Pleasant Surprises
In My Field

Dateline: 25 June 2015

My Field is an ocean of tall weeds!

June is a month of limitations for me. It is the busiest month for my Planet Whizbang mail order business. Which means I'm working from early morning, into the night, making sure that orders are processed, packaged, and promptly shipped. 

There is precious little time for much else, and anything else (like working in my garden, or writing this blog) must be done at odd moments of the day, when I deliberately take a few minutes to refocus. By the end of the month (right about now) I'm nearing burn out.

So, last Sunday (a no-mail day), in the morning, I fired up Leyland (my tractor) and headed down to my field. If you're a regular reader of this blog, you know I bought me a field, with some woods, a few years back. Paid cash, earned from selling chicken plucker books and chicken plucker parts over the course of ten years. Land ownership was a dream come true. 

The land adjoins my 1.5 acre homestead plot. But, due to the topography (a deep, wooded gully), my field is only accessible by driving down the road aways, around the corner, and down another road aways. Which means it is not exactly convenient to get to.

My field is about 10 acres in size. And, though I'm delighted to own a field, I'm kind of at a loss to know exactly what to do with it. If it had some fence and some cows, it would make a fine pasture. That would be nice, but I don't feel like I'm near enough to the land to properly tend the cattle. A good portion of the land could be an enlarged garden or a berry patch. But, again, it's not convenient to get there and tend to it like would be needed. I have planted a small apple orchard on the land and it doesn't get the attention it deserves.

The way I see it, I need to live in this field if I'm going to properly take care of it. I know from experience on our 1.5 acres that having a garden real near the house means it is a whole lot easier to take care of. Same goes for having critters. 

So Marlene and I keep thinking about the prospect of building a house in the field. But that's an expensive proposition. The other possibility is that I first build a much-needed barn/building for my Planet Whizbang business. Then maybe the house could come later. But, to complicate matters, a good section of the lower part of the field is wet. Real wet. As in, water continually flowing over the ground wet.

The water comes from a spring on the neighbor's property. It has been diverted underground via drain pipes (aka, drain tile) for decades, but the pipes are inadequate for the flow and the area has been a recurring problem.

It is a perfect situation for making a pond. But I don't have the money to spare for such an extravagance. 

I've been told that there is government money (aka, "grants") available for building ponds (and fences too), and I know neighbors who have tapped into such money. But I don't think it's right for me to take tax dollars to improve my land. Wouldn't that be a violation of the 8th Commandment? (thou shalt not steal).  No thanks.

So, my plan is to someday hire someone with a bulldozer to create an open drain ditch from the source of water at the property line, down through the field to an existing gully. With the amount of water that flows over the land, it would amount to creating a man-made stream. I'll make it deep enough that the field around it can be drained into it. And wide enough that the sides slope down gently to the water. Once that's done, and the field is dry, I can then think about a Planet Whizbang barn, and even a house.

The only problem is my lack of financial resources. I reckon I have enough savings to have the earthwork done, but then I'll have to work and wait a few more years to save enough for the barn. Projects like this take time (a lifetime) when you have to work for your money, and are paying as you go.

In the meantime, my field is getting overgrown with weeds. It has been three years since I cut it with Leland and my sickle bar mower. Brambles are growing, and there are little sumac trees here and there. The field needs to be cut low. I have a person with a brush hog lined up to mow it all down (except the real wet area).

And that's what brought me to my field last Sunday morning. I needed to flag the wet spots so the brush hogger could steer clear and not get stuck.

In the process of pounding posts and putting up strips of florescent tape, I checked on my little apple orchard half way up the field (above the water problems), and I was very surprised to find actual apples on some of my trees!

(click the picture to see a larger view)

I did not expect apples to be on the trees for a couple more years. Altogether, there are ten apples on four of the trees. They are beautiful apples too!

Then along the edge of my field (close to the woods) I was delighted to discover an abundance of perfectly ripe wild strawberries.

I spent some time picking and eating strawberries. 

Another pleasant surprise was an oak tree whip I planted a couple years ago. It was thriving...

I planted a lot of little tree seedlings, most of them maple trees, and most of them have either died or are barely hanging on, but that oak tree is living the good life. 

Seeing as that tree has managed to do so well, it's kind of special to me, and I suppose it always will be. I look forward to seeing it grow much bigger. 

