LJR Enterprises

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Month: September, 2006

School Lunch

by Scott Smith

I found this great little cartoon through Aidan Brook’s (of the United Kingdom) blog. He has an entry on “Jamie’s School Dinners” (school lunches to we Americans). It got me wondering if there is a similar program in the US trying to improve school lunches. I haven’t found one yet. Probably in the US it is a state by state endeavor. So, I tried to read the USDA standards on school lunches (which is what Michigan uses – some more progressive states have upped the standards on their own) and found it nearly impossible to navigate. And almost everything in their PDF on the regulations is worded in such a way as to not be enforcable. Statements like, “schools are encouraged to…” “It is recommended that…” “Depending on what method of…” Why have standards at all? I now feel completely justified in driving a forgotten sack lunch over to the school when my kids forget it on the counter (or bathroom floor as the case may be).

And then of course there are the alternative choices (I won’t even go into what they are an alternative to) the school insists on giving the students. Like every kind of Little Debbie snack cake you can imagine, ice cream, chips, and of course, the 2 (because one isn’t enough) Coke machines that are the first thing the middle school children encounter on their way into the lunch dungeon room. Lest I seem too harsh in my judgements, the middle school, who apparently whores out 12-15 year olds to the Coca-Cola Corporation, did get a grant to have a “healthy” snack machine in the building. The healthy snack choices are apparently high fructose corn syrup laden juices (okay, I’m assuming on this one), Combos, and mealy apples bruised on their way out of the machine. Of course, it’s no where near the lunch room which I’m sure is courtesy of the contract the school system has with the fine people at Coke (perhaps local parents should be more concerned with the contracts that the school DOES have rather than the one they don’t have with the teachers).

So, anyway, I love the cartoon. It’s clever and entertaining while being educational and the activities that the USDA offers to help educate children on nutrition pale in comparison. If anyone knows of a similar program in Michigan I’d love to hear about it.

Hens I’m Glad I Ain’t

by Scott Smith


I’m glad that I am not the hen that layed the brown, monster egg in this picture. I was sure it was going to be a triple yolker, but alas it only had two.


Sick Pig Update II

by Scott Smith

Well, the pig is feeling better but he still needs at least one more shot. Ideally he would get three more shots. But, darn it if we haven’t turned that poor pig’s butt into a pin cushion trying to (unsuccessfully) get a dose into him. Pigs that feel good don’t hold still for shots!

I’ve got a new tool that hopefully will make us successful nurses. It looks similar to this but is not as fancy. Ours is the plastic version of the Pistol-Grip Syringe from Ideal Instruments. Part of our problem has been that I can’t adjust my grip on the syringe to push down the plunger without the pig coming off the needle. Then I have to try to stick him again and he gets so worked up, screaming and fighting us that I pretty much come unglued.

[edit] Well, I was an unsuccessful nurse with the cool new toy. Our neighbor, Mr. C., was quite successful though. We’ll be inviting him back for more farm fun tomorrow.

Sick pig update

by Scott Smith

He’s up this morning without any prodding. I built him an indoor pen; he’s enjoying the old hay. It seems Dr. Robinson Dr. JellyJam and the vet have correctly diagnosed the animal.

Bump in the Road

by Scott Smith

We have a sick pig. I think I called at least 15 veterinarians before I found one who was willing to help me with more than more phone numbers to try. He didn’t want to drive all the way down here and I can’t say as I blame him (he’s at least 30 miles away), but he diagnosed erysipelas (rhymes with “Air of syphillis”) over the phone and told me what to do. I gave my first shot today. There were about 30 seconds where I was sure I wasn’t going to be able to do it, but I surprised myself and managed it while Scott restrained the pig (the thought of having to restrain the pig, as listless as he is, while Scott gave the shot was a motivating factor). Next time I won’t be so dainty about trying to get the needle into the pig. That is some tough hide.

