BABY CHIMP RESCUE: CHIMPS AND PUPPIES. OK, it’s a Monday, start of another week and to get going we humans surely could use an upbeat story to remind us of our better selves.
This ‘BBC Earth’ clip (2:43) tells the happy tale of an unusual Chimp Rescue sanctuary run by Jenny & Jimmy Desmond. You’ll…
THINKING OUTSIDE THE BOX: SEEKING BETTER LIFE BALANCE FINLAND TOYS WITH A THIRTY-HOUR – OR – FOUR-DAY WORK WEEK. A century after the industrial invention of "shift work" spilled over into most other economic sectors, Scandinavian countries – like Finland – are rethinking the productivity paradigm with an eye towards improving the quality of life for workers.
On our farm, we've long observed that productivity is superior in mornings. Does the path for success involve swapping the old 'putting-in-time' concept for the more modern 'work smarter not harder' adage? Finland's new 34-year-old Prime Minister would like to find out. Caleb, Megan & Jim
"Before Sanna Marin became Finland's prime minister in December, she suggested something radically different: perhaps one day the country could experiment with either a four-day work week or six-hour work days, perhaps following the lead of other Scandinavian countries. Marin made the remarks over the summer when she was the minister of transport and communications, according to the Washington Post…
"Sweden has tried a six-hour workday and productivity improved. Microsoft recently announced a successful trial in Japan related to working only four days. The research on this topic suggests that working harder over shorter periods is best because we do optimal work; when we work longer hours, our productivity trails off…
The 40-hour workweek came about because of shift workers in factories. You can blame the Ford Motor Company for that, actually. It instituted shifts for an eight-hour day five days a week way back in 1926. Before that, railroad workers were required to work an eight-hour shift. That all started way back in 1916. It's a bit dated."
Finland’s Prime Minister Suggested a 4-Day Workweek or 6-Hour Days. Sign Me Up
It's all about productivity. Not office hours.
WOOD PRAIRIE FAMILY FARM POTATO HARVEST. Bridgewater, Maine. Circa 1994. This was the Fall that National Geographic photographer Jim Richardson put in three very long days shooting over 800 photographs for a landmark major NG article on Sustainable Farming, which ultimately surfaced in the December 1995 issue.
Here, Caleb's older brother, Peter, not quite four years old, had already developed determination and resourcefulness. Take a look at Peter's work gloves. He had already figured out for himself how to deal with mismatched-sock-syndrome. Caleb, Megan & Jim
UPBEAT RESCUE STORY FROM THE AUSTRALIAN WILDFIRES. Hard times can bring out the best in people. New South Wales adds one hero to its tally: Toni Doherty. Caleb, Megan & Jim
"Southeastern Australia has been taken over by devastating bushfires for the past month, which have so far killed 6 people, destroyed hundreds of homes, and wiped out countless wild animals. Koalas are already listed as a 'vulnerable' species by Australia’s environmental ministry, but they are particularly vulnerable to fires because they instinctively climb to the tops of trees, towards the flames. More than 300 koalas have sadly died due to the rapidly-spreading fires, but one particular koala recently had a lucky escape—thanks to the bravery of local woman named Toni Doherty.
"After spotting the koala amongst the flames in New South Wales, Doherty rushed to its aid. Video footage shows her wrapping the terrified and badly wounded animal in her own shirt and scooping it up in her arms. Doherty then poured water over the koala to try and soothe its burns, before wrapping it up in a blanket and bringing it to the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital, where more than 30 koalas are already being treated for fire-related injuries. The heroic woman says, 'I knew if we didn’t get him down from the tree then he would have been up there amongst the flames.'”
Heroic Woman Saves Distressed Koala From Australian Bushfire Using Her Own Shirt
“I knew if we didn’t get him down from the tree then he would have been up there amongst the flames.”
AUSTRALIAN FIREFIGHTERS SAVE THE WORLD'S ONLY GROVES OF PREHISTORIC WOLLEMI PINES. NPR recently reported on this miraculous success by Australian firefighters to protect the ancient Wollrmi Pine "a prehistoric tree species that has outlived the dinosaurs." Caleb, Megan & Jim
"Wollemia nobilis peaked in abundance 34 million to 65 million years ago, before a steady decline. Today, only 200 of the trees exist in their natural environment — all within the canyons of Wollemi National Park, just 100 miles west of Sydney.
