Deliberate Agrarian
Snippet #11

By John Updike

Dateline:  24 April 2014

I sometimes fear the younger generation 
will be deprived 
of the pleasures of hoeing;
there is no knowing
how many souls have been formed 
by this simple exercise.

The dry earth like a great scab breaks, revealing
moist-dark loam—
the pea-root's home,
a fertile wound perpetually healing.

How neatly the green weeds go under!
The blade chops the earth new.
Ignorant the wise boy who
has never rendered thus the world fecunder.

—John Updike

“Fecunder” is a variation of the word, “fecund,” which is rarely used these days. Fecund means fruitful, fertile, or prolific. So fecunder would therefore mean more fruitful, more fertile or more prolific.

That final phrase, "ignorant the wise boy who has never rendered thus the world fecunder," appears to reflect the author's opinion that there is a connection between true wisdom and the work of agriculture. And that a more complete education for children would include working in the garden. I like that.

Deliberate Agrarian
Snippet #10

A Tomato Seed Magnet

Dateline: 23 April 2014

(click to see an enlarged view)

I start tomatoes as explained in This Old Tomato Growing Manual (click link to read tomato starting instructions). To pick up the individual tomato seeds and place them for planting, I use a "seed magnet" like shown above. It is noting more than a toothpick. Wet the end of the toothpick, touch it to a seed, and the seed sticks. It will release easily enough after you place it in the soil where you want it. This magnet works for other kinds of seeds too. 

Deliberate Agrarian
Snippet #9

Redeeming The Dirt

Dateline: 22 April 2014

Noah Sanders, author of the book, Born Again Farming, and the blog, Redeeming The Dirt, is organizing a conference for Christian farmers, gardeners and agrarians. It'll be in Alabama, August 7-9. The main speaker will be Brian Oldreive, from Zimbabwe, founder of Foundations For Farming. Mr. Oldreive is a remarkable man, and the unique story of the Foundations For Farming ministry is powerfully encouraging. Alabama is too far for me to travel. Otherwise, I would be there. If you have the time and ability to get to this conference, I'm sure it will be a good time and a blessing. Click Here for details from Noah's blog.

Deliberate Agrarian
Snippet #8

Ideal Garden Twine

Dateline: 20 April 2014

(click picture to see enlarged view)

I like to lay out garden beds and planting rows with string and stakes. I've used cotton and sisal strings in years past for this purpose. But after learning about Mark Albert's remarkable caterpillar cloche system (as explained in This Book) I decided to invest in a roll of polypropylene baling twine. Mark says the polypropylene twine can be stretched very tight, without breaking, and it will not sag once stretched. He's right on both accounts. I had to buy two rolls because that's how they're sold. It was 10,000 feet of twine, which should be more than a lifetime's supply for me. After a couple of years using this product, I can tell you it is truly ideal for gardening, and a lot of other uses around the homestead. If you want a lifetime supply of nonpareil twine, invest in a roll of polypropylene baling twine. I bought This Twine at Tractor Supply Company (I see it is now 9,000 ft. and the price has gone up a few dollars since I bought my rolls).

A simple knot  like this can be used to join two pieces of twine.

Deliberate Agrarian
Snippet #7

Bean-Picking Stools

Dateline: 20 April 2014

Click to seen an enlarged view

My grandson had his second birthday last week. I made him the stool pictured above, with his name carved in the top (see Snippet #6). I made the other stool as a gift for a good friend's granddaughter. These stools are my own design. I made two of them over 20 years ago. One was a gift for my nephew (he still has it).  We kept the other one and it is now known as "Marlene's bean-picking stool." She used it one year to sit on while picking green beans and it has been utilized in the garden ever since. I've also used it as a mini workbench a couple of times. So it's worn and beaten, but as solid and functional as the day it was made.

Side view and end view
of the bean-picking stool

Deliberate Agrarian
Snippet #6

Simple Letter Carving

Dateline: 19 April 2014

click to see an enlarged view

It has been more than 20 years since I carved letters in wood. I figured out back then that I didn't need any special (or expensive) chisels for simple letter carving. A basic utility knife with a sharp blade will do the job just fine. If you have an interest in letter carving, I encourage you to give it a try. It's a little tedious but not hard to do. The lettering above is part of a gift I made from my grandson's 2nd birthday. I carved it on the kitchen table one day while he was taking his nap upstairs. I'll show you the finished product in the next Deliberate Agrarian Snippet.

Deliberate Agrarian
Snippet #5

Pocket Notebooks

Dateline: 18 April 2014

Occasionally someone will wonder how I manage to get so much accomplished with my home business and homestead. Well, in addition to things like focus and determination, not watching television, and having a wife who helps me, I would have to give some credit to pocket notebooks. If you want to be more organized, efficient and productive, get a pocket notebook, and put it to work. I have a pocket notebook on me at all times. It is on my bedside at night. These days I use my own Planet Whizbang Pocket Notebooks. Click that link and check out the whole new web site I've just created for this useful new product. While supplies last, I'm giving away a free vintage pencil clip when you buy a package of 20 or 30 pocket notebooks. 

Click Here to learn how I use pocket notebooks

Deliberate Agrarian
Snippet #4

Economic Analysis

Dateline 17 April 2014

Greg Hunter

Greg Hunter has a web site called USA Watchdog . He features in-depth interviews with people-in-the-know who are rarely heard in the mainstream media. His guests talk  about economics and politics. I enjoy listening to different people's viewpoints, especially about the economy. There are always different opinions among different people when it comes to figuring out where the economy is headed, but there appears to be a general consensus that very difficult realities are inevitable, and dead ahead.  This Recent Interview with Dr. Paul Craig Roberts is a good one. This interview with Dmitry Orlov provides an insightful Russian-American perspective on the Ukraine situation and the future of America. This interview with Professor William Black, a former bank regulator, makes it crystal clear that there is widespread, systematic fraud being perpetrated by the largest banks in the world. And, worse than that, the U.S. government is a partner in the fraud. If you are an amateur economics wonk, like me, you will want to tune into Greg Hunter's interviews. You might well be hearing prophetic words and future headlines.

Deliberate Agrarian
Snippet #3

Futureman Gets Stuck

Dateline: 16 April 2014

Now that warmer weather is here my grandson (a.k.a., Futureman) can spend more time outdoors. The more time a two-year-old boy spends outside, the better. Futureman likes to climb up on Leyland (my tractor). He climbs up, sits in the seat awhile, then gets down. It's one of his favorite things to do when he is outdoors. A small tractor can be something like a playground to a rural child. I was recently stacking firewood nearby when I heard Futureman saying "Oh. Oh. Oh." to himself. Upon investigation I found he had snagged his coat getting down off Leyland, as you can see in the picture above. I am making more of an effort to keep my camera close by when I'm outdoors, and this was truly a Canon moment.