For God & Country
Reality Television
Casting Call

Dateline: 25 February 2015


There is a concept video for the show on Vimeo.
(details below)

As mentioned yesterday, I'm on a break from blogging. But I want to let you know about a new Christian-and-agrarian-focused television program that is in the works...

I found out about this program when I got an e-mail from Gator Henry at Nightwalker Entertainment yesterday. He wondered if I would be interested in being in the show that he hopes will be on the Discovery Channel. I explained to Gator that I am an introvert. The last thing I want is to be on television. Besides that, I'm sure I'm not a good fit for the project. 

So then he asked me if I knew anyone else who might be a good prospect for the new show. Offhand, I don't know of anyone (who isn't already in it). But I have this here blog, and a fair amount of readers here are Christians and agrarians. I told Gator that I was sure a lot of readers would be interested in knowing about the project, and there might even be some who would like to get involved.

In his first e-mail, Gator Henry told me, "The show is entitled “For God & Country” and will follow three-five families or groups of families living their faith out in unique, interesting, primitive, off-the-grid or other actionable ways because they believe its what God would have them do."


Gator also told me that he is a Christian and he has the best of intentions for the program. He says he believes the program, " will help many Believers that are thinking they're isolated in their thoughts, it will awaken others to the dire state of the country, and give the audience an understanding that Christians wanting to live their faith in reality and biblically actually exist, and are not crazy."


Furthermore, Gator understands that some people may want to maintain their privacy. He wrote, " Please let people know we can sign Non Disclosure Agreements that state we will not disclose their location nor their real names. We can change the names and say “Somewhere USA”.

Casting call information for the program is below. If you have an interest in this sort of thing, contact Gator Henry (information is at the bottom of the casting call). He can answer any questions you may have, and send you a link with a password to watch the concept video on Vimeo. 

Please understand that I am neither promoting nor endorsing this television project. I'm simply letting it be known. If you have any opinions about it, feel free to express them in the comments below.

For God & Country

Casting Call

North Carolina based & Christian Owned production company Light Walker Entertainment is now casting for a new unscripted Discovery Channel television series.

We are immediately seeking Christian families, or groups of families living in community, that are living unique, off-the-grid, agrarian or otherwise rustic/primitive, prepper or survival lifestyles, and are engaged in a unique vision, because they believe its what God wants them to do. This show will be a part of the NEW “AMERICAN HEROES” programming vision for Discovery Channel.
Here’s some examples of the types of families we’re seeking:

Those that want to live and operate outside of the Federal System and its Unconstitutional Actions; 

Families/groups that believe God wants His people to live in Community in accordance with the early Church found in the Book of Acts;

Families that live off the grid so as to remain free, to grow and raise and eat their own foods, not vaccinate their children, to not send their children to public schools, etc.; 

Those that are preparing for the Tribulation, an economic collapse, martial law, or a totalitarian takeover of our nation; 

Those that do not want to use the fiat Federal Reserve system and live by barter or otherwise live a subsistence or completely self sufficient lifestyle; We’re looking for families similar to those in shows such as “Alaska the Last Frontier” but that are living the way they are because of their faith. People that have a business, an end game, something they’re working to accomplish, such as: creating a communal living situation, developing a farm or natural foods business, developing their own form of currency, etc.)

If you or someone you know has a family that has members with dynamic characters, that are PUTTING THEIR FAITH IN ACTION to live and do something UNIQUE, we’d love to hear from you!

Please Call or Email Gator Henry at 704-804-0072 or directorgator@me.com 







New Project/Short Leave

Dateline: 24 February 2015



January, February and March are slow months for my Planet Whizbang mail order business. There is still more than enough work to do, keeping product in stock, paperwork organized, and orders shipped out every day, but it is not the intense, never-ending, all-consuming physical and mental challenge that it typically becomes, starting in April (and peaking in intensity in July). 

