Counting Blessings, Cutting Loses, Culling Critters

A respite from the heat, but still no rain. We surveyed our fenced land for grazing and have come to the sad conclusion that our intention last year to grow the herd will not be achieved in the near future.

Seemed like the right thing to do, growing the herd, considering food inflation and especially high meat prices, and the fact that Hubby is here full-time now, and that more bartering/trading could be in the foreseeable future. But, the parched land screams otherwise.

Between the steeply rising cost of feed and the meager forage available, and no guarantees the stranglehold of the weather terrorists will let up any time soon, we come to some difficult decisions.

We will wait another year to freshen the goats, drastically reduce the number of sheep, and breed back only one sow. We will maintain the poultry flock as-is for the most part, but had hoped to add ducks once again to the mix. No rain means fewer bugs means more supplemental feed. So that plan is not looking too good now either.

Planned building projects are also getting postponed. A ‘milking parlor’ was on the list, some much-needed repairs to the deck, rebuilding the greenhouse, a field shelter for the herd, and on and on, plans are easy, implementation, not so much!

We are blessed with an already achieved minimalism: Living seasonally, frugally, well-acquainted with the boom-bust cycles of our overlords and still small enough to be flexible, and with enough local support to know we’ve got each other.

Our most crucial long-term goal remains: Growing our own feed—perennials as well as annuals.

We hear the word ‘sustainable’ repeated multiple times a day these days, but there’s rarely anything truly sustainable being suggested.

It’s 99% hype and green washing. But actual sustainability does exist, and the more self-reliant we can be, the closer we are to achieving it.

How do we measure up?

And it’s not like there’s not plenty for us still to do and learn here, even with squeezing the belt tighter.

I’m still very interested in herbalism, especially as it pertains to our local environment. The best things in life are free, or nearly so, no?!

And while I do appreciate the allure of the consumer life, I’m far more fascinated by the natural world all around me. It’s always a matter of slowing down, observing ever more closely, teasing out the potential of all that is all around me, and some of that certainly means our local community, but that doesn’t just mean the people.

I’d love to learn more wild crafts, as well as more fine art tuning; more science, and more speculation; and much, much more about where and how these endeavors mesh.

There is a different brand of “More!”, isn’t there, than the furious Billy Idol sang about?

Or, maybe it’s all the same, in the midnight hour?

It’s the System, Stupid

To me this entire story positively reeks of stagecraft. But, even if we take it at face value it demonstrates how screwed up our food system really is.

MONDAY, JAN. 26, 2015 PHOTO In this Monday, Jan. 26, 2015 photo, cows are milked on one of the carousels in a milking parlor on the Fair Oaks Farms in Fair Oaks, Ind. Fairlife, which is rolling out nationally in coming weeks, is the product of a joint venture between Select Milk Producers, a dairy cooperative, and Coca-Cola. The product is filtered to have more protein and less sugar than regular milk. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

Here’s the story in tiny nutshell: The McCloskeys were sued for animal cruelty at their dairy farm following an undercover employee’s secretly videotaping several instances with four workers involved. Now a settlement has been reached:

Completely denatured milk sold as natural, tasty and healthy

The Fairlife ads, cartoon milk dresses.
Classy.

A $21 million Settlement has been reached in a class action lawsuit filed against Defendants The Coca-Cola Company (“TCCC”), fairlife, LLC (“fairlife”), Fair Oaks Farms, LLC (“FOF”), Mike McCloskey and Sue McCloskey (“the McCloskeys”), and Select Milk Producers, Inc. (“Select”), relating to fairlife and FOF Milk Products. The lawsuit alleges that Defendants falsely labeled and marketed certain dairy products produced using milk from cows that were allegedly not treated humanely. Defendants deny all allegations and have settled this lawsuit to avoid further litigation.

The Court has not decided who is right.You may submit a Claim Form to receive 25% of the average retail purchase price, up to $100, for your purchases of fairlife Milk Products and FOF Milk Products, if the products were purchased for personal use and not for resale, and were purchased on or before April 27, 2022. Claim Forms submitted without Valid Proof of Purchase will be capped at a Cash Award of up to $20 and Claim Forms submitted with Valid Proof of Purchase will be capped at a Cash Award of up to $80, subject to certain adjustments (upward and downward) depending on the number of claims submitted.

