Alfred Reed Bishop and Doris William Butler

The picture above is the very tap root of Bishop's Homegrown/Face Of The Earth Seed. My grandparents shortly after moving to Pekin Indiana from Greensburg KY in 1947 where they purchased the farm that is now Bishop's Homegrown. This picture was taken in Pekin in front of the old co-op next to the old railroad depot, neither of which exist today.

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Monday, November 30, 2009

Kinship Garden Layout for the planetary seedplant flora.

Dr. Alan Kapuler has been kind enough to send me a new Kinship Garden Layout complete with common names to share with the world. Below you will find a rather poorly scanned copy of it, don't fret, the map was rather large and didn't fit my personal scanner and as such had to be scanned in halves in order to post, it doesn't look the best in the world at the moment and some info is missing at the top, but in a few days I'll make a trip to town and get it copied and re sized and then put back online for everyone to view, for the moment you can use the one below to get some ideas, the bit of info missing from the top are descriptors and common names pointing to the families as follows (from left to right)

Pointing at Rosales is Stone fruits; peaches, plums, apricots, cherries and Pomes: apples, pears, quince... Brambles: rasp-, Black-, Barion-berries... Strawberries...Jujube, cascara, fig mulberry

Next Fabales Leuguemes: peas, beans, peanut, soy, lentil, garbanzo, adzuki.

Next cirle is Apiales Carrots, dill, cilantro, celery, parsley, alexander's, ginseng, gotu kola....

Next Circle is Asterales with lettuce, chicory, artichoke, gobo, sunflowers, stevia, marigolds, yacon, sunroots,

That should fill in the missing information for now.

This map would be excellent for anyone wanting to plant a kinship garden and give a good idea of how to lay one out in relation to who is related to whom, such a garden could also obviously incorporate elements of growing bio-intensive and of course permaculture. I'll try to get the new map up in a couple days.

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"I know the pieces fit 'cause I watched them fall away"

LOL, in this excellent blog via "The Times", we get an article that's less of an article providing facts and more of a podium for bio-tech propaganda. Here we have Michael Mack, the chief executive of the Swiss agribusiness firm Syngenta telling us that petrol based and GM based agriculture is better for the environment and human health than organic or "eco-logical" type farming and that if we doubt so, then we doubt our government, and if we doubt our all knowing government then of course we are way off course. Yeah, 'cause they never lie do they?

Here are some of his points:
1. “Organic food is not only not better for the planet,” he said, in an interview at The New York Times building on Tuesday. “It is categorically worse.”

2. The problem, Mr. Mack said, is that organic farming takes up about 30 percent more land, on average, than nonorganic farming for the same yield.

3. “If the whole planet were to suddenly switch to organic farming tomorrow, it would be an ecological disaster,” he said.

4. organic food is the “productive equivalent of driving an S.U.V.”

5. Pesticides that help crops to grow more efficiently in this country, he argued, “have been proven safe and effective and absolutely not harmful to the environment or to humans” and have been certified as such by the Food and Drug Administration or the Environmental Protection Agency.

The implication of not believing that pesticides are safe, he said, is that you don’t trust the government’s findings.

6. “It underplays the significance of agricultural productivity,” he said.

My points:

1. Yeah, a guy with a major investment in a 12 billion dollar is only telling you what is "true" out of the deep love in his heart. Organic food being worse for the planet is categorically false. Even just looking at livestock operations and the underlying eugenics ideas and control ideas expressed in articles such as this one, we can see quite clearly that runoff from industrial farming are far more harmful to the larger environment than the tiny amount of organic runoff from a small sustainable farm, the bit of dangerous runoff and toxic material that ends up on organic farms is usually only found on USDA certified farms where 30 odd inorganic compounds are allowed to be used in production and where certain natural substances which shouldn't be used in production are (ie. copper). But this alone is a big step away from say the toxicity of synthetic chemical compounds sprayed in ever increasing doses on "genetically improved" crops.

