The Southern Agrarian

Southern Agrarianism and the culture of the Old South

The Trashing of Robert E. Lee

A friend and Southern Gentleman (interesting how those often seem to go together) sent me this link to an article titled The Myth of the Kindly General Lee in The Atlantic magazine and asked me to comment on it. The subtitle of the article is The legend of the Confederate leader’s heroism and decency is based in the fiction of a person who never existed.

I had not seen this article, and frankly, I couldn’t even finish reading it. Was Lee an imperfect man? Of course. Did he make some bad choices along the way? Of course. Have we built his legend beyond the reality? Probably. Such is the fate of all great men. Would they dare to do the same critical study of Lincoln? The purpose of the article is not to discover the truth. Its purpose is the same as those who are, right now, removing Confederate statues. It is about destroying a people. The Southern people. My people.

The article is just another example of the on-going attacks against The South, against the White race, against any one or any thing that does not bow down and worship at the altar of political correctness. Some wonder what led to the rise of the alt-right and why Trump is in the White House. The answer is that they created us. Using myself as an example, I was quite content to simply enjoy my family, tend to my chickens and my garden, and promote the Southern Gentleman and Southern Agrarianism in very much a live and let live manner. It has become plain to me that the Left will not allow me to do that. I am given the same choice that the Muslim gives a Christian – convert or die. There is no room for compromise. No chance to coexist. One side will be the conqueror and one side will be the conquered. I know which side I will be on, and I intend to play a very active role in that. I will not be a mere observer and bystander in what will be seen as one of the great cultural shifts in history.

I will not apologize for my heritage, for my ancestors, for my family, or for who I am. I cannot sit back and watch this happen to the world that my grandchildren will inherit. And I will not.

The Southern Agrarian Last Ditch List

Okra pods and flower

Most of us garden primarily for pleasure. It’s what we do because – well, because we are Southern Agrarians. Yes, what we grow ends up on our table or given to friends and neighbors; however, what our garden produces generally does not determine whether we eat or starve.

But what if it did? What if our very fragile system were to collapse leaving the grocery store shelves empty and the streets too dangerous to venture out in? Part of Southern Agrarianism is being independent of that complex system, so this is very much a topic for discussion.

My garden tends to be planned more around what we enjoy eating and growing rather than for maximizing food production when lives depend on it. The Last Ditch List is what I would be planting if lives did depend on it.

 

The Southern Agrarian Last Ditch List

Sweet Potatoes (Centennial)
Incredibly easy to grow; I’m still growing them from the very first slips that I got about eight years ago. I keep moving them around to avoid soil-borne pests and diseases, and they will take transplanting without any problem.
ꔷ The taste is delicious
ꔷ High in nutritional value
ꔷ Will last for months if stored in a cool, dark place
ꔷ The leaves are edible

Okra (Clemson Spineless)
ꔷ Continuous production through hot weather
ꔷ Very resistant to disease and pest
ꔷ Each plant will produce one or two edible pods about every two to three days
ꔷ Easy to save seeds
ꔷ Delicious when fried

Eggplant (Florida Highbush)
ꔷ Highly productive through hot weather
ꔷ Easily prepared and makes a good, filling meal
ꔷ Minimal problems from disease or pests
ꔷ Relatively easy to save seeds if you know the technique
ꔷ Should plant a fairly large number to maintain genetic diversity in seeds

Seminole Pumpkin
ꔷ Fruit can last up to a full year when properly stored
ꔷ Almost impervious to disease or pests
ꔷ Huge vines that drop roots along the way making the plant very resilient and able to thrive on relatively poor ground
ꔷ Lots of organic matter at the end of the season to keep the ground rich
ꔷ Needs good care and lots of water to get started; once established, requires almost no care

Collards (Georgia Southern)
ꔷ Winter crop
ꔷ Other greens will not reliably produce seeds in this area

 

Second Tier crops

These are ones that I am still working with but don’t have enough experience yet to put them on the Last Ditch List. Nothing other than lack of a well established track record keeps me from putting them on the Last Ditch List.

Potatoes (Yukon Gold)
This is only my second time planting these, but all indications are that they should make the Last Ditch List in the next year or two.

