Podcasts

AgArts from Horse and Buggy Land

AgArts from Horse and Buggy Land, hosted by Mary Swander, explores life among the Amish and the arts and agriculture in the wider rural community. These podcasts were produced and recorded by Rick Brewer of Brewhaha Audio Production.

Season #2 Episode #35: Scott Eickman, Farmer Sculptor

AgArts from Horse & Buggy Land travels to Manning, Iowa, this week to interview Scott Eickman, a farmer and metal sculptor. Eickman discusses the pieces that he makes in his garage from nuts, bolts, combine chairs and other farm implements. His latest work is a huge sculpture of a soldier carrying his wounded buddy out of a combat zone, reflecting Eickman’s experiences in the Marine Corps in in Afghanistan and Iraq. Music by Robert Stone. Photos on the website by Annie Chapman Brewer.

Become a premium member of AgArts From Horse and Buggy Land and gain access to bonus interviews, books, postcards, poetry critiques and have Mary join you and a small group for a reading. Visit: https://agarts.supercast.com/

Your donation to AgArts From Horse and Buggy Land helps make this podcast a sustainable business and allows us to do this work. We could not do it without you. Thank you for your support. Make your donation: https://www.agarts.org/donate/

AgArts is a non-profit organization based in Kalona, Iowa, whose mission is to imagine and promote healthy food systems through the arts. The Executive Director and host of AgArts From Horse and Buggy Land is award-winning author Mary Swander. https://maryswander.com/. Learn more about AgArts: https://www.agarts.org/

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Today’s episode was produced and mixed by Rick Brewer of Brewhaha Audio Productions.

Season #2 Episode #34: Lost and Found Dogs

Milo, Iowa duck farmer Phrakhounmany “Air” Philavanh tells a story of the Laotian Water Festival, cooling down the Buddha, and losing his dog in Thailand. Host Mary Swander tells of three different dogs she has had, all found in Amishland. Grossmommie Ruby provides a recipe for hot dog hash and gives her opinion on the latest Supreme Court ruling.

Become a premium member of AgArts From Horse and Buggy Land and gain access to bonus interviews, books, postcards, poetry critiques and have Mary join you and a small group for a reading. Visit: https://agarts.supercast.com/

Your donation to AgArts From Horse and Buggy Land helps make this podcast a sustainable business and allows us to do this work. We could not do it without you. Thank you for your support. Make your donation: https://www.agarts.org/donate/

AgArts is a non-profit organization based in Kalona, Iowa, whose mission is to imagine and promote healthy food systems through the arts. The Executive Director and host of AgArts From Horse and Buggy Land is award-winning author Mary Swander. https://maryswander.com/. Learn more about AgArts: https://www.agarts.org/

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Today’s episode was produced and mixed by Rick Brewer of Brewhaha Audio Productions.

Season #2 Episode #33: Taylor Brorby’s Boys and Oil

Host Mary Swander interviews Taylor Brorby about his new memoir Boys and Oil (Norton): Growing up Gay in a Fractured Land, about his life in rural North Dakota in the middle of the fracking boom. Brorby discusses how, as a child, he coped with bullying through his exploration of the prairie and through the arts. He describes the Bakken Oil Boom, his political activism, his disability , and his grounding in his identity as a gay man.

Become a premium member of AgArts From Horse and Buggy Land and gain access to bonus interviews, books, postcards, poetry critiques and have Mary join you and a small group for a reading. Visit: https://agarts.supercast.com/

Your donation to AgArts From Horse and Buggy Land helps make this podcast a sustainable business and allows us to do this work. We could not do it without you. Thank you for your support. Make your donation: https://www.agarts.org/donate/

AgArts is a non-profit organization based in Kalona, Iowa, whose mission is to imagine and promote healthy food systems through the arts. The Executive Director and host of AgArts From Horse and Buggy Land is award-winning author Mary Swander. https://maryswander.com/. Learn more about AgArts: https://www.agarts.org/

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Today’s episode was produced and mixed by Rick Brewer of Brewhaha Audio Productions.

