Friday, March 30, 2012

The Racial Divide

Watching the downward spiral of the question of race riots on the HT forum, I have spent some time this morning in reflection of the issue and I thought I'd share my thoughts here where the readership is few but civil.

There is no such thing as "race". Black, brown, yellow, white, whatever ... we are ALL the image-bearers of God. That being so, it is not proper to reflect on skin color as the basis for dislike.

However, we ARE called upon by the bible to judge CULTURE. Matthew 7 warns us to judge others by their fruits, especially those who wish to be as prophets. It continues to point out that good trees bear good fruits and evil trees bear evil fruits.

Is this not common sense? If you look at urban black culture, is it bearing good fruit? Their families have disintegrated, their children have dead, soulless eyes and do violence on each other and all they come into contact with, and a substantial lack of morality is exposed there in their actions, their songs, and their media.

Thus, fear and dislike (what society calls "prejudice") of that culture and those who dress in its attire is not an irrational fear born out of ignorance, as many would have you believe. It is proper Christian judgement upon a culture.

The same judgement can be laid on many other cultures, from Islamic cultures to Wall Street culture to liberal culture, etc. If two men approached my farm, one wearing the latest stylings of a hip-hop rapper and one wearing a tailored suit with an American flag lapel pin then I would fear them equally and probably respond to both with a shotgun close at hand.

Before some ignorant soul informs me that "Christians aren't supposed to judge", I'll point out that the entire bible is full of explanations showing Christians exactly what they are supposed to be judging and how to do it. When someone says we aren't supposed to judge what they are really saying is "I am deep in sin and I refuse to accept the judgement of you."

You may look upon the cultures of this nation and world and judge freely, for you were supposed to be one of discerning mind. You are supposed to partake of that which is pure and leave behind that which is impure. You absolutely cannot do that WITHOUT judging.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Thinning the Garden

A common practice in garden is sowing more seeds than we actually have room for, should all of them actually germinate and begin to grow. Seeds don't always prosper and so this is probably a wise method.

However the culling of the baby plants is something I dislike. You have to pick "winners" and "losers" and pinch off or pull the losers. This is easy to do when one is towering above the others but when all are more or less equal then it's a very tricky proposition. I pray for guidance that I am picking the right plant when it comes to these times.

In these dark days the world is full of apostate ideas and heretical nonsense. This was foretold, but as a child raised in these days it's difficult to see until much later in life when we begin to be able to discern truth from falsehood.

Pray that God be the one to "thin" our mental gardens of the less productive ideas and nonsense and lead us solely to the truth.

The Pig as a Battery

On our farm, we think of Frank our pig as more or less a battery.

The purpose of a battery is to store surplus energy produced at a given time for a later period of scarcity.

Frank eats excess food from our plates, gardens, etc. that would otherwise be immediately perishable. He converts this into meat and fat and stores it for November (his scheduled demise) when other food sources will be scarce for us.

All is as it should be.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

What the World Worries About

Glancing through a forum this morning, I can see what the world is worried about:

-Tungsten filled gold bars from China
-Giant debris "rafts" from Japan
-Foreclosure bubbles
-Economy recovering
-Economy not recovering
-Obama's private army

And so on and so forth.

I guess all these people must be much better homesteaders than I am to worry about such things. Here's my list of today's worries (and none of those top ones made the cut):

-Is it going to rain?
-Do I have enough nitrogen in my garden or is that why my tomato plants look spindly?
-How hot are my compost piles?
-Am I going to lose this fingernail that I smashed yesterday with a hammer?
-Where am I going to find the time to pick up some of this scrap lumber before my visitors arrive on Friday?

Maybe someday I'll become so proficient at homesteading that I too can worry about the earth expanding, giant EMP waves from the sun, or radioactive Japanese tsunami debris. But for now I'll just focus on these tomato plants.

Faith in Men

Yesterday the weather report called for rain all night and thunderstorms all day today. Nary a drop fell in the night and today it's just hot and muggy. I check the weather report now and it says today will be cloudy with the afternoon and night clear.

