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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:  http://www.mofga.org/Contact/EmploymentOpportunities/tabid/367/Default.aspx?utm_source=Copy+of+June+1st+Update&utm_campaign=Enews+Marketing&utm_medium=email

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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: http://www.ManySmokes.com

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:  https://www.ManySmokes.com

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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Recipes / Beef & Lentil Irish Nachos (grain-free)
« Last post by Little Feather on June 11, 2014, 10:40:54 AM »

We’ve always loved Tex-Mex and Mexican food, but since moving to Texas, I may have finally found our food culture. We now seem to eat some type of Tex-Mex just about every day. Tacos, beans, salsa, guacamole, big salads stuffed with homegrown cilantro, onions, and cumin… the list goes on.

So, I’m always looking for different ways to incorporate these favorite ingredients into a hearty, filling dish good enough for my hungry homesteaders. This dish fits the bill.

I roast a good number of potatoes in lard or coconut oil until golden and crispy. Then, I top it with grass-fed beef, lentils, and cheese. The dish is finished with green onions and toppings like avocado and fermented salsa. It’s enough to feed us for a meal and then some, and I can toss whatever vegetables are coming out of the garden next to it.

Plus, it’s one more way to get my Tex-Mex fix.

I make this differently every time. You can omit the lentils, or replace them with more meat. You can use as little or as much cheese as you like. You can replace some or all of the potatoes with sweet potatoes.

However you make it, you’re going to want to try this simple, satisfying dish.

The Players

    6 large Russet potatoes
    1/3 cup lard, tallow, or coconut oil (where to buy lard & tallow from grass-fed animals)
    1 lb grass-fed beef
    2 cups cooked lentils
    1.5 teaspoons ground cumin
    2 teaspoons garlic powder
    1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
    8-12 oz pepper jack cheese
    1 bunch green onions, sliced
    tomatoes, lacto-fermented salsa, cultured cream, or avocado to serve

The How-To

    Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Melt lard, tallow, or coconut oil in a large 9 x 13″ baking dish in the oven.
    Cut unpeeled potatoes into 1/2 inch cubes. Remove pan with melted fat in it and toss in potatoes. Mix to thoroughly combine fat and potatoes. Sprinkle with sea salt. Return to oven and roast for 30-45 minutes or until tender inside and golden brown and crisp around the edges.
    While the potatoes are cooking, place ground beef in a skillet over medium heat and brown, breaking it up as it cooks. When mostly cooked, stir in lentils, cumin, garlic powder, and red pepper flakes. Season with salt to taste and remove from heat.
    Once potatoes are cooked, remove from oven. Sprinkle beef-lentil mixture evenly over roasted potatoes. Top with as much cheese as desired and return to oven for approximately 10 minutes to allow cheese to melt.
    Remove from oven and top with sliced green onions. Serve with desired toppings and enjoy!

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MARKET FARMING & GARDENING / Compost tea is a bubbling bucket of goodness
« Last post by Little Feather on June 11, 2014, 10:03:11 AM »

Compost tea is a bubbling bucket of goodness for your garden, but don’t think of it as fertilizer. It’s a dose of hard-working microbes that break down nutrients in the soil making them more available to the plants.

"You’re taking microbes and multiplying them thousands of times, and adding those microbes to the soil,” says Donald Dukote, aka The Bayou Gardener, who has used compost tea in his Louisiana garden for over three years.

Tad Hussey, manager and research director of Keep It Simple, Inc., which offers compost-tea brewing research and supplies, views compost tea as a piece of the puzzle in creating a healthy growing environment. "When you put on organic fertilizer you’re feeding the microbes that make nutrients available,” he says. By adding more microbes to the soil through the compost tea, the entire process becomes more efficient. The overall soil structure improves with the combination of both.

Some people think of compost tea as simply adding compost to a bucket of water and allowing it to brew for a certain amount of time, but a better way to create a supercharged tea is to add oxygen. This is often referred to as actively aerated compost tea (or AACT).

Beneficial bacteria prefer an environment rich in oxygen, Hussey points out. Picture a flowing stream and a stagnant swamp. The stream is clear and sweet-smelling, while the swamp’s brackish water often has a putrid scent that most of us inherently recognize as a bad thing. Non-beneficial or pathogenic agents that thrive in anaerobic, or low-oxygen, environments like swamps and stagnant pools are problematic. By adding oxygen—and lots of it—the beneficial microbes reproduce at a rapid rate.

