Cappers Farmer Blogs >

The River Farmer

Postgrad on a Budget

KellseyWell, now it’s the end of summer, and I have no food to bum off of the farm. So being the poor postgrad kid that I am, I get to figure out how I’m going to survive another winter without all the free food! If anyone reading this has tips, tricks, suggestions, recipes, etc., they would be greatly appreciated.

Keep in mind I live in a very small apartment, so I could not can produce from the farm because I have no room for it; I have very limited freezer space that I have already stocked with as much as I think I can without fully irritating my roomie. And I’m sorry, I refuse the typical college diet of ramen noodles/mac and cheese. I just can’t, and won’t, do it.

I will definitely be taking advantage of the bacon my father will be making. At least I sure hope he gives me some. Bacon is definitely a staple in my diet. I should write a whole post about bacon and how important it is. Not just any bacon - I’m talkin’ the good stuff. Uncured is the best. But let’s be honest, most all bacon is awesome. Yea, I’ll write a whole post about it and rant about how healthy bacon is. Oh, I’ve done the research.

Anyway, I gotta figure something out because I won’t eat crappy food. I really cannot wait for the day to have the space for a garden, livestock and a greenhouse. Ideally, I’ll never have to go to the store again.

On another note, has anyone ever planted Lambkin melons? Because we did this year and I cannot get enough of them. We did a late planting of melons galore (cantaloupe, watermelon, honeydew). But this Lambkin … The first time we ate some, the other farmhand said he literally wanted to turn around and hug me it was so good. And it is that good. 

Melon and bacon. Yep. That’s what I’ve been eating. Please help.

Summer Dreams

KellseyThe “river” in The River Farmer is the murky and mysterious Kansas River, also known as the Kaw. The river has a constant presence on the farm because it is within 100 yards of where we work every day. I love to start my mornings at sunrise watching the river and drinking my coffee for a few minutes.

The Kansas River begins where the Republican and the Smoky Hill rivers meet and moves swiftly along for 150 miles before joining with the Missouri River. It can be terrifying because many people have died in this river, as I suppose is the case with most rivers. I have heard many stories of children playing on the sand bars, and within seconds, the sand shifts and the kids never seen again. I remember a teacher in high school that died while canoeing on the Kansas River. Harrowing tales indeed.

River at Sunrise

River at Sunrise

But the river invokes a thoughtfulness that I have come to appreciate. There is a lot happening under the surface that we don’t see. An ever strong undercurrent can quickly sweep away anything that enters its seemingly calm waters.


As for this heat wave we have throughout the Midwest, it has everyone stuck inside. I have not had to suffer too much because I recently started a new job. I won’t be on the farm quite as much, just a few nights a week and the weekends, and I will also be helping with the farmers market.

I know it will take a while to adjust to the change, but I’m really enjoying it. I love working outside, but I just knew I would have to find a direction to go in for a long-term career. I can’t be a farmhand my whole life. Not that I couldn’t do it, but before I settle into that life there are definitely some other things I want to do. Living on my own farm is my end goal. Most everything I do in some way brings me a little closer to that. Like WWOOF. If I had to take care of my own farm I couldn’t travel to other awesome farms, but doing this will absolutely help me reach my overall goal.

Well, the night that I did go to the farm this week, I weeded and ate peaches. Haha! Those peaches are so good! I ate several. I wish I could freeze them, or can them, like we did when I was a kid. I’ve been trying to freeze as much as I can, to my roommates dismay. He grew up on a farm as well and so appreciates good food. Our only problem is lack of space since we live in such a small apartment. He’s not actually annoyed, but I’ll just say that we definitely have no freezer space left.

Sunflowers My Sister-in-Law Planted

The other day he said, “Kellsey, we basically have a garden in our kitchen.” I looked over, and I couldn’t deny it. Fresh veggies are scattered on the counter and experimental dishes are stuffed in the fridge. I like the look. It makes me sad to think when fall will come, and it won’t be like that anymore.

I love summer so much and everything it’s about: fresh foods, cookouts and plenty of daylight to enjoy late evenings outside just talking with friends. And it’s important to enjoy it while it’s here. Just not these three digit temperatures. They can go away.

Sunflower 2

Starting Off Small

KellseyThough I have been keeping a journal through the spring and summer on my experiences on the farm, this is my first post for this blog.

I am 23 years old. I am a woman. I work on a farm. I am convinced that I have the best boss. It hasn’t been a particularly difficult summer, but one with plenty of dilemmas. There always is in farming. That’s one of the biggest lessons I have learned over the course of this summer: there is always going to be a problem. It is how you deal with it that counts. I have done well to apply these lessons to my everyday life. As my boss says, I am still just a pup so these lessons are learned readily and often.

So what kind of farm is this you ask? Well I’ve gone back and forth between calling it a farm and just a really big food garden. We grow cabbage, kale, spinach, potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, beets, carrots, asparagus, cherries, peaches, apples, strawberries, etc., etc. Really, anything we think we can grow, we plant it. Goji berries even. We planted two bushes this past spring and they have really taken off.

There is also livestock, but I don’t deal much with them. Not yet anyway. I really like cows and horses, and the distinct personalities of these animals. If I were to choose right now in life where I want to be, I would say I belong on a ranch. I’ve heard it before! “What is it with girls and horses?!”

Can any other women help me out? I just think horses are the most beautiful animals. My whole life they have been my favorite. They’re so graceful, you can’t help but feel peaceful when you’re around them. Except at a rodeo or barrel racing. I forgot about that. But even then, the way they move and how powerful they are is mesmerizing. The time and work they require is nothing. I’m happiest when I am working.

But back to this farm. Well, it’s mostly me and another kid my age who are the farmhands, and we’ve got the big boss who is the brains of the organization. A typical day starts at 6:30 or 7 a.m., and we all talk about what needs to be done for the day and over the next week or so. At this point in the summer, all I do is tie tomatoes. As many probably know, there are several ways to train tomatoes up a trellis. The method we use involves a wire fence and as the tomatoes grow, we simply tie the vines to the wires. I use the term “simply,” but it is anything but when you get to it. As with many things that probably seem simple on a farm, there is an art to it. You don’t want to tie a bunch of vines together, you don’t want the wires too low or high, and you certainly don’t want to break the vines. I could go on, of course, but I won’t. My dreams are riddled with tomatoes, and my hands are stained from the green of the plants. I take a break from thinking of tomatoes whenever I can, but I can say at the end of my days that it is absolutely worth it.

Many people I meet give me either one of two looks when they find out what I do: pity or interest. Those who frown have never felt the earth in their hands or the wind on their face. Those who perk up know that there is more to the sweat and exhaust after a long day in the sun. It’s a feeling of contentment, of knowing that it’s for something. I don’t think you go looking for it either. You stumble upon it.

kansas wheat sunset
Taken early spring, on my way home from a good day on the farm.

Subscribe today

Capper's FarmerWant to rediscover what made grandma’s house the fun place we all remember? Capper’s Farmer — the newly restored publication from the rural know-how experts at — updates the tried-and-true methods your grandparents used for cooking, crafting, gardening and so much more. Subscribe today and discover the joys of homemade living and homesteading insight — with a dash of modern living — that makes up the new Capper’s Farmer.

Save Even More Money with our automatic renewal savings plan!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our automatic renewal savings plan. You save an additional $6 and get 4 issues of Capper's Farmer for only $16.95 (USA only).

Or, Bill Me Later and I'll pay just $22.95 for a one year subscription!

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter

Free Product Information Classifieds

click me