The Difference Between Hybrids and GMOs: A Lesson For the Colorado Corn Growers Association

On Tuesday we went to the Colorado Farm Show.  The Farm Show is an annual showcasing of different vendors aimed to sell stuff to farmers.  It’s in Greeley, Colorado, about 2.5 hours away from Lovely Lincoln County.  My husband and children enjoy looking at the new farm equipment that the various implement dealers bring there.  I’ve been there other years, so I’m over it, but it’s a day out and at least I can get lots of free pens and other swag. My kids loved the swag.

In past years, I had combed all the vendor tables looking for ones that can actually help us,  like vendors that sell seed or organic fertilizer or that kind of thing.  They are few and far between. We did buy some seed last year from a seed company that we had originally encountered at the Farm Show, but other that that one time, as far as practical aspects, the Farm Show has been a big bust.  This year, as I am no longer that fresh off the Jersey Turnip Truck, I went there without high hopes.  We don’t grow GMOs. We don’t use chemicals. We don’t live in Weld County.  That means 98% of the Farm Show vendors cannot help us.  It’s almost strange that we all use the same word “farm” to describe our operations.

My kids had fun climbing on the various displays at the Farm Show.

My kids had fun climbing on the various displays at the Farm Show.

About the second table I saw there was the table from the Colorado Farm Growers Association. Forgetting myself, I had a thought. Maybe they can point me in the direction of some non-GMO, non-treated corn seed. Ha! Ha! Ha! Yeah right.  I don’t know what I was thinking.  We all know that 90-some-odd percent of the corn grown in the United States is GMO.  Although I am unaware of the specific percentages for the state of Colorado, I figure it must be in that same neighborhood. Still, this was the Colorado Corn Growers Association.  I live in Colorado.  I’d like to grow corn.  I don’t think it was that big of a leap in logic to think they may perhaps be able to point me in the right direction.  Apparently that was an irrational thought.

(I should add that we do not grow corn.  I have been unable to find locally available non-GMO non-treated corn seed.  I have found some seed vendors in some other states, but the small quantity that I’d need and their distance makes doing business impractical on both sides.)

I approached a certain ColoradoCornGrowersAssociation employee.  They were smiling and friendly. “Would you know where I could get some non-GMO corn seed?” I asked.  I didn’t even mention the non-treated thing yet.
“We don’t support non-GMOs,” the ColoradoCornGrowersAssociationEmployee replied.  “And we opposed Proposition 105.”
“OK, well we don’t support GMOs.  I would like to grow corn and you are the Colorado Corn Growers Association.  I thought you could help me.”
“Well at least you want to grow corn,” they said.
“Yes, I would have no problem growing corn, but I will not grow a GMO.”
They then went on the explain the supposed benefits of GMOs.  It was the standard fare. You know, feed the world, higher yields, less chemicals, etc.  You and I have heard it all before. These potential benefits are unproven.  I shudder more at the potential for harm, both in the environment and within our own bodies.
“GMOs are unproven.  They have only been in the market for twenty years.  They have only been experimented on for another ten years before that.  That is not enough time to show the impact.”  I explained.
“People have been doing this from the dawn of time.”  They referred me to their website.
Maybe I’m getting soft in my old age, but I decided to just let this go.  You can’t argue stupid.  I did refer them to my website (this blog) where I explain exactly what GMOs are.  I excused myself from the conversation.

So let me clear this up, for anyone, who like the ColoradoCornGrowersAssociationEmployee, does not know the difference between a GMO and a hybrid:
1. Hybrids are a crossbreed.  People have been breeding new varieties and cross breeds since the dawn of time.  Hybrids are made through natural means.  (Although in some cases of modern crossbreeding they irradiate the offspring to have the generations develop more quickly.)  Still, the actual DNA sequences are all natural, albeit perhaps accelerated nowadays.
2. GMOs are when scientists place the genetic code of one species and place it into the genetic code of another.  These DNA sequences would never exist in nature. Ever.  The resulting GMO has the supposed desirable trait, resistance to Roundup perhaps, right in its genetic code. GMOs are a whole different ballgame from hybrids. Really.

I find it unfathomable that an employee of the Colorado Corn Growers Association does not know the difference between a GMO and a hybrid.  I have met farmers who grow GMOs and do not know this difference. This blows my mind.  When you make a career certain professions, it means you must know certain basic information.  If you don’t want to know the difference between a hybrid and a GMO, you should be a plumber and not a farmer or a Colorado Corn Growers Association employee.

 


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Going Shopping With Kids: Part One, How to Avoid Shopping

childrenlowesI recently read a post from another blog about how the author does her grocery shopping with four children four and under.  I decided to copy her idea and share with you how I go shopping with my five five and under.

I am set up for failure.  In addition to having five little ones, I also live very far from real stores.  I’m 75 miles from the closest Wal-mart (but 67 taking 40 miles of the scary dirt roads).  I’m about 85 miles from the east end of Colorado Springs and 100 miles from the east end of Aurora (suburban Denver).  In order to go shopping, it’s a road trip first.  A road trip and littles? that’s a recipe for disaster.

My best strategy for going shopping with children is to avoid it altogether.  I avoid shopping mainly four ways, which I’ll explain here.

I order everything that is economically feasible to do so online.
(Note: I am an Amazon affiliate.) I belong to Amazon Mom and Amazon Prime.  The (now) $99 per year is worth its weight in gold.  Amazon Mom is a free club for moms.  (You can try Amazon Mom out free here.) We get 20% off of diapers and wipes all the time when we Subscribe & Save.  (And I also cloth diaper at home, so I use less disposables than most.)  I can combine the diapers into my monthly order where I can get 20% off of everything else in that shipment.  Amazon is more expensive than the store, but when I get 20% off and don’t pay tax (in the state of Colorado) it comes out the same or cheaper.  I use the Sam’s Club website, which has their prices posted, to figure out and compare unit prices.  I know most things at Sam’s are an OK deal, so it’s a great place to compare to.  I buy toilet paper and paper towels from Amazon and that saves precious trunk space.  There is a new service, called Amazon Prime Pantry, which let’s you fill up a giant box for $5.99 shipping and allows for more variety than the Subscribe and Save items.
I have a Target credit card (which I keep paid off) and use them for their free no-minimum shipping.  I buy some household items from them, like hampers, but I’ve also buy socks and underwear from them, too.  Their prices are comparable to Wal-mart on socks and undies and I get the free shipping with no minimum there.  I also belong to Swagbucks (referral link), so I earn back a percentage of my Target purchases earn back a percentages as Amazon gift cards.  I also just joined TopCashBack (referral link), which seems to work similar to Swagbucks and pays higher.
I buy clothes for the children at the Children’s Place.  Most of the time they have free shipping with no minimum.  They run great sales and their clothes hold up really well.  I don’t buy my kids many new clothes, but most of the time when I do it is from the Children’s Place.  I also use my Swagbucks to earn a percentage back of what I buy from the Children’s Place.
I buy coconut oil, organic baby formula and a lot of other health food store type things at Vitacost.com (referral link).  They frequently have great sales.  I have no problem making their minimum for free shipping.
When I need something, my first stop is the computer.  Lowes, Home Depot, even Sam’s Club, all ship certain things for free.  Free shipping is my best friend.

We “home source” a lot of our needs.  We raise our own beef and now pork and probably chickens soon.  We raise our own eggs and goat milk.  We feed our livestock fodder, hay and seeds that mostly come from our own farming endeavors.  I grind my own flour from our own wheat.  Having a freezer full of beef and sacks full of grains eliminates a lot of grocery purchases.

I cook everything I can from scratch.  I use a lot of ingredient substitutes.  Do I need noodles for that recipe?  I have wheat, which I grind, and water so I make them.  Do I need barbecue sauce?  Tomatoes, vinegar onions and spices.  Do I need to make a cake?  I have eggs, sugar, and flour, so I’m good to go.  I keep my staples stocked up.  They are a lot more flexible in what I can make with them.  Wheat, for example, can become farina, bulgar, bread, noodles, gravy, cake, pizza, etc.  Scratch cooking makes me more flexible with the groceries and staples I always have on hand.

I try to menu plan a month at a time to make grocery shopping a once per month event.  This is ideally.  It doesn’t actually happen that way often.

I hope that you can find some of my methods helpful to you.  Can you suggest anything that I missed?

Tomorrow I will post a follow up post about how I actually shop with kids when I can’t avoid it.


