A Godly Home

12/18/2008 at 4:41 pm (bible, home)

We’ve recently been listening to the “Godly Home” tape series from the Charity Ministries. You can download all the sermons as mp3s at that link, or you can call or write and request the series on tape or CD.

It is a very good series of messages.

The last several ones we’ve listened to have been about raising children. Noel and I have long wished for children, but God has not blessed us with them yet. While we are sad that we have had to wait so long, we are also happy in that we now have a much better idea of how to raise the children that God will bless us with some day.

There are two points where Noel and I’s ideas about child rearing differ from the world’s that have been much on my mind lately.

The first is the false idea that children do not need to be disciplined below a certain age. We’ve seen this time and time again. Little children two or three years old having the run of everything and doing whatever they so choose despite what mother or father may say. And you can often here the parents complain, “What can we do? They just don’t understand.”

The parents seem to think that as the child gets older they will “understand” and obey later on. But our 12 years of observation (along with personal experience) shows that this is absolutely not true. A child must be taught from the moment they are born to obey the parents, or they will not (unless for some reason they want to) when they get older.

In the tape we listened to last night (07A The Training of the Will), Brother Kenny dealt specifically with that issue. And it was a blessing to hear someone else say the things we’ve been thinking for a while now.

The other issue that has been in my thoughts lately, is this whole “cry it out” thing that’s been going around.

Suffice to say that it is absolutely heart-breaking to those of us who’ve wished for children for so long to see other parents who have been so blessed but who seem to think the best way to rear their children is to ignore them.


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Chicken tractor

12/05/2008 at 7:20 pm (home)

chickentractor1I’ve been working my tail off at completing the chicken tractor for the hens.

The photo above was taken tonight about the time it got too dark to work.

I was going to build a permanent coop and let the girls roam during the day. But we’ve got a few problems with roaming livestock in this neighborhood (guineas and hogs actually), and I don’t want to be a nuisance with my animals. So I decided instead to build a chicken tractor.

I searched and searched and must have looked at hundreds of photos. I even purchased some really nice  plans from this fellow. But I was disappointed in that most tractor plans only allow for a small number of birds (3-5). I have 10 and I wasn’t real happy about the idea of getting rid of any of them.

So I ended up just drawing my own plans. I decided upon an a-frame design. The upper half will be the coop with nest boxes and roost and the lower half will be a wire-enclosed run.

The base dimensions are 5 by 8-feet. There is a ramp leading from the coop to the run which will have a rope leading to the outside of the tractor so that it can be raised at night when all the birds are inside.

I’ll have some more photos when it’s completed and the hens have moved in!

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A study of contrasts

11/25/2008 at 9:35 pm (home, thoughts)

Yesterday was a good day.

I spent the morning finishing up pulling the chicken coop down from our friend’s land. I was very happy that when I pulled the roof down, not a single one of the good studs broke during the fall. The rotted ones did, but that’s no matter.

I took a little break to eat dinner and read a little before heading over to our other friends’ place to help them butcher two of their turkeys.

It was a long hard good day. We accomplished a lot of work that has real value. In both cases work that directly relates to one of the necessities of our lives (i.e.- food).

I got to thinking about this this morning while at my “day job.” And I got to thinking what a contrast it was. Yesterday I did good meaningful work directly related to making a living (in the utterly true sense of the word). But how that today I had to go sell myself to some company to do work that has very little real value.

The reason that we have to do that is because the world has decided that it isn’t enough to just make a living, we have to make “dollars.” And the world has found that it is extremely profitable for them to keep us so busy making “dollars” that we don’t have time to make a living so that we have to purchase a prepackaged “living” from the factory.

Though I am heartened to see that many folks seem to be waking up to the fact that like all the other factory produced junk available this prepackaged “life” is not worth its true cost, I still fear it is too little too late.

We have too many folks completely dependent upon this system. We have too many folks completely addicted to the “comforts.” Too many folks still believe that that way is better.

But there are two things that keep that factory running, cheap “money” and cheap petroleum. And I believe the days of both of those items are gone forever … we just haven’t figured it out yet.

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Abominable straw-man?

11/20/2008 at 4:17 pm (home)

This strange creature was sighted on our property this afternoon.

Has anyone ever seen anything like it before?


Turns out it was just me hauling a load of straw to the hay shed.

makinghayWhile working this afternoon I also had some thoughts I’d like to share with you.

