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Sheridan School War Garden

The students and administrators at the Sheridan School took their war gardening efforts quite seriously. The sign makes this crystal clear:   

 

SheridanSchoolSmall   

 

Trespassers, Destroyers and Thieves 

Beware $100 fine - One year imprisonment 

Dogs are subject to the law-Keep them off. 

Note that it was a windy day when this shot was taken, judging by the flag in the background.  


Hank Will raises hair sheep, heritage cattle and many varieties of open-pollinated corn with his wife, Karen, on their rural Osage County, Kansas farm. His home life is a perfect complement to his professional life as editor in chief at GRIT and Capper's Farmer magazines. Connect with him on .

Uncle Sam Turns Pied Piper

 

Back in the late teens of the 20th Century, domestic food supply was definitely on the Federal Government’s mind in the United States. This poster depicts an Uncle Sam turned Pied Piper leading a group of children off to fight the war as members of the School Garden Army and planting a garden. School gardens have received some renewed attention in recent years, thanks largely to the hard work of many private organizations. 

the-pied-piper
 

Hank Will raises hair sheep, heritage cattle and many varieties of open-pollinated corn with his wife, Karen, on their rural Osage County, Kansas farm. His home life is a perfect complement to his professional life as editor in chief at GRIT and Capper's Farmer magazines. Connect with him on .

1918 School Garden Army

In the name of growing more food during World War I, the Bureau of Education of the U.S.’s Department of the Interior created the School Garden Army as a means to recruit school children and school grounds to grow food for their communities. Read about a policy that adds outdoor activities and experiences to children's lives. 

 

 School Garden Army 

Hank Will raises hair sheep, heritage cattle and many varieties of open-pollinated corn with his wife, Karen, on their rural Osage County, Kansas farm. His home life is a perfect complement to his professional life as editor in chief at GRIT and Capper's Farmer magazines. Connect with him on .

Oscar H. Will Victory Garden Collection

 

GRIT Editor Hank Will at the wheel of his 1964 IH pickup.Back in 1944, my grandfather offered a Victory Garden Collection that included wax, string and shell beans, beets, cabbage, carrots, sweet corn, cucumber, lettuce, onions, parsnips, peas, radish, squash, Swiss chard and tomato seeds. Twelve packets, a pound and a half of bean seed, an ounce of beet seed, half pound of sweet corn seed and a pound of pea seed for $1.60 postage paid. The history of the American garden is fascinating and incredibly important, and we're proud to encourage folks to keep it alive and growing.

 

 

 victory-garden-poster 


Hank Will raises hair sheep, heritage cattle and many varieties of open-pollinated corn with his wife, Karen, on their rural Osage County, Kansas farm. His home life is a perfect complement to his professional life as editor in chief at GRIT and Capper's Farmer magazines. Connect with him on .

Save Food!

GRIT Editor Hank Will at the wheel of his 1964 IH pickup.During World War I, the United States Food Administration encouraged folks not to waste any food. Today at least 40 percent of the food we produce goes to waste. Imagine if that was not the case! Click here to learn more about minimizing food waste.

save-food-poster 


Hank Will raises hair sheep, heritage cattle and many varieties of open-pollinated corn with his wife, Karen, on their rural Osage County, Kansas farm. His home life is a perfect complement to his professional life as editor in chief at GRIT and Capper's Farmer magazines. Connect with him on .

Oregon 40V Max Cordless Chainsaw: Preliminary Test

GRIT Editor Hank Will at the wheel of his 1964 IH pickup.(1)When the folks from my favorite chainsaw bar and chain company asked whether I would be interested in testing their 40V Max cordless chainsaw this winter, I jumped at the chance. While I was somewhat skeptical of the utility of a machine such as the Oregon 40V Max cordless chainsaw, I am always interested in discovering just how far battery-powered technology has come. I will say from the get-go that the Oregon 40V Max cordless chainsaw is impressive. My saw is a Model CS250-E6, which essentially means that it is the 40V cordless, 14-inch bar saw with the 2.4 amp-hour lithium battery and charger. In fact, my kit came with a pair of batteries, which makes the tool even more useful -- the extra battery is not included with the retail kit, however.  I would not hesitate to add a cordless saw like the 40V Max to my collection of gas powered saws (Husqvarna and Echo) and with an MSRP of  $499 with the higher capacity battery, the price is completely in line with the Oregon quality and serviceability that we expect from the brand.

Oregon 40V Max Cordless Chain Saw with Load of wood 

On my first outing with the saw, I went to work on a pile of black walnut, Osage orange and maple trees that were downed about three years ago. The wood was pretty dry, but not cured in the way that shorter billets might have been. Over eager to begin cutting, I took the 40V cordless saw out with a single battery and left the other on the charger. I figured I'd get a couple of armloads of wood cut to stove length (18-inches) before the thing ran out of juice. I filled the bar oil reservoir with oil, tensioned the chain with the included screwdriver (a large wing nut tightens the bar making the traditional chainsaw tool largely obsolete with this machine) and lit the the 40V up. Well, I didn't really light it up -- I simply depressed the trigger lock and squeezed the trigger and the saw came to life. The 40V Max is quiet -- no ringing ears, even without hearing protection -- and it made short work of several walnut and maple limbs in the 4 to 11-inch diameter range. I next moved on to some 6 - 9-inch diameter Osage orange limbs -- one of the most dense woods in North America (it makes my gas chainsaw chains spark on occasion) -- and noticed that the saw was laboring and making smaller chips. Time to take a break to sharpen the chain, or to install a fresh one, right? Nope! The 40V Max comes standard with Oregon's very effective, built-in PowerSharp sharping system. Again the skeptic that I am didn't expect that simply running the saw without load and pulling back on the sharpening lever would make much of a difference, but I gave it a shot. Suffice it to say that the saw motored through a couple more Osage Orange cuts before the battery was out of juice.