There are a large number of systems available to brew your own compost tea, ranging from larger components that make enough to apply to large-scale operations to 5-gallon versions for the smaller home garden or hobby farm. High-quality kits are on the market, but some people prefer to make their own.

"It’s really easy to do,” Dukote says. For his own system, he utilizes an aquarium pump in a 5-gallon bucket. However, he points out the most important aspect of creating your own compost tea is what you use in the process. "It’s kind of like cooking. The better the ingredients, the better the outcome,” he says.

Here are the ingredients you will need to begin brewing your own compost tea.

1. Find Microbe-Rich Water
The first consideration is the water you choose, as you need to encourage microbial growth. According to studies at Keep It Simple, soft water or water from a reverse osmosis system were the least favorable. They’re the "cleanest” in terms of removing living organisms, and don’t support microbes very well. Distilled water wasn’t far behind in the "don’t use this” column.

So when you’re looking for a water source, go as natural as possible. Dukote’s preference is regular rain water, though he notes water from a pond or other natural source that is already teeming with microbes is the best option. Keep It Simple’s research indicates water they tested from a ditch won in this department, as well.

Well water is acceptable, while city water is less desired because it contains chlorine, which can kill living organisms. Sometimes you can bubble out the chlorine by aerating it, but depending on the type of chlorine used in the treatment process, this isn’t always the case. To be safe, try to utilize water from a different source.

2. Make Quality Compost
Choosing an adequate source can be tricky because sources are variable and sometimes downright toxic with herbicide residue if the ingredients aren’t carefully considered. (Manure from animals fed weed-seed free hay, for example, can have herbicide residue for years.) If you’re using your own compost, make sure it’s broken down completely and is created from a wide range of organic sources.

Even "bagged” compost at the store isn’t the answer.

"Commercial compost often isn’t fully finished,” Hussey says. "I usually encourage people to use worm castings of a vermiculture system to be more reliable.” Hussey’s preference is a compost blend created specifically for its complete nutrient levels. The compost he uses only takes a cup in a 5-gallon bucket of water. This amount will cover 1/4 acre.

Dukote makes a mix of his own, as well. "You want a little bit of worm castings, compost and maybe garden soil,” he says.

3. Add Essential Minerals
Soil often lacks a number of minerals, such as boron, magnesium and many others. You can find composites to add into your brew before aerating. The minerals offer additional support to the microbes and help create a healthy soil structure.

4. Start Brewing
Mixing the compost tea components isn’t difficult. Fill most of the 5-gallon bucket with water. Place the compost and minerals in a mesh bag or nylon hose to contain the compost for a clearer tea, and add the back to the bucket. Aerate the mixture for 24 to 36 hours.

"Make the compost tea and use it right away,” Hussey says. Once you stop the aeration process, you take away oxygen from the microbes. If it’s not promptly applied so they can start living in the soil, they will die.

5. Apply the Tea
You can apply your compost tea as a soil drench or spray it on the plants.

"If you want to spray it, you’ll still have to strain it,” Dukote says. Use a cheese cloth or similar fabric to clear the tea of large particulars that will clog the sprayer.

Compost tea is one way to take advantage of the organic matter you have in your garden. Added to the soil, microbes do the hard work to break down the materials so your plants can optimize the nutrients.

"You can do compost tea every day if you want. It’s never going to hurt the plant,” Dukote says.

Making and using compost tea is simple. Choose a brewing system that works best for you, pick your ingredients carefully and bubble away. Your plants and garden soil will undoubtedly be better for it.

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About the Author: Freelance writer Amy Grisak relies on her pressure canner to put up much of the food from her garden. You can follow her endeavors on www.thebackyardbounty.com.

we have a position open in Horticultural Science focused on
sustainable energy. We would love to get a strong sustainable agriculture
person in this position (it's broadly written, therefore many disciplines
will qualify). Please circulate broadly to anyone you think might be
interested. Thank you..

