Deliberate Agrarian Update: 30 November 2009



On this last day of November, 2009, Thanksgiving is still fresh in my mind. Many people think the Pilgrims came to America for religious liberty. That is not entirely true.

Four years ago I posted an essay to this blog titled Pilgrims & The Christian-Agrarian Exodus of 1620. I recommend that essay to you for a perspective on the Pilgrims (the perspective of the Pilgrims themselves) that you have probably not heard anywhere else (certainly not in the government schools). The Pilgrims were religious and cultural separatists. Their inspiring example is not just for Thanksgiving.

As Novembers in upstate New York go, this one now past was exceptionally pleasant. There was little of the blustery wind, biting cold, and snow that are typical of our Novembers. While I do like the change of seasons, along with the snow, and even the bitter, purging cold of winter, I don't much like the length of the cold season we typically get here. A couple of weeks would be sufficient for me. Perhaps this winter will be a short one.

-Robert’s Deer 2009


My son Robert spent a good portion of November in Bangor, N.Y., which is way up near the top of the state. He was helping a crew of guys install a network of tubing lines in a 4,000-tree maple sugar bush. Robert would get home on Friday nights and be up and out hunting before sunup the next morning. That’s dedication. This year he got his first deer with a bow, as seen in the above picture.

-Processing Pumpkins


I grew a single pumpkin plant in my garden this year. I used my Whizbang Squash Planting Secret to get the plant off to a good start, and it yielded up several big pumpkins. The picture above shows just some of the pumpkins from that one plant (the stems were chewed off by our Marlene’s beagle)

Our family has never celebrated Halloween, so we don’t make Jack-O-Lanterns out of our pumpkins. But we still carve them...



We cut all the pumpkins in half, scraped out the seeds, and chopped them into small chunks.



We then sliced the skin off each chunk, filled a stock pot with a steaming plate in the bottom, and cooked the pieces until tender. Marlene mashed up the soft pumpkin chunks and packed the puree into freezer bags—three cups to a bag.



Marlene makes a simple baked pudding with our homegrown and home-processed pumpkin puree. It tastes like pumpkin pie but there is no crust. All the ingredients are wholesome. It is simple, good food. Here is the recipe:

3 cups pumpkin puree
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 eggs, slightly beaten
1 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup milk

Blend ingredients. Pour into 1-1/2 quart casserole dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 55 to 65 minutes (or until the tip of a knife in the center comes out clean). This recipe is a modified version of This Online Recipe

As for the pumpkin seeds, they don’t go to waste. They are washed, drained, boiled, seasoned, and baked. Homemade pumpkin seeds not only taste good, they are nutritious. Marlene tells me (with a big smile): “They’re good for your “prostrate.” Here’s A Recipe.



-Twenty-Nine Years


Marlene and I celebrated our 29th year of marriage this month. Our union is strong, and true, and we feel greatly blessed to have each other.

It is, however, bittersweet to look at a picture of ourselves together in middle age. The freshness and vitality of our youth has faded. If I could post pictures of us from 29 years ago you would see what I mean.

They say that adolescence, the transition between being a youth and being an adult, is a difficult time, and I suppose it is. But middle age, that time when you face the limitations of advancing age and transition into “elderhood,” is also a difficult time of life.

I’m quite certain that I’m more thankful at my age than when I was younger. The perspective of years gone by brings a greater awareness of, and appreciation for, God’s grace and mercy, and the many undeserved blessings He has bestowed upon myself and my family.

-Land Update


If you have been reading my monthly installments here, you know we are trying to buy a small section of land adjoining our rural 1.5 acre homestead.

At this point, we and the neighbor have finally agreed upon a price for a portion of the land. It is less land than the three acres I hoped to get. I estimate that is a bit over two acres.

The agreement is only verbal at this time. Now the neighbor must get approval from the bank (mortgage holder) to sell this portion of their seven acres. We are offering a premium price. The bank should approve it. But I suspect the bank will also want most of the money. I don’t know how that will factor into the outcome.

