Dirt on My Tires

Truck DirtNoticed the other day that my truck has some dirt on the tires and even more up on the side of it. Was a reminder of several of the places I have been of late. Which in itself was a good reminder of who I am and where I have been, many of those places being things that I have only gotten back to just lately. Thought it would be an appropriate post for number the 365th post on the blog – which is a years worth if they had been one a day, but alas, that is not the case. The blog is actually coming up on its third year here pretty soon. Anyway, let’s get on with some of the dirt that has ended up on my tires…

Continue reading “Dirt on My Tires”

I am back…

Farming Long?As many of you know I have been gone the last several days and prior to that I had not done much in regards to blogging for a bit, both in getting ready for heading out, being busy in general and a good deal of lazy thrown in as well. But I am back and have a few hundred blogs to catch up on and post.

As I am coming back I want to shout a big THANK YOU to everyone that visited the blog the last few weeks. It is nice when the numbers, while not as high as when I post daily, only fall off to a certain level and generally maintain. An especial thanks to the folks that visited Thursday and Saturday – as without new posts those days got up there in posts and were not far off from record highs. Continue reading “I am back…”

Small Wants

AsparagusFollowing up on the post from yesterday I thought today I would mention some small wants of things that I would like to have. Some of these things are almost kind of random and therefore I am not really sure what category or picture to use at this point. I am also less than sure of where this will go and I am almost certain that I will not recall all of the things I am kind of tossing around in my head at this point. Anyway, without further contemplation on the details, here is the list: Continue reading “Small Wants”

myFarm

myFarm

Perhaps I am being a little over the top or a little silly with this but I really don’t think so. As I am sure more than a few of you know I am on Facebook. A few more of you know that I occasionally allow a little time to get sucked into the little games that are available there, though usually with most of them I quickly become bored or otherwise realize that there is going to be too much time involved to really have fun with it. Not the case with though, called myFarm. Continue reading “myFarm”

Small World Part II: Dale Culp

Sheep ShearingI know that this is sounding like a broken record, but I just can’t help being totally amazed by it. The other night after Thursday Live, I had dinner downtown. After dinner, I stopped by my favorite place to see who was there before I headed home. There were a few people I knew casually, but no one I really know well. I was just about to head on out when in comes these three guys. Not guys that I knew, generally in their 20’s, the oldest maybe pushing 30, they all looked in general just like they may have come straight from the barn or fields of a farm. Given that we were right downtown, not even a full block from Main Street, in Lexington it was intriguing. I figured for at least a polite hello if not some casual conversation.

They ordered a beer a piece and the older one started talking about having to have sheared a few sheep that afternoon. Having helped with that process on more than on occasion I was already drawn into the conversation. Especially give, that since at least the 19th century, Kentucky is generally not well-known for its sheep or wool production. Turns out it had only been a few head that were shorn. The conversation then turned to not being available at all during the fall lambing season, as there would just be too much to do during that time to have free time to run around. Back to shearing, whenever it is going to be many more than 100 head they get someone to come in to do it. At this point I had to ask, what farm he worked for, as in the eight or nine county area there are probably 30-50 farms at most that have more than couple 100 head of sheep period.

Continue reading “Small World Part II: Dale Culp”

Tobacco – Cutting

Tobacco CutI have new pictures from the morning of August 31 when they were starting to cut the field of tobacco that I have been doing a photo essay on for the last several weeks. It is nice that I actually got the hands doing the actual job, though I am not sure it truly shows enough. Again, a fond memory for me. I admit to having done a large amount of this kind of work as a teenager. Aside from putting in hay during the summer, actually cutting tobacco right before and even after school started was the best money-making time of my youth.

I admit that I was never super fast, cutting Continue reading “Tobacco – Cutting”

Tobacco: Revisited

Tobacco Topped, Barn in DistanceI liked the first ‘photo essay’ about tobacco so well, I have decided to follow through with an update with each major step in the tobacco process.  The change from exactly seven days is not much, as the only thing that has occurred is the blooms have been broken out in the lower 2/3 of the field.  This was actually done the day after I took the first photos and to help you blend locally, we would call that process topping.  Right after the tobacco was topped, it most likely sprayed with a chemical that retards new sprouts or buds from starting.  If not done, the tobacco would sucker out at the top leaf joints and spend all of its energy trying again to make seeds.  By application of the chemical spray the energy is instead spent on making the leaves that are present usually get larger, especially in width.  An effect of this application and the general turn toward the homestretch  is that bottom leaves Continue reading “Tobacco: Revisited”

Tobacco and Nostalgia

Pretty in Pink?I recall from a few years back reading a book, I think it was titled The Complete Agrarian Reader, matter of fact I have read certain parts of it a 2nd and 3rd time since then. Anyway, that is not the point – the introduction of that particular book was written by Barbara Kingsolver, of some amount of fame as an author. I have, strangely enough, not read anything else she has written – though I probably should. Anyway, in this introduction she speaks of being in college and having as fond memories the smells and sights of tobacco being harvested and being around the barns where it was curing with an unmistakable nostalgia – but yet a certain amount of shame over her own history and association with tobacco amongst her college friends.