So, there’s video evidence, but the Court has not decided who is right. Must be so confusing, poor kids.

But you get some money anyway if you can come up with your milk purchase receipt, potentially from 2015. Brilliant.

In an interview the McCloskeys talk about all the fantastic improvements they’ve made to garner public trust once again in their dairy products since the video’s release, and the broad coverage of ‘the scandal’ by MSM (I do believe they neglected to mention the product line was owned by Coca-Cola, but I may have missed that part and really do not care to re-listen. It was annoying enough the first time listening to Mike Rowe pander to these creeps).

What I did hear in the interview was how proud the McCloskeys are now of their complete video surveillance system, how they are well on the road to becoming ‘Net Zero’ so that they can help curb climate change as responsible business owners, and how very excited they were to see the gleam in the eye of the school children who came there to tour their facilities and were so thrilled to see cows being milked by carousel machine.

Now they might grow up to become mechanical engineers, Mrs. McCloskey beamed!

I’m so excited for our Green future too, aren’t you?!

Fun With Goats

No, I don’t mean Goat Yoga, that’s just dumb.

Really, yoga’s not enough torture for you, you need hooves to the spine, too?!

We love our goats, but not inside, duh.

New screenplay idea: Goats Who Stare At Men!

Because of the heat and drought the best forage is close to the house, where we are regularly watering. It’s good for the goats, and for us it makes for better entertainment than most TV. There are drawbacks though. Like they eat pretty much all the plants, not just the ones we want them to eat.

And they tend to follow me around, waiting for the extra special treats I bring them from the garden, like their favorite, sweet potato vines and morning glory.

Feeding frenzy

And they want to climb on everything.

Going out on a limb
Just out of reach!
“I’m too sexy for this grass”

Our once somewhat peaceful morning coffee now attracts a team of show-offs. (I don’t think Bubba approves, considering what they do to his bed.) They do giant leaps off the deck, too, that look a lot like the tricks snowboarders do, but not on cue, unfortunately.

Please feel free to enjoy 2 minutes of Chez Kensho programming!

Homestead Happenings

Just posting some happy snaps to distract our attention away from all that’s dying in the garden. And the fact that the hens have mostly stopped laying, our oldest goat is looking dangerously thin, the grass has turned crispy, and there’s no end in sight.

Bubba trying to keep cool

Still, the kids are growing like weeds.

Walnut’s nearly as big as her mama already (back left) and even little Athena (front) is catching up to the rest of the kids.
Morning glory, another goat favorite

The birds and the bees are still doing their thing while we can’t manage to stay outside past 11 am.

Unfortunately, so are the ants. The leaf-cutters are slowly destroying our young fruit trees. Only the more mature pear is escaping their attack.

Almost ready, fingers crossed!

Plants are simply amazing. The purslane and arugula are growing fine and make a great pesto. The sweet potato vines are a goat favorite, the okra’s just coming in, the peppers and watermelons are still hanging in there.

The zucchini hasn’t given up either, and somehow we still have broccoli that’s not bitter.

Just as the old cucumbers got bitter, the new volunteer is producing like crazy. Not too shabby! 😁

Homestead Happenings

Time to wine!

It’s hot. It’s dry. It’s miserable. Every day we enter the garden and the orchard knowing we’ll find something else dead.

First it was the tomatoes, then the salad cucumbers and cantaloupe, now it looks like even the tomatillos are giving up before ever producing well. The squashes are all struggling and the peppers and figs are mostly stalled.

I wish that meant it was time to rest on our laurels and have some long, slow and sweet indoor days of movie marathons and Kombucha cocktails.

But no such luck, because it’s time for making wine!

Our painstakingly cultivated Muscadine grapes are not doing well, we expect a minimal harvest, at best.

But, the native Mustang grapes are a lot tougher, apparently.

So, fortunately! We’re still able to make some wine and jam.

