Small Farmer's Journal

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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

Sack Sewing with Wayne Ryan
Sack Sewing with Wayne Ryan

Wayne talks about what makes good sack sewing twine.

While attending the 2011 Dufur Threshing Bee we asked our friend, and Threshing Bee stalwart, Wayne Ryan if we could photograph him demonstrating the art of sack sewing. He smiled in consent. Thank you Wayne for sharing.

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.

Sack Sewing with Wayne Ryan

Approximate fourteen feet of twine, folded back on itself, goes into each sewing.

Sack Sewing with Wayne Ryan

String inserted into the needle, Wayne makes a loop around the far “ear” of the grain filled sack.

Sack Sewing with Wayne Ryan

Two half-hitches go into the loop…

Sack Sewing with Wayne Ryan

…the needle then goes in under and through…

Sack Sewing with Wayne Ryan

…then the string is pulled up tight.

Sack Sewing with Wayne Ryan

A view of the tied far sack “ear”.

Sack Sewing with Wayne Ryan

Wayne is careful to make sure the “split” side of the eye of the needle is facing the palm of his hand.

Sack Sewing with Wayne Ryan

String over the seam and needle back under and through.

Sack Sewing with Wayne Ryan

Over and back under, over and back under…

Sack Sewing with Wayne Ryan

…until it’s time time pull up the slack…

Sack Sewing with Wayne Ryan

…and then another set of stitches…

Sack Sewing with Wayne Ryan

…until the length of the proposed seam has been covered.

Sack Sewing with Wayne Ryan

He worked towards himself and when he reached the end, he pulled the slack tight. Wayne then folds the string over and back under the ear ready to pass through the fiber.

Sack Sewing with Wayne Ryan

Then Wayne adds his own trademark extra step as he creates an extra half-hitch which he folds over the ear and pull taut.

Sack Sewing with Wayne Ryan

Sack Sewing with Wayne Ryan

Sack Sewing with Wayne Ryan

Wayne spoke with me about the challenges of finding the right string, the difficulty in locating true sack sewing needles, and how he had to hire a seamstress to make burlap sack because they are no longer available. Our time with Wayne was too short but even so it was wide and full and treasureable as so many golden aspects of this splendid farming life.

Sack Sewing with Wayne Ryan

Spotlight On: Farming Systems & Approaches

Farm To School Programs Take Root

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

LittleField Notes Hay

LittleField Notes: Hay

by:
from issue:

Farming never fails to dish up one lesson in humility after another. Despite having all the weather knowledge the information-age has to offer, farmers will still lose hay to the rain, apple blossoms to frost, winter wheat to drought… If we are slow to learn humility in Nature’s presence we can be sure that another lesson is never far off.

Wheel Hoe

The Wheel Hoe: A Tool For Shallow Tillage

When we bought this little farm I soon realized I needed a wheel hoe. The size of the horse and tractor dictated space wasting wide rows in crop production and, to some degree, so does my two wheeled tractor.

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.

Week in the Life of D Acres

Week in the Life of D Acres

by:
from issue:

D Acres of New Hampshire in Dorchester, a permaculture farm, sustainability center, and non-profit educational organization, is a bit of a challenge to describe. Join us for this week-in-the-life tour, a little of everything that really did unfold in this manner. Extraordinary, perhaps, only in that these few November days were entirely ordinary.

LittleField Notes Farm Log

LittleField Notes: Farm Log

by:
from issue:

My starting every column with a discussion of the weather set me to thinking about that old clichéd idea of talking about the weather; how it is all old men talk about downtown at the local coffee shop; how they sit for hours telling endless lies about how the snow was deeper, the nights colder and the hills steeper when they were young. However, clichés have basis in truth, and it is true that weather is a wonderful conversation opener.

English Sheaf Knots

English Sheaf Knots

Long ago when grain was handled mostly by hand, the crop was cut slightly green so seed did not shatter or shake loose too easily. That crop was then gathered into ‘bundles’ or ‘sheafs’ and tied sometimes using a handful of the same grain for the cording. These sheafs were then gathered together, heads up, and leaned upon one another to form drying shocks inviting warm breezes to pass through. In old England, the field workers took great pride in their work and distinctive sheaf knots were designed and employed.

Evolution of a Permanent Bed System

Evolution of a Permanent Bed System

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from issue:

After three or four years we could see that the nature of our farming practices would continue to have detrimental effects on our soils. We were looking for a new approach, a routine that would be sustainable, rather than a rescue treatment for an ongoing problem. We decided to convert our fields to permanent planting beds with grassy strips in between where all tractor, foot and irrigation pipe traffic would be concentrated.

Cayuse Vineyards

Small Farm, USA: Cayuse Vineyards

by:
from issue:

How did the grape find itself here on the outskirts of Milton? If you ask one man, Christophe Baron, the answer is simple. “It’s the cobblestone. (The ground) reminds me of home”. For Christophe, home refers to France and the stone littered earth from which many famous French wines grow. Hailing from a family of vigneron champenois, Mr. Baron came upon this corner of the state by chance, saw its signature geology, and decided to establish his domaine right here in northeast Oregon.

The Brabants Farm

The Brabants’ Farm

by:
from issue:

The Brabants’ Farm is a multi purpose farming operation whose main goal is to promote “horsefarming.” Our philosophy is to support the transformation of regional conventional agriculture and forestry into a sustainable, socially responsible, and less petroleum dependent based agriculture, by utilizing animal drawn technology (“horsefarming”), and by meeting key challenges in 21st century small scale agriculture and forestry in Colombia and throughout South America.

Personal Food Production

Personal Food Production

by:
from issue:

We can argue about when, but someday within several decades, oil and the plentiful super-market food we take for granted will be in short supply and/or very expensive. We must all start immediately to grow as much of our own food as possible. This is the fun part and is the subject of a vast popular movement highlighted by innumerable books, magazines, and web sites. Square-foot gardening, raised beds, and permaculture are the new rage. We don’t need thirty-million acres of lawns. Flowers aren’t very filling either.

Starting Seeds

From Dusty Shelves: A WWII era article from Farming For Security

On-Farm Meat Processing

The demand for fresh, local meat products – with no taint of industrial process – is absolutely staggering.

Starting Your Farm

Starting Your Farm: Chapter 2

How do you learn the true status of that farm with the “for sale” sign? Here are some important pieces of information for you to learn about a given selling farm. The answers will most probably tell you how serious the seller is.

A Year of Contract Grazing

A Year of Contract Grazing

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Contract grazing involves the use of livestock to control specific undesirable plants, primarily for ecological restoration and wildfire prevention purposes. The landowners we worked for saw grazing as an ecologically friendly alternative to mowing, mechanical brush removal, and herbicide application.

Swallow

Rotation As A Means Of Blight Control

Every farmer knows that when a crop is grown on the same field year after year, it becomes inferior in quality and the yield steadily diminishes.

Cultivating Questions: Alternative Tillage & Inter-Seeding Techniques

Our intention is not to advocate the oddball living mulches we use with this single row inter-seeding system, but just to show how it is possible to utilize the between-row areas to improve insect habitat, reduce erosion, conserve moisture, fix some nitrogen, and grow a good bit of extra organic matter. If nothing else, experimenting with these alternative practices continues to keep farming exciting as we begin our twentieth season of bio-extensive market gardening.

Barnyard Manure

Barnyard Manure

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from issue:

The amount of manure produced must be considered in planning a cropping system for a farm. If one wishes to manure one-fifth of the land every year with 10 tons per acre, there would have to be provided two tons per year for each acre of the farm. This would require about one cow or horse, or equivalent, for each six acres of land.

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