The Deliberate Agrarian Blogazine
January 2013


Dateline: 31 January 2013

This is where I worked. But no more.

There is a best-selling book by Elizabeth Gilbert with the simple title of, Eat, Pray, Love. I haven’t read that book (and probably never will) but the title caught my eye and got me to thinking.... 

If I were to write a book about my personal journey from wage slavery to full-time, home-based, self-employment, I would title it Pray, Work, Wait. It would be a story about delayed gratification and the satisfaction that comes only from praying, and working, and waiting, for many years, before a dream that was once so distant became a sweet reality.

That gratification came for me this month. I have finally quit my job as a civilian employee at a maximum security state prison. I started the job in May of 2000. In the nearly eight years of blogging here, I have written about my prison job only once (Here). I ended that essay with this statement:

“...when God makes it clear to me that I should leave, I will leave. I will shake the dust of that place off my feet and never look back.”

And that's exactly what has happened.

I was able to leave that job because I am not in debt, I live simply, and I’m persuaded that my home business, Planet Whizbang, will now support my family. I’m persuaded of that because it has done so for the past two years. We have lived entirely off the Planet Whizbang income while saving every cent from the prison job. That’s how we had the cash to buy 16 acres of land with the house on it right next to us last year (another dream come true). 

My income will be slashed considerably now that I have left government employment. There will be no more steady paychecks. Perhaps the home business will earn additional money to offset the loss, but that is not a guarantee, and it isn’t important. 

I am 55 years old. It is not unusual for someone who is 55 to retire after having made and saved a lot of money working in a high-paying job. But that is not my situation at all. I will, without a doubt, work harder now and in the years to come. And I will never retire (unless my body or mind fail me). But I will now be doing creative, productive work without leaving my home and land. It will be a much more satisfying lifestyle, and it should be a healthier way of life. Yes, it’s a deliberate agrarian dream come true.

Many people have a similar agrarian dream, of enjoying the freedom that comes with living debt-free on a piece of good land, with a home business that pays the bills, without being a wage slave. I offer my example as proof that it can be done. It can be done without following many of the industrial world expectations and assumptions.

But, having said that, I need to make some things clear...

First: I’m not exactly a young man anymore. Though I have been self-employed in the past, I have submitted to being an employee for a lot of years before breaking free. 

Second: I have had an entrepreneurial mindset since I was in elementary school. I’ve had more money-making ideas in my lifetime than I can remember. I pursued several of them in years past, and all of them were pretty much failures.

Third: God took me through a time of extreme failure and monetary loss. I came to the realization that I had failed financially because I had strived for success with pride and arrogance in my heart, and I had made an idol of my dreams.  I don’t think that I was ever outwardly prideful, but God knows our hearts.

Only when I was humbled by failure did I surrender my hopes and dreams  to God. It was then that I truly trusted Him to provide, in His time, according to His sovereign plans, not mine. Only when I came to a point where I was content in Him, content in the sufficiency of His blessings, content even if none of the dreams I had ever came to fruition, and no longer striving as I once was, did the desires of my heart eventually become reality. My point is, there was a spiritual repentance and reformation in my life, and that was no small matter. Bible verses come to mind....

“Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established”Proverbs 16:3 
“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths.”
Proverbs 3:5-6

Fourth: though I stopped striving for success, and had a different spiritual mindset, I never stopped working. There is a difference between striving and working.

Have you heard the saying that God gives the birds their food, but he doesn’t throw it in the nest for them? God is a worker and a creator. We are made in His image. We are made to work and create. It is a blessing to be able to work. Adam's curse was not that he had to work, but that work would be hard. I would rather work in my shop, or garden, or in the woods than take an ocean cruise, or sit on a beach, or play some game. Yes, of course, there needs to be balance in life; there are times and seasons for work and play. But I believe our modern culture emphasizes play, amusement, and leisure while downplaying the importance of productive, creative work.

As so many of you who have read my writings here over the years already know, I wrote and self-published a chicken plucker plan book back in 2002.  It’s an amateur but earnest book that delivers the information. I invested less than $1,000 (which was a very large amount of money to me back then) in getting the first copies of that book photocopied and comb-bound at a local quick-print shop. It was a small beginning, but it was the genesis of the home business I now have.

