As the cool winds start blowing in from the North and the snow
begins to fall in Knox County, the hustle and bustle of the fall
harvest starts to slow and, for many, the farm becomes
quieter, but no less time consuming. According to Ron Elliott,
a Knox County dairy farmer, "In
the winter time, why a lot of things go dormant for us... We go from
a planting and harvesting situation to a maintenance, I would call
it a maintenance type." Farmers are mostly involved in making sure
the animals have enough feed, bedding, water and a clean environment,
tasks they are not as involved with in the spring and summer when the animals are out
Some farmers in grain production often have the priviledge of
winters away from
the farm, usually in warmer
weather, as a result of the
family farming in Knox County. As long as farmers do not have the
responsibility of caring for animals, it is possible to take
an extended winter vacation.
But for other farmers, the winter is just as busy as any other season.
Farmers who rely
on controlled environments
are affected little
by the harshness of winter and can, therefore, continue on with
daily routines, routines which change
little throughout the year.
However, for some farmers, winter is even a planting and growing season.
It is the time when Kathy Hawk plants her hydroponic tomatoes, when
the Browns collect their maple syrup and
wheat farmers watch their wheat grow.
But it isn't until the warmth
of spring hits that the planting and
growth really begin on most of Knox County's family farms.
photo credits: Rachel Balkcom