Scott Nearing’s “Horse Chow” (Part 3)

My last two blog esays have been about Scott and Helen Nearing, their 1954 book, Living The Good Life, and what remarkable people they were. Each of my essay’s has been titled Scott Nearing’s “Horse Chow”. But I have yet to tell you about the “horse chow” which, I hasten to add, is not for horses. In this essay I might actually get to telling you about Scott’s horse chow.

As noted previously, one of the reasons the Nearings left urban life with its many trappings and conveniences was to maintain and improve their health. Scott was 49 years old when they made their break for the Vermont wilderness. Helen was 20 years his junior.

The Nearings saw very clearly that the typical modern lifestyle was inherently unhealthy. For the urbanized masses, work was becoming more sedentary and separated from fresh air and sunshine. Furthermore, the corporate-industrial system was spraying food with synthetic chemicals in the growing, and adulterating the food with chemicals again in the preserving and processing. In their “Good Life” book, the Nearings write:

Among the vested interests that have come to the fore in the modern world there are those who deliberately devitalize, drug, and poison the population for profit. Perhaps it may seem absurd, in this day and age, to write about deliberate poisoning. Most people associate the poisoning of food with family feuds in the Middle Ages, with primitive warfare, or with an occasional bit of spite-work perpetuated in a fit of anger or jealousy. Research shows the words are more applicable today than they were in the days of the Borgias.

Poison, says the dictionary, is “any substance which by reason of an inherent deleterious property tends to destroy life or impair health when taken into the system”. Any food product which tends to destroy life or to impair health therefore may be listed as a poison.


Among the many poisonous foods that are commonly consumed, the Nearings list: white flour, white sugar, polished rice, oleomargarine, canned foods, puddings, cakes, and anything with artificial colors, preservatives, and flavorings. Alcoholic, caffeinated, and carbonated beverages also fall into the poisonous category. Here are a couple more pertinent quotes from the book:

Food processing, poisoning, and drugging is undermining the health of the American people as well as yielding large profits to the individuals and corporations engaged in processing, poisoning, and drugging.


We are equally convinced that the immense sums spent by the food processors, drug manufacturers, and pharmaceutical houses for advertising, propaganda, lobbying, and other types of “public relations” are having a deleterious effect on the well being of the American and other Western peoples.


Helen and Scott wrote those words 56 years ago. They stated that Millions of people in the United States [are] more or less helpless victims of the food industry. It was true then. It is even truer today.

With those things in mind, the Nearings decided they would no longer be victims. They determined to not consume the poisonous food of the industrial providers. They would modify their diet to eat whole, fresh, fruits, vegetables, grains, and nuts. And, being vegetarians, they never ate “the cooked carcasses of beasts, birds, or fish.”

All of which means that they didn’t eat the overwhelming majority of foods found in any modern supermarket. Such foods were seen as part of the “corporate market economy.” And living the good life was a declaration of separation and independence from such an economy.

Beyond the matter of health, those readymade and poisoned foods were seen as completely superfluous. They quote Mark Twain: Civilization is a limitless multiplication of unnecessary necessaries. Then the Nearings add their own insight: A market economy seeks to ballyhoo and bamboozle consumers into buying things they neither need nor want.” It was true then. It is even truer now.

All of this leads us to the question: How did they survive without all the “good” modern foods?

Well, they actually managed to survive quite well. Scott lived to be 100 years old, and Helen to 91. Both were healthy and active to the end. It is reported that they did not go to doctors, did not have any sicknesses, and were on no medications.

Helen writes in her final book ("Loving and Leaving The Good Life") that, with age, Scott grew physically weaker. When he could no longer carry in their firewood, he decided it was time to go. He simply stopped eating and starved himself to death, at home, while Helen cared for him through the “final episode.” It was suicide by starvation, which, frankly, I find shocking. Helen died in an auto accident while driving herself to town several years later.

The point is, these two people were remarkably healthy and physically productive, and for far longer than the average modern man or woman. They attributed much of this vitality and longevity to their diet. They attributed it to Scott’s “horse chow” mix.