I think the weathermen are just guessing. This has an impact on me though because when I saw the forecast for rain I busted my hump all day long getting ready for it. I patched up some holes in my collection system, then built another raised bed to fill with mulch so the big storm could soak it thoroughly before I planted into it.

While God may or may not tell me specifically if it's going to rain, why do we put our faith in men? Almost all of a generation's "science" is proven wrong by the following generation. The government is incapable of taking care of us. Even the best of preachers and guides in this dark age of theology have some part of their doctrine that is proven wrong by scripture.

I am learning to put my faith in God, where it belongs.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Race War Brewing?

Looks like the media has been manipulating the facts in the Trayvon Martin shooting. Who would have guessed? Now the government is getting involved.

I'm glad, real glad, I live in a very rural area. None of this really impacts me at this point. There could be an all-out race war going on thanks to the professional pot-stirrers and it wouldn't really hurt me. The only black man in town is old Syl who runs a small engine repair shop out of his garage. I do believe his white neighbors would form a protective ring around Syl's house to keep him safe. And old Syl would just keep humming his gospels songs while he tinkered with his beloved engines.

Meanwhile, my pig is eating and sleeping. My garden is growing. The new pecan trees have put out some leaves and below ground are undoubtedly stretching out some deep roots. Things are going very good here at Possum Creek, all without the benefit of the government's help.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Pig in a Pen

This morning we brought "Sir Francis Bacon" back from a neighbor's place and installed him in his new pen. Somewhat of a challenging endeavor. He's already about 120 pounds of untamed pork. I call him "Frank".

This is our first time ever raising a hog for butcher. This is our season for trying new things, I suppose.

Saturday, March 24, 2012


It's only supposed to be 84 degrees today but it feels like it's a furnace out there. I guess I've become unused to the hot weather. We worked on the giant mulch pile and got some of it spread out today, and then when it got too hot we went inside to rest and relax. That's where we are still!

Yeesh. This summer is going to be brutal.

Friday, March 23, 2012

From Wylie's "History of the Waldenses"

Even the Seven-hilled City they feared not to enter, scattering the seed on ungenial soil, if perchance some of it might take root and grow. Their naked feet and coarse woollen garments made them somewhat marked figures, in the streets of a city that clothed itself in purple and fine linen; and when their real errand was discovered, as sometimes chanced, the rulers of Christendom took care to further, in their own way, the springing of the seed, by watering it with the blood of the men who had sowed it.


The persecution of those who spread the true word of Christ is no greater sign of the truth contained in that message.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Once Bitten Twice Shy

My dog Sam bites people.

He doesn't bite me or my family members. He's very gentle and submissive with us all. But he has been known to bite strangers. Even strangers whom I have instructed him NOT to bite.

He is a fearful and nervous dog at his core and it impacts his view of people and the world. Strangers are dangerous and should be bitten. That is Sam's default belief. When people don't like dogs he is even more inclined to bite them.

I can relate to this aspect of Sam as if I am not careful it will become my default position as well. When I lose sight of the Lord then I become fearful and nervous. I am likely to bite.

I pray this evening that my Sam-like nature be suppressed and that I learn to rely on God's guidance when meeting new people. That I learn that not everyone needs to be bitten.

The Shooting of Trayvon Martin

When your default position is violence then violence will eventually find you.

The neighborhood watch volunteer shot this boy under circumstances which will never be clear. The boy was in the wrong place at the wrong time. A quick look at the cultural factors makes this shooting absolutely unavoidable. Allow me to share some thoughts.

1. Black urban youth culture GLORIFIES gangsters and criminals. A quick look at today's youth, both black and white, and anyone not from that culture has a very difficult time distinguishing violent perpetrators from the imitators. They dress alike, act alike, have the same mannerisms, etc. Television, music, and every element of this "culture" has elevated criminals to a hero status to be emulated. Can we be too surprised when someone mistakes an innocent kid for a criminal when that kid dresses like a criminal and in all probability had the mannerisms of a criminal?

