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Friday, October 2, 2015

The world hanging upside down

The world hanging upside down

Have you ever woken up with a warm feeling and then realized, with an awful remembrance that someone you loved has left you?   Congratulations, you are human.

Futures happen regardless.  Exits, entrances, voyages, passions, and discoveries.  Ah life.  It is good.  Would there be smiles if there were no comparisons?  Without a walk on the other side of the mirror there would be no savor. 

Tempting it is to write a wild and stormy story of 2015 and of my human experience out of the gates of the unknown after leaving traditional employment and feeling my way through the unknown, unpredictable world of sustainability and of the racing heart of a friend.  

Easy is not good and not instructive. (Although I wish deeply sometimes for it)   Challenge is the teacher and, oh boy, for me this has been a challenge.  Not a bad thing.  Maybe, after all, I will give in to the temptation and share the second chances with you, just not now.

The word flipped and hung upside down early in the year.  It was an hourglass flipping and full.  The glitter of the sand sometimes ran fast and often seemed like the next grain had personality, shy and hesitant, afraid to go from the possible to the present. Dreams come and go, hourglasses reset.   There are times when you only see the reflection when the light is low after all.

I had a dream.  I still do.  What I did was share that dream and dreamed better and harder.  We became a team of pieces all fitting together.  The puzzle was complete and then blew up leaving only the edges together.  It was put back together with excitement and the picture was different, then, again it would need a newer imagination and restoration.  

For now the story of life falling will wait until the story of landing on a feather bed feels like home again. 

As in the web of nature, the coexistence intrinsic to food forests, and permaculture, some things work and some are revealed to be futile.  Have you ever felt things should happen naturally and realized that very little, in the long run, just happens naturally? 

Congratulations again, you too are human.  We have that in common. 

I would like to thank everyone who reads this blog and follows Foxgreen Farm and jiovi agro-ecology TV on Facebook.  The latter two have, in recent months, the loudest instruments playing.  As the season winds down and transitions become less frequent, you will be hearing more from me here. 

Monday, June 22, 2015

Days are Full

Craig At Foxgreen Farm's field edge

Transition Community

Transition communities are cooperative living areas, towns, hamlets, eco-villages or similar organisms of human environments.  There are economic realities involved with advancing the dream of such places.  Preparing the soil, planting the seeds, and hoping for a season of growth of such a dream takes work, patience, and some money too.  There is no finality but a sustainable endeavor which travels parallel to the seasons and regeneration of life.  Maybe this sounds forward thinking or new to some, but, just a short time ago it was the way of most people.  Here in Central Maine, where the woods and waters dominate, an exciting combination of love and fear has created a strong base of frontierism which hasn't been lost.  

Seaberry update:

The first spring after planting the 500 seaberry plants revealed an unexpected success with very few losses of the plants.  This year, the third year, the plants suffered more over the winter.  A large planting like this generally experiences a twenty five percent loss of plants.  Last winter was one of the most intense in many years here.  Snowfall exceeding seven feet on the ground and lasting well into April may have created a somewhat desperate period for the field mice near the seaberries (Hippophae rhamoides) and they girdled many of the plants.
 The good news is this experiment is progressing well.  Most plants are ok and the damaged ones will be replaced and the things we have learned attempting to grow them in the wilderness will give them a better chance than some of the pioneer plantings.  Another advantage is in the pursuit of a variety which is perfectly suited to ward off some of the most difficult environments and produce great berries.  We go on and forward.
3 yr old Hippophae rhamoides in Maine

Photo Gallery June 2015 at Foxgreen Farm (the edge of endless)


cabin from the vegetable garden

celery and various brassicas

mustard greens


Mountains and the morning sun



Red leaf Romain

Russian Comfrey 

Russian Comfrey

Scarlet Runner Beans

Tom and Riddick, end of day

Friday, June 12, 2015

We Went Into the Woods By Choice

All is fine here in Seboeis Plantation.  Living life is coming together nicely.  The transitions both Craig and I have been making over the past few months have been time consuming and, at times, challenging.  All of those thing are not completely finished and we are continuing to work like madmen making all things awesome. We are ready to be rocked by the wind and the rain, the sun and the stars.  Now living in  one of the most beautiful places in Central Maine our excitement to be part of a community, so very unique in modern times, is very special.  The population is less than 50 here and we are the newest residents.  That may sound small to many readers, but I can tell you it is not at all and here is why.  Most people live in a far more populated environment, work hard, and may not even know the people in the apartment or home next door.  That is not true here.   Busy lives eat up living.  It is so easy to become consumed by the rolling stone that gathers the moss of too much consumerism.  Time spent commuting, (I was traveling 2.5 hours a day getting back and forth to work before leaving that job), as well as, all the other trappings of trying to maintain a "high" standard of living leave so little time to appreciate the minutes of the day.  15 years ago, when I first came to this area and had a piece of land to visit, one of the thoughts that came to mind after spending some time without television and spending time with nature was "People don't realize how much they give up to have so much!"  We are now working harder than ever but the "rat race is over".  
Crab Apple Blooming
Seboeis Plantation, Maine is having a 125th Anniversary Celebration.  On August 8th hundreds of people from the area will visit this unique place and share fun, friends, and food.  Foxgreen Farms and jiovi Seaberry will try it's best to be a friend and contributor to the event.

