Small Farmer’s Journal Back Issues are Treasure Troves

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If you are starting a farm, or if you are looking for ways that your existing farm might be more successful and enjoyable, Small Farmer’s Journal offers a uniquely modern approach for the agriculture of the future. And each back issue moves forward and backward in time with its applicability and usefulness. The Spring 2004 edition is an excellent example. What follows is an abbreviated list of its contents. Oh, and yes it is still available through our General Store.

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  • Portable Chicken House Plans
  • Maple syrup
  • Mushrooms
  • Slugs
  • Cleaning Eggs
  • Neckyokes
  • Triple Mulched Vegetables

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  • Reconstruction of the Soil Part V
  • Lightning Protection
  • Calibrating Grain Drills
  • Winter Feeding
  • Turkey Vultures
  • Wheelwrighting
  • The Waterers of England


“Farming is an enterprise which rides on faith. It is an ingredient in that difficult to explain mix of motivation and appreciation which permits the hope of farming. We go on blind faith that there will be a spring which is conducive to field work, we go on blind faith that moisture and sunlight will combine in good measure to bring us our crops. For those of us who are farmers, but of course for all human beings, so much depends on a positive view of the possible and a belief in our inherent abilities to be a beautiful living proof against the weight.” from the editorial by Lynn Miller “Withstood; Proof Against the Weight” in The Spring 2004 SFJ


This slide show features a few of the diagrams from the Spring 2004 SFJ article on building a portable poultry house.

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“For Mushrooms, a supply of fresh horse manure should be procured, if possible each morning, that from grain-fed carriage horses being the most desireable. The strawy portion we discard. The manure is thrown in a heap on the floor of an open shed, and is turned dover each morning for a few days. Before the heat of the manure has subsided sufficiently to permit the bed being made, mix about one-third as much loam screened through a 3/4 inch sieve as there is of manure. We have had better success with loam mixed with the manure than when it was not used. The rank heat having escaped from the heap, it can at once be made into a bed, a depth of from 9 to 12 inches being about right…”    from the article Mushrooms appearing in the Spring 2004 Small Farmer’s Journal

“What strength belongs to every plant and animal in nature. The tree or the brook has no duplicity, no pretentiousness, no show. It is, with all its might and main, what it is, and makes one and the same impression and effect at all times. All the thoughts of a turtle are turtles, and of a rabbit, rabbits. But a man is broken and dissipated by the giddiness of his will; he does not throw himself into his judgments; his genius leads him one way but ’tis likely his trade or politics in quite another.”Ralph Waldo Emerson, The Natural History of Intellect, (1893)
SOME HORSE TALK: You’ve probably heard the expression to “get someone’s goat,” meaning to annoy someone or make make him mad.  But its original meaning comes from the racing world around 1910, when goats were commonly used as calming stable companions for race horses.  If you got the horse’s goat, stole the goat the night before a race, the horse would be thrown off its feed, so distracted it would be unfit to race. Another horse-racing expression from the same era is “the straight dope.”  Doping was the common term around 1900 for doctoring or drugging a person or a horse, and dope was whatever medicine you gave them, as far back as 1889.  And of course “dope” made you “dopey.”  At race tracks “dope” soon became the information, whether fraudulent or true, about which horses might be drugged or doped.  So “the straight dope” was  doping information you could rely on, about the condition of horses in the race.  – PH