2. Biointensive management has proven the magical "yield" argument quite wrong. Organic is capable of not only eqaling yield in conventional systems but surpasing it. Of course we got another "wild card" up our sleeve too by the name of diversity. More than ever we have access to genetics selected in a traditional manner which give us multiple harvests (when correct seed selection is made in terms of use as well as bio-region adapted varieties) as opposed to the often single harvest of larger and more conventional farms. Not to mention the insane amount of diversity lends itself to preventing complete crop failures and minimizes our losses as compared to a seed industry who spent so many years breeding genetics out of corn as to have almost caused a major industrial famine in the 1970's.

3. It's true, there can be no sudden switch or overnight switch to organic, it had to be transitional and it takes time to learn and educate ourselves and one another. In time though, when the economic and petrol based system fails (and fail it will) it may be too late indeed to learn. The transition needs to start now, South Africa, Cuba, and Native American agriculture is a good starting point. This statement is a threatening one, one which equates a switch to organic as dangerous, that's called fear mongering, the underlying emphasis of which is basically; "Well if you want organic some people are going to have to go". That's called Eugenics.

4. The SUV comment is the dumbest tripe I've heard recently. The comparison is moot, our agricultural system doesn't run on crude.

5. Yeah, 'cause the government always has the environment and cosumers best interest at heart. As long as fucks like this guy and his company and their big ag. friends have an open door with the FDA and USDA there will always be doubt as to the veracity of any study done on industrial agriculture.

6. hahahhahahahhahaha, Son, we can do more with less than you can with all your petty toys. Wait and see, your gonna learn soon enough, hope you know exactly what a bushel of your worthless gm corn is worth in silver in a few years.

Now if you wan't to read a terrific article, check this out!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

The writings of Alan Kapuler and Peace Seeds.

Recently, my brother in nature, Dr. Alan Kapuler contacted me about posting some more of his kin-ship layouts and Peace Seeds Papers from his journals online, a job which I gladly took on in order to share as much of his wonderful knowledge as I can with the world, much in the way that I have devoted part of my farm to the amazing work of Tim Peters and his outstanding perrinnial grains.

Over the next few weeks I will be scanning and retyping many of Dr. Kapuler's works to the blog site here. I hope you enjoy.

Also, be sure to check out where you can read and order from the Peace Seeds 2010 catalog which is outstanding!

Native American groups returning to their cullinary heritage.

One of my many varried interests is in the area of Native American agriculture and the spiritual relevance often placed on their agriculture, it's place in their belief systems.

So many tribes unfortunately were robbed of their very lifeforce in the form their seed (indeed, many cultures even ascribe their very existence to a corn god) by the settlers who moved them from their land and a government all to willing to put them on reservations far away from their homeland where their seed no longer thrived.

Yet there is hope, recently a couple of tribes have begun to reclaim their heritage and fight the scourges of diet related illness (heart disease and diabetes) given to them by their oppressors.

One is the Oneida who have returned to growing their traditional white corn to feed their people. You can check out this article and video here.

The second is the Pawnee, who never lost their corn completely but instead had issues getting it to grow in their new environment and as such has not existed in recent years in quantities more than enough to ensure it's survival via seed saving. Article here. via our friends at

This gives me hope, while the Native Americans are attempting to retain their cullinary culture and varieties I am working to replace or improve mine with it's many holes here in the mid-west.

Of course Native Seeds/SEARCH does amazing work in the American Southwest in preserving the varieties of those tribes, it's only a shame we don't have a corresponding organization searching for the woodlands tribes lost diversity.

Some great Tom Wagner videos

Since this season has been so busy in regards to expanding our operation and as such I haven't had much time to check up or catch up on blogs or videos or much of anything I hadn't had much of a chance to set down and watch this set of wonderful videos from my friend Patrick's wonderful blog called Bifurcated carrots. These videos of Tom speaking about the genetics and pedigrees of his varried tomato and potato breeding experiments are quite interesting and if you have an interest in listening to Tom speak of such things then check it out.

I must admit I am a bit jealous of Tom Wagner, he is much more organized than I am when it comes down to plant breeding, but that probably comes down to a difference in philosophies more than anything else, I know if I had gone on that wonderful trip that he and my brother Michael Lachaume had went on my talks and rememberances of my work would have been much more "on the fly" and probably as such a bit less accurate than what Tom speaks of in these videos. Anyhow, check it out.

