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Fast action last Thursday – the last day of January – by a Maine Game Warden kept alive three bear cubs exposed to bitter cold temperatures, who had been abandoned by their startled mother, spooked by a nearby logging operation.
After being rescued and warmed back up, in a team effort the cubs were successfully grafted onto receptive denned-up-mothers who had been located by their tracking collars.
The full details of this amazing cub rescue tale were clearly written up in this heart-warming article by BDN’s John Holyoke. Read it and you will learn something new today! Caleb, Jim & Megan

“Three tiny bear cubs are resting peacefully in new dens after their original winter home was disturbed by a logging operation on Thursday, and their startled mother fled…

“‘I certainly wasn’t expecting that type of den,’ Farrington said. ‘They told me [it was] a hole in the ground, and I was thinking of a typical bear den, with two cubs in it.’

“Instead, there were three cubs that weighed about three pounds apiece, according to Randy Cross, a biologist for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. Cross leads the state’s bear den crew, and he and his crew also headed toward Woodville to pitch in. The bears were likely just a few weeks old, he said.

“Farrington found three cubs in the ground nest, and two of them weren’t moving. Without their mother present to provide warmth, they were in danger of succumbing to the elements, Cross said.'”

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Circa 2014. Another spectacular scene captured by talented local photographer Paul Cyr.
The Amish discovered Aroostook County twenty years ago. Now, at least four vibrant Amish communities have been established in Northern Maine.
Here, an Amish buggy from the Easton/Fort Fairfield community travels a back road on a winter’s day. Quite a few of the Amish in this community have become organic dairy farmers. These hard-working family farmers supply milk to the farmer-owned co-operative ‘Organic Valley.’ Caleb, Jim, Megan


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Sunday’s storm saw totals of 1-2′ of snow in Aroostook County (Details:…).
Central Aroostook had been forecast to receive the heaviest snowfall amounts. However, in the end Northern Aroostook took that honor.
The final precipitation here in Bridgewater was dense, fine sleet, changed over from fluffy snow. Jim, Caleb & Megan

“Tony Mignone, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Caribou, said Monday afternoon that the classic nor’easter that struck the state Sunday into Monday had dumped nearly two feet of snow on some parts of Aroostook County before it moved out of the area.

“‘It really was a powerful storm,’ he said. ‘It brought all of the elements that we predicted as far as the damaging snow and wind and ice.'”

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‘New Food Economy’ explains the problem behind this recall had its beginnings in California.
The recall involves the worldwide McCains Foods, known to be the largest frozen vegetable processor in the world. The local twist is that the young and entrepreneurial McCain brothers got their humble start back in the 1950s in nearby Florenceville, New Brunswick, Canada. The first crop they grew was green beans, potatoes came later.
The REAL problem is we’ve been handed a production-efficiency-mania food system model in which large-scale prospers, creates private wealth and along with it obligatory dominance via self-serving political and economic power.
Of course, the trade-off with enormous concentrated scale is ubiquitous food safety issues and a steady unending procession of food recall events. And keep in mind that’s even before you contemplate the synergistic impacts on your family members of multiple farm chemical toxins which are often found contaminating raw product..
In a great example offered in Michael Pollan’s ‘Omnivore’s Dilemma,’ one leafy greens fresh-pack facility in San Juan Batista CA operates 24/7 and processes 100 million servings of greens a week. As Mr. Pollan points out, it’s as though America has one giant kitchen sink, and if there’s a problem, it’s going to be an enormous one.
Now – not that Industrial Ag has offered us a free and fair choice – compare that mega-scale-potential-for-problems with that of a hard-working local organic family farmer who may have one hundred or one thousand customers. The two scales reflect differences that are magnitudes apart, the human-scale and the corporate-scale. I know what scale I trust. Jim

“What was wrong with all that food? Like the clamshell salads at Whole Foods, they were made with vegetables processed at a single McCain plant in Colton, California. Shortly after the grocers removed their salads, McCain announced a recall of everything it processed there—a variety of sautéed, fire-roasted and caramelized vegetables, including corn, onions, chiles, mushrooms, and peppers—due to a possible Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes contamination that dated all the way back to January 1, 2016.”

