Sunday, November 29, 2009


I still believe that Thanksgiving is one of the most relevant and important holidays in the United States. Why? Because it reminds all of us to be grateful for our families, for our friends, for our opportunities and for our lives. Too many of us let day to day events remove the momentary warmth of gratitude, appreciation and contentment and replace it with a numbness that can be the reality of busy lives.

But, let me first clue you in on a secret. I've been composing this blog item for three months now. And, each time I come back to it and am reminded to be thankful, the warmth returns.

What am I thankful for?
  • Parents, family and friends who support what we do and love us for who we are.
  • Seeds that reward our faith in their eventual success by becoming the plant we knew they could be.
  • A partner and best friend with whom I always feel better when we are spending time together than when we are apart.
  • The opportunity to do work that is consistent with what we believe is right.
  • Good friends with whom we can enjoy games, food and, much to their chagrin, work in the fields.
  • Invitations from friends to join them for various events. Thanks for not forgetting us - even though we often have to say 'no.'
  • The support given by CSA members and others who want to see local foods and our farm succeed.
  • A fine group of workers for our 2009 farming season. We hope you know who you are - our thanks for your efforts!
  • The fact that our growing season has cycles - including a 'down' cycle so we can recover from the 'up' cycle.
  • the many local businesses that we need to patronize for ours to be successful - Martzahn's Farm (Greene) for processing poultry, Frantzen Farms (Alta Vista) for feed, Seed Savers (Decorah) for heirloom seed, Roots (Cedar Falls) for a place to distribute CSA shares, Beautiful Land Products (West Branch) for supplies and equipment, K&K Gardens (Hawkeye) for fruit trees and grapes, Bartels (Waverly), Harmony (Waverly), UNI (Cedar Falls) for purchasing produce, Pfile Insurance (Tripoli) for helping us to identify and acquire appropriate policies for the farm and the Waverly Farmers' Market and vendors for allowing us to distribute at their market.
  • Weather that, while not optimal, was sufficient for us to have a decent harvest in 2009.
  • A new roof on the house - thank you Dan Gingerich Construction (Hazelton)
  • Shelves in the truck barn and organization in the granary (thanks Dads)
  • A ton and a half of potatoes - especially the German Butterballs - yum.
  • A full freezer and full cabinets with dried/canned items for the winter.
  • Excellent books, music and movies that provide us with insight, catharsis and humor.
  • Have I mentioned my lovely spouse yet - of course I have! But, I'll do it again. Will you marry me?

Friday, November 27, 2009

Turkey Day!

Happily, nearly every turkey was delivered to its new home prior to Thanksgiving. And, as was expected, the largest bird stayed with us. I say expected, because it is uncommon for people to be willing to take the largest birds off of our hands. Thus, most years, we are left with the largest for our own purposes.

This year, our bird weighed in at 26.75 pounds. We thank you very much "Tom."

To say that we will have leftovers for a while might be a bit of an understatement. But, to be perfectly honest, it is going to take a lot for us to get tired of this one. It would be inaccurate, in my mind, to say that this bird was tasty. It actually was much better than that. Kudos to those who spent time defrosting, preparing and cooking the bird. Yum!

Add to that some German Butterball mashed potatoes, Waltham Butternut squash, frozen sweet corn from a local grower, stuffing made with bread from a local baker, spices from our spice bed, fresh lettuce from the garden and an excellent pumpkin chiffon pie made from a wonderful Long Island Cheese pumpkin. Oh - and homemade kolaches, kringle and rolls. I'm getting full just typing about it.

Even better, we know how the bird was treated, what it ate and how it lived. We know where all of this came from and we know and appreciate the effort of those who grew, raised or created the things we ate. Alot to be thankful for.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

A Web of Local Foods

We just got a dose of confirmation as to why we have made it a goal to sell all of our produce and poultry products locally (a radius of 50 miles of the farm). And, that confirmation came in the form of our turkey flock that was taken to the processor and is being delivered to those who reserved them. And, we thought it might be nice to remind everyone ELSE how supporting local foods can be a rewarding experience.

