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 May 17 2015


What’s El Nino? What’s SST? See below for some news and pics.

We’ve started getting the front garden planted, with squash, kale, cabbages and green chard already in. Tomato, pepper and eggplant stay in the greenhouse till it gets warmer. But looks like a dry summer so vegetable production will be difficult.

Now offering a special on rhubarb at $5/kg. Buy some ahead and freeze for use with the famous strawberry and rhubarb crumble!

So El Nino… This doesn’t happen every year, this year 90% likely. What this means, especially when we add in likely record warm global atmospheric temperatures (due to an excessive burning of fossil fuels by human beings) throughout the El Nino event period, is some rather odd, and probably extreme summer weather.

El Niño is defined by prolonged warming in the Pacific Ocean sea surface temperatures (yes, that would be SST)when compared with the average value. Typically, this anomaly happens at irregular intervals of two to seven years, and lasts nine months to two years. The average period length is five years.

Canada among others may actually benefit from an El Niño weather shock (either directly or indirectly through positive spillovers from major trading partners. Furthermore, most countries experience short-run inflationary pressures following an El Niño shock, while global energy and non-fuel commodity prices increase. (all from Wikipedia)

For the US, it means an increasing likelihood of heavy precipitation events from the southern plains states through the desert southwest. Storm track intensification through the Pacific to North America means that extreme rainfall events are a distinct possibility for states like Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado, Arizona, Nevada, and New Mexico. California may even see some abnormal summer rainfall, taking a bit of the edge off the current drought.

Some believed our ice storm in January 1998, which devastated parts of New England, southern Ontario and southern Quebec, was caused or accentuated by El Niño’s warming effects. El Niño warmed Vancouver for the 2010 Winter Olympics, such that the area experienced a warmer than average winter during the games.

Link to Robert’s Scribbler blog for more on this year’s El Nino event.

Old 99 Farm, week of May 10 2015


What a heat spell over the weekend! But we got the potatoes and leeks planted, watered and mulched, and all the garden beds tilled ready to plant the many transplants we’ve been nurturing along since February.

Hope you are up for greens. PULEEZ, make it a trip this week, they are at their finest now.

Rhubarb is lush too, I’ve cut the price in half from $4/500g to $5/kg, half the cost at fortinos and it’s local, fresh picked and delicious.

First asparagus, sorrel and chives are now ready to harvest. I better get right out here and pick that asparagus cuz it’s necessary to pick daily or more often.

I suggest you surf over to Resilience.org to get some inspiration and understanding of a different approach to farming can make a huge difference in our climate disruption outlook.

“But slowing down emissions or waiting for fixes is simply not enough. There is another way. How Can Regenerative Organic Farming Reverse Climate Change?

Prior to the Industrial Revolution, we had about 280 parts per million (PPM) of carbon and other GHGs in the atmosphere. We are currently at 400 PPM. Today we have imbalance: a vast excess of greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere causing the greenhouse effect, which changes our environment in the form of extreme weather, rising sea levels, and desertification. Even if we reduce our emissions to zero, this excess amount of carbon will continue to loom in the atmosphere over us, and the greenhouse effect and climate change will continue. It is not enough to reduce, mitigate, adapt—whichever term you choose. The excess carbon in the atmosphere must be sequestered through regenerative agriculture in order to bring GHG levels down to 350 PPM in the near-term, and hopefully even lower with time.

How?

I’ll get right to the point. A global shift to regenerative organic agriculture can reverse climate change. In fact, regenerative organic agriculture is the only viable option available to us and is readily achievable."

Healthy eating
Ian and Cami

OLd 99 Farm, week of May 3rd, 2015


You should see the lambs trying to get into the greenhouse! I let them out of the north house which I used as a lambing shed and they go exploring. Green grass isn’t good enough for them, they have to eat the kale and claytonia that is growing in the south house, along the wall, now rolled up to reduce heat. I even had to chase them right outside, until I lowered the sidewall enough to discourage them.

Last year I put the cows out to pasture on May 18th; this year may beat that by a week.

We’ve got lots of seedlings growing in flats, including a variety of flowers, so when the time comes I’ll offer them for sale.

We have 38 items to offer this week, adding chives and lovage to the lettuces, kale, spinach (ho! lots of spinach this year), etc.