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While Maine will be out-of-luck dealing with our major Nor’easter winter snowstorm, other cloudless areas of North America will be in the prime location to see this rare Total Lunar Eclipse. Jim

“On Sunday evening after dark North America will witness its third, best and last total lunar eclipse – also called a Super Wolf Blood Moon – of a trio that began last January with a Super Blue Blood Moon. It will also be visible in Central and South America and during the early hours of January 21 Western Europe…

“For North America it’s the best positioned total lunar eclipse for years…’It is exceptionally well placed for those in North America,’ he says. ‘A total lunar eclipse visible in its entirety from coast-to-coast across the contiguous (48) United States with totality commencing everywhere before the stroke of midnight.’ Only two other lunar eclipses have done that, in 1968 and 2000.”

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Newly elected Maine Governor Janet Mills made the spectacular announcement that she will be nominating Amanda Beal to serve as Commissioner of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry (ACF).
Amanda is a capable and trusted ally who is dedicated to Maine and has served on the MOFGA (Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Assn) Board of Directors (14 years total; two years as President). She grew up on a Maine dairy farm and has earned a PhD in Natural Resources. She now is CEO of Maine Farmland Trust. So Amanda blends real world experience with deep background and vision in farm and resource policy.
Congratulations to both Governor Mills and Amanda Beal for this wise and bold decision! Caleb, Jim & Megan

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It wasn’t a fair fight. Human personality and Big Sugar played a outsized role in falsely framing ‘Fats’ and letting deadly Sugar getaway scot free. Then decades later even after science corrected its understanding and reversed course, Fat remains suspect and deadly Sugar falsely above suspicion in popular thought.
This is an outstanding article from three years ago published by ‘The Guardian.’ Please consider it MUST READ! Jim

“Robert Lustig is a paediatric endocrinologist at the University of California who specialises in the treatment of childhood obesity. A 90-minute talk he gave in 2009, titled Sugar: The Bitter Truth, has now been viewed more than six million times on YouTube. In it, Lustig argues forcefully that fructose, a form of sugar ubiquitous in modern diets, is a ‘poison’ culpable for America’s obesity epidemic.

“A year or so before the video was posted, Lustig gave a similar talk to a conference of biochemists in Adelaide, Australia. Afterwards, a scientist in the audience approached him. Surely, the man said, you’ve read Yudkin. Lustig shook his head. John Yudkin, said the scientist, was a British professor of nutrition who had sounded the alarm on sugar back in 1972, in a book called ‘Pure, White, and Deadly.’

“‘If only a small fraction of what we know about the effects of sugar were to be revealed in relation to any other material used as a food additive,’ wrote Yudkin, ‘that material would promptly be banned.’ The book did well, but Yudkin paid a high price for it. Prominent nutritionists combined with the food industry to destroy his reputation, and his career never recovered. He died, in 1995, a disappointed, largely forgotten man…

“This represents a dramatic shift in priority. For at least the last three decades, the dietary arch-villain has been saturated fat. When Yudkin was conducting his research into the effects of sugar, in the 1960s, a new nutritional orthodoxy was in the process of asserting itself. Its central tenet was that a healthy diet is a low-fat diet. Yudkin led a diminishing band of dissenters who believed that sugar, not fat, was the more likely cause of maladies such as obesity, heart disease and diabetes. But by the time he wrote his book, the commanding heights of the field had been seized by proponents of the fat hypothesis. Yudkin found himself fighting a rearguard action, and he was defeated.

“Not just defeated, in fact, but buried…

“Holy crap,” Lustig thought. ‘This guy got there 35 years before me.'”

