The Deliberate Agrarian Blogazine
February 2012

 Dateline: February 2012

Liberty Hyde Bailey (1858—1954): He saw the beauty and wonder of creation in a peach, and wrote so poetically and beautifully of it, but failed to see or acknowledge the sovereign God that created peaches (and all the other wonders of the natural world around us).

So long February. I hardly knew ye. My life continues to pass by in a blur as I’m working my regular job, my Whizbang business, trying to get another Whizbang book written, and doing what I can to stop Big Gas from making a Big Mess of my little rural town.

The Planet Whizbang Idea Book For Gardeners is now into the page-layout stage. That means I’m taking the text and arranging it on each page, along with illustrations, which I draw directly on each page. All the drawings and all the arranging makes for a very time-consuming process. By modern technological standards, I would guess my hands-on approach to making a book is probably 50 years behind the times. I have 25 pages done. I think the book will be around 150 pages. So I have a long row to hoe yet.

As a result, I will continue to write very short monthly posts here, probably for the rest of this year. At this point, I’m thinking that if I can get the book done before 2013, that will be good, and that is now my goal.

In the meantime, it is my great pleasure to recommend another book to you....

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Born-Again Dirt
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Noah Sanders, over at Redeeming The Dirt blog has written a groundbreaking book titled Born-Again Dirt. It is subtitled, Farming For The Glory of God. I say Noah’s book is groundbreaking because it is the first and only book I’ve ever read that looks at farming and agriculture from God’s point of view, as revealed in scripture.

Every Christian reading this blog who either grows (or has a hankering to grow) a garden, or be any sort of larger-scale farmer, needs to read Born-Again Dirt. It is a Biblical-agrarian primer, laying a proper foundational understanding for God-honoring agriculture.

Noah is a young man but he has written a book that is full of old and largely forgotten (or totally ignored) wisdom. It is abundantly clear in reading Born-Again Dirt that Noah is an intelligent, clear-thinking, humble, and Biblically-grounded person. I dare say his thoughts and conclusions are inspired.
 

Born-Again Dirt is destined to become a classic in the world of contra-industrial, Christian-agrarian literature. It is the kind of book that, when read, and understood, and applied by young Christians today, will lead to proper perspectives and proper understandings and proper actions. And, years from now, those people will look back and realize how influential the book was in their lives.
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Born-Again Dirt is a book that well-grounded Christian families should read together, and discuss. It is a book that should be given to every young believer in Christ, and every older believer too, if they have any interest in gardening or farming. It would make an excellent textbook for a home schooling family with agrarian inclinations.
 

I believe that agriculture is a high and holy calling for God's people, and Born-Again Dirt is an excellent guide for Christians who feel that calling.

I like this book so much that I have put it over on the right column of this web site. I hope you will buy a copy for yourself and for anyone you know who can benefit from the sound biblical worldview of agriculture that it presents. The solid biblical understandings in this book need to be distributed far and wide.

Here are a couple of quotes from the book:

"God wants us to reflect His image by displaying the same creativity and care in managing His creation that He did in making it. In this way we fulfill the greatest commandment, loving the Lord with all our hearts, worshiping Him by obeying His commandments and seeking to be like Him."
"...the most prevalent method of agriculture today, industrial agriculture, seems to be based on a worldview that ignores God and elevates man and his wisdom as the source of truth. This humanistic worldview results in a form of agriculture whose primary objective is maximum yield and profit and whose ultimate source of wisdom is science. Hence the large scale and complex technology of industrial technology."
"The solution to the problems with modern agriculture isn't just to return to the way things were done in the past. The solution to the problems of modern agriculture is to establish a Biblical foundation for our agriculture and seek to apply it in every area of our farming. We need to look at both the old and new forms of agriculture through the lens of scripture and try to learn from them. If we seek His truth the Lord can enable us to be more faithful in the area of stewardship than previous generations."