Here’s my internet crib for the week:

Five Foods We Thought Were Bad for Us, Now Turn Out to Be Good

Here are five nutritional flip-flops, and a few more where the jury is still out.

1. Eggs. Unless you are diabetic, there is no evidence that dietary cholesterol results in plaque building up in your arteries (studies on diabetics have shown possible correlation but nothing definitive).
In addition to protein, eggs contain lots of great nutrition, including omega-3s and B-vitamins.
Bottom line: Eat your eggs.
2. Saturated fat/red meat. In 2014, a study out of Harvard, comprised of over one million people, found no link between the consumption of unprocessed red meat and either heart disease or diabetes. Another study out of Europe of over 450,000 individuals came to the same conclusion.
However, both of these studies did find a link between processed meat (hot dogs, cold cuts and the like) and disease.
Bottom line: If you want a burger, eat one, but think twice about that salami (processed meat) sandwich. But health reasons aside, the consumption of meat in the world sustains factory-farming of animals, which is the source of horrendous misery for billions of cows and pigs and is literally killing the planet because of the carbon, air and land pollution it creates.
3. Butter. …the duel between margarine and butter has been classic, but it seems that butter has finally gained the upper hand, in fact it is margarine, with its high trans fat content, which studies have shown is the heart disease enabler.
Meanwhile, butter is a good source of fat-soluble vitamins like A, E and K2, and actually raises the good HDL level in your blood, while lowering the bad LDL. As for the extra calories? No worries. A 2012 study concluded there was no correlation between high fat dairy and obesity.
Bottom line: Butter your toast. But remember most dairy you consume comes from factory farms, so try to buy butter that comes from grass-fed cows.
4. Coffee.
It turns out that the dark side of coffee was greatly exaggerated. Yes, there are negative aspects of coffee. It is addictive…
Now for the good stuff. Coffee is loaded with antioxidants (in fact, some Westerners actually get more antioxidants from coffee than from fruits and vegetables). Coffee enhances brain function (as do most stimulants), may protect your brain from degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, and may ward off Type 2 diabetes and even liver cancer.

5. Avocados. the creamy fruit (yes, it is a fruit, not a vegetable) is a source of mono-saturated fat that does not clog your arteries or increase your cholesterol level, and in fact helps sweep away the bad LDL in your blood.
Bottom line: Eat as much guacamole as your heart desires.

On the Fence

Red wine: For a long time, scientists struggled with the so-called French paradox. Why is it that the French, whose diet includes lots of saturated fats, still manage to have less heart disease … A more likely cause, we now believe, is the higher amount of fresh fruits and vegetables that the French consume, as well as the lower amount of processed foods.

Salt: Considered a contributor to high blood pressure and resulting heart attack and stroke risk,…Now a major study, called the PURE study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine has concluded that there is insufficient evidence to show that limiting salt intake has any effect on health.

Sorry, These Are Still Bad For Us

Bacon: Unprocessed meat good. Processed meat bad. Bacon tastes great and is very bad for you.
[ouch that hurts, I eat 3 slices a day!]

Sugar: It’s bad for you. It was then, it is now. And it’s not just the tooth decay or the obesity or the diabetic risk; studies increasingly point to sugar as a culprit in inflammation, which may link to autoimmune diseases, cancer, heart disease, and more.

Listen to the old saw: everything in moderation. And no matter what, no one will ever say too many fruits and veggies are bad for you. Eat lots of those and you really won’t need to worry too much about the rest.

Source: http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/30561-five-foods-we-thought-were-bad-for-us-now-turn-out-to-be-good (at 5/4/2015, 11:04 PM)

Healthy eating
Ian and Cami

Old 99 Farm, week of Apr 26 2015


Greenhouse greens are holding up well, should have lots for next couple weeks. Rapini, arugula, lettuces, mixed greens, rhubarb,kale, spinach, beet tops are on the list for this week.

We sold out of ground beef last week, but still have the ground veal, pastured steers still accessing mother’s milk last summer.

Have you heard about the concept of Planetary Boundaries? I think it is one of the more useful models for thinking about what is a sustainable culture.
The PB approach asks two overarching questions: What are the processes and subsystems that keep Earth in a Holocene-like state, and what levels of human pressure on each of these could reach a threshold, thereby disrupting the continuity of the Earth system?

