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Homesteader's Discussion / A Farewell To Backyard Chickens and Beekeepers
« Last post by Little Feather on August 25, 2014, 03:26:07 AM »

Michigan Loses ‘Right To Farm’ This Week: A Farewell To Backyard Chickens and Beekeepers

Michigan Loses right to farm

Michigan residents lost their “right to farm” this week. This is a new ruling by the Michigan Commission of Agriculture and Rural Development. Gail Philburn of the Michigan Sierra Club told Michigan Live, the new changes “effectively remove Right to Farm Act protection for many urban and suburban backyard farmers raising small numbers of animals.”  Previously backyard and urban farming were protected by Michigan’s Right to Farm Act but The Commission has ruled that the Right to Farm Act protections no longer apply to many homeowners who keep small amount of livestock. Kim White, who keeps chickens and rabbits, said, “They don’t want us little guys feeding ourselves. They want us to go all to the big farms. They want to do away with small farms and I believe that is what’s motivating it.” The ruling will allow local governments to ban goats, chickens and beehives on any property where there are 13 homes within one eighth mile or a residence within 250 feet of the property.


The Right to Farm Act was created in 1981 to protect farmers from the complaints of people from the city who moved to the country and then attempted to make it more urban with anti-farming ordinances. These new changes will affect residents of rural Michigan too. Shady Grove Farm in Gwinn, Michigan is on six and a half acres and homes 150 egg-laying hens that provide eggs to a local co-op and a local restaurant. This small Michigan farm also homes sheep for wool and a few turkeys and meat chickens to provide fresh healthy, local poultry. “We produce food with integrity,”  says Randy Buchler of Shady Grove Farm. “Everything we do here is 100 percent natural — we like to say it’s beyond organic. We take a lot of pride and care in what we’re doing here.” Shady Grove Farm was doing its part to educate and provide healthy, local, organic food to the people of Gwinn. It reflects the attitudes of hundreds of other small farms in Michigan and thousands of others popping up around the nation. This loss of right to farm comes within days of a report by The World Health Organization that stated the world is currently in severe danger of entering a post-antibiotic era. The WHO’s director-general Dr. Margaret Chan argued that the antibiotic use in our industrialized food supply is the worst offender adding to the global crisis. “The Michigan Agriculture Commission passed up an opportunity to support one of the hottest trends in food in Michigan – public demand for access to more local, healthy, sustainable food,” Gail Philbin told MLive.

“There’s a lot of unnecessary legal action being taken against small farms who are doing good things in their communities,” said Randy Buchler, who is also on the board of directors for the Michigan Small Farm Council. The Michigan Small Farm Council actively fought to support Michigan farming freedom, but ultimately the Commission voted to approve the new restrictions.

How is this happening in this day and age!! How can we teach our children to grow organic food and have the chance to cleanse there bodies (and ours) of the pesticides and toxins that are used on the large farms and to rid us of the processed foods when “they” take away our very right to feed ourselves!

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Herm & HannaH's Herb Discussion / What's in A Cigarette ?
« Last post by Little Feather on August 24, 2014, 06:37:14 AM »
What's in a Cigarette?

There are approximately 600 ingredients in cigarettes. When burned, they create more than 7,000 chemicals. At least 69 of these chemicals are known to cause cancer, and many are poisonous.

Many of these chemicals are also found in consumer products, but these products have warning labels. While the public is warned about the danger of the poisons in these products, there is no such warning for the toxins in tobacco smoke.  So, how about giving up on tobacco?  Try our flavorful, safe ALL-HERBAL Organic smoking blends with NO additives.  We even have a Nixing Nicotine blend to help you quit smoking commercial tobacco products.  Visit: and see all the great smoke mixes available !

