Country Creations – America’s Heartland: Episode 905


America’s Heartland
is made possible by… Farm Credit – financing
agriculture and rural America since 1916. Farm Credit is
cooperatively owned by America’s farmers and ranchers. Learn more at
farmcredit.com.   Croplife America…
Representing the companies whose modern farming innovations help America’s farmers
provide nutritious food for communities
around the globe.   Hi I’m Rob Stewart. We share some very special
sights and sounds with you on America’s Heartland this time. We’ll take you from
coast to coast to meet some farm and ranch
families with special talents when it comes to
being creative in the country. Ready for some mountain music? This Tennessee craftsman
builds instruments that harken back to America’s past. A Wisconsin dairy
farmer finds his niche as a primitive American woodcarver. A Kansas farm family creates
a country attraction that teaches city folks a
little about agriculture and a lot about having fun. And sure…it’s a sheep ranch, but this Wyoming woman uses her wool for one-of-a-kind pieces of art. It’s the creative side of
country life… just ahead on
America’s Heartland. You can see it in the eyes Of every woman and man In America’s Heartland Living close to the land There’s a love for the country And a pride in the brand In America’s Heartland Living close, Close to the land ♪♪ Do you consider
yourself a creative person? Spend any time on a farm
or ranch and you’ll discover folks who are multi-talented
with skills that run the gamut from mechanic
to irrigation expert. And many of those same folks
have creative talents as well – painting, music,
maybe they’re even the kings or queens
of swing dancing. All across the heartland
you’ll find unique skills and unique creations. Whether it’s for a job or
just a hobby… hammering out the best
horseshoe means you have a talent that
few others can claim. Baking? Using heartland wheat,
bakers turn out exceptional breads and pastries with
recipes and techniques that may go back generations. And let’s not forget
collecting as a hobby. Like the folks in Cawker
City, Kansas who continue to collect twine for…what
they claim is… the world’s
largest ball of twine. So…where to start? Let’s take you to Wyoming
where we found a woman who uses wool in a very special way. ♪♪ It is a Wyoming legend
that these hot spring hills of Thermopolis are filled with the spirits of days gone by. And so goes – the legend of
Sheep Queen Lucy Moore, who bravely grazed her sheep
in the graceful peaks and valleys of Copper
Mountain in the late 1800’s. (sheep bleating) More than a century later,
sheep are still running this land at Lucy’s sheep camp – named after the
sheep queen herself. But there’s a new queen
of the sheep these days Billie Jo Norsworthy
herding with her family in the shadows
of Copper Mountain. But this is a
sheep shearing business for all things wool. For Billie Jo – it all began with a needle
and a dream…and 4 sheep!>>I think the way I was
raised was to be a big thinker, and so to have only limited myself to four, that’s just
not really my personality. 4 – quickly grew – into 150 sheep! Billie Jo raises them
for their soft, wool coats turns the fleece into
yarn and sells it.  >>So all of this wool, everything that
you’re using today… Each week, Billie Jo hosts
crafting clubs to celebrate the wonders of wool – at her
specialty shop – right in the middle of her
fields filled with sheep.>>…it’s kind of like your
signature as a fiber artist.   Billie Jo’s creative
focus is part of her passion. Here she celebrates the fabric of this country. So I thought, what better
way to incorporate you know, kids and people that live
in the city, to agriculture – than using wool. It’s something that’s a little more
familiar to everybody. And something that they
can take home with them. Whether they live
in the city or the country.  >>You don’t just farm anymore. You don’t just ranch. A lot of times you have
to have another income and I didn’t want to work in town. ♪♪ In her backyard, under the
old cotton wood trees filled with chirping birds … (birds chirping) … pull by pull …
peddle by peddle … Billie Jo spins wool into yarn spinning in the same yard, where her father
once played as a child.>>You talk about the need for people to be able to diversify.>>Diversification is extremely important in agriculture. It seems like if you kind of get entrenched in what Grandpa used to do. Times change, expenses change, demands change, so you better be
thinking out of the box.>>This is your wall of wool
back here and I can’t help but see some names: Aretha? What’s up with that?>>Aretha Franklin? I was a music major in college so we named them
after musicians.>>And it’s that
personal touch, too. People know where they’re
getting their wool from, literally from which animal.>>And sometimes
people email me and say, “Oh, I got Aretha’s
fleece last year, can I have it again this year?” The soft fleece
comes from a coated sheep. Each bag of wool is a
years worth of growth from a single animal. But it’s a lifetime of
dreams for Billie Jo and her dad here, in the
shadow of Copper Mountain.>>I don’t know how you could
look at this and know that you own it for now,
and not feel blessed. I mean, it’s green and God
gives you the wildflowers and it’s just nature and we
get to be immersed in it. ♪♪ Wool is used
