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Books, Documentaries, Reviews: COME SPRING

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Books, Documentaries, Reviews:  July 30, 2012



Ben Ames Williams

Friend Gail Nicholson realized one day a few months back that I had never read COME SPRING by Ben Ames Williams.  She appeared the very next day with a brand new copy for me.  I finished all 866 pages last week–published by the Union Historical Society–and enjoyed the read.

Ben Ames Williams wrote COME SPRING in 1940.  It’s a specific story of how in 1776 (the same year the Declaration of Independence was signed), the first settlers moved up the St. George River of what is now called mid-coast Maine, and cleared and settled land in an area now called Union, which is just above the coastal town of Thomaston and the next settled village up the river, Warren.

COME SPRING is a general story also of how settlers dug in, cleared land, and made a life all across New England.  Or, not, as not all settlers were successful.  Some didn’t have the temperament to be in what was wilderness for long periods of time; others just had bad luck–spouses who died, barns that burned, crops that failed, game that couldn’t be found in the winter, and so forth.  And COME SPRING is a story of how all of these people related to the ongoing Revolutionary War and, after the war ended, how newly formed civil organizations started making laws and levying taxes, when these early landowners had no hard money or paper money to give.

COME SPRING is also a love story–written by a man and with a woman heroine (Mima).  .  It’s the story of Mima’s love of the man she chose and for whom she waited, of her desire for a family with this man, and of her love and deep connection to the land she intended to work hard to settle and to hold in her family forever.  Mima is much more interested in intimately knowing her own surroundings then she is in outside political realities and forces, which she believes she can do nothing about and which just get everyone all upset when learning of them.

Settlers could use the river to travel back to the coast and civilization–except when the ice wasn’t firm.  Otherwise, they had to walk everywhere they went.  Early settlers were lucky to have a pair of oxen or a few chickens or some sheep which would mean wool for clothing.  Mostly all the clearing work was done without such help.  Several barn raisings are described in the story; it takes a lot of strong men to raise a barn, so such an occasion brought the community together for the day of the raising.

What’s fun, if you live in this area, is the name recognition–many of these original families are still here and place names taken from these first settlers abound.  Union’s quilt chapter is “Come Spring.”  There’s also a Union diner called “Come Spring.”  And, this summer, someone wrote a kind of short play taken from COME SPRING featuring some of the key characters that was read by people dressed in period clothes in the center of Union.  When spring came in this early Maine, green food returned as the snow melted, animal babies were born, crops could be planted, hope of survival could be renewed.

Union is also the home of today’s week-long Union Blueberry Fair in mid-August, which has 4-H contests, animal pulling contests of all kinds, farm demonstrations of all kinds, a midway, and harness racing where you can make $2, or more, bets.  We LOVE this fair and go every year.

When one of the main protagonists, Mima’s father, dies in 1816 at age 86, he is survived by, writes Williams, “six children, fifty-one grandchildren, eighty-five great-grandchildren, and five great-great-grandchildren.”  Only three of his children and fifteen of his grandchildren died before him.  These numbers were needed for survival in the wilderness, for creating a town, for moving on to create a nation that stretched from shore to shore.  These kinds of numbers make me pause to think about some of our current rhetoric of how long we’re all living.  We may be reaching this age, but are we reaching it with the same kind of health that Mima’s dad enjoyed?  He moved to the wilderness of  Maine when he was 45 years old.

Near the end of the book is this memorable passage from Mima’s mother, while holding Mima’s second newborn child.  Mima and Joel hav just realized that Mima’s parents still love each other in the same way that Mima and Joel do:

“I think sometimes getting old is like a candle burning down.  A young one grows up and the first thing he knows he’s in love and marrying; and you can see something new in his eyes, deep and strong.  That’s like a candle when first you light it, standing up so straight and white and slim and fine; and the flame’s real pretty to look at.

“But the candle burns on.  Maybe it melts crooked, but the flame stays just the same shape and brightness.  Maybe if the wind blows, the flame flutters some; but when the wind stops, the flame’s just the same again.  The candle keeps a-burning, and the tallow runs down the sides of it, and it gets all lumpy and out of shape like a woman after she’s had babies for twenty years, or a man that likes his victuals.

“But the flame still burns bright and pretty.  The candle gets shorter and stumpier till there ain’t hardly anything left of it; but the flame’s still there, burning bright, clear and brave and fine, right down to the very end.”