*Position Description *

*Department of Horticultural Science*

*North Carolina State University*

*Position:                        Assistant Professor – Sustainable
Horticultural Energy Management                *

*Appointment:*               65% Research, 35% Academic, 12 month

                                       Department of Horticultural Science

*Location:*  The North Carolina State University

Department of Horticultural Science

Raleigh, North Carolina

*Position Available:*       September 1, 2014
*Qualifications:              *Ph.D. degree in Horticulture, Crop
Science, Agronomy,
Plant Biology or related field or in Agricultural Engineering or
Agricultural Economics.
The successful candidate must
have demonstrated
research productivity through publications in relevant refereed journals,
and an existing record of, or strong potential for, successful grant
procurement. It is essential that the incumbent conduct team-oriented
research, exhibit leadership abilities, and demonstrate effective written
and verbal communication skills. Prior experience working with horticulture
stakeholders and sustainable crop production is a benefit. Postdoctoral
experience is preferred.

*Responsibilities:            *The candidate will be expected to 1) develop
a national research program on horticultural energy conservation and
management, focusing, but not limited to, energy conservation strategies in
sustainable production systems, developing farm, nursery and protected
culture energy budgets; conducting full cost accounting and cost benefit
analyses of horticultural biofuel utilization strategies, protected culture
heating/cooling, and other energy related issues; and facilitating
development of alternative energy strategies for horticultural operations,
2) teach two or more courses per year (undergraduate or graduate) and one
other one-credit graduate course via distance education, course topics
could include sustainable energy management, sustainable and/or organic
crop production, or a related topic depending on the successful candidate's
area of interest and department and college course needs, 3) establish
collaborative partnerships with faculty based at NCSU and the Center for
Environmental Farming Systems, as well as with other universities, USDA,
and the private sector; 4) provide input to NC horticulture industries on
farm energy management and participate in annual field days and commodity
meetings; 5) establish a rigorous, nationally recognized, extramurally
funded research program; 6) publish research results in relevant peer
reviewed publications; and 7) demonstrated experience chairing and serving
on graduate student committees.

*Application:                  *Applicants should apply online at
https://jobs.ncsu.edu (reference position number 00104010). Attach a cover
letter and CV to the online applicant profile, and include the names and
contact information for at least three references. For more information,
contact either Dr. Brian Whipker, Professor and Search Committee Chair,
919-515-5374, brian_whipker@ncsu.edu, or Dr. John Dole, Professor and Head,
919-515-3131, john_dole@ncsu.edu, Department of Horticultural Science, Box
7609, NC State University, Raleigh, NC  27695-7609.  Review of applications
will begin August 15, 2014, or until an acceptable candidate is identified.

*AA/EOE:*                      Minority candidates are encouraged to apply.
NC State welcomes all persons without regard to sexual orientation. Persons
with disabilities requiring accommodations in the application and interview
process please call (919) 515-3148. Final candidates are subject to
criminal and sex offender background checks. Some vacancies also require
credit or motor vehicle checks. If highest degree is from an institution
outside of the U.S., final candidates are required to have their degree
verified at www.wes.org. Degree must be obtained prior to start date.  NC
State University participates in E-Verify. Federal law requires all
employers to verify the identity and employment eligibility of all persons
hired to work in the United States.
*Application Deadline:  *August 15, 2014, or until an acceptable candidate
is identified.
Nancy Creamer, Director
Center for  Environmental Farming Systems
Distinguished Professor of Sustainable Agriculture
  and Community Based Food Systems
North Carolina State University
Campus Box 7609
Raleigh, NC 27695

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Homesteader's Discussion / Raising Bees the Natural Way
« Last post by Little Feather on June 11, 2014, 08:41:29 AM »
Eight years ago, my husband and I began to feel uncomfortable with the conventional way we were keeping bees. It was around the time that he had to dress up in a hazmat suit, complete with respirator and neoprene gloves, to apply a miticide to one of our hives. The assurances on the packaging defied logic. Somehow the human applying the chemicals required stringent protection, but they would not harm the bee or stay resident in their home.

When you keep bees, you quickly learn there is no "standard.” You have to learn from someone, but as soon as you have a hive, you find that you are simply containing and working with wild creatures. Every bee colony is different and teaches you how to relate to it in a different way.

During my first few years as a beekeeper, I followed the rules given by other humans. The bees, however, were whispering their wisdom to me every time I met them. We began to listen and haven’t looked back. Our bees have remained healthy with strong numbers surviving the winter and very low to nonexistent mite counts for several years.

