Saturday, January 16, 2010

What's that smell?

Yup, it's this blog. I swore this wouldn't be stale blog. But it is. Here's hoping I can freshen things up a bit.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Time for School

My co-worker, John, mentioned an author to me and, of course, my wife says, "Yeah, we have that book. That's why we homeschool." So I started reading it yesterday in the carpool. Here's a quote I like from the Introduction by David Alpert.
While there is always a need for a highly circumscribed number of technocrats to replace themselves, the Combine has only limited use for hundreds of millions of self-reliant, critically thinking individuals who engage in conversation and who determine their own needs as individuals and communities free of the Combine's enticements and commands.
Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling, John Taylor Gatto
Yup. Gotta have your Alphas, Betas, Gammas, Deltas and Epsilons. Never mind me. Have a soma.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

A picture is worth a thousand words

However, sometimes attempting to use even one word, let alone a thousand, would ruin the picture. There are times when explaining a joke just makes it not funny. This video is like that. If you don't get it, explaining it takes something away from it. Here's hoping it gets you.

Nickelback "Savin' Me"


From time to time there are songs that paint a picture of what's inside. Here's one that's hitting the mark for me:

Rush of Fools "Undo"

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Raw Milk and some food logic

I've been reading the book The Untold Story of Milk by Ron Schmid. It's a long book and deals with many issues that tie into raw milk. If you read it, here are some chapters I recommend.

3. Bad Milk: The Distillery Dairies
Discusses the origin of bad milk and why pasteurization came into practice.

6. Good Medicine: The History of the Milk Cure
Many examples of doctors using raw milk for treatment of various illnesses with good results.

7. Enzymes: Essential to Organic Life
Francis Pottenger's ten year experiment with cats studying the effects of raw versus pasteurized milk. The length of the study and the number of cats involved is impressive.

The book is very thorough in the presenting the issues that are part of the raw milk debate. If you're willing to invest the time I recommend reading it. I would have preferred if it would have had some tables, charts, or graphical snapshots comparing raw milk to pasteurized. Something to synopsize the points being made. You're left to cover a lot of material.

There are many websites devoted to raw milk that will give you the main points more succinctly. is one of them. The Weston A. Price Foundation website, which sponsors the first site, is another good ones. You'll get the basics, and then some, in a much briefer format.

Personally, I'd like to be at a level where I have a few talking points to debate/promote raw milk. I've been attempting come up with philosophy on raw milk and organics to anchor to when there's lots of commentary flying around from both the pro and con sides.

Here are my thoughts thus far:
  • God made everything and it was good.
  • God made food for our nourishment.
  • The closer the food remains to God's original design the better it is.
  • The more the original design is modified with man's limited knowledge, the more the opportunity presents itself for unintended consequences. Think kudzu, nutria.
Food Safety:
  • Due to sin, there is disease and such in the world. Things die, moth and dust doth corrupt.
  • Nothing is perfect, so the opportunity exists for food-borne illness to be present in any food.
  • Food produced in a clean production environment is less likely to provide opportunities for food-borne illness.
  • Food produced in a dirty production environment is more likely to provide opportunities for food-borne illness.
Many claims are made by raw milk and organics that I'd like to research and find some hard numbers that back those claims.

To investigate:
  • Our ancestors died primarily due to poverty, non-food-related diseases (health-related factors only)
  • Our recent generations die more due to lifestyle-related maladies - smoking, drinking, poor diet, lack of exercise
  • That is, external causes of death have decreased, while internal causes have increased
Study these:
  • obesity rates by decade
  • heart-related disease rates by decade
  • cancer rates by decade
  • TV watching by decade
  • diet changes by decade - sugar, flour, processed
  • life expectancy by decade
  • fertility rates, miscarriages
  • compare US to other countries, developed and non-developed
Given what I've read so far, raw milk is safe. Not perfectly safe, but safe. Nothing is perfectly safe. Buy from a dairy that you trust. That's one of the benefits of buying local. You know where it comes from, you can see it being produced. That can't be said for milk from the store. Read the book above for stats on commercial/industrial dairying. You may wind up skipping the dairy case at the grocery store next time.

