Boy, what a repository of bullshit this is.  There’s too much here for one post, but that’s okay. We’ll take it in bits and pieces.

I am a farmer and it is sugested [sic]. . .

When you read “it is suggested” you should get out your red flags and start waving them around.  It is suggested by whom?  Leah is a “farmer” of what?

It is “suggested” that GMOs cause allergies by people who don’t like GMOs.

I got sucked into the whole “oh, my God, the sky is falling; GMOs will kill us all” thing a number of years ago. I didn’t really find out anything. I just believed the stuff I read and decided it wasn’t “natural,” and therefore it had to be bad.

I had gardened off and on for decades and knew the value of organic matter in soil, and had always tried to use as many “organic” methods as possible mostly because I’m cheap, but also because I thought that was better for Planet Earth.

And then we moved to Kentucky, eight and a half years ago, and I embarked on a journey that would change my mind entirely.


The first thing I noticed were all the soybean and corn fields. There are two of them right up the road from our house.  They alternate growing each crop annually. And they are Roundup Ready.  Drive down the road in the other direction from my house and you’ll see more corn and soy, also Roundup Ready.

It seemed that all my neighbors were crazy people.

I decided to ask them about it.

The thing you don’t do when you move into an area from someplace else is run around telling all the locals how it is supposed to be done. Instead, you put on your humble cap and sincerely ask. That’s what I did.  I didn’t understand it and I asked, “Why do you grow Roundup Ready seed?”

And they told me.

They said that they do it because it’s better for their bottom line, for their farms, and for their soil.  Yes, the seed costs more, but the benefits far outweigh the added cost of the seed.  They use much less diesel fuel, spend way less time in the field cultivating, and their fields experience much less erosion.

In other words, the evil Monsanto is not bankrupting people. They are, in fact, saving farmers money.


But what about saving seed? They can’t save the seed. Isn’t that horrible?

Well, no, it’s not.  Saving seed isn’t as easy or convenient as many people think.  You don’t just run out to the field and grab a few earns of corn that happen to be at the exact stage that is optimal for storing as seed and there you are.  Well, actually, you could do that but it’s not a good idea.

That’s because to do it right, you would need to take an ear from a plant here and a plant there, all over the field, shell all of them, mix them together, and that would be your “saved seed” for next year.  That would give you maximum genetic diversity.  Take one ear and save it and plant it and it’s sort of like incest (I’m greatly simplifying this, I know, but I don’t want this post to be a book), with less genetic diversity than is desirable.

The seed has be at the exact right stage to make sure it germinates the following year. It has to be stored under the right conditions. You can’t just shuck the ears into a white bucket and stick it in the basement.

In addition, much of the seed used for modern agriculture is hybrid. You can’t save hybrid seeds and have them produce reliably.

In short, saving seed, even from something easy like corn and soy, is kind of labor-intensive.

The way it’s done commercially is that entire fields are grown specifically for seed. They are harvested at the right moment, cleaned the proper way, stored perfectly and then sold to the farmers.  And the vast majority of farmers know this and quit trying to save seed eons ago, long before there was ever GMO anything.  It’s cheaper to let the seedsman do it in bulk.

And that leads me to cheese.  Sort of. I know it doesn’t seem like a reasonable place to go, but just go with me here.


Like this cheese, in the photo I shared the other day.  My cheese.


I start with a pot full of milk. This is my largest stock pot, which I use almost exclusively for cheese. It holds five gallons of milk.

I bring it slowly to a warm temperature, about 90 to 100 degrees F.


At that point I add the rennet. That’s the white powder in the little bag.  See those measuring spoons? They aren’t the standard type. They measure 1/8 tsp, 1/16 tsp and 1/32 tsp.  My five gallons of milk requires 1/16 tsp of rennet.

That’s not very much. See the measuring cup?  It has warm water in it, and in the bottom is the 1/16 tsp of rennet. I stir that until it dissolves and then stir that water/rennet solution into the milk.  I have to really stir it for quite a while (two or three minutes by the clock) to make sure it’s distributed well.

Then I cover the pot and leave it undisturbed for about 45 minutes.

When I come back, this is what I find.


It might look the same, but it’s not. The paddle is literally cutting the milk.  It coagulates into a mass, sort of like jello.

I cut it into squares with a long bread knife. As I do, a clear liquid starts to seep from the cut squares. The clear liquid is whey.


The squares are called curds.

This is how all cheese is made. The only difference between one type of cheese (cheddar) and another (Parmesan) is in how long the curds and whey are kept at a particular temperature and how rapidly they are heated.

At this point, for my cheese, I start slowly heating the curds, and as I do, the curds become smaller and firmer and there is more and more whey.

When the curds get “done,” that is, they become a little squeaky and almost chewy, I drain the whey (the pig loves it) and salt the curds and they go into a mold and a cheese press.


Here’s mine. The weight on the end is an eight-pound weight, but that translates, because of leverage, to about 60 pounds. The red weight is only three pounds, and it is the one I use first, gradually increasing the pressure for about two hours.  Once it gets to the max, it stays there overnight. Whey is expressed further from the pressure.

The result is a wheel of cheese that weighs about five pounds.  One gallon of milk makes one pound of cheese.

The resultant wheel goes down to the basement to cure. The longer it cures, the sharper it gets.

But what I want to talk about here is rennet.

Remember the calves and their little pens that we built so they won’t die?

Calves are born with only one part of their stomach active. That part, the abomasum, secretes rennet.  When a calf drinks milk, it goes straight to the abomasum, bypassing all the other parts of the ruminant stomach.  Immediately rennet is secreted, curds form, and the resultant curds sit in the abomasum for a longer period of time than just plain milk would, and that’s how a calf digests milk.

If the calf overfeeds, the abomasum gets too full, and plain milk, not whey, gets pushed along into the intestinal tract, and plain milk is like a gourmet feast for bacteria.  The calf gets diarrhea, the bacteria get all out of balance and the calf can become very, very ill in a very short time. This is called “milk scours,” and I hate it.  Calves beg for seconds on their bottles. They act like they are dying of starvation. They are not, and giving them extra is cruel. It can kill them.

