Thursday, March 31, 2005

Opting Out, Simple Living

Rick Saenz is Opting out of the Walmart culture. Heres a taste.......

"Today I took the first step in implementing a similar decision by going to a new grocery store. We've decided for various reasons to stop taking money from our pocket and putting it into Wal-Mart's pocket. Again, our intention is not to send any sort of message to Wal-Mart; they just happen to have blazed the trail for what we think is a very bad trend in modern life, and we'd like to distance ourselves from what they're doing. And we'd like to prove to ourselves that low prices aren't important enough to us to make us compromise in other areas."

Hats off to Rick. He is a man who dose act on his convictions! We are trying very hard to wean ourselves off the Walmart beast.

You may want to read Rick's posts on Simple living. They are very good and I think everyone can learn something reading them.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

The boys got a new pup!

Well, we got the boys their first puppy today! Here are a couple pictures of John and me with her. Any suggestions for names?

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Monday, March 28, 2005

Affirming the Obvious

I liked this quote by RC Sproul Jr.

"I may be guilty of affirming the obvious, but nevertheless it’s true. We who embrace the Reformed faith are known among other evangelicals for three things. First, we like to talk about predestination. Dispensationalists talk about Daniel and Revelation. Charismatics talk about Pentecost, and Reformed people talk about predestination. Second, we are the smart ones. Reformed folk are careful, rightly so, about their theology. We want an ordered understanding of God and His dealings with man. Third, we are known throughout the evangelical realm as the arrogant ones. See, right above there is a Reformed guy saying we’re the smart ones."

The Apple Don't Fall Far From The Tree

My favorite quotes from "Little John" last week.

After a calf nocked him down several times he told her...."If you don't stop it, I'm gonna shoot you and eat you for my supper!"

He was sitting on the couch with a toy phone. I asked him what he was doing. He says, "I'm gonna call Doug Wilson."

At 2 and a half, he already wants to shoot critters and likes "questionable theology". That's my boy!

Another Reason to Homestead

There are a lot of reasons to start your own homestead. Give your kids a place to learn responsibility and a good work ethic. Learn to depend more on God, and marvel at his creation. The other reason usually gets me funny looks. This is where most of my friends shake their heads and say, "Oh, that Scott!" The other reason is survival. This society is on its last leg. Our money is worthless, our economy is based on debt, the cities are filled with educated fools who can't do anything for themselves, we are becoming a net food importer, gas and oil prices are out of site, and we are morally corrupt. The last one is what is going to be the nail in the coffin. God's judgment will come, and we deserve the worst He can dish out. If there is any hope for a Christian society in North America, it will be built be the faithful remnet that survives and will rise from the ashes. We need more of this kind of postmill thinking and less of the sci-fi, everythings peachy outlook we're being spoon fed today. Much to the surprise of my dispy friends, the end of the world it ain't.....just the end Pagan Amerika. So grow a garden, shoot deer, learn how things work and how to live the simple life. Even if I'm wrong you'll still be better off than you are now.

Friday, March 25, 2005

What's Wrong With Cities?

Just a quick post, I haven't much time. I really liked what I read on Chad's Blog today. This is something to read and think about. Check out What’s Wrong With Cities?

In Praise of Dirt, News From Hunger Hill

Petting Zoos,Kids,and Soap

Its national news, kids getting sick from petting animals. Are animals dirtier than they used to be? Nope. This is a perfect example of our wacky culture killing us off! Now, I've grown up around animals, dirt, manure, and many other natural pathogens. Do I get sick? Nope. Why? Simple.....I didn't grow up around anti-bacterial soap, sparkling clean over bleached bathrooms, sanitary hand wipes, home air cleaning machines and all the other inventions that the moderns call "progress". Now I'm not against being clean, but being too clean is far worse than being dirty. My kids are growing up like I did, in the barn and woods. I never will have to worry about them getting sick from petting a goat, heck John has been wrangling goats since he learned to walk. Last spring a fella from church came over with his young son. The boy was standing in the driveway down by the cow barn. He looked confused. He said, "What is this?" I asked, "What is what?" He says, "This stuff". Folks, he was pointing at the mud! The boy had never seen MUD. Do your kids a favor, let 'em get dirty.

Whats New

Tuesday night we had Matt, Rebecca, Corynn, Abby, Millie, and Dave over. The men folk enjoyed homebrew and conversation. The kids played with the spring horse and toy guns and blocks. The women talked, as women do.