A very brief history of time in Seboeis Plantation, Maine

1890 - Plantation organized - $200 raised to build schoolhouse
1898 - Bear Bounty = $5.00
1913 - 54 horses and mules 
1914 - 63 horses and mules, 4 automobiles
1918 - Spanish Flu hit Seboeis Plantation
1920 - Population 83
1924 - Railroad Station and daily Stage coach to nearby town
1927 - Mules-9, Oxen-2, Sheep-1, Radio-1
1928 - Poultry-99, Horses-9,Cows-9,Farms-8,Cars-16.  Taxes exempt for Civil War Vets
1929 - Radios-5
1932 - Porcupine bounty $1.00
1935 - approx. 2 million board feet of lumber harvested
1936 - Radios- 8
1946 - Road to Seboeis asphalted
1952 - 21 Milk cows
1956 - 23 radios and television sets
1963 - 7570 domestic foul at the Maple Wood Poultry Co.
1991 - residents - 13
2001 - Fire truck donated by Charlton, Massachusetts
2009 - 23,117.9 acres of undeveloped land, 34 registered voters
2015 - population approx. 33
Late 1800's farmhouse in Seboeis Plantation
Same farmhouse as it appears today

A chance to win a handmade quilt.

Can you help support a unique and special place on our 125th Anniversary?  This quilt was handmade and donated to help defer some of the costs of the anniversary event.  Chances are 1.00/ticket or 5.00/6 tickets.

For more information visit  Link to Facebook Event Page

Next Post...... Seaberry Orchard update!
All the best to everyone! - Tom

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Seaberry/Seabuckthorn Safety and Nutrition - A Summary Study from Technologiko Ekpedeftiko Idrima Peloponnisou in Greece

Hippophae rhamnoides: safety and nutrition

G. Zakynthinos and T. Varzakas
TEI PELOPONNESE, Dept. of Food Technology, School of Agricultural Technology, Food technology and Nutrition
Hippophae rhamnoides, known as sea buckthorn, belongs to the Elaeagnaceae family. It explants, as a large shrub in parts of Eurasia.
Hippophae rhamnoides is one of the oldest land plants, dating from the Ice Age. The first references of its therapeutic effects appear in the 4th century BC. According to historical sources,Hippophae was part of Alexander’s the Great the army diet. It had been observed that both patients and injured horses were treated, by leaves and fruits of this plant. References to its usage are also found in both Tibetan tradition and Chinese medicine. Other sources report that during 13th century, Jenkins Khan had used it in his campaigns. Finally, in 1929 the first biochemical analysis of Hippophae fruits took place [1]. Since then the knowledge of its health properties increases.
Hippophae rhamnoides includes vitamins A and C, alpha-tocopherol, large amounts of carotenoids and vitamin E, minerals (K, Na, Mg, Ca, Fe, Zn, Se), monosaccharides, amino acids, flavonoids, fatty acids, glycerolphospholipids, phytosterols, zeaxanthin esters, polyphenolic compounds (see Table 1), etc. Its composition varies according to origin, climate, and the extraction procedure used. Vitamin C is one of the major vitamins contained in Hippophae rhamnoides. Its fruit provides about 400-600 mg vitamin C/100 gr [1].
Constituent examples
Oleanolic acid, 3-o-trans-p-coumaroyl-oleanolic acid, 3-o-cafeenoyl-oleanolic acid, 2-o-trans-p-coumaroyl-maslinic acid, 2-o-caffenoyl-maslinic acid, ursolic acid, 19-hydroxy-methyl-ursolic acid
C, A, E, zeaxanthin esters, b-carotene, a-tocopherol, folate
Ca, Mg, K, Se, Na, Fe, Zn, P, Co, Cr, Cu, Mn, Ni, Sr, Va, Mb, Al, Li, Cd, As
Heavy metals
Cd, Pb, Hg
Palmitoleic acid, oleic acid, palmitic acid, linoleic acid, a-linolenic acid
Quercetin, kaempferol, isorhamnetin, cathechin, rutin, myricetin
Hippophaenin A, hippophaenin B
Octacosananoic acid
Ellagic acid, ferulic acid
Volatile esters
Ethyl-dodecanoate, ethyl-octanoate, ethyldecanoate
1-0-hexadecanolenic acid
b-sitosterol, stigmastonol, campesterol, stigmastadievol
1-decanol, circiumaldehyde, 5-hydroxy-methyl-2-furancarboxaldehyde
Mannitol, sorbitol, xylitol
Hippophae cerebroside
Free aminoacids
Aspartic acid, praline, threonine, serine, lysine, valine, alanine, phenylalanine, glutamine, isoleucine, glycine, histidine, tyrosine, arginine, cysteine, methionine

Because of its components Hippophae rhamnoides exhibits numerous beneficial actions: antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antineoplastic, immunomodulatory and hepatoprotective.
Figure 1