Season #2 Episode #32: Aparajita Sengupta: Rejuvenating a Small Farm in India

Through the help of a Cynipid grant, host Mary Swander interviews Fulbright Scholar Aparajita Sengupta who is presently in residence at the College of Agriculture at the University of Kentucky. Sengupta is writing a book about women farmers both in the U.S. and aboard. She tells of establishing a CSA, learning the science of permaculture, and rejuvenating a small farm near Calcutta, India.

Become a premium member of AgArts From Horse and Buggy Land and gain access to bonus interviews, books, postcards, poetry critiques and have Mary join you and a small group for a reading. Visit: https://agarts.supercast.com/

Your donation to AgArts From Horse and Buggy Land helps make this podcast a sustainable business and allows us to do this work. We could not do it without you. Thank you for your support. Make your donation: https://www.agarts.org/donate/

AgArts is a non-profit organization based in Kalona, Iowa, whose mission is to imagine and promote healthy food systems through the arts. The Executive Director and host of AgArts From Horse and Buggy Land is award-winning author Mary Swander. https://maryswander.com/. Learn more about AgArts: https://www.agarts.org/

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Today’s episode was produced and mixed by Rick Brewer of Brewhaha Audio Productions.

Season #2 Episode #31: Into the Cosmos

In this episode we’re looking back and reflecting on the last two years-how we survived, what we learned, how we grieved, and how we’re recovering. Farmer Cathy Lafrenz of Miss Effie’s Country Flowers and Garden Stuff, recounts the death of her husband and the efforts of her community to support her through this difficult time. Host Mary Swander spins a tale of the night sky and all it took in-from the loss of a friend, to home haircuts, to Amish wash on the line, to the Roman candles the volunteer fire department shot into the dark.

Become a premium member of AgArts From Horse and Buggy Land and gain access to bonus interviews, books, postcards, poetry critiques and have Mary join you and a small group for a reading. Visit: https://agarts.supercast.com/

Your donation to AgArts From Horse and Buggy Land helps make this podcast a sustainable business and allows us to do this work. We could not do it without you. Thank you for your support. Make your donation: https://www.agarts.org/donate/

AgArts is a non-profit organization based in Kalona, Iowa, whose mission is to imagine and promote healthy food systems through the arts. The Executive Director and host of AgArts From Horse and Buggy Land is award-winning author Mary Swander. https://maryswander.com/. Learn more about AgArts: https://www.agarts.org/

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Today’s episode was produced and mixed by Rick Brewer of Brewhaha Audio Productions.

Season #2 Episode #30: Two Beginning Farmers

Host Mary Swander interviews two young beginning farmers-Colton Anderson and Hannah Breckbill. They each tell how dedicated they are to farming and how fulfilling they find the job. After graduation from Central College, Colton Anderson will be returning to his 4,000 acre family farm where he will go into business with his father and grandfather. Hannah Breckbill, in contrast, had no family land but found a unique way to start her 25 acre vegetable farm through a land co-op.

Become a premium member of AgArts From Horse and Buggy Land and gain access to bonus interviews, books, postcards, poetry critiques and have Mary join you and a small group for a reading. Visit: https://agarts.supercast.com/

Your donation to AgArts From Horse and Buggy Land helps make this podcast a sustainable business and allows us to do this work. We could not do it without you. Thank you for your support. Make your donation: https://www.agarts.org/donate/

AgArts is a non-profit organization based in Kalona, Iowa, whose mission is to imagine and promote healthy food systems through the arts. The Executive Director and host of AgArts From Horse and Buggy Land is award-winning author Mary Swander. https://maryswander.com/. Learn more about AgArts: https://www.agarts.org/

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Today’s episode was produced and mixed by Rick Brewer of Brewhaha Audio Productions.

Season #2 Episode #29: Ask Ruby

“Ruby, why do Amish men shave off their mustaches but still have beards? Do the Amish vote? Do they use binoculars? What are their favorite foods? What is Rumspringa? Can the Amish use solar panels? How do they observe Ascension Thursday?” Find answers to these and other winning questions in the “Ask Ruby Contest” with host Mary Swander and questioners from Iowa to New Mexico to Alaska. Music by Robert Stone.