Squash (Tromboncino)
The variety makes all the difference. I have given up on the more typical yellow squash; bugs have destroyed them every single time I have tried. Tromboncino, on the other hand, is highly resistant to pests due to its tough outer skin. The fruit is pale green, long and thin, and grows on a vine. I have them growing along a fence.

 

Not On The List

These are crops that I grow now, but they don’t meet the criteria for inclusion on the Last Ditch List.

Beans (Kentucky Wonder or Blue Lake) – Too many poor results. Sometimes I get a good crop, and other times it’s a poor crop. Inconsistent. May be moved to the Last Ditch List once I learn more, but not yet. Good potential once I learn more.

Corn (Reid’s Yellow Dent) – Low yield for the amount of space it takes up. Heavy drain on the garden soil. If any crops would be available for purchase following a collapse, it would be grains. They are well suited for large scale, highly mechanized farming, and they transport and store well. I keep some seeds on hand for use in corn meal or for chicken feed – just in case.

Tomatoes (Homestead 24) – Too easily damaged by bugs or disease or blossom end rot. They stop producing when the weather gets hot.

Peppers (Carolina Wonder) – Susceptibility to Blossom End Rot keeps peppers off the list. If I can get the calcium deficiency solved, this might be moved to the Last Ditch List.

 

Final Notes

Vegetable gardening is very location-dependent. This Last Ditch List is what works for me here in north central Florida. There is a really good chance that your Last Ditch List would be different. Maybe very different. Perhaps the most value from this list is in the criteria – why I chose what I did for this list.

What is on your Last Ditch List – and why?

Learning from Failure – Blossom End Rot

When I started my garden this year, I knew that I needed to add calcium to the soil – or at least I was pretty sure that it was needed. Now that things are ripening, it turns out that I was right. The tomatoes and peppers are both on track to be a near-total loss due to blossom end rot. I have beautiful red tomatoes, but when they are turned over, what you see is a big black spot of rotting tomato. The peppers have a rotten brown spot on the end.

I had tried to locate a local source for pelletized gypsum, but couldn’t. I should have looked harder. I could have used a special tomato fertilizer, but that is sold in small containers that would have cost far too much to fertilize the whole garden. I have since found a source that is about an hour away, and will be stocking up on it for next year.

The key points:

  • Never assume that things will always turn out the way they are supposed to turn out. I’ve had great luck with both tomatoes and peppers, but in different soil.
  • Know what will grow well in your garden as it is now. If you’re depending on what your garden produces, don’t waste space on “nice to have” crops. Stick with what you know will work.
  • It all comes from the soil. If it needs something, get it and add it.

Tools For The Garden

Gardening can be very time-consuming, hard work – unless you have the right tools for the job. The right tools can make the work fast and easy, and they can allow someone to reasonably produce enough food to feed their family where it would not be possible without them.

The top photo shows my current collection of manual garden tools. This does not include the BCS two-wheel tractor and implements that are stored in another area. I tend to collect garden tools like some folks collect guns – better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it. One can never have too many garden tools. I even have a broad fork – a beast of a tool that I might even need some day. In future posts, we’ll look at some of the more interesting tools in my shed.

The second photo shows two extremes in tools. One item is a Rogue Field Hoe (reviewed here) – a great example of a high quality tool that should last a lifetime or more. The crude stick with a metal spike driven through it is not an ancient relic from an archaeological site or something sold to tourists. It is a hand hoe that is in routine use today in Africa. Specifically, this one was purchased at a village market in Sierra Leone, West Africa by missionaries there that I work with. This could correctly be called state of the art technology in most of Africa today. Yes, there are certainly tractors and modern tools in use there also; however, those are imported. When it comes to tools made by the locals, this pretty much says it all. There are some lessons to be learned in this.

Western hoe and African hoe – both manufactured about the same time, and both routinely used in their respective areas.

OK. What’s the point of this post? Ask yourself how you would produce enough food to feed yourself and your family if you had to work the soil to feed them. Stored food doesn’t count – that eventually runs out. Power equipment is great, but it doesn’t count either – fuel very quickly runs out. What you’re left with is muscle powered tools. Most of the world will reply with rolled eyes and a smirk. “It couldn’t happen here” they would say. Perhaps they are right. I certainly hope they are right; however, I’m not going to bet my family’s life on it. Do you?