2. The neighborhood watch shooter clearly is of a fearful disposition. He is probably more of a danger to society than this kid was, as anyone who doesn't act as expected or frightens him is likely to end up shot. However being a coward is not against the law. Shooting someone down in cold blood is, but there is no way to ever prove that he did so. No witnesses. Under our legal system, there would always be doubt and thus he CANNOT be convicted.

3. Law enforcement has nothing to do with this issue. NOTHING. I'm no great defender of the police, but calling for the police chief to step down for not arresting someone who may or may not have committed an actual crime? That's mob rule.

4. This is going to get worse. As criminality increases, anyone outside of the observer's ethnic group is probably going to first be deemed a threat. This is a sad state of affairs but it is a historically accurate viewpoint. As societies decline, they begin to become "Balkanized" to the degree that racial group turns against racial group, ideology turns against ideology, and religion turns against religion. There will be many more dead Trayvon Martins in the future, all victims of a collapsing society, a culture of violence, and the pawns of a government more interested in turning its citizens against each other than in actually governing.

5. Historically, the responses to these events are always, always worse than the event. An enormous petition drive that goes nowhere can and may very well end up in violence that burns down our inner cities and murders many more people. The professional fire-fanners are already lining up to throw some more fuel into the mix for their own purposes. I'm sure Jesse Jackson was salivating over this event before the boy's body was even cold.

This is an ugly tragedy but it may very well explode into something much uglier. It is a pile of gasoline soaked tires and cordwood and a large number of people are excitedly striking matches into it. Pray for guidance in these dark times. We will all need it.

Paper Chains

All I see on the blogs and forums is a lot of doom and gloom.

Why so fearful, Christians?

What does it matter to you if the bond bubble bursts? How much of your money is tied up in these foreign markets? Do you have enough money in your pockets for today? Praise God for that! Your needs will be met tomorrow as well, unless it is to God's glory that you should starve, and if that be so then let each rumble of your belly be like a chorus of hallelujahs!

What does it matter to you if Israel goes to war with Iran or vice versa? Are you in Israel or Iran? Neither Iran nor Israel makes your garden grow or fills your heart with zeal. If these tribulations come to other peoples then pray for them and pray fervently that their trials bring them closer to God.

What does it matter to you if gasoline skyrockets up to $5, $6, or even $10 per gallon? Does God care about your daily commute or your planned family vacation? These are the things of the world, not of Christ's kingdom. If you cannot ride in your air conditioned car will you cease to go into the world and do God's will? Will you not walk until your shoes wear out and then walk barefoot until your feet bleed? Surely you are not one of those lukewarm Christians who will only do God's will if it is comfortable and convenient to you!

All manner of miseries have been promised to the world, Christian. You are simply worrying about the details and manifestations that are to come. The more you are entangled with the world, the more you will suffer with the world. Babylon is promised to fall; it will not survive. God's wrath is soon to be poured out upon the wicked. The tares will be pulled from the field to be burned and the fields reaped. Have the seeds that have been sown in you born fruit? Bend ye to the plow!

The chains that bind you are made of paper. They are broken by your will to follow the Lord. All has been prepared for you in the desert. Come out of Babylon, you have been told. Time grows short indeed.

The Shrine of Government

I spend a lot of time in government buildings. Mostly state, city, and county but occasionally federal.

There's a trend I want you to notice next time you go into some government building, probably because you were forced to pay obeisance in the form of a fee, permit, fine, or tax.

All of the government buildings look like shrines or temples. Or what we were taught that shrines or temples should look like. In these shrines you can find priests in the form of government employees as they carry about their (mostly) ridiculous functions. Outside of the shrines (in larger urban areas) you will find clusters of petitioners who have for some reason or other fallen outside of the approved status of the government. Mostly homeless and beggars. They are there because they know government is where you go when you want something, but also because they expect the traffic of priests and penitents will toss them some scraps.

Government in America has become its own religion, or it at least demands worship as if it were.