When a calf is about a month old, sometimes a bit sooner, sometimes a little later, he will start to nibble grain and hay. As he does so, the other parts of his stomach that digest those things begin to “wake up” and become functional. And the amount of rennet secreted begins to subside.  We bottle-feed our little guys until they are eating hay and grain well, and show no signs of scouring at all. This is generally at least eight weeks and sometimes as long as twelve.  Plenty of farmers wean them much sooner, but we are softies.

But back in the bad old days, there was only way to get rennet to make cheese.


You had to take a young calf that had never eaten anything but milk and kill it and then harvest the abomasum and dry it and powder it.

Imagine Kraft cheese.  Think about all those calves.

As the demand for cheese increased in the USA, back when I was a child, people became a bit squeamish about killing all those calves for rennet.   The result was an uneven supply of rennet and resultant higher prices for cheese.

So food scientists began looking for another way.  They looked at vegetable sources for rennet. They found some. Vegetable rennet is available today, and you can find cheese in some health-stores made with vegetable rennet.  I will tell you right now it sucks.  It simply doesn’t do as good a job as the substance that evolved in cattle to make curds.

The scientists knew it sucked too, so they looked a bit more.

And in the late eighties, they figured out a way.

Wanna guess?  Got any idea?

They genetically modified bacteria with genes from calves to produce rennet.  They tested the hell out of it.  And in 1990, this genetically modified rennet was approved and has been used to make cheese in the United States ever since.  The vast majority of cheese made here is made with GMO rennet and has been for nearly 27 years.


You know, cheese.  Like this.

Funny how you never hear anything about this.  Nobody gripes or protests or marches against cheese. Nobody says, “Oh, gee, I have all these allergies, and I’m sure it’s because there are GMOs in cheese.”

But all those calves got to live.

Now, if I have piqued your interest in this subject because I am saying things you never heard before, you might find this interesting. This video gave me a whole lot to think about.

Dave and I had a lot of conversations about it. We did a great deal of reading. And then we went to the store and bought some Roundup.  Sure makes fences easier to maintain.





64 thoughts on “Cheesy”

  1. Um, Sally, I really don’t like this blog post. I have never been this curious about cheese or how it’s made. I have never Googled “The history of cheese”, ever. My brother tried to teach me about GMOs, but I never really understood it until reading about Round up ready corn…probably something you wrote and referenced once before, but I’m not sure. What I don’t like about this blog post, is that now I’m stuck wondering, who in the world first decided to cut up a calf, harvest the rennet, mix it with milk, and create the very first block of cheese. It’s late, I’m tired, my baby finally fell asleep, and so I will be researching this in the morning!!! Critical thinking can be exhausting at times!!! Thank you, Sally. I have learned much from your blog in the past year. Wait, now I’m wondering how much cheese could be made from one calf. Yeah, this is definitely going to have to wait till the morning. At least now I know not to read one of your new blog entries just before bedtime!!!


  2. I’m coming too HMM. I love these posts Sally does.

    Sally, your two wheels of cheese in the photo, why is one a darker yellow than the other? Is it because it’s parmesan? Or older? Or just the way it turned out?


  3. And this is why your blog is so interesting and enjoyable. Filled with informative and reliable information. I’ve yet to see a statement, the crux of the post, not being supported with evidence.

    A little off topic, evidence based whatever, is quite regarded as some of the most reliable information. For example, in practicing evidence based medicine. Or in the legal system, prosecutorial evidence. Even great debaters rely on evidence based opinions.

    Which, lends to, did you happen to notice Nicole’s statement? “The foster parents decided to go against the court’s decision to support our decision not to vaccinate. Basically the foster parents said “screw you” and had it done anyhow.” Knowing how unreliable she is with facts, and twisted or no evidence. It’s not surprising when some low information followers, who don’t use a tad of critical thinking skills, develop these ignorant opinions. Ignorant, being uninformed.

    And back to this blog post topic of GMOs. While I had not really researched GMOs, I also had not developed a solid opinion, negatively or positive. You’ve done a marvelous job in describing in short order, the benefits of genetically modified corn seed. And the tutorial on making cheese, is so interesting! What a great discovery, genetically modified rennet.


  4. I would LOVE so farm made cheese. You truly taught me somethings I didn’t know with this post. Educational. .


  5. Awesome article! Wow, thanks for that.

    People who are trying to eat GMO free kinda crack me up. I don’t mean to be rude saying that, but it’s unavoidable. Even if you’re growing things yourself, or buying GMO free certified everything….those products can be 1% GMO and still be labeled GMO free. There’s going to be cross contamination. It’s called…the wind…the rain…the feet of birds. Crops will always have some cross contamination.

    We’ve been “genetically modifying” crops since the dawn of agriculture. Just because we’re doing it in a lab now doesn’t make it any more of a manipulation of what isn’t “natural”.

    Kids who are 20 today have spent their whole lives eating GMOs….they’ve been common since 1996.

    Today, around 90% of Corn, Cotton and Soy crops are GMO.

    Even if you’re not a big tofu or corn eater, you probably DO eat products with soybean oil and corn oil in them. 61% of vegetable oil in the US….is soybean oil.

    Soy is also turned into an emulsifier called soy lecithin….which is in darned near every kind of commercial candy bar with chocolate in it. (and a number of other processed products)

    Cottonseed oil is common in margarine and potato chips.

    There are new GMO potatoes that produce less of a cancer-causing chemical, called acrylamide, when exposed to high heat.

    Yellow squash and zucchini…mostly GMO since the 90’s in the US.

    90% of Canola is GMO….once again, think of everything with the oil and emulsifiers.

    Alfalfa….which gets fed to meat animals..GMO since 2011.

    Apples that bruise less and don’t brown. (new last year)

    Sugar beets. Half of all sugar in the US comes from GMO sugar beets. Now think of everything that sugar goes into.

    There really is no escape from GMOs in the US. Even if you were buying only GMO free or growing your own….there would be contamination.

    I dunno…my kids are certainly healthier than I was as a kid. No allergies of any kind, very few illnesses, no major health scares. They eat a lot better than I did as a kid. I stock whole grain bread, lots of lean unprocessed protein, lots of fruits and veggies and nuts, and very little that is processed. I use a lot of olive oil for cooking and only real butter on bread and potatos. No margarine. We eat a lot of salads and stir frys.

    When I was a kid, I’d eat a bologna sandwich on white bread with a handful of potato chips in there for extra crunch. LOL. With, you know…a Little Debbie or a processed pudding cup.

