Fifty One & Done

I’ve made one more revolution around the sun. The last day of January was my last day as a fifty year old. Marlene made a nice dinner. Instead of a birthday cake, I enjoyed a brownie with ice cream and a bunch of candles on it, as you can see in the picture.

I won’t cry on your shoulder about getting old. I think I may have done that last year. I’m a blessed man, and I’m very thankful to the Lord. He is the source of my blessings. They all come from Him, and they are all undeserved. I don’t think a day goes by that I do not count my blessings and thank God for them.


This blog is but one blessing for me. I have an opportunity to share with so many about my Christian faith, my family, and the agrarian “good life” we experience on our little patch of rural earth.

And I get such nice letters from so many readers. You tell me how you are blessed by the ruminations of this Deliberate Agrarian. Isn’t it nice how the blessings flow both ways? Yes it is.


I bought myself a birthday present... back in December... and I’m still waiting for it. I had hoped to have it for my birthday. Now I expect to get it sometime this month.

It is not an unusual item but it is a very unusual item for me to buy myself. Perhaps it is indicative of a mid life crisis.

I ran the purchase by Marlene to get her approval. She raised her eyebrows and uttered a little laugh. I proceeded to justify my purchase. She said she had nothing against it. She was just surprised. So are my kids. So am I.

“How much?” Marlene asked me. I told her. She raised her eyebrows again. I started to justify myself again. She told me it was okay. “Go ahead and get it if you really want it,” she said. She's humoring me. (it isn't really that expensive. It's just an unusual extravagance, at least in this family)

So I ordered it. I put money down. It is being made for me by a craftsman in Virginia. That’s all I can say for now. If/when I get it, I will tell you about it and show you a picture.


My birthday and my mysterious birthday present are not the really big news around here. The really big news is that I have finished my book, Anyone Can Build A Whizbang Apple Grinder And Cider Press. I handed it off to the printer day before yesterday... forty-eight pieces of paper, carefully wrapped in a protective sleeve of cardboard, bound and tied with a length of sisal twine, the culmination of several hundred hours of focus and determination.

My self-imposed goal was to have the manuscript done by the first of February and, by the grace of God, I was able to do that. I was encouraged to meet that goal by the faith and trust of so many people who have pre-purchased a copy of the book. I’m pretty sure I’ve pre-sold more copies of this book than any of my previous books. That is a good sign; another blessing.

I gave the pages of my new book a final look before bundling them up for the printer. As I did so, I thought to myself that putting a plan book together is such a big task, and it was such a big relief to have that part finally done. I also thought to myself that people should like this new book. It delivers. The subtitle is: Simple Plans For A Remarkably Productive Home-Scale Cidermaking System.

I have purchased the domain name, You can go there now and learn about the book. You can also pre-purchase a copy at a significant discount until the end of this month (February 2009).

By the way, I asked my printer to try and have the book done by the first of March. He thought that would work out. Stay tuned.


Now I will move on to my next Whizbang project. First, I intend to provide HDPE cider press tub hoops, precut and pre-drilled, complete with stainless steel screws. These will make the job of assembling the pressing tub very easy. And I expect to also provide drain rack kits, ready to assemble. More cider products may be added in time. Photos and details will be posted to when they are available.

Then there is the matter of my next Whizbang product. I will introduce you to it sometime this month. It is an ambitious endeavor for me to launch this idea with my little home shop, working part time. It will be my most ambitious project to date. I hope I can get it together by spring time. If not, it may have to wait until next spring. But I will reveal it this month. If you are serious about growing food, you will want this new Whizbang “Mystery tool.”


Perhaps I’ll just have to retire. Retire at 51 years old, from the factory job. Not so I can relax... so I can work at least twice as hard as I now do, at something I really enjoy. It’d be a Whizbang retirement. Hey, you never know. Things like that sometimes happen.

Well, I think that’s enough mystery and suspense and daydreaming for one blog.


Brenda said...

Happy birthday, Mr. Kimball! I turned 54 on January 29th and it's not so bad ;-) Every birthday, I thank the Lord for giving me one more year with my family. So for my birthday gift, I pre-ordered your new book. I'm looking forward to it. Thank you for all of your hard work, and for being such a blessing to your readers.

jimmycrackedcorn said...

Happy birthday sir! You leave no doubt in anyone's mind as to what your favorite word is! :)

Anonymous said...

2/4/09 - Happy Birthday! Congrats on finishing the book. My hubby turned 70 today and he is still a working man but has his own small business out of our home. He is a happy guy and I'm happy to have this wonderful gift. May you be blessed with many more birthdays.

Marci said...

Happy Birthday Herrick. I just celebrated my big 50!! I can't wait to see what your gift to yourself is. I'll keep checking!!

mark said...

Happy Birthday! I just celebrated my 46'th birthday on January 2. The funny thing is I am happier at 46 than I was at 26. Maybe I just became comfortable with my self. I don't know. I'm just happier. I got for my birthday, something I had wanted for twenty years,{And, yes, I had to pass it by my wife too....} A 12 inch Delta planer. More money than I had spent on a tool in my life. But it sure takes the grunt work out of flattening boards. I had wanted one forever, but there always seemed to be something else that needed paying first.

joan said...

Herrick- We share a birthday! Happy Belated!

Allen Shropshire said...

Happy Birthday Herrick!

steve rogers said...

Hello Herrick-When I googled your name this morning, I had no idea of the life you have fashioned for yourself. Congratulations. I am 72 and also have a wonderful (if very different than yours) life, and I had a question about veneering which I hoped you would answer. Since you have obviously wandered very far from that life, I will not ask the question I was going to ask, but I will ask whether the kitchen remodels that you did all those years ago, have survived with the veneer still in place. I have done all the bathroom (and other) cabinets in my house and am about half way through the kitchen. So far so good, and I am hoping that the solutions you wrote about so clearly are still holding up.
Thank you, Steve Rogers

Mike said...

Happy Birthday! Thanks for giving us a glimpse into the life of a family seeking after God. What sort of life could possibly be better!


Granny Miller said...

Happy Birthday Herrick!
Wishing you many more!


Happy birthday! My husband and I have passed the 50 mark recently ourselves, and we are blessed to report that life in the Lord gets better with each passing year. Congratulations on finishing your book! My husband is a writer, too, and you can find his thoughts at I enjoy reading your blog because it is so clear and full of good how-to stuff. Thanks and keep up the good work!

Aimee Hennen

Herrick Kimball said...

Thanks everyone.

I received your book order. (I e-mailed a confirmation to you but it came back as undeliverable).

The cabinet refacing I did years ago, my own kitchen included, has held up as well as any new cabinetry. There has been no problems at all with veneer delamination. Every so often I see an old customer and they tell me their kitchen still looks great. The only problem I've had is with the Blum Compact 33 cup hinges that I recommend in my refacing book. The self-closing springs have broken in many of the hinges. I need to replace several in my kitchen. Follow the directions in my Taunton Press refacing book and you will be very pleased with the results....for years to come.

Thanks again to you all.