Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Adventure 42- Hunting with friends

No you can't drive it!
We had tentative plans to partake in different adventure that got cancelled because of "The Wiggles" show in Vancouver. I found out mid-week that we would have to re-organize our Sunday excursion. A idea to go check out some back roads and do a little road hunting figured to be a great plan. A trip with friends would be a fun time, so with a text to my old friend James to see if he and his son Kaiden were available to join us, we had some company in the truck.
A different perspective of a "boxed lunch"
We left my place at 8 a.m. to make a drive into the Upper Quinsam Lake area of the Gold River highway, west of Campbell River. I had been to this area a half a dozen years ago for a exploration trip with another friend. That time was mostly spent driving the main roads and looking for camping spots. I was surprised how much different it was in this country this time. Much more logging had taken place, and the roads had better signage.  Timberwest signs abound, and I wonder if this is a recent purchase by Timberwest or maybe it just was not identified so before. Much more logging seemed to have occurred, but like I said, we didn't venture of the beaten path last time. The side roads have ample slash to look for black tail deer and black bears.
The terrain
James and I have been friends since we were in grade 4, the same grade that Natalie and Kaiden are presently in. That is fun to know that these kids could be friends for a long time, just like their dads. James and I have wanted to hunt together more in recent years, but didn't make it happen. When we were in our early 20's we used to spend many hours driving around in the woods, looking for deer and grouse. Usually coming home empty handed and less gas in the tank. It was a wonderful way for a couple of young guys to hang out and stay out of trouble. Unfortunately the local area is very limited in places that we can reliably travel to hunt, because of private land and gates. We have a real problem with the amount of crown land we can access, leaving the few places that are open to hunting completely over run with other outdoors minded folks. Not just for hunting opportunities, but fishing, mushroom picking, berry picking and hiking.
Shaggy Mane
The first road we spurred off onto had evidence of a fresh killed deer. It was probably from this weekend, maybe even at daybreak of the same day. This seemed like a good omen that deer were around and maybe we would have a good day. This didn't come true for the fact that we wouldn't see lots of animals. We did see four doe's and a fawn. No bucks, grouse or bears. I did get a few arm loads of firewood that someone had left on the side of the road. Prime Douglas fir. We poked around for mushrooms a few places. I spotted two shaggy manes on the roadside, but with out a way to cook them pronto, I left them behind. As I started the truck after looking at the mushrooms, James spotted a deer running through the clearing. The deer were watching us the whole time. Horns just would not appear no matter how hard we tried in the binoculars, and we carried on.
Big Grapple Yarder
We had a great day even without any grocery's brought home. Driving and exploring the side roads are such a fun way to spend a day with kids. If we had more time, we would have liked to have a lake side fire and try to catch a fish. Maybe we will save that for a spring time adventure. Find Adventure!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Adventure 41- Puntledge Fish Hatchery

Coho and Natalie
We had another busy weekend. Natalie had a sleep over on Friday night at Hanna's house, I went hunting. No luck in that attempt for me. Then I went for a mushroom pick Saturday morning, with out very much success there either. Tough weekend for the hunter/gather. I still always am having fun and do not get frustrated, so it keeps me coming back for more. Today, as every weekend, I had some things to accomplish in the kitchen. No canning this week, but yesterday a big pot of chicken stock was percolating away in anticipation of a cauldron of borscht being assembled. Before this Natalie and I spent an hour outside playing with tools. After my interview last week on Edible Valley with my friend Arzeena, I got the bug for winter gardening. I decided that a cold house would be a good idea to help get some seeds to germinate. As I was assembling this project, I cut some boards for Natalie to play with, trying to drive nails with a hammer and sink screws with an impact driver. The cold house turned out quite well, and is a small scale model of the chicken coop I wish to build over the winter.
Diversion Weir
After our construction project we decided to head in to town to attend the open house at the Puntledge River Hatchery. Since we missed out with the hatchery last week it was a perfect opportunity. Looking at salmon is so interesting to me, and the life cycle. How incredible that they have to over come so much adversity to return to their natal streams to spawn. The hatchery has a mix of chinook, coho and chum salmon, plus some small cutthroat trout mixed in that follow the salmon around to feast on lose eggs. The pink salmon are already spawned and finished now so they are absent from the hatchery now.
Flying fish on the sorting table
Several community groups had booths set up around the hatchery. Tsolum River Restoration Society, Salmon Enhancement society and another group doing stream work on the Puntledge were in attendance to relay information to interested folks. We got to see inside the incubation room and some newly fertilized eggs. The hatchery has a piece of equipment that can automatically pick unfertilized eggs from a batch. What a time saver for the staff. Of course we wandered down to the viewing room to see the salmon swimming back and forth. The purple tiger striped chum, bright red coho and monstrous chinook. We also got to watch the hatchery staff sort the adult salmon. One guy was right down in the tank, corralling the fish into a large hydraulic brailer that would lift them onto the table so the species could be sorted. It was very interesting for the masses. We didn't get to witness an egg harvest, but I think that they were doing some during the event.
She caught the big one!
The fish hatchery program is vital to the strength of the salmon runs on the south coast. The amount of habitat destruction and alteration has not left the wild fish with enough healthy eco-systems to propagate on their own. Some rivers with out enhancement can keep decent runs, but many have a tough time, especially on the east coast. Habitat loss due to logging and development in the 60's and 70's have taken a toll. Fish are an important factor in the decision making of the government when allowing industrial, commercial and residential development. Our coast is under siege from industry that wishes to transport fossil fuels by sea from Alberta and mining operations close to the ocean. I see tough times ahead for our wild salmon and all other wild creatures in B.C. if these projects are allowed. The current federal government seems hell bent on getting these projects through. I just hope that they can be delayed long enough to have a change in government in the next election.
Shark fins
We may still have a few more salmon adventures under our belts this season. Once the salmon are gone, what will we do. The days are getting shorter and cooler. Natalie has requested an adventure on the bikes again. These last eleven could be the hardest or the easiest, I really can tell. Find Adventure.

