Saturday, March 12, 2016


I love when people ask me about GMO and Pesticides. They open a whole can of worms. Debate time!!! Ok. So first, you have to understand there are many different "personal" definitions of GMO. If you want to get really technical from

GMO definition. The abbreviation for genetically modified organism. A GMO is an organism whose genome has been altered by the techniques of genetic engineering so that its DNA contains one or more genes not normally found there.

So what does that mean in simple terms? Well, it means that there is something different about that plant or animal. Lets take the Standard Rex rabbit as an example. A rare (not normally found) DNA trait was found in two rabbits. Ironically, re breeding those same rabbits never reproduced this genetic trait. So, two rabbits exhibited this rare trait. Those two were the basis of the Rex rabbit breed. The trait is a recessive genetic trait causing the guard hairs to be very short. So why isnt the Rex rabbit GMO? Because it wasnt done in a lab. It was naturally occurring. Sweet corn (heirloom varieties) have been selectively bred for years to create the sweet long ears of corn we have now. It was tasteless with very small ears and used as a grain for flour or animal feed until a few were found with a genetic difference and were bred together. They werent done in a lab.

So, under current definition (I recall it used to say genetically altered, but didnt say engineered), GMO is classified as changing of DNA by genetic engineering. So what is that? says:

Full Definition of genetic engineering
: the group of applied techniques of genetics and biotechnology used to cut up and join together genetic material and especially DNA from one or more species of organism and to introduce the result into an organism in order to change one or more of its characteristics

Here it gets to be only my opinions:
Now, here is where it gets tricky. Having had a child with a birth defect I do like the science of genetic engineering. I believe it has a place in our medical society. I believe it could benefit our lives. I also think that if there was a major disease wiping out the worlds veggies or fruits (like the banana crops of the last few years) that genetic engineering would be useful in helping to protect from the crop disease if it was not preventable through other methods. I do not think that genetic modification should be done for convenience. If you want to spray a certain herbicide to kill weeds and that spray is cheap, then lets modify the genetic make up of that crop to withstand the spray. No, I do not agree with that. We have worked hard for 6 years to get all of the GMO canola off our land. Mostly because it interfered with other crops as it could not be sprayed out. As a farmer, there are many many many things at our disposal. I believe they all have their place. There are mechanical means: mowing, pulling up weeds, discing a field, basically mechanical methods of solving your problem. There are chemical methods: herbicides, pesticides, and fire. There are planning methods: rotational grazing, crop rotations, allowing them to become overgrown to smother weeds, heavy seeding to prevent weeds or resting the fields. Science plays a part as the health of the crop depends heavily on the health of the soil. The science wouldnt have been created to help produce better food if it wasnt needed. However, there is a point (and it will be different for everyone) when it goes beyond what is needed to convenience. When you reach that point you risk damaging the whole eco system. For instance. That canola I was talking about. It has cause massive issues in our ditches. Smothering out the natural plant species that could withstand our local environment, causing less food for the wildlife, contamination of heirloom varieties of canola, contamination of farmers fields, this canola honey is solidifying in honey bee hives and causing them to starve, and you can not retain your seed as it is patented. So you spend more money buying new seed every year rather then growing what you already produced. Now, they are bringing in gmo alfalfa, with the same concept as that canola. We have already stopped growing canola all together here. Having dairy animals, I would prefer to not stop growing alfalfa, but it may come to that. For me personally, the risks out weight any possible benefits.

So what about the sprays? There are herbicides, insecticides, and fungicides that are commonly used around here. I have not used fungicides and do not use fungicide treated seeds. Insecticides I have not used in the crops. I have used it in my greenhouse when no matter how many times I washed the leaves or used tape to remove the aphides or used DE on the plants and I still have enough of them they are damaging my plants. I believe that their is a use for each spray, but using them only when needed and using them only where needed I think has been lost. I have mowed down and disced up a field due to weeds rather then spray it. It is not something I can afford to do every year. If the costs of spraying the field outweigh the money I would make harvesting that field, then I will disc it. Your choice of spraying or not should not be taken lightly. I am not going to get into the different sprays and everything that they cause to the human body. I am only going to say, I rather not do it if I do not absolutely have to. I rather mow an area then spray a field. Or better yet, burn it to return all that nutrients to the soil faster.

In short, everything has it's place. It is when we do things because it is easier, not better, that it becomes a problem.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Updating..... Again!

So sorry guys!  Well, a lot has changed and yet very little has changed.  The road construction is at a halt, so we just keep moving forward.  We made the decision to go forward and no longer put everything on hold for them like we did for a year and a half.  It will likely take us a couple years to move over now.  But that is ok.  It will mean more in the end because we are doing it under our own power.  The biggest change was that decision.

Not so much has changed as I ended up with two rabbits as house pets for the winter.  They are REW (red eyed white) standard rex rabbits.  They were born in October and came all the way from southern BC to join our farm.  They will provide us with our white pelts.  I love my rex rabbits.  I will breed them in June to give them plenty of time to grow nice a big.  No early kindling for this pair.

 Yes, we know.  The rabbits eyes match my daughter's hair!  There are many things to argue about in life.  Hair keeps growing, not something I am going to argue about.

The next new thing......  My rebuilt greenhouse!  We had a massive storm hit about 2 weeks ago.  The driving winds ripped the greenhouse plastic and the snow load broke a few of the rafters.  I lost everything that was in there.  Over $3,000 in damages and lost plants and such.  But, the bright side was that it gave me the chance to build it with the alterations I had been wanting to do for a couple years.  We will see how the new one works for us.  The plastic greenhouse was perfect for light.  It could get hot in the summers if I didnt have a barn fan drawing out air.  But the winters, unless I insulated all of it, which cut out the light, it didnt stay warm enough to grow anything as it would still be below 0 C and freeze.  The new one is not really what I had in mind, but it is close and a start!  The bottom half of the walls are solid and insulated and I used old windows we found/picked up for the upper half and insulated the roof.  It means I will have to use a few grow lights in the winter, but it is better then nothing!
*Pictures to come when it is done*

We finished our planting plant for the crops for this year.  After last year being such a bad drought, most the crops were a write off by the insurance company.  But the barley did really well!  So, lots of barley being planted this year!  Hopefully it does as well if not better.

Here is to a good 2016!