Friday, October 28, 2005

In Sickness and in Health

I've been a little under the weather this week, which inspired this post.

Those who dream about the agrarian life must keep in mind that the work is there everyday, whether you want to do it or not. Out in the barn are animals that rely on you for their every need. Those with a city job (scotts words for anything other than farming) can call in sick when things get bad. The farmer can't. When you make the choice to own animals, you have made the choice to midwife, waiter, chef, doctor and sole provider of living things that can't take care of themselves. While the animals are our servants, we best exercise our dominion by acting as there servants. My dad would never let anyone eat a meal until every animal on the farm had had theirs. Dad always believed that if you took good care of your animals they would take care of you. Todays cold economic truths make us wonder if its true, but its our rule never the less. If you milk a cow, you will at some time or another milk her with a broken bone, a headache, the flue, frozen fingers or upset belly. Over the years I've suffered through a few milkings that really made me wonder if a bullet in the head would have been a more painless option. I once broke every bone in my right foot. I was milking 50 cows 30 minutes later. As a rule, if something hurts, every cow will do her best to make it hurt worse. The only thing that hurts worse than breaking your foot is an 8 year old cow standing on it after you break it! Our whole family got hit with the worst flue bug I've ever seen, a few years back. It hit the old folks hard. They couldn't move. I could crawl. I crawled to the barn to start what would be a 5 and a half hour milking job. Puking and diarrhea kept me busy, as I tried my hardest to get the girls milked. I passed out and woke up under a 1700 pound cow.....thank God she didn't lay down. I was under there for a while because the cows that had milkers on were done and there was no milk in the hose. When I got the last one milked I passed out on the milkhouse floor. The milk truck driver woke me up, I think. Next task was getting the girls some feed. By the time I got them fed it was time to milk again! I'll never forget those 3 days of hell. Owning critters is a full time job. Keep in mind that those animals don't care if you feel like a million bucks or death warmed over, they just want to fed and milked and scratched behind the ears.

Other Things of Interest......

The KSMILKMAID has a new Blog

The BadgerMum has an interesting post on Alfred the Great

We need to have some dirt in our lives

Hey, let's use a paper towel

Monday, October 24, 2005

Blood, Sweat and Tears

One of the most common criticisms of the Agrarian Bloggers is that we paint to rosey a picture of the farm life. Although I think we try to paint a balanced picture, I thought I would take a stab at explaining some agrarian realities that some might not think of as "rosey". I would argue however, that these realities are are only "not rosey" to those who live inside the industrial box. Though they may be painful at the moment, they are but a small part of much bigger good. This said, farming is the product of blood, sweat and tears.


Farming is dangerous. We work long hours, with animals and machinery. That can be hazardous to our health. The battle to subdue the earth and replenish it, is not a fight for those who can not stand to lose a little blood. Before you take up the rockin' chair, you will lose literal gallons of this liquid. Most of your bleeding will be a product of carelessness and stupidity. Its been true with me, anyway. I've always joked that if I came in the barn carrying my left arm, my Dad would say "Darn it Scott......You've got to more careful." In his defense, the second statement would be "are you alright?". Be carefully out there, this is dangerous work.


The modern world has shielded most folks from hard work. Some see this as progress. I feel sorry for people who have never felt the satisfaction of working until it hurts. A job well done should be followed by a feeling of tiredness. Its not uncommon for us to work 14- 16 hour days during busy spells. Much of the work on small land holding is very laborious. There will be days that you want to die, days you think that you can't throw another bale of hay but know there are 400 more to go before milking time starts. The farmer earns his living by the literal sweat of his brow. The old pictures of the farmer sleeping under a tree, surrounded by a lovely garden and content cows grazing the hill side is often misinterpreted. He's sleeping under the tree because he couldn't make it to the house! If you want to farm and return to the simple life because you think its a life of ease, you best stay at the office-lest you be disappointed.


We write often about the emotional highs of farming. They are not embellished or made up, they are real. Just as real though are the lows. The economy the way it is, keeps us cash poor. Many nights are spent going over the books wondering how in the world you are going to make it throught the next month. The animals that you love and care for die. Folks who don't spend vast amounts of time with animals probably think the death of one is "not a big deal". I believe that God gives those who he gives the privilege of husbandry, a special love for the creation that they are caring for. It grieves the cattleman to see a cow suffer. Famers have deep compassion for the animals in their care and I have shed tears over the loss livestock. Farming is full of emotional hardships that test our faith. Watching your crops die, despite all your work and care can be devastating. All this hardship and tears works for good, as all things God sends our way. For the Christian, these hardships are faith builders. There is some truth to the old saying, "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger". I think C.H. Spurgeon put it best....