Carrying the Torch

In the dark days of our lives it is easy to carry the torch for Jesus. Our hearts in misery are constantly turned towards God seeking mercy and aid. Those dark days are the hook that our Lord uses to draw us to him, teaching us to seek His will in all things.

The good days our hearts abound and thankfulness comes easily to our tongues. These are days full of prayer and hallelujahs because we have found respite and happiness and we seek God.

The bleak days that are neither bad nor good but simply are always seem to be the hardest. Where the day seems to just go on and on with no real purpose but survival are the days where we should be seeking the Lord the most, but find it difficult to do so.

If you find your days are bleak right now, ask the Lord for guidance. Boredom and depression come from the inability (or unwillingness) to do God's will for you, which can be found in scripture. If you seek after this world then you shall always be unhappy but seeking after God brings pleasure even in the worst conditions.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


Electrical devices on the grid, or perhaps it's just "the grid" itself emit this barely audible hum. If you've lived your life connected to the grid you probably don't notice it but once you get away from it then it's very audible and sleep disturbing each and every time you have to suffer it. I don't notice it when I run into a convenience store for a bottle of water, but I dang sure notice it in a hotel room in a strange city.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Obama's New Executive Order

In my occasional browsing of the survival forum I used to frequent, I came across a lot of hubbub about a new executive order Obama has signed in which the government claims it has the authority to take your goods under certain circumstances. I'll share my opinion here.

You live under a tyrannical state. If you were born in America, you have lived your entire life under a tyrannical state. That it cloaks itself in patriotism and country-western singers profess how "free" we are makes no difference. We are as much prisoners and slaves of the state as a Russian peasant in the 1950's Soviet Union, or one of the miserable millions under North Korean rule.

The government has laid claim to your goods your entire life. They lay claim to a third or more of your labors in the form of taxes. They claim your property when you break any one of a hundred laws that they have imposed upon you, senseless as those laws may be. They back up these claims with force and deadly violence, the same as any bandit gang would.

So patriots, stop your chest-thumping. You look ridiculous. You haven't fought them for any of the past thousand usurpations and you're not going to fight them over Obama signing a piece of paper. You may claim that you'll fight them when they kick down your door, but if you won't also fight them when they kick down your NEIGHBOR'S door then you are just waiting for your own turn to die. The final last defense of your life and property does not make you a patriot.

For the free Christian out there, obey your conscience. Violence need not be your default position. If the government shows up and wants to confiscate your goods then you most likely picked the wrong place to live a long time ago. There are many "ungovernable" locations scattered around the nation and the minions of tyrants are not likely to seek out every nook and cranny and backroad simply to take a few cans of squash. If the tyrant still shows up at your door, greet him as a Christian should and let God's will be done. It may be that on that day the tyrant's minions are taught a bloody lesson about messing with God's people, as the Pharaoh's armies were taught. Or it may be that you join the vast crowd of martyrs underneath God's holy throne who ask the Lord how long it may be before vengeance is exacted in their name.

Your fate was decided when you embraced Christ and chose to follow Him instead of the world. He himself has told us that as they did unto Him they will also do to us. Make no mistake. A man living in a hollow log in the deepest wilderness who rejects tyrants and embraces the Lord is vested with a moral authority that will disturb the statist dreams of the men who claim power. They will seek you out to give you the martyr's choice: bow the knee or die. On that day, tell them that you cannot belong to them for your life was bought by another and is not yours to give, nor theirs to take.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Sugar Addiction and Thunderstorms

I haven't had much energy to post lately. Not much energy to do anything at all. I've dragged my sorry hide out there to finish another raised bed and I had two more truckloads of mulch delivered to spread out for the Eden beds, but that's about it. The pig pen is constructed but not yet made secure. A determined (and heavy) pig could push her way to freedom. More wire is called for.

