Monday, April 28, 2008

Giving Businesses Credit

Via MLive - Business Tax Break Proposed For Land Donations

It would be a real boon to Michigan and especially northern Michigan if Senator Allen can get this through.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Finding Balance

The Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy is drawing criticism for this - Tv 7&4 - Controversy over Arcadia Dunes land.

The Conservancy is in a difficult position. How to preserve large tracts of land and preserve the agrarian tradition of the area? In the long view, woods and farms can be exchanged but streets and parking lots are (usually) forever so what they've done seems like a decent compromise. Yet perhaps more can be done with future conservation easements so that natural features of historical importance get special mention?

Recent news articles also show this dilema - do you make money with farms or preserving forests?

USAToday - Savvy farmers open the gate to agritourism

NYT - Leafonomics

Below is a map of Arcadia Dunes.

View Larger Map

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Thursday, April 17, 2008

U of M Studies Northern Michigan Tart Cherries

PhysOrg - Tart cherries may reduce factors associated with heart disease and diabetes
Rats that received whole tart cherry powder mixed into a high-fat diet didn’t gain as much weight or build up as much body fat as rats that didn’t receive cherries. And their blood showed much lower levels of molecules that indicate the kind of inflammation that has been linked to heart disease and diabetes. In addition, they had significantly lower blood levels of cholesterol and triglycerides than the other rats.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Could Amber Be The New Green For Farmers?

The CS Monitor reports maple sugarers are having a great year - Economic sweet spot: making maple syrup

Mr. Marsh says sugarmakers won't meet demand for the product, which has skyrocketed domestically and internationally, especially in Asia and Russia. "We're growing the market. Now we just need to grow production," he says.

Partly because of maple syrup's low-fat content and partly because of organic food's popularity, sugarmakers have been able to find new outlets beyond the familiar gallon jugs and plastic squeeze bottles found on store shelves. Dufresne sells syrup to several granola companies, a brewery, and breadmakers, all organizations that weren't interested in his crop five years ago.

"It's part of the interest in sustainable projects and it's good for carbon sequestering" because the trees are not cut down, says Marcia Maynard, a Cabot, Vt., organic sugarmaker, adding that her production is down this year but she believes it can rebound.

I love maple syrup on oatmeal in the morning and on vanilla ice cream in the evening. Want to produce your own maple syrup? (in Traverse City some people tap the maple trees along the sidewalk). MSU Extension has a guide: Homemade Maple Syrup

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Industrial Hemp Farming

The United States is now the only developed nation in which hemp is not an
established crop.

-Skaidra Smith-Heisters, "Illegally Green:Environmental Costs Of Hemp Prohibition", Reason Foundation

(*Note: hemp is not marijuana!) It is quite remarkable that farmers are not allowed to grow hemp; a plant that can be used for everything from sails to biofuels.

North Dakota farmers are leading the charge to be allowed to grow this native miracle.

NY Times: Sober North Dakotans Hope to Legalize Hemp

Allowing hemp agriculture in Michigan would be a tremendous boost to Michigan's economy.

The Northern Michigan DogMan Legend

The song was supposed to just be an April Fool's prank.

Official site for the song:
The Legend of Michigan's Dogman

Listen to 49 seconds of the tune at YouTube.

It became much more...

These lyrics are from

It starts out with what sounds like a flute playing and a man recorded saying “So the officer and I went out there to..take a look at it…… know he just tried to chew in around the doors…..and you could see a dog-print, you know, alongside the window there and…, it was, you know, obviously a dog…(drums add to the flute and the tune gets a little more creepy….keyboard chimes in….and a new voice story-tells the song):

A cool summer morning in early June, is when the legend began, at a nameless logging camp in Wexford County, where the Manistee River ran..eleven lumberjacks near the Garland swamp found an animal they thought was a a playful mood they chased it around till it ran inside a hollow log…a logger named Johnson grabbed him a stick and poked around inside..then the thing let out an unearthly scream and came out……and stood..upright….None of those men ever said very much, ‘bout what ever happened then…they just packed up their belongings and left that night, were never heard from again….it was ten years later in ’97, when a farmer near Buckley was found..slumped over his plow, his heart had stopped, there were dog tracks all around…seven years passed with the turn of the century, they say a crazy old widow had a dream, of dogs that circled her house at night, that walked like men and screamed…….in 1917, a sheriff who was out walking..found a driverless wagon and tracks in the dust, like wolves had been a stalkin’ ..near the roadside a four-horse team lay dead with their eyes open wide..when the vet finished up his examination, he said it looked like they died of fright…In ’37 a schooner captain said, several crewmembers had reported…. a pack of wild dogs roaming Bowers (?) Harbor….his story was never reported……….In ’57 a man of the cloth found claw marks on an old church door..the newspaper said they’d been made by a dog….he’d a had to stood 7’4”…..In ’67 a van-load of hippies, told a park-ranger named Quinlinn, they’d been awakened in the night by a scratch at the window……there was a dogman looking in …and grinning….In ’77 there were screams in the night, near the village of ..Bel Aire..could’ve been a bobcat, could’ve been the wind, nobody looked up there..then in the summer of ’87, near Luther, it happened again…at a cabin in the woods it looked like maybe, someone had tried to break in…there were cuts around the doors that could only been made by very sharp teeth and claws…he didn’t wear shoes cuz he didn’t have feet, he walked on just two paws……so far this year…no stories have appeared…have the dogmen gone away..have they disappeared……soon enough..I guess we’ll know, cuz this is the time to fear..for another ten years has come around…..the seventh year…is here….and somewhere in the north-woods darkness..a creature walks upright….and the best advice you may ever get…… never to go out….at night……..(howl)….