Here’s what it looks like:


The boundary levels delineate a safe operating space in which humanity can operate while preserving the continuity and resilience of the Earth system. Figure 3 displays the 2015 PB update: the green inner circle represents this safe operating space; the yellow zone, the zone of uncertainty with heightened danger of crossing thresholds; and the red areas, the zone of high risk of triggering severe dangerous imbalances.

The PB framework emerges from the reality of the Anthropocene (the era so-named because humans are creating its dominant features), the risk of systemic tipping points, and the importance of the Holocene (the inter-glacial era stating about 10 000 years ago) for humanity’s flourishing. This fresh point of view underscores the need for a form of world development that can evolve within Earth’s safe operating space. Reconciling a respect for limits with principles of justice presents the profound challenge of imagining and creating a basis for sustainable development, i.e., good lives for all on a resilient and stable planet.

The model was refined in 2015. With these refined metrics, the analysis concludes that four out of nine boundaries have been transgressed (Figure 3). Two are in the high risk zone (biosphere integrity and interference with the nitrogen and phosphorous cycles), while the other two are in the danger zone (climate change and land use change).

- See more at: http://www.greattransition.org/publication/bounding-the-planetary-future-why-we-need-a-great-transition#figure-3

Healthy eating
Ian and Camelia

Old 99 farm, Week of Apr 19, 2015


We got the chickens moved to the ‘eggmobile’ so they are on pasture again, after the winter in Florida (the greenhouse). I wonder if you will notice any difference in flavour or colour of eggs in coming weeks?

Some new greens to offer: rapini, arugula mixed salad. Still lots of kale.

Now for your piece of the blogosphere that should unseat you. Because of the momentous Paris Climate Summit later this year, you can expect to confront reams of news and pseudonews on the topic of Climate Disruption, Adapation, Mitigation.

I am quoting advice from Joe Romm at Climate Progress on how to discern the substantive from the fluff and even intentional disinformation. (http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2015/04/17/3647947/climate-change-bs-guide/)
“This may turn out to be one of the most important years in world history. The leading nations of the world are finally making serious pledges to address the greatest preventable threat to health and well-being of humanity, leading up to the Paris climate talks in December.”

“In the interest of time, let’s cut directly to the second most important thing you’ll read on climate change this year, the time-saving secrets:

  1. Skip climate articles by people who think the problem is hopeless or intractable — because it most certainly is not.
  2. Skip articles written by George Will and his ilk.
  3. Skip articles — especially longer climate essays — by authors who don’t explicitly tell you what temperature target or CO2 concentration target they embrace and how they’d go about attaining it.
  4. Skip articles embracing Orwellian terms like “good Anthropocene.”

I encourage you to read the whole article, and yes, bookmark that website. We all need to become informed of what the scientists and policy makers are saying.

Healthy eating
Ian and Cami

ps we need more egg cartons and 750ml yoghurt tubs.

Rhubarb and lettuce from O 99


I should have listed salad greens and rhubarb, both now in the greenhouse, ready to harvest. Radishes and buttercrunch lettuce too.

Old 99 Farm, Week of Apr 12, 2015


More greens each week, though the quantities are still small. So be quick and get the greens you want. Seedlings are started for lots of lettuces, chard, peppers, tomatoes, onions, cabbages, and more.

Where to get credible nutritional information? I came across this essay and quote it below. It’s a blog post from Jan 30, 2015, by Tina Paxton, (“I live on .6 acres in a ‘sub-rural’ coastal community, NC. I have a BA in Human Relations and an MA in Nutrition but currently earn a paycheck doing research and adding info to a database.”)
You can read more at http://www.permies.com/t/2776/food-medicine/Weston-Price-Foundation.

Check out http://www.westonaprice.org/about-the-foundation/beginner-tour/ for more on WAFP.

I’ve spent a lot of time looking at what the WAPF teaches/preaches as well as what Paleo/Primal teaches. There are many similarities (bone broth, the love of butter…) and there are a few disagreements (grains). It is one of those situations where I wish they would focus on their agreements and not separate on their disagreements.