Here are a few of the chemicals in tobacco smoke, and other places they are found:

Acetone – found in nail polish remover
Acetic Acid –  an ingredient in hair dye
Ammonia – a common household cleaner
Arsenic – used in rat poison
Benzene – found in rubber cement
Butane – used in lighter fluid
Cadmium – active component in battery acid
Carbon Monoxide – released in car exhaust fumes
Formaldehyde – embalming fluid
Hexamine – found in barbecue lighter fluid
Lead – used in batteries
Naphthalene – an ingredient in moth balls
Methanol – a main component in rocket fuel
Nicotine – used as insecticide
Tar – material for paving roads
Toluene - used to manufacture paint

People have dried and smoked plants throughout history for a wide variety of reasons. Social bonding, recreation, medicine, and spiritual ceremonies have all shaped the history and ritual of smoking herbs. Mixtures can offer a variety of effects from calming the body and mind, to encouraging dreams, to helping transition out of a tobacco habit, treating asthma, increasing sexual powers, focusing your attention.
Browse through the wide selection of blends and pipes at our new Many Smokes web store:

We offer prompt shipment and reasonable shipping rates.  Feel free to e-mail me with any questions you may have:

Our flavorful organic and wild-crafted smoke mixes are blended with care in small batches and contain no synthetic ingredients or tobacco. We’ve chosen organically grown herbs that are gentle, tasty, smooth, and inspire tranquility. Ideal for rolling your own herbal cigarettes or enjoying out of a pipe, our all natural loose-leaf blends are a great legal choice, and an ideal alternative to tobacco cigarettes.Many Smokes are produced by Nature's Pace Sanctuary, an income-sharing Spiritual Community in the Missouri Ozark Mountains.

Herm & HannaH

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In the News / Farming is Hip in New England
« Last post by Little Feather on August 22, 2014, 06:15:55 AM »
CRANSTON, R.I. (AP) -- Farming is hip in New England.

Across the region, young people are choosing crops over cubicles, new farms are popping up and the local food movement is spreading.

Farmers and industry experts agree New England is bucking a trend toward larger, but fewer, farms because many of its residents want to buy their food locally and its entrepreneurs want to produce it. The region's small size makes it easy for farmers and consumers to connect at farm markets and stands.

Many of these new farmers are young people increasingly interested in the origins of their food and farming, who are eager to take over for the nation's aging farmers.

"The more I scratched the surface on what was going on with the food system, the more I felt a compulsion to act," said 32-year-old Bill Braun, who runs the Ivory Silo farm in Massachusetts. He is not using his graduate degree in philosophy because, he said, he felt an urgent need to grow his own food and reconnect with nature.

He was among a group of farmers and future farmers, mostly in their 20s and 30s, who recently talked about seed collecting as they meandered through rows of vegetables at Scratch Farm's "Young Farmer Night" in Cranston.

There is something empowering, Braun said, about making a statement by farming a small plot of land. He worries about the environmental impacts and other problems stemming from industrial agriculture.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's recent census found 95,000 fewer farms nationally in 2012 than in 2007. But New England saw a 5 percent increase to nearly 35,000 farms, many less than 50 acres.

The number of beginning farmers also climbed in New England. The small but densely populated region is the "perfect place" for farmers to respond to the growing interest in local foods, said Ginger Harris, a USDA statistician.

Squash, eggplant and other vegetables are popular; fruits often cannot be harvested the first few seasons, and the upfront costs for livestock can be high. And many farmers avoid synthetic pesticides and fertilizers.

Scratch Farm, which is chemical-free, has eggplants selling for about $3 per pound, higher than the local Whole Foods Market at $1.99 per pound and the supermarket at $1.49 per pound this week.

Despite what can be higher prices, Jesse Rye, of Farm Fresh Rhode Island, said the idea of supporting local food resonates with New Englanders. Farm Fresh is a nonprofit that helps local food producers bring their goods to market through farmers markets and other programs.

"We already know a great deal about farmers simply through our proximity," Rye said. "These are our neighbors."

Each week, John and Lauren Galoski drive about 40 minutes from their home in Warwick to Wright's Dairy Farm in North Smithfield to buy milk. They said they like supporting local businesses and feel the milk is healthier for their young son. The farm does not treat cows with synthetic hormones to increase milk production and has been recognized within the industry for producing high-quality milk.

