Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Lords of the Harvest

View from the front window

It just so happened that I started reading Lords of the Harvest right before I went to Illinois.  At least it made the never ending scenery of corn and soybean fields more interesting.  I think what I liked most about the book, was that it's a book about molecular biology written by a non-science person.  You wouldn't have to know a thing about cloning genes, or DNA, or proteins to still enjoy the book. 

"The book chronicles the cutthroat scientific competition and backroom business deals that led to the first generation of genetically engineered crops: Flavr Savr tomatoes, Roundup Ready soybeans, and insect-killing cotton and corn.  It explains Monsanto's fateful crusade to re-write the rules of the seed business and how it ended up in a feud with the world's largest seed company, Pioneer Hi-Bred International.  It outlines the forces and the personalities that drove Monsanto toward decisions that transformed the company, in the eyes of many, into a villain with ruthless ambitions that spanned the globe."  (

In my opinion, Monsanto still comes off as a bunch a jerks in the book, but it does give some hint to the conversations that went into why they made their policies they way they did.  If you watched King Corn you see the farmers dilemma and fines they pay for saving the GMO seeds from harvest to harvest.  Their frustration is very evident in the film.  The Starlink corn controversy, was probably the most interesting part of the book to me.

I found myself starting a lot of sentences with "Did you know?"

Did you know that the same company that invented roundup, invented the roundup ready soybean?

Did you know that the same company started putting growth hormones into cows to produce more milk? AND that there really wasn't ever a milk shortage?  That they did it just to see if it would work?

Did you know that researchers put a Brazil nut gene into a soybean and found that people who are allergic to Brazil nuts showed the allergy when exposed to those soybeans?  Makes me kind of wonder if there isn't some kind of link to that fact and the ever growing peanut allergy in our society.

Did you know that there are regulations that a certain percentage of acreage has to be planted with non-genetically modified species so that the insects do not develop resistance.

The worst part of the book?  That it's 10 years old.  It ends just at the start of 2000.  I'd love to see an updated version including the last 10 years.  I would say that with the recent demands for GMO food to be labeled more completely and the request to leave off the label the fake sugar additives to milk, there is more to be told about the presence of GMO foods in our diet.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

For the love of a horse

Emma inherited the horse lover gene from her aunt Jacko.  I like to ride but I do not have much interest in professional riding of any kind.  I prefer the lets take the horses out and pack some snacks for a picnic lunch somewhere kind of rides.

Emma and Tux

So we packed the girlchild off to favorite auntie's house for nearly 3 weeks so she could get her fix for the year.  There has been talk about just signing over the custody papers and letting her stay forever.  But word got out that we are going to disneyland next week, so the girlchild decided maybe she'd move next summer instead.

As part of my "MOM watch!" duty, at least I can tell she is making progress from last year.  We are still working on balance but at least we've moved onto the trot.

Along with the riding, the girlchild got to help with the routine chores.  They let the horses out to pasture every morning.  She got gates while Auntie cleaned pens.  The gave the horses their daily afternoon beer to cool them down.  And did bed checks at 10pm just to make sure everyone was still standing.
I'm glad for this opportunity but equally glad to have her home. We missed her silliness!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Be very, very quiet

So I spent a good part of last weekend hunting crawdads with a certain little girlchild.   I don't know about you, but when I think about hunting crawdads I think:

A) some kind of trap
B) set down in some kind of water
C) filled with some kind of bait (a.k.a. bologna).

Not walking out into the yard and shining a flashlight down a hole.

And yet we ended up out in the front yard shining flashlights down 1 inch round holes looking for claws or the shine of those beady, little eyes.

I don't know about you but the fact that the crawdads live in the lawn (I assume because the water table is so high there) kind of freaks me out.  In the it's okay to visit but I could never live there kind of way.
Sorry Illinois!  You are not the state for me.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

High Summer

My handyman's creation
The watermelon punch was a big hit with the bunco girls this weekend.  We (and by we I mean the boy) scooped out all the watermelon, ran it through the juicer and then added it back in with coconut rum.  It was a bit of work but worth it for the fun factor.

Tough Mudder returned to Tahoe last weekend.  Andi, was the first person by my side when I fell last fall.  She carried me to the aid tent since I couldn't walk.   Yesterday, Andi returned to do battle again. And since I am not back to 100%, I got to tag along sharpie style.
What to do when the girlchild is away and you find yourself feeling a little bit bake.  The good way with flour, sugar, and heavy cream ( I made this ).  I think this is only the second time I have made a dessert this year that wasn't paleo. 
And then we celebrated my mama's birthday with strawberry shortcake.  Apparently she is embracing her senior citizenship these days.  All my childhood when asked what her age was she'd tell us 17.  Until we started being able to do the math and realize that was impossible.  Well now, when my kids ask her how old she is, her response is "105".  Really?!  One hundred and five? 
Me?  I think I'm sticking to 25 indefinitely.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Round up in Pictures

My sister came to visit.  I had intended to take lots of pictures and put some on the blog.  But, as evidenced by the crickets here, that did not happen.

We have been busy!  Here are the highlights in pictures.

We have had a lot to celebrate latey, birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays.

Turns out Bobbo is not so very good at back flips

Everybody say hello to Georgia.  She is a jumper...this is new for us.
And she is also named after the beloved bartender of the Silver Spur Saloon
who lost her fight with cancer a few weeks ago.

I made patriotic jello.  You should be impressed.
 Most of the time I epic fail at jello.

We had some flash flooding on 4th of July
Turns out watching the greased pig contest is not so much fun in the rain.

Emmers wanted to ride the 4-H float in the parade.
I did not.
I think it's clear who won here.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Have You Heard?

You can always count on Uncle Daniel to show the appropriate facial expressions... (Even when it's 6 o'clock in the morning).
Have you heard the new Skylanders Swap Force is coming out this fall??
A certain little 5 year is quite excited about it.  Beware if you show up with a device that has an internet connection, he will ask you to watch the preview for it.


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