Of Golden Geese and Herding Cats: Life and Death of a Foodie Blogging Network


Over the last five years, Ann Marie Michaels has been a soaring natural food star. Or maybe a meteor would be more like it. 


The savvy and charismatic entrepreneur rode exploding interest in artisanal raw milk cheese and other nutrient-dense foods, and built her Cheeseslave site into a gathering  place for thousands of followers interested in her recipes and tips for not only making cheese, but preparing and finding food in the Weston A. Price Foundation tradition. 


Five years ago, she launched Village Green Network (originally known as Real Food Media), a blog aggregator that at one point in 2012 and 2013 connected more than 900 food and health-related blogs with makers and sellers of nutritious food and environmentally-friendly products.  The idea was to deliver to large advertisers a huge audience of natural food lovers. There would be online conferences, e-books and other products for bloggers to participate in selling…..and share revenues from. (Earning half of all advertising, and up to 70% on books and conference sales.)


The approach turned into a win-win enterprise for everyone. Bloggers, who are always struggling to find ways to generate income from their work, at long last had a seemingly reliable way to monetize their blogs. Michaels had an immediate income winner and the prospect of a hyper-growing business run by her and husband Seth Shapiro. Could venture capital and and an IPO be far off?


Even as VGN grew into a formidable advertising force, Michaels maintained an informal community-oriented approach, resisting the temptation to put together written agreements. Bloggers worked together to help each other generate traffic, each week organizing campaigns to use Facebook, Twitter and other social media to attract readers to their blog articles about how to make your own suntan lotion or use coconut oil for healthier cooking. 


Within a few years, after word got out that some VGN bloggers were earning six-figure incomes from VGN, food bloggers everywhere were clamoring to be part of the online network. While she had been cautious about expanding from 2009 to 2011, not letting the network get beyond 40 bloggers, by 2012 she decided to take the wraps off, and allowed the blog to grow to 900-plus members. 


Michaels herself became a darling of the food rights movement, showing up to support Rawesome Food Club defendants Victoria Bloch and James Stewart, and providing coverage of various farmers under government pressure to give up raw dairy production, like Vernon Hershberger of Wisconsin and Daniel Allgyer of Pennsylvania, on her Cheeseslave site. 


Somehow, though, it all seems to have unraveled in the last year, and has morphed into a morality play with shades of “Who killed the golden goose?” 


VGN had definitely become something of a golden goose, spinning off cash for all involved. (Michaels declines to provide any revenue data.) But the killing of the goose occurred slowly, likely beginning last fall, when VGN pared down its blog network from more than 900 down to a little over 100, and required bloggers to sign exclusive two-year contracts to be part of the network. 


Now, VGN has announced it is exiting the blog networking business. Putting the most positive spin possible on the network implosion, Michaels says on her Cheeseslave site: “We’ve moved from where we started (as a blog network) to a destination site…..As much as I have loved working with bloggers and helping them to grow their traffic, I found (by doing) that it was not a business that would scale.” 


Left in the VGN wake are a dozen or more bloggers complaining that the problem wasn’t a business that wouldn’t scale, but a failure by Michaels and partner-husband, Seth Shapiro, to live up to their revenue-sharing obligations. VGN stiffed them, they say, withholding hundreds and even thousands of dollars in advertising and other revenues. 


There are stories showing up on Facebook of mom bloggers who stayed up till all hours of the night writing special articles on making healthy brownies or starting a veggie garden, designed to drive traffic to the VGN advertisers….now contending that payments due them are being held up.  


Even on her own Cheeseslave blog (which Michaels says will be put in mothballs as she moves full-time to re-make VGN), nasty comments have begun showing up. “Little miss queen is being knocked off her pedestal,” gloats one. Says another: “I’m very sad, though, to read reports of thousands of dollars of money owed by VGN to your former bloggers, many or most of whom have reportedly bailed amid threats of legal action. I find it really shocking.”


Some of the bloggers say VGN earlier this year demanded fees of $30,000 from a few bloggers to exit their two-year exclusive contracts, and has threatened legal actions, while holding up payment of revenue due the bloggers. Others that went along with the contract provisions say that payments due them stopped shortly after the first of this year.  And still others say they were left completely in the dark when VGN went to its contract system late last year—they weren’t given contracts, and weren’t sure what their status was. 


These bloggers and others say they have shied away from going public with their own personal stories out of fear VGN will take legal action against them, forcing them into expensive court defenses.  One individual who has gone public is Doris Tan, a blogger recruiter and operations director for Michaels in 2012 and 2013. In a Facebook post a few days ago, she stated: “You bloggers have stayed in silence because a mom blogger in Michigan can’t afford retaliation in the form of orchestrated letters from VGN lawyers scaring them with promises of lawsuits…. I have been silent for over a year. I will not sit in silent anymore and ask you to stand with me…with the entire real food blogger community, and tell VGN: NO MORE!”


