…and now for something completely different…
Canoe bow waves are quickly lost
on the shoreside
But go on out of sight
on the lake side.
The constant swish-swish of skis
On a day long ski.
The constant swish-swish of wiper blades
On a day long drive.
My dog, trotting barefoot
Steps on a garden slug
Nothing of it.
Word spreads quickly
as I approach the pond.
All becomes quiet.
Hidden in the vines
a large warted cucumber
jumps out of reach.
of marshmallow snow
on a branch,
await the trigger of my hat
to melt their way down my back.
Deep in the tomato jungle
Fruits of yellow, purple and red
Tell of their readiness
To go to market.
Snowflakes hurry through my flashlight beam,
As my boots knead new snow with spring mud,
On my nightly Hajj to keep the boil alive,
For as long as possible until the dawn,
To match the power of the flowing sap,
With my meager evaporator and will.
The prize at the finish line are jars of syrup
This document was begun in 2000 with major revisions and expansions made in 2008.
Snakeroot Organic Farm
Farmers' Retirement Plan
Thinking about farm succession . . .
(A work in progress)
Impediments for the want-to-be farmer.
Young people who are not already in a farming family have many stumbling blocks to
overcome in order to start farming. Some of these include:
- Finding good farm land. Even being able to know what good farmable land is, and knowing how to improve
what is found.
- The price of the farmland. Real estate values have little or nothing to do with the value of a piece of
land suitable for farming. Since location, view, water access, coastal proximity, road frontage, housing
demand, etc. are of less concern for farming than slope, soil type, mix of woods and fields, and existing
farm buildings, the astute farm-shopper knows both what to look for and where not to bother looking.
- The price of farm buildings.
- The price of equipment. Buying new is more expensive, but can avoid headaches and delays resulting
from having to stop and fix used equipment mid-season.
- Knowing which equipment is needed. One needs to have a plan for how the existing soil needs to be worked to
put it into the shape envisioned for the proposed farming operation.
- Familiarity with production practices. Scheduling everything at the optimum time from seed
ordering to weed management to harvest, preparation and handling of the crop. Knowing the different growing
requirements of each crop.
- Knowing markets. Wholesale or retail? What are the opportunities and how to get connected to
them. How far away are they?
- Knowing the existing farming community. Where are the local farm equipment dealers who can supply
a needed part on short notice? Who is the local welder? Who are the other farmers in the community and what
kind of farming are they doing?
- Understanding the rigors, schedules and seasons of operating a farm. There is nothing like
agriculture in it's total involvement of individuals in stewarding resources for the mutual benefit of the
farm and the farmer, as well as benefitting the greater physical environment and public awareness of the food supply.