...since this deliberate agrarian last blogged. And it’s about time I checked in. All is well here and I hope the same is true where you are. We have been busy, busy on various fronts.
My oldest son, Herrick the Third, who we call Chaz has now graduated from high school and is working full time this summer on the local rat farm. It’s actually more of a rat factory than a farm. Thousands of white rats (and mice) are shipped out each week to zoos and labs and anywhere else that needs the little critters. Some are alive. Some are dead and frozen. You can get rats any way you want them.
My 16-year-old son, Robert (who just got his driving permit), has been working hard for local farmers (not rat farmers) picking rocks out of fields, raking hay, and helping unload bale-laden wagons into the barn.
Some of you may recall that Robert has a mail order business selling rubber chicken plucker fingers. Thus far, he has sold almost 10,000 fingers, and we are all amazed at that! The experience has been good for him. It is an educational introduction to having a small business.
My 12-year-old son, James, has been picking rocks and hauling hay bales right along with his older brother. He is also gearing up for selling baked goods at the farmer’s market with his mother on Thursday afternoons through the summer. As in previous years, James will make and sell cookies and quick breads (zucchini, bananna, etc.). He is anticipating a good year. Today happens to have been the first market day of the season.
The Lovely Marlene has been busy making hundreds of bars of her handcrafted soaps to sell. And she is again selling her wholesome homemade breads at the market. She sells cinnamon rolls too and she has something of a following. This year she is going to see how her homemade granola sells at the market.
When farm market season comes, I install an additional oven in the house for Marlene and James. They start baking on Wednesday and things in the kitchen are pretty hectic right up until Thursday afternoon when they pack up and head off to the market.
Me? Well, as Ed Snodderly sings in his "Brier Visions" CD, I’m still “working in the new mine,” which is to say I continue to work my state/factory job. But at the same time I continue to work at least another 40 hours a week at my home business, Whizbang Books. I am, Lord willing, building a small business that will one day help me to break free of the wage slave shackles I find myself in. The business is being blessed with a greater measure of success, due largely to the recent increase in chicken plucker parts sales. I’m thankful and encouraged by it all.
My rock pickin’ sons have, in the course of their field work this year, found three old horseshoes. The rusted relics are reminders of those days, not so long ago, when the countryside was chock full of small family farms. Those were the days when farmers were not dependent on seed companies and fertilizer companies and big fuel-guzzling tractors. Those were the days before the whole economy of our nation became dependent, as it is now, on the free flow of cheap fossil fuels.
Gut-Shot Industrial Age?
Those fossil fuels are no longer cheap, are they? The oil that once flowed freely is now threatened by the specter of Peak Oil. Again, I am reminded of an Ed Snodderly song where he uses the phrase, “Bubbles of blood in the mouth of a gut-shot deer.”
Those high gas prices we are paying these days are, like bubbles of blood in the mouth of a gut-shot deer, evidence of a very grave situation.
Don’t You Hate It When That Happens?
Last month I took my old 4-wheel-drive Ford Explorer to my neighbor Ron, who has a rural home business as an auto and truck and tractor mechanic. I trust Ron to do good work at a fair price and he does. I told him of the many problems with my vehicle and asked if he thought I could get another six months out of it.
Ron checked the vehicle out and called me the next day…
“Were you thinking of trading this vehicle in sometime?” he asked.
“The thought crossed my mind,” I replied.
“Good. Do it!” he exclaimed.
I chuckled and he added, “I’m serious. You’ve got a blown head gasket and transmission problems. You should trade this thing in fast. Like next week.”
He later told me that if I really, really liked the vehicle, I could fix the engine and get a new transmission, and do a bunch of other expensive repairs.
So I Got Rid Of It
When I went to trade it in two days later, the car salesman asked me if there was anything wrong with the vehicle. I said, “Yes, everything is wrong with it.” He laughed. So did I. When he asked me how much I wanted to get for the trade-in, I said, “I harbor no illusions. Make me an offer.” They offered me $1,000. I accepted it.
We called that gas-hog-piece-of-junk Ford Explorer “Big Red.” Our other automobile is Little Red.” It’s an older Nissan Sentra with 170,000 miles on it. Little Red has no mechanical problems (except that it has no 5th gear but 4th does the job good enough), sips gas, and cost me all of $600. I’ve had Little Red about a year now and it was the first foreign car I ever bought.
So, do you think I bought another big American SUV to replace Big red?
No way. I was thinking ”bubbles of blood in the mouth of a gut-shot deer” when I traded Big red in on a fuel efficient Honda Accord. We call it "Blue."
I wrote awhile back about my adrenal fatigue and the distasteful herb tonic Marlene got for me. Now she has me taking a couple of additional drinks. I combine five tablespoons of the vile dark liquids in a shot glass and chug it down every morning. I can take almost all of it in one very big gulp.
I think the stuff is actually doing me some good. I feel much less run-down. And am getting more things done.
My Next Piece of Yeoman Furniture
Speaking of getting more things done, last fall I made a deal with Marlene. Let me focus on my book project (Anyone Can Build A Whizbang Garden Cart) until it’s done and then I’ll focus on remodeling your bedroom until it’s done.
So when my book was done a few weeks ago, I took a week off from my day job to completely redo the bedroom. Now that it’s done, and Marlene is very pleased, I am thinking of making two bedside stands. They will be another Yeoman Furniture project.
While I was thinking about how I would make these stands and the features I wanted them to have, a unique and, I dare say, brilliant idea came into my mind. It may have been Divine inspiration. Fact is, I’m sure it was. How does this sound to you?....
A bedside table designed to hold a shotgun.
Can you feature it? I think I can and hope to make it before the year is out. Marlene has told me she does not want a shotgun holder built into her bedside stand. No problem. I told her I could make it with a nifty handgun holder. She didn’t like that idea either. So her bedside stand will match mine, except that it won’t accommodate any firearms.
Are you still reading this? My, but I can ramble, can’t I? I have more to share with you in the days ahead. Y’all come back now.
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