It possesses strong antioxidant properties so it is used to improve blood pressure and lipids, to prevent and control cardiovascular symptoms (eg angina), to reduce free radicals levels and prevent atheroma.
Both Hippophae rhamnoides leaves and flowers are used in arthritis, gastrointestinal ulcers, gout, and rashes. Its fruits are also used to prevent infection and boost immune function.
There are reports of its administration as an expectorant in treating common cold, asthma and pneumonia; as an aid to improve vision and prevent nyctalopia.
It also helps to heal wounds/injuries from burns, acne, skin ulcers; it may help to improve eczema skin lesions and dermatitis symptoms.
Hippophae rhamnoides seems to reduce cancer morbidity and chemotherapy toxicity, alleviate gastrointestinal symptoms (ulcer, reflux) and detain the dementia onset in aged individuals.
Finally, it seems to participate in body’s protection against radiance effects (UV, X-rays, and radioactivity).
It is considered to be a safe nutritional supplement, with no evidence of toxicity, when used according to the instructions of a doctor or a clinical dietitian. Clinical research suggests thatHippophae rhamnoides can be used safely for up to 90 days [4]. Available reliable information concerning pregnancy and lactation is inadequate.
Reliable evidence for Hippophae rhamnoides efficacy is relatively weak. More extensive clinical research so as to study its effects is required.
Health applications
Cardiovascular disease
Preliminary clinical research in China [5] suggests that taking 10 mg flavonoids extract fromHippophae rhamnoides, 3 times daily for six weeks, reduces blood cholesterol levels, blanks out angina, and improves cardiovascular function in patients with ischemic heart disease. There are no side effects reported on kidney and liver. It was considered that this extract can reduce myocardial stress by reducing proinflammatory factors.
In a clinical study [6], dried Hippophae rhamnoides emulsion was given to 102 people with hyperlipidemia, for 12 consecutive weeks; they had their blood lipids regularly measured (4th, 8th and 12th week). Results showed that in 4 weeks, Hippophae rhamnoides lowered total blood cholesterol, atherosclerotic index (TC-HDL/HDL ratio), and increased HDL-C. Triglycerides decreased by 19.2%, mean atherosclerotic index decreased by 28.2%, and mean HDL-C increased by 18.1%, after treatment.
Two hundred twenty nine healthy participants, divided into two groups, were given low-doseHippophae rhamnoides fruit supplement or placebo, for three months. It appeared that it increased fasting plasma flavonols concentrations, but it did not significantly affect blood lipids, in healthy volunteers [7, 8].
Common cold
Preliminary clinical research shows that consumption of 28 gr Hippophae rhamnoides mashed fruits per day for 90 days does not significantly reduce either the risk of common cold or symptoms duration [4]. Oral administration of 500 mg alcohol extract to sensitive to cold people, every day for three months, reduced cardiovascular effects of stress, from cold [9].
Digestive infection
Clinical research supports that eating 28 gr Hippophae rhamnoides mashed fruits per day, for 90 days, significantly reduces the risk of infection of the digestive tract [4].
Liver Cirrhosis
Clinical research suggests that taking Hippophae rhamnoides extract may reduce liver inflammation [10].

Figure 2

In this study, 50 cirrhotic patients were divided into 2 groups. Group A was given 15 g Hippophae rhamnoides extract, 3 times a day for six months. Group B was given a vitamin B complex supplement, three times a day for six months. After treatment, values of laminin, hyaluronic acid, collagen III and IV and total bile acids were decreased significantly vs. control group (see Figure 2).
Dermatological issues
Palmitoleic acid, contained in Hippophae rhamnoides oil, is a component of our skin, and is thought to help healing wounds and burns – when topically applied. Oral administration of palmitoleic acid may nourish the skin and help in various dermatological issues such as atopic dermatitis.
After a 4-month administration of Hippophae rhamnoides oil in patients with atopic dermatitis, remission of symptoms was observed [11]. 49 patients received 5g per day seed oil, pulp oil or paraffin, for four months. Researchers found that Hippophae rhamnoides seed oil increased significantly the proportion of alpha-linolenic in plasma neutral lipids, alphalinolenic, and eicosapentaenoic acids in plasma phospholipids. After one month of supplementation with seed oil, there were positive correlations between symptom improvement and the increase in proportions of alpha-linolenic acid in plasma phospholipids and neutral lipids.  In plasma phospholipids and neutral lipids, the pulp oil increased the proportion of palmitoleic acid (p<0 .05="" acid.="" acid="" addition="" and="" concentration="" docosapentanoic="" efficiency="" glycerolphospholipids.="" greater="" i="" implies="" in="" increased="" integrating="" lowered="" metabolising="" nbsp="" of="" oil="" palmitate="" pentadecanoic="" percentage="" reduced="" seed="" skin="" that="" the="">Hippophae rhamnoides 
alpha-linolenic acid (vs. linoleic acid), and providing a more stable fatty acids composition of skin glycerolphospholipids.
Wang et al in a controlled study in 151 patients with burns used Hippophae rhamnoides oil or petroleum jelly (control), on their wounds. They reported that the oil reduced wound swelling and relieved pain. Compared to control group, patients in the intervention group reported statistically significant decreased exudation, greater pain relief and faster wound healing.
Sea buckthorn oil is widely used alone or in various preparations topically applied for burns, scalds, ulcerations, and infections. Hippophae oil has UV-blocking activity as well as emollient properties and promotes regeneration of tissues (12). The fruit may also be used for benefiting the hair: the name hippophae, means shiny horse, and refers to the good coat developed by horses feeding off the plant.
Mechanism of action
Cardiovascular effects
Flavonoids from Hippophae rhamnoides fruits are thought to reduce incidence of cardiovascular diseases by reducing cholesterol, inflammation and platelet aggregation [6].
In healthy volunteers, consumption of 28 gr Hippophae rhamnoides mashed fruits per day for 90 days, significantly reduced inflammation rate, and C-reactive protein (CRP) compared to placebo [4]. However, the addition of these flavonols in oatmeal does not appear to significantly reduce CRP, homocysteine or levels of oxidized low density lipoprotein (LDL), in humans. Preliminary clinical research in humans indicates Hippophae rhamnoides oil may prevent platelet aggregation [13].
Supplementation of Hippophae rhamnoides juice with vitamin C, alpha tocopherol, beta-carotene and flavonoids increased plasma HDL-C levels by 20% in healthy male volunteers [14]. Furthermore, reduced susceptibility of LDL-C to oxidation was observed in these subjects.
Antidiabetic effects
Thirty children with insulin dependent diabetes, were given a concentrated supplement, ofHippophae rhamnoides and blueberry for 60 days (see Figure 3). After two months of treatment both erythrocytes’ superoxide dismutase and C-peptide were significantly increased, whereas glycated hemoglobin was significantly decreased [15].