    My kids prefer water and herbal tea. I’m still addicted to soda and coffee.

    My family is big on vaccination. Hubby’s parents were doctors. We get them all. Have had no ill effects. No major illnesses. Flu shots yearly, have vaccinations for meningitis, hep B, rabies (we’re wildlife rehabers), whooping cough boosters, tetanus, etc. And yep, girls got HPV vaccinated, too. Lot of viral cervical cancer in our state.


  6. So, first of all, Sally, I seriously need fresh curds from you. I am Canadian living in Alaska and we have a uber unhealthy, yet deliriously delicious dish, called Poutine – french fries, cheese curds, white vinegar and brown gravy. OMG!! I have converted my husband but I am still lonely. LOL
    Second, I am not a fan on Monsanto, however I also recognize that the human race has been producing hybrid plants since the beginning of time.
    Third, every year I order seeds from the seed bank, just to grow something unusual. My husband was very skeptical of my ability and hopeful success of growing hot peppers, in Interior Alaska. As I type this I am looking at several hot pepper plants, traditionally grown in VERY hot climates, either cut back for next summer or still producing awesome spicy peppers.
    Fourth, most of the BLH supporters are idiots. Seriously, uninformed morons. I study herbal medicine and use a lot of herbs for my health and the health of my family. I am half Native and so have a spiritual and physical tie to the land. I am searching and seeking guidance from my ancestors about whether I am a medicine woman. I already know I am a story teller.
    However, even my ancestors know the value of modern medicine. I see a wonderful internist who takes care of me – along with a naturopath and a doctor of Chinese medicine who are part of his clinic. They work as a team. Nicole’s leghumpers really are idiots. They have no idea that genetics play a major part in weaknesses and allergies. They are certain that vaccinations, which have wiped out life-ending illnesses, are the reason their kids can’t eat peanut butter sandwiches. For fuck’s sake. I am allergic to certain nuts but it is because I have inherited a shitty immune system. I do not have or had polio, diphtheria, typhus, pertussis, hep B etc because of the vaccines I received.
    Nicole is so frightening with her uneducated and erroneous beliefs. She does not deserve her children.


  7. I weirdly have a terrible problem with vegetarian cheese. If the cheese is not vegetarian it will not make me sick. It took quite a while to work this out and the doctor had no idea why this was until we found out the vegetarian process here often uses microbiotic methods. I wonder if that method is different from the artificial rennet.
    I cannot eat microbiotic yogurts or cottage cheese (which I loved) either. Actimal makes me so very ill. My insides think they’re under attack and I go into massive flare up. I still can eat none vegetarian blue cheeses like roquefort too.


  8. Can I just point out that a leghumper didn’t even know the kids were in foster care?! I once started following the BLH blog (about a year ago) and I had mentioned to my husband that there was no way this was the whole truth. I then started digging and I then found this site (maybe in February) and I went back and forth for a while reading both and doing my own research and quickly realized the scope of the situation. How can anyone ‘follow’ someone and not know a main detail about their story such as the kids being taken. I just can’t see that!


  9. I am just really sick and tired of Nicole holier then though attitude. My kids were not breastfed, and have all their vaccinations. My son isn’t allergic to anything. My daughter has eczema, like me, but a different form. I have eczema that if I eat too many tomatoes (don’t like them anyway), chocolate, and hard boiled eggs I break out into a rash. My daughter just has dry skin, and gets little bumps on her arms and legs.

    She has gotten lucky so far that her kids aren’t allergic to anything that they know of. What is she going to do if those two babies end up with a severe peanut allergy. They don’t go to the doctors so they can’t get an epi pen. You can develop allergies to food at any time. My sons girlfriends brother was just diognosed with any peanut allergy and now has to carry an epi pen with him. Oh and he’s in middle school.

    I like how some people are getting on her ass about her allergy post, and how she’s calling it an epidemic when it’s not. Man I wish she didnt have me blocked.


  10. I can recommend this video concerning the perceived health dangers of GMOs:

    Potholer54 researches the topics he talks about, mentions his sources and is wonderfully snarky at the same time.

    Hey Nicole, let your kids watch some of his videos. Would be a good “homeschooling lesson” in critical thinking and scientific research methods. Although I doubt you would want to enable THAT much critical thinking in your kids…


  11. HMM- me too!

    For those of us who can at least eat with our eyes, there was this awesome cheese porn magazine – Culture. I don’t know if it’s still around but it epitomized cheese porn.

    It’s still around and now I want a subscription because, well, I just do. Join me. We’ll eat poutine together.


  12. who in the world first decided to cut up a calf

    The theory is that way back, somebody was using the abomasum of a calf as a pouch, and filled it with milk and went walkabout. When s/he stopped for lunch, the milk had magically turned into curds and curds are so delicious.

    BTW, if you stop with curds, and add some cream, you get cottage cheese.

    I always eat a bowl of curds when I make cheese.

    And you can take the whey and make ricotta from it, although it takes a LOT of whey and I rarely bother with it.


  13. why is one a darker yellow than the other?

    One has wax on it (the darker one). The other does not. The yellow cheddar you buy in the grocery store has coloring in it to make it that color. Cheddar is whitish, as is all cheese. I never color mine, not because the coloring is “bad,” but because I’m cheap and who cares.


  14. I would LOVE so farm made cheese.

    My cheese is hit and miss. When I started making cheese, I got frustrated pretty quickly. I found a Mennonite cheesemaker who took me on as a student for a whole day, one on one. We made a batch of cheddar, and his “batch” is 500 gallons, yielding 40 pound wheels in an enormous hydraulic press.

    What I discovered it that it’s relatively easy to keep the temperature and acidity level of the cheese very constant and move it slowly when you’re working with 500 gallons. It’s much more difficult when you’re working with three. So I bought my big pot to raise my capacity to five gallons which helped slightly. However, I still can’t get the consistency he does.

    What this means is that every wheel of cheese I make is a crap shoot. I have rarely had wheels that were simply inedible, but we’ve certainly had some we liked more than others.


  15. Can I just point out that a leghumper didn’t even know the kids were in foster care?!

    I thought that was just hilarious.