In the final tally, the saw made about 25 cuts total on the single battery that first time out. That amounted to about 3/4 of a 6-foot-wide tractor loader bucket full of wood that when split yielded a bit more than 1/6 of a cord of firewood. Obviously 24-inch lengths would have yielded even more firewood with the same number of cuts, but my stove likes 18-inch billets well enough. In the hour that it took me to cut, haul, split and stack that wood, the second battery was fully charged and I repeated the entire process. It turns out that the battery I first charged was not fully discharged because it took about 2.5 hours to recharge the battery that I drained by using the saw. In subsequent uses, I've noticed that it takes between 2 and 2.5 hours to recharge the battery.

Firewood stack. 

The 40V Max cordless chainsaw isn't the saw you want to bring to the woods for a day of heavy cutting -- even if you have a truckload of charged batteries. It is a perfect saw for those lighter cutting and trimming duties and as I've come to learn, it is an almost ideal saw for relatively short firewood cutting sessions. I can totally imagine spending an hour or two a day or every other day using the 40V Max with an extra battery to create all of the firewood we need by adopting the slow and steady approach to the process. With two batteries I can cut and split a bit more than a third of a cord in around an hour and 45 minutes. that leaves plenty of time to do the other chores and work on other projects as daily life demands. The fact that the saw starts instantly in any weather, is relatively quiet and produces zero in the way of gasoline or exhaust fumes, and that it is so easy to keep sharp makes it tough to beat for short and sweet sawing sessions.

I plan to put the Oregon 40V Max Cordless Saw through additional testing through spring. I will let you know how I like it after a few months of living with it. In the meantime, if you are in the market for a good chainsaw for those spontaneous trimming or smaller cutting jobs, waiting for batteries to charge is a small tradeoff for a machine that performs and is ready to go the instant you need it. Stay tuned.


Hank Will raises hair sheep, heritage cattle and many varieties of open-pollinated corn with his wife, Karen, on their rural Osage County, Kansas farm. His home life is a perfect complement to his professional life as editor in chief at GRIT and Capper's Farmer magazines. Connect with him on .

Sustainable Eating: Long Way On A Little Leads The Way

GRIT Editor Hank Will at the wheel of his 1964 IH pickup.Shannon Hayes leads us ever deeper into a truly fulfilled, humane and sustainable lifestyle with her latest book: Long Way On A Little: An earth lover's companion for enjoying meat, pinching pennies, and living deliciously. I've been looking forward to Long Way On A Little's publication ever since devouring Hayes' ground breaking work Radical Homemakers, in which the author takes on extractive consumption,  consumerism as a way of life, and boldly suggests that the home can and should become a place of production once again. Long Way On A Little extends that concept even further with threads of philosophy, animal husbandry, sound food science, and wonderful recipes woven into a narrative fabric that's fine, strong, beautiful, compelling. Much more than a cookbook, Hayes' newest work helps the reader understand the hows and whys of meat (and other animal products) production, offers frank discussion of why meat is so important in the human diet and then delights with creative and approachable recipes that prove straight forward to make and absolutely sumptuous to experience. However, even if you are not the type to raise your own meat animals, process them and then utilize every single part -- this is a book any eater should read, just for the sustainable food production lessons woven throughout the text.Long Way On A Little: Book By Shannon Hayes 

As a cookbook, Long Way On A Little makes an important addition to any meat eater's collection -- and for those for whom meat is not an option, you will be offered an honest assessment of how and why meat, as a healthful dietary component, is important to so many folks. Wondering what to do with that left over hog's head? You'll find everything you need to know about making head cheese on pages 228 and 229. Always had difficulty preparing sausages or roasts to perfection? Long Way On A Little is loaded with no-fail procedures for getting it right every time. For the carbohydrate counters among us, Hayes has even included carbohydrate estimates and a breakdown of their sources for each recipe. In her most refreshing, inclusive style, Hayes also offers entry points for folks interested in  grain-free, legume-free and other specialized diets. And finally, Long Way On A Little offers the reader so many great and good tasting ideas on how to use up leftovers, how to strip a carcass and get all that good stuff to the table, and even offers soap recipes and rendering techniques for taking advantage of all that good grassfed fat!

As a farmer holding an earned Ph.D. in Sustainable Agriculture and Community Development from Cornell University, Shannon Hayes is not just passionate about her topics. She is a practitioner who bothered to inform her practice with deep knowledge. As an author, culinary expert and teacher, her work is every bit as approachable as it is impeccable.  Long Way On A Little by Shannon Hayes is a must read for everyone who enjoys any aspect of real food, environmentalists, food fad activists, conventional agriculturists, animal husbands, animal scientists, processed food industrialists and anyone else with any stake in the food game -- I think that's pretty much everyone, and I mean it sincerely. Purchase your copy here or here, sit back, read, cook, enjoy and become part of new food paradigm.


Hank Will raises hair sheep, heritage cattle and many varieties of open-pollinated corn with his wife, Karen, on their rural Osage County, Kansas farm. His home life is a perfect complement to his professional life as editor in chief at GRIT and Capper's Farmer magazines. Connect with him on .