Become a premium member of AgArts From Horse and Buggy Land and gain access to bonus interviews, books, postcards, poetry critiques and have Mary join you and a small group for a reading. Visit: https://agarts.supercast.com/

Your donation to AgArts From Horse and Buggy Land helps make this podcast a sustainable business and allows us to do this work. We could not do it without you. Thank you for your support. Make your donation: https://www.agarts.org/donate/

AgArts is a non-profit organization based in Kalona, Iowa, whose mission is to imagine and promote healthy food systems through the arts. The Executive Director and host of AgArts From Horse and Buggy Land is award-winning author Mary Swander. https://maryswander.com/. Learn more about AgArts: https://www.agarts.org/

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Today’s episode was produced and mixed by Rick Brewer of Brewhaha Audio Productions.

Season #2 Episode #28: Springtime in Freemartin Town

Potholes are the first sign of spring in Freemartin Town and host Mary Swander describes how they are repaired in her neighborhood. Practical Farmer of Iowa members Maya and Carmen Black tell the story of going through the derecho on their farm, living 7 days without electricity. Swander reads her poem “Scheherazade” about hiding from storms in her cellar. And in the final segment of the podcast, the Call-in Catastrophe Show at KLUU (Get a clue) Radio features derecho nomenclature and how to disconnect from the world.

Become a premium member of AgArts From Horse and Buggy Land and gain access to bonus interviews, books, postcards, poetry critiques and have Mary join you and a small group for a reading. Visit: https://agarts.supercast.com/

Your donation to AgArts From Horse and Buggy Land helps make this podcast a sustainable business and allows us to do this work. We could not do it without you. Thank you for your support. Make your donation: https://www.agarts.org/donate/

AgArts is a non-profit organization based in Kalona, Iowa, whose mission is to imagine and promote healthy food systems through the arts. The Executive Director and host of AgArts From Horse and Buggy Land is award-winning author Mary Swander. https://maryswander.com/. Learn more about AgArts: https://www.agarts.org/

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Today’s episode was produced and mixed by Rick Brewer of Brewhaha Audio Productions.

Season #2 Episode #27: Behind the Scenes

Producer Rick Brewer interviews host Mary Swander about the origins of “AgArts from Horse & Buggy Land.” Swander explains how the impetus for the show came from the owner of the local General Store. She tells how she created a recording studio, then during the pandemic, how she had to adapt the show to the circumstances. Ultimately, Swander created a fictional town (Freemartin Town) for the podcast and populated it with characters like Ruby, the grossmommie, reminding the listeners of the April 1 deadline for the “Ask Ruby” contest.

Become a premium member of AgArts From Horse and Buggy Land and gain access to bonus interviews, books, postcards, poetry critiques and have Mary join you and a small group for a reading. Visit: https://agarts.supercast.com/

Your donation to AgArts From Horse and Buggy Land helps make this podcast a sustainable business and allows us to do this work. We could not do it without you. Thank you for your support. Make your donation: https://www.agarts.org/donate/

AgArts is a non-profit organization based in Kalona, Iowa, whose mission is to imagine and promote healthy food systems through the arts. The Executive Director and host of AgArts From Horse and Buggy Land is award-winning author Mary Swander. https://maryswander.com/. Learn more about AgArts: https://www.agarts.org/

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Today’s episode was produced and mixed by Rick Brewer of Brewhaha Audio Productions.

Season #2 Episode #26: Grossmommies and Omas-Iowa to Ukraine

Host Mary Swander highlights stories of Ukraine from Annette Matjucha-Hovland, a listener in Muscatine, Iowa. Matjucha-Hovland tells how she learned to bake paska and cherry varenysky, traditional Ukrainian foods, from her grandmother, or oma. Swander recounts stories of Amish and Ukrainian grandmothers, then reminds the audience of the “Ask Ruby, the grossmommie” contest with a deadline of April 1, 2022.

Become a premium member of AgArts From Horse and Buggy Land and gain access to bonus interviews, books, postcards, poetry critiques and have Mary join you and a small group for a reading. Visit: https://agarts.supercast.com/

Your donation to AgArts From Horse and Buggy Land helps make this podcast a sustainable business and allows us to do this work. We could not do it without you. Thank you for your support. Make your donation: https://www.agarts.org/donate/

AgArts is a non-profit organization based in Kalona, Iowa, whose mission is to imagine and promote healthy food systems through the arts. The Executive Director and host of AgArts From Horse and Buggy Land is award-winning author Mary Swander. https://maryswander.com/. Learn more about AgArts: https://www.agarts.org/

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Today’s episode was produced and mixed by Rick Brewer of Brewhaha Audio Productions.

