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Macon County Chronicle Blogs
Does God Care? PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jimmy Cook   
Wednesday, July 10, 2013

“…casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you (IPeter 5:7).  During the three years of His ministry, Jesus “went about doing good” (Acts 10:38).  He was moved with compassion by the poverty, disease, and grief that he witnessed.  He wept with those who were hurting.  He worked to help those who were suffering physically and spiritually.  His entire life was proof of the concern of His Father for humanity.

            The pews are filled on Sunday mornings with those who claim to be walking in the steps of Jesus, but something is missing in too many of them—the heart of Jesus.  There is a vast difference in claiming and doing.  Oh, the meeting house where they assemble has the right name on the front but some of the members don’t have the right practice, for unlike God and Christ, care for others is missing.  Thank God for the few congregations which care for its members and people of the community who need compassion.  If God cares, and He does, how can the uncaring church goers, for that’s all they are, call themselves godly?  Show me their godliness and I’ll show you their hypocrisy.

            A lady church member comes home from the hospital after major surgery, unable to cook or do any of the many things she is accustomed of doing, but though there is a congregation in her community only two Christian ladies come to see her.  No minister, no elders, no others of the congregation.  No wonder there is a lack of respect for a congregation that does nothing but come to church.  “Few there be that find it.”

Busy As Bee's PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jeff Poppen   
Tuesday, July 2, 2013

A slow wet spring delayed garden work for a few weeks, but June found us busy as bees. The weeds are growing like weeds, and the vegetables are right behind them. It’s been a great growing season as long as you ignore the calendar.

Monday deliveries of fresh produce have been lettuce, radish, onion, beet, swiss chard and celery, plus a few herbs like thyme, oregeno and garlic. Soon we’ll send potatoes, squash, beans and cucumbers. Tomatoes, peppers and eggplants will follow, along with sweet corn and melons. We are still planting sweet potatoes and pumpkins. Every week is different.

You can get in on the action. The shop in RBS, across from the Head Start, is open on Monday afternoons. Local folks gather there to get fresh vegetables and learn how to eat healthier.

In Nashville we deliver to three locations. One is in Berry Hill, one in East Nashville at Porter Road Butcher, and one at Headquarters Coffee in West Nashville. This all happens on Monday afternoons, too.

 Diligent hoeing takes up a lot of our time. The young plants need assurance that n o weeds will bother them. But more importantly, we hoe to conserve soil moisture. By keeping the soil surface loose, the moisture underneath does not leave. If the soil is tight, capillary action evaporates and dries out the soil, wicking away the previous water the same way a candle wick draws up wax.

Irrigation is not necessary here. We get plenty of rain. By building a live soil humus, winter and spring rains soak in and supply water to the crops during summer. Compost, cover crops and tillage are more efficient than an irrigation system.

I can’t find any potato beetles. The plants must have a high sugar content, because if they didn’t there would be little red Colorado beetle larvae devouring the leaves. Bugs do not have a pancreas, so they cannot digest sugar.

If you want bugs, use commercial fertilizer. The nitrate nitrogen will use up the sugar in the plants so that bugs can eat them. Then you use the poisons on the plants. These a re the recommendations from the fertilizer/pesticide industry which funds the land grand colleges and the USDA extension service.

Old time farmers don’t have extra money from subsidy and crop insurance, so they rely on composted manures. It’s the cheaper way to go.

The summer solstice has come and gone. Our annual celebration went well, preceded by weeks of planting and hoeing. As we enter summer, the soil is loose, the crops look good, and the hoes will continue to stir. We are late on making hay, but the sun is shining.

Rural Viewpoints Salutes Macon Farmers PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jimmy Cook   
Tuesday, July 2, 2013

If there is a group of people who have contributed more to Macon’s economy in recent years than Macon County farmers and agriculture in general, then I am not aware of it.  We salute them for their hard work and for what they mean to this county.

I have especially been proud of the younger farmers who have worked hard and managed their farming operations with wisdom and for the older farmers who have helped guide them in their efforts. 

