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Finance tips from a farmer’s wife and experts

By Diane Turner
While working on this article about managing farm finances, I thought, “How can I write this when I am terrible at a budget myself?” Then I thought, “Everyone does things a little bit different.” We all have different methods to understanding our money madness, and what didn’t work for me might work for someone else. Continue reading

Family finds success raising mules

The McCuistons (from left), LeeAnn, Tanner, Patrick and Maci sit on mules while talking on their farm.

The McCuistons (from left), LeeAnn, Tanner, Patrick and Maci sit on mules while talking on their farm.

By Toni W. Riley
Photo by Catherine Riley

The early evening sun casts long shadows as the McCuiston family tacks up their mounts to ride out and check the cattle. There’s the normal family banter about who feeds most, who mucks out stalls and who can’t get their saddle on correctly. The family laughs and teases each other as they put their feet in the stirrups and ease into the saddles of their hybrids — mules, that is. Continue reading

Predators, parasitizers, pollinators, soil enrichers all serve a purpose

By Toni W. Riley
With temperatures rising, families won’t be the only ones out and about to enjoy the weather, but a myriad of insects that are native to our yards and gardens will also be crawling and abuzz. Before dousing every creepy-crawly, bug-like creature, it is important to know there are beneficial insects that provide a real service and pose no threat to humans.
Dr. Doug Johnson, entomologist at the University of Kentucky Extension, says beneficial bugs can fall into three categories: predators and parasitizers, pollinators and soil enrichers.
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Farmer wonders if organic certification is worth it

Tony Prettyman smiles for a photo at the Downtown Farmers Market while his wife, Alethia, talks with a customer. The Prettymans own Bramble and Bee Farm, which is certified organic by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Tony Prettyman smiles for a photo at the Downtown Farmers Market while his wife, Alethia, talks with a customer. The Prettymans own Bramble and Bee Farm, which is certified organic by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Story and photo by Zirconia Alleyne
As consumers become more interested in the who, what, where and how of their food, some farmers are leaning toward all-natural production practices and marketing their crops as organic. It’s buzz word for consumers and signals produce was grown without pesticides or genetically modified organisms. But, for farmers, being an organic producer isn’t as simple as throwing the word on a label and sticking it on their products. Continue reading

Love blossoms in business, life

Husband and wife duo David Martin and Martha White help a customer (left) with flowers at the Downtown Farmers Market. The couple owns Martin Farm where they grow a variety of cut flowers and perennials for floral arrangements.

Husband and wife duo David Martin and Martha White help a customer (left) with flowers at the Downtown Farmers Market. The couple owns Martin Farm where they grow a variety of cut flowers and perennials for floral arrangements.

Story and photo by Toni W. Riley
On any Friday night from mid-April to frost, the kitchen of Martin Farm is filled with buckets of cut flowers from gardens just across the Trigg County line. The owners, David Martin and his wife Martha White, will gradually empty the buckets and use their flowers to create unique bouquets to sell at the Downtown Hopkinsville Farmers Market.
The story of how the couple developed Martin Farm and moved into flower farming is one where timing was everything. How two people with vastly different careers and personalities came together to develop a partnership in life, as well as business, could be described as serendipitous. Continue reading

Teen dominates state, national trapshooting contests

Bobby Fowler aims for clay while practicing at the Christian County Quail Club. PHOTO BY ZIRCONIA ALLEYNE

Bobby Fowler aims for clay while practicing at the Christian County Quail Club. PHOTO BY ZIRCONIA ALLEYNE

By Olivia Clark
“Squad, ready?” “Scorer, ready?” “Pull!”
These words are all too familiar to 17-year-old Bobby Fowler, who has been trapshooting for six years. In that time, the Christian County High School graduate has won both state and national trapshooting contests.
Fowler started trapshooting with the 4-H Sharp Shooters after seeing an advertisement in the newspaper. Once he started working with the group, a friend of Fowler’s dad, Dean Debow, who is a record trap shooter, sought him out and suggested that Fowler take his clinic, so he did. Continue reading

Rural reminiscence: Memories of shadetree mechanics

By P.D. Dickinson
Summertime brings back lots of memories, not only those of working on the farm but also of the things teenagers used to do to pass the time.
Like teens of today with smartphones, texting and social media, we made do with what we had. To most teenage boys in the 60s, that meant mechanics. Skills learned from working on farm machinery coupled with innate talent made many of them veritable geniuses in mechanics. Continue reading

Keep Fido cool during the dog days of summer

Boy and Dog 2

By Susan Hurt
Photo by Tony Hurt
If your home is anything like mine, your dog is part of the family. Charlie, our border collie mix, is faithfully by our side, which means he spends his days running on the farm, swimming in the creek and chasing squirrels in the woods. Keeping Charlie healthy means keeping him safe and free from disease-causing parasites.
Veterinarian Dr. Todd Freeman shares tips for keeping your canine cool and healthy during the dog days of summer.
Continue reading

Stallons siblings ready to wrangle in annual rodeo

Bethany Stallons, 14, hangs on during a stunt at the National Junior High Finals in June in Des Moines, Iowa. It was her third time on the national stage. PHOTO PROVIDED

Bethany Stallons, 14, hangs on during a stunt at the National Junior High Finals in June in Des Moines, Iowa. It was her third time on the national stage. PHOTO PROVIDED

By Zirconia Alleyne
The Christian County Cattleman’s Lone Star Rodeo has been drawing families to the grandstands for 18 years, but for three local siblings, their place isn’t in the seats; it’s in the arena, atop horses.
Paige Stallons, 19, Aaron Stallons, 17, and Bethany Stallons, 14, will compete in the annual Lone Star Rodeo August 14 and 15. They have been riding horses as long as they can remember. Paige and Aaron got their start in the rodeo scene 10 years ago when their parents, David and Becky Stallons, enrolled them in the 4-H horse club. Continue reading

Faith and farming

By Janie Corley
“Have you checked the forecast?”
“(There’s a) 20 percent — no, wait. Now it shows 60 percent chance of rain. Oh, now it says the rain chances are gone ‘til next Thursday.”
It’s the endless “game” we play. It’s time to plant pumpkins and as soon as the seeds are planted chemicals must be sprayed for weed prevention and it must be done before the seeds sprout. If rains come quickly, seeds can sprout before we can drive through the field to spray. Yet, we need rain to come soon after we spray to activate the chemical and be sure it does the job we need it to do. It doesn’t feel so much like a fun game at times. Even the best forecasters can’t predict a random shower that pops up, and they can’t predict the 30 percent who misses the rain showers and the other 70 percent that gets rain … So how do you know when to plant? It’s a matter of faith. Continue reading