Deb's Monthly Review
September 1997

Special Quote
The most difficult job teenagers have today is learning good conduct without seeing any.
--H.G. Hutchinson

MidLink Magazine Presents...The Virtual Quilt
This is a great idea for children, and will be an even more beautiful site as word gets out and more schools participate.

Jeff wURLd
Jeff has worked a lot on his site and it shows. He has personal information, links of interest to other young teens, and links to help other young people in designing their own home page. Frankly, his site is much more thought-out than many adults' sites I've visited. Nice work!

Fall Color Hotline
Not officially open until some time in September, so keep checking back.

What To Name Your Cat
just what the title says..

Humane Societies
A growing concern.

The Dance Card Museum
I had no idea how detailed and intricate they were...

Meanwhile, Back At The Farm...
Life on a farm, with tidbits on everything from laundry to dog shows.
The Mad Scientist Network
Follow the links under "Ask A Scientist" to get answers on botany, agriculture, zoology, or any one of the other 23 areas listed. You can also read recently asked questions and answers.

September Events
word festivals for September travelers
August 16-September 28 (weekends only)
  • Hawkwood Medieval Fantasy Faire, held 20 miles north of Fort Worth, Texas, at the junction of I-35 and Highway 114. Harpists, beaded lace demonstrations, costumed performers on stage and in the crowd (interaction is encouraged, but be prepared for a little outrageous response - all in fun). And what about entertainers with names like Cletus the Camel and Shakespeare On A Shingle? Information: 817-244-8369.
  • August 29-September 1
  • Annual Hearts O' Gold Cantaloupe Festival in Fallon, Nevada. An annual event (this is the 13th year), with crafts and food, farmers' market, bungee jumping, mud volleyball and cantaloupe bowling! For details you can call 702-423-2544.
  • August 31-September 1
  • Fox Valley Folk Music And Storytelling Festival in Geneva Illinois, at the Kane County Government Center grounds (just for this year, due to construction at the regular site), 719 S. Batavia Avenue. It's their 21st year of music, storytelling, hands-on workshops in music and folk dance, and even a "liar's contest" to see who can make up the wildest stories. (Adults and children have separate divisions). Information at: 630-897-3655. There is also a recorded message available at: 630-844-3655.
  • September 4-14
  • Moab Music Festival in Moab, Utah. With the beautiful Utah red rocks as a backdrop, this festival is in its fifth year. Not only can you hear classical pieces such as Appalachian Spring, but (for an additional fee) you can join other listeners for a ride on the Colorado River with more music, and a little food for the tummy as well as the soul. Information and tickets: 801-259-7003.
  • September 8-13
  • National Quartet Convention in Louisville, Kentucky. Plan ahead. You'll be listening with up to 60,000 other people as many of Southern Gospel's top quartets sing at the Kentucky Fair And Expo Center. 502-584-2121.
  • September 12-21
  • Winspearation 97 in Edmonton, Alberta. A celebration of the opening of the Francis Winspear Centre For Music Concert Hall at #4 Winston Churchill Square, in the downtown arts district. The hall has been designed to deliver sound of live performances without electric amplification. The hall seats 1916, and the use of an acoustic canopy above the stage will allow performers to hear one another better and the audience to enjoy clear sound. Plans also allow for the future installation of a pipe organ, but for now, Winspearation will fill the hall with the sounds of performers such as Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter, the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, and soprano Jessye Norman. Information: 403-429-1992.
  • September 19-21
  • California Rice Festival in Sacramento, California. Lots of entertainment and lots of rice in various forms, including a giant-sized "rice crispy treat". I believe this is the first year they'll have the festival at the CalExpo grounds. More information: 916-552-RICE.
  • September 26-28
  • Louisiana Sugar Cane Festival And Fair in New Iberia, Louisiana. One side benefit might be a trip to nearby Avery Island where they make the famous Tabasco brand sauces. For festival details call 318-365-1540
  • September 27-28
  • Artichoke Festival in Castroville, California, at the Community Center. They take this odd edible thistle to new heights by preparing it in both classic and new recipes. If you don't really like artichokes, go anyway, in honor of American history. Marilyn Monroe was the first artichoke queen in the late 1940's. (She was just passing through on a publicity tour). For more festival details: 408-633-2465
  • September 27-28
  • Wool Festival at Taos, New Mexico. Held in Kit Carson Park, where they celebrate the wonders of wool. Events include sheep shearing and a fashion show (I daresay that's using people - not sheep - as models). Special demonstrations get children involved in hands-on work with wool fibers. Information: 505-751-0306


    cow image


    September signals back-to-school month, even though many students
    return in August, and many students are now on a year-round school
    system, with more frequent breaks throughout the year. The idea of
    taking a summer break from school has a somewhat different connotation
    in the 1990's from the one it had 100 years ago. In those days, a
    summer away from school often meant heavy work at home, especially
    if kids lived on farms (and 100 years ago, a majority of kids lived
    in rural areas).

    I grew up in rural Missouri, and although I was not a 4-H member,
    several of the young people I met were raising livestock, planting,
    sewing, and cooking to compete in exhibits. Our community fair had
    areas of buildings reserved just for their handiwork, and exhibit barns
    were full of the animals they had raised by hand.

    I still enjoy going to fairs and taking time to see what young people
    are doing. There is a lot of talk about today's youth being unruly and
    unappreciative. But a child who learns to plant corn and help it grow
    learns lessons about life that rival lessons in formal setting. A child
    who feeds and grooms a lamb until it matures can probably tell you a
    lot about what the real issues in life should be.

