Saturday, April 30, 2005

The Blow Bags Come To Town

The evening milking is done. I'm pooped, though I didn't seem to get very much done today. It rained all day so the cows got a nice bath. Should have moved some calves to the other barn today but I didn't. We had a nice calf sired by "Deluxe" born the other day. Thats the same bull that sired our Top of the World Sale consignment. We like them alot. The NY Spring Sale was today at the Whitney Point fairgrounds. Dad looked at the cows yesterday. Said the milk cows looked like a pen of cull cows. We didn't go to see the sale. Lots of "blow bag index cattle". The sale is a staged event anyway. JMS sets up volume buyers from CA and fills the orders. Hardly anyone at the sale bids. The last bid is ussually by the ringman. At the end, a bunch of big rigs haul them out west to factory farms that chew them up and spit them out. Long gone are the days of the true "Breeders Sales".

Be sure to read Investment Advice at the House of Degenhart and Monasticism at Dry Creek Chronicles. I wonder how these guys like be mentioned in post with such a interesting name!

Thursday, April 28, 2005

The Trouble with Globalism

"To cause the land-using economies to overproduce is even simpler. The farmers and other workers in the world’s land-using economies, by and large, are not organized. They are therefore unable to control production in order to secure just prices. Individual producers must go individually to the market and take for their produce simply whatever they are paid. They have no power to bargain or make demands. Increasingly, they must sell, not to neighbours or to neighbouring towns and cities, but to large and remote corporations. There is no competition among the buyers (supposing there are more than one), who are organized, and are "free" to exploit the advantage of low prices. Low prices encourage overproduction as producers attempt to make up their losses "on volume", and overproduction inevitably makes for low prices. The land-using economies thus spiral downward as the money economy of the exploiters spirals upward. If economic attrition in the land-using population becomes so severe as to threaten production, then governments can subsidize production without production controls, which necessarily will encourage overproduction, which will lower prices — and so the subsidy to rural producers becomes, in effect, a subsidy to the purchasing corporations. In the land-using economies production is further cheapened by destroying, with low prices and low standards of quality, the cultural imperatives for good work and land stewardship."

"THIS MORAL AND ECONOMIC absurdity exists for the sake of the allegedly "free" market, the single principle of which is this: commodities will be produced wherever they can be produced at the lowest cost, and consumed wherever they will bring the highest price. To make too cheap and sell too high has always been the programme of industrial capitalism. The idea of the global "free market" is merely capitalism’s so-far-successful attempt to enlarge the geographic scope of its greed, and moreover to give to its greed the status of a "right" within its presumptive territory. The global "free market" is free to the corporations precisely because it dissolves the boundaries of the old national colonialisms, and replaces them with a new colonialism without restraints or boundaries. It is pretty much as if all the rabbits have now been forbidden to have holes, thereby "freeing" the hounds.The "right" of a corporation to exercise its economic power without restraint is construed, by the partisans of the "free market", as a form of freedom, a political liberty implied presumably by the right of individual citizens to own and use property."

These are a couple of my favorite quotes from an article by Wendell Berry. Read GLOBAL PROBLEMS, LOCAL SOLUTIONS to get the rest. Let me know what you think.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Chicks, Hogs, Grass and More

John and Noah are now the proud owners of some baby chicks. Grandma came back from Tractor Supply with a box of chicks for the boys. Now I have more animals in the house than people. We will be mail ordering chicks sometime soon, but the boys need to have some that are "just theirs". You never know how many dad and I will order. Sometimes 50 and sometimes 950. Depends how adventurous we will that day! Speaking of chickens, Chad told me that Mr. Kimball knows a thing or two about Chicken Pluckers. If your in the market for one you may want to check out his book. We also got strawberry plants in the mail today. Now I've got to get busy getting ready to plant them. We need 30 hour days, that way I might get every thing done! I have decided to raise pastured pigs this year. Hope to get the fence up in the next couple of weeks. This will be a trial run this year. We'll see how well they sell and how much we make on them. If it works out the potential is almost unlimited. We have lots of marginal land around that would be great for hogs. The dairy herd went out to grass to day! The first day of grazing is always fun. Watching the girls eat all that new grass and seeing them spread their own manure. A lot less trips on the tractor with the spreader now. Spring turkey hunting is coming up soon. Little John has it in his head that we're going. I'm sure calling in turkeys with a 2.5 year old will be fun. He wants to take his toy shotgun with him. Well, I'm gonna head up the hill. They still haven't put the phone line in yet so I'm "remote blogging".

