How a Teen with Asperger’s Became an Entrepreneur

Every child, student, person faces unique challenges – these are not always met best with medication, but forging a new path, creating new opportunities. Explore your options and be brave!

Homeschooling Now

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When Spencer Kelly was younger, he found it difficult to simply have a conversation with someone. Now the 16-year-old with Asperger syndrome has become a spokesperson for how homeschooling can help struggling students excel.

In five years of learning at home, Spencer has gone from being quiet and unfocused to winning quiz bowl competitions and launching his own business. These accomplishments earned him an invitation to speak at this month’s World Conference for Autism in Portland, Oregon. 

Spencer plans to share his own experience in coping with Asperger syndrome, a form of autism.

Time to Come Home

In Spencer’s case, homeschooling has lived up to its reputation as an excellent means for addressing developmental issues—but his mother Tracie admits they chose to do it almost as a last resort.

“It was a very new process for me,” she says. “I was one hundred percent unfamiliar with homeschooling. But he just…

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Grinding Fresh Berries

As i grind pound after pound of hard red winter and white winter wheat, i wanted to know the best use for the various varieties.  I also have some Einkorn berries, an ancient grain with original DNA, which i’m finding difficult succeed with using it by itself.  But i keep trying.  It’s a lovely nutty flavour.

What a fabulously helpful article written by Julia Debes and provided by the Kansas Wheat Cooperative

Posted December 2, 2014

Six classes of U.S. wheat

You stuffed yourself with Thanksgiving pie and warm rolls in November. And the smell of Christmas cookies baking fills the air in December. You know you can count on your family’s special baked good, shared year after year, during the holiday season. But, you might not realize that each product may require a different type of flour, maybe even a different class of wheat.

Image: U.S. map of the 6 classes of wheat.

American wheat farmers grow six classes of wheat. Each wheat variety fits into one of these six categories based on the growing season (winter or spring), hardness (hard or soft) and color (red or white). While munching on holiday treats this year, stump your relatives with these class differences.

Hard Red Winter (HRW)

Ninety five percent of the wheat grown in Kansas is hard red winter (HRW). In fact, Kansas farmers grow more HRW wheat than any other state.

With high protein and strong gluten, HRW wheat is ideal for yeast bread and rolls. But, this versatile class is also used in flat breads, tortillas, cereal, general purpose flour and Asian-style noodles.

Hard White (HW)

About three percent of wheat grown by Kansas farmers is hard white (HW) wheat. This class is grown primarily under contract.

HW wheat is used for whole wheat white flour, due to its naturally milder, sweeter flavor. Bakers also use HW wheat in pan breads, tortillas, flat breads and Asian-style noodles.

Soft Red Winter (SRW)

Less than 1 percent of the wheat planted by Kansas wheat farmers is soft red winter (SRW). Farmers east of the Mississippi River often double crop SRW wheat with soybeans.

Soft wheats have lower protein and less gluten strength. This makes SRW ideally suited for cookies, crackers, pastries, flat breads and pretzels. SRW wheat is even used in Maker’s Mark and Twizzlers.

Soft White (SW)

Pacific Northwest farmers grow primarily soft white (SW) wheat – both winter and spring varieties. SW wheat has two sub-classes. Club wheat has very weak gluten and western white is a blend of club and SW.

SW wheat has low moisture, but high extraction rates. With a naturally whiter color, SW wheat is used for Asian-style bakery products, cakes and pastries. Fun fact, Triscuits refer to SW as the “cashmere” of wheats.

Hard Red Spring (HRS)

Northern plains farmers require a shorter season crop wheat crop. Hard red spring (HRS) wheat is planted in early spring, rather than the fall, and does not vernalize or go dormant over the winter.

HRS wheat has high protein and strong gluten, perfect for artisan breads and rolls, croissants, bagels and pizza crust. Internationally, HRS is often blended with domestic wheats supplies to improve the strength of a flour blend.

Durum

Durum is the hardest of all six wheat classes, produced in two areas of the United States. The northern plains grows hard amber durum, while the desert southwest (Arizona, California) grows Desert Durum® under irrigation.

With a rich amber color and high gluten content, durum wheat is used primarily for pasta, couscous and some Mediterranean breads.

By Julia Debes

Wheat classes

Hillbilly Valances

I may not be the queen of repurposing, but i do try my best.  Not able to find and purchase valances of the right length and type i wanted for my kitchen windows had me tying on my thinking cap.  Of course!  Old pillowcases!  Of all the households’ worth of stuff we have in storage, surely i could find something that would work without using an heirloom.  It took me longer to scrounge through all the scraps than it did to make the valances.  A couple mismatched yellowed and gross pillowslips were found and put to a new purpose and they are exactly what i had in mind!

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The slips i used were yellowed from use and despite bleaching and washing twice were not recoverable.  Thankfully, the ends with the pretty lace were beautifully white.
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Cut to length.  I wanted very short valances to let in as much light as possible.  Notice that this piece is different than the other.  If you are matchy matchy person, you may have to buy new, but i’m eclectic at heart and mismatched by similar works fabulously for me.
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Cut or rip seams to lay out for full length.
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Stitch up each of the loose ends.
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I sewed in a rod pocket, but you wouldn’t have to if you just wanted to sew and edge then use rings and clips.
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Curtain number 1
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Curtain number 2 – they are both white – it’s just the photo.