Wendsday I got up late. Was tired all day. It snowed alot. My wife pushed the car up Mt Hunger Hill and then up my driveway. She's a good wife!

Thursday the milk tester came in the evening. Otherwise a normal day. After supper we started our new family bible study of first and second Samuel. We are reading A Son To Me by Peter Leithart.

This is friday and I just got the morning milking done, and it is much to early to tell if it will be a good day or not!

Monday, March 21, 2005

Uniting Work and Home

One of the characteristics of our modern industrial culture is the separation of work and home. I think this has caused some real problems. As Wendell Berry points out, people used to work where they lived. Farmers lived on their farms, shopkeepers lived above the store and so on. What you did during the day was there for you to see when you went to bed. More importantly your family saw what you did and held you responsible. Today we lack the accountability. Most people "go to work" and can act immorally and choose not to tell anyone after they "escape" to their homes. Our homes have become a building full of escapes. We can sit in the recliner chair turn on the boob tube and forget about our secret lives. This is one reason why I think we need to have home based family businesses. Folks who have a multi-generational vision and have there own businesses can break this cycle. Here is an example. A family farm has a woodlot. They carefully manage it, selectively harvesting trees while being careful not to ruin the smaller trees that will be growing for future children. They care because they plan on the great grandkids farming there and using the woodlot for supplemental income. The same woodlot could be purchased by a city boy with a timber company. He may choose to clear cut the woods. He dose not live there, so he never has to see the mess. He wants instant profit and is not looking ahead as far as we would. I also think the way we conduct business would be different if our wives and children were part of the business. What we may be willing to do to turn a quick buck, just might need our 10 year old kid pointing out the fact we could be breaking one of God's laws. We all have had our kids point out the obvious to us before. It may be embarrassing but sometimes we need to see things as little babes don't we! If we manage our assets for the next generation in a God honoring way, we could build wonderful communities.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Is That a Costume, or Your Real Clothes

Not to much new going on out here. The weather is warming up a bit, it hit 40 today. I'm ready for spring and so are the cows. The best part about farming is being able to spend time with my
Boys. Today Little John spent some time in the barn with papa. We put down the bedding together, fed the corn meal, petted the turkey, and started fleshing some coon hides that were in the freezer. Then he helped feed the hay, fed some calves their milk, made a collection of chicken feathers, found a new walking stick, helped milk a few cows, gathered some eggs and then went up to the house to tell everyone about his day. Now that is an average day for a 2 and a half year old kid at our place. Ask John who "sponge bob" is and he'll say he doesn't know. He can tell you his favorite breed of horse, the difference between a cow and a heifer, and tell you that "Johnny serves King Jesus!". Funny story......This fall Johnny and I were at the store. It was the latter part of October and we were walking along minding our own, when a lady says "Awe, look they are dressed up for Halloween....Are you supposed to be farmers?" Well you know that you are out of touch with fashion world when you and the boy put on your good overalls and people think its a costume!

Prayer Request
Abby has gone to the hospital for emergency surgery. She is all right according to the last report. Please keep her and John and the kids in your prayers.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Davey Maple Tree

When we rented the farm in Spencerport my friends and I made alot of syurp. If you follow a dirt lane over one half a mile back into the woods you will still find our cabin and our sugar house. What you won't find is any maple trees. We built the cabin our second year and spent most all of our spare time back there. We were all single and liked the woods and simple living. We would head back after milking time and cook up a pot of beans, crack a few beers, feed logs into a cast iron stove and solve all the worlds problems. Our cabin was surrounded by huge maple trees. They were the life blood of the camp. Syurp making was a year round exuse to go back there. Of course the sugar house also doubled as a tobacco drying barn. We grew a small patch right next to the cabin. Anyway........After we moved the cows to the new place Dave would still go back there. Every couple of weeks he'd go back and keep the place up, and of course sit and reminess about all the good times us boys had had. One day he called my up and said he had some bad news. The trees were gone! The owners of the farm had logged off every maple tree on the place. Yes, even that huge ole girl back by the 10 acre lot. Dave never went back. The next year we were talking on the phone and he told me his plan. Every year since that call, Dave has ordered 50 maple saplings in the spring. He travels all over the county planting them were ever he thinks one is needed. Kind of like a Johnny Apple Seed for maple trees. He says he wants his grandkids to be able to tap some trees if they want. Hats off to Dave, not many folks plant maples and I'm glad he does. So if you see a stranger on your land with a trowel and a maple, please don't shoot him.....he's just looking out for your grandkids and he don't mean no harm!

