the irresistible fleet of bicycles

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this history is worth knowing (for farmers, for everyone)


American History, it’s not boring. (And it’s worth knowing.) Just ask J.L. Bell, a historian who writes on his well-curated blog about the start of the American Revolution in and around Boston.

How can we sell you on studying up on your American history? Well, we could give you the 3 a.m. infomercial-style pragmatic sales pitch, i.e.”Tired of being confused by the nightly news? Do you want a better understanding of today’s most prescient political arguments? Learn more about American’s aversion to taxation, the country’s long-standing tradition of underpaying agricultural workers, and the foundations of a long-entrenched and still-present racial, gender, and class-based hierarchy– and many more!”

Or, we could appeal to your competitive side. i.e. Trivia night!!!! VICTORY!!! It’s IN YOUR HAAANDS!!”

We could. But today I think we’ll try selling you sensationalist style, because colonial history of political dissent turns out to be far juicier than today’s petition-signing. i.e. Tune in to today’s American history on Boston 1775 for the ARSEN OF THE COURTHOUSE BY ANGRY MOB, the TARRING AND FEATHERING of public officials, and the HANGING OF THE TAXMAN EFFIGY. You won’t want to miss this!”

And really, I think you won’t.

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two chances to hear songs of maine by away down east this week

note: this is not actually the From Down East. This is the cover of a beautiful volume by William Blake (also comes highly recommended).

note: this is not actually the From Down East. This is the cover of a beautiful volume by William Blake (also comes highly recommended).

Can You Sing “Maine”?
Songs of Maine’s Fishermen, Sailors, Lumberjacks, River Drivers, & Shore Workers

featuring: From Away Downeast, America’s Easternmost Chantey Group will be playing the fiddle, guitar, banjo, and harmonica this week in Maine, and we highly recommend you make it one (if not both) of the shows. Singing along is strongly encouraged, and family members of all ages are welcome to attend.

First, they will performing Monday, August 17th at 7:00 p.m. at the Indian River Community Association at 1440 Indian River Road in Addison, ME. Admission to this event will be by donation to the building repair fund. For more information, email or call 207-497-2450.

Then! On Wednesday, August 19th, Songs of Maine will continue with a FREE SHOW at the Pembroke Library on 221 Old County Road, Pembroke, ME, opposite the fair grounds and horse track. For more information on this show, call 207-726-4747, 726-4745, or email

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history lesson – salvation army farm colonies

Around the turn of the century, the Salvation Army founded three intentional communities in Colorado, Ohio, and California in an effort to relieve urban farmcoloniespoverty that followed in the wake of rapid industrialization. Conceived by founder William Booth, the project was organized by his son-in-law Frederick Booth-Tucker, commander of the Salvation Army in the United States. Clark Spence’s account of this back-to-the-land experiment is at once agricultural, social, religious, and even political history enacted on both sides of the Atlantic: in the irrigated beet and alfalfa fields where small farmers fought hoppers, drought, or saline soil in an effort to wrest a living from their twenty acres; at the fund-raising meetings where the Booth-Tuckers garnered both applause and dollars from business leaders; and in the halls of Congress and Parliament where Army supporters argued in vain for government subsidies.

The Salvation Army Farm Colonies

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another set of ag history books from purdue

check them out HERE.  For example, The Harvest Story: Recollections of Old-Time Threshermen

The Harvest Story depicts the life of rural American threshermen. This collection of first-person narratives chronicles the eyewitness accounts of people who threshed grain with steam engines. The book selects anecdotes from over 50 volumes of material published in The Iron-Men Album Magazine and arranges them in a coherent recitation. The result is a story of hard, honest work, of heartfelt cooperation and of triumph not unmarred by tragedy. Readers hear the recollections of those who pitched the bundles of grain onto the horse-drawn wagons, unloaded these bundles into the threshing machine and saw the stream of clean wheat cascade from the grain auger. Readers encounter the wit and humor that characterized yesteryear’s harvests. They learn about the vast industries that supported the agricultural enterprise, and they discover the dangers posed by mechanical equipment. The Harvest Story concludes by examining the birth and development of a movement to rescue the agrarian past from oblivion. This book captures authentic voices from the era of steam-powered threshing and offers readable interpretation and explanation, including detailed appendices.

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remembering the ‘people’s department’

Via the Organic Seed Alliance:
There shall be at the seat of government a Department of Agriculture, the general design and duties of which shall be to acquire and to diffuse among the people of the United States useful information on subjects connected with agriculture, rural development, aquaculture, and human nutrition, in the most general and comprehensive sense of those terms, and to procure, propagate, and distribute among the people new and valuable seeds and plants.

– Department of Agriculture Organic Act (May 15, 1862)

It is also the intent of Congress to assure agriculture a position in research equal to that of industry.

– Morrill Act (July 2, 1862)

This year marks the 150th anniversary of two laws that significantly transformed U.S. agriculture. The first law launched the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which President Abraham Lincoln, in his last address to Congress, called “the people’s department.” He placed the farmer’s interest above all others. The second law, the Morrill Act, established our land grant university system, intended “to teach such branches of learning as are related to agriculture.”

The new infrastructure established through these laws aimed to expand U.S. agriculture for the sake of prosperity and security – to further research, education, and innovation, and make advancements accessible to all. Continue reading


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