The Market Gardener's Toolkit

Dateline: 25 May 2016



There is a documentary movie out that many readers of this blog will like. The Market Gardener's Toolkit is a tour of Jean-Martin Fortier's successful 1.5 acre market farm, which is the subject of his excellent book, The Market Gardener.

I'm giving away three copies of the DVD documentary in Planet Whizbang Giveaway #2. Click that link for more details about the movie and to watch a trailer.

If you are observant when you watch the trailer (or the whole documentary) you will see a homemade Planet Whizbang Garden Cart....

This screen shot from the movie trailer shows a Whizbang garden cart being put to good use.  If you'd like to make a cart for yourself, the plan book can be purchased HERE. An inexpensive pdf download can be purchased HERE
(click the picture to see a larger view)








My Newest Web Site

Dateline: 21 May 2016



You may recall that I am re-roofing my house, in between running the Planet Whizbang business and everything else. So I haven't been blogging much, and I'm not yet ready to return to blogging much.

My 3-year roof project has been changed to a 2-year roof project. Which means I'm doing a lot more roofing than I planned—I'm finishing the whole roof this year instead of next year. 

It will be mighty good to have it all done. Then I will tackle the work of siding and painting the areas of the house that are still, after more than 30 years, covered with tar paper. Then maybe we'll sell the place and move to town. ;-)

This might be the last re-roofing job I ever do. At 58, my body just doesn't do roofing as well as it once did. 

Anyway, I have launched a new idea and web site. It's a site to promote my Planet Whizbang business. The web site is simply titled Planet Whizbang Giveaways.

It's a simple marketing idea... 

Every two weeks I'll have a FREE giveaway of on item (or items) that fit within the category of "Down-To-Earth Books, Tools & Inspiration." 

There is an e-mail signup at the blog/web site. Plug your e-mail into the signup feature and you'll be automatically notified for each new giveaway.

Don't worry, I don't "harvest" e-mails and sell them, or send you spam mail. That's not my style.

If the idea takes off and there is a lot of interest, I may switch from a giveaway every two weeks to one every week.

I'm going to enjoy this. I hope a lot of you will also enjoy it.

The last big giveaway contest I had was back in 2010 with the Deliberate Agrarian Haiku Poetry Contest. There were some great haiku entries and I gave away a lot of humdinger prizes. 

But choosing the winners was kind of a bother. With third-party software (Rafflecopter) compiling the entries and randomly choosing winners, the process of running a giveaway is so much easier.






Planet Whizbang
Pocket Cultivator Giveaway...
With Four Winners!

Dateline: 16 May 2016


It's a downright handy tool for any gardener!
(click picture for enlarged view)

Among the best of ideas in my Planet Whizbang Idea Book For Gardeners is the homemade Whizbang pocket cultivator, an example of which you can see in the picture above. 

Don't let the obvious simplicity of this tool deceive you. My own Whizbang pocket cultivator is one of the most useful gardening tools I own. It is perfectly suited for light cultivating of garden soil up close to plants, and in other areas that are too small to get into with a hoe. 

There are three "secrets" to making a most useful pocket cultivator. First, the length of the fork must be just right. Second, the handle end of the fork must have a bulbous shape to it. This swollen end makes it so much easier to grasp and work with the fork. In my book (page 69) I reveal the ideal pocket cultivator length and I tell how to make the bulbous end.

The third secret to making a really good pocket cultivator is to choose the right fork. While any dinner fork will do the job, a heavy-duty fork with long tines is so much nicer than a fork with short tines made of lightweight metal.

I have made a study of dinner forks at thrift stores and antique shops and I've discovered that ideal-pocket-cultivator-grade forks are surprisingly hard to find. There is an abundance of cheaply-made lightweight forks to choose from, but there are far less of the better quality forks.

With that in mind, you might imagine my delight at finding 18 assorted vintage dinner forks that were just right for making pocket cultivators at an antique shop a few days ago. I sorted through a box with hundreds of pieces of odd cutlery to get the 18 forks, and I paid a whopping 70 cents each for them.

This recent discovery is what has prompted me to launch this Whizbang pocket cultivator giveaway. I've made four pocket cultivators like you see in the picture above. These are deluxe Whizbang pocket cultivators because I have given the handles a coating of Plasti-Dip rubber.

I'm using Rafflecopter to compile the names of everyone who enters this giveaway. And Rafflecopter will choose the four winners at random. This should save me a lot of time and trouble.