The lack of energy is because I'm on day 3 of a complete abstinence of sugar. Since coming down here we've been required by neccessity to shop more at stores, and that has led to my consumption of large amounts of junk food. Sugary soft drinks and particularly one evil known as a "Java Monster" has been robbing my budget and my strength. How can one expect to do God's will if one lets the body become corrupted by people and corporations whose only desire is to sicken and corrupt you while making large amounts of money?

The short answer: You can't.

Eat healthy food and cut your addictions NOW. I can't imagine having to deal with the lack of sugar and caffeine in a SHTF situation. I am absolutely dead on my feet from the time I rise until I fall exhausted into bed at night. And I'm barely working! What a hold I let those substances get on my body! I have resolved, though I may stumble, to purge these excesses from my diet. While the occasional piece of homemade apple cobbler may grace my lips, the soft drinks, candy bars, and especially the energy drinks shall not. These things are sent by Satan himself to rob you of your strength, health, and vitality. There can be no moderation as they are specifically designed to addict you. Don't fool yourself into thinking you can control it. Avoid the candy and soft drink aisles like you (hopefully) avoid harlots and drug dealers on the street, for the end result is the same ... the breaking of your ability to do God's will and the destruction of your health.

Ok, enough about sugar. There's been thunderstorms on the weather report for a week now but we've gotten not one drop. I completely restructured my water catchment system (which wasn't working) with one long and nearly-contiguous hose. I hope it works. If not, a minor modification should be all that's needed. And just in time too, because the entire sky is BLACK above me. It's howling wind and I can see rain being dumped between me and the distant hills, not more than 3 miles away. A few sprinkles are coming down as I type this! Praise God!

Now to run back to the house to avoid being soaked carrying my laptop.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Henrietta's Homecoming

We've got all the materials delivered to put together Henrietta's pig pen. I picked a really nice spot for her under some oak trees. They don't really drop acorns but I think the shade will accomodate her nicely. She'll be happy over there, I suspect. The soil is kind of rocky but that'll help keep her from digging out underneath the fence. Or at least slow her down.

It's rising up into the mid-60's here at night. I still don't have the windows put in for the upper story so there's no breeze up there. What was a blessing in the colder weather will soon turn into a hardship. I've got to get moving on that!

These are blessed days. I want to just sit on the porch and look out over the pasture and reflect on how good God has been to us, but there's still so much to do. I suppose time will slow down here soon though.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Old Turtles and Bold Turtles

While I was building one of the raised beds, a truck stopped down on the road and some young boys got out. I could hear them talking but didn't know what the deal was, so I hiked on down to the road to see. I inadvertently scared the tar out of them. I guess you don't always expect to see a dirty, bearded hillbilly rise up out of the brush. I have a habit of keeping trees and scrub between me and whom I'm approaching. Old habits die hard.

They'd found a big box turtle crossing the road and were looking at it. The weather has warmed up here enough for them to go moving about, I suppose (the turtles, not the teenage boys). I explained to them the best way to cook turtle and one of them expressed disgust. He said he prefers steak. I asked, "Do you find a lot of free steak sitting on the side of the road?"

I asked if they wanted the turtle and they insisted they did not. I promised I wouldn't eat this one and then disappeared back into the scrub as they drove away. I tried real hard to be friendly and harmless, but I suspect those are three boys who won't be back down this backroad. A pity. More boys should learn about nature.

I took the turtle back and showed it to my own children before setting him loose in the post oak woods. It's been an hour and he's still sitting over there not moving and with his head in the shell. I guess there are old turtles, and bold turtles, but no old, bold turtles. Judging by his size, I suspect he's older than I am and was probably thinking in regards to his manhandling, "not again".

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Afternoon Activities

This morning I ran over to my neighbor's to talk about pigs. We're getting one of their piggies here sometime this week. Not sure yet how I'm going to manage to get some hog panels home though. That may be a tricky endeavor.

