The Deliberate Agrarian Update: 28 February 2010


February has it's good points, like, for example, people get together each year in Tully New York (not far from where I live) and harvest ice, kind of like they did in the old days. I think that's cool.

But my February has been perfectly dreadful, for the exact same reason it was dreadful last year, and the year before. It is the month when I focus on getting my tax information from the previous year organized and all the numbers added up so I can hand it off to a professional tax preparer. And then he will tell me that I must write a check for a lot of money, payable to the government.

My little home business, Whizbang Books, is not nearly as little as it once was. And my workshop, roughly the size of a two-car garage, is, figuratively speaking, bursting at the seams with all kinds of Whizbang stuff. Sales from my home business have, by the grace of God, doubled each year for the last couple of years. It is not easy money. I work hard for it. And then the government demands a surprising amount of it. They say we have a tax system of “voluntary compliance.” That’s a fine example of oxymoronic doublespeak. Tax time is dreadful, and it never fails to put me in a foul mood.

Joe Stack, of Austin Texas had enough of the government plundering his hard-earned money. and he intentionally flew his airplane into an IRS office this last month. That was quite a few steps beyond just a “foul mood.”

I’ve heard radio commentators say that Mr. Stack was “crazy.” Well, I read his last words, condensed into a 6-page online diatribe, and I don’t think the man was crazy. I think he was a regular guy pushed to desperation by a combination of economic downturn, financial loss, and standard bureaucratic terrorism from the IRS.

Ten years ago, I worked one year as an assistant teacher in a public school vocational program. The job paid $12,000. I had three children and my wife did not work outside our home. Trying to support a family on that income gave me a whole new perspective. The good part was that I didn’t pay any income taxes that year. Fact is, I got a refund that was more than my employer deducted from my paychecks. In other words, the government gave me money I didn’t earn. I think this happens a lot. I don’t think it is right.

I have heard it said that only about 50% of Americans pay income taxes in this country. It has occurred to me that if the other 50% (the lower income class) were told they had to pay income taxes too (or else!), individual acts of violence against the IRS would escalate significantly. And I suspect the government knows this.

The way it looks to me, the fundamental problem with Joe Stack was that he placed way too much hope and trust in the accumulation of money and his own material success. Then, as his financial resources were ravaged by the government and the recent economic decline, his hope turned to hopelessness. When men have no hope, they are prone to despair. Men without hope have nothing to live for. In some instances, men without hope, will turn to acts of desperation. The word “desperate” is defined as, “reckless or violent because of despair.” That was Joe Stack.

I dare say, Joe Stack was just a typical American man who had placed his hope in the material things of this world. Then, when those things were taken away, he was unable to deal with the new reality he faced. Clearly, the man was not a Christian, at least not as defined by the Bible. If he was, his hope in himself and his finances would have been supplanted by the assurance and acceptance of God’s sovereignty and providence. The hope and faith of Christians does not rest on any human wisdom or institution.

Which brings to mind the familiar words of that old Edward Mote (1797-1874) hymn, My Hope is Built:
My hope is built on nothing less,
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.

On Christ, the solid rock I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand,
All other ground is sinking sand.

Christians are called to work (six days a week, according to the Fourth Commandment), and money is a necessity, but we are not called to material prosperity. In fact, we are called to the opposite—to eschew materialism. The accumulation of riches is clearly looked upon as a stumbling block to piety. (see my past essay titled, A Missive on the Prosperity-Driven Life, for more discussion on the subject of Christianity and prosperity).

The world is full of people who cling to worldly, materialistic, man-centered hopes that will, ultimately, fail them. Joe Stack was just one recent and especially sad example.

Sightings in February....

... Any thirteen-year-old blogger who describes himself as a “homeschooled, Libertarian, Christian, Confederate, Agrarian, farmer, country boy,” and who is working on a “5 Year Farm Plan” deserves a mention here. It’s my pleasure to recommend to you The Blog of Graham Donahue.

... And it’s also my pleasure to announce that Granny Miller is Back.

    If you are a George Washington admirer, as I am, be sure to read Granny’s recent blog titled, Love, Sex & George Washington, in which she states: ”At 26 years of age George Washington was almost 6’3”, rich, handsome, built like Adonis and was a complete Babe Magnet – he was the strong and silent type.”