  16. Sally! Once again job well done you always learn me something new with every post. I must say when it first started with that screen shot I thought you was going to hit on what Nicky said about the foster parents going against the courts decision and then on the the very next statement she said which was not posted in this post. So I will just bring this up cause this really says a LOT to me. “Thankfully my kids don’t take anyone’s crap.” Right out of the mouth of one of the biggest REAL LIFE FACEBOOK BULLY I ever met. Need I say anymore? Again BRAVO Sally thanks for my unschoolin’ lesson for today. 🙂


  17. LOVED this post; so much information and appreciated all the photo illustrations as well.
    I didn’t know how modern rennet was made; I’m guessing a lot of folks don’t. I imagine there are a lot of folks who don’t know the traditional source either. And probably couldn’t stomach the reality (ba-dump-BING).

    Bad joke, and I shouldn’t poke fun, since I’m the type who hates to be confronted with the reality of where the meat I’m eating comes from. People like me are why we have overly-processed food in the first place. “Nope, it still looks like a chicken; cut it up smaller and put bread crumbs on it….”

    Regarding early cheesemaking, I favor the explanation Sally gives that the curdling properties of the stomach were discovered by happenstance; people often used bladders as pouches, or as liners for waterskins and wineskins. It’s actually a good example of using every part of an animal – a matter of practicality, reverence, or both, depending on the culture. Of course everything changes with time – including ideas about what is practical and reverent. Thus I myself like the idea that we don’t have to kill baby cows to enjoy cheese pizza.


  18. On the foster thing – Nicole is not being honest. In fact it is an outright lie. Foster parents can not get vaccinations for children in care without social worker approval. Doctors won’t do it without a sign off from the social worker. A consent to treat. A legal and binding document. And a judge would never order for or against unless there were outside circumstances. She would have had to give permission. If it was done without here permission, it would have needed judge and social worker approval before a doctor would even do it.

    So she is full of her usual bullshit.


  19. Traditional diets throughout Alaska involve every part of the animal that is not involved in excretion, including the stomach; the partly digested greens in it may be the only greenstuff people get to eat in the middle of winter (the plants involved being inedible to humans unless first processed in a ruminant’s stomach). So I can easily see people opening a calf’s stomach to see whether there was anything usable inside and discovering this funny curdy stuff. It would have been digestible even before the mutation that allows adult humans to drink fresh milk without getting sour guts became widespread. Later, pastoralists could have experimented with making it in larger amounts.

    My problem with GMO stems from stories I’ve read about subsistence and other small farmers in less wealthy countries discovering that whether they can afford it or not their corn (because pollen travels) is now Roundup Ready.


  20. My problem with GMO stems from stories I’ve read about subsistence and other small farmers in less wealthy countries discovering that whether they can afford it or not their corn (because pollen travels) is now Roundup Ready.

    And those stories are mostly false or highly exaggerated. There was a widespread story about how farmers in India were committing suicide because of evil Monsanto, but that simply was not the case. Yes, there were farmers committing suicide, but it had nothing to do with seed and everything to do with bank loans. Many of these stories come from Vandana Shiva who is a really horrible woman. She lies a lot.

    One other thing: All the hype you hear about how Monsanto sues everyone in sight and buys all these lobbyists (I have been accused of being a paid Monsanto “shill” which is just funny) is false, too. I spent a few days checking into every lawsuit I could find that involved Monsanto and in all those cases, the defendants knowingly tried to cheat. There were zero cases where there was pollen drift and the poor hapless farmer found himself with Roundup Ready corn and he didn’t know it and then found himself in court or even in trouble.

    There are several strategies that farmers use to avoid pollen drift. I can go into that if you like. They do it by timing their plantings and by creating buffer zones. These practices have been in place for a very long time, long before there were GMOs. I even grow different varieties of corn right in my garden and avoid pollen drift. I don’t want the field corn crossed with the sweet corn, or I want some sweet corn early and some later on.

    The number of cases is not a big deal either. There aren’t zillions of them.

    In addition, Monsanto donates any money they get from those lawsuits to charity.

    And one other thing while I’m shilling, Monsanto is not nearly as big and powerful and rich as the anti-GMO folks like to claim. The company has profits that come very close to being about the same as Whole Foods. That’s not a giant company. It’s just one that has been vilified terribly. They are not the only company that produces genetically modified seed.

    That said, it’s a corporation, and is likely guilty of all the crap that corporations are prone to be guilty of. I am not trying to imply that it’s a benevolent organization. Like all corporations, they are trying to make a profit.

    Here’s a link to Monsanto’s statement about lawsuits. I realize this is from Monsanto, but I actually looked up those cases and the information is basically correct.

    And here’s another link on Monsanto’s website.


  21. Also, the idea that the foster parents said “screw you” and had the kids vaccinated is legally impossible. The state retains legal and thus, medical custody of the kids. If a foster child gets an ear infection and needs to go to a doctor, the foster parents don’t have to call and get permission from the state, but the caseworker needs to know. Any treatment that isn’t both minor and emergent, like an ear infection or croup, requires the department’s permission. Any “elective” treatment, like vaccination HAS to be approved by the caseworker, who knows it will come before a judge and has to make the decision accordingly. If a foster family said “screw you” and vaccinated the kids willy-nilly, they wouldn’t be foster parents anymore.

    What is far more likely is that the state couldn’t find a foster family willing to take unvaccinated children. I would not, because I have a child that is not old enough to have finished her course of vaccinations, and it’s just not a risk I would take. Add in that if it’s a working family, many daycares and preschools won’t take kids without a shot record to protect other students who might not be able to get shots due to allergic reactions and other conditions.

    Also, the decision to vaccinate may have come from a desire to reunify the family. Tetanus is not something to play around with. You’ve got kids running barefoot on ground the parents ADMIT is riddled with debris that “just keeps coming up out of the ground no matter how much time they spend cleaning it up” It would be irresponsible to return those kids to that environment WITHOUT a tetanus shot.

    Let’s pretend for a minute that Nicole isn’t an idiot and has a point. I mean, she is an idiot, and she doesn’t have a point, but let’s set that aside. Yeah, maybe we’re seeing more food allergies. But you know what we’re NOT seeing? Polio. Smallpox. Diptheria.


  22. Is this what the dishes the Naugs used to look like? I had been giving her the benefit of the doubt with her recent food pics, hoping the grunge around the rim was some sort of design. But nope. Just…grunge.