I never invested any other money beyond that initial $1,000. The business grew and prospered slowly for the first six or seven years. I plowed profits from book sales into publishing more how-to books, and then into making and selling various project parts. 

I don’t think the average person who has never built a small business can truly understand the incredible amount of work and focus that goes into such an endeavor. Only my wife, Marlene, really knows the hours I’ve put into Planet Whizbang. Keeping up with the time demands of the home business (while still working the prison job) has been an enormous task, especially the past few years, and I couldn’t have kept it together without Marlene’s help.

But there is an energy that comes when you are pursuing an entrepreneurial project—especially when you see it bearing fruit, and realize it may be the means by which God brings you out of slavery to a dreadful job.

Planet Whizbang is not a large company, and I never envision it being a large company, though some people have suggested to me that it could be much bigger and more profitable. Marlene and I now run it, with occasional help from our boys. I like it that way. Perhaps, in time, one or more of our children, or grandchildren, can come into the business. But to grow Planet Whizbang into something beyond what our family can operate ourselves, right here on our land, would be to adopt the industrial-world business model. 

I am mindful that the modern approach to building a business places an emphasis on growing the business ever bigger to to achieve more profits. Such a goal is typically achieved (or attempted and never achieved) at the expense of marriages and family relationships, not to mention poor health as a result of stress. I’m a big advocate of free-enterprise entrepreneurship, but not success as defined by modern, worldly standards. I’m convinced that a small, home-based, hands-on business is all that God desires for me to pursue. And I am ever so thankful to Him for it.


My Next Project


Whizbang garden tote holding a just-dug clamp of carrots (and a few potatoes)

I am now at work on my next book. I started it last winter but did not get far before the demands of springtime came. I hope to have the book finished by the end of March (at the latest). It will be titled, The Planet Whizbang Idea Book For Gardeners. Subtitle will be: An eclectic selection of inspiring project plans, tips, tricks, and how-to advice for people who grow their own food.

Among many other things, the book will tell how to make a Whizbang garden tote like shown above (UPDATE 4/14: inexpensive plans for the tote are now available at This Link). And it will explain exactly how I make simple garden clamps. I'll also have a short chapter about measuring Brix with a refractometer. Brix is a gauge of nutrient density. Those carrots in the tote above (harvested on January 30) had a Brix reading of 8%. That's half way between average (6%) and good (12%), but a long way from excellent (12%). 

The fact that my carrots, grown by organic methods, are only 8% Brix underscores the fact that organically-grown food is not necessarily nutritionally superior just because it's organic. And you can't judge a carrot's inward nutritional value by its outward appearance.

Another chapter in my book will discuss how I intend to increase the Brix content of my homegrown fruits & vegetables in this year's garden. And I will chronicle my progress in the blog I will be publishing for readers of the book.



Gun Laws


A Ruger Ranch Rifle

I feel sorry for myself, living in the absolute worst state in the United States for personal freedom. The imperial governor of New York labeled me an “extremist” this past month because I believe the 2nd Amendment rights guaranteed to me by the Constitution should not be infringed by him and his laws. He thinks that the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution was put there to guarantee the rights of hunters. There was a time in this country when such thinking would never be taken seriously, but that is no longer the case.

Prior to the governor and his people railroading their restrictive new laws into effect, I wrote a letter to the editor of the Syracuse, NY newspaper. They didn’t print it. This is what I said:


To The Editor:
When a law-abiding citizen is faced with the threat of lethal force from a person with a gun—and SECONDS count—the police will be MINUTES away.  And when they finally show up, they will be armed with high-capacity, semi-automatic guns.
It is high-capacity, semi-automatic guns that give the police a fighting chance. Likewise, the same weapons give law-abiding citizens a fighting chance.
If I have, as the Declaration of Independence asserts, a right to my life,  then it naturally follows that I have a right to defend my life. High-capacity, semi-automatic firearms are effective tools for defending life. That’s one of the reasons I own such guns.
When politicians pass laws restricting gun ownership, and the ability of law-abiding citizens to effectively defend themselves, the government abdicates its responsibility to protect individual rights, and it becomes an agent of tyranny.

