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(To the tune of “My Prayer,” by The Platters)When the Summer has gone, and the weather is changingWhen the sunshine has gone, I head straight to my hearth And here at the hearth, I will sit. While you knit.My prayer is some knitwear from you To keep me warm through the day with a pattern divineMy prayer is a sweater in blue with some cables dark gray And a hip length waistlineTonight while I’m freezing my toesOh, knit me a thing, so I can go out to the snow.My prayer and the sweater you craft Will take away all my chills, and block this horrible draftI’ll have a soft thing to wear at the end of my prayerSupport the show (
Ep 181 The BIPOC Epoch

Ep 181 The BIPOC Epoch


The New York State Sheep & Wool Festival was just last month, and it’s Thanksgiving already.  We’ve got a podcast for you from the wild and wooly, festive and colorful event. If you’re in a work truck or jeans ad with all of those good looking farm people tossing bales of hay around, you might get the impression that anyone who produces food or fiber in America is…well, pretty vanilla.  And considering how many of our ag products are an amalgamation of cultures and peoples throughout our history (corn, beans, pigs, horses, cattle, turkey, cranberries, squash…), maybe we’d be smart to stop and think about how diversity has made us strong.The BIPOC booth at Rhinebeck represented a slice of an underrepresented category in most of the visible ag press these days, and we were glad these delightfully different took time out from the crowd questions to answer some of ours (the gorgeous combinations of fiber and an aqua-color to (hand) dye for were developing right there in their breed barn booth.  Delicious).  BIPOC is an acronym that stands for Black, Indigenous and People of Color, and though some might wonder if this podcast will be politically correct – not so.  We hope you hear it and do your own thinking about why representation is so important to agricultural diversity of all types.  Our strength in humanity is in our many shapes sizes, and colors, and we hope you celebrate them all with us.  Links:        @theknottycatIG:        @viva_acresIG:        @anne.choi the show
We’re (almost) all back from the New York State Sheep & Wool Festival, aka “Rhinebeck,” to those in the fiber universe.  It was (largely) a success, as our Livestream event went (mostly) as planned.  You can watch the workshops, shows and other snippets for yourself on our YouTube channel if you missed the lively weekend, and see the fantastic Fall colors that were on display as a backdrop for the Camelid and sheep parades and cashmere goat judging (or was the cashmere goat jumping?  Nope – that was the llamas).  Equipment auction?  Got that, too.  We hope you tune in to see a little bit of all that for yourself.  Want to volunteer for the 2023 show?  Follow the links to be included in the ranks of the brave, hardworking people that have kept this thing going since 1980.  On the podcast today we have a conversation with one of the main movers and shakers of this undertaking. Claire Houlihan is President of the Board of Directors for the Dutchess County Sheep and Wool Growers Association, a fantastic nonprofit that focuses on education and promotion of all things fiber.  We think that there’s no better way to do that than the New York State Sheep & Wool Festival, and we hope to see you there in 2023.(Minus the urgent care visit next time, though, if possible.)Links:,animal%20fibers%20that%20are%20grown%20in%20New%20York.Support the show
This past weekend we attended the NY State Sheep and Wool Festival, also known as Rhinebeck...which of course is in Rhinebeck, New York. It has become an annual pilgrimage for Rick and I.  We love coming back to the Hudson Valley this time of year, there's a brisk in the air, the fall colors are beautiful, and the sheep people are in town...not only the sheep people, but the goats, angora rabbits, llamas, musk oxen, and alpacas too.  It's just wonderful! Today's guest is Mary Badcock. Fiber artist, handspinner, and wool judge. She is an extraordinary person, who has traveled the world in the name of fiber, and has been attending Rhinebeck for over 35 years.If you're not familiar with this event, here's a little information about it. The first festival was held in 1972 and it's been held every October since at the Dutchess County Fair grounds. It started out with just a few people wanting buy, trade, and sale there fiber products and animals and has grown to have an annual attendance of 35,000 plus people.Links:https://sheepandwool.com the show
This month is the traditional time to celebrate Halloween, so we have a creepy crawly podcast for you this time around.  Maia Holmes from The Bug Zoo at Colorado State University sits down to talk turkey with us.  Oops – that’s next month.  Maia sits down with us to talk about all things insects, what the Bug Zoo does, and why these poor critters are completely undeserving of the reputation they have and the reaction they engender.  She reminds us that it’s not just the bees that can be a friend to man.  After all, if you think Halloween is scary, just try thinking about life would be like without little scavengers picking up all of our crumbs.  The Horror!We would just like to note that for this one, we lasted an hour without visibly scratching in the little room of a thousand bugs. We hope you’re proud.And thanks again, Franck.  You’re a prince among men.  And we're not even standing in the Weed Lab when we say that.Links:,8.%20Octandria%3A%20flowers%20with%208%20stamens%20More%20items,pollination.%20...%202%20Great%20...%203%20Modest%20Support the show