Though Marlene helps me with the business some, and our boys sometimes help, I'm pretty much a one-man operation. That's not necessarily the way I would like it to be, and I hope it will change in time, but that's the way it is now and, truth be told, I love having a small-scale, home-based publishing and manufacturing company that pays the bills better than any wage slave job I've ever had. It is, as I've said here in the past, a dream come true.

Anyway, I relish these down months of winter because I have the time to be more creative, which is to say, I have time to pursue new ideas for new products. I have far more ideas for products that I want to develop and share with the world (a.k.a., bring to market) than I will ever have time to actually develop. 

This drive to develop new ideas and products might be something of a disorder, but, if so, it's one that gets me out of bed in the morning with enthusiasm and energy, and drives me until I "hit the wall" (a runner's term) around 9:00 every night. 

I'm sure there are a lot of other people who have this entrepreneurial drive. However, I personally know only know one other man besides myself who is like this. He dreams and pursues entrepreneurial projects on a much, much larger scale than I, and he has experienced much, much more financial success at it (more than I desire).

Unlike my friend, I think small with my ideas and entrepreneurial pursuits. Small enough that my business will not grow beyond the home-based reality I now enjoy. 

This subject is on my  mind because I saw my friend last week in church and, as usual, we had a lot to talk about. He is an encourager, as well as a big time entrepreneurial visionary. He believes that I have the potential to do bigger things, and he is probably right. But, then again, he is probably not right. 

There is something in me that resists the common entrepreneurial drive to grow a business beyond the bounds of my own personal ability to handle all aspects of the business. But that way of thinking is at odds with my desire to innovate and create. So, how does a person develop new products and ideas, then bring them to the marketplace, without growing a business that is bigger and more life-consuming? 

It is a bit of a conundrum. There must, of course, be balance. But, for now, I'm juggling with the development of a handful of new product ideas, and enjoying myself. 

One idea I'm really focused on right now is closely associated with the Agriphemera web site that I just started. It is an idea that has been on my mind for several years. It's another one of my small, niche ideas. It is driven by a personal interest and passion to share with others something that I've discovered. The idea/product will not bring me big profits, but I'm driven by the desire to get this idea launched, and I feel driven to get it launched by the first week of March.

Thus it is that I'm going to take leave of blogging here for a week or so. My next blog post, upon my return here, will be an announcement of a unique, inexpensive, new idea that I'm really excited about.  It is an information-based idea that I believe anyone with an interest in the agrarian life will really appreciate.


###

P.S. If you have an interest in developing your own entrepreneurial ideas with a homestead-based business of your own, check out seanwes.com. That web site, and the series of free podcasts at the web site, were recommended to me by my friend at church last week. 

I've listened to podcast #1 and I think I'm going to enjoy the series. Though there is a considerable age and culture difference between seanwes and myself, I can personally relate to the ideas he presents. I think there are important "universal truths" when it comes to the practicalities of how to succeed in a personal business and seanwes  appears to understand and communicate these concepts pretty well.







More From
The Writings of Eleutheros

Dateline: 23 February 2015

Poore Family Farm, New Hampshire
www.poorefarm.org


“The successful modern hardscrabble lives in two worlds and keeps them distinct and separate in his mind and actions.”
—Eleutheros,
How Many Miles From Babylon (2006)


Back in December I posted about The Lost Writings of Eleutheros. I have since received an e-mail from Eleutheros. He graciously gave me permission to republish some of his old essays here. The essay below looks at the economy of modern Babylon vis-a-vie the economy of the homestead. The last paragraph is a beautiful summation, and something for all contra-industrial agrarians to keep in mind. 

Note: the photographs with this essay were not part of the original 2006 essay.



Unlike Coin
By: Eleutheros

The next principle of successful self-sufficient living is what I sometimes refer to as Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s. That is, don’t mix paradigms, don’t deal in unlike coin. 