Did I mention it’s really F’ing HOT? And dry?

I’d whine a lot more, except I keep going back to the miracle of all the critters and plants who can take it so much better than we can. Though, I know they are struggling too, and are just less whiney than I am.

And just for those keeping track, the ‘chemtrails’ have not abated.

Rebel Canning?!

Drama in the canning community? This sounds serious. Especially now that it’s coming home to roost.

Or is that roast?

Yes, now that Hubby has enthusiastically taken up canning, there’s trouble brewing in Kensho paradise.

It’s not only that he dominates our small kitchen for hours on end, heats up the house with his fancy pressure canner, or is filling every conceivable space with his jars. It’s not even that’s he’s far better at it than I ever was.

No, I’m generous that way, perfectly willing to share in the glory.

I am, however, growing weary of his methodology. His modern, high-tech, USDA, strictly by the book, precision style is beginning to conflict with my laissez-faire, look how the old timers did it, just wing it attitude.

I suggested we try the ‘Open Kettle Method’, which for the record is taken directly from my 1933 Kerr Home Canning Guide.

He quips, “No way, it’s not approved.”

Huh?

And I’ve just learned we’re not alone in this clash. There’s some fiery online debate—wouldn’t you know it—as in politics, so in the kitchen.

They call themselves the ‘Rebel Canners’ and that’s got me quite intrigued. Those rascals are daring to question The Official Science! They must all have a death wish. Clearly they have they never heard of botulism.

It was no sooner than Hubby and I had a tiff over water bath timing that a YouTube video hit the top of my feeds.

How did they know?

A rebel canner, in the flesh.

She doesn’t look nearly as crazy as I thought she would. She brings up the Amish, who never pressure can.

Never! Not even for meat.

It’s positively scandalous.

Hubby tries to block out the insanity coming from the speakers. I tell him I want to try it. Meat, my dear, imagine, meat water bath canned!

Let’s go for it!

He looks at me with the same look as when I try a new foraged mushroom without proper identification. And I know just what that look means.

I can repeat the sentence for him, I’ve heard it so often.

“You go ahead, sweetie, someone has to live to tell the story.”

Terminate, Abort, Kill

The political establishment and media outlets, including those in the so-called ‘alternative community’ are guilty of faulty narrative framing in order to create maximum conflict and division.

My goal with this post is to offer each side of the ‘abortion argument’ ways they might tweak their strategy in order to improve their position against their opponents. I don’t mean only the Right/Left positions, because a growing number of folks around the world have already left that reservation far behind and are entertaining other ‘spaces’—the new buzzword.

I will dare to conclude with a very easy solution that will never be accepted by any political or religious group, because it is the most individually empowering solution possible.

On the ‘Political, Religious Right-Conservative’—how might you improve your position?

Those who you deem to convince that abortion is wrong and should be heavily regulated, if not illegal, are not swayed by your terminology misuse. The science terms for the development of the fetus: from zygote to embryo to fetus to baby, are replaced in your arguments by the word ‘baby’ in all circumstances, and this is done even by those who consider themselves “alternative” and devoted to science, like Mike Adams, ‘The Health Ranger’, who rages on regularly about ‘baby killers.’

The popular ‘Let the states decide’ argument is not really an argument. It is a power-based position, one to choose in order to deflect taking a position personally based on individual circumstances, while allowing others (as in scientific authorities and politicians) to make the decisions for everyone. Local politics is hardly independent of federal influence. The Left’s concern is one of access. The notion that a teenage girl who wishes to terminate her pregnancy should hop on a bus (with her parent’s permission we assume) to travel across an entire state, or several, for this two-hour procedure does not address their primary issue. It’s not just about the money.

Slogans such as “on-demand abortions” and “using abortion as contraception” are misleading and ignoring the science. The ‘morning after’ pill (used to be called Plan B)* is considered here to be exactly equivalent to the surgical procedure in the first trimester, as it is in the last. In fact, these procedures are about as similar as an egg is to a chicken.

Human life begins at conception.” Yes, but all life begins at conception, including synthetic life. This leads into the ‘murder is a slippery slope’, another faux-argument, because there is no evidence whatsoever that girls who have abortions go on to commit murders later in life.