Figure 3

Antioxidant effects
Hippophae rhamnoides leaf extract protected albino male mice from chromium induced oxidative damage [16]. It may also inhibit the effects of oxidative stress on erythrocytes of nicotine exposed mice [17].
Anticancer activity
Animal models show that Hippophae rhamnoides juice reduces the incidence and growth of experimentally induced tumours. Preliminary investigations show that Hippophae rhamnoides oil may reduce chemotherapy toxicity. Extracts, which mainly contain flavonoids, may protect bone marrow by radiation, and can possibly help its faster recovery [18]. Hematopoietic system of mice fed with Hippophae rhamnoides oil, rebounded quickly after a large dose of chemotherapy [19].
Gastroprotective activity
Hippophae rhamnoides likely normalizes gastric acid secretion and reduces inflammation, as well as proinflammatory factors. Preliminary research on animal models showed that Hippophae rhamnoides extract and two components of this oil (beta-sitosterol-beta-D-glucoside and aglycone) may exert protective properties against gastric ulcers [20]. In addition, seed oil seems likely to improve the symptoms of reflux [21].
In Wistar albino rats with ethanol-induced gastric ulcer, the effects of Hippophae rhamnoidesextract (HRe-1), melatonin or omeprazole on glutathione levels (GSH) of gastric tissue were examined [22]. It seemed that HRe-1 induced close to normal glutathione levels (see Figure 4), more than the melatonin, and helped effectively in preventing gastric ulcer formation.

Figure 4


Hepatoprotective activity
In animal models, it was showed that Hippophae rhamnoides seed oil can protect liver from damage induced by carbon tetrachloride, ethyl alcohol or acetaminophen [23].
Protection against radiation
In mice fed with Hippophae rhamnoides fruit, protection from deadly radiation has been reported. Goel et al [24] demonstrated that Hippophae rhamnoides alcoholic extract contributed to survival of 82% of mice compared with no survival of the control group. As shown, this extract caused a strong suppression of chromatin, which could make cells resistant even to a radiation dose of 1000 Gy. Also, it suspended radiation and TBHP induced damage on DNA chains, in a dose dependent manner. This ability to protect DNA could be mainly attributed to direct modulation of chromatin.
Antimicrobial effects
Some studies suggest that H. rhamnoides L. exerts antimicrobial effects. Phenolic compounds of its fruit seem to inhibit Gram-negative bacteria growth [25].
Immunomodulatory effects
Hippophae rhamnoides leaves extract appears to possess significant immunomodulatory effect. In chromium-induced immunosuppression in animals, leaves extract (100 mg / ml) inhibited production of free radicals [26]. Moreover, it stimulated production of both IL-2 and c-IFN, and inhibited chromium-induced reduction of their secretion; however, it did not alter the IL-4 production.
Neurological effects
After two weeks of Hippophae rhamnoides fruit extract (4.0 mg / kg body weight) administration, Wistar albino male rats showed significant increase in mobility. Repeated treatment with haloperidol (2 times/day, 3 mg/kg weight for 2 weeks) – a powerful tranquilizer/antipsychotic drug – reduced significantly (p <0 .01="" 5-hydroxy-tryptamine="" and="" both="" brain="" by="" hormone="" i="" in="" involved="" metabolism="" nbsp="" of="" prevented="" reduction="" serotonin="" the="" this="" tryptophan="" was="">Hippophae rhamnoides 
Side effects
It should be avoided by people with known allergy or hypersensitivity to Hippophae rhamnoidesand its components. Incidentally, there are no side effects reported. Hippophae rhamnoidescould cause excessive bleeding if used postoperatively. Patients should stop consuming it at least two weeks before surgery.
It is not recommended while taking antihypertensive medication [28] (ACE inhibitors or A2R blockers), anticoagulation or antiplatelet agents [12, 13], and anticancer agents (especially cyclophosphamide) [29-31]. In patients with diabetes mellitus or on hypoglycemic agents,Hippophae rhamnoides’ flavonoids may reduce blood glucose, as demonstrated in animal models [32]. In patients with autoimmune diseases or on immunosuppressants, it can increase immune system activity [33, 34].
Interaction with drugs
Hippophae rhamnoides may interact with antibiotics [35] or medicines for blood pressure, such as angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors or competitors receptor II antagonists [28].
It may increase the risk of bleeding when taken along with drugs that reduce blood coagulation [13, 14, 36], such as aspirin, anticoagulants (eg warfarin, heparin), antiplatelet drugs (eg clopidogrel), and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs, ibuprofen or naproxen).
It can also reduce blood glucose levels [11, 32]. Caution is advised when using medications that may also help reduce blood glucose. Patients taking oral agents for diabetes or insulin should be monitored closely by their doctor or clinical dietitian. Medication adjustments may be necessary.
Use with caution if you receive hypocholesterolemic therapy [5, 6] due to risk of cumulative effects.
The antioxidant activity of Hippophae rhamnoides is unclear. Use with caution with antioxidant supplements because of possible additive effects.
Hippophae rhamnoides can reduce the formation of ulcers [22, 37]. Use with caution if you take antiulcer treatment because of possible additive effects.
It may significantly affect the action of certain immunosuppressive drugs [26] and chemotherapy formulations [18]. Use with caution if you are taking immunosuppressive drugs because of possible additive effects.
Interactions with Herbs & Supplements
Simultaneous use of Hippophae rhamnoides with herbs that prevent platelet aggregation [13] can theoretically increase the risk of bleeding. Some of these herbs and supplements include: ginkgo biloba, cloves, garlic, oil, vitamin E, the Panax ginseng, the ginger, red clover (red clover), turmeric, the chrysanthemum, the horse chestnut, Angela etc.
Caution is recommended in case of concurrent Hippophae rhamnoides use with herbs or supplements that lower blood pressure [28, 38] (fish oil, coenzyme Q10, garlic, ginseng, andrographis, peptides of casein, cat’s claw, L-arginine, lycium, stinging nettle, theianine etc.) and / or blood glucose (beta-glucan, bitter melon, ginseng, gymnema, chromium).
Interactions with food
There is no interaction known.
Interactions with laboratory tests
No interaction is known.
Separation of useful components of the berries with the use of a press/decanter yields the key products of juice, dried fruit nutrients, and oil from the seeds and pulp. The juice containing oil and water passes through a disk stack centrifuge (cream separator) and yields juice and sediment. The sediment passes then through a spray drier to yield the nutrient supplement in powdered form. Through the cream separator we also get the cream which yields the sea buckthorn pulp oil through extraction.
Seed oil can be obtained from the press/decanter through the press cake, the finisher, the drier and the oil extractor.
Residues can be utilized as valuable animal feed.
New technologies, involving supercritical carbon dioxide extraction, are now being used in China to efficiently produce the oil products (39).