It’s a popular modern concept that the totally self-contained homestead provides all its own food, water, fiber, building materials, fuel and other energy as well as enough surplus to secure modern goods and services such as tools, medicine, motor transportation, etc. But if we pitch about to find such as homestead (or community) to use as our example, where is it? Alas, it doesn’t exist.

At the time in human history when farmsteads were more or less entirely self-contained, they supported very modest housing, and were very modestly heated. People had very few changes of clothes, limited access to water, no means of personal transportation for everyone on the farmstead, no plethora of books and such, and certainly no computers, refrigerators, air conditioners, microwaves, power tools, etc.

Heavy machinery has been in widespread use on farms for scarcely 60 years and we have no examples of its long term sustainability, oil depletion not withstanding. In fact since the advent of oil dependent farm machinery, most farms have been eliminated, with the remainder growing monstrous in size and in a constant state of flux and change. 

Most folks looking into the self-sufficient life stumble on this concept. It is where so many aspirants to self-sufficiency have the most confusion. The economic concept of unlike coin is like the riddle the Sphinx asks of those entering the realm. It is Connan the Barbarian‘s ‘Enigma of Steel’ without which answer Crom will not allow you to enter Valhalla. 

Advocacy for the self-sufficient life is almost universally met with “But wait, you’re using a computer so you are dependent just like the rest of us!” At this point the Sphinx devours the pilgrim and Valhalla shuts its gates. 

The successful modern hardscrabble lives in two worlds and keeps them distinct and separate in his mind and actions. This is quite easy to do. In many ways it is easier than living in just one of the worlds alone, so long as you realize one important principle: The two worlds use different currencies. Avoid mixing the paradigms and do not try to traffic in one world with the coin of the other. 

Our farmstead is the source of our food, water, heating and cooking fuel, building materials (timber and stone), and the majority of our medicine. It has the potential for being the source of our fiber as we have done spinning and we’ve raised experimental beds of flax. It’s coinage is soil fertility, organic material, skills and strength, water, and management. 

From outside the farmstead we get luxury foods (tea, chocolate, etc), computers, books, DVD’s, motor transportation, energy for gadgets and conveniences, and such. The coinage is cash (for us, never debt). 

Now what if our trafficking with the outside world were cut off? We’d forego all those things in the above list. No more tea and chocolate, no more movies, and we wouldn’t drive anywhere. We’d shift the food from the freezer to canning, salting, and dehydration (a short step for us) and we’d coordinate our activities with natural daylight to save on the beeswax and tallow. We’d finish up that ram pump project or install a foot valve on the base of the line to the hand pump and use less water. But we wouldn't starve or freeze. 

We do all of those things some of the time already so the transition wouldn’t be stark. We’re on the electric grid, but electricity use is optional in our household. Goods and services we can’t create in a direct use economy for ourselves are part of our everyday existence but we don’t utterly depend on them. 

When a job of work that we think we might like doing is available, we work it for cash. We also have cottage industries, the products of which we sell in the cash marketplace. Then, with Caesar’s coins in our pocket, we indulge in the goods of Caesar’s world. But we don’t try to buy an independent life with those coins. That’s a false bargain. When there are no jobs of work to do and sales of cottage products wane, we indulge less, or not at all. 

Nor do we use the fertility of our land or the strength of our backs to buy goods in Caesar’s world. That would be an even falser bargain. The two economies exist side by side but do not admix. 

In a documentary made in the 1970’s Helen Nearing is explaining the basis for their homestead economy while she is picking their cash crop, blueberries. She explains that the few quarts of blueberries she sells every year buy garden tools, seeds, and pay the taxes and insurance. That is, it makes the homestead operation self-sufficient. She adds as an aside, “Couldn’t buy a truck with it, though.” Yet they had a truck. They kept the self-sustaining homestead economy separate from the rest of their economic dealings. 

