May 29, 2019

I Can't Even Comment
on My Own Blog!

Everett Littlefield, a frequent commenter on this blog in the past, has e-mailed me a few times expressing discouragement over not being able to post comments. I haven't been able to give him any good advice on the matter.

And now, Blogger is not allowing me to comment on my own blog. 

This morning, I wrote a reply to Nancy May in my previous post, hit the appropriate button to post the comment, and it totally disappeared. That really is discouraging, especially when I spent some time putting my thoughts together.

I have blogged on Blogger since 2015. I have resisted going to another format because I'm comfortable with Blogger. This dog doesn't want to learn new tricks.

But this is the last straw... It looks like I am going to have to face the learning curve and move to another format. I'll probably find out that it's not as hard to learn as I might think it is.

And maybe the new format will alert me when someone posts a comment on one of my posts. Blogger hasn't done that for a long time.

My mail order business is very busy these days. I don't have the time to make a blog switch now. But I'll figure it out later this year. Very few people still read my blog writings anyway.

I do hope to get a few YouTube videos out through the summer months. Here's the link to my YouTube channel: This Agrarian Life.

May 15, 2019

The Beer-Sheba Project
In Senegal

Longtime readers of my blog writings know that I've written several times in the past about the Christian ministry, Foundations For Farming. And more than once, I've posted This YouTube Clip of  Johann van der Ham, from Foundations For Farming,  speaking about the wonders of God's creation in a magnificent sunflower.

Today I want to introduce you to another Christian agricultural ministry in Africa. It's the Beer-Sheba Project.

A local friend (Thank you, Mike) sent me the link to the YouTube movie above. If your looking for some good news in the midst of our troubled world, watch that movie.


For those who don't know Senegal is a former French colony in Western Africa. 94% of the population is Muslim.

It's worth noting here that there are countries in Africa where over 90% of the population is Christian. In fact, the Christian population of Africa at large is "exploding," as explained in This Article. This amazing growth has come about in spite of the terrible persecution and genocide of African Christians in recent history.


Meanwhile, sad to say, Christianity is in decline here in the United States. The Secular juggernaut is steamrolling over every last vestige of Christian influence in our government and culture.  


Persecution of Christians in the West is at the door. Apart from God's grace, we who refuse to compromise in our Biblical beliefs will face a holocaust as the American Republic continues to self destruct. 

I often think of getting out of Marxist New York State. But, at the current rate of national decline, I might need to start thinking about another country. 

Christians in Russia who left before the Marxist takeover in 1919 managed to escape the nightmare that enveloped that country for decades thereafter. 

Marxists and Christians don't mix well. While Christians can tolerate (and even love) Marxists, the Marxists do not tolerate Christians. In the eyes of a Marxist, the only good Christian is a dead one. That's one of the lessons of history. 

My dentist's grandparents (Russian Orthodox Christians) were among those who got out of Russia in time. They came to America. They never had to endure the Gulag Archipelago. 

Where will American Christians go to flee the nightmare ahead? Perhaps Africa. 


One last thing.... if you are not familiar with David Horowitz, check out This Remarkable Video. Part of what makes the video remarkable is that Horowitz is a former Marxist radical. He is now an agnostic Jew, and he is defending Christian America.

May 7, 2019

The Rise And Fall
Of A Homestead Business

Those who have followed my internet writings over the years (since 2005) know that I have a homestead-based mail order business called Planet Whizbang, which started as a side hustle when I worked full time at a NY State prison. 

And you know that Planet Whizbang prospered. So much so that in 2013 I left the security of my government wage slave job to work my Planet Whizbang business full time. It was a dream come true, and it still is. But....

The measure of prosperity that I enjoyed with the Planet Whizbang business for a number of years has declined precipitously since 2013. My business income is now half of what it was six years ago. 

This is not a personal crisis because my wife and I have, in seasons of prosperity, lived well below our means. We live simply and have no debt. 

If you've read my writings for long, you know that I've always been wary of debt, and this wariness is for the exact reason that I'm writing about here... it is unwise to suppose that the future will be like the present.