  • The boost we received from the support of our buyers is worth more than we can enumerate in any particular units. Certainly dollar signs would be an insult here. Suffice it to say that the positive comments, flexiblity in working with delivery points and times, willingness to discuss options and give feedback, concern for our well-being and success, and the simple fact that we feel valued is enough to fuel us into preparations for next year. You will NOT be able to convince us that we would receive the same support if we shipped birds or produce to all parts of the country. This is truly a local foods experience!
  • We are more motivated than ever to continue to improve how we raise our poultry, handle our egg production and perform as stewards of our vegetable crops. Why? Because the people who consume these products are important to us. We KNOW who you are. We have learned things about you and we wish you well. We WANT to provide you with quality food. It is important to us that we do our best for you.
  • Support of our local food production results in support for a host of other fine individuals in our communities. Consider only the 35 turkeys we just took in for processing. Those who purchased our birds supported our work on the farm, certainly. But, do not forget that you are also supporting the processor, who does a fine job and takes their role in providing fine product seriously. Or, consider the local farmer from whom we buy the organically certified feed. And, of course, consider the individuals we are able to hire as part time workers form local communities. We take the support of those who believe in us and spread that support to other local businesses and individuals in ways that we judge to be best. And guess what? They are interested in our success for the same reason we are concerned about those who buy our product.
We may be a small farm. It may be only one turkey you purchased from us - or one pound of potatoes - or a head of lettuce. But, how many people are positively influenced by your choice to buy something from a local food producer? You might be surprised.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Mixed Bag of Feelings

Today was the day we took the turkey flock to the processor. And, for all that R might say things like - "It was about time." and "Thank goodness their gone." - it isn't always all that simple for us on the farm when the turkeys leave for their "trip to the park."

We raise turkeys for the expressed purpose of selling them for meat and consuming some of them ourselves. And, we have absolutely NO problem with doing this as we feel we do our best to treat the birds well and would far rather know that the birds lived well, and were raised in ways that we believe are sustainable and lead to healthier birds (and healthier meat).

And, so, there is a great sense of accomplishment when we finally manage to get the birds to the processor and we can begin to deliver our product to others who want a free range turkey.

We also have come to believe, after a few years of raising our own poultry, that these birds taste better. In fact, it is difficult to wait for the first taste of turkey. So, there is a great amount of anticipation as we wait for the Thanksgiving dinner.

The whole process of raising these birds has its share of worries and cares. They are neither horribly difficult, nor horribly easy to take care of. But, there is still plenty that can go wrong and they do take a good chunk of our time. And, as the birds get closer and closer to the point that we will take them to the processor, the more we realize that there will be great relief in taking them in and getting them to those who will enjoy them for dinner.

But then there is also the part of us that will miss this flock of knock-kneed, tomato rugby playing gobblers who can't help but participate in playground style 'I'm bigger and tougher than you' battles as they mature. So, you have to mix in a little sadness to get a better picture of the actual complexity of our feelings this time of year.

But, predominant in all of this is our sense that we are doing our best to do this the right way and for the right reasons.

Tune in tomorrow - more coming your way on this!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Paper Chase

Ok. That was the title of a pretty cool TV show from some time back. I stole it for my blog post. Sorry.

Many people ask what R does when the growing season winds down.

One thing that happens - I spend more time in the office. And what do I find there?

All of the things that I wanted to do, needed to do and have to do that have not been done during the whole summer. Everyone who has jobs that cycle from hyper-busy down to just busy-enough can appreciate what I am saying here. During the growing season, we hopefully are able to get the bare minimum done in the office. For example, I am proud to say that I managed to keep the checkbook balanced this season. A major accomplishment, but a necessary one.

On the other hand, I have all kinds of notes with recorded pickings, bird weights, sales to bill, grants to write, inquiries to answer, tax papers to complete and file...well, you get the idea. Every time I think I'm getting somewhere, I realize that I really haven't made a whole lot of progress.

And, in the meantime, the weather went and got nice again - so I need to go out and do work outside. Heck, I WANT to go outside. Must be a cat at heart. If you are owned by a cat or know one, you understand.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Signs of the Tines

Yes, a broadfork DOES have tines. It is essentially a metal bar that has pointed metal tines projecting downwards and two ash handles, one each projecting upwards on each side.

The cultivating broadfork I've been using the last couple of days requires the following procedure.
  1. Place tines where you want them on the soil
  2. Step up onto the bar with sufficient downward force to make the tines go into the soil
  3. Either step off and up again or do other movements to get tines into the ground all the way up to the bar.
  4. Step off the bar and walk backward holding onto the handles, making the tines move away from you in the ground.
  5. Walk forward and push the handles forward - making the tines move toward you in the ground.
  6. Bring the handles back to vertical and pull the tines out of the ground.
  7. Step backwards and find a point 8 to 10 inches away from the last point
  8. Rinse and repeat until the row (about 70 feet) is done.
And, the signs of the tines today?