Friday, October 19, 2012

The Survival Podcast

This past spring I stumbled upon this podcast by sheer accident. I can not recall the circumstances that led to this discovery. Suddenly I am listening to a man with a friendly, southern accent getting wound up about tax day, and the state of Michigan hunting down farmers heirloom varieties of hogs, claiming them to be feral. There was talk of weapons, protecting your property and family. I also heard about techniques for raising rabbits for a protein source, propagating tomatoes and growing a food forest. Who was this guy? I didn't know what to think at the time, but I gave it a few episodes, almost forcing myself to listen. It turns out this happenstance turned into one of the best of my life.

Jack Spirko is the man who's voice resonated in my ears those early days. Jack began T.S.P. about four years ago as a frustrated corporate man who would record on his commute into work everyday. The early episodes are a little rough, but considering the recording studio was a diesel Jetta, pretty respectable. The content is where the quality is. Seeing the "sheeple" following in a cycle of work, spend, work, spend, get into debt, eat un-healthy food. Their social skills, their community, and all common sense skills to survive, disappearing, Jack had a message to convey. He could see the economic meltdown of '08 coming quick. People did not have the necessary abilities to look after themselves any more. Self sufficiency was out the door. Not many folk had savings, cash on hand, food stored, and a plan if things get really bad. Starting from those meager beginnings T.S.P. now has over 45,000 downloads a day and Jack gets to spend his days spreading the message as a full time job.

The T.S.P. is not just about Jack. The community is very intelligent and helpful. The guests that are welcomed into the podcast have incredible knowledge to share. I have listened and learned about such a variety of topics from permaculture(and learning what it is), aquaponics, fighting your local government on backyard chicken hens, bug out vehicles, homesteading skills, lacto-fermentation, and making fuel from algae. The message is to bring yourself into self sufficiency and to stop relying on the system. Should those systems fail, you will be up a creek with out planning and being ready to look after yourself, your family and your community. Planting a garden, preserving food and storing necessities like water and fuel are huge parts of prepping for disaster. The ability to cook and heat(or cool) if the power goes out for more than a few hours is also something to be ready for.

I have been so greatly effected by this podcast. Jack has inspired me to build community with my own podcast "Edible Valley" and help build food security for our area by promoting the ones who produce what we eat. Paleo has become a large part of the prepper community and helps me for new ideas and motivation.  Hearing others peoples successes with the lifestyle is reassurance that is it is the right way to go. I have stepped up my food preserving. I would love to have six months or more supply on hand at all time. My pantry probably has around a month of food, plus what is in my freezers. It feels so good to always have something to eat, just in case. Firearms have once again become important to me. I am planning on tripling my garden space for next growing season so I can have more things to preserve without laying out the cash for it. I will include annuals and perennials to the mix. Chicken hens may also be in my future somewhere. I am motivated to make positive changes, creating a better environment myself and those around me.

