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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 PDT

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

Raising Chickens on the Schekel Farm

Raising Chickens on the Scheckel Farm

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We kept our eye on this rooster. He was high entertainment for 3 boys and 3 younger sisters on that farm. We didn’t give him a name, just called him “Rooster,” and Rooster ruled. Other roosters moved out of his way. Hens cowered when Rooster appeared. My dog Browser wouldn’t go near Rooster. Rooster was invincible. Or so he thought.

Farmrun George's Boots

George’s Boots

George Ziermann has been making custom measured, hand made shoes for 40 years. He’s looking to get out, but can’t find anyone to get in.

Kombit: The Cooperative

Kombit: The Cooperative

We received word of a new environmental film, Kombit: The Cooperative, about deforestation in Haiti — and an international effort to combat it by supporting small farmers on the island.

The Shallow Insistence

…a life of melody, poetry and farming?

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.

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.

Livery and Feed

Livery & Feed

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A livery stable, for the benefit of those who never heard of one, was an establishment which catered to horses. It boarded them, doctored them, and bred them, whenever any of these services were required. It also furnished “rigs” — a horse and buggy or perhaps a team, for anyone who wished to ride, rather than walk, about the town or countryside. It was a popular service for traveling men who came into town on the railway train and wanted to call on customers in cross-road communities.

Mule Powered Wrecker Service

Mule Drawn Wrecker Service

This will only add fuel to those late night discoursians about the relative merits of horses over mules or viciversy. Is the horse the smarter one for hitching a ride or is the mule the smarter one for recognizing the political opportunity which this all represents? In any event these boys know what they are doing, or should, so don’t try this at home without horse tranquilizers. Remember that politics is a luke warm bowl of thin soup.

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.

Feeding Elk Winter Work for the Belgians

Feeding Elk: Winter Work for the Belgians

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Doug Strike of rural Sublette County is spending his second winter feeding wild elk in nearby Bondurant, Wyoming. Strike is supplementing his logging income as well as helping his team of Belgian draft horses to keep in shape for the coming season. From May to the end of November he uses his horses to skid logs out of the mountains of western Wyoming. I found the use of Doug’s beautiful Belgian team an exciting example of appropriate technology.

Another Barn Falls In

Another Barn Falls In

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The barn was built around a century ago. A pair of double doors on the front flapped when the wind blew, and a short service door was on the side. It wasn’t a big barn, about 30 feet wide by 40 feet long with a small hay mow above. It had a couple of windows for light, and of course a window in the peak. There was a hitching rail outside that gave it a certain welcoming charm. A charm that seemed to say, “tie up to the rail, and c’mon in.”

Back to the Land

Back to the Land

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Tired of living in a crowded urban environment with its deafening noise and bumper-to-bumper traffic and eager to escape what they saw as an economy bent on destroying the planet, Matt and Tasha left their home in the Washington, DC metropolitan area in March 2014. In doing so, they became modern-day pioneers, part of a wave of Americans who have chosen to go back to the land over the past decade, seeking to reclaim and rebuild their lives and to forge a deeper connection to the earth, the animals that inhabit it, and to each other.

Icelandic Sheep

Icelandic Sheep

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I came to sheep farming from a background in the arts – with a passion for spinning and weaving. When we were able to leave our house in town to buy our small farm, a former dairy operation, I had no idea that the desire to have a couple of fiber animals would turn into full time shepherding. I had discovered Icelandic sheep, and was completely enamored of their beauty, their hardiness and their intelligence.

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.

Farm To School Programs Take Root

All aim to re-connect school kids with healthy local food.

Today I Prepare

Today I Prepare by Lynn Miller Summering towards seated moments found without splinter found with or without care. No audience save the critical unbecoming self. Were it a long race to now, surprised to be amongst the last running with a chance to go to the target beyond end, tanks full with cupped felt. So […]

Typical Range Ride

Typical Range Ride

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I head up the steep trail through the rocks and sagebrush behind our house. The smell of dewy sage fills my nostrils as my horse brushes the shrubs along the trail, and a horned lark flits up from her nest on the ground as we go by. A mother grouse bursts into the air and does her broken-wing act (her strategy to lead a predator away from her babies, who are scattering out through the grass).

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.

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