Catching Up

It has been awhile since I last blogged here. After getting down off my soapbox in the previous post, I found myself under conviction—I felt that I needed to spend more time with my family living the good life of Christian agrarianism, and less time writing about it. So that is what I have been doing.


For example, I’ve been reading chapters from one of my son’s homeschool books, The Mystery of History by Linda Lacour Hobar to them in the evenings. I’ve also been reading the final book in the Bark of The Bog Owl trilogy. The first two books were excellent and the third is equally good. I can not imagine a young boy who would not enjoy the noble, exciting, and often humorous adventures of the young Aiden Errolson and his faithful Feechie-swamp friend Dobro Turtlebane.


Marlene was feeling under the weather one day awhile back. She called me at work and was lamenting that she didn’t have a supper planned. I told her not to worry about it. I’d feed myself and the kids that night. So we had a cookout in the woods across the gully behind our house....

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A dad and his children can have a downright good time making a campfire and cooking up some beans and hot dogs. No fancy restaurant fare can compare....

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Which reminds me.....

I was at a nice farm market store recently and saw a wall plaque that said:

The Best Memories Are Homegrown.

Now that’s profound and it fits right in with the Christian-agrarian worldview. The modern mindset is that we always have to be going places and spending a lot of money to have fun and make memories. But that’s a modern deception.

Who needs Disney World? There are so many simple, home-centered activities and opportunities for making great memories. Sometimes all it takes is a package of hot dogs and a can of beans around a camp fire in the back yard.

Remember, The Best Memories are Homegrown.


Trapping with your kids in the backyard works for making memories too. The season started a week ago. My hope was that trapping would be a great activity for my two youngest sons and I to do together and It has certainly been that. Just walking in the woods, looking close, like never before, trying to understand where the animal trails are, is fun in itself. But setting the traps and anticipating the catches is even better.

I only wish we could catch a raccoon. Thus far, all we’ve caught is a big rat (not a muskrat—just a rat), a squirrel and two possums (RIP grinners). The coons are not cooperating. We’re still having fun, though. Here’s a picture of my two trapping pals, James and Robert:

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A few months back, James contacted Traps4Kids through the internet and requested some supplies. There was no response for quite a time and then, one day, a man in Maine called the house and spoke with Marlene. The organization doesn’t just send out trapping supplies to kids without touching base with the parents first.

Marlene asked the man if he would like to speak with James. Well, I guess the two of them had a long conversation about trapping. It was a downright nice thing for James, and probably for the Traps4Kids man as well.

Just as trapping season was starting, James received a box with a hat, a few trapping magazines, a book on trapping mink, some mink lure, and some other supplies. What they sent was determined by the phone conversation.

I have nothing but good things to say about Traps4Kids!


On the garden front, we are eating our own squash and carrots and cabbage. I’m pleased to report that Marlene canned 40 quarts of grape juice from our one row of Concord grapes. It’s not diluted, corn-fructose-sweetened juice like you get in the store. It’s pure, organic, concentrated, nothing-but-grapes, goodness.

Those jars will be carefully rationed and cherished throughout the next year. One quart gives the five of us a small but precious glassful.


On the poultry front, we have released our small flock of egg layers from their fenced yard. They are now scavenging throughout the garden, eating chard, kale, cabbage, and other greens. As a result, we are getting fresh eggs with yolks that are even more golden-orange than usual. It is remarkable.

Marlene, James, and Robert butchered a few roosters one day last week while I was at work. It was the first time they’ve processed birds without me helping. We’ve come a long way from our first amateur attempts at processing chickens.


Speaking of chickens makes me think of my part-time home publishing and plucker parts business.... The recent rash of blogomercials here (mostly about poultry processing) have now been incorporated into a series of links at my newly-updated-but-still-humble web page,

The simple web page, with links to blog photo essays about the books and other products I sell, is an example of low-budget marketing. But the Google search engine is already directing quite a few people to the essays. This internet is an amazing tool for reaching people with very specific information and products.

By the way, if you happen to go to and the page does not work for you, would you please let me know ( Thank you.


Speaking of thanks, I owe a very big thank you to The Old Schoolhouse and Lisa Barthuly. Lisa’s wonderful review of my book Writings of a Deliberate Agrarian is in the current issue of the magazine. Thank you Lisa!


And, though I have not read it, I understand that fellow Christian-agrarian, Franklin Sanders, the The Moneychanger, has also reviewed my book in the current issue of his newsletter. Thank you Franklin!


As I’ve mentioned here before, I planted a small packet of different dried bean varieties in my garden this year. My intention is to build up a large supply of seed so I can grow and harvest dried beans for sale. The cranberry beans I planted did the best of all. I decided to dry them down by stringing them together with some quilting thread and a big needle. Then I hung them along the beam in my kitchen. It didn’t take long to do. Here’s what they look like now....

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Many of the pods were still quite green when I threaded them together. They have dried quickly. Sometime this winter, I’ll shell and sort them. The pods look so drab but the bean seeds inside are a beautiful, bright, cranberry red.