Profitable Ranch Strategies

Although Jim’s article in On Pasture is specifically geared towards livestock/pasture management, the principles can easily be applied to any business.

 

Kick the Hay Habit – Jim Gerrish’s Tips for Getting Started

By   /  September 17, 2018  /  No Comments

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This week’s Classic by NatGLC is from Jim Gerrish. Jim will be speaking about Grazing Lands Economics at the National Grazing Lands Conference in Reno in December, so we thought you’d like to have an idea of what he might cover. Jim is one of over over 50 producers who will be part of the conference talking about innovative grazing management. We hope you’ll join us! Register before October 16 to get the reduced rate of $395, and bring a friend or spouse with you for just $175 more.

Hay feeding still ranks as one of the top costs of being in the cow-calf business in the U.S. The good news is we do see more and more livestock producers ‘Kicking the Hay Habit’ with each passing year. There is much more to kicking the habit than just deciding one day that you’re not going to feed any more hay. It usually takes several management changes to get there.

Here are what I am seeing as the top five moves for getting out of the hay feeding rut.

1. Have a plan for year-around grazing.

This doesn’t mean just hoping you have some grass left over in the fall to use during winter. It means making a critical evaluation of all of your forage resources and mapping out when they can be used most optimally. Develop a calendar of when your stock are going to have their highest and lowest demands. As an industry we have given a lot of lip service to matching forage and animal resources, but the majority of ranchers still do a pretty poor job of implementing a sound plan.

2. Change your calving season to a less demanding time of year.

It is much easier to graze a dry, pregnant cow through the winter than a lactating mama. For many of today’s moderate to high milk producing beef cows, daily forage demand at peak lactation is 50-80% higher than when she is at dry, pregnant maintenance. Late spring or early summer calving seasons work well in a lot of ranch country once you change your mind about a few things. I’ve met very few ranchers who switched to later calving who ever went back to winter calving.

3. Make sure your cattle match your environment and climatic conditions.

You really want your cattle to survive and thrive on the native resources of your ranch. The more petroleum and iron you put between the sun’s solar energy and your cow’s belly, the less profitable you are likely to be. Cattle should be able to earn their own living. You shouldn’t have to earn it for them. Consider every head of cattle on your place to be a ranch employee. Your primary job as manager is to create a working environment for your employees to do their job.

4. Manage all of your pasture and rangeland more intensively.

CP snow grazing Oct 26This does not mean graze it more intensively, this means manage it more intensively. If you do, you will get more forage production and greater carrying capacity from your land. Simply rationing out what you are already growing is one of the easiest places to pick up more grazing days from every acre. One of the strongest arguments I can make for Management-intensive Grazing (MiG) in the summertime is to create more winter pasture opportunities.

5. Change range use from summer grazing to winter grazing.

In most environments with degraded rangeland, switching to predominantly winter use is a great strategy for improving range condition. Many public lands offices are very willing to work with ranchers on this kind of positive change. We do see some agency offices and employees who drag their feet on making any kind of change, but most are willing to work with you if you have a grazing plan that will help them meet their conservation goals.

IMG_9954You may not need to make all these changes in your operation. It depends on where you are right now and where you want to end up being. While some operations go cold turkey and try to make the entire shift in a single year, it may be easier to make the transition over 3 or 4 years. You will take some learning and adjustments to get comfortable with the new approach. Your livestock will also need to adapt to the new management regime.

Most beef herds in the US and Canada are made up of cows that are too big and have too much milking ability to live within the resource capability of the land base. Winter grazing is a lot easier with the proper type of cow on your place. Making the switch in calving season might be as easy as just holding the bulls out for a couple extra months. Changing cow type to a more moderate framed and lower milk producing animal will take quite a bit longer.

The key point is to have a plan for making the transition with a clear target of where you want to go.

Thanks to the National Grazing Lands Coalition for making this article possible.

We hope you’ll join the On Pasture crew at this year’s conference in Reno. We love it because there are so many producers sharing their experience from all across the country. We always learn a lot! Remember – registration goes up to $475 on October 16!

 

 

Thanks to the On Pasture readers providing financial support.

Can you chip in? To be sustainable, we need a $15,000 match from readers to make our grant happen this year. If it’s an option for you, consider becoming an “Ongoing Supporter” at just $5/month. Being able to show that kind of support is especially helpful when we’re approaching outside funders.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jim Gerrish is the author of “Management-Intensive Grazing: The Grassroots of Grass Farming” and “Kick the Hay Habit: A Practical Guide to Year-around Grazing” and is a popular speaker at conferences around the world. His company, American GrazingLands Services LLC is dedicated to improving the health and sustainable productivity of grazing lands around the world through the use of Management-intensive Grazing practices. They work with small farms, large ranches, government agencies and NGO’s to promote economically and environmentally sustainable grazing operations and believe healthy farms and ranches are the basis of healthy communities and healthy consumers. Visit their website to find out more about their consulting services and grazing management tools, including electric fencing, stock water systems, forage seed, and other management tools.

