Sunday, June 22, 2014

First Day of Summer

Summer Solstice Evening
When you live in a box, things warm up quickly. Right on time, the heat blasted me awake on the first day of summer. This year, I have taken to wearing only shorts and a sports bra while working on the farm, which sounds much sexier than the reality. 

Still, why be modest when there is nobody around? Time to go native. Whenever I start to use my turn signal - after decades of dutifully doing so - I laugh, knowing that nobody - and I mean NOBODY - is behind me to care enough about which direction I am going.

Things on my mind include the stagnated US hemp industry (thorn in my side), the local Farmers Market (which I now lead), my upcoming Smile Train fundraiser, glyphosate in our blood (active ingredient in RoundUp) and, oh yeah, my garden, my reason for being here.

Not hemp seeds, tomato
This week, I spoke with Rachel at North Dakota Department of Agriculture about obtaining a license to grow hemp. She told me that getting a state license is one thing - and fairly simple - but you have to get approval from the DEA as well, and that is less likely. “There is currently 0% acreage of hemp being grown in the state at this time,” she said, with a sigh of frustration. 

Evidently, you can bring hemp seeds across the border from Canada but only to make oil or other products, not for planting. If you have seeds, you must provide a sterilization certificate to accompany them or you're in hot water.

The minimum amount of acreage for hemp production in North Dakota is 10 acres, quite do-able but still, I have questions:
  • How would you harvest? Are there hemp headers out there?
  • Who would you sell it to? Do we have industrial hemp production facilities here? 
  • How much would a bushel sell for? What is the market rate? 
  • I'm told Kentucky farms grow hemp like crazy but I wonder, what do they do with it? 
Bugged Rep. Massie about it on Twitter but got no response. (Also, have a friend in Kentucky who is going to make a call.) He is the lead sponsor of H.R. 525 and S.359, the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2013 which would, "amend the Controlled Substances Act to exclude industrial hemp from the definition of marihuana, and for other purposes." 

This would clear the way for the US farmers to finally cut in to some of Canada's billion-dollar hemp industry pie. Money on the table, people!  


Had to cancel the Farmers’ Market debut last week due to rain, which we needed. I don’t have any produce yet to sell but baked goods ladies were going to come, plus somebody who makes homemade doggie biscuits. I was just going to play my ukulele and see if anyone had questions. Plus, I'm going to start taking orders for funky homemade ice cream because, well, why not?

Impending disaster
Also, I hired the beau to make me a wooden sandwich board sign. Unfortunately, I agreed to do the lettering which has proven disastrous. The black paint made the cardboard stencils stick to the wood. Brent lent me some brass stencils but in the meantime, I tried big, fat black Sharpies, which unfortunately, have produced similar results. Wish I was talented enough to just do it freehand. 


Prep for my annual Smile Train Comedy Improv fundraiser is chugging along. The festival is going to feature 40 performers at four different venues in Denver and Arvada, including the famous Lannie’s Clocktower Cabaret in downtown Denver. Somewhere around this time, I also must attend a very important wedding in Denver and, if possible, my 30-year high school reunion in Long Beach. Great time for the beginning of harvest, no?

I fear it will involve planes, trains and automobiles and my already maxed credit card in various orders.


The super sharp Robin Talbott alerted me to the idea of glyphosate testing on Facebook the other day. DUH. Why didn’t I think of this before? 

Sprayer, in action
Glyphosate is an herbicide, the active ingredient in RoundUp. Seems like a no-brainer, except there are few tests available for the human body. How much of it sprayed in the field ends up in our cells? Turns out a test is difficult and expensive to obtain. A recent effort by Moms Across America was made and the results are being debated but I've contributed to this IndieGoGo campaign to get a nationwide testing effort going. 

As for glyphosate's effects on our systems, I do not trust Monsanto with their assurances of safety. They only point to the studies that they themselves commissioned and funded. (The same could be said about the Moms campaign, I suppose.) Color me officially suspicious, but I long for a un-biased third-party long-term study. Y'know, other than the one currently being done on our children...

As a rule, I hate needles but this is one little prick I would welcome.


Believe it or not, I am still planting in the garden. I KNOW, but I am feeling older and slower this year! Sometimes, I look at the size of the plot (approx. 50' x 100') and think, "What the hell? How am I supposed to do this by myself?"

However, everything long-term - melons, squash, popcorn - has long been in the ground. Everything going in now is fairly quick - lettuce, radish, spinach, flowers and herbs. 

Sadly, no hemp in the ground yet...SOMEDAY. 


Eleni Jacobson said...

LOVE the updates!! I can smell that awesome dirt-leaf scent right now. We all send you hugs and props. Keep up the awesome hard work, Miss Clisby :-)

vlib said...

So excited to follow your hemp story. Just hearing that you are considering it is already impacting the universe. You have put it out there, sis, which is the first step to start the ball rolling.

Sorry to know you had to cancel the home opener of the FM, but i hope the rain brings buona fortuna in the land and hearts of you and yours.

Finally, after reading this I understand why Eleni was asking about visiting Denver for the SmileTrain show. That girl can dream!

Heather Clisby said...

Thanks so much, Eleni. The list of people on this Earth who know my world is very, very short so it means a lot coming from you. Miss you this summer!

Heather Clisby said...

Oh, Val, I would LOVE it if you and your girl could make one of the Denver performances - a dream, indeed!

And thanks for the encouragement - days like today, I certainly need it.

Anonymous said...

Love the update! Planting that plot IS a daunting task as I know too well. :) I hadn't heard about the latest from Monsanto, but I can't say I'm surprised. I can't imagine what we don't know. Keep doing what you love- as if you have a choice! We all still are very proud of you! Kirk

Heather Clisby said...

Kirk, this means so much coming from you! I'll never EVER in my life forget the day we planted the entire garden in ONE DAY. This seems so crazy to me now. Happy I get to see you and celebrate in August!

Kath said...

Hi Sweetie!

This is from our most recent Ignite -

Love you!



Heather Clisby said...

Kath, thanks so much for sharing this video! I applaud Grant's efforts and left him a message of support on the page. Once again, I think it will be Colorado leading the way on this issue.