I want to point out a really amazing TED talk that came out recently, about using ruminants to restore the land and offset global warming. But before I link to it, I’d like to set up the topic with my own observations of running ruminants in the microclimate of our farm. My friends were just discussing on Facebook how different our farm looks from when we began (picture above). I believe the video partly explains why.
March 24, 2013
January 10, 2013
Thus far, knock on wood, this hasn’t been a “flood year,” but we did have some flooding right before Christmas. We live in a dike district- our house is on the hillside above the floodplain, but our pastures are river bottom land. We pay “special assessments” on our property taxes to be part of a flood control district. The district manages not only the dike which protects our valley from the Snohomish and Pilchuck Rivers, but also a huge network of old drainage ditches which are designed to keep our pastures dry year-round.
January 6, 2013
I cannot claim to be well-read enough on the GMO debate to have a well-formed opinion. I, like many people, feel skittish of the unknowns: of the possibility that we may let some Genie out of the proverbial bottle, and never be able to put him back. Maybe we should take it slow, with the reverse knob held tightly in our fists, ready to engage in a rapid back-up maneuver if something goes wrong. Big corporations are not always my favorite thing, their capacity for good often seems to be canceled out by their capacity for idiocy. I also feel some romantic sentiment about the old ways of farming, some tenuous connection to my great-grandparents and the very hard lives they lived. And, for most of humanity, there is some comfort in sticking with the “devil you know.”
But I also work with scientists and engineers in the biotech industry, witnessing the creation of breathtaking new technology which saves lives every day. I am grounded in math and science, in invention, innovation, and technology. I can’t ignore that a lot of very smart scientists in the world are saying, in more than a whisper now, we have to move forward. Rapidly. There isn’t a lot of time left, to reverse the trends, to literally save the planet.
And, so, the debate continues to flare. I am torn between the two extremes, as I usually am in any debate. A curious proposal seems to be emerging: what if the people who are worried about global warming actually need to partner with the people doing GMO, in order to address this scientifically demonstrated problem with scientific solutions?
Mark Lynas, a well-known author and environmentalist who used to be anti-GMO, has switched teams. And gave a bomb-drop of a speech about it three days ago. You may have already heard it or read it, given that it’s gone viral. But if you haven’t, it’s worth consideration. A very compelling speech indeed.
What do you think about the points he raises?
January 6, 2013
Mid-December, we went razor clamming again at Grayland Beach. Such an aptly named town, since this time of year, the whole place is in shades of blue-gray. It was challenging clamming- very windy, and the wind blew a little skim of surf up over the sand, making it nearly impossible to see clam “shows.” We finally resorted to just digging in random spots, the suction created from pulling up one core of sand would dry out a radius, often revealing where nearby clams were hiding. We got our limit both days, with patience and persistence; but heard from the espresso stand lady on the way out of town that many people were disappointed with their haul.
The collies got some daily beach running.
November 24, 2012
Here is another good class I took at Focus on Farming- Growing Wheat in Western Washington. I skipped the livestock track that session because I’d already heard the talk. This is another class where I wasn’t sure if it would be any good, and the topic isn’t really relevant to me, but I found it really interesting!