The picture above shows a portion of the stream that runs through the property (and on behind our house). Out of view to the left is a portion of field that has very good soil. I have plans for that good soil, but I’m trying not to count my chickens before they hatch. I do hope we can get this resolved before Maple Syrup Makin’ Time in the spring.

This next picture shows a view of the field from what would be the new property line. A road is to the right. The house and shop in the distance is our place. The shop (building on the left) is actually the international headquarters of my home business, Whizbang Books. The acquisition of this land would give us many times more tillable land than we now have.



-My New York Times Op-Ed


Last month I mentioned that I sent a n Op-Ed article to the new York Times. They didn’t publish it. But that was no surprise. The big surprise would have been if they did publish it.

In the cacophony of ideas and schemes being offered up to solve America’s numerous problems, the agrarian “solution” I proposed in my NYT Op-Ed piece would come across to most modern Americans as just plain absurd.

After all, agrarianism and industrial modernity are diametrically opposed. But, as I explain in the Op-Ed, industrialism is not compatible with individual liberty, and is therefore un-American.

You can read the editorial that never was here: My New York Times Op-Ed Article

-Wendell Berry Speaks
Here is a good place to interject a dose of quotations from Wendell Berry...
"Let us have the candor to acknowledge that what we call "the economy" or "the free market" is less and less distinguishable from warfare."
"We are going to have to gather up the fragments of knowledge and responsibilities that have been turned over to governments, corporations, and specialists, and put those fragments back together again in our own minds and in our families and household and neighborhoods."
”But once greed has been made an honorable motive, then you have an economy without limits. It has no place for temperance or thrift or the ecological law of return. It will do anything. It is monstrous by definition."
"A corporation, essentially, is a pile of money to which a number of persons have sold their moral allegiance."
"A man with a machine and inadequate culture is a pestilence."
"The promoters of the global economy...see nothing odd or difficult about unlimited economic growth or unlimited consumption in a limited world."
"For the sake of “job creation,” in Kentucky, and in other backward states, we have lavished public money on corporations that come in and stay only so long as they can exploit people here more cheaply than elsewhere. The general purpose of the present economy is to exploit, not to foster or conserve.”
"When going back makes sense, you are going ahead."



-Exemplary Farms

I’ve written here in the past about An Exemplary Farm. To my way of thinking, exemplary farms are small, diversified, family farms that employ organic and sustainable farming practices and direct-market their products to the community around them. This month I learned about another exemplary farm not far from me.

Paul and Maureen Knapp (along with their three sons) operate Cobblestone Valley Farm in Preble, N.Y. If you want some inspiration, check out their web site. Oh, by the way, Cobblestone Valley Farm now processes their poultry with a Whizbang plucker.

Another farm operation that I’m impressed with is up in West Topsham, Vermont. The Walter Jefferies family at Sugar Mountain Farm raises hogs on pasture and they are currently building their own on-farm hog processing facility. It is an impressive undertaking.

-As Maine Goes...
I've heard it said that "as California goes, so goes the nation," which means that whatever happens in California will eventually happen in the rest of the country. That's downright scary. I'm hoping that as Maine goes, so goes the nation, particularly relating to dairy farmers:
By Associated Press
October 12, 2009 9:18 AM

BAR HARBOR, Maine - A group of organic dairy farmers in Maine has formed its own company with its own brand of milk.
Shoppers soon will be able to buy MOOMilk — short for Maine's Own Organic Milk — at stores in Maine and Massachusetts.

This is great news and you can read the story at this link: True Yankee Ingenuity Launches MOOMilk

-Processing Ducks


A friend here in my town contacted me a few days before Thanksgiving asking for help. He had someone lined up to process the turkeys and ducks he had raised but they backed out. Would I be able to help him? I said I would help him, if he was willing to help me with the work and learn the process.

