Sunday, June 24, 2012

You've Got to be Kidding!

In The Field:  Or in this case, In The Doctor's Office.  So as I was waiting for the doctor to come into the room to give Baby Girl her 1 year check-up, (Yes, She's a Year already??? Can you imagine???) I was scoping out the June issue of Redbook magazine.  Now, it is not something I typically read.  I got a free copy a while back to try to entice me to subscribe, but I just didn't find it worthy of the $20/year.  However, it was the ONLY thing to read while Baby Girl played with the blocks, so I thumbed through it.

And what should catch my eye?  An article entitled "Antibiotics are NOT Candy." Now, I happen to be a believer that you shouldn't take antibiotics for just anything.  I do however, give myself and my daughter antibiotics when it is justified - why suffer - and make her suffer - if we are sick?  So I started reading the article.  Great stuff at first - stories of people who had SUPERBUGS - bugs that no antibiotic can kill.  Wow.  Scary, right?  The author gives a low-down on how Americans tend to overuse or misuse antibiotics.  You've never not finished a dose because you're feeling better, right????  They give a great little chart on when you should or shouldn't use antibiotics.  Very interesting article so far.

Then, suddenly, they start bashing the farming industry....WHAT???  Where did that come from???  (You can check out the article here:  http://www.redbookmag.com/health-wellness/advice/how-antibiotics-cause-superbugs  The farmer-bashing begins on the last paragraph of the first page of the online article.)  They say that a major contributing factor in the Superbug Crisis is the overuse of antibiotics in the farming industry.  They state it is common practice to feed low doses of antibiotics to animals to make them grow and keep them from getting sick in crowded conditions.  Really?  First of all, I've never heard of ANYONE or ANYTHING taking an antibiotic to grow - steroids for Major League Baseball players, yes, but not Antibiotics...Secondly, we raise livestock and we only give our animals antibiotics when they're SICK!  Livestock have huge input costs - and doping them up on needless medications isn't something any farmer wants to shell out money for.  Now, imagine you live in a high-rise in NYC (or a college dorm for that matter).  The person across the hall from you is sick - and the person next door...and your roommate...do you run the risk of getting sick or do you take precautions?  You take precautions, of course!  Now, I'm a big believer in Airborne, but as far as I know it, they don't make that stuff for animals! 

But, oh, it gets even better - the author starts stretching the truth as far as they possibly can - then further...The adjoining article is entitled "The Other Major Antibiotic Issue: Farm Animals."  They do a 2-page article on this topic specifically - with a cute computer graph to show just how HORRIBLE farming is... http://www.redbookmag.com/recipes-home/blogs/cooking/how-farms-create-superbugs

You've Got to be Kidding?
Cute graphics, huh?  I particularly like the hunk of a farmer in his overalls and what looks to me like red flannel long-handle underwear (my hubby doesn't wear that stuff - does any farmer since 1900?)   And I have to say, I've NEVER seen smoke and bugs coming out of the top of a barn like that!!!   It states that farmers carry the bacteria away and exhaust blows it into the air...Wow.  So that means that farmers in general should be SO MUCH SICKER than anyone living in the city, right?  I live 200 feet from all the "bugs flying out of the top of my barn," so I should have some super-resistant bacteria in my body, right?  Ha!  When Baby Girl had some tummy troubles, we went to the doctor.  They were amazed that she had only been sick 1 TIME in her entire first year of life!  I have read that most babies are sick up to 8 TIMES in their first year...The doctor then commented on how "the clean farm air is growing a healthy baby."  Hmmm, so which will I believe?  The author who is, line-by-line, showing her ignorance, or the doctor that spent years healing people???

The graphic opposite the hunk-of-a-farmer states that bacteria from the animals guts gets onto the meat during slaughtering and processing.  Now, this might be true.  But how many of you eat your meat raw????  I particularly enjoy raw pork, don't you?  So if you cook your meat properly, all those nasty germs will die - and become harmless to you.  And as far as I can see, it's no farmers fault if you can't cook!!!

And that poor, poor person in the hospital bed...apparently they ate raw meat and contaminated produce, and breathed in some really nasty air (probably live in a city, is my guess), and then are in the hospital about to die...But according to my "research" - aka "common sense" - there is no "nasty air coming out of barns" and it's not the farmers fault if this person ate undercooked meat.  Looks like I just killed her pretty graphic...

The last page of the original article urges us to "Join The Fight Against Superbugs".  http://www.redbookmag.com/health-wellness/advice/how-to-prevent-superbugs?click=main_sr
Ok, well, how do I do that?  First, we are to use prescribed antibiotics correctly (gotta agree with them there).  The next 4 THINGS we are supposed to do are farm-related.  (Hmm, is it just me, or did this article deviate from it's original intent - using antibiotics correctly - then quickly diverted to it's MAIN PURPOSE of bashing farming - Note: thank you 3rd grade teacher who taught me how to pick out the main point of a story.)  Was this author paid by the Humane Society????

Now, #2 states to buy meat labeled "raised without antibiotics" or "organic".  This is totally hilarious to me...so this animal I am about to eat was raised without antibiotics...great, so when it got sick, it died and now it's on my plate?????  "Organic" is even better.  On the prior page, they gave a major reason people get sick is from manure-based fertilizer that taints crops (see the farmer graphic)...Um, quick question...how, exactly do you "organically" fertilize a crop?  MANURE!  LOL!  So essentially they are telling us to EAT the produce that on the page before they were telling us would kill us!  And they're telling us to write to our schools to serve only organic food to our kids...Did anyone with any sense read this article before they published it?  I'm guessing not.

