Posted in Challenges

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

Posted in Alcohol, Beverages, Challenges, Vegetables

Just when you think you’ve got it figured out

burdock rootWe have started getting a farm box.  The boxes come from a farm a small amount of distance from us, who utilize the CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) method of providing good food to those interested.  Once a week a “share” of the farm is brought to our drop off point, none of which was selected by me, and let me tell you that has been a fun eye opener!

At the grocery store, I have my tried and true “normal” vegetables and other than the jicama which my grandmother taught me to love, it’s a pretty bland mix.  Enter the mystery box of vegetable goodies.  On at least 2 occasions I have had to call my sister, who has been receiving farm boxes for a couple of years, to describe to her what it was I might be trying to ingest.

“Lynn,” I would ask, “I’m just working on an Asian soup and I started peeling the ginger from the farm box, only it doesn’t smell very gingery.  As a matter of fact, I’m not sure it is ginger.  Any thoughts?” Continue reading “Just when you think you’ve got it figured out”

Posted in Challenges, Cheese

If you were stranded on a desert island…

Wallace and Gromit go to the moon for cheese
Cheese, Gromit!

When I was young, I was fairly certain of 2 things:

1. I was really displaced English royalty; someone lost at birth who would be ultimately restored to their rightful place in aristocratic society.

2. I could easily be Laura Ingalls Wilder.

Both of these notions had their roots, of course, in literature.  I was The Little Princess and Little Lord Fauntleroy of Frances Hodgson Burnett  and Laura from the author of the same name.  It’s easy to lose one’s grasp on reality when a good narrative tickles your fancy.  That is the standard for excellent literature – the ability to move you to a different place, time or situation.

As an adult, I think I have given up my hope that I’ll have tea brought to me by servants who curtsey.  Yup, pretty sure I’ve abandoned that notion…..  Sigh, a girl can dream, can’t she?

But as to the Little House in Bellevue, that one remains firm.  Yes, I have  in earlier days raised chickens, my sister made me a bonnet, I drink raw milk and get my meat from a local rancher and doggonit, I’ve fulfilled another LIW (Laura Ingalls Wilder) goal.  I have begun making cheese! Continue reading “If you were stranded on a desert island…”