Numbers-wise, I've seen that raw milk has a lower incident rate of food-related illness that pasteurized milk, eggs, meat, and produce. I highly recommend the PowerPoint presentation at the RealMilk site. This gives the stats in a brief format.

Monday, August 27, 2007

A Pox on Thy TV

Or "And here's NOT a few words from our sponsors".

Good riddance! We've just completed two weeks of TV-free living. It took a while to get to this point.

Last fall we attended a homeschool conference in our town. The speaker, Carole Joy Seid, said that TV is detrimental to the development of children under the age of two. TV-watching should be very limited, none at all is better, for older children. So we went TV-free for a week or so before I caved in and started watching TV again.

Prior to that our son would watch "Cars" or some other animated movie all day long. No, really. ALL day long. Maybe "Cars" three times in a row and then "Madagascar" or such a couple times. We put a stop to that. For the last few months the rule was no TV unless it's dark out or raining.

Even with that rule we watched TV at the two worst times of the day. One, when the kids should be going to bed. And two, when my wife and I should be going to bed.

Instead of starting the kids' bedtime routine at 7pm, we'd watch "American Idol", "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition", or some other family-friendly programming. Their bedtime gets pushed back, which meant time for household chores got pushed back or eliminated from the evening's activities.

My wife and I'd turn on the TV again at 10pm for the news, then maybe "Seinfeld", Jay Leno, "King of the Hill". Before you know it, it's midnight, which is when "Extra" comes on. So we've been living on way less than eight hours of sleep a night for a looooong time.

With the school year starting and just being fed up with the way things were, the TV was banished to the basement two weeks ago. Had the cable TV dropped. Eventually, we'll set up the TV and DVD player to be able to watch movies in the basement. But not for a long time until we've mastered this new habit.

So what have we done with ourselves due to this TV-shaped hole in our lives? Hole? What hole? Here's a list:
  • Personally, read lots of books on the topics in this blog
  • The kids are always asking us to read books to them. (After the first week, we haven't heard once "I want to watch TV".)
  • Attend to the woefully ignored household chores
  • Play Zoobs with the kids
  • Have conversations with my wife. Hmm, what a concept.
  • Get some sleep for change.
  • Listen to Ravi Zacharias at
  • Last, but not least - get a life

Getting rid of the TV is one of the best decisions we've made.

The book The Plug-In Drug was recommended to me by my fellow lemming. See sidebar for The Lemming Media Group. The book discusses the trouble with TV.

We're living life real-time for real.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Smooth like Butter

Actually, it is butter.

Lately I've been buying raw, organic, milk from grass-fed cows at a organic dairy about 25 miles from here. I and my daughter, 6, like to see the cream at the top of the jar the next morning. In the spirit of self-sufficiency and curiosity, I figured I'd try to make butter from the cream.

There's a number of websites that give instructions for making butter. My wife recently bought a cookbook based on the Little House series and followed most of the steps. Tried cooking milk and grated carrot to make an orange coloring, but that didn't turn out.

Here's how I did it:
  1. Skimmed the cream off two quart jars of milk. I'm guessing it came to a cup - by eye it was about half of the pint jar I poured it into.
  2. Screwed on the jar lid and started shaking. My daughter started, but she got bored with that after about 30 seconds. I kept shaking for about 15 minutes. When I peeked in the jar, the butterfat had formed a ball smaller than tennis ball, but bigger than a golf ball.
  3. Poured the contents of the jar through a strainer and into a bowl. The remaining liquid, actual buttermilk, I saved for making pancakes later.
  4. In a bowl, covered the butter with cold water. I kept rinsing with cold water and working the butter until the water was clear. You're working out the remaining milk, so the butter doesn't go rancid.
  5. Worked in a little salt and put in a little ramekin thing.

All in all it I got about half a stick of bright yellow butter of out it. My wife gave it high marks. Used some on mashed potatoes from the LFM. Mmm.