Ruminations From Downtown Albany, N.Y.

I am writing this blog installment from the seventh floor of the Crowne Plaza hotel in downtown Albany, New York. This will be my third night here in New York's capitol city. I am here as part of My Non-Agrarian Day Job. Tomorrow, I go home, and I’m glad of it.

I don’t really like to travel, especially for my work. I don’t like to be away from home, and my family. I like my home. I like the little portion of earth God has entrusted to me. My home, humble though it may be, is my kingdom. It is where I belong. I am a homebody and that's the way I like it.

In eight years, my job has taken me away from home like this less than once a year. I would not take a job that requires a lot of travel away from home, unless there was no other option. There is no amount of money that anyone could pay me to be always on the road, away from home. A million bucks a year? Nope. For a million I might leave home and be on the road for a month. That I could do. But not for a year, and certainly not for a career.

And you couldn’t get me to live in a city for any amount of money either.

But there is one good thing about this place. They provide high speed wireless internet service. I don’t have that at home, yet. Now I can listen to Sermons Like This on the internet.

I’m in Slate Magazine
I’m mentioned in an article in Slate magazine today. The author of This Article says my blog, How To Butcher a Chicken is “great.”

That’s really nice. Thanks L.E. Leone!

Squash Hunter
I recently found my way to John VanDyk’s web site and got a good laugh out of THIS.

The Biblical Case For Beards
Michael Bunker has been writing about beards and how, Biblically speaking, godly men should have them. It is some thought-provoking exposition. I did not realize that shaving of the face and head was a practice in many pagan cultures throughout history. You can check out his “Beard Sermons” HERE.

Only in recent years have I grown a beard, and I happen to like having a beard. One reason I like it is that it is something distinctly manly. You don’t see women with beards. Women can’t have beards. I can. So I do.

Growing a beard for reasons of conscience is something I have not thought of before, but it appeals to my manly, anti-modern-culture inclinations. It makes sense to me.

I’ve told Marlene in the past that I want to grow my beard so long that it blows sideways in a strong wind. But, for now, I keep it trimmed.

Remembering Vietnam
On Memorial Day last, Marlene and James and Robert and I went to visit the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Moving Wall in Waterloo, N.Y. It is a 1/2 size replica of the memorial in Washington, D.C.

More than 58,000 Americans were killed in the Vietnam War. There were 350,000 casualties. As we looked at the extensive display of photos from the war, and then the wall, I tried to remember why all those brave people died, and I couldn’t remember. I don’t know if I ever knew.

So I did an internet search of “vietnam war why.” I came up with This Web Page. I don’t think any of the reasons given there are good enough to justify all that bloodshed and death of Americans.

More and more, I am wondering why Americans are dying in Iraq. I’m not a supporter of this war. I believe in fighting and dying, when needed, to defend your homeland and your family. But I don’t see where that’s happening.

Whizbang Cart Goes “Hollywood”
If you haven’t yet seen entry #2 in the Whizbang Garden Cart Contest for 2008, Check This Out

Prince Caspian
I rarely go to the movies, but I recently took my family to see the movie, Prince Caspian. I have never read C.S. Lewis’s Narnia books. I’m not a fan of fantasy stories, Christian or not. But I liked the movie.

I liked the part where the little girl, Lucy, stands at the end of the bridge. An army of evil warriors, mounted on horses, with their armor and weapons, are entering on the other end, with the intention of crossing. Lucy pulls from her side a little knife and confidently faces them. It is impossible that a little girl can withstand such an army.

But then, Aslan, the lion (representing Jesus Christ), walks into view from behind Lucy, and stands by her side. I won’t tell you what happens. Suffice it to say that Lucy has reason to be confident, not in her own ability, but in the ability of Aslan to help her.

The other part of the movie that I found particularly delightful was in another scene when Aslan sends the trees in a forest to fight in a battle. Is it possible that Jesus Christ could send trees into battle as it is depicted in this movie? Well, I happen to think so. And though I will never see such a thing in real life, it is wonderful to consider.