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Within the lifetime of a teenager living today, there will be massive changes from climate change. California offers a clear example.
Rain is rare in California’s Central Valley from April to October. Spring’s melting snowpack has been a critical element of California’s extensive irrigation projects.
A “growing body of research” demonstrates that in coming decades the Sierra Nevada mountains will experience DRAMATICALLY reduced snowpacks. Reduced snowpacks will radically impact the water supplies for thirsty California garden crops marketed nationally, including almonds, fruits and vegetables.
Tom Philpott of ‘Mother Jones’ reports. Jim

“So far, this winter has brought ample snows to the Sierra Nevada, the spine of mountains that runs along California’s eastern flank. That’s good news for Californians, because the range’s melted snow provides 60 percent of the state’s water supply. Anyone in the United States who likes fruit, vegetables, and nuts should rejoice, too, because water flowing from the Sierra’s streams and rivers is the main irrigation source for farms in the arid Central Valley, which churns out nearly a quarter of the food consumed here.

“But the Sierra snowpack has shown an overall declining trend for decades —most dramatically during the great California drought of 2012-2016 — and will dwindle further over the next several decades, a growing body of research suggests. In the latest, published in the peer-reviewed Geophysical Research Letters journal, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory researchers lay out what they call a ‘future of consistent low-to-no snowpack.’ In other words, a new normal in which the robust snowpack developing this year would be an almost unthinkable anomaly…

“The results: By mid-century (2039–2059), the average annual snowpack will fall by 54.4 percent compared to the late-20th century baseline. By the time today’s teens are in their 70s, it will be 79.3 percent beneath the old standard. To analyze massive amounts of water, planners think in acre-feet—the amount needed to submerge an acre of land by one foot. At the end of the last century, the Sierra Nevada captured an average of 8.76 million acre-feet. By mid-century, they project, the average will fall to 4 million acre-feet, and by century’s end, 1.81 million acre-feet.

“The Central Valley Project — a federally run network of dams, reservoirs, and canals that waters about a third of California’s irrigated farmland and provides water and electricity to millions of urban users, all from snowmelt — could become what economists called a ‘stranded asset’ in such a scenario: a multi-billion-dollar public investment that lacks sufficient water to perform its tasks.”

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Circa 1890. A team of oxen are used to pack the snow with a large diameter ‘Snowroller.’ In Northern Maine, oxen were replaced by horses – which were faster – in the first decade of the new century.

Automobiles and trucks need a mostly snow-free road on which to operate. In Aroostook County, the changeover to clearing snow off of roadways by “plowing” came after the close of WWII. Cars and trucks would be parked in the Fall and rested unused until after mud-season in the Spring.
Prior to the changeover, snow on roadways was packed in place with snowrollers. This effort would make the snow manageable and facilitate local Winter travel by long sleds and pungs (sleighs). Horses were outfitted with metal caulked-horseshoes when gave them good traction.
Longer distance travel for both potatoes and people was accomplished by railroad. Railroad engines were outfitted with snowplows.
Life and work go on in the Winter in snow country. Jim


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Caitlin Frame and Andy Smith are young MOFGA-Certified Organic family farmers in Monmouth, an hour north of Portland, Maine. Please consider this video MUST WATCH as these farmers candidly describe the existential dilemma being faced by family-scale organic dairy farmers being forced out-of-business by illegal corporate CAFOs and the innovative efforts they are performing in order to survive.
So far, over 200,000 people have watched this video!
Caitlin and Andy were one of the pioneering 50 farms that participated last Summer in the Pilot Program of the ‘Real Organic Project.’
ROP’s mission is to create a nation-wide “Add-On” program to supplement faltering USDA Certified Organic. When operational, ROP certification will allow consumers to identify and source authentic (“Real”) organic products from honest Certified Organic family farmers who steadfastly believe in and adhere to strict traditional organic standards.
Fraudulent CAFOs and soil-less Corporate Hydroponic operations which illegally label their goods “organic” are banned from ROP program.
Jim is bringing his 25 years’ experience on MOFGA’s Certification Committee to ROP and serves on the ROP Standards Committee.
Wood Prairie Family Farm was another of the 50 Pilot Farms which passed ROP organic inspection in 2018.

Caleb, Jim & Megan