Wednesday, July 11, 2012

In Gene Logsdon Country, Part One

I have been missing my goal for posting frequency on this weblog. Part of the reason is my natural verbosity, and an inability to master the art of  brief but frequent blog posts. Our friend at Auburn Meadow Farm wrote me today, and I realized that I have not shared any of my impressions of the ADCA meeting, show and sale.

The trip itself was eventful. Mapquest led me to Fort Wayne Indiana on a route past the hometown of one of America's greatest living agrarian writers, Gene Logsdon.  Gene Logsdon is on of the greatest influences on my life, my favorite author, and seeing the landscapes that formed him was a great treat. While I comment once in a while on his blog, my regard for him makes me somewhat starstruck. Part of me wanted to drop off a couple of pounds of  free samples of our  Gibsondale Cheese, but like many writers, I understand he shuns visitors.

As a major Gene Logsdon fan,  I was somewhat chagrined that the town of  Upper Sandusky did not honor their most famous son in their welcome sign. The town does remember  its original inhabitants, who apparently made their peaceful  last stand there. Gene often writes about homesteaders, agrarians and other rural folk as "Ramparts People", and the connection to the Wyandot Indians is not lost in his thinking

"The voice of the turtle can be heard again, ringing through the land, as the old Wyandots and Mohegans who once roamed my farm would say-a new surge of creative energy that moves the earth in a direction of self-redemption and sustainability that not the richest PAC nor the oldest institutionalized claptrap can stop".

Next Time......................How the Contrary Farmer changed my life

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Hopeful Signs of Agrarian Revival

My off farm urbanist business occasionally requires me to be apprised of local news. In the last couple days while searching for local matters on google news I found two encouraging agrarian stories.

Hand mowing contests are returning to  Yankee country fairs. Even the Wall Street Journal  recently noted the Scything revival. 
The first one: of all places, the Wall Street Journal ran a story about Scythes as a superior alternative to the weedwacker. I have two Marrugg Scythes and love them. The article is a bit obtuse about the differences between Austrian style blades and stamped American blades. I would also question whether a scythe instructor is necessary.  Some reading and youtube watching followed by thoughtful practice can accomplish a lot and my mantra in life is the Chesterton quote that "anything worth doing is worth doing badly."  In spite of these small flaws, the fact that a major paper in darkest New York City is doing a story on scythes is pleasantly shocking. 

The second story is from the New York Times and discusses some the the economics of the growing small farm movement.   Apparently among other things, cheap migrant labor is not as plentiful as it once was, and  produce from small family worked plots may become more price competitive. If this trend continues,  my expectation is that large corporate agribusiness will respond by lobbying for more regulations on farmers markets and the small growers (all in the name of "food safety").
For now though, I am just encouraged.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

An Agrarian Hymn

We are having a dry year, though nothing like what the midwest is seeing.  "Oh that this dry and barren ground in springs of water may abound........." The musician,  Tim Eriksen,  captures the feel of what I imagine much early American music sounded like, and I love the agrarian imagery of this hymn.  I hope it inspires your Sunday too.