By Billy Joe Fudge
Near the end of the last century, my oldest daughter asked me to perform the marriage blessing and prayer at her reception. This was to be my first foray into the wonderful world of marriage blessings and prayers. Given that lack of experience, I set out immediately to petition the Lord Almighty to send Divine inspiration and soon. Well, as is His nature or should I say His Super Nature, He took what I considered to be an immoderate amount of time in downloading it to me. Thankfully it arrived just in time. You may not be in the market for a marriage blessing and prayer but just in case you are, here are the first four lines of mine.
“May your springs be green with renewal,
May your summers be cooled by a soft breeze,
May your autumns be filled with color and
May your winters be warmed by your love for each other”…
Yes, it is March, the first month of spring, and spring is indeed a time of renewal. The first plants to go green in spring are perennials. Perennials have roots that have held sugars and nutrients all winter long while waiting patiently for spring to arrive. Sunlight, warming temperatures, and spring rains trigger the movement of sugar and nutrient ladened liquids from the roots up through the stems of plants that do not suffer winter dieback such as trees. The sap travels to the end of twigs and limbs where the buds and leaf meristems use this super juice to grow new and longer stems, leaves, and flowers. Those perennials that die back such as clovers, grasses, and plants that come back from underground stems and bulbs such as onions, crocuses, etc. will usually respond earlier in the spring than woody-stemmed plants.
In our WINTER 2021 NEWSLETTER I made the following statement or promise. I said, “winter is going to be chocked full of planning and growing the Homeplace on Green River/Kentucky’s Outdoor Classroom brand” and that has certainly been the case. The planning is ongoing with a couple of grants applied for, the appointment of five new energetic, talented and creative board members, and the table is set for hundreds and hundreds of students to attend educational field days this year. Also, the seeds are planted for expanding existing events like our Plow Day Spring Festival on April 30th, the Fall Heritage Festival on September 10th and Family Farm Day on November 5th. Additionally, we are working on other events for the Fall, the likes of which have yet to come to the Commonwealth of Kentucky. We are still in planning, but we look forward to sharing the particulars of these when we have them sorted and are ready to unveil our plans.
We have also been increasing our outreach to get the word out about our facility for rentals, and are on track to book more events this year than ever before. Our beautiful and historic campus carries the stories of countless families from our region who have celebrated life’s moments at Homeplace in Green River, and we are so proud to be an integral part of people’s special days. Our rental income supports our operational expenses and our Kentucky’s Outdoor Classroom programming.
So, we have sap already running up the stems of perennials, and seeds are planted in good soil and will soon be germinating and producing for all to see. We are excited. The future of your Homeplace on Green River/Kentucky’s Outdoor Classroom is bright. It is true that it is going to be a busy spring. It is true that we need much help. It is true that you have done much and we thank each and every individual, business, or organization that has invested time and talent, and treasure to assist us in our efforts “to protect and promote rural American culture through the sustainability of agriculture and natural resources, utilizing education, conservation and the economic opportunities of agritourism”.
By Billy Joe Fudge
December is the first month of meteorological winter. I like simple, and meteorological seasons are more easy to negotiate than the astronomical seasons. Meteorological winter (December, January, February) is the three coldest months in the Northern Hemisphere and meteorological summer (June, July, August) is the hottest three months. Spring of course, is the three months between winter and summer, and fall is the three months between summer and winter. I don’t have to know the angle at which the sunlight is striking the Earth, whether or not it is Leap Year, what day or what week it might be. To know the season I only need to know what month it might be at any given time.
So, that being said, now that December 2021 (winter) has rolled around, I at long last have the opportunity to share with you a trifecta of main events that made for a great fall at Homeplace. One main event celebrated the harvest; one celebrated the wisdom of our subsistence farmer forefathers’ preparations for their cold, dark and long winters ahead and one looked forward to 2022 and beyond. A 2022 that is going to be a year of growth in our ability “to protect and promote rural American culture through the sustainability of agriculture and natural resources, utilizing education, conservation and the economic opportunities of agritourism”.
Our Fall Heritage Festival was held on September 11th. It was quite a celebration of the seed sown or planted in the spring, nurtured and cultivated through mid to late summer in anticipation of a bountiful harvest during the fall season. It was a beautiful day and in spite of Covid launching one last offensive against the good people of South Central Kentucky, we had nearly 800 people come out and enjoy the celebration. Kiddie Barrel Train rides, a hay maze in our Bank Barn built with timbers that supported the Civil War version of the Green River Bridge at Tebb’s Bend some 150 + years ago, hay rides, craft booths, demonstrations of various kinds, petting farm, food, music, antique tractor show and much more gave rise to never to be forgotten, learning, laughter, fun and joyful camaraderie.
Also in October we were blessed to host the Campbellsville/Taylor County Chamber of Commerce meeting in our B-I-G Red Tobacco Barn. The over 100 people who attended enjoyed a barbecue lunch and were inspired by a moving performance of My Old Kentucky Home by Miss Kentucky 2021, Haley Wheeler. Kentucky’s Mr. Agriculture, Warren Beeler, educated, informed and entertained all of us with his keynote address. The program continued down at our Livestock Barn with a ribbon cutting celebrating the official kickoff of Kentucky’s Outdoor Classroom at Homeplace on Green River.
