I know a lot of people don't like social media and with good reason. Certainly, Facebook and sites like it have become popular outlets for individuals and organizations to advance their highly polarized and extreme agendas. Most folks I know, whether they consider themselves Democrats or Republicans, conservatives or liberals — or refuse to be buttonholed by labels altogether — can recall a time or two when they read a re-post from a friend or family member and thought “Really? How on earth can you believe that? You seem so sensible otherwise.”
I don't claim to know much about social media. I use Facebook and most days I check in to see what my draft animal power, homesteading and gardening friends are up to. Ocassionally, I will make a post myself, either representing this magazine or to my own personal page. I do think it is a handy way to stay in touch with people. Had a new baby? Post photos on Facebook to let people know. That said, it cannot ever take the place of a personal phone call, letter or even email. Imagine if you first learned about your daughter and son-in-law's new family addition through Facebook along with everyone else.
I like Facebook because, as a magazine editor, I can get news of trends, stories and personalities as they are fed to my Facebook wall. Of course, these news items are filtered and spun by their authors. Nonetheless, I learn of events, businesses and people I may not have otherwise heard of were it not for my Facebook feed. The Facebook groups, Homesteading Haymaking and Logging with Drafts, and Draft Animal Power Discussion Group, are two of my favorite Facebook pages, and a visit to them never fails to give me story ideas for our magazine and television program.
It is early March, and spring seems very late in coming here. The same is true most other places we hear from. The snowpack in the woods is deep still, and a lot of ice has yet to melt from the roofs where it has dammed. For us in Cedar Rapids it has seemed like a long winter with an over abundance of snow. For my part, I have enjoyed being able to cross-country ski more than just the couple of times most winters. For my daughter in Saint Paul, Minn., the winter has been a major ordeal. Wave after wave of deep, heavy snow has fallen on the city, forcing
her to repeatedly dig out her car to move it from odd to even side street parking so the plows can bury it again. Spring cannot come soon enough for Maggie.
Like many of you I am looking forward to planting the garden I have been planning during the long winter. Perhaps this will be the year I am able to maintain the enthusiasm I harbor during spring planting throughout the summer weeding and into the fall harvest. I am often like the hungry diner who fills his plate greedily at the start of a meal but finds he is unable to finish what he took.
It would be nice to get more of my harvest into our freezer and larder in a timely manner rather than on the compost pile after it has begun rotting on the vine.
I've been adding a few more trips to my shooting schedule for the television show. Later this week, I will be visiting Bernie Samson of Samson Harness in northern Minnesota. I am looking forward to learning a little about what goes into making a good harness and a lot about the history of harness-making.
Then, in early April, I will be in the Kokomo, Ind., area visiting Wooly Wagons, which I've wanted to drop by for years. They specialize in sheepherding wagons, gypsy wagons and camper trailers. Since so many of our readers and viewers either dream about or actually practice self-contained horse-drawn camping, this episode should provide plenty of ideas to those who wish to build their own vehicles. I also hope to make it to Lehman's in Kidron, Ohio,
June 29 for the Country Living Workshop featuring Stacy Lyn Harris and Joel Salatin, as well as a number of other experienced homesteading experts. We are proud to partner with Lehman's to promote this event.
I had to cancel a trip to Litchfield, Mich., for the second year in a row. I am determined to make the trip next year to cover their horsepull which benefits St. Jude's Children’s Hospital. This year's event happens to land on the same day my daughter graduates from Macalaster College, and that is an event I would not miss for anything in the world.
If you have an event or activity you'd like to talk to Joe about, shoot him an email at
or give him a ring. 319-362-3027