Sheep, Quilts, and the Motto


The bible is full of agricultural word/pictures. Since we as a people have been, for the most part, far removed from are agrarian roots we sometimes miss the point. I remember one time in Sabbath school we were talking about the word meditate. Which in Hebrew was the same as ruminate. We who own cattle were quick to jump all over the great similarities between the cows digestive system and the way we meditate. I have come to the conclusion that all seminaries should have a small flock of sheep. Before you were sent out into the world, you would have to take your turn being a shepherd. If anyone wants to study Psalm 23 should just get some sheep. For those who don't know, sheep are the stupidest critter on earth. If all you see are the sheep (saints) peacefully grazing on the hill side you done did miss the point! Those sheep rely on the shepherd for everything! If you think the shepherd is just lazy guy sitting under a tree watching his flock, you miss the point again. The shepherd takes care of every need of his sheep. This is no easy task since sheep are always making stupid choices and trying to kill themselves. He is no wimp, he fights off wolves, dogs, lions, and thieves. Anyhow, I think owning sheep at least once in your life will help you better understand the shepherd-sheep relationship.


OK, all you lady folk can make yourselves useful by helping out Abigail with her quilt. A fine agrarian pastime, quilt making is. Now, before you jump all over me.....I was not implying that you were not doing something useful. Just a phrase we use on the farm.

The Motto
Valerie has worked her magic on Mr. Kimball's motto. Looks pretty good.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

The Bright Future of Christian Homesteaders

Christian Homesteading is a term I have long used for those believers that have been part of the "back to the land" crowd. They have been around for a long time, but sadly they have often been failures. The main reason I think Christian Homesteading has never really taken off is that its advocates have always had bad theology. The homesteader crowd has long been associated with defeatist eschatology, worldly individualism, and the one family stand alone church. Folks would move as far into the bush as possible and never see another soul. The gathering together of the saints was not a priority, and nobody ever thought to build a real community after leaving the evil one. Why the world was falling apart anyway, no need to get in God's way! Thankfully, there is a new group of "back to the landers" coming on board. And for once it is marked by reformed theology and postmill optimism. The covenantal agrarians are going back to the land to build communities and legacies for their offspring! They know the the church is the center of community and the reject the one man church of their predessors. I believe the future is bright for these people. Sure they will be laughed at at first, but someday the rest of our brothers will long to have what they will eventually build.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Making Ends Meet...Livin' on the Cheap

OK folks I can't spend to much time on this contraption, so you'll be getting it in small bits. Before one ever chooses to live the simple homesteader, small farmer type life you need to be sure you really want to do it. You must enjoy it or you will be miserable. Enjoying the work is often one of the only rewards you get. If you a married, be sure your spouse wants to live this way too. Nothing can mess up a marriage faster. I've seen it happen, so be sure. Your marriage is more important than enjoying the simple life. That being said, I'll offer a few little ways that we "make ends meet" out here.

  1. If you don't need it, don't buy it.
  2. If you can make it yourself, make it.
  3. Barter with people in your community.
  4. Don't buy ANYTHING new.

Bartering is a great way to do business when you are cash poor. I have several arrangements with local folks. I trade waste milk for cheap pork. I trade raw milk out of my tank for bread. We trade the use of tractors, trucks and implements. Why own something you only use once in blue moon. If the guy down the road has one, you can use his and you let him use something that he needs of yours. Use Freecycle. Its great. People who need to get rid of stuff give to you for free. When we chose to use cloth diapers we were having trouble coming up with cash to buy them. We posted on freecycle and within a day we had about $250 worth of them for free! We never buy new clothes. I don't think I own a pair of jeans that cost more than 50 cents. All clothes are bought by the wife at summer yard and rummage sales. Don't ever buy new cars or trucks. We even get some of them for free. Folks get a new job or something and buy new ones. We have had several cars and trucks given to us that lasted a year or more. We couldn't afford health insurance anymore. We got involved with Samaritan Ministries cost sharing program and it works good and is more biblical than insurance. We still pay for doctor visits. We just pay so much a month. Tell the Doc you don't have ins. and they will nock off some of the bill. We do homebirths for the babies for more reasons than price, but you can't beat the price! Our midwife even nocks 10% off the bill because she doesn't have to deal with insurance companies! These are just a few things we do to live on the cheap. Anyone with any more ideas, feel free to comment. If I think of some more I'll put em there too.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Its Raining, Leeks are Ready, and a Poem

