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January 11, 2016

All I could do was laugh.

I grew up with dogs.

Most of my adult life we have had at least one dog.

Cats were regulars as well.

Never, ever in my life has one of the fur kids attacked a roll of toilet paper.

Until this past Sunday.

We put puppies in the bathroom with a bed, food, water, and a toy, when we go to church or are gone for more than a couple hours.

(Especially if that pet doesn't have a crate/cage).

We never had issues before.

The picture here doesn't show the whole mess, just the epicenter.

At the bottom is a picture of Snickers flopped out in Ziggy's cage (she makes her rounds).

A blast of winter has rolled into the Great Lakes region.

Cold temperatures and lots of snow.

Now this doesn't bother me one bit.

The snow cover is actually a good thing.

Besides, with the late start this season, I only have two months plus a week of official winter left.

After that, there is the transition period from winter to spring.

I can live with that.

Another thing..........

I'm less than four months from hummingbird season.

For us northern folk, that is a BIG moment.

The first hummingbird that is.

Hummingbirds, that is enough to make anyone think spring and flowers.

With all the seed catalogs, and long nights, it is a wonderful time to dream and plan for the coming growing season.

Last week I shared with you some seed companies that are GMO Free and companies to watch out for.

Today I will once again go into GMOs vs. Hybrids.

What exactly is a hybrid seed and plant and What exactly is a GMO seed and plant.


What Are GMOs:

GMOs (or “genetically modified organisms”) are living organisms whose genetic material has been artificially manipulated in a laboratory through genetic engineering, or GE.

This science creates unstable combinations of plant, animal, bacteria and viral genes that do not occur in nature or through traditional crossbreeding methods.

Virtually all commercial GMOs are engineered to withstand direct application of herbicide and/or to produce an insecticide.

Despite biotech industry promises, none of the GMO traits currently on the market offer increased yield, drought tolerance, enhanced nutrition, or any other consumer benefit.

Meanwhile, a growing body of evidence connects GMOs with health problems, environmental damage and violation of farmers’ and consumers’ rights.

Are GMOs Safe:

Most developed nations do not consider GMOs to be safe.

In more than 60 countries around the world, including all of the countries in the European Union, Australia, and Japan, where there are significant restrictions or outright bans on the production and sale of GMOs.

Pay attention now.........

In the U.S., the government has approved GMOs based on studies conducted by the same corporations that created, and profit from their sale.

(Money talks.)

My friend, this should be.

Americans are finally taking matters into their own hands and choosing to opt out of the GMO experiment.

Are GMOs labeled:

Unfortunately, even though polls consistently show that a significant majority of Americans want to know if the food they’re purchasing contains GMOs, the powerful biotech lobby has succeeded in keeping this information from the public.

In the absence of mandatory labeling, the Non-GMO Project was created to give consumers the informed choice they deserve.

Why Are We Concerned About GMOs:

Critics say there are potential health effects and environmental concerns surrounding GMOs.

Mounting evidence shows this to be true, and I will continue to spread the word. One of the supposed benefits of GMOs is that they should result in less herbicide spraying, since some plants have been modified to be herbicide resistant.

However, over-reliance on these crops has led to the emergence of "super weeds" that are also more resistant to herbicides, requiring increased spraying,

Not to mention destroying vital habitat (milkweed),for monarchs.

Toxins live in the plants and kill pollinators.

Toxins enter our food, even the meat and poultry we eat that are fed GMO grains.

Again I say, toxins are meant to kill, Period.

What are Hybrids:

A hybrid is a cross between two different plant varieties (in the same family), to get the best attributes of each variety.

Hybrids are developed for disease resistance, size, flowering, color, taste and any reason a plant might be considered special.

Most modern plants currently on sale are hybrids.

Because they are a cross between varieties, the seed produced by hybrids will not grow true to seed.

Seedlings grown from a hybrid could exhibit traits of one or both parent plants or be something totally surprising.

For instance, hybrid sweet corns may capture more sweetness, longer holding ability, crisper or creamier kernel texture and so forth.

Hybrid tomatoes combine parents that may have a certain flavor, larger size or fewer seeds.

Hybrid flowers may have the desired color and smell of one parent, and the dwarf stature of another.

And so on.

There's nothing unusual about creating hybrid plants.

It happens in nature all the time, when two different species cross pollinate.

Commercial hybrids come about after a great deal of work.

For the initial crossing, pollen from one plant has to be transferred to the flower of another variety.

(Boy meets girl.)

Before doing so, the breeder has to decide which plant he wants to use as the female (the pistil) and which he wants to take pollen from (the stamen, male parts).

Then all the stamens have to be removed from the female plants, so they don't self-pollinate.

The fruits that form as a result of this cross pollination are harvested and the seeds are collected.

Every year I will pollinate A zucchini male with a pumpkin female simply because a male pumpkin flower isn't there on that day.

The pumpkin will grow into a pumpkin.

The seeds however, would probably grow something interesting (I have never bothered to do this).

I digress.

This process has to be repeated every year.

First time crosses are grown out the following year and the fruit they produced is evaluated.

If it meets expectations, the cross will be repeated and the seeds will be marketed the following year.

However, it can take many years before a hybrid with the desired traits is even created.

If the resulting fruits or flowers/plants are disappointing, the breeder is back to square one.

But even when the breeder has a winner, the process continues.

Seeds for the popular commercial hybrids, have to be crossed, harvested and saved every year.

These are called F1 hybrids, for first generation, because they are the direct product of a cross.

The breeder who first creates a hybrid owns the rights to it, which is why they can be more expensive than non-hybrids.

They guard the parentage of their hybrids closely.

It is possible for hybrids to stabilize and become open pollinated plants.

This generally takes many years and careful selection of plants with exactly the traits of the original hybrid.

It is true, many hybrids have been Genetically Modified (field corns, soybeans, sugar beets, grains, etc.). It is mostly hybrid crops for commercial use that are modified.

Grains and seed ground into cooking oil, feed for livestock, your breakfast cereal.

Pay attention to certain commercials when they say chickens are fed all natural soy and corn.

There is nothing natural about feeding chickens, soy and corn.

There certainly isn't anything good in the soy or corn, or that would be mentioned in the commercials (organic, non GMO).

To the best of my knowledge, only select sweetcorn, and a small amount of summer squash are sold commercially that have been genetically modified.

Currently, only salmon has been FDA approved for genetic engineering (GMO) and many markets have already said they won't sell it.

As mentioned above, Hybridizing is done purposely to make better flowers and food crops.

GMOs do nothing to improve a crop, simply to make a plant immune to toxins that are sprayed freely.

Toxins genetically put in the plant to kill bugs when thy try to feed.

Hybridizing in nature may create a new plant.

For sure cross pollination strengthens the gene pool.

Well, it is time to fly for now.

Before I go, here is your positive thought for the week.

God Bless.

"The greatest discovery of my generation is that man can alter his life simply by altering his attitude of mind."

William James (1842 - 1910)

Yes this works up to a point.

God's children have more to look forward to.

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,
“Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man.
He will dwell with them, and they will be his people,
and God himself will be with them as their God.
He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more,
neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore,
for the former things have passed away.”

And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.”
And He said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.” Then He said to me,
“It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.
I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost.
“He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son.

Revelation 21:3-7

"Treat the earth well:

It was not given to you by your parents,

It was loaned to you by your children.

We do not inherit the Earth from our

Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children."

Ancient Indian Proverb

Your friend indeed,

Ron Patterson

PS. If you enjoy these letters, please forward them to friends, family and co-workers.

Better yet, have them sign up so they can receive their own letters.

Gardening For Wildlife.

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