the irresistible fleet of bicycles


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northland sheep dairy seeking apprentice for 2018 season.

Northland Sheep Dairy in Marathon NY are seeking a teamster apprentice for the 2018 season. Northland is the oldest continuously operating sheep dairy in the United States. Their farm operates in a traditional pastoral style, making sheep milk cheeses seasonally from their small flock of 100% grass fed ewes. Their cheeses are truly handmade in small batches from their own raw sheep milk. They use organic lamb rennet and cave age all of their own cheeses. The work on the farm is done with draft horses and mules and they pay homage to these great work partners. They also offer 100% grass fed lamb  seasonally and sheepskins and wool products.

To apply for the position or to find out more, contact Donn Hewes by email: tripletree@frontiernet.net or phone: 607-849-4442.


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organic gardening tips from MOFGA

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credit: MOFGA

The seedcorn maggot is the larvae of a fly, says Eric Sideman, MOFGA’s organic crop specialist, in the fall issue of The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener. He continues: This critter spends the winter as a pupa in the soil. Flies emerge very early in the spring from these pupae and lay eggs near decaying organic matter and germinating seeds. The eggs hatch into maggots that feed on the seeds or young plants. Gaps in rows of crops such as onions, spinach, corn, peas, etc., often blamed on poor seed, actually result more often from seedcorn maggot feeding. The fly is often attracted to decaying organic matter, including some fertilizers that organic farmers use, such as soybean meal. In such cases the maggots end up feeding on the seeds and seedlings.

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sam clovis withdraws nomination for agriculture department chief scientist

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credit: Charlie Neibergall/AP

We’ve written about his preposterous nomination before due to his sheer inadequacy for the job and thankfully Sam Clovis has finally withdrawn his nomination for chief scientist of the agriculture department. Clovis is a climate change sceptic and was just another cog in the anti-science Trump administration. However make no mistake, his lack of qualification for the job is not why he withdrew his nomination. Clovis wrote to president Trump this week saying that he ‘did not want to be a distraction’ after it was revealed that he had communication with George Papadopoulos  who admitted to the FBI that he lied about his work with Robert Mueller as part of the investigations into the links between the Trump campaign and Russia. Clovis who had not yet been confirmed by the senate would have faced presumably intense scrutiny on his Russian connections by the Senate agriculture committee had he not withdrawn.

Either way, Clovis’ withdrawal is good news for the department of agriculture’s science department, perhaps their next pick will be an actual scientist suited to such an important governmental position.


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great article about the social implications of pesticide use

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“We live and die by chemical agriculture”. In the age of rampant use of chemicals such as the dreaded dicamba, truer words have perhaps never been spoken. Zachary Michael Jack, Iowa View contributor recently writes in the Des Moines Register about stark contrast between pesticide and herbicide spraying in the 80’s during his childhood versus the situation today. In times past, farmers applied chemicals to their crops when the winds was calm, and neighbours knew even then to bring their children inside away lest they be exposed to these toxic clouds.

“Sadly, the common-sense, Golden Rule honor code that held sway in the fields each spring in my 1980s Iowa boyhood no longer holds. And for those of us who still live on the farm but don’t engage in chemical-intensive large-scale farming, the results are both toxic and terrifying. Farmers now routinely spray their seasonal herbicides in winds so fierce even private pilots think twice about taking off. We watch as wind-driven clouds of chemicals drift across our fields and into our children’s lungs, onto our plants and trees, and, through the cracks and fissures of our old farmhouses, right into our very homes.”

As formerly rural populations have become increasingly urbanised, chemical hungry crops have become the dominant life-form and rural human populations are suffering from higher mortality levels as a result. Jack goes as far as describing those relocating to urban and suburban areas as rural refugees. And yet he does not call for these farmers, generally good, down to earth people, to cease their spraying, but rather makes a poignant plea that they reinstate the golden rule honor code out of concern not for himself, but for the rural children who have no choice but to breathe this chemical laden air.

Click HERE to read the full article on the Des Moines Register.


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emancipatory educational experiences in scotland

Drumduan school, in the Scottish highlands, offers it’s students a unique and emancipatory education experience free of any form from exams or standardised testing. It’s educational focus is on participatory and practical education. Academic study is enhanced and balanced with movement, music and artistic work, with crafts, foraging  and outdoor activities. Students learn through experience,  they learn their science by building a Canadian canoe, or making a knife, or caramelising onions. What’s more, the teenagers who attend the school are happy and inspired and have the opportunity to discover who they are and what they want to achieve from life. Aspects that are all too frequently missing from the tradition educational experience.  Continue reading