hot water in your tea cup and allow cup to preheat before filling with your mint tea.
Put about 15 or so fresh harvested mint leafs in your tea pot pour boiling water over mint leafs and allow to steep in your covered tea pot for 5-6 minutes.

* Optional ingredients
Sugar or honey (to taste)
Lemon slice or a few drops of fresh squeezed lemon juice (to taste)

Mint Jelly
Makes about 4 – 1/2 pint jars of jelly

Rinse off (1 2/3 cups) the mint leaves and place them into a large saucepan. Crush with a potato masher or the bottom of a jar.
Add water and bring to a full boil.
Remove from heat cover and let stand for 10 to 15 minutes. Strain and remove mint leafs. Measure out 1 2/3 cups of the mint water.

Place 1 2/3 cups mint water into a saucepan.
Stir in the lemon juice and food coloring.
Mix in the sugar and place the pan over high heat.
Bring to a boil stirring constantly.
Once the mixture is boiling stir in the pectin.
Boil the mixture for a full minute while stirring constantly.
Remove from heat and skim foam off the top.
Transfer the mixture to hot sterile jars and seal.

Process in a boiling water bath for 10 – 15 minutes.
Remove from water bath and allow to cool undisturbed several hours. Check lid seals before storing in your pantry.

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Thank You.


Thank You Deep South Digs blog

Originally posted on Deep South Digs:

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So You Want A Home Poultry Flock!

poultry Chickens are easy to raise and keep. They are mostly quite (No Roosters Please) and are easy to handle. Most breeds are non-flyers. With so many breeds available you are sure to find a breed that appeals to your eye.

Ducks Are easy to raise and keep on a small homestead or in a backyard. They are quit and easy to handle. Ducks breeds range from the tiny ornamental breeds to the heavy meat breeds. Most duck breeds are non-flyers.

Geese Are easy to raise and some breeds can reach a mature weight of 20 pounds or more. Geese are noisy and the males can become aggressive. Most geese after reaching adult weight are non-flyers. Geese are not recommended for gardeners/homesteaders with small children.

Turkey Require more hands on attention while small. Once they are 4 to 6 weeks of age they are easy to raise. Some breeds of turkeys can reach a mature weight of 45 pounds. Turkeys can be noisy and toms are often aggressive. Adult turkeys are generally non-flyers. Small children and turkeys do not go together well!

Guinea fowl are easy to raise active and alert birds. Smiling.. they make great watch dogs. Yes they are noisy birds and are not easy to handle. They are flyers. Guineas will try to roost on the highest limb of your tallest tree if allowed to roam free. To keep them in your your run the run must have a covered top. Guineas are excellent at insect control. Ticks will never be found on a homestead if you have a small flock of guineas.

Buying day old birds. Is the cheapest and in my opinion the best way to establish your homestead/backyard poultry flock. A $2.00 or $3.00 chick beats the heck out of a $12.00 or $15.00 pullet any day of the week.

However to raise day old chicks you will need a brooder of some kind. Unless you plan to raise chicks ever year or two it may not be worth the money, time and effort to raise your own day old chicks into mature birds.

I have seen brooders made from everything that can be found around the house or farm. Cardboard boxes, large plastic storage containers as well as many well built wood and wire brooders. Brooder size is important. Your brooder must be large enough for the number of chick you buy as well as having room for water and feed containers.
After you have decided what you will use as a brooder you will need something to cover your brooder top to prevent chick from jumping out of your brooder. Don’t be fooled by their size. Chicks can jump much higher than you think they can.

Last but not least. You must provide a heat source to keep your chicks from getting chilled and dieing. Use a good quality thermometer and set your heat source so the temperature 1/2 inches off the floor is about 97 or 98 degrees. Low temperatures can chill and even kill your chicks and will also hinder digestion of their food. Brooding Temperatures for Poultry Thank You ‘Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Development’ website.
* Don’t panic about getting your brooder temperature perfect, if your brooder is large the chicks will move closer or move away from your heat source seeking their comfort zone.

Hint 100 or 150 watt ceramic emitter heat bulb – Cost about 12.00 to 15.00 each.
*The main advantage of ceramic heat emitting bulbs is that they will last 4 or 5 times as long as ‘standard’ heat lamp bulbs.
150 to 250 watt heat lamp bulbs – cost about $3.00 to $5.00 each.

Murry McMurry hatchery Is a great source for full color pictures and a short description of many breeds of poultry.

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