So my friend showed up early on Saturday morning with four turkeys, three geese and a dozen Indian Runner ducks. I have processed a lot of chickens and turkeys in the past but never a waterfowl. So this would be a learning experience for me too.

Well, I can tell you that if chickens and turkeys were as difficult to pluck and process as ducks and geese, I would not be raising my own chickens every year!

But I would like to get a few Indian Runner ducks (like shown above). My friend says they are great for bug control in the garden. And the turkeys he raised were heritage breeds. Beautiful birds. If we get that two acres, I’ll be raising turkeys again.

-Make Your Own Handle Rub


If wood-handled tools are given an annual coating of the homemade “rub” shown in the above picture, they’ll last longer and feel more comfortable in your hand. I show and tell how to easily make your own wood-handle preservative in this online essay: Make Your Own Planet Whizbang Handle Rub

And speaking of the Planet Whizbang, I am now selling completely assembled Planet Whizbang wheel hoes. Details Are Here. This simple, efficient hand tool is the thing to have if you are growing a big garden. So I’ll be giving mine a real workout if we buy that land.

-Back To Bee Keeping


Years ago, I had bee hives. I wrote about my beekeeping in these essays:

Earl The Bee Man & My First Hive

Can You Feel The Energy?

Unfortunately, after two good years, a mite infestation killed off my hives. I gave my hive boxes to Earl the Bee Man because I had so much else going on and was discouraged with beekeeping.

But I have missed having bees. We sure did like harvesting our own supply of honey. And having bees around really does make a difference in the garden. I might have had twice as many pumpkins from this year’s one plant if I had better pollination.

That being the case, I have decided to get myself more bees this spring. But I will not buy the typical hive boxes as I did in the past. Instead, I’m going to simplify the whole process by making a couple of top-bar bee hives as explained at this web site: The Barefoot Beekeeper.

Top bar beekeeping is not well suited to a large-scale bee enterprise. You could say it is less industrialized and more traditional. Of course that appeals to me. I just want honey for my family. Why should beekeeping bee so complicated and expensive to get into? Well, it turns out it doesn’t have to be. Stay tuned....

-Cider Vinegar Update


The above picture of our cider-vinegar-in-the-making (see previous monthly posts for more details) shows that the gelatinous mother has formed very nicely on top of the cider. This is biological progress. There is a faint vinegar aroma to the jar, but the liquid has not clarified. We shall see what happens next month. Be sure to stop back for the December update.

-My Newest Piece Of Yeoman Furniture


Last month I showed a picture of a cabinet (which I call Yeoman Furniture) that I was making in my workshop. The cabinet is now finished and pictured above. It is made of 3/4” pine boards with a 1/4” birch plywood back. I also used a length of simple cove molding from the lumber yard.

I painted the cabinet with a layer of red milk paint. Then I painted on a coat of thinned Elmer’s glue. Then I painted on a coat of black milk paint. The layer of glue was supposed to cause the black paint to “crackle” so the red undercoat showed through. Well, it didn’t crackle. I must have thinned the Elmer’s too much. Or maybe I’ve got the wrong thing in my mind. I thought for sure I read somewhere in the past that Elmer’s glue would cause crackling.

In any event, I distressed the edges with sandpaper, applied some stain (a mixture of a couple of old cans in my shop), and finished off with a coat of beeswax handle rub (the same stuff I talk about above).

The cabinet will go in our bathroom when I finally get it remodeled (progress has been slow on that front). This kind of furniture is remarkably easy to make, has down-to-earth character, and can take a beating. In fact, the more distressed it is, the better it looks. It is also, above all, functional. As a bonus, it should be a family heirloom someday. I hope one of my children will put it to good use and maybe even hand it down the family line even further.






-A Sobering Question
It has been rightly said that the government that robs from Peter to pay Paul, can always count on the support of Paul. As a result, Paul becomes a dependent citizen. The government likes it that way. Dependent citizens are easier to control (see my NY Times Op-Ed mentioned above). But in light of the economic reality we are facing, this sort of arrangement is surely not sustainable. What will happen when all the dependent Pauls of America don’t get their subsidy? I think we're going to find out.

