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, July 26, 2010

H.R. 5741: Mandatory Service Bill!

The bill which seeks to make you a slave to a country who long ago forgot about liberty!

Well "Congressman" Charles Rangle, allow me to take a moment to express how myself and I'm sure many others feel about your proposed "bill".

Suck my dick! It's lewd and classless I know, but deal with it.

I don't "serve" anyone. I may choose at anytime to "volunteer" for a just cause or to help someone or anyone of my own choosing, I however am a freedman with freewill, something not you or anyone else can or will take away from me, ever.

This country sits at the precipice of national uprising and yet in this time of economic hardship, national and environmental crisis, with two "wars" ongoing, and a slew of corruption from this administration and the previous, you choose to continue to push the buttons of the free thinkers in our republic, those very free thinkers who in the spirit of the founding fathers and men who would come into the story later such as Andrew Jackson, and who have discovered the true meaning of freedom, and liberty, and shout and scream every time you trample upon the tail of the stunned but not yet dead rattlesnake that is the populace, well, do you really think those men and women will deal very well with your ideal of forced servitude?

I serve my country, in a private way, I create ideas and culture new opportunities in agriculture, and at every corner I have to cut through the very red tape that you and your ilk have created and which detours from my stated profession and yet for you that is not enough. For "men" of your caliber it never is is it? You will never be satisfied until the last of the "chattel" are in you coral will you. Well allow me to say you will not brand me even if your bill does pass, I will opt out of the system completely as the system does not serve me or anyone that I know and has not in my lifetime served anyone other than those with ties to the military industrial complex or fortune 500 companies. I do my part, more than my part, and I have and continue to volunteer for a number of community improvement projects, I don't now wish to or in the near future hope to volunteer to help your corporate vision of AMERIKA achieve any goal that you would set for me and with whip and prod in hand force upon me.

Every year things in this country get worse, every year idiots like you ask for more, every year I watch friends and families destroyed and torn apart by your bad decisions and yet no sacrifice is ever enough for you. Well, guess what, you may think you have things under control, you may think you can force a bill which would turn us into the police state that is Israel, but you are wrong, I laugh every time I see anyone stand up to punks like you and state what the U.S. truly stands for, I laugh every day when I see how your systems of control are faltering and falling apart, and I will rejoice when your hard lessons are learned.

I am of a "lost" generation, two young to know any better and presumably to old now to change, or at least that is your perception of us, little do you know many of us are awake and we see into our future, a future that has set our generation up for failure, paying into social security which we will never enjoy and into federal taxes that do nothing but prop up a fiat currency system. Watching as you employ scare tactics and play the race card to get what you and your masters want and as you send people of my generation into unwiniable wars which are more about the control of drug resources and oil sources than the actual liberation and protection of another people.
Allowing foreign owned companies to destroy ecological diversity and foreign drug gangs to invade border states while punishing those who defend their territory because you won't do your goddamn job!

And yet you give us no option to "opt out" of the system that doesn't give a shit for any of us. Well fuck you. People are opting out and it's coming to a head, there is no way you fuckers can police everything you don't like, no way you can control or bring order to the chaos you have caused this time. We don't belong to you and for you to even attempt the assumption that you can force us to give you "servitude" in the projects of your choosing is not only arrogant but it might just be the spark that lights the fuse should your bill pass. Personally I can only hope it does as a quick glimpse at the distopian 1984 world you propagate will light the fire under the assess of future patriots.

Caught red handed.....

By Kim, after allowing a breeding project to "slip" and bust, I had to clean up the mess!

Smashing the glass box....continued.

A prime example: The Washington County “Farmers and Merchants” fair.

This year we entered several varieties into our county fair, only secondarily glancing at the many “rules” and “standards”, without much thought we proceeded in the false assumption that there was some sort of standard by which varieties were judged, surely it was on more than size or what it publicly “accepted”.


They don’t even taste the produce. They just judge on size and preconceived notions of what a crop “should” look like.

As an example, while I didn’t enter any tomatoes, there were only three real tomato entries. A plate of ripe romas, a plate of unripe romas, and great white tomato.

Guess what got 1’st place? Ripe Romas.

2’nd place you ask? Unripe Romas.

3’d was the great white. What a joke. These were beauties in their own right, fully ripe, beautiful white and globe shaped and they got third place? Not only that, but unripe romas beat them?

I will admit it was amusing to watch the judges, some of which I know and comprise the group of master gardeners who toured the farm a couple years ago, try to figure out how to classify the Face Of The Earth products. Those who had been to the farm had a good understanding of our breeding work, those who hadn’t couldn’t quite figure out the idea that such diverse crops could comprise one “variety”. Apparently they don’t teach the Master Gardeners about breeding or seed saving, none the less making mass crosses, gene pools, grexes, or landraces.