I find a kindred spirit in what she has to say. Having grown up on a farm raising and working in tobacco, not to mention the countless hours that I spent working in tobacco for other farmers in the general area where I grew up. I find it funny that I spent 18 years Continue reading “Tobacco and Nostalgia”

Horse Farming

Team - PlowingSlightly more than two weeks ago I went to Horse Progress days in Ohio. I think I mentioned it in a blog here, at least to the effect that I was attending. For those that are not familiar with the event, it is a get together of folks that farm with horses, having as the main idea an exchange of ideas and learning some of what we have lost in our knowledge. I believe their were 11,000 people in attendance on the Friday I was there, a large number were Amish, but not all of course. One amazing thing was the folks that I ran into up there that I knew from here locally.

One of the greater reasons that I attended was that Lynn Miller, author and publisher of Small Farmer’s Journal, was doing a presentation. A topic that he has spoken of in the past was why horse farming? Of course largely in the past the folks doing horse powered farming have been motivated by one of two things: A restriction of usage of certain types of equipment based on religious believes or just a general eccentric pleasure of a small number of folks that just enjoyed doing things in a slower pace with old fashion ways. Anyway, Lynn thinks that with the current conditions in both world markets, gas prices, and a turn toward more local food is going to be a driving force such that in the next couple of years to where we see a huge growth in the number of smaller sized horse based farms, an exponential growth according to Lynn.

To elaborate, Lynn, like many of us, believes that a huge part of the driving force will be the energy crisis that we are currently facing. The crunch on fuel prices is not going to go away, it is instead going to get worse. Keep in mind, that one the largest input costs that a modern farmer has is energy costs or products that have high energy costs. Diesel fuel, gasoline, and fertilizer to name just a few are the kinds of things I am talking about. Right now, it has worked for the bigger farmers to afford these huge input costs, because right now the additional demand on corn for ethanol has pushed up the price on all the major grain crops. However, that demand is likely to level off some in the coming years as other crops are used for ethanol and the over all price drops and the prices keep going up on the inputs the farmers are going to feel a squeeze. The smaller farmers that are a more traditional in nature are already feeling the pinch from the higher input costs. Lynn seems to think that the cost of fuel alone will start to push a lot of smaller farms to horse powered traction.

Lynn further believes that the smaller farm will become more of a functional need scattered about across the country. This will be coming from the fact that the expense of trucking produce and grains across the country is quickly inflating the cost to the consumer at a rate that is going to start to make that impractical for the consumer to continue to afford such items. This will of course then lead to many smaller farms closer to the end market that are producing those foods. As that move takes place, there will of course be a higher demand on said local foods to be produced in natural ways, with minimum to no chemical inputs (less energy required right there) and what better way to produce naturally then with horse powered traction.

Lynn also thinks that given the current situations that have occurred with the food system in the last few years there will be an even greater move towards smaller farms. I can see some of this occurring, with recent years problems over Spinach, tomatoes and onions, but I don’t think this will have as a large effect as the fuel will have on it. The idea of local grown food is one that I have suggested as taking of this problem more than one time. Of course that also means eating food that is grown seasonally in your local for the most part as well. And while I think there will be some movement toward additional small farms to come about because of this one, I don’t think that it will have the same impact that Lynn thinks, especially in comparison to that of the energy crunch.

One last thing though, and on this one, I have to admit I was rather disappointed. After Lynn gives a seminar speaking about the wonderful values of farming with horse power and how there will be a huge movement in that direction and that we need to be ready for the massive influx of farmers that are going to interested, I walked out to see a horse-drawn haying demonstration. Now I fully expected to see any baler to likely be driven by horses have some sort of fore-cart with an engine to supply the power, though I do hear of at least one company that has a model that can do the job from a ground drive system. However, I severely disappointed to have seen every piece of equipment being pulled with the exception of one rake, having an engine mounted PTO fore-cart of some sort. So much for using less fuel int the process – the net effect of that is more fuel to put up more hay to feed the horses that are then pulling the tractor that is then pulling the hay equipment – minus the horses, minus the need for the extra hay, that much less fuel used. I don’t think this really fit well with the kinds of things I have read in the past nor do I think it was really in tune with most of his message – though one has to keep in mind, he was a guest speaker not the organizer of the met.