Faith which is daily tried, and tried all the day long, has a fair opportunity of becoming unusually strong, and hence our agricultural Christians ought to be the strongest believers in the land. They have not of late been indulged with much temporal prosperity, but our hope is that a succession of adversities may have driven them to set less store by the world, to look more eagerly for the better portion, and to leave all things more believingly in the Lord's hands. This will be good out of evil beyond all question, and such good we ought to look for. Sharp discipline should by this time have made good soldiers of our yeomanry. If it be so, the failing purse is more than recompensed by the enlarged heart: if our farmers are wiser men through their bad seasons, that will be better than being richer men.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Busy Week

I spent some time yesterday pulling logs up out of the woods for firewood. Its going to start raining again, and I wanted to get some ahead so I wouldn't be fighting the mud. I love the smell of fresh split firewood. Its one of them smells that triggers something in your mind, makes you think "Winters coming---better work faster". Fall is a time to reflect on what you acomplished during the summer. The farmers list of what he got done is always smaller than the list of what needed doing, around here at least. To top off the food cache, we just killed a 980 pound steer for the freezer. We are hankerin' down for the long, cold winter. Thanks to the TNfarmgirl for prodding us back into the soap business. We have been up until 11pm making batches for the last couple of nights. Building up an inventory for what we hope will be a profitable addition to our little farm. We planted our first garlic crop this year. We tried Music and Siberian. If it works out, we will plant a more sizable crop next year. I've also been working on a website for our direct market stuff. Nothing fancy, and I'm doing it myself, so keep your expectations low. When I get it done I'll give a link. So thats what I've been up to.

Here is a Garlic Article from New Farm.

You will never guess who changed his identity and started another blog. Look Who I Found.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Country Goes to Town

I got up a 3am and got the girls milked and tried to get a jump on the day. I'm off to the county courthouse today. Fear not, I have not been formally charged with any crime! I have jury duty. First time in my life that I've ever been summoned. Now I have to drive into the city. I hate the city. I would rather be beat and poked with sharp sticks, then to have to go to the city. I hate the roads, the sidewalks, and the smell. The modern city is the antithesis to my vision of a decentralized agrarian culture. It is hyperspecialization transformed into its logical conclusion. Make matters even worse, you can't carry a gun in the courthouse. These folks expect me to walk all the way from the parking ramp to the courthouse with my 38 left under the seat of my car. What nerve. Say a prayer for me, my agrarian brothers and sisters, as I enter the belly of the beast(unarmed-no less). I get lost very easy in the city. I'm heading over to mapquest right now, in hopes of fool proof, read hillbilly proof, directions.

Monday, October 17, 2005

I'm Back

I'm back. I couldn't stay away for long. I did some thinking, planted some garlic, and painted the milkhouse, but I just couldn't stop bloggin'. By the looks of my sitemeter stats, nobody else had much faith in my "blogging vacation" either.

I want to catch up on a couple of things I've been going to mention. First, I've been reading the TNfarmgirl for a while. If you don't read it regular, you should. She has had some really good stuff lately. I'm proud to report that Christian Agrarianism has crossed the sea. America does not export much anymore, but it seems the seeds of Agrarianism have taken root in New Zealand. There is another NY State blogger, The Agrarian Plowshare, that just started up. Pastor McConnell has posted a link to his 11 page essay called The Heart of Biblical Agrarianism. Don't miss it.

Now for todays thoughts.

Arrogance in Agriculture

Farmers used to be the most respected people around. They were known as honest, hard working folks that told the truth and cared for the land. Sometime around the 40's things started to change. Yes, for many more years farmers still were well thought of, but it was at this time Industrialized thought began to replace the old Christian worldview. Covenantal Stewardship gave way to chronological snobbery and an Austrian veiw of the Creation and how it should be used. Farmers are at times their own worst enemy. Most of the worlds population, whether right or wrong, does not want to eat GMO grains. Americas farmers do just what the Land Grants say. They plant it hedgerow to hedrow, and then cry about the fact nobody wants to buy it. They take all sorts of actions to make the countries in question import the grain that they don't want. Cry about the fact that grain prices are low, and keep voting for the people who who have built the socailist system that enslaves them. Instead of thinking, "Lets grow something the consumer wants." American farmers think, "Stupid consumers. Don't know a darn thing. Don't they know we have to feed the world." The land grant colleges, farm magazines, extention agents, and salesmen all sing the same tune. They tell farmers all the time how stupid the consumers are. Farmers eat this up. We already know city folks are simple. Someone in a tie says it, and we say AMEN. Science and ethics aside, it dosen't even make economic sense to do business with this attitude. The American Farmers slogan is "the consumer is always wrong". Ask anyone you meet if they want to drink milk with BST in it and they will say no. Famers responce.......shoot up the cows and complain that nobody understands you and milk price is low. Of course, we can't look at this in pure economic terms. As stewards of God's Creation, we have an obligation above "the market". What are the consequences of GMOs? I am afraid the end of creations wonderfull diversity. As a side note, did you know that they are know putting human liver genes in rice? With all the talk about GM crops that would be "more nutritous" and "resistent to insects" they have yet to introduce one. They have made "Roundup Ready" everything. Once the Land Grant Boys told farmers they could wash their faces with DDT. We now know they were wrong(or liars). Today they say you can "drink a glass or Roundup a day" and be just fine. Now the person that heard that in college class, wrote about it in Farming Magazine this month. Within days of being fed that lie, she found research that it kills frogs and tadpoles and probably causes reproductive problems in people. Well, I didn't get to everything I wanted to cover, but I've got to scoot.