-The Focus of This Blog
The underlying theme to this blog since I started it over four years ago has been to present the wisdom of pursuing an agrarian life and provide my own life as one example. My writings have been a call to action. I’ve endeavored to encourage and inspire others to do something in the face of a destructive modern culture and the impending destruction of our modern economy.

I do not advocate “survivalism” here. I advocate agrarianism, which is a permanent way of life (it is not something I’m “trying out” for a season). My motivation for living a deliberate agrarian lifestyle is my Christian faith. I’m of the mind that God created His people to live within the agrarian paradigm, and I’ve written about this here in the past.

Christian agrarianism is a form of separatism. Like the Pilgrims of 1620, Christian agrarians of today eschew cities and, more to the point, the ungodly culture of the city, which now, by way of the media, permeates our entire nation like never before in history.

Furthermore, Christian agrarians are focused on reclaiming a greater degree of personal subsistence and sustainability which comes with working the land responsibly and laboring to supply our physical needs. In short, we are endeavoring to simplify our lives and break away from total dependency on the industrial providers.

The way it looks to me, the “powers that be” and all their wise men are helpless to find genuine solutions to the mess that they’ve created. So be it. We must find our own solutions as individuals. With that in mind, the agrarian path provides a positive direction and genuine solutions.

-I Get Mail
A surprising number of people find their way to this blog. And a surprising number of them write to say how the things I’ve written here over the past years are affirmation of what they have been feeling. This blog is encouraging to them, and their words are encouraging to me. A recent example is this excerpt from a fellow named Bob in West Virginia:

I am so blessed to have found your blogs.  They have allowed me to focus my efforts into something other then a hobby.  I have over the last couple years started a garden, got a small flock of laying hens, and planted a few fruit trees on my 1.19 acres.  All very haphazardly, looking to be a little less of a drain on the world that God has given us to be stewards of.

I have been a follower of Jesus for about eight years now and with study and guiding from the Holy Spirit I have felt that this world we live in is going down hill fast.  I have found a few books and quotes that when I heard them and some of your writings they all clicked with what the Lord was trying to tell me.

The first thing that got me started was a book by Steve Farrar: "Point Man - How A Man Can Lead His Family." He traces the collapse of the family to the industrial revolution, with fathers being lead away(by the lure of $) from the family for 8,10,&12 hours a day.  The family/agrarian lifestyle was a apprentice program for our children to learn the tools of life and we have strayed from that model as I also found at your blog.


What I found particularly interesting about this letter is the reference to the book, “Point Man.” I read that book many years ago and it had quite an impact on my thinking. I believe the author’s explanation of how the industrial revolution was responsible for destroying the family structure may have been a significant factor in preparing my mind to see the wisdom of more seriously pursuing the Christian-agrarian lifestyle. Then came the writings of Howard Douglas King that I found in “Patriarch” magazine.

-It's A Wonderful Life


Every year at this time I look forward to watching the Frank Capra movie, It's A Wonderful Life. I've written about my appreciation for this movie in the past at this link: It's A Wonderful Life—It's A Wonderful Movie

Also, be sure to check out my Most Challenging "It's A Wonderful Life" Trivia Challenge in The World



-What Can Be Done On One Acre Of Ground
As I’ve said in the past, we can learn from and be inspired by the old farm almanacs of the 1800’s. This particular selection is an example of that. It comes from Robert B. Thomas’s Old Farmer’s Almanac of 1851.