"The trees are so rare that they were thought to be extinct until 1994.
"That's the year David Noble, an officer with the New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service, rappelled into a narrow canyon and came across a grove of large trees he didn't recognize…
"'These are the only living Wollemi pines found anywhere on the planet in their natural environment. These pines used to cover the whole of Australia. Now they're only found in a very small and secret location in New South Wales.'"
MITIGATING THE UNFATHOMABLE IMPACT OF AUSTRALIAN WILDFIRES. Land and wildlife – as well as humans – have been dealing with unprecedented hardships with the massive wildfires which have burned a jaw-dropping 15.6 Million acres since July.
Recent intense thunderstorms have brought some relief but also their own trouble with flooding and new lightning-strike-fires.
In an effort to help hungry and endangered Wallabies, government officials have taken to strategically air-dropping carrots and sweet potatoes.
This article contains four actions people can take to aid wildlife caught in the maelstrom. Caleb, Megan & Jim
"In an effort to ease the transition for those animals who have survived, but now find themselves without their usual food sources, the New South Wales (NSW) government has gotten creative. Operation Rock Wallaby is a mission to ensure that one vulnerable species survives. By airdropping over 2,000 pounds of food—mainly carrots and sweet potatoes—officials are hoping to give brush-tailed rock-wallabies enough nutrition to make it through this time of transition…
"To put things into perspective, the World Wildlife Fund estimates that 1.25 billion animals have been killed in the bushfires. This not only includes those who perished in the flames, but animals that have been injured or seen their homes destroyed."
Planes Drop 2,000 Pounds of Carrots to Help Feed Hungry Animals in Australia
“The provision of supplementary food is one of the key strategies we are deploying to promote the survival and recovery of endangered species.”
THE FRUITS OF ONE MAN'S JOURNEY USING PHOTOGRAPHY TO IMMORTALIZE REMOTE CULTURES AROUND THE WORLD. Alexander Khimushin has spent most of the last decade traveling the world, 84 countries at last count.
Recently, he completed a 6-month adventure crisscrossing Siberia, racking up 15,000 miles behind the wheel of a SUV. His beautiful collection of photographs – complete with captions – captures the remarkable diversity of "indigenous peoples living in Siberia." Caleb, Megan & Jim
"Russia recognizes 40 different indigenous peoples living in Siberia, which range from the Evenki, whose population is spread out in different locations thousands of miles apart, to the almost extinct Tazy, whom Khimushin believes to have photographed for the first time ever. Khimushin notes that most official population estimates are off, tending to skew higher than reality. Facing harsh temperatures and dwindling populations, the Australian photographer captures the pride these people take in their unique cultures. "
Photographer Spends 6 Months Traveling Alone to Photograph Siberia’s Indigenous People
Alexander Khimunshin continues his portrait project 'The World in Faces' by spending 6 months photographing indigenous people in Siberia.
WHAT’S THE MOST POPULAR, MOST SOLD AND MOST CONSUMED VEGETABLE IN THE USA? If you guessed Potatoes, then you win the prize!
So, why have potatoes earned top rank? First and foremost, potatoes are an incredibly VERSATILE and much loved food. Many gardeners argue there is no greater delicacy than 'New Potatoes' harvested and cooked fresh from the garden.
The first step in successful potato gardening? Secure good Certified Seed Potatoes. That's what we specialize in growing organically on our seed farm here in Maine. We sell directly ONLINE to home gardeners (www.woodprairie.organic).
Potatoes are EASY to grow! Here's how (https://woodprairie.com/downloads/Growing%20Guide.pdf)
Potatoes grow virtually EVERYWHERE. Container gardening has created a revolution and now even landless city dwellers with a sunny window or balcony can grow their favorite foods including potatoes (https://www.woodprairie.com/product/smart-bag/).
This good primer on growing potatoes by Kipp Irland comes from ‘The News Courier’ in Alabama where it will be time to plant potatoes in just a few weeks. Caleb, Megan & Jim
“Potatoes grow best in loamy (sandy) acidic soil, with a pH between 5.0 to 6.0 and in full sun. If you are not growing in a container or raised bed, give ground soil a deep tilling. Tilling loosens soil, which allows the tuber to expand as it grows. Tightly packed clay will prevent the tuber from developing.”