Oh, but look.... time has run out once again. I’ll have to tell you about Scott Nearing’s Horse Chow in my next essay.

Stay tuned.....
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CLICK HERE to read the fourth and final essay in this horse chow series.

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CLICK HERE to go back to the first essay in this "Horse Chow" series.

Scott Nearing’s "Horse Chow" (Part 2)

In my previous essay I introduced you to the classic back-to-the land book, Living The Good Life by Helen and Scott Nearing. And I gave you some background information (things you won’t find in the book) about the Nearings. I concluded by recommending the book even though I am not in accord with the Nearing’s non-Christian beliefs.

Truth be told, I admire Scott and Helen for their gumption, idealism, focus, and determination. They recognized the foolishness and depravity inherent in the industrialized lifestyle and decided not to participate. They didn’t just talk the talk, they walked the walk. That is admirable. If more modern-day Christians in America walked the walk instead of just talking the talk, we would be a far more effective witness for Jesus Christ. That’s my opinion.

Personally, I have endeavored to live a countercultural Christian lifestyle, especially over the last nine years. It is a way of life called Christian-agrarianism. As most of you who read this blog probably know, I even wrote my own “good life” book a couple years ago ("Writings of a Deliberate Agrarian" is the title).

In the beginning of my book I make it clear that I am no expert on the Christian-agrarian “good life.” I am more like a hungry beggar who has found a source of good bread, and I want to tell others all about it.

I get letters from readers of my book, and that is always a nice thing. But some people write seeking greater wisdom and depth of understanding from me about Christian-agrarianism. More than a few even want to come and visit me. I feel inadequate about answering many, if not most, of the specific questions posed to me, and I am pretty sure people would be disappointed if they visited me. I am not the eloquent and dogmatic counterculture “radical” that Scott Nearing was. I am not prepared to debate my position with any and all comers, as Scott Nearing delighted in doing when he was in his prime. I am no Christian-agrarian paragon.

I’m just a beggar who has found bread. And I’ve tasted the bread. And it is good.

I have found that when Christianity is embraced and deliberatly lived within the agrarian framework, it bears good fruit. It bears better fruit than life lived within the industrialized, worldly, framework that dominates in this day and age. And I believe it bears better fruit than agrarianism blended with the Nearing’s brand of Buddhism, or any other antichrist belief system. In fact, I'll go so far as to say that I believe Chirstianity is best lived within the agrarian paradigm. I think that is what God intended from the start. And good fruit is what a truly good life should be all about.

When I refer to "good fruit" I am referring (for starters) to the "fruit of the Spirit" mentioned in Galations 5:22. "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance..." Qualities like that do not find fertile ground to grow and mature in the industrial world and the industrialized lifestyle, as they do within the agrarian lifestyle.

I think Michael Bunker said it well: "Agrarianism is the only proper seedbed of a Christian life and worldview. The whole Bible teaches it, and every story and parable re-affirms it."

The rightness and "goodness" of Christian agrarianism seems so plainly obvious to me. And I often wonder, how do I explain something that is obvious? How do I justify something that is obvious? I do it by simply testifying to the obvious with stories from my own life, and pertinent essays. This blog archive has plenty of such testimonies, as does my book. But I have digressed. This is supposed to be about the Nearings.

Yes, I like the Nearings for many reasons. They rejected consumerism and materialism by living very simply. They embraced the virtues of hard physical work and a wholesome diet of organic food. They grew 80-percent of their own food. They cut their own firewood. They built their home and outbuildings with their own hands using native stone. They were good neighbors, and gracious hosts to as many as 2,000 strangers who made their way to the Nearing’s homestead each year. When people showed up, Scott and Helen put them to work, and fed them, and they shared their vision of the “good life” with them. That is remarkable.

The Nearings eschewed the whole modern idea of working a regular job in order to earn a living. They chose instead to make a subsistence income by working on their land. That is what they said in their book. But in recent years, after their death, it has come to light that the couple had the luxury of inheritances to help support themselves. Does this revelation about their “good life” discredit their lifelong experiment? I think it does. But only to a degree.