  23. Off topic sorry..from Mrs idiot N
    Dearest Sally.

    Since you chose to publicly blog about my daughters reading skills (which you have no actual knowledge of) and attempted to pose your blog as some sort of expert, I challenge you. What does the average public school child know that my grade equivalent children do not know? Please provide links and evidence of your findings. Or you can admit you just pull info out of your ass and make assumptions based on your own personal bias.


  24. As far as vaccines, I don’t think that the foster parents have to follow the parents rules or what they want…considering the kids were removed. They probably were given a stiff shot of tetnus due to infections …I would vaccinate Any child in my care …unless it was a relatives child visiting on vacation. The foster parents probably saved their lives.

    PS Nicole….maybe fit should show us your updates ready scores on your kin. Cps knows you aren’t doing things right…they won’t close your case as long as you live in a fantasy world.


  25. The article by Lynas was sobering. I had not realized how many countries have banned GMO’s to the detriment of their poorer populace. Almost all foods we eat have been genetically modified through the centuries. GMO’s don’t bother me, starving people do.


  26. hoping the grunge around the rim

    I think the grunge is a design. A very ugly, poor design.


  27. “One has wax on it (the darker one). The other does not. The yellow cheddar you buy in the grocery store has coloring in it to make it that color. Cheddar is whitish, as is all cheese. I never color mine, not because the coloring is “bad,” but because I’m cheap and who cares.”

    Oh I’m used to cheese being pale. Here is Australia, most of our regular cheese is variations upon shades of pale yellow, but never, ever that bright orange stuff you see in the U.S. What the hell IS that stuff?


  28. What the hell IS that stuff?

    It’s just cheddar cheese with coloring added. The coloring agent is natural and is called “annato.” I have never used it.

    My cheeses do vary slightly in color depending on the season, as does my butter. In the springtime, there is a lot of beta-carotene in the newly growing grass and that makes yellower butter. In winter, when Frances is eating almost entirely hay, the butter is much paler. So is the cheese.

    But to make it orange, you gotta add the coloring.


  29. My grandparents ran a dairy farm when I was a kid, and sold most of it to the local cheese factory. My uncle worked there and we would walk down the road to town and go visit. There is a smell about a cheese factory ( they mainly made cheddar and colby) that you never forget. The cheese would be made in huge vats and then stored till ripe. We always went home with cheese, fresh butter, and cream after a visit to Grandmas. At that time, small factories dotted the back roads of Central Wisconsin.


  30. Thank you Sally! I Googled “The history of cheese” as soon as I woke up. I read the story about the walkabout and curdled milk. Very facinating. Cheese has been around for a very, very, very long time.


  31. “And yep, girls got HPV vaccinated, too. Lot of viral cervical cancer in our state.”

    I had both of my children HPV vaccinated – both genders. Anything to minimize the risk of cancer and if it’s a vaccine…well! An easy decision for me to make. I hope that Nicole and Joe got tested for STD’s during and after their “break” so many years ago. Particularly as she knows he had unprotected sex (his eldest child).

    Amulbunny – there are more and more small batch cheesemakers popping up and many of them are outstanding. I blush to admit how much I’ve paid per pound for a truly excellent cheddar or gouda every so often. Perhaps if you were to return to that portion of Wisconsin you might find something that reminds your childhood.


  32. Thank you for the informative post. I don’t work with animals or grow many plants. We raised them when I was a kid and had a family garden, but never anything on a large scale. My sister in law majored in agriculture and animal sciences. After watching a documentary on gmos or animal cruelty (that are usually very one side)d, I’ll ask her what she thinks. She tells me the reasons why things are done a certain way and it always makes a lot of sense and seems less cruel! I’ll have to tell my best friend about the gmo bacteria. She is a vegetarian who cut out cheese because she thought baby cows were being killed.


  33. They will never vaccinate or do any testing….that’s beyond fantasy land. They can’t even wash their hands. How does one have a job around water all day but still have dirty nails?? Inquiring minds want to know.


  34. I find it HILARIOUS that a woman who has so many kids is bitching about GMOs. The more humans on the planet, the more we need GMOs to keep everyone from starving.

    I ended up in the hospital this week and needed antibiotics. I’m allergic to penicillin, like A LOT of my family members. One nurse tried to convince me I wasn’t allergic and after I wouldn’t budge on saying I was, she told me that eating organic, non-GMO, non-processed food would reverse all my allergies and prevent new ones. Luckily she’d already dosed me with the goooooood drugs, or I would have gone off on her. Turned out the ER only keeps penicillin based antibiotics on hand and have to physically walk to the hospital pharmacy to get anything else, so I think the nurse was more lazy than stupid. Most likely both, though.

    BTW, family lore states the first member of my mom’s family to receive penicillin died from anaphylaxis. Our genes just don’t play well with penicillin, period.


  35. One nurse tried to convince me I wasn’t allergic and after I wouldn’t budge on saying I was, she told me that eating organic, non-GMO, non-processed food would reverse all my allergies and prevent new ones.

    Oh dear. That, of course, is absolutely false.

    I developed an allergy to penicillin when I was in my early thirties (or at least, my doc and I thought I did). When I was working at a same-day surgery, several of the docs had this conversation about giving me a challenge dose under controlled conditions to determine if I really was allergic, or if the rash I got when taking it was coincidental. I was not exactly delighted by this idea even though I trusted them a great deal.

    In the end, we didn’t do it, but they all made it clear to me that I should never take penicillin again, ever, unless it was a last-ditch attempt to save my life.

    So, I always declare an allergy to it.


  36. I have a penicillin allergy. No clue how I react to it, apparently I had a reaction as an infant. No medical professionals have ever challenged me on it. I just get an extra bracelet when I’ve gone into the hospital. It’s never really been an issue.


  37. It should be noted that the harvest of rennet from calves is a byproduct of veal production. Previous to the introduction of the modified rennet calves were slaughtered at two to three weeks around the 150 pound mark, now they are harvested at the 18 to 20 week range at 450-500 lbs. Veal production is common in areas of dairy farms.


  38. I knew somebody as a child whose family was following the local actually literally Paleo diet, including about a dozen different kinds of 100 percent organic wild-caught seafood from pristine waters inside a wildlife refuge. And she developed severe allergies to all of them.