Season #2, Episode #25: River House on the Prairie

Host Mary Swander interviews hornist Annie Chapman Brewer about her composition River House on the Prairie. This beautiful piece-a sound journal– arose from Chapman’s AgArts Farm-to-Artist residency at the Whiterock Conservancy near Coon Rapids, Iowa. In her composition, Chapman responds to and answers the sounds that surround her at Whiterock-including red wing black birds, spring peepers, cardinals, and barred owls.

Become a premium member of AgArts From Horse and Buggy Land and gain access to bonus interviews, books, postcards, poetry critiques and have Mary join you and a small group for a reading. Visit: https://agarts.supercast.com/

Your donation to AgArts From Horse and Buggy Land helps make this podcast a sustainable business and allows us to do this work. We could not do it without you. Thank you for your support. Make your donation: https://www.agarts.org/donate/

AgArts is a non-profit organization based in Kalona, Iowa, whose mission is to imagine and promote healthy food systems through the arts. The Executive Director and host of AgArts From Horse and Buggy Land is award-winning author Mary Swander. https://maryswander.com/. Learn more about AgArts: https://www.agarts.org/

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Today’s episode was produced and mixed by Rick Brewer of Brewhaha Audio Productions.

Season #2, Episode #24: B&W Ointment

The Amish have no health insurance, little available cash, but a vast knowledge of herbs and other remedies. Learn about the invention of their healing B&W protocol for burns. Host Mary Swander recalls her personal experiences with B&W and browses other tales of healing in Plain Interests. Swander announces the Ask Ruby Contest! Winning entry receives $200. Music: How Great Thou Art.

Become a premium member of AgArts From Horse and Buggy Land and gain access to bonus interviews, books, postcards, poetry critiques and have Mary join you and a small group for a reading. Visit: https://agarts.supercast.com/

Your donation to AgArts From Horse and Buggy Land helps make this podcast a sustainable business and allows us to do this work. We could not do it without you. Thank you for your support. Make your donation: https://www.agarts.org/donate/

AgArts is a non-profit organization based in Kalona, Iowa, whose mission is to imagine and promote healthy food systems through the arts. The Executive Director and host of AgArts From Horse and Buggy Land is award-winning author Mary Swander. https://maryswander.com/. Learn more about AgArts: https://www.agarts.org/

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Today’s episode was produced and mixed by Rick Brewer of Brewhaha Audio Productions.

Season #2, Episode #23: The Winner of the Great Amish Belt Loop Bad Poetry Contest

Listen to the winning entry of the Great Amish Belt Loop Bad Poetry Contest and enjoy a selection of the other really terrific awful poems. Sample the collection of entries, from the political to the inane, full of bad rhythm and rhyme, overblown emotion, doggerel and catterel, all containing the phrases “a cat yowling on the back fence” and “a buzzard on a dead horse.”

Become a premium member of AgArts From Horse and Buggy Land and gain access to bonus interviews, books, postcards, poetry critiques and have Mary join you and a small group for a reading. Visit: https://agarts.supercast.com/

Your donation to AgArts From Horse and Buggy Land helps make this podcast a sustainable business and allows us to do this work. We could not do it without you. Thank you for your support. Make your donation: https://www.agarts.org/donate/

AgArts is a non-profit organization based in Kalona, Iowa, whose mission is to imagine and promote healthy food systems through the arts. The Executive Director and host of AgArts From Horse and Buggy Land is award-winning author Mary Swander. https://maryswander.com/. Learn more about AgArts: https://www.agarts.org/

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Today’s episode was produced and mixed by Rick Brewer of Brewhaha Audio Productions.

Season #2, Episode #22: I’m Getting Married in the Morning

Part #2 featuring immigrants from Muscatine, IA telling stories of their own cuisines. You’ll meet the professors of this MCC English as a Second Language class, then sample an armadillo in Mexico, a guinea pig in Equador, feijoada in Brazil, fufu in Togo, and fish in a Scandinavian restaurant in Chicago.