House In the Wild – Narok, Kenya

Dallas and I stayed at awesome accommodation during our stay in Kenya.  Located some two hour drive from Narok proper, House in the Wild offers private and serene accommodation with first class service and meals.  Our small group of six had the whole place to ourselves (it was booked that way), though it can accommodate up to 12, and within hours, we were like family – arriving from Denmark, Australia, and the United States.  Safari tours can be easily booked through this venue with Moses and Boston as premium guides and story tellers.  Our hosts, Tarquin and Lippa Wood came in for a couple visits to make sure our stay was perfect.

House in the Wild is located on Naretoi, the 1000 acre private estate within the Enonkishu Conservancy wildlife sanctuary on the edge of the Maasai Mara.  All the houses are situated with gorgeous views of the Mara River from the porch or just a few steps away.

Contact Information:

Lippa@naretoi.com

+254 728 484 665

PO Box 961, Narok, 20500

houseinthewild.com

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My room with ensuite at our private ‘estate’  Still just 30 second walk to main meal/gathering place.
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Quasi-glamping.  Absolutely stunning and luxurious accommodation with daily cleaning service.
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Discovery hiking – identifying tracks and habitat of local fauna with Moses Titimet Nampaso.  Almost looks like we are identifying tire tracks!  😉 

 

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Another outing – market day at Aitong.

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Blessed Beef Broth for what Ails Ya

As followers of my blog realise, I struggle mightily each late August through September with ragweed allergies.  It’s been so since my middle child turned one year old in 1994.  Oddly, of the three children, he is the only one who also suffers badly from same allergy.  I’ve discovered this year that our home raised grassfinished beef broth either drank alone or with finely chopped onions and a pinch of powdered garlic really hits the spot.

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Cook a roast or stew meat or thick cut steak in water  just deep enough to just covering the meat, then remove the meat and any bones with a strainer spoon.  My go-to is this Nesco Roast Air Oven.  I don’t know if these are even made anymore, and i didn’t like the noisy fan and motor.  However, i simply covered the attachment hole in the lid with tape.  Paid $2 for this handy kitchen item at a church bazaar some 10-12 years ago.  Handy, handy, handy.  You can buy new ones in this 6 quart size and others from Nesco without the attachable motor.

 

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Pour the liquid into a pot or jar to cool.  I like using these quart sized freezer jars since i can pour it in piping hot instead of waiting for liquid to cool.  Plus the slim design allows for not taking up much space on the counter whilst cooling and later into the frig.
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Whilst cooling, the saturated fat will rise to the top and eventually harden.  I put mine in the frig once the liquid has come to room temperature.  Once cooled, transfer to a plastic container to freezer or top with the screw lid and stick these jars in the freezer.  Great to thaw and make broth this winter, cook potatoes or pasta in this, or thicken for brown gravy.
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Scrape the hardened fat from the top of the cooled beef liquid.  i place mine in a storage container and stick in the freezer or frig.  Use in place of butter or oil for extra flavour.  Or feed it to the chooks and your pets.  Just please don’t throw it away.

Fairy Rings – for Real?!

When Dallas was younger but old enough to mow June’s lawn, he would invariably NOT mow the fairy rings which grew in her yard during the fall (after all it is dangerous and unlucky!).  Fairy rings grow in wet, humid conditions – not necessarily hot, but certainly not cold.  But what causes these mushrooms to grow in a circular or semi-circular pattern with such consistency?

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Well, beyond the obvious reason that it is caused by fairies and elves dancing in circles, the answer is just as mysterious and inconclusive.  In fact, there seem to be more folklore tales than ‘scientific’ proposals!

The science revolves around “The mycelium of a fungus growing in the ground absorbs nutrients by secretion of enzymes from the tips of the hyphae (threads making up the mycelium).[2]This breaks down larger molecules in the soil into smaller molecules that are then absorbed through the walls of the hyphae near their growing tips.[2] The mycelium will move outward from the center, and when the nutrients in the center are exhausted, the center dies, thereby forming a living ring, from which the fairy ring arises.[2]”

There are two theories regarding the process involved in creating fairy rings. One states that the fairy ring is begun by a spore from the sporocarpus. The underground presence of the fungus can also cause withering or varying colour or growth of the grass above. The second theory, which is presented in the investigations of Japanese scientists on the Tricholoma matsutake species, shows that fairy rings could be established by connecting neighbouring oval genetsof these mushrooms. If they make an arc or a ring, they continuously grow about the centre of this object.

Blah, blah, blah – i’m going with the dancing fairies, elves, and pixies!

He wha tills the fairies’ green
Nae luck again shall hae :
And he wha spills the fairies’ ring
Betide him want and wae.
For weirdless days and weary nights
Are his till his deein’ day.
But he wha gaes by the fairy ring,
Nae dule nor pine shall see,
And he wha cleans the fairy ring
An easy death shall dee.[61]

Robert Chambers, Scottish poet.

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