One of the things I often run into is a misperception that farm life winds down once the fall harvest is over. And while much of the world has the luxury of spending these chilly months snuggling up under a blanket with a cup of coffee or a glass of wine and Netflix, for farmers, it’s business as usual. (But with more layers of clothing.)
So, what do farmers do in the winter? They make a lot of coffee. They fuel and warm up with a steady supply of caffeine (Some folks stir in sugar. Others pour in Louisa’s Liqueur. (Either way, I don’t judge!)
The winter work is never done. Farmers are always fixing stuff. My granddaddy always said, “If things aren’t breaking then you aren’t using them enough.” There is always machinery to be maintained, fences to be mended and more coffee to be consumed.
When they’re not caring for the machines, they’re caring for the creatures who depend on them. Most farmers have to put out feed and water for the livestock each day.
A typical daily agenda might go something like: 1. Make coffee
2. Put on warm clothes
3) Warm up the tractor or the truck to go feed the cows or check on the fences.
4) Snuggle into the tractor with your Honey and go for a ride. (Fun fact: a lot of farm kids are born in August, September and October. Draw your own conclusions here…)
If you want to learn more about rural Tennessee culture and the life of our local farmers, our tours are happening all year long.
Located on Highway 431 between Springfield, Tn and Adairville, KY there is on old red belly Ford tractor on a pole. Gene Barbee put the tractor on the pole up sometime in the 1960s. He sold used farm equipment at his farm. The tractor on the pole was marketing magic. It’s genius out lasted his farm equipment business. Folks still use the tractor on a pole as a reference point.
Planning a trip to the southern USA? There a few things that you should know for sure:
There is a lot to see beyond the city limit signs. The history and culture of the south was created from the dirt and tears of rural farmers. You can’t visit a dirt road, meet a farmer or really know America until you visit the rural countryside.
Macaroni and cheese is a vegetable. If you are lucky enough to find a locally-owned “meat and 3” restaurant, there will be a long list of side dishes to choose from (and a lot of dirty farm trucks in the parking lot). A meat and 3 restaurant is generally served cafeteria style. You choose your meal from a list of meats and vegetables. one meat, three vegetables, a roll or cornbread and tea. Don’t be confused when you see mac & cheese listed along with all the other sides. In the south, mac and cheese is a vegetable, salads are not.
The tea will be sweetened black tea with a twist of lemon. Country folks take pride in their sweet tea. It is often so sweet that you can stand a spoon up in the glass. If you order unsweetened tea, it’s a sure giveaway that you aren’t local or you’re on a diet.
If you want to meet a real southern farmer, you should be introduced to them by a local at the meat and 3. Farmers are generally shy with foreigners. Foreigners are recognized by the locals as anyone that drinks unsweetened tea, thinks mac and cheese is just a side dish and lives north of Bowling Green, Kentucky.
Whiskey and moonshine are grown on a farm. If you visit a distillery, you are only seeing part of the picture. To better understand the cultural significance, you have to visit a cornfield in August. If you are foreigner traveling in the south, it’s best to visit a farm with a local and bring your own glass. You will likely be invited to sit and sip on a glass of our favorite local beverage. Tea and whisky are the same color, but you’ll have to join us for an afternoon to find out what’s really in our glass.
The old is new again when it comes to finding the perfect local Christmas gift. If you have ever been one a farm tour with Rabbit Circle you know how proud we are of our farmers. If you have been good, you are likely to find a bottle of wine, a pair of jeans, a hemp flower and cigar under your tree. If you have been naughty, I know where to find a bundle of switches, my Daddy has been pruning his apple trees and there is a fresh stack.
Cherry Wine form Sumner Crest Winery
If you have never heard of Orlinda Tennessee, you are missing out. Orlinda is officially the sunniest spot in Tennessee or at least that’s what it says on the city limits sign. Sumner Crest Winey has a wonderfully tart Cherry Wine that will remind you of the bright summer sun.
Cigars from Avanti
Robertson Country Tennessee is the dark fired tobacco capital of the world. The tobacco grown in the black patch region of southern Kentucky and middle Tennessee has long been sought after for its wonderfully smoky aroma. If you have ever been to the region in the fall you are sure to have caught a wif of the smoking barns. Form me it the smell of home and tradition.
Jeans dyed with Tennessee Indigo
Sarah Bellos from Stony Creek Colors has inspired local farmers to growing something different and wonderful. Indigo is a plant based natural dye that had been in use for centuries. Support our local farms buy purchasing denim dyed with Tennessee grown Indigo
Everyone is talking about where to find best the locally grown hemp in Tennessee. White’s Family Farm grew hemp that contains 28% CBD. If you are interested in a few flowers or 10,000 lbs give them a call. Its legal for Santa to deliver it across American in a flat rate postage box from USPS.
Get back to Tennessee’s rural roots and hear firsthand what it’s like to be a 21st-century farmer when you book a Rabbit Circle Rural American Farm Tour. Rabbit Circle’s founder, Jennifer Davis, was born and raised in the countryside of Robertson County. Now she connects individuals and groups of all sizes with the farmers who grow their food (as well as tobacco, indigo and hemp) and introduces them to the rich culture of farming communities. Rabbit Circle offers three standard tours that leave from Nashville, as well as the opportunity to design a custom tour focused on your specific interests. Read More More at Tennessee Home and Garden