for many more things than sweaters. Wool fabric is used in covering the rubber core of tennis balls. And a regulation baseball is wound with more than a hundred yards of wool yarn before being covered by cowhide.   If you’re like most of us,
a regular job may leave you little time for a hobby
or an outside interest. But those with a drive
to express themselves always seem to find the time to answer that
creative spirit. You know, running a dairy
farm demands lots of … no pun intended… “hands on” work. But Jason Shoultz
traveled to Wisconsin where one dairy farmer
also found time to carve out his
own creative niche.  >>I just start hacking away. ♪♪>>Because after you do it enough you know where
the cuts gotta go. In just a few weeks, Dick Haezart will turn this block of wood into a horse. And soon after he’ll put it together with this water wagon and driver, add another horse… …and create an old-fashioned
fireman’s water wagon. When it’s done it won’t end up in a museum or a craft store.>>They’re kind of
hidden back here in a little shed, aren’t they?>>Yeah. Yeah, that’s right. This carving will find a place
in this increasingly crowded shed on his Wisconsin farm. ♪♪>>That could have been
the first one I made.>>Right here.>>Yeah. I had a set of chisels I bought at Kmart
for about three bucks. It took a while.>>Looks pretty good
for a first attempt.>>Not bad at all. That’s what
got me doing the second one. And after that first foray into carving in the mid-1980s, he was hooked.>>What’s this here? Card game?>>Looks that way.>>What’s this
here on his sleeve? I didn’t even see this.>>Looks like,
kind of a shifty one, in my opinion. After a lifetime
working as a dairy farmer, he’s spent his retirement in a corner of a barn turned into a woodworking shop.  >>Look at this guys eyes, and the title of this one is…>>Catching hell.>>He’s in trouble for something.>>Yup. While he has carved dozens
of figurines, he doesn’t carve the
likenesses of actual people. I leave that to more
talented people than myself. Besides figurines, he
also carves farm implements.   ♪♪ Some by memory…others, well
he’s much more familiar with. Like this
1947 Farmall M tractor. I still got that same M
from when I was 14 years old, in the garage there. I’m still using that. So boy that tells you something about quality
in those days, huh? Dick’s carvings of days gone
by are in many ways a trip through his childhood. A time when modern
conveniences didn’t exist…. like indoor plumbing.>>That’s the first thing that
you included in your prayers at night when you went to bed. “Don’t let me have to
go to the outhouse.”>>Save it until morning.>>Oh God, yes. But with life,
there is also pain. His father died when
Dick was only a month old. He was raised on the same farm where he lives today
by his grandmother. I took over
the farm when I was 21. My wife and I got married 1954 and that’s when
I took over the farm. And Dick points to another
painful time in his life as a turning point…that
led him to find a past-time. In 1984 when his son Richard
Jr. died suddenly at age 28. After he died,
they did an autopsy. They found out he
had a hole in his heart in a spot where
they couldn’t see it. He was my friend, you know. And when he’d come out
here, the other kids would go in the house to see mom. But he would come
out there and look for dad. So we had a real close
relationship and it was hard. Carving turned
out to be cathartic.>>It gets your mind off of it. It gives you
something else to do. Something to look
forward to every day The tears come, you
know, for no reason at all.   But he still had a farm
to run, and a herd of dairy cows to be milked, twice a day. In 1991,
health issues forced him to hang up his milking hat.   Dick is proud of his carvings. He doesn’t sell them – but he hopes someday
loan them to a museum for others to enjoy as well. ♪♪ And about his rule of
not carving actual people? Well, he’s broken it only once. A few feet from his workbench a familiar face
watches over him. His late son. I carved that. . that’s
him when he was 14 years old. He was serving mass over
at the church over here. ♪♪   Since Wisconsin calls
itself “America’s Dairyland” it’s only fitting that
the dairy cow is the state’s official “domesticated” animal. And unlike many other
states, Wisconsin has an official state beverage. Care to guess? Yep…it’s milk. ♪♪   Rural residents
living on the plains or wide open spaces of the
American West in the 1800’s had to be creative to make their hardscrabble lives a bit more enjoyable. That often meant
making their own music. A similar interest
prompted rural folks in the mountain communities
of the eastern U.S. to create musical instruments from the wood of the trees that surrounded their homes. So are you ready
for a few tunes? Well, our Sarah Gardener
says those traditions are very much alive
in one Tennessee community. ♪♪ In the early days
of the American republic, the rolling
landscape surrounding the Great Smoky Mountains was home to some of America’s
first farmers and ranchers. (river) It was also home to
a uniquely Appalachian sound created by a uniquely
American musical instrument. ♪♪ An instrument called… a Dulcimer. ♪♪ Connie Clemmer and her
husband, Mike are well known to dulcimers musicians
from all around the world. Working in his small shop in this rural
Tennessee community, Mike uses native woods