Here are four of our favorite changes we made when we decided to take the turn into natural beekeeping.

1. Let Bees Eat Honey
The dangers of processed sugar to our bodies is a hot topic in today’s health-conscious society. It follows then, that high fructose corn syrup and processed table sugar is an unhealthy food source for bees, as well.

In conventional beekeeping, the honey taken off the hive makes more money than it costs to feed these inferior sugars. Therefore, beekeepers typically take all the honey stores and give the bees a steady diet of processed sugar as supplemental feed in the fall, winter and spring.

If you want healthy bees, however, keep at least 40 to 60 pounds of honey in their hive, and save at least a frame or two of drawn honey per colony. Then when they need supplementation, you’ve got it in reserve—you can simply scratch open the frames and add them into a hive in winter or lay them out in  your bee yard on a warm day. If the bees don’t need it by the time there’s a strong nectar flow in spring, you’re free to harvest it for yourself.

2. Plant for Bees
Planting for bees is a bit like planting for yourself. You need to ensure they have food sources from early spring all the way through fall. Check your local extension office or university for lists of plants that provide both nectar and pollen. Planting on your own property or setting your hives on someone else’s where there is good access to these plants will help immensely.

Providing wide variety of plants for your bees is a must. Pumpkins are wonderful, but if you ate them exclusively, you would be very sick. In the same manner, bees need to access a diversity of pollen to stock their pantry.

Bee-specific plants include those that provide natural protection from mites, as well as viruses and funguses. Plant plenty of herbs in the area around your hives. Some of my favorites are mint (Mentha piperita), thyme (Thymus vulgaris), lemon balm (Melissa officinalis), calendula (Calendula officinalis) and Echinacea (Echinacea spp.)

3. Redesign the Hive
Many different hive structures are available these days, and most of them allow bees to build comb in a more natural fashion. Pre-formed comb can introduce unnatural substances, chemicals and other contaminants into the hive. The cell size in these combs can cause stress, as the bees must work harder to build the multiple sizes needed for drone and worker cells. The pre-set cells on standard foundation also enable varroa mite growth. We’ve modified the standard Langstroth hive using foundation-less frames to allow the bees to make their own comb, but you might also try the Warre hive or the top-bar hive.

4. Hold the Chemicals
If you strive to become a holistic beekeeper, you need to make the health of your bees your top priority. This changes your mindset as you tackle any health issues you see in your hives. Fungi, viruses and mites will always co-exist within these colonies in the same way as fungi, viruses and bacteria co-exist on our skin. It’s only when the organism is weakened that they grow out of balance and become a problem.

When a hive has an overpopulation of mites, applying a miticide is the opening volley in a losing battle. Until you address the underlying weakness, more mites will be produced regardless of whether or not you kill today’s crop. Instead, stand back and look at the colony as a whole. Why are they stressed? Are they too exposed and being weakened by wind? Do they lack an adequate water supply? Once you identify the underlying reason, correct it. There are then a number of natural ways (herbal teas, essential oils, flower essences, or in emergency mite situations, powdered sugar sifted into the hive to increase grooming behavior) to build up the health of the colony again.

Get more beekeeping help from HobbyFarms.com:

    4 Tips to Rescue a Honey Bee Swarm
    VIDEO: 5 Signs of a Healthy Hive
    4 Reasons We [Heart] Native Bees
    Win Over Native Bees With These 5 Hospitality Secrets
    Month-By-Month Beekeeping

About the Author: Dawn Combs has more than 20 years of ethnobotanical experience, is a certified herbalist, and has a bachelor’s degree in botany and humanities/classics from Ohio Wesleyan University. She is co-owner of Mockingbird Meadows, a medicinal herb and honey farm near Columbus, Ohio, where she consults with women and their partners on issues of hormonal imbalance, oversees the United Plant Savers Botanical Sanctuary and operates the Ohio Eclectic Herbal Institute.

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In the News / Sewage sludge Risks understated by EPA
« Last post by Little Feather on June 11, 2014, 08:38:02 AM »
The following article is an excerpt from Chapter 4 (Sludge Magic) of his
new book:

    "Science for Sale: How the US Government Uses Powerful Corporations
    and Leading Universities to Support Government Policies, Silence Top
    Scientists, Jeopardize Our Health, and Protect Corporate Profits".

