I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. ~ Thoreau

Thursday, January 20, 2011


As we are beset with yet another choking promise of more snow I feel the short days press in on me & stretch out into forever, both, at the same time. Winter is a depressing time to live the life of a wannabe farmer. There are no fresh veggies, the ground is frozen solid and buried under frost & snow, the bees are clustered up and unwilling to be seen, the chickens are pitiful mangy looking shivering foragers, the family has taken on a pasty greenish waxy tinge. Everyone is uncomfortable.

The electric bills are staggering even though we keep the heat turned low and the fireplace stoked. It is winter. We are supposed to be cold. I understand that, but the older I get the more difficult and endless each winter seems.

Trapped for the majority of the days indoors I find myself heaving from one room to the next like a pinball kept forever in flight with the thwack of what I should be doing. My motivation comes almost to a standstill like the sap in the pine outside. I feel all my energy drain downwards out of my feet and into the ground leaving me tired and lethargic, pensive and grumpy.

I know logically there are many inside things that need finished. There is sewing to be completed, there are soaps & cosmetics to be made, there is pickled corn to be canned (I hope), there are things to be cleaned and chores to be completed but instead I spend countless hours wasting time on the internet or day dreaming about spring.

I like winter, I like one good snow at Christmas, but then I want it to go away. I like to visit it on my terms. I enjoy skiing at Snowshoe or Canaan, spending lazy evenings at the Purple Fiddle or Hellbenders with friends over good food, our faces all flushed from a day on the slope. I love hiking past the “Do Not Enter” signs at Blackwater, rebelliously sliding down the treacherous icy steps. But when the weekend is over I want to leave winter in that icy playground and come home to more mild temperatures.

I miss being able to walk or ride my bicycle everywhere. I hate throwing money into the gas tank of the truck. I want to be able to walk to mom & dad’s or gran’s. I want to stand outside and gossip with the neighbors at the mail box, instead of rushing out bundled to my eyes, giving a polite nod and rushing back in to the house. I want to sit in the yard with my chickens. I want to plant the spring garden. I want to open the hives and check on my bees. Mostly, I just want to be warm again.

Do not misunderstand, I am not longing for the brutal breath taking heat of this past summer. I am only longing for eternal springtime. I think I would like to go live in the hothouse at the Huntington Museum. Yes, I will be there sleeping on the bench by the coy pond, under the orchids. Someone come and wake me when spring is here.

Much love,

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

To Pasteurize or Not to Pasteurize

I don’t know if anyone else is following the story of Morningland Dairy or not. I stumbled across it on a homesteading forum to which I regularly subscribe, in which members were asking prayer for the company and its owners (some mom & pop dairy farmers) as they went to trial yesterday against the FDA.

I know I am late into the mix and as I researched this on line I was horrified to find out exactly the extent to which these people are being bullied out of their livelihood by the FDA, on the false pretenses of protecting my health and well being?! WHAT!? Um, BIG BROTHER, step off my toes, I am grown and can most certainly choose whether or not I want to eat “raw” (un-pasteurized) cheese or dairy.

I have been a practicing vegan for the last couple of years and I have been vegetarian for many years before that. I have recently given up some of my vegan ways when we started raising our own chickens. My problem is not that eggs and dairy are necessary unhealthy by definition but, instead, that those things become toxic and poisonous after the animal is mistreated and the product undergoes a myriad of chemical processes and is shipped thousands of miles from its origin. Those are my main concerns.

I have recently, within the last week or so, been discussing with Fred the possibilities of sourcing local and organic cheese versus buying soy products that are shipped in from California. Do not misunderstand me, I have no desire to eat Velvetta slices of questionable linage and considerable amounts of steroids and antibiotics. I want to buy local cheese and dairy from a local farmer (at least until we manage to get some goats) and I want it to have been processed as minimally as possible.

Thank you FDA for making that one step hard, or maybe even impossible barring the outcome of this present trial.

Everyday Americans choose willingly to go through the drive-thru and have their daily dose of poison handed to them in a neat little paper wrapper. The FDA is not stepping up to stop them, instead these companies with their countless billions in stock, have a carte blanche stamp of approval. The FDA is not concerned for your health and well being. Wake up. They are in the pocket of corporate America.

Here is a little lesson in politics: The people with the most money shout the loudest and buy the neatest gifts for your “elected” government officials. Hence, they make the laws. They will then manipulate those laws to protect their own behinds at all costs and stomp out even the beginning smoke of the competition’s fire. This is when they go after the small time farmer, gobbling them up, buying them out, shutting them out, making it impossible for them successfully and economically sell their products and if none of those options work they will simple sic their lackeys at a government agency (like the FDA) on them and proceed to squeeze them to death in the court system.

Whether or not you agree that raw dairy is safe, you as an individual have the choice to eat it or not to eat it. To vote by buying it or leaving it on the shelf. You choose everyday to take your daily dose of corn syrup that is doing heaven knows what to your body. You drink your commercially processed milk with its hormones and antibiotics and you go about your day buying and selling.

The people at Morningland Dairy deserve the same rights. They should NOT be squeezed out of business or strong armed out of their life’s work by debilitating court costs while we all go merrily along our way. Wake up people, today they come for the small business dairy, tomorrow for the backyard chicken coops or the home gardener who stepped on Monsano's toes. Stand together or stand for nothing.

Moringland Dairy has been ordered to cease production and destroy all of their stock. If this does not bankrupt them the court cost surely will. Below you will find a link to buy “un” cheese. This is to help them keep their business and stay afloat till they weather this storm, five dollars will cover one package of the destroyed product. I urge you to support them. Someday it may be your turn or my turn. We as homesteaders and family farmers need to watch out for each other, no one else is watching out for us save our heavenly father.


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