The “Farm Product” category was quite possibly the most exhausting for me to wrap my head around however. You see for years on end one single family, nay, one man, has won every sub-category under “farm product” heading. This heading is comprised of the following: categories:

Peck of shelled corn
Peck of wheat
Peck of oats
Peck of soybeans
3 ears field corn
3 ears pop corn
Largest ear corn
Largest plant corn
Larges plant soybean

He, or a family member, wins every category, every year, for as long as I can possibly remember. Of course he relies on the “latest and greatest” from one of the conglomerated seed companies, GMO monstrosities I am sure. This year I decided to challenge him in the category of 3 ears of corn as well as largest ear of corn, as well as challenge my community to rethink what makes “field corn” in terms of color and type and not “Indian Corn” (a name which I might denote does have some racist connotations associated with it).

Obviously the local farmers all use products from the previous growing season (minus the largest plant categories), but considering I had fed or used for seed all of my crop from last season, I took a trip to my breeding plots in a search for the earliest maturing of my “Amanda Palmer” gene pool. What I found was astounding, it turns out that I have several variations, mostly of Tuxpeno influence, that are already drying down. More amazing is the fact that Tuxpeno tends to be 120 DTM and was originally from a lowland, sub-tropical population, later adapted to the mid Kentucky region and I got a nearly 100% stand with planting on April 1’st (suck that Monsanto! Done without a single gene from an Octopus!).

Anyhow, back to the story at hand, I picked six excellent ears, mostly Tuxpeno germ plasm but also a few ears with obvious genetic influence coming from Bloody Butcher and Reids Yellow Dent. I entered three in my name and three in Kim’s name. Now, bear in mind, that at the time of picking these ears they still aren’t completely dry, but I am figuring that judgment will be made on type, variety, size of cob, size of kernels, number of kernels, earliness, animal preference, digestibility, protein content, or at least some kind of agronomic trait. WRONG.

I noticed the bias immediately when I got to the open class building at the fair, as I entered the corn into the competition, the fellow accepting the entries immediately commented on the corn not being all yellow, as well as the semi-dent/semi-flint state of the Tuxpeno. I went in Na├»ve I might add, telling him about my breeding projects and how this was this year’s crop, not last years, he obviously didn’t care, his only real comment was “It’s hard to compete with Monsanto and Pioneer.” What followed was “Righteous Indignation” on my behalf; “Not if you have half a brain and can see through the shit we are sold in this nation it’s not.” Blank Stare, crickets, definitely not converting anybody at this table.

None the less, neither I nor Kim won the 3 ears contest, but we did take 1’st and 3’d in largest ear. Small victory. Worth it. And next year I will win.

What amazes me the most about all of this is the amount of culture our county has based around agriculture, a culture which it appears the judges at the county fair don’t understand or embrace. When you go back and you read the literature from the 1700’s and the 1800’s you quickly to begin to realize what a big deal it was to win one of these “blue ribbons” with a new variety, you quickly realize that the fairs weren’t for people to just enter something they grew, but instead you see that the fairs existed as the publics first introduction to newly bred and newly discovered varieties, that the fairs were PR for up and coming breeders, and that winning in a category with a new variety got your name out to the public, took you to the state fair, and if you won there, it was on to possibly the worlds fair or straight into a seed catalog, not now though. Thanks to Disney World and the Green Revolution those days are over and the world and rural culture is worse off for it!

Hell, way back in the day they even had “Corn Shows”, that’s right, entire fairs based on open pollinated corn genetics and breeding. If you won one of those, that was it, you were the man for the year and every seed company within 1,000 miles was trying to get hold of your “award winning seed.”

This brings me to poultry. I thought about entering some turkeys in the open class poultry show, but after taking one look at some of the birds in that building I wouldn’t house mine next to them for any amount of prize money. Here is the kicker, they don’t even judge by a book of standards! Period, there is no way they do. That said, guess what got 1’st, 2’nd, and 3’d place in regards to the “turkey” division? Nicholas Whites, yeah, those broad breasted monstrosities grown out by the thousands in production houses. And why? Because they were the only thing entered. I can’t even begin to explain how terrible they looked, discounting completely the fact that they are what they are and have leg, weight, and heart issues, the also had clipped beaks, and were covered with fecal matter. Discarding the fact that Nicholas whites aren’t even in the “standard”, if I were the people accepting entries into the fair, I would have turned those monstrosities away on the basis of their health and well-being alone, fearing just what “factory farmed” disease they brought with them.

