Small Farmer's Journal

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MONDAY

March 27, 2017

My First Team of Workhorses

My First Team of Workhorses

In A Greenhorn Tries Draft Horses, a greenhorn (myself) tried a single work horse named Lady for farm and woods work. It was probably natural that, having acquired some experience with one horse, I should want to see what it was like to use two. Perhaps it is more exciting to see a good team pull together, and there is the added challenge to the teamster of making certain that the horses pull smoothly rather than seesaw.

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TUESDAY

March 21, 2017

Pferdestarke

German Version of Horse Progress Days: Pferdestark

There is a rather neat phrase in German – ‘wenn schon, denn schon’ – which literally translates as ‘enough already, then already;’ but what it actually means is ‘if a something is worth doing, it is worth doing well. That would be a fitting description of Pferdestark, the German version of Horse Progress Days. For sheer variety of different breeds of draught horses, regional and national harness styles, or for that matter, languages or hats, it would be hard to beat Pferdestark.

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WEDNESDAY

March 22, 2017

Rice as a New Staple Crop for Very Cold Climates

Rice as a New Staple Crop for Very Cold Climates

If you were visiting Earth from some other planet and had to describe its inhabitants upon your return, you might say that the average person eats rice, and grows it as well, usually on a small scale. You’d be accurately describing the habits of over a quarter of the world’s population. Rice has a special story with an exciting chapter now unfolding in the northeast USA among a small but growing group of farmers and growers.

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THURSDAY

March 23, 2017

Working Steers and Oxen on the Small Farm
from

Working Steers and Oxen on the Small Farm

For centuries, the skills of training steers for work and the craft of building yokes and related equipment was passed down from generation to generation. It was common for a young boy or girl to be responsible for the care and training of a team from calves to the age of working capability. Many farms trained a team each year, either for sale or for future replacement in their own draft program.

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FRIDAY

March 24, 2017

from

John Deere Model A Tractor

Your John Deere Tractor has a range of speeds. These various speeds not only give you the flexibility and adaptability you want, but also they enable you to balance the load and the speed for maximum economy. However, if you are handling a light load and want to travel at slow speed, it is far better to put your tractor into the gear which gives you the speed you want than to use a higher gear and throttle down.

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Small Farmer’s Journal Kickstarter Campaign

Small Farmer's Journal Kickstarter Campaign

Small Farmer’s Journal Kickstarter Campaign

It has been the life’s work and passion of the Miller family to produce these quarterly print editions of Small Farmer’s Journal which support independent farmers, craftsmanship in agriculture and vibrant small towns. We have done this well for 4 decades, 159 editions in all. Unforeseen hardships have delayed us printing current editions. Those hardships are behind us. When we secure backing, we will jump start SFJ and commence printing. We take this responsibility with careful focus, understanding that we need to make single steps. We are behind 2 editions. When we secure backing we will print Volume 40 number 4, our 160th edition (supposed to have been Fall 2016).

As a friend of the Journal, I’m asking if you would please pass along news of our fund raising effort, and the link to this project, to anyone or organization you feel might want to know about it, anyone you can imagine who would want to see the Journal continue.

Thanks for all of your past support, and for anything you can do for us now. Yours, Lynn Miller

Here’s that Kickstarter link:

www.kickstarter.com/projects/818091909/small-farmers-journal-jump-start

News & Weather

  • March 2, 2017

    Another record year for organic agriculture worldwide

    The positive trend seen in the past years continues: Consumer demand is increasing, reflected in the significant market growth of 11 percent in the United States, the world’s largest organic market. More farmers cultivate organically, more land is certified organic, ...

  • February 17, 2017

    Popping potential of sorghum

    Eating popcorn has long been synonymous with watching movies. But soon you might find yourself reaching for another popped snack option—popped sorghum. Sorghum is a cereal grain that is becoming more popular in the United States because it’s gluten free ...

  • February 15, 2017

    Cornell University Small Farms Program seeks Farmer Stories for a new column

    The Groundswell Center for Local Food & Farming and the Cornell Small Farms Program have teamed up to create a new column called “Lessons from the Land,” which first appeared in the Fall 2016 issue of the Small Farm Quarterly. ...

Letters

  • Hello from Michigan!

    Dear Lynn Miller and staff, Hello from Michigan! We have only just started to read your Journal, and have really enjoyed it. First off, thank you for your publication. It is always a special occasion when the journal arrives, my ...

  • Cheval de Merens Revisited

    In the Fall ’97 issue of SFJ you printed an article on the Cheval de Merens, the all black horse of the French Pyrenees. I was immediately obsessed by their beautiful stature, a very strong draft-type-looking horse with powerful legs ...

  • Black Walnuts All ‘Round

    Dear Lynn, In the Summer 2014 SFJ there is an article by Glenn Dahlem about the black walnut (p. 62). If I may, there are a few additions I would like to make regarding using black walnuts. First, the harvesting. From ...