  1. Bilaloglu Guliyeva, V., M. Gulb, and A. Yildirima, Hippophae rhamnoides L: chromatographic methods to determine chemical composition, use in traditional medicine and pharmacological effects. Journal of Chromatography B, 2004. 812: p. 291-397.
  2. Cakir, A., Essential oil and fatty acid composition of the fruits of Hippophae rhamnoides L. (Sea Buckthorn) and Myrtus communis L. from Turkey. Biochemical Systematics and Ecology, 2004. 32(9): p. 809-16.
  3. Zheng, R.X., et al., Chemical constituents from the fruits of Hippophae rhamnoides.Natural Product Research, 2009. 23(15): p. 1451-6.
  4. Larmo, P., J. Alin, and E. Salminen, Effects of sea buckthorn berries on infections and inflammation: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial. Eur J Clin Nutr, 2008. 62: p. 1123-30.
  5. Suomela, J., M. Ahotupa, and B. Yang, Absorption of flavonols derived from sea buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides L.) and their effect on emerging risk factors for cardiovascular disease in humans. J Agric Food Chem, 2006. 54: p. 7364-9.
  6. Zhang, M., Treatment of ischemic heart diseases with flavonoids of Hippophae rhamnoides. Chin J Cardiol, 1987. 15: p. 97-9.
  7. Yang, C., A clinical study of reducing fat and anti-oxidation of dried Hippoplae emulsion. Hippophae, 1995. 8: p. 33-5.
  8. Larmo, P., et al., Effect of a low dose of sea buckthorn berries on circulating concentrations of cholesterol, triacylglycerols, and flavonols in healthy adults. Eur J Nutr, 2009. 48(5): p. 277-82.
  9. Dubey, G., A. Agrawal, and S. Dixit, Role of Seabuckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides) in the maintenance of cardiovascular homeostasis following cold stress. Journal of Natural Remedies, 2003. 3: p. 36-40.
  10. Gao, Z., et al., Effect of Sea buckthorn on liver fibrosis: A clinical study. World J. Gastroenterol, 2003. 9(7): p. 1615-7.
  11. Yang, Baoru, et al., Effects of dietary supplementation of sea buckthorn oils on fatty acids in patients with atopic dermatitis, 1999 Proceedings of the International Sea Buckthorn Congress, ICRTS, Beijing.
  12. Ianev E, et al., The effect of an extract of sea buckthorn on the healing of experimental skin wounds in rats, Dermatology 1995; 48(3): 30-33.
  13. Johansson, A., H. Korte, and B. Yang, Sea buckthorn berry oil inhibits platelet aggregation. J Nutr Biochem, 2000. 11: p. 491-5.
  14. Eccleston, C., et al., Effects of an antioxidant-rich juice (sea buckthorn) on risk factors for coronary heart disease in humans. J Nutr Biochem, 2002. 13(6): p. 346-54.
  15. Nemes-Nagy, E., et al., Effect of a dietary supplement containing blueberry and sea buckthorn concentrate on antioxidant capacity in type 1 diabetic children. Acta Physiol Hung, 2008. 95(4): p. 383-93.
  16. Geetha, S., et al., Evaluation of antioxidant activity of leaf extract of Seabuckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides L.) on chromium (VI) induced oxidative stress in albino rats. J Ethnopharmacol, 2003. 87(2-3): p. 247-51.
  17. Suleyman, H., et al., Beneficial effects of Hippophae rhamnoides L. on nicotine induced oxidative stress in rat blood compared with vitamin E. Biol Pharm Bull., 2002. 25(9): p. 1133-6.
  18. Agrawala, P. and H. Goel, Protective effect of RH-3 with special reference to radiation induced micronuclei in mouse bone marrow. Indian J Exp Biol, 2002. 40(5): p. 525-30.
  19. Chen, Y., Study on the effects of the oil from Hippophae rhamnoides in hematopoiesis.Chin Herb Drugs, 2003. 26: p. 572-5.
