As I plan my garden each spring, I think forward to what seeds I might want to save, and make sure that my garden is structured in such a way that I can do that. I only save easy seeds — I have not yet bothered with isolation tents or hand pollination — so the ones I do save usually come at me pretty easily. Continue reading
As a vegetable farmer, all season long I’m confronted with too much abundance — it’s absolutely overwhelming. In winter, though, it can feel like the opposite if I don’t prepare. So the question for me is, how can I manage the abundance of summer so that I can enjoy it into the winter?
Pole barns or sheds are simple structures ideal for agricultural purposes, but can be useful on rural homesteads and even suburban lots. These simple structures are perfect for firewood storage, housing tools and machinery, or even shelter for livestock. One only needs basic skills, as well as lumber and some tools, to build one. Materials are inexpensive and can be adjusted to any size needed.
The snow lies deep in the back pasture. The wind whines sharply between the branches of the pine trees and the days remain painfully short. But still, something is happening. I can see it in the changed slant of sun’s rays at 4:00. The chicks I hatched last spring are laying pullet eggs and the year-old Buff Orpingtons are gifting us with huge, double yolkers. Wood piles are shrinking and there is tubing snaking through the maple bush waiting for the first run of sap that will be boiled into syrup.
This is a busy time of year for us, outdone only by harvest but a lot of this work is done in the dreaming. What should I plant and when and where? I will confess that I am always too early. My impatience for something crisp and green outweighs my good sense.
The beginning of a new year is all about both traditions and new beginnings. One tradition I’ve found helpful is to revisit my “monthly checklist” of things that need addressing around the home and property during the coming year. Continue reading
A lot of folks idolize the Amish, and envy their way of life — even wishing there was some way they could live like that. It is a good life, but one that requires long hours of hard work, with many less conveniences than the rest of us enjoy. It is possible for any of us to live very simply, but the Amish lifestyle is so intertwined with faith and community, that to truly live like them would almost require joining them or a similar group. The Amish are devoted to a lifetime of living by the Bible and the obeying the rules of the church. Living in community and helping each other is one of the prime factors of their culture — both a blessing and a deep commitment to the group. Continue reading
Many people know Lehman’s is located in “the heart of Ohio’s Amish Country,” home to hundreds of Amish and Mennonite families. But as those families grow, their small farms are in danger of being replaced by highly mechanized agriculture. In fact, in the 1980s about 90 percent of Amish families made a living from their farms.Today, less than 10 percent are full-time farmers.
They’re also running out of land, fast. Think about it: Amish families tend to be large, and traditionally a farmer would divide his farmland among a few of his sons when they started their own households. It’s not hard to see why more and more Amish are forced to work “off the farm” or move away with their families in search of their livelihood.
But a local organic Amish co-op sees change on the horizon – great change. Continue reading
My Amish furrowing hoe arrived in the mail the day before a big planting event in a community garden just down the hill from my house in the country. I woke up that morning, did my rabbit and sheep chores, made my breakfast of greens and a couple fried eggs, and brought my breakfast, a fork, some seeds, and the hoe down to the bottom of the road. I sat on a gravel pile and ate my breakfast while I waited for the rest of the crew to arrive. Conor showed up before the others; the first words out of his mouth were “You look like Walt Whitman.” The second statement was, “That hoe is calling out to me.” Continue reading
Editor’s Note: Hannah will be using Lehman’s products and blogging about them in the coming months. Who better to field test our gardening, farming and kitchen tools than an off-grid farmer? We look forward to this series, and we think you’ll benefit from Hannah’s knowledge, too! You can follow Hannah’s farming adventures on Facebook at Humble Hands Harvest.
Hi, I’m Hannah. I’m a young farmer who grew up in the city. That’s not an easy thing
to be these days, with land prices through the roof and not very many of my peers understanding what it means to live my life in response to and in collaboration with the earth.
As a college student about eight years ago, majoring in Mathematics, I gradually became aware of a disconnect between my academic life and the “real world,” where wars raged and injustice spread and living things rooted down. I briefly considered quitting college to work with a peacemaking group, but came to the conclusion that I could graduate and figure out something “real” to do after that. I found an internship on a farm in Texas focused on small-scale agriculture as applicable to the developing world, and jumped into managing a Community Supported Agriculture vegetable garden alongside a goat dairy. Continue reading