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Monday, May 30, 2011

WHAT DOES THE ORGANIC LABEL MEAN REALLY?



MY OLD KITCHEN BOWL FILLED WITH ORGANIC PRODUCE

In the March-April  2011 Audubon magazine, I noticed an article explaining what environmental labeling on food packaging really means. This article sorts out all the environmental claims that you read on your food labels. Audubon pointed out that there are over 100 “green” ( also called environmental) labels.

Lots of labels for folks to understand!


As a person who practices organic eating, at least I thought I did, I was surprised at what I was about to read. My main interest was with the label below – that of the USDA ORGANIC  label. This is by law the label that decides if the product is organic. 


USDAlabel
OFFICIAL GOVERNMENT ORGANIC LABEL


I had assumed, wrongly, that what I ate, with this label, meant it was produced wholly (100 percent) without synthetic pesticides, herbicides, sludge, irradiation, or not grown with genetically modified seeds (GMO’s).

What I was about to read was that with the above USDA ORGANIC label on a food product it is 100 percent organic IF it also contains the words 100 percent organic on the label. So this form of label means it is without synthetic pesticides, herbicides, sludge, irradiation, or not grown with genetically modified seeds (GMO's). I know I repeat myself but this labeling can get a bit sticky. 


After that things really begin to change. Audubon then states that if 95 percent or more of the ingredients can be produced and grown organically, as the last two paragraphs states, then it can be labeled "organic" and can also display the official USDA seal. At this point the 100 percent labeling cannot be included.


Are you still with me?


So at 100 percent labeling, the food is grown and produced totally organic. At 95 to 99 percent some of the ingredients can be non-organic and therefore may be grown and produced with some synthetic pesticides, herbicides, sludge, irradiation, or GMO's -- and still be labelled organic and displayed with the USDA ORGANIC label. I feel this is tricky. 


I use Spectrum Olive Oil and found that it is 100 percent organic on the side label. I think that a standard box should be created on the label to state what percentage is organically grown and produced -- much like the nutritional box used on labels.  (By the way corporate GMO companies have pressured the government not too label the food that is produced with GMO's -- shhhhh) -- (also of interest click on this article -- Court of Appeals Dismisses Monsanto’s Appeal of Biotech Beets Case, Preserves Victory for Farmers, Environment).


More tricks -- if at least 70 percent of the ingredients are organic it can be marked, “Made with organic,” only and will appear without the USDA ORGANIC label.  If less than 70 percent only the ingredient list can identify the organic ingredients – also without USDA ORGANIC label.


My interpretation from this is to look for  labels marked 100 percent organic with the official USDA ORGANIC label to eat a true organic product -- no sludge, irradiation, GMO’s, pesticides and herbicides. After that standard it looks like some manipulation creeps in for  chemicals and genetic engineering. 


A good example of a 100 percent organic label is this Ferry Morse seed packet below. It has the USDA ORGANIC label and the words 100 percent organic assuring the customer of what they are buying. Seeds fall in the food category with USDA,.





View the Audubon article below for many of the different types of "green" labels 


Don’t let all this confusion deter you – look at it as a challenge to your well being.


RESOURCES


USDA  Organic Program

Audubon Magazine Peeling Back The Labels

Friday, May 27, 2011

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

APPLACHIAN STORAGE SHED

 ShackNoTresspassing01

This old box construction shed has run out of space for storing its stuff.  Perhaps some good ole spring cleaning will bring it back into a manageable  form.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

ORGANICALLY GROWN -- RED KENTUCKY BARN



A barn resembles the organically grown complexity of plants. Plants are interdependent of its many integrated parts. 


Barns are a complex whole that is interdependent with its parts. 



Barns propagate new parts as need evolves.


Barn parts coexist as does plant parts. They both are an evolved system that requires nourishment. Without it they decline.