She met their eyes.  “That’s the way it is with the right kind of people,” she said.  “Rheumatism can cripple them and tie them upo in knots, or the outside of them can change other ways so you’d hardly know them to look at them.  But their insides don’t change.  The flame in them keeps burning clear and fine.  If you just look at the flame and not the candle, you’ll see it never does change–until one day the candle burns down, and all of a sudden the flame gets small and then it’s gone.”

Like all historical fiction, the story tells a reader much more about William’s 1940s than it does the 1780s.  Williams does use archival materials to write this novel.  There are several journals that derived from this area, for instance.  But the sentiments he overlays onto Mima et al are very much those of the 1940s–which is why historians view historical fiction with a skeptical eye and argue that this overlay does a kind of violence to the real people who lived those very real lives.  Nevertheless, it was fun for me to read what was of concern to Williams, what he wanted his characters to think and feel, and to compare how those values have shifted so enormously today–and not in good ways, I’d say.

So, thank you so much Gail!

Written by louisaenright

July 30, 2012 at 5:56 pm

Turkey Tracks: Dog House Chickies Update 2

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Turkey Tracks:  July 28, 2012

Dog House Chickies Update 2

Mother hen Sally brought her babies out into the world early this morning.

When I unlocked the doghouse door, she came out immediately, then went back inside again to get her babies, and out they came, pouring through the door after her.

Three babies.  Two Americauna Wheaten/Copper Black Maran crosses and one CBM.  Sally and Cowboy and all the mothers batted 4 for 4 on this one as all four eggs hatched.

The fourth chick-the one who crawled away from her in the night and got too cold was on top of the food bowl this morning–dead but not stiff.  S/he must have lasted for the past two nights and one day.  And I think Sally stayed inside with him/her until it was clear s/he was dead.

Sally talks to the babies constantly.  She immediately began to scratch in the dirt and show them tiny somethings (??) to eat.  They run to her and eat the whatevers when she calls them.  Every so often, she takes them back to the doghouse for water and the ground-up feed I’ve made for them.  I need to put some Apple Cider Vinegar into their water now.  And, soon I’ll supplement with milk and scrambled eggs laced with garlic.

Those chicks came pouring out of the doghouse, but the lip is fairly tall.  I found a small ramp in the garage so they can return easily when they get ready to rest.

Sally’s definitely got them in school however–all the while chasing away an overenthusiastic chipmunk that’s plaguing them.  By noon, they are now scratching in the dirt themselves.  And they’ve learned that when she shrieks like a banshee and flashes her wings and spreads her tail out, they are to run to her and take cover.  Only, as I clipped her wings, she does not have full use of all her primary feathers as protection.  Clipping her wings didn’t work anyway.  She just hops to the fence top, balances, and goes over at will.

Gradually, they’ve moved away from the doghouse into other parts of the pen:

So where are the other hens and the rooster you might ask?

They have gone quite mad in the past few days.  There have been major fights among the hens and overwhelming emotions swirling around the whole pen.  Annie Chickie, the hen I raised, is one of the worst offenders.  There is absolutely no way I’d turn these crazy ladies loose with Sally and her chicks.  So for the moment, they are locked into the coop and cage.  And they are so NOT HAPPY about that.  So far this morning, I’ve brought them June bugs, fresh chard, milk and bread, and replenished their water.  They always have access to a mixture of organic whole grains and dried peas and lentils.  I give them some handfuls of millet most days as a scratch feed.

Friends  Ronald VonHeeswjik and Nicholas came to discuss how to manage this situation this morning.  We decided to leave the hens and rooster locked up for a day or two–the coop and cage are quite large actually–and to see if Sally gradually takes the chicks further afield.  She will sooner or later.  Once older, the chicks will be able to avoid the older hens.  And, if we need to move the doghouse to free the hens, we’ll do it at night when Sally and the chicks are inside.  I’ve figured a place to put them that they’ll like, that has cover, and that is shaded and cool.P

Pray for the babies to be HENS!

Written by louisaenright

July 28, 2012 at 12:27 pm

Books, Documentaries, Reviews: July 2012 Read Pile

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Books, Documentaries, Reviews:  July 26, 2012

July 2012 Read Pile

Here’s my current read pile:

Actually, I’ve been working this one since May, when I took this picture.


I’m also reading THE TIGER’S WIFE, Tea Obreht, which I’m really enjoying.  It was ranked one of the top ten books of 2011 by the NY Times.

