Category Archives: Environment

New Reading, Old Book

I have made a decision to read some older books, like Letters of a Woman Homesteader written by Elinor Pruitt Stewart. This book was published in May of 1914 from letters that a widow woman wrote to an old employer about her move with her two year old daughter to Wyoming with a well-to-do Scotch cattleman named Mr. Stewart. I have already read about six chapters, for free through my new kindle app for my phone, by the way.

Some of the things she says remind me a bunch of farm life around here today. Like when the haying needed to be done and she waited until Mr. Stewart went to town to hire help, she took off to the field and worked herself. I have to admit, I feel a kinship to her on some levels.  She talks too about being sixty miles from the rail station and the Forest Reserve of Utah (I am going to research and see if that is still a reserve) is about a half mile away. Her first letter is dated April 18, 1909. That letter talks about her trip from Denver to Wyoming…24 hours on the train and two days on the stage!

We take so many things for granted. Here we are just over a hundred years later and trains aren’t used much, other than in subways and stages are long forgotten…our stage now is our cars and trucks. It is still amazing for me to thing of all the changes that have happened over the last hundred or so years. I love reading all about history and the way of life from back then…I will update at some point on the overall result of the entire book.

Happy Farming! God Bless.

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Celebrating AgDay 2011

The folks here at Barrows Farm have very good reason to celebrate AgDay 2011. We are located in a state that uses 23% of the state’s land, approximately 7 million acres for farming production! Agriculture is important to New York State as its production returned almost $4.7 billion to the farm economy in 2009.

Milk is New York’s leading agricultural product and is produced all across the state. Milk sales account for one-half of total agricultural receipts. Production in 2009 was 12.4 billion pounds with a preliminary value of $1.7 billion. New York is the nation’s third leading producer and Wyoming County leads the state. New York ranks first in the nation in the production of creamed cottage cheese, low fat cottage cheese and sour cream.

New York livestock producers marketed 228 million pounds of meat animals (cattle, pigs, and sheep) during 2009. Ducks, broilers (chickens) and turkeys are also raised. New York ranks 20th in egg production.

Nationally New York ranked second in apple production, fourth for both tart cherries and pears and ninth for strawberries. We placed third for wine and juice grape production behind California and Washington. Sixty-six percent of the grape production was for juice and 34 percent went into wines in 2009. New Yorkers can also get locally grown peaches, sweet cherries, blueberries and raspberries in season.

The value of all vegetables produced in NY totaled $408.9 million in 2010. NY ranks fifth nationally in fresh market vegetable production. Cabbage, sweet corn and onions lead the way. NY ranks second in the production of pumpkins, third in cauliflower, fourth for snap beans, cucumbers, and squash, and ninth in tomatoes. We also produce many vegetables used for processing such as beets for canning, cabbage for sauerkraut and peas for freezing. Don’t forget about all the great road side stands and farm markets that will be opening soon.

New York produces a variety of field crops largely in support of its dairy industry. Corn, soybeans and wheat are most widely grown. New York ranks third in corn silage, seventh in oat production, 21st for grain corn, 25th for soybeans 27th for hay and 31st in wheat production.

Maple syrup production in New York for 2010 was 312,000 gallons (valued at $17.8 million) ranking us second behind Vermont. In 2009, New York floriculture products were valued at $171 million. Bedding and garden plants top the list of commodities. The wholesale value of New York’s floriculture output ranks seventh nationally at $171 million.

Many people may forget where their food, clothes and alternative fuels come from…but farmers keep doing the thankless job of putting food on your plate and clothes on your back. I know there are others within the change for production but without someone out there tending to the harvest and shipment of your meats, vegetables, cotton for clothing, grains for breads and such…we would be a completely different society. Everyone should be very thankful for each small thing a farmer does to make OUR lives better!

Maniac Monday

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if Monday’s could be the easy day of the week…The day when you slowly transition back into the work week! It never works that way though, does it?
Uggg. Today has just been one of those days. We woke up this morning to more snow! I am starting to wonder just when it is going to stop…June maybe?!?! 🙂
All kidding aside, it has been one hell of a morning. The phone has been ringing off the hook and with each phone call, it breeds two or three more! I am tired and ready for a break!
This morning has been crammed with phone calls, one after another all morning long. I sit here now, taking my lunch break, typing on the computer to relax my brain for just a few minutes. I work on several different levels when it comes to work. Right now the top one is project manager for Broome Biomass. I have devoted my life over the past few years to developing the marketing strategy and the business model for the company. In the course of doing so, I have become a marketing agent for other companies that are looking to sell biomass products. It keeps me very busy and at times can become extremely frustrating.
I think the thing that makes it very difficult is trying to play the balancing act and do so many things at once…It is very much like farming! Very rewarding but it doesn’t pay very well! 🙂 I do love everything that I have done and look forward to everything that I will be able to do in the future to promote agriculture into the renewable energy world in a real world working environment.
I am off again to work on the farm. Time to mix up my own special blend of chicken feed and to muck the barns out. The fun never stops! Have a blessed day!

Farm Sustainability

I am currently learning all about digesters. It is interesting to learn that no matter what size farm you operate they can function. The best units are one’s that are “cookie-cutter” packages for farms with over a 1,000 cows, but they can be done for smaller farms too.

From the information that I have read so far, they really aren’t that difficult to construct and build. I have not gotten into the cost for the retaining walls, but I did find out that you can build them with a flex-wall! That would save loads of money over the traditional concrete I have seen used.

I think it may even work for a small farm like us. I will be completing some calculations over the next week or so to determine if it is an option for an operation as small as we are. I will update with the news of my discoveries on the topic!