Skip to content

A New Super Villain Idea for HollywoodCleaning up the Environment

If movie writers in Hollywood want to create a super villain more devious than Lex Luther, they should look to the mega companies supplying agricultural chemicals. Super villains always have devious plans to control people’s basic needs; food, air, or water. Those un-seen, yet ever present, ag chemicals are polluting the essentials of everyday life; water, food, and air. They’re killers.

On A Scale of 1 - 10

It seems that we’re vilifying plastic grocery bags and drinking straws, which have environmental consequences, however they’re not the super villains of the environment. On A scale of 1 -10 they're up there, but they don't rank at the top.

Scout troops and community do gooders can’t walk the roadside cleaning up the chemical residue and then stacking the garbage bags to show the success of their cleanup efforts. Reversing the impact from agricultural chemicals will take policy changes and an environmental protection plan that actually protects the environment.

Policies should be in the best interest of soil, water, consumers, and all lifeforms. Policies should not be politically motivated by elected officials whose campaigns are funded with kickbacks, lobbying donations or solely motivated by the desire to be re-elected.

In the United States the third leading cause of death in children is Malignant neoplasm (cancerous tumors). Could agricultural pollution be a factor?  Studies show that glyphosate is present in breakfast cereal, breast milk, and water.

Take Action

Protect your health by eating non-gmo and organic food whenever possible. Grow your own organic veggies, eat grass-fed organic meat.

There are safe insecticides that don't have negative consequences. Put your health at the forefront of your life.

Bug Jugs, Homemade Herbicide, Garden Dust

If you're a backyard orchardist and garden enthusiast here are three recipes to keep your fruit trees pest free, kill weeds, and repel cabbage worms. Best of all - the ingredients are right in your kitchen or available at a garden center.

'Bug jugs' protect fruit trees by trapping apple maggots and moth larvae. The weed control recipe is a safe herbicide that controls vegetation around young trees and kills garden weeds. And the third recipe for garden dust effectively controls cabbage worms and larvae. These recipes are safe to use around kids, pets, and pollinators.

Insect Traps for Fruit Trees

Fruit trees need special care; pruning, dormant oil, weed suppression and pest control. Here's a solution that's a safe and effective control to protect fruit from pest damage.

Safe, Alternative Pesticide and Herbicide Recipes

Bug Jugs

  • clean gallon jug
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 cup of apple cider vinegar
  • 1 banana peel
  • enough water to fill the jug 1/3 full

Tape the cap to the bottom of the jug (for easy disposal because the jug will be full of gross, dead pests). Place the banana peel inside the jug, add the remaining ingredients.

After the blossoms are set hang one jug per inch of tree diameter. Use wide twine or a soft cloth tied through the jug's handle to hang them. Don't use thin string or fishing line because it cuts into the tree's protective bark.

Weed Control

Eradicate and control weeds use the following recipe, It's is very effective and with a few precautions it's safe to apply.

Homemade Herbicide:

Mix all the ingredients together. 20% vinegar is available at farm and garden supply stores or through online retailers. 

Wear gloves and eye protection, 20% vinegar can burn on contact.

When applying  in small areas, or to kill weeds in close proximity to desirable plants, use a dish sponge wand filled with this solution. Wipe the leaves of undesirable plants.

For larger areas use with a garden sprayer.

Apply in dry, warm weather. A second application may be necessary for tougher weeds.

Be careful - this mixture will kill all plants, both desirables and weeds.

Safe, Alternative Pesticide and Herbicide RecipesControl Garden Pests

The final recipe is for controlling garden pests, especially cabbage worms.

Garden Dust

  • 1 cup Diatomaceous earth or all-purpose flour
  • 3 TBS Cayenne pepper

Sift the ingredients together and apply with a garden duster or use a screen sifter (your kids sandbox sifter works great for this) dust plants in the morning while they're wet with dew.

Diatomaceous earth is available at garden centers, farm supply stores and online. It will repel a larger variety of pests than household flour, but we've been successful using both.

Apply this mixture a couple of times per week or after it rains.

These three recipes are a practical and powerful alternative to harsh chemicals.

Happy Gardening!

 

World Bee Day

Every third spoonful of food is dependent on pollinators. That's why it's important to honor them.