What went so badly wrong at VGN? 


A lot of things, and the problems have been building for months. I signed my blog up as a VGN member earlier this year, promoting a VGN online conference I was speaking at. Not long after that event, I began hearing rumblings of problems from other bloggers. 


According to Michaels, the problems probably began in 2012, when VGN decided to accede to blogger interest, and growing demand by advertisers, and increase its blogger network from about 40 up to 900 in the span of a year. The problem that quickly developed, says Michaels, was “keeping tabs on 900 bloggers.” They wanted real-time data on their traffic and earnings. VGN was having trouble giving them past-time data. 


 Last fall, VGN decided that one step essential to creating more order was to put its bloggers on written contracts, and pare down its blogger roster. Some had very little traffic because the blogs weren’t regularly updated.  It was the old “80-20 rule” at work—that 80% of a company’s sales come from 20% of its distributors, says Michaels. 


Michaels says she was concerned about “liability” issues with advertisers if bloggers in her network were taking ads from competitors, or writing blog posts slamming advertisers. One example of the latter she points to was a 2012 blog post by Sarah Pope slamming VGN advertiser Whole Foods (“Whole Foods: the Walmart of Healthfood”).


“The contracts didn’t say people couldn’t write critical articles, but we just wanted to see those kinds of posts in advance.” 


In January, VGN encountered what it thought were inappropriate business practices by about 20 high-traffic bloggers, who were directing links to what Michaels calls “scraper pages”—special web site pages with minimal content, and links to additional pages—as a way to maximize their own advertising revenues. Michaels saw this practice by the bloggers as a threat to the Google rankings of all blogs under the VGN banner.


When VGN challenged these bloggers, according to Michaels, they quit en masse. From VGN’s viewpoint, the loss of these bloggers was a huge financial hit—she estimates it at about $500,000. “There was the loss of revenue from their traffic, and they weren’t running our banners, plus there was collateral damage in the way it affected other bloggers. There was gossiping and negative feelings about the network. Other bloggers had signed up to be part of a thriving network.” 


VGN demanded compensation for release from the two years of exclusivity. “If you are a blogger, and we trained you and we helped you quadruple your traffic, we have an investment. You might bring in one thousand dollars a month, and over two years, that is $24,000.” 


The business problem growing out of the blogger flight, says Michaels, is that advertisers signed contracts with her network based on expectations of a certain amount of traffic over a particular period of time—often three or six months beyond when the bloggers quit.  


Michaels says she tried to negotiate with the bloggers who wanted out, and they mostly refused—wouldn’t return calls or emails. “If you have someone on a TV series and you built them up as a star, and you have episodes written in which they are starring, and then they suddenly quit, what are you going to do?”


Things got worse over the last few months, she says, as more than 20 additional high-traffic bloggers quit, “largely because of so much bad blood put out there by others.” She speculates that some bloggers had developed additional revenue sources, and felt ever less dependent on VGN.


More fuel was added to the flames when a VGN manager and blogger recruiter, Doris Tan (quoted above), went to the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement last year, accusing VGN of failing to abide by employment niceties like paying overtime and providing meal periods….even though Michaels says she was hired as a contractor.  Tan was awarded $19,000, and has said she is among those who haven’t been paid. A second paid associate was awarded $5,000, says Michaels. 


Ann Marie MichaelsMichaels says she is committed to paying everyone all they are owed, and asks the bloggers and others for patience. She says she had paid everyone on time for the previous four years, until the beginning of this year, when the business problems caught up with VGN. 


She says emails are going out within the next day or two to all existing bloggers under contract, promising to begin a “payment plan” to make everyone whole. But restoring the golden goose probably won’t happen, at least via the blogger-network model. (I am one of those owed money, less than $100.)


When fast-growing companies flame out this way, it’s usually the result of inexperienced management combined with insufficient financing topped off by unrealistic expectations. While Michaels worked for years as an advertising executive prior to launching Cheeseslave and VGN, she had never helped grow a venture like VGN. 


Moreover, both Michaels and the bloggers seemed to have held unrealistic expectations. Michaels thought she could steer bloggers, used to operating independently, to abide by strict exclusive contracts, producing a steady stream of pro-advertiser posts. And the bloggers seemed to think that Michaels was making money hand over fist, while they struggled to create attractive content.  There have been a number of comments on Facebook about Michaels and hubbie Shapiro living a lavish lifestyle, jetting off to Europe, joining an expensive gym, and Michaels getting facial treatments. “I’ve never even had a facial,” says Michaels. She and Shapiro have been sharing a car that is paid off, for the last two years, to save money, she adds. 