  • Keep ‘Em Coming

    Super magazine, Lynn and Kristi!! I love the content, and I can’t wait for the next issue in my mailbox. My best to you. Bob Langness Broomfield, CO

Upcoming Events

Mar
27
Mon
California Farm to School and Garden Conference @ Modesto Centre Plaza
Mar 27 – Mar 29 all-day
Apr
15
Sat
Farm Equipment Auction – Dennis Turmon Enterprises @ Bar-Lyn Ranch
Apr 15 all-day
Apr
21
Fri
Pacific Overland Expo 2nd Annual Horsedrawn Vehicle & Equipment Auction @ Yamhill County Fairgrounds
Apr 21 – Apr 22 all-day
Sep
29
Fri
30th Annual Mississippi Pecan Festival
Sep 29 – Oct 1 all-day

The Mississippi Pecan Festival is held in a 30 acre pecan orchard with a family atmosphere including the following entertainment:

  • Arts & Crafts
  • Antiques
  • Blue Grass and Gospel Music
  • Mule Pull
  • Prettiest Rooster Contest
  • Live Craft Demonstrations
  • Basket Weavers
  • Wheel Pottery
  • Loom Weaver and Spinning Wheel Demonstrations
  • Living History Farmstead
  • Draft Horse Farming Demonstrations
  • and much more!

This is a 3 day event with something for everyone.

For more information, please call 601-964-8222, or to contact us by mail: PO Box 630, Richton, MS 39476, or you can visit our website at www.fulmersfarmstead.com

Weights & Measures

Dry Measure

2 Pints = 1 Quart

8 Quarts = 1 Peck

4 Pecks = 1 Bushel

36 Bushels = 1 Chaldron

2,150.42 Cubic In. = 1 Standard Bushel

1 Cubic Foot = App. 4/5 Bushel

My Small Kitchen with Kristi Gilman-Miller

Sweet Potato Fries

  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 3 large sweet potatoes, (about 2 pounds total)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a small bowl, combine the spices and salt. Set aside.

Peel the potatoes, cut each in half lengthwise, and cut each half into six wedges.

In a large bowl, toss the potato slices with the oil and spices until evenly coated.

Place slices on a baking sheet in a single layer.

Bake on the middle rack of the oven until the edges are crisp and the potatoes cooked through. About 35 minutes.

Serve immediately.

Spotlight On: Equipment & Facilities

The Horsedrawn Mower Book

Removing the Wheels from a McCormick Deering No. 9 Mower

How to remove the wheels of a No. 9 McCormick Deering Mower, an excerpt from The Horsedrawn Mower Book.

Happs Plowing A Chance to Share

Happ’s Plowing: A Chance to Share

by:
from issue:

Dinnertime rolled around before we could get people and horses off the field so that results of judging could be announced. I learned a lot that day, one thing being that people were there to share; not many took the competition side of the competition very seriously. Don Anderson of Toledo, WA was our judge — with a tough job handed to him. Everyone was helping each other so he had to really stay on his toes to know who had done what on the various plots.

Planet Jr Two Horse Equipment

Planet Jr. Two-Horse Equipment

from issue:

This information on Planet Jr. two horse equipment is from an old booklet which had been shared with us by Dave McCoy, a horse-logger from our parts: “Think of the saving made in cultivating perfectly two rows of potatoes, beans, corn or any crop planted in rows not over 44 inches apart, at a single passage. This means double work at a single cost, for the arrangement of the fourteen teeth is such that all the ground is well tilled and no open furrows are left next to the row, while one man attends easily to the work, with one team.”

Pferdestarke

German Version of Horse Progress Days: Pferdestark

by:
from issue:

There is a rather neat phrase in German – ‘wenn schon, denn schon’ – which literally translates as ‘enough already, then already;’ but what it actually means is ‘if a something is worth doing, it is worth doing well. That would be a fitting description of Pferdestark, the German version of Horse Progress Days. For sheer variety of different breeds of draught horses, regional and national harness styles, or for that matter, languages or hats, it would be hard to beat Pferdestark.

Portable A-Frame

Portable A-Frame

by:
from issue:

These portable A-frames can be used for lots of lifting projects. Decades ago, when I was horselogging on the coast I used something similar to this to load my short logger truck. Great homemade tool.

Ask A Teamster Neckyokes

Ask A Teamster: Neckyokes

I always chain or otherwise secure slip-on type neckyokes to the tongue so they don’t come off and cause an accident. Neckyokes unexpectedly coming off the tongue have caused countless problems, the likes of which have caused injuries, psychological damage, and even death to horses, and to people as well. Making sure the neckyoke is chained or otherwise secured to the tongue every time you hitch a team is a quick and easy way of eliminating a number of dangerous situations.

Barn Raising

Barn Raising

by:
from issue:

Here it was like a beehive with too many fuzzy cheeked teen-agers who couldn’t possibly be experienced enough to be of much help. But work was being accomplished; bents, end walls and partitions were being assembled like magic and raised into place with well-coordinated, effortless ease and precision. No tempers were flaring, no egomaniacs were trying to steal the show, and there was not the usual ten percent doing ninety percent of the work.

