October 20, 2016

Rural America Post

Cataloochee Valley, NC

The Cherokee first discovered the valley when they came through the Smokies hunting and fishing, but they never settled permanently in the valley. When the first Europeans arrived in the valley in the early 1800s, all of the land belonged to Colonel Robert Love. Colonel Love was a post-Revolutionary War speculator who granted land and homesteads to families to develop. By 1850, the Big Cataloochee valley was well populated, but not full.
The lives of the Cataloochee residents were similar to other mountain communities. Women's time was occupied by raising the children, mending clothes, cleaning the house and cooking meals. Men and boys would work out on the farm tending to the livestock, sowing, and harvesting crops. Some residents ran businesses on the side like a blacksmith shop, gristmill or commercial apple growing.

The plan to create a national park left few people living in Cataloochee by 1938. Only bits and pieces of the community remain, with the forest reclaiming much of the old farmland and orchard land. Today, you can see a handful of the buildings in the valley, such as the Beech Grove School, Palmer Chapel and numerous frame houses that help us imagine what life might have been like in Cataloochee.

- written by Jen Smith

Source: Great Smoky Mountain

October 22, 2016

District 1 Assemblyman Race, November 8th

Donn Coenen, a Liberaterian from Nevada County, CA, who is Brain Dahle's opponent in the November 8th election for District 1 Assemblyman's seat. Coenen worked at several jobs before retiring as a locomotive engineer for 43 years at the Southern Pacific Railroad, also has sat on the Board of Directors at the Western Valley Federal Credit Union and owner of a Christmas tree farm. Incumbent Dahle a Republican has been on the  public pay system for several years as Lassen County Supervisor and as California State Assemblyman. Dahle is also a third generation farmer in Northern California

Coenen is more outwardly spoken on his position on the State of Jefferson, stating that if he was elected to the Assembly, he would focus more on pushing the State of Jefferson initiative forward. Dahle on the other hand has been more in the closet on his position about the State of Jefferson, although he did make a statement announcing he will run for the highest office if the 51st state is created. It appears Dahle is carefully riding the fence on this issue to protect his Assembly seat. 

In June 2016, Dahle refused to support Assembly Bill 2757 in favoring California farmworkers  entitlement to extra overtime pay. This bill would have expanded upon that to bring agricultural overtime rules in line with other industries, eventually guaranteeing laborers 1 1/2 times their normal wages for every hour they work over eight in a day or 40 a week. Working more than 12 hours a day would have meant double pay. Though, District 1 Assemblyman Dahle chose to ignore fair wages  for farmworkers, in which would also effect employees in the logging industry, stating at the debate,  “My dream is to leave a flourishing farm to my children. You stand in the way of allowing my children to continue their great-grandather’s aspirations.” Sierra Pacific Industry have been one of Dahle's big donors, which would have been effected by the AB 2757.

Source: Merced Sun Star, The Union, Sacramento Bee

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October 10, 2016


Rural America  Post

Harvest Time

Autumn in South-East Central, Illinois

Harvest 2016 began in the fields surrounding my house yesterday, October 2nd.  Once it begins, the farmers move almost non-stop and work well into the night.  Traffic on the roadways becomes Combines with corn head that look like spears, giving way to bean heads on these combines once the corn is out of the fields. 

It has been a dry fall, which has helped the farmers get into the fields and harvest; then move on.  Many are farming 3000 to 5000 acres; their own land, cash rented lands and most probably some done on shares. A lot done is already out of the fields surrounding my house at this time, yet many acres are yet to be harvested.

Corn and soybeans are the main cash crops for the grain farmers in this region now.  Years ago one use to see a lot of winter wheat being grown and used as a third crop in rotation in the.  There is still a bit grown, but nothing like what once was in the area.