... David Farley is worship leader at the IHOP in Siloam Springs, Arkansas. No, not the International House of Pancakes— the International House of Prayer. I am particularly fond of his song titled “All Orange,” which might fall under the category of mellow, worshipful folk music. If that sounds like something you’d like to hear, go to This MySpace Music Link and click on the free song, All Orange

... I see the Bartlett family up in North Dakota now has a Bartlett Farm web site. Very nice.


An Unusual Expression of Affection
As you well know, there is a day in February dedicated to giving expressions of affection to those we love. We are conditioned from our earliest days of government schooling to celebrate this holiday (at least, I was). Merchandizers crank out all kinds of heart-shaped boxes of candy and so on and so forth for us to buy and give, thus fulfilling our culturally-prescribed obligations.

I sincerely dislike the holiday because I dislike being pressured to conform to the expectations of the merchandizers. Nevertheless, I dare not let the day pass without an expression of affection to my wife. ;-)

In past years, a simple bar of high-quality organic chocolate, and some heartfelt spoken words, along with a hug and a kiss, has sufficed. I am, after all, a simple man and my expressions of affection are therefore simple.

This year, however, was different. This year, my expression of affection took a turn. This year I did something really out of the ordinary. This year I presented Marlene with a bottle of gin and a box of yellow raisins.

As a rule, we are not alcohol drinkers in this family. I’ve drank precious little alcohol in my life and never to excess. Same goes for Marlene. But in recent years, our family has enjoyed some hard cider or a bottle of wine at a special dinner. And I will admit to buying and consuming vodka in various homemade herbal tinctures. That is the extent of our alcohol consumption. So, as you can see, me giving gin to my wife was an oddity.

When I went to the alcohol store, I found shelves full of different gins. I told a guy who worked there that I never bought gin before, “What’s the difference?” I asked. He replied that they were all pretty much the same. I said, “So, this gin for $50 is the same as this gin for $15?”

He said, “Yeah, pretty much.” Well, either he didn’t know what he was talking about, or he wasn’t interested in educating this unsophisticated yokel and gin ignoramus....or all gin is pretty much the same. I bought the $15 bottle.

Marlene was delighted.

She has been telling me about the medicinal wonders of gin and yellow raisins for weeks. It so happens that if you soak yellow raisins in gin, then eat 9 or 10 of them a day, any physical pain you are dealing with will go away—or so they say. Marlene suffers from bouts of back pain, thus her interest in the gin & raisin cure.


You’re probably wondering if it really works. Well, Marlene is still in the early stages of treatment. Thus far, she tells me that the raisins are very good, and it’s hard to eat just nine or ten a day.

If you, or someone you know, is dealing with body pain, you can read about gin & yellow raisins as medicine (and read many testimonials) at this link: Gin Soaked Raisins For Arthritis

Speaking of Work....

The above is yours truly this past month, working at getting Planet Whizbang wheel hoe parts ready to be powder-coat painted. I introduced my Planet Whizbang hoe design just about a year ago when I posted a free internet tutorial explaining how anyone can make their own Planet Whizbang wheel hoe. Since then, I can report that I have sold over half of my first production run of hoe parts. And, to my surprise, since I started offering painted-and-assembled units a couple months ago, they have sold fairly well.

This pleases me to no end because, out of all the Whizbang products I’ve come up with, this wheel hoe is my favorite. Properly used, it is a remarkably useful gardening tool.

On another Whizbang subject: I will be introducing a brand new Whizbang idea and product here soon. This original idea (at least, I think it’s original) solves a little problem I encountered and, in so doing, presents opportunities for numerous useful and creative applications around the homestead and in the garden. How’s that for a vague description? I will give one small hint: it involves t-posts.

I am having this new product made for me and expect to have it ready to sell in time for the growing season here in the northeast. I hope to tell you more in next month’s letter.

A Fine Snowstorm
February 26 brought us a good ol’ Central New York State snowstorm like we haven’t had in some time. I was out before sunrise with my shovel.


Before long, Robert and James and Marlene came out to help. This is the good part about a big snowfall—we were all working together as a family to get the snow out of the driveway. The other good part is that I decided to take the day off from my job.