There is a clear agrarian sentiment in such thinking. Farmers well know that you can not count on a successful crop every year. The aphorism, "Don't count your chickens before they hatch," comes to mind.

I have often considered the parallels between my little mail order business and farming. I have chores to do every morning in the form of orders to fill. The chores must be done, whether I feel like it or not. 

Then there is the matter of planting seeds and harvesting a crop. Every product idea I pursue is a seed planted. A lot of work must be done to develop the idea and bring it completion. Then I wait to see if the idea is productive; if it bears fruit. Delayed gratification is fundamental to the agrarian life.

Some idea "crops" bring a good harvest. Most bring a moderate harvest. Some bring no harvest to speak of, and the labor invested is in vain.

In the final analysis, every farmer, and every small-scale, mail order craftsman-entrepreneur like myself is dependent on God for the increase. That's the way I look at it. 

We do our work diligently and God blesses us to the degree that it pleases Him to do so. There is a direct dependency on God's provision with both endeavors. It is a heavenward dependency that is not at all like the usual modern-world dependency on a wage-slave job with a steady paycheck and benefits.

There is another agrarian precept that comes into play with my home business. It is diversification, and it is best summed up in the adage: "Don't put all your eggs in one basket."

Planet Whizbang was built on my Whizbang Chicken Plucker book. With an initial investment of less than $1,000 I published and promoted the now-famous plan book. In time, sales of the book took off, and people started buying parts from me to make their own Whizbang poultry plucker.

There was a time, years ago, when I was shipping out as many as 10 Whizbang "Shebang" plucker parts kits a day. The volume of sales was astounding to me, and to my UPS driver.

But these days I might sell an average of two kits a month. At that rate, I have enough plucker parts now in stock to last more than a decade.

At one time, I was ordering 20,000 rubber poultry plucker fingers at a time, and placing several orders in a year. Last year I had enough fingers in stock that didn't need to order any. Then, last month I placed an order for 10,000, and those will last a long time.

The reason for the drop in sales is the introduction and proliferation of cheap China-made poultry pluckers. You can now buy a nice looking, already-made plucker (on Amazon) for less than the cost of materials to make your own Whizbang plucker. And the US market is now flooded with very cheap, synthetic-rubber plucker fingers. 

The quality of the cheap pluckers is poor, and  synthetic-rubber plucker fingers have neither the longevity, nor the durability of my natural-rubber fingers (not even close), but that doesn't really matter to most people. 

Which brings me back to diversification... If I focused my mail order business only on chicken pluckers (plan books & parts), I would not be able to keep my bills paid these days. Diversification of products has kept my mail-order business alive.

Please understand that this is not a tale of woe. Planet Whizbang still keeps our bills paid, we are still able to bless others financially as God leads us, and we are still able to put some money into savings. But the measure of prosperity God once gave me has declined, and there is a lesson in this for any aspiring entrepreneur.

With lessons in mind, I often think I should someday write a book about what I've learned about small-scale, hands-on, solopreneurship. I may title it: "Confessions of a Whizbang Entrepreneur." Or something like that.

What all of this leads to is the Bible verse at the top of this post. That verse sums up my "ambitions" as an entrepreneur and as a Christian. That verse is profoundly agrarian, and totally Contra mundum. Incidentally, that verse was a big part of why I stopped writing my once-popular The Deliberate Agrarian blog years ago.

That verse also explains, in part, why I haven't posted an essay to this blog for awhile. Quite simply, I've been working with my hands a lot lately. Most of the products I sell require an investment of my time and my handwork to create, and then to mail them off. 

Besides that, I'm starting to focus more time and attention on other income-producing, home-business ideas. It's more of the diversification principle in action.

So, that's the story of the rise and fall of a homestead business. It's not a sad story. It's just a story, and it's an update for those of you who have followed my writings over the years.

With winter over, I am now fully engaged in the work of my home and business (another agrarian similarity). So I'll be blogging here only rarely, if at all, until the pace of life slows down later in the year. 
My thanks to those of you who have recently contacted me to see if I'm okay. Feel free to drop me an e-mail any time: