The Weblog

This page contains news, event information, and other items added by myself, the intrepid farmer-in-process at Old 99. I send out a message every week, but most are set with a delete date about two weeks later. I archive some of the posts if they have content other than weekly availability of produce and meat.

You can send me questions too, which if they are of a general nature, I can post to this Old99 blog.



 
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Old 99 Farm, week of Mar 15, 2015


This is the week of the spring Solstice, Mar 21, daylight hours now over 12 hours, sunrise 7:30, sunset 7:26 today.

Some folks have been asking about pork for next year. I am getting three weaners again to grow up for meat in the fall. A side of pork typically yields about 4 ham roasts, 1 pkg side ribs, 12 loin chops, 12 sirloin/butt chops, 2 shoulder roasts (4lb each), 2 hocks, 12 lb sausage/ground and 8 lb bacon. I ask for a deposit when you place your order of $50. When butchering time approaches I’ll contact you for details on how you want the side dressed.

I had this comment about the beef liver recently: “Cooked some of your cow liver tonight and, to my surprise, it was superbly delicious and tender (never having had much success cooking liver in the past) – soaked it in milk for an hour before pan frying – yum.”
Based on that Cami and I had liver for the first time in a while. And I agree!

I’ll run the special on stewing hens and ground beef for one more week, then back to normal price.

Healthy eating,
Ian and Cami

Old 99 Farm Week of Mar 9 2015


As of March 9th, we can offer 50+ items including the following crops: celeriac, carrots, squashes (delicata), mizuna and green onions. There are lots of eggs. My flour mill is back in service so I can offer whole ground Red Fife Wheat and Spelt flour.

Camelia is cooking prepared foods from our produce: garlic pesto, cucumber relish, quiches (on order).

“…it’s possible that people are now looking for an experience that can’t be found in a McDonald’s: the experience of eating in a restaurant that’s not owned by a multinational corporation, a restaurant where we can thank the owners for the fine meal and help support their families and employees, who just might receive a living wage. That might be the real “happy meal” we’ve been waiting for."
http://www.truth-out.org/buzzflash/commentary/as-sales-slump-at-mcdonald-s-the-fast-food-icon-takes-a-walk-on-desperation-row

Well, you don’t say! I hadn’t seen any news about fastfood restaurant sales trends for many months, so this one popped out. The tough door to door campaigns of getting citizens to vote with their dollars and eat out less, buy basic ingredients, eat local, in season, organic if possible, may be gaining some traction. But it’s got a long way to go.

How to make sense of the world, it’s contradictions, violence, inaction on blatantly compelling issues? I’m coming around to the idea of ‘thinking in systems’ after reading a basic book by that title by Dana Meadows, lead author of Limits to Growth study in the 70s.
For we now have the computational models to reflect much of the complexity of hte natural world and the basic reality that ‘everything is connected’. She has a list of 12 leverage points, places to intervene in a system, that she distilled from decades of study of many different kinds of systems. The least potent is Numbers: such as stats, subsidies, taxes and standards. The second most potent is "Paradigms: the mindset out of which the system – it’s goals, structure, rules, delays, parameters, arises. We all can work here she says, quoting Thomas Kuhn: keep pointing out the anomalies and failures in the old paradigm and keep speaking and acting boldly from the new one. Work with the vast middle ground of people who are open minded. And so on, I encourage you to read the book, only 200 pgs and visit www.thinkinginsystems.org. for more tools and perspectives.

We have planted flats of long germination root crops and some salad greens, prepped more of the greenhouse and created a wish list for the summer garden. If you are thinking you’d like a place to plant some veggies of your own, come here and do it. If you might need someone to grow your transplants, bring us the seeds.

Specials still on for stewing hens and ground beef, a dollar per kg off the usual price.

Healthy Eating,
Ian and Cami

Old 99 Farm, week of Mar 1st 2015


Apparently this blog has not been transmitted for the last two weeks. If you did get a post from me, pls send me a reply.

Here is what I sent out last week:

Specials this week: stewing hens: a dollar off per kg ($6/kg) and ground beef, a dollar off ($13.40), both pasture raised and finished.