At the century-old dairy farm, customers lately ask more questions about the milk and the cows. Teenagers want to work there. Fourth-generation farmer Ellen Puccetti said that when she was young, she was teased for living on a farm.

"It's very, very exciting after all this time to see that kind of movement, to see that kind of excitement, especially from young people," she said.

David Lizotte, 22, took a job there as a farm hand over a year ago to get experience for the Peace Corps. Lizotte said he still may join but loves how challenging and fun his work is.

The National Young Farmers Coalition wants to ensure farming's revival is not fleeting. The New York-based coalition is lobbying for policy changes to help beginning farmers get capital and find affordable land.

With a farm population ready to retire, executive director Lindsey Shute said, it's critical that farms transition to a new generation.

States in the Northeast saw a 43 percent increase on average in the number of undergraduate students studying agriculture from 2004 to 2012. The only region that topped it was the West. Connecticut had the largest percentage increase nationwide- nearly 200 percent, to more than 2,100 students.

Cameron Faustman, an associate dean at the University of Connecticut's agriculture college, said students see job opportunities. Less than 2 percent of the students come from working farms.

At the Young Farmer Night, Emily Cotter, 22, an agriculture student and farm hand in Rhode Island, said she, like many of her peers, has found farming to be an intellectual, physically demanding, fulfilling job.

"I think it's cool, too," she said. "But that's because I'm a farmer."

FOR SALE:  1920's era potato planter in working condition.  Is functional and rusty but still works perfectly.  Will plant 200 foot row of potatoes in 5 - 10 minutes.  Horse drawn or tractor use. Kid's love to work it.   $450.00 FIRM.  NOT A LAWN ORNAMENT; PERFECT FOR MARKET GARDENER OR SMALL SCALE TRUCK FARMER.

                  1920's era potato harvester in working condition. Is functional and rusty but still works perfectly.  Will plant 200 foot row of potatoes in 5 - 10 minutes.  Horse drawn or tractor use. Kid's love to work it.   $450.00 FIRM.  NOT A LAWN ORNAMENT; PERFECT FOR MARKET GARDENER OR SMALL SCALE TRUCK FARMER.
Buy 'em both for $800.00.   New equipment like this sells for over $5,000.00

                  Also, Massey Ferguson 7' sickle bar mower.  Fully overhauled less than 100 hours ago.  One of the finest, heavy-duty mowers ever built, perfect for unlevel ground as it has a flexible heavy-duty belt drive.  3 point hitch or could be horse drawn with a power forecart. $1200.00 FIRM

CALL 573.858.3244 FOR MORE INFORMATION.  If you receive my answering machine leave a message and I will return your call quickly!
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MARKET FARMING & GARDENING / Keeping Cabbage Loopers out of Your Garden
« Last post by Little Feather on August 01, 2014, 07:04:27 AM »
The brassica family—kale, collards, broccoli, cabbage and mustard, to name a few—can be a fun group of crops to grow, but we're definitely not the only ones who love them. From harlequin bugs that devour young plants to one of the many small worms that eat new growth, brassicas have no shortage of fans. One of the more destructive brassica pests is the cabbage looper (Trichoplusia ni), and with some ingenuity, you can keep them out of the garden without having to resort to BtK or other insecticides.

Like the imported cabbageworm, the cabbage looper is small and green. The larvae of the nocturnal brown moth, it gets its name from the way it moves, arching its back like an inchworm, creating a loop of sorts, and pulling itself forward.

Although green like the cabbageworm, the looper is slightly larger—about 1½ to 2 inches long—with white stripes down its back. Moving relatively quickly, the looper feeds on the underside of brassica leaves, taking large bites as it goes. These holes are the first sign that cabbage loopers are in your garden, and soon, your cole crops can quickly turn to skeletonized plants.

Take preventative action against cabbage loopers to save your plants and yourself a lot of trouble.

