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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

Reflection

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” — Anais Nin

  • Farm Drum 24 Shapes

Reflection

“Societies in decline have no use for visionaries.” — Anais Nin

“Every blade of grass has its angel that bends over it and whispers, ‘Grow, grow.'” — The Talmud

The swallows disappear in an instant replaced by the low hovering Goshawk, its soft silver blue grey made visible against the sky tones by the fluttering knife shapes of his black wing tips. He looks deep and hard, into the calf-high forage, for gophers, mice, and snake. Eighteen inches above orchard grass tops he hangs forever then, with stiff extended wings he tilts and banks to capture the wind which carries him kite-like in a taut floating curve to his next observation-hover where with a corrective shift to horizontal he stops midair. He’s working. Working hard to feed himself. He is in pleasure; in complete harmony with this world which owns him. Backing away some from the picture, to my eye the Goshawk blends and disappears and the view is of a particular balanced fertility and beauty. Squinting again to zoom in and reclaim the focus of the hawk I realize that the poetry and fertility of this place and this time, our time, is four dimensional. — Lynn Miller, “Economic Fertility”, 1999

“Only the great generalizations survive. The sharp words of the Declaration of Independence, lampooned then and since as ‘glittering generalities’, have turned out blazing ubiquities that will burn forever and ever.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

SLOW LEARNERS: Taking students on field trips to the zoo, one of the observations they would make over and over is how most animals eating fruit approach or attack the blossom end. Of course once they noticed it, I’d ask why (and why humans don’t do it that way) and wait for their answers. While most humans peel bananas from the stem down, monkeys and gorillas always bite and peel up from the blossom end. Then eat that way too. Most insects burrowing into my apples also start at the blossom end. That must be the sweet and easy way to do it, and we might be slow learners. — PH

“A farmer’s horse is never lame, never unfit to go. Never throws out curbs, never breaks down before or behind. Like his master he is never showy. He does not paw and prance, and arch his neck, and bid the world admire his beauties … and when he is wanted, he can always do his work.” — Anthony Trollope

SALT LICKS: Grazing animals’ tongues are a force of nature. Flexible, subtle, wordless, unspeakably strong, they reach around to draw in grasses drenched with morning dew. On a salt block the tongues of horses and cattle, elk and deer, goats and sheep, even badgers and possums, can create shapes that remind us of the sandstone hoo-doos sculpted by wind and water in the badlands. The mind of man conjures cathedrals underground, castles on high promontories. And how does this sculpture come about? Sheer happenstance. Each individual tongue of each animal, rough or smooth, licks until it has had enough, and moves on. — PH

  • Farm Drum 24 Shapes

Spotlight On: People

Almost a Veterinarian

Almost a Veterinarian

by:
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.

The Craft of the Wheelwright

The Craft of the Wheelwright

by:
from issue:

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.

The Farmer and the Horse

The Farmer & The Horse

In New Jersey — land of The Sopranos, Jersey Shore, and the Turnpike — farmland is more expensive than anywhere else. It’s not an easy place to try to start a career as a farmer. But for a new generation of farmers inspired by sustainability, everything seems possible. Even a farm powered by draft horses.

Jacko

Jacko

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from issue:

By the time he was 3 years old, Jacko had grown into a big size jack, 13 hands tall and 900 pounds, and was still growing. That summer he ran the singlerow corn planter and raked the hay, proved himself handier with a single row cultivator than a single ox, getting closer to the plants without stepping on them. Gradually he had paced himself to his three educated gaits to fill whatever job Lafe required of him: fast walk for the planter and rake, slow walk for the cultivator and plant-setter, and brisk trot for the buggy.

Farmrun - Sylvester Manor

Sylvester Manor

Sylvester Manor is an educational farm on Shelter Island, whose mission is to cultivate, preserve, and share these lands, buildings, and stories — inviting new thought about the importance of food, culture and place in our daily lives.

Ripening

Poetry Corner: What A Boy Lies Awake Wondering

This is a poem from Paul Hunter’s book Ripening.

Changing of Seasons

LittleField Notes: Changing of Seasons

by:
from issue:

We are blessed who are active participants in the life of soil and weather, crops and critters, living a life grounded in seasonal change. This talk of human connection to land and season is not just the rambling romantic musing of an agrarian ideologue. It is rather the result of participating in the deeply vital vocation that is farming and knowing its fruits first hand.

The Shallow Insistence

…a life of melody, poetry and farming?

Sack Sewing with Wayne Ryan

Sack Sewing with Wayne Ryan

by:
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.

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.

Bud & Mary Rickett

Buck & Mary Rickett: Successful Small Farmers

by:
from issue:

Ten years ago I answered a classified ad and went to a small western Oregon farm to look at some young laying hens that were for sale. That visit to Buck and Mary Rickett’s place made a quiet impression on me that has lasted to this day. On that first visit in ’71 my eager new farmer’s eye and ear absorbed as much as possible of what seemed like an unusual successful, small operation. I asked what must have seemed like an endless stream of questions on that early visit.

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…

Rope Tricks

a short piece on rope tricks from the 20th anniversary Small Farmer’s Journal.

Ham & Eggs

Ham & Eggs

Max Godfrey leads Ham & Eggs, at Plant & Sing 2012 at Sylvester Manor.

Harnessing the Future

Harnessing the Future

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from issue:

En route to a remote pasture where the Belgian draft horses, Prince and Tom, are grazing, we survey the vast green landscape, a fine mist hovering in distant low lying areas. We are enveloped in a profusion of sweet, earthy balance. Interns and other workers start their chores; one pauses to check his smart phone. Scattered about are many animal-powered rustic implements. This rich and agriculturally diverse, peaceful place is steeped in contrasts: modern and ancient.

Great Oregon Steam Up

Great Oregon Steam-Up

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from issue:

I went to the Great Oregon Steam-Up over in Brooks, Oregon, near Salem. Lynn has been invited and has wanted to attend for years, but this time of year might very well be the busiest time of year for him. He’s always farming or writing or editing or painting or forecasting or businessing or just generally fightin’ the power, yo. It’s nuts, I don’t know how he does it all. So, when I told him I was going to go, he was very interested and wanted a good report.

American Milking Devons and the Flack Family Farm

American Milking Devons and the Flack Family Farm

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On a sunny early September day I met Doug Flack at his biodynamic and organic farm, just South of Enosburg Falls. Doug is an American Milking Devon breeder with some of the best uddered and well behaved animals I have seen in the breed. The animals are beautifully integrated into his small and diversified farm. His system of management seems to bring out the best in the animals and his enthusiasm for Devon cattle is contagious.

Fjordworks: A History of Wrecks Part 1

Fjordworks: A History of Wrecks Part 1

I am certainly not the most able of dairymen, nor the most skilled among vegetable growers, and by no means am I to be counted amongst the ranks of the master teamsters of draft horses. If there is anything remarkable about my story it is that someone could know so little about farming as I did when I started out and still manage to make a good life of it.

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