 

 

Here are some Bee Facts:

  • One bee produces 1/12 teaspoon of honey in it's lifetime
  • 40% of invertebrate pollinators, primarily bees and butterflies, are facing extinction
  • Bees pollinate as many as 170,000 plant species
  • The majority of pollinators are wild, including over 20,000 species of bees
  • 87 of the leading food crops worldwide are dependent on pollinators
  • Pollinators affect 35% of global agricultural land
  • In the last 50 years agricultural production that's dependent on pollinators increased by 300%

A New Type of Hive

Here in Iowa the winter took it's toll on honey bees. Some beekeepers lost  90%  of their bees.

World Bee Day

We're using Apimaye Hives. These bee friendly, Langstroth style hives are insulated and have a great winter feeding system. The top feeders are easily opened without disturbing the bees or causing heat loss to the hive. Because the Apimaye hive is so well insulated the bees are building brood faster than in past years.

You Can Make a Difference

Make every day World Bee Day by protecting pollinators, use bee friendly products and supporting local honey producers.

Related Posts:

Healing the Earth

Healing with Honey

Happy Earth Day!

 Actively participate in healing the earth.
Here's what you can do:
  • Don't use pesticides
  • Don't use herbicides
  • Plant bee friendly plants
  •  Permanent pastures cool the earth and prevent erosion
  • Support Grass-based farms
  • If you're buying non-dairy milks; almond, soy, cashew, etc. buy organic
  • One grass-fed steer has the power to heal the earth

Bee Deaths- A Lethal Combination

Bee expert Reed Johnson of The Ohio State University, with support from the Almond Board of California, determined the cause of bee deaths in about 80,000 colonies brought in to pollinate almond trees.
The deaths and deformed brood were caused by a combination of fungicides and pesticides. Each product was deemed "safe" for honey bees.
However, when combined, these products turned lethal. 5% of the bees brought in to pollinate the 2014 almond crop died.
Bee Deaths - A Lethal Combination

One person can make a difference. Be the one!

the best brooder for starting chicksMaking a Protein Tub Brooder for Starting Chicks

*This article appeared in Tractor Supply Company's, Out Here Magazine*

Murphy's Law of Farming states that, 'The minute your chicks arrive in the spring so will a cold front'. Making a protein tub brooder keeps chicks warm and healthy.  A protein tub brooder is a more efficient solution than hanging brooder lights, and a protein tub brooder keeps the heat where it should be; surrounding the chicks. They also create a draft free area with plenty of ventilation.

For years we started chicks under hanging heat lamps. The electric bill reflected the inefficiency.

It's important to have more than one protein tub brooder in case the light in one of them burns out there's another warm area for the chicks.

Each protein tub comfortably houses 10 chicks.

If you're starting turkeys read this to prevent early poult flip over

 Supplies:

  •  2 recycled protein tubs or Two muck buckets
  •  2 Brooder Light fixture with wire lamp guard
  •   Lightweight chain
  •  2 *100-watt incandescent bulb or low-wattage heat lamp ( 1 for each bucket)
  •  Pine shavings

* Rough Service incandescent bulbs NOT LED or compact fluorescent

Tools:

  • Black permanent marker
  • sharp knife, jig saw, or drill with 4” hole saw

Instructions:

Wash the protein tub or protein tub.
Flip the protein tub over and trace the outline of the brooder light in the center of the bucket's bottom.
Use a sharp knife or jig saw to cut along the outline. Cut the opening slightly smaller than the outline so the brooder light sits securely on top of the bucket.
Next use a jig saw or drill fitted with a 4” hole saw to cut 3 openings, evenly spaced, around the outer edge (which will become the chick's access to the brooder). Cut the holes an inch above lip of the protein tub. It's important to cut more than one entrance to prevent crowding at the opening. Multiple entrances improve ventilation.

Flip the protein tub over. Hang the brooder lamp from a lightweight chain. The chain is for safety, it prevents the lamp from falling inside the brooder. The brooder lamp should fit snugly on top of the protein tub with the lamp and wire guard sitting inside.
Use a 100 watt incandescent bulb or a low-wattage heat lamp in the fixture. Do not use a compact fluorescent or LED light - they do not generate heat. NEVER use a high wattage heat lamp and Never use a heat lamp with straw!

Spread pine shavings throughout the brooder area, both inside and outside the protein tub, to a thickness of 3 inches. Nestle the buckets into the shavings so the chicks can easily enter and exit the protein tub brooder.