Guess what else they had way back in the day? Yeah, Turkey Shows, once again, if you won you were “the man”. Where do you think the Mammoth or Standard/Wishard bronze got its name from?

Entering these Face Of The Earth genetics was most certainly an experience I won’t soon forget or give up on, as a matter of fact it gave me even more resolve in accomplishing my mission, in smashing that glass box previously mentioned, in that now I have a public platform that with time I think I can transform into something useful. You see, I got to looking at the rules in the “fair book” and noticed a loophole. Whoever wrote that fair book though all the bases were covered in regards to assuring that only round red tomatoes and forty pound red watermelons could be accepted as fair standards, must have overlooked the fact that “Other” as a category can include a lot of variables, even so far as being catered specifically to describing certain FOE genetics, and for me it’s not a matter of “wining”, it’s a matter of catching the public interest in “odd” varieties and more specifically plant breeding, seed saving, and locally adapted landraces. Not only because it will cause others to seek out my work, but because I think it will inspire others to enter some “different” varieties, or to breed their own, and perhaps force the judges to rethink their “standards” and actually test the agronomics and taste of the varieties themselves. Perhaps in 20 or 30 years it might even reinvigorate and reorientate the fair in such a way that it actually represents the type of sustainable agriculture, genetics, stewardship and farming that gave birth to county fairs in the first place.

Using my new found “other” loophole I did find some success, even with only the small handful of varieties I did enter, I managed to win first place on Chromatica Acorn, Red Okra, 1’st and 2’nd on icebox watermelon with some white fleshed variations, 2’nd place on flower arrangement with Saucerful of Secrets Sunflower, 1’st place on “other” squash with a different Chromatica Acorn genotype, and even got a 3’d place on 3 ears corn! This also gave us a bit of “research money” to put back into the breeding projects.

Next year we enter everything! With each passing year perhaps more and more people will decide to enter those things which a few years earlier they would have thought too "odd" or "antique" to entere in the previos 30 or so years, only time will tell but I am willing to give it a go in an attempt to inspire such entries. Our short time and public exposure at the fair has already paid off in spades judging by the number of people who commented on the red corn and on the odly striped watermelons, red okra, and odd colored acorn squash, from that bit of exposure we have already allowed a certain number of people to come into the right headspace to examine the possibilities given to us adventerous gardeners. My former high school agriculture/animal science/soil science/forestry teach and his wife and I have spoken about entering some heritage turkeys next season, where there is competition others will come and perhaps in time the enigmas of seing a Nicholas White turkey with 1'st, 2'nd, and 3'd at our county fair will come to an end!

To be continued……..

Friday, July 23, 2010

Signs of Progress! Face of the earth landraces.

C. Pepo Chromatica (ornamental edible mix). This one is the result of five years, genes from my own collections as well as from friends from Homegrown Goodness and the contributions of the Long Island Seed Project. Produces every year regardless of circumstance and has been consistently trialed in low soil fertility on heavy red clay with zero irrigation! Normally there are many more "mini-pumpkin"/"baby boo" types to be seen, and in the second harvest I will get a picture of those as well. Very diverse landrace type with excellent flavor and not overly stringy like most C. Pepo's.

The buff colored C. Moshata type to the right is an F4 generation cross between choctaw sweet potato and Long Island Cheese. Very productive, drought tolerant, and reliable with excellent texture, flavor, and moisture content.
A particularly nice variation from the genepool/landrace Chromatica group. "Lemon Marang" which has been self pollinated.
Early pre-drydown samples of "Amanda Palmer" dent corn, a new broad based synthetic/genepool/landrace with a foundation of UK Tuxpeno and contributions from Lancaster Sure Crop, Bloody Butcher, Boone County White, Johnson County White, Reids Yellow Dent, JF3, Tennesee Red Cob, Daemon Morgans Kentucky Butcher, Kculi, Oneida White Flour, and many others. Those pictured above are the earliest to approach maturity with the twon on the far left being self pollinated drought tolerant Tuxpeno and the 6 on the right showing various pollen influences.

More to come soon.....

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Smashing the glass box that is conventional agriculture!

Smashing the glass box that is conventional agriculture!

I didn’t attend college. Period.

That’s not just a statement, it is a declaration.

Now, maybe I didn’t attend college because I was lazy, or perhaps I didn’t attend because college had nothing to sell or tell me that would convince me to give up my life to debtors. I will let you figure that one out.