Well folks, it rained all night. Its still raining now. We are are thankful for the Lord's blessings. Now perhaps the grass will grow a bit. I got up late this morning so my day will be a bit hurried. Didn't hear the 2:30 alarm and woke up at 4:20. I hate getting up late, but the bright side is no one can fire me! Little John and I went to the woods the other day. The leeks are ready. It is time to dig some up and have our ham and leek dinner. Chad wrote a good poem called They Never Really Left. Its a fine poem, I think. I best get back to work couse "day lights a burnin".

Friday, April 22, 2005

More on Money

"One of the most troubling characteristics of the specialist mentality is its use of money as a kind of proxy, its willingness to transmute the powers and functions of life into money. "Time is money" is one of the axioms and the source of many evils-among them the waste of both time and money."

Wendell Berry

As I have stated before, I think our culture has a screwed up view of the importance of money and its proper place in the decisions we make. No matter what people say, they live as though money can buy happiness.

One thing that always puzzles me is the "child limiters". I often talk to folks who make 40 or $50,000 a year who can't "afford" more than 2 or 3 children. My first thought is " Oh ye of little faith". One has to start off with the notion that God is not bigger than money. He can feed the sparrows but not His people? When they hear my thoughts on "birth control" they think I'm a nut. Here is a guy who is lucky to clear $10,000 a year who is willing to have 12 kids if it be the Lord's will.

Moderns have trouble entertaining themselves without money. They spend their whole lives trying to buy "virtual happiness". I have to chuckle when when people I know are agonizing over the sacrifice of getting "basic cable" instead of the "premium". I often get asked "How do you live on such little money?" What they usually mean is how can you be happy without money. I find Joy and Happiness in the Lord Jesus Christ and His creation. I enjoy the "simple things" you might say. So here is a list of a few things that I enjoy that don't cost a dime.....

  1. Hill top sunsets
  2. Watching and hearing birds
  3. Watching a baby calf learn to walk
  4. A family stroll through the woods
  5. Studying God's Word
  6. Tilling the soil
  7. Weeding
  8. Naps under maples and oaks
  9. Berry Picking and eating
  10. A hard days work-----if you don't enjoy work, get another job.

This is not a complete list by any means. Heck I didn't even mention the smell of fresh cut hay or playing with babies! It is not meant to be Your List , make your own. You know what, I don't even like lists. I'm just attempting to get you thinking about it a little.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Salatin Field Day

Its no secret that I really like Joel Salatin. This summer he invites everyone out to his place!
Here is the invite.......

Dear folks,

How about getting together for a day of food, fun and fellowship away from hotels and conference centers, out on the land where tomorrow’s farm is already happening?We’re willing to clean up the clutter and provide a clean meat barbeque with all the fixin’s if you’ll join us.

We promise to do our utmost to make this one of the most inspiring and blessed days you’ve ever had. If you have wanted to visit but felt it would intrude; if you have a friend, relative or neighbor for whom seeing may be just the nudge needed to change their thinking; if you need your emotional boiler stoked; if you yearn to farm but don’t see how it’s possible; if you’re just hungry for agricultural truth; if you’re looking for production or marketing ideas; if you’re looking for clean food suppliers or producers; if you think cows hurt the environment; if you’ve quit eating meat because of inhumane or unclean animal husbandry practices — this day could change your life.

Please bring us your ideas so we can do better and we’ll share ours with you to discover together what’s best for the land, our communities, our families and our future.
This is not a conference — you won’t see charts and graphs nor hear academic theories. This is a family day to see, handle and taste what works, what is true, and what is real. It’s a celebration of opportunities. Bring the children.