John just finished IN THE GARDEN OF BEASTS, Erik Larsen, the memoir of Ambassador Dodd’s family in Hitler’s Germany, just before WWII, when the Nazi’s come to power.  He loved it, and half my book club has read it and did, too.  We read Larsen’s earlier book, THE DEVIL IN THE WHITE CITY, I think.  It was really good too.  It was about a serial killer operating in the time of the huge world fair held in Chicago, as I recall.

QUIET was a gift from John.  It’s about the special place introverts occupy in society.  He gave it to me because I am an full-blown introvert, and he’s a full-blown extrovert.

Interesting Information: First State-wide Ban on Plastic Bags

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Interesting Information:  July 26 2012

First State-wide Ban on Plastic Bags

Hawaii is the first state to pass a state-wide ban on plastic bags, effective July 1, 2015.

YEAH!!  Go Hawaii!!

I hope all of you are NOT using store-used plastic or paper bags when shopping.  Both are environmental nightmares and about equal in terms of harm.  Get yourself some bags and take them with you when shopping–for ALL your shopping.  Start asking for your purchases to be put in your own bags everywhere you go.

I have been using bags for food purchases, but now I’m going to up the ante and start taking clean bags for all purchases.

There is a film that is referenced in the Mercola article I saw this morning:  BAG IT.

I found it on Netflix and could instantly download it on the Roku.  I’ll take a look at it soon, though I am so far behind on watching documentaries.  Sometimes the psychic burden of watching all that’s wrong with our world–there’s so much–is just too much, and I have to take a break.

Here’s the whole article if you want to read it:  http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/07/26/no-to-plastic-bags.aspx?e_cid=20120726_DNL_artNew_1

Written by louisaenright

July 26, 2012 at 12:44 pm

Turkey Tracks: Dog House Chicks Update

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Turkey Tracks:  July 26, 2012

Dog House Chicks Update

It’s cool and overcast here in mid-coast Maine this morning.

I’m wearing jeans and a long-sleeved t-shirt, and my long, hot shower felt really good this morning.

We are all hoping for a steady rain as everything is really, really dry here.  My garlic is already turning brown, about a month too early.  As of noon, however, no rain.

Last night, I rescued the brown-egg chick, releasing her/him from her/his shell as s/he wasn’t getting anywhere and was drying out like the silver chick.  I think that these hatching eggs are supposed to stay under the hen and Sally is putting them in front of her.  I have to ask Rose what is normal…  I put the very weak and cold chick under Sally before I went to bed last night.

When I checked the doghouse early this morning, this last, large, Maran chick was not under Sally, but was right at the front door.  I thought s/he must surely be dead.  But when I picked up what I thought would be the carcass, it moved weakly.  S/he was so cold, but was still barely alive.  I tried to give it some water and forcibly placed it underneath Sally, but I don’t have much hope for this baby.

I thought about bringing it inside and getting out the heat lamp and a box.  But, I thinking that if the chicks don’t have the strength to get back under the mother hen, they won’t make it and will never be really right.  The time to rescue this chick would have been last night.

One of the other chicks was out and next to Sally, but the other three were clearly under her–though I have no idea if the little silvery chick is alive or not.  At least I know there are two healthy chicks.

While I was fixing the dog’s breakfast, I could hear the chicks peeping through the kitchen window.  Indeed, John and I could hear them in the living room while we had tea/coffee.  They are LOUD!  Refreshingly loud.

Written by louisaenright

July 26, 2012 at 12:31 pm

Turkey Tracks: The Dog House Chickies”

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Turkey Tracks:  July 25, 2012

The Dog House Chickies

As you may know from earlier posts, Americauna Wheaten hen Sally started getting broody in June–followed now by her sister Nancy.  Both are about three years old this summer.  All the hens started laying eggs under Sally–in the egg box she chose and, later, in the little doghouse–until finally I gave up and let her sit on four eggs–two blue eggs from the Wheatens and two brown ones from the Copper Black Maran hens, who are paired by a CBM rooster, Cowboy (picture below).  I marked each egg with a black cross so I could tell them from the eggs the other hens continued to lay under Sally–who sat with eyes glazed over, “in the zone,” day after day–not eating or drinking unless she did so in short bursts at night.  “Those hens want babies” was John’s comment one day when I fished 10 eggs out of the dog house before I agreed with Sally that she could have some eggs now as I would be home to oversee her care.

I allowed only 4 eggs as I wanted to see if letting a broody hen sit in the coop would actually work as the other hens and the rooster are also there with Sally at night.  Also, I have limited space, so I can’t manage a lot of new baby chicks who will grow up and need to live in the coop this winter.  Also, we cannot keep any new roosters, and half of whatever hatched will be roosters.  I’m going to have to rehome (very difficult) or kill the roosters.  Roosters fight each other fiercely, and the object of our small flock is having eggs, first and foremost.