I have nothing but contempt for any politician who is on board with any gun control law that makes it harder for law-abiding people to protect themselves. These politicians are either naive fools, lily-livered, or wicked connivers. They base their restrictive gun laws on some half-baked concept of compassion for children. If they truly cared about children (and other innocent victims of gun violence) they would acknowledge the fact that law-abiding gun owners use their firearms to protect and save far more lives than a few deranged murderers have taken with their so-called “assault” guns.

I would like to think that everyone in the world is good. Or, I would like to think that law enforcement is always going to be there in time to protect innocent people when they are threatened by bad people. I would like to think that our government will never become an oppressor of law-abiding citizens. I would like to think that this nation will never be invaded by a hostile enemy. But to believe that, I would have to totally ignore the realities of human nature, and the history of the world.

If Americans trade their 2nd Amendment birthright for the pottage of illusions offered by social engineers and media manipulators it will set the stage for a future tragedy of epic proportions.

Have you heard of the Hegelian Principle for bringing about social change?... Thesis. Antithesis. Synthesis. 

Translation: Manufacture an issue or problem that "must" be addressed. This is often done after some sort of "convenient" crisis has occurred. cultivate a discussion about the problem, involving fear, panic and emotion. Demand a solution. Provide a solution that advances the social change you wanted to make. Such solutions will almost always involve more laws, more government regulation, and less personal freedom.

Manipulating the masses of media-addled Americans is now an efficient science employed by the ruling aristocracy of corporate finance and government to advance their agenda and emasculate American freedoms. This current gun control grab is a textbook case of the Hegelian Principle in action.

If you want to know the truth about whether guns kill people or people kill people, just ask a few convicted murderers. They ought to know, right? I did that before leaving my prison job. Every murderer I asked told me that people kill people. And they knew that taking guns away from law-abiding gun owners will not solve the problem of people murdering other people.

I can assure you that all the murderers and potential murders are not in prison. They live among us. If some Americans want to ignore that reality and not own guns for self-defense purposes, that is their choice, and I don’t have a problem with it. I understand that most of those people just don’t like guns, and that’s fine too—people are entitled to their opinions. But when those people work to take away the longstanding, Constitutionally-guaranteed individual rights of fellow citizens, that’s just plain wrong.

Sheriff David Clark of Milwaukee County, Wisconsin understands that people have a right to protect themselves, and he is encouraging them to do so. Good man, that Sheriff Clark!

Have you seen This YouTube Video of the police in New Orleans going into the homes of law-abiding citizens and confiscating their firearms? They disarmed the law-abiding people while armed criminals were running free and terrorizing communities. There was no due process in the taking of the guns. In one instance police tackle and drive to the ground an old lady in her home who admits that she has an unloaded handgun. That video should make every freedom-loving person in America very angry. 

In the midst of discouragement, I am encouraged by the number of county sheriffs in America who are taking a principled stand agains the tyranny of irrational gun control. This List keeps growing. You can learn more about the power (and responsibility) of sheriffs to stop tyranny by watching This YouTube video of Sheriff Richard Mack

And if you live in New York state, read This Letter that I sent to 50 newspapers in New York (I think it was published in 8 papers). If you agree with it, print a copy and send it to your county sheriff with a note asking him to take the issue seriously.

The Freest Place 
To Live in America


A lot of New York residents are so upset with the new gun laws that they are seriously thinking of moving out of this state. I’ve been thinking more seriously of it myself. And I’ve been researching on the internet where a freedom-thinking person can go and still be free. 

I found my way to This 2011 Study. You can go to that link and click on the interactive map to read about freedom in any state and see the state's ranking. New York is the least free state. No surprise there. But the freest state in the USA is New Hampshire. How can New Hampshire be the freest state when it’s surrounded by unfree Northeastern states?

Upon further investigation, I found my way to 101 Reasons You Should Move to New Hampshire (if you love liberty). That list is a part of the Free State Project, which is a movement among freedom-loving Libertarians to bring more freedom-loving people to New Hampshire, so it remains a freedom-loving state. I’m intrigued. I like Libertarians. I may not agree with all their thinking, but their emphasis is on individual freedom and individual responsibility, and I can overlook a lot of other things when that's the primary objective.

