Soil Therapy, Dying Bees, & Watching The Whizbang Plucker on YouTube

I am cramming to finish my next Whizbang book by the end of this month. There are so many details and loose ends. The project drags on, and so do I. Taking this time to blog here gives me a little break.

My next book will have its own Blog. You can check it out here: The Whizbang Garden Cart Blog

Them high-fallutin’ factory-made garden carts don’t have a blog.

(I'm going to have fun marketing this book....when I finally get it done.)

Soil Therapy
A little article on the internet titled Getting Dirty May Lift Your Mood got my attention. It states: "Bacteria found in the soil activated a group of neurons that produce the brain chemical serotonin."

In other words, scientists have now discovered that when men do what God created them to do--cultivate the earth and make it fruitful-- they feel better. Amazing

I have dubbed this phenomenon, "soil therapy" and I’m badly in need of the treatment. You can read the article here

Closed on Easter
In the small town near where I live there is a small-town grocery store named "Modern Market." The store is owned by Mr. Murphy, who lives in the town. His father started the business a long time ago and has since passed on. Some of the older folks call the store "Murph’s." The store does a pretty good business.

Last weekend, Easter Sunday, as we were driving to church, we were on the road that went by Modern Market and my son, Robert, asked me if the store was open on Easter. I told him I was sure it wasn’t. Then he asked me if the new chain drug store that came into town a couple years ago would be open. I replied that I’m sure it was. As we passed Modern Market, we could see that the parking lot was empty and the store was dark.

I took the opportunity to point out that Modern Market was closed because it was owned and operated by a local man who respected and honored the Easter holiday by shutting down his business and giving his employees the day off.

But the drug store is owned by a corporation from out of town. To that corporation, Easter is another holiday that they can use to sell cards, or decorations and make more money. They aren’t about to shut down their business to honor the Resurrection of Jesus Christ because that would mean the loss of a day’s revenue. To a big corporation, it’s all about money.

The new drug store sells a lot of the same things you can get at Modern Market. But I’ll always shop at Murph’s before I go to that drug store.

Whizbang on YouTube
My family went to Marlene’s mother’s house in Moravia for Resurrection Sunday dinner. I brought my laptop computer because I can tap into wireless internet in town. Up here in the countryside where I live, we only have dial-up internet service. It’s too slow for downloading much of anything.

And so it was that my son Chaz introduced me to YouTube. I’d heard of it but never saw it until last Sunday. Wow. You can find movies on YouTube about just about everything. Why, we even discovered a movie showing a man plucking a chicken in a Whizbang Chicken Plucker!

I developed the Whizbang Plucker back in 2000. I wrote the planbook a year or so later. I took the pages, with hand drawn illustrations on them, to a quick print place and my first printing was 100 photocopied, comb-bound copies.

They weren’t very impressive looking, but I mailed samples off to several magazines. I started a Yahoo discussion group called WhizbangChickenPluckers. I don’t think I was smart enough to realize such amateur publications don’t have much of a chance. And I’m sure I was too naïve to be embarrassed by my homely-looking book. But something amazing happened.

God blessed my effort. People started making their own Whizbang pluckers. They were amazed and delighted to see that the machine really did pluck a chicken clean in a matter of seconds. The word spread. The book, Anyone Can Build A Tub-Style Mechanical Chicken Plucker has now sold almost 5,000 copies. That’s a modest success as far as books go, but there have been the less tangible rewards too. I’ve heard from so many good folks out there who have built their own plucker and are thrilled with it.

And now it’s on YouTube. Whoda thunk it? This link should take you to the movie: The Whizbang Plucker on YouTube

The Bees Are Dying
Have you heard about Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD)? Millions of bees are mysteriously dying. I understand the national news has been talking about it.

When I first heard about this problem a couple months ago, I said to Marlene that it’s probably caused by pollen the bees collect from genetically modified plants.

Well, the latest issue of Lancaster Farming newspaper has a front page article about CCD which states: "While an exact cause for the disorder has not been determined, scientists believe CCD may be caused by a number of different factors including travel stress, other insects, pesticides, genetically modified plants and pathogens."

Oh, but surely the big corporations that create these genetically modified plants must have tested their effects on the honey bee. And surely our government, which has allowed these corporations to release their GM creations over the land, made sure they were safe for the honey bee. (Insert sarcasm if you didn’t already read it in those last two sentences)

Well, if it does turn out that the bees are dying from FrankenPollen, you can bet the scientists will "fix" it. Those "benevolent" corporations will just create a new GM strain of bee. Problem solved.

And we are left to live with the consequences of their foolishness.

Low Land Prices on The Horizon?
Kelly Klober, a regular columnist at Small Farm Today magazine wrote in the March/April 2007 issue:

One study shows that real estate prices tumble 90% at roughly 200-year intervals since the year 1000. In 1959 we bought 120 Missouri acres for $10,500, and I would not be surprised if I live to see it happen again.

On the one hand, I shudder to think what will happen to precipitate such a radical decrease in real estate prices. On the other I look forward to the ability to afford farmland. In any event, if anyone in the state of Missouri, (or anywhere else where it’s good for a family to put down roots) sees a 120 acre farm selling for $10,500, please send me an e-mail ( Thanks in advance. :-)


Marci said...

Herrick go to:

granny miller said...

The CCD bee die off is a very serious situation here in Pennsylvania. My 81 year old neighbor lost 11 out of 17 hives since November and he had to order 4 new queens to start new hives.
He usually has extra hives to sell in the Spring, but this year he will have none.
I have heard that reports are coming in from Germany that something similar is happening to there.
It is very scary.

Lynn Bartlett said...

We lost our 2 hives this past winter; Jim is going to try again, and has ordered more bees. We sure hear about their arrival in a hurry when they are dropped off at the local post office!

Carla Lynne said...

I agree with what Granny said... the bee dye off is alarming here in PA.

Granny... where in PA do you live?

Carla Lynne

Carla Lynne said...

ok... that was supposed to say.. bee die off...


Anonymous said...

Sir -

My grandfather is a Christian agricultural scientist, and I have asked him about genetic modification: we have been "genetically modifying" plants since the dawn of man. Every time you cross one kind of tomato with another kind of tomato to get a third kind of tomato, you produce, by the general definition of the phrase, a genetically modified tomato. All it means is that the genes have been modified to enhance or exaggerate a particular trait (say, firm flesh), and every single one of the fruits and vegetables we eat to-day has undergone some kind of genetic modification. That doesn't sound dangerous at all. In fact, it isn't. If it was, the Ancient Egyptians would have killed off all their honeybees.

I assume what you mean by "genetic modification" is *chemical* genetic modification; that is, by some laboratory procedure involving the injection of something rather than natural cross-pollination (although, it might be good clarification to know whether they are injecting genomes from another plant - which wouldn't be dangerous - or synthetic chemicals, which might). Perhaps you might wish to clarify your terms, to prevent confusion?

A fellow agrarian

Herrick Kimball said...

Hi Anonymous,

I have replied to your post here