Our goal is to encourage you to catch a vision for agricultural enterprises that are emotionally, economically and environmentally enhancing.

Now what do you say? Does this sound like an exciting day? Okay, then call today so we can get dinner ready. Lord willing, we’ll see you in July.

All the best,
Joel Salatin for all of us at Polyface,The Farm of Many Faces

Polyface Farm Field Day will be held on Saturday, July 23, 2005. If you want more info or to register click Here.

Wendell Berry Quote

One of my favorite books is The Unsettling of America by Wendell Berry. The Unsettling of America argues that today's agribusiness takes farming out of its cultural context, and is destructive to the lives of farmers and to our culture as a whole. Mr. Berry takes on the specialists and asks alot of good questions for us to ponder. I would recomend everyone read this book. The following is a quote from it that I really enjoyed.

"And nowhere now is there a market for minor produce: a bucket of cream, a hen, a few dozen eggs. One cannot sell milk from a few cows anymore; the law-required equipment is too expensive. Those markets were done away with in the name of sanitation--but, of course, to the enrichment of the large producers. We have always had to have 'a good reason' for doing away with small operators, and in modern times the good reason has often been sanitation, for which there is apparently no small or cheap technology. Future historians will no doubt remark upon the inevitable association, with us, between sanitation and filthy lucre. And it is one of the miracles of science and hygiene that the germs that used to be in our food have been replaced by poisons."

I've got to get out of here and milk the girls. I'll be posting some more Berry quotes!

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Peas are in

Last night we planted the peas. The sugar snap peas we planted in a double row. Down the center we put up chicken wire for support. The regular peas we planted in one foot and a half wide row. This is an experiment. From what I read using the "Wando" peas this way works well and requires no supports. With space being a problem this year I thought we would give it a try. There is a lot of peas in this wide row. I'll let everyone know if its productive or not. We still are in need of some rain. It might rain today and I pray it does. The pastures are not growing at all. It was 80 yesterday. By the end of the week its going back down to the 50's. The weather is always a challenge out here but it helps us remember who the boss is!

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

The Orchard, Learning to Cast

Reclaiming the Orchard

My uncle Bill's boy is spending the week out at our farm. I've taken the opportunity to work the little feller up on the hill in the evenings. We worked on reclaiming the old orchard last night. Wow, what a job. I don't know when the last time was that anyone even noticed it was there! Its been neglected for so many years it resembles a jungle more than an orchard. Whoever planted it would cry if they saw it today. It looks like everything else in our county, run down and forgotten. The old barn at my inlaws is now so far gone it probably can't be saved. Its a shame too, the old draft horse stalls are really neat and the details of its design tell stories about the man who built it. Soon it will join the ash heap of history. In 20 years or so no one will even remember what it looked like. Did it have 4 stalls or 5? No one will know, few will even care. Why are we so quick to forget our history and our roots? Why don't we care for those things left to our generation. We have lost more barns in our parents generation than in all the previous ones, I think. Anyway.....We have started cutting out all the junk trees and brush. We fight back the vines and thorns and trim back the dead wood on the old fruit trees. It will take more time than cutting it all and planting new, but its a matter of principle now.

Learning to Cast

I spent my lunch time yesterday teaching little John how to cast his fishin' pole. The little boogers catching on. We plan on going on his first fishing trip this week. I heard him ask his brother Noah if he wanted fish for his supper. I've got a feeling that we will be eating whatever he catches. Hope it ain't a creek chub!

Monday, April 18, 2005

Old Feed Mill, Rain, Gardens, and the Amish

Old Feed Mill
I spent the Lord's Day at a feed mill. No, no I wasn't buying feed. Thats were we had our worship service! We are still cleaning up the church from the flood damage. One of our members just happened to own an old feed mill that we could use. We had services in the old retail store part. Before we left John and I went out and toured the old mill. I couldn't help but think back to when the mill was full of people working away, back when there were enough farms left to support a local mill.


We need rain pretty bad now. After the great flood the rain stopped and never came back. The pasture would grow if we had a little rain. Its warm now, and we just need rain to give the grass a jumpstart. The ground on the sidehills is cracked and dusty. Drought or flood, one extreme or the other it seems.


