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Friday, July 24, 2009

Speaking of Things Amish...

While recently visiting Giles County, TN where my middle brother & sister-in-law ( I usually just say "sister"-she's the life coach!) live, us "boys" took a drive to Ethridge, TN 38456. I was amazed with their "plain" lifestyle of living, working and especially gardening...well FARMING actually. The rows were perfectly straight and not a weed in sight. Ethridge is an old order Amish community where fields of red clover, honey bees, draft horses and buggies abound. They look in amazement as we "English" drive by in our fast cars, with radios blaring.

In January 1944, three Amish families migrated to Lawrence County, TN from Ohio and Mississippi. Now there are around 300 Amish farms there. They have not only become an asset to the community but have definitely lived up to their beliefs of helping others. With a population there of around 750 members and 5-district churches, the Amish are primarily farmers, with lumber mills and furniture making following.

In late September, there is an annual Sorghum Festival held the last weekend of the month. The Amish farmers start in June taking great pains with the land to have it just right and some 110-days after planing comes the harvest. Lawrenceburg is known nationwide for their almost blackish, thick sorghum cane syrup. At harvest, the cane is stripped of its leaves, cut and processed into syrup. This effort takes a 3-5 man crew it is that intense but well worth the effort.

I wanted one of the very wide brim straw hats I saw the men wearing for my own gardening needs. I knew it would have to be the best to keep out the sun and shade the face. So on my way home I detoured back to Etheridge, just north of Hwy 64 and bought one. It has been the best investment I made in a long time. I wear it daily in the garden.

Plans are being made for another excursion over that way very soon and I will post some photos from that trip. I hope to make a more intense study on my next trip to southern-middle Tennessee.

I am going to harvest squash, tomatoes and cucumbers today. On inspection yesterday I saw the squash is about perfect with the 2-days of rain earlier this week and of course there are cucumbers literally hanging off the trees on the back fence as well as climbing up my now 9ft tall sunflowers. Do you think all this growth could be from the triple-15 or the JEA compost I added once again this year? Hard to say but when adding BOTH you better look out....I am telling folks in my neighborhood I am growing "pods" for the next remake of the movie "Invasion of The Body Snatchers" - the vines are that big!

Your daily gardening affirmation is: "When all else fails, just plant a garden in your mind". I hope you have a good-garden day!

1 comment:

  1. Mike,
    I absolutely love this blog. Keep it up my friend. JM