Place feed and water outside the protein tub brooder. The chicks will eat and drink freely and go inside the bucket when they need to warm up.

Before your chicks arrive turn on the lights so that it's a comfortable temperature; 95 degrees the first week, reduced by five degrees each week following. Reducing the temperature is as easy as changing the bulb; a 100 watt bulb (or low-wattage heat lamp depending on the temperature) the first week or two. Change to a 75 watt bulb as the outside temperature warms up. Use brooder lamps until the chicks feather out and the outside temperature is comfortable.

Conclusion

Making a protein tub brooder is an efficient way to keep your chicks warm and healthy. This type of brooder is economical and easy to make. A protein tub brooder will last for years.

On our organic farm getting the chicks off to a healthy start is the key to their successful transition into the pasture. We've experienced fewer losses with better growth rates after making this brooder a part of our poultry plan.

This is the Best Brooder for Starting Chicks!

the bet brooder for starting chicks

Need other great ideas for raising healthy hens?

Check out The Healthy Chicken Handbook

 

https://amzn.to/2Kce0GB

What is your state doing about factory farms?Great News for Iowa!

Iowa currently has over 10,000 factory farms.  A new bill presented in The Iowa House of Representatives, House file number 203 by  Sharon Steckman (D-53).  proposes a moratorium on new and expanded factory farms.
State senator Claire Celsi (D-21) is introducing companion legislation in the Iowa State Senate.
In Iowa over 750 waterways are impaired due to factory farms and chemical run-off.

Show support for this bill by telling your state representatives that Iowa's environment, and your family's health, is a priority.

Here's More great news...
The Rodale Institute is a pioneer for organic farming methods. They are opening the Midwest Organic Center at Indian Creek Nature Center in Marion, Iowa this summer. They will have an outreach and education center. The Rodale Institute is a great resource for organic farms and farmers transitioning to organic practices.

Organic Farms

 There are 723 organic farms in Iowa, ranking it 5th in the nation. 
Forest Hill Farm is proud to be an Iowa organic farm.
We're committed to the health of the land, livestock and you, our customers.

 

 

 

Celebrate April Fool's Day!
Which one is real?

It’s April first again.  Much to the dread of the family, I love April Fools Day.  I dish out pranks pretty well, but I don't enjoy being on the receiving end.

A few years ago I decorated a piece of styrofoam to look like a cake.  It looked good enough to eat.

After dinner I asked Cookie to cut the cake for everyone.  Goober, our young son, got forks, napkins, and plates.

He instructed his big brother on how to cut the cake.  He pointed out which piece he wanted.  As cookie was cutting he looked up at me, "The cake is “really tough”.  He cut through the first piece, and  cried out, “It’s a fake!”  Younger son examined his slice, then he burst into tears.  My fatal error that year was that I didn’t have a real cake to backup the fake one.

I still laugh about it.  As a matter of fact, I’ll be laughing again this year.  Cookie is heading back to Vietnam on Tuesday. So, on Monday, April Fool's Day we're celebrating his birthday.

I have styrofoam ready.

“April 1 This is the day upon which we are reminded of what we are on the other three hundred and sixty-four.”  Mark Twain

They're Back....

NIMBY stands for Not In My Backyard. Well, if not in my backyard, then in whose backyard should confinement feedlots go?

Construction at Walz Energy is starting up again. Energy is a misnomer, it's actually a giant feedlot. They are marketing themselves as an energy company, though. Last spring I wrote about the 10,000 head cattle feedlot in Monona, Iowa. This is a LARGE CAFO facility with plans to feed 10,000 head per cycle, with two cycles scheduled per year.
Public hearings expressed great concern about air quality, water quality, and the impact on neighbors. The Walz family operates a small feedlot at the same location. In the summer the stench is over powering and triggers my gag reflex.
Your right to extend your fist ends where my nose begins...
Believe me, the stench of 10,000 cattle in a feedlot will definitely extend beyond the feedlot's reach and hit your nose.
The liquid manure storage lagoon has a capacity of nearly 39 million
gallons.
  • How Much is 39 Million Gallons?