If it is true that ending a pregnancy prematurely is the same as murder, and that it is making our society more cruel as a result, then war, all war, must also be included in that conversation. It appears that you wish to blame women for societal violence for ending the life of a zygote, while to fight in wars, sometimes to the death, is considered heroic. There is an inconsistency in your position that is seen by your opponents as weak, evasive and hypocritical.

On the ‘political-secular Left-Progressive’ —how might you improve your position? The abortion industry should be your main cause of concern, if you wish to influence your opponents.

Normalizing all forms of abortion and ignoring the crimes of the industry are two weaknesses making you appear callous and insensitive, which is not the image the Left is expected to be crafting.

Science is in your favor, but not as your periodic scapegoat. It is not logical to cling to science when it comes to terminology, but then to deny the religious mantra of “Human life begins at conception.”

What we used to call “Test-tube babies” prove human life begins at conception. As does all of life. In vitro fertilization is incredibly popular and reliable. If you’re going to use science to back up your arguments, then actually use the science.

Where is the science today? Our bodies, and our genetic make-up, are becoming technological tools in service to the ‘higher power’ of AI.

First came Petris, then came Wombs, then came Bubba in a baby carriage!

Demonstrate to “the Right” that their real enemy is not those who would choose to discard the zygote developing in their womb, but those who currently consider the womb, and in fact the entire body, as irrelevant to future life.

The social engineering component of this normalizing process is ‘equality’ for the “LGBTQ community”.

Assisted Reproductive Technology’ is the latest terminology for this ever-growing industry. ‘Abortion’ is rolled out for public consumption to obscure and obfuscate this fact. Abortion, as a moral issue, has been all but irrelevant for decades considering where the Science stands.

Unwanted pregnancies and ‘unwanted’ embryos.
Where once we had adoption, now we have surrogacy, and . . .
An emerging market!

“During the selection and transfer phases, many embryos may be discarded in favour of others. This selection may be based on criteria such as genetic disorders or the sex. One of the earliest cases of special gene selection through IVF was the case of the Collins family in the 1990s, who selected the sex of their child.[137] The ethic issues remain unresolved as no consensus exists in science, religion, and philosophy on when a human embryo should be recognised as a person. For those who believe that this is at the moment of conception, IVF becomes a moral question when multiple eggs are fertilised, begin development, and only a few are chosen for implantation.”
In vitro fertilisation – Wikipedia

That was then . …

This is now (actual already 5 years old, because, it’s proprietary). …

What do you think the new market(s) are going to be?
I bet you already know, that is, if you already know there are ‘Bio-bags’ used to grow lamb fetuses.

(Figure from a 2017 Nature Communications paper describing an extra-uterine life support system, or “biobag”, used to grow lamb fetuses.[1])

In 2017, fetal researchers at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia published a study showing they had grown premature lamb fetuses for four weeks in an extra-uterine life support system.[1][6][7]

Gender equality and LGBT[edit]
In the 1970 book The Dialectic of Sex, feminist Shulamith Firestone wrote that differences in biological reproductive roles are a source of gender inequality. Firestone singled out pregnancy and childbirth, making the argument that an artificial womb would free “women from the tyranny of their reproductive biology.”[25][26]
Arathi Prasad argues in her column on The Guardian in her article “How artificial wombs will change our ideas of gender, family and equality” that “It will […] give men an essential tool to have a child entirely without a woman, should they choose. It will ask us to question concepts of gender and parenthood.” She furthermore argues for the benefits for same-sex couples: “It might also mean that the divide between mother and father can be dispensed with: a womb outside a woman’s body would serve women, trans women and male same-sex couples equally without prejudice.”[27]

This is a global industry.

