A small stone

Rose and Xubie June 2011I have written about my friend Ava, who raises grass fed beef and lamb.  If you’ve read anything I have written about her, you know that she cares passionately about the health and well being of farmed animals, and runs her ranch firmly on those ideals.

In January a large portion of their livestock was seized and Ava and her partner Ross were charged with animal negligence.  They have not been to trial or had guilt established, but a special prosecutor brought a civil case against them, seeking forfeiture of their animals.

I will let you read about their case in her own words, but know that I am posting this because the implications for Ava’s ranch are dire, but equally important, are the ranches and farms of hundreds of other small agriculture producers.  You see, if any of the specious charges stick (which all the evidence points to them being innocent), case law is established and will affect ranchers both large and small.

Why are they going after Ava?  Because, most importantly, small ranches do not have the financial wherewithal to weather an extended legal battle.  When SmallRanchA throws their hands up and allows for a default judgment, it is a much easier victory than having to go after TexasSizedBeefProducts, Inc, who have legal defense teams and huge budgets.  The default judgment then allows attorneys to go after Bob’sSmallRanch and then Sue’sSmallGoatFarm and Herb’sLambandPorkPlace, using the law obtained because SmallRanchA couldn’t put up an adequate fight.

So is this an isolated incident and Ava is really actually a habitual animal abuser and worthy of 50 lashes and hot boiling oil?  Absolutely not.  This is happening all over the country to small farms and ranches to the extent there is an activist group which has formed to publicize and fight the growing attempts by [insert villain here] to shut down small agriculture.  Farm to Consumer Legal Defense fund (http://www.farmtoconsumer.org/) is involved in thousands of these cases, and I applaud their efforts.  They are able to help, but only so much and only so quickly.

Right now, today, Ava and Ross are waiting on the judge’s decision on the forfeiture hearing.  The judge has indicated they may have to put up a bond for their animals which could be as much as $100,000.  They have already exhausted everything they have to get this far and are urgently asking for help.

Will you be a small stone, helping David to take on Goliath?  Any contributions help.  The pledgie site went up yesterday and there is already over $1500 pledged for their fight.  Will you help?  Anything is appreciated.

Will you also pass this on to your social media contacts?  We need a groundswell of people who value the hard work small farmers and ranchers put in, so our food is wholesome and nourishing.  If there were 100,000 people willing to give $1, the goal would be met.  If they were willing to give $10, we would only need 10,000!  It’s a worthy goal, it’s attainable and it is URGENT.

Read Ava’s story/donate here:  https://pledgie.com/campaigns/29403

Ava’s blog is here: http://raparadiseranch.blogspot.com/  She hasn’t updated it in a couple of years, but it shows her heart and conviction on well raised animals.

You can connect with her on Facebook:  Ava Denton

Things left behind

Facebook is an arguably great tool for keeping in touch with other people. It is also an enormous time sucker, with promoted content and lots of links by well meaning acquaintances, which can occupy you until the trumpets sound and Jesus comes in the clouds. You know what I mean, don’t you?

Skinny mirrorToday, I was sucked into an interesting article about what a woman missed when she lost over half her original body weight. It is a very articulate list of unforeseen consequences and well worth the read, if only to shed insight into the thoughts of people more or less adiposely enabled than you.

Before you think, “well I am not really interested in what fatty has to say,” know that the author is now a personal trainer and contributor to a website devoted to fitness, nutrition and health.

Swede is not necessarily a nationality designator

We used to have chickens.  We loved our chickens.  Our new neighbor who bought a house behind us loved our chickens.  Her granddaughters would come and play with them and she thought that was marvelous.

The granddaughters moved out-of-state, and some of the charm of chickens fell away as well.

The neighbor came over one day and told us the chickens were causing flies to congregate in her breezeway and we needed to do something about it. Reluctantly we gave all our chickens to a feed store to re-sell.  We turned over the ground, gave it several good coatings of lime and declared it to be a chicken free zone.

About 3 weeks later a knock on the door and a card in the hand identified the health inspector.  The neighbor had seen no improvement, grown even more weary of the flies and had pulled in the heavy hitters.  I took the inspector to view where the chickens had been.  She observed, sniffed, made notes and said, “I don’t see what else you could have done.  It all looks good to me,” and off she trundled to report to the neighbor. A little while later she came back, knocking again on the door to follow-up.  While she was speaking with the neighbor, she did notice an inordinate amount of flies, but doing a little investigation, she pointed out if the neighbor would clean up the messes her dog left in her own backyard, the flies might not be as big a problem.  Oops, with a side of “Is my face red?” Continue reading

Paint it Black

Seattle rain - KOMO newsToday is a no watering day.  After several weeks of lovely summer weather, Seattle’s upper atmosphere scrubber has arrived to bestow droplets of water with dust and pollution clinging to them, onto our grateful lawns and gardens.  Tomorrow, the bluest skies you’ve ever seen are in Seattle will become a reality once more.  I know, with a title of Paint it Black, you were expecting the Rolling Stones.  Maybe next time. 

The rain woke me up.  Apparently the cries of the parched ground urged the incoming weather system to speed its advance and ferocity.  And the cats are not happy about it.  Finicky creatures, they prefer being dry, so will eschew the great out of doors, with the myriad of trees on which to sharpen their claws, choosing instead to make toothpicks out of our door frames. Continue reading

There are 10 kinds of people

Ten… those who understand binary and those who don’t.* Do not despair if you do not understand the title and first line.  Keep reading and all will be revealed at the bottom.  If you did chuckle, well done!

Actually there are 2 kinds of people in the US:  Mayonnaise people and Miracle Whip† people.  Oh sure, most people in public pretend to be mayonnaise people, as it is ubiquitous in restaurant settings, but in private, where it counts, there are those who will not eat an after-Thanksgiving turkey sandwich with anything but Miracle Whip. I don’t even need you to think about what type of person you are, you were way ahead of me in self-identifying in the last paragraph, right?

Growing up, we were a Miracle Whip family.  I loved Miracle Whip.  Really.  It was a source of much parental discontent, in the same way I took baths which were too frequent and too warm.  After I left for college it became a joke.  My parents would take the Miracle Whip jar and mark the line indicating the amount of remaining product.  When I returned at the next break, the majority of the remaining white goodness would still be there.  Following my visit, there was usually a new jar purchased and a new demarcation line. Continue reading

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Things to save

  • My mother taught me there are 3 stages of material possession:

    Recipe system accessible on virtually all devices

    Pepperplate app on Windows 8 start screen

  1. You can never have enough
    Acquire everything.  This feeds our desire to demonstrate our success and make our life comfortable.
  2. Enough is enough
    When there really isn’t a need for one more Tupperware® container in the cupboard or one more towel in the closet.
  3. Enough is too much
    The realization that more time is spent dusting and sorting possessions than spent enjoying life.  This period is marked by giving away treasured possessions to those who will appreciate them and donating a good deal of excess. Continue reading