Each year we take a couple weeks off from our farm schedule to celebrate Thanksgiving. To us it is a celebration of Gods Creation – the earth that feeds us and our family that supports us – which are among our most basic necessities thus the season to be celebrated most. My parents and sister shared our Thanksgiving holiday with us and we had a fabulous made from scratch meal with most of the meal from either our farm or neighboring farms.
My sister, Karen, just completed thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail which is a huge accomplishment and just another reason to celebrate! My parents were with her at Springer Mountain when she completed the trail so they celebrated with a bottle of champagne at the summit before heading to the farm.
Normally we all do a little site seeing but my parents slacked pack Karen for the week leading up to Thanksgiving which meant they were away from home and traveling so I think they were just happy staying here on the farm. The Friday after our big feast, Mom, Dad and Sister Karen helped us pick the last of the tomatoes, then came a deep freeze Saturday killing our crop, which is something we always expect this time of the year.
A vacation to us doesn’t necessarily mean that we need to get away from the farm but it is nice just having a change in routine. We enjoy a break from harvesting on Tuesdays and Fridays, being at market selling on Wednesdays and Saturdays and not being obligated on a daily basis in doing all the many things required for growing, harvesting and processing food for sale.
READ NO FURTHER IF YOU DON”T WANT TO SEE HOW WE PROCESS CHICKENS!
Last Tuesday we attended a meeting in regards to Farmland Preservation. North Carolina is ranked 5th among all states in loosing Farmland. I specifically went to a brainstorming session titled, “Preservation through Farm Transition Planning and Farmland Access.” I thought we would be addressing how to help young people purchase land while helping farmers like myself and husband with their retirement. (In the past most farmers sold off their farmland to fund retirement.) In my meeting there were only a few farmers so those that work in offices were trying to figure out how this program can work and mostly discussed how those with land can sell off acreage to young people wanting land with the idea that the land would be placed in a Farmland Conservation Easement. I think those who work in offices weren’t thinking that our mountain acreage is already comprised of small farms and that it is not sustainable to keep selling off chunks of land to the point where acreage is too small for one to even earn an income off the farm. In addition, most in this room assumed that young people will have the resources to purchase this land and that on a farming income, would be able to make payments to those selling the land. I mostly did not offer my opinion. I am not certain that there is a solution until what one can earn from their farming income is greater than what can be gained from using the land for development rights. I can’t imagine this happening in my lifetime and think it is a rather idealistic point of view. The problem is that we have an ever increasing population that needs the land for housing and we are all happy eating corn and soy products produced on the mega farms in the plains so that we can have nice houses. The solution might come into play when we can no longer grow food only in the plains and need land elsewhere for food production. (Probably a water and oil shortage will cause this.)
This past week we have been processing our chickens raised for meat, which is not nearly as much fun as harvesting broccoli or cabbage, but nevertheless it is nice to have a change in routine. We pay honor to the chickens for adding phosphorous to our soil and nourishing our bodies prior to butchering them although I am not sure they think it is such an honor. It is very cold on the hands processing chickens this time of the year but we do what we must do. We still have it on our “To Do” list to enclose our post-harvest area and add some heat source but will probably forget about this task once summer arrives next year.