My New Website,
A New Whizbang Product,
And The Back Story

Dateline: 2 August 2013

String-trellised tomatoes on a Planet Whizbang T-post trellis span. Can you see the red string? (click for an enlarged view)


I have created a brand new web site. It's called The Planet Whizbang T-Post Trellis Instructional Web Site. The purpose of the new site is to introduce gardeners to the T-post trellis span idea that I discuss in my recently-published Planet Whizbang Idea Book For Gardeners

Along with introducing a bit of what the book teaches, the web site serves to introduce a new Planet Whizbang product...


A pair of handcrafted Planet Whizbang T-post trellis Y-holders

If you already have a copy of the Idea Book, you will recognize the Y-holders from page 12, where I provide specifications and how-to for making your own.

It was my intention to make and sell Y-holders when I was writing the book. That's because I realize that a lot of people just don't have the time or the inclination to make something like Y-holders themselves. I never expected, however, to be making them so soon.

The reason I can bring this new product online much quicker than I ever anticipated is a very good story


The Back Story

As many readers of this blog know, I have written before of my desire to develop a family economy. What is a family economy? I'll let Allan C. Carlson explain it:


"Before the rise of modern industry... virtually the whole of humankind lived in family-centered  economies. The family was the locus of the most productive activity, whether it be on largely self-sufficient farms or in small family shops... husbands and wives relied on each other, shared with each other, needed each other, so their small family enterprise might succeed."

That quote (with more than I've posted here) can be found in  in, my book, Writings of a Deliberate Agrarian, right before the chapter titled "Returning to The Family Economy," wherein I wrote:


"It is my strongly-held belief that in order to build strong families and reestablish a vibrant agrarian culture, individual families must rediscover and deliberately work towards reuniting the entire family into some sort of family economy."

And later in the same chapter I wrote:


"For new agrarians in the 21st century to reestablish family economies, we need to, first, get out of bondage to debt. A key part of doing this is to simplify our needs and wants; we must tame our tendency toward materialism and consumerism. Then we must endeavor to supply as many of our family's needs as possible. And finally, we must also create family businesses that generate enough actual money to pay the most necessary of living costs in our very expensive industrial economy.
All of this is an enormous challenge. It is not something that most people can do overnight. But it is something that most people can begin on a small scale and slowly, deliberately, bring to fruition."

Well, I started Planet Whizbang with that vision of developing a home-business as part of a family economy. While the business has slowly grown and prospered, and Marlene and I have worked together at it, our three sons have only been marginally involved...until now.

You who read this blog regularly know that my oldest son served his time and was discharged from the Army a few months ago. He wasn't sure what he would do when he got out. He just wanted to get out. That's understandable.

He and his wife and my grandson live in the house and land we bought  a year or so ago. It is just down the road. It's close. We bought the property debt-free with money generated by the Planet Whizbang business.

Prior to my son getting out of the Army, I quit my government job to be home and work the Planet Whizbang business. I believe the timing of these events to be providential.

To make a long story short, my son has no job, I need help, and I have the money to pay him. So he has been working with me for the past six weeks. It has been a good experience for him and for me.

I think he might be a little surprised at the amount of work I've been doing by myself to keep this business going. It's not all stuffing boxes and envelopes and putting postage on the outside. We have a small manufacturing business here...



My son, cutting mortise ends on Whizbang wheel hoe handle spreaders


My son, wire-brushing chicken plucker drive shafts so they fit easily in the bearings.

Bending the hook on T-post trellis Y-holders

Having my son around, helping with the business every day, means that our family is together every day. My grandson and daughter-in-law, and our other sons (with their girlfriends), are here much more often for meals. This is how the family economy should work, and why it is such a good thing.

I don't know how much longer it will go on because I can't pay a lot of money to my son, and he has GI educational benefits that he can and should use. But even if this example of family economy is only for a season, it's a good and instructive experience.

Seeing as we have this time, and things with the business are getting caught up, I figured that I'd put my son to work making Y-holders. I saw this as an opportunity for an entrepreneurial object lesson. We would take the idea from concept to completion...together. He would get to see and experience the process. 

It took about two weeks, all told, as time permitted, to bring Planet Whizbang T-post trellis Y-holders to the market. The final task was to create the web site. I showed my son how I create a free blog in a matter of seconds, then shape it into a web site in a matter of a couple hours. He watched me and I could see that he grasped the concept. 

The internet allows creative, entrepreneurial-minded people to bring their idea-products to an enormous marketplace very quickly, with virtually no marketing investment. The internet is a remarkable tool that can help families break free of wage slavery and industrial-system bondage so they can reestablish vibrant, home-based family economies on the land.  

There is no guarantee that a lot of  people will buy Y-holders. But some will, and that's good enough. Those who do buy them, and who put them to use, will be pleased with their purchase. Their friends will see the intelligent trellis structure they have made, and want to make one too. Then more people will buy the Y-holders. Some will buy them to give as gifts to gardening friends. 

We don't need to sell an enormous number of Y-holders our overhead is very low, and Y-holders are just one of several products we offer. It's an agrarian business principle—don't put all your eggs in one basket. 