I would like to live in a place where the 2nd Amendment (and all the rest of 'em) is understood, honored and protected. I would like to live where state government is limited, where homeschooling laws are limited, where building code laws are limited, where there are no appreciable oil and gas reserves (no hydrofracking), low property taxes, no CAFOs, low income taxes, a good supply of clean water, where there is affordable land, and the land is good for farming, and there are hardwood trees along with a change of seasons.

Unfortunately, New Hampshire doesn’t meet all those criteria. I spent some time looking for land or homes on land of 15 to 50 acres and New Hampshire looks like a very expensive state. 

Then I saw that Missouri is #5 on the list of freedom-loving states. I spent a lot of time researching Missouri, and settled on the south-central region of the state, around the  counties of Webster, Wright, and Douglas, east of Springfield. It’s the Ozarks. I was ready to take a trip down there until I found out that the governor of Missouri is a liberal and believes that so-called assault weapons should be outlawed. Huh?!

Austerity USA?



I don't have to tell you that America is in trouble. We're going down, and the rate of decline seems to be accelerating. Our debt is unpayable. Do you realize what happens to a nation when it can't pay its debts? 

According to Oliver DeMille, author of the book, Freedom Shift, nations that can't pay their debts have, since 1944, been bailed out by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank. He writes...
"In return for such benefits, the borrowing nation submits to "Austerity Measures," under which the IMF closely watches national policy and government institutions to ensure that the nation does nothing to jeopardize its ability to pay back its loans. This system has certainly had its successes. But Austerity also amounts to a virtual transfer of sovereignty from national government to IMF regulators—well beyond the citizenry to require accountability to effect remedies."

Think Greece. This scenario does not seem too far fetched. The snare is closing. Here's Oliver DeMille again...
"...an economic team of regulators will run our national economic policy and make our economic decisions. If Americans are frustrated with Congress, imagine their frustration with a group of international bank officials running our economy—bankers who may not have as their motive either to see us out of debt to them..."

DeMille makes the point that "economics and freedom are directly linked. A debtor nation is less free than a solvent one."


Freedom Shift



I purchased a copy of  the book, Freedom Shift, on the recommendation of a friend. It is a book that covers a lot of ground, introducing a lot of ideas about where America is headed, and why, and how to preserve freedom. Many of the solutions offered reflect agrarian principles. 

Chapter 5 of Freedom Shift is titled, “Hamilton vs Jefferson” and begins as follows:

“Thomas Jefferson envisioned a nation of small farm and shop owners that spread around leadership and prosperity, while Alexander Hamilton preferred a mercantile system with a few wealthy owners employing the large majority of the populace.” 

You can read Chapter 5 of the book at this pdf link titled: Overcoming Hamilton’s Curse.

I don’t have the time to go into more commentary on Freedom Shift, but I encourage you to check out Oliver DeMille’s Web Site and peruse some of the articles. Also, be sure to sign up for his newsletter and he will send you links to some podcasts.


Liberation 
Through Self Reliance
Oliver DeMille also has a website named Four Lost American Ideals. While perusing the articles offered there I came upon Time to Get Out The Spinning Wheel, written by Stephen Palmer. Please read that article. It reiterates much of what I've been saying in this blog for many years. Self-reliance and personal responsibility is the key to individual freedom and national restoration.


Alternative Soda Pop


Though I almost never drink soda pop, I would make an exception if a store like this was in my neighborhood. This is a great entrepreneurial story. 

(Note to Lisbon Falls Moxie Festival Coordinator, Julie-Ann... they sell Moxie.)


===============

That's it for another month. Thanks for stopping by.

22 comments:

Ray said...

Herrick, a big congratulations on your retirement! That is just wonderful, and I pray that you will be greatly blessed. You are truly a unique individual. I have learned much from you and hope to continue to do so.
Ray
tenneseecountryliving.blogspot.com

cntrydad said...