The fact remains that they still lived deliberately and simply, and separate from the industrialized modern culture. Most people who are blessed with the advantage of “old money” would never choose to live as the Nearings did. It’s quite possible that their choice of lifestyle is even more remarkable knowing that they may have had the money to live far “better.”

In any event, it was my intention to tell you about Scott Nearing’s unusual food concoction called “horse chow” in this essay (it's not for horses) and, once again, I have rambled on without doing so. I will get to it next time (maybe). For now, I’d like to leave you with an excerpt from an interview that Helen Nearing gave in 1994. Scott had died eleven years earlier at 100 years of age. She was 90 years old and would die in an auto accident a year later.

The interviewer mentioned that many people are attached or addicted to “feeling part of the culture, watching big events on television, going to the popular movies. Have you ever regretted not being a part of those events—missing that shared context?”

Helen responded:

I have a sense of not being part of it but I haven’t missed it. The titillation that’s generated on the screen or boombox is absolutely unnecessary to me. Hell on earth for Scott and me would have been the perpetual noise of radio or television. And you get them perforce. You can do nothing about it once you turn on these machines. There these voices are, there these ideas are, there these people are. I feel no kinship with them and I gladly turn their noise off. And gladly live without the noise.


CLICK HERE to read essay #3 in this four-part "Horse Chow" series.

Scott Nearing’s "Horse Chow" (Part 1)

Scott & Helen Nearing were icons of the 1970s back-to-the-land movement. They fled the rat race of New York City in 1932, during the deepest part of the Great Depression, and moved to a run-down 65 acre farmstead in the rural wilderness of Vermont’s Green Mountains.

Twenty years later, they wrote and self-published the book that would make them famous: Living The Good Life: How to Live Sanely and Simply in a Troubled World. The book was a chronicle of Helen and Scott’s countercultural quest. Since then, “Living The Good Life” has been through more than 30 printings and sold more than 300,000 copies. In the Preface of the book, the Nearings write:

At the outset we thought of the venture as a personal search for a simple, satisfying life on the land, to be devoted to mutual aid and harmlessness, with an ample margin of leisure in which to do personally constructive and creative work.


The Preface further states:

When we moved to Vermont we left a society gripped by depression and unemployment, falling a prey to fascism, and on the verge of another world-wide military free-for-all, and entered a pre-industrial, rural community.


What exactly motivated the Nearings to make their life-changing move? Surely the depression was a factor. But there was much more to it. The book hints of the deeper reasons when it says that because of their “pacifism, vegetarianism, and collectivism," they were denied "their part in public education.” Knowing something more of Scott Nearing’s background brings a clearer understanding....

He was born in 1883 to a well-to-do family in Pennsylvania. At 23 years of age he was an assistant professor at the Wharton School of Economics. Nine years later they fired him for his vocal opposition to child labor. One wonders how opposing child labor in factories and mines would get a man fired from his job as a professor. Well, evidently, he directed his venom at the Philadelphia industrialists who were benefiting from the use of child labor. These moneyed interests exercised their plutocratic powers and Nearing was out.

In 1917 Scott Nearing railed against the war, which he recognized as a capitalist tool to enrich the plutocracy. He wrote an anti-war pamphlet and was promptly indicted by the federal government for instigating draft dodging. At his trial he addressed the jury with an eloquent final statement, declaring that it was his right and duty as an American to voice his conscience. They deliberated for 30 hours and acquitted him.

Scott Nearing ran for Congress as a Socialist. He did surprisingly well but lost. He joined the Communist Party and, after disagreeing with them, they kicked him out. Unable to get a job in education, Scott turned to speaking. For nearly ten years he made speeches and debated such luminaries as Clarrence Darrow. Then came the Great Depression.

Again, from the Preface of “Living The Good Life”....

Under the circumstances, where could outcasts from a dying social order live frugally and decently, and at the same time have sufficient leisure and energy to assist in the speedy liquidation of the disintegrating society and to help replace it with a more workable social system?


