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Canning makes family come together

By P.D. Dickinson

Fall was always  busy for my family because it was the time when we canned, froze and stored fruits and vegetables from the garden. We also stockpiled  meats in the freezer to feed us during the winter to come.
Everyone had their parts to play in the canning and freezing work. We kids were always given the job of washing the canning jars. Our hands were small enough to fit inside and rinse out any dust or residue that accumulated from the previous year. We’d all be seated in a circle around a large tin washtub with washcloths and bottle brushes. The tub was filled with warm soapy water and placed outside the kitchen door in the yard to avoid us wetting down the house as we cleaned. Continue reading

Farmer rocks on two years after life-altering accident

Dairy farmer Gary Rock’s truck has been fitted with a wheelchair lift and hand controls so he’s self-sufficient. Rock severed both of his legs during a farming accident in 2013. He has been regaining his independence since then. He can transfer from his track chair to his Bobcat with no assistance. Photo by Rae Wagoner

Dairy farmer Gary Rock’s truck has been fitted with a wheelchair lift and hand controls so he’s self-sufficient. Rock severed both of his legs during a farming accident in 2013. He has been regaining his independence since then. He can transfer from his track chair to his Bobcat with no assistance. Photo by Rae Wagoner

By Rae Wagoner
Just about every life has its ups and downs. Luckily, few, if any, of us will experience the downs that 2013 dealt Hodgenville dairy farmer Gary Rock. In May, Rock lost his father, and June brought a tornado that wiped out much of his farm. Proving “bad things come in threes,” Rock suffered a life-changing injury in August 2013 while chopping silage to feed his dairy cows. Continue reading

Father, son get into backgrounding on family farm

Dr. Todd Freeman and his father, Ewing Freeman, run a backgrounding operation at the family farm in Cadiz. Dr. Freeman is a veterinarian.

Dr. Todd Freeman and his father, Ewing Freeman, run a backgrounding operation at the family farm in Cadiz. Dr. Freeman is a veterinarian. Photo by Tony Hurt

By Susan Hurt
Photos By Tony hurt
Author Thomas Wolfe said it best in his 1940 novel “You Can’t Go Home Again” when he wrote, one “can never fully go back home to your family, back home to your childhood … back home to places in the country.” Wolfe was not trying to say one can never physically go home, but, rather, things will never be the same as when you left. The theme was “time passes, things change and people change,” but for Todd Freeman, memories of home were not just reflections from the past. They were the familiar images guiding his future. In fact, it was Freeman’s past that shaped his future. Continue reading

Farmers’ wives talk about “The Other Side of Ag”

By Krin Mims

Donna & Richard

Donna and Richard Leavell

When I caught up with Donna Leavell, she was just leaving “cow day” at her family farm. She was checking her boots and pants as she walked in the door and apologizing because “you just never know what you’ll bring back from the farm.”
I explained to Donna the concept of this column — for people to see the other side of agriculture because farming doesn’t just happen in a field. There are many hands involved, which often go unnoticed.
Most readers wouldn’t have guessed that just an hour before our interview, Donna was working with her husband and son holding down calves, helping give shots and a few other less-desirable tasks. A farmer’s wife has many roles — sometimes it’s helping with the books, and other seasons, it’s in a field on a combine. The ladies in this article were genuine and candid about their love for their family and the farms that span generations and interests.
Continue reading

4-H agents introducing new programs this fall

By Diane Turner
Our world is ever changing with advancements in technology and other up-and-coming trends. That’s why it’s important to make sure our children are involved in programs that cultivate skills and develop feelings of self-worth by efforts of hard work.
The 4-H Youth Development Program through the University of Kentucky Extension Service has been a part of our community for years and is currently going through a transition period. A few years ago, Christian County went from having a single agent with assistants to hiring three full-time agents last year. Many faces have come and gone to the program, but each one has helped it to grow in a different way. Continue reading

Naturalist ignites new passion cultivating monarch butterflies

A monarch butterfly suckles on a flower. Photo by Catherine Riley

A monarch butterfly suckles on a flower. Photo by Catherine Riley

By Toni W. Riley

Each spring, Susan Chiles gently examines the leaf of a tropical milkweed plant and, with her experienced eye, detects a tiny white speck that is a monarch caterpillar — or a “cat” as she calls them. Susan collects the caterpillars all summer at her Trigg County home and raises them through each stage of development until they become the regal monarch butterfly.
Her efforts with the monarchs don’t stop at raising them but continue through the end of summer when she and her granddaughter, Lauralynn, tag the butterflies as part of the Monarch Watch program, an initiative through the University of Kansas that tracks monarch migration.
Susan and her husband, David Chiles, are both well-known, retired Christian County Public School teachers and naturalists, known for their concern for the environment. Susan became interested in developing a habitat for monarchs after meeting other naturalists who grew milkweed and enjoyed watching the butterflies. Continue reading

Todd’s Tips: 10 ways to keep pets safe this fall

By Susan Hurt
Fall is my favorite season, the one I look forward to all year as we make the transition from summer to winter.
I love everything about it: the golden hues, the wonderful smells, the decorations, and the cool evenings, perfect for a bonfire with family or hayride with friends. With the days getting shorter and the temperatures getting colder, it reminds us that winter is right around the corner. Dr. Todd Freeman, a local veterinarian, shares the following tips for keeping your pets snug, safe and warm this fall and winter. Continue reading

How Thanksgiving dinner gets from the farm to the table

By Olivia Clark
As you sit down to enjoy a feast at Thanksgiving, have you thought about where the turkey and all the fixin’s come from? Not only are there many people who don’t know where all the delicious details of Thanksgiving dinner are grown but many don’t know how it arrived on their plate. Take a look at the turkey and a few of America’s favorite sides to keep things a little more in perspective this holiday season. Continue reading

Family profits from pumpkins to enjoy farm life

Paul Gripshover and his wife Dr. Ellie Gripshover smile with their children Oliver, 4, and Amelia, 2, at Gripshover Family Farm in Logan County. The family raises pumpkin varieties and several bee hives. Photo Provided

Paul Gripshover and his wife Dr. Ellie Gripshover smile with their children Oliver, 4, and Amelia, 2, at Gripshover Family Farm in Logan County. The family raises pumpkin varieties and several bee hives. Photo Provided

By Toni W. Riley
When Dr. Ellie Gripshover accepted a position with the Logan County Animal Clinic in 2010, she and husband Paul knew they wanted a farm. They had lived in Iowa where Ellie started her veterinary practice and wanted a farm there, but, as Paul said, “land never came up for sale.”
As they settled into Logan County, the couple began their search for small farms. One caught their eye on Woodward Road in the Chandler’s Chapel area, but they weren’t sold on the house. Eventually, the property won them over, and the Gripshovers knew they had found what they were looking for.
They also knew they would have to supplement their income to pay the mortgage on the 70 acres. They talked about several different things, but the property had no fence, so that eliminated cattle. They fell back on an enterprise that had helped Ellie and her siblings have spending money and pay for college and cars as teenagers — pumpkins. Continue reading