I encourage a listen to the Survival Podcast. Jack is not a fear monger, or tin foil hat wearing conspiracy theorist. He understands economics and the real threats to our personal liberties. The ass clowns in federal and state(provincial) politics are ruining all that we hold dear as "free" Westerns, and the growing police state is taking those freedoms away more and more every passing day. Please keep some food on hand, be conservative with your spending(something I have a tough time with), save, grow food, and look after each other. Start small because when shit hit the fan you need to be ready. Catastrophic events, be it an economic collapse, terrorist strike, brutal weather event, or just a flat tire on the way home from work, be prepared and build self sufficiency when ever and where ever you can. The revolution is you. Thank you Jack.

(The Survival Podcast just this week reached a milestone of 1000 episodes. Episode 1000 is over 4 hours long of listener calls explaining how T.S.P. has changed their lives and awoke something inside of them. It is very moving and I was lucky enough to have my call played as part of Episode 1000! It was a special thing to hear.)

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Adventure Number 40: The circle of life

See any fish?
Ever since Natalie was a year old, every fall her and I have taken a trip to the Puntledge River. Regardless of the weather, the circumstances or what have you, a father daughter trip to see the salmon in the river is a special time for us both. It has been neat to see how she reacts to the life and death struggles of the various species of Pacific salmon as they fight the odds to return to their natal rivers to spawn, die and nourish the surrounding area, bringing nutrients from the vast Pacific Ocean hundreds, sometimes thousands of kilometers inland.
Puntledge River
Our afternoon started off with a great time going bowling with our friends Amanda and Niam at the local alley. We rarely participate in this sport, and you know, we found it very enjoyable. It is not that expensive compares to many other activities, like going to a movie, more on par with a trip to the swimming pool. With far less people and screaming children. My kind of place. Plus you get to toss a big ball around, made out of rock. Awesome. Maybe I should join the league. We talked about running up to the Puntledge River hatchery to visit the salmon, and observe them in the viewing room. Unfortunately the hatchery was just closing as we arrived so we had to change plans spur of the moment. I suggested going to Puntledge Park to see the salmon in a natural habitat and we could get close to them as they struggled to swim up Morrison Creek.
Spawned out Pink salmon
It has been a very tough fall for our early arriving salmon species. We basically no rain for around three months, the rivers were running at hardly a trickle. The water that was running, being so shallow and slow, has the potential to be fatally warm for the fish, as well as being low in oxygen. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans had just shut the river down to sport fishing to lower the stress on these fish that had entered the river. I am not a participant in this fishery for many reasons but it is quite a tourist draw for visitors to come and sample do it yourself salmon fishing. Locals like it too, as it gives some a chance to harvest a few for the smoker, fish they other wise would have no chance.
A dead crawdad
The odour of decaying salmon was apparent immediately as we open the truck doors. The familiar smell of fall that all of Courtenay is draped in come early November during a strong chum run. These large salmon come in the thousands and leave a mass of nutrient rich corpses that take several weeks to compost enough to alleviate the odour. Natalie did not appreciate the smell that hit her nose. I explained what it was and she still wrinkled her freckled sniffer. As we wandered the free stone banks of the flow, I explained the life cycle of the various salmon, why the pinks were smaller than the springs, the name of a spring is really a chinook, how the bodies of fish feed the forests along the river, along with the insects and, in turn, the alevin after they emerge from the gravel in the spring. She seemed slightly interested in the facts and the circle of life. But then she would say "Ewwww" as she observed a fish with no eyes or fungus growing on its carcass.
Peaking at the chum in Morrison Creek
We walked along the edge until we were forced back onto the trail because of the foliage growing over the riffle. We meandered our way towards Morrison creek and the shallower water so we could see the fish in action. The fall colors in this municipal park are amazing and to be seen. Big Leaf maple, red alder,  and cottonwood all line the banks, along with Douglas fir, Grand fir and various shrub species. To our excitement a dozen chum were moving about we had a great view of their actions. Natalie got close as she could with out getting right into the water with them. Years ago she never would have been that brave and scared away. Her maturity and growing bravery is making the adventures much easier and so much fun for us both.
Big Leaf Maple
We played around a bit on the walk back. This adventure was not long, one of the shortest to date, but we still got out and did something that is so special to us both and we got to have a nice relaxed day around the house today. I can't believe we only need 12 more to complete this year of adventure. What will we attempt next week. Stay tuned. Find Adventure.