That rhetorical question resonated with me when I first read it 32 years ago. Even though I was not a Communist or a Socialist, and even though I thought Capitalism was a good thing, and even though I thought foreign wars were probably necessary, and that vegetarians were oddballs, and even though the word “plutocracy” was nowhere in my personal lexicon, I knew something was seriously wrong with modern culture; that it was self-destructive. I intuitively understood that living simply was living better.

As a teenager, I was fascinated by the Nearings and their book. I still am. Here is another excerpt from the Preface:

We left the city with three objectives in mind. The first was economic. We sought to make a depression-free living, as independent as possible of the commodity and labor markets, which could not be interfered with by employers, whether businessmen, politicians or educational administrators. Our second aim was hygienic. We wanted to maintain and improve our health. We knew that the pressures of city life were exacting, and we sought a simple basis of well-being where contact with the earth, and home-grown organic food, would play a large part. Our third objective was social and ethical. We desired to liberate and disassociate ourselves, as much as possible, from the cruder forms of exploitation: the plunder of the planet, the slavery of man and beast; the slaughter of men in war, and of animals for food.

We were against the accumulation of profit and unearned income by non-producers, and we wanted to make our living with our own hands, yet with time and leisure for avocational pursuits. We wanted to replace regimentation and coercion with respect for life. Instead of exploitation, we wanted a use economy. Simplicity should take the place of multiplicity, complexity, and confusion. Instead of the hectic mad rush of busyness we intended a quiet pace, with time to wonder, ponder and observe. We hoped to replace worry, fear and hate with serenity, purpose and at-one-ness.


It was an idealistic, utopian vision the Nearings had, and, to a degree, they achieved what they set out to do. Today, the Nearing's simple, agrarian-based “good life” still beckons to many. They see that our industrialized culture is bereft of substance and meaning. To such people, Living The Good Life is a worthwhile read. It contains practical advice and inspiring examples. I recommend it. However, this book should be read with discernment. It is a chew-the-meat-and-spit-out-the-bones kind of book.

Bearing that in mind, I would be sorely remiss if I did not state that I feel the Nearings missed the mark in their quest. I can not fathom a “good life” without my Christian faith at the center of it all. I can not imagine the “good life” without children and grandchildren to share and enjoy it with. Both of these things are conspicuously missing from the Nearing’s example.

Though not specifically discussed in their book, one need not look far to discover that the Nearings were not Christians. Helen’s thinking was heavily influenced by Buddhist beliefs. One assumes that Scott’s was also. Their lifestyle has Buddhist overtones. Though they acknowledged and loved the natural world, they held pantheistic beliefs about origins. They embraced the Hindu theology of reincarnation. This explains their vegetarianism and never owning any animals. Curiously, Helen made it a point not to even say the word, “God.”

Helen was also an avid dowser, a practice known as divination in the Bible, and strictly forbidden by scripture. When she and Scott decided to leave Vermont (because it was getting too developed and crowded) they turned their sights to coastal Maine. To find the best place for their new homestead, Helen dowsed with a pendulum over a map of the state. They moved where the pendulum told them to move.

In the final analysis, I’m convinced that “the good life,” as the Nearings knew it and lived it, was not "the best life." They left out the most important things. They failed to see and understand God's grace, and His mercy, and they neglected to give Him all the glory for all the goodness they had ever known.

All of which brings me to my own definition of The Good Life:

When a simplified lifestyle, separated-from-the-craziness-of-an-ungodly-world system, is lived within the God-ordained agrarian paradigm, and is pursued with a Biblical worldview, in humility and love, for the purpose of raising godly families (unto future generations), while blessing those around you, and strengthening the body of Christ, and influencing others to pursue righteousness, then God is glorified, and that is, in my opinion, as good as it gets.

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P.S. You may be wondering why I titled this essay Scott Nearing’s Horse Chow. Well, it was my original intention to write about the unique food concoction the Nearings ate. They called it "horse chow," but it was not for horses. We’ll talk about horse chow next....

CLICK HERE to go to part two of this series.

