Genetically Engineered Alfalfa Deregulated

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With around 23 million acres, alfalfa is the fourth largest field crop grown in the United States, and is the primary forage crop for dairy cattle. Well, earlier this week, the USDA decided to deregulate the once banned genetically engineered (GE) alfalfa without restriction.

GE alfalfa is approved for Spring planting, for the first time since GE alfalfa was banned in 2007 when the US District Court of Northern California ruled that the USDA needed to conduct an environmental impact statement (EIS) in order to analyze the impact that GE alfalfa creates for both organic farmers as well as conventional farmers.

What exactly is genetically engineered alfalfa?

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How Green Is Your Chainsaw?

An eco-friendly chainsaw that runs vegetable oil for bar lubricant. Photograph by Todd Bryan PhotographyIf you haven’t done so already, start now and convert your chainsaw into a lean, mean, green, machine. Not only will your garden thank you, but so will the environment.

For anyone that has ever used a chainsaw, you know that they require more then just fuel or electricity. Chainsaws require bar and chain lubricant in order to keep the bar and chain oiled. Since chainsaws rotate the chain at very high RPM’s, the bar and chain oil ends up being sprayed into the environment. Now just think about when you use your chainsaw in the garden, not only does petroleum get slung all over your fruits and vegetables, but much of the oil becomes atomized into the air that you are breathing. Well that’s a problem since it’s a well known fact that petroleum based oil is a carcinogen. If you can smell it, you can be sure that you are polluting your lungs.

So how can I make my chainsaw more environmentally friendly and safer to use in my garden?

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Pioneer Memories – Dish Rag Stew

The Kitchen
Image by Big Grey Mare via Flickr

Have you ever wondered what life must have been like for settlers as they landed in American and tried create a new life for themselves? I’m sure it was exactly like it was depicted in all of those fun-loving episodes of Little House on the Prairie right? Wrong! I bet life on the frontier was a good thousand times more difficult then Hollywood has ever led us to believe. If we just had time machines we could go back and check, but since we don’t, we have to rely of the next best thing. Letters, stories, and memories from our ancestors.

So where do we start?

Well, the other day I was thinking about it, and I remembered that in my giant folder of genealogy documentation, I have a half dozen letters written from one of my distant cousins (Mary Lee Parker) to her cousin (Hazel Bolton), which is also a distant cousin of mine. The letters were written back in 1943 and contain many references of life on the farm, as Mary Lee Parker recalls stories that were passed along to her by her Grandmother (Clementine Desmond Richardson) as well as her mother (Mary Lee Smith). I transcribed the letter as it was written, including the spelling and grammar errors. Enjoy…

Wichita, Kansas
Jan. 25, 1943

Dear Hazel,

The sun is shining brightly and the cold wind has abated so I can be warm enough in here to use my typewriter. So here is another annal of one Clementine Desmond Smith, nee Richardson; your Great Grandmother and my Grandmother. I suspect that your Mother and I knew her better then all her other grandchildren. Your mother, in her middle-age and myself in her old, old age : she lived with us from her eightieth to her eighty-ninth year. For a nimber(sp) of years before that she had spent about two months of every year wiht(sp) us.

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