Erin Brethauer

Flying Cloud

Posted in Farming in the Blood, Friends, North Carolina by erinbrethauer on November 1, 2011

From 10.5.11

Some photos from my last visit out to Flying Cloud Farm in October on Anna’s last day.  So long to summer, fall is here.


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Isaac’s birthday

Posted in Farming in the Blood by erinbrethauer on May 23, 2011

5/14/11 – Maple Leaf bar in Milwaukee

Happy birthday to my lovely brother, Isaac!

In honor of this great day, I thought that I’d share some classics from childhood:

Note: Isaac was both a dragon AND a knight for this halloween…and also a gardener by the looks of those gloves.

Motorcross, bank robbery and dragon-knight slaying takes a lot out of a kid.

Happy Birthday brother!  Hope it’s a great day.

Alma & Bun, scans from last summer

Posted in Farming in the Blood, North Carolina by erinbrethauer on July 10, 2010

Last summer I worked on a project following two farms through the growing season (you can see the blog here:  Above is Alma and Bun, one of the couples who was kind enough to work with us on the project.  They are the sweetest, hard-working people you can meet.  I miss visiting them on a semi-regular basis because I would learn so much during each trip- be it about farming or how to live simply.  Below, Bun is showing me paw paw fruit.

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Farm barn

Posted in Farming in the Blood by erinbrethauer on October 31, 2009


More photos to come from the  farms once things settle down.  Here’s one of LuAnna Nesbitt looking out  from a barn near Cane Creek Valley Farm.

Conquering the tree

Posted in Farming in the Blood, North Carolina by erinbrethauer on September 5, 2009


This is Judson.  He’s 4 and  loves to climb.  His parents run Cane Creek farm where I’m working on a little project.  In the ten minutes that I hung out with Judson while he climbed/tackled this tree, I watched him fall three times.  The first time he fell, there were a few seconds where we both paused so he could figure out how to react.  He quickly snapped out of it and said ‘that was fun!’ before climbing back on the tree…to fall off a minute later.  He’s a rough and tumble sort of guy.  Later Judson asked his dad if he could climb on the roof.  Doesn’t hurt to ask, right?

Farming is a balancing act

Posted in Farming in the Blood, North Carolina by erinbrethauer on August 6, 2009


Farmer Jeremy Sizemore of Cane Creek Valley Organic Farm tries to balance a bucket on his head after watching his worker Lidia Martinez do it with a bucket of eggplants.

Waiting for a bright day

Posted in Farming in the Blood, North Carolina by erinbrethauer on July 31, 2009


It’s hard to tell who’s more eager for sunshine to hit the fields at Cane Creek Valley Farm: the farmers Jeremy and Amanda Sizemore, or the heavy green heirloom tomatoes that are hanging from the vines.

“I can’t believe the rain’s been holding out for this long,” says Jeremy Sizemore Friday morning around 10:30 a.m. as he walks along the rows looking for the ripened heirlooms, “It’s awesome.”

This is only the second day the Sizemore’s have been able to pick their tomatoes because of the constant rains.  Yesterday, they picked 30 boxes worth of heirlooms and today they got to 40 boxes until the rain forced them to pack up and head to home base to pack 56 CSA boxes.

“Last year at this time we were two weeks into picking,” says Jeremy, “I didn’t figure we’d have these plants because of all the rain.  I kept spraying.  That’s the only reason they’re still here.”

Because they run an organic farm, the Sizemore’s are limited in what they can do to protect their tomato plants from blights brought on by the heavy summer rains.  Mostly they can use organically approved sprays and then hope for the best.

The tomatoes now are so ready to be picked that they are weighing down the rows and, in some areas, causing rows to fall over into the mud.  Jeremy and his childhood friend Shannon Byrd pick up some stakes and a rock and set to work fixing the fallen plants.

“We’re doing this cave-man style,” muses Jeremy who forgot his hammer but found a nice flat rock to pound down the stakes.

Picking Beans til dark

Posted in Farming in the Blood, North Carolina, Uncategorized by erinbrethauer on July 14, 2009


From the ‘Farming in the Blood’ series I’m working on:

Honley and Alma Etherton rarely sit down when work remains, especially when the fields of their Madison County farm are lush with vegetables. But after 47 years together working the land — and nine hours of picking beans on a recent Tuesday morning — they need a break and some cool air.

They set down eight half-bushel baskets, step inside their home and lean back into their easy chairs in front of the air conditioning.

“This sure does feel good,” sighs Alma Etherton.

But the day is not done. They picked three rows that are 300 feet long, but 75 feet remain. After a short rest, Honley grabs empty baskets while Alma dons a sun hat and walks to the spot where they left off.

“There aren’t many 66-year-old women you would find doing this work,” muses Honley Etherton. With the bean row between them, they sit on camping stools to save their backs as they pick.

They sell some of the half-runners at a roadside market and in Marshall, but Alma Etherton keeps four bushels for canning.

After adding another 20 minutes to nearly five decades in the fields, they leave the rest of the row for tomorrow.

Fighting Mud & Flood

Posted in Farming in the Blood, North Carolina by erinbrethauer on June 20, 2009


Jeremy Sizemore of Cane Creek Valley Organic Farms is having some pretty long days with all the storms moving through Western North Carolina. Because parts of his fields are uneven, little reservoirs of water are gathering in between rows of tomato plants threatening to either drown the plants or spread disease. Jeremy and two farm workers spent all day Thursday making little drainage ditches by hand to ease the flooding.

From Reporter John Boyle:

He and his wife, Amanda, fought through nine inches of rain in May, a record, and so far this week they’ve seen torrential downpours of two inches and one inch. Both of those rains came in less than two hours.

“For us, it makes things worse,” Jeremy Sizemore said. “Anytime it’s a wet season, it makes everything, disease-wise, 10 times worse. Organic growers would rather grow in a drought.”

This is part of a bigger series on farming in Western North Carolina. Reporter John Boyle and I are following three farms through a growing season.