 
 


Enjoying Winter
My son, Robert, bought himself a 2nd-hand snowmobile this last month. Another noisy machine for me to tolerate. Marlene wanted a ride....


Then she got a lesson...


And drove off on her own...

Bluebirds in Winter

I marked the calendar on February 20th. That’s when we noticed that a bluebird couple had returned from their autumn exodus. They were flying around and into one of the bluebird houses by our garden. These birds must be as anxious for spring as I am. They eluded my attempts to photograph them, but the picture above shows one of their houses on that day. It doesn't look very inviting, does it?

Land Update

The picture above shows a view across my garden plot and our property line to the east. The row of grape vines is on the line. On the other side of that, for about three hundred feet, is the section of land that we have a signed purchase offer to buy. But we have been in land limbo for the last two months. I think the holdup is due to the seller’s attorney. Some days I doubt this purchase will go through. If it does not, we will start looking for another section of land (something with more acreage) in the spring and summer.

Industrialized Evangelism

My writings here over the past years (almost five of them) have often touched upon how the industrialization of Western culture has radically changed our way of life, and this not necessarily for the better. Along with everything else, the Christian church itself—an institution that should have stood squarely against the industrial juggernaut—has allowed itself to be shaped by industrialism’s synchronistic powers, which is to say, it has compromised and strayed from the full truth and power of its foundations. One example of this is a common modern evangelical methodology employed to save souls and gain converts.

Sadly, evangelism in our modern age has, to a large degree, been reduced to a mechanical application of tactical rhetoric. And evidence of successful results in many evangelistic outreaches is measured in numbers— how many listeners were persuaded to “accept Christ” and become reborn by simply answering a few questions properly, repeating a prayer, and/or responding to an altar call. After so doing, these new converts are assured that they have eternal salvation.

“With every head bowed and every eye closed,” the modern evangelist will, using the emphatic application of emotional and psychological pressure, often with varying degrees of theatrics, implore the unsaved to come forth.

I’ve grown up in such a form of religion and this approach to evangelism has never set well with me, especially as I’ve gotten older and seen that precious few people thus “saved” progress to deep, life-changing, lifelong faith in Jesus Christ as a result of their conversion experience. It seems that, more often than not, such decisions for Christ are only for a short season—the new convert puts his or her hands to the plow briefly and then turns back.

That is not the definition of biblical salvation, and it falls short of true Christianity. Evangelism that brings a preponderance of shallow and short-lived conversions brings only temporary glory to men and their methods, not eternal glory to God.

And so it is that I have come to question the validity of using mechanistic repeat-this-prayer-and-come-forward (or vice-versa) evangelistic methods that are verifiable by accounting or statistical analysis. Some evangelists who evangelize this way are charlatans. Most are sincere but misled; they know no other way, having been shaped and molded by the modern evangelical zeitgeist.

That is how it appears to me and I recently read an online essay titled “Decisional Regeneration” by James E. Adams that discusses these errors without mocking the genuine intent of most who cleave to them. Adams’ effort is seemingly Quixotic, but necessary and important nonetheless.

It is important because, in the wake of this kind of evangelism, there are vast numbers of people who think they are right with God and who believe they are going to spend eternity with Him just because they went through some religious motions at one point in their life. “Accepting” and confessing Christ after responding to an evangelical message does not make anyone a Christian. A Christian is someone who repents of their sins and follows Jesus Christ . To “repent” means to turn away.

In his essay, Adams explains that prior to 1820 the “old fashioned altar call” was unheard of in the Christian church. It came into vogue with the preaching of Charles Finney (that's him pictured above) in the mid-1800’s, and grew from there.

Renowned evangelists of the past, like Charles Spurgeon, George Whitfield and Jonathan Edwards, never implored their listeners to come to an altar. Instead, they were urged to come to Jesus Christ. There is a subtle but significant difference, and Adams makes it clear.

The “Decisional Regeneration” essay provides an example of an invitation to Christ by Spurgeon that stands in stark, stunning contrast to the typical evangelical invitation of our day. Spurgeon calls on the listeners to come to Jesus and ask Christ to do a work in them. Then he tells them to go home trusting in Jesus.