At one point I tried to move Sally to the dog house with her eggs, but she would have none of it.  She did not recognize her own eggs; she ran around the pen screaming in outrage and panic before retreating to her egg box.  I had to move all the eggs back beneath her in the coop.

I neglected to write down the actual start date, and it has seemed like the longest 21 or so days ever.  Every day I had to go out and pick up Sally to get the fresh eggs from beneath her while leaving the marked ones–while she puffed herself up and fussed at me and while Cowboy threatened to attack me from behind.  Some days, Sally would have moved all the eggs out of the egg box to the main part of the coop.  Some days Nancy would be sitting on two of the eggs–always the brown ones though.  It was as if Sally always knew which eggs belonged to her breed.  There was so much moving around of eggs–and sometimes leaving one out overnight–that I had little hope that they would actually hatch.  I wondered when they would start stinking, and Sally would give up.

Two days ago, I lifted Sally, and beneath her was a wet clump of black feathers.  Startled, I put her right back down.

A baby chick had hatched.

I called Rose Thomas immediately–my chicken guru.  “Move her and the chick into the doghouse tonight and put the three other eggs under her.  She’ll stay there now that she has a chick,” said Rose.  I reprepped the doghouse–getting water and feed bowls ready and grinding up feed for the baby to eat when ready.

With shaking hands, I moved hen and chick–now a handful of black squirming feathers and long, long legs.  It was dark, so I couldn’t get a really good look at her (oh I hope it’s a “her”), and I didn’t want to upset them more than I had to.  She popped right in that doghouse, and the new baby popped right under her mother.

Nothing happened yesterday.  I could not see under Sally to check on the hatched chick or the eggs.  But, Sally’s eyes were bright, and she was eating again, and I thought could hear peeping.  The chick has survived the night.

This morning early, I could see another of the blue eggs was trying to hatch.  The egg was out in front of Sally, and the chick was about halfway out of the egg, with one long leg pumping the air.  I could hear what sounded like more peeping than one chick could make coming from the inside of the dog house.  Had one of the Maran eggs hatched???

Imagine my surprise when I checked on the mother and the babies in the early afternoon as Sally is very near the door, and her movements are causing the bedding to foul the water jar.  The baby chick had made no progress at all in getting free of the shell.  None!

I reached in to touch her and realized she was very dry.  The shell had stuck to her.  So, I took her in my hand and realized that she was really so stuck that she couldn’t get any leverage to get out.  Gently, again with shaking hands–she was so very, very tiny–I began to pull the shell bits from her feathers, trying to free her.

There was one place, near her bottom, where dried blood had really stuck her to the inside of the shell.  I was able to get her free without any further damage.  But, she was tired, and when I gave her drops of water, she drank thirstily.  I don’t know if I did a good thing or not…  But I could not watch her struggle so fruitlessly any longer.

I turned and realized all the hens had surrounded me and were watching, watching, and listening to the cries the tiny grey baby was uttering.  And, probably, the cries from inside the doghouse.

Here she is–she’s a silvery grey color–with  yellow legs–with bits of shell clinging to her feathers:

The camera got some good shots inside the dog house without using a flash, which I didn’t want to do.  Here’s Sally with two of her chicks hatched and the last egg, the fourth egg, hatching.  One chick is in front of the water bottle and the other is just beyond her tucked beneath Sally.   The grey chick is trying to get beneath Sally’s feathers :

Here’s another good shot of the chicks and the hatching egg:

Here’s the proud papa with, perhaps, a mother of one of the two CBM babies–chickie Annie that I raised two summers ago:

Mercy!  What an adventure!  Life happens.  It just happens.

Interesting Information: More FDA Shady Dealing With A New Vaccine For Babies

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Interesting Information:  July 24, 2012

More FDA Shady Dealing With A New Vaccine For Babies

Here’s a quote from Dr. Joseph Mercola’s article–the link is below–on the FDA’s approval of a new combo vaccine for meningitis for babies.  Meningitis is a rare disease.

Ironically, on June 14, the FDA awarded GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) a license to sell MenHibrix, a new vaccine that combines two meningitis vaccines into one shot.  The FDA had rejected the license in 2010 and 2011 because, reportedly, the British drug company giant was having trouble proving the vaccine actually worked.