Hi Herrick:
Congratulations on your freedom! I plan to continue supporting your business efforts - can't wait for your new book. Best wishes,
Rob.

Owen Family at Far Better Farmstead said...

Praise the Lord! I am so happy for you to finally be free from your prison job. May the Lord continue to bless all of your endeavors at Whizbang and everywhere He leads you.

timfromohio said...

Mr. Kimball,

Congratulations on your retirement!!! That is wonderful. A good friend of mine (he led me to the Lord) and I have often discussed what it would be like to work full-time from our homes/homesteads, so often that we've come up with the term "operation endless Saturday" for our discussions. Well, it's great to see that Operation Endless Saturday has commenced at the Kimball homestead.

Also, keep in mind that NEOhio is not a bad place - four seasons, Amish country, plenty of small machine shops that can help with Whizbang part production.

Best Regards,

TimfromOhio

Shannon Templeton said...

Yay, good for you and your family. Excellent posts. Always worth the wait.

A Baker's Dozen Barnhouse News said...

Mr. Kimball,

Thanks so much for such a wonderful and informative post. And how exciting to hear that you are now able to pursue what you've prayed for and worked towards for so long. May God bless you, your wife and your entire family. And may your Whizbang business thrive as well as the books you write!

Blessings from the Lee family

The Homestead Lady said...

Congrats on a life long dream coming true...you are a true inspiration...God bless you, marlene and your boys!

quest586 said...

Just wanted to offer a little more information about Brix. It is a measure of sugar content, which does not necessarily equate with nutrient density. Sometimes lower sugar levels correspond with higher vitamin and mineral concentration. In general, high Brix is indicative of healthy plants, though. Anyway, congrats on breaking free from the job! I'm looking forward to the new book!

Anonymous said...

Don't be so quick to sell Missouri short just because we have a Dem Governor. We also have a Republican veto-proof majority in the House and Senate...so the Governor doesn't matter too much. Regardless, Missouri would be lucky to have another entrepreneurial, freedom-loving, Christian agrarian if you got the itch to move. You also couldn't pick a more beautiful part of the state than south central Missouri.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on your retirement. Come on down to Georgia. We need more good folks. Although there is a five dollar fine for telling us how we used to do it up north. As long as you stay away from Atlanta it's a great place to live. Atlanta where the inmates run the asylum.

LindaG said...

I learned about your blog from CQ, and I'm very glad I did.
My husband and I just retired in July, and moved to the small farm where he grew up; where I am trying to learn homesteading.
I learned a lot from your post. Thank you.

James said...

Congratulations on your retirement! Although you'll probably be working harder now for yourself, I think you'll enjoy it so much more so.

Check out the "American Redoubt." Christian agrarians and entrepreneurs are most certainly welcome there!

Great blog, and all the best to you and yours in this new year.

Harry Tinker said...

Congratulations for reaching your most worthy goal of breaking free from wage slavery! By your standards and mine you have already reached success as an entrepreneur. I pray that the Lord continues to guide and keep you as you start this new part of your life.

Daisyblend said...

Been a regular reader for a few years... Congratulations! Thank you for your excellent example and never-ending inspiration!

~Kaleesha
Fredericktown, MO

Nathan said...

Herrick,
Great work breaking free of industrial wage slavery! Now that you have time, what will you do with your suplus? Will you use it to feed, clothe and shelter those less fortunate than yourself? The way I read scripture, this is the practical outworking of the Gospel.
I'm not completely sure what to respond regarding your indignation at the decreasing freedom within NY state. I live in South Australia. We have many restrictions. Fully automatic weapons have been totally banned for years. It took me 10 months to obtain a firearms license, and I am still more than 1 month away from being able to purchase a basic 22 rimfire bunny gun. I have to have a permit to buy the gun, and then I have to register the gun annually with the local police station. But I have no intention of ever using a firearm to defend the life of my family or myself. I want a rifle to shoot foxes, hares and rabbits. As a Christian agrarian, if someone decides to take my farm by force, and I and or my family die in the process, then we are with the Lord. God is sovereign and I trust Him more than I would trust my ability to hold of a Bunkeresque zombie horde if they descended on my little slice of God reliant farmland.

