March 15, 2019

Good Things Take Time



If you haven't heard by now, I have finally put together a fresh, new Planet Whizbang web site. Here's the link: PlanetWhizbang.com

For many years I have made do with web sites that I created using the Blogger blogging format. They were free, and the format was familiar to me.

Blogger is so familiar to me that I have actually created 46 different sites on Blogger since 2005, only four of which are actual blogs. 

Some of the sites are hidden, some I never fully completed, but several have helped me make a living with my Planet Whizbang Business. 

I have, however, realized for some time that I needed to get a real Planet Whizbang web site. I've put it off because the task seemed so overwhelming.

It turned out that it's wasn't all that overwhelming. Just time consuming. Very time consuming. 

I still have a lot of work ahead of me to get all the products I sell off of Blogger, but the hardest work is done. It's a huge relief to have this new web site established.

I made the new site with Wix. If I can figure it out, anyone can. WIX is da bomb when it comes to making your own web site.






March 14, 2019


Was Jesus An Agrarian?


The following was originally posted at my Deliberate Agrarian blog back in 2009


My sheep HEAR My voice, and I KNOW them, and they FOLLOW Me.
(John 10:27)

In my previous blog, Delmar Ain’t So Stupid, I wrote about the “dominion mandate” given by God in Genesis, and I explained that this was clearly an agrarian mandate to work the land, and care for it responsibly. All of creation shows God’s glory. We glorify Him when we choose to live within the paradigm of the mandate and work the land as co-creators with God. I am persuaded that this is the proper undergirding paradigm for living the Christian life.

For the record, I should make it clear that I do not believe for a second that agrarianism is the primary focus of Christianity. There is much, much more to the Christian life than choosing to live and work within the agrarian framework. But for Christians to ignore this aspect is a serious mistake.

Agrarianism is antithetical to the dominant “worldly” industrial system. Christians are called by God to come out of this system. Yet most modern Christians love the world and are dependent on the industrial providers and want nothing to do with the simplicity and humility and hardship that comes with living their lives and raising their families within the paradigm of the dominion mandate, as it is properly understood.

In response to my previous blog essay a person asked this question:

Was Jesus An Agrarian?

I must say that I have never considered this question before. It got me to thinking. And I have concluded the following...

I would not consider Jesus Christ to have been an agrarian. Likewise, I would not consider Him to be a Christian. Other names for Jesus come to my mind and are appropriate:

My Lord and my God
King of kings
Savior
Son of God
Redeemer
Master
Lamb of God
Messiah
Alpha & Omega
Prince of peace
Chief cornerstone
Bridegroom
Deliverer
Horn of Salvation
Light of the world
The one mediator between God and man
Lion of the tribe of Judah
Shepherd

I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.
(John 10:11)

There are other names for Jesus in the Bible. But, no, I would not call him an “agrarian.”

Having said that, I would like to also point out that I would not call God the Father an agrarian either, even though it was He who planted the first garden:

The LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden
(Genesis 2:8)

When Jesus was born, the Bible says that Mary wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger. Most moderns don’t really know what a manger is. I didn’t know until I worked on a farm as a teenager. A manger is an animal feed box, typically found in a barn. He was born in an agrarian setting.

Jesus did not grow up in a city. He grew up within an agrarian culture, working with his hands, and with his father, learning to build with wood. It is probable that this family had animals and grew some of their own food. He was familiar with the cycles of sowing and reaping, with vineyards, and with sheep and shepherds and fishermen. As far as we know, Jesus lived and worked quietly within this paradigm for something like thirty years before he left to begin his ministry. This agrarian culture was a type of incubator that helped prepare Christ for the redeeming work he came to do. Later, when Jesus began his ministry, he taught his disciples using many agrarian parables, simple in the telling, but of deep spiritual significance.

People of that day did not use the word “agrarian” but for Christians living today within an industrialized culture, trying to understand how Christianity should be properly lived, agrarianism is an appropriate word. It is the opposite of apostate Industrialism.

The apostle Paul, in his letter to the Thessalonians, summed it up nicely:

”Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.”
(1 Thessalonians 4:11-12)



March 10, 2019


Stitching Amy

It was a bloody gash.

We have a dog. A yellow lab. Her name is Amy. We got her almost exactly one year ago. I made a YouTube film when we got her from the pound (click HERE to watch).  

Amy is more Marlene's dog than mine. She loves Marlene, which is understandable. I feel the same way towards Marlene. :-)

Unfortunately, Amy does not bark. We wondered if maybe she didn't know how to bark. But a couple weeks after her arrival, I got her to bark. I'm the only person who, thus far, can get her to bark.

