Poetry, Photography and Sustainable Farming

The beginning of this madness was the summer of 2007, when I had an inspiration to find a farmer who would allow me to follow him around, getting underfoot and in his way, all the while taking pictures of him and his hands, as he went about his daily routine on the farm. I found a willing farmer, not too far from my home and my adventure began. When it was all said and done, I had taken well over 2000 pictures and had found a new friend as well.

I thought it would be fun to have my hubby write a few small poems to go along with some of the photos.

All photos and poems, except where noted belong to me.

The Farmer In This Brilliant Idea of Mine

A Farmer, A Poet and A Little Crazy In A Good Way

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAJonas, the farmer in this project is a gentle soul, a poet himself and a bit crazy as he readily admits. He was born and raised here in Pennsylvania and has been farming for many years. He raises and sells grass fed certified organic Limousin beef.

Healthy living, sustainable farming and writing poetry are his passions. He loves and respects the land and he enjoys teaching and sharing his knowledge that he has acquired over the years. At age 65, he is an “old hippy” without ever really having been one. Oh, and he has the prettiest gray eyes I have ever seen and yeah like you needed to know that. 🙂

Raising Limousin Cattle


 As mentioned, the cattle that Jonas has chosen to raise are the Limousin breed which are thought to be over 20,000 years old and originate in France, in fact, there are ancient cave paintings in the Limoges region in France, that depict cattle that are strikingly similar in appearance to the Limousin breed of today.

In 1968, Canada started to import these cattle and finally in 1971, the first Limousin cattle began to be imported into the US. They quickly became a popular breed having milder temperaments and a genetic tendency to be naturally leaner than other breeds. An average female weighs around 1400 pounds while males can go as much as a ton. This breed is an excellent choice for any farmer who wishes to try his hand at doing things nature’s way and going down the organic grass fed beef avenue.

As more and more people begin to realize that the foods they eat make a big impact on the quality of their life, giving consumers better food choices, such as grass fed only beef is a step in the right direction not just for personal health issues, but for the health and well being of the planet, a community’s economy and even the quality of life for the animals in question. Small farms, like Jonas’s produce high quality products for consumers… something that big factory farms simply can’t. The animal’s living conditions are far superior; Jonas’s farm has 70 acres of lush grass land for the animals to graze and roam as nature intended. Factory farms tend to keep animals in small confined spaces, where disease and stress are a “normal” part of the animal’s life.

Jonas’ Farm is An Animal Welfare Approved Farmanimal-welfare-approved

Jonas is a proud member of the The Animal Welfare Approved program which certifies that his and members farms raise their animals humanely, outdoors on pasture or range.

Farm Time

For time will wait for no farmer, neither will a cow


A farmer knows no time
a minute, an hour, a day;
it all flows past him
as work gets in the way.

There is no tomorrow
only here and now
for time will wait for no farmer
and neither will a cow

When work needs to be done
it has to be done to a “t:”
there is no hurrying the right way
for right is the way it should be

So the next time you hear a farmer
says “30 minutes or so”
expect it to take how long it takes
for right is the true way to go.


The Eyes of The “Mad Cow”

Windows of the soul
Yours tell me you won’t listen
You will try to do as you wish
I am here
I ain’t moving
We stand
Face to face
Waiting on each other to make the first move
When it comes, action will be explosive
I will triumph
Overcome your stubbornness
Tag your ear.
C’mon cow

Time Pondering

Our Lives Are Ruled By Time

 In a short while it will be tomorrow
or will it still be today?
It never ceases to amaze
how time can slip away.

Our lives are ruled by time
rushing here and there
just to come to a sudden stop
and find we are nowhere.

Can we ever stop and look
at the world that is around?
or must we always hurry past
our eyes only on the ground?

Why must we try to kill time
as time kills us instead?
Could time just be a fantasy?
A phantom in our head?

I learned a lesson some time ago:
why rush when I can dally?
Relaxed is the way to spend your time
When only you keep tally.


Not Pretty To Hold


The earth spits out rock

Every spring there are more

Not pretty to hold


My Work Fits Like A Glove

My work fits like a glove
Covering my hands
But still I must wonder
About the care of the lands
Do I measure up to my father?

I watch and I build
I sow and I reap
I plow and I fix
I go to sleep
Do I measure up to my father?

I watch and I wait
I strive and I toil
I walk and I till
I work the soil
Do I measure up to my father?

I question myself
I analyze my work
I consider my thoughts
I do not shirk
I measure up to my father.

Jonas and Poetry

 Jonas is a very independent minded individual and doesn’t take too kindly to being told what to do, what to think, what to wear, and what to eat. He is especially concerned with the growing number of farmers being shut down for doing what farmers having been doing since agriculture came into vogue thousands of years ago….farming. It is a sad commentary on society when we consider a farmer a criminal for simply farming.

Below is a poem written by Jonas, in response to numerous farmers across the nation being arrested and or having their farm shut down by the FDA, the USDA and various other organizations simply for farming the green way and producing products that consumers WANT.

Copyright Jonas Stoltzfus 2010
Used with permission


We don’t need your license, permission to be,
In the home of the brave and the land of the free.
No permits are needed, it’s easy to see
All we ask of you, is just leave us be.

Our forefathers left Europe many years ago,
And came to America, to plant and to grow.
In Europe persecution is what drove us out,
They hammered us bad with government clout.

They beat us and hung us, some were skinned alive,
And boiled up in oil, like a bunch of French fries.
We were drowned and pounded, to make us submit
To the official religion, how they interpreted it.
But we fled to America, to the land of the free
To put down new roots, and it worked, you can see.

We’re peace-loving people, small farmers most,
But now again seems, like we’re government toast.
It looks like we’re fallin’ on hard times again.
This time seems the leaders, are trying us to skin
By economic pressure, make us change our ways,
Make us comply, to the regulation daze.

For years we’ve sold food to all who would buy,
Do our best to keep it whole, we always would try
So now all we’re asking, in our place in the sun,
Is just for some peace, and just leave us alone.

Just leave us alone, is all that we ask,
Let each of us get on, with what is our task.

We get up each morning, and do our own thing
As we’re working along, sometimes we sing.
We’re producing the food that many folks like,
Most of the stuff does a body real good.
Maybe some of our bakin’ is just a tad sweet,
But the bread that we bake, is a pleasure to eat.

And all that we ask, is just leave us be
Is that just too hard? Something you can’t see?

We’re the small time farmers, in love with our land
And the animals we raise, with a skilled, gentle hand.
We pasture our stock, cows, chickens and pigs,
Sheep, horses and goats, green grass they all dig.

People come to our farms, they line up to buy
The stuff we produce, we can look in the eye
Of each of our customers, friends, neighbors too,
And be sure it’s the best, I’m just tellin’ you.
We’re like the King’s food taster, in those days of yore,
who checked out each thing, makin’ absolutely sure,
There was nothing that threatened, the life of the king.

And all that we ask, is to leave us alone
As we grow food to eat, boil the broth from the bone.
We pay our school taxes, then have our own schools
And most of the time, stick close to the rules.

We take stuff to market, vegetables, cheese and meat,
And meet with our customers, a firm handshake to greet.
We take care of each other, no public welfare we need,
Just leave us alone, is now what we plead.
We don’t want your handouts, no bailouts we need
Just leave us alone, we now again plead.

A parting thought/reminder:

“If people let the government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as the souls who live under tyranny.”  Thomas Jefferson

© 2014-2017 Glory Miller All Rights Reserved