Sunday, July 5, 2009

Summer Season/July 4th Tea Party

This is a very busy time of year. It is haymaking time, garden work is at its peak.
The bantams are hatching chicks,and best of all the wild black raspberries are here. I am getting about 2-3 quarts per hour when I pick. It looks like the blackberries will come on strong this year as well. I love picking wild berries because it was my first agrarian employment. From the time I was about 5, I loved going off to the woods, eating my fill, and bringing berries back for my mom or Granny to make pies and jelly. I still eat at least a pint every time I pick.

It has been a funny spring. We had a very late frost and the past few nights have been very cool (down to about 50 degrees at night. Some of the warm season vegetables are not doing well, not sick-just lacking "bloom". The cabbage and onions are excellent, the broccoli is fair, and the green beans have been ravaged by deer. We will still get some, but myself or someone else will have to get those beans back in the fall-- after they are converted to protein.

There is not a lot of volume in anyone's first cut hay in this area. Many blame the late frost.

I have also been training Bob, a new farm dog we got from the Venango County Humane Society. He is about 2, and I think he is either part English Shepherd or Australian Shepherd. He has been here for three weeks and is still learning basic commands and just being with us. He is just starting to work ducks a bit, helping me pen them each evening. While I would not necessarily start a cowdog on ducks, They are a much quieter way to start a sheepdog.

I did get away from the farm to attend the July 4th Tea party in Mercer Pa. I could not think of a better way to honor our founders than to take advantage of our First Amendment Rights in this manner. There were perhaps 600 people there. I got there a bit late, so I did not get the main speakers name. His main topic was the Constitution and how both parties have been ignoring it for too long on so many basic matters. It was very heartening to see 600+everyday Americans listen attentively to a one hour lecture on our Constitution. They also gave anyone in the audience three minutes to speak so I got to plug the RWVA and Appleseed. The great thing about this event was that the career politicians did not steal the limelight or co opt the agenda. This was pure everyday Americans who know that the Republic is in trouble. By just being there, they were beginning to educate themselves so that once again we might become a people fit for self-government.

As we pass another independence day, I am reminded that our liberties are a gift from God. This does NOT mean that we as Christians seek temporal power as a means in itself. I was privileged to hear Rev. Dr. T David Gordon preach at Grace today, and when I think about Christians and government I always remember this excellent essay of his on the subject. However, we do have some very specific things to say to this culture and place, as Fr. Robert Hart reminds us in this very good sermon.


Danman said...

Wow, I'm envious of the berries!

My pepper plants are miserable too, here in Indiana. We had a cool, wet spring. I'm dealing with bacterial blight on a couple of ornamental bushes around here.

Your dog looks great! My golden is a big sissy... he's afraid of thunder and fireworks. I'm afraid he wouldn't make a very good hunter.

I've put up 7 quarts of beans already. Maybe you'll get some yet. But I hope you get your deer too!

Wish I could have attended a tea party. It rained here all day on the 4th.

Grace and Peace!

The Midland Agrarian said...

thanks for stopping by Danman, and Grace and Peace to you as well.

Christopher said...

I appreciate what I read on your blog.

Northeastern Kentucky has had a coolish, wet summer, too. We are getting cabbage and broccoli now. Everything else was planted very late by KY standards.

I'm glad to have learned about Pirate Christian Radio from your site, too.

The Midland Agrarian said...

Thank you Parson. I am especially glad you found Pirate Christian Radio.

I enjoyed looking at your weblog. Nice pictures, discussion of good books, gardening, and the Gospel. I was impressed that someone from another tradition would be reading Cranmer's Doctine of Reprentance.
I will be adding you to my regular links and visits.

Valley Visions said...

How wonderful that you were able to attend AND speak at the Tea Party! I do hope you get some additional interest in the Appleseed Project.

Dr. Gordon is amazing! It has been such a priviledge to sit under his teaching several times.

My garden is suffering as well. My green beans and corn look sad. Even the zucchini is a bit slow. The broccoli is loving this weather, though...along with the weeds.

Thanks, too, for stopping by.

Lisa said...

Bob definitely looks like a black and tan English Shepherd. I have a black and tan female and two other English Shepherds as well. They are great dogs! If you aren't familiar with their particular strengths and weaknesses, there is a lot of info on the web and on lists at yahoo. Heather Houlahan, an ES breeder, lives in Pennsylvania and is very knowledgeable about training and other issues. ES work from the motivation of pleasing their master, doing what he/she does. Enjoy your new helper!

The Midland Agrarian said...


Thanks for your thoughts. He seems to act more ES than Aussie, but I am more familiar with the latter. He is very laid back, but has a strong prey drive. He appears to be a natural bobtail.

Stephen Orr said...

Do you have any recommendations of books on training a farm dog? We just acquired a 9 month-old Golden Retriever mix (not sure what the other half is...her coat is fox red and her facial structure looks like a German Shepherd) and I would like to train her to help me around the farm doing things like guarding chickens, watching over goats (whenever I actually GET some goats), etc. Any guidance would be deeply appreciated. I've never trained a dog before in any sense of the word. Very fine blog, by the way.

The Midland Agrarian said...

My Dogs have always been primarily for herding sheep or cattle, or loading hogs.While it is easier to work with a traditional shepherd breed, almost any dog can be trained to herd a bit. I like an older English Book by Holmes, called the Farmer's Dog.Any Lee's book on Day Range Poultry has a section on using dogs for predator control and guarding. The big task you will have first is getting the dog to not molest the livestock. Most dogs are territorial and can be trained to catch and kill varmints. There is a post in my archives on our older farm dog titled "Nipper catches Christmas Dinner"

With a mixed breed dog, I would try to encourage the dog to first, leave the livestock alone; then, territorially attack groundhogs, coons and possums. Hope this helps.