Meat production at Bishop's Homegrown and Stock Breeding

This year we have expanded big time in the area of livestock, mostly into poultry, Turkey's and Guineas and moving a bit away from our Chickens which will be replaced with the natural breeding jumbo Guineas which are larger than standard types and similar to the French type guinea, but that is work still to do.

Here you will see some photo's of our Turkeys (the few which were ranging close enough to the house to get a picture of) intermingled with some of our guineas. These turkeys have been mentioned in the past in regards to future breeding work, below there are some pictures of some Spanish Black tom's, Blue Slate Toms, and a Bourban Red Tom as well as a picture of 3 of the young Royal Palm's that I purchased about a month ago locally. The emphasis with our turkey breeding will be in searching for new color combinations, better feed to meat ratio, and two seprate size classes. We will be soon setting up a second coop for our second class of meat producing turkeys. The first selections will be of a traditional larger sized, naturally mating type genepool of Turkeys with maximum genetic diversity. Hens being 15-20 lbs and Toms up to 35 lbs. Of course a lot of folks don't need birds this large since families are smaller now days (an anolog of this can bee seeen in our work to breed smaller and more family friendly Hubbard squash types and cheese pumpkins along with maintaining our large lines as well). The second genepool of turkeys will be selected from a genepool containing broad brested bronze, royal palm, midget white, and some off type small mutts, once again selecting for maximum diversity and feed to weight conversion but this time selecting for sizes along 8-10 lb hens and 14-18 lb. Toms.

Within the next year we will be expanding our Turkey operation in order to provide poults locally as well as meat. Plans are underway for maintaining two flocks of 100 individuals each, one hundred for each of the two genepools with the 20 best individuals (4 toms and 16 hens) to be retained for breeding every season.

This past Thanksgiving weekend we had the pleasure of learning to slaughter our own birds, chickens and turkeys. A task which wasn't near as hard as I had been led to believe. We culled two turkeys from the flock, a standard bronze tom that dressed our to a massive carcass from which I'm sure we will be eating for a week and a second hen of the red variety which I gave to Kim's family. Both were delicious and of a quality not seen anywhere in a local store in Indiana in many, many years. I will at some point in time put a tutorial or even a video up here for slaugtering ones own birds. If you are a vegan, I apoologize in advance but know that these animals are all well taken care of and their life isn't taken without some amount of trepadation and thought, it is just the way of the world.

My interest in turkeys only keeps deepening, as pointed above, to the extent that I will be liquidating the chicken flock within the next year in favor of supporting more turkeys and jumbo guineas (which produce eggs year round). I plan on maintaining a flock of 50 standard guineas and 100 jumbo types for egg and meat purposes as well as selling keets to the local public, the standard varieties are once again in my characteristic style a "genepool" of many colors and types. Beautiful and good watchdogs and bug eaters.

The flocks will hopefully be feed mostly from things grown here on the farm. I have noticed that the turkeys and the guineas consume much less feed during the season than what the chickens do, prefering to spend their time free ranging over our agricultural and pasture fields for worms, grasshopers, butterflys and moths. From my observations it appears even that after the two month stage of feeding a mixture of cracked corn, oats, millet, and dried worms as starter feed they become easy to raise on nothing more than cracked corn, a commodity which I can and am able and willing to produce here on farm.

I have plans to grow close to four or up to six acres of four seperate dent/flint/flour corns next season for feeding the livestock as well as selling at the local market to those who wish to use it for home use or feeding livestock or squirrels (of course we too also use it in the kitchen for many things). I will be growing the four sacred colors of corn (red, blue, white, yellow) in the tradition of the Anasazi who quite possibly may have been the first Americans to domesticate the turkey (The Rio Grand is the decendent of these first domesticate ancestors). Of course the manure/bedding from the poultry houses makes for a wonderful manure which when fully composted can be used to once again grow this special feed for my brids.