“Growing a business this way is very hard,” she reflects. “I think most of the bloggers meant well,” but others didn’t. “They didn’t just quit independently, they quit en masse.” 


VGN, she says, “is the goose that laid the golden egg. The social media is what let them grow. They had access to a sales force. They were part of a network that allowed them to learn from each other. They did well. They grew. But in the end, they killed the goose that laid the golden egg.” 


Or, as some of the bloggers might suggest, Michaels failed to listen closely enough to truly appreciate their grievances. She was insistent on doing things her way, imposing too much structure on an organic process that had worked very well.…and so must take responsibility for her role in the goose-killing. 


In any event, things usually are great in business when everyone is making money, and they generally become just awful when the tide turns. 


Michaels says she’s not giving up. She doesn’t know the exact form VGN will take going forward, but she is committed to continuing to get the word out about the power of nutrient-dense food.


Organizing bloggers may not be the optimal approach, though. As difficult as it is to create golden geese, it’s perhaps even harder to herd cats.  

Copyright © 2014, David E. Gumpert, All Rights Reserved

Leave a Reply

58 Comments on "Of Golden Geese and Herding Cats: Life and Death of a Foodie Blogging Network"

Notify of

Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
June 24, 2014 5:07 pm

i know this has become such a hugely emotional issue for many. i appreciate this article taking that emotion out and offering up more of a unbiased view for those of us not in the know. perhaps we can look forward to a follow-up article that includes a couple more voices from the other side?

Kristen P
June 24, 2014 6:44 pm

Why did you not interview Doris Tan? Or the some of the larger bloggers that were under VGN? Did you even contact them, David?

June 24, 2014 7:59 pm

As a former VGN publisher I will say that the placid, polite Ann Marie in this article is false. The contract was never even offered to smaller bloggers like myself, who were ignored and kept in the dark. The DIY sunscreen article recently posted on VGN was stolen from a friend of mine who worked very hard on it. All comments pointing this out were promptly deleted and the dmca takedown notice has been so far ignored. She is very dishonorable.

Sylvia Gibson
Sylvia Gibson
June 24, 2014 10:35 pm

I don’t know if this is the correct company, perhaps it is as I think that is her husband’s name at the bottom as Admin name. I googled Village Green Network Google analytics and this is what came up.


Dave Milano
June 25, 2014 12:43 am

Money money money. Sigh.

The real golden eggs in life surely are caring relationships, and the geese are loving human beings. Those simple truths are quickly forgotten in the scramble for money, and of course thoroughly smothered under the near continual pop-culture message that more money is always better, and that happiness is a purchasable commodity.

I find it particularly sad when food becomes the money-chasing vehicle. It has been pointed out many times on this blog and elsewhere that food growing, processing and distributing can be a very positive relationship builder, at least when oriented around community and family. Local food production is a natural social balm (a fact fortified by the practical reality that physical health is strongly tied to local, diverse food sourcing, especially when that sourcing involves the participant’s own physical labor).

Now indulge me in saying that I very much appreciate what David Gumpert does. He deserves hearty thanks for this forum and for his related endeavors. But for what it’s worth, I must say that I find much more interesting and edifying David’s stories about local, diverse farms and their struggle to feed their neighbors, and the follow-up comments of farmers and gardeners struggling to feed their neighbors (I’m thinking now particularly of those who have eschewed the kool-aid and instead thoughtfully sought the truth through observation, common sense, and big-picture thinking–miguel for instance, politely banging his head against the brick wall of germ theory), than familiar stories about money masquerading as love and kindness.

Anyway, here’s a crisp and coherent quote from the beautiful movie “Sweetland,” which took a sober look at the nexus between war, prejudice, and the money-driven transition from human-style to industrial-style agriculture:

“Farming and banking don’t mix.”

Sally Oh
Sally Oh
June 25, 2014 1:42 am

As one who was treated unfairly by Michaels back in the RFM days, I’ve watched the process unfold, then unravel. I appreciate hearing her side of it, thank you, David. She sounds logical and reasonable talking to you. She was neither to me. My experience with VGN and Michaels was humiliating and demoralizing, classic bully behavior. As sad as it is that such a great idea is ending so badly, I must say it is a relief to find out it wasn’t me.

The VGN “Marketplace” was supposed to be the golden goose, hooking up big name real food advertisers with real food bloggers and theirreaders. But it just never got off the ground. I’d build websites for real food bloggers and when I got to building the Marketplace page, there was never more than 2 or 3 advertisers. And not a single advertiser that a blogger couldn’t affiliate on his or her own.