Paleo Paradise

As this year progresses I am becoming more and more aware how wonderful the Comox Valley is. Of course we have all the recreation that one could ask for. World class mountain biking, snow sports, salmon fishing, beaches, sailing, golfing, hiking and camping are, with out question, what this area is already famous for. People come from all around the world to experience these adventures, and the Valley has quite the powerful tourism industry. Having lived in the Comox Valley my whole life the recreation prospects have kept me in the area and involvement in them has grown and evolved over the years. I had never thought too much about food and agriculture being a draw for folks from outside the area. With my relatively new passion for food security and "getting outside the system" this type of tourism has gotten on my radar, as it has with so many others. My involvement with the Edible Valley podcast is a result of this awareness and passion.

This spring I became aware of the Paleo/Primal lifestyle. (I am not going to talk to much about this subject in detail as I have blogged about it before.) Sourcing happy, local protein became a priority for me. Low and behold the Comox Valley is home to dozens of producers growing grass fed beef, pastured pork and chicken, as well as free ranging turkeys, and other fowl like pheasant and partridge. Along with those critters we also have bison, and fallow deer. Wow a modern caveman paradise! I found world suddenly opened up to the ideas of only eating locally and consuming meat raised how it would naturally feed. No C.A.F.O.'s in this area. We even have a local abattoir that processes most everything that is grown here, so the animals have limited travel time in a trailer, cutting down on stresses and damage. I often wonder how many roadside egg stands there are in the Comox Valley. I know of about half a dozen. Free range eggs are often just a quick drive or bike ride away. Oh my gosh, it just gets better and better.

If you want something a little different, say some seafood, Baynes Sound is the number one shellfish growing region in British Columbia, if not Canada. Our oyster beds are world famous, being shipped to Asia, Europe, America and Australia. Clams, mussels and scallops are also farmed in the clean waters of the Sound. One can, with the appropriate fishing license, harvest wild bivalves on the public beaches. You can participate in a true hunter/gatherer pastime, and have a delectable protein source. Dungeness crabs are commercially fished close by and can be purchased from on of the area fishmongers, plus they can also be wild caught with a trap. During appropriate seasons all five species of salmon, along with halibut, black cod, lingcod and red snapper can be purchased direct from the fisherman down at the dock in Comox. You can not get much fresher fish than this, and you will probably get a good fishing story to go along with it.

With all the amazing farmed and commercially caught proteins, the Comox Valley also boasts a legion of devoted vegetable farms and fruit orchards. In fact one can usually pick as many apples, pears, and plums for free as one household could need. Old orchards abound in a variety of locations as well as trees on private land that often grant permission to harvest fruit by ambitious parties. We have a dedicated non profit that organizes groups to pick trees, with partial harvest going to the food bank, the pickers and the land owner. Some of the bigger vegetable farms in the area include Seifferts in Comox, and organic farms like Freedom Farm and Pattison Farms, both located north of Courtenay, in Merville and Black Creek respectively. If you can imagine it, the vegetable probably is available. Some plants just don't do very well here because our growing season is not quite long enough. I have not yet found a source for yams, and citrus is not going to happen, but basic requirements are easily met, and a vast variety of other vegetables make life interesting. Kale, cabbage, broccoli and chards all grow really well in our climate over the winter. With a very rare long spell of freezing weather, winter gardening is very achievable, allowing for fresh vegetables all year long.

For those who are inclined for forage for themselves, as I am, wild berries, plants and mushrooms grow in the forests around the Valley. Blackberries, blueberries, huckleberries, raspberries, Oregon grape, and cherries all grow wild in different elevations and terrain. I have picked stinging nettles, burdock root, dandelion, chickweed, and some other not correctly called "weeds". I am no expert on the subject and I endeavour to learn more about wild harvesting. Mushroom picking is one of my favorite hobbies, so fulfilling to "hunt" for a basket full of golden chantrelles, delicious food, good exercise and feeling like one with the world. Foraging is a great past time and a rewarding way to introduce children to the outdoors.