The garden is coming along. Didn't plant peas yet, perhaps today or the next day. The blueberries are in the ground.


Some folks don't know that the "Reformed Farmer" has Amish kin. My mothers father was born in the old order. He left and married a regular baptist. Anyhow this Calvinist has many Amish ancestors. I'm a genetic mix of Outlaws, Amish, Baptists, and Presbyterians. A theological mutt of sorts. You can't help but admire the Amish communities, with all their flaws, they have a good grasp on the idea of community. It also turns out that Rick Saenz has a Fascination with the Amish.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Heritage, Local Harvest, Farm and Society


We are starting to make some progress on the new homestead. We are for the most part treating it as a separate business from the dairy that we run with my folks. I have for a long time been very interested in small scale, sustainable, direct market farming. We have made improvements on the dairy with grazing and such but still have to market our milk as a commodity. Our special product is worth no more than that of a 1500 cow factory. I would love to make cheese but we don't have the $80,000 to buy the stuff we would need to meet regulations. So the little bit of land that I have on top of the hill is where I can try out my ideas. I hope to build a business that can bring people and their food together. Something built on the idea of local economy and multigenerational stewardship. We have decided to call this operation Heritage Hill. The land is part of the original homestead settled by my wife's ancestors. It was cleared and settled in the 1700's from what I understand. While standing up there you can't help but think of the farmers, trappers and woodsman that roamed these hills and woods many years ago. The other night while I was working in the dirt with a hoe, watching the sunset, I couldn't help but wonder if this was were one of the first gardens was. Its a natural spot for one so I suppose its possible. Never the less, my children will have something that I never had; land that has 100's of years of family history.

Local Harvest

There is a neat site called Local Harvest that puts food buyers in touch with local small farms. I was impressed with it. Type in your ZIP code and it gives you a list of farms and what they sell. It has a spot to click and email the farmers to ask questions and other nice features. The listings are free for the farms. It only took me a couple of minutes to set up my page. If you want to see it you can click Here. I hope to be able to add more products to my listing as things progress. A lot of the berries and things I'm planting now will take a year or more to reach peak production.

Farm and Society

In Ricks latest post called Joint stock companies , I found this paragraph to be very good.

"Now back to Weaver and Ideas Have Consequences. His book is a withering critique of modern industrial thinking as contrasted with agrarianism, showing how the ills it has inflicted on society can be traced back to man's rejection in the 14th century of the idea of transcendence. And in the last three chapters of the book Weaver attempts to sketch a road back to sanity. One of his proposals is very agrarian, namely that society must center on the private ownership of small-scale farms. He has many reasons for thinking so, but one of the most striking is that Weaver thinks that the responsibility that comes with ownership is what connects a man with God's creation,the uncertainties, the constant attention, the blessings of bountiful yields, the testing that comes from unexpected disasters. This is stewardship, a God-given office that is rejected when the economy is restructured to center around the idea of passive investment, whether it be through absentee ownership of a farm or ownership of stock in a corporation."

I have always thought that farming has helped to make me a more faithful Christian. In the Industrial Info Tech World problems are solved through a chain of fallible men. There are dozens of places to go for help. If your problem is with a computer program, you can ask the expert at the office, then the company that sells it, then the guy who wrote it. When the pasture is dry and dead and we need rain, the only place to go for help is the God who makes the rain. Farmers spend a good deal of time on their knees. The farm reminds us, sometimes in a brutal way, that we are not in control. It also shows us that God answers prayers and feeds his people.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Birds, Blueberries, and Fruit Trees


I like birds. They are neat little creatures. I have, over the years, grown into a bird watcher of sorts. The new homesite is a bird watchers paradise. We put up a couple of different feeders out by the big window in the kitchen. Yesterday morning at breakfast I saw the following group of feathered friends. A pair of blue jays, a pair of cardinals, a woodpecker, some chickadees, sparrows, redwing blackbirds, a titmouse, and a woodcock that was just strolling by. All those birds were at the feeder at the same time!