  • 59 Olympic swimming pools
  • The moisture from a 1 inch snowfall over 14,364 acres
  • 750,000 gallons of water flows over Niagara Falls every second, 39 million gallons equals 52 seconds of water flow over Niagara Falls.
In the fall of 2018 the project was shut down and a fine imposed after water quality in Bloody Run Creek was impacted by run-off.
Remember, Iowa's waterways are some of the worst in the nation. Iowa's creeks and streams are polluted with nitrates, chemicals, and animal waste.
Does the Iowa DNR care to prevent further contamination of waterways in the state?
Despite opposition construction is resuming. This spring Walz Energy will submit a revised nutrient management plan (NMP), The DNR requires that a public notice be published, giving ten days to review the NMP and request a public hearing.
Joe Sanfilippo, supervisor of the DNR's environmental field office in Manchester, Iowa say's he is impressed with the contractor, “I think they will be capable of properly bringing the project forward.”

What Can You Do?

Today this facility is in my backyard, in the future, a similar facility might be in yours.
Express your concern with the DNR, local authorities, and environmental groups.
Money talks, vote with your dollars. Don't support CAFO's.
Stop buying conventionally raised beef, pork, and poultry.
The cost is MUCH higher than the price in the checkout line.
Are You A NIMBY?

If you're concerned about genetically modified foods wait until you hear about genetically engineered livestock.

Gene editing for farm animals is on the horizon.

What's gene editing?
It's changing the DNA, inherited traits, or sexual development of livestock through gene manipulation.
Here's a quote from Mitch Abrahamsen, chief commercial and science officer for Recombinetics, “Today in the marketplace, we have a castration-free swine project.”
Swine will be naturally castrated or gene editing will create hogs that never reach sexual maturity.
“Our goal is to put multiple edits in an animal,” says Abrahamsen. “I'm interested in using editing to knock out the germ cell, or testes...”

Recombinetics already has commercial deals with Hendrix Genetics, DNA Swine Genetics, and Semex, a Canadian dairy AI cooperative.

The team that's working on gene editing has a plan to market gene edited animals so that consumers will embrace the new traits without objection. Recombinetics doesn't want the negative stigma that GMO technology has. In other words the spin will be on disease free livestock, less methane producing digestion, and humane animal husbandry (no need to castrate pigs - they're testes free).

In my opinion, I'd rather have livestock that's mechanically castrated than livestock whose genes are altered to render them testes free. If you'd like more info check out Successful Farming Magazine, November 2018 or
click this link

Try organic, grass-fed meat - It's healthier and better for the environment.

I Can't Make This Stuff UP

Are you a typical American?

Americans spend 43% of their food budgets eating out or getting take-out.
In 1985 it was 41% - BethKobliner

Change what you eat.

What if for one month you got the entire family involved in meal planning, shopping, and food prep.

Give the kids a cookbook and let them choose the menu and write the shopping list.

When my sister and I were kids we enjoyed, Betty Crocker's Boys and Girls Cookbook. We made fun, easy recipes.
Our boys loved Roald Dahl's books. They recreated the recipes from Roald Dahl's Revolting Recipes cookbook.

Your family will share delicious meals and quality time together. Cooking at home is healthier, less expensive, and fun.

Avoid health risks by avoiding chain restaurants

Beef with a Side of Antibiotics-

Two burger chains, Shake Shack and BurgerFi, serve beef without the routine use of antibiotics. These are the only two restaurants to earn an “A” on the Chain Reaction scorecard. This is the fourth annual scorecard released by six major consumer and environmental organizations. 22 of the top 25, including McDonalds got an “F” grade because they don't have a policy restricting antibiotic use in their beef.

Public health experts warn that the widespread use of antibiotics in meat production is rendering antibiotics less effective by creating drug-resistant bacteria.
Click here for the report

Better yet, eat organic, grass-fed meat at home!

Food Facts For Thought:

  • Over 50% of the environmental impact of producing beef involves growing the corn used as feed. (hint, hint...buy grass-fed beef instead of grain fed) source: -Successful Farming, January 2019
  • There will be a 50% increase in food demand by 2050 -FAO
  • By 2030, 62% of the crops used the most in any nation's diet will originate from some other country. -International Center for tropical Agriculture (CIAT)
  • Meat Recalls According to a report by U.S. Public Interest Research Group, recalls of beef, pork and chicken rose by 83% over the past five years. More than 128,000 people are hospitalized and 3,000 die from food-borne illness every year.