Looks like we’re in for below normal temperatures for the rest of the month, about 15dC below in fact. While Alaska and the North face a heat wave. See a powerful interactive site put out by U Maine showing graphics on global climate changes. http://cci-reanalyzer.org

Furthermore, about 10 percent of the world’s food is produced by overpumping groundwater. In essence, we are using tomorrow’s water to meet today’s needs — a theft from the future likely to grow as droughts worsen and spread. [due to climate change, says National Geographic]
http://voices.nationalgeographic.com/2015/02/17/climate-change-poses-existential-water-risks/

Is there too much ‘apocalyptic climate news’ and is it counterproductive? Joe Romm at the best-of-class website, ClimateProgress, has tackled that one several times. He says no, and shows why here: http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2015/02/22/3617410/oscars-doomsday-climate-messages/, “The two greatest myths about global warming communications are 1) constant repetition of doomsday messages has been a major, ongoing strategy and 2) that strategy doesn’t work and indeed is actually counterproductive.” In fact there is not nearly enough information getting out to the public (that would be us_) for informed policy action.

But here at Old 99 we try our best, and bring you a couple of snippets so you can talk the kids at breakfast (or to the parents, as the case may be ).

Cami and I got started on greenhouse planting this weekend, with three greens crops in the ground: lettuce, arugula and mesclun mix. Not that they’ll germinate any time soon, but when the soil does heat up to about 10dC, they’re be waiting!

We have many pork, beef and lamb cuts in the freezers, eggs, flour and root cellar crops. Plus the specials mentioned above.

Old 99 Farm, week of Feb 21 2015


Specials this week: stewing hens: a dollar off per kg ($6/kg) and ground beef, a dollar off ($13.40), both pasture raised and finished.

Looks like we’re in for below normal temperatures for the rest of the month, about 15dC below in fact. While Alaska and the North face a heat wave. See a powerful interactive site put out by U Maine showing graphics on global climate changes. http://cci-reanalyzer.org

Furthermore, about 10 percent of the world’s food is produced by overpumping groundwater. In essence, we are using tomorrow’s water to meet today’s needs — a theft from the future likely to grow as droughts worsen and spread. [due to climate change, says National Geographic]
http://voices.nationalgeographic.com/2015/02/17/climate-change-poses-existential-water-risks/

Is there too much ‘apocalyptic climate news’ and is it counterproductive? Joe Romm at ClimateProgress has tackled that one several times. He says no, and shows why here: http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2015/02/22/3617410/oscars-doomsday-climate-messages/, “The two greatest myths about global warming communications are 1) constant repetition of doomsday messages has been a major, ongoing strategy and 2) that strategy doesn’t work and indeed is actually counterproductive.” In fact there is not nearly enough information getting out to the public (that would be us_) for informed policy action.

But here at Old 99 we try our best, and bring you a couple of snippets so you can talk the kids at breakfast (or to the parents, as the case may be ).

Cami and I got started on greenhouse planting this weekend, with three greens crops in the ground: lettuce, arugula and mesclun mix. Not that they’ll germinate any time soon, but when the soil does heat up to about 10dC, they’re be waiting!

We have many pork, beef and lamb cuts in the freezers, eggs, flour and root cellar crops. Plus the specials mentioned above.

Healthy eating,
Ian and Camelia

Old 99 Farm, week of Feb 15 2015


Just finished a 485 page book, The Third Plate, by well-respected chef/author, Dan Barber. Yes, it’s about food and food production, and it’s provocative.

For example,“At the heart of today’s optimistic farm-to-table food culture is a dark secret: the local food movement has failed to change how we eat. It has also offered a false promise for the future of food. Our concern over factory farms and chemically grown crops might have sparked a social movement, but even the most enlightened eating of today is ultimately detrimental to the environment and to individual health.”

He’s a permaculturist, without using the word, and, judging by the encyclopedic range of quotes and books listed in the bibliography, he hasn’t heard of it. No matter. It’s wonderful when ‘earth care, people care, fare share’ can be invoked without mentioning the ‘p’ word.

Example: “Food production is a disturbance, but the goal is to “disturb feelingly,” to disturb in a way that mimics natural systems. Whether you’re talking about a goose, a fish, or raising wheat, you’ve got to intimately know the environment from which it is coming and mimic nature to produce the best flavor.”

My point? Most people here on this list are interested in healthy food that tastes good. But care less about the systemic consequences of how that food is produced. We should, because if we don’t, one household at a time, we’re just as responsible as Monsanto, laggard politician or any monocrop farmer of ruining the world we live in. And that to such a degree that our children will curse our graves.

