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Small Farmer's Journal
PO Box 1627
Sisters, Oregon 97759
800-876-2893
541-549-2064
agrarian@smallfarmersjournal.com
Mon - Thu, 8am - 4pm PST

Asparagus in Holland
Asparagus in Holland

A “cultivating culture.” Friesian horse gelding Teade and Jelmer harrowing asparagus. This was in 2015, in the first year’s growth of asparagus. The crop can stay for 10 years, so the less you go in the field with heavy tractors and machinery the less soil compaction you get, leaving more air pores in the soil so roots can develop more. The rope I hold in my hands connects to the back part of the harrow, in that way I can steer the harrow closer or farther from the crop for precise control.

Asparagus in Holland

by Jelmer Albada of Friesland, Holland

Asparagus in Holland

The asparagus culture in Holland is for the majority white asparagus, grown in ridges. This is done on a sandy soil, like here in the picture. This piece of land used to be the headland of the field. The soil was therefore compact, and a big tractor came with a spader, loosening the soil. After that I used the horse for the lighter harrowing and scuffle work to prevent soil compaction. The land in this area of the province is rolling, due to the ice age glaciers of before. This land lies high for Dutch standards and has a low ground water level (table), that is why asparagus can grow there, which can root 3 foot deep over the years. Very common in Holland is the high ground water level.

Asparagus in Holland

First try out of the restored “Meyer hacke”, the German version of the Planet Jr. Horse Hoe #8. This brand built them until about 2002. Then they would have cost about 450 Euros. I bought a good second hand one for 45 Euros then had it sandblasted and painted and had that done much cheaper than the price of a new one.

Asparagus in Holland

Asparagus in the fall, the last harrowing in December 2015, the plant has died off back into the ground.

Asparagus in Holland

This was in the green asparagus before harvest season. It was the first time I used my restored European tool carrier of the Kockerling brand. Works nice. When the picture was taken, the harness was not used correctly, it pulled on the shafts, a pass later I corrected that. At the back in the pictures you can see the asparagus ridges, that is where the white asparagus grows in. It is covered with plastic, which has a white and black side. Early in the year it is still cold and to warm up the ridges the black side of the plastic is placed upwards so through sunlight the ridges warm up. photo by photographer Frans Mulder

Asparagus in Holland

Asparagus in Holland

I am using a traditional Friesian breast harness. I’m really into shining modern light on working with horses, but the practicality of the quick-hitch harness and my cultural background inspire me to use this traditional style.

What we do here in Friesland (some other regions as well) is keep the traces attached to the evener. For hitching a single horse or a team of two this method works well. We attach the traces to the horse’s harness. In this manner we don’t stand close to the horse’s back legs.

A quick-hitch method is used to connect the traces to the harness. This is a round piece of wood with a hole in it, and through the hole goes a rope in a loop. We call that piece of wood, the quick-hitch, an “oesdop.” They used to be made out of bone (the ball-joint from the back legs of a cow or bull). These “oesdoppen” have been found in archaeological sites and date way back.

Not many people use this method. I do and find it very practical farming-wise.

– Jelmer Albada

Asparagus in Holland

Spotlight On: People

Sack Sewing with Wayne Ryan

Sack Sewing with Wayne Ryan

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from issue:

Watching Wayne’s sure hands it was easy for me to forget that this is a 91 year old man. There was strength, economy, elegance and thrift in his every stroke.

The Craft of the Wheelwright

The Craft of the Wheelwright

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In these days of standardization and the extensive use of metal wheels you might think there is little call for the centuries old craft of wheelwrighting, but the many demands on the skills of Gus Kitson in Suffolk, England, show this to be very far from the truth. Despite many years experience of renovating all types of wagons and wheels even Gus can still be surprised by the types of items for which new or restored wooden wheels are required.

ODHBA 2016 Plowing Match

ODHBA 2016 Plowing Match

The Oregon Draft Horse Breeders Association hosted their 50th Anniversary Plowing Match at the Yamhill Valley Heritage Center in McMinnville, Oregon on April 9, 2016. Small Farmer’s Journal was lucky enough to attend and capture some of the action to share.

No Starving Children!

You’d never be able to harvest the broccoli or the hay or milk the cows or make the cheese if it were subject to government process. Not only are our industrial farms too big…

To Market, To Market, To Buy A Fat Pig

Within so-called alternative agriculture circles there are turf wars abrew

Beating the Beetles – War & Peace in a Houston Garden

Blooming that is, unless the cucumber beetles arrive first.
And arrive they have … “At first I thought they looked like big, yellow lady bugs.” Paul said, “Then I looked…

Farmrun John Erskine

John Erskine

John Erskine farms with horses in Sequim, WA.