I see that Rick Saenz over at Cumberland Books
has produced three new “Plain Talk” interviews. I ordered them and they arrived in the mail today. I’m looking forward to hearing what Carmon Friedrich, Amy Scott, and Cindy Rollins have to say.

Carmon is a particularly special person to me because she edited my last book, Writings of a Deliberate Agrarian, and I think she did a fine job of it.


I have fallen behind in my reading of the blogs listed over on the right side of this page. Today, I spent a short while catching up and discovered, to my dismay, that the Meskos over at Antithesis in Agriculture have decided to stop blogging.

But my dismay was soon offset by the good news of a new blessing (Isaiah) born to Scott and Leah Terry over at Homesteader Life.


I blogged awhile back about the subject of Good Land Cheap. A fellow who read that recently wrote to tell me about a web site called Rural Property Finder.


I have lots more things to say and share with you here but it’ll have to wait. It’s time to go read a couple more chapters of The Bark of The Bog Owl to my boys.....


JFC said...


I'm notoriously slow about getting the substantive blogs read. (The little half-paragraph kinda' blogs are easier to keep up with, but those like yours require some thinking with the reading.)

Anyway, when I take the time to read, yours are always good. Thank you for being a shining light for those of us who are trying to press on in the same path you are walking on!


Marci said...

Great post today Herrick. I am glad your boys are getting to have some good Dad time. That is so important in a boys life. What all will you be trapping? Do they sell the furs they get?

Emily said...

Good to hear your news, Herrick. I always enjoy your "catching up" posts. You're always doing such neat things with your boys. They will always remember and treasure the times you spend together, I'm sure. Concord grapes are the best for juice! Are you doing apple cider and/or vinegar this year? At first glance, before reading, I thought your kitchen was hung with bananas! :) Whatever happened with those mangel beets you planted? Our chickens are still enjoying the great outdoors despite the below freezing temps. They just love rummaging through the fallen leaves. And yes those eggs are absolutely marvelous - gorgeous and delicious! Enjoy your read-aloud time with the boys. I still recall with fondness the many books my parents read at bedtime. We're sharing Margaret Pumphrey's Pilgrim Stories for the next few weeks along with Plymouth Plantation by William Bradford (my armchair companion). Such a fascinating and defining period of America's history. God's blessings to you all!

Herrick Kimball said...

Hi Jon,
Thanks for your comment. It's great to hear from you.

Hi Marci,
We would like to get some raccoons and mink, and if we ever do we will go to a fur buyer and sell them. But the coons around here are smarter than I thought.

The mangle beets did well. I will post about them next. I love the Pilgrims and you have prompted me to read to my boys something related to the Pilgrim story. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Herrick, A friend recently introduced me to your blog and I've enjoyed dipping into it every once in a while. Your mention of trapping reminds me of my trapping attempts as a boy in the 60s. Somewhere at home I think I still have a rabbit pelt I caught, skinned and tanned myself. The most fun though, as you say, is just walking in the woods and closely observing signs. I carry this love of the woods through each of my stressful urban days here in Northern Virginia. Thanks for putting your practical common sense thoughts on the net and for inspiring those of us who aspire to a simple rural life. Mark

Anonymous said...

Hey, it might have been "Dan" at traps4kids who called to speak to marlene and your son. :-) He is a great guy and very helpful.

Trapping is a great activity to do with kids. We were doing it in our backyard last fall and then again this fall.

Thank you for doing/thinking/saying what so many of us are wondering about or planning to do. I enjoy your blog so much. I even have my 14 yo son reading it. You and Marlene are excellent examples of what "to do" and how to do it.

Thank you again.


Herrick Kimball said...

Hi Mark,

I'm glad your friend told you about this blog and that you have posted a message. It is encouraging to hear from readers.

I appreciate the fact that you have fond memories of the trapping "attmepts" of your boyhood. At the rate we're going with this trapping, our good memories will center around attempts too.

I met a fellow the other day wo told me he bought his first vehicle-a pickup truck- with money he earned from trapping coons. He said he'd get six or seven coons a day. I was in awe of that. Today we walked our trap line and brought back a chipmunk! From possums and squirrels to chipmunks. We seem to be getting worse at it. :-)

Hi Kristianna,

It's nice to hear from you. I'm almost afraid to ask.... what all have you folks trapped in the backyard?

Jonathan said...


I've just started trapping too. Traps4kids helped me a lot with the information on their website.

With raccoons what worked for me was to throw a bunch of food scraps in the back of a 5 gallon bucket, make sure the bucket would stay in one spot, and burry a trap in front. And then the other way I used was digging a hole in the side of the bank on our pond, and putting a trap in the water beside it with some food in the back of the hole.

Right now I'm going for the muskrats, and I've got two already!

Have fun with trapping! It's great to read your posts about what your boys have been doing, I think we would get a long well.

Herrick Kimball said...

Hi Jonathan,

Good going with the muskrats!

The muskrat season hasn't started here yet. I understand muskrat pelts are getting around $11 each.

Thanks for the tip about the pail of kitchen scraps to catch coons. We will definately try it.