Today we’re bringing you a conversation from the exotic location of…San Diego!  The American Sheep Industry Association’s annual meeting this year was held in our home city, and we managed to be at home to catch it.  Today, we’re speaking with Scott Stuart, Managing Director for the National Livestock Producers Association.  He discussed how this national nonprofit organization helps its members through one of the more prickly parts of agriculture – the financial side of the equation.  Their mission statement includes words like “advocacy” and “fair, competitive markets,” not to mention the “financial services” part.  And who doesn’t smile when they hear something like “The Sheep & Goat Innovation Fund?”  Just imagine what that might include.  Small ruminants need new computers, too (Okay, maybe not, but you’ll find out when you listen).Two quick thank you’s on this one:  To Scott Stewart, for wearing that lovely vest.  Wow.  And to P.A. Emily, for our closing sound effects.  All of you sheeple will recognize that one from the barn at 3:00 a.m. in lambing season, I’m sure.Links: the show
We’re back from our trip to the San Juan Islands, which can comfortably be said to be one of the most beautiful places on the planet.  It’s full of natural beauty and interesting creatures, so on the way over to geographical bliss, you’ll stand on the windswept deck of the Anacortes ferry, viewing and smelling glorious the forested stretches of Sitka spruce, western red cedar and shore pines which blanket the shoreline of the Salish Sea and the Olympic Peninsula.  You’ll be amazed by the local residents – things like seals, Bald Eagles, migrating salmon, Orcas, and Akhal-Teke horses.  Wait.  What?  The beautifully exotic horse from Turkmenistan?  Yep, they were there too.  The ever-gracious Amrita Ibold set up an amazing visit, which not only included a visit to the so-friendly-they-could-be-dogs Akhal-Teke horses themselves (favorites from our last visit), but also a truly exotic interview with Gul Muhammet and his friend, representatives and leaders from the Turkmenian community in Seattle.  To top it off, there were authentic costumes and tack for our cameras to capture, and a beach and forest ride featuring the amazing equines.  As an experience, it will be hard to top this one in the BYGF universe.Turkmenistan is not too far from Ukraine, another place we hear a lot about these days.  As you listen to today’s podcast, we hope you might think about the people who can appreciate the current impact of all of those things we hear on the news, and write in history books.  Keeping the “Culture” part of agri-Culture is what it’s all about.  It’s the “living” part of our living history.Links: Support the show
Fall might seem to be the beginning of the end for some things - leaves, the start of move toward the final season of the year, and a dormant time.  But for some, it is a time of beginnings;  a new school year, and the move toward a new life.  What do I want to do and where will I go?  Like farmers, the decisions that a student makes might impact their path for the next 50 years.We have one of those with us today.  Kyley Abrams is just starting her second year at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo (SLO), as an Animal Science major.  She loves horses, is learning about goats and pigs, and got to castrate a sheep in her first year.  Things will only get more exciting from here.We're on the ferry to the San Juan Islands to visit Amrita Ibold on this visit, but stopped for a moment on the ferry to enjoy the ride and talk with someone who has the whole vast ocean of possibilities ahead.Links: the show
David Kline is one of the Plain People, but to us he is anything but boring.  He’s a naturalist, writer, farmer and all-around interesting man.  He joined us at the 2021 Horse Progress Days exhibition in Mt. Hope, Ohio.  Links: Support the show
Last fall Elara and I had the opportunity to travel to Colorado and go to CSU in Ft. Collins. There we met up with  Professor Frank Dayan who teaches and studies Plant Physiology, Biochemistry, Mode of Action,  and Biosynthesis. He had a 20-year career as a research plant physiologist for the USDA-ARS, before coming to Colorado State University.  He and the team at the weed lab (no not that kind of weed) are a fascinating bunch, who love what they do. So, please enjoy our conversation with Frank Dayan and what you can learn from studying weeds.Links: the show
This week's episode is with guest interviewer ABGA  Executive Director Katie Carruth, as she speaks with Judge Phil Myers about the ins and outs of grading livestock in the ring.Links:https://www.abga.orgSupport the show