Almost a Veterinarian

Almost a Veterinarian

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from issue:

In 1976, after reading the memoirs of a much-lauded veterinarian/author from Yorkshire England, I got it into my head that I would make a good DVM myself. It was a rather bold aspiration inasmuch as I was a thirty-three year old high school dropout with few credentials and no visible means of support. It was a shot in dark: I hadn’t been in a classroom for fifteen years, but I made my way back to Guelph, Ontario, where the only veterinarian school in Canada was located.

Farmrun A Reverence for Excellence

A Reverence for Excellence

A portrait of Maple Rock Farm and Hogstone’s Wood Oven, a unique farm and restaurant on Orcas Island where the farmers are the chefs, A Reverence for Excellence strives to be an honest portrayal of the patience, toil, conviction and faith required of an agrarian livelihood.

The Way it Wasnt

The Way it Wasn’t

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It often seems to me that a good share of life is determined by our own perspectives. I’ve competed in pulls where the team came in last and I was completely content, if not downright thrilled. I’ve had other times when the team pulled all they could and behaved perfectly, and still disappointed me. It’s just my personal perspective on that particular day that led to my disappointment or pleasure. Let’s face it; a day at a pull, with the good people a pull attracts, and the bond shared with horses is a good day that we should cherish whether you finished first or last.

Biodynamic Meeting at Ruby and Amber’s Organic Farm

Biodynamic Meeting at Ruby and Amber’s Organic Farm

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One weekend I attended a Biodynamic meeting at Ruby and Amber’s Organic Farm in Dorena, Oregon, in the Row River Valley, just east of Cottage Grove. I always enjoy seeing other food growing operations, as this is such an infinitely broad subject, there is always much to learn from others’ experiences. At this farm, draft horses are used for much of the work.

The Real Work Karbaumer Farm

The Real Work Karbaumer Farm

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A bold and opinionated German, Klaus moved to the midwest over 25 years ago from Bavaria and is currently running the only tractor-less farm in Platte County, Missouri operated by draft horses. Karbaumer Farm tries to “live and grow in harmony with Nature and her seasons” and produces over 50 varieties of chemical-free, organic vegetables for the community, providing a CSA or the greater Kansas City area.

Congo Farm Project

Congo Farm Project

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I was at day one, standing outside an old burnt-out Belgian plantation house, donated to us by the progressive young chief of the village of Luvungi. My Congolese friend and I had told him that we would need to hire some workers to help clear the land around the compound, and to put a new roof on the building. I thought we should be able to attract at least 20 workers. Then, I looked out to see a crowd of about 800 eager villagers, each one with their own hoe.

What We Really Lose

What We Really Lose

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A few minutes with my Old Man will bring you stories Hollywood could never write. Stories of driving the canned milk to town at age 12 in the family pickup, not having a car to drive, driving new Cadillacs, eating home raised meals, eating at the Four Seasons as Presidents walked out while he was walking in, farming with only horses, then new tractors, then big tractors, then not farming, then doing it again with 50 year old tractors, then once more with no tractors.

How Much Land Does a Man Need

How Much Land Does a Man Need?

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Close to the village there lived a lady, a small landowner, who had an estate of about three hundred acres. She had always lived on good terms with the peasants, until she engaged as her steward an old soldier, who took to burdening the people with fines. However careful Pahom tried to be, it happened again and again that now a horse of his got among the lady’s oats, now a cow strayed into her garden, now his calves found their way into her meadows — and he always had to pay a fine.

Mayfield Farm

Mayfield Farm, New South Wales, Australia

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Mayfield Farm is a small family owned and operated mixed farm situated at 1150 m above sea level on the eastern edge of the Great Dividing Range in northern New South Wales, Australia. Siblings, Sandra and Ian Bannerman, purchased the 350 acre property in October, 2013, and have converted it from a conventionally operated farm to one that is run on organic principles. Additional workers on the farm include Janette, Ian’s wife, and Jessica, Ian’s daughter.

Growing Farmers and the Food Movement for 50 Years

Growing Farmers and the Food Movement for 50 Years

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It all began 50 years ago when faculty and students appealed to UC Santa Cruz Chancellor Dean McHenry, proposing a garden project that would serve as a central gathering spot on the remote, forested campus. As legend has it, Alan Chadwick, a charismatic, somewhat cantankerous master gardener from England, chose a steep, rocky, sun-scorched slope covered with poison oak to prove a point: If students could create a garden there, they could create one anywhere. And create they did.

Small Farmer's Journal

Small Farmer's Journal
PO Box 1627
Sisters, Oregon 97759
800-876-2893
541-549-2064
agrarian@smallfarmersjournal.com
Mon - Thu, 8am - 4pm PDT