I decided to watch the first presidential debate last night. I’m a deeply-cynical-but-still-curious American who has voted in every election since he was 18 years old. I voted for Jimmy Carter when I was 18. That was long before I, a registered Republican, got involved in Republican Party politics and came out of it a deeply cynical, completely disillusioned citizen.
I got our little TV out on the kitchen table and plugged it in, but I couldn’t get any stations to work. That’s life without cable or satellite for you. I’m not complaining. It’s a blessing, really.
So I tuned in the radio and listened. I don't need to see their faces. I held out for an hour. I had heard enough. I went to bed. And I said a simple but very sincere prayer: "Lord, please have mercy on this nation."
Remember my recent series about Home Based Business Ideas? Well, a funny thing happened after I wrote about the idea of being a “Toilet Repair Professional.”
Now you can go to this Toiletology 101 web page and see a picture of me along with a link to my blog essay.
Even more remarkable than that is the fact that this blog is now listed under the heading What We’re Reading at the Mother Earth News magazine blog, Rancho Cappuccino. That Mother Earth blog is subtitled, “Philosophy and farming with publisher Bryan Welch.”
What I find remarkable is that, taken as a whole, this blog springs out of my Christian-agrarian worldview, and there is much on this site that your typical “Mother Earther” would not agree with. Then again, there is much here that your typical “Christian” would not agree with either.
In any event, I grew up reading Mother Earth News back in the 1970’s. It was an influential part of my life for several years. In fact, I still have a sizable collection of old issues.
One of these days I will write about my first venture into the mail order business. I placed a classified ad in the back of Mother Earth News. And the mail started pouring in. One of these days.....
There is Whizbang news to report from across the pond. Wells Poultry Housing in the United Kingdom now sells my book, Anyone Can Build A Tub-Style Mechanical Chicken Plucker. This company is the first company in a foreign country to sell the book. To which I say, “It’s about time!”
If you live in the UK, you can find out about the book at this link: Whizbang Plucker Book in the United Kingdom.
Even if you don’t live in t he UK, but you
The Dart Family has been butchering chickens with their Whizbang plucker. A LOT of chickens (up to four at a time in the plucker), and turkeys too.
Speaking of home-raised poultry, Jim Janknegt at Brilliant Corner’s Art Farm sent me a link to an idea he came up with that I think is, well, Brilliant. Jim took an old backyard trampoline frame and turned it into a pastured poultry pen. You can see pictures and read all about it here: Jim Janknegt’s Trampoline Frame Chicken Tractor.
Attn: Bryan Welch.... I think Mother Earth News readers should know about that!
By the way, the most recent issue of Mother Earth News magazine (October/November 2008) has an article about a small house in Franklin, Maine. It measures 18ft by 18ft and provides 640 square feet of place-to-live for a family of three. The home is heated by a wood stove and has a monthly electric bill of $20.
In a previous blog essay titled, Of Small Houses & Cheap Alternative Housing Options, I told about the house I now live in. Marlene and I built it ourselves 1985 and it amounted to only 768 square feet. It was plenty big enough for us. But we added on as our children were born. It is still relatively small. And it's paid for.
We would love a larger house but small houses certainly do have their advantages. Actually, we don’t need any more living space. We just feel like we could use more space for our many projects.
The folks in the magazine article bought their house plans from Tumbleweed Tiny House Company. The owner of the company lives in an 89 square foot home. It is built on a trailer frame and can be pulled down the road behind a truck. Such a home would not be taxable here in New York. It reminds me of a modern version of the gypsy trailer or shepherd’s trailer.
And speaking of projects, long-time readers of this blog may recall that I used to raise garlic on my neighbor’s land. His field ran right up to our yard and he was more than happy to let me grow garlic and potatoes and such there. He even said we could raise pigs there if we wanted to (but we never got around to that). Then, about this time last year, they sold the place and moved to Seattle. As a result, we lost out use of the land.
Since then, we have gotten to know our new neighbor some (they live up the road, at the other end of the field). We recently asked them if it would be okay to use a small portion of their land for our gardening next year.
It doesn't look like that's going to happen. They told us they plan to turn the whole field into a four-wheeler race track. They are expecting a backhoe and such to show up soon to build the track.
When we bought our little spot of land here, it was part of the neighbor's field (a long-ago neighbor). My friend Art Dillon grew up on a farm down the road. He told me he knew this was good land because it always grew good alfalfa. He was right. The soil is sandy and pretty much everything grows well here.
Even though they live in the countryside, our new neighbors are not country people. The fact that their land is ideal for growing means nothing to them. And they are not content to drive their clangorous machines over the earth as it is. No, they want to reshape it to suit their quest for some "extreme" fun. It’s a shame to do this with good earth. It’s a cryin’ shame to do it right next to my house.
You take paradise and you put up a racing track.
Speaking of four-wheelers, my son Robert has one and I think that’s fine. He worked and saved to buy it and all three of my sons have a lot of fun driving it over the fields and in the woods. Robert just finished rebuilding the engine and replaced some parts. He knows that thing inside and out, literally. Four-wheelers have practical applications too. But it sure is a noisy beast.
This used to be a peaceful little neighborhood.
I'll close on a good note: My 13-year-old, James, read my previous blog about how I used to love reading Brains Benton mysteries when I was a kid. He wanted to read one. So I gave him one. He is now finishing up his third book in the series. Now he uses the word, "creeps" in his vocabulary, just like Jimmy Carson does in the book. I like to see him laying on the couch reading Brains Benton books, and enjoying them. It reminds me of myself when I was his age. :-)