Friday I've got 10 blueberry plants comming. They are rooted cuttings so I won't be harvesting them for some time, but the price is right. I can buy 10 of them for the price of two 2 year old plants. The blueberries are a long term investment I will be planting sets of them for a couple of years. We have great soil for them here, very acid. I'm only going to try 10 this year to see how many rooted cutting live through the transplanting. If it works I'll go nuts next spring.

Fruit Trees

Here is the best place I've found for fruit trees and berry plants. Have them send you a catolog.
I'm not sure how many new apple trees I'll be able to afford to plant this year. I have an old orchard that needs relaiming and will work at that for sure. It has cherry, pear, and apple trees in it.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005


After all the rain we have been blessed with a spell of warm weather. Hence the grass is greening. The pastures are started to turn from the dead brown color to living green. We have started getting the fence chargers out, replacing lost insulators, charging up 12 volt batteries and such. Soon, very soon we will be out pulling up the down wires, patching them where the deer have broke them, and tightening the corners. Turn out is my favorite time of year. The endless barn chores suddenly are gone. The cows feed themselves and sleep under the stars. Grass farming is becoming more popular, and I am pleased. Grassed based farming is really the only way people can enter agriculture these days without taking on tons of debt. Here are a few links for those interested in grass based systems.

The Stockman Grass Farmer
You can request a free copy of the magazine

Monday, April 11, 2005

More Garden Stuff

Well, here's the deal. I've decided to limit the "layered garden experiment" to a 12ft by 12ft square. Its taking a lot of time to build and I don't want all my eggs in one basket anyhow. I think that will be big enough to grow my tomatoes and peppers. The rest I'll grow in the dirt. After making up my mind on that I went right to work on the dirt. I figured that hill top would be nothing but rocks and hardpan. To my surprise its wonderful soil with nary a stone to be found. Just the other side of the barbwire fence its rocks and more rocks. The trick is not plowing it. I am using a "garden claw". After peeling off the sod I give it a twist with this strange gadget I found in the shop and voila.......6 inches of seed bed that looks like I've rotto tilled it 6 times! I knew if I lived long enough somthin' was bound to go my way. I can't believe how fast this is going. If I went much deeper I'm sure I'd pull up a lot of shale, that's why a plow can't be used up there. After working at it for a spell I realized that I've done this whole garden this year without the use of any modern power, just simple hand tools and my back. Now I've got this crazy idea that I'll keep it that way, just to prove I can! Its a good feeling to stand back and see all that fresh tilled earth and the layered spot we made and know I've a done it all the "old way". I sit on a tractor plenty, and this is a welcome change of pace. Plan to plant the peas this week. Hey, why don't you turn off that computer and go get some dirt on your hands!

Saturday, April 09, 2005


When I started Homesteader Life I thought if I was lucky, it would be read by my 4 friends and my wife. I was was really surprised when I started getting emails from folks all over the US and Canada that wanted to get back to the land and live a more simple way of life. I'm happy to see that so many folks are working to make their dreams a reality. Its often been said that farming is something you can't learn from a book. Its partly true. You are either born with it in your blood or your not. But I have seen many folks that were not raised on farms start them and do a really good job. It was in the blood. For those in that camp I have listed some books worth reading.

Family Friendly Farming....A Multi-Generational Home-Based Business Testament
This book by Joel Salatin is very good from what I hear, though I haven't read it yet. Mr.Salatin writes from experience. In other words.....he has manure on his boots!

Pastured Poultry Profits
Also by Salatin, this is the model we use with our meat birds.

The Backyard Orchardist
The Backyard Berry Book
Both these books are by Stella Otto. They are worth 10 times what they cost. The best books on the subjects, bar none. You will learn a lot. If you plan on planting fruit trees and berries this year you need these books.

Five Acres & Independence
The classic guide to living on the land is still available. Many things have changed since the 1940 original publication of this book, but there is still plenty of basic, down-to-earth good advice to be had in this guide to getting back to the soil. I enjoyed this book by M.G. Kains.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Rotten Hay, Possum Stew, and Peepers


John and I are still hauling the base of the "workfree" garden. Leave it to a dairy farmer to make it into more work than a traditional garden! If I had started last fall like your supposed to it would truly be "workfree" this year, but you know me. I think will start posting some pictures of it in its different stages so you can understand better how I'm doing this. So far we've moved lots of rotted hay and little John has been collecting worms and throwing them on.