Over the last six years I have subjected my family, my fiance, and her family to my endless curiosity for all things agronomic with a heavy slant towards ecological solutions and breeding, driving them sometimes up the wall, I am sure, and leaving them all wondering how I would make a living for myself. I have grown, tested, trialed, and tasted more varieties of crops than I care to imagine. F1’s, Open Pollinated types, segregates, populations, synthetics. I have dabbled in soil sciences from all over the world, and taken a gander at the true possibilities that soil and various cropping systems on this southern Indiana farm can offer me by looking through the eye of a prism and following each individual “color” to it’s perspective end.

I have harvested acres of corn by hand and subsequently shelled it for seed until my hands were litterally bloody.

I have dabbled with poultry genetics and selected for meat, body confirmation, color, egg size, color of egg and and more.

I have grown crops completely unadapted to this bio-region in trials and breeding plots which often become the source of distress and disaster in unconventional systems which others would only scoff at.

I have cursed, pulled hair, kicked, screamed, been pissed off and generally aggrevated to the point of chain smoking.

I have aged 10 years in 6.

I have alienated friends and made enemies.

I have subjected myself to myriads of manual labor which will effect my health for seasons to come.

And I regret none of it.

For all of those negatives and from all of those moments of extreme aggrevation I have deduced that the root of all of this is knowledge and I’ve accomplished more than I have failed.

I have made friends.

I have opened eyes and minds.

I have had a hand in the fostering of new kinds of varieties which have never existed before.

I have mastered the “forcing” of many crops using only wood heat and plastic in winter weather.

I have discovered those things which work and those which do not.
I have observed nature in ways that many others have not.

I have created new methods of sustaining and creating soil fertility and have foregone sterile mixes in favor of homemade, compost laced solutions.

I have taught myself about trap crops, vermicomposting, herbal medicine, bio-intensive methodology, soil sciences, seed saving, plant breeding, animal husbandry and so much more.

And most importantly I have put myself through School of a type very few others in recent memory ever have. “Warior Training” is perhaps more apt.

I would call myself an agronomist, even if I am missing the “official” credentialed piece of pulp paper that the world might accept as “proof” of such a claim. I don’t need it.

I have created something out of nothing.

And now it is time to move forward with this “gnosis.”

It’s time to smash the glass box that contains “conventional” agriculture.

The conventional agriculture that keeps us tied up in the slave trade of petrochemical fertilizer, genetically modified traits, and “ORGANIC STANDARDS” as set forth by the USDA.

The time for trial and error are over and the time for proof of concept have arrived. 2011 will be the year that I take the first true look at what I have been working on, taking the amalgamated teachings of the best methods and varieties I have utilized and placing them into a fully functional “eco-logical” garden of Eden.

Breeding work will continue with poultry and perennials and the occasional hybrid vegetable, but the introduction of many new varieties and their implementation into the overal scheme and outlay of the farm and it’s profits will take precedence.

In time I hope to open the eyes and minds of many in our bio-region to the true possibilities available to those of us who can think in terms of .5 - 50 acres instead of 500. 5-100 birds as opposed to 20,000.

I hope to help people recognize their true culture, a culture of agriculture, free of the bindings which hold “conventional” agriculture in place and breaking the bonds placed on us by our government and the mainstream media. To help foster those ideas which draw us together and help us see that the binds of civilization are held together only by our ability to use agriculture, in a sustainable way, to our advantage.

To be continued:

Friday, July 16, 2010

Pictures from some breeding projects.

003- A bit too seedy, but a bit more "white fleshed" and sweeter than most white types. Icebox size at about 5 lbs, excellent flavor and texture, Brix of 14. A step in the right direction, these are crosses/selections from a grex of the 8 white fleshed varieties in my collection. All have thin rinds with the "E" or exploding gene. Tap them just the right way and they will litterally bust in two at the center.
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White fleshed Icebox 003- A bit too seedy, but a bit more "white fleshed" and sweeter than most white types. Icebox size at about 5 lbs, excellent flavor and texture, Brix of 14. A step in the right direction, these are crosses/selections from a grex of the 8 white fleshed varieties in my collection. All have thin rinds with the "E" or exploding gene. Tap them just the right way and they will litterally bust in two a the center.

Saucerful of Secrets Sunflower Mix.

White Fleshed Watermelon Selection 004


owdery Mildew Tolerant white cucumber lines. No bitter flavor and no tough skin, survived and produced through the worst squash vine borer and striped cucumber beetle infestation we have ever had, very prolific. While having been grown on plastic the plants which are in the stand this photo was taken in have not received any fertilizer, compost, or nutrients whatsoever and no irrigation. Many of our projects focus on developing new varieties adapted to extreme survival situations.