The vet recommended harvesting the other three pigs right away but I don’t think we’re going to be able to get anyone out here that fast on short notice. He also said that the sick pig (if he recovers) can be harvested 10 days after the last dose of penicillin, but the processor recommended 30 days, so we’ll err on the side of caution and wait a month.

Apparently pigs give up just like people do sometimes and just turn their face to the wall (a phrase that has always fascinated me) so we’ll see if he stays interested in life long enough to get better.

Slow Food

by Scott Smith

Slow Food is an organization founded by Carlo Petrini of Italy in 1986. Leave it to an Italian to start an international organization who’s goal is to protect our right to taste (those Italians know how to eat). Their mission involves defending people against the standardization of flavor. They fight against cultural homogenization through “taste education,” they defend biodiversity and they help producers of “slow foods” find the consumers who care about their taste buds. I looked for a local convivium to join but, of course, there isn’t one in Hickory Corners. I find it interesting, although not surprising, that the four existing convivia in Michigan are in the more metropolitan areas (Detroit, Ann Arbor, Traverse City, and Buchanan – okay, Buchanan isn’t exactly metropolitan). Do we small town folk not care about flavor? I care about flavor. I want my food to taste good. I want to have a diversity of flavors at my disposal. I want to sit down to a delicious meal with family and friends. I want to drink a nice glass of wine with a big, stinky slice of yummy cheese… who’s with me?

[edit] I thought I would add a list of a few slow food animals mentioned on the Slow Food Ark of Taste:

Pigs – Mulefoot, Ossabaw Island

Chickens – Buckeye (the breed I most want to add to my collection), Delaware, Dominique, Jersey Giant, New Hampshire, Wyandotte, Plymouth Rock Non-Industrial
Geese – Cotton Patch, Pilgrim
Turkeys – Jersey Buff, Narrangansett, Bourbon Red, Standard Bronze

Sheep – Navajo-Churro

Rabbits – American, American Chinchilla, Silver Fox, Giant Chinchilla

Goats – Tennessee Faiinting, Spanish

Cattle – Florida Cracker, Milking Devon, Pineywoods

Nip it in the bud

by Scott Smith

I have four sisters and three of them are fairly close in age to me. Hey, Stacey, looking forward to the big 40 next year?

This means our formative tv watching years were the 70s. This means Shields and Yarnell, Disney on Sundays (when that meant something) and Donny and Marie. I never should have stopped whining about Donny and Marie. I hated that show like I hated broccoli. Despised it.

Netflix delivered Dirty Dancing today. I will regret this. I added it to the queue and pushed it to the top. For the sin of requesting 1940’s classics and documentaries to be delivered, I figured I had to throw the kids and Robinson a bone.


by Scott Smith

When I was a kid there was one of those “fear at five” kind of news reports on kudzu and how is marching ever northward taking over the whole of America. Kind of a “we’re all gonna die” sort of thing. Well, being the fearful child I was, that scared the crap out of me. A few days passed and the tenacious vine didn’t show up in my backyard, so I let it go. Don’t make fun of me too much before looking at this picture…


…there’s a house under there, not to mention the forest in the background. The stuff grows a foot a day during the summer!

Well, I can rest easy as we live far enough north that the killer kudzu won’t be arriving anytime soon. The drawback of this is that I can’t make my own kudzu jelly. Being the jelly-jam freak I am, I did an exchange with a woman from Georgia (from the farmgirl website) for some kudzu jelly and it’s just wonderful. It has sort of a grapey flavor but maybe a little more delicate and is such a lovely color. It really is the perfect PB&J jelly.


Michigan Job blog gets a new look and plenty of updates

by Scott Smith

I updated my Michigan Job blog.

Bee Sting (View with caution)

by Scott Smith

Here is a picture of the pigs enjoying some of the windfall pears I picked up for them. pigseatingpears.jpg

Leaving a bucket of ripening fruit so nearby might have been a mistake as I think one of the girls ended up with a sting in a really horrifying area.