However, Rafflecopter is new to me and I'm still kind of figuring it out. I hope everything goes smoothly. I hope you will bear with me if there are any glitches.

To enter the contest, you need to click in the appropriate spot in the Rafflecopter box below. Rafflecopter will need either your name and e-mail address or your Facebook identity. After you enter that information you will be asked to visit the Whizbang Gardening Facebook page. Then click "I visited" in the entry box, and you will be officially entered in the contest. 

Winners will be chosen by Rafflecopter on May 24th and announced here shortly thereafter. 


Terms & Conditions

No purchase is necessary for this giveaway. There will be four winners, chosen randomly by Rafflecopter. Each winner will receive a homemade Whizbang Pocket Cultivator, like shown in the picture at the top of this page. The contest is for US residents only. If you win, you will be contacted by e-mail. You have 48 hours to reply to the e-mail with your mailing address. If you don't respond in that time, another person will be chosen.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

P.S.
There is still time to take advantage of the unprecedented 2-fer sale on the Planet Whizbang Idea Book For Gardeners. Two books for the price of one ($21.95), and shipping is included. The sale runs to the end of this month. CLICK HERE for details and to order.



Good News From
"Further South"

Dateline: 15 May 2016


For those who don't already know, David the Good and family, formerly of Florida, have left America. David revealed this in his Blog Post a couple days ago. As explained in the short YouTube video above, they are renting a cocoa farm at "an undisclosed location near the equator."  

Those who have read this blog for awhile know that I've mentioned David several times. We "met" back in 2013 when he purchased a Whizbang Wheel Hoe kit from me and reviewed it at his blog. Later, when I came out with my Classic American Clothespins, David bought some and reviewed them too (Here is the Review Link).

And David is, like me, a self-published gardening book author (see his books Here). He also has a slightly zany sense of humor that is frequently manifested in some of his YouTube Videos. For the most part, I get the humor and appreciate it. 

When you move your family from Florida to a cocoa farm in an undisclosed location near the equator, taking all your stuff can be expensive. So you just don't take all your stuff. You take only the most essential and valued items. Which means, of course, that if you are a "survival gardener" you take your Whizbang wheel hoe, and I was very pleased to hear that is exactly what David has done. 

At this point, I don't know if the clothespins and David's Planet Whizbang Hat were deemed necessary and worthy enough to make the journey.

Now, as I pondered this move, it occurred to me that David would have at least one problem moving to an undisclosed location near the equator. That problem being that his blog is titled Florida Survival Gardening

But I just looked, and it's now titled The Survival Gardener. So I guess that little problem is solved.

David and family (his wife and a number of children) are among a growing number of American expatriates. It's an exciting idea to consider, and I wish this family all the best in their new tropical homestead.

###

P.S. I've been privileged to know about this planned exodus for some time, and I actually know where the undisclosed location near the equator is. But I've been told it is Top Secret (for now), and I'm very good at keeping a secret.  

Who knows... I might want to head down there myself someday. Wouldn't that be something! And I'll change the name of this blog to The Deliberate Tropical Agrarian.



A Whizbang Special 2-Fer Offer
(For May 2016 Only)

Dateline: 11 May 2016




The first printing of 4,000 copies of my self-published Planet Whizbang Idea Book For Gardeners is nearly gone. The second printing will be available in June. In order to clear out the remaining 1st printing copies I'm doing something I've never done before (and may never do again). I'm having a 2-fer sale... two copies of the book for the price of one.

Specifically, you can now buy two copies for $21.95, and that price includes shipping.

The second printing of the book will have no additional or updated content. The difference is that it has been edited to correct minor punctuation and grammar flaws in the first printing.

Details and an ordering button for this 2-fer sale are At This Link.

Please let your friends on social media know about this rare Whizbang offer. 

Thank you.









It's A Down-To-Earth,
Theological Tour De Force
(Joel Salatin's Newest Book)

Dateline: 5 May 2016 AD



I'm in the midst of a little blogging break but I'm returning to tell you about Joel Salatin's newest book, The Marvelous Pigness of Pigs, which I am in the process of reading. 

Don't let the title mislead you. It isn't a book about pigs. It's a book written directly to professing Christians on the subject of responsible creation stewardship. In short, The Marvelous Pigness of Pigs is a well reasoned, much needed theological slap upside the head of modern mainstream Christianity.