This time, FDA staff did not bother to ask for an opinion from the agency’s own vaccine advisory committee before giving GSL the green light to market MenHibrix in the U.S. for babies as young as 6 weeks old.  In a letter, FDA official Marion Gruber, PhD, told the company that:  “We did not refer your application to the additional VRBPAC [review] because our review of information submitted in you BLA, including the clinical study design and trial results, did not raise particular concerns or controversial issues which would have benefited from an advisory committee discussion.

Really?  Sounds like some FDA officials didn’t want Advisory Committee members to ask the drug company lots of questions about this new vaccine, just like the CDC and AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) officials don’t want parents to ask lots of questions about ANY vaccine.

Mercola goes on to note that MenHibrix has “not yet been studied in combination with every one of the other vaccines already given to babies simultaneously.”  And, “even premature babies weighing less than four and a half pounds are subjected to the mindless one-size-fits all `no exceptions’ vaccine schedule.  Where is the solid scientific evidence that it is safe or effective to give eight or nine vaccines to an eight or nine pound newborn?”

Mercola also notes that there is no evidence proving that vaccinated children are any healthier than nonvaccinated children as no studies have been done.

The CDC will vote in October on whether or not to make this new vaccine optional or whether to add it to the already bloated vaccine schedule–in the process giving “another big pharmaceutical corporation a guaranteed, liability free market [underline mine] by adding four doses of an expensive new vaccine to the child vaccine schedule so parents can be forced to buy it and give it to their newborns–no questions asked and no choices allowed….”

A June  2012 study published in Pediatrics concluded that “about 10 percent of parents living in Portland, Oregon are making independent decisions about how many vaccines their babies should get and when they should get them.  Those parents are rejecting the CDC’s aggressive vaccination schedule promoted by the AAP that directs pediatricians to give 2- to 6-month-old babies between seven to nine vaccines on the same day, without exception.”


Written by louisaenright

July 24, 2012 at 4:09 pm

Interesting Information: “Vaccinations, The Ongoing Debate”

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Interesting Information:  July 23, 2012

“Vaccinations, The Ongoing Debate”

Well, here’s a must read for everyone from young parents to grandparents.  Vaccinations are a very charged subject in our society and parents who are looking more deeply and asking questions are being called crazy or ill-informed or irresponsible.

Are they?

Leslie Manookian published this piece in The Weston A. Price Foundation’s journal, Wise Traditions, summer 2012 issue.  Manookian has made a film, THE GREATER GOOD, in which she has attempted to determine where the facts and hard science are with relation to vaccinations.  She notes that the “vaccine debate is a scientific debate,” or should be so, and is not “one between emotional parents and their doctors.”

The tagline from the film is the following:  “If you think you know everything about vaccines…think again.”

The School of Public Health at the University of Alabama, Birmingham, awarded the film its Koroni Award “for a documentary feature addressing an issue of importance to public health.”  The film was featured at the Amsterdam Film Festival, where it was awarded the Cinematic Vision Award.  The film was aired nationally on Current TV and has been shown at film festivals all over the world–where it has been “applauded by lay, medical, and film audiences alike….”

You can read Manookian’s article at http://www.westonaprice.org/childrens-health/vaccinations.

Here are some highlights:

Children today receive 26 doses of 9 vaccines by their first birthday.  In 1983, they received 11 doses of 4 vaccines.

By age 18, children today receive 70 doses of 16 vaccines.  In 1983, they received 23 doses of 8 vaccines.

Big Pharma has an estimated 200 vaccines in development for use across the population.  The CDC recommends an annual flu shot from cradle to grave.  There are many adult booster shots for childhood diseases and new vaccines like the shingles vaccine, which I recall reading only covered about 30 percent? of the potential to get shingles.  Flu shots still contain mercury.  “Many diseases vaccinated against today were considered fairly benign in past decades (flu, chicken pox, mumps, rubella) or quite rare (hepatitis A and B, meningitis).”

No one knows if vaccines are safe because no “large, long-term clinical study comparing the medium or long-term health outcomes of vaccinated and unvaccinated groups of people” has ever been done.

Children are given as many as TEN vaccines in one visit, but there are no safety studies evaluating the safety of simultaneous shots.

No study has been done to evaluate the “different ingredients of human infant vaccines taken individually or in combination.”  This list of ingredients can include, “but is not limited to” the following:  “mercury, aluminum, formaldehyde [a known carcinogen], cells from aborted fetuses, cells from monkey kidneys, chicken embryos, viruses, antibiotics, yeast, polysorbate 80 and detergents.