The pig decision was a hard one. Normally I see a pig as something you add to an already thriving homestead, not to a beginning one. The pig is fed on the excess and waste. Only here we don't HAVE any excess or waste. So I'll be buying a good quantity of the pig's food. That isn't ideal. However we have to start somewhere and I can easily plant a row in the garden for turnips and feed those back to the pig. She'll become dinner come November and even this small one should provide enough meat for a couple of months through the winter. That makes me pretty happy. And this is pretty much an experiment to see if the family can cope with a large animal. They did well with sheep, not so much goats and definitely not the cow. PLUS we can throw together a pig pen in no-time flat as opposed to a much longer and expensive fencing operation to get sheep out here.

Planted some more of the raised beds, got some more lumber, and started an experimental "Back to Eden" bed. I'm curious how those are going to pan out. Now it looks like rain so I get to go up the ladder and fix my leaky water catchment solution. The duct tape I used to seal a join at two pipes didn't hold in the last big rain and so I missed out on a lot of water. This time ... MORE DUCT TAPE!

Raised Beds!

The soil here is terrible. It's a mixture of clay and rock. We don't mind. If the soil here was as fertile as our land in Illinois, then this region would be as polluted in mind and body with cornfields and soybeans cluttering up the beautiful and rugged landscape. Anything flat would have long since been plowed and brought into subjugation by the agro-industrial complex.

So what do Christian agrarians without huge bank accounts do? We buy marginal land in rugged regions of the country and make it prosper. Under God's blessing, even the rock was made to pour out living waters. So to shall this land bring forth food and nourishment.

In order to accomplish this, we have decided to use raised beds. My design of choice, field tested on our Illinois homestead, was a 4' X 16' wooden frame filled with fertile soil. Here I went a little deeper and built the frames twice as deep. (They're about 1.5' deep.)

This year we're filling the beds with a mulch and dirt mixture, augmented with composted cow manure. Underneath that we piled up rotting logs and sticks in an attempt at hugelkulture. Anticipating another drought year, we're pulling out all the stops.

The argument over whether to use treated wood versus untreated wood has been settled to my satisfaction. Numerous studies have shown that there's more arsenic in the soil already (and the rain) than is leached from the treated wood into the garden, AND most vegetables do not readily take up arsenic via their root systems. So long as you wash your veggies well then you're not consuming any more arsenic than anyone else. It's the best we can hope for in this tainted world. So I have some raised beds that were made with treated lumber, but in the future I will be making other beds out of untreated lumber for cost reasons. This will lower the price per bed dramatically.

Next year we will have plenty of compost of our own, made from humanure, but for this year I'm having to buy sacks of it. The mulch structure may do well for water retention, but it's deficient of almost all nutrients. A top dressing of composted manure will help considerably.

It amuses me that people with industrialized minds SHUDDER at the horror of eating vegetables grown in composted human excrement but see nothing wrong with drinking water that other people have shit in. Modern "waste treatment" facilities filter out the shit and then dump tons of toxic chlorine in to kill any pathogens.

As always, it is our duty to plant and look towards God to provide the increase. Here's the breakdown for those of you interested in the mechanics:

12 4' X 16' beds.

5 16' boards, 4 for the sides and 1 to be cut in 4' pieces to be used on the ends.

My cost per bed (@ $16 for treated 16' 2"X8" boards) : $80

 $960 for all 12 raised beds, providing I used the treated lumber. The expectation is that treated lumber would last 10 years, giving me a yearly cost of $96 to save for replacement.

Untreated lumber will cost me $46.95 per raised bed but each bed can only be expected to last for about 5 years (estimated). That's a total cost of $563.40 but a replacement put-back each year of $112.

Three of my beds are comprised of treated lumber, but the rest are going to be made of untreated to save on costs.

That's a total garden area of 768 square feet which may need to be added to in the future. As a vegetable garden augmented with meat and dairy from our farm, it should be pretty substantial.

Times They Are A Changin'

The time recently changed and it left me pondering what its relationship is to us. My wife put the same question to me, asking "What is time to us other than numbers on a clock?"

Daylight Saving Time or DST was first proposed by Ben Franklin (that sick workaholic) and carried further into its modern implementation by a number of people independently. It is a creature of the industrial revolution and anti-agrarian in all of its forms.