Um, sore feet and various muscles that tell me I've essentially been doing a stair stepper more than I am used to.

If I could only find a way to do each of these tasks every day, or every other day, instead of in these concentrated bursts, I might be able to avoid the sore muscle episodes. Well...maybe not...but one can dream.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Planting, not just for Spring anymore

The weather this weekend was some of the best we have seen for being outdoors in a few weeks. The fields have dried out enough for us to work in them AND it just so happens that we have some work to do. What a nice coincidence!

So, one of the major tasks for the weekend (when we weren't preparing for, being at or cleaning up from the Harvest Market) was to plant our garlic.

Normally, we would like to get our garlic planted in October. But, wet fields and uncooperative weather prohibited that effort. So, here we are in November, hoping to get the garlic in and mulched before the really cold stuff moves in.

Our farm tends to have heavier soils - which is great for moisture retention in dry years. However, it also makes it a bit more difficult for root crops. In order to address this situation, we do things like plant annual rye grass and other cover crops to loosen the soil. However, we have also found that the broadfork also provides excellent aeration for the soil where we intend to plant a root crop. In fact, the potato rows that had a broadfork treatment this Spring did better than the rows that were not broadforked.

For those who don't know what garlic planting entails:
  1. We do a quick till of the row to be planted with our lawn tractor tiller
  2. We use the broadfork to loosen up the soil below the till line WITHOUT turning the soil over
  3. We do a slow till of the row to make a fine seed bed for planting
  4. We split the garlic heads into individual cloves for planting
  5. We plant the garlic cloves in the bed three wide for the entire 70 foot row. There would be approximately 700 cloves in one row.
  6. We mulch the garlic rows.
Well, we planted five and a half rows of garlic this weekend, so somewhere in the neighborhood of 3800 cloves in the ground. Just a little more planting and then we need to get the mulch so these are covered for winter.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Hoorah for Harvest Market

Yesterday (Saturday) was the first ever Harvest Farmers' Market in Waverly. The venue was the City Hall/Civic Center Building in the community room and the time was the standard 8:30-11:30 time slot the Waverly Market has used for the past few years.

Yes, we did hold a table at the market and we were pleased to see people coming to support all of the local vendors. Thank you to everyone who took the time to come inside and visit and to purchase some of the wonderful items that could be found there. The only difficulty was the fact that the weather was gorgeous. Doesn't that figure? We had trouble with having decent days for many of our markets this year. So, we schedule one inside and the weather is beautiful.

Rather than focus on what we brought to the market and how sales were, we just wanted to point out the value and quality of the items we found. In fact, we did our fair share of buying.

What did we buy?
  • Honey comb (yum) $6
  • 2 bags (of 9) of two types of apples: $6
  • 2 medium sized loaves of fresh french bread: $7
  • an angelfood cake $4
  • honey $4
  • maple syrup (2 jars) $20
For under $50 we came away with some of the best tasting produce you can find. And, several of these things (honey, maple syrup) will last for some time. The apples give us 7 to 9 days of healthy snacks. The honey comb will last for some time as a nice treat. The bread will go away within a few days, but will still be served over the course of four meals. The cake is dessert for several days. And, even better, we know who harvested or created these things.

Now, assume for a second that we also were there for produce. We could also have come away with winter squash, pumpkins, onions, leeks, parsnips, daikon radish, potatoes, pok choi, kale, green onion and some other things I can't remember at the moment.

If you needed meat, there was bison, chicken and duck available. And, of course, there were baked goods that ranged from bread to pastries to cakes.

Looking for Christmas gifts? There was fine, hand-made jewelry, placemats, decorations and numerous other items.

What a great opportunity for everyone in the area! Our thanks to NIFFP for sponsoring this event, for the city of Waverly for providing the community room and to all who allowed posters to be put up and spread word that this market was going to happen.

We'll be back the first Saturday in December. Don't miss it!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Riding the Rails

Some time ago in our blog, we wrote about including games - and specifically Ticket to Ride - as part of our evening 'cool down' from a day of work at school or in the fields.

Happily, we can report that we have been able to play a number of games in the evenings - even after some pretty long days of work. We still enjoy Ticket to Ride very much. And, since the writing of that blog entry, we treated ourselves to the US and Europe versions. So, we have those in addition to Nordic Countries.

The good news: the games aren't getting old
The bad news: the games aren't getting old

A great thing about it is that these games are pretty simple to learn the rules, but they have layers of complexity that come from the graph theory applied to them. And, T & I are getting pretty good at running through a 2 person game very quickly. That means we can still get a bit of a game in even if we have much to do in the evening. I don't remember who won last night's game, but I do know it took no more than 15 minutes (probably less) to play. And, no, we weren't rushed. And, yes, we did enjoy the game. But - T had grading to do, so it was nice to be able to still do something for fun without paying too much in consequences.

Another part of this is that purchasing a game can give you access to the online game version, where you can play other people from all over the world. There are people on there that have played thousands (and even more than 10,000) online TTR games. Yoiks!

We also know the saying about curiosity and cats, don't we? Well, the online community advertised a 'multi-player' tournament (4 or 5 player games). R was curious. He asked if he could join. There were minimum rankings required to play (and a min of 1000 games played online!). Uh, right. Think we need an exception here if R plays. After some debate, I was allowed into the fray.

I now have an understanding as to how good these people are...and how, well, not as good I am. I finished a resounding last in the first two games (out of 13) that I played. I have since played four more and added another last place finish. Not bad, being last three of six times! On the other hand, I shocked myself (and probably my opponents) by winning a four person game and finishing second in a four and a five person game.

Fun people, interesting concept. Will I move on to the second round? ha! Reread the paragraph above.

Will T or R win the next contest at home? Flip a coin! Besides, we still play the game a bit like the cartoon characters Mac and Tosh and gin rummy.

"Do you mind if I gin?"
"Oh no, please do so."
"Thank you so very much"
"You are most welcome."
"Very well, GIN!"
"Well done indeed."

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Heirloom "Rebuttal" (part 2)

The following is a continued discussion spurred on by the article cited in the post immediately below this one. Article in quotes and italic. My responses follow in standard type and in red-brown.

The other parts of this series can be found here: Part one and Part three


"Weak and Wimpy The selection of these traits has taken a toll on the heirloom's hardiness: They are often plagued by fungal infections that cause the fruit to crack, split and otherwise rot quickly. Wild plants must continuously evolve to fend off natural pathogens, points out Roger Chetelat of the Tomato Genetics Resource Center at the University of California, Davis. But in their quest for size, shape and flavor, humans have inadvertently eliminated defensive genes. As a result, most possess only a single disease-resistance gene."

Ah, but here's part of what rubs me so wrong with this article and its tone and premise. I'll try to make this concise.
  • Attacking heirlooms exclusively is a mistake. Most current hybridized tomatoes have to work with the same 'limited' set of genes. Also, these have had the same misfortune of having been selected by humans who are just now learning about other genes in a related 'primitive' ancestor plant.
  • It would be inaccurate to assume that all open-pollinated seed sources were selected only for size, shape and flavor. Only if you look at history from a modern lens might you think this. In my book, seed would be selected for reliability and production if I needed these plants to produce and be part of the resource that fed my family all winter long.
  • If a variety is maintained from season to season in a region by families/farmers and they continue to select for the healthiest plants, would it not stand to reason that there is at least some allowance for evolution to fend off pathogens?
  • I will not argue that many heirlooms do have problems with splitting and cracking. But, I will argue against the claim that hybrids do not do so. At this point, the argument against heirloom/open-pollinated cultivars is one-dimensional here - we are forgetting other factors...

"Perhaps that's the price to pay for a good, flavorful fruit? Hardly, Chetelat says, because the heirlooms' taste may have less to do with its genes than with the productivity of the plant and the growing environment. Any plant that sets only two fruits, as heirlooms typically do, is bound to produce juicier, sweeter and more flavorful fruit than varieties that set 100, as commercial types do. Plus, heirlooms are sold ripened on the vine, a surefire way to get tastier results than allowing them to mature on the shelf."

And here are some of those other factors, disguised somewhat as an indictment against heirlooms.