Wednesday, May 18, 2011

NEW IDEA OF AN OLD IDEA -- SMALL HOUSES

Recently I was sitting in my dentist's office, reading a popular magazine, when I hit upon a featured article on small houses. As I remember it said something like this -- forget McMansion's they are out of style. I thought -- great -- it's about time. All the resources that developers feed into such homes is beyond sanity.

The magazine's featured article had a tiny old house that a woman had restored to a cottage home. Again I thought--  great!  I really like this new -- old idea


So tonight as I write this post, I feel we might be headed in the right direction as far as housing. Small houses is an old idea -- one that saves natural resources.


As I travel around I spot small old houses that attract me to stop and take their photos. I have quite a nice collection of them now. The old house photo above was found in Garrard County, Kentucky.  Couldn't you imagine this cute house all trimmed in some lovely colors on a place in the country? Or even in a town/city? A great starter house or retirement house or even a small family house? Think of the trees you would save.


Found this blog online tonight -- it looks interesting -- you might want to check out its new tiny houses. -- Tiny House Blog

Monday, May 16, 2011

ABANDONED PHOTO ART



PLEASE NOTE: This is my first attempt at creating a YouTube video. I cheated a bit as my dot.com son helped me every step of the way. I'm learning a lot from him lately. I do appreciate his sharing of some of the knowledge that he has. So here is the results of my attempt -- it was a fun and complex experience as usual --  meaning every new step I learn with computers is challenging.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

STRIPPING DOWN TO THE LOG BONES: NATIONAL PRESERVATION MONTH


OLD HOME BEING STRIPPED DOWN TO ITS LOG BONES.
ROCKCASTLE COUNTY, KENTUCKY 

Above is a home that dates back to the early 1800s. It's initial construction was of large hand hewn logs. Over time, layers of assorted materials were laid over the logs to give it an updated look. Here we find the first layer over the logs was wood weather-boards. Then in recent times vinyl siding.

This month is National Preservation Month celebrating our national treasures such as houses, farms, commercial buildings and all other symbols that stand as a reminder to our passing landscape.

I choose this log home as a reminder that we can often save the old and live in it as the new. A few tweaks and we have modern amenities yet the beauty of the place remains -- if done right.

Back of the log  two-story home with  single story attachment called an ell
ROCKCASTLE COUNTY, KENTUCKY

Restoring this house to its original log construction seems to be a work in progress. I do not know the persons doing the work, however, I can say it is an ongoing process that is valuing its former self. 

Close up showing layers.
Original log material bottom left hand side
1st layer over logs is weather-board on the top left of house
Vinyl is second layer and is shown a small bit  at the upper chimney side
Original quarried limestone chimney

FRONT WING OF ROCKCASTLE COUNTY HOUSE
Log construction in front of house with yet to be removed vinyl above it

Photo from the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS)
Woodford County, Kentuky

Above is a photo taken years ago of a log home in Woodford, County, Kentucky  that slowly evolved in form over time. Its original home construction is very similar to the house featured in Rockcastle, County at the beginning of this post. 

Two additions were built onto the Woodford original home. The middle section is the original home with the double decker porch and is dated in the 1820s. A  large home was built onto the original home (only the end showing on the left) at a later date. Also a small one story on the far right was added after the 1820 house was built.

Interior OF OLD LOG HOME OF WOODFORD COUNTY -- HABS PHOTO ABOVE

I'm glad the owners of the home are being sensitive in their restoration. It will keep the feeling of time on the land.


The National Trust for Historic Preservation declares May as National Preservation Month

Friday, May 13, 2011

JUST A LITTLE OLE COUNTRY PLACE


KENTUCKIAN -- MISS FAYE

"It's just a little ole country place," were the words that tumbled out of Miss Faye's mouth as I complimented her on her charming home. "I've been living here for sixty years raising chickens, gardening, smoking hogs for meat, canning and doing general farming. My husband and I did pretty much everything to make it work."


Miss Faye smiles when she talks about her place in Appalachian country. She is eighty-two and gets around well except for a hip that bothers her. She had spent the morning weeding before I stopped by to talk with her. 