The solution, Barber says, lies in the “third plate”: an integrated system of vegetable, grain, and livestock production that is fully supported—in fact, dictated—by what we choose to cook for dinner. The third plate is where good farming and good food intersect. See his TED talks at http://www.ted.com/talks/dan_barber_how_i_fell_in_love_with_a_fish

And in other news…

In its most recent report, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) calculated how much carbon we can emit and still keep a decent chance of limiting warming to two degrees above pre-industrial levels. This is known as a carbon budget. Two degrees is the internationally-accepted point beyond which climate change risks become unacceptably high.

As of 2010, we could release a maximum of about 1000 billion more tonnes of carbon dioxide and still have a 50:50 chance of staying below two degrees, according to the IPCC.

A very recent paper (published online in Nature, http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v517/n7533/full/nature14016.html on Jan 7 2015) compares this allowable carbon budget with scientists’ best estimate of how much oil, gas and coal exist worldwide in economically recoverable form, known as “reserves”.

Were we to burn all the world’s known oil, gas and coal reserves, the greenhouse gases released would blow the budget for two degrees three times over, the paper finds.

The implication is that any fossil fuels that would take us over-budget will have to be left in the ground. Globally, this equates to 88 per cent of the world’s known coal reserves, 52 per cent of gas and 35 per cent of oil, according to the new research.

For us Canadians, that means 75/24/82 percent of oil, gas and coal respectively. Just consider how THAT will affect your standard of living???

Here at the farm, we had the mercury dip to -30dC last night; it’s finally in a range where Celcius sounds a bad as Fahrenheit! Frozen water lines, tractors that won’t start, frozen combs on roosters. Global warming is a misnomer, it should be climate weirding, because even these deep freezes are a consequence of global climate balancing.

Yes we have food. Delicious food, tho perhaps not as good as Dan Barbers. You will enjoy the carrots for sure. Pre cut squash in one kg bags, frozen, celeriac, leeks, and green onions, as well as eggs, flour and meats.

Healthy eating,
Ian and Camelia

Old 99 Farm, week of Feb 8 2015


Yes, you can wish me Happy Birthday, I am fully enjoying being a senior citizen! Just recently I was offered the seniors’ discount at the petfood store; what a bizarre moment of recognition.

I like to put content up here that has nothing, and everything, to do with local food, health and eating well. Sometimes it sounds like a soapbox tirade I suppose. But I wonder how many readers have gained an insight or felt challenged in their presumptions about how life is? Let me explain my motivation…

For example, “we” are currently wrangling about how much to devastate the Earth. That’s the long and short of it when it comes to fossil energy, climate upset and species extinction.

As Susan Solnit puts it in her essay, “Climate Change is (global-scale) Violence” against places and species, as well as against human beings. Once we call it by name, we can start having a real conversation about our priorities and values. Because the revolt against brutality begins with a revolt against the language that hides that brutality. http://www.truth-out.org/progressivepicks/item/28933-climate-change-is-violence

In every arena, we need to look at industrial-scale and systemic violence, not just the hands-on violence of the less powerful. When it comes to climate change, this is particularly true. Exxon [and the other Alberta Tar Sands miners] has decided to bet that we can’t make the corporation keep its reserves in the ground, and the company is reassuring its investors that it will continue to profit off the rapid, violent, and intentional destruction of the Earth.

But what do we do, the locals? Well, we shop and patronize, invest and borrow, read and converse, etc. All this could be informed by a morality that prizes earth care. But we are all gamblers, with a fatal mental malfunction, we think we can dodge the bullet (win the lottery) next time because so far we have (or haven’t). In the end, the gambler’s fallacy is one of the factors that lead people, companies, and entire civilization to a rapid collapse. It is what Ugo Bardi has called the “Seneca Cliff” from the words of the ancient Roman philosopher who first noted how “the way to ruin is rapid”. In the case described here http://cassandralegacy.blogspot.it/2015/02/senecas-gamble-how-to-create-your-own.html, we might call it the “Seneca gamble” but, in all cases, it is a ruin that we create with our own hands.

This week we have root crops, especially carrots, wheat and spelt flour, garlic, meats, eggs and honey. I’m making a batch of beef bone broth for sale by the liter.

Healthy eating, and unstoppable caring,

Ian and Cami

Energy Update: 2015 could be it


Richard Heinberg has been researching and chronicling the consequences and trends of fossil fuel, Fossil Sunlight some call it, for 17 years now.

