New Hens For The Urban Farm

New Rhode Island Red hens added to the urban farmTwo weekends ago we picked up a couple more hens to add to the urban farm. This time we opted for two Rhode Island Reds, and once they’re ready, we’ll introduce them to our three Ameraucana hens.

Egg production already averages between one and two eggs a day with the Ameraucana’s. I’m hoping that the daily egg average will increase to somewhere between two and four eggs, in about six months when the Rhode Island Reds start producing. I’m also hoping that the Rhode Island Reds will continue to lay eggs during the winter when the Ameraucana’s tend to slow way down due to less available daylight.

Here are a few photos of how the Rhode Island Reds looked about two weeks ago when we first brought them home. It’s absolutely amazing how fast they grow and change.

After the first week, their wings and tail-feathers had grown about half an inch. Now, after two weeks, their wings are long enough for the little hens to take short flight, and almost all of their down feathers have been covered up by their exterior feathers. So far, it looks like the Rhode Island Reds will have markings equally as beautiful to the Ameraucana’s.

Do you have chickens? If so, leave a comment and let us know all about them.

Pioneer Memories – Family History

A farm homestead

Image by Powerhouse Museum Collection via Flickr

Here we are with yet another letter written in 1943 by one of my distant cousins, Mary Lee Parker, to her cousin Hazel Bolton whom is also a distant cousin of mine. In this letter, Mary Lee gives a general breakdown of some of the pioneers in her family and their experiences. She also retells the funny story about dish rag stew that we read about in one of her other letters. It must have been told a million times over the years. The loose grammar and spelling mistakes are preserved to help convey the full flavor of the letter.

Wichita, KS
April 30, 1943

Dear Hazel

Goodmorning Hazel, Margaret and Richard for I’m writing the three of you at once. hazel, meet Margaret and Richard; and Margaret, meet Hazel (she is your mother’s cousin Jessi’s daughter) and Richard, Meet both.

I also introduce to you all, this morning Deacon Thomas Parker who is our earliest American Parker ancester. He came to America in 1635 and settled at Reading Mass, twelve miles from Boston. There were thirtyfive of his decendants in The Revolutionary War; twenty seven of them were in the Colonial Wars and at least twenty eight fought at Lexington and Concord; and one was at Bunker Hill.

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Genetically Engineered Alfalfa Deregulated

Transferred from en.wikipedia.org http://en.wi...
Image via Wikipedia

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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Simple Organic Clothing On The Cheap!

If organic living is an interest of yours, than the following instructional video is a must see for you. It’s also guaranteed to help brighten your day.

Proponents claim that while you may not be the best dressed at this years holiday party, you will rest easy knowing that you have not only lowered your carbon footprint, but you have also avoided contribution into any child slave-labor often associated with the manufacturing of clothing.

Watch how one farmer discovers a simple way to produce 100% organic clothing using the resources found on his farm.

WARNING: Please do not try this at home. This video is purely for entertainment purposes only. Any attempt to reproduce this type of organic clothing process is extremely dangerous as you run a high risk of snagging your “kibbles-n-bits” in the machinery. There is also a good chance that you will encounter a rather ungraceful alfalfa enema during the process, whether you like it or not. Again, please do not try this at home!

“Your sense of humor is one of the most powerful tools you have to make certain that your daily mood and emotional state support good health.”

 

~ Paul E. McGhee, Ph.D.

Did you find this post amusing? Leave a comment letting us know if it brightened your day.

Is Your Health At Risk With The Food Safety Modernization Act?

Farmers' Market
Image by NatalieMaynor via Flickr

There is not much time, and I highly encourage you all to act now because Senate Bill S.510 will go to vote by the Senate on November 29, 2010. Please start immediately, and go research Senate bill S.510, also commonly referred to as The Food Safety Modernization Act.

Since the main objective of ThePionnerWay.com is to promote awareness rather than propaganda, I will try to differentiate myself from most of the other sites reporting on this issue and let you all form your own opinions.

What is the purpose of The Food Safety Modernization Act?

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Wait, What’s Wrong With My Seeds?

My Trip to Comstock, Ferre & Co. + Free Seeds
Image by Chiot’s Run via Flickr

For those of you gardeners out there that prefer to grow your own fruits and vegetables, have you researched your seeds and do you know what you’re actually planting? Unfortunately not all seeds are the same and some seeds may be hybrid or genetically modified. If you care what you are eating then you have to be very careful about what you are planting.

What exactly are seed developers doing to seeds and why?

Large seed developers like Syngenta, Dupont and Bayer, and Monsanto, are genetically modifying and patenting their seed technologies with claims of increased food production for farmers. Monsanto specifically, is engineering a line of genetically modified seeds with Roundup Ready Technology that produces plants that inoculate against the popular herbicide Roundup, which also happens to be a product of Monsanto. Monsanto isn’t just limiting seed modification to it’s herbicide resistant Roundup Ready Technology, but they are also using a process called “trait stacking” which allows them to produce seeds that are not only resistant to Roundup, but also contain insect control for pests above the ground as well as below the ground. It’s these “advantages” that Monsanto claims will help farmers produce higher yielding crops.

What kind of health risk do genetically modified seeds pose?

In the United States, the FDA Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition only reviews summaries of food safety data provided by the developers of the engineered foods. The FDA does not require any specific tests in order to determine that genetically modified food is safe. After review of the food safety data, the FDA does not approve the safety of the genetically modified food but rather, acknowledges that the developer of the food has determined it is safe. Published reports state that no adverse health effects attributed to genetically modified food have been documented in the human population, but without epidemiological studies, it is highly unlikely that any harm that might occur will be detected and attributed to genetically modified food.

Traditionally, farmers saved thier seeds year after year, using them to replant thier crops. Now that seeds are genetically modified, seed developers have protected the seeds under patents. GMO seeds are now subject to licensing by their developers in written contracts that prevent farmers from practicing the tradition of saving seeds for replanting purposes.  Now, because farmers cannot save and replant seeds, they are forced to purchase new seeds for each crop and with seed prices rising at extortionate rates, farmers are beginning to find that the “benefits” are just not worth the extra cost.

Which seeds should I buy and how can I tell if they’ve been genetically modified?

Because the FDA does not require special labeling of genetically modified food unless there is a “material difference” in the final product, responsible product suppliers often identify themselves by adding their own “Non-GMO” label. When buying seeds, look for the “Non-GMO” label or purchase Heirloom seeds sometimes known as “heritage” seeds. Also, be sure to stay away from hybrid seeds, and if you don’t see a “Non-GMO” label, then make sure that they are labeled as certified organic or 100% organic.

What kind of seeds do you use in your garden?