I should mention that have lived over half my life outside the USA and
am aware that the phenomena referred to has become worse.  Labeling the
nation a "Plutocracy" may seem far fetched but appears to be
(lamentably) accurate.

The fitness of Sewage Sludge as a fertilizer is not the fundamental
issue and the lack of Sustainability inherent to "Conventional" Farming
Systems is not simply a mistake or an accident but the result of the
same phenomena.

The proper role of government and the manipulation of public policy for
private gain by corporate interests is the reason why farming systems
are what they are today.  These issues are real.

Wikipedia's coverage of Sewage Sludge is consistent with the claims made
by Dr. Lewis, although "The neutrality of this article is disputed" (by


For example:

    Environmental justice

    Chosen sludge land application sites tend to be locations where
    poverty is high and economic prosperity and opportunity is low.
    Sludge tends to be land applied where minorities live. This is the
    definition of environmental racism.  In the United States, the
    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is charged with investigating
    allegations of environmental racism, or, violations of civil
    liberties, under Title 6 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The caveat
    is that the complaint must be logged to the EPA within 180 days of a
    suspected incident of racism.


    The term "pollutant" is defined as part of the EPA 503 rule. The
    components of sludge have pollutant limits defined by the EPA. "A
    Pollutant is an organic substance, an inorganic substance, a
    combination of organic and inorganic substances, or a pathogenic
    organism that, after discharge and upon exposure, ingestion,
    inhalation, or assimilation into an organism either directly from
    the environment or indirectly by ingestion through the food chain,
    could, on the basis of information available to the Administrator of
    EPA, cause death, disease, behavioral abnormalities, cancer, genetic
    mutations, physiological malfunctions (including malfunction in
    reproduction), or physical deformations in either organisms or
    offspring of the organisms." The maximum component pollutant limits
    by the US EPA are:

    Pollutant    Ceiling concentration (milligrams per kilogram)
    Cadmium    85
    Copper    4300
    Lead    840
    Mercury    57
    Molybdenum    75
    Nickel    420
    Selenium    100
    Zinc    7500

    There are thousands other components of sludge that remain
    untested/undetected disposed of from modern society that also end up
    in sludge (pharmaceuticals, nano particles, etc.) which has been
    proven to be hazardous to both human and ecological health.


    In 2011, the EPA commissioned a study at the United States National
    Research Council (NRC) to determine the health risks of sludge.[18]
    In this document the NRC pointed out that many of the dangers of
    sludge are simply unknown and unassessed. Additionally "Regulations
    that limit contact with biosolids do not prevent environmental
    processes in the conceptual model such as aerosolization or erosion
    and the death or multiplication of pathogens."

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FARMER'S FORUM / New legal guides for farmers
« Last post by Little Feather on June 11, 2014, 08:29:24 AM »
 new legal guides for farmers
Date: Jun 11, 2014 12:46 PM

Hello Farmers and Food Advocates,

We all know how vital good food safety practices are to our community of
farmers and eaters. But, bad things can still happen to the best of
farmers. Farm Commons has just released a new, detailed guide to the legal
aspects of a farm-related food safety incident. The detailed legal
explanations explore the background behind the law while action points help
farmers move forward with reducing their legal risk exposure. Download the
food safety legal guide at our website.
if video works better, watch our recorded webinar
<http://farmcommons.org/webinars> on the subject.

The beginning of summer also brings the beginning of farm events! From
tours to festivals to dinners, farmers are developing new ways to show off
their awesome operations. But, these events come with increased legal risk.
Fortunately, many of these risks can be managed effectively. Farm Commons'
newly updated guide to "Hosting Safer, More Legally Secure On-Farm Events,"
is now available. While learning about how things can go wrong, farmers and
advocates will also find action points to help reduce legal risk exposure
while having a great time. Download the on-farm events legal guide at our

Farm Commons strives to provide accurate and relevant legal information to
farmers- to meet that goal we ask folks accessing our resources to provide
their name, email address and location. This allows us to efficiently issue
updates or corrections and to get feedback so we can constantly improve. We
appreciate your help.

Thanks so much and a happy growing season to everyone!


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