When we're outdoors in the yard, I give her "the look" and I walk towards her, slow like. She stays at a distance, fully alert. Then I lunge at her. That gets her excited enough to start barking.  At first she thoought I was serious. But now she knows its a game. And she plays along.

Amy is a good dog for Marlene because she needs to be walked, and Marlene needs the exercise. So, they walk together almost every day. On a good day they'll walk two miles. If it's really cold and snowy, they don't go so far. On some days Marlene will walk a mile down our country road and a mile back and not a single vehicle goes by. We like it that way.

A couple weeks ago Marlene called me during her walk. She said Amy cut her leg somehow. She came running out of the woods by the road and was bleeding. I grabbed a roll of gauze and got there fast. I wrapped up Amy's leg and we put her in the car.

The cut was bad enough that it really needed to be stitched. But it was a Sunday morning and getting a vet to do it would be expensive. I'm pretty sure it would have cost hundreds of dollars.

So we decided to stitch the cut ourselves. It's really not that hard to do, and Marlene has done it before... on me.

Before we started having children Marlene worked for a doctor in Moravia. She worked for him several years, and assisted with various medical procedures, including stitches. A lot of people thought she was a nurse, but she wasn't, at least not a formally trained one.

One Sunday morning way back then I was doing some woodworking and cut my hand pretty good with a knife. Marlene went to the office and got sutures and some sort of pain killer. She stitched me back together like a pro.

That was, however, nearly 40 years ago, and though Marlene felt confident (even eager) about stitching Amy, she couldn't quite remember how to tie off the knot.

The picture at the top of this post shows Marlene, hemostat in hand, making a stitch. The operating table is an enameled kitchen table in our mud room. I lifted Amy onto it and reassured her that everything was going to be fine while Marlene tended to the wound. Amy was the perfect patient.

Marlene put three stitches in the cut. Here is a finished view...





The stitches are out now. The wound is almost totally healed over. Amy is back to running through the woods on her morning walks.


###

It was twenty years ago that I bought a selection of sutures to have on hand... just in case. I had been thinking I should have them, and Y2K was on the way, so that was the incentive to actually get them. 

Besides that, I was a Boy Scout and "Be Prepared" is the Boy Scout motto. It's a fine motto. It has pretty much been the motto of rural Americans for more than 200 years. It just makes sense.


###


You can buy sutures on Amazon or Ebay. They aren't that expensive. The ones pictured above are the ones I have left. They are not all the same. I don't know what the best "general purpose" suture needle and thread would be for a prepared homestead. Can someone who knows more about this give a recommendation?

For how-to suture instructions... YouTube, of course.

###

I have a friend named Dave. He once told me that when he was a kid, and he got a bad cut, his father would sew it back together. He did it with all the kids in the family. His father was a carpenter. Dave told me they couldn't afford to go to a doctor.

I asked Dave where he got the sutures. He said his father just used a regular needle and thread.  You have to be really skookum to give and take stitches like that!

But, the point is, it can be done.

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I'm wondering if anyone reading this might have a story of giving or taking amateur stitches?






March 5, 2019


The Newest Kimball


Babies are something special, and when they are your own, they are extra special. Today Marlene and I met our new grandbaby (pictured above). She is 3 days old. Here is a picture of her the first day she was born...



You'll notice that she has a serious look on her face. There is a little bit of a furrowed brow. Here's the look today...



I told my son that furrowed brow is probably an inherited trait from me. My brow is often furrowed. My family knows the look. 

Oaklyn is our second grandchild, and our first girl. Marlene and I raised three sons. Having a little girl in the family is something new for us.




The birth of this grandchild is not the emotional experience that the birth of my own children was. The responsibility for those little babies weighed heavy on me. I think my brow started to furrow when my children were born. The furrows got deeper and more intense as each new child came along. 

This is my son with his new daughter...



Oaklyn's mother doesn't want her picture taken. Having a baby was quite the ordeal. But she is doing just fine and is on the mend.

Grandparents love to show pictures of their grandchildren, especially when they're just born. Yes, babies really are something special.






February 27, 2019

Illinois Becky's
Inspiring Minibed Garden


Becky's Minibed Garden in 2018
It was late in 2016 when, after decades of trying so many other gardening methods, I developed a new system for gardening. At first, I called it Minibeds-on-Plastic. I now call it Minibed Gardening.

At first glance, Minibed gardening doesn't look like anything all that unique. The casual observer would only see plastic mulch and some small beds. So, what's the big deal?

Well, the big deal is in how the beds are laid out and managed. I call it high-culture. High culture is all about focused attention on the health of the soil, and providing optimum conditions for plants to thrive. There's a lot more to it than meets the eye.

For the past two years I have had a Minibed experimental garden. I have put my initial ideas into practice. I've seen them prove to be sound, productive, and profoundly satisfying.