A few months ago, without warning, the Marketplace devolved to products sold thru Michael’s Amazon account. As an Amazon affiliate, I’m wondering how that money could be accounted for and divvied up.

So, instead of the non-Marketplace, money came from Google click ads (nothing wrong with that, certainly) hooked up to VGN. The ppc money went to VGN, VGN took its cut then spread the wealth around according to # of clicks. A great plan but former real food bloggers have toldme personally that the wealth never actually left VGN HQ. I’m glad VGN plans to make good on its contractual agreements.

Bloggers certainly grew their network through VGN which means they got the word out and were able to support their passion.

Shameless plug here (with David’s permission), I offer a service that schedules weekly social media marketing for a network of real food, liberty and farm food freedom bloggers (I am one as well). In addition, I do the actual postings as a separate service. If interested in being part of the network, PM me on Facebook.com/fiftytolife. No contract, limit 100 bloggers.

Thank you again, David. Ann Marie is definitely charismatic and she offered a great product. She has a lot on the ball and I hope she pulls it together.

June 25, 2014 2:09 am

“…. And the bloggers seemed to think that Michaels was making money hand over fist, while they struggled to create attractive content.”

If she had been transparent and published all her financial statements, this would not have been a problem. Lack of transparency and disclosure is obviously part of what bit her. An attitude of “Just trust me” does not work any longer.

June 25, 2014 2:36 am

Dave, I “get” what you’re saying…our culture is sorely missing the element of communal interdependence that once largely defined the American experience coming down through
humanities’ ancient traditions. Quite frankly, however, I don’t know what it would take to
“shock” members of our communities back into valuing the effort it takes to feed one another.
I do milk-maid chores twice a week for my farmer’s family and our herd-share. It is not easy for my farmer to motivate the members to contribute just an hour or two a week to perform specific chores that would help our farmer tremendously to lighten her load somewhat so that she and her family might get a break now and then during the week. Many would just rather pay more $’s for their milk, but protest loudly when suggested that the cost be increased enough to PAY for some farm help!
We value “convenience” far more than dedicating some of our personal time doing work that will benefit one another. And then we spend precious $’s on depression med’s or counseling to try and alleviate mental stress. I read that it is rather therapeutic to just commit to and perform some hard work for good people! Who better that your local farmer? Or a farmer’s market…or sharing some bounty from your own garden. I don’t believe most people believe they are capable of gardening, or simple farm chores. Of course, there’s the “ewww” factor of farm chores…sweat and *hit happens! When some of my retired women friends find out that I do milk-maid chores they are aghast! But, all I know is that I am “happy” when I’m doing those chores…even during some of the parts that prove to be difficult at times. Another sad testament is the fact that my husband’s retirement group only go
“out to eat” and NEVER gather and cook for one another! We have the convenience of grocery stores
and we can’t even throw together a communal meal when we get together! Some times I think that our soils are so depleted that we are just walking around like the “walking dead” instead of being and feeling truly alive! The American “soul” is in trouble!

Amanda Rose
June 25, 2014 2:48 am

Thank you for posting a link to that Cheeseslave post — an ironic photo with Blaine McAfee.

I just visited the new Village Green Network website and it’s also ironic that Michaels apparently disapproves of “scraper” sites. The VGN curator-type site is just a new version of the latter. The articles are notable by their click-bait titles and thin content. Really, look at this post:


There is no indication that the writer has actually planted those plants, she or he has probably just read the 47 other curator sites that list the same plants with a similar title. It’s also a motley collection of plants given the title. I love a good round-up list, but make it real. Make it plants you’ve actually planted.

Hopefully she’s making a lot of money on the site to make up for the embarrassment of the association.

aka “Foxy”

ht to Mark 😉

mark mcafee
June 25, 2014 3:25 am

I think I will stay clear of this subject matter…Ann Marie is a dear friend and has been for years, nothing will change that.

Ken Conrad
Ken Conrad
June 25, 2014 1:40 pm

Indeed, “Farming and banking don’t mix.”
That’s because when it come to “good faith” it’s a one sided scenario where the standards of honesty, trust and sincerity are heartlessly and legalistically imposed by the banking community on the farmer. If I make a mistake I pay for it, if the bank makes a mistake I pay for it.


June 26, 2014 2:49 am

At this point, I really don’t care about the money but, I do care about others getting hurt. Hence, I wanted to make this statement.

Shawna Barr
June 26, 2014 3:15 am

MF, well said. Would you like to join our herdshare? Community food is so about, well, community! And the therapeutic benefits go far beyond just simple nutrition.

June 26, 2014 2:03 pm

Yes in that post she compared a full CAFO udder to an empty OP udder. However, the udders on those CAFO cows are unnaturally large. That type of management and genetics results in udders which tend to drag the teats in the manure/mud. They also tend to blow out or fall after only a couple years of production as they’re too big for the ligaments to hold up long term.

