Last year the Department of Justice and U.S. Department of Agriculture held a series of 5 workshops investigating anti-competitive practices in the food and agricultural sectors. Nowhere are these abuses more prevalent than in the extreme market share enjoyed by the seed and chemical company Monsanto, which has a virtual stranglehold on seed supplies in crucial sectors that has severely limited farmer’s choice in what traits they can buy. Monsanto’s control of the seed market is so high that 93% of soybeans, some 82% of corn, 93% of cotton and 95% of sugar beets grown in the U.S. contain Monsanto’s patented genes.
This free eBook from Off the Grid News tells by 2011 Could be the Single Most Important Year in American History to Plant a Family Garden.
I just checked the date of my last entry, listed for January 31 of this year. Obviously, I have neglected the #1 rule of blogging — “Don’t neglect your blog.”
I’ve had trouble defining the purpose of this blog. Technically, according to “online marketing guidelines” it should lead readers somehow over to our business, Two-Lane Livin’ Magazine.
It should be a perfected presentation, written by a polished publisher, putting our best foot forward and emphasizing the value of our publication for advertisers. (White papers on local print publications, circulation, distribution, etc.)
In other words, this blog should technically be — work.
Well, it’s when I get that frame of mind that my blog entries simply become non-existent.
Forgive me if I don’t try to somehow sneak in a sales pitch. If I’m blogging to express myself, then work should not be included. I work all the time on other, well — more important things.
I have eight trays of seeds started indoors, and have the hot bed construction underway outside and more seeds to arrive in the mail within a few days. I’ve cleared the flower beds of debris and have started my spring mulching routine. Frank has promised a second raised bed inside the “big” garden fence for the herb garden. The small one near the house without fence did not deal well with the deer of winter.
This, of course, requires research on seed types, germination times, planting dates, soil requirements, etc. We’re not “winging it” with our garden any more, and it has become a science.
I’ve been gathering eggs again, and this year, have my official WV Egg Permit, which allows me to now legally trade a a dozen for a couple of dollars. Of course, now that I’m doing it legal, I am supposed to wash the eggs (which you really shouldn’t do) and had to design and print my own labels that cover all previous carton labeling with a big notice that says, “UNGRADED EGGS.” I also have to include the date I put the eggs in the carton.
Right now, we get about four dozen eggs a month. (Yup, that’s about $10) But, I’m getting two batches of hens later on in the season, so I might actually pay for their feed (and now, the labels).
Also, I’m planning to be “active” in the local farmer’s markets this year. I have some bulk herbs, and have planted several heirloom varieties of organic vegetable and herb seeds. I’ve always enjoyed my visits to the Calhoun Farmer’s Market, and the Gilmer Farmer’s Market is also being well received. I’ve been examining farmer’s markets for seven years now, so perhaps it’s time to get off the sidelines.
If you don’t follow me on facebook, then you aren’t aware that I totally rearranged the home office here, and that was a five day project that nearly exhausted me. (It is not uncommon, in the dark throes of February, for me to go manic with cabin fever and tackle some large task out of the blue. I typically get in over my head in such cases.)
But, I needed to do it because I’m also trying to get a local food co-op going for my community — a hyper-local, home delivery type thing that offers natural, certified organic and free trade items in bulk. These items can also be offered at the farmer’s markets in the summer, but through the winter will continue to serve the community.
Oh, and I also publish a magazine by the way. So, I’ve been working on ad design, page layout, editing, sales, online updating, and invoicing.And if I were a professional blogger, I’d somehow lead you to buy and ad right about
No. This blog will be work no more.
This is me.
I wear mud boots, work in my pajamas, and have dirt under my fingernails.
I work late, sleep late, and spend way too much time on facebook.
Today, I shoveled horse manure for a couple of hours before typesetting three articles and preparing to place our first food co-op order.
I’ve spent too many years of my life trying to pretend that I am a professional.
I am driven to learn, teach and create — and that’s something totally different.
It’s like professional… but, without the polish.
So be it.
Hey, this is Two-Lane Livin’. Thus shall be Two-Lane Bloggin’.
In “Super Size Me,”when Morgan Spurlock gets physically sick in his first day of only McD’s, I thought, “One meal? Two meals? And he’s sick already?”
Well, when you clean up your diet and spend months eating healthy, wholesome, non-mutated, non-processed foods — one meal from those pharmaceutical dinner menus will do it.
Frank and I each spend a whole week on the road driving every day to deliver the magazine. Since we’re out and about like that so rarely, we consider it a treat to have easy access to restaurants and shops, etc.
For example, I always do the South Calhoun/Clay/Kanawha/Roane delivery run. One reason is because I know I can get Krispy Kreme doughnuts at The Big Otter Exxon.
We used to eat dinner, lunch, breakfast out all the time. But now, we’re homebodies, and eating out has become…
An Eating Experiment.
See, when we launched the magazine, we also launched our gardens in full force. Vegetables, herbs, winter gardens. We also got chickens, our own eggs – and I began baking bread. Frank and I have eaten healthier in the last two years of our lives than we have in a decade.
But our bodies have developed a low tolerance for processed foods.
If I have caffeine after 11 am, I’ll be up all night. And those Krispy Kreme doughnuts? Man, what a sugar high (and following crash).
But it’s the queasy stomach part that really gets you when you are out on the road.
After two years of this experiment where “diner diarrhea” is the common effect of failure, I have picked up a habit from Hawkeye Pierce on MASH – I smell my food before I eat it.
I have identified a scent that tells me, “Don’t eat that.”
I consider it a survival skill.
We deliver to sixteen counties in Central West Virginia, and I know every restaurant and diner along the way. (I also know all the cleanest bathrooms on every route.) In some, I pick up the scent the minute I walk in the door. In others, it wafts up from the cottage cheese, or the soup.
The sight of an all-the-processed-food-you-can-eat buffet is enough to make my nose and stomach both turn in self-defense.
I don’t want to be this way. Believe me, I come from a long line of buffet grazers. I LIKE crab salad, fried shrimp and instant mashed potatoes smothered in margarine that is only one molecule off from being plastic. I LIKE pre-made pies of pudding on graham cracker crust and nachos smothered in processed cheese.
I just… can’t…. eat it any more.
I also can’t eat much microwaved food.
We haven’t used a microwave in our home for three years. A friend of mine gave me an article on microwaved foods and after that I just couldn’t eat anything I cooked in the thing. We eventually just gave it away. I heat everything on the stove or in the oven now. We dirty a lot more dishes without a microwave, but other than that? We don’t really need it.
I can tell if my bun and burger have been nuked. I can tell by the look if food has been zapped.
I ordered a corn dog once, and they microwaved it. A corn dog. Isn’t there some chef’s rule that says a corn dog is a FRIED food? I mean really, if I’m risking stomach cramps later today with my choice of junk food, shouldn’t it automatically include GREASE?
Some things, like corn dogs and doughnuts, I love so much I don’t care if I’m going to get sick. I’ll risk it all for a bite of Bavarian creme or a taco pizza or salad.
But I can’t if it has that smell. Even still, there are times when I don’t catch it. But after two years on these delivery runs (no pun intended), I pretty much know what/where I can eat.
I also can name the cleanest bathrooms in sixteen counties.