  • Taste tests on our part have shown that people can tell a difference between different types of heirloom tomatoes grown in the same environment). Was it a scientifically solid study? No. But, good enough to start the argument.
  • Does the growing environment impact flavor? Yes. Now we are beginning to get somewhere. There is a diverse set of circumstances that go into growing food.
  • Does the production level of a plant impact taste? Maybe. There is a study that has shown that limiting the number of fruit on a plant seems to increase the nutritional value per fruit. Or, more accurately, that by trying to maximize production on one plant, the nutritional value per fruit is lower.
  • Ripened on the vine vs on the shelf. Well, there you have it. Sounds like an argument for small, diverse farms and local foods to me - rather than one against heirlooms.
  • Do heirlooms typically set two fruit per plant? This deserves a bit more response:

First, fruit SET is not the same as fruit PRODUCTION. And, production is not the same as SALABLE PRODUCT. A fruit is said to set once it is successfully pollinated and the fruit begins to grow. This does NOT imply that the fruit will reach maturity. Fruit that reach maturity do not necessarily receive the grade by the producer to be salable. Many are determined to be CULLS and can then be selected for use as feed for animals, compost or sold as 'juicing' specials. Salable produce is often graded, with the highest grades going to the fruit that typically looks the best and has the most uniform characteristics - something a retail operation typically prefers.

That said, the article might be more correct in saying that there ARE heirloom varieties that may only give you two top grade salable tomatoes per plant. This is especially true if you do not irrigate to keep moisture consistent. For example, Tasty Evergreen is notorious for splitting due to variability in available water. Even worse is the fact that they are thin-skinned and often split in transport. On the other hand, Roman Candle fruits rarely have a problem and plants average 70-100 unblemished, top rating yellow romas (paste tomatoes) on our farm.

But, even that is an unfair comparison. A large, green tomato versus a smaller yellow roma being compared by count is silly. But, so is assuming that all heirlooms produce at low levels. Think of it this way. We plant about 450 plants per season (now all heirloom). If they produced only 2 per plant, we would have only 900 to give to our CSA and/or sell. To make this easier, we'll assume each fruit is one-half pound in size to account for different varieties. That gives us 450# of tomatoes if we accept the assumption given here.

So, explain why my back is sore after lifting in the neighborhood of 3500 pounds of tomatoes, not counting snack and cherry types? And this is with some varieties doing poorly (by our definition) this year.

Is this 100 per plant? No. Does this count culls? No. Could we have done better if we had the labor/outlet for more? Yes. Was this an average year? No, it was low given a cooler season.

But, consider the 100 per plant number cited in the article. This is not likely to be a good average for all types of tomato used in commercial production for the same reasons I argue about the lumping of all heirlooms together.

If you want to make a case, you need to use facts with some integrity, otherwise the argument becomes suspect even if it has merit.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Heirloom "Rebuttal" (part 1)

The following is a critique of the contents found in the article cited below: ======================== Article name: How to Grow a Better Tomato: The Case against Heirloom Tomatoes

By Brendan Borrell in Scientific American, March 30, 2009

Article in quotes and italic. My responses follow in standard type and in red-brown.

The other parts of this discussion can be found here (Part two and Part three). 


"Famous for their taste, color and, well, homeliness, heirloom tomatoes tug at the heartstrings of gardeners and advocates of locally grown foods. The tomato aficionado might conclude that, given the immense varieties—which go by such fanciful names as Aunt Gertie's Gold and the Green Zebra—heirlooms must have a more diverse and superior set of genes than their grocery store cousins, those run-of-the-mill hybrid varieties such as beefsteak, cherry and plum."

Already, we can see where this is going. The whole article reminds me of the TV commercials that show people struggling mightily with the 'old' way of doing things - then smiling while they use the wonderful new product.

"No matter how you slice it, however, their seeming diversity is only skin-deep: heirlooms are actually feeble and inbred—the defective product of breeding experiments that began during the Enlightenment and exploded thanks to enthusiastic backyard gardeners from Victorian England to Depression-era West Virginia. Heirlooms are the tomato equivalent of the pug—that "purebred" dog with the convoluted nose that snorts and hacks when it tries to catch a breath."

And, there it is. Oh, the woeful state of humanity. We struggle so! But, the reality is that the author already shows little effort in checking background and history.

