A Poem

The earth doesn't need us. How does that make you feel?
Taste a poem.
There are no consequences for your actions. Do you give or do you take?
Feel a song.
The one substance needed for life to exist rains from the sky in vast quantities, yet we buy it in small toxic containers from people we don't know only to throw the container away so someone else will throw it on the ground somewhere we don't have to look at it anymore.
Smell a landscape.

View the world.
Sense your place in it.

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Battle Royale Pt 2 – Sustainability

1935 USDA Yearbook of Agriculture; A different time with different solutions

I find it necessary to address the sustainability of each of the methods of growing that I will be comparing in my Battle Royale. Sustainability is very important to consider when undertaking any agricultural venture. When I say sustainability I mean it very literally, not just speaking from an environmental standpoint. Can this method be sustained indefinitely under the current or foreseeable future conditions?

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A Poem

The ice glistens,
The fire crackles,
The joints creak,
The tea steams,
The soup boils,
The mind turns inward.

The winter approaches.

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Progress or …?

One of my best sources of information in the agronomic field has been the USDA Yearbooks of Agriculture. Having access to studies from 130 years ago up until the end of publishing in 1992 has been a boon for my education. It is hard not to notice, however, the stark changes in the writing styles over those years, and the perceived shift in the target audience based on the tone of the writing. Here I will present a contrast of two randomly selected excerpts to illustrate my point.

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Subsoiler aka Chisel Plow (not a hand tool)

In my last post (Battle Royale (Agrarian Style)) I revealed that I have indeed used a tool on a tractor to accomplish an agrarian goal. I used a single shank subsoiler, aka chisel plow or ripper, to help prepare a hillside to become a productive orchard. There were definitely ways that I could have used hand tools only to suit this purpose, but it would have taken years worth of work and crop rotations. This solution allowed me to jump ahead with minimal investment of time and money, and with minimal negative consequences. Read on if you are interested in the reasons behind this exception to my rule (Hand Tools: The Simple Choice).

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Battle Royale (Agrarian Style)

Garden with a view

I am starting new gardens from scratch this year, and in the interest of learning new things in new places, I have set up an experiment to compare a few different methods of gardening. I will keep this as brief as possible, and expound upon each of these methods as I update you with progress reports over the following years. Each bed will be planted in the spring with potatoes, sweet potatoes, squash, and an assortment of vegetables, along with a row of sunflowers and buckwheat. I have no expectations or knowledge of how the results will look, this experiment is purely out of curiosity and I am excited to see how the different methods turn out. How will they yield, handle drought, soaking rains, etc?

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A Poem

We are each of us a microorganism - a thing so small that we are not even aware of the true size of our environment.
We can not comprehend even the simplest of principles within our own ecosystem; it would be arrogant to think we could understand the universe.
We are each of us an ecosystem, a world, a galaxy, a universe - so vastly large that we are not even aware of the smallest parts of our own body; it would be arrogant to think we could understand ourselves.
Somewhere within us a speck writes a poem - we are oblivious to its existence and the beauty of its life and its art.
Somewhere outside of us a being walks a path - it is oblivious to our existence and the beauty of our lives and our art.
The speck, although invisible and unknowable to us, can easily cause our demise if its energy is harmful.
What is your energy?

~Anonymous Appalachian Agrarian

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Science Seeks the Farmer

USDA Yearbook of Agriculture 1920

By L.C. Everard – Chief Editor, Division of Publications – an article from the 1920 USDA Yearbook of Agriculture, public property

Something is wanting to science until it has been humanized, said Emerson. That was long ago, before the development of the Department of Agriculture. Were he here today he would probably say something is wanting to agricultural science until it puts on its overalls and gets out between the plow handles. And the scientists of the department would agree with him; for though they may in their laboratories surround their work with a cloud of hard words and harder ideas like a smoke screen anround a battleship, they realize that their investigations and discoveries are made for the sake of mankind, and acquire their chief value when the veil of thechnicality is torn away. Cyclonic action means something to the farmer when translated into term of rain or snow or fair weather. And scientific study of the life history of Ascaris lumbricoides becomes a blessing to him when a way has been found to apply the knowledge so as to save his pigs.

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Thankful for … Butternut Squash

Every fall cucurbits rise to fame and infamy. They appear on porches as testaments to their diversity, as monsters and vampires, as modern art disguised as a vegetable smashed on the ground. They bring folks to a local farm, bring families together around a hot pie, and bring coffee lovers to love or hate the words ‘pumpkin spice’. They are a symbol of fall, harvest, and abundance. I am thankful for them. I am most thankful not for the pumpkin, however, but for the Butternut – cucurbita moschata.

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Thinking In Long Terms

Times they are a changing. Time marches on. Time waits for no man. Time flies. There are many sayings about time and our interactions with it. Theorists would have you acknowledge that whether or not time is linear is still not a settled issue, but from a human perspective we see time pass from past to present to future at a constant rate. It may seem to speed up and slow down depending on our circumstances, but we know that each day is equal to the last, and we can’t go back and change anything after the fact. We can however affect the future with our actions in the present.

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