The Myth of The Self-Made Man

The idea of “White Privilege” holds that Whites have an unearned privilege solely because of their race. I must agree with that, but not for the reasons that Leftists have. The fact is, they have no reasons. They don’t want to think about it. They only want to say that we have privileges based on race that other races do not have. There is a reason for that – a very good reason.

It is all about reputation. Generations of civilized behavior is the reason for White Privilege. A society learns from experience, and that experience tells them that Whites, as a race, are a civilized people who can be trusted to adhere to the norms of a civilized society. That experience also tells a society that some other races are prone to uncivilized behavior. Of course there are individuals who are on the edges of the bell curve both for better and for worse. We’re talking about statistical groups rather than individuals.

The White Privilege that I benefit from is not of my own doing – it is inherited from my ancestors. Likewise, the White Privilege that my descendants will benefit from will not be from their own efforts, but from mine. We stand on the shoulders of giants – those who came before us.

We have a duty to continue living the kind of life that will ensure that our descendants are granted the same White Privilege that we enjoy.

As for other races? There is no reason not to start now. Today. An individual reputation takes many years to develop. A racial reputation takes many generations to develop. It’s not easy and there are no guarantees, but the alternative is to be forever envious of the privileged status of those who have it, and we see what a disaster that is. The choice is yours.

Clean it, Maintain it, Fix it


In a reply to a previous post, I was reminded of the need to learn to make do with what we have and to repair and maintain things. That brought to mind the two tools shown in the photo above – both tools have been in the family for several generations. The grubbing hoe is still in quite usable condition despite the handle being wrapped with a strip of metal that has been nailed in place. The axe, on the other hand, is just kept as a reminder of a time when tools were treasured and were not easily replaced.

One of life’s great lessons is learning that it always pays to buy quality and then maintain it. Quality tools, well cared for, maintained, and repaired as needed, are far better than saving a few dollars buying Chinese junk and then replacing it because it’s not worth repairing.

One of my routines is to always wash all of my garden tools and set them out to dry when I’m finished using them. Most of the time, that is all that is needed before hanging them in their place in the tool shed. If a tool should start to get some rust on it, I clean it off with a wire wheel or whatever is appropriate, rub a bit of oil on it, then put it away. About once a year, I go through all of my tools and use a file to sharpen them, but some tools get sharpened more frequently.

Wooden handles are too-often neglected. I use a rag to rub linseed oil into the wood handles of my tools. If they are treated with reasonable care and stored out of the weather, a good hardwood tool handle should last a lifetime and be able to be passed down to the next generation. Some folks prefer to paint their wood handles, but I’ve never had any desire to do that. 1) I love the look and feel of real wood, and 2) Paint can hide cracks and other problems that should be quickly taken care of.

The grubbing hoe in the photo probably came down with the family when they moved from Alabama to Florida in about 1921 – nearly a century ago. Although we usually associate covered wagons with pioneers moving west, that is how my grandparents moved their family and household goods down here. My grandfather built a covered wagon that was pulled by oxen. It was driven down what was called the Florida Short Route, marked by crude signs and tree carvings saying “FSR”. The cattle were carried by train, and some of the family was loaded into an old Ford, and off they went to find a place where the farming was easier than the rock-filled clay of McGehee Mountain in Clay County, Alabama.

New Era Resolutions

Books_IMG_3679_phatch


America continues down the path to a new era – not because of who does or does not occupy the White House, but because about half of American voters now follow the cult of collectivism and egalitarianism while the other half bitterly opposes it. There is no room for compromise, no chance for reasoned debate. Both sides see this as “winner take all”. Both sides see no alternative to total victory or total annihilation. If this were just another political split, it would be a minor issue to be addressed in a future election. It is not. This represents an extreme cultural split on a massive scale. Our task as Southern Agrarians is to move as far away from that dividing line as possible. We must stake out the cultural high ground so that there can be no doubt as to which camp we belong – or neither camp.

To that end, this is a list of tangible things we can do, presented in no particular order.

