There are many books published about sustainable agriculture. One author I have always enjoyed reading is Gene Logsdon. I have most of his books. He has written on many subjects related to agricultural production.
I think one reason I have enjoyed his writing is because I find myself agreeing with him on some points and not agreeing on others. While this may sound contradictory, understand that authors who write this way make you think. I find myself mentally debating why I agree and disagree with different points. Call it mental gymnastics.
Gene Logsdon wrote a blog for several years. I have it bookmarked on my computer. I hadn’t looked at it for a while, and recently I learned that Gene died in 2016, a few weeks after finishing his last book.
The book, published in February 2017, is titled Letter to a Young Farmer. It is a collection of essays about different aspects of agriculture from Gene’s contrary farmer point of view. I particularly enjoyed Chapter Five, on “The Barns at the Center of the Garden Farm Universe.” This chapter I agree with.
As many of you know, I grew up on a farm in eastern Missouri, and the chapter brought back some fond memories. The farm I grew up on has a small barn with five stalls for livestock, a grain bin, and a hay loft. I spent many hours in the barn and have wonderful memories of those days. I remember the time a cow kicked me out the door of a stall when I was trying to help Dad give her a shot. Maybe not a good memory, but I can laugh about it now.
I helped fill the loft with hay every year from the time I could drag a bale of hay. Every spring I cleaned the manure out of the stalls and spread it on the pastures or the garden. To me, the best time of the year for being in the barn is in the winter feeding the cows, especially in the evening.
If a cow was having trouble calving in late winter or early spring, we would put her up in the barn and either call the vet or pull the calf, which I did on several occasions. While the barn wasn’t heated, the cattle kept it warmer than outside. It was a pleasant place to spend a few hours each day.
I enjoyed reading the book and it brought back some good memories. I am saddened knowing there will be no more new books from Gene. Below is a link to his online work and a memorial.