Monday, December 28, 2015

Raw Milk for West Virginia. . .

The Governor of West Virginia vetoed a 2015 bill which would have reversed an older law that prohibited West Virginia residents from co-owning dairy livestock for the purpose of being able to use their animals’ milk without pasteurization.

So folks, you cannot even give locally produced milk from your cow to anyone. Not in West Virginia. 

Let us face a stark fact. America is systemically being disenfranchised at every turn. We, as a whole people, have sat by; we allowed this to happen with almost no fight.

This veto, the opposition to this bill and the very fact we had to seek this legislation at all proves this out.

The so called “Food Freedom Fight,” a movement spearheaded by small farmers nationwide, is one of many movements birthed because of too many years of silence by too many Americans.

While we slept, we lost liberty after liberty with almost no protest.
We backslid. Some are so deep in the kool-aide even now, they see no important to "Food Freedom."

Unless you were already familiar with the Food Freedom movement, how many of you would have believed that any state in the nation would be so bold as to create a law that says an American citizen could not enter into a private contract to co-own and co-use livestock to gain a traditional food?

Would have believed that an entire government system was actually so broken and oppression-minded they feel they MUST protect the people from “the people” by dictating where your food can originate and how you MUST cook it, as well? Maybe if they dictated what flavors your soda came in, maybe then you'd be upset?

I must have misread our Founding Fathers . . . I could have sworn it was. . . “By the people” & “For the people.” Someone is confused here. Someone. . .not me.

Here is a fact: Farm to consumer sales of all types are wrapped up in economics. This is a corporate oligopoly (a few entities dominating an industry) the American government is protecting; this revolves around the 80 billion dollar a year dairy industry that buys milk from dairy farmers for $1.00 a gallon. It isn't about keeping you SAFE.

Keep in mind, many of these dairy farms run at such a loss, they operate on tax payer funded welfare known as “Agriculture subsidies." These dairy farmers cannot make a living that is decent at that price, but they have no option for their milk sales outside of selling to these few companies, conglomerates like Kraft. So they continue to sell at poverty prices. The massive buyers of most all of the milk produced across the nation work hard to keep this multi billion dollar industry unable to operate without them.

They pour money into lobbying against small farmers and consumers. They see that the FDA and CDC and state Health Department propagate Real milk (raw) as dangerous to the public; they tout it as a volatile product that must be heavily regulated. Of course they do, this works in their interest. Remember, this is about 80 plus BILLION dollars a year. People believe the propaganda, as people as usually want to do. Here we are.

What happens if raw milk sales suddenly becomes legal across the county, both intra and interstate sales? Not mass illness because we can see from current numbers from the CDC and FDA. What happens is the market controlled by Mass Corporations see some of their dairy farmers skipping the middle man and selling direct. You would not see farms operating at a loss giving away milk for $1 per gallon to big corporate buyers. That is a fact.

The actions by the government in American on our food system are not some type of unimportant joke a fringe group has taken up. Hardly.

Last time I checked, small farmers built this nation and feed this nation.

Fringe group? Hardly.

American farmers have been Terrorized for a decade across this county by the FDA and state law enforcement for simply selling real milk to informed Americans who desire to use it. There are no shortage of stories, though they fail to make the headlines in this biased Media environment.

The steps that have been taken systematically over decades concerning where our food comes from is one of an American Government siding with huge industry over the citizen.

Our wildly out of control government is demanding our food go through a middle man in order to assure mass profit to huge corporations. To ensure control is out of our hands.

Please realize this is about controlling that most important aspect of day to day life: Sustenance. Control Food = Control Everything.

Our most basic freedoms are eroded more and more each day. We sit back and talk and grumble. Some find themselves too disillusioned to even care anymore. But when consuming a traditional food becomes a hot bed for Civil Disobedience, We have to realize this Nation is in danger of heading down the wrong path, it is already half way to hell.