The next meat related project on the docket is more of a personal one as the rules and inspection in Indiana regarding meat rabbits are quite strict, but I have found myself expanding to meet the needs of my family and friends meat consuming lifestyle in a healthier example of such than raising cattle. Once again I have a breeding focus here, below you will see some of our breeding stock. We have one Harlequin buck and one English Lop Buck, one pure bred Harlequin female, two large meat type mutt females, and two females which are the offspring of a cross between and english lop and a Californian. For our purposes we are selecting for a mid sized type meat rabbit with good bone to meat ration resembling our Indiana wild rabbits, as such the Harliquen types are good selections along with the young brown female you see in the picture below. We hope to incorporate a system which is self sustainable for the rabbits as well by growing many of our own feedstocks including their hay and feeding them with some amount of the produce grown on the farm, we feel that by doing this we will have healthier animals that taste more like and resemble more the wild rabbits we all grew up eating in Southern Indiana.

Of course the rabbits will also provide us with another source of much needed humous in the form of their manure which can be spread directly on the gardens or around the plants since it is low in N, but will most likely find it being used as a feedstock for our composting worm operation further refining it for the purpose of soil building and or as a constituent in our custom made soil mix for potting and seed starting purposes.

The hutches you see here were mostly scabbed together for bits and scraps we had laying around the farm in the old tobacco barn and so far they are working out quite well, I know some people don't like the idea of eating rabbit and I respect that but please refrain from leaving nasty comments here on the blog.

Anyhow, enjoy the photos.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Note to self and appology to readers.

I need to learn to use spell check, it exists for a reason, I should use it.

I should also slow down when writing a blog post so as not to make as many grammatical and punctuation errors.

Life is too busy for writing "proper" sometimes.

I love all of you and sorry for my terrible spelling. LOL.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Thanksgiving is coming!

Lots and lots of projects on the farm ongoing! Renovating the floor of the greenhouse and transforming it into a raised bed is going well, just waiting on another load of rotten sawdust and then I'll add a 4 x 4 x 4 container of composted chicken/turkey/guinea litter and a 4 x 4 x 4 container of refined worm castings and several good scoops of composted cow manure and a couple 50 lb. bags of dolomitic lime.

Spring will allow me to know if my experiment was worth while.

We have finally moved into the world of raising rabbits, mostly for meat for ourselves, but also for sale to the local area in the coming months. We have started with two Harlequins (one buck and one doe) and a couple of mutts of pretty good size. Hoping to pick up a mini-lop and Californian from a good friend of mine. I built one 8 food 3 chambered hutch and a second six foot two chambered grow out hutch along with scraping together two 3 foot grow out hutches, I've already breed the 3 does and am hoping to see the results soon! Pictures will be posted in coming days.

In other news, I finally got around to calling around and getting hold of the "Indiana food police" as I call them to ask about poultry regulations.

I can slaughter and kill 999 birds and sell direct to consumer here on farm or deliver directly to the consumers home. year the turkey business expands, the talk at the moment between Kim and myself is for 200 a year.

Of course, we will be hedging our bets on weather the corn strains I have developed will produce the much needed grain to raise and fatten these majestic animals, I see a one row corn picker and building a corn crib in my future to say the least. Next year I plan on having four acres of dent corn production. One planted to UK Tuxpeno, One planted to Backwater, One planted to Onedia, and one split between Bloody Butcher and Hopi Blue. These will be grown in isolation to prevent crossing as we will be experimenting with each corn in controlled feeding of the poultry in both it's cracked corn form as well as in mixtures made on farm, to determine which is the best for our purposes.

We will also start selling butchered chickens next season as well.

I went today and bought a nice set of processing knives and scisors for $40.00, the name brand is nothing spectacular and the knives were slightly used, but having worked for Cutco back in the day, I can guarantee these were made by that same company given their design.

Tomorrow I will be practicing my poultry processing skills on a few extra roosters before I move on to 3 turkeys on tues. or wed. next week just in time for Thanksgiving here and at Kim's parents house.

I'm also currently evaluating my seed strains and my breeding work and looking into starting a legitamate seed company next season. Nearly all the gaps in my seed stock are filled in minus just a couple brassica types that I've been unsuccessful in producing seed stock for in previous seasons, but there is always next season to perfect that skill.

Everyone be sure to check out the Homegrown Goodness message board when you have a few free minuites, lots of good information over there and now that cool weather is setting in we expect the site traffic to pick up once again.