(Note to self... plant more trees)

It was a nice morning. A very nice morning. And I enjoyed myself thoroughly, out there in my field. But I lost track of time. 

I don't wear a watch and I don't have a cell phone. When me and Leyland got home, Marlene came out to inform me that we had missed church. Did I forget? No, I didn't forget. I actually thought I was getting back in plenty of time to make it to church. 

I suggested to Marlene that we could go back up into the field and pick some strawberries. And that's what we did.

Redeeming The Dirt Conference

Dateline: 24 June 2015

Back in 2013 Noah Sanders went to Zimbabwe (I blogged about it HERE) to learn about the Christian-agrarian ministry, Foundations For Farming. The combination of spiritual and agricultural principles taught by Foundations For Farming have brought sustainable hope and sustenance to the beleaguered people of Zimbabwe. Are these same principles of life and agriculture equally applicable to beleaguered Americans?

Noah thinks so (and I do too). 

With that in mind, last year Noah hosted a Redeeming The Dirt Conference in Rockford, Alabama. The objective being to introduce the Foundations For Farming principles to this country. This year he is continuing the outreach with a 2015 Redeeming The Dirt Conference (click the link for full details).

If I lived anywhere near Alabama, I would get to this event.

One more thing...

Back in 2013 I posted a link to a YouTube video of a man from Foundations For Farming talking about the basic agricultural principles of the ministry. The video ends with him praising the beauty of God's creation, as found in a sunflower. His words are powerfully compelling to me. Check out my blog post here: Acknowledging God in His Creation.

And A Beast

Dateline: 23 June 2015

I took the above picture in my garden yesterday morning. If you click on it, you will see a nice close-up of some potato leaves. They are verdant, velvety, and simply beautiful. The hideous-looking larvae provides quite a contrast; it's a beastly little potato leaf destroyer. If I did not kill it, and others like it, they would destroy my plants, and I would have no potatoes.

I think there is a spiritual metaphor in this picture.

My New E-Mail

Dateline: 21 June 2015

Mail delivery, as it once was
(click for larger view)

I have had the same e-mail address, through a local company, for at least ten years. I would still have it if the company did not notify me last month that they were going out of business. 

I had to scramble to get a new e-mail, change my e-mail information with different businesses (Amazon, PayPal, Ebay, etc.), and then try to find every business-related web page with my e-mail on it in order to update it. 

Having the correct e-mail address on your web pages is particularly important when you have a mail order business that depends nearly 100% on the internet.

All of this has been a hassle, but I'm pretty much transitioned over (though I'm sure I've missed some changes on my web sites).

If you need to reach me, my new e-mail is: The old e-mail of no longer works.

Thank you.

Toe Bug Patrol
"It's Okay To Be Dooty"

Dateline: 20 June 2015

Futureman went back to Ohio today. He was here for two weeks, and we went on toe bug patrol in the garden every day. Toe bugs are more commonly known as potato bugs. Futureman doesn't do very well  with three syllables yet.

On our first foray into the garden, Futureman got some earth on his hands and arm. He seemed overly concerned about getting "dooty." 

"I dooty, Boppy." he said. Over an over. 

"I dooty, Boppy. I dooty, Boppy."

And I said. "Don't be such a city slicker. It's okay to be dooty. Dooty is good." 

To which he invariably replied..."Why?"

And I said, "Cuz Boppy says so."

FYI... Dooty is "dirty" and Boppy is me.

(I thought I wanted to be called Grampie, which is the term I used for my grandfathers, but Grampie isn't easy to say at three years old, so it's Boppy, and I'm kind of liking it.)   

There were not a lot of toe bugs to be found on our daily patrols, but we always found a few. Sometimes Futureman would spy a toe bug, but most of the time I would see them first. Whatever the case, it was his job to dispatch the critters.

I showed Futureman how to set a toe bug on plastic mulch and smoosh it with his foot...

At first, he would stomp his foot repeatedly, and completely miss the toe bug every time. So we worked on that. Instead of stomping, he would place his toe on the bug and give it a twist or slide it, which is a very effective technique for killing a toe bug.

After a couple days I thought Futureman might be better at smooshing toe bugs with a rock. The first time he smooshed a toe bug with a rock, he said, "Yukky." Rock-Smooshing toe bugs is also a very effective technique (sorry, no picture).

So now, Futureman has gone back to where being dooty is frowned upon, and Boppy is on toe bug patrol all by himself.

