Tag Archives: Meduseld

Plea to Farmers

I went to high school in the beautiful state of Iowa.  From the meandering Mississippi to the fields of wheat and corn that stretched beyond sight, it was also inhabited by some of the nicest people you’d ever want to meet.   I remember in the fall students returning to school  as brown as nuts.  These students had spent the summer detassling corn, a process where the tassle is removed to prevent pollination.  Thousands of Iowan acres were detassled by hand and the students were glad for the income. 

The detassling was done for hybridizing corn.  The tassles of most corn are removed while the pollinator rows are left intact.  This creates the hybridized, higher yielding corn.

Fast forward to present day.   Instead of relying solely on the genes present in the corn, corporations have inserted genes for certain traits into the plants and we call them genetically modified organism, or GMOs.

Over and over I read and hear proponents of GMO’s stating that with population growth GMO’s are necessary to feed the world.  While I disagree with the logic of a statement that says  “the undesirable should be accepted in lieu of something worse,” I am going to give the first statement the benefit of the doubt and test it, and see if it stands up to logic.

A casual glance at the research shows that forty percent (MSN Statistics)  of U.S. corn is used to make ethanol.   So 40 % of each years’ crop isn’t feeding anyone.  People are dying of starvation all over this planet, and here we literally burn food to fuel our cars.   When almost half of the corn produced is literally burnt, the feeding the world argument falls apart.

BTW, Ethanol is very hard on automobile engines that were not created to handle it.  It burns at a higher temperature, decreases fuel efficiency, and destroys the plastic fuel intakes on fuel pumps – very expensive indeed.  And even the EPA admits that it is worse for the environment than its gasoline counterpart.   Despite this, evidently the EPA has signed off on increasing the blend allowed from 10% to 15%.  Google what this will do to your engines.   It’s especially frightening when you consider examples from mechanics that gas companies are already sneaking in higher levels of ethanol.  Here’s what Consumer Reports says about the matter.

So, the single biggest argument for using GM crops falls short.  Here are the ones against its use, and they are substantial. I ask readers, especially those who farm with GM crops to please consider:

  • GM corn has been proven to cause cancer in rats and mice at levels that are allowed in drinking water. 

 

  • GM crops treated with glyphosphate cause disease, from diabetes to obesity to heart conditions.  This may sound like a stretch, until you see the explanation of Dr. Stephanie Seneff, MIT researcher.  Monsanto claims glyphosphate, the active ingredient in Roundup (c)  is harmless to humans since it affects the Shikimate pathway of plants.  Since human cells do not have this pathway, they claim it is harmless.  As Dr. Seneff points out, however, the human gut bacteria outnumber our human cells in our bodies 10 to 1.  It is estimated that each human carries 10 billion bacteria cells, each of which DOES have the Shikimate pathway.  When our intestinal balance is destroyed, Seneff shows that other health problems emerge. 

 

  • GM crops creates monopolies.  Imagine all the worlds major crop seeds in the hands of a few corporations.  Nuf said.

 

  • GM crops are weakening U.S. exports.  Recently, India announced that it would be buying GM free soy beans from Brazil.  Personally, I love Brazil, but I am sad that crops that used to be the strength of this nation are being lost.  I was born in Decatur, IL while it was crowned “the Soybean Capital of the World,” and it is about to lose that crown, if it hasn’t already.   I remember as a little girl driving over a large bridge that went through Decatur past the Staley’s plant.  We called it Staley’s bridge, because the smell of the soy processing was so overpowering we had to warn each other to plug our noses.   Well, many countries don’t want our GM products, including Japan who just cancelled a large wheat order when the story emerged last week of rouge GM wheat found in an Oregon field, as described here by The Wall Street Journal.  Korea and Taiwan and considering their U.S. imports as well.

wake up gm

 

 This is a nation built of hard workers.  People who took great risks, leaving foreign lands and families to build a better place.  Farmers in this country are the embodiment of the virtues that built this nation – hard-working and self-sacrificing.  It is such a shame to watch their international markets shrivel.  Now more than ever it is important to look at why other countries have banned GM products and to turn the tide before all confidence is lost internationally in our ability to produce safe, delicious and nutritious food.  This country was the bread basket of the world.   Please think about it!

 

Stowell's Evergreen Open Pollinated Growing in Meduseld Garden

Stowell’s Evergreen Open Pollinated Growing in Meduseld Garden

 

 

 

Meduseld Romney – Two New Yarns

We are excited to add two new sport weight yarns to our store, both made of 100 percent Romney wool.  They are both subtle blends of dyed wools and we are calling their colors Monet Winter Sunset and Monet Reflection.

Romney Yarn

Romney Yarn

 

Monet Winter Sunset is a blend of reds with hints of leaf green and gold subtley intertwined in the Romney wool sheen.  Monet Reflection appears purple or lilac at first to the eye, but actually contains no purple fibers.  It is a blend of reds and blues creating a tweeding effect that changes colors in different light, almost like a color-change sapphire.  You can see these blends in the photos.

I have made some swatches of each.  Sunset was knit with #3 (U.S.) knitting needles.  Reflection was crocheted with an “F” crochet hook.

monetsunsetknit monetreflectioncrochet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Both compliment each other well.  Inspired by a sweater I have always liked in Rowan Magazine Number 50, I started knitting the two together in the rose pattern. 

Monet Rowan

This is is as far as I have gotten, and the colors compliment each other nicely.

 

 

monetrose

Each sport weight skein weighs just over 3.2  oz and is 200 yards long.  They can be purchased for $15.00 each in Meduseld’s store.

Meduseld Romney Yarn

Meduseld Romney Yarn

Meals at Meduseld – Bread and Pizza

I recently stayed at my friend Barbara’s wonderful Bed and Breakfast in Longdale Furnace, Virginia called the Firmstone Manor.   It is a beautiful pre-victorian manor and she always makes me feel at home.  While I was there, I was supposed to give a lesson in bread making, but the threat of snow on the roads forced me to come home early.  So, I am going to cover some bread making basics, and transition it to pizza, one of the easiest and most delicious foods to make.  Since it is Lent, I am providing a vegetarian version as well.  

Sausage Pizza

Sausage Pizza

 Basic Bread Recipe

2 cups warm water

2 teaspoons salt

2 tablesoons sugar

4 level cups King Arthur Bread Flour

2 teaspoons yeast (I use Fleischmanns Instant Yeast in one pound packages )

I like to take all the above ingredients and stir them in a food grade bucket that I have left over from some coconut oil I ordered from Radiant Life Catalog.  I put this bucket of stirred dough in the fridge and let it sit a couple of days.  If you double the recipe, you can just grab a chunk of dough for rolls, bread, etc.  whenever you need it.  As it sits, the flavor improves, becoming more like a sour dough.

doughbucket

An extremely important note:  Do NOT use tap water for baking bread.  The chlorine in the water will kill the yeast cells and your bread will not rise.  I know alot of city dwellers who have said they cannot bake bread, but its the water’s fault, not theirs.  I don’t recommend distilled water either because it has no remaining minerals.   Try a spring or mineral water (not carbonated).  We use well water and always have good results.

Take your dough and let it come back to room temperature.  It will start to rise.  Knead in additional flour if it is too sticky, otherwise you can start shaping the dough into the bread style you need.  The first picture below is how the dough looks straight from the bucket.  The second picture shows how it looks after it has been kneaded.

Dough from Bucket

Dough from Bucket

Kneaded Dough

Shape the dough.  Here I am going to make it into baguettes and sandwich loaves.  Let it rise until doubled.

Baguette - Slash the dough so it can rise.

Baguette – Slash the dough so it can rise.

In 400 degree oven, bake bread for about 1/2 hour until golden brown.  I start with convection for the first five minutes.  This is optional but does give an extra “puff.” to make the loaf rise more. 

Finished Loaves

Finished Loaves

Now, say you want to make pizza instead of bread?  Easy.  Each recipe I gave above will yield two loaves, or two large pizzas.  And I don’t mean those weeny things they call a large pizza now-a-days.  Sorry y’all but a twelve inch pizza isn’t “large.” 

Take an appropriately sized piece of dough and roll it out flat with a rolling pin and plenty flour.  If you look at my dough baguette picture above you can see that I have a silicon rolling mat.  I strongly recommend one, and a benefit to these is that they have markings to show how large you have rolled your dough out. 

I place my rolled out dough on a pizza pan that I have covered first with a small amount of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt.  This makes the crust more flavorful.  Now start with your toppings.  We use Muir Glen chopped tomatoes as our sauce, but I am in the market for a new brand since they gave money to the side opposing GMO labeling in California.  If I am wrong, please correct me.  In the picture below is a ham and pineapple pizza.  Cover with generous amounts of shredded cheese, and allow your pizzas to stand for fifteen minutes for the yeast to rise. 

Bake at 400 for ten minutes and then reduce temperature to 375.  Bake another approximately 20 minutes until cheese is a golden brown and center is cooked.

For a delightful vegetarian pizza, we omit the tomato sauce, using instead this delightful Roland Truffle Cream – I put it in my Amazon store.  Spread about one tablespoon over a medium (12 inch) pizza.

Roland Truffle Cream

Roland Truffle Cream

In a small pan cook sliced onions and bulb fennel with water until almost tender.  Drain well and spread on pizza dough.  Cover with generous amount of shredded cheese and proceed with directions for pizza above.  Yum.  Truffle. 

Note to pizzerias:  This is a LARGE pizza.

A True Large Pizza

A True Large Pizza

 

 

Marvelous, Medicinal Honey

Via Dr. Mercola, learn about the incredible health benefits of natural honey, available directly from Meduseld’s online store.

Meduseld honey - available in glass jars and squeeze bottles

Meduseld honey - available in glass jars and squeeze bottles

The Sweet Golden Treat That Can Help Wipe Out Deadly MRSA

Honey was a conventional therapy in fighting infection up until the early 20th century, at which time its use slowly vanished with the advent of penicillin.

Now the use of honey in wound care is regaining popularity again, as researchers are determining exactly how honey can help fight serious skin infections.

According to their findings, certain types of honey might be more effective than antibiotics!

After any skin injury, bacteria that live on your skin can infect and penetrate the wound site.

One particularly common type of strep (Streptococcus pyogenes) can result in wounds that refuse to heal.

But honey, especially the kind made by bees foraging on manuka flowers, was found to destroy these bacteria.

Scientific American recently reported:

“In lab tests, just a bit of the honey killed off the majority of bacterial cells — and cut down dramatically on the stubborn biofilms they formed.

It could also be used to prevent wounds from becoming infected in the first place.”

According to the authors of the study,

These findings indicate that manuka honey has potential in the topical treatment of wounds containing S. pyogenes.” ii

Should You Dress Your Wounds with Honey?

As long as you use the right kind of honey, science does back up its use for wound treatment, which is especially relevant today as antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections are on the rise.

Five years ago, the FDA authorized the first honey-based medical product for use in the US. Derma Sciences uses Manuka honey for their Medihoney wound and burn dressings, which can be found online from medical supply stores. Amazon.com also sells them. These products can also be found in Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada.

When considering using honey for the treatment of wounds, it’s extremely important to understand that there’s a major difference between raw honey—and especially Manuka honey, which is in a class of its own—and the highly processed “Grade A” type honey you find in most grocery stores. The latter is more akin to high fructose corn syrup, which is more likely to increase infection, and should never be used to treat topical wounds! (It also will not offer you the same health benefits as raw honey when consumed.)