I must confess that I've only read up to page 68 thus far (189 pages yet to read). But I can tell you I haven't enjoyed a book as much as this one in a long time.  It is insightful, thought provoking, spiritually convicting and, occasionally, kind of shocking. The book makes one powerful point after another. Here are a few random quotes that give you a little bit of the "attitude" of this book....


###

The fact is that the religious right has neglected earth stewardship and given it over to creation worshippers instead of owning it as Creator worshipers.

###

I would suggest that a culture that views its pigs as just mechanical objects to be reprogrammed and manipulated will view its citizens the same way, and ultimately God the same way. A deity to be manipulated and formed into something of our liking.


###

We're the first culture in the world that routinely eats things that have never lived. In spiritual parlance, we're ingesting things that are an abomination to our bodies—and then requesting prayer for the ailments that result.


###

In many ways, GMOs are far more insidious and destructive than alcohol or tobacco...


###

I find it fascinating that sexual abstinence is front and center on youth Bible study agendas, but junk food orgies are perfectly fine.


###

For Christians to make jokes about Rachel Carson and the definitive understanding that DDT created infertile frogs, three-legged salamanders, and a dead zone the size of New Jersey in the Gulf of Mexico is simply unconscionable in light of our creation stewardship mandate. The earth is the Lord's, not ours. If we took care of our employers' physical interests the way we take care of God's physical interests, we'd be fired and probably put in jail.


###

The world we live in is holy. The life we embrace is holy. My dad used to say, "To us, every bush is a burning bush."


###

There is so much more to this book than those few quotes convey. If you are a Christian and an agrarian (as many readers of this blog are)  there isn't a doubt in my mind that you will enjoy The Marvelous Pigness of Pigs.





Some Things
For The End Of April

Dateline: 28 April 2016


Well, April is almost over and things are getting busy around here, what with the garden and Planet Whizbang sales ramping up. Besides that, tomorrow I'm going to launch into phase-two of my three-phase (three year) house re-roofing project. Back in the day, I could have re-roofed my house in a weekend. Now it takes me three years.

And I'm still making Classic American clothespins, or trying to. I'm now up to customer #44 on my waiting list of 376 people.  

So I'm going to take a little break from this here blogging for a week or so. In the meantime, here are some things to read, and think about...


Everett In The News


Everett Littlefield, a frequent commenter on this blog, was in the Block Island Times recently. You can read about him and his 48 x 30 greenhouse at this link: A Satisfying and Self-Sufficient Life.  It was a pleasant surprise to see my Garden Idea Book mentioned in the article. Thanks, Everett. 

Oh, and for those who missed it, Everett sent me a picture of himself wearing his Planet Whizbang hat. I've posted it at the bottom of This Web Page. I dare say, Everett looks better in his Planet Whizbang hat than John Wayne does.

~~~

Hernando Presbyterian 
Links To This Blog!


As far as I know, this is a first... Hernando Presbyterian Church (ARP) in Hernando, Mississippi, has added this blog to it's Links page under the "Creation and Family" category (Click Here to see). My thanks to Pastor Gary L. Jones for doing that.

I thought it might be interesting to see if there were any Presbyterian (ARP) churches around me. It turns out there are only a handful of them in the whole state of NY, and none anywhere near me. 

I'm curious... does anyone reading this knows of another church that has links or articles related to Christian agrarianism on their web site?

~~~

Why The Amish Don't 
Pay Into Social Security 
(Or Obamacare)


The Amish don't pay into Social Security and they don't have to deal with the government-enforced socialized health insurance scheme (a.k.a., Obamacare) currently being perpetrated onto the rest of America. 

How can they get away with that? Well, it's an interesting story. You can read the history at this link: Valentine Byler vs. The IRS.

I'm delighted to see that the Amish do not have to participate in such foolishness. You would think that more Americans might think about becoming Amish to escape the onerous Social Security tax. But the Amish don't let just anybody into their sect. Besides that, precious few American families would really like to be free from the responsibility of taking care of themselves and their own family in old age, without collecting a monthly Social Security check.

~~~
The Pension Crisis Deepens


Past performance is not a guarantee of future results. That familiar phrase certainly applies to American pension systems, private and public. They're all in trouble, but some more than others. This ZeroHedge Article on the subject is well worth reading. Even if you are not personally connected to a pension, you will be affected by this crisis. 

~~~

Middle Class Crisis



I read The Secret Shame of Middle Class Americans this morning.  The secret shame is that they are broke, or nearly so. The article is a lengthy but interesting story of one man's upper middle class struggles.  A quote...