Before I left home to come to the big city of Albany, I made a compost bin and heaped it full of material to compost. I have made plenty of compost over the years, but never with a nice wood-sided compost bin. And I've never layered in the "ingredients" just so. And I've never actually taken my compost's temperature. But I am now doing all these things and it's downright exciting. The day before I left home, I made the pile and took its temperature. It was 65 degrees. Has it been starting to heat up while I've been gone? I'll find out tomorrow. And I'll tell you all about it someday soon....


Brian G. Heyer said...

Brother, you're right on about the trees. Remember when Christ was challenged by the Pharisees to silence the praising crowd, He said, "I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out!" [Luke 19: 37-41]

Regarding beards: they are manly, if I do say so myself. I've enjoyed having my 'flavor-saver' for nearly six years now. Relying on the doctrine of New Testament (1st Cor.) Christian freedom, though, I'll differ on a Biblical imperative for one.

Looking forward to Price Caspian also.

Also shaking my head at Vietnam, and GWOT, and Korea, etc. etc. I can only explain to my daughters that it's just man's sinful nature. Then we field strip a rifle.

Cheers on the composting. In the event of not having a dog, or chickens, or a pig to feed kitchen scraps, it's the next best thing. No guilt with throwing out leftovers that got away!

Troy said...

I'll do a montage of comments as well.

I too am a homebody, I do my day job from home via net and phone and although spoiled in that sense, I do feel terrible when I have to just take a trip into "town" to work from the office. But it usually does allow me to stock up on farm supplies for the job I consider my 'afternoon shift' which I far more enjoy.

Congrats on the recognitions lately in the magazines. I must say though it is well deserved and probably won't end there.

Can you squash hunt with a bow and a pug? :D Maybe that is a special season.

I typically grow a goatie (sp?) during deer hunting season and have considered keeping it permanantly. Do you believe there is something to be said about the Amish and other group that typically maintain facial hair as potentially due to biblical input? I must say I enjoy Haymaker's 'flavor saver' comment - but when snowblowing in winter its also an 'ice vice.'

Although I'm a Christian Conservative, I must say we disagree from time to time on political topics. I have to say that our country has not been attacked by "religous radicals" since we took the fight to them. I wasn't alive during the Vietnam War so honestly I don't feel I have an opinion on that.

That Teyve's cart is going to very hard to beat in this year's contest. Very Well Made!!

Prince Caspian was pretty good. I liked the first Narnia movie better and mostly due to the even greater biblical symbolism.

And I'm excited about adding my LARGE compost pile to my garden next year. Chicken litter allows for LOTS of compostables.

Anyway, I've shared my comments and opinions and not sure many will read or care. But I just appreciate the opportunity to feedback with you my thoughts on the posts that you put in this blog, and that I anxiously read and appreciate every day.

Have a good day - and welcome home tomorrow to your Heaven on Earth.

Kraut Troy,
Dexter, MN

Anonymous said...

I think the Iraq war is necessary. What we never hear about in the news is how many times the terrorists have attacked us here in the U.S. since 9/11. With the two preceding presidents' actions the terrorists thought that they could do anything to the U.S. and get away with it. With Bush Jr. they got a wake up call from someone who actually took decisive action (and is finishing the job). If we withdraw completely now it will become another Vietnam like all the democrats are saying it is. The question is whether we would rather loose a relatively few men in Iraq or let the terrorists attack us in our homeland.

Anonymous said...


All answer your question with a question. Is it biblical to "fight them over there" instead of "over here"? How just is it to go to Iraq and draw the terrorist into their country and fight them there? I bet if you lived in Iraq you'd have a different answer. No one ever talks about all the Christians in Iraq, that used to be free to worship the One True God, that have fled to places like Syria for freedom! American Christians have adopted neoconservativism as there religon in the area of foreign policy. Christians used to have a doctrine of Just War. Read some Augustine sometime.

Scott Terry

Anonymous said...

Because of the massive flooding in the midwest, squash hunting may be more difficult this year. Kraut, I think bowhunting for squash would be pretty difficult. They move fast. Herrick, I read your chicken plucker book recently. Nice work.

John V.

Martin said...

Ah Albany, I assume the downtown was deserted as usual?

Albany, NY