The Bookworm Sez 9-6-10 | TheFencePost.com

The Bookworm Sez 9-6-10

Terri Schlichenmeyer
LaCrosse, Wis.

Last night, you had absolutely the best dinner.

All your favorites were on the table, and you weren’t sure where to dig in. Should you eat this first, or take a bite of that? A little pasta, some salad or have dessert before anything else? It all smelled so good and it tasted even better.

So where does your food come from? Do you know who grew it? In the new book “Up We Grow! A Year in the Life of a Small, Local Farm” by Deborah Hodge, photography by Brian Harris, you’ll find out how your favorite foods go from seed to suppertime.

It seems like everything starts with spring on the farm because there’s new life everywhere. Baby goats and calves are born, and you can hear baby birds chirping. As the sun warms up the ground, farmers get ready to plant the seeds that will eventually become crops, which will eventually be served on your plate. Nearly everything you eat started with a plant that grew in the dirt.

But planting and caring for the soil is not the only job a farmer has. Chickens need to be raised and eggs must be collected. Goats need to be milked, cheese has to be made, and trees must be tended so they can grow delicious, healthy fruit.

By summertime, early crops are ripe, tasty and ready to be picked, and farmers might take some of their vegetables to the farmer’s market. Flowers are blooming now, which means that bees are busy making honey. On a warm summer weekend, the farmers might even pick berries or have an outdoor celebration.

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When the nights start to get cooler, that means it’s fall on the farm. Most of the harvesting is finished and there’s color everywhere: orange pumpkins, yellow squashes, purple grapes and red apples. The chickens want to stay inside and the bees are done making honey. In the fall, some farmers collect seeds to plant for next year.

When winter arrives, the days turn cold and the soil rests. This is the time when farmers repair their tractors, animals stay inside and a new big project begins: those tiny seeds that were collected in the fall are planted in a greenhouse in wintertime. Soon the growing will begin again!

Got a future farmer around, or maybe a child who loves to garden? “Up We Grow!” will only grow that passion stronger.

Author Deborah Hodge tells a gentle story of sustainable farming at a British Columbia farm cooperative and the things that happen there, year ’round. While that’s great information, I think her narrative is too long for the squirmiest of little kids and is more appropriate for 6-to-8-year-olds. The good news is that the photos by Brian Harris will keep toddlers occupied while big brother or sister hears the story.

If your child is well past the “Old McDonald” days but would still appreciate a book about life on the farm, this is the one to find. “Up We Grow!” is E-I-E-I-A-OK.