Become a premium member of AgArts From Horse and Buggy Land and gain access to bonus interviews, books, postcards, poetry critiques and have Mary join you and a small group for a reading. Visit: https://agarts.supercast.com/

Your donation to AgArts From Horse and Buggy Land helps make this podcast a sustainable business and allows us to do this work. We could not do it without you. Thank you for your support. Make your donation: https://www.agarts.org/donate/

AgArts is a non-profit organization based in Kalona, Iowa, whose mission is to imagine and promote healthy food systems through the arts. The Executive Director and host of AgArts From Horse and Buggy Land is award-winning author Mary Swander. https://maryswander.com/. Learn more about AgArts: https://www.agarts.org/

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Today’s episode was produced and mixed by Rick Brewer of Brewhaha Audio Productions.

Season #1, Episode #21: Robert McConnell: Hog Farmer and Conductor

Host Mary Swander interviews Robert McConnell, accomplished musician, and unique director and conductor of the South East Iowa Symphony Orchestra. McConnell speaks of his upbringing on a farm, his musical family, his studies in Kirksville and St. Louis, MO, and his ventures into conducting. He now runs a hog farm and brings classical music to the rural region. Excerpts from his Christmas concert at Saints Peter and Paul Clear Creek Heritage Association, a church on the National Register of Historic Places near Harper, Iowa.

Become a premium member of AgArts From Horse and Buggy Land and gain access to bonus interviews, books, postcards, poetry critiques and have Mary join you and a small group for a reading. Visit: https://agarts.supercast.com/

Your donation to AgArts From Horse and Buggy Land helps make this podcast a sustainable business and allows us to do this work. We could not do it without you. Thank you for your support. Make your donation: https://www.agarts.org/donate/

AgArts is a non-profit organization based in Kalona, Iowa, whose mission is to imagine and promote healthy food systems through the arts. The Executive Director and host of AgArts From Horse and Buggy Land is award-winning author Mary Swander. https://maryswander.com/. Learn more about AgArts: https://www.agarts.org/

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Today’s episode was produced and mixed by Rick Brewer of Brewhaha Audio Productions.

Season #1, Episode #20.5: The Great Amish Belt Loop Bad Poetry Contest: Enter Now

Listen to a sample submission for the The Great Belt Loop Poetry Contest and hear host Mary Swander go over the rules for submission. Deadline: January 15, 2022. Submit through the AgArts website. Speak right into your computer and win $100 and a handmade leather belt fashioned by the Amish harness maker. Don’t forget to include a yowling cat on the back fence and a buzzard on a dead horse. And don’t forget to leave your belt size!

Become a premium member of AgArts From Horse and Buggy Land and gain access to bonus interviews, books, postcards, poetry critiques and have Mary join you and a small group for a reading. Visit: https://agarts.supercast.com/

Your donation to AgArts From Horse and Buggy Land helps make this podcast a sustainable business and allows us to do this work. We could not do it without you. Thank you for your support. Make your donation: https://www.agarts.org/donate/

AgArts is a non-profit organization based in Kalona, Iowa, whose mission is to imagine and promote healthy food systems through the arts. The Executive Director and host of AgArts From Horse and Buggy Land is award-winning author Mary Swander. https://maryswander.com/. Learn more about AgArts: https://www.agarts.org/

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Today’s episode was produced and mixed by Rick Brewer of Brewhaha Audio Productions.

Season #1, Episode #20: Rattlesnake with Hot Sauce

Immigrants from around the world tell stories of their own cuisines. Welcome a storyteller from Brazil eating venison for the first time in the U.S. Welcome a member of the Jewish community of Des Moines, IA, eating tongue, and a man from Cameroon who loves rice. You’ll travel to Togo for Fufu, to Sicily for Milanese. And you’ll find out what food Des Moines has in common with Ukraine. And finally, you’ll discover what Mexicans roast on a spit in when they settle down for a nice Sunday holiday picnic.

Become a premium member of AgArts From Horse and Buggy Land and gain access to bonus interviews, books, postcards, poetry critiques and have Mary join you and a small group for a reading. Visit: https://agarts.supercast.com/

Your donation to AgArts From Horse and Buggy Land helps make this podcast a sustainable business and allows us to do this work. We could not do it without you. Thank you for your support. Make your donation: https://www.agarts.org/donate/

AgArts is a non-profit organization based in Kalona, Iowa, whose mission is to imagine and promote healthy food systems through the arts. The Executive Director and host of AgArts From Horse and Buggy Land is award-winning author Mary Swander. https://maryswander.com/. Learn more about AgArts: https://www.agarts.org/

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Today’s episode was produced and mixed by Rick Brewer of Brewhaha Audio Productions.