Then there is the strong opinion of the 19th century theologian, Robert Dabney. Speaking of the disillusionment and failure of so many people misled by clever evangelists, only to fall away, Dabney writes:
”...such is the fatal process of thought through which thousands have passed; until the country is sprinkled all over with infidels, who have been made such by their own experience of spurious religious excitements. They may keep their hostility to themselves in the main; because Christianity now ‘walks in her silver slippers’: but they are not the less steeled against all saving impressions of the truth.”
I respect James E. Adams’ let-us-reason-together approach to this subject and invite you to read his essay in the same spirit: Decisional Regeneration

P.S. Very closely related to this topic is the subject of “What is a Christian?” which is well answered in another online essay, this one by pastor Wayne Mack. The essay begins by presenting “six opinions commonly held about the essence of Christianity.” One such opinion is as follows:
“I know I’m a Christian because when the evangelist gave the invitation I went to the front and made a decision for Christ. My counselor showed me that if I accepted Jesus as my personal Savior, I would never be lost again. I didn’t want to be lost—hell is a terrible place—so I accepted Jesus, and I know now that no matter what happens, God will never reject me. I know it because I went to the altar and professed faith in Jesus Christ.”
Pastor Mack goes on to explain why that is an erroneous belief and he then presents four biblically-based characteristics of a Christian. Here’s the link: What is a Christian?

I’ve Inherited A Dictionary

The above dictionary was bequeathed to me by my aunt last month as a birthday gift. It belonged to her father, my grandfather, Dr. Herrick C. Kimball of Fort Fairfield, Maine. It is 5-1/4” thick and weighs 15.2 pounds. Things like this dictionary are special to a grandson and I’m very glad to have it.

It is a Webster’s dictionary, dated 1909. In the beginning of the volume is a picture of Noah Webster (by the way, it appears that old Noah may have had America's first pompadour, or something close to it.):


The story of Webster’s dictionary is told on the page after his picture. It so happens that Webster spent more than two decades of his life compiling his dictionary, and it was first published in 1828.

Why would he compile such a book? According to the dictionary itself it was “intended for the aid of the self-taught man from his childhood to the end of his life.” Further along it states: “What greater help to the self-education of a people than a dictionary...”

Self-education was a big thing back then. It's how most people in early America got their education. They took responsibility for their own learning. There were no mandatory government schools for children in those days. Yet, as I understand it, the literacy rate at that time was remarkably high.

Columbia University professor Lawrence Cremin, author of the book American Education: The Colonial Experience, concluded from his research that that literacy among adult white males was 70 to 100 percent in Colonial America versus 48 to 74 percent in England.

So, we were a nation of farmers, but not ignorant farmers.

Webster was a devout Christian and this comes through loud and clear in his original 1828 dictionary. In the preface, he wrote the following:
In my view, the Christian religion is the most important and one of the first things in which all children, under a free government ought to be instructed.... No truth is more evident to my mind than that the Christian religion must be the basis of any government intended to secure the rights and privileges of a free people.
I happen to own an old Webster’s Original, though it is an 1895 copy. I bought it at an Auction back in the 1980’s.

As you can see, it has just a little mouse damage. I only paid a dollar for it. Here’s part of Webster’s Original definition for the word, hope:
”confidence in a future event; the highest degree of well-founded expectation of good; such as a hope founded on God’s gracious promises.... A well-founded scriptural hope is, in our religion, the source of ineffable happiness.”
The word, Christian, is defined in part as:
”A real disciple of Christ, one who believes in the truth of the Christian religion, and studies to follow the example, and obey the precepts, of Christ; a believer in Christ who is characterized by real piety.”
And under the word, love, in Webster’s Original we find this:
”The love of God is the first duty of man, and this springs from just views of his attributes or excellences of character, which afford the highest delight to the sanctified heart. Esteem and reverence constitute ingredients in this affection, and a fear of offending him is its inseparable effect.”
Well, you sure don’t find definitions like that in the dictionary these days, unless you buy a copy of  this 1828 reprint.

Home-Canned Beans

The fall harvest season is when most food on our little homestead gets canned. But here in the middle of winter, Marlene canned a few batches of beans. She says winter is an ideal time to can beans because there is more time to get the job done. She cans the beans with a pressure canner as explained in the Ball Blue Book.

The picture above shows kidney beans on the left, garbanzo beans in the middle, and black beans on the right. The kidney and black beans were homegrown. Once canned, these fiber-and-nutrition-packed beans are fully cooked and ready to use in soups, chili, hummus, and salads.

Most recently, Marlene made a barley and black bean salad with cilantro, lime, olive oil, garlic, and onion. It was divine.


Jax Hamlin, Chicken Artist, Update
As mentioned in last month’s blog, I am in the beginning stages of what I hope will be a lifelong and satisfying career as a whimsical chicken artist. But my art will not be my own, so to speak. It will be attributed to the fictitious personage of my neighbor and friend, “Jax” Hamlin, who is a far more interesting and talented person than me.

For example, Mr. Hamlin’s middle name is Xyster  (how's that for interesting?)—a word that is in my grandfather’s dictionary, and he would certainly have been familiar with it.

I feel perfectly comfortable with this duplicitous (but innocent and harmless) artistic arrangement because, after all, we artists must follow our muse, which marches to the beat of a different drummer, don’t ya know?

And I do want to say a big thank you to those readers who offered words of encouragement to this budding chicken artist last month...both of us.

That said, here is another example of Jax Hamlin’s artwork from February, 2010:


See you next month....

22 comments:

Sheryl at Providence Acres Farm said...

Amen!

I like your blog and the wheel hoe. Intereating idea.

bluesun said...

That liquor salesman wasn't much of a salesman, was he? You always give me more ideas of things to make and do, it's great.

I love Webster's 1828 Dictionary! You can also get it online, which is what I am doing until I have an extra handful of dollars for the hard copy.

I also love Spurgeon; many of his sermons are also online at the spurgeon.org. I'm afraid that my repenting may be closer to the alter call than anything genuine... it's that balance between free will and predestination, as so many theological questions are.

The chickens are incredibly entertaining.

Thanks!

bluesun said...

Oh, and I forgot to ask: Have you read "Small is Beautiful," by E.F. Schumacher? Except for his political/socialist stuff at the end of the book, he has quite a bit to say about small-scale economics.

Anna said...

This probably isn't what you want to hear, but if you pay estimated taxes throughout the year, it won't hurt nearly as much come tax time.

Anonymous said...

Herrick,

Enjoy reading your blog post every month. I ordered the 1828 Webter's Dictionary and it was the best $60.00 I ever spent.

Also enjoy Spurgeon's Johnathan Edward's, Whitefield, A. W. Pink, and Michael Bunker's new Podcast that he has for listening, here is the web site if you do not have it, the sound is great.

http://feeds.feedburner.com/MichaelBunkerPodcast

Thank You
Pat Tolbert

foutfolk said...

Herrick,

I want to purchase a chicken drawing from you. I want to commission a small drawing that can be framed 5 x 7 inches. As the artist, you can let your creativity direct you. To help you, I really enjoy the paisley, gingham, and tartan design patterns, and love things created in groups. (like three things together) How's that sound! :) I can Paypal or send a check in the mail.

In addition, what is Marlene's Etsy shop name? I might want to buy some soap from her. (tell her I have soap made from Amish friends that I am going to be listing soon on another site) The site is ohioAMISHonline.etsy.com

garth

Robert said...

I tapped two maple trees today with my four-year old son and I'll try to get the neighbor's trees tapped tomorrow before work. I'd like to say thanks for the clear, concise essays that showed me what to do. Hopefully we'll end up with something to pour over our pancakes!

Cyndi Lewis said...

I love the end of the month when you post. I look forward to it. Love the artwork too. How much does "Jax" sell his artwork for?

timfromohio said...

Great update - your V-day story made me laugh. Our view of that particular holiday is similar to yours. My wife got me a box of firestarters and I bought her three packets of Zinnia seeds. How's that for romance? I second the recommendation for the 1828 reprint of Webster's dictionary. Looking forward to the newest Whizbang idea!

Joel said...

I enjoyed that, as always.

There are differnt blends of herbs in different varieties of gin, but if there's something missing you think might be appropriate, it's easy enough to add. Angelica is a popular addition to the recipe, as well as a hightly-regarded traditional remedy, and I've heard it isn't difficult to grow. The salesperson is mostly right, though: good stills are a lot more common now, than when most top-shelf distillers made their reputations.

I'm not too surprised that the fully-assembled market is fairly large. Quite a few white-collar types are waking up to the importance of growing food lately. Also, I hear there's a practice called "spin" farming that might be behind part of the surprise.

