Tag Archives: feature

Chicken Processing at Rainier Ridge Ranch

In this video, Jennifer Easley Vaughn of Rainier Ridge Ranch explains how her family slaughters, cleans, and cuts their pasture raised chickens out is the open air.   The process is very humane, and the chickens aren’t stressed by being taken to an unfamiliar place.

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The sad story of PMU mares and their foals–you can help them

“See, the foals — and the mares which can’t get pregnant any more — they are the byproduct of the PMU industry. … We crush ’em and recycle ’em, just like cans.”  —Canadian Slaughterhouse Buyer
Urine collection from a PMU mare
Urine collection from a PMU mare
More information at the HorseFund.org

The Mares

Premarin PMU mares are typically Belgian – Quarter Horses crosses.  PMU stands for “pregnant mare urine,” which is the only function these mares are allowed to have.  They are impregnated for the hormones that will be produced in their urine.

For most of their 11-month pregnancies, these horses are confined to stalls so small that they cannot turn around or take more than one step in any direction.

The animals must wear rubber urine-collection bags at all times, which causes chafing and lesions.

Once the foals are born, the horses are re-impregnated; this cycle continues for about 12 years.

How Premarin PMU mares live
How Premarin PMU mares live

Continue reading The sad story of PMU mares and their foals–you can help them

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Canoes to Covered Bridges – Crossing the Old Nisqually

Photo above courtesy of Martin Burwash, from the Eatonville to Rainier website (eatonvilletorainier.com).

The 81 mile long Nisqually River starts as a tumbling, rocky stream off the the end of Mt. Rainier’s Nisqually Glacier, as shown here:

Imagine taking this car on this road to see the Nisqually Glacier and Mt. Rainier, back in those days.  Look at the bridge they just crossed!

1926 nisqually glacier postcard

After flowing west to today’s quaint, quirky, and cool Elbe, the river creates Thurston County’s east border with Pierce County.  It then travels northwest until it  flows into the Puget Sound.

There are now two easy ways to cross the Nisqually.  Upriver about twelve miles west of Mt. Rainier Park’s Nisqually Entrance, Highway 7’s Elbe Bridge crosses the river at the boundary of Lewis and Pierce Counties.

Interstate 5 crosses the Nisqually where it joins Puget Sound, at the Nisqually Estuary.

Crossing the Nisqually in the Old Days

Crossing the Nisqually River in the days before Highway 7 and Interstate 5 was quite an adventure!

This 1905 photo shows Sam P’yelo of the Nisqually Tribe canoeing in the Nisqually River.

Photo from the University of Washington website.
Photo from the University of Washington website.

Early European settlers built the first bridge across the Nisqually at Elbe in 1898.

Photo courtesy of Russell Sachs, from the Eatonville to Rainier website.
Photo courtesy of Russell Sachs, from the Eatonville to Rainier website.

Here is the same 1898 bridge.  This bridge is long gone–they weren’t built to last.

Photo courtesy of Pat Van Eaton, from the Eatonville to Rainier website.
Photo courtesy of Pat Van Eaton, from the Eatonville to Rainier website.

Logging operations began in earnest near Elbe at the beginning of the 20th century, with the building of the first sawmill.  Early railroads transported the harvested timber. Continue reading Canoes to Covered Bridges – Crossing the Old Nisqually

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Lapland’s Sami reindeer people–simple life, superfood diet

Simple life, superfood diet of Lapland’s Sami people

lapland mapLapland is a cultural region that spans the arctic areas of Finland, Norway, Sweden, and the northwest tip of mainland Russia.

Traditional Laplanders are called the Sami people.  Many of them still live the way their ancestors did, herding reindeer that forage across the wide arctic expanse for lichens in the winter and green plants in the summer.

The Sami lifestyle is simple and peaceful.  The diet is rich in an array of superfoods.

The Sami people rely on reindeer for their very existence.  They eat reindeer meat, use the milk for cheese, and the skins for clothing, blankets, and shelter.  They create tools and decorations from the bones and antlers.

sami people

The Sami also use reindeer as pack and harness animals.  Even the Lapland police use reindeer!  In arctic weather, reindeer are more reliable than motorized vehicles or other animals.

lapland police

All reindeer are considered domesticated in Lapland.  Reindeer hunting is illegal.

In this two minute video, a young Sami reindeer herder explains the connection he feels to his reindeer:

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Could space experiments help us have healthier food here on earth?

Fresh Veggies in Space

Go Veggie Team!  To infinity and beyond!

NASA has launched its own “Veggie Team.”  Their goal is to develop ways for astronauts to grow their own fresh greenhouse produce while staying at the International Space Station, and other future out of this world locations.red lettuce snip 2

Record breaking astronaut Scott Kelly who spent a year in space tweeted: “I missed the color green most during my year in space.  Great to see it again on earth!”scott kelley green in spaceIn the following video, NASA Commentator Brandi Dean talks with Dr. Gioia Massa, a Veggie project scientist, about the team’s space experiments, including a recent crop of zinnias. Continue reading Could space experiments help us have healthier food here on earth?

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