COMMON TATERS: The most popular vegetable is both surprising and obvious
When trying to decide the next crop to write about in my spotlight on vegetables series, I searched the web for “most popular vegetables.” The first site had a list
ECONOMIC REPORT: RURAL JOB GAINS & LOSSES. The map depicts job numbers in America's 3142 counties.
First, the good news: rural ("NonMetro") counties nearest urban ("Metro") centers have gained jobs in the past year. However, rural counties distant from urban centers are most likely to show job losses in a troubling continuation of a stubborn pattern of devolution.
So, how is the economy doing? An urban resident with a stake in the rising stock market is MUCH more likely to respond thumbs-up. Compare that to a citizen residing in a resource-based rural economy distant from an urban center – for example, Maine, North Dakota, Mississippi, southern Georgia or much of Wisconsin – and you will get a significantly less upbeat answer.
So no surprise that "Non-Metro Remote" wins the prize for the worst job numbers. Jim
"Job growth in rural counties continued to lag metropolitan areas in the closing months of 2019, according to the latest employment figures compiled by the federal government.
"The nation’s largest metropolitan areas gained the most jobs. And rural counties located farthest from large urban centers had the slowest rate of job growth…
"Job growth was an almost entirely urban phenomenon. The top 319 counties in total job growth were all in metro areas."
Two-Thirds of Rural Counties Gain Jobs from November 2018 to 2019 – Daily Yonder
A familiar pattern emerges in the latest monthly employment figures. The more rural a county, the slower its job gains are.
AFTER 47 YEARS ROB JOHNSTON RETIRES FROM ‘JOHNNY’S SELECTED SEEDS.’ In 1973, 22-year-old Rob Johnston began his seed venture on a farm in New Hampshire. Two years later he moved his nascent operation to Ben & Ariel Wilcox’s organic Peacemeal Farm in Dixmont, Maine. That move began Rob’s and Johnny’s Selected Seeds’ enduring and uninterrupted deep commitment to Maine. Over the decades Rob became a respected seed breeder, organic farmer and business entrepreneur. Johnny’s pioneering dive into supplying the seed needs of heretofore neglected small vegetable farmers was both revolutionary and profitable. It is no exaggeration to say that Johnny’s was instrumental in fueling the future local food movement.
We purchased our first seed from Rob in 1975. Thirty years ago we sold our first organic Maine Certified Seed Potatoes to Johnny’s Selected Seeds. For most of the twenty-five years Jim served on the MOFGA Certification Committee beginning in the mid 1980s, he worked with Rob who was Chair.
In the early 2000s, after great success had been achieved and as Johnny’s was ramping up towards yet more significant growth – and vastly increased administrative responsibilities – Rob decided it was time to sell the company. In a move which offered insight into Rob’s integrity and his commitment to Maine and his loyal co-workers, he attached to the sale the requirement that Johnny’s MUST not be moved away from Maine. This stipulation in effect created a poison pill and dissuaded interested competitors from afar who would have loved to have acquired Johnny’s and roll its iconic title into a distant portfolio. In time the best option floated to the surface and that was to enter an employee buyout. In a very involved and painstaking procedure, that ownership transition began in 2006 and was successfully completed in 2012. Johnny’s Selected Seeds is now a 100% employee-owned company and offers substantial benefits to its employee-owners. The last figure we heard a few years ago is that Johnny’s annual sales were at that time $42 Million.
Tuesday was Rob’s last day as he officially ended duties and stepped down from the Board of Directors. Tuesday evening a celebratory tribute for Rob and his legacy was held at Thomas College in Waterville. Caleb and Jim attended. So did one hundred Johnny’s employees,also Johnny’s Board members (including Agrarian Elders Norbert Kungl and Jack Algiere), and Johnny’s Tool Inventors/Advisors Agrarian Elders Eliot Coleman & Barbara Damrosch. Also in attendance was Peacemeal Farm’s Ben Wilcox who later became a Johnny’s employee.
Rob and his wife, Janika Eckert (also an accomplished seed breeder), own a house in France and have been spending increasing amounts of time there. They also share intensive bicycling as another passion enjoyed together. This article in ‘Downeast Magazine’ offers good background on Rob and his phenominal achievements with Johnny’s Selected Seeds. Caleb, Jim & Megan
All Grown Up: Johnny’s Selected Seeds
Rooted in the counterculture of the 1970s, Johnny’s Selected Seeds is flourishing with the locavore movement.