Manuka honey, on the other hand, is made with pollen gathered from the flowers of the Manuka bush (a medicinal plant), and clinical trials have found this type of honey can effectively eradicate more than 250 clinical strains of bacteria, including resistant varieties such as:

  • MRSA (methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus)
  • MSSA (methicillin sensitive Staphylococcus aureus)
  • VRE (vancomycin-resistant enterococci)

Compared to other types of honey, Manuka has an extra ingredient with antimicrobial qualities, called the Unique Manuka Factor (UMF). It is so called because no one has yet been able to discover the unique substance involved that gives it its extraordinary antibacterial activity. Honey releases hydrogen peroxide through an enzymatic process, which explains its general antiseptic qualities, but Active Manuka honey contains “something else” that makes it far superior to other types of honey when it comes to killing off bacteria.

The level of UMF can vary between batches, so each batch is ranked and priced accordingly. The higher the concentration of UMF, the darker, thicker, and more expensive it is.

To determine its rating, a sample of the honey batch is placed on a plate with a bacterial culture. The area where the bacterial growth stops is then measured. This area is compared to a similar area produced by a solution of phenol and water. The UMF number refers to the equivalent percentage of phenol in water, so, for example, honey with a UMF rating of 10 has the same antibacterial strength as 10 percent phenol. A rating of UMF 10 or higher is recommended for medicinal use.

Evidence Supporting Use of Honey against Infectious Bacteria

Aside from the featured study, many others confirm the soundness of using good-old-fashioned honey for the treatment of bacterial and fungal infections. For example, a 1992 study found that honey sped up the healing of caesarean sections iii, iv. Another study found that honey cured the intractable wounds of 59 patients, and it’s been known to help heal everything from ulcers to sunburn. According to the International Journal of Lower Extremity Wounds, positive findings on honey in wound care have been reported from v:

  • 17 randomized controlled trials involving a total of 1965 participants
  • Five clinical trials of other forms involving 97 participants
  • 16 trials on a total of 533 wounds on experimental animals

A study published in the summer of 2009 also found that chronic rhinosinusitis sufferers might benefit from honey vi. In 11 isolates of three separate biofilms, honey was found to be significantly more effective than commonly-used antibiotics in killing both planktonic and biofilm-grown forms of pseudomonas aeruginosa (PA) and staphylococcus aureus (SA), two important factors in chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS).

The findings may hold important clinical implications in the treatment of CRS, which affects 31 million people each year in the United States alone, and is among the three most common chronic diseases in North America.

Helpful Additions to Your Home First Aid Kit

If you’re considering using honey to treat a mild burn, sunburn, or small wound at home, make sure to use either Manuka or raw honey. Like the Manuka honey, high quality RAW honey will help draw fluid away from your wound and suppress the growth of microorganisms. Part of what gives raw honey its antibacterial properties is an enzyme called glucose oxidase, which the worker bees excrete into the nectar. This enzyme releases low levels of hydrogen peroxide when the honey makes contact with your wound. A chemical reaction between the honey and the tissue also makes your wound smell good. Heated honey will destroy this perishable enzyme which is why you want to only use raw honey for this application.

For your home care kit, two other natural wound dressings that offer impressive results without drugs are Duoderm and HemCon bandages. The HemCon bandages are made from a natural protein found in shrimp shells, which not only promotes clotting, but also offer an effective antibacterial barrier against microorganisms such as MRSA and VRE—two common antibiotic-resistant strains.

While the focus of this article is on the topical uses and benefits of honey, it also has numerous health benefits when consumed in moderation.

Unfortunately, bee populations are rapidly declining.  Farmers are forced to import bees from other countries or truck them across the states for different seasons of produce.  Toxic chemicals, genetically engineered crops, overuse of antibiotics in animals (their waste is typically used as fertilizer) and monoculture farming are likely the primary contributors to the collapse of the bees.

The collapse of bee colonies should be looked at as yet further proof of our unsustainable farming methods.

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