1. Row Cover
 Because the cabbage looper is a moth larva, preventing that moth from ever laying eggs on your brassicas is the best way to avoid cabbage loopers. Floating row cover, which can be purchased from most organic growing-supply stores, keeps the these moths and others from laying eggs on young plants. After transplanting any brassicas, place the floating row cover gently over the plants and weigh it down, either by burying the edge in soil or laying rocks along the sides. It can be annoying to have to remove the row cover to cultivate and weed, but a lot less annoying than losing plants to hungry worms.
•Advantage: keeps the moths from laying eggs on your brassicas

•Disadvantage: removing and replacing row cover after every cultivation

 2. Companion Plants
 Even if cabbage loopers aren’t a problem for you, pollen- and nectar-producing plants will enhance your garden health and aesthetics. Dill, parsley, yarrow, catnip and other flowering herbs do a great job of attracting pollinators and tiny predators, such as parasitic wasps, that lay their eggs on garden pests like cabbage loopers and hornworms. The wasp larvae hatch out of what looks like tiny white spikes on the worms and feed on the pest, thus destroying it. Other predators that feed on looper eggs and young larvae will also flock to the nectar and pollen plants. Set aside some ground or a few small pots specifically for this purpose. Plant a lot of these attractant plants, and sow them in succession so they’re always flowering when you need protection.
•Advantage: attracts parasitic wasps and other pest predators

•Disadvantage: takes up garden space

3. Manual Worm Removal
 Although it can be tedious, removing worms by hand is an underrated remedy to a cabbage-looper problem. If you cull cabbage loopers a couple times a week, you can eliminate them without much difficulty or loss.

Start in the early spring by scraping any eggs you see off the bottom of young plants. If dealing with mature larvae, simply pick the worms by hand from the underside of leaves and deposit into soapy water. The looper, as well as the imported cabbageworm, often seeks refuge in the stalks of broccoli, so look for them there. If you see a looper with several white spikes, do not kill it. Those are the eggs of the parasitic wasp and you want them to hatch out.
•Advantage: effective way to remove and remedy cabbage loopers

•Disadvantage: tedious and time-consuming

4. Worm-Resistant Plants
 We all have our favorite cabbage, broccoli and kale67 varieties, but if cabbage loopers tend to be a problem in your small garden, consider experimenting with seeds bred to be more resistant to the pest. Consult your seed catalogs for next year's options.
•Advantage: no extra work for you

•Disadvantage: might not be the variety you like to eat or that grows well in your climate

5. Garden Clean-Up
 Once the cabbage looper has survived for a few weeks, it pupates. You can find the cocoons underneath brassica leaves, where the looper moths for the following year will emerge. Till in or bury all brassica leaves before the next spring.

•Advantage: minimizes future cabbage-looper populations

•Disadvantage: time-sensitive chore


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About the Author: Jesse Frost is a Kentucky farmer, blogger and author. He and his wife run a small, off-the-grid farm in southern Kentucky called Rough Draft Farmstead, where they raise vegetables and livestock naturally
Elder's Meditation of the Day / Silence is the cornerstone of character
« Last post by Little Feather on July 08, 2014, 06:56:38 AM »
"Silence is the cornerstone of character." 

-- Charles Alexander Eastman, OHIYESA SANTEE SIOUX
Be still and know. Anyone can verbally attack another. Anyone can be a smart aleck. Anyone can be angry and tell other people things that will hurt them. Anyone can be sarcastic, devaluating and belittling. It takes a Warrior to be silent. Silence is so powerful. Silence can be so loving. 

My Creator, if I get into a situation today that needs me to respond with silence, help me to use my silence in a good and sacred way. In my silence, let me be talking to You and You talking to me. Silence is the way of the warrior.

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 MOFGA Seeks Educational Programs Director- Due July 11
The Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA) is searching for a dynamic, organized and motivated individual to serve as Educational Programs Director. This job opening creates an outstanding opportunity to build on the success of MOFGA's educational programs, and work with a fast growing environmental organization focusing on ecologically sound farming and gardening practices. The director's primary responsibility will be to support MOFGA's mission and values through educational programs and events, and the successful candidate will have an excellent understanding of issues related to organic farming, gardening and sustainable living in Maine. This position is based at MOFGA's headquarters in the town of Unity, Maine. A detailed job description can be found here:

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Herm & HannaH's Herb Discussion / Herbal Smoking Blends
« Last post by Little Feather on June 15, 2014, 07:45:05 AM »
 Herbal Smoking Mixtures
c. 2012, Susun Weed

Let's work with the mint family, by making an herbal smoking mix. Any dried mint-family plants you have on hand can be used make a great healing smoke, especially if mixed with some mullein, and perhaps a few other herbs. Smoking can be good for the health of your lungs and your being.

