Gene Logsdon and Friends

To Survive In Farming, Try Taoism 

In Gene's Weekly Posts on July 29, 2015 at 7:57 am

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From GENE LOGSDON

I thought I had made a tremendous discovery a few years ago.  It came to me one day when I was hoeing (hoes are great think machines). I decided, all of a sudden, that the world was eternal. It had no beginning and won’t end. That was a frightening idea because it went against all that I had been taught in science or religion. Every effect was to supposed to have a cause. But the idea of a world without beginning or end resolved the major philosophical contradictions and mystifications clambering around in my mind so I decided to go with it. The funny part is that I believed my hoe and I were the first to come up with this idea. I had no notion, until a year or so later, that this was the basis of a philosophical system that dated back thousands of years— Taoism. My hoe and I were way behind the times. We didn’t even know how to the pronounce the word correctly.

As with any new discovery, I then began to see Taoism popping up everywhere. There’s even a new gardening book out by Carol Deppe, titled The Tao of Vegetable Gardening. But it was not until last week when I read a post by William Edelen who writes “The Contrary Minister” on the Ukiah Blog that is the companion to this one, that I realized just how appropriate Taoism is for farmers. More…

Foodroom Gardening: No Rows, No Woes

In Gene's Weekly Posts on July 22, 2015 at 9:20 am

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From GENE LOGSDON

As I battle mud and mosquitoes in this wet year, in the wallow that used to be our garden, I think faraway, crazy thoughts. I keep trying to imagine a future time when all human beings would be responsible for their basic food necessities just as they are responsible for their own bodily cleanliness and cooking meals. Could every home have a sort of foodroom adjoining the bathroom, where the basic yearly food could be produced? Ideally there would be a composting bin or two,  plus a cistern or rain barrel to catch water, all geared to take no more time than a daily shower, shave, teeth brushing, and hair combing.

The first thing that would have to disappear to save space would be garden rows. Have you ever thought about how stupid rows are? Rows came into existence to accommodate machine and human traffic. Without them, a garden can  produce twice the amount of plants or more. My imaginary foodroom would be elevated even more than raised beds, walled up so I could sit or stand next to it on either side and accomplish all planting and weeding comfortably by hand. Weeding would be done with a trowel from a standing or sitting position. Gone would be all the primitive backbreaking bending over that makes gardening by hand so tiresome. Once a plant produces its food, it could be pulled out and another started in its place. Elderly people could go on gardening until they were a hundred years old and never once have to get down and crawl along like I do now. More…

Backyard Hay Too 

In Gene's Weekly Posts on July 15, 2015 at 9:08 am

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From GENE LOGSDON

Demand for new and used machinery for grain farming is down alarmingly because of the uncertainty in the corn and bean market, but haying equipment is on the upswing. The experts say this demand is because beef prices are climbing but that means to me that livestock farming needs hay more than it does corn . The more modern farming has tried to eschew hay rather than chew it, the more hay has proven its value.

Hay is our number three crop (after corn and soybeans), nothing to sneeze at unless you have hay fever. If common sense ever returns to grain farming, many of the acres planted to corn and beans in recent years will go back to pasture and hay because steep hills and dry plains are too erosive for annual cultivation. All hay needs to become our number one crop is more ways to get it in the barn quicker without rain. The latest goal is to  make “hay in a day.” After mowing, conditioning, and windrowing, the hay is wrapped in plastic in big round bales still quite wet— around 50% moisture. It will then keep satisfactorily. I’ve not made hay myself this way and am a little leery. But it does sort of get rid of the problem of heavy lifting in haymaking because it’s all done by machines not muscles and dairy farmers, or rather their cows, love it.

Advances in smaller scale haymaking make it easier to get hay in the barn without rain too. A big help now is meteorology. We cuss the weather people, but they get it right most of the time. More…