"I never wanted to keep up with the Joneses. But, like many Americans, I wanted my children to keep up with the Joneses’ children, because I knew how easily my girls could be marginalized in a society where nearly all the rewards go to a small, well-educated elite. (All right, I wanted them to be winners.)"

His two girls went to private schools, and expensive colleges. Another quote...

"I don’t ask for or expect any sympathy. I am responsible for my quagmire—no one else. I didn’t get gulled into overextending myself by unscrupulous credit merchants. Basically, I screwed up, royally. I lived beyond my means, primarily because my means kept dwindling. I didn’t take the actions I should have taken, like selling my house and downsizing, though selling might not have covered what I owed on my mortgage. And let me be clear that I am not crying over my plight. I have it a lot better than many, probably most, Americans—which is my point. Maybe we all screwed up. Maybe the 47 percent of American adults who would have trouble with a $400 emergency should have done things differently and more rationally. Maybe we all lived more grandly than we should have. But I doubt that brushstroke should be applied so broadly. Many middle-class wage earners are victims of the economy, and, perhaps, of that great, glowing, irresistible American promise that has been drummed into our heads since birth: Just work hard and you can have it all."

The author is a professional writer. He and his wife have no retirement savings because, in his own words...

"...because we emptied a small 401(k) to pay for our younger daughter’s wedding."

And then this insight...

"But lack of money definitely ruins everything. Financial impotence casts a pall of misery. It keeps you up at night and makes you not want to get up in the morning. It forces you to recede from the world. It eats at your sense of self-worth, your confidence, your energy, and, worst of all, your hope."

When I read those three sentences, I stopped, and read them again. And again. I've been there. I know that feeling. Thankfully, it is behind me. I hope never to go back there. I feel sorry for the author.

~~~

The Appearance Of Affluence


The Millionaire Next Door is a book worth reading. I no longer have my copy but one thing I remember very well was the part about how there are many people who live an upper middle class lifestyle and really can't afford it. It looks like they have a lot of money, and they may even make a lot of money, but they live beyond their means, just like the guy who wrote the  Middle Class Crisis article above.

And surprisingly (or maybe not surprisingly) many of these upper-middle-class-in-appearance-only people are sustaining their lifestyle habits with a regular influx of monetary help from their affluent parents.

Which makes me think that if you ever visited my home you would realize very quickly that I do not have the appearance of affluence, and for good reason. Thankfully, that has never been important to me.

~~~

I Agree With Franklin



Jonathan Cahn's Harbinger book, along with John Hagee's blood moon prophecy are so "last year," but we really shouldn't forget them. Not because of what they predicted with such certainty, but because they are such perfect examples of what Christians should avoid buying into when the next Christian "authority" comes out with another solved mystery or a new revelation about some soon-and-coming event that will rock the world.

My history with such books goes back to my teenage years, when I read Hal Lindsey's Late Great Planet Earth. I swallowed that book's message hook, line, and sinker. And followed similar authors in the years ahead. Then came  Edgar Whisenant's insightful little book: 88 Reasons Why The Rapture Will Be in 1988

It's a wonder I'm still a Christian when I consider all the dire predictions from Christian "authority figures" that I believed  back then, and that never materialized. I'm sure it's the grace of God that has preserved my faith, and the eventual realization that these biblical prognosticators were all perpetrating "another gospel." 

When I read my Bible (the New Testament in particular) it is all about the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, who willing gave his life to pay the penalty for the sins of those who would believe on Him. That penalty is death and separation from God. But because of Jesus Christ, there is personal salvation (from the consequences of our sin) and life eternal. That's the good news.

But there's more... also in the New Testament, I read a tremendous amount of instruction about how followers of Christ can and should live an authentic Christian life

As an interesting aside, I find almost nothing in the New Testament about the importance of, or need for, evangelizing and proselytizing (a.k.a., "soul winning") by the average Christian believer. 

This matter of living an authentic Christian life is all through the New Testament teachings of the apostles (read I John if you'd like an example of what I mean). 

With those thoughts in mind, I firmly believe that any preaching or teaching that veers away from the message of Jesus Christ and the pursuit of authentic Christian life is a shallow religious diversion. And this is especially the case when such teaching revolves around some gnostic insights about the future.