However, #4 makes a great point.  We are to spread the message...but not the message they're sending.  The article states "Awareness is key: Most people have no idea which illnesses require antibiotics, nor do they know how much the drugs are used in food animals. 'Unless you grew up on a farm, why would you know that?' says (Gail) Hansen" a public health advocate with the Pew Campaign on Human Health and Industrial Farming.  She makes a valid point for all of us who are farmers...how would the rest of the world know?? Awareness IS Key!  So let's get the message out there!  Let's tell the world how farming works and how it does and DOES NOT affect them!

And I think a boycott of Redbook magazine might be something to consider as well...

K.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

It's been a while

Sorry it's been over a month since I've posted - it's been one h-e - double-hockey-sticks kind of a month around here.  I'll give you a quick low-down on life as I know it.  I've had about 10,000 ideas for blog posts, but just haven't found the time to get down to them yet.  So over the next month or so, I'll be posting about some of these more in-depth.

In the Field:  Harvest is DONE!  Hallelujah!  It was just getting started when I last posted - and it's been done for a few weeks now - even got some of our wheat sold.  Praise the Lord!  Overall, the drought of last year didn't affect us too bad - we had a decent crop - less than what we'd hoped, but definitely more than nothing!  The small hail storm we had that I posted about did some damage, but we were able to save more than we expected. (I'll be posting harvest pics soon - gotta find the time to get them all off the digital camera and uploaded.)  The rain stayed away long enough for us to get it done...Well, almost.  Do you remember my post about the hail??  Well, it came back...with a vengance. 

On May 30, we had some seriously creepy clouds come down from the Northwest.  Green and scary.  Rotation in the clouds - if you've ever seen a storm like this, you know what I'm talking about.  Right about then I was sure wishing My Love had cleaned out the storm shelter and put a door on it...I was starting to get really scared when he showed up.  The guys had been harvesting at the farthest field - about 30 minutes from home.  He came to the farm, closed up the grain bins and headed to our house.  He got home and less than 10 minutes later, all hell broke loose.  The rain came - only 1/2 an inch.  But with that rain came the biggest hail I've ever seen - we're talking baseball size hail.  Only it was also the strangest hail I've ever seen - it wasn't round - it was flat - like a hockey puck.

Imagine a tin roof and Ranger's Batting Practice!  It wasn't pretty.  My Love, Baby Girl, Buddy (the farm dog), and I hid in Tori's room (the SW side of the house) and watched it come down - from the Northeast.  Yes, I said Northeast.  The storm was coming from the NW, but the hail was from the NE - later the rain came down from the South - it was a huge rotating cloud right above our house!  We heard the hail breaking windows, so I ran to the kitchen (barefoot - that's how I roll when I'm home).  The moment I poked my head around the corner to look at the window, another HUGE hunk of hail came through the window - shattered glass everywhere - it got my legs and a small piece inbedded in my head.  That was enough for me - I ran back to Baby Girl's room as fast as I could.  Then we heard windows breaking in our bedroom, so I told My Love to run in there and get me a pair of shoes.  Then we waited - praying - listening to the hail beat the "hail" out of my home.  It was an experience I plan to never repeat - God Willing. 

I do have to give a shout out to our local Volunteer Fire Departments - mainly Lohn and Brady.  These guys (and gals) were there for us when we most needed them.  Did you know that Volunteer Fire Departments do more than just fight fires?  Most of them are also storm-watchers and emergency responders as well.  These men and women were storm-watching - heard about the destruction of our home - and were here in less than 15 minutes after the storm abated.  My Love is a Volunteer Fireman as well - he was radioing in as the storm was pounding our house.  They heard his reports and got here as fast as they could.  They brought wet-dry vacs, mops, brooms, tarps, etc.  They helped My Love board up the windows and sweep up the glass - it was amazing what they accomplished in a few hours. 

The hail was so bad it cut holes in our new tin roof.  Note:  we did a massive remodel of our farm house - it was built in the 40s after the original house burned down.  In 2010, My Love started the remodel and we moved in a few months later to an essentially new house.  We kept only the original hardwood floors, some interior and roof structure and that's all.  So this hail was pretty bad to cut holes in new tin, bust out 8 new windows and pound holes into Hardie concrete siding.  Thank God for Farm Bureau Insurance!  The appraiser was here the next day, but it still takes time to get estimates, get windows and roofing supplies ordered etc.  The work will probably commence in less than a month from now - and I'm ready for it to be done!  Nothing like having boarded up windows in your kitchen and bedroom! 

The garden was hit pretty bad, but it's come back - the squash and zucchini are producing again and the tomato plants are bigger than ever...

Praise the Lord that at the time this happened, our wheat fields were already harvested!  The family had a few fields left, but the bad hail missed them.  Unfortunately though, My Love's brother and his parents had fields of corn that got hit hard.  They'll lose 50-60% of their harvest potential.  That's a lot of money to lose.  But it's not enough for insurance to pay anything...so you just take the hit and pray it makes more than you think.  These were some tough times emotionally - for the entire family. A time of a lot of prayer and thankfulness that it wasn't worse.  Thankful that our wheat was already harvested - we didn't lose our finances for the next year.  Thankful that none of us were hurt - well, hurt badly anyway.  Thankful that everything that was destroyed can be replaced with only time and money.  Thankful that our Lord was watching out for us - He kept us safe.   It has really made me remember what is most important - our family and our health.

I hope to be updating every couple of days or so...there's a job possibility on the horizon for me - and if it comes to fruition, this may take a backseat for a month or two....I'll definitely keep you all posted! 

K.