When one says American Farmers’ Survival does not matter, Americans’ choice concerning what they eat is trivial, one needs to also accept that it will hardly be long before the same tyranny which robbed that Farmer of his survival is going to be knocking at your door.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

"The Tale of the Worst Dog in the World: What ends up becoming a Heartwarming Tale of Understanding"

"The Tale of the Worst Dog in the World: What ends up becoming a Heartwarming Tale of Understanding"
Some could say Opie is the worst dog in the world. Oh, I know that sounds dramatic, but sit back and hear his (and my) tale of Woe. Opie Arrived on our farm right before Christmas 2014. From the first moment, He ran from everyone in the household. Ran. Hid. It took effort to catch this 8 pound creature for any purpose. And note that . . .he would not be coaxed with anything. He enjoyed nothing. He would not eat if you stayed with him. But at the same time, he was so afraid to be alone, yet was too concerned to eat when left. He was petrified of his crate. He would cry and bark for hours on end if put inside, then he was too afraid to be out and not cower in every corner. He would just run away from the people he really wanted to see. If he was held, he shook violently. If he was sat down, he was nearly in a convulsion. He did not know how to be with other dogs. He was not willing to "Go Potty" on a leash or walk outside, so the indoors was the only option. He marked. And Marked. And Marked. Everything. Twice. Long after being neutered. While he wanted to be away from people, when left, even for a few minutes, he would destroy everything in his path from the anxiety his loneliness caused. He ate books, shoes, belts, movies, toys, jeans, jackets, buttons, wood, paper, wrapped gifts. . .that was just in one day. It didn't stop. He barked, he cried, he destroyed, he cowered, he hid, he made the house a bathroom, he ran away. . .and then begged for company. He killed the chicks we hatched out inside when one made the mistake of flying out of the little brooder when it was still too cold to move them outside. If you're still with me, you have probably gathered that in the grand scheme of bad, there were few, if any, areas Opie hadn't covered and mastered. So Bad. . . You know, Bad can mean "not such as to be hoped for or desired," and there is no reason to make up a story here. That is what he was, "Not" what was hoped for or desired. I began to feel he was hopeless; life was so bad for him, so hard to endure. . .we were reaching a cross-roads where I did not know how this could be considered reasonable, anymore. You might have guessed I will not leave it at that, though. So often we see the mistakes and the "what". . .but we never look further to see the "why" or even bother to ask. I often wonder if most folks even care. Opie's 1st Anniversary with us just passed. It has been a rough year. Have no doubt. Now that I've told you the "What," let me tell you the "Why," and you let me know whether your thoughts on this little fellow change somewhat or entirely. . . Skipping back to how I ended up with this dog: I saw a photo of this skeletal tiny canine standing on a wet, concrete floor in a very poor County in a West Virginian pound last December. A dappled intact male Dachshund. In the second photo, I saw a litter of purebred puppies. His. This pound is in one of the poorest counties in America. No real funding, a high Euthanasia rate and conditions that we would never want our personal pets to endure. He had been turned in by a backyard breeder that day with the litter. Something was wrong with the pups. They brought the mother in, but the breeder explained she was keeping her to continue breeding. . .but the puppies and the father of were being dumped. Someone's problem now, they were. . .not her's. That is what we KNOW. Here is what common sense and a life of animal rescue tells me beyond that confirmed story. . . Opie was a product of decades of shoddy backyard breeding. He lived in a crate where he slept, ate a little poor quality food and eliminated. He was never handled except when pulled out to breed a female. He barked constantly and was harmed often because it was annoying. His joints, from lack of walking and poor breeding, made the already questionable front legs we see in this breed greatly exacerbated to where you have to note the severe crooked angle when you see him and know that may not even hold up as years pass. He never saw outside. He was isolated and unable to touch others but able to see them from his crate, able to look into their crates and long for friendship, as all dogs will. And then the fear, sadness, destruction and longing he has suddenly makes sense, doesn't it? You feel more compassion and want to see a happy ending for him, I imagine. I encourage you to stop and consider how this applies to not only the animals you encounter, but to the people you meet daily and to those you think you know so well. How different one might be if the path they walked when they were not in control had been more kind, less violent, contained more love and less loss, eh? And many dogs have lived through the same type of mess as Opie and remained friendly and outgoing. An easy way to better understand mankind is to consider our kind's best friend. . . We aren't all made out of the same stuff, though. Some of us are fragile and need more. This applies to us and to them. To think of how we would handle or react to anything has little to do with your friends' capacities, all too often. And remember, there is reason to hope. For eventually, consistent love and gentleness changes most everything and everyone. Not always, but so often. . . And these days Opie sleeps with the rest of the dogs and his boy, My oldest son. He scratches to be let into his "room" with his boy at night to go to bed. Sometimes he will trot away when he knows he will be picked up, but sometimes, he stands there like a champ and just allows it, Being as Brave as he can be. Now and again, he will go to the door and want to walk around outside. He will eat with an audience or without. He will take a treat if you catch him on a good day. And lastly, he will, if he thinks you're sleeping, whine and jump up and down until he climbs up onto the couch to sleep by one's foot in the living room. And darn it all, if he still doesn't destroy most everything he can get a hold of if you're silly enough to leave it in his path and leave him alone. . .even if for just a few moments. (Opie tonight next to a present he tried to unwrap)

