Common Sense Ain't What It Used To Be


There was a time when phrases such as "Gee and Haw," and "You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink," were commonly understood. Just 50 years ago, more than half of Americans were involved in agriculture in one way or another. Some farmers still understood that Gee was the command to a draft team of oxen, mules, horses or even dogs, to turn right. Haw meant to turn left, which meant to work a vehicle back and forth to get into a spot. I learned it from my mother in the Midwest when I learned to drive. My classes actually had lessons on finding the derivation of a word or phrase, and that it's true that you can show a horse some water, but you can't force them to drink.

But these terms don't have much meaning nowadays. While that may be sad, it's not a real problem. Other phrases will take their place, or we'll continue to use them absent-mindedly, not really thinking about what they mean.

There are much bigger problems than loss of language roots. We face issues of societal breakdown, population obesity, droughts and environmental catastrophe, among others, and in my mind farms can play an important part in dealing with those issues. Only if people understand the role of farms, food and the environment in their own lives. That's what I want to do with this blog, and its partner podcast, Overall Knowledge. As we move into uncertain times, the land is a constant we can all lean on, but only if we understand how it works. Stay tuned for more as time goes on, please.

- Pat


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The little farm that does....