The editor of the Maine Cultivator published, in his useful paper, his management of one acre of ground, from which we gather the following results:—One third of an acre, in corn, usually produced thirty bushels of sound corn for grinding, besides some refuse. This quantity is sufficient for family use, and for fattening one large or two small hogs. From the same ground he produced two or three hundred pumpkins, and his family supply of dry beans. From a bed of six rods square, he usually obtained 60 bushels of onions; these he sold at $1 per bushel, and the amount purchased his flour, Thus, from one third of an acre and an onion bed, he obtained his breadstuffs. The rest of the ground was appropriated to all sorts of vegetables for summer and winter use; potatoes, beets, parsnips, cabbage, green corn, peas, beans, cucumbers, melons, squashes, etc., with fifty or sixty bushels of beets and carrots, for the winter feed of a cow. Then he had also a flower garden, raspberries, currants, and gooseberries, in great variety, and a few choice apple, pear, plum, cherry, peach, and quince trees.

Some reader may call the above a “Yankee trick;” so it is, and our object in publishing it is, to have it repeated all over Yankee land and everywhere else. If a family can be supported from one acre in Maine, the same can be done from every other state and county in the Union.


-1853 Farmer’s Calendar Selection
The old farm almanacs typically had a short “Farmer’s Calendar” essay for each month of the year. The essay that follows, titled “Thanksgiving,” gives you an example from November of 1853. I love the old farm almanacs for excerpts like this.

This is the month in which the people of New England, in imitation of their ancestors, are accustomed to keep a Thanksgiving festival, in grateful remembrance of the blessings of the year. “I will rejoice and be glad in Thee, and will celebrate the name of the MOST HIGH.” And have we not all reason to rejoice and give thanks? “The husbandman now counts his sheaves, and reckons up his abundance. Do we not now live upon the gifts of summer and autumn? And with what activity has Nature labored, in those delightful seasons, to accomplish the beneficent views of the Creator in favor of man! How many flowers and plants hath the spring caused to bud; how many fruits hath the summer ripened; and how many harvests have been gathered in autumn! At present, Nature has completed her designs for this year, and is now going to enjoy a sweet repose.” We will be thankful, then, for all these signal blessings. Sing, ye farmers and husbandmen! wake, wake into gratitude, and join in lauding HIM who “makes the grass the mountains crown, and corn in valleys grow.”


See you next month......

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

Mr. Kimball,

As usual I finished reading your update and it left me inspired, awed, and longing for more. Your piece submitted to the NY Times was excellent, but would have fallen on deaf ears. The idea of not wasting pearls on swine may apply in this case. I think you are absolutely correct in your assessment of our nation and the storm clouds looming on the horizon. Rest assured that there are a small, very small, number of us out there trying for change. Personally, I view myself as a member of a transitional generation - we'll likely see enormous changes in the way we need to live within our lifetimes, most certainly within our childrens' lifetimes. Folks like us who are not making our full-time livings off of agrarian pursuits can certainly raise our children with the knowledge to make a go at such a lifestyle! Please keep up the excellent work and have a wonderful holiday season with your family!

Best Regards,

Tim Smith

PS - How about your eldest son? What's he up to know that he has graduated from basic?

Dreamer said...

That is a beautiful cabinet you made. I know that Marlene wasn't so sure about the red under black paint, but I think it turned out nice. The red paint gives it a richness that it would have otherwise lacked.

Herrick Kimball said...

Hi Tim-
Thanks for the thoughts. I agree with you.

And thanks for asking about my oldest son. He is home now for about a month. A few days before Christmas, he heads off to Korea for a year.

Dreamer-
Thanks. I can report that Marlene does like how the cabinet turned out. :-)

Chris said...

I have been an avid reader of your blog since my husband found the "Mechanical Chicken Plucker" Plans (which we have yet to build!) on your website.

I have often wondered why you did not have any bees. It seemed like a natural endeavor with all your other interests. So I was glad to read that you were getting back into managing bees again. I have 10-12 hives and successfully manage them without chemicals. The half million or so bees meandering around the farm are a blessing and a wonder. Enjoy your honey next year!

I also grew stiff neck garlic this year for the first time in my life. They were wonderful. I'm now known as the "garlic lady" at the local Farmer's Msrket. Thanks for your inspiration. May God continue to bless you and your family.