James Reams (1956-2022)So many songs to sing; and so little time to sing them. That was the mantra of James Reams, beloved and well-known Bluegrass performer and song writer. Because of his driving promotion of Bluegrass and Americana music, he had earned several nicknames durning his lifetime that reflected his contributions to the genre; Kentucky Songbird, Father of Brooklyn Bluegrass, and Ambassador of Bluegrass. Unfortunately for those of us who loved him, and the many people who were impacted by his zest for life and music he has passed on. On June 17th at 4:30 in the afternoon he passed away, at home surrounded by family and friends who loved him. Just a few days before his death, he commented to those sitting by his bed, “Dying – this gives me an idea of a new song.”James who was raised in the hills of Appalachia, was exposed to bluegrass from the time he could walk. At an early age he showed a talent for writing and performing the music of the region. James spent many an hour watching the regional variety show “Cas Walker Farm and Home Hour”.  The Farm and Home Hour featured many of the pioneers of bluegrass and launched many emerging stars. This, along with his father’s love of bluegrass had a profound effect on him.Kentucky SongbirdJames earned the nickname Kentucky Songbird by building an extensive library of work during his three-decade career and ten album releases. IBMA nominated him as Emerging Artist of the Year. The same year he was also nominated for Recording Event of the Year for his album James Reams, Walter Hensley and the Barons of Bluegrass.His latest album release occurred early in 2022. It is a massive 2 CD release with thirty songs - Like a Flowing River & Soundtrack Album on Mountain Redbird Music. This highly anticipated project follows the release of a documentary film from the previous year. The documentary celebrates the long musical performing and song writing career of James.Father of Brooklyn BluegrassThis James identifier was conferred on him because of his role in being a founding father of the Park Slope Bluegrass Oldtime Music Jamboree in Brooklyn, New York. This music event started in 1998, was organized by James, along with his long-time partner Tina Aridas. The event was a glorious celebration of bluegrass music. It accomplished this by combining live performances and workshops over a two-day period in September each year. The event was popular and attracted top performers from the northeast, and hundreds of participants every year.Ambassador of BluegrassJames promoted the spread of bluegrass beyond the release of his albums and extensive touring. A major accomplishment of his was the releasing of two documentary films that sought to spread the music he loved to people who otherwise not had an opportunity to sample this foot-stomping music. In 2021 the documentary of James’ bluegrass life in was released, Like a Flowing River: A Bluegrass Passage. The film that captures the spirit of what it means to be a musician, documenting all of the twists and turns that occur on a musician’s journey.On top of the previously mentioned accomplishments, James was also an ex-president of the Arizona Bluegrass Association. James has been a busy contributor to bluegrass from the early days of his career. His passion for music can be seen in his everyday life. You can be sure if there is a kitchen table in heaven, James will be sitting at it singing a soulful tune.Music from Mountain Redbird MusicLinks:http://www.jamesreams.com the show
We won’t be bringing you our typical podcast for the next few weeks, because we’re doing a Bowman left.  Those of you who are regular listeners might remember that that’s the swerve in plans we tend to do if we find something interesting to pick up.  Sometimes that’s sudden, sometimes expected, but either way it’s a departure from our norm.We’re about to get on a plane to head to Grand Island, Nebraska, because this week is the 2022 American Boer Goat Association’s National Show.  Last year we had an exhausting but truly fun time running around filming all week in the barns, and the show ring and the surrounding farms, all on behalf of the ABGA. Links: the show
The Chowchilla FFA has earned the title of State Champions for Dairy Cattle Evaluation, and we have two of those proud titleholding individuals with us today.  Mr. Brad Bitter, FFA Advisor, and his student Sydney Alexander politely allowed us to waylay them for a quick conversation amid the bustling halls of the 2021 FFA Convention.  Staying true to the nature of Californians, there’s no shortage of topical variety - Though we are Californians, after all, so we did include drought, fire, water, cows, and dropping off the western coast in the next big one (okay, not that last part, but yes to the rest).It takes all types to make a world, and California has examples of nearly everything.  Variety is the spice of life.Links: the show