A Different Perspective
On Wise Investing
(Garden Infrastructure)

Dateline: 17 June 2015

Fabric-mulched potato hills in my garden.

I’m persuaded that we as a nation are currently in the early stages of of an era of epic wealth destruction and confiscation. For more and more people the American dream of working hard and getting ahead is giving way to the American nightmare of working hard (if a job can be found) to pay off debt while barely keeping the taxes and bills paid—or not keeping them paid. 

Those who have good-paying jobs or an earned life savings are becoming a minority, and are increasingly seen by the corrupt political class as targets for even more vampiric taxation. 

The old rules for wise investing apply less and less. Those who actually have a little money ahead, and want to invest it, so as to earn a return, are hard pressed to find safe and secure investment options. 

With these emerging realities in mind, I believe one of the wisest investments anyone can make is in what I’ll call Garden Infrastructure. Let me explain…

A dictionary definition of the word “infrastructure” is as follows:

The basic physical and organizational structures and facilities (e.g., buildings, roads, and power supplies) needed for the operation of a society or enterprise.

My definition of “garden infrastructure” would be:

The basic physical and organizational structures and facilities (e.g., land, tools, fertilizer) needed for the operation of a productive personal garden.

No matter how bad the economy gets, no matter how much wealth destruction and confiscation happens, if you invest your money now in garden infrastructure, you essentially “lock in” profitable returns for years to come.

No, you aren’t necessarily going to get a financial return (in the conventional sense) for your investment, but conventional monetary returns don't mean a whole lot in an era of wealth destruction (and the social/political upheaval that will likely attend this era). 

The concept of investing in garden infrastructure is surely unconventional. Precious few moderns will take the idea seriously,  but it is pretty much the safest and surest investment a person or family can make.

Even in the unlikely event that impending worldwide economic problems are resolved, and the conventional investment paradigms do not fail, garden infrastructure is still one of the best investments a person can make. Think about this….

If you work a job to earn money to purchase your food at a store, and you are in a 30% income tax bracket, you have to earn $140 to buy $98 worth of food ($42 of the $140 would go to the government). 

That being the case, you might be further ahead if you worked less at a job and more at growing your own food. Unless, of course, the government figures out a way to tax people on the value of any food they produce for themselves.

I have been investing in garden infrastructure for years, but this year I’m increasing my investment in the following areas… 

1.  I have invested in soil amendments to last me for several years. Specifically, I’ve bought several bags of kelp meal and humates. I invested in a soil analysis and mineralization of my garden a few years ago. These new soil amendments (along with compost and biochar that I produce) are all I figure I’ll need for a long time.

2.  As readers of this blog know, I started using using black plastic and black plastic fabric as a mulch in my garden last year. These materials are helping me to have a more productive garden, and I have bought more of the material this year. 

3.  I’ve come to the conclusion that a soil blocker is the most intelligent way to get most seeds started, before transplanting them into the garden. With that in mind, I am in the process of purchasing enough ingredients to make my own soil-block mix for several years. I’m also making and using self-watering trays for the soil blocks. I hope to blog about this in the future, but there is plenty of soil-block information on the internet, and Eliot Coleman’s books cover the subject well.

4.  After procrastinating for years, I am planning to finally to put up a small, movable, unheated greenhouse this year. It will be for the purpose or growing greens through the winter, for starting plants in the spring, and for growing tomatoes in the summer. I will be writing about this subject as it develops.

5.  I hope to get a ramial chip maker (wood chipper) later this year. I have an abundance of scrub brush on my land that needs to be chipped up and put to good use.

These are just some examples of garden infrastructure. Other examples of garden infrastructure investments would be fencing, trellis supports, Row-cover materials, tools, and how-to books. Even bluebird nesting boxes could be classified as garden infrastructure.

I know that many (if not most) people who read this blog are investing in their own garden infrastructure. So I'm not telling you anything you don't already know. But, for the record, I just want to make it clear that I think garden infrastructure is one of the best investments there is.

As always, I welcome your comments and insights about this subject.

Survival Gardening,
And The List Of
Very Special Survival Vegetables

Dateline: 15 June 2015

Frank & Fern recently posted a blog titled Survival Gardening Scenario, in which they asked readers what they would plant and grow in their gardens now if they had evidence that a significant food-supply-disrupting crisis was coming this fall.

That question brought to mind the book pictured above, which I've had for several years, and it just happened to be on my bedside table.