Herrick Kimball said...

Hi Chris-
Thanks for your comment here. It's good to hear that your garlic crop did well. That's something else I hope to get back into doing if/when this land acquisition happens.

Herrick Kimball said...

A Trivia Afterthought...

If you look at the picture above with Jimmy Stewart as George Bailey in the bank, the woman in the far left of the picture (behind the wire mesh) is the actress Ellen Corby, otherwise known as Grandma on the "The Waltons" television show.

jules said...

Mr. Kimball,

You quote from old Farmer's Almanacs. I used to love reading those things. I picked up one in the last year or so and was dismayed that so much of it was dedicated to advertising. Do you have a favorite Farmer's Almanac that you read most? One that actually does give information for a farmer, without all the adverts? If you would be so kind, I'd like to know which is your favorite, the one you spend your money on to read.

Thanks so much.

Matt G said...

Mr. Kimball,

I wanted to let you know how much I appreciate reading your updates and your blog. I still go back to re-read old entries from time to time, when I'm in need of inspiration.

So, when are we going to see the "Whizbang Top-Bar Hive" plans? I'll be interested to hear how the beekeeping goes, because my wife is interested in getting into this.

Thanks!
Matt

Andrew said...

Mr. Kimball,

Another great blog, thank you for the insightful entertainment. I too have been doing a lot of research lately on the TBH beekeeping method. I am planning to start a hive this spring on my 3/4 acre lot in the middle of town. The plan is to build a TBH this winter and have everything ready for early Spring. Having spent countless hours researching various TBH plans I was curious how you came to decide on the "Barefoot Beekeepers" plans. Here is another set of plans you may be interested in http://www.backyardhive.com/images//backyardhiveplans_a.pdf The plans are a little more 'bar napkin-ish' but I'm leaning toward this design because of the front entrance and the viewing window. Any insight would be greatly appreciated!

- Andrew

Marnita Causby said...

I thought you might like this. One of our farmers around my area sent me this link. Very interesting from a blog at the NY Times.

http://kalman.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/11/26/back-to-the-land/?emc=eta1

Herrick Kimball said...

jules-
They just don't make farmer's almanacs like they used to. None of them are all that good anymore.

Matt G-
You've got me figured out. :-)
Such a book is on my mind but it will probably take a couple years for me to research and experience the topic before I feel I can write something worthwhile about it. And before then, I may change my mind to head in another direction.

Andrew-
I like those plans and especially the viewing window. I have not decided on the plans in the book and web site I mentioned. I've just bought the book as a resource on the subject. I haven't even received it yet.

All the TBH info anyone would want is pretty much on the internet, but I'm geared to learning from a book that has all the details in one place. And when I want to learn about something, I'm inclined to buy every book I can find on the subject.

By the way, have you seen this beekeeping web site?: Beekeeping Naturally

Marnita-
Many thanks. I'll check it out.....

Cyndi Lewis said...

Mr. Kimball,
I was very pleased to see/hear about your interest in top bar hives and beekeeping. My husband and I read about it for the first time a few months ago in Mother Earth News and got very interested in the possibilities. My 9 year-old son has been working with our pastor to build a top bar hive for a Christmas gift to my husband. I'm excited for the possibility of honey and beeswax and of course pollinators for our garden. I will checking out the links you listed. Love your updates!

the cottage child said...

Dear Mr. Kimball,

I'm delighted to have found you - I feel like I was just given a set of books that have all the information I've been looking for.

We are currently city dwellers, practicing homesteading in place, planning to make the move to a rural acreage in the Fall of 2010.
We're busy acquiring the skills we can - food preservation, sewing, soapmaking, patio gardening, first aid, marksmanship, etc. What would you say is the biggest obstacle for folks making the transition? If you've already posted on that sort of thing, I'd like to read your thoughts.

Thanks again for documenting so much information that is benenficial to so many. May you be blessed in return. Merry Christmas.

Kevin and Beth said...