Friday, October 14, 2005

The Best of Homesteader Life

To tell you the truth, I'm having trouble thinking of anything to write about lately. Its been a while since I have writen anything of substance. I'm pretty busy right now getting ready for winter and have a few things on mind that are taking up what little mind God gave me. With that said, I'm going to take a break from the old blogging thing for a spell. Mabey a week, mabey a month, I'm not sure. As soon as I have something to contribute to the cause, I'll return. If this is your first time here, take a look at the "Best of Homesteader Life". I'll be back.

Richest Man on Earth

Will You Survive?

The Sin of Birth Control and The Death of The Family Farm

Another Kind of Inheritance

No Land...No Problem

Diversity is Not Enough

Just Do It

More on Money

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Cream, Mud, And Trusting God

Howdy All. I just finished, with some help from my boys, a huge mixing bowl filled with peaches and freshly whipped cream. Supper was a creamy, cheesy, soup. I'm washing it all down with a nice cold glass of Cream Ale. Hmm, I've got a cream theme going here.

Its been raining for days. I think it rained 3 times this summer. Now its going to rain all of October! I had been looking at the bright side, like...the dirt hole sets won't freeze on the fox line. Now I'm thinking how about how to make mud hole sets!

Farming can get you down sometimes. Times like these are tough. Going into the winter without much feed, fuel costs are high, milk prices on the down turn, and facing the fact a couple of dumb mistakes can cost you everything you've ever worked for, can turn men into worry worts. I used worry about everything. Its amazing that I didn't drop dead from nervousness. I'd like to say that as soon as I became a Christian is when my constant worrying stopped.....but I'd been a lair. It was several years after the fact, really. After studying the scriptures and finally grasping the concept of God's sovereignty, I quit worrying. Oh sure, I still worry sometimes. It ain't nothing like the old me though. I've come to grips with fact that life is filled with lessons that God has set for me. Most of the time its, "Trust me, you ungrateful fool", followed by me asking forgiveness. I suppose it comes down to believing the promises of scripture.....really believing them. If God says that he will feed his people, why is it so darn hard to believe it. Jesus Christ is bigger than locusts, droughts, coon, windstorms, hail, and early frosts. He made them and sent them our way to glorify Himself through our faithfulness.

I have been working on the "links bar". Added a few new ones. It seems to be growing into a creature of it own! Looking at the template makes my eyes spin around. Its a work in progress.

Monday, October 10, 2005

The Wedding

Well, I have not had a chance to post anything the last few days. I've been getting ready for and catching up from, a good ole fashioned hillbilly wedding. A friend that I grew up with was married on Saturday, and I found my self all dressed up and cleaned up, standing up with him and a motely crew of dirt farmers, mechanics, and livestock. Yup, I said livestock. The men folks were all dressed in late 1800's western clothes. We all looked pretty good, if I do say so myself. I had not heard many of the details untill I got there. I got up at 2:30am and did a days work by 6am. By 6:30 we were on the road. I had a highschool kid and my brother come out and do the afternoon milking and feeding for me. When we got there someone announced that there were to be no side arms or adult beverages during the ceremony. I shook my head and asked the groom if he had gone " high soceity" on me. He said, "listen, I've got a goat, a dog, and Scott Terry in my wedding.......what more do want." Now I was thrilled! Never seen a goat and an Australian Sheperd in wedding before. Make a long story short, A brides maid led the goat down the aisle. It stood there with the girls during the whole thing. Just before the vows and all got under way, the dog came trotting(sort of) down the aisle and stood at the groom's feet. As always, the food was the best part of the whole thing. I think there was lamb, pork, beef, and a turkey! The lamb was killed that morning. I missed that part, I was still on the road. I was able to see a lot of folks I hadn't seen in 8 or 10 years, and that is always nice. Another thing I liked was that becouse it was show nite at the WDE, the DJ had a cell phone connection to Madison and was giving folks the class results. A case where technology was used for good.

Odds and Ends

Reformed Agrarianisms favorite Pastor has a blog. If you haven't seen it, be sure to check out the The Rural Missourian

How Far Do You Walk Every Day?

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Johnny's Got a Gun

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I could wait no longer, John is now armed. He is the proud new owner of an air rifle. He takes all the saftey rules very seriously and has been practicing his aim on tin cans. This photo is from yesterday at supper time. He keeps it in the gun cabinet with dads arsenal. He is looking foward to hunting squirrels with it.