Survival Gardening, by John A. Freeman was published in 1982 and is now out of print. It is subtitled: "Enough Nutrition From 1,000 Square Feet To Live On... Just In Case!" 

The book is available on Ebay, but I'm not sure I would go so far as to recommend it to everyone. If you're a hard-core garden book collector, or prepper type, and you've got the money to spare, then get it. Otherwise, just read and absorb the following information...

The most interesting part of the book for me is the list of "Very Special Survival Vegetables." They are as follows...

Beans, lima
Beans, snap
Beets with greens
Peas (various)
Potato, Irish
Sweet potato
Turnips with greens

These vegetables are listed in a chart showing the "relative caloric and nutritive yields" with columns for calories, protein, calcium, iron, vitamin A, and vitamin C.

According to the chart, the most highly rated (by far) vegetable in all the categories is... turnips with greens.

Another chart in the book (there are lots of charts) gives specific caloric and nutritive numbers for various vegetables, and turnips with greens clearly are a very special survival vegetable.

According to another chart, turnips take 6 to 9 weeks to get from seed to harvestable size, and they can be harvested over a four-week span of time. Which means, there is still time to get them planted this year.

I'm wondering if any readers of this blog have a history of growing turnips (I don't). If so, can you share information and experiences about growing, cooking and preserving this humble root crop?

Turnips with greens

Parsnip Bed In June

Dateline: 14 June 2015

This is my first year growing parsnips. I was able to get the seeds to germinate in only 11 days using my shade disc technique (see 11-Day Parsnips). That was downright encouraging. The picture above shows my parsnip bed in early June.

You'll notice that I followed the same planting scheme as shown in my Four-Day Carrots video, but I'm growing a single parsnip in each space, not three.  The bed is 30" wide and the planting holes (in the plastic) are 6" apart in the rows. 

I know that parsnips can be grown closer together, but I wanted to give my first-ever crop of parsnips lots of room. I tend to give plants more room to grow after reading Steve Solomon's, Gardening When It Counts(my favorite gardening book). Steve writes in the book that when he started spacing his plantings farther apart, he got better results. 

A lot of people have been critical of my first Four-Day Carrots video because of my wide plant spacing. They assert that I'm wasting space, and that they can grow a lot more carrots in a similar sized garden bed. While it is true that you can grow more quantity by spacing plants closer together, you don't necessarily get more quality. The proof of this is in Four-Day Carrots, Part 3, where you get to see me harvesting some carrots. Close spacing does not yield carrots of the size and beauty that you can see in that video (and they tasted good too!).

The more I use black plastic in my garden, the more I like it. It retains moisture and saves me a LOT of time that I would spend cultivating to keep the weeds from taking over. It translates to greater satisfaction and a better crop. The fact is, everything I've grown using a plastic mulch has grown better than if I grew in bare garden ground.

Some people worry about toxins leaching out of the plastic. I suspect that some toxic material may, indeed, leach out, but I'd bet it is very minimal. And the benefits of eating the wholesome, homegrown food surely outweigh any minuscule toxic leaching from the plastic. That's my opinion at this point.

I do, however, like the idea of using ramial wood chips as a mulch. Part of the reason I like the idea is that I have a lot of scrubby "weed' trees less than 3" in diameter growing along the edges of my woodland. I want to harvest this invasive undergrowth and put it to good use. So, at some point I will be buying a wood chipper. 

But I doubt that I'll be harvesting enough ramial chips to cover my whole garden (mulching around my apple trees will be the first application). So black plastic will have its place in my home garden for a long time to come.

Making Compost
(In Formal Attire)

Dateline: 13 June 2015

Finding pictures to take for this blog is really easy with my active three-year-old grandson around. 

Marlene says that Futureman dressed himself this morning. He came outdoors with the tie on and was very pleased with himself. A Kodak  moment, for sure.

Weather permitting, we have been working in the garden together a little every day.

My grandson is a willing helper but I have to keep a close eye on him. He pulled out two very nice squash plants yesterday, thinking that he was doing the right thing. And prior to that, he whacked my hop hoe into a fabric-covered planting bed, leaving an ugly gash in the material. This morning we pulled some weeds and cut some comfrey to put in the compost bin. 