from the forests nearby to create one of
a kind musical instruments.>>The local woods that I use
are the walnut, sassaphras, butternut, cherry,
a lot of woods like that. ♪♪ Translated from
its Latin origins, the word “dulcimer”
means “a sweet song”… something that early
Appalachian settlers were trying to replicate from the
stringed instruments enjoyed by their European ancestors. It was pretty
much invented here. It was made here out of
necessity to have an instrument.   Very few things came over the
mountain that didn’t get broke, so they basically had to use what they had here
to build something. (building instruments) Mike first began
building dulcimers in 1976. It was a hobby then. A hobby that became his
life’s work as he transitioned from his regular
9 to 5 sales job. We were empty nesters.   And, Mike’s job
of about nine years was not really going too well. It was kind of
going south and we knew it. So, we were just laying
in bed one night and I said, “Honey, if you had a blank
check, what would you do?” And he said, “I’d go back up to
Townsend and build dulcimers.” This is the steam bent. Walnut. And then when I set
it in against the curves, after I have the ends put on, then it just
flows right in there. Mike constructs up to
eight dulcimers at a time. Each is a project
that takes weeks – turning a musical instrument into a singular work of art.>>Well the back is
made out of black walnut. And that is pretty,
but actually it has a lot to do with the sound. Where you have a
knot is going to be hard. And when it’s hard like
that it has a different sound than like a piece
here that would be soft. Just like those early
American dulcimer makers, Mike has taken the
basic form and crafted an unusual variation. And this is something I invented I guess now about 11 years ago. It actually has
an opening in the back, and this is a
practice pad, drum pad. And then I put that with
the dulcimer frame board. ♪♪   (playing scales) Connie’s in charge of handling orders on the dulcimers. While some of
the instruments will cost hundreds of dollars, there’s often a backlog on having enough
stock to meet demand.>>We’ve had our struggles,
because any time you have a business that takes
off that fast and it grows as fast as it did, you
know, you have growing pains. And we’ve had them. ♪♪ But, it’s also the way that
Mike and Connie market their dulcimers that
helps keep sales humming… like their free concerts. ♪♪>>And now every Saturday
night, during the season, from the second
weekend of May through October, every Saturday night at 7, we
have our Pickin’ on the Porch. And it’s just fun. It’s all free. And everybody
brings their lawn chair. It’s in our backyard next
to the river and we just play. This “country connection”
involves both novice and experienced musicians. Everybody can get involved. There’ll be some sing-alongs.   Mainly it’s people that come in to do the classes on Saturday will perform. It’s a really
good Saturday evening.>>Had you ever played
with anybody who played a dulcimer before? Never. Never. I was not familiar with the instrument at all. but Mike plays chords and
it just opened up a whole different thing for me. He’s an amazing player. ♪♪ Mike says dulcimers tend to
sell themselves, especially when folks learn how easy
it is to play the instrument.>>People stop by. They’ve heard of a dulcimer,
they’ve heard the name. Somebody has said
something about it, but they just weren’t sure. And they’ll come in
and they’ll start playing – we’ll get them playing. And they’ll leave with one. If you’ve got a
10-minute attention span, you can learn
how to play the dulcimer. It’s just basically
a series of numbers. And I’ve had kids that were
six, seven, and eight sit down and learn how to play. And I’ve had folks that were
in their 80s and 90s that would sit down, always
wanted to play something, but never been able to, and
sit down and play a song or two in about 10-minutes.>>So we’re going to play a song. I’m going to play “Oh Susannah.”>>Okay.>>Now I’m going to say a
number and when I say a number, you put your finger where
the number would be and then hit all the strings one time for each number that I tell you.>>Okay.>>Okay. So zero. One. Two. Four. Four. Five. Four. Two. Zero.>>That was easy. That was amazing.>>And that’s what you do. They have done everything. You see how you have wide
places and short places?>>Uh Huh. Well, what that is
if you know about music is whole step,
whole step, half step, whole step,
whole step, whole step, half step… which is ♪♪ There’s your do-re-mi. So 90% of all the
songs that you know is that. And that’s all you have to do. Although it took years for
Mike to find his “life’s work,” he and Connie say
they now have a career that’s “music to their ears”
and a career that carries on a heartland tradition.  >>Not just the dulcimer, but the old traditional
mountain music period.>>And it’s just been
a real blessing how God’s taken care of all this stuff. Just kept us
and kept blessing us.   ♪♪ There’s some
good eatin’ in Tennessee. Folks head to the
Volunteer State for the National Cornbread Festival each spring in South Pittsburgh Tennessee. And if you’re traveling to
Memphis, pick up some ribs after you stop by
Elvis’ home at Graceland. The city is famous for
its wet ribs, dry rub and pulled pork sandwiches.   Being creative can involve