    Like a lot of woo, however, there is a tiny kernel of fact inside the layers of nonsense. It is possible for an allergy to one thing, say a common preservative that most people can eat without upset, to so irritate the immune system that the sufferer consequently develops allergies to other things, and removing the primary irritant may cause the secondary allergies to resolve. This happened to a relative of mine who had so many allergies she basically had to play Russian roulette with her dinner plate. When she stopped eating certain foods entirely, her allergies to the others went away.


  39. It should be noted that the harvest of rennet from calves is a byproduct of veal production.

    That is correct. However, the amount of veal harvested in this country does not/did not equal the amount of rennet needed. And that’s the reason that GMO rennet was invented.

    But regardless of why, the fact still remains that GMO rennet is almost never mentioned by anti-GMOers. Most of them don’t even know about it, and in states that have flirted with GMO labeling laws, oddly enough, GMO rennet is exempted.

    One other thing I’d mention is GMO insulin, in use since the late seventies.


  40. 84 dollars for a movie and popcorn? I watched that movie trolls on my smart TV last week on a free movie site. What a waste. Why is a kid running around a business floor, bare foot with a very heavy diaper?

    Failed parenting again. ..oh horrible crocs


  41. This is off topic, but who else thinks it’s weird that they’re serving ramen and rice with beans and cheese for Thanksgiving….

    but have the money to get 14 people into a first run movie at the theater?

    Even if it’s a matinee at $5 a person….that’s still $70 for two hours entertainment. Hell, they could probably buy their own used video projector on ebay and rent a new movie on Amazon for that price. Wouldn’t be hard to hang a sheet across the shed, stream it on a tablet, and project it with an inverter charged at the dogwash as a power source.

    Then, they could have family movies all they want on a great big screen for the cost of a rental. If they’ve got Prime, as Nicole boasts, there’s a huge library of terrific films included for free. Would have been a very nice thing to have when shut in all winter.

    With the smallest amount of research, these people could do so much better than they are. If they put half the energy into researching how to do things…that they do bragging about their floundering and fighting imaginary wars….they might have some quality of life.

    Sidenote. If they want to see Trolls, why in the hell are they all dressed up as super heros?

    The girl marrying into the family looks worse for the wear. I bet her family is beside themselves with worry.


  42. We all have the right to know when our foods are GMO and not. Plenty of people will be fine with some products being GMO, but if others aren’t, then they’re within their right to have organic. I eat GMO stuff and won’t be giving up my cheese any time soon (though I can actually tell a difference between organic and conventional tomatoes, and my husband secretly tested me one day by making a salad with conventional tomatoes and was surprised to find that I could tell that they weren’t my usual tomatoes), but we do have the right to be informed about what we’re eating.

    Among other things, I think the rise in allergies and sensitivities has to do with how we’re eating and making food. Avoiding peanuts when pregnant, and then keeping all peanuts away from kids until they’re 2, is keeping them from having a chance to build up tolerances to peanuts, and so more allergies, just like kids who aren’t around animals as little kids and toddlers have more dander allergies. Developing immune systems need those challenges.

    I saw a program recently about wheat. In parts of the world where bread isn’t treated as a quick thing, but instead made just from wheat, flour, and salt, and left to rise all day and then get baked, they don’t have an issue with celiac. The long rise time breaks down the gluten. But when adding quicker leavening agents, the time needed to break down that gluten is slashed, drastically. Apparently people with celiac tend to handle wheat-water-salt-long-rise-time bread quite well.

    Now I need to go get that smoked gouda I have in the fridge, and slice up some salami and eat it with Ritz crackers. I’m being really bad today. 🙂


  43. “What is far more likely is that the state couldn’t find a foster family willing to take unvaccinated children. I would not, because I have a child that is not old enough to have finished her course of vaccinations, and it’s just not a risk I would take. ”

    What’s sad is there are kids who can’t get vaccines for medical reasons, and so would have nowhere to go. Are those kids doomed to live on the floor of a caseworker’s office or get sent back to abuse and neglect? Kids who can’t get vaccines are sometimes made into pariahs because they’re seen as unsafe and treated just like kids who aren’t vaccinated by choice. This is upsetting.


  44. Reminds me of when two of the Naugler kids made a fistful of cheese from a cup of goat’s milk. I wondered how much of that little fistful was cheese and how much of it was dirt from their hands and nails as they kneaded it into a little ball. Yuckie!


  45. Cheapest insulin in town is at Walmart. I typically don’t buy anything from the evil empire, but they don’t make money on it, and it’s for a very good cause. I have an old 140 pound diabetic great dane mix rescue who goes through two bottles a month. $25 for a 10cc vial. Best deal I can find to keep my old puppy on the planet a while longer. She’s quite healthy otherwise.

    One thing that’s lovely about a large dog, is that she tolerates it nicely when I flip her lip up, dry it off, and poke it and run a glucose strip test with a regular meter. Makes managing her illness very simple compared to those who need to go to the vet for blood draws regularly to monitor how their management is going. You can get short dated glucose strips and a meter very cheaply at flea markets. I think people buy odd lots of products bulk on the cheap when pharmacies go through their stock, get rid of dusty or damaged boxes? I’m not above using slightly out of date strips on my dog. Most manufacturers will say they are within 10% of accurate 6 months past their expiration date. That’s close enough for my pooch.

    I have also asked diabetic people I know to save me their discards. So often those on an insulin delivery service will have a little left in the bottle when the new bottle comes. If they don’t throw it away, the excess just builds up. My dog doesn’t mind getting her insulin from discarded vials, and I can save a lot of money. I’ve taken to making goat’s milk and shea butter soaps in pretty molds, and trading soap for cast off insulin. Gives the folks who are kind enough to set their excess aside a little something for their trouble.


  46. Am I missing something, or are they short two kids in the movie pic? Did one of the older children have to stay home with the baby, maybe? If so, that’s pretty sad.

    Again, I could be wrong….


  47. There is an issue with “pollen drift” here in Colorado too that is rather interesting. In Colorado it is legal to grow your own weed, or grow a few more plants as a caregiver for medical marijuana patients. Hemp is quickly gaining popularity as a cash crop too. We’ve even consider growing it, but a couple of years ago we took the plunge and started almost exclusively growing hops instead of corn and sugar beets for our growing microbrew restaurants and bars. It’s all the rage here and we had contracts before we even planted 3 years ago. Anyways, within a 10 mile range there was a hemp field and a couple outdoor marijuana grows. The pollen from the hemp crossed the distance to the mj grows and made the marijuana far less potent…almost worthless in some cases from what I’ve heard. Strange though I haven’t heard if any of the hemp contained higher THC levels. I’m sure it has though.