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Someone Asks About the Ark

A fellow Homesteader friend on Facebook poses a bit of a question today on the Ark.

It surrounded the sheer numbers of varieties of animals on this planet and how they all would fit on an "Ark."

I rarely, actually almost never. . .get involved in these questions because they often turn into debates. . that lead no where pleasant.

While it is worth noting, it was every animal after each kind, which doesn't mean one of every variety.

It is also worth noting, in working with livestock and animals, it is easy to see how quickly new "breeds" from kinds develop with selective breeding that are vastly different from what started the "breed,"

But this really isn't about a "How" because we are on a planet with millions, maybe billions, of questions folks can only present a hypothesis to try to answer.

Folks talk theory, theology and go in psycho circles.

I do not do that.

Some within the groups on this planet will claim their answers are fact, that there is concrete scientific or visual, plain proof, but often, there isn't. It is just theory and a lot of words. . .and some faith mixed in, which can exist in anything. It exists in denial, as well. One hopes they are right. They can trust they are right. They have faith in what they say, that is all.

Whether they admit this or not is neither here or there. One can put their faith in the theory we can from a bang and primordial soup over hundreds of millions and millions of years, that we can from soup then cells then other strange creatures. That everything came from nothing or something. . .some type of matter produced the bang, but where did that matter come from. . .then they press on "in Faith."

One can talk about that stuff until they are mad - mentally and physically, really. It gets folks no where, and here is why. . .Faith.

Faith doesn't come from me telling you my side or Phil (or anyone else on this thread) telling you his. That just isn't where it develops or turns or grows.

Everyone has a measure, some great, some small. You can let it latch on all sorts of places and thrive.

I'm quite a bright girl. I've challenged all sorts of views. I know a lot of folks who do not believe in a literal Bible are really cool, fabulously intelligent people.

Figuring out if the Bible is the Word of God, meaning all it says literally, or whether it is just nice Moral teaching from another soup:

One of all sorts of previous religions. . .well, that is Faith issue.

Not a brain issue.

I am not hear saying I have enough faith, but I am here telling you, for me personally, "There is a living God; He has spoken in the Bible; He means what He says and will do all He has promised." - Hudson Taylor (English missionary in the 1800s to China)

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Time is Frozen in Dreams

Now and then I recall the days when I would head down Route 10 toward Huntington, West Virginia. . .deep in the poorest part of our nation, and stop in Ranger because my daddy's store set off to the side.

I'd pull in driving a car he bought for me, on tires he paid for and find hay and straw on the porch for sale, as well as tomatoes plants and septic tanks.

A drink and a sandwich made where there was no running water suited me just fine, and I rarely left without one made my daddy's sister, Peep's, hands.

Inside, I would find my Daddy sitting on a hard wooden stool by a cash register from the 1950's. His body was worn entirely out by this time, and he meandered around the cement and concrete building without heat or air while walking with two canes helping folks find what they were searching for, and he did so without thought to his own well being. What did he care, anyway? He was tired and waiting to leave this world by now. He had been for some years.

Occasionally, misguided "important" folk came in and turned up their noses, as if the frail old man with snow white hair that was bit too long was not good enough to offer them what they sought. Daddy would just laugh, knowing the small change he kept in his pocket could buy those types several times over.