But what is even more satisfying to me is seeing others take the Minibed gardening idea and put it to good use. Such is the case with the garden in the photo above. Becky M. lives in northern Illinois, about an hour southwest of Chicago (zone 5). She sent me that beautiful photo above with the following comment...
"I bought your garden book and the first update and last year I converted my garden to minibeds.  Wow.  I had a few bumps along the road and I learned from them but for the most part, my 45 mini-beds were a huge success.  I'm 66 with bad knees and the weeding my traditional row garden required almost made me give up gardening completely.  I'm so glad I got your book and took the plunge!"
Becky's Minibed garden puts my garden to shame. Here are a couple more pictures from her first year of Minibed gardening (you can click on the pictures to see enlarged views)...




Here are some "before" photos of the same garden in the spring, after getting the plastic and Minibed frames in place...




And here's a final photo from Becky...



 Now, if all of that doesn't inspire you to get gardening this spring, I don't know what will. 

The way I look at it, gardening is one of the most positive and productive things you can do in a world full of such craziness and uncertainty. 


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With your Minibed gardening success and satisfaction in mind I have recently (just yesterday) finished putting together a new Minibed gardening resource...



The Minibed Gardening Trilogy is a collection of my yearly Minibed gardening reports (2017-2019). It has 130 pages and 250 photos. It explains the history, the theory, and the best practices of my Minibed gardening system. 

This new resource is formatted as a pdf download. The price is $17.95. But I have put it on sale until March 16 for only $12.95. Click Here to order.

If you want to learn more about the Minibed gardening system before purchasing the Trilogy, Click Here to go to the Minibed Gardening web site.


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NOTE: If you have purchased the previous yearly reports from me, you already have the first two thirds of this trilogy, and you should have received and e-mail with information about purchasing just the 30-page 2019 Minibed Gardening update (priced at $2.95). If you did not get the e-mail, contact me at  herrick@planetwhizbang.com and I'll send you the details.



February 24, 2019


George Washington
Christian Agrarian
(His Most Referenced Biblical Passage)

This bust of George Washington was made at Mount Vernon in 1785 by Jean-Antione Houdon. It is widely regarded as the most accurate likeness ever made of Washington. He was 53 years old when this was made.


I have long admired George Washington. Anyone who takes the time to delve into the story of his life and his character can not help but admire him. Washington's character was profoundly Christian. 

Every so often I'll do a Google search and peruse some Geo. Washington trivia. Today I happened upon This Page at the Mount Vernon web site, and I learned something new about Washington...
"No biblical passage is referenced more frequently in Washington's voluminous papers than the ancient Hebrew blessing and prophetic vision of the New Jerusalem in which every man sits safely "under his vine and under his fig tree." Washington invoked this image nearly four dozen times during the last half of his life. The image of reposing under one's own vine and fig tree vividly captures the agrarian ideals of simplicity, contentment, domestic tranquility, and self-sufficiency; it is also a metaphor for not only freedom from want and fear but also the right to private property and hospitality."
Wow. Washington was a Christian-agrarian. Look at those ideals... Simplicity. Contentment. Domestic tranquility. Self sufficiency. Private property (productive land). 

Here are the Bible verses from which Washington drew his most frequent biblical references...

"But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the LORD of hosts hath spoken it." (Micah 4:4)

"And Judah and Israel dwelt safely, every man under his vine and under his fig tree, from Dan even to Beersheba, all the days of Solomon." (1 Kings 4:25)


“In that day each of you will invite your neighbor to sit under your vine and fig tree,’ declares the Lord Almighty.” (Zechariah 3:10)


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Eleven years ago I went to Mount Vernon with two of my sons. It was probably the best vacation I've ever been on. I wrote about it at that time...

Visiting Mount Vernon

Washington The Farmer (Part 1)

Washington The Farmer (Part 2)




February 17, 2019


One Small Example Of
Solopreneur Manufacturing


The beauty of the internet is that you can dream up simple, useful, niche-market products, make them in your home workshop, and sell them to the world. I've been doing just that for several years.

But home manufacturing isn't necessarily easy. There is a lot of work involved in making things. It's work that people may not realize is going into the product. The loop stakes I make to go with my Whizbang Bucket Irrigation Kits are just one example. In the video above I show you some of the behind-the-scenes work involved in making this little item.

The wire holding and cutting fixture you see in the video is something I made 6 years ago. It has been in storage underneath my workshop. I had to scrape some snow and ice off it after bringing it inside. The old cutter came from a yard sale (the price was right).  Rustic as it is, the contraption is a real time saver.

Now, for some amazing contrast, check out This CNC Wire Bending Machine.