Mr. Kimball,
We absolutely love our Whizbang Plucker! We used it for our Thanksgiving birds and have plucked many chickens in it so far. I can say that if it weren't for you we most likely would not be raising our pastured poultry.

Now I really need for you to write a Whizbang Cabinet Making Book. Please hurry, I need it soon or I may come and sneak off with yours.
It's perfect, right down to the twist things (I'm sure there is a name for them)to secure the doors. I made something similar to keep my chicken house door closed. It reminds me of things I have seen in old barns. The very best things seem to be the most simple things.
Beth

Mia said...

Mr. Kimball,
I am *so* excited about your update! You brought up quite a few points that I've been thinking about. I'm looking forward to your thoughts on beekeeping as I want to start next year...also we have 1/4 acre garden area that we're expanding in the spring...I was excited to hear what can be grown on 1 acre!
.
ps) I just learned about miniature jersey cows...apparently, they
*grow no taller than 50 inches
*Only need 1/3 acre for grazing
*Give 2-5 gallons of milk a day, which is perfect for a small family.
Thought y'all might be interested as this is exciting news for us, as I especially want our own raw milk.
Thanks for the inspiration (as always!)

Mia

Herrick Kimball said...

Cyndi-
What a wonderful gift!

cottage child-
You are embarking on a great life adventure. I'm not sure what the greatest obstacle will be. I suspect it varies. Probably a lack of time would be an obstacle to most. My best advice is to take it a step at a time. There is much to learn and it doesn't come overnight. But I suspect you know that. You are wise to make a plan and get out of the city.

Beth-
Thanks for the positve feedback on the Whizbang plucker. It is a remarkable tool. People are buying parts from me to give as Christmas presents. That's what I call a practical (and memorable) gift that will be greatly appreciated for years to come.

Some people call those "twist things" latches, but twist-things sounds good to me. I'd love to put together a book or video about making Yeoman furniture but it won't happen any time soon.

I agree completely with you that "the very best things seem to be the most simple things."

Mia-
Thanks for commenting here. You and your family are an inspiration and I am looking forward to reading about your bees and garden in this next year.

That miniature cow sounds about perfect for a small homestead. We buy our milk from a family around us with a single cow. But they recently informed us that they were going to sell the cow and start buying milk because it is so much work. That was a big disappointment. We've thought of getting their cow but just don't feel we have the land to support it properly, even if we do get the land we hope to get.

Lawrence London said...

Now about that hand rub wood finish of yours.At first glance I thought it was a glass of peach preserves and commenced to get a hunger on.

Anyway, I experimented with a similar formula for a stiff hand rub protective furniture polish. The ingredients are:
1)
pine sap, collected dried chunks from a cut on a southern yellow pin or any other conifer
2)
beeswax
3)
maybe some candle wax or canning paraffin
4)
boiled linseed oil
5)
rendered animal fat (lard)
6)
a little turpentine

for a variation maybe add a little real spar varnish (not poly varnish) - need to try this sometime for tool handles

mix, heat & melt, filter through T shiirt cloth and pour into a jar
It will harden tacky stiff
Scoop some out and attempt to spread it on a board; use a hair dryer focused on the application spot to make it easier to spread the handrub; after you have finished coating your wood focue the hair dryer on the area to melt the handrub (still tacky); toy will see it melt and disappear into the wood with no residue left on the surface - take a cloth and polish the wood surface.

That's about it.

Lawrence London
Venaura Farm
Chapel Hill NC
http://venaurafarm.blogspot.com
venaurafarm@bellsouth.net

Herrick Kimball said...

Lawrence-
Thanks for the recipe. I will try using the pine sap someday. Actually, I'll use spruce sap. I know of a spruce tree with copious amounts of the resin, right on the trunk for the taking. I love the idea of putting it to use in a furniture finish.

Barb said...

Mr. Herrick,
Many hopes and prayers for your land acquisition! I've been reading for years, love it all. Thanks for keeping us informed and entertained.