The house we live in is made of timber and stone and no labor was hired to build it. It is wired for electricity but was not built to be dependent on it. It is heated with wood and is cooled because it is in a mature oak forest. It is sustainable without input from outside. The disreputable old bottom-feeder vehicles we drive are not sustainable. They require gas and oil and replacement parts (not in that order) from outside which we can in no wise obtain without cash. But the beauty of this economic system is when we can no longer get the gas and oil and parts or the cash with which to buy them, we won’t need the vehicles in the first place! We’d still need the house and so we made sure in our design that it would not depend on continuous input from the outside. 

So as the homestead develops, the homesteader must separate his doings into (at least) the two economies and not mix them if at all possible. If you build a suburban type house, it is part of Caesar’s economy and you’ll need a plan on how you are going to maintain it with Caesar’s coin separate from you homesteading plan. The homestead won’t support high property taxes and energy for a heat pump. If your animals require continuous purchased feed, they are part of Caesar’s economy and best to view them that way. What’s the plan for keeping them going indefinitely? 

It is quite a different thing to stop for a spell and have a glass of Babylon’s wine and listen to Babylon’s song and go on … quite a different thing from being Babylon’s slave. Only the Free Man walks in both worlds without shackles. 

###

John Calvin Kenneth Poore, a true hardscrabble.
(photo link)




Introducing Agriphemera

Dateline: 20 February 2015

Screen shot of my new Agriphemera web site

I have coined a new word, developed a new web site, and started a new online business. The word is Agriphemera. The web site is named Agriphemera. And I will be selling inexpensive agriphemera pdf downloads.

Agriphemera is agricultural ephemera. I explain it more At This Link

The First Agriphemera download I'm offering is a copy of the 1898 Planet Jr. Tool Catalog. The number of people in the world who would be interested in having a copy of the 1898 Planet Jr. Tool catalog is, admittedly, pretty small, but that's agriphemera for you. Copies of the catalog sell on Ebay for quite a lot of money. I bought my copy several years ago for less than they are now selling for.

It is my intention to add a new Agriphemera download to the web site in a couple of weeks, and then add one approximately every week for the rest of this year. 2015 will be a time of testing. I'll evaluate the viability of the concept at the end of the year and decide to continue, or not.

The Agriphemera I sell will cover a wide range of agrarian and homesteading subjects. The downloads will offer historical perspective and/or how-to information about traditional skills associated with the rural home economy. 

For example, the next Agriphemera download will explain exactly how to stick a turkey through the mouth to sever the neck artery and then where to stick the brain to loosen the bird's muscles and feathers. Killing turkeys in this manner is almost a lost art. I'm excited to know this information and to give it a try next time I raise some turkeys. Beyond that, the download will explain how turkeys were prepared for market in 1932. That information does not apply to today, but the historical perspective is downright interesting.

One neat feature of Agriphemera is that all new pdf downloads will sell for only $1.00 for the first four days. So if you have an interest in learning from my Agriphemera downloads, I recommend that you sign up for the e-mail option at the web site. You will get an e-mail notice whenever a new Agriphemera download is introduced.

The Agriphemera web site is actually a Blogger.com site. So, those of you who have a blog of your own, would like to help me spread the word about Agriphemera, can easily add the site to your blog's sidebar. And I thank you for that! 

####

Some of you may recall that I Blogged About Selling PDF Downloads in March of 2014. I explained that I was using E-junkie to handle the download transactions, and that I was using Blueleaf Scanning to create the pdf files. The old Planet Jr. catalog was something of a test for the Blueleaf Scanning company. I wondered how well they would do with a fragile old book. It turns out they did a nice job. It came out clear and the pdf file is actually easier to read because it is bigger than the relatively small catalog. 

So Agriphemera is an idea that has evolved as I've learned more about all of this. My E-junkie store, with all my pdf downloads (not just agriphemera) is At This Link.














My Gravestone
&
Estate Planning

Dateline: 18 February 2015



As a follow-up to My Previous Blog Post About Buying Some Cemetery Plots, I’d like to show you the headstone I’ve picked out. That’s it above.