    Thanks again Sally for taking the time to express your awesome perspective and share your knowledge as it pertains to farming and ranching. It’s a load of work and ton of responsibility. Nicole and Joe can’t seem to get a handle on what is entailed with being a parent. They have no business pretending to be good stewards of their land, or responsible pet, or livestock owners. They mismanage and kill their little plot of land contaminating it with raw human waste. They killed that pond eroding the banks so every time they get some moisture the run off of mud and animal waste is washed into the pond. They killed, or let animals in their care be killed dozens of times. It’s sickening! It’s a train wreck that I can’t seem to look away from.


  48. It was nice of the older boy and his fiance to buy some new pajamas for the younger children; and since they are young adults, I can see why they might still enjoy wearing footsie superhero pajamas too. It’s not my thing to wear PJ’s in public, never has been — but then again, I’m kind of an old cranky fart at this point. If I were 18 years old, maybe that’s something I’d do every once in awhile, but it would be more likely as part of a group of my friends who all decided to wear our super hero PJ’s out in public, not with my future in-laws and family. I agree that in the photo, she’s looking less than enthusiastic, but since that’s just one brief moment in time, impossible to tell what she’s really thinking of her situation. For her sake and the sake of her unborn child, I hope she comes to her senses and decides she would rather live in a home with running hot/cold water, real bathroom facilities, and other modern-day conveniences, and drags her young man along with her. Good luck kiddo, you are going to need it!

    Where is the baby of the family? I only counted 9 Naugler offspring in the photo.


  49. This post inspired me to make some cheese. I ordered some GMO laced rennet. As soon as it gets here we are gorging on fresh mozzarella!


  50. Just so you know – mozzarella is touted as easy/peasy beginner cheese.

    I have never made mozzarella successfully. I have made lovely cheddar cheeses. I have made lots and lots of cottage cheese. I have made mountains of my sort-of quasi-cheddar farmstead cheese.

    But my moz turns out like a bowling ball. Nathan used to laugh at it and hurt my feelings. 🙂

    Oh, and I am really good at quark. If you are not familiar with it, look it up. Here’s one recipe, but it’s not how I make it.

    I use buttermilk. I make buttermilk by buying a small bottle of buttermilk from Kroger (their buttermilk has living bacteria in it) and adding some to a fresh quart of milk, which I leave on the counter overnight. The next morning, I put it in a cooler submerged much of the way in hot water. I leave it there with the lid on the cooler for several hours. Then I strain it through cheesecloth hanging in my laundry tub.

    It’s really good stuff and really easy. I use it like cream cheese or like ricotta (I’ve made cheesecake with it).


  51. It was nice to see the family out together and Jojo and Nicole actually spending time with their kids. That was a great thing.
    The dismay I felt was at how dirty and unkempt those children were. Ill-fitting, stained, torn and presumably dirty clothes. Very dirty footwear, that on a couple of kids, didn’t appear to actually fit them. The boy standing in front of Joe and on O’s left seems to have 2 right feet. SMH. He is wearing two different boots, both of them for a right foot.
    The little one in front of Q has a boot on one foot and I don’t know what’s on the left. Maybe he just kicked off his boot like little kids do.
    My parents would never have let us look like that on a family outing. We would have been clean and with our hair brushed. Our clothing, while certainly not brand new, would have fit properly and been clean and stain and tear free. Our shoes would have been the right size and they would have been clean – play shoes were for play.
    It’s like she has no concept of how these pics look.
    And just recently she posted about how they have proof someone tampered with the animal enclosures. No evidence or description of that proof of course. Did the horse get loose again and the BO is looking for deflect??


  52. someone tampered with the animal enclosures.

    What I want to see is the “animal enclosures.” So far, I’ve never seen anything but a half-finished chicken coop, and some wires strung to tie up dogs.


  53. This isn’t meant to be a cruel question, but does anyone know if the new mom is developmentally disabled? I know that sounds extremely snarky, and I don’t mean it that way. I mean nothing against the developmentally challenged (all God’s children are different), I just wondered if there was documentation anyone was aware of?

    Wouldn’t it take someone with a little different mentality to be convinced that pregnancy was the best time to try out a new physically demanding lifestyle? Particularly given that mothers under 20 have additional risk? I cannot imagine my girls, at 20, choosing to endanger their health this way….even for a boy they were madly in love with. They would simply have better sense.

    Even something as simple as the flu can be devastating when you’re pregnant. If you want to try homesteading, that’s fine, but trying it for the first time in the winter while pregnant when your body is very used to modern conveniences seems incredibly reckless to me. Most new mothers and fathers with average intelligence would see this, wouldn’t they? Why cause the body more stress? Even dealing with wood smoke instead of cleaner, filtered modern heat….would stress the body.

    Flu is more likely to cause severe illness in pregnant women than in women who are not pregnant. Changes in the immune system, heart, and lungs during pregnancy make pregnant women (and women up to two weeks postpartum) more prone to severe illness from flu, as well as to hospitalizations and even death. Pregnant women with flu also have a greater chance for serious problems for their developing baby, including premature labor and delivery.

    I’m shocked better judgement isn’t being employed on the part of either the mother or father in regard to the safety of the baby and mom. (she might not be happy living with her folks for a few months, particularly if they disapprove of the boy…but this will pass. Delivering a healthy baby from a healthy mom should be the utmost priority on both their minds, and her chances of staying well and having a safe delivery are better with her parents. Why not start the homesteading experiment in the summer when mom and baby have had a chance to recover a bit, and the weather is nice? It’s not like there isn’t an entire childhood on the table. There’s plenty of time.)

    When I was pregnant, I would certainly have bought footed PJ’s for my nieces and nephews, but I would want something more practical for myself in a place where you have to pee outside or in a bucket. As I recall, I had to pee a lot when I was pregnant. Zipping the whole thing off sounds absolutely dreadful in an outhouse or to straddle a bucket. (Let alone a movie theater stall, which at least is heated, I suppose.)

    I simply cannot imagine wearing footed super hero pajamas to a movie in public as an adult. If you’re old enough to have sex and get pregnant, your social pass for silly infantile behaviors has been revoked, in my opinion. Maybe I’m alone in this…but I think this behavior is very bizarre….and one of the things that prompted my developmental disability question about the girl.