I love where my home is. The food community is growing in numbers and awareness for what is right and healthy. And paleo/primal is really gaining momentum as the way to eat, no matter what the food pyramid says.  Where is your "Paleo Paradise". If you wish to have more information on the Comox Valley as a food destination, please leave a comment or send me a message.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Adventure 39: Camo, Coffee and Corb Lund

Elk Bay
The title of this adventure may be a little deceiving. Corb Lund didn't actually join in on this trip. We did listen to his music for hours and hours today. This adventure was not on the list that we had created earlier this past winter. I did have the idea of going camping over Thanksgiving weekend somewhere that we had not been before, thoughts leaning towards the Tahsis area. Things didn't work out for that to happen, which is too bad since the weather has been outstanding. I cannot remember such a warm, dry fall in all my years. Sure it has happened before, but it has stood out because of my disappointment in that lack of chantrelles growing anywhere on the east side of Vancouver Island. Instead of camping, a scouting trip into unfamiliar territory was in order. Stella Lake, Elk Bay, Rock Bay and Little Bear Bay area was the destination, along with a few firearms, snacks, coffee, camo and, of course Corb Lund.
Elk Bay looking North
With the delivery of our new-to-us F150 a fort night ago I have been wanting a reason to head off-road and see how it handles the rough road. This truck rides so smooth and quiet on the pavement, it needed to be shaken about. I also have no idea what the gas mileage is going to be, and if I am going to be going on off road trips, that is knowledge critical to a worry free trip. It was nice this morning, not waking up super early to go hunting. Natalie protested a 4 am wake-up call, and I laughed at her as I teased the before dawn start. Not much point in going that early. Without an accurate rifle, deer hunting in the forest is a tough ordeal, more than Natalie is prepared for. A box of buckshot was included in the days kit, along with several boxes of .22 shells, bird shot and Natalie's B.B. gun. We had not shot together for many years, and she has very little experience around guns. I need to improve that.
Stella Lake

We fueled up before leaving Cumberland, and I am glad I did. We complain about the price of petrol in the Valley. Gas was around $1.38 a liter in the River City. Brutal. I pulled into Riversportsman but we were too early. Not wanting to wait around, we carried on north on the Island Highway. We turned off the pavement at the top end of Roberts Lake, on to Elk Bay Forest Service Road. This road is in decent shape, with some rough stuff, few potholes and steeper hills. I would recommend not taking a car with little ground clearance on this section. Most S.U.V's and pick-ups would be fine. I made many stops along the way, checking some wonderful looking second growth forest for chantrelle mushrooms. No luck. The ground is as dry in this area as it is in Cumberland.
Stella Lake

Our first destination was Elk Bay recreation site. After our experience at Naka Creek I am looking for more road accessed campsites on the ocean. I find the saltwater so much more exciting, with more wild edibles, creatures to look at and constant views of watercraft cruising by. This is a very nice little spot that I am sure is quite busy during the best summer fishing days, and also looked promising for the ability to fish from a small craft, or even from shore. Put this place on the list for a future visit. We left the sea and back tracked inland, towards Stella Lake. Stella is a real gem. It has an interesting shoreline, with many bays and arms. This lake would be fun for exploring in a canoe or small cartopper. I have never fished it, but am sure that it would be pretty consistent with most lakes on the north end of the Island. Cutthroat and rainbows, best caught in spring or fall. We stopped at Stella Bay rec site for a look around. Two or three sites, probably best with a small group as all the sites are close together. A dock compliments the lake access. The lake has some nice sandy beaches, which are unusual for other area lakes, and this site is no exception.
Trying for a bullseye

Natalie was getting excited to shoot her B.B. gun and was growing impatient in the truck. She spied an side road that traveled through a slash that would work perfectly. I balanced a cardboard target on a stump and gave Natalie a few strict instructions about handling a firearm, and let her have a few shots. She hit the cardboard a few times and was pretty happy about it. I pulled out the .22 for a couple of pokes. While attempting to adjust the sight, it was discovered that the screw holding down the rear ramp sight was not the correct one and it wouldn't hold together. I must get is repaired. It was too bad, plinking is so much fun. Without sights it is futile. She tried a little bit more and decided that it was time for a sausage.
Little Bear Bay

Corb Lund guided our way along to Bear Bight road. We were "Getting Down on the Mountain" traveling once again to the shores of Johnstone strait. Little Bear Bay is a rec site at the mouth of Amor de Cosmo creek. There were some salmon moving in the shallows and decided to make a few casts. A decent school of dark pinks were cruising, waiting to move into the creek. I made several casts with out success, and decided to give them some peace. We need rain so bad for all creatures, fins, fur, feathers and fungi. We climbed on some challenging rocks to attempt to access some deeper water for fishing. It was futile as the shallow water continued for as far as we could safely maneuver. Back to the truck we drove over to the bridge over the creek and could see hundreds of pinks schooling in the pool underneath. We made the drive into Rock Bay, to the private campsite. It was not my idea of where to spend my recreation time, so we passed through and carried on. Along the road I saw a tree that was covered in Artist Conks. Natalie expressed some interest in wood burning on them like her Grandma Kelly, so we collected a dozen of various sizes and shapes. They will make for hours of creative fun this winter after they dry by the woodstove.
Little Bear Bay

We had visited all the places that I wanted to see, shot our guns, ate homemade sausages, and, best of all, spent some quality, undistracted time together. I made a point of not allowing Natalie to bring her Ipod so she would have to look around, talk to me, and to just think. So many hours of my youth were spent doing just that while driving in the woods with my dad, and they were some of the best days I had. To share these experiences with Natalie feels so good. Find Adventure.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

There is shit in the meat.....

