Utne Blogs > Literature

Young Farmers, Young Writers

 by Julie Hanus

Tags: Great Writing, Essay Writing, Small Farmer's Journal, Lynn Miller, young writers, contests,

a young farmerThe Winter 2009 issue of Small Farmer’s Journal arrived in our library today. The beautiful, large-format quarterly delivers unswervingly rich content (from incisive essays to equipment reviews), but in this issue one thing stood out: the results of the Young Farmer’s Writing Contest. “We had scads (that means lots) of outstanding entries and our three judges had a great time sorting through them all,” writes SFJ editor and publisher Lynn Miller. “You give this old word-butcher pause to think perhaps the future for the written agrarian word is alive and well.”

SFJ had more submissions than its editors could publish in the Winter 2009 issue, so there will be more young writing in forthcoming editions of the journal. Since it's not available online, here's a sampling of the fun:

“Have ever known anyone who just, well… runs with the wrong pack? My family has one of those, but she’s a sheep named Eloise, Ella for short. She loves our three dogs; literally, she thinks they’re her family. I see you’re a bit confused so I’ll explain…”—“Ella NOT So Enchanted,” by Rachael Stahl, age 11

“In the morning, I go check on our chickens. Sometimes, I scare a bunny off our lawn. I watch it hop into the bushes. When I reach the chicken house, I look to see if they need feed or water. If they need feed, I fill the feeder. When they need water, I take the water can to the hydrant. Then I come back—slosh, slosh, slosh. Now the water is clean and full. When chores are done, back to my house, I go.”—“Feeding the Chickens,” by Hannah Smith, age 8

“I also want to tell you about names. We name every cat. . . . Perhaps the funniest name is Itsy-Bitsy-Bottle of Onion Salts. More unusual names are Chocolate-Chip-Ice-Cream, Pufferbelly, and Scrub-a-Dub-Dub. Names that have been used very excessively are Mittens and Cottontail and such.”—“Cat Tails,” by Peter Strahm, age 13

“I stood at the head of the wagon, heading home, watching the harnessed backs of my horses rise and fall in a gentle trot. Behind me on the wagon rose a sea of waving tails. Before me was enjoyment, trouble, and pain, the life of a farmer. But who wanted to be a lawyer? Or an accountant? Or a politician? Of course this is a matter of opinion, but in my opinion, farming was summer up in one word: good.”—“The Perfect Morning,” by Rita May Kawecki, age 13

Source: Small Farmer's Journal 

Image by gregor_y, licensed under Creative Commons.