Spring planting is always iffy based on rain.  Some dry springs, planting of corn can begin in April. Corn is the first to go in the ground due to the longer growing season.  Followed by soybeans which I have seen go in the ground as late as the first of July.  Early planting, one always runs the risk of torrential rains drowning out corn before it germinates or even after it is up by several inches.  It is not uncommon to see fields replanted partially or entirely due to heavy rains standing in the fields and killing the seedlings.

Fall harvest can equally be difficult if a wet fall.  More than one year, I have seen fields of corn and soybeans sit all winter long in the fields without being harvested as the soil is nothing but mud.  Even though most large farmers have tracks for their combines; sometimes that is not enough to get the crops in.  Of course, the farmers lose big-time in years such as I have just described.

2016 in this region of SE Central Illinois has been a great year for the crops.  Dry spring with rains occurring  when needed all summer long.   So far, it has been dry fall so getting in and out of the fields is easy.  This greatly helps with the grain crops drying and retaining less moisture in the corn kernels and soybeans; requiring less assisted drying in the bins or at the grain elevators resulting in a higher price for the grain sold by the farmer.

October 11, 2016

by HD

Rural America Post


July 2012, the Moonshine Store celebrated 100 years of continuous operation, located at the intersection of 600th Street and 300th Road in Moonshine (Population 2), Johnson Township, Clark County, Illinois.   And still going strong in 2016.

Initially, the Moonshine store was a true country store with a variety of food items, a gas pump and bulk motor oil dispenser.  Later, the owners established a griddle and lunch menu for the local farmers and oil field workers from the surrounding area.  Today and for the past two decades a destination point for tourists by the car and bus load; road-rally of antique car, street rod, corvette and motorcycle enthusiasts.  Open Monday thru Saturday; the grill shuts down at 12:30 PM and the front doors are locked at 1 PM unless a special event (rally is happening).

Walk in the front door and to the back of the store building, past antique display cases and memorabilia on the outer walls to the griddle area to place your order.  Hamburgers, 1, 2 3 patties; or cheeseburger.  As an adult male, I can tell you a 2 patty cheeseburger or hamburger is more than you might be able to finish!  Tell the ladies what you want and give them a name.  They will call out your name when it is ready; you load it from the centrally located table of condiments and toppings as you wish.  Mayo, Mustard, Ketchup, pickles, onions, tomato and lettuce.  Yes, they do have a more diverse menu of sandwiches but the hamburger or cheeseburger is the Moonshine store  menu item that most all order.

Grab a bottled drink from the coolers and a bag of chips from the display racks if you want.  Take a seat on the benches and wait for your name to be called.  Pay as you leave the store; just tell the cashier what you have and it’s a done deal.  If no one is manning the cash register leave your money on the counter!   Outside are picnic tables to sit down and enjoy your Moonburger!  The number of picnic tables available has grown exponentially over the years.

The Moonshine Lunch Run is what I am most familiar with occurring at the Moonshine store these days.  Though, each summer I am there at least twice with a group of friends for a Moonburger.

The Moonshine Lunch Run is a gathering at the Moonshine Store on the second Saturday of April, annually.  Some 14 years now.  Attracting motorcyclists from LITERALLY across the United States, Canada; and Yes, even some from Europe.  It is not uncommon to have well over 2000 bodies converge on the Moonshine Store on that Saturday in April.  On an event such as this, grills are added and the grills stay on later than 12:30 PM. 

The organizers of this event host a two plus day event culminating after the Moonshine Run on Saturday.  A chili supper to support the local volunteer Fire Department of Casey, Illinois; a banquet dinner at a local restaurant that has the space to contain them all.  Additional proceeds from across the event are donated to local public charities as decided upon by the masses in attendance.

We have to arrive at Moonshine on the Saturday of the Moonshine Lunch Run by 7:30 AM as people start arriving by then!  A local Amish community sells huge cinnamon rolls and homemade ice cream too.  Look for their booths in the parking area south of the store!  And please, don’t run into the horse and buggies that may be there!