You can purchase a copy of Noah's book at this Amazon.com link: Born Again Dirt at Amazon.com
 
You can also purchase a copy of the book from the Born-Again Dirt web site: Born-Again Dirt

Here is a link to a Kevin Swanson radio interview with Noah Sanders: Farmer Boy 2012: Dirt and Dominion





"Peach"




I dug some carrots out of my garden clamp the other day. They were fresh and cold, perfectly preserved under the soil in my frigid February garden. I did this after recently reading the essay, “Peach,” by Liberty Hyde Bailey. And I thought to myself how neat it would be if I could clamp peaches like carrots, so as to enjoy them in the midst of the winter. That is, of course, impossible, but it was a fun thing to consider.

If you are in an area of the world where winter is still firmly in place, and you are dreaming of the fresh fruits that will come with the growing season ahead, here is a treat (written in 1927)  for you from Mr. Bailey, a Deliberate Agrarian from days gone by....


Peach

Here I hold a peach. It is a shapely oblong-spherical body nearly three inches in diameter, pleasant to clasp in the fingers, choice in its fragrance, captivating in its intergrade of tints. I do not know why it came here. I know that last winter a bare tree stood in yonder orchard, giving no sign of any intention but to be a bare tree. Then one day it shook itself loose in the glory of the resurrection we know as spring, and a sheet of pink brilliancy covered it.

The blossom fell. Leaves came. A little object began to swell on a last year’s twig, white-gray and fuzzy and solid. A brown, dry, papery ring fell from its end. The threadlike point withered and dropped away. The object gradually grew, we do not know why, it became as large as a marble and almost as hard, the white-gray fuzz turned to green, a groove showed along its side. Presently it took form, a blush was on the sunny side, and a passerby exclaimed, “Oh, there is a peach.”

A man from Mars, perhaps one no further away than the depths of the great city yonder, seeing this savory fruit in my hand and the flexible tree in the orchard, would not connect one with the other.

Out of the tree, bare but a few months ago, this great peach has come, the birth of a twig no thicker than my pencil. Tree and twig and peach all came out of the soil and the air. This peach is oxygen, yet you never saw oxygen to recognize it as a separate substance; it is hydrogen, yet you have not seen hydrogen as an entity; it is carbon, the carbon you see in yonder smoke; it is nitrogen, that you have not perceived as such although you are always within it; it is calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, that you have seen only in their compounds; it is iron, the iron that is in the locomotive even now belching to start from the station over there; it is potassium, and other elements beside.

It is water—water delicately and deliciously flavored with  many intricate compounds. Perhaps this peach is nearly ninety percent water, yet so nicely is the fluid held in fiber and cell that I revolve the fruit as I may and it does not spill.

This peach is sunshine. It is night, the twilight and the dawn. It is dew and rain. It is noon, and wind, and weather. It is heat and cold. It is the sequence of the seasons, winter and spring, summer and autumn, and winter again, all of which have gone into the tree that gave it birth.

It is the linkage of the elements and the days, and the showers that freshen the earth. The peach is more, even, than all this: it is a living thing, vital with its own protoplasm, performing a thousand secrets hidden deep in its cells, containing its own energy to assimilate and to grow and to catch the tints of the rainbow and the fragrance of clean, fresh winds.

Here with light pressure I part the fruit in halves. The aroma is an elixir. The wrinkled pit or stone is in the center, surrounded by a darker luster like an aureole; for securely inside this stone lies the mysterious kernel, which is an embryo peach tree; and next year the embryo will not forget to grow, if buried in he ground, nor fail to make a peach tree; and in the years to come, when you and I shall not be here to see, it or its progeny will bear peaches still.

The continuity of the centuries is in the flat kernel within this stony pit. I do not know why a peach pit and not a plum pit is in this place; I do not know whence on the earth the peach came; I do not know how or why this fruit chose to elaborate its nutrients in such proportions as to make itself a peach and not an apricot. Had I before me unlabeled chemical analysis of a peach and an apricot I suppose I could not tell which was which, so nearly would they be alike; size, shape, color, texture of skin and flesh, seasons, most of the attributes that distinguish the two fruits to us, might not be shown. Yet here is the peach in my hand, perfect and complete; it is mine.