I'm rambling here, and I've probably upset a few people (again). All of this  has come to the forefront of my thinking after reading Franklin Sanders's excellent review and analysis of The Harbinger. He wrote it in January of 2015. But I just read it the other day. I strongly recommend Franklin's book review to fellow Believers: The Great Evangelical Distraction.

~~~

Last Words

"Tis well."

Have you ever wondered about the last words uttered by America's presidents? Well, it's downright interesting to read them, and you can do so At This Link. I must confess, I got a lump in my throat when I read the last one (Ronald Reagan).




The Planet Whizbang
Toe-Tapper Faucet Switch...
One More Time

Dateline: 27 April 2016


My wife got a kick out of the "Hands-Free!" part of my recent Whizbang Toe-Tapper Faucet Switch Video when I posted it a few weeks ago. In fact, she jokingly imitates me at opportune times, with her hands up in the air. Then she laughs at how clever she is.

It's good to laugh. And I like it when my wife laughs. It makes me laugh to see her in such a jocular mood. I only wish I could secretly film her making fun of me.  :-)

So, I guess I was a little animated in that film clip. Talking about a nifty new invention has a way of getting an amateur inventor and entrepreneur (even we of the introverted)  kind of excited, don'tcha know?

Anyway, I'm blogging today about my Toe-Tapper here one more time to let it be known that the official Whizbang Toe-Tapper web site is fully up and running. You can now buy assembled Toe-Tappers. Or you can buy Toe-Tapper specifications and make your own Hands-Free! outdoor faucet switch. And if you choose to make your own, I also have parts kits available.

For some historical perspective, I've just posted a 2-minute video to YouTube showing my very first foot operated (Hands Free!) faucet switch. It was NOT a Whizbang...



In time, I will add a page to theweb site showing lots of inspiring outdoor sink ideas, like this one...

Clever. An umbrella would be nice.

Just remember...

Hands Free!

:-)



Almonzo & Laura's America
(Read It And Weep)

Dateline: 26 April 2016

The fictional Almonzo & Laura Wilder.

"When Farmer Boy, Almonzo Wilder, was being raised in Upstate New York, on the farm, or prairie girl, Laura Ingalls, was raised out in The Little House on the Prairie, there were no gay and lesbian networks in the one-room school houses in New York State.  They didn't know about transgendered kids and I'll bet they didn't own iPads. They didn't have teen idols. They worked side by side with their parents every day throughout the year. 80% of the teenage boys were not addicted to pornography. There was no Internet. No television. No movie theaters. No sex education classes in the high school, abstinence or otherwise. There were no Plan-B pills for the sexually active 15-year-old girls. Abortifacients were only known in the dens of the prostitutes in the large cities. Almonzo Wilder and Little-House-on-the-Prairie-Laura had never met a teenage girl with anorexia. Not a single child in their neighborhood was placed on prescription psychotrophic drugs. Illegitimacy existed in some of the larger cities— 1% but it was almost unheard of in the small towns. Popular songs would not make even a single mention of the F-word in the 1880s. Katy Perry wasn't encouraging 14-year-old girls to lesbianism and EM&EM wasn't referring to his mother as a female dog. The most popular song in the 1880s was My Grandfather's Clock...

So that's the way things were 120 years ago. Now, I have simply one question for you all. Do we live in an insane asylum, or what? Has this entire society gone more or less insane? That's my question. Yes or no?"

=====

"At one time there were social restraints to keep things from getting as bad as they possibly could. We're there now...we're as bad as we possibly could be as a society. Friends, we're looking at the entire destruction of sexuality—the entire destruction of entire civilization."

====

The above quotes are from Kevin Swanson on today's broadcast of Generations Radio. You can listen to the whole 1/2 hour show at this link: Disney Turns Snow White into a Lesbian.

Kevin makes the point that cultures are not changed by politics, they are changed by media and educational inputs.  An hour of Sunday School once a week doesn't have the moral persuasion over children like many hours of media and government-school indoctrination.

I'd say that we are all being scientifically manipulated by the media. But of course, children are the most vulnerable targets. The power of media to change culture is discussed in Kevin Swanson's provocatively-titled book, The Tattooed 'Jesus.'

The nice thing about Kevin Swanson is that he doesn't just point out how bad things are. He also offers solutions. Biblical solutions. These solutions begin with individuals and families. I encourage you to listen to today's show.

Moral relativism always leads to destruction—personally and nationally. Barring a true revival in America (a nationwide re-embracing of God's transcendent standards of morality), this country is destined to fall, as have so many proud civilizations before us. I'm inclined to think our time is short.

But God always preserves a remnant of his people. I'll have more to say about this subject someday soon.

The real Laura and Almonzo Wilder in 1942