A three-year-old can do useful work on a homestead. Of course, he doesn't do the work efficiently, and he isn't inclined to do any one thing for long (and supervision is a must,  as I've learned). But there are always lots of necessary things a little one can help with around a garden. It sure beats watching television or playing electronic games!

10 Years
Deliberate Agrarian Blogging

Dateline: 11 June 2015

Me and my grandson in 2014
(life can change a lot in 10 years)

It's kind of hard to believe that I have been writing The Deliberate Agrarian for the past ten years, but it's a fact. June 18, 2005 was My First Blog Post. A few days later, I wrote about contentment and my agrarian vision in "The Desperate Agrarian?"

Amazingly, much of the personal vision I wrote about has become reality. What makes it amazing is that it was nowhere in sight (and far from reach) when I wrote those words.

Readers have come and gone, and lots of fellow agrarian bloggers have come and gone. They've moved on to better things, I guess. 

My style of writing and the things I blog about have undergone some changes over the years. Many of my earlier writings were about Christian agrarianism. That was back when almost no one had heard of the term. I tended to put a lot more thought and effort into composing what I wrote in the early years. These days, my blog posts are often more like Facebook posts, or so it seems to me. 

My current site meter indicates that this blog has had nearly 3 million views (it doesn't reflect the additional 1 million+ views I had on a previous site meter). And there are currently 859 subscribers who get each new blog post in their e-mail. 

There are, of course, plenty of other blogs with more views and readers. But I'm continually amazed that so many people find this blog worth reading. 

Besides that, I'm thankful for all of you who do read my writings. Many of you have written me, or commented on a blog post, over the past 10 years, with words of encouragement, or to share some idea or interesting link. 

I really do think that some of the nicest folks in the world are readers of this blog.

In short, writing The Deliberate Agrarian has been a great adventure, and, in so many ways, a life-enriching experience for me.

Here's hoping I can keep this going for another ten years. Wouldn't that be something!

"Ride In Tractor?"

Dateline: 10 June 2015

Marlene and I drove to Erie, PA last Sunday to get our 3-year-old grandson, Futureman. He will be with us for a couple of weeks. Erie is a midway point between Toledo, OH (where future man lives with his mother) and our place here in central NY. We meet at a gas station off the interstate. 

Future man's first words to me were, "Ride in tractor?" He kept asking it, over and over. 

His pronunciation of "tractor" sounds a lot like "doctor." I had to ask his mother what he was saying.

Once I understood the question, I assured him that we would ride in the tractor when we got home. Nevertheless, he asked the question repeatedly for the next few hours. The little guy was really looking forward to a tractor ride.

So, shortly after we got home, Futureman put his work boots on and got his little wagon out. I put him and his wagon in my tractor wagon and we took a ride.

Down the road. Into my field. Back up the road. And then Futureman unloaded his wagon and got to work...

EMP Interview

Dateline: 9 June 2015

As I've mentioned here before (more than once), I fully expect the electrical grid to go down someday, and stay that way for a long time. The electrical supply system is, after all, the Achilles heel of our complex industrialized culture. 

I'm not wild-eyed and in a lather about the possibility of no more electricity, but it does come to my mind fairly often, and I'm mentally resigned to the eventuality. I'm also  prepared to assume something akin to a pre-grid lifestyle, if/when the need arises. 

I'm mentioning this today because I listened to This Recent Interview At Peak Prosperity. It's a good interview (that I recommend) on the subject of EMP events. And it is also an examination of why the government is doing pretty much nothing to protect the grid from an EMP (while other countries are).

One of the most fundamental and legitimate functions of government is to protect the country. But the American Empire seems to be more focused on interfering with the affairs of other nations, (mis)managing world events, and micromanaging the lives of all Americans, than it is on protecting our borders, or taking important civil defense measures (like EMP protection of the grid). 

The point being, America is broken. Don't expect the government to fix anything. 

Redefining Marriage?

Dateline: 7 June 2015

Sometime this month the Supreme Court of the United States will decide if the commonly understood definition of marriage (as being between a man and a woman) should now be altered and expanded to include the marriage of same-sex couples. Most observers are betting that centuries of legal precedent will be overturned by a slim majority of these ninefallible human beings as they, in essence, pass judgement on the God of all creation and His definition of marriage.

If the court does, indeed, redefine marriage, there will be widespread celebrations throughout America. Then, in due time, the force of law and autocratic bureaucracy will be systematically employed to persecute anyone in this country who dares to voice their opinion that homosexuality is, as God clearly explains in scripture, unnatural and immoral.