  20. Amosova, E., E. Zueva, and T. Razina, [The search for new antiulcer agents from plants in Siberia and Far East] (abstract). [Article in Russian]. Eskp Klin Farmakol, 1998. 61: p. 31-5.
  21. Gengquan, Q. and Q. Xiang, [A clinical report on the therapeutics of seabuckthorn oil softgels on peptic ulcer in 30 cases] abstract. [Article in Chinese]. Hippophae, 1997.10: p. 39-41.
  22. Suleyman, H., et al., The effects of Hippophae rhamnoeides L. Extract on ethanol induced gastric lession and gastric tissue glutathione level in rats: a comperative study with melatonin and omeprazole. Indian J Pharmacol, 2001. 33: p. 77-81.
  23. Cheng, T., Acute toxicity of flesh oil of Hippophae rhamnoides and its protection against hepatic injury. J Trad Chin Med, 1990. 15: p. 45-47, 64.
  24. Goel, H., et al., Radioprotection by herbal preparation of , RH-3, against whole body lethal irradiation in mice. Phytomedicine, 2002. 9: p. 15-25.
  25. Puupponen-Pimia, R., et al., Antimicrobial properties of phenolic compounds from berries. J Appl Microbiol, 2001. 90(4): p. 494-507.
  26. Geetha, S., et al., Immunomodulatory effects of seabuckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides L.) against chromium (VI) induced immunosuppression. Mol Cell Biochem, 2005. 278(1-2): p. 101-9.
  27. Batool, F., et al., Oral Supplementation of Sea Buckthorn (Hippophae Rhamnoides L. Spp. Turkestanica) Fruit Extract Modifies Haloperidol Induced Behavioral deficits and Increases Brain Serotonin Metabolism. Journal of Food and Drug Analysis, 2009. 17(4): p. 257-63.
  28. Zhu, F., M. Zhang, and J. Wang, Inhibitory effect of total flavones of Hippophae rhamnoides L on angiotensin converting enzyme from rabbit. Chinese Journal of Clinical Pharmacy (China), 2000. 9: p. 95-8.
  29. Boivin, D., et al., Inhibition of cancer cell proliferation and suppression of TNF-induced activation of NFkappaB by edible berry juice. Anticancer Res, 2007. 27(2): p. 937-48.
  30. Sun, B., et al., [Study on effect of flavonoids from oil-removed seeds of Hippophae rhamnoides on inducing apoptosis of human hepatoma cell]. Zhong.Yao Cai, 2003.26(12): p. 875-7.
  31. Teng, B., et al., In vitro anti-tumor activity of isorhamnetin isolated from Hippophae rhamnoides L. against BEL-7402 cells. Pharmacol Res, 2006. 54(3): p. 186-94.
  32. Cao, Q., et al., [Effect of flavonoids from the seed and fruit residue of Hippophae rhamnoides L. on glycometabolism in mice]. Zhong.Yao Cai, 2003. 26(10): p. 735-7.
  33. Prakash, H., et al., Modification of gamma radiation induced response of peritoneal macrophages and splenocytes by Hipophae rhamnoides (RH-3) in mice. Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology (England), 2005. 57: p. 1065-72.
  34. Mishra, K., et al., Effect of Seabuckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides) flavone on immune system: an in-vitro approach. Phytother Res, 2008. 22(11): p. 1490-5.
  35. Li, Y., et al., In vitro anti-Helicobacter pylori action of 30 Chinese herbal medicines used to treat ulcer diseases. J Ethnopharmacol, 2005. 98(3): p. 329-33.
  36. Cheng, J., et al., Inhibitory effects of total flavones of Hippophae Rhamnoides L on thrombosis in mouse femoral artery and in vitro platelet aggregation. Life Sci., 2003.72(20): p. 2263-71.
  37. Xing, J., et al., Effects of sea buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides L.) seed and pulp oils on experimental models of gastric ulcer in rats. Fitoterapia, 2002. 73: p. 644-50.
  38. Pang, X., et al., Antihypertensive effect of total flavones extracted from seed residues of Hippophae rhamnoides L. in sucrose-fed rats. J Ethnopharmacol, 2008. 117(2): p. 325-31.