Most vaccine trial only last a few weeks, so long-term effects are not known.  Worse, Big Pharma is allowed “to use another vaccine or a liquid containing an adjuvant such as aluminum as the placebo”–so the “vaccine producer can say that the vaccines cause no more adverse reactions than a placebo.”

Mercury is still used in the manufacturing process and trace amounts remain.  Aluminum–a “demonstrated neurotoxin”–is used as an adjuvant (a substance added to vaccines to stimulate an immune response–without which the vaccine is useless).  Medical science’s “understanding about their mechanisms of action is still remarkably poor….[but] Experimental research…clearly shows that aluminum adjuvants have a potential to induce serious immunological disorders in humans.”

Much evidence exists now that vaccines are harming children, and Manookian discusses some of those peer-reviewed studies.  She includes the notion that ‘there is in fact peer-reviewed scientific evidence connecting both [mercury and vaccines] to autism.”  She notes that “research has also shown impaired immune function and autoimmune disease in humans following the administration of these same compounds [alluminum].”  Neurological damage, “including motor function deficits, cognitive impairment, and behavioral changes in mice given the aluminum in vaccines.”

What is most disturbing are the behavioral changes in vaccinated children. “Normal” reactions are considered to be “swelling, soreness, tenderness and a lump at the injection site, fever, fussiness, tiredness, and vomiting.”  But “no studies exist to determine what happens to the body’s systems and tissues when a vaccine is given.”  Manookian writes:   “In the making of the film and while conducting screenings, we have come across many parents who said their child had these `normal’ reactions after a round of vaccines but never was quite the same again and went on to develop a learning disability, allergies, ADHD, or another type of chronic disease.”

The National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986, signed by Ronald Reagan, “acknowledged tha vaccines can cause injury or death.”  “To date, the program has paid out more than two billion dollars and has about three billion dollars in reserves” as a tax is paid on each vaccine given.

It’s important to realize that “doctors are taught that vaccines are safe and effective; they are not taught how vaccines are studied, the components of vaccines, or the gaps in research.  Doctors are taught that decades of clinical use of vaccines have demonstrated their safety and that vaccine side effects are rare, but there are no large, long-term clinical trials comparing the health and well being of those vaccinated to those unvaccinated to back up these assumptions” (underlining is mine).   IN OTHER WORDS THIS “KNOWING” IS A BELIEF SYSTEM, CREATED BY BIG PHARMA, THAT IS SOLD TO DOCTORS AND PARENTS USING FEAR ABOUT CHILD SAFETY.  THERE IS NOT DATA BEHIND IT.  Plus, Big Pharma has ZERO LIABILITY for vaccines that cause harm.  You cannot sue them for damages.

What about the notion that vaccines have reduced infectious disease?  Bernard Guyer et al published in Pediatrics (December 2000) a history showing that “`nearly 90 percent of the decline in infectious disease mortality among U. S. children occurred before 1940, when few antibiotics or vaccines were available.”  Guyer et al’s consensus was that public health measures (water treatment, food safety. organized solid waste disposal, and public education about hygienic practices) were what made the difference.  “Moreover,” writes Manookian,” disease outbreaks regularly occur in fully vaccinated populations so vaccinations may not be as effective a preventative as generally believed.”

You should look deeper before making any decisions about vaccinations for yourself or your children.   You might be putting them at more danger than any disease they might catch would.

You should know that in California right now your child who is twelve or over can be vaccinated for a sexually transmitted disease by a school nurse without your consent or knowledge–since parents will have “no access to the child’s medical records that pertain to these shots”!!!!  How can that be in a country that touts freedom as its organizing principle???  This is a perfect example of the power of industry to work its will on a population.

One excellent book is Neil Z. Miller’s VACCINES, ARE THEY REALLY SAFE AND EFFECTIVE.”   This book was my first introduction to the idea that vaccines might be really dangerous.

Here’s an article by Dr. Mercola that came in the past few days about how the Merck mumps vaccine is not effective, how they knew it, and how the whole story, which appeared in the WALL STREET JOURNAL, has now been covered up.


Here’s The People’s Chemist, Shane Ellison, on why the whole “herd” protection assumptions are nonsense.  Ellison can be flamboyant, but he’s a pretty solid scientist:      http://thepeopleschemist.com/blog/

I can tell you that if I had young children today I would not vaccinate them.  I’d take our chances, knowing I might lose them.  But, losing a child can happen just as easily with vaccines and with all of the other really dangerous things children do every day.  In the end, you can only protect children so much and overprotection is just as harmful to their development.