Both camps have their dogmatism but I think WAPF is more entrenched and less flexible on their dogma (Fermented Cod Liver Oil and High Vitamin Butter Oil being their most dogmatic doctrines) than the Paleo/Primal folks are. I prefer the flexibility of Paleo/Primal perhaps for no better reason that I tried the FCLO and HVBO and as God is my witness they both made me ill! I’ll get my vitamin A and D in other forms, thanks!

Where they all agree:

1. Processed foods are killing us.
2. Animal fat and coconut oil are good for us.
3. vegetable oils are bad.
4. Soy – bad.
5. GMOs – bad
6. EAT REAL FOOD
7. Eat fermented food.
8. BONE BROTH ROCKS — drink lots of it!
9. Animal protein (pastured) is good for us (some disagreement in how much).

Healthy Eating,
Ian and Cami

Old 99 Farm, week of Apr 5th 2015


The lambs have started dropping, so far 12 from 5 ewes and they are fun to watch. You might bring your kids to the farm in next couple weeks to watch them.

Some of the first crops planted this year are now large enough to harvest limited quantities, eg kale, lettage, spinach.

As of Apr 5th, we can offer 40 items including the following crops: spinach, baby kale, early white cabbage (lettage), collards, celeriac, carrots, and green onions. There are lots of eggs. My flour mill is back in service so I can offer whole ground Red Fife Wheat flour.

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

Meats
I have sufficient ground beef, 5 lambs in the freezer, as well as veal. Folks are starting to ask about placing orders for roasting chickens for next summer. Yes you can, leave me a deposit of $11 a bird, minimum 5 birds.

On the Climate

We may be witnessing the start of the long-awaited jump in global temperatures. There is “a vast and growing body of research,” as Climate Central explained in February. “Humanity is about to experience a historically unprecedented spike in temperatures.”

A March study, “Near-term acceleration in the rate of temperature change,” makes clear that an actual acceleration in the rate of global warming is imminent — with Arctic warming rising a stunning 1°F per decade by the 2020s.
The fact that NOAA projects that the current El Niño could last most of 2015 means we are still on track for what is likely to be the hottest calendar year on record — very possibly beating 2014 by a wide margin (0.1°C).

And record global temps mean extreme temperatures and weather locally. So far this year, “five nations or territories have tied or set all-time records for their hottest temperature in recorded history,” explains meteorologist Jeff Masters.
http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2015/04/02/3640842/global-warming-jump-imminent/

Healthy eating
Ian and Camelia

Old99 Farm Week of Mar 31 2015


As of March 31, we can offer 45 items including the following crops: celeriac, carrots, and green onions. There are lots of eggs. My flour mill is back in service so I can offer whole ground Red Fife Wheat flour.

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

Meats
I have sufficient ground beef, 5 lambs in the freezer, as well as veal. Folks are starting to ask about placing orders for roasting chickens for next summer. Yes you can, leave me a deposit of $11 a bird, minimum 5 birds.

Eggs
My regular price is $6/XL doz. I sell mixed size dozens that weigh at least 588 gm (medium), 672 grams, the ‘large’ size dozen, and Extra Large, 770gm plus carton. Please bring in recycled cartons.

Raw Honey
There remains about 10L of 2014 honey. Will have again in June. You bring your jar and fill it here, or buy in prefilled mason jars.

A 2013 quote from Wendell Berry, American agrarian, writer and activist, now in his 80s,“The ruling ideas of our present, very destructive national or international economy are: competition, consumption, globalism, corporate profitability, mechanical efficiency, technological progress, upward mobility—and in all of them there is the implication of acceptable violence against the land and the people. We, on the contrary, must think again of reverence, humility, affection, familiarity, neighborliness, cooperation, thrift, appropriateness, local loyalty. These terms return us to the best of our heritage. They bring us home.” {http://inthesetimes.com/rural-america/entry/17778/local-economies-to-save-the-land-and-the-people}

Says permaculture educator Albert Bates in his recent post to www.peaksurfer.blogspot.ca/
“We list our tool kit: biochar, ecovillage design, permaculture, holistic management, keyline water systems, native agroforestry, alley cropping cell divisions, constructed wetlands and chinampas, leaf protein extraction, bioenergy crops that first produce food, and productive, satisfying and fun things for people to be doing together.”

I see a connection between these two: do you?

Healthy Eating,
Ian and Camelia

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