  1. Be an encouragement and a help to your extended family in a way that will make it easier to decide to have a larger family. If that doesn’t apply directly to your current situation, then spend time helping another worthy family. The break-down of the multi-generation family has resulted in serious consequences for society.
  2. Boldly proclaim the saving grace of Jesus Christ. Leading a soul to eternal salvation is a greater accomplishment than anything else in this life.
  3. Live a virtuous life at home, at work, and in public. Always speak the truth. We are ambassadors of our great Southern culture and must serve as an example of what that culture stands for.
  4. Be part of a church that truly believes The Bible 1 as the literal word of God – and acts on it. There are far too many modernist churches that lower standards and try to become like the rest of the world. If you’re in one of those modernist churches, leave and find a real church that is not focused on entertaining the congregation.
  5. Use the power of the spoken and written word to advance the cause of restoring civility to America.
  6. Dress more formally than what is customary in today’s society. It demonstrates a respect for others – and for yourself.
  7. Pay close attention to manners and etiquette, and make them a part of your daily life.
  8. Pray – not a vain repetition, but pray like you are talking directly with The God who created the entire universe, because that’s exactly what you are doing. He listens to “specks of dust” like us.
  9. Seek out like-minded people, and form strong bonds with them.
  10. Treat others with respect. As conditions worsen, there will be those who proudly provided for their families in the past, but find themselves without work or, if they are fortunate, doing menial work. Your turn may come. While those who willingly live off of money stolen from the productive deserve our open contempt, resist the urge unless pressed.
  11. Follow the Boy Scout slogan of “Do a Good Turn Daily”. Find some way to help someone who would not expect it.
  12. Follow the Boy Scout motto of “Be Prepared”. When hard times come, you can depend on no one but yourself and your closest friends and family.
  13. Produce some of your own food by gardening or small-scale farming, and raising chickens. Those are valuable skills that cannot be learned by just reading a book. It is also the key to our Southern Agrarian culture.
  14. Understand the foundation of what Southern Agrarianism is by reading I’ll Take My Stand. While Southern Agrarianism is not strictly defined by this book, it is the starting point.
  15. If you are living in an urban area, move to a semi-rural or rural area. The cities are not only increasingly dangerous, they are corrosive to the soul.
  16. Arm yourself and learn and practice to become effective in the defense of yourself and your family. Armed men are free men – disarmed men are slaves.
  17. Turn off the TV, cancel the cable subscription, and disconnect the antenna. TV has done more than anything else to destroy our culture. Don’t allow the filth and propaganda into your home.
  18. Home-school your children and help and support other home-schoolers if you can.
  19. Take control of your future by investing your retirement savings yourself so that the government cannot gain control of it.
  20. Make your home more self-sufficient: put in a well, start a garden, own a sewing machine 2 to make and repair your clothes, install a wood heating stove, increase the insulation in your attic.
  21. Adopt the idea of “Not for Our time, but for All time” when considering choices for your family and your home. Homes that were built centuries ago still stand today while houses slapped together only a decade or so ago are abandoned and demolished. Think long term for your family and your home.
  22. Secure your home. Rampant crime is just one of the results of a decaying society where civility is no longer revered.
  23. Embrace old-school ways of doing things: use paper and pen rather than an electronic device for taking notes (bonus points for using a fountain pen 3); shave with a double-edge safety razor and brush and mug rather than the latest multi-blade gizmo; resist the temptation to automatically upgrade to the latest technology 4.
  24. Resolve to give no credibility to political correctness. When it comes up, question it and force the source to justify what was said or written. Don’t accept it.
  25. Watch your language. Make a conscious effort to avoid any obscene or profane word coming from your lips. Crude language identifies the speaker with the worst elements of any society. That such language is now commonly used by “celebrities” is reason enough to shun it.
  26. Cherish those who are close to you and resolve to repair any relationships that need repairing. Your family, your spouse, your friends – those are more important now than ever, and will become even more so in the future.
  27. Display the Confederate flag – any one of them – on a regular basis. (see the Code of Confederate Flag Etiquette)
  28. Sharing a meal as a family is a time-honored tradition. Make the extra effort to have a more formal, structured dinner.
  29. Resolve to take away the power that the word “racist” has over us; at the same time, remember to treat all men of every race and creed with the respect they deserve as men and as souls that Jesus died for.
  30. Language is an important part of any culture – the English language is the language of our people. Don’t allow yourself to slip into the sloppy language habits that have become a mark of modern popular culture. Writing and speaking well are the marks of a civilized man or woman. Use correct English in your speech and writing. 5
  31. Collect books – not digital text, but real paper and ink books that can be read without batteries. As the popularity of digital text increases, there are bargains to be found in used books. 6
  32. Carry a pocket knife. A generation ago, every Southern male carried a pocket knife – it was almost a rite of passage. Somewhere along the way, the Nanny-state took over, and an incredibly useful tool came to be viewed as a dangerous weapon and a threat to be banned.
  33. Get out of debt as quickly as possible. Make it a top priority.
  34. Reduce or eliminate your income dependence by laying the foundation for your own business. Find something that you truly enjoy doing and that others are willing to pay for, and acquire the tools and the skills to provide that service or product at a profit. 7
  35. The Christmas season has become the emblem of materialism in America and a brief glance at the mayhem of “Black Friday” shopping will confirm that. Turning away from the greed and materialism is a wonderful opportunity for a family lesson in setting priorities. Rejecting materialism now will make life easier later when it is forced on America by a failing economy.
  36. Find something that you can grow or make at home to give away to others. For some, it is home-canned vegetables or preserves or home-made soap; for my wife and I, it is vanilla extract; for our son, it is egg nog in a variety of flavors. Turn back the clock a bit to a day when people didn’t buy everything from the store, but made it themselves. We also give away much of what our garden produces, and the surplus eggs from our chickens and ducks.

