Miolea Organic Farm

  (Adamstown, Maryland)
Organic Farming from a City Boy's Perspective
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BPA "It's not just for kids, anymore".

There have been warnings about BPA (Bisphenal-A) for years.  Now we read news that it is affecting more then just kids.  BPA resides in food grade plastics and can linings.  Scientist found that when BPA gets heated, by the sun or other means, it leaches into the substance it is suppose to protect.  What it is protecting is the profits of the few at the detriments of the masses.  When the product is eaten, BPA enters the body.  Once again, the authorities will argue "trace amounts" to point to the relative safety of this supposed benign substance.

Yet, BPA is an endocrine disruptor (think castrated bullfrogs, feminized bass).  It has also been proven to cause birth defects.  However, the industrial food complex still disregards these findings and continues to use the substance in there packaging and canning material.

Now more adults are being adversely affected with the latest news that BPA is causing the narrowing of arteries.  You cannot make this stuff up.  We are actually supporting the people that are slowly poising us so that their stockholders and executives came make a fortune.

At our farm, we use corn containers, pulp and wood boxes and wooden bushel baskets.  It is part of being organic but it fits our practice of environmental sensitivity.  I do not think the cost of our containers and jars out-weigh the potential ill affect of using plastics made with BPA.  Could we benefit from purchasing cheaper containers?  Yes, we could, but not at the cost to the consumer, or environment or future generations.  It is not within our DNA to sacrifice health for profit. 

I have said it often; we are in it for the health not the wealth.  Besides, there is no such thing as monetary wealth on a small farm.  Wealth is measured against mostly environmental and sustainable health.  Are we raking in tons of money, no, (for that matter not even ounces).  However, our consumers get SAFE, fresh wholesome food and at the end of the day that is why we started growing for ourselves in the first place.

We just had this crazy idea that other people would want the same thing.  If you are going out of your way to eat healthy why place yourself in peril because of the industrial food complex’s' penchant for the almighty dollar.  Take the next step to find local farms.  Small farms are out there and waiting for your support.  Do something that the next few generations can look positively upon and makes them feel good.  They will reap the benefits of the stand their parents and grandparents took on their behalf.

Buy Local: It might not be perfect looking but it is healthy and safe

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Hell hath no fury...

Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.  So goes the line from William Congreve's The Mourning Bride.  To this day, that line conjures up all sorts of imagery.  So few words yet they represent such a vast oasis of thoughts and actions.  

My story started simple enough.  I have a farm dog that likes company, human company to be specific and does not take kindly to being left outside to do her job alone.  Especially if she knows someone is on the farm.

Funny thing is she is on the farm all day by herself watching the chickens.  She has access to inside the garage all the time.  Inside the garage is where most of my shoes reside.  I have a couple pair of steel-toed shoes; a couple pair of muck boots, snow boots and of course my tennis shoes.  I wear the tennis shoes mostly when I leave the farm.  I recently started wearing a new pair while not quite getting rid of the old ones.  The old pair is now the official chicken pen shoe.

Because of poultry bio-security, we cannot allow shoes worn off the farm to set foot inside the chickens’ domain.  It is one of those ounces of prevention measures to keep the organic chickens healthy.  So we tend to have multiple pairs of older shoes in case there is a need to go to another farm or dirty environment.  For visitors, we have single-use booties when giving educational tours.

The shoes are stored on a low shelf in the garage by the door of the house.  If I am in the house, I have on a pair of shoes that never touch anything but the floors of our house.  I change shoes before I go outside and once again before coming back into the house.  Last thing we need is to bring salmonella, listeria or any other viral or bacteriological organism in the house.  Family and friends come over with babies, children and young adults.  Besides, being germ-phobic I am very cautious about cross-contamination.

I was home the other day doing computer work.  We have to redesign our labels to meet new requirements, access email etcetera.  Therefore, I spent most of the day inside working away.  Little did I know the ramifications of my supposed thoughtless actions.  I had gone out to let the chickens out for the morning.  Coadee went with me as normal.  Except this time, I did not stay outside or leave the farm.  I came back inside to catch up on the paperwork.

Coadee for her part tried to come along.  I wanted her outside protecting the chickens so I stopped her, made her sit, took my shoes off and went into the house.  She barked her disapproval and I set about getting the paperwork done.  The day got away from me, the next thing I know my wife is arriving home.  I look outside and see one of my new tennis shoes on the lawn.  "Okay," I think to myself, Coadee drug one of my shoes outside.

Except, when I go to retrieve the shoe I find Coadee decided to show her displeasure at not being allowed in the house.  As the picture below shows, she made quite a statement.

Let us review; she has had access to these shoes for over six months.  She is out all day by herself with access to the garage.  She is out all day on the weekends when we are working the gardens and the chickens.  Coadee has not chewed anything since being spayed.  No chewing of drywall, table legs, wood molding or anything except for her toys.

I am not a dog whisperer but I think she might have taken being left outside just a little too personally.  Yes, I was the one that made her stay outside.  Yes, they were my shoes and the newest pair at that, but there were over eight pairs of shoes to choose from.  I had a perfectly good pair of chewable shoes that she strategically passed over to select the best shoe.  I will never know how she did this, she has refused to take English lessons, so I am stuck with mere conjecture.  

What I do know is "hell hath no fury like a woman scorned...."

Buy Local: By doing so, you support a safe, healthy, food supply and the environment in which it is grown

 

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The transition is complete

It has been over a month now that we placed the new flock of layers in with the older women.  The transition has gone surprisingly smooth.  Yes, there were some territorial disputes at first and Coadee and I ran a lot of interference but the flock is meshing.

I still think that the derecho that came through Western Maryland, brought them all together.  Ever since that stormy night there have been no skirmishes, do not get me wrong, there still is a pecking order.  If a little one impedes an older layer in any way, the older layer is quick to point or peck it out.  Last night, I went to close the door to the trailer and saw then completely mixed with no pecking.  That was a welcome sign and an indication that both groups have accepted each other as part of one flock.

The new layers are starting to produce eggs.  They are these tiny little eggs a little bigger then golf balls.  The shells however are as strong as any adults.  They have even learned from the older ladies’ that the nesting boxes are where to lay their eggs.  We are still finding one or two on the ground, as if the chicken was just walking along and out popped the egg.  For the most part, we are finding more in the nests.  The most surprising part is that the other chickens are not eating the eggs on the ground and we get to harvest them.

I did read about introducing old and new layers and most of what I read was cautionary.  We did take extra steps to make sure the transition was not hard on either of the groups.  Of course, when you have a sixty-pound English Sheppard in your yard your attention is more on the dog then the other different looking layer next to you.  The older ones especially are attune to Coadee.  The older birds know they are okay when inside the electric fence but they are still leery of the dog. 

I did not teach her but. Coadee will instinctively run towards two chickens that are squaring off, just to break up the ruckus.  When I first saw that I thought it a fluke, but when a saw it a second and third time I was amazed.  I am learning more about the dog then the dog is learning from me.

Well it looks like there is cohesion.  I am still trying to keep the older ladies inside the fence, but when I till, the turned soil is just too much of an attraction.  Coadee for her part hides when the tractor is in use or at least is not anywhere in the vicinity.  I have to stop what I am doing, whistle for Coadee and then she comes and herds them back to the pen.  I still have not been able to get Coadee to make the chickens get into the pen, but at least she gets them close.

This has been a good year from a growing perspective and a year that we really needed for our own psyche.  If it were not for the support and generosity of our customers, friends, colleagues and family we would not be doing this.  With that in mind I am please to say, for the birds, the transition is complete.

Buy Local: Your money stays local.

 

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