Monday, March 14, 2005

Nettle Wine

As a young boy who liked to explore the woods and fields of our farm, I learned very quickly how to identify the Stinging Nettle. The only plant I dislike more is the Devils Pitchfork that grows in Alaska. However, good things can come from the bad. Let us take dominion over the Nettle of the field and make our hearts glad!

Nettle Wine

8 Qts washed nettle leaves
2 Gal water
3 thinly sliced, unpeeled lemons
1 ginger root, grated
12 cups sugar
1 slice of stale toast
1 package of yeast

Put nettles in a large kettle. Add 1/2 gallon of water and bring to a boil. Add lemon and sugar. Reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour. Put sugar in wine making vat, strain liquid onto sugar, and stir untill disolved. Add the rest of the water and stir. Cover with a cloth and allow to cool. Whencool sprinkle yeast on the toast and float on the liquid. Cover and let stand in warm room for 5 days. Pour into fermentation jar, put on air lock and let work untill bubbling stops. Siphon into sterilized bottles and cork.

Makes a fine white wine that is said to help the cold and flu. I reckon you can drink it when you are healthy as well!

Saturday, March 12, 2005

For The Love Of Money

I think as a culture we some pretty messed up ideas on money. And I'm not talking about the general American culture.....I'm talking about the church. All my Christian life I have witnessed time and time again; people compromising the principles of the faith for the love of money. When it comes to money we can twist, wiggle, invert, and contort the Word of God for the sole purpose of insuring a profit. I have seen men that I respected screw their friends, neighbors and fellow saints in business deals and then try to find scripture that would make it right. Unbelievers always point these folks out to me and want me to explain......its very uncomfortable. This week Chad Degenhart asks the question, When Did Usury Become A Family Value? I hope everyone will check it out. In this post Chad makes this point........

"I also wonder whether the church can even define usury anymore. Some say that usury is not the charging of interest, but the charging of really high rates of interest. Did this definition come from the scriptures, or is it simply a redefinition of the sin which provides justification for our system of modern capitalism? Defining usury as a high rate of interest is like defining gluttony as really gluttonous gluttony - it becomes meaningless and something you can’t objectively apply to any one or any situation in particular. Usury and interest are two words for the same sin. This sin has become almost universally accepted among modern Christians, but this was not always the case. "

Well folks, I've got to wrap this up. I wish I had more time to write on this Blog, but for the time being I don't. Stay tuned next week for some posts on Nettle Recipe's, Companion Planting, and perhaps some more on Specialization.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Kingbird Farm

Last summer we all went out to Berkshire, NY to visit Kingbird Farm. I was really impressed with them and thought I would give you all the link to there site. They sell organic eggs, chicken, pork, beef, and herbs. They do the field work with horses, which is really cool! These folks make a good profit on a very small amount of land and are willing to share ideas with others. They have free articles, downloads, and info on all sorts of grass based farming. Karma writes quite a few articles that are worth reading. Check it out and learn somthing new!

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Homestead Guns and Some Thoughts on Hunting and Trapping

Specailization has even ruined the firearms business. To the homesteader guns are tools. To the suburbanite guns are toys. The homesteader needs to have practical guns that get the job done. He usually dose not have alot of money so they need to be dual purpose guns or what I call good utility guns. Buy a gun magizine today and you can find $3000 woodchuck guns, $5000 big game guns, target guns, duck guns, goose guns, and clay pigion guns but NO good general purpose "woods cruising" guns.

The homesteader needs a gun that he can have in the barn door, on the tractor, or behind the truck seat that can do the job no matter what the job is. One of my favorite guns is my Savage model 24C. It is an over-under .22 over 20ga. Its light, short and can be used for whatever comes down the lane. My favorite revolver is my H&R 9 shot .22. It is a working mans gun, no frills but solid and fool proof. Mines a NTA edition, and a natural on the trapline. I've probably killed more game with that little pistol than any of my other guns. As far as rifles go I love the New England Firearms Handi Rifle. They are inexpensive, made in the USA and are nice gun to handle. I've got a .308 and really like it.

And Another Thing........