Freedom of speech, freedom of religion and freedom of the press will no longer exist in America as hate-speech tribunals are effectively utilized to intimidate and silence all who dare to believe that homosexuality is a sin, or that homosexual marriage is an abomination.

If you doubt this scenario, I challenge you to read This Short Article. It is written by a woman who was raised by a homosexual couple. She lives in Canada and she explains how government tribunals in Canada are now being used to destroy anyone who does not believe, accept, or teach their children that homosexuality and homosexual marriage is right and good.

In short, if the US Supreme Court redefines marriage to include homosexuality, America will, in a moral, cultural and Constitutional sense, step off a very tall cliff.

Mr. Tesoro's Story

Dateline: 5 June 2015

I'm not a snappy dresser. I've never owned a suit. For the past few decades, when dressing up was required, I wore a tweed sports coat that fit me particularly well. It may have been bought at Sears. I don't really remember.

But last year, around this time, with my mother-in-law nearing the end of her long life, I determined that I would buy myself a new suit, or sport coat, or blazer, to wear to her funeral.

Frankly, I didn't know the difference, if any, between the three choices of menswear. So I went to YouTube and got myself educated on the subject. I found out that what I wanted was a classic blue blazer. Then I went looking to buy.

I went to several large stores with men's clothing departments, looking for a classic blue blazer of good quality, and the only place that had a blazer like I was looking for was J.C. Penny. The blazer fit well enough, but the sleeves were too long. It was on sale for $75.

I came close to buying that blazer but decided against it. I wanted a truly good quality blazer and, though I knew nothing about truly good quality in blazers, I sensed that the $75 blazer was not it.

So I did a Google Search for "men's clothing store auburn NY."  Auburn is a small city that is half an hour from my home. It is where I used to work when I was a wage slave in the NY prison system. The search brought up Tesoro's. It was a weekend. Tesoro's was closed. I determined to get there on Monday. I wanted to have the blazer by the following weekend.

Tesoro's is on the west side of the city. It is a nondescript store in a row of buildings on the main street, with a bar next to it. I went in and knew right away that I was in a high-quality men's clothing store. It is the kind of store I have never been in before.

There were no customers. I stood there looking around for a moment and a very well dressed (coat and tie) older man with a cloth tape measure around his neck came out from the back of the store. We exchanged hellos and I told him I was looking for a classic blue blazer.

He measured my chest circumference with his tape, and I followed him to a rack of blue blazers. He selected one, held it up from behind for me to put my arms in, and I put it on. He looked at it for a moment and told me it was a perfect fit. 

It felt good. It looked good in the mirror. But I thought the arms were too long. "Do you think the arms might be too long?," I asked.

Yes, of course, the arms were a bit too long. He knew that, and told me he would shorten them. That was no problem.

I asked about the quality and Mr. Tesoro proceeded to give me an education about quality in blue blazers. Clearly, the man knew what he was talking about, and he was passionate about the subject.

Mr. Tesoro told me that the blazer would last a lifetime. A picture of me in my casket someday, wearing the blazer, flashed into my mind. I had found exactly what I wanted.

I asked how much the blazer was. It was $350, before tax. Four days later, I stopped by to get my new blazer. I couldn't be more pleased.

But this post isn't really about my extravagance in buying a piece of clothing.....

When I picked up the blazer, I had a chance to have a conversation with Mr. Tesoro. I know full well that every older adult has an interesting life story, and Mr. Tesoro is no exception.

It so happens that Mr. Tesoro was born in Italy in 1939. He was apprenticed to a tailor at nine years of age. In 1954 he immigrated to America. In 1965 he started a tailoring business in the basement of his home. He worked the night shift at a nearby factory while saving money to one day open a storefront tailor shop. In 1971 he opened Tesoro's Men's Shop in Auburn. 

Mr. Tesoro's story is one of pursuing and mastering a craft, having an entrepreneurial dream, and working hard to achieve that dream. It's a story of delayed gratification. It is a great story that is well worth reading, and you can Read It Here.

Also, be sure to check out ThisYouTube video for Tesoro's Men's Shop. In the end of the short clip, Mr. Tesoro says, "Come to Tesoro's. I'll make sure you look your best."  He's not kidding.