Interesting Information: Priming the Gall Bladder

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Interesting Information:  July 22, 2012

Priming the Gall Bladder

Lori Lipinski has an article in the May/June 2012 issue of Well Being Journal that addresses the need of most Americans to enhance the health and performance of their gall bladders–which are not functioning optimally due to years of eating low-fat diets and/or bad fats, like all those highly processed vegetable oils and margarines and vegetable lards.

Lipinski states up front in the article that her clients who eat low-fat diets “are usually the most unhealthy.”

Good fats are butter, tallow, olive oil, and coconut and palm oils.  I would add lard from pigs raised in a healthy manner.

Lipinski writes that the “gallbladder is shaped like a little sack that sits alongside your liver.  The liver produces bile, a substance made from cholesterol that emulsifies fat and makes it easier to digest.  The gallbladder stores and concentrates bile, then secretes it into the small intestines when fats are present.  If you don’t eat fat, the gallbladder won’t get any exercise and can begin to atrophy.”

BUT, you cannot just suddenly start eating a lot of good fats as your gall bladder does need priming.  Plus, if you eat too much fat for your system to handle right now, you will throw up.  So go at increasing fat consumption gently and gradually.

Symptoms of a problem gall bladder include gas, a full or heavy feeling after meals, bloating, acid reflux, and “pain in the right side radiating into the right shoulder blade, and loose or light colored stools that float.”  (Light-colored stools indicate your body is not absorbing and using fat AND other nutrients as well, which is not a good thing.)

How to help your gall bladder?

First, don’t use antacid pills.  Your system needs more acid, not less, if you’re having issues.

Second, “enhance your digestion with raw apple cider vinegar.  Mix 1 teaspoon with 2-4 ounces water and drink with meals.  A nice acid environment in the stomach stimulates the gallbladder to do its job.”  Get the kind of living apple cider that includes the “mother,” not the dead kind good only for cleaning the house.

For additional support, Lapinski recommends Dr. Schulze’s formula to “cleanse the liver and gallbladder.”

Other helpful remedies “include Swedish Bitters, 1 teaspoon in water taken just after meals, and lacto-fermented foods such as sauerkraut and beet kvass.”  (Recipes are in NOURISHING TRADITIONS, Mary Enig and Sally Fallon Morell.

Lapinski, like Mary Enig and Sally Fallon Morell, in EAT FAT, LOSE FAT, notes that if you need to up your fat (and you do if you’ve been eating low-fat) start with UNREFINED coconut oil, which is easier to digest.  Enig and Morell suggest up to 6 tablespoons spread out over a day.  (Make a yummy yogurt smoothie and add gently melted coco oil and lots of egg yolks.)

If you do not have a gall bladder any longer, look into supplementing with bile salts to handle fat consumption.  I’m out of my depth with regard to how much fat one can eat without a gall bladder…

Don’t let a surgeon take out a gall bladder unless you try some diet measures first–like the GAPS diet.  Unless, of course, your gall bladder, like my dad’s became, is too sick, too infected, to fix with good food.  Try not to get to that place by changing how you eat now.

Written by louisaenright

July 22, 2012 at 3:09 pm

Books, Documentaries, Reviews: WHEAT BELLY

with 2 comments

Books, Documentaries, Reviews:  July 21, 2012



William Davis, MD

William Davis, MD, a preventive cardiologist in Wisconsin, published WHEAT BELLY in 2011.  The book became a New York Times best seller (No. 5) right away and continues to sell strongly.  Davis has put more than 2000 patients on a wheat-free regimen and claims he has seen “extraordinary” results in their health.  Many of these patients were really sick with a wide range of health problems, including neurological problems.

Davis defines a “wheat belly” as “the accumulation of fat that results from years of consuming foods that trigger insulin, the hormone of fat storage” (4).  This wheat belly fat is “visceral” fat that is “unique” in that “unlike fat in other body areas, it provokes inflammatory phenomena, distorts insulin responses, and issues abnormal metabolic signals to the best of the body.  In the unwitting wheat-bellied male, visceral fat also produces estrogen, creating “man breasts.”  Wheat consumption can “reach deep down into virtually every organ of the body, from the intestines, liver, heart, and thyroid gland all the way up to the brain” (4).  Wheat consumption “is the main cause of the obesity and diabetes crisis in the United States” (56).  And the fat of the wheat belly lies over organs that have, themselves, become abnormally fat, which makes the body struggle.