I am not a "sportsman". Can somebody tell me when the heck hunting and trapping became sports! I hunt and fish to put meat on the table. I trap to make money selling furs. Has anyone noticed that the only "outdoor" magizine left thats worth a rats hat is the good ole Fur Fish and Game. They still have info that a real countryboy can use. All the rest have devolved into how to manuals for the yuppies and city folks that go to the woods once a year and spend huge amounts of money to kill a trophy for their wall. Be sure to read my post on Deer Hunters. Out in my neck of the woods there is no group of hunters that are a bigger bunch of fools.

Industrialist, Environmentalist or Agrarian?

"It should often be noted that Agrarianism does not view the Created order as does Modern Industrialism. Industrialism sees value in Creation only as raw material to be harvested and given a monetary price by the market. The vast handiwork of God’s Creation is thus reduced to its mining potential for monetary profit.

This shortsighted vision of the industrialist fails to see less readily tangible value in land as secure homesteads, much less comprehend intangible values to the family or community. Here is where farms are seen and become homes, dwelling Places of independent security and love – where animals, trees, food and families are carefully nurtured within a balanced complexity for generations. The same can be said concerning ponds, streams and lakes. Here is an important and recurring reality which highlights the distinction between Industrial Modernism and Agrarianism: Agrarianism acknowledges a broad and complex balance-sheet in calculating Net Values – while Industrialism focuses almost exclusively upon tangibles, readily reduced to monetary values on quarterly statements yielded to market price valuations."

From David Rockett's Blog..........Read The Rest Here

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Weekend Reading

Make Your Heart Glad

Learn home to make Blueberry, Blackberry, Gooseberry and other kinds of backwoods wines on this article called Wonderfull Wilderness Wines.

Rick's Blog

I always enjoy reading the Dry Creek Chronicles . Stop by and see whats new. There is a good post called "Many hands make light work" from which I bring this little Quote.........

Often when the issue of agrarian living is raised, the first response (if it isn't a scornful laugh) is an apprehensive question: does everybody have to live on a farm? The comforting answer is usually: of course not, even an agrarian society needs bankers and printers and merchants; just think of, say, Colonial Williamsburg. What generally isn't mention is that for every family living a non-farming life in town, there were nineteen families living on farms out of town. There may be no relationship between that nineteen-to-one ratio in agrarian America, i.e. that the work of agrarian America was farm work, and the fact that community thrived there. But the possibility can't be rejected out of hand.


Draught Horse Press now has Books on Agrarianism and Books on Simple Living. They also carry one of my favorites by Jim West called Drinking with Calvin and Luther! A History of Alcohol in the Church .


This is a good article by Salatin called Everything I Want to Do Is Illegal. I feel his pain, being me seems to be criminal.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Specialization Is For Insects

"The specialist system fails from a personal point of view because a person who can do only one thing can do virtually nothing for himself. In living in a world by his own will and skill, the stupidest peasant or tribesman is more competent than the most intelligent worker or technician or intellectual in a society of specialists."

Wendell Berry
The Unsettling of America
Pg. 23

Specialists are boring people. I have a really hard time having conversations with my non-agrarian friends. They can't talk about anything because they don't know how to do anything. They live such empty and dull lives. When I was growing up I was lucky to be surrounded with country misfits. We were the only teenagers around that were blacksmithing for fun. The only kids that could make hand hewn beams, make syrup, trap and skin a 'coon, make oak split baskets, and run our own whiskey still. If nothing else I want my kids to grow up like that.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Long Camping Trip, Home Birth, Birth Control, and The Whole Sheebang

Hello All,

Well, we set the computer up at the farm house. I don't know why I didn't think of it sooner. Perhaps I can get back to posting on here more often. We still don't have a phone or water up on the hill. I have had alot of problems with the furnace up there. Keep waking up and finding the house the same temp as outdoors.......cold. The snow is waist deep to a tall Indian, and it drifts like crazy up there. We are once again living the hard life.........and we seem to go out of our way to live like this! I told my wife yesterday that marrying me was like signing on for a really long camping trip. Poor girl seldom has had running water, steady heat, or any money since she said "yes". We left for Alaska a few days after the wedding, and realy moving back here has not been much different than it was up there.

Kelly Degenhart has a good post on Home Birth this week. As you may or may not know we have home births at our place too! Anyway, check out her essay. If you think home births are strange you should read my thoughts on Birth Control.

If you are looking for some homesteading reading (and don't mind ignoring libertarian nonsence in the editorials) Backwoods Home Magazine has a good deal right now called The Whole Sheebang.