The Demise of Family Farming


As Ronan trudged to the barn in the crunchy, frosty grass, he continued the train of thought he had all night. He had slept very little last night. Could he really make farming work in today’s world? He and Sherry, his wife of five years, had worked so hard to establish their 100-acre organic farm in the western part of Kentucky. The soil was rich and the conditions were just right to grow any number of crops. But the weather!

Ronan believed climate change was playing havoc with the weather in this area. What used to be lush and green when he grew up here was now starved for water. This past summer, Ronan had to irrigate his crops which cut deeply into the little profit he made.

Other young couples wanted to join him in organic farming but they saw no future in it. They wanted to grow their own food and have enough to sell and support their families.

Sherry was getting tired of having nothing. Everything was so expensive.

Ronan feared the pollution that caused climate change has killed all their dreams. He was thinking of shutting down the farm. Others were thinking of doing the same.

200 words

#amwriting #amblogging #writing #organicfarming

*This post in response to the the challenge from flashfictionfromthepracticalpractitioner

A Thought on Extended Families

I know a woman who has a large extended family. Let’s call her Pat. Pat’s immediate family is gone. She was an only child who had no children. Her husband is still living. Pat has a large, but dwindling, extended family on her father’s side that she grew up with. They were all always close. Until one of Pat’s aunts passed away. Then, the family basically fell apart. The aunt was the glue that held them together.

The relationships within this extended family have gotten complicated. It makes Pat sad. She loved her extended family, particularly her cousins. But, I’m getting ahead of myself. I feel sorry for Pat. She assumed, for her entire life, that she could always depend on her extended family. Now she knows there are a few that she can depend on, but most of them don’t care about her anymore.

There were seven aunts and uncles in this family. All had one or more children. Pat’s cousins. The brothers and sisters were all close even though there were occasional squabbles. They saw each other frequently. That meant the children, Pat’s cousins, saw each other and were also close. Right or wrong, since Pat was an only child, she saw those cousins as her siblings. The older cousins were mentors. The younger cousins were her loves. She felt like they were her’s.

Everyone, of course, grew up and went on to live their lives. Of course, everything changed. Pat didn’t understand why their relationships with each other had to change. Just like in any family, there were quarrels. Everyone seemed to hold grudges instead of working it out. Emotional distances grew between the cousins. But not between all the cousins. Pat remained close to a cherished few of her cousins. Those cousins are the ones who live far away.

There is one aunt who is left in Pat’s family and she is treasured. Besides the one aunt,  there are 17 cousins, including several first cousins, once removed. Pat loves them all. There are two cousins that Pat has no contact with for reasons she doesn’t know. That leaves 15 cousins. Out of those 15, Pat thinks there are about five she could depend on in a crisis. Earlier in her life, she felt she could depend on just about all of them. Worse yet, Pat misses her cousins.

Take my poll. How do you feel about your extended family? The poll is anonymous. #amwriting #writing #blogging #family

#weekendcoffeeshare 7/23/2016


“Jenn,” I say, as my friend walks in my side door to join me for our #weeklycoffeeshare this Saturday morning, “you’ll never guess what happened this week.” Jenn automatically assumed something terrible. It was something sort of terrible, but also natural considering where I live. “What,” Jenn asked as we took our hot beverages out to my deck. When we got to my deck, Jenn didn’t have to wonder anymore. She could see for herself.

“Oh no, “Jenn exclaimed. “How did that happen?” Jenn was looking at the very large tree that had been the biggest and tallest tree in my backyard and was now lying, toppled over, and crushing our fence. You see, I live in the forest and my yard is filled with very tall, large trees. “It happened on Monday, “I explained. “I had Betsy outside in the early morning. We went in and I heard a huge crash. I looked out and the tree was lying on its side.” Betsy, by the way, is my dog. Some time, I want to blog about Betsy and her adventures.

The big tree had toppled over, fully uprooted. It was not knocked down by a storm. It was a bright, sunny day. It just….fell. Thankfully, it fell away from the house. For those who are not familiar with a hardwood forest in the Ohio River Valley, it is almost always a bit damp unless there is a serious drought which is not yet a common condition in this part of the U.S. We have had a lot of rain this year. The only thing we can figure out is that the ground was so wet, and it is clay soil, that the tree was literally pushed up out of the ground by a high water table. In the forest, we tend to get more rain than in other places. Forests play a key role in the water cycle process.

I love my forest surroundings though I always worry about the big trees so close to my house and the possibility of them falling. It’s healthy to live in the forest. Forests, the rustling of leaves, are soothing and peaceful to the human ear. Forests absorb more than 60% of the greenhouse gases in our environment. Not only do trees absorb carbon dioxide but they emit breathable oxygen for humans. Trees essentially fight climate change and clean the air.

Trees can cut air conditioning costs by 50% or more. They also conserve water because they protect lawns and lawn plantings. Trees even provide food…..think apple trees, pear trees. They also provide wood that can be burned for heat.

Trees provide a habitat for 70% of the world’s wildlife. Every animal serves a purpose and even dead and dying trees provide some function for these animals. Woodpeckers, for example, feed on dying trees in my yard.

I was sad to lose the big tree. It will provide firewood for a long time to come. The top, which fell into the woods, will provide shelter for wildlife. Now to get it out of our yard!  #weekendcoffeeshare #amwriting #blogging #writing #environment

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Book Review: The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History

I just finished reading a book that I have to tell you about. It is a 2015 Pulitzer Prize winner and I can see why. The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History, by Elizabeth Kolbert, is a quiet storytelling of possibly the last extinction the Earth will know. Anyone interested in the environment, climate change, history, geography, or just the world in general will likely find this book interesting.

Even our children, in their fascination with dinosaurs, study mass extinction events; specifically, the asteroid event that wiped them out. There have been other mass extinction events in the last billion or so years. The premise of Kolbert’s book is that the sixth extinction event may be the last.

I don’t want to ruin the book for you. It is a wonderful, well-researched, very readable account of the Earth in terms of the environment. Kolbert draws on the work of geologists, botanists, climatologists, biologists, historians, geographers, and more and pulls it all together. It is a five-star read, in the opinion of this writer. #Elizabeth Kolbert