Saturday, December 22, 2012




The following is an email from The Center For Food Safety.

“On December 21, 2012, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) released an Environmental Assessment (EA) with a “Finding of No Significant Impact” on the controversial AquaBounty AquaAdvantage transgenic salmon.  The FDA action is widely viewed as confirmation that the Obama Administration is prepared to approve shortly the first genetically engineered (GE) animal intended for human consumption in the face of widespread opposition.  Send your comment opposing the approval of GE fish today! (Sign the petition at

The GE Atlantic salmon being considered was developed by AquaBounty Technologies, and genetically engineered to produce growth hormones year-round, creating a fish the company claims grows at twice the normal rate.  This could allow factory fish farms to crowd the salmon into pens and still get high production rates.

FDA says escape is unlikely and that the fish pose “no impact” to the environment.  But each year millions of farmed salmon escape, outcompeting wild populations for resources and straining ecosystems.  Any approval of GE salmon would represent a serious threat to the survival of native salmon populations, many of which have already suffered severe declines related to salmon farms and other man-made impacts.  Research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences notes that a release of just sixty GE salmon into a wild population of 60,000 could lead to the extinction of the wild population in less than 40 fish generations.  Wild salmon populations are already on the Endangered Species List; approving these GE salmon will be the final blow to these wild stocks.

The human health impacts of eating GE fish, which would be the first-ever GE food animal, are entirely unknown, but some scientific research raises cause for alarm: for example, some scientists have asserted that foreign growth hormones in transgenic fish may increase production of other compounds such as insulin in the fish.  Additionally, FDA has recognized that a transgene cannot be “turned off” once it is inserted in the organism, and will therefore have effects that are uncontrollable.

Tell the Food and Drug Administration not to approve GE salmon AND, if the Obama Administration insists on approving these genetically engineered fish, it should require the fish to be labeled when marketed to fish farmers, fish retailers and food companies, restaurants, and when marketed to consumers.

Please take action today! The public has only 60 days to comment on this misguided and dangerous action. Sign the petition at”

I have already signed. Please consider adding your name too.




Thursday, December 20, 2012



3/10/11 – 12/13/12


Rest in peace pretty girl, I miss you.

Harriet was my first chicken and my favorite.  She made me laugh on a daily basis.  She was the leader of the pack and always the one to blaze a new trail. She was fast, she was fluffy, she was incredibly friendly.  I know she was just a chicken, but I was pretty darned fond of her.

A predator took her life. Now we’re going after the predator with a live trap.  Harriet was the second hen we’ve lost to this predator. I think it’s a raccoon, but we’ll see.  The loss of the first hen made me feel bad, but the loss of Harriet was different. For two days after she died, the other hens would not venture away from their pen unless we were with them.

Dang.  I miss that chicken.  Sounds kind of crazy, doesn’t it?



Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Christmas Trees

We live in the “Christmas Tree Capital of the World” according to the local paper.  On my way to work there are miles and miles of trees in various stages of growth.  When we first moved out to the country I was fascinated with the tree harvesting that begins around Halloween.  It’s really a huge industry and it was interesting to see what it takes, and how long, to get a real Christmas tree ready for your house.
They begin as a tiny twig planted in a field.  Seven years later they are ready.  Okay, it is not quite that easy.  Once they reach a certain size, the trees must be trimmed regularly to maintain that perfect Christmas tree shape.   They also tie small sticks to the top of the tree to keep it straight and strong for your tree topper to fit on. 

 Harvesting must be done no matter the weather.  We always have rain, but this year was especially nasty during harvesting. Several of the larger fields hire a helicopter to move the trees closer to the road where they set up their staging area (for wrapping, loading, and shipping). We pulled over to watch this guy and I tried to get a video with my phone. Even though we had a break in the weather, it's not a very good video. But you can see him on the left hauling a load of trees over to the road on the right and then gently dropping them.  It's amazing to watch because the way he sets those trees down is almost like a ballet.  He goes back and forth all day moving trees.


When you go out to a tree farm to cut your own, they will put it on a shaker for you, which gets all of the spiders and bugs off. Then, if needed, they will wrap it for you to transport.  All trees purchased by a commercial buyer are wrapped before being loaded into semi trucks.  When people cut their own they usually just tie it to the top of their car for the trip home.  But sometimes they need it wrapped.  Here is another poor video taken with my phone.  I hope you can see it well enough.


Two of our closest friends make their living on Christmas trees. They give us a  terrible time because we have a fake tree, and have had it for fifteen years!
But it's still fun to go out to the tree farms to pick up a wreath and share a cup of hot cocoa with the good folks that make all those people smile.

Do you have a Christmas tree?  Is it real or artificial?