Your hard work has paid off in getting you away from the industrial system. Do you think if there was an overall goal to your productive life that brought glory to God by way of caring for widows, orphans and refugees (Matt 25, James 1) that God would have provided for you to separate sooner? I ask because I am trusting Him to do so for us. Have you read the biography of George Muller? Inspiring stuff and he really put God to the test. We can take God at His word IF we put Him and His kingdom first, He will provide our food and raiment.

Lynn Bartlett said...

Congratulations, Herrick! It's been neat to watch your steps toward making Planet Whizbang your full time work. At times I've wondered if we put the cart before the horse, but the Lord has been very gracious to us and covered all our mistakes. Looking forward to reading all about your next adventures!

RonC said...

Glad to hear you survived your day job. Hopefully you'll have time to finish that gardening tips book that we've all been looking forward to. You've been a great source of inspiration.

As for the direction of the country, I am thinking there isn't much to do but to watch it go to smash and help pick up the pieces afterwards. There will always be opportunity to help and serve others and make a living from that work.

Paul said...

Herrick,
I lost count of how many times I said "Amen" as I read your post this month. As an ex-New Yorker who is set to return after 16 years and close on our dream property in Otsego Co in about 2 weeks, I am incredibly concerned for the direction the state leadership is taking. It's almost enough to call the whole thing off, but family proximity and the knowledge that there exists like-minded individuals set on resisting restrictions to freedom keep me going, along with the understanding that my God is bigger than Gov. Cuomo and his asinine policies. Now all that is left to determine is whether or not I become an outlaw through disobedience, or toe the line... still praying about that one. God bless, great post, and keep the faith!

Julie-Ann Baumer said...

Hi Herrick! Congratulations on your "jail break!" I'm so happy for you. Maybe you will have time to come to The Moxie Festival this year? As a lifetime member of The New England Moxie Congress and the Moxie Girl "in charge" of this year's Moxie Recipe Contest, you are more than welcome in Lisbon Falls and I have connections for some of the best places to sit during the parade. I must also dubiously report that I am "in charge" of the Moxie Chugging Challenge. Thank you for the mention.

Herrick Kimball said...

Thank you ALL for your comments, congrats, advice and well wishes here. It’s greatly appreciated!

Re: Moving to Georgia— If I moved to Georgia, I’m sure I wouldn’t be fined $5 even once for telling “how we used to do it up north.” I would become an adopted Son of the South pretty quick. The North could learn a lot from the south.

Re: Helping the Less Fortunate—I don’t think this practical outworking of the Gospel is something that Christians should aspire to doing someday in the future. The Lord has given Marlene and I a lot of opportunity and experience to expend time and resources in this direction, especially in recent years, but it’s not something I blog about.

Re: Australian Gun Restrictions—Fully automatic guns have been banned here for years too. Do a YouTube search of "Australian Gun Ban Leads to Crime and Violence" for some perspective. That video makes me sick. I guess there are worst places than New York when it comes to gun rights.

As for not protecting your family, or not, that’s your choice. What you see as not being your responsibility, I see as being very much my responsibility. It isn’t a guarantee that someone who invades your home will kill. They might just do severe physical and mental harm and leave you to deal with that for the rest of your lives.

I suspect that if a rabid dog was about to attack one of your children, you would intervene to protect the child. Not just watch and rest assured that the child was going to soon be with the Lord. You would use whatever tool was at your disposal to protect the child—even your “bunny gun.” That’s what men do. And the same principle applies when innocents are threatened by rabid humans with evil intent.

Re: Direction of the Country—Ron, I’ve come to the same conclusion. Barring divine intervention, America has crossed the Rubicon. We are going to be humbled as a nation like never before.

Re: Civil Disobedience—Paul, The Bible has many examples of godly people disobeying unrighteous laws and civil authority.

Anonymous said...

Come to Oklahoma! We could use someone like you there. Lots of land and open sky.

foutfolk said...

Got your "Get Out of Jail Free" Card hey? :)

LOVE the fact that you are making the choice to do what you want. So few people in the world are able to say that they are doing what they want to do. You are a rarity! Good choice!