Friday, May 15, 2015

We Hold on to Hope

Away from all the fears, the sun rises.  It lifts us from the valley of our pain with the strength of truth. 

David Homgren's 12 Rules of Permaculture

  1. Observe and Interact – “Beauty is in the mind of the beholder”
  2. By taking the time to engage with nature we can design solutions that suit our particular situation.
  3. Catch and Store Energy – “Make hay while the sun shines”
    By developing systems that collect resources when they are abundant, we can use them in times of need.
  4. Obtain a yield – “You can’t work on an empty stomach”
    Ensure that you are getting truly useful rewards as part of the working you are doing.
  5. Apply Self Regulation and Accept Feedback – “The sins of the fathers are visited on the children of the seventh generation”
    We need to discourage inappropriate activity to ensure that systems can continue to function well. Negative feedback is often slow to emerge.
  6. Use and Value Renewable Resources and Services – “Let nature take its course”
    Make the best use of nature’s abundance to reduce our consumptive behavior and dependence on non-renewable resources.
  7. Produce No Waste – “Waste not, want not” or “A stitch in time saves nine”
    By valuing and making use of all the resources that are available to us, nothing goes to waste.
  8. Design From Patterns to Details – “Can’t see the forest for the trees”
    By stepping back, we can observe patterns in nature and society. These can form the backbone of our designs, with the details filled in as we go.
  9. Integrate Rather Than Segregate – “Many hands make light work”
    By putting the right things in the right place, relationships develop between those things and they work together to support each other.
  10. Use Small and Slow Solutions – “Slow and steady wins the race” or “The bigger they are, the harder they fall”
    Small and slow systems are easier to maintain than big ones, making better use of local resources and produce more sustainable outcomes.
  11. Use and Value Diversity – “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket”
    Diversity reduces vulnerability to a variety of threats and takes advantage of the unique nature of the environment in which it resides.
  12. Use Edges and Value the Marginal – “Don’t think you are on the right track just because it’s a well-beaten path”
    The interface between things is where the most interesting events take place. These are often the most valuable, diverse and productive elements in the system.
  13. Creatively Use and Respond to Change – “Vision is not seeing things as they are but as they will be”
    We can have a positive impact on inevitable change by carefully observing and then intervening at the right time.

3 Ethics

  1.   care for the earth
  2.  care for people
  3.  and fair share.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Russian Comfrey - Plant Profile

Update:Hello and all the best to you all as spring really gets rolling.  In most of the country it is well established.  Here in north central Maine it is a little slower and the farm is still inaccessible via the 6 mile woods road to it's wilderness location.  Most of the top half of the country has some sort of  mud season.  Here it is a big thing and really does shut down roads for weeks.  We are preparing for a working blitz as soon as we can get in there.  The blog will become again much more real-time once we do it.  The first thing will be to assess the winter damage, if any to the seaberry orchard.  Snow causes significant damage to the plants in Mansfield, MA.  Having said that, the plants didn't seem to mind a few broken branches.  We are wrapping up the Massachusetts location and moving everything to Maine- lots of that is complete already.  We are working out of a temporary shipping facility in Bangor, ME, again, until the woods allow us to return.

Russian Comfrey for Your Integrated Permaculture World- 

Information collected from

Traits of All Russian Comfrey Cultivars

All types of Russian Comfrey (cultivars Bocking No. 1 through Bocking No. 21) are botanically known as "Symphytum × uplandicum" or "Symphytum x uplandica". They all are a cross (natural hybrid, not GMO) between rough comfrey and common comfrey.

They grow to 4 feet tall including the flower stalk. Russian comfrey has purple, magenta-pink, red or blue (that fade to pink) flowers. The seeds are not viable (sterile, will not grow). It has to be reproduced by root and crown cuttings.

Russian Comfrey is very hardy. The foliage (leaves) can tolerate 15 degrees for short periods. The perennial roots can withstand temperatures as low as -40 degrees. It can survive in temperatures as hot as 120 degrees. Good in USDA Zones 2-9.

The powerful roots of Russian Comfrey Bocking #4 go down 8-10 feet. Bocking #14 roots go down 6-8 feet. Both are good plants to use to break up hard soil.
Russian Comfrey is High in Protein

The protein amount in dried comfrey is 20-30%. Most beans (legumes) are around 8-9%. Soybeans are around 17%.

"I (have) comfrey roots, that I intend to use for rabbits I am raising for food and for fertilizing later on. They have come up beautifully and are looking very nice and healthy. " -Cindy, Jacksboro, Tennessee

Russian Comfrey is High in Biomass

Both Russian Comfreys produce up to 100-120 tons per acre of leaf biomass (recently cut) per year. This is about 12.4 tons of dried comfrey leaf per acre. This is 3 times the amount that True Comfrey produces.

Alfalfa yields 18 tons per acre (just cut). Corn is 25 tons per acre before it is dried. Pasture grass is 25 tons an acre.

The drawing below is Russian Comfrey from Lawrence Hills' book "Russian Comfrey: A Hundred Tons an Acre".

Feeding Comfrey to Livestock

Every farm should grow comfrey. Livestock love Russian comfrey.

If using comfrey to feed animals, there are several ways to do it. One is to plant your roots where the animals can not reach them. Then cut all the leaves and stalks off a few inches from the ground. A sickle works well for this. Bring the leaves to the animals. Repeat in a few weeks.

The photo below a Toggenburg doe and doeling in my pasture with comfrey #14 and other plants.

Rotational Grazing of Comfrey

Another way is to use rotational grazing. Plant comfrey in your pasture with other plants. Let your animals in that pasture for a day, a few days or a week. Stop them before they eat everything down too much. Then let your pasture grow back and repeat.

Animals will weaken the comfrey plant if left with it all the time. They love it too much.

Russian Comfrey #4 and #14 Are Similar

Both Bocking #4 and #14 can be used as garden fertilizer, compost activator, mulch, medicine, or be fed to animals as fodder.

Both reduce transplant shock of plants. Put some leaves in the hole before you replant.

This photo is a Toggenburg goat eating some Russian Comfrey Bocking #14. Goats like all types of comfrey.

Comfrey and Your Garden

Bocking #14 is more frequently used as a garden fertilizer because its stalks are a little thinner than #4 so it decomposes faster. Bocking #4 is used more as an animal fodder (feed). However, either variety can fulfill your needs if you only want to grow one type. The differences between the two are small. 