“None of this is surprising of course. Russia loves genetic stuff.
In August 2019, the State Duma commissioned a report on how to upgrade Russia’s outdated laws so that humans could be genetically enhanced in cool new ways. The study examined:
… the possibilities of conflict-free development of a new generation of technologies for using assisted reproductive technologies (genome editing, metabolic management during pregnancy, etc.) to create a new (contractual) type of society based on more advanced legislation.
The first step was obvious: we need to know everyone’s genome.
In July 2021, Health Minister Mikhail Murashko revealed plans to issue “genetic passports” to all Russians, with special attention given to the little ones.”
https://edwardslavsquat.substack.com/p/genetic-russia?utm_medium=email

The most appropriate course of action for a concerned society is the same one that is most appropriate for the individual.

That is: Take Charge of Your Fertility!! — That’s the title of a book that’s been around since the ‘90s that should be taught in every school.

Why do schools teach more about sex education than reproductive education? I can think of many reasons, many of those centering on money, power and and the social engineering required to keep the proper channels well-greased.

I was taught the only choices for a girl are abstinence, or artificial birth control methods like: The Pill, IUD, sponge, condom, etc. Abstinence until marriage sounded as absurd to me then as it does to me now. Expecting a girl to ignore or erase her sexual maturity for a decade plus is simply cruel and is bound to create issues individually and for the society.

Yet each of these offered birth control methods require regular purchases from the drug store or doctor.

Imagine how empowering it would be for a pre-teen girl to understand her menstrual cycle, physically and emotionally. The process of Natural Birth Control is so easy and it trains a girl to listen to her body. Anyone who can remember to take a pill every day can learn how to read their basal body temperature every day.

Unfortunately I knew nothing of this method until I was nearly 40.

Of course, I understand it is not fool-proof, but then there is the ‘Plan-B’*. There are natural abortificants as well, if only the information were made available.

If a girl chooses against pregnancy, and she knows her body thanks to a proper education that tells her immediately when there is a fertilized egg just then attaching to her uterine wall thanks to her basal body temperature (as it is something she will most likely not feel) and long before that mass of cells should be called ‘a baby’, she can disrupt the development of the embryo, and not have to live her life with the label of ‘murderer’ thrown at her every time the socio-political engine decides to roll down those tracks, again.

Taking Charge of Your Fertility: The Definitive Guide to Natural Birth Control, Pregnancy Achievement, and Reproductive Health by Toni Weschler, MPH

*Notice again the inflammatory language in the renaming of this product, “Emergency Contraception”. To take contraception daily is far more profitable than to take one pill a month only when you need it.

It is my sincere hope that biologically-informed, naturally-gendered girls will someday prove that they do not need the government, or the corporations, or the priest-class—scientific or otherwise—to control their fertility.

We are perfectly capable of managing our fertility and reproduction all on our own with the proper information and resources.

Is It Life, Or Is It Politics?


Money sucks the life out of Life.

While folks argue about what is life, Life has become a fucking clown show.

It’s the conquering aristocracy who calculate their conceptions to the sky clock.  

Normal folk had sex. And had sex, maybe even daily, maybe even from puberty to death.  And the women drank tea each month until they decided not to anymore.  Then they had a baby.  Worked for centuries.

Then came in The Nobles.  The Church. The State. The Medics. Not necessarily in that order.  All there in order to provide protection.

That is, each from the other.

When the nobles, the church, the state, the medics, decided the peasants were having too many babies, or too much sex, or too much leisure, they stepped in.  In order to provide protection.

And then when they needed more soldiers to fight in their future battles, or more souls on the lands they just conquered, they dictated to their peasants, “Have more babies for our nation’s-religion’s-tribe’s greatness!”  

And when they decided once again there were too many babies they dictated to their peasants, “Your babies will be cursed with the plague!” That’s the modern equivalent of “Your babies must be sterilized!” Or, “Your germ-factory children are killing Grandma!”

Or, “Global climate change is caused by overpopulation!”

In the meantime they kill off all the witches who know all the safe brews.  Always, in order to provide protection.

They cry about the horrors of unplanned pregnancy!  Or, the horrors of killing God’s creation! In tandem. In concert.

They leave out the facts.  A woman could potentially have approximately 1, 233 children in her lifetime, according to God.  That’s an approximation, of course.  

A man, good heavens, we’d need a mathematician to calculate that! Harems exist for a reason.