I couldn’t look at the video though so his cows may be no different there for all I know.

Amanda Rose
June 26, 2014 3:08 pm

The OPDC cows were dry, making the udders particularly small. The bigger problem was that she took this epic tour of OPDC and was told by their marketer that they never grain the herd. I clarified for her. The attention to detail in writing that post was lackluster.

mark mcafee
June 26, 2014 3:15 pm

To be completely fair….the size of the udder has little to do with the cow six diet or her milk production. I have seen plenty of cows with large udders that produce little milk and plenty of cows with high firm smaller udders that produce plenty of great quality milk. The cow in the OPDC picture is a cow in our dry pen and she is dried off. Large udders are associated more with older cows that have had many la citations. Size does not matter at least when it comes to udders….shape, diet and health does.

I think the old saying…love is blind comes to mind here. When the article was written comparing OPDC raw dairy to the CAFO operation, Ann was reflecting on how she felt as a whole and tried to find small elements that fit her story. When Ann fed her little girl raw milk from OPDC, there is a trust and a love that comes into play. Bias is not even a fair word to describe this….when you are in love…you are in love.

What this really shows is how really out of touch the CA milk marketing board really is. If they wanted a great message about CA milk or dairies….they should have vetted the bloggers and not invited a raw milk advocate on a mission.Talk about a marketing screw up!!! The Strauss Dairy was doing their very best…considering that they have endured..low price milk price hell….it is a wonder they are still in business and had anyone visit at all.

I do believe that true progress will be made in our movement when everyone begins to show true and deep compassion for all dairies and that includes CAFO operations. These CAFO family owners bust their butts to innovate and produce milk the best way they know how. They are just serving their customers. Their customers are the processors. It is the processors that could careless about end consumers and their Gut or other needs.

A farmers products will reflect the voices of their consumers. OPDC serves end consumers and hears their needs. OPDC products simply reflect this remarkable difference. The comparisons are really not fair or equal at all. Ann shared with me how moved she was when she awakened to cows on grass and the awesome peace of pastures. To be fair OPDC invests in our relationships with end consumers…when this is done at the compassionate and caring level….love emerges, lactose intolerance goes away…asthma gets better, cows are happy….things are good.

On the CAFO….what emerges is a hard core system to serve processors…because that is exactly what the system demands or the business fails.

This is reality.

Sylvia Gibson
Sylvia Gibson
June 26, 2014 3:26 pm

The dogs were herding what looks to be a young bull to me, not a cow. In the video the OP cow with the full udder doesn’t appear all that much smaller than the cafo udder. It was cleaner looking. The rest of the bovines in the video, had empty looking udders or partially filled ones.

It is sad that tptb don’t say or do anything about the treatment/care of the cafos. That is contaminated foods they are selling to people and they get away with it.

Sylvia Gibson
Sylvia Gibson
June 26, 2014 3:34 pm

I felt there were many things in that post that were misleading.

Ken Conrad
Ken Conrad
June 26, 2014 3:34 pm

Mark is correct,” Size does not matter at least when it comes to udders….shape, diet and health does.” Large udders, as with humans, are a genetic trait and not necessarily indicative of ill health.

The dogs however were not frolicking with a bull, not a cow! Gender confusion is common among city folks who lack the experience of working with livestock.


Sylvia Gibson
Sylvia Gibson
June 26, 2014 3:46 pm

This is another large raw dairy is Texas. I used to live down the street from this farm. This raw dairy farm wasn’t there when I lived there.


June 26, 2014 4:23 pm

Well yes and no. Size doesn’t necessary indicate poor health or high production but it is often related to it.

There is a reason why dairymen like to show off huge udders and marketing materials for semen show massive engorged udders on just fresh cows and the high producing confinement dairies have cows with the largest udders. But maybe the semen companies are confused about genetics.

And while shape and ligament strength do have an affect on the udder longevity so does gravity.

These confinement genetics with massive udders are not really conducive to producing healthy raw milk. You are much more likely to have cow health problems and will be producing large quantities of nutrient poor milk.

June 26, 2014 7:57 pm

While it was good to hear the other side of the story, I think the reason VGN is having these problems has nothing to do at all with the argument stated here. AT ALL!

It has everything to do with the way Ann Marie Michaels has treated people.

All of the bloggers I know that are in any way associated with VGN, WAPF, etc, do it because they truly care about people. They want to see a happy, healthy, thriving society and know that one of the main ways to get there is to go back to our traditional roots. It’s not so much about the money as it is about the love for their fellow human being. And hey, making money doing what you love = bonus! But everything I have read about this situation by these hurt bloggers shows just that; they are HURT because they were mistreated.

If this was a collective project, had she gone to her bloggers for input, had she gone to her bloggers with the issues and asked for suggestions, HAD SHE JUST BEEN A LITTLE HUMBLE, just plain a nice person, none of this would have happened. But no, so many have come forward and shared how they were put down, ignored, marginalized, and dismissed if they so much as asked questions. And because these are kind caring people, they are not vindictive; most did not want to rock the boat and gossip about it, because on the surface VGN looked like such a great thing for the traditional food community. They did not want to be divisive and thus distract from the overall message, so they kept their mouths shut. UNTIL they learned that they were not alone, that many had also been abused by Ann Marie.

Ann Marie, if you are reading this, if you want to salvage this thing, if you want to fix your tarnished reputation, you need to humbly apologize for your attitude and mistreatment. You need to come down to everyone’s level, and stop acting like you’re above everyone. You need to share the problems you are having, and ask for help from the community. Not all will forgive, but I’m sure many will, because that’s the kind of people they are.

June 27, 2014 10:15 pm

“When the thing got out of control, her knee-jerk reaction was to blame others, rather than admitting weakness and asking those she was working with for help.”

At this point, she needs to put the ego aside and find her humility, and apologize to everyone.

“From the sounds of the comments here, and elsewhere, the bloggers might well have provided welcome assistance.”

IF she had asked them. Again, sadly, it sounds like a big ego got in the way. “Pride goeth before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” (Proverbs 16:18)

Ken Conrad
Ken Conrad
June 28, 2014 12:27 pm

The dogs however were frolicking with a bull, not a cow!

June 28, 2014 5:47 pm

$500,000? So that’s what it’s all about. Hence the one sided conversation.

Blog: “a website containing a writer’s or group of writers’ own experiences, observations, opinions, etc., and often having images and links to other websites.” Doesn’t tell you much.
Back to health:

“Maternal nutrition at conception modulates DNA methylation of human metastable epialleles.” “We show that significant seasonal variations in methyl-donor nutrient intake of mothers around the time of conception influence 13 relevant plasma biomarkers.”

“The precise regulation of DNA methylation is essential for normal cognitive function. Indeed, when DNA methylation is altered as a result of developmental mutations or environmental risk factors, such as drug exposure and neural injury, mental impairment is a common side effect.”

D. Smith
D. Smith
June 28, 2014 7:41 pm

We only milked two cows while I was growing up so I’m no expert, but my Dad always preached to us that you don’t necessarily milk cows by a clock; the cows will show up when they’re ready to be milked. Indeed, ours did. They slowly meandered from the pasture to the water tank up by the barn when they were ready, or nearly so, to be milked. The udders were full but not bulging and they never looked sore and red like in that one photo Sylvia provided. The milking cycles (times) weren’t usually apart by more than 1/2 hour one way or the other in the morning and evening milking times but they always let us know. I would guess larger herds would be likely to do the same.

mark mcafee
June 29, 2014 5:16 pm


Something weird on this blog software. I see more posts have been made because there are more posts on the numerical counter but I can not find the additional posts.

As far as claims about Claravale….I would be happy to explain each and and every one of them. Please ask away. However, I would rather not speak about a fellow raw milk producer. It is mostly counter productive. I think the best way to verify my experience and the reports brought by consumers….is to just try and call Claravale yourself or do an earth google and see for yourself.

July 1, 2014 5:46 pm

The modern calendar has been altered. I have recovered the ancient one. This might help you to be more in tune with the Seasons, when growing food. And may help you think more clearly, by being more in synch with the Universe.

The modern “New Year” starts on January 1, an odd date that has nothing to do with the cycles of the Earth. Now I would never suggest that the establishment has deliberately tampered with the calendar to throw off our internal clock and weaken us, but the logical time to start the Year would be March 22, the first day of Spring, where light and dark balance out, the Equinox, the winter sleep is over and now it’s time for Renewal.

If March is indeed the first month of the year, then March April May June July and August are the first six months, making September the 7th month. “September” is derived from the number 7, October from 8, November from 9, and December from 10. So this would then all line up. January would be the 11th month and February the 12th.

If March 22 is the real first day of the year, then it would have been called March 1. This would mean the year ends at the end of February, and would explain adding leap year days to the end of February.

Is this coming into focus for ya’ll? If March 1 begins Spring and the Year, then the months of Springtime would be March April and May, without spilling Spring into other months. Very simple and clear. Summer would begin on the longest day, the solstice, which would have been called June 1. June July and August would be the summer months. September 1, the Fall Equinox, would start Autumn, so Autumn would be September October and November. December 1 would be the longest night, the Winter Solstice, and would be the first day of Winter. December January and February are winter, and March 1 begins the next year, the Spring Equinox once again.

So simple, so logical. The middle of the middle month of each season would go with a festival for the heart of that season. Halloween (Samhain), for example, comes from the ancient festival for the heart of Autumn. On this calendar it would be October 16.

A glance at the calendar and you always know where you are in the year. I just made one for the summer months. So as I look at it, I see that on my calendar, today is June 11. The 11th day of Summer. June 1 was the first day of Summer, the longest day of the year. So I see we are 1/3 through the first third of summer. (On your calendar, today is July 1, what does that mean? Just confusion.)

You can make your own calendar this way, put it in your home, to orient yourself to the Real World. You can use the other calendar, the funny calendar, when talking with others (kind of like being bilingual).

I’ve also added colors to the 12 months. If you set the heart of Fall to Orange (October), then you get a beautiful arrangement of colors around the year that, to my way of thinking, fits the seasons. Summer would be green for June, green yellow (olive) for July, and yellow for August, Fall would be yellow orange for September, Orange for October, and Orange red for November, Winter’s December January and February would be red, red purple and purple, and Spring would be Purple blue, blue and greenish blue for March April and May.

Kick it around. See if you feel much better, viewing the year in this way.

D. Smith
D. Smith
July 1, 2014 6:20 pm

I’ve read some articles at the Farmer’s Almanac and the Old Farmer’s Almanac over the years regarding calendars and how they’ve been altered, but nothing this explicit. This is truly fascinating, but a lot of it still depends on where you’re located, as far as using it to plant, etc.

My maternal granddad was born on Feb 29th, and one paternal uncle, too. You have no idea how much huckumpuckey my uncle’s widow had to go through with the VA in order to get his well-earned Navy pension, get his medical bills paid and all the rest of the hoopla just because of his birth date. As if they didn’t know his birth date when he signed on in 1942. They never said a word to him about his birth date being a problem, but they probably knew it would be and just kept silent. My uncle was in his 70’s when he died and his widow only lived for about a year after they finally got everything straightened out about six years later. Even then, things still weren’t coming out right on HER end, but they didn’t give a hoot. The head of the VA at the time (I have no idea who that was) actually told his people that she was lucky they relented and gave her anything at all. I’ll bet my uncle would have been proud of his country for that, since he offered his life to them. All because of a calendar that probably wasn’t accurate to begin with.

July 1, 2014 10:26 pm

“… but a lot of it still depends on where you’re located, as far as using it to plant, etc.”

Yeah D, er that part was just so I could shoehorn it into the forum here. I was pretty happy I figured out this calendar, even though it’s like a no brainer when you see the pattern. I sent it to this Roman historian I know, he speaks like 10 languages… and he said, yes this was the very early Roman calendar. I guess they never had time to mention this in school…

I’ve also set the clock in this car here to real time, so it’s like one and one half hours earlier than funny time. So, when it says noon it’s basically noon. So on the Equinox, basically the Sun will rise at 6 am and set at 6 pm.

Again, I would never suggest the establishment sets things out of synch deliberately to mess with our systems. Hold on, my smart meter is pulsing here, gotta put on my foil helmet, talk to ya later.

July 2, 2014 2:04 pm

I see the Jewish calendar sets the days of the week with Sunday as One, … and Saturday is the 7th day. I remember from my time in Brazil that in Portuguese, most of the days are numbered, so Monday is Segunda Feira, Tuesday is Terca Feira… which would make Sunday the first day of the week. I mentioned this to that Roman historian I mentioned, and said I assume that Saturday being called Sabado in Portuguese and Spanish, is related to the word “Sabbath”.

He said yes that’s true, and in Greek the days are numbered in the same way. Which raises the question, why are so many shops closed on Sunday, when the historical day of rest was Saturday? Is Sun day, day of the Sun, really the time to rest? Do we normally go to sleep at sunrise?

So on my revised calendar here, Sunday is the first day of the week, and a good day to get things done.

D. Smith
D. Smith
July 2, 2014 2:33 pm

I spent last evening making up my calendar and coloring it. It’s kinda fun to try to wrap your mind around it. I knew the Jewish calendar was different but wasn’t exactly sure how it worked, so thanks David for posting that info. I also know about the 7th Day Adventists using the days of the week differently than the rest of us. We buy fruit through a local 7th Day church and I’ve gotten to know some of the folks there quite well. In high school I dated a guy who was a 7th Dayer but when the kids were in high school they were not bound to keep the rule about the sabbath beginning on Friday at dusk and ending Saturday at dusk, thus Sunday being the 1st day of the week. Many of them did, however, and most of the people I know now certainly do it that way. It’s interesting perspective.