I start this post with a quote by Eric Schlosser in his book "Fast Food Nation", first published back in 2002, was one of the first books to bring exposure to the general public the truth behind the fast food industry and the corporate control of our food systems. This book, along with a few others that I have previously mentioned in other articles, helped shape my look at the foods that I eat and how they impact my body, the environment and the general health of the people on this planet. The above quote sent a shiver through my spine, and made me question how the government could allow this to happen to us. Don't they have inspectors for such things? Just gross that one hamburger patty from a fast food restaurant may contain as many as 2000 different cows. With plants that are so huge that they can process thousands of head of cattle a day, mistakes are bound to happen. While I am not an expert in micro-biology, medicine or pathology, I am a nerd for information that satisfies a curiosity. I wanted to give explain a little about how e-coli works and why being scared of this bacteria should secure what I have been talking about for a long time.

E-coli is a naturally occurring bacteria that all ruminants have in there gut. Cows, bison, and deer all have e-coli. And this e-coli is not dangerous to humans. I should expand on that. It is not harmful to us if the animals are treated well, and fed their natural fodder. Grass-fed ruminants eat what these animals have evolved to eat over hundreds of thousands of years. Grass is the perfect food for all of these animals. The grass-fed cow has an alkaline rumen, which is where the digestion of the grass takes place. The correct bacteria must be present to break down the cellulose in it, including e-coli. The problem happens when ruminants are fed something that is not their natural food. They get sick. Antibiotics must be added to the feed to combat the same bacteria that are supposed to help them digest. Corn and other grains are used to feed cattle as it helps fatten the animals to add weight and grow faster. These foods will change the stomach to an acidic environment, and the e-coli adapt to these conditions. 

Now when some shit manages to get onto the meat in the processing facility this is how e-coli is spread to humans. If the cow is eating grass the alkaline adapted e-coli will die in our highly acidic stomachs. No problem. It is still gross, but it is not the end of the world. The bacteria from a corn fed cow doesn't get killed by our stomach. It can live and reproduce, thus making us sick. E-coli is also killed with heat and is most often to be a problem in ground meats, not so much in cuts like steak and roasts. Unless it has been tenderized with infected equipment in the plant. If you eat an undercooked burger or steak, less than 160 degrees, the e-coli will not be killed and can cause the same problems. This bacteria can also be spread by unclean cutting boards or other kitchen equipment. Food safety in the home is a very important aspect of keeping us healthy.

My solution to the issue is not to stop eating meat. I have heard a few folks panicking about turning vegetarian. I really don't care what you eat, but this bacteria have also been found on some vegetables, like spinach and romaine lettuce. Under composted manure is spread on vegetable fields, and the e-coli has not been killed by the composting process. There is shit on your lettuce too! Solution. Eat local meats. Stop shopping at box stores and most grocery stores for your meats. Most of the meat that you will find in them are from feed lots, corn fed cows. Un-happy animals and acidic e-coli. Bad news. Look for grass fed beef where ever you can. It will taste a little different, may cost more, but would you rather get sick? I can not put a price on my health. Grass fed beef has many, many health benefits beyond the e-coli issue. I have written about that in the past  , but to me the biggest benefit is keeping money in your local economy and breaking the chain of the corporate food system. You can make your own choices. Give butchery a try. It really isn't that tough, and you can often purchase a quarter of beef for much less than buying it per piece, even at a box store. Then you know the cleanliness of the processing facility(aside from the slaughter). If you do not have good access to a farmers market or farm gate, deal with a butcher shop and ask questions. Don't be afraid. This is your health remember. Most people will ask many questions and do hours of research into their next cell phone, but what about what goes into dinner? Not enough.

Please do not be afraid. Be a part of the solution by influencing with your dollars to boost the local economy and support farmers who will become your friends and who care about how they raise their animals and the people who consume them.