Old Farm Almanacs For March

My pet project this year is my newest blog Old Farm Almanacs. Here is a sampling of postings I've made there for this month of March:

Farmers Are Lords of Creation: 1864
A Christian-agrarian statement from 144 years ago!

Questioning Progress: 1867
"We tunnel the mountains, net the continents with railways, and stretch our telegraph wires under the ocean, but are we any better men and women, any truer worshippers of God..."

Feeding Horses: 1875
"Here is a table for horse feed given by a Conecticut clergyman, after careful estimates and experiments..."

March & Mars, The God of War: 1851
Here's an anti-war statement like you've never seen before.

Dealing With Udder Inflamation: 1865
Learn how farmers managed without antibiotics

Take Your Work by the Forelock: 1859
It's March. Get to work!

Get Ready For Spring Work: 1867
There is plenty to do on the farm come March.

Questioning Creation in 1878
Dr. Tyndall is amazed with creation, but confused about origins. It is Darwin's legacy.

Picking Rocks: 1882
March is a great time to get the rocks out of your fields.

Economical Habits & Christian Virtue: 1865
Here's a fine little sermon from a "secular" publication of the day.

The Woodlot in March: 1856
"Hark! ‘tis the woodsman’s axe...."

Riches & Happiness: 1845
"Riches take away more happiness than they bestow...."

Wisdom For Raising Children: 1850
The advice is timeless.

Selections From March "Farmer's Calendar" Essays
"Keep up courage, winter is nearly gone...."

More Selections From March "Farmer's Calendar" Essays
"There is no other month like this. Cold, sleet, rain, snow, and sunshine. But we must make the best of it...."

Boy Shoots Raccoon in His Underwear

Today at lunch Marlene told me about a conversation she had with her friend who lives not too far from us. Her friend related that a neighbor woman had been chased by a rabid raccoon in her yard. The neighbor called someone to come shoot the animal, but they couldn’t find it.

Then, a little while later, the critter showed up at Marlene’s friend’s house. The friend’s teenage son ran outside and shot the raccoon in his underwear.

That’s quite a story. I couldn’t help but ask the obvious.... How did the raccoon end up wearing the boy’s underwear?

Seriously, though, I like that story because the boy responded and did exactly what God designed men (young and old) to do, which is to protect their families against dangers. And instead of taking the time to get dressed, this kid runs outside in his underwear to get the job done! Yeah. I like that a lot.

Of course, you can do stuff like that when you live out in the country. Running outside in your underwear and shooting dangerous animals is really not out of the ordinary.

Now, if you lived in the suburbs, that’s a different story. You can’t shoot things in your yard in suburbia. The neighbors will call the police. And if you’re out there in your skivvies, it just compounds the problem.

This story is actually somewhat coincidental because this afternoon, I walked out of my work shop, toward my house and, on the way, I passed a raccoon. He was about 20 feet off to my left side. I almost didn’t even notice him. He was quietly ambling along, with his rear end hiked up in the air, like raccoons do, and not paying any attention to me.

Well, when I see a raccoon walking through my yard in daylight, I shoot it. More likely, one of my kids will shoot it. First, they would probably argue about which one of them was going to shoot the raccoon. But I happened to be home alone today when this incident happened. Oh, and I should make it clear, I was fully clothed.

Once I was in the house, I hastily went to the gun cabinet and chose my son Robert’s single shot, break-action, 20-gauge shotgun—the one I bought him for Christmas a couple years ago—the one he uses to hunt rabbits and squirrels. I had a choice of bird shot or deer slugs. I grabbed two slugs, put one in the chamber and hurried outside. I left our dog, Annie, in the house. The last thing I needed was my dog to tussle with a rabid coon.

When I got outside, the raccoon was nowhere in sight. I wandered around and finally spotted it on the other side of my shop. I closed in as it walked past my compost pile. I walked closer. The coon acted like he didn’t see me. I was off to its side and a little behind as he made his way along one side of my chicken tractor. Then he stopped, and so did I. We were maybe 10 feet apart.