Mr. Tesoro is 76 years old. When I asked him if he had plans to retire, he told me he loves what he does and has no plans to retire. I also found out that Mr. Tesoro is an avid gardener (another positive, in my opinion). And the day I picked up my blazer he told me that he was looking forward to having his young grandson come for a visit. I told him about how the best memories of my young life are the summers I spent with my grandparents. 

To my male readership....  if you are ever in need of a high-quality, tailored suit or coat, and you are ever in Central NY, make it a point to find Tesoro's Men's Shop in Auburn. Mr. Tesoro can fit you and, if necessary, mail the tailor-altered product to you. He says he does this a lot with people who vacation in the Finger Lakes. 


And now, as proof positive that I have never been a snappy dresser (until I met Mr. Tesoro), I offer the following picture...

That's me and my girlfriend, Marlene, at our senior class prom dinner, way back in the spring of 1976. I did not know this picture existed until last year when one of our classmates posted it on Facebook (thanks Roger)

No, we had not been drinking (neither of us drank alcohol in high school). We were just young and having a good time.

Four years later, Marlene and I were married. And if you missed the most recent picture of us (me in my new blazer), you can see it HERE.

"Five Short Sentences"
A Wedding Toast
For James & Bekah Kimball
30 May 2015

Dateline: 5 June 2015

Me, delivering the speech and toast.

I Blog Posted Here a few days ago about the marriage of my youngest son, James, to his new wife, Bekah. And I mentioned that I gave the wedding toast. One of the comments to that post got me to thinking that since I wrote out my toast speech, I may as well put it here on this blog. So, for anyone who might be interested, the following is the prepared speech I delivered at the wedding reception...


As I’m sure most of you realize, it is customary for the Best Man to give a small speech and propose a toast to the new bride and groom here at the wedding reception. But James doesn’t have a Best Man, so he has asked me, his father, to perform this honer, and I’m pleased to do so.

Were James to have asked one of his brothers or a friend to do this, you would likely hear something witty or humorous. But you won’t get that from me. I’m inclined to say something heartfelt and serious. I’m inclined to see this as an opportunity to impart some small kernel of great wisdom about love and marriage to the new couple.

And so I went looking for this kernel of great wisdom about love and marriage. I went to the only reliable place I know where you can find truth and wisdom: I went to the Bible.

And there it was. I found it. I found five short sentences that offer profoundly wise advice for a young married couple, or, for that matter, any married couple. 

These five short sentences are, essentially a recipe for a successful marriage.

Chances are you have heard these five short sentences before. They are commonly found in wedding ceremonies. But I would ask that you listen to these words as if this is the first time you have heard of them. And perhaps, you could think about them like you have never thought about them before.

Also, please keep in mind as I read these five short sentences that the wisdom you are hearing is TRANSCENDENT wisdom.

Which is to say, this wisdom does not come from Hollywood, or  Oprah, or Dr Oz. This wisdom does not come from popular music or the people who sing popular music. This wisdom doesn’t come from politicians, or university professors, or people who play sports games particularly well.

No, this wisdom you are about to hear TRANSCENDS the wisdom of mere mortals. This wisdom comes from the heart and the mind of God.

It comes from He who created us, male and female… Who created the institution of marriage. And who designed marriage to be a blessed union between a man and a woman, until death do them part.

Now, listen carefully to the transcendent wisdom in these five short sentences….

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Those words are found in the 13th Chapter of the Book of Corinthians. 

I don’t know about you, but when I hear those words they resonate with me. They resonate with me because the picture of love they present is truly beautiful. And it is truly worth pursuing, especially within marriage.

This is the kind of love that not only stands when other kinds of love wither away; it grows stronger and sweeter with the passage of time. 

James and Bekah, those five short sentences are the sure foundation for a blessed marriage. But that kind of love within a marriage will not be just a blessing to the two of you— it will be a blessing to your family and the world around you. I dare say, a marriage built and sustained on this kind of love can even be a blessing to the generations that follow you.   That’s how powerful this kind of love is.

And so, James and Bekah, in closing, it is my hope and prayer that the two of you will embrace this transcendent wisdom, and know this love as you embark on this great adventure of married life.

Now... with all of that in mind, I would like to propose a toast: 

To James and Bekah Kimball. May you know the depth of love as described in the five short sentences. And may the home you make together always be a refuge of love and peace in the midst of this troubled world.


Sidenote: There was no alcohol at the wedding, so I toasted with a paper cup of ice water. :-)