Season #1, Episode #19: Bet the Farm

The Agitator, the Freemartin Town appliance shop, plugs in a washing machine and takes bets on how long it will run without repairs. The prize: a shoo fly pie by Ruby, the gossmommie, who gives the recipe. Host Mary Swander launches the Great Amish Belt Loop Bad Poetry contest. Poetry must be bad and include the phrases “a yowling cat on the back fence” and “a buzzard on a dead horse.” Music by the Deep Dish Divas.

Become a premium member of AgArts From Horse and Buggy Land and gain access to bonus interviews, books, postcards, poetry critiques and have Mary join you and a small group for a reading. Visit: https://agarts.supercast.com/

Your donation to AgArts From Horse and Buggy Land helps make this podcast a sustainable business and allows us to do this work. We could not do it without you. Thank you for your support. Make your donation: https://www.agarts.org/donate/

AgArts is a non-profit organization based in Kalona, Iowa, whose mission is to imagine and promote healthy food systems through the arts. The Executive Director and host of AgArts From Horse and Buggy Land is award-winning author Mary Swander. https://maryswander.com/. Learn more about AgArts: https://www.agarts.org/

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Music in this episode comes from The Deep Dish Divas. Today’s episode was produced and mixed by Rick Brewer of Brewhaha Audio Productions.

Season #1, Episode #18: Living the Good Life on the Yum-Yum Farm

Host Mary Swander interviews Geoff and Joanna Mouming at Yum-Yum farm near Wellman, IA, where the couple dramatically improved the soil through composting, cover crops, and prairie restoration. With the services of Seattle architect John DeForest, the Moumings built a house that reflected their ecological values gleaned from the writings of Scott and Helen Nearing and Aldo Leopold. Moumings have become known for their hospitality and delicious homegrown food. Yum!

Your donation to AgArts From Horse and Buggy Land helps make this podcast a sustainable business and allows us to do this work. We could not do it without you. Thank you for your support. Make your donation: https://www.agarts.org/donate/

AgArts is a non-profit organization based in Kalona, Iowa, whose mission is to imagine and promote healthy food systems through the arts. The Executive Director and host of AgArts From Horse and Buggy Land is award-winning author Mary Swander. https://maryswander.com. Learn more about AgArts: https://www.agarts.org/

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Music in this episode comes from Blue Dot Sessions. Today’s episode was produced and mixed by Rick Brewer of Brewhaha Audio Productions.

Season #1, Episode #17: Corn Is Not the Answer

Host Mary Swander returns to Red Fern Farm and takes a tour with owners Kathy Dice and Tom Wahl. Swander reads three poems she has written about the farm, reciting them as she is guided past chestnut trees, to paw-paws and persimmons. Dice and Wahl describe the beginnings of their perennial plantings, their U-Pick operation and their Bosnian customers. Eventually, Swander’s poems will be anthologized in a book sponsored by SILT and the the Writing the Land Project. Features Meskwaki flute music.

Season #1, Episode #16: Red Fern Farm

Host Mary Swander makes a trip to Red Fern Farm in SE Iowa to interview Kathy Dice and Tom Wahl, visionaries in agroforestry. They talk about how they transformed a corn and bean row crop farm into one that will be forever preserved as a perennial paradise, emphasizing nuts, fruit, and vines.

Season #1, Episode #15: Down the River

Host Mary Swander tells the story of the “Bridge to Nowhere,” the antique structure that once spanned the Amish River and connected Bull Town and Freemartin Town. Swander follows with a reading of some excerpts of her book of poetry The Girls on the Roof, a Mississippi River saga of a mother and daughter stuck on top of the roof of a catfish dive for three days during the 1993 flood. While there, the two women discover that they have both had a affair with the same man. Music by Catfish Keith and Annie Chapman Brewer.