Leaves are wilted and then placed in a hole or trench to act as nutrition for whatever is planted in the hole such as potatoes or a tomato plant.

Comfrey and Liquid Fertilizer

Another way to use it is by making liquid fertilizer or compost tea. You put about 5 pounds of comfrey leaves in 7 gallons of water. If you want a lot of fertilizer, use a 55 gallon barrel. Use a proportional amount of leaves. Cover with a lid and let sit for 4-6 weeks. The liquid is used to fertilize your plants. 

This photo is Russian Comfrey with frosty leaves. It is very frost hardy.

Comparing #14 to #4: Potassium

Russian Comfrey is high in potash (potassium). Dried leaves of Bocking #14 are 7.09% potash. Bocking #4 is 5.04%. True Comfrey (Symphytum officinale) has 5.3% potash.

Wilted Comfrey #14 has more than twice as much potash as farm manure and 30% more than compost.

Comfrey NPK

The Nitrogen-Phosphorus-Potassium (NPK) ratio of True Comfrey is 1.80-0.50-5.30.

In the chart to the left, fresh leaves of Comfrey #14 compares favorably to farm yard manure in nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.

Rust and Drought Resistance

Bocking #14 Comfrey is more rust resistant. Rust is a fungal disease. Disease is very rare in all comfrey. 

Bocking #4 is more drought resistant than #14 because it has deeper roots. Though both are very drought resistant because they have very deep roots. 

If you would like even more information please visit

Nancy Shirley has written a book with tons of information and passion for farming.  

Thursday, May 7, 2015

We're Comin' Home

“If we surrendered
to earth's intelligence
we could rise up rooted, like trees.” 
Rainer Maria Rilke, Rilke's Book of Hours: Love Poems to God

Closer to the Dream - Deep Ecology, Deep Community, Deep Environment.

Oh where to start... In January we told of some wishes that were never better, dreams for us.   Some would certainly be the same as a few of yours and some would seem fun, yet a distant possibility. The stars have aligned and the earth continues to give us a feeling of all.

Some Things to Tell

We are still a fairly small operation.  A few years ago, just starting sales of plants and seeds, we were just beginning and were fortunate having a few customers.  Today we have moved ahead and hundreds of people have become Facebook friends, customers, and 150,000 have viewed this blog. This past winter in January I wrote "There's Never a Wish Better than This"  The wishes are coming true!  If you are newer to reading about us, let me share with you a few of the wings that have carried us to this ongoing journey. 


I am an old man of 54 :-) .  I have navigated life so far without another person to strengthen my world as if two were one.  What I am talking about, is that narrow, wide, and golden connection husbands and wives should have in turn.  That said, over the past couple of years I won 10 times the luck of an Irish Sweepstakes and enjoy and protect an epic friendship with a very special friend who helps paint the picture of my world.  
Where did this heart of mine grow from?  Where have the main feeder roots anchored to get me to this place today?  Here is part of the the foundation of how the light is shining today.  Most are old and below the frost line, not in the forefront, and have settled a bit.  There is so much more and I'm sure you understand these are only part of the why. 
At seventeen years old, my lights went out.  A terrible auto accident, for me, resulted in a brain injury.  It taught me the world is a perception, and that life is surprising fragile.  
A baby.  At twenty two my world changed with loving and the navigation of being a stand-in dad. For over a year, Mr. Mom was me and the universe was shining as bright as possible.  Then the little guy was gone.  Time heals slowly and the world gets back to a new place where belonging returns. 
Medical mistake.  All done.  Time to run?-No.  The medical people's best efforts told me I should have been gone long ago at age twenty three.  The black bird landed on my shoulder and there was nothing to be done, no treatment.  For 30 years that bird was on my shoulder and it died before I did. Died from waiting I think.  After 30 years a physician who actually paid attention in school informed me I never had any dreaded disease.  I had wondered why the years of monitoring never showed the expected falling to pieces and final break even time for me. Those years could have gone different ways. Choosing to think of it as an opportunity to live in the present, along with imagining a future where nobody died,  I'm alive somehow was the choice I made.  I needed the stars in the sky, the infinity of the wilderness, horizons, and the flame of compassion.  It was half a flame.  I could give it but couldn't accept it.  It risked hurting someone.  How could I let them in and then knowingly, premeditatedly cause the pain of loss for that person?  Sensible, understandable, logical, and I thought the right thing to do. It was the wrong decision.  That's all over now.  I don't miss the black birds and I smile when I hear them cry. 


Craig is extraordinary and exceptional.  His talent and skill is endless.  He has let life in, always hearing and seeing ways to create better lives for everyone around him.  He will tell you more himself someday.  I owe him an ocean of thanks.  Foxgreen Farms, jiovi, and all the future is connected to the work we are doing together and is only possible as an epic team.  

Real friendships among men are so rare
that when they occur they are famous.
- Clarence Day

Craig"s children are the soundtrack of his life and reminds me he is a man of no broken smiles.  He is home now and staying home.  

For both of us the skies aren't rough any longer.  The thoughts have turned to the earth.  We won't give up.  The world depends on life a new way.  Here, close to our home and your home we can all continue the example of many, and expand the knowledge of resilient living and sustainable agriculture.  Food and water precedes education and health.

We feel that much of the world's sorrow comes from people who do not have their basic needs met. If we decentralize our dependence in America, will the world follow and become a more peaceful place?  Yes.