Agriculture in general is a major part of Macon’s income and two of the greatest rural banks in Tennessee—Macon Bank and Trust and Citizens Bank have encouraged and financially supported agriculture and made it possible for those who needed it to farm in a bigger way and operate agricultural businesses. 

Most are not aware that there is a young business in East Macon that has grown in recent months by leaps and bounds—Performance Feeds owned and operated by the Tony Ferguson family.  We wish for them the best.  They have approximately 100 employees and serve much of Tennessee, Kentucky, and parts of Georgia and Alabama.

I’m glad I moved back to Macon County after graduating from college.  It is a good place to live.  Incidentally, I worked with the ASC office (USDA) for four years in Lafayette before going to college, and have farmed a little myself (one horse farm).  So I feel close to farming.  Best wishes to our farmers!

Skunking Tennessee’s Teachers PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jimmy Cook   
Wednesday, June 26, 2013

            My readers may not be familiar with the term being skunked, but I can illustrate it with the pay plan designed for Tennessee’s teachers.  It’s a rip off, not a pay plan.  If this plan stays in force, then young teachers will be skunked—taken advantage of, beat.  Imagine spending four years and eighty thousand dollars to become a teacher, and earn only $30,990 the first year as a teacher.  Then nine years later, the teachers would earn only $37,005.  No increase for getting a Masters Degree or EDS.

            What is so stupid is an attempt to hold teachers to blame for the low scores of students who come from a negative environment—drug infested homes, parents fussing and fighting, the children never helped with homework.  Why not blame the low scores on the Commissioner of Education, who has absolutely no background in education?  When the Day of Judgment comes, students will still be making low grades, at least some, for sin will still be around and sin is usually responsible for students who fail in their educational pursuit.  This is not a cop out.  This is reality.

            Stop holding teachers responsible for something they can’t help—what goes on in the home.

            By the way, the Republicans had better get a handle on their efforts to improve education…it ain’t working.  Some will come home following the next election.  And the only job they will be able to find is a substitute teacher.  Then they can try out their new plans.

Summer Gardens PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jeff Poppens   
Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The summer garden is still in the seed packages, so let us talk about lettuce. Of the many different kinds, we grow a lot of the Batavian type. These are the summer crisp lettuces which hold up well in hot weather.
A cold frame was prepared in early April. An equal part of soil, compost and sand were thoroughly mixed up and put into a box six inches deep. Handfuls of rock phosphate and kelp were racked in and shallow furrows formed six inches apart.
I pour seed into the palm of my left hand and grab a pinchful with my right thumb and forefinger. By rubbing them, a steady flow of seeds thinly falls into the row. They need to not be piled up thickly, but about an inch apart.
The side of my hand pushes the seed down, and my fingers rake dry soil on top. I don’t water it. There is plenty of moisture in the soil, and by firming the soil and seed together they will swell up and sprout, and they grow faster then vegetables.
Once the lettuce is up, fingers tickle the loose soil in the beds. The sand really helps keep the beds easy to work. In about a month the plants are five to six inches tall and ready to transplant.
A well-composted garden bed is prepared and the plants are dug up. One person drops and another person plants. The left hand pulls the soil open, and the right hand picks the lettuce plant up by the leaves. Once the root is in the hole both hands firm it in and down the row we go. Afterward we give them all a splash of water.
Nevada, Concept, Magenta, and Sierra are the Batavian lettuces lining the beds. We grow the Romaine varieties, Paris Island Cos and Winter Density. Buttercruch and Little Gem are Bibb varieties we also grow, and I like the Iceburg type called Prizehead.
Now all they need is a bit more tickling with that hoe about once a week and watch them grow. Lettuce quickly jumps up and covers the bed. They are set out about a foot apart in rows 18” wide, so as they mature their leaves touch and shade out the weeds.
Lettuce is cut when the heads have formed and then it is dipped in cool water. T his takes away the heat and keeps them from wilting. They are shipped quickly to a cooler cellar and then off to the customers.
The cool weather suits lettuce just fine. Soon it will warm up and we’ll plant everything else. But the ground has to dry up first. Then we’ll talk about something besides lettuce.

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