Season #1, Episode #14: Light and Variable Winds

In the final segment of the Farm-to-Fork Tales performance in Mt. Vernon, IA, farmer David Miller captures his runaway duck with a Mattel fishing net and puts out a wildfire burning through two acres of cover crops. Host Mary Swander then throws open the mic to two young volunteer storytellers–Eva and Alyssa–who have their own tales of ducks and crops. Music by Dale Beeks and the Mississippi String Band.

Season #1, Episode #13: How One Woman Became a Farm Activist and Another Weathered the Weather to feed her CSA Community

Host Mary Swander provides a continuation of the Mt. Vernon, IA, Farm-to-Fork Tales performance. Suzan Erem, the Executive Director of SILT, a sustainable land trust that builds food security by circling cities with community-based food farms, recalls how she became a rural activist. Laura Krouse, owner of Abbe Hills Farm and a legend in sustainable agriculture, tells how she endured this season of erratic weather patterns to finally feed her CSA customers. Music by Dale Beeks and the Mississippi String Band.

Season #1, Episode #12: Flying Grain Bins and Baling Hay in a Bikini

A Farm-to-Fork Tales performance: The first of three live recordings. Host Mary Swander coached farmers to tell their own weather-related stories at the Mt. Vernon, IA Farmer’s Market. First, Allan Mallie tells of his optimistic approach to derecho damage on his farm. Then Kevin Woods recalls surviving adolescence on a farm where the farrowing house was warmer than the human house in the winter. Music by Dale Beeks and the Mississippi String Band.

Season #1, Episode #11: Quilting Bee

It’s the Quilt Show in Freemmartin Town. Host Mary Swander tells of her inclusion in an Amish come-as-you-are quilting bee. Ruby, the grossmommie, gives her recipe for Jell-o Postage Stamp Quilt Salad. A browsing of Plain Interests, the Amish newspaper, includes the care of a brood of bluebirds. Music by the Silver Trailer Girls, Laura Hudson Kittrell, Monica Leo, and Aleta Murphy. Underscoring by Marco Cacho.

Season #1, Episode #10: Vernon Ropp: Sewing Machines to Tractors

Host Mary Swander interviews Vernon Ropp, a local Mennonite man who makes lawn art, converting sewing machines to toy tractors. Ropp tells of attending an Amish one-room school and struggling to learn English. During the Korean War, he became a conscientious objector, performing his service work at the Alexian Brothers hospital in Chicago. Ropp traveled the world with the Mennonite Disaster Service and other relief organizations, to return to his off-farm job selling John Deere tractors. Music by Dean Gray.

Season #1, Episode #9: Farm Jokes

Host Mary Swander tells farm jokes and stories that she has garnered from her Amish and Mennonite neighbors, Practical Farmers of Iowa members, and her own experience of living in an old one-room Amish schoolhouse. Music by Alan Murphy from his album Hogs in the Cornfield.

Season 1, Episode #8: Star Gazing

Host Mary Swander tells a story about star gazing with the Amish and what it means to stay home for long periods of time. She explores the connections to the night sky in her poem “Heaven?” She reads about a universal cure from the Balm of Gilead tree when she browses Special Interests, the Amish newspaper. Music by Annie Chapman Brewer, Too Many String Band, and Marco Cacho.

Season 1, Episode #7: Heavenly Harmonicas

Host Mary Swander explores the history and use of the harmonica, the one instrument that the Amish are allowed to play. Gospel tune: “We are Going down the Valley” Story of harmonicas as wedding presents. “Heavenly Harmonica Potatoes” recipe by Ruby, the grossmommie. Music by Patrick Hazell.

Season 1, Episode #6: Adeste Fideles in Chinese

Mary Swander’s sixth podcast features Mary reading from her book, Adeste Fideles in Chinese. It is the third in a series of handmade books published by Timothy Fay of Route 3 Press in Anamosa, Iowa, depicting the author’s interactions with her Amish neighbors. This book captures a poignant Christmas story of multicultural exchange. Read more about Mary’s books here.

Season 1, Episode #5: Marcia Wegman: Farm Country Landscapes

Season 1, Episode #4: Drive-In Church Services

Season 1, Episode #3: Hunting Bear and Bugs

Season 1, Episode #2: Taking Livestock to Market

Season 1, Episode #1: Online Implement Dealership