Possum Stew

You know your a redneck when.........Someone from church brings you a cookbook because it has possum and coon recipes in it. Yep, it happened to me! I will be sure to post the Roast Possum and possum stew recipes for everyone to enjoy! I've never ate possum, but I have ate coons before. Cooked right a coon is mighty tasty.


The peepers are peepin'. The bullfrogs are croakin'. Spring has sprung on Hunger Hill. Little John tracked them down the other night. There was a sad sounding frog that he was sure was a turkey! It did sound like a poor mouthcall. He just had to go and check it out. No, we didn't catch any frogs. We will be going back to try if Johnny has anything to say about it!

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Welcome Baby Elisabeth

Praise God for the birth of another Baby Degenhart! We rejoice that Chad and Kelly have added another arrow to their quiver.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Two Links

Two links, one will make you laugh and the other will make you cry.

Auburn Avenue Cartoon

Church Flood Picture

Update.....With the addition of Valerie's wit, the flood link will make you laugh too!

Local Economy...Whats it Worth?

Here is a question. Can community exist without a local economy? I'm not sure that it can. I think that when local economies fall out of favor with the people, community falls too. Perhaps its a "which came first, the chicken or the egg" sort of thing. I guess it dose not really matter which happens first, so long as we realize the two are linked. Why don't people shop locally? We tend to love money more than people that's why! The people who live next door, pay taxes, and sit next to you in church are less valuable than a couple dollars in your pocket. How much do you really save shopping at the "super store". If you want a strong local community and economy, how much are you willing to invest in it? If "product A" cost $5 at the big chain, and $6.50 at the mom and pop, The question begging an answer is this.......are you willing to invest $1.50 in your community? What about food? Are you willing to spend a little more money and buy direct from small family farmer for better food. People always say they want to see the small farm survive, why not put your money where your mouth is. We Americans, Christians and pagans alike, put way to much "value" in greenbacks and not nearly enough in people. The thing is.....We Christians ought to know better.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Rain, Rain Go Away

How highs the water Papa?
4 foot high and risin'
How highs the water Momma?
4 foot high and risin'
The cows in water up past her knees
The chickens is roostin' in the willow trees
Its already over all the wheat and oats
4 foot high and risin'

I thought of this old Johnny Cash song today. When we got out of church today Rebecca noticed that the river was only a few hundred feet from the building. They had closed the road and everything. Please pray that Crown and Covenant RPC dosen't float away! Today I was glad to get back on top of my hill.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

The Garden, and Other News

As I told you all before, this year we are trying a New Kind of Garden. Yesterday Little John and I started work on building it up. We used to have sheep in a pasture not far from the garden spot. I fed them round bales of hay there and they wasted quite a bit of it. I always fed it in the same spot so there is a small mountain of old hay that has been rotting down for about 2 years. Its to wet to get the loader tractor in there so we started using the wheelbarrow. I'm glad I started now, it could take a while to get this job done! This rotted hay is going to be the base, other stuff I'm going to incorporate into mix is some old dried chicken manure, a mess of hardwood ashes, and I might even add a layer of peat and some topsoil from where we did the driveway. Then we will top it off with dry hay for mulch. This will be interesting to say the least. To build a garden big enough to grow what I'm used to growing is going to take some time. I'm moving slow these days. I hurt my knee pretty bad about 4 or 5 days ago. I can barely stand on it. It needs to be rested I'm sure, but in this business it just ain't possible! With 50 little brown ladies that need to be milked twice a day I don't think its going to be better any time soon. John is doing a fine job taking care of his pup. He feeds and waters it without being asked. He takes her outside to do her business without complaint wether rain, wind, or cold. Its good for the little guy to have something that relies on him. Rebecca has a good Peach Pie Recipe for everyone. I love pies.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Can Community Be Separated From Church

Chad Degenhart asks some Questions on Church and Community. This is well worth your time to click and read. I have for some time been struggling with the way churches(reformed churches in particular) have separated themselves from a physical community. At our church were members drive in from every corner of two counties, I feel a need for real community. How in the world we can join the two together again, I don't know. What I do know is that we must.