Those people did not know anything that matter about life, anyway.

He would be found checking out a customer, unlikely to be paying with real money, and writing their total in a credit booklet the person never intended to make good on. He would tell each one, "Thank you," as they walked out, and we'd suppose he appreciated business they were not really providing and hoping to see them again, which he really was not.

This was all he knew. To toil. Until the end.

Really, it is worth telling you that he was not a man who enjoyed people. He liked them not at all, see. He did take some small pleasure in talking at them about the Lord or how the Bible mentioned nothing of retirement, but that is about the end of what he wished to impart to people, and what they said in return was of no consequence.

He enjoyed the sad and melancholy moments of life, much like I do. But to be honest, how much he knew outside of those times, I cannot say. I suspect most of his days were heavy and oppressive, and he learned to understand those and love them, in his way. He did not know how to love life or people.

Many years have gone by without him.

His store sets fallow beside of Route 10 in Lincoln County. After over 50 years of business, to see it closed and untended to seems quite unnatural to me. When I drive by, my heart misbehaves and gets away from me.

My boys will never know him or the work that unrolled each day inside of those doors. They will be the worse for it. My life is so entangled in that man and his store, I have ceased to understand how I would know anything without him or without it, really.

"Time in dreams is frozen. You can never get away from where you've been.”

― Margaret Atwood, The Blind Assassin

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

My Daddy's Shirt

Nearly 34 years ago, an almost 60-year-old man had a little girl born. She was hardly something new to him. After all, he had some 4 or more other daughters and even more sons all decades older than this odd new child who lacked much hair and was of no particular beauty at the time.

Oddly, he decided this child, born to his very young new wife, would carry his nickname of "Tiny." My mother protested. How could she name her first child, her daughter, an adjective unlikely to ever even describe a long-limbed newborn with a bald head far too large? They bickered back and forth. Finally, My daddy was soothed by a compromise.

TINY-AH. In West Virginian, this name became Tah-Nee-uh. But those 3 decades ago, it suited my Daddy just fine. That I would have his name, "Tiny." Close enough, he thought.

Names seem to have some weight, some power over our lives because I've spent nary a day since where he has not been on my mind.

He brought me home with my mother to this little trailer that sat behind his store on Route 10 in Ranger, West Virginia back then, and I lived there until I was 5 years old.

It was a hodge-podge upbringing full of local characters coming in and out asking to borrow money from Daddy, folks buying tires or septic tanks on credit he tracked on small carbon booklets and my mother always finding the indoor water never working properly.

Though there was rarely a question this old man who grew up with too little food, no formal education and no father had carved a bit of an empire out in the area, he wore the same few moth-eaten, threadbare work shirts from a time long before I came along until the day he died in June of 2009.

That little trailer that must be over 50 years old still stands behind Lucas Grocery in Ranger. His shirts still hang inside.

A few times since he has been gone, when I have felt very strong, I have stopped and opened the little door, that has never closed properly, and I go inside. So much in there is unchanged. To remove things would be quite against his wishes, so I just walk around, sometimes brushing against or touching what he left behind, looking at the notes or orders he had written down for customers or numbers of his often dialed suppliers. . .

But I'm careful to leave it all where he left it. . .

Too much change is impossible, after all . . .

Because dare I say, despite reason, I suppose if I leave his shirts there, one day he must come back for them, and then I could tell him how unfair it might have been to have that little girl born when he was already worn out and ready to leave. . .for he really left me far, far too soon, and I was not ready to let him go, no matter how ready he was to leave this place.



Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds. For riches are not for ever: and doth the crown endure to every generation? The hay appeareth, and the tender grass sheweth itself, and herbs of the mountains are gathered. The lambs are for thy clothing, and the goats are the price of the field. And thou shalt have goats' milk enough for thy food, for the food of thy household, and for the maintenance for thy maidens

- Proverbs 27:23-27

"I know of no pursuit in which more real and important services can be rendered to any country than by improving its agriculture, its breed of useful animals, and other branches of a husbandman's cares."

- George Washington