Her  home place is a tidy place, very peaceful, with no surrounding neighbors. It snakes along a dirt lane that is lined with her outbuildings. 

Her home was a shack, she says, when she and her husband  moved into the place sixty years ago. They fixed it up and added an addition on the end. It is a one story with a "sittin" porch on the front of the house. She can sit on any one of the several older pieces of furniture that line her porch -- a couple of rockers, a porch swing or a bench -- all looking very comfortable. 

Every part of her home looks homey and serene. Her wood outbuildings are beautiful with a natural patina -- built by her husband years ago. Lots of flowers parade around her yard -- pods of iris' were in full bloom today.

MISS FAYE'S ROOT CELLAR


The hillside root cellar across the lane from her home was built by her and her husband right after they moved to the land. The large rocks surrounding the cellar were found around their place and moved to the cellar area.


She told me that she used to can and store the jars in her cellar each year along with such root crops as potatoes. She no longer gardens  so the cellar is not used for food storage anymore.

MIS FAYE'S SMOKE HOUSE


Hogs were raised as food for the table. They built a smokehouse to smoke their meat. Above is a photo of the smokehouse they built. An old zinc washtub hangs on its exterior wall. Large strap hinges have kept the wood door straight and working over the years. Flower pods crisscross around the structure. 

MISS FAYE'S DIRT LANE



A dirt lane curves through their land adding softness to the landscape. Her old earthy barn dominates the other outbuildings.

MISS FAYE'S CHICKEN COOP


In the above chicken coop, Miss Faye raised chickens. She says that farming is a lot of work. Her husband has passed away. Work around her place is taken care of by her son. Her grandchildren help her run errands. She is fortunate to have a wonderful helpful family living nearby. Families helping each other is common in Kentucky. 


I think of this place as I ride back toward home. I realize this place is real -- not some magazine article on country living. There are many stories that reside in such a place -- real stories of life. May such places continue to be. 


Monday, May 9, 2011

TENANT HOUSE PUT OUT TO PASTURE


Last Friday I made my rounds looking for interesting subjects to photograph and write about. I like to find the unusual -- like the photo above. 

This photo rather tickled my fancy as it was a worn house in a pasture with a herd of cattle -- all very friendly and interested in what I was doing. 

Actually, the worn house is a good example of a tenant house or what is sometimes called a double door house. It has a another name that is not used very often called the Cumberland type of house. For the sake of ease I will refer to it as the tenant house as that is what it is often called in these parts.

The tenant house does not mean it was only used by folks who were tenants. It was used as a common type of shelter by all types of folks in Kentucky -- about 10% of the population in the late nineteen to early  twentieth century. This period was a time when log houses were being built less often due to the growth of  sawmills providing  finished lumber for house construction. 

Tenant houses always have two doors but different configurations. The one above is only two doors yet symetrical with the facade. A popular configuraation that I have seen in many homes in my area is window-door-door-window, all symmetrical to the facade. 

Probably the house in the above photo stood alone as part of a homestead. Over time, the house probably became obsolete for the household. In time another larger home might have been built. The owner, more than likely, thought it would make a good storage hold for the pasture.  Result -- the pasture and house became fused together. This is my interpretation of how the above photo came about. 

Information Links




and Michael L. Moore

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

CLOWNS AND POLITICIANS

OLD HANDMADE CLOWN DOLL
circa 1930s
Found in Kentucky

I thought a quote from the old silent film actor, Charlie Chaplin, would be appropriate for our present politicians -- as follows:

I remain just one thing only, and that is a clown. 
It places me on a far higher plane than any politician.

And for those of you that do remember Charlie and even those that don't -- here is a very short video showing his acting character. Sorta does resemble some politicians even if Charlie felt he was on a higher plane.


Sunday, May 1, 2011

STILL ENJOYING THE WIDE OPEN SPACES

RETIRED 
Piece of old farming equipment found in vintage mechanic shed.
Rockcastle County, Kentucky