Monday, August 23, 2010
"Bug Out" Time & What the Hell is the Government Doing with Food Regulations?
Our esteemed poet, stone mason and gardner, Rockpicker, with his exemplary cauliflowers
Rockpicker & Oldensoul's lush Montana garden
Hmmm, ok ok. So I made a bad pun out of the title. You’ll see why coming up.
On Monday morning’s Urban Survival, by George Ure, he spends some time on bugs, or the lack of them. This has been a contention of mine for a good many years now, and I’m going to be mixing some personal observations and a few factual tidbits in with this.
First, some factual stuff. We have all heard of the honey bee problems going on for a number of years now. They are dying and not because of some truly obvious reasons. I have read that the fingers are pointing at some virulent bee-disease is at fault or environmental pollution or farming practices of spraying everything with insect killer chemicals or climate changes or, or, or. Those of us who have at least a marginal concern over this realize that is going to have some nasty consequences. Many agricultural crops (stuff for human consumption) depend on bees for pollination of the plants. Now bees are not the only pollinators but they are very near to 80% of pollination insects needed out there in agricultural land, noted for their efficiency in doing the pollination and the side benefits of honey in the hives. A huge business has developed around professional bee keepers trundling big trucks full of bee hives around to various farms and making money doing that. Many have gone under because of the fairly substantial die off of the bees. Around here in central Oregon, I am lucky to see 10 honey bees all summer. I have no idea where they have a hive. There are simply not enough flowering plants around here to keep a substantial amount of them alive. Now go over the mountains to the west and the ecology changes a bunch.
As a side note, this last weekend, Freeacre decided that we had to get away from the place for a while, drive the 70 miles to the west and go blackberry picking and save the money from buying from the commercial growers at the farmers market. After a 2 hour drive, we finally started to see some blackberry bushes along side the road, got off the major arteries to get us some “free” fruit of the vine. Now I got to admit that after going berry picking in the Midwest, (a lot of years ago now) this particular experience was a bit disappointing. The berries were very small, not in big clusters unless we wanted to figure out how to get into the middle of a patch that was 10 feet thick. (Ouch, the thorns I had forgotten about). So about an hour later and maybe 8 cups of berries picked by the two of us, we packed it in and headed home. Now I remember my mid west experience of going out by myself and picking a variety of wild berries and in an hour filling a 2 gal pail. (except huckleberries and currents of course, that like picking bee-bees and trying to fill a bucket). What the hell, is it the weather? Or our timing was bad? Lack of bees? Or what? Anyway, I found the yield was not worth the effort. LOL Made for some relatively expensive 8 cups of berries. Good flavor though.
Oh yes, where was I? The bugs.
I realize that most people are perfectly content to have fewer bugs around to annoy us. Sort of like the bears, coyotes, snakes, big cats, and all the other critters that get in our way and cause us discomfort. Try getting someone aside that hates bugs and try and convince them they are necessary. Good luck. The only good bug is a dead bug you know. At the Monday Urban Survival posting, one section that Ure talks about is peoples observation that there are less bugs about. So here is my observation on this.
When I was a kid growing up in the Midwest, mostly in small towns or fairly country living, the amount of bugs was stupendous. I had an extensive pinned butterfly and moth collection. I have not seen any of the large Lepidoptera moths for over 30 years now. Same thing with butterflies. Now I’ve moved around a lot in this country, lived most of my life in the Midwest in one location or another and now am in the Pacific North West. I think my observations have at least some validity.
Flat out, there are fewer bugs around. Even here with the wet cool spring we had, the mosquito population was way down. We have also noticed that there are a lot fewer birds too. Probably because there aren’t as much bugs for food. The last time I lived in Michigan, I lived on a small rural kettle lake. At that time I was amazed at the lack of bugs. Very few mayflies, hardly any crickets or grasshoppers, few frogs, salamanders or toads. The only thing we had in abundance then was the Gypsy moths for which there was extensive aerial spraying. Any connection do you suppose? Where we are now, there is quite a bit of mosquito spraying going on. This year we had very few bugs around, definitely not much in pollinator types, and far fewer birds. The only birds that seemed to be in normal populations were the wild doves and the coveys of quail. And we consistently put out wild bird food. Freeacre has a book of wild birds that extensively covers this area. It has post it notes all through it of species of birds we cataloged when we moved here. This year, hardly any of them are back. What the hell is going on?
Also on the home and national front lines is the news about the giant egg recall for salmonella poisoning. Folks, I sure hope you realize how much of a scam this is. It is bull shit in the extreme, among many others. It has been a whole bunch of years since it was safe to eat a raw egg you know. Salmonella is everywhere dealing with poultry, on and in the eggs, on and in the flesh of commercially grown birds. It is very common, particularly in the flash of chickens. You just have to cook everything very well and it kills all them little critters that give you the runs and where you feel like hell for a few days. Now just what is hell is the FDA getting so excited about eggs and is doing nothing about the unsanitary conditions in the marketing of chicken meat? It’s the money honey, duh. I also presume you all realize that there is a push to get rid of organic truck farms, back yard vegetable gardening, selling of home grown produce and animal products. Hell, our local Grange has a potluck every month and we were just notified that we could no longer advertise that the public was welcome to these, because of food safety problems. Our Grange cannot sell non certified kitchen bakery products made at home because they are not commercially packaged.
Now lets take a look at this. Every year there is food contamination where a lot of people are sick from eating commercially grown and packaged foods. When was the last time you heard of someone getting sick from a potluck dinner? I haven’t ever heard of one. So just who is contaminating the food supply? It sure isn’t Gertrud’s fancy casserole for the monthly potluck.
It is the same thing here with our fight with the county over the “nitrates in the drinking water” fight. We have yet to see a documented case of sickness in all of Oregon from nitrates in drinking water. In fact, nationally, it is so rare that most doctors have no idea what methemogobinemia is and have never heard of it, but a huge amount of money is revolving around that very issue.
It sure appears to me that the big ag businesses are trying their damndest to completely take over the food supply. Remember back a bit where there was proposed that every single domesticated critter in the country was to be biometrically chipped? That one didn’t fly because big ag would lose too many bucks on it. So now they are creating bull shit food crisis’s to scare the beejesus out of everyone for more regulations that don’t cure the problems. After all, if you can absolutely control the food and water supply, you can make a whole bunch more money and have a whole bunch more power over peoples lives.
When in hell are the citizens of this country going to wake up on these issues and take some damned serious action around it? Welcome to the new world order.