Gene Logsdon and Friends

Easter Lambs

In Gene Logsdon Blog on April 23, 2014 at 8:13 am

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From GENE LOGSDON

The black lamb in the photo is a single. The white lamb is one from a quintuplet birth, a rare event in a shepherd’s life. The guy is Brad, my brother-in-law, the shepherd involved. Note the much larger size of the single lamb which underscores the opinion of many shepherds that singles are really preferable, all things considered, than multiple births, especially in this case since two of the quints died after their mother laid on them. Many shepherds, including myself, prefer singles even to triplets and don’t mind singles rather than twins because invariably a single lamb will grow faster without any problems. And, as shepherds rarely admit, if everyone got lots of triplets every year, the price would just go down.

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Brad and my sister Berny are super-shepherds and this year have an excellent lambing survival rate of 69 lambs from 35 ewes. The other photo of Brad and Berny watching a pasture birth unfold, was taken by Dennis Barnes who, in addition to being a professional photographer, just happens to be another brother-in-law and owner of part of the pasture Brad and Berny use along with their own part. That pasture with its hills for sledding, creek for wading, trees for climbing, and sheep paths over which we, as children, galloped our make-believe horses, has been the playground for our family for four generations now if I count Mom riding her real horse over it in the 1940s. It has actually been a sheep pasture for over a century. With sisters, Berny and Marilyn, going over it constantly with hoes, and Brad and Dennis with mowers, and the sheep roaming over it with their teeth, I bet five bucks you will never see a weed go to seed on it. More…

Hemp Is Coming Back As A Farm Crop

In Gene Logsdon Blog on April 16, 2014 at 8:02 am

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From GENE LOGSDON

One bit of news lately has not received much fanfare but probably should. State by state, hemp farming is becoming legal. The latest state, I think, is Ohio, which is a surprise to those who think the Buckeye State leans heavily toward the conservative side which generally takes a dim view of anything that looks like approval of drugs. But one of the first states to legalize industrial hemp was Kentucky, certainly several shades redder than Ohio. Now some ten states have some form of permit for growing the crop. And the Federal Government has removed pyschoactively-inert hemp from the purview of the federal Controlled Substance Act, so university researchers can now grow the stuff experimentally, the first step in legalizing it everywhere. So what is going on here?

Common sense is winning out once more, that’s what. Farm hemp or more officially “industrial hemp,” is a type of cannabis and a relative to marijuana, but does not produce the drug THC in amounts that you can get high on. There’s tons of proof but I sort of know from observation. Many years ago, I watched a group of young men try their smoking best to get high— and failing— on the industrial hemp that was growing wild, as it does many places in the Midwest. A good new book on all aspects of industrial hemp is just out—Hemp Bound by Doug Fine from Chelsea Green Publishing. Not only does farm hemp not cause the results that marijuana can, but it will cross-pollinate with the latter growing nearby and ruin the subsequent plants for drugging purposes.

But human beings, being human beings, always go overboard on everything, and those with a cultural horror of hallucinogenic drugs did not take time to get their facts straight and over the past eighty years or so made no distinction between the two. More…

Home Places

In Gene Logsdon Blog on April 9, 2014 at 8:10 am

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From GENE LOGSDON

The word, home, has the most comforting sound to it for me, probably because I am a confirmed homebody after living an earlier part of my life in seventeen different places in six different states. Even then, I tried to make a home out of every place I lived. As I like to tell, I surreptitiously planted onions and radishes in the landscaping around my college dorm. But as soon as I could manage it, I came back to the scenes of my childhood. That meant that my wife could not go back to her childhood home and I am forever grateful that she went along with my yearning.

Unlike Carol’s home farm which disappeared under a subdivison, mine remains miraculously somewhat the same as it was a hundred years ago. Carol and I returned to this home area forty years ago, and, except for the fences that had disappeared as small fields of yesterday were turned into the bigger fields of today, the lay of the land was about the same and still is. The fields are occupied and farmed by my siblings and we were able to go together and buy the woodlots and some fields around the farm. So I can go to the place east of the barn where I was disking ground at age 16 and see almost the same landscape of field, stream, pasture, and woodland that so pleasured me that long ago June day. I was singing “How Are Things In Glocca Morra” (still about my favorite song) and thought that I was the luckiest person in the world. I have theorized that maybe I was high on exhaust gases from the tractor muffler that stuck up in my face. But whatever, no view of ocean, mountain, plain or canyon in the whole United States has ever filled me with that much joy. Good old home.

I suppose it can be true of urban places too, but when home is a farm and you are there every day as a child More…