Reblog – We Subsidize Most of Junk Food Crops

We all know farmers have Crop protections that prevent the family farm from going belly up due to a bad year.   But when the family farm became corporate factory farms, we need the subsidies even more.   Dear God think of your 401k! 

http://m.motherjones.com/environment/2016/07/are-farm-subsidies-killing-us

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Sharing a Link or Two

There’s this thing called glyphosate.  It binds plant proteins and kills lots of plants quickly and efficiently.  It’s been found by certain groups to be cancer causing.  The maker is called Monstanto.  They have created the worlds best selling toxin!  And it’s dumped by the gallon in most farmers fields in the world.  It also finds it way into the water.  It finds its way into plants that produce our food.  Remember it binds proteins, meaning it does let go easily.

But what if it’s in you?  Well only one company makes it.  It has been shown to be a problem in cancer association.  If they was only a test for it….yeah, yeah there is.  

The site below was passed on by https://earnestlydebra.wordpress.com.  If you read this far, click and see some awesome pics, learn somethings about the world around you, plus a Mayan calendar events and a healthy dose of Native American culture.
Ridding the World of Monsanto – Zen Gardner

http://www.zengardner.com/ridding-world-monsanto/

Mark Builds Arbor for Grapes

In my tree series,you may have noticed I buy clearance plants. One advantage of this is the plants aren’t expected to do much on the first year. If they live we have success. Well year two rolls around abs all of a sudden my bargain grapes  are attacking the garden and the yard simultaneously.

Now I was left with two choices. I started with explaining that World War II future changed with the opening of the Eastern front, leading German forces to split their strength against superior numbers.  The grapes didn’t listen. The attack on the grass got worse on the “Mars” variety of grape. I wasn’t surprised somehow.  Choice two build it and they will climb.  A Trellis.

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I appropriated five 2″x2″, seven brackets, a bunch of #8 wood screws, four eyelet hooks, four open hooks, 100 feet of 20 gauge spooled wire, 8  1/8″ wire clips, and four turnbuckles.  And three single hole cinder blocks and a bag of fast setting concrete.  Other party favorites needed were a drill, a couple of drill bits (7/64″ and 1/4″), tape measure, level, needle nose pliers, screwdriver (or bit for drill)

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I measured my grapes and found that the node where the vines split at was about 18″ of the ground.  I drill holes for attaching hardware with the 7/64 bit and in middle post with the 1/4″ bit for passing the wire through. The height of the wires can be customized, or evenly spaced.  I placed a bracket at the top of two posts and two on a third that will be the middle post. I placed one 2″x2″ in place like an L shape to mark the resting place.  By placing the bracket in place and using a pen to mark where the screws will be placed.  Once all piece are marked, the small bit will create a pilot hoke for screws.  Be careful not to drill completely through the posts. From the bracket measure out the spacing you wish for your wires.  I choose uneven to match where my grapes branch now. I have over six feet of height after installed,even spacing would be about 15″ apart as the too would potential be another support.  Measure these four point out on post.  Drill partially through on the end with small bit.  The center piece is drilled all the way through for the wire to pass through with the larger drill bit.  Attach the hooks into the end pieces by hand.

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The cinder blocks are dug in.  The holes dug here used are not the same depth.  The land slopes and for final Arbor to level this maybe necessary.   You can start with same depth and back fill to make the top level.  It helps to have a second person.  But if you are alone put two posts a piece linking them.  Place the cinder blocks in holes, then attach the top piece.  Put a level on the top and check to see what adjustment is need. Once you get the first two done repeat with the third, but disconnect the first post only use two at a time or you may crack the wood or twist a bracket.

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If we are level, no we,a reddis the concrete.  The fast setting concrete takes about a gallon of water.  The small cinder blocks will allow for a single bag to cover all is them.   Place a ppst inside then pour enough concrete mix to fill the inside of block 2/3 and add about a quart of water.  Pivot the post side to side a bit without lifting.  Fill the rest of the block up.   You can sandwich the post between two buckets filled with water to hold in place.  You could add another piece of wood to support it as well by temporary screwing another piece to be a leg.  Two ensure the second post is spaced perfectly, I put the piece that would fit on top between the posts in the middle.  It can rest on the eye hooks of the first post.  But let the first post sit for about half hour to hour for concrete to set.  Repeat for last post. Once all posts are set you add the wood pieces on top to complete the frame.

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The wire that will support the vines needs to be connected.   The best way are wire clips.  They are U-bolts made really small. The clip goes on top of wire, you thread wire through loop and bring wire back through the U-bolts, then tighten.  The picture shows turnbuckle, but process is the same for the closed loops I started at the closed loop on our end side lowest on the post.  I threaded through the center post and then attached it to the turnbuckle as shown above.  The turnbuckle will slip on the opening hook on far post.  As shown, the wire is actually tightened by turning the turnbuckle.   After you install all the wires, you may need to retighten the first one.   You have created tension  across all the pieces and may have drawn the posts closer together.

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We have completed an Arbor.  I used a soft wire covered strapping to tie the grape vines to the wires.   The leaves will look flipped over but they will straighten out.  The grapes will need a little attention to keep them in their right place.   Once the vines are supported,  I will weed and pave a weed barrier and mulch to keep the vines happy.