making music or developing your artistic talents. But it can also mean
encouraging “commerce” as you look to
enhance opportunities in your rural community. That’s happening in
many parts of the heartland. Agritainment attracts visitors who may want to know
more about farms or ranches. Farm Stays are one way, but
our John Lobertini found a Kansas family farm with
a different approach to creative commerce
in the country. Welcome to Gardner, Kansas where
agriculture and entertainment make up an unusual partnership. ♪♪ This 62-acre piece of Kansas
farmland is part pumpkin patch, part playground. Kirk and Julie Berggren
admittedly have a soft spot for the orange orb. But folks here in the heartland were initally confused.>>What kind of nut is this? Why would anyone pay to come to a farm? That’s where you work. And then afterwards they thought “You know, that’s
not such a bad idea.” For years the Berggren’s
were a military family; following Papa Kirk
all over the country. Eight Air Force
jobs in eleven years.>>Hey, how are you guys doing?>>Good! When they got homesick, they wanted to
get back to the land. And a pumpkin patch was where they wanted to be. You see Julie is from Iowa. Kirk: a native of Nebraska. For me, it meant
that we were home. So, it didn’t matter what state we lived in, in what city, when we would go
out to a pumpkin patch, it was like a trip home for us. Surely there were already
pumpkin patches in Kansas. But not one quite like this. KC Pumpkins
features 40 attractions. Trains, pedal cars,
paintball guns, jumping pillows and petting zoos.>>I think they’re
hungry, aren’t they? Katie Young has made
15 trips here over the years with her pre-school classes. The fun makes
teaching a little bit easier.>>We usually do the life cycle of the pumpkins. We show them the pumpkin patch where they get to
go pick out a pumpkin. And we talk about how
it starts from the seed and goes to the flower. You know, places like this are
becoming more and more popular all over the country. A rollercoaster ride
could take ninety seconds, but a romp here in a hay maze – could last a half an hour. It’s a cheaper, maybe even,
more fulfilling day out for families looking for
a simpler way of life in a tough economy. Farmers have long
diversified to stay profitable. But agri-entertainment is something new. And entertainment
is the key word here.>>Wheeeee! You won’t find this
zip line at an amusement park or anything like… ready for this….. a gourd gun. Alright, aim and fire. Very good. ♪♪ But the pumpkin launcher…..>>Hey guys, you
want to shoot the cannon?>>Yeah! …..is the “Wow” factor
that brings in the big crowds.>>Whenever you’re ready
just push that, pull it up. Flick it. (whoosh)>>Oh man! Kirk says the family
plan seems to be paying off. I don’t know what our
numbers are, but we’ve had to expand the
parking lot several times, which is a good problem to have. (gourd gun shoots) Nice Shot! What kind would you like? We’ve got green apple
and lemon lime. After eight years of hard
labor in this family business, 19-year old Taylor swore
she’d never return once she left for college. But farming was in her blood. I ended up coming back
and I brought friends too!   Alright, there you go. She came home almost
every week in October, because it is a part of us. Her brothers
pull their weight too, “Two, one..” Jacob and Eli clear the
fields and work the attractions. (tractor running)>>And when we have a work
day, we all come out and work.>>Two rabbits!>>Two rabbits. One, Two. This is a hands-on
day for everyone here: giving kids and their parents
a connection to the heartland. My kids like to do what
other kids like to do – they play on the
computer, they watch TV. But this is one thing they’re willing
to give that up for. And the Berggren’s echo
that connection to the land: family values
and family entertainment.>>When people don’t have
money at certain times, like the depression,
they look for comfort foods. Meaning, old time fun, simple stuff, going to dances. We want people to come
and have a great time and feel like they get a
good value for their money. It’s very important to us.   That’s going to do it this time. Thanks for travelling
the country with us on America’s Heartland. We know that we pass along a
lot of information to you in every program and in case
you missed something or you just want to check out
videos from this or other shows, we make it easy. Just log on to our website
at americasheartland.org. And, of course, there’s lots
going on in our social media arena as well. You can find us there. We’ll see you next time, right here on
America’s Heartland.   You can purchase a DVD or Blu Ray copy of this program. Here’s the cost.   To order, just visit us online or call…   ♪♪ You can see it in the eyes Of every woman and man In America’s Heartland Living close to the land There’s a love for the country And a pride in the brand In America’s Heartland Living close Close to the land.   “America’s Heartland
is made possible by…” Farm Credit – financing
agriculture and rural America since 1916. Farm Credit is
cooperatively owned by America’s farmers and ranchers. Learn more at
farmcredit.com. Croplife America…
Representing the companies whose modern farming innovations help America’s farmers
provide nutritious food for communities
around the globe.  

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