Kentucky’s Outdoor Classroom will be available to school systems within a day trip distance for hands-on, educational experiences. These experiences include a variety of exercises that will introduce students to the agricultural industry that puts food on their tables and in their favorite restaurants while providing the opportunity for students to develop a personal relationship with the natural earth ecosystem of which they are a part. Additionally, Mark Haney, President of Kentucky Farm Bureau was present to help us dedicate our new 4 acre Barn Lot fence that will make it possible for many farm animals to become residents at Homeplace. Kentucky Farm Bureau along with Adair, Green and Taylor County Farm Bureaus provided nearly $9,000 in funding to make this project
Winter is going to be chocked full of planning and growing the Homeplace on Green River/Kentucky’s Outdoor Classroom brand. Tune in to our webpage, social media accounts, our YouTube channel and local news releases to stay abreast of the many exciting developments for 2022.
By Billy Joe Fudge
A great many things are happening at your Homeplace. Among them is our Heritage, Open Pollinated, non-GMO, Corn Program. Many people ask why we are beginning this program and the answer is not very complicated. Last year and continuing this year, the world, including us here in the United States have seen shortages of many products, particularly many food items.
These shortages have been a result of supply chain issues in producing, processing and distributing many of the meats and vegetables we eat and products we use. We here at Homeplace, as do many of you, know how to be better prepared the next time a major catastrophe threatens our very existence.
Announcements will be coming soon concerning locally sourced, fresh, whole cornmeal grown and made right here in South Central Kentucky. We can do this thing together as long as we remember those ten words for us and our communities, "grow what you can, process and preserve it locally"!
On the Left is Boone County White. It was developed after the Civil War in Boone County Indiana by repetitive selection of particular grains from a corn called White Mastodon. Notice there are a few grains that were cross pollinated by pollen from a different variety nearby.
Second from the left is Indian Corn. It is used a lot as seasonal home decor but is a good corn for a lot of uses.
Third is Bloody Butcher. There are a couple different stories but it was developed in the middle 1800's in the mountains of West Virginia or Virginia. It was reportedly used a lot in the making of Moonshine and is gaining popularity with some small distilleries today such as Jeptha Creed in Shelby County, Kentucky.
And on the right is Hickory King. It was a local favorite in South Central Kentucky and was often mispronounced as Hickory Cane. It has large flat grains, a small cob and is readily identifiable by its eight rows of grain. In Southern Adair County where I grew up it was most often called Eight Row Corn. According to records, Hickory King was developed after 1880 by a Mr. A. O. Lee in Hickory, Virginia from a single ear of corn given to him by a friend.
Looking for a way to show your support for Homeplace? Become a friend today with a hassle-free online, or mail in contribution of just 25$. Your one-time gift will pull double duty on the farm as we will use the income not only for improvement projects and to fund community events, but we can also use donations as matches for other fundraising efforts! Help make Homeplace more sustainable so we can keep serving the community with incredible education programs and great family-friendly events! CLICK HERE to learn more.
At Homeplace on Green River we are excited to be the place of your big day! Whether you are planning a small, intimate wedding, or a large gathering, we got you. With great service providers nearby, you can create the wedding of your dreams. Book with us and submit your security deposit before March 31st and we will take $100 of your total rental! Click Here for more details.
By Lyn Stanton
My first day on the job was November 2nd, 2020. In the 3 months I have been here, I must admit, I am having a wonderful time. Every day, as I arrive on this breathtaking piece of land, I am struck by the gravity of its importance. Homeplace is an organization that honors the past to serve the present and ensure an enlightened future. Part community center, part living time capsule, and part laboratory for forward-thinking ideas, Homeplace on Green River is unrivaled in its uniqueness and potential. I am deeply honored to have been selected for this position.
By Lyn Stanton
As we prepare for Spring, work on our trails is soon to return upon completion of the Agrarian Trail this year, will have a network of over 7 miles of walking trails stretching from Tebbs Bend Road near the metal Green River Bridge, along Green River and up to Joe Kerr Road. This will allow visitors a wide variety of landscapes to enjoy as they experience nature here at Homeplace.
Looking to the completion of the Agrarian Trail, we are also looking into making it a place to hold running and biking competitions, possibly as fundraisers, or other community minded events.
As we enter a new era with a New Director and prepare to expand our programs and activities, it was time to take on a new logo. Brand recognition is important, especially in this digital age and so, inspired by the imagery of the past and the colors we find on the farm, we created a new icon to unite us in our mission moving forward.
Once revered for its sheer size and beauty, incredibly durable wood, delicious and nutritious nut-meat, and fast growth, the American Chestnut Tree is an historic icon. It is interwoven with our culture and was a cornerstone of the Appalachian economy for generations. Sadly, a fungal blight simply decimated the total tree population in the beginning half of the last century rendering it functionally extinct. Now, the very existence of this mighty tree now hangs by a thread. Luckily, however, that thread is being held by a small army of men and women working doggedly to bolster the tree’s resistance to the blight with the intention to restore the species to its former glory.
The American Chestnut Foundation (TACF), as their website says, “is committed to restoring the American chestnut tree to our eastern woodlands to benefit our environment, our wildlife, and our society. Unlike other environmental organizations, TACF’s mission is not about preventing environmental loss or preserving what we already have. The concept of our mission is much bolder and more powerful. It’s about the restoration of an entire ecosystem and making our world a much better place than we found it.”