####

On the subject of estate planning...

I was speaking to a friend recently who told me he got his financial advisor, his accountant, and his attorney all together in the same room to help figure out the details of his trust. Obviously, he has financial resources way beyond me (and he has a business much bigger than mine). He is also a lot younger than me, so I was doubly impressed that he was taking his estate planning so seriously. That’s a responsible man for you.

I told him I was in a quandry about what exactly to do as far as my own estate planning. He said that any plan, even an imperfect one, is better than no plan. That struck me as wise counsel. 

Marlene and I have a will that is 34 years old. It was given to us as a wedding gift by a local attorney. Mr. Zwirn (now deceased) was a patient of the local doctor that Marlene worked for, back before we started having children (she was a medical office assistant). Mr. Zwirn and his wife took a liking to Marlene. It was a thoughtful gift.

We didn’t have any children until eight years after we were married, but the will took them into account. In the event that Marlene and I both died, my mother, the executor of our estate (which consisted of virtually nothing when we were married), would be the guardian of our children. That was an easy decision.

But when my mother died in 2003, our three boys were ages 15, 12 and 9. We were faced with a condndrum. Marlene’s mother was too elderly to care for three young boys. There was no one else we trusted enough, and felt would embrace the responsibility of being our child’s guardians.

So we did the only thing that made any sense to us— we prayed that God would keep at least one of us alive and well long enough for our boys to grow up to an age where they could legally be responsible for themselves. They are now 26, 23 and 20, so that worked out okay.

Statistically, I’ll be the first to go. With that in mind, I’d like to have an intelligent plan in place so Marlene doesn’t have to deal with any of this on her own after I’m gone. So I’ve decided that this is the year to educate myself about wills and trusts. Then I’ll go see an attorney.

When I want to educate myself about something, I look for a book on the subject. There are numerous such books. Which one is best? I did some looking on Amazon and settled on Beyond the Grave: The Right Way and the Wrong Way of Leaving Money to Your Children (and Others) by Jeffrey L. Condon.

I feel like I made the best choice. That book is an excellent introdcution to wills and trusts, and all the dynamics that enter into figuring out the best estate plan for your particular situation. The great thing about this book is that I can actually understand it. It’s not full of legaleze. It is a totally understandable discussion about what can be a very complicated subject. 

What surprised (and pleased) me about this book is that it discusses all kinds of things that most people don’t know they need to know (or think they know but don’t really) when it comes to properly passing money and property to heirs (or to charities). 

Mr. Condon provides some examples of mistakes he has made during his career as an estate planning attorney, and lots of mistakes that others have made. His emphasis throughout the book is on making fundamental estate decisions that keep your heirs from having hard feelings and broken relationships in the wake of your death. It turns out that this happens fairly often, or so it would appear.

Another important objective of the book is to ensure that an estate is protected such that a surviving spouse is not taken advantage of (by various situations and circumstances that often arise).

And Mr. Condon repeatedly places emphasis on seeing that financial resources get passed on to grandchildren. I like it that the author fully understands the importance of grandchildren. While children are important, and everyone loves their children, grandchildren are something altogether different in the heart of a grandparent.

I could go on about this book. I learned a lot from it. I’m sure I’ll be reading it again. But I am now reading another of Jeffrey Condon’s books,The Living Trust Advisor: Everything You Need to Know About Your Living Trust.









Four Day Carrots
(Part 4)

Dateline: 16 February 2015


Carrots from my garden.
Dug on a cold day in February.

I have just posted the fourth and final installment of my "Four-Day Carrots" film series at YouTube. I never expected to make four movies about a bed of carrots in my garden, but the first video really took off. It now has more than 250,000 views.

This final film takes a look at the carrot bed here in February, with a thick layer of snow on the ground. I shoveled a path through the garden and dug some fresh carrots. The movie is only six minutes long. You can watch it at this link: Four-Day Carrots (Part 4)