Tomm, do you mind if I post this info (about the calendar and the colors) at my forum? Or you could just join the forum and post it yourself . . . ;> You probably have lots of interesting stuff you could post there.

July 2, 2014 5:27 pm

Sure D, post away. I went to your forum once, to read that Russell Means article you linked, but I could not figure out that forum, who runs it, how you read other articles, etc.

D. Smith
D. Smith
July 3, 2014 12:20 am

@ tomm: I run it. To post, you have to go to the top of the page and register first (I don’t remember if it says Register or if it says User Control Panel but it’s one of those) and then all you do is click on the topic (say, maybe, “recipes and food ideas”), pick a thread from that topic and click on it and answer someone else’s post, or at the top of the thread page on the left-hand side it will say “new post” or “post reply”. Pick “new post” if you have some new item to share, or pick “post reply” if you want to make a comment. It’s really pretty simple. Some forums have 30+ subject titles/topics – I only have about 10.

Thanks, I’ll post it there tonight.

July 6, 2014 5:07 pm

ok D, I sent you my email and another story for ya, via David. Happy June 16.

D. Smith
D. Smith
July 6, 2014 10:28 pm

Got it and thanks! Posted the ark/arc story at my forum – I think it’s a good fit over there and is also interesting reading and something to ponder. I told David it’s ok to give you my email addy and I have yours saved into my address book, as well. Heh, happy June 16th to you, too. Today (as it stands now, being July 6th) would have been my next oldest sister’s 69th birthday if she were still living. She died in 2006. Don’t know how she would have felt about changing the calendar around . . .

Ora Moose
Ora Moose
July 7, 2014 12:00 pm

D, I visited your site a while back but do not have a link for it, can you please send it via David? Thanks…

D. Smith
D. Smith
July 7, 2014 12:44 pm

I can give it to you here. It’s not a secret site! I post all kinds of things about all kinds of issues and people are free to come and read, or register and comment, or leave if they don’t like it. When I first opened the site it was with a different host and I had a lot of followers, then I had to change hosts, not to mention facebook and twitter came along, and suddenly forums went out of fashion. I’m not sure why because I like the format. If you’d like to come and look around, hammer this – – -> http://polkadotapron.freeforums.org/index.php

Keep in mind, since there hasn’t been much activity there lately I use it as a sounding board in order to vent (everyone should do that!), so there are some cuss words, some opinions and some fun stuff – all mixed together!

D. Smith
D. Smith
July 7, 2014 12:51 pm

Hmmm. I guess I don’t have to use the “index” part anymore or something because that link didn’t work. See, at the forum I have a “preview” button where I can check things before I actually post them – and I could have caught this without having to make a second post.

Try this: http://thepolkadotapron.freeforums.org/

July 7, 2014 4:37 pm

Dave Milano and Ken, I think you would appreciate the short story I sent D Smith, “The Noah’s Arc Code”, which she posted in her blog listed below. If you click on “View Active Topics”, it shows up.

It’s not directly related to raw milk but does get into the whole subject of, where did domesticated animals like cows really come from? Is it really a random event that milk, cream, butter, ice cream , muenster cheese, yogurt, keefer, clabber, sour cream, cheddar cheese, all come from one animal?

Ancient stories in various parts of the world say domesticated animals and staple foods came from bioengineering, not from breeding. “The Garden of Eden”, “Atlantis”, and various “Mythologies” convey this idea. What is the real history of this planet? The story I’ve posted gives clues.

July 17, 2014 3:16 pm

Question about remineralizing soil using rock dust. If Dave Milano, Ken, John M, Pete … are at liberty to give out any free info on this topic. Have any of you had good experiences with this? It seems like it makes a lot of sense, and certainly wouldn’t be promoted by Big ag, as it would compete with their chemical fertilizer business. Is there a type of mineral rich rock dust you’d recommend?

August 31, 2014 2:14 pm

I stopped reading Cheeseslave when posts seemed to just be about selling something and the comments got nasty. As a reader, not a blogger, I didn’t care for the VGN idea. The only thing I accessed was a set of free seminars a few years ago and even then only listened to a bit (all I could hear was Ann Marie’s child in the background.) It’s not that hard to find and read blogs without having a middleman assemble them and exclude some possibly great ones (and products for that matter.) To me it’s just the blog equivalent to big ag with a monocrop of writers. If half the bloggers bailed, it’s hard to believe the problem is something other than management. I hope they get paid. I’m also sorry to read they are afraid to speak out. It’s like the blog equivalent to small farmers vs. M0nsanto. I can’t see how a big site with one person dictating the rules could be anything than an epic fail. Know your blogger.

August 31, 2014 2:48 pm

I still have not received the payment promised.