I was cutting the straw with the scythe. For those of you non-farm types that might find the blog it is not hay, it is straw. Straw is dead grass that has no nutritional value at all. Hay is cut when the grass is still young and it will retain its food value in storage for quite some time. It doesn’t matter to us, because we’re using the straw to cover our compost so that it doesn’t stink and attract all manner of unwanted animals.

Anyway, so I was cutting the straw and letting it lie. And it’s very windy here today and I got to the end of a pass and noticed that the wind was blowing the straw all over. So I started brain-storming, “how in the world was I going to carry this stuff to the shed before it all blows away.”

I think it’s real funny how a modern Babylonian will always think of the most difficult (read-mechanized or expensive) way of doing a thing.

Last year when we were cutting the grass I used a gas trimmer I’d bought at a yard sale. I used it for a while till I could stand it no longer. Then I borrowed the neighbor’s riding mower to do the rest. We had a truck at the time, so we forked all the straw into the back of the truck, drove the truck closer to the hay shed and forked the straw into the shed.

We cut just about the entire back half of our acre and it filled the shed.

So then today, I’m standing there with my straw blowing away and I’m wondering how I can move it into the shed without having to move it all fork by fork. And the first thing that comes to mind is how I wished I had one of those nice carts like Lehman’s sells. But they are more than $300 and what’s more, I don’t have one and the straw is blowing away now.

But then I remembered!

John Seymour in his book The Self-Sufficient Life and How to Live it describes a way to carry a large amount of straw or hay with only a rope.

You tie a loop in one end of your rope. Lay the rope on the ground. Fork or rake the straw onto the rope. Pick up the two ends of the rope, threading the free end through the loop. Cinch it tight and throw it over your shoulder. Viola! Human hay hauler!

It’s really quite amazing the things you can learn.

But it really saddens me too. How long would have it taken me to figure this out on my own? I probably wouldn’t have. Talking about the Babylonian mindset again, the way my mind thinks I wouldn’t have thought to try that.

But I’m saddened because I know that there are hundreds upon thousands of similar little tips and tricks that were second nature to our forebears but we would never think of.

People are loathe to try the old-fashioned way of doing things because it is more labor. But there’s two problems with that. The first is that we try to do manual labor as if we were machines. The second is that we don’t know how to do the manual labor right in the first place.

How many of you have tried to saw wood with a hand saw? Did you lubricate the blade? I find that sawing with a handsaw is much much easier if you apply a bit of grease or wax to the blade. I learned that tip from paying attention the last time I read Huckleberry Finn. How great is that?

How many other tips and tricks have been lost because no one ever thought it was worth recording? Then everyone quit doing it that way because “progress” came along and don’t you know machines are better? And now no one remembers.

Anyway, I’ll quit rambling for now. See y’all later!

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Chicks outside

11/20/2008 at 11:35 am (home)

The chicks are rapidly outgrowing the little box I made them, but they are not quite ready for full-time outside yet either.

But I decided that I’d put them out in the dog kennel today to start getting them used to the great outdoors also since the chicken coop is not quite ready yet.

They are picking it up just fine I believe.

chicksoutsideI’ve spent the past hour or so just outside watching them. They are really neat.

It was kind of funny. The chicks all squawked in protest at being picked up and hauled outside but most of them hopped off my hands when we got outside.

All but one. She squawked and fought the whole way outside, but when we got to the pen and I tried to put her down, she did not want out of my hands! I kept trying to push her off and she’d just as hard back-pedal right back into my hands. It was funny.

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I am in love

11/15/2008 at 9:25 pm (home)

I’ve been taking the scythe out to mow whenever I can. I’ve spent maybe 30 minutes total the last two days cutting grass over the past two days.

And I am in love.

There are certain tools that a fellow just falls in love with, and this scythe is definitely one of them.

I still have quite a ways to go as far as learning how to use the thing. And the grass being laid down and matted together from having waited too long to cut it is very hard to cut. But I love cutting with the scythe.

I love that I am cutting grass into straw and not spending any money for fuel. I love that the only “fumes” I smell are the faint whiffs of linseed oil from the handle. I love that the only sound is the swooshing of the blade through the grass.

I should have bought one of these years ago.

PS- To see what a scythe can do in competent hands, check out this YouTube video!

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Scythe and chicks

11/13/2008 at 11:17 am (home)

Well, after a quick run to the hardware store for some wood glue, I have a scythe!

agoodscytheI noticed a while back that the chicks were continually roosting on top of their waterers and feeders. So I put a log in there for them to sit on.

At first they were so scared of the thing that they ran to the other side of their box and wouldn’t get near it.

Now they fight over who gets to sit on the thing!


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