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Reblog – Algae Blooms Strike Florida

This is a growing problem.  The Great Lakes and several impounded lakes suffer from the same problem.  But there is no given reason in this story

http://staging.hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_ALGAE_EMERGENCY_FLORIDA?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2016-06-30-16-13-11

Tree Part 6

Today’s theme is more on survivors.   Most of these were either in a bad space or some other tree took away there own space.

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The grey narrow leaves here belong to a Russian Olive.  It doesn’t set fruit, but is very hard to kill.  They tend to spread and take over areas.  Some states have actually outlawed them.  Well, no chance in it taking over.  It lived quite peacefully but a Willow and Honeysuckle bush have converged in its space.  It could have been eight foot wide and ten feet tall.   Its only those dimensions at an angle.  It grew to fit the open space.

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This is a Red Bud Tree is a sign of spring.  It’s trunk is lined with wine red buds.  The flowers follow the branches not the tips of the branches.  This is a native tree.  It’s not as hardy as it seems a native should be.  Portions of the tree are subject to dead fall.  For no apparent reason it happens.  Trimming get the dead off usually gives the tree a fresh growth spurt.  This is a tree the Arbor Day people sell for 10 trees for $20. Full grown they rarely top 10 feet.  Most likely will be 8 to 10 feet wide.

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The European Birch is a baby.  This is a tree from the clearance bin last year.  It was put near some Pin Oak Trees.  The Pin Oaks are out of control but provide shade to help this fellow establish itself.  While it is a 5 foot stick, the future could bring a graceful arching tree 15 to 20 feet tall.  Normally they will have multiple  (2-4 trunks) that will stay kind of tan.  Not as pretty as most birches, but fairly hardy with better tolerances of temperatures.

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Winesap Apple Tree is another tree in the wrong get spot.  It simply didn’t keep up with the Pin Oak in the last few years.  As with most Apple trees having another kind of apple that blooms at the same time will give you a better harvest.  The tree has never produced well because the pollinating tree has past on to the Orchard in the sky.

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Scotch Pine Trees are evergreens.   But allows have brown patches.  They look half dead a lot of the year.   They love wet ground.   My swamplandis perfect for them.   The tree in the middle is about 65 feet tall.  It leans a bit.  Several birds pick off the dead ends for nesting material.

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Black Chokeberry is a shrub.  It’s an escapee of incredible endurance.   It’s everywhere.  It’s a bird feeder for Cardinals, Robin’s, Blue Jays, Tufted Titmice, and Cedar Wax wings.  Needless to say, the seeds are spread by them well.  I kill off dozens of these a year.  The will get 15 feet tall and as wide as they can.  They fill the space given to them.

Trees -Parts 4

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This is the back side of my property.   This is a forest about 80-100 years in the making.   The hardwood forest is typical for a swampy area of the Midwestern US. Hickory, maple, beech, and oak make a large canopy averaging about 60 feet above the ground.  High above Coopers Hawks, Red Tail Hawks, Great Horned Owls, Barred Owls, and little Saw Whet Owls nest and patrol the woods.  Where the woods open to savanna with high grass,and shrubs they hunt for song birds, mice, squirrels, and anything small enough to pick up.
The sounds come alive after about five minutes.   My wild turkey lives back here with deer, red fox, coyotes, and probably a mink or two.

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The lower left is a Son of a Beech! The big smooth grey barked trees are Beech trees.  They are sixty to eight feet tall.  They drop branches in storms easily.  But the openings in the trunk are ideal for an owl to crave out a nest.  Woodpeckers can try small one but often get kicked out.  The Beech is softer wood and fast growing.  Common for populating reclaimed farmland.

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This is a Sassafras Tree.  The leaves look like gloves.  Some are right and left, a few are double thumbed.  Another soft wood, but we have a surprise here.  If you break a branch it smells like root beer! Well that’s what its used for in traditional formulas.  This is another 50-60 foot tree.  They are self seeding, but never take over.  Smaller birds will nest in the branches, their large clustered leaves hide them well.

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The Green Ash used to be the most common tree here.   It spreads easily.  The wood is great for firewood.  It grows at a moderate rate so it can quickly establish a barrier or reclaim land.  There’s only one problem.  The Emerald Ash Borer from China is decimating them.  We have lost a dozen full size trees in a year.  It’s graceful compound leaves (they cluster on the tips of branches) wave in the breezes.  

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On the edge of the woods, the Swamp Willow with it’s silvery leaves is a super hardy tree.  The original tree fell over in a storm.  One of the branches fell into the ground sinking a couple feet in to the mud.  Two week later, we have a tree that grow roots and two months later spread out new branches.  The biggest this guy will get is about 30 feet tall, maybe this one will be 20 feet wide. It anchors the savanna, the transition from forest to field. 

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The Thicket Service berry is an awesome shrub for the savanna area too.  It requires water.  That’s about it. This baby is old. It has more than thirty stalks, or trunks making it a shrub.  It will have red berries in August in years that frost doesn’t get the blooms!  I’m not sure if I will have any for the birds.

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Lost on the little green, but centered with two trunks is a Hawthorne Tree.  These are Arbor Day Foundation Trees.  That means a paid $10 for 10 trees and eight years later, this is the only living tree left!  Hawthorne Trees have beautiful orange berries that Cedar Wax Wings, Cardinals, and Grossebeaks go crazy over.  The tree also has three inch thorns!  Apparently, the tree must be tasty…nature doesn’t add defenses without reason.  On its own, and your suburb may use these on tree lawns, it’s 15 feet tall and a column build to it.  Nice light colored leaves add detail to lsndscape.