Sam Wiseman

Sam Wiseman

Sunflower Savannah

By Sam Wiseman

In rural Franklin County, Missouri, you will find the homestead of Sam Wiseman, Sunflower Savannah. Sam plans to focus this blog on farm life and the importance of clean food sources. She also hopes to write about animal husbandry, Slow Food, Ark of Taste, and disappearing food sources.

Her current project was made possible by a Slow Food grant; she’s studying “Heirloom Fruit Permaculture – Meech’s Prolific Quince, Black Republican Cherries and PawPaws.”

On Sam’s to-do list is finishing a greenhouse as well as a high tunnel, both made from reclaimed materials.

She defines a homesteader as a person “who tries to provide as much of their own resources as possible.” Her move to the country wasn’t really a move. Living in the country “is in my blood. I’m connected to the earth. I have never lived in a town.”

The animals sharing Sunflower Savannah are varied: sheep (Dorper/Katahdin/Jacob crosses and St. Croix sheep purchased through a grant from Slow Food; Cayuga ducks, also purchased through a Slow Food grant; chickens (Rhode Island Red, Araucanas, Black Astralorps, Buff Orpingtons); Sebastapol geese; three Great Pyrenees guardian dogs; and a number of cats.

When asked about a garden, Sam says, “I have always been pulled toward growing things. Even when I was a child I scratched out a garden on the years when my parents did not grow one. As I grew older, awareness of what the commercial food industry was doing to our food encouraged me to produce as much of our food as I was capable.”

Her garden includes heirloom tomatoes (Paul Robeson, Black Krim, Black from Tula, Golden Jubilee, Mortgage Lifter, Amish Paste, Purple Carbon, Green Zebra, Green Malochite Box, Green Copia, Pantano Romanesco, Caspian Pink, Azoyckha Russian, Violet Jasper, Principe Borghese, Chocolate Cherry and Thai Pink Turtle Egg); hybrid tomatoes (Pink Girl, Lemon Boy, Early Girl, Juliette and SunSugar); and open pollinated but not heirloom tomatoes (Blue Beauty, Indigo Rose, Blue Berry, Pork Chop and Pink Tie Dye Berkley).

As you might imagine, Sam’s country skills comprise quite a list: canning, pickling, drying, animal husbandry (lamb delivery, and basic medicating if necessary to save a sheep’s life), cooking, pruning, gardening, growing her own plant starts and foraging.

Her philosophy on country life?

“Life is meant to be lived in balance. Fresh air, fresh food and solace to your soul is lost in the hustle and bustle of being tied up in city life. You lose your connection to the land and your food.”

To reach Sam, visit her blog, or follow her on Twitter.

Photo by Julia Dawson