We met up with Paul and Darlene  Miller from Windy Creek Farm in New York while we were at the  annual North American Suffolk Horse meetup at the Ashtabula County fairgrounds in Ohio. As usual we were on our way to Horse Progress Days and decided to take a Bowman left. There aren’t that many Suffolk Punch horses around anymore.  It’s really a shame, because a rich history, smarts, and hardworking traits all in one compact package aren’t as common as you would hope anymore.  We enjoyed our get-together for many reasons last Fall at The North American Suffolk Horse association’s annual gathering – the Punchers, we might call them.  But the thing that truly made it memorable was to meet a group of people who encapsulate those characteristics that we see in the horse itself.  They show an appreciation for the history of their breed.  They’re hardworking, but not showy about it; And they do it all with intelligence, compassion and grace, in one small but mighty organization.  We’re looking forward to the Fall, Ralph, and we plan on meeting up with you, Ken and Val, the (this couple’s name here), and the rest of the small but mighty Suffolk Punchers at the Ashtabula County Fairgrounds in October.  And if you arrange to have us experience that thundering rain again, we’ll turn up the microphones.Links:https://www.suffolkpunch.com the show
Have you ever seen one of those commercials for an all-American heavy-duty truck, with an all-American cowboy or farmer?  They’re usually off-loading dirty-but-not-too-dirty hay into a field, parked on a majestic mesa, with the sun shining about. There’s not a lot of sweat, and perfectly-placed dirt on all the faces.  No dirt on the cows, either.  It’s lovely and stirs the patriotic soul.  But the glories that can be achieved with a model, perfect lighting and a 20-person crew are not the reality of what actually happens on a farm.  It’s dirty.  It’s difficult.  And it’s really, really hard work with really long hours, seven days a week.Sometimes you meet people who are the epitome of all that, without the aid of the makeup girl or the continuity department.  You know them when you see them, and they don’t usually talk much about it, they just do it.  They built our agricultural production system in this country.  Today, we have an impromptu tailgate conversation with one of those people.Jeremy Michaud, from East Hardwick, Vermont is the head of the Michaud family, Kingdom Creamery, and Clair-A-Den Farm.  He is a no-nonsense man, with a strong love of family and the commitment it takes to raise a human being with solid values.  He is a perfect example of the best characteristics of the multipurpose American Milking Devon Cattle breed, because he gets right down to business, and does as much as he can to move forward in good times and bad.  (Though we do have to say that in our 90-degree weather last weekend, we did wish we had a 20-person crew and an air-conditioned star trailer).Links: the show
Every once in a great while you meet people who are just plain special. The Hostetler Family and the company they run, Mountain Meadow Wool, is a true family affair. Now, we aren't talking of just the related kind, but the Hostetler's run their business and treat everyone who works for them as family. Rick and I saw this first hand as we filmed there in Buffalo, Wyoming last week. So, today we bring you part two of our story from Mountain Meadow Wool. We speak with Karen's son Ben, as he takes us through some of the day's adventures at the mill. Ellen who was our extraordinary tour guide through the facilities, explaining how things operate and introducing to some of the wonderful workers who help produce their products.  So, please sit back and listen to the sounds of the mill in full operation and the people who love what they do.Links: Support the show
We’re back from the cold and snowy north.  Our trip to Mountain Meadow Mill in Buffalo, Wyoming was delightful, and today we’re bringing you a conversation with Karen Hostetler, its founder – who is also the matriarch of a fast-growing clan of Hostetlers.  They were a truly nice bunch, and we’ll definitely want to go back again after this trip (even after next week’s podcast with Ben, aka Hostetler #2).  The Wyoming and Montana regions are full of many things, even though many people don’t think of what surrounds one of the country’s most famous and majestic National Parks.  Sheep ranching, Basque and other history, and more things than we can quickly mention abound in this area, so we’ll be back.  Maybe we’ll have to buy another sweater, too, just in case it gets cold again.Links: the show
We’re back on the road, and we’re celebrating this Spring burst of energy with a giveaway from Premier 1 Supplies.  Joe Putnam will give us a quick check in on the shipping news, and we tell you how to put your hat in the ring for the freebee. And next time…not just the old run of the mill.  Literally.Links: the show
In honor of all of us surviving an overload of people, places and holidays in the news this month, we’re giving you another conjunction – the FFA and the Collegian FFA and Farm Bureau Chapter Ag Club at SUNY Morrisville.  And a Mustang.  And a tractor.  And 60,000 kids (okay, we didn’t have the 60,000 kids on the mic, but they were all there in the background somewhere in the building).The practice of agriculture is not just only a “raise either cows or pigs or wheat or corn” thing anymore for today’s youth.  The field is wide open (so to speak), and the future is theirs to shape.Links: the show (
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