Everything we know about human reproduction originates in animal husbandry.  And it’s absolute nonsense when science and culture claim that all women in a tribe will cycle together with the moon.  

What sort of evolutionary sense does that even make?

The ‘Red Tent’ was always about the tea.

Squash Mysteries

Hey, you bee, you got my cucumber in my Trombetta!
Right?!

Some interesting twists and turns in the garden, as usual.

I did realize that cross-pollinating between cucumbers and squash do occur. It’s result is sometimes ‘parthenocarpic’, fruit that is seedless.

But, different fruits off the same plant?
This is news to me.
But, I’ll bet the Robo-Bees in the future technocrazy will have an ap for that!

These really did come off the same plant, same age, Hubby just happened to harvest some before I got a side-by-side photo. Next time.

I have the big seed-saving goals this year, but there is a learning curve for sure.

Because of space requirements, and that learning curve that seems to be getting steeper by the month, I decided to start with just a few crops. I already do most of the herbs, and the other easy stuff, like okra and sunflowers. I’ve ventured slightly into peppers and tomatoes, with negligable results.

Cucumbers, melons and squash are all in the ‘challenging’ category. I thought I planned correctly when I put the ones I want to seed-save at opposite ends of the garden, but then. . .

In my reference book, The Complete Guide to Saving Seeds by Robert & Cheryl Gough, it seems pretty hopeless. “Recommended isolation distance for varieties that can cross-pollinate is 1 1/2 to 2 miles; recommended isolation distance for other Cucurbita species is 1/4 mile.”

As in, Miles?! Oh my.

And furthermore, there’s another squash mystery. I’ve got zucchini right by Trombetta, as already mentioned. Yet the zucchini leaves, which look gorgeous, better than I’ve ever seen them, are flowering, and not producing. Yet the cucumbers and Trombetta are producing like crazy, and the Trombetta leaves are not really looking too good.

Any gardener, myself included, would immediately claim a gorgeous zucchini plant flowering just fine, but not producing, is the result of poor pollination.

But, I know, that’s highly unlikely. First, I’ve seen bees on them. Second, the nearby Trombetta and cucumber, also bee-pollinated, are producing just fine.

So, what gives?

And furthermore, more, why does spellcheck capitalize Trombetta and not zucchini?

I’m open to facts, theories, or random guesses.

Homestead Happenings

Busy days on the wee homestead as we try to maximize our production with the swelter season clock ticking. The scheduled weather is HOT and DRY for us for the foreseeable future and just staying on top of the watering is a big task.

Hubby’s pond water pumping system is a life saver for the plants, but it still requires an entire morning per section in the garden, around the house, in the orchard, which means he’s walking back and forth, moving hoses, rearranging sprinklers, and sweating. It’s not easy, or free, but comparatively it’s our best option and I’m very grateful for it!

Adding shade cloth and screening wherever we can.

And, while I’m on the gratitude train, let’s give a big cheer and thank MAN for the air condition! We’ll be spending much more time indoors for a while, me especially.

Welcome new additions to the garden this year, Poppy and Nigella. Very happy for these, I’ve tried many times for poppies with no luck, and the nigella was gifted from a friend and the blue and white flowers are so darling and the seeds so delicious!

We continue to experiment with different preserving techniques and flavor combinations and it’s SO much more enjoyable for me to have his company and help in this endeavor, now that he’s home all month long!

Last year’s experiments of watermelon rind pickles and melon butter were a fine success we hope to repeat again this summer. Lately he’s also been making cream of mushroom soup from our foraged chanterelles that is SO delicious, as well as blackberry preserves. He’s also canned a bunch of potatoes and made a huge batch of ratatouille for the freezer. That’s a first for both of those, so we’re looking forward to the taste test.

The cucumbers are coming in well, the melons still looking very promising, but the heat is definitely taking its toll on the tomatoes already. That is disappointing because we do love tomatoes and needed to re-stock our marinara this year. Hopefully we’ll find some neighbors with a bumper crop who are willing to trade for some of our prolific squash!

Lots more to share, on another day! 😁
Thanks for stopping by!

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