Farmer George said...

Dear Herrick,

Loved reading your blog as usual. So many interesting things to think about. I do have one question.

You stated "the Christian church itself—an institution that should have stood squarely against the industrial juggernaut— ...."

Could you elaborate a little on this statement? I'm not sure why the Christian church should have stood against the industrial revolution. I do agree that many evils have entered our society as a result. But I can't think why making a product in an assembly line more efficiently is something the Christian church should have stood against. Maybe it's just semantics.

Regardless, thanks for your writings.

Herrick Kimball said...

Sheryl-
Thanks for the positive comment.

bluesun-
I've not read EF Schumacher but have thought I should for years and will endeavor to do so someday soon. Thanks.

Anna-
I appreciate the advice. But I do pay quarterly now and the govt. always seems to want more in the end.

Pat-
I do like AW Pink, especially his book, "The Sovereignty of God." And Michael B. has written some excellent things at Lazarus Unbound. Thanks for the podcast link.

Garth-
You are a sincerely nice guy! I can tell that you are a great art teacher because you are an encourager. I'm shocked by your offer to commission a Jax Hamlin chicken art creation. But I'm afraid that I currently lack the artistic skills and self confidence to take the job—at least for now. Thank You very much for the offer!

As for paisley and tartan and gingham, I've been thinking of all three. The idea of a chicken in tartan is especially appealing to me. However, as I critically look at this month's chicken in argyle, I see that it could be improved if the chicken's wings fit through the arm holes in the sweater. See—that's one of those things that Jax needs to work on before he can even think of doing commission work. :-)

But your request for a threesome of some sort has me thinking. Next month I hope to have a drawing of Three French Hens, and I'm having a lot of fun with the idea I have for them.

As for Marlene's Etsy shop, she is only signed up with Etsy and is reading the Etsy information and has not created a shop yet.
I went to your OhioAmishOnline shop and think you have a really good idea.

Thanks again for your encouragement.

Herrick Kimball said...

Robert-
I'm excited to know that you and your son are venturing into the wonderful world of backyard surgarin'

I hope to start getting our equipment together this weekend and maybe even tap some trees.

Cyndi-
Thank you. Jax does not sell his artwork yet. He is developing his skills and ideas for the rest of this year. I hope to have a web site set up for him and be offering a selection of "limited edition Jax Hamlin originals" by maybe the end of this year, but more likely early in 2011. For now, I'll try to show a Jax Hamlin drawing each month so that readers here can see that Jax Hamlin is very serious about whimsical chicken art. Stay tuned.

Hi Tim-
It's good to hear from you. Firestarters, eh? ;-)

Joel-
Thanks for the input re: angelica. I was looking on gin bottles to see if any were made with juniper berries, which I think is desirable, but I don't know what I'm talking about.

"Spin" farming is a new term to me. I'll do a Google search and try to figure it out.

Farmer George-
Good question. In a nutshell... the industrial revolution brought us a highly refined division of labor and centralized mass production. Such efficiency has also brought radical changes to our culture and of foremost concern to me is the destruction of the family.

Whereas families were once economic units of production, with all the family, from the very young to the very old, working together to provide for their material needs, that is no longer the case. First, fathers were lured away from their homesteads and small home industries to work in the industrial system. Then the spinning wheel and loom were replaced by mills and women headed out into the workforce. Mothers and fathers became independent economic units. Children were left with virtually nothing to do within the family. They were herded into government schools and trained to be servants to a system that offered (offers) all kinds of material gratifications and comforts. All the while, the family—the foundational building block of the nation—has become weak and impotent.

Furthermore, families and individuals who were once independent-minded and capable of taking care of their physical needs were reduced to dependence and helplessness, which is exactly where the industrial providers want us to be.

So, with efficiency has come the decline of the family, the loss of individual freedom, and tremendous cultural instability. There is, of course, much more that can be said on this subject.

But one final thought worth injecting here is that there actually is one Christian religious order that has resisted the evils of industrialism. The Amish have refused to cooperate with industrial culture in many ways, and they have done this primarily to preserve the integrity of their families and their communities. We can learn a lot from the Amish example.

For more on this subject, I recommend the inexpensive little book Henry and the Great Society.

foutfolk said...