This list was inspired by a list posted at The Thinking Housewife blog. What can you add to this list?


This is an updated version of a post that I first wrote in 2012.

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Notes:

  1. Finding a church that insists on using only the King James Version is a big step in the right direction
  2. The old cast iron sewing machines will last for generations. Treadle and hand-crank sewing machines in excellent condition are still readily available – we have several of them in our home.
  3. While a quality fountain pen is not inexpensive, they will last for generations if well cared for. I have my father’s fountain pen that he purchased in the 1950’s. I had it refurbished and it is now as “good as new”.
  4. At the very least, consider using open source software and Linux rather than falling into the Windows/Mac upgrade trap.
  5. There are, no doubt, plenty of errors in grammar scattered throughout this blog. If you find them, please let me know so I can correct them.
  6. A first-class library can be assembled by making regular visits to your local Goodwill or Salvation Army store.
  7. I spent nine months of evenings and weekends developing the software package that has provided a comfortable living for my family since 1995 – it was one of the best decisions I have ever made.

One Acre Makeover

At some point last year, it became clear to me that I needed to make some major changes here on our one acre homestead. If your place is already exactly what it should be, then you might want to skip reading this post. Otherwise, perhaps you’ll find a bit of inspiration here.

The Problem:

  • The garden was not set up for efficiently maintaining it. As the years start adding up for me, making it easy to maintain becomes more important.
  • The garden irrigation system had underground pipes through the garden area, and that’s a really bad idea when using a powerful roto-tiller. Running over a pipe creates quite an interesting fountain in the garden.
  • The trees that provided some shade were old water oaks. In this part of the country, they are really more like giant weeds. They don’t produce anything and they tend to rot from the inside out (just as nations and cultures do), and it goes unnoticed until a storm comes along and blows it over – sometimes taking other things with it.
  • The bee hives that I set in the garden were OK until the bees got in a cranky mood at the same time that I needed to work in the garden. Keeping bees means you’re going to get stung once in a while, but you never really get used to it no matter what anyone says.

 

The Solution:

  • The patchwork garden design became a single rectangular block. The duck pen, the bee hives, the bananas, and the pineapple patch – gone. The duck pen was moved back out of the garden area, the pineapple plants were transplanted to a single row along the perimeter fence, the banana plants cut down and dug up, and the bee hives were moved away from the garden.
  • The irrigation system now consists of two rows of overlapping sprinklers along the sides such that every part of the garden is covered by at least two sprinklers. All the irrigation pipe and one electrical conduit were removed from the garden area.
  • All of the oaks were removed. It wasn’t cheap, but it takes heavy equipment and it needed to be done. With the yard now opened up, I planted peaches, apples, pears, pomegranates, persimmons, figs, avocado, and plums. I would rather spend my time here watching the young fruit trees grow up than watching the old water oaks rot and die. At this stage of life, watching the young grow up is one of life’s greatest joys. Think grandchildren.
  • The bee hives were moved to the side of the house. It is an area that is otherwise unused, and there are no doors on that end of the house. The bees are happy and so are we. I also reduced the number of hives from ten down to three – plenty enough for pollination and some honey.