I started tuning in around 2003, when the term ‘Peak Oil’ was still new. That was 12 years ago.

Here is a recent short essay by Heinberg, posted at http://www.resilience.org/stories/2015-02-02/after-the-peak, from which I append two extensive quotes (in the likely event you don’t go read the whole thing). He poses three questions to focus our attention, included below.

Ironically, just as the rate of the world’s liquid fuels production may be about to crest the curve, we’re hearing that warnings of peak oil were wrongheaded all along. The world is in the midst of a supply glut and prices are declining, tireless resource optimists remind us. Surely this disproves those pessimistic prophets of peril! However, as long-time peakist commentator Ron Patterson notes:

Peak oil will be the point in time when more oil is produced than has ever been produced in the history of the world, or ever will be in the future of the world. It is far more likely that this period will be thought of as a time of an oil glut rather than a time of an oil shortage.

Within a couple of years, those of us who have spent most of the past two decades warning about the approaching peak may see vindication by data, if not by public opinion.

If our main goal during the past 17 years was to alert the world about looming challenges, now it is to foster adaptation to fundamental shifts that are currently under way. The questions that need exploration now are:

  • How can we help build resilience throughout society, starting locally, assuming we will have little or no access to the reins of national policy?
  • How can we help society adapt to climate change while building a zero-emissions energy infrastructure?
  • How can we help adapt society’s energy consumption to the quantities and qualities of energy that renewable sources will actually be able to provide?

We have to assume that this work will have to be undertaken in the midst of accelerating economic decay, ecological disruption, and periodic crises—far from ideal operating conditions.

On the other hand, there is the possibility that crisis could act in our favor. As their routines and expectations are disturbed, many people may be open to new explanations of their predicament and to new behaviors to help them adapt to energy and monetary poverty. Our challenge will be to frame unfolding events persuasively in ecological terms (energy, habitat, population) rather than conventional political terms (good guys, bad guys), and to offer practical solutions to the burgeoning everyday problems of survival—solutions that reduce ecological strains rather than worsening them. Our goal should not be to preserve industrial societies or middle-class lifestyles as we have known them (that’s impossible anyway), but to offer a “prosperous way down,” as Howard Odum put it, while preserving whatever cultural goods that can be salvaged and that deserve the effort.

As with our recent efforts to warn society about peak oil, there is no guarantee of success. But it’s what needs doing.

Old 99 Farm week of Feb 1st 2015


We had an energizing time at the Guelph Organic Conference last weekend, taking in new ideas about permaculture farms, growing vegetables for seed, biodynamic farming, farm family succession, and much more.

We’re in the ‘persephone’ months when daylight is less than 10 hours a day, but it’s about over; sunrise now is 7:33 and sundown is 5:34. Plants will starting growing in the greenhouse and I’ll soon have greens again.

Till then the offerings are root crops, squashes, eggs and meats.

Healthy eating
Ian and Camelia

Market Day Change Reminder


Ian’s internet is down today, so I’m posting on his behalf and following on his latest post. Next week’s market day is Wednesday, regular hours. Kindly, please place your orders on time. Thank you in advance,
Camelia

Old 99 Farm, week of Jan 25 2015


Hi, surprised to be hearing from me on a friday evening? Next week I’ll be going to the Guelph Organic Conference on Thurs through Sunday. If want to go with us, we can carpool for up to 4 people.

I’d like to have the market here on Wednesday evening, usual 4 to 6. If you would prefer to pick up at a different time, I can make arrangements, like leaving your order in the cooler in the store.

My grain mill is now back in service so i will be able to offer wyw milled whole wheat and spelt flours.

Does anyone on on this list already belong to the Ontario Natural Foods Coop as a buying club member? I’m thinking this could be interesting to create a club based here so you can pick up what you buy through ONFC at the same time as you come to the farm.
If you are interested in joining, or already are a member, pleased drop me a line via email. There is no charge for membership.

Carrot recipe
German Carrot Salad (from Acres USA mag Nov 2009)
1.5 cups shredded carrots
10 TBS veg oil
4 TBSP vinegar (white wine suggested)
1 TBSP lemon juice
1 TPSP honey
1 bunch fresh dill chopped or 1 tsp dried
salt and pepper to taste
1 shredded apple (optional)
Combine all and let sit for 30 minutes min or up to 24 hrs preferred so flavours mingle.

Yes, I have lots of carrots!

Healthy Eating
Ian and Camelia