    If she is on that spectrum, can anything be done to protect her?


  54. I don’t think there is anything to suggest the new mother-to-be has any issues whatsoever, in fact, she seems to have graduated high school.

    I think she is blinded by the romanticism of it all. The newish boyfriend, the crunchy granola lifestyle (that isn’t real), the excitement of starting a new family etc.

    IMHO her parents have been wise not to criticise too much. If they did, they’d push her further into J’s arms, and by extension, Nicole and Joe’s (figuratively speaking). If I were her mother, I’d be horrified, but she has to come to the realisation that this life of poverty isn’t what she really wants, all on her own. She’ll come to realise soon enough that is isn’t the peaceful “faith-driven” family life Nicole espouses to her leg humpers, and when she does, I have no doubts her parents and family will be right there to care for her and pick up the pieces.


  55. Myopia, what a comforting post. I think you’ve hit the nail on the head.

    This little girl will have to come to that conclusion on her own. You’re right about that.

    I agree, the family looks very loving and decent, and I have no doubt they’ll be there for her when the time comes.


  56. @DeNaugified: It’s just what I would do if I were her mother. Cautiously make the best of it……for now, and be ready to be there for her when the rose coloured glasses finally come off. If she’s an intelligent girl, and there is no evidence to the contrary, it will happen sooner or later.


  57. Thanks for the tip! I am making lemon cheesecakes for Chriztmas partues this year so I am going to investigate this! I LOVE to bake!

    You should really consider writing a book. I am amazed by all of the stuff you manage to fit into your days! I have been remodeling a 10×5 mudroom for 3 months now (I am embarrassed to actually admit that!)


  58. I have been remodeling a 10×5 mudroom for 3 months now (I am embarrassed to actually admit that!)

    And we have been putting down bamboo flooring for more than three months. 🙂 I thought we would finish our home remodel by Xmas, and now I’m hoping we finish by spring. I had planned to get to the back porch (new railing and new paint on the concrete) this summer, and now it will be whenever. We have way too many irons in the fire. 🙂


  59. We all have the right to know when our foods are GMO and not.

    This is a completely different issue – labeling.

    It probably won’t surprise you that I oppose labeling. Here’s why.

    We label stuff, not to tell you exactly what is in the container – every tiny piece of information you might suddenly demand to know – but to give the consumer reasonable pertinent information. So packaged foods are labeled about things like nutritional content. Diabetics need to know about sugar/caloric content, for example. But you don’t know if the corn meal was grown in Iowa or Kentucky. You don’t know if it is from dent corn or flint corn. What if some group starts demanding that Martha White label corn meal according to the state grown and the type grown? Are we gonna just say, “Oh, people have a right to know”?

    Forced labeling of GMO ingredients would cause two things to happen. First, the price of food would go way up. That’s because corn, right now, is fungible. That means that when farmers harvest their corn and take it to market, nobody asks or cares how they grew it. It’s corn. They put in the silo and get paid per pound. If they have to start separating it out, GMO from non-GMO, that is going to cost. They’ll need a separate set of silos, and furthermore, they will need those silos to be dedicated to one thing. The mills will have to have two sets of equipment to grind the corn into meal.

    Furthermore, you already can find non-GMO food quite readily and easily. Just look for the “no GMO” label on it. Pay more, because they will charge you more. It’s already there. In addition, you can buy “organic” and have your non-GMO, salmonella-riddled food all day if you wish. You will pay more yet again. But the people who are insisting on the labeling will have to pay the money. Not me.

    And there is another thing, and this may be the most important one. Forced labeling implies that there is something inherently wrong, or something might be wrong, with GMO food. There is nothing wrong with it. It is indistinguishable from non-GMO food. Your body cannot tell the difference. Implying that there is something wrong with it just feeds the mythology and creates fear. Are we going to start labeling food with every single lunatic thing anyone dreams up? Pretty soon, the bullshit will cover the whole label and the meaningful data will be lost.

    Apparently people with celiac tend to handle wheat-water-salt-long-rise-time bread quite well.

    And I call bull on that. Celiac disease is not an environmental illness. It’s genetic. And people with celiac disease cannot eat gluten, period. They don’t drop dead on the spot when they eat it, which is why these sorts of myths get spread about. But doing so, over time, damages the cilia in the intestinal tract and they cannot absorb nutrients as well, leading to massive weight loss and vitamin deficiencies. I will tell you that if there were a type of bread made with wheat flour that my mother could eat, she would have found it and would be eating it. There isn’t and she can’t. Not only can she not have bread, she has to be very careful that what she eats wasn’t even made in the same factory with wheat. The tiniest bit of wheat will make her sick. (And there are several additives that don’t have the words “wheat” or “gluten” in them yet contain gluten. She has to avoid these. Salad dressing, for example, typically has stuff she cannot eat.)

    Many diagnosed celiacs are very resistant to changing their diet, as gluten-free diets are so limited. They often “cheat,” and doing so can lead to an early death. They are prone to cancer of the bowel (due to the relentless inflammation that occurs from continuing to eat gluten). It’s not just a fad for them. It’s a very serious condition that is easy to treat, but takes determination on the part of the celiac. Like with diabetics, patient education is vital. Telling a celiac that s/he might be able to handle some bullshit bread just because it is left to rise for a long time is an awful thing to do.

    By the way, I would challenge you to take some wheat, water and salt and mix it together and let it sit all day and see what happens. What will happen is nothing. It will not “rise.” Flour doesn’t rise on its own. You need yeast. If you mix flour and water (and a tad of sugar) and leave it sit open to the air for several days, you might “catch” wild yeast from the air and it will start to bubble. That is called “sourdough.” However, that is very, very hit and miss. I have tried it both with flour and with milk. You might “catch” nice yeast and you might “catch” crap yeast that tastes absolutely terrible. That’s the reason that to make sourdough starter, people usually begin with dried starter (the yeast) in a package so they aren’t playing Russian roulette.

    There is a method of breadmaking that calls for a reduced amount of yeast and a much longer rise time. The result is a coarser loaf of bread (usually baked in a very hot oven). French bread is basically made that way and that’s why it’s chewy. It’s fine now and then, but we prefer more conventional bread.


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