 

Future posts will detail things like planting the fruit trees, the bee hives, etc. For now, I’ll let the pictures tell the story.

 

The Water Oaks come out


The buried pipe comes out


Banana plants are next to be removed


Stakes mark where a row of fruit trees will be planted


Fruit trees being planted

Grow What You DON’T Eat

Cotton from the garden

Fruits and vegetables are what most folks think of when they think of gardening. There are, however, other things that are good to grow, but are not for the dinner table. We’ll go into each of these in more detail in future posts, but I wanted to get you thinking about what non-food plants you might want to try growing.

  • Winter Rye – Used to add organic matter to the soil. It also helps control the nematode population, protects the top surface layer of soil, shades out weeds. I had my garden planted in this over the past Winter. It was used as a calibration crop to compare different areas of the garden and to add organic matter to the soil when it was tilled under in the Spring.
  • Cotton – Mainly just a fun crop for most of us. On the other hand, it is a vital component in society and open-pollinated seed stock must be preserved. Each year, I grow a few cotton plants just to keep a supply of seeds and to show visitors where their clothing comes from. The variety I grow – Red Foliated White – is a beautiful plant. The cotton yield from this open-pollinated variety is nowhere near as high as what commercially-grown cotton yields, but I’m not interested in growing commercial hybrids.
  • Luffa Gourd – Sold in stores as Luffa Sponges, they are great for scrubbing in the shower. They also make a great utility scrubber. The very young fruit and flowers can be eaten, but I’ve never tried eating it. They produce numerous beautiful yellow flowers, so we have them planted along the front fence this year.
  • Velvet Bean – This vine was a very commonly grown plant along with corn in the days before cheap fertilizer. It fixes Nitrogen in the soil, supports tall plants in high winds, and shades out weeds with its kudzu-like growth pattern. An interesting side note is its use as a treatment for Parkinson’s Disease.
  • Gourds – Used to make bird houses, water dippers, crafts, and other items.
  • Moringa – This one is a sort-of-food plant (actually a tree). High in vitamins and minerals, the leaves are dried, ground into a powder, then used as a food supplement. This is a very fast growing tree and is often kept pruned to bush size to make harvesting easier.
  • Marigolds – In addition to it’s beautiful flowers, it repels insects when planted among other plants.

What have you grown that isn’t for the dinner table?

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Weeds, Immigration, and Culture


Several years ago, in an effort to improve the quality of the soil in my garden, I bought a truckload of topsoil. It was carefully spread, then tilled and worked into the soil. The original soil and the new topsoil were mixed until they became as one. At first, it was great. The soil was darker and richer looking than the native sandy soil, and the plants that I grew there were bigger and stronger. Then came the weeds.

Hidden in among that rich-looking soil that I brought in to mix with the native soil were weed seeds. Specifically, nut-grass nodules. Here we are, years later, and I am still battling the nut-grass. It spreads its roots deep below the surface, and it stores nutrition in a large nodule deep down in the soil. Just cutting them off at the surface has no lasting effect – the weed springs right back in just a couple of days. Nut-grass must be dug out by the roots, one weed at a time. The nodule must be removed. The root runners must be removed. Everything about the weed must be removed, or it will continue to spread, sap the strength of the plants that are intended to grow there, and eventually they will take over completely.

Removing the weeds and their roots is not a painless process. It disturbs the roots of the garden plants, and it is slow and tedious work. There is no alternative if the garden is to be saved. It must be done.

Culture is a very precious thing, and it must be cared for and defended. A culture – just like agriculture – requires work to maintain. There are no shortcuts. Bringing in, or allowing in, foreign elements into a native culture brings with it serious risks. While on the surface, there may appear to be benefits to mixing cultures, the hidden costs will quickly show up. Like an invasive species in nature that finds no natural enemies, it takes over and the original culture disappears. Forever.

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