The raccoon slowly turned his head around and looked at me with his beady black eyes. The way he turned his head and looked at me reminded me of a scene I once saw in Jurassic Park, where the big dinosaur realizes there is a human nearby, and turns his head slowly to look at the person, just before pouncing.

Well, I didn’t wait to see what the coon was going to do next. I blasted that thing and killed it dead, right there next to the chicken tractor. That’s what I did.

Deer slugs work real well on raccoons (I only used one, by the way).

For those readers who live in a foreign country where there are no raccoons, or if you’re a city person who has maybe never seen a dead raccoon, here’s a picture of the little beast:

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So then I had to dispose of the dead, rabid coon. I can’t leave it outside where Annie would get it. She would chew on it and drag it off to someplace and bury it. Then dig it up a few months later and drag it onto the lawn, by the door to our house (where everyone who visits us would see it) and commence to eat it.

Fortunately, I have a special place. It’s the place where we toss all our dead raccoons. And all the long-dead and half-rotted carcasses Annie hauls in from who-knows-where. It’s an Annie-proof place. Here it is:

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That is what’s left of a big, hollow basswood tree that blew down in a storm a few years ago. It is located across from our house in the neighbor’s hedgerow. All the dead animals go in that stump. That’s a real handy stump there.

Introducing a Young Agrarian Blogger...

Matthew Potter is 18 years old. He lives with his family in a farm house on 1.5 acres of land in Michigan. His father is an electrical engineer. His mother is a "one woman army." His brother is a talented pianist. Matthew is a Christian with agrarian interests. And he has just posted his first blog entry.

I encourage you to check out Matthew's introductory blog essay and welcome him to the world of Christian-agrarian blogging....

Matthew's First Post at PotterVilla Academy

Gold At $1,000

[Dateline: 13 March 2008]

You've probably heard the big news. Today, for the first time ever, the value of one ounce of gold squeaked past $1,000.

If you have ever seen a one-ounce gold coin you know it is not very big. A one-ounce American Gold Eagle bullion coin is roughly the size of a half dollar coin. Tonight they are selling on Ebay for around $1,200. A 1/10 ounce American Eagle is roughly the size of a dime, and they are selling for around $120.00.

What would compel people to spend so much for those little pieces of metal?

The answer is FEAR. The reality of the seriousness of inflation, and uncertainty about the future, is beginning to really register with the masses. They want to preserve their assets. Precious metals, gold and silver in particular, typically hold their value in an inflationary period.

Here's the interesting thing about today's high price... it really isn't the highest price per ounce that gold has ever been.

Back in the 1980's, the price of an ounce of gold got up to over $800. I read recently that if you figure in the rate of inflation since then, the price of gold today would have to be over $2,000 to equal that previous high.

Do you think it will get that high? I would be very surprised if it didn't.

Tonight on the radio I heard a BBC radio news report in which the reporter said something pretty close to this: "The American Federal Reserve says it will not rest until it finds an appropriate salve for the current monetary problems."

That's kind of funny. I don't think the Federal Reserve has an "appropriate salve" for what's we're experiencing.

Now that gold has broken the $1,000 barrier, some people believe that will trigger a mass flight to gold. Gold could become the next "bubble."

Well, maybe. I sure don't know. But I think even the most optimistic of American investor-lemmings are beginning to see the handwriting on the wall. Things are not going to be getting any better with the American economy any time soon. Should we all buy precious metals? Well, maybe. But I have a feeling that most Americans don't have the money to spend on such things.

If you are interested in purchasing gold or silver, contact Franklin Sanders at The Moneychanger. I believe he is someone you can trust completely.

But, more importantly, if I were to offer any advice for the uncertain days ahead it would be exactly what I wrote two months ago in this essay: An Agrarian-Style Economic Self Defense Plan.

My Whizbang
Squash Planting Secret

Dateline: 12 March 2008
Updated: 2 May 2013


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This young squash plant is getting off to a great start in life.