At a certain point during the year, under the fixed time schedule, the majority of daylight hours fall in the morning instead of the evening. Most urbanites and factory workers do not get up any earlier than they must and so those morning hours are lost to retail and labor. By changing the time, the corporate industrial system then has more daylight at the end of the working shift for sports (the pacification of the adult mind), and shopping (the everpresent consumer lifestyle).

Part of freeing yourself from the grips of the consumer world is understanding how and why they do things and what's been done to you. Research DST and its first implementation by the Germans in WW1 and you'll get an eyeful.

Here at Possum Creek we pay little attention to the "time" as it only matters in the outside world. Without electricity, we rise at dawn and wind down and sleep at dark. This is a more natural cycle and in tune with the seasons as God intended.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Catching Back Up

Been awhile since I checked in with y'all. Things are good. We just about got flooded out by three straight days of rain. Over most of the property there was about 2" of standing water. I was beginning to think I'd bought the only swampland in this part of Texas! We also near froze to death in the cabin at nights. The north wind was howling really hard and we still don't have any tar paper or siding up on the cabin so it just whistles in through the cracks in the plywood. Brrr! The small wood stove we have can't keep up with that.

But the rain stopped and now the temperature is racing up from 35 degrees all the way to 85 today with lows in the 60's each night for the next week. Hallelujah! The water has ran off and we're drying out here. I'm spending the day cleaning up a little and planting some tomato plants. With all that's going on I've been behind on starting seeds this year so I'm jumpstarting by purchasing the plants. I got a great deal on a flat of starts for $12.50. That's less than a buck a plant! Two of the raised beds are going into tomato plants right now and I need to get some more raised beds built to accomodate more foodstuffs too.

Hope the day finds you well. I'm happy as a clam to just see the sunshine and hear the birds singing.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Week

Been a long week of driving and working. I've been working in Waco this week, a mere 2 hours drive from my home so I make the trip morning and night. Waco is my old stomping ground as I spent a significant portion of my later teenage years there. Driving past old haunts and down the streets where a teenage Ernie roamed is a good reminder of why we were instructed to put "new wine in new wineskins." It is very easy for the 40 year old Ernie to slip into the 19 year old Ernie's mental shoes.

We're looking forward to a bit of rain here this weekend. Our rainwater system is set up now and we're prepared to capture. We have about 100 gallons of capacity to fill, which is about 1/4 of an inch worth, but we'll be happy to get it. As time goes on, the chlorinated, semi-toxic water from the "grid" that was transported into our catchment tank will be more and more diluted with the "pure" until such time as we shall never know the other. Perhaps our minds are following suit as well.

I had a wonderful lunch with an old friend today and was thrilled to hear that their daughter who was suffering from some form of early arthritis has now been miraculously healed! Praise God! There is nothing better than good news from an old friend about people you love and care about.

Today is a good day.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Well On Our Way

The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.
Albert Camus

The Lonely Highway

A little bit outside of Brownwood on the highway towards Waco there is a gravestone up on a windswept hill. I pass it each time I go to Waco (or anywhere east).

An old crumbling homestead is down the hill from the lone grave, and out by the marble headstone sits a rusted old metal chair which has fallen over. Grass has grown up around both.

When I see this stone, I always wonder who is buried there. Even more, I wonder who loved them enough to come and sit out beside their grave in that metal chair. I wonder where they've gone now and left their chair to rust and decay beneath the grim Texas sun. How long did they linger on this Earth after their loved one was gone and why was there nobody who loved THEM enough to bury them beside the person they loved enough to sit by the grave?

I hope today the circle is now unbroken and they are side by side. What remains we may leave on a windswept Texas hill are of no consequence. Our everlasting souls are preserved and we will meet with our loved ones again.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Anecdotes from Out Here

When I go into the town of Bangs for some piddly little thing like a soda or a cup of coffee or just to drive around, I go by this one house where they've got a bunch of dogs.