I am not going to let you off that easy! Like I said, I want to commission a work. I gave you some ideas of what I like, but you are not bound to do them like that. (As a teacher I am always confronted with students needing to be poked a bit to get started.) I gave you the things just to get you thinking. As for your confidence . . . get over it, it's not about you . . . it's about ME. About ME wanting a picture that YOU drew. Whether or not you THINK it is good enough, I still want you to do one for me. Trust me, I am not judging your art talent. I am too old for that. I just want a work of art to hang in my home. Fair price too. Don't be over charging me!

As well, I want you to take a look at Drawspace.com. It is a WONDERFUL place to get encouragement, practice, and a world of information concerning drawing. The forums are especially helpful. There is also a section that gives step by step tutorials on drawing. It is perfect for home-schoolers who's parents are artistically challenged. :)

garth

Alc said...

Hi Herrick,

I really look forward to your blog every month.

My boss told me about golden raisins and gin about 6 months ago and I've been using them ever since. I do feel better too. No more nagging little aches in the joints. I don't know why that combination works, but it does. I personally don't like the taste of gin, but I found that if I make a bowl full and let it sit for a few weeks, the raisins start to ferment and get really sweet. No more nasty gin taste! So now I always have 2 different bowls of raisins going. By the time I finish bowl #1, bowl #2 is nice and sweet. Then I start a new bowl #1 that I set aside to ferment while I consume bowl #2. Hope they work for you and Marlene as well as they have for me.

Alc

Kansas Milkmaid said...

Herrick:

Your comments about authentic conversions intrigued me. Much of what you wrote regarding this matter has been passionately discussed in our home school as of late. We happened upon information about Finney, Edwards, Webster, literacy rates etc here. We are in the midst of an indepth study of Jonathan Edwards right now. The children are enthralled. We just discussed his work called "Religious Affections" last night. Along side of our discussions of these fine Christian men (and the off base ones like Finney), we have noted and I believe God has underscored in our studies the methodologies that these men used to learn. My absense from the blogsphere has been in part, because we are in the midst of revamping and transforming our school. And, the fruits I am seeing in our school and in our household are so exciting!!! We are using the principle approach which is mirroring their methods of learning. This method has been crystalized by Verna Hall, Rosalie Slater, and James Rose in a series of books I call the "Red Books". We also bought the copy of the 1828 dictionary. I am very impressed with the colonial method of education. More important, my children are impressed and that is what counts. They have initiated their own notebook studies before I have formally required it because they have been inspired by stories of Jonathan Edwards, George Washington, Nathaniel Bowditch, and Noah Webster. I am convinced after reading the "red books" that the one way to change America is by returning to the eduational methods of colonial Americans. The bottom line is that our philosphy of education is our philosophy of government. If this is true...what could really change America is returning to the orginal defintion of education as found in the 1828 dictionary.

This method of scholarship is not for wimps. It is laborious and involves drudgery for both the teacher and student. However, Edwards himself acknowledged to Princeton staff that his methods were difficult at first, requiring incredible self discipline. He further stated that the rewards of such an approach were vast and joyous. I have seen a passion in my children that I have not seen before. Another aspect of the colonial education was that they were reflecting and reasoning in every subject area based on the word of God. Today's methods teach children to react to information. It is a Pavlov response to facts.

I wondered when I read your thoughts if you hadn't been secretly in our home recently. It is interesting to see how God is laying this information on the hearts of so many. I think we are on the verge of a major revival. It may be a generation yet, but I see my home school counterparts engaging in the exact same methodologies and it is encouraging.

Blessings,
Christina

Herrick Kimball said...

Hi Garth-
See that... I knew you were a good teacher, Mr. Fout.

Now that you have refused to accept my whiney excuses, and "poked" me, and made me uncomfortable (in front of the whole world!) I will go ahead and create a whimsical chicken drawing on commission for you.

It will be this one titled "Three French Hens" that I am currently trying to make to my liking. I will show it here next month. If you like it, I will take money from you for it.

Don't worry, a budding whimsical chicken artist isn't going to charge a lot for his first commissioned work. And you will have the dubious distinction of owning the very first Jax Hamlin original.

Thanks for the encouragement and the drawspace.com link. I signed up and hope to spend some time there.

