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.
One of the best parts about sharing local stories is getting letters and comments from the locals. Over the last several months, we have gotten several emails and hand written letters from people that remember the old times. We would love to hear your stories too.
I’m replying out of curiousity and the name Rabbit Circle. It reminds me of the back 60 acres of Banie Robertson’s farm, that was called Rabbit Ranch. I believe they are descendants of the original Robertsons of the County, just around the road from where you turn off at the Tractor on the Pole. I’m not sure, but I know that they ran(farmed), the old Washington Farm in Cedar Hill area. My Mother did a lot of genealogy research in the 70’s. She’s got a ton of paperwork going to waste on that, but I know she took a lot to the Archives in Nashville years ago. This may not mean a thing to you, but I hope that all that paperwork did get recorded. I don’t know what to do with these Filing Cabinets full of local Cemetery recordings. Enough of my rambling. Just thought I’d say Thank You, for bringing old things to Life again.
J. Brent Barbee
I read your article in today’s Nashville Tennesseean. I used to live on Guthrie Rd. I lived there from 1960-1967. It was called Young Road. Me and my parents lived in the over 100 year old house that belong to the Young family. My father bought the farm from C.L. Porter who lived near Nashville, TN. He bought it from the east of Claud Benton who killed himself in a barn across the road. I went to school at Cross Plains Tn from 1960 to 1967. Is that the farm where you live? You said something in the paper about your Grandpa Covington. I went to school with a Dale Covington I enjoyed reading your article. It brough back Memories of when I lived there. I would like to hear from you if you care to write.
In mid March, tobacco farmers around middle Tennessee start their crops in large floating greenhouse gardens. Tobacco seeds are tiny. They are about the size of a sesame seed. They have been the main cash crop around here for generations
My Granddaddy always said that tobacco was a 13 month a year crop. The plants spend 7 weeks in the green house, 90-120 days in the field, 6 weeks drying in the barn and another 3-4 months of stripping. Almost as soon as a farmer finishes one crop, they start gathering supplies and preparing for the next season. There isn’t much down on a farm. Every step counts.