Davis argues that modern wheat is the root cause of much of the chronic health conditions people are experiencing today.  Modern wheat, he claims is NOT wheat at all–but “the transformed product of genetic research conducted during the latter half of the twentieth century.”  Two ancient forms of wheat were crossed hundreds of years ago, and that wheat has been eaten by humans without many of the health effects that today’s wheat produces.  (The Paleo diet folks would disagree with this premise on, I  think, good historical and medical grounds.)

Wheat has the rare, in the plant world, ability to transfer ALL of its genes when crossed–unlike other plants which might only transfer some of the genes from each parent.  When scientists started to breed wheat to increase its yields and to make it shorter (so it would not blow over as easily), they created a “law of unintended consequences”–in that they produced a product that is “hundreds, perhaps thousands, of genes apart from the original einkorn wheat that bred naturally” (22).  (Like modern corn, modern wheat cannot grow on its own in the wild.)

Assumptions were made:  “With wheat it was likewise assumed that variations in gluten content and structure, modifications of other enzymes and proteins, qualities that confer susceptibility of resistance to various plant diseases, would all make their way to humans without consequence” (25).

Modern wheat has a higher carbohydrate component than ancient wheat, which has more protein.  The specific carbohydrate in wheat is amylopectin A, which is so easily digestible in our bodies that eating “two slices of whole wheat bread is really little different ,and often worse, than drinking a can of sugar-sweetened soda or eating a sugary candy bar”–information that has been known since 1981 when the University of Toronto “launched the concept of the glycemic index” [GI] which compares “blood sugar effects of carbohydrates” (33-34).

Davis posits that many people today are dealing with what he calls “immune mediated gluten intolerance,” and celiac disease would be a subset of this condition.  Because this response can damage the gut so that it leaks food particles, the body forms antibodies that began to circulate in the blood stream.  If these antibodies lodge in particular organs, they can produce problems in that arena.  These antibodies can also breech the blood-brain barrier, so that some neurological conditions that seem like MS or Parkinson’s actually can be effects of this disorder.  This array of conditions has served to mislead doctors from the true cause of the problem:  immune mediated gluten intolerance caused by modern wheat.

Davis uses Denise Minger’s analysis of T. Colin Campbell’s THE CHINA STUDY to show the correlations between wheat and human disease.  Minger showed, by recrunching Campbell’s data, what Campbell missed because of his belief that consuming meat produces disease.  Minger’s analysis shows the “astronomical correlations wheat flour has with various diseases”–prompting Davis to ask if the “staff of life” is really the “staff of death” (160-165).

Davis discusses how addictive wheat is and how it is an appetite stimulant–along with many other seriously bad effects of wheat on the human body.  He illustrates his argument with case studies from his practice and with clinical studies.  The picture Davis draws of the downsides of wheat are much more involved, serious, and intense than I can repeat at length here.

So what grains have gluten?  Rye, barley, triticale, spelt, bulgar, and kamut share a genetic heritage with wheat.  Oats can cause some people problems as it “will cause blood sugar to skyrocket.”  Quinoa, millet, amaranth, teff, chia seed, and sorghum “are essentially carbohydrates without the immune or brain effects of wheat.  While not as undesirable as wheat, they do take a metabolic toll.”  Eat them in moderation only after weight has been normalized (212).  Avoid “gluten-free” foods as “the only other foods that have GIs as high as wheat products are dried, pulverized starches such as cornstarch, rice starch, potato starch, and tapioca starch”–all used heavily in “gluten-free” products (63).

There are critiques of WHEAT BELLY.  As near as I can tell, they are coming mostly from the Paleo folks.  The book’s cover pitches it as a “diet” book–“lose the wheat, lose the weight”–and the Paleo folks argue that cutting out wheat won’t do that trick and that eating wheat has far more dangerous implications.  The Paleo folks aren’t wrong, but Davis does a good job of showing that wheat consumption–especially in the amounts Americans are eating it–is very dangerous–and something Luise Light, who was hired by the USDA to create the 1980 food guide, cautioned against, saying we should only eat 2 to 3 servings of grains a day.  ( A serving is 1/2 cup, and women and children should only eat 2 servings.)

I can tell you that since I cut out wheat, I have lost my own “wheat belly.”  I can also tell you that like Davis, when I eat wheat, the impact on my body is immediate and not very nice.

So, do you have a “wheat belly”?  Most Americans I see out and about today do.  If so, you may want to take a longer look at what Davis has to say about losing the wheat and regaining your health.