Alc-
It's good to hear some positive feedback from a gin & raisin user.

Christina-
It is so good of you to post here and tell what you have been up to. I've been wondering about you and your blog absence.

Let me tell you, with utmost sincerity, that what you are doing with your children, in teaching them the way you are, is far more important, and world-changing, and glorifying to our Lord, than anything you or I have ever written in our blogs.

It is not easy to homeschool children properly. It requires incredible sacrifice, yet it is vital. Your words here are very encouraging to me, and I hope they will be an encouragement to others.

God bless you.

foutfolk said...

Wow. That wasn't much of a fight. :)

Thanks for reconsidering. You'll benefit more from this than I will. (unless you become famous and I have the first original work from you) And make sure that no one (NO ONE) cons you into selling it to them first.

My Drawspace account name is the same as our blog. I would like to see you upload the argyle picture to your account, and the Three French Hens as well. Let me know what your gallery name is, I'll be checking up on you! (does that sound too teacher like?)

foutfolk said...

And I am thinking that you need to just jump in HEAD FIRST and join us on a ATC (artist trading card) swap for March. Here's the Drawspace.com link. The format will give you some good practices in a short time.

http://www.drawspace.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=82002&st=0&gopid=149576&#entry149576

Lynn Bartlett said...

Thanks so much for mentioning our farm's website! I have a feeling it's going to be a very busy summer.

I do have a question for you: Is there a way to search your blog for various topics? Someone we know is looking for turkey raising information, and I remember you had some good things to say a while back. I printed some of it but forgot to include the dates you had written them. Thanks!

C. Hays said...

Herrick,

As usual, so MANY things to ponder and look into from your monthly post. Off the top of my head, the industrialization of the country and its effect on family life jumped out at me. I agree with all you say about that, and I see it so clearly around me, just in my small little part of the world. People don't even realize this, as we are generations removed from children having an active part in our daily "grind". In fact, children have little or no active role at all. Parents, in fact, make sure of this, not wanting their kids to "have" to worry about things like that. They both go off to work each day from necessity, since many of them live beyond their means, and must have two paychecks to get by. My husband and I don't believe in that at all, and our son plays an active role in our business, and in our home chores too. But I notice all the time that most kids don't even know simple things like clearing their plates after dinner, picking up their clothes, taking out the trash - not to mention having real, actual jobs! Not only does this result in children who still feel like children at the age of 18 and are nowhere near ready to be on their own, but their parents still call them "children", and still do and provide for them like they're 4 years old. But I find it interesting that kids love to come to our house, even though I make them do these little things. One boy, who is here the most, has gone to work with us many times, and I find it gratifying that now I can say to him "I need two glasses of fresh-squeezed orange juice", and he goes straight to work on it, and can produce it without any help from me. He can use the dishwashing machine just as well as our son can. I know this is nothing like what you're talking about where kids work the land, and work hard like your boys do, but I believe that any small contribution kids can make, as soon as they are able to, helps immensely in their maturity and growth. I'm doing my (small) part here in Southern Illinois, but it's like spitting in the ocean, I'm afraid. As usual, I need to re-read your post. I so look forward to it each month, and learn so much. As an aside, I wanted to tell you that the problem I emailed you with, reached its conclusion the other day. Our state senator called a press conference and said the Treasury Department had decided to release that part of the gentleman's assets so that it could be sold to local investors, and therefore save 100 jobs and tax revenue in our county. Wow! It only took them a year and a half to see the wisdom in that decision. Makes you wonder.

I am also trying the raisin remedy, and my only problem seems to be limiting myself to 9-10 per day. I don't know if it's the raisins or the gin, but I sure have trouble staying out of them! Thanks!

Carla Hays

C. Hays said...

Herrick,

Your thoughts on Joe Stack also provided much food for thought. I, too, found his act abhorent, but I sympathized with him and felt his pain at the same time. Sometimes, those who seem "crazy" or on the "lunatic" fringe, often are more in touch with reality than most. They have come to terms with the hopelessness of dealing with bureaucracy and governmental red tape. Some merely rant and rave to not much avail, and some go to tragic lenghts to get their point across. So sad for his family and the legacy he has left, but his last manifesto rang of truth and sense if you read it thoughtfully.

C. Hays