Careful application of hot smoke and burning herbs, near the body (smudges), on the body (moxibustion), and through inhalation (smoking) are healing techniques that have been used for thousands of years in myriad cultures around the world. If you choose not to smoke these herbs, you may still wish to try them out as smudges.

Visit Herm and HannaH's new herbal smoke blend and pipe store on line at:

Herbal Smoking Mix Number One: Combine one large handful cut and sifted commercial mullein leaf and one to three teaspoonfuls of any mint-family plant. Mix well and smoke in a pipe or roll in paper. A relaxing smoke that is good for the lungs.

Bergamot (Monarda varieties): rich in oregano oil, an powerful lung antiseptic

Catnip (Nepeta cataria): roll your own catnip cigarettes to relieve menstrual cramps fast fast fast.

Horehound (Marrubium vulgare): bitter taste, powerful effect on the lungs.

Hyssop (Hyssopus off.): powerful penetrating healer of lung tissues.

Lemon balm (Melissa off.): liberally added to mixes to help fight viral infections.

Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca): alters perception when smoked.

Oregano, rosemary, thyme, and sage: antioxidant, anti-infection; aromatic tastes; deep healing

Oswego tea (Monarda didyma): minty taste; harvest late summer when in flower.

Pennyroyal (Hedeoma pulegioides): just a pinch lifts the mood and brings a smile.

Peppermint (Mentha piperata): nice taste; nice to the lungs.

Rosemary (Rosmarinus off.): as smoke or smudge, improves memory, wards off dementia, counters asthma, and pleases the fairies.

If you lack the time or live in a place where you can't harvest your own raw materials check out the Herbal Smoking Blends at the Many Smokes web store:

Medicine people and post-menopausal women are the ones most likely to smoke. Fire activates the spirit of the plants and this may prove overpowering for young or untrained people. Each Medicine person makes their own smoking mix, imbued with the spirits of the plants that are their allies.

Herbal Smoking Mix Number Two: Combine one handful each finely chopped uva ursi leaves, cornsilk, and mullein, plus one to two tablespoons of powdered or ground thyme or sage. This is a fair substitute for those wanting to smoke less tobacco; it is more bracing than relaxing.

Fire use sets humans apart. We alone have fire, the dangerous friend, as an ally. Burning herbs is a shamanic action. Inhaling the smoke from burning herbs confers both physical and spiritual healing. The smoke directly affects the lung tissues, opening them and relieving spasms. And smoke carries prayers.

Herbal Smoking Mix Number Three: Combine one handful each finely cut coltsfoot, mullein, motherwort, nettle, hops, and cronewort. Smoke at the dark and the full of the moon to increase your visionary powers.

Some plants have spirits so strong that smoking them alters our perceptions. Happy High Herbs, A Guide to Natural Highs and Addiction Solutions, by Ray Thorpe of Australia, includes these common psychoactive smoking herbs: scotch bloom flowers, California poppy, Mexican poppy, damiana, hops, wild lettuce, lion's tail, madagascar periwinkle, motherwort, mugwort, nettle!!, passionflower, and Salvia divinorum. Some of these plants are poisonous internally.

Please treat all plants, especially these, with respect and care when you make use of them.

From the Wise Woman Herbal Ezine

MARKET FARMING & GARDENING / Why is my fruit dropping before it is ripe?
« Last post by Little Feather on June 13, 2014, 05:18:38 AM »

Shedding Light on Fruit Drop
by Stark Bro's on 05/07/2012
“Why is my fruit dropping before it ripens?”