You have made the conditions right. You have tilled the soil. You have protected the tree from enemies. You have guarded it for several or many years. You have beheld the miracle.

Though Liberty Hyde Bailey does not mention God, we who know Him and serve Him can read that essay with profound appreciation, not only for peaches, but the sovereign God who created peaches.  Peaches are a testimony of God’s awesome power, and they are a small but tangible measure of His common grace on all mankind.   The same goes for carrots.

I hope to see you here on the last day of next month for another short update
.  Have a blessed March.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

just a little note we are having one of the best stone fruit seasons in years even the supermarket fruit tastes like home grown it's amazing and we are all grateful hope you summer brings beautiful peaches and peace to your nation

Cyndi Lewis said...

Thanks for the heads-up on Noah's book. I think I will put that on the "to buy" list.

Liberty Hyde Bailey Museum said...

Thanks for mentioning Dr. Bailey! No atheist is he. In his seminal book, The Holy Earth Bailey writes, "Verily, then, the earth is divine, because man did not make it. We are here, part in the creation. We cannot escape. We are under obligation to take part and to do our best, living with each other and with all the creatures. We may not know the full plan, but that does not alter the relation. When once we set ourselves to the pleasure of our dominion, reverently and hopefully, and assume all its responsibilities, we shall have a new hold on life…If God created the earth, so is the earth hallowed; and if it is hallowed, so must we deal with it devotedly and with care that we do not despoil it, and mindful of our relations to all beings that live on it. We are to consider it religiously: Put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground." It is wonderful meditation of the common ground on which we share.

Melvin said...

Speaking of Born Again Dirt, have you seen http://backtoedenfilm.com/ ?

Ann from KY said...

I don't know how to email you but wanted you to check out this story about how the state of Michigan is going to kill hogs on family farms because of the breed they raise. They are killing the hogs even though they are raised behind fences because they say they are "feral." Here is a link to the you tube video: http://youtu.be/843yH_0RMIA and here is the story I read: http://www.naturalnews.com/035372_Michigan_pigs_farm_freedom.html Since you like the small family farmer I thought I would pass it along. Thanks, Ann from KY

John said...

It would be nice if you could edit this post to account for the correction that the Liberty Hyde Bailey Museum rightly makes in their comment of March 2012. Please remove the connotation that Bailey was atheistic just because he didn't mention God in that one essay on peaches (out of the thousands of articles he published). A good read-through of The Holy Earth (or of other sections of the book The Harvest, from which the Peach essay originates) would easily demonstrate Bailey's religiosity. Thanks!

Herrick Kimball said...

John,

I appreciate the museum's comment back in 2012. And I appreciate LH Bailey's use of biblical verses and analogies. I think he recognized, more than most modern-day Christians, that the earth is holy because it was created by a holy God, and that we therefore must treat creation with the care and respect that it deserves. From an agrarian point of view, creation should be "husbanded," which is an old word that Mr. Baily undoubtedly would have liked (and probably used in his writings).

I did not, and do not, suggest that Bailey was atheistic. I think he was a spiritual man but I have yet to read anything of his that indicates that he had a Christian faith, at least from an orthodox point of view.

I sense that he grew up in a Christian home but he lived during a time when Christianity was being challenged by some notorious apostates, most notably Charles Darwin, and I sense from reading Bailey that he struggled with Darwin's pseudo-scientific, totally godless theory or origins.

Again, LHB is not overtly Christian in his writings (that I have been able to discern) but he is clearly spiritual. There is a difference.

Please understand that I am not criticizing the man. I appreciate his writings very much. I particularly like his book, "The Harvest," and especially appreciate his essay titled, "My Father's Hoe."

What I've said is just my opinion. Thanks for giving me an opportunity to clarify here.