Parker Soil Pulverizer

Bring Back To Life the John P. Parker Pulverizer

by:
from issue:

Meanwhile, my senior year was approaching fast, and all of us students began to contemplate what our final project would be with a bit of urgency. Our capstone project tasks us with identifying a need for a product or solution, bringing that product through the design phase, then building that product and displaying at the Technical Exposition. So I had the harebrained idea to embark on recreating not only a scale model of Parker’s Pulverizer, but to also recreate the real thing in full-scale, complete with fresh new wheel castings.

Mowing with Scythes

Mowing with Scythes

by:
from issue:

Scythes were used extensively in Europe and North America until the early 20th century, after which they went out of favor as farm mechanization took off. However, the scythe is gaining new interest among small farmers in the West who want to mow grass on an acre or two, and could be a useful tool for farmers in the Tropics who do not have the resources to buy expensive mowing equipment.

The Magna Grecia Hoe

The Magna Grecia Hoe

by:
from issue:

Last spring I put a handle on a curious gardening tool I picked up at the FALCI company in Italy. Ashley, our 17-year-old (a seasoned gardener and enthusiastic digging fork user), was first to try it. She came back excitedly in a rather short time with a request: “Call to Italy right away and have them send us more of these.” “These” are the Magna Grecia hoes, popular in the Calabria region of South Italy but, interestingly, known in very few other places.

Fjordworks Cultural Evolution Part 1

Fjordworks: Cultural Evolution Part 1

For the teamster who first and foremost just plain loves driving horses, hitching the team to a fully restored and well-oiled cultivator is a wonderful way to spend time with horses. For those intrigued by the intricacies of machines and systems, the riding cultivator offers endless opportunities for tweaking and innovation. And for those interested in herbicide free, ecologically produced vegetable and field crops, the riding cultivator is a practical and precise tool for successful cultivation.

A Step Back in Time with the Barron Tree Planter

A Step Back in Time with the Barron Tree Planter

by:
from issue:

The 18th century saw a tremendous interest in landscaping private parkland on a grand scale with the movement of entire hills and mature trees, all by man and horse power, to fulfill the designs of celebrated gardeners such as Capability Brown. In the mid 1800s the movement of mature trees was revolutionised by the introduction of the Barron tree transplanter. The first planter was designed and built by Barron for the transplantation of maturing trees at Elvaston Castle in Derbyshire.

Building an Inexpensive Pole Barn

Building an Inexpensive Pole Barn

by:
from issue:

The inside of the barn can be partitioned into stalls of whatever size we need, using portable panels secured to the upright posts that support the roof. We have a lot of flexibility in use for this barn, making several large aisles or a number of smaller stalls. We can take the panels out or move them to the side for cleaning the barn with a tractor, or for using the barn the rest of the year for machinery.

Fjordworks Plowing the Market Garden

Fjordworks: Plowing the Market Garden Part 1

In a horse-powered market garden in the 1- to 10-acre range the moldboard plow can still serve us very well as one valuable component within a whole tool kit of tillage methods. In the market garden the plow is used principally to turn in crop residue or cover crops with the intention of preparing the ground to sow new seeds. In these instances, the plow is often the most effective tool the horse-powered farmer has on hand for beginning the process of creating a fine seed bed.

McCormick-Deering Potato Digger

McCormick-Deering Potato Digger

McCormick Deering (eventually International Harvestor) made what many believe to be one of the outstanding potato digger models. This post features the text and illustrations from the original manufacturer’s setup and operation literature, handed to the new owners upon purchase. This implement, pulled by two horses or a small suitable tractor, dug up the taters and conveyed them up an inclined, rattling chain which shook off most of the dirt and laid the crop on top of the ground for collection

Barn Door Plans

Barn Door Plans

Good barn doors, ones that will last a lifetime of opening, sliding and swinging in the wind, require careful design and construction. In 1946 the Starline Co., a barn building firm from the midwestern US, compiled a book of barn plans. These two diagrams were in that book and presented excellent information.

Portable Poultry

Portable Poultry

An important feature of the range shelter described in this circular is that it is portable. Two men by inserting 2x4s through the holes located just below the roost supports and next to the center uprights can easily pick up and move it from one location to another. Frequent moving of the shelter prevents excessive accumulation of droppings in its vicinity which are a menace to the health of the birds. Better use will be made by the birds of the natural green feed produced on the range if the houses are moved often.

Ask A Teamster Tongue Length

Ask A Teamster: Tongue Length

My forecart pole is set up for draft horses. My husband thinks we should cut the pole off to permanently make it fit better to these smaller horses. What would be your opinion? Like your husband, my preference would be a shorter tongue for a small team like your Fjords. The dynamics and efficiency of draft are better if we have our horse(s) close to the load. A shorter tongue will also reduce the overall length of your outfit, thereby giving you better maneuverability and turning dynamics.

Journal Guide