Saturday, January 22, 2011

Ordering Trees and Rights or Runoff

  We are still tackling the house, struggling through sub-zero temperatures and lots and lots of snow. None of this would bother me quite as much if only I had my seed catalogs to peruse. So while the catalogs have all been reordered, I've been shopping online.

 It's really easy to get carried away or just not realize just how much you have ordered and what it will take to get it all planted.  You'd think I'd remember that and rein myself in... but no. I popped the seeds that need to be cold treated into the fridge, grabbed the debit card, glanced over my notes and then hit the net.

 "Only get a few to start with" I may have muttered that as I was logging into the net.. it seems my definition of "few" saplings are:
  • 6 apple 
  • 3 pear
  • 4 cherry
  • 2 apricot
  • 3 plum
  • 4 hazelnut
  • 2 elderberry
  • 2 crabapple

 Some of those seeds in my fridge... several hundred blueberry and blackberry. I really need to look into learning some self control. The blueberry I am not too worried about as my sister repeatedly stated she'd love to get "as many as you are willing to part with".  Elderberry.. I don't know why I ordered them. We already have them here, a lot of them. The ones we have are "wild" and I suppose I am a bit curious to see what a cultivated strain has to offer.

 I happened to wander across an article written by Bob Stallman, who is the President of the American Farm Bureau that kinda made me shake my head. While I am opposed to any additional regulations & laws typically.. which is in agreement with his point of view as far as that is concerned.. I can't help but be a bit amazed at something he glosses over. It is about regulating runoff into a watershed. Conventional farming practices.. commercial techniques.. is a problem. A problem so huge that the damage the runoff has done can be seen from space.

 At the mouth of the Mississippi, where the river runs off into the Gulf of Mexico, there is a massive dead zone. Pretty common knowledge, and it is so big it can be seen from space.. so it is a huge problem. As the Mississippi runs through the heart of agricultural lands in this country, the excess fertilizers and chemicals run off and make their way to the river and then to the ocean. 

 When you use synthetic fertilizers, they provide a temporary fix and  not a long term solution. In addition, conventional animal farming crams a lot of animals into minimal space resulting in many issues with their waste. It is a massive problem and having driven past more than a few feed lots between CO and IL, it is a problem you can smell miles before you see it. (Btw.. did you know it is illegal to take pictures of feedlots?)

 This is where I get conflicted. While I'd rather not see more legislation, the dead zone has been around for decades now and farming tactics haven't changed an iota to heal that ecological wound. Without legislation or the threat of it... those harming the Chesapeake Bay aren't likely to change their ways. 

 Large corporations and their stranglehold on many farmers doesn't help much either. The price we pay for being so alienated from our food sources is too big to ignore. Although it seems that instead of supporting independent farmers, they are being forced to sell out to major companies as they do not have the finances to oppose them.

 Which brings me back around to buying a side of beef. What I love about this... is that my sister knows the farmer well. By the time it is purchased and processed it isn't going to be any less expensive, but at least now I'll know where it was raised, by whom it was raised, how it is raised and until I can raise my own... I am good with that.


  1. I understand your enthusiasm to purchase the beef but like you I have run the numbers and even raising tour own doesn't pay off that much unless you process it yourself as well.

    Small precessing plants are getting hard to find as well.

    I am sure you will find room for your seedlings and seeds... Order away!!!

  2. Oh there's plenty of room... but each tree also needs a nice big hole dug for it and prepped with compost! It's the digging that is tempering my shopping enthusiasm.

    Processing bovine is out of our ability.. although smaller animals are possible.

  3. That is a very nice selection of trees, you are not wasting any time making a go of it...I like that. I'm off to read the article you linked.