    Now I live in another rural community in another state. These days farm
    life is a bit different from what it was 100 years ago, and even 40 years
    ago. Now we have genetic engineering, and farm tractors are equipped
    with air-conditioning, cellular phones, and laptop computers for
    monitoring current weather conditions and tracking approaching storms.
    Today's controversial farming issues include the use of antibiotics
    in livestock, food irradiation, and the unionization of strawberry workers.
    Farmland is being encroached upon by urban sprawl, but we also have the
    means to make orchards from deserts with thousands of miles of irrigation
    canals and pipelines.

    Will enough of our young people still choose to grow up to be farmers?
    With a world population moving toward 6,000,000,000 we'd better hope
    some of them do. That's a lot of mouths to feed.

    rooster image

    Now farming has moved into cyberspace, as have other businesses.
    I found several farming families and individual farmers with a web

    sheep image

    sheep image sheep image Farmers On The Web sheep image sheep image

    sheep image sheep image sheep image apple image At The Asparagus And Apple Farm in Cobble Hill, British Columbia they grow apples (including varieties Fuji and Jonagold), but they also produce both green and white varieties of asparagus. You can find recipes and ideas for using the latter at their web site.

    cow image F.W. Owen raises and milks Holsteins at Owenlea Holsteins.
    Here's a man who has spent a lot of time studying and experimenting with the use of available pastureland. Even in Ohio's four-season climate, he keeps the cattle happy and healthy on pasture grazing most of the year. And he's helping other dairy farmers learn to do the same thing.

    I asked him about the influences leading up to his choice to farm. He told me he had been a member of 4-H, but when asked if that had made a difference, he said,
    "Somewhat, but I never really made a decision because I always 'knew' I would be a farmer."
    He did grow up in a farming community, and I wondered if anyone had tried to talk him out of the life they all knew so well.
    "My father said I could make more money doing anything else."

    Is this the advice F.W. Owen would give young people now? Apparently not. When I asked what he would tell a young person today who was considering farming, he only said,
    "Go for it".

    He does see challenges for future farmers, at least in the United States, mainly because of the "unpredicatibility of government policy."

    While I have not been to Washington state's eastern section, I am told it has quite different farming factors (such as climate) from that of the state's western region. This is where you'll find growers like the family you'll get to know at Wheatina's Amber Waves Page.
    rooster image chicken image chicken image

    cherries image If you'd love to be a farmer but you think it might be too difficult without a lot of support, find another person (or another family) to join you! That's how they seem to have done it at Wildest Dreams Farm in Pennsylvania. They raise and show Alpine and Nubian goats and use the milk to make cheeses. They are also learning about and growing organic vegetables. Glenny (of the "clan") and I exchanged an email or two, and she wanted to talk more about farming and young people, but I think she must have her hands full just keeping it all going. She and Eric and Debbye and the rest of the extended family are not just talking about young farmers. They are actually teaching by doing.

    pink flower image If I ever get to Hungry Horse, Montana, I'm going to visit Shady Side Herb Farm where Amy Hinman-Shade and her husband Ron grow, show, and sell herbs just a few miles from Glacier National Park.

    I was able to get a little more information from Amy about the influences affecting her choices in farming. Referring to childhood organizations such as Future Farmers of America and 4-H, she told me:
    "I was a member of 4-H when I was around 12, but I chose to show dogs and wasn't involved with the agricultural aspect so 4-H wasn't such a big influence in my gardening choice."

    Regarding specific adults who might have influenced her most in wanting to farm:
    "A woman by the name of Ruth Newberry who owned "The Herb Basket" in Sharon Center, Ohio hired me to work for her when I was 10. I had gardened with my parents, but she taught me specific herbs and how to grow them as well as use them. She patiently answered hundreds of questions, and put up with me pulling herbs as well as weeds. I was paid $.75 an hour; however, the education was priceless. When I was a teenager I also worked for my Aunt Francie helping her raise numerous dried flowers, as well as the local herb matriarch, Jean Gleason, who furthered my knowledge. I found it extremely helpful to work for a number of people to learn everybody's style which helped develop my own."

    But not everyone was quite as enthusiastic about growing things as a career.
    "My Father discouraged me because of the number of family farms which have been sold in Northeastern Ohio. Our family has one of the few farms left in Copley."

    Her advice today for young people considering farming?
    "I would tell them to research the specialty crops in herbs and dried flowers because the markets are really booming. Also look at niche markets and organic produce, particulary near the urban areas. Be prepared for very hard work without much recreational time during the peak season, and for some disappointment when Mother Nature slaps you in the face. If it's truly in your blood, these things don't matter so much and next year always is going to be better."

    Her thoughts on special challenges she sees for future farming:
    "Actually, with the internet as a marketing tool, as well as overnight express service, the market is opening up for the future farmers to be more creative. In more traditional farming, the cost of equipment and labor is staggering which will do in many farmers. Good workers are especially difficult to find. I have an incredibly difficult time finding someone who is will to WORK. I never expect anyone to work harder than I do, yet they don't last very long. Taxes are another huge hurdle because you will be punished for working hard. I would love to see the elimination of farm subsidies, and real tax reform which will allow us to keep our own money and reinvest it in our farms."

    And one final thought for future farmers: "Never stop learning about your profession, and be prepared to change your style - adapt or die (which is why so many farms in Ohio are gone)."
    pink flower image

    Well, one thing is certain. If children are going to learn by example, we'd better give a lot more support to the farmers and farm workers we already have.

    Next month we'll have a look at...
    Come back and see for yourself!

    A great graphics resource for the animals on this page was
    The Dog Hause Art Gallery.

    Visit My Other Pages

    sign that says home imageBack To My Home Page Deb's Mystery (And Other) Books Page
    Deb's Favorite Movies Page Deb's TV Page
    Deb's Selected Bookmarks
    This Site Was Last Updated On August 29, 1997

    Send me email
    envelope or use envelope image