After posting My Whizbang Squash Planting Secret here five years ago, almost 9,000 people have read it and learned about growing squash with Whizbang BOF holes and sidewall cloches. 

I have now moved the essay to the online Resources web site of The Planet Whizbang Idea Book For Gardeners

When you purchase a copy of the book, you are given the "key" to finding the book's hidden online Resources web site. 

Best Whizbang wishes,

Herrick Kimball

P.S. Check out the reader comments below.......

Beauty in March

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March is always a dreadful month. The yearly sales tax payment for my little home business, Whizbang Books, is due in March. And, seeing as April 15 is not too far away, I always get my income tax figures together in March.

I am not a good bookkeeper through the year. I do not keep an organized record of things like I should. But I do save every business receipt. Then, in March, I sort it all out and figure what I spent and what I made. I loath this yearly compiling of numbers. It takes hours of my time. Time is one of the most precious things in life. There is so much more I would rather be doing with my time. But I am a slave to receipts, and cancelled checks, and thoughts of IRS agents, and concerns about money. That is the reason, and the only reason, why March is a dreadful month.

The good news is, as of today, I am free of that nasty bookkeeping task. Today I took my numbers to a professional tax man. He can plug them into the appropriate forms and charge me a couple hundred bucks. Oh, what a dreadful month. I could never be a tax man. It would be a dreadful life for me. I really don’t like numbers (I’m more partial to words).

But that is behind me. Now I’m free to enjoy March in all its glory. We had an ice storm here a couple days ago. It wasn’t bad enough to do a lot of damage. It was a perfect ice storm. The tree branches are coated with a layer of ice, maybe 1/4” thick. When the sun came out, the ice sparkled like crystal. It was awesome to behold. The picture above doesn’t really capture the beauty of the real-world picture as I would like it to. No photograph can do that.

What is the most beautiful thing you have ever seen?

That is something I was thinking about a few days before the ice storm came. I pondered and decided that, if I had to limit it to the three most beautiful things I have ever seen in this world, they would be:

1. Summer sunsets, viewed from my garden.
2. Loving smiles.
3. Newborn children (my own especially).

As I thought about those things, and the many other contenders for “most beautiful” (which would certainly include ice-covered trees glistening in the sun), I realized that none of them were man-made. They are all, every single one of them, part of God’s creation, even loving smiles. After all, we are made in God's image, and God is the author of love.

Sometimes the beauty found in the natural world is soft and gentle, like a pleasant summer rain, or a gurgling brook. At other times, as with a howling storm or a raging torrent, the beauty is fierce and frightening. But it is all compellingly beautiful to behold.

God’s creation, the natural world all around us, is a reflection of Him. And it came to my mind that the Bible speaks of the “beauty of His holiness.”

Give unto the LORD the glory due unto His name: bring an offering, and come before him: worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness. 1 Chronicles 16:29, Psalm 29:2

Then I thought that if, in this sin-saturated and fallen world, the beauty of God’s creation shines through so clearly and beautifully, and it is, in fact, the only true beauty there is, then what must the actual beauty of God’s holiness be like? What will eternity in His presence be like? What will heaven be like?

Those questions are beyond my ability to comprehend. But the thought of such things fills me with a yearning.

One thing I’m quite certain about... there will be no taxes in heaven.

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Here is a picture of the gully and creek that runs behind my house.

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This next picture was taken from the road in front of my house, looking down and across the valley to the west. This is where, soon, I will watch the beautiful summer sunsets. You will notice there is one thing in the picture that is out of place. Telephone poles are not beautiful. I rather doubt there will be telephone poles in heaven.

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Whizbang Book Specials For March 2008

There are two new things to report at Whizbang Books.

1. For the month of March, I'm offering special reduced pricing on my books, Anyone Can Build a Whizbang Garden Cart and Writings of a Deliberate Agrarian.

2. I have just posted Chapter One (a free sample!) from my book, Writings of a Deliberate Agrarian.

For more information about these things, CLICK HERE

For complete details about all my Whizbang books, I invite you to stop by the Whizbang Books home page by clicking here: Whizbang Books Online Catalog