Everyone delights in seeing the first fruit crop forming on their trees, but, if this fruit drops, so does your heart. Fortunately, you can take comfort in knowing that fruit drop — a premature shedding of young unripened fruit — is not uncommon or unheard of.

Let’s address some of the different factors that may cause fruit to drop and some things you can do to prevent this from happening in future seasons.

No one can control nature or its quirks, but you can make efforts to protect your tree if unfavorable weather threatens. Freezes, wind and hail can cause fruit drop as well as other types of damage to trees and their fruit. If you expect a frost or freezing temperatures in your area during the growing season, you can cover your tree with sheets and even wrap holiday lights around it for extra insulation and warmth. Supporting your young tree with tree stakes can help prevent damage to the tree during windstorms. The best thing you can do for your tree is keep it in good health — like through regular pruning (especially of dead/damaged/diseased limbs) and making sure it gets the right nutrients, which can be found in soil additives like Stark® Tre-Pep® Fertilizer. That way, even if the weather takes some fruit, your healthy tree will stick around to keep producing for you in years to come.
Inadequate Pollination & “June Drop”

Bee on Crab Apple Bloom
Naturally, insufficiently pollinated young fruit will be shed. This can be caused by an inadequate presence of pollination helpers (like bees) during the bloom time of your trees. You may encourage a greater population of bees and other beneficials by companion-planting roses and other garden plants that will attract them and avoid using pest control sprays while your tree is blooming.

Shedding may also occur if there is not enough overlap between bloom times of compatible pollinating varieties to develop healthy fruit. Additionally, if pollinators are planted too far apart, then pollination may be unsatisfactory for proper fruit production. Planting trees within 1/4 mile of their pollinator might work, but planting them within 50 feet of one another is ideal.

Often, the fruit that is dropped is malformed, with few seeds, which is another result of inadequate pollination and other environmental factors. This occurrence is commonly referred to as “June Drop”, which is natural, and also ideal, since the tree sheds what fruit it feels is not sufficient for reproduction.

The presence of disease and pests like worms can cause fruit to drop even if ideal pollination and weather conditions are met. For controlling a wide range of fruit-harming pests, we recommend a spray like Bonide® Thuricide® BT. A combination spray like Bonide® Citrus, Fruit & Nut Spray will be effective for pest and disease control.

Be aware that using pesticide sprays while your trees are in bloom will terminate bees and other beneficial insects, and some sprays may even cause fruit drop if used on the wrong trees, in the wrong amounts, at the wrong times. Always follow the printed labels for each spray for recommended application times and intervals.

Trees that try to overbear, especially in their early fruit production years, may succumb to early fruit drop. Young trees are more prone to drop fruit, whereas older, established, developed trees tend to more regularly store and make use of their reserve food. This food is stored while a tree is dormant and is used in the production of fruiting buds that swell and bloom in the spring. If a tree has not developed a system to properly store reserve food, the fruit that forms will compete for nutrients to feed them.

If there is too much fruit forming, “survival of the fittest” kicks in, and the tree drops fruit. If the competition for nutrients is between the young fruit and the tree itself, your tree will sacrifice the lot so that it can live to fruit another year.

Some trees shed the newly formed fruit to protect their branches from the stress of the added weight. If the fruit is allowed to remain on the tree, and it grows to its full size, the branches will break or bend down to the ground, which could be an invitation for pests and disease. The outcome is much more detrimental than simply having the underdeveloped fruit be shed to the ground.

If a tree is allowed to sustain a vigorous crop load, and a drop doesn’t occur, one result may be that the tree that bears biennially. The tree will have a bumper crop one year, where it produces an abundance of fruit, and then it will take the next year off to recover. Fruit bearing is a stress on the tree, so it is not unusual that, during this recovery year, your tree will not have a fruit crop.

To avoid fruit drop as a result of overbearing, we recommend thinning the young fruit before the tree drops it. In general, it is best to leave 4-6 inches between each fruit and break up any clusters that may form. You may use small, sharp pruners to remove the fruit or simply pluck it off with your fingers.

If you pinch the blossoms off your tree before the petals drop and fruit begins to form, you will also be able to help avoid overbearing and fruit drop.

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