Saturday, November 15, 2014

Farming:Traditional Farming

Purchase [Dylan Do Re Mi]
Purchase [Bob Campbell Starvation ....]
I  have a farm - small, and of sorts. At least, farming is in my  heart and soul. I grow corn, tomatoes, peppers and eggplant. I also have wild apples and am attempting various other fruit ... but my current lifestyle is that of a city man: traffic hassles, security checks, door mats ...

Recently, I have devoured (to the expense of advancement in my paying job) more than 500 free "Western" e-books - the subject of which is at least indirectly "farming" -  living off the land. That doesn't make me an expert in and of its own, but I am also putting some of my learning into practice with my corn and eggplants. Farming - in its most liberal definition would appear to mean "making a living off the land" - and I guess that includes "beeves" and sheep... making your own ... soap, candles, "preservatives ..."

This all relates to our current theme in that the best farmer does it all. In that, the "Westerns" I have consumed promote the ideology that the best of men is he who provides for himself: comfortable in the wild/on the plains, resourceful enough to provide for himself from nature, defiant in the face of natural disaster.
There came, however, in the MidWest USA a natural disaster (arguably of man's making) in the 1930s that defied expectations, hopes and prayers and was the ruin of large numbers of middle class aspirational families. They mis-managed their land/farming tech and then aspired for better by moving on/moving West.

Woody Guthrie was among those that documented this history in music: the Oakies' trek to California in search of a better life.

I bring to you relics of a previous farm life- one before the GPS guided tractor, before the ethanol fueled corn-field, before the Monsato enhanced "output per bushel".

First, Ry Cooder and friends(!) with a really great rendition of Woody Guthrie's "Do Re Mi" (an excellent version of which you'll also find on Ry's "Into The Purple Valley"). Ry's Purple Valley packs emotion, but this one chokes me up just listening to it.

Next up, two "30's" farmer tunes that highlight the socio-economic plight of the dust bowl era: Bob Campbell playing Starvation Farm  Blues

and then Woody Guthrie himself with Dust Bowl Refugee:

And finally, lest we be left too much in the past, a nod in the direction of Bruce Springsteen, who manages to find a subtle way to merge history (such as the Dust Bowl) with the state of affairs today: the farmer's position/role hasn't changed much despite the hard years, the laws enacted to make his life easier, the world-wide lack of food .... he still "feeds us all" - and there's still the girl you long for and dream of.

blog comments powered by Disqus