  1. A number of the 'heirloom and hertitage' varieties grown were actually developed by professional or academic seed producers. One cultivar we grow, Wisconsin 55, was developed at the University of Wisconsin in, well, 1955. In this case, I call these 'heritage' tomatoes since they usually have a commercial background. Oh, those silly, hick, backyard gardeners...who happen to sell seed across the nation.... Woe upon them!
  2. Before one denigrates origins, one might want to consider the options available to the people who maintained heirloom seed. I'm sorry, but my forebears didn't necessarily have the money to buy or the time to wait for seed mailed to them each Spring. Do you suppose they were clever enough to save seed for the next year? Oh, those sad, sad people - forced to figure out that you can save seed and use it the next season. Alas for them!
  3. And, what did people select for? Production, taste and plant vitality typically. How naive of them to select seed from the plants that looked healthiest, produced the best fruit and responded with consistency from year to year! How could they be so blind?
  4. Comparing the highly selective, and perhaps misguided breeding of Pugs and other dogs for shows is far form the point. Why does the Aunt Ruby's German Green exist? Well, a family maintained a seed line over the years because they liked to grow it. In many cases, the line changed because they selected for the best plants and fruit.
  5. In other cases, backyard hobbyists, seed companies and scholars tried to create hybrids of existing strains that produced something new - and that would create seed that would consistently continue to produce in that fashion. If they succeeded - it produced - it tasted good - it handled the elements and diseases well enough - then it continued. Standard principles of natural selection at work - even if artificialized by humanity. They maintained attractive features to those that would see to their continued existence.
So - what were those key features again?
  1. The produced consistently enough to be attractive to those that wanted to grow them as a food source.
  2. The fruit had a taste that was attractive to those who ate the fruit.
  3. The plants were healthy and vital so that they could produce in their environment. Those that were able to adapt to wider environments typically maintained a popularity longer with larger seed companies
  4. The plants produced seed that could reliably recreate this gene pattern for future generations of the plant.

"The irony of all this," says Steven Tanksley, a geneticist at Cornell University, "is all that diversity of heirlooms can be accounted for by a handful of genes. There's probably no more than 10 mutant genes that create the diversity of heirlooms you see." But rather than simply debunking a myth about the heirloom’s diversity, Tanksley's deconstruction of the tomato genome, along with work by others, is showing how an unassuming berry from the Andes became one of the world's top crops. Genetics work will also point the way to sturdier, more flavorful tomatoes—albeit hybrid varieties whose sterile seeds cannot be passed down from generation to generation but must be purchased anew by growers each season.

And there it is! The brand new thing that saves us all from drudgery! Hybrid tomatoes using genetic genome mapping to determine what we want in our plants for production. In a way, I feel for Steven Tanksley as I wonder how much the author understood what he might be trying to say. But, read on.

"Tanksley concludes from his analyses that, in their effort to make bigger, tastier and faster-growing fruit, our ancestors ultimately exploited just 30 mutations out of the tomato’s 35,000 genes. Most of these genes have only small effects on tomato size and shape, but last May in Nature Genetics Tanksley and his colleagues reported that they found a gene they dubbed fasciated that bumps up fruit size by 50 percent."

Tanksley does go on to say a second gene has something to do with fruit size. Now, let me ask this question. If there are a couple of genes in the whole tomato genome that govern size of fruit. What will a geneticist do to increase fruit size? You got it! So, what do you suppose our poor, hapless, stupid, backyard growers were taking advantage of with their natural hybridization? No, it couldn't be that....

"Besides size, tomato farmers also selected for shape. To discover those genes, Esther van der Knaap, a Tanksley alumnus now at The Ohio State University, says she went straight for the heirlooms (...) She plucked a gene called SUN from one heirloom tomato and inserted it into a wild relative. As a result, the tiny fruits bulged like pears, a remarkable makeover that made the cover of the journal Science last March.SUN's effect dwarfs that of another shape gene called OVATE—yet another Tanksley discovery—and both seem to have been nurtured in Europe in the last several hundred years to ease mechanical harvesting and processing."

Yes, those same, less than diverse heirlooms that are so inbred. The geneticists went there to identify the genes that provided the characteristics that provide the outward diversity the humans have found useful or attractive. I suspect if you took the time to do so - a geneticist would point out that a relatively small number of genes have something to do with characteristics of any living being that are easily distinguished by unaided senses. And, thus we have some of the diversity we appreciate...and use.

======== Part II at some later date. ++++++++

Monday, November 2, 2009

So That's Where That Went!

This blog entry is brought to you courtesy of my brain.

Yes, the slightly addled, bemused and amused brain that has been taking note of things the last couple of days that are being 'refound' as a result of 'end of growing season' tasks.

Case in point. We knew we had an additional clipboard and some laminated signs to be used for farmers' markets. They were needed back in, oh, August and September. Could they be located at that time? No. Could we identify the perfect spot where they had been placed so we wouldn't have trouble locating them at that time? No. Is it likely that we buried them deeper in an effort to locate them? Right on three.

It gets better. I can now remember very clearly the thought process that went into selecting this location. I can even remember many of the events of that day, etc. Neat. But, unhelpful.

I think I'll put these things back where I found them. I can amuse myself next November relocating them again.