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Ernie’s Rooftop Adventure

You may remember my cat Ernie.  During my first summer here, a co-worker gave me Burt and Ernie.  (You may also remember that I like to name kitties after Sesame Street Characters and that I spelled Burt wrong.)  They were the cutest little things.

Burt and Ernie As Babies… Burt is the black and white one.

 

This was our first summer here, my first pregnancy when I was constantly sick, basically my Mrs. Brewster time.  I was miserable.  Burt and Ernie were my little buddies.  I used to tie them in my shirt and carry them around cleaning with them “helping”.  It was before kids, before Snuffles.  Burt and Ernie brought me happiness during this sad time.

I had a special bond with Burt.  He was mine.  Not that I didn’t love Ernie or anything, but Burt was just special.  Kevin was also adamant that there would be no more house cats.  Burt and Ernie were to be outside cats.  One evening when I went to bed, Kevin told me I could take them in that night.  I choose to let them stay outside.  It was my laziness and my stubbornness willingness to be a farmgirl and have farmcats.  When I woke up, I rushed outside to check on them.  I called them.  Ernie came running.  There was no Burt.  I found Burt murdered between a board leaning on the house and the house.  He had been moved.  There was blood on the concrete steps.  The crime had happened there.  Looking back on it, we think it was Grey Cat, a grey mean tom that used to hang out here sometimes.  Toms will kill baby boy kitties.  Other animals will eat them.  Burt’s body was still there.  (Snuffles does a good job now of chasing away the cats that don’t belong.  I no longer have an issue with stray cats because of Snuffles.)  We buried him.  Burt’s death hit me hard, because of my stupidity at leaving him outside, because he was the first animal on my little homesteading adventure that I lost, and because we had a very special bond.

In my brokenhearted pregnancy stupor, I picked up Ernie and kind of wouldn’t put him down.  Kevin felt bad for me and said Ernie could be a house kitty.   Fast forward, all these years later… Ernie is a house kitty, but he occasionally likes to go outside to hang out.  He has become more of Kevin’s cat and sleeps in our bed at Kevin’s feet.

Just about a year ago, on April 28, 2013, I was running late for Mass as usual.  Kevin had gone to Colorado Springs to the Latin Mass and I was bringing the children to St. Somebody of Someplace, the local Novus Ordo Church.  Because we were so late, I stepped on it on the way there.  I even passed a slower vehicle on the paved road.

When I stopped at the stop sign in town, a man who happened to be standing there was pointing.  I thought he was signaling me, but I just waved.  I was in a hurry to get to Mass.

When I pulled up at St. Somebody of Someplace Church, I parked on the street not too far from the entrance.  Mr. FormerSheriff, the former sheriff of Lincoln County, pulled up next to me and rolled down his window.  Ouch!  It turned out that he was the slower vehicle that I had passed. I thought he’d give me a ticket, or at least a lecture.  I had started to take the kids out of their car seats.

“Laura,” Mr. FormerSheriff said. (He remembered my name.)  “Laura, you have a cat on your roof.  I noticed it when you passed me and I tried to get your attention.”

I started to mumble an apology for going so fast, saying that I was late for church and that it had started at nine, etc.  This was before it hit me and I looked up on my minivan’s roof and saw Ernie there.  “Ernie!”  I reached up and grabbed my frightened kitty.   I thanked Mr. FormerSheriff and told him I was late for Mass. I locked Ernie in the minivan with the windows open slightly and went to Mass. I’m about 7.5 miles from St. Somebody of Someplace Church.  I was in a rush.  I would say I was driving at 70 mph at some points.  I even passed Mr. FormerSheriff.  The roads were straight and flat for the most part, but still, 70 mph?  My kitty held on.  I call that a little miracle.  Were the guardian angels holding him there in place?  Maybe…  

This is Ernie on the minivan roof when we got home. I staged this to give you a visual for this story. Poor Ernie!


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My Inaugural Post

Welcome to my new website!

Let me introduce myself!

My name is really Laura and I really do live in a little house on the prairie.  I write about homesteading, homeschooling, being cheap, renovating my old house, learning to cook real food and my culture shocks as a Jersey girl living in the middle of nowhere,  Pull up a chair and let’s get to know each other…


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