So that's the "back story" on the new web site and the new Planet Whizbang Y-holders. If you buy Y-holders in this month of August, the shipping is free.

9 comments:

shannon templeton said...

Hello and what a great inspiration you are for all of us that want "OUT" of the industrialized and materialized society at large. I have read your book and see that you have done a very good job of explaining the concepts and project details. I think even I can do most everything you have shared with us in the book. I definitely want to get some of those Y-holders.
Shannon Lufkin, TX

Melonie said...

I still need to read the project book, but even without having read it, I can see the value in the new product from your new website. Going to have to look at this month's budget - we'll be putting the fall garden in this month. Perfect timing. :)

Thank you, also, for the inspiration on the family economy. My husband is in the service and at that point where he's trying to decide what to do at the end of this tour - stay in indefinitely or get out and try our hand elsewhere. Every single thing we can do to cut costs, provide our own, and become more marketable is on our minds right now. Thank you for the reminder of WHY we are doing that, no matter what he ultimately chooses.

vdeal said...

Great post Herrick but I've got to ask what kind of jig you're using to bend the wire. I've got your book and made some Y-holders by hand and while they work the bends aren't the greatest. Was thinking of building a wire bender but yours looks much better.

Herrick Kimball said...

Shannon—
Thanks for the comment. I hope this story is inspiring to a lot of people because I see all kinds of small-scale, home-based opportunities for creative people, as long as the internet stays up and running. It's a one-step-at-a-time process to learn and tap into it.

Hi Melonie—
Deciding to stay in the military or go back to civilian life is a tough choice. It's harder to make a go of it when you "unplug" from the government paycheck and benefits. God bless you and your family as you endeavor to do what is right and best.

vdeal—
It's a Duo-Mite bender, made by Oxford General Industries in CT. I bought it on Ebay, used, for half the price of a new one. There is a imported copy of the Duo-Mite that sells for around $100, but I don't know how it compares.

Unfortunately, the bender will not make tight bends, so we end up having to do quite a bit of "fine tuning" with a hammer on a piece of railroad-track-as-an-anvil. And I had a local machine shop make me a custom tool for one of the two hammering steps.

Phil Espin said...

Hi Herrick, how do I get a copy of your ideas book in the UK? Is there a problem mailing it over here. I'm happy to pay the postage and would much rather buy it direct from you than get it "cheap" from Amazon. Incidentally Amazon.co.uk don't stock it and .com have only one copy.

By the way I'd like to thank you for your blogging and writing that have added a valuable dimension to my world view. I was brought up in the church of england and though I share it's values to a large degree, I am not a regular practicing christian. I find your christian agrarian attitude to life very compelling.

My problem with the bible is not the teachings of Jesus rather the old testament stuff and the expansion of Jesus teachings by non apostles. Also the historical knowledge that the books of the bible were assembled in the 4th century for state political rather than spiritual reasons.

Just wondered what your view on this is and whether a stripped down bible of Jesus teachings and any suppressed books of apostles exists, that you could recommend.

Anonymous said...

If your son is considering college, I would encourage him to look into "credit by exam" in order to save tons of money and time. Examples are CLEP and DSST, even FEMA has free credits! Library and internet provide enough free/cheap resources that all you need to spend is the testing fee in order to earn the credits.

Herrick Kimball said...

Hi Phil,

I have sent copies of the book to the UK, but it is expensive. If you go to the book's web site and look on the right sidebar you'll see a globe of world flags and the words "Do You Live Outside North America?" Click the globe.

I'm pleased to know you find my Christian-agrarian writings here to be compelling. That's a compliment. Thank you.

Re: the problems you mention....

I'm far from a Bible scholar but I do know that the old testament dovetails perfectly with the new because it is foreshadows the coming of Jesus Christ, beginning in Genesis onward. Also, the old testament gives us the law, which makes it perfectly clear that we are all wicked and utter failures as human beings (a.k,a, sinners), destined to eternal separation from God. But His plan of redemption is established in the Old Testament, then it comes to fruition in the new when God Himself comes down to pay the penalty for our sin, so we can know Him and have that peace that comes in knowing Him. I really do think they go together very well.

And I'm not concerned at all about books of the bible being assembled for political/state purposes. God is sovereign and He often uses ungodly people and institutions to advance His providential plans.

I know of no other book in the history of the world that claims to be the inspired word of God, as the Bible does. If the book is true in that regard, and if the God of the Bible is sovereign over all of creation and time, then He would surely protect and guide his word through the ages. I realize there are little differences in translation and interpretation, but the widely accepted translations are all in accord.

I'm not sure what to say about Jesus's teachings being expanded by non-apostles. I'm not aware of that, unless you mean those health, wealth and prosperity gospel preachers, and I think they're a disgrace.

Thanks for asking these things & I wish you all the best.

Herrick Kimball said...

Anonymous—

Thanks for the insights. Personally, I like the sounds of self-education via the internet, but I'm self-motovated and geared for non-institutional learning. I'm not sure my son fits into the same category. And he may be thinking more of getting an education in some sort of hands-on trade or skill.

Anonymous said...

Hey Herrick,
Very nice way of explaining Law and Gospel to the fellow in the UK.
Best Regards,
Muns