Tag Archives: homesteading

Crop Rotation and Diversification

Image scanned from 1938 USDA Yearbook of Agriculture "Soils and Men" - Article: "Crop Rotation" by Clyde Leighty

Image scanned from 1938 USDA Yearbook of Agriculture “Soils and Men” – Article: “Crop Rotation” by Clyde Leighty

The concept of crop rotation is not a new idea. It is an idea as old as agriculture. Crop rotation, simply put, is growing a variety of plants in a planned manner to ensure that one species is not grown in the same field for multiple years in a row. It requires a certain amount of diversification, and on the larger industrial scale it can present problems in the need for many different equipment schemes for planting and harvesting. Modern agriculture ‘solves’ this dilemma by ‘scientifically’ replacing, in the form of fertilizer, what it considers to be all of the nutrients that the crop has removed from the soil in the previous year, and replanting that same crop. There are many problems with this plan that are not in the scope of this article to address.

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Green Manure and Cover Cropping

I find it interesting to read agricultural texts from different eras of our civilization. At the present moment I am increasing my collection of USDA Yearbooks of Agriculture, which I would recommend to anyone who is curious about agricultural techniques, policies, and studies. Particularly interesting to me are those books which were published during and directly following the Great Depression. In these years, agricultural science was making great leaps and bounds, not necessarily with new discoveries but with scientific proof that the practices of the preceding millennia were indeed spot-on, and that we should continue following our ancestors’ examples of land husbandry.

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Hand Tools: The Simple Choice

Sickle_and_scythe_labels

When explaining my decision to use only hand tools to accomplish all of my tasks, as an agrarian I could give the simple answer: they guarantee my commitment to hard work. Often times, I stop the explanation there. When approaching a project, I would rather choose the path that puts my body to work, giving my mind time to think while my body completes the task at hand, rather than only using my mind while letting my body languish. It is more satisfying and more healthful this way. I don’t use hand tools just because I enjoy it more, though. It is logic on many levels which led me to this decision. Continue reading

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Hard Work and Faith

Hard work and faith are choices you must accept to go down the agrarian path. Hard work is just what it sounds, hard. It is grueling, uncomplicated, and satisfying, and the only way to successfully get hard work done is to work hard.  Continue reading

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Agrarianism as a Teacher

Through agrarianism we allow ourselves to transform seemingly hard choices into easily handled decisions. Through our connection with the land, we learn everything that is important, and are then able to infer what is not. We discover lessons that have far-reaching implications through the simple activities we must perform to sustain ourselves, and in so doing, we become strong and truly independent. We learn that we need to provide very little to receive so much. We only need to provide two things: hard work and unwavering faith. Continue reading

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An Introduction

I live in a beautiful rural county in Appalachia that few have ever heard of, fewer have seen with their own eyes, and a pittance actually have the blessing to call their home. This county is surrounded and sectioned by the sort of steep but gently undulating long ridges that typify the ancient and amorous Appalachian Mountains. In a narrow highland valley, between two such ridges, on the crest of a supple hill, lies a small town with no traffic light, no gas station, no post office, no commercial venture of any kind, just a grouping of houses smaller than a single block in a standard suburban housing development. Close enough in distance to this town to be considered a resident of it, but far enough distant to be blissfully uninvolved in the geopolitical and social affairs of its few nosy and gossiping inhabitants, my family and I reside on a small farm, and give thanks every day for what we view as a blessed existence. Continue reading

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