Normally the dogs are all up on and under the porch but when they hear my old truck rattling down the road they get all excited. Suddenly I look off to the right and I see a pack of indeterminate breed dogs heading down to the road to cut me off. They run alongside my truck for a little while barking furiously. If Sam (my sheepdog) is with me then he returns the barks with zeal. About a quarter mile down the road though even the most enthusiastic of truck-chasers has given up and I can see in my rearview mirror a lot of happy dogs standing around giving each other the doggie equivalent of a high-five. They then wait out by the road for the next twenty minutes or so until I return and go back the other way and the process repeats itself. (There's not a lot of traffic on this road so I'm really the highpoint of the day.)

I often wonder what they would do if I stopped the truck and let them catch me. They've probably been chasing trucks for years and have never caught one. Would it be an all-out celebration or would they stand around all confused?

It's in our nature to pursue things we can't (or shouldn't) have and to pursue them with zeal. Though our minds are fixed firmly on the object of our desire, we wouldn't know what to do if we actually acquired it. Perhaps it is a sign of Christian maturity if we can learn to stay on the porch and let the rattling, noisy things of the world pass us by without discomfort. There is surely better ways to spend our energies in the service of the Lord.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

On Obedience

A couple of days ago I was working with my children on building another raised bed for the garden. (Two down now, Ten to go!)

It struck me somehow that my children represent the different models of Christian maturity.

My oldest is disciplined and obedient. When given a task he will either do it or ask for clarification if he doesn't understand HOW to do it. There are many things he can do without any guidance at all, but anything new he must have explained and shown to him.

My next oldest is eleven and he probably most represents where I feel I am on my Christian journey. He wants to help and tries hard, but he lacks focus and will wander away from the work area pursuing his own thoughts and interests. Thus when his labor is required he must be called back and reminded that he IS working and he needs to stay focused and attentive to his tasks with his ear turned towards listening for the next task. Often after the third or fourth such wandering away he must be rebuked to provide a more lasting reminder that he IS supposed to be performing some task he has been given.

Then there's the littlest ones at seven and five. They will come to the work area and proudly announce that they are "helping Daddy" but soon will give up the pretense altogether and either wander away to play and entertain themselves or interfere with those who are more actively pursuing productive tasks. Sooner or later they fall to bickering over petty things and this serves as a distraction to everyone else who is busily engaged in their labors.

I feel that this third set of workers most aptly represents mainstream Christianity today. Are you being attentive to your Father or have you wandered away from the work area in order to pursue your own interests? Have you fallen to petty bickering with your brothers and sisters? Are you deserving of a rebuke for the neglect of your duties? We all may find ourselves somewhere in this typology at various points. Perhaps this understanding was given to me in order to improve my soul, for Lord knows there is MUCH labor ahead of me.

Still Alive - On Hiatus

I'm still here, but been taking sort of a hiatus this week from the BI as you've probably noticed. We're building a back porch here on the homestead and that's been taking up a lot of my time.

I'm also reevaluating the format of the BI this week, pondering over in my head what I want to do with this space and if my message is truly what God intends for this internet ministry.

I have little to no interest in current events and politics. I'm not a survivalist nor am I a "prepper" in the usual sense. My family is well on the way to exiting the consumer society. Alarmist news items really don't intrigue me that much. If you want to hear what's wrong with the world, well, there's a thousand other websites that can do that much better. Radio shows and television too.

As I've talked more and more about religion and the purpose for why we do these things, my readership has dropped off considerably. A corresponding drop in revenue has followed and now the BI is no longer self-sustaining. I considered this a sign from the start that God would either let this effort bear fruit or it would die on the vine. Since it is dying on the vine, I suspect I should take a change in direction.

So I'm considering in using this space for articles, both on theological topics, as best as my mind and poor scholarship may deliver, and also on the more practical aspects of Christian homesteading. It would mean less frequent posting, but also more real substance.

Please let me know what you think. I'm here for you and for whomever God may lead in my direction.