The Deliberate Agrarian Update
30 June 2010

June was another jam-packed month for me. My thanks to those of you who posted comments at last month’s update. I finally posted a reply there today. As for this here monthly posting, it will be shorter than usual, due to the fact that I put quite a bit of “blogging time” into getting the agrarian haiku poetry contest underway, and that is something I’m kind of excited about.....

Announcing The 
Deliberate Agrarian 
Haiku Poetry Contest 
For 2010

Yes, it’s official. I am sponsoring an online agrarian haiku contest. One never knows how this sort of thing will go over but I’m hoping it will be a real barn burner of a poetry contest.  :-)

There are three categories: Adult, Teen and Youth, so everyone can have some fun with this. I think it would be great if whole families got involved. The fact that I will be awarding a bunch (15 total) of surprisingly nice prizes makes it all that much more appealing.

Please stop on over to the contest web site. Here is the link: 

Whizbang Gets A Logo
I have operated my Whizbang Books mail-order business for ten years without a logo, but that is about to change, and so is the name of the business. I have decided that I like "Planet Whizbang" better and the image above—a leafy green beet surrounded by golden Saturnal rings—will be the official Planet Whizbang Logo. In the months ahead, I will be making the name transition.

And now, 
For something totally different.....

Television Sitcom Idea
A few days ago my wife told me she had an idea for a new television show. We no longer own a television but that is beside the point. This new program would be a situation comedy (a.k.a., sitcom). I'm assuming they still have these on television. 

Marlene told me it would be about a woman who is married to a man who is an inventor. He invented a machine that takes feathers off chickens. And he wrote a book about it.

That concept in itself was pretty funny and we were both laughing at the thought of it. But what made it even funnier was when she added that the book was a big seller. That was almost too absurd.

There was more to the plot... like quirky extended family members and so many competing demands on this woman’s life. The comic relief we found within this harebrained idea was a welcome respite in this month of June now past.

And as I got thinking about the television show idea, I started to get more of a vision for it. For example, here is a picture of the woman’s husband, the inventor/writer.

From all outward appearances the guy looks fairly normal but in reality he’s nuttier than a fruitcake. That smile belies a measure of felicitous insanity. What other explanation would there be for making his company logo a beet surrounded by golden Saturnal rings? And the guy’s business sponsors a haiku poetry contest?

As further evidence of this man’s slightly-unhinged state, I present his most recent invention...

Upon seeing that picture the usual response would be: “What is it?” Well, he calls that thing a Whizbang Bicycle Rim T-Post Trellis. These objects—several of them—are throughout the family’s garden, with beans and peas and cucumbers growing up the strings.

“They’re prototypes,” he says to his ever-patient wife while explaining the concept. She listens intently, sincerely trying to show interest and admiration, while wondering to herself when he is going to finish remodeling the upstairs bathroom he tore apart last winter.

Then, of course, the sitcom will need kids. How about boys. Three of them. One is in the Army in Korea. The other two, still at home, are teenagers. But not just teenagers, they are country-boys with testosterone-fueled redneck inclinations. For fun, they go “mudbogging” with the neighbor boys in their four wheelers.

And when they’re not doing that, they roam the surrounding fields with high-powered rifles, killing woodchucks.

And when they’re not doing that, they come up with good-fun ideas like hitching an old bed mattress to their screaming four-wheeler with a nylon tow strap and pulling each other around and around the outside of the house.... very fast... trying to roll the mattress rider off on the corners.

(sorry, no picture)

Or how about this: working together with those neighbor boys they build a big ramp at the bottom of a hill, on the edge of a pond, and take turns riding bicycles down the hill, as fast as they can, up the ramp, through the air, into the water.

(sorry, no pictures)

One boy does this with his glasses on and looses them forever to the murky bottom of the pond. Another looses his cell phone in like manner (they all have cell phones these days).

So then they get the idea of using another cell phone to call the one under water, thinking that maybe the ring will generate telltale bubbles (it doesn’t). But after some heroic diving, the phone is found, (and it still works just fine).

Things like that (and I’m just scratching the surface of possible script ideas) would, I’m sure, make for a very popular television program, don’t you think?

The woman in the sitcom is, if you get the idea, relatively normal, while everyone around her is not. But, if you ask me, normal is a subjective thing

I suspect that most every family generates sufficient fodder for a sitcom. Nevertheless, I can’t help but think that some aspects of my life are more bizarre than fiction.

Oh, one more thing... Our sitcom family will need a special dog. A yellow or red Blackmouth Cur would be nice, if you ask me. But the woman who is writing the script... she likes her beagle. Lucy is her name or, once you get to know her, you can call her Lu.


Plant City Homestead said...

I would definitely watch that show. It certainly would be better than what's on TV now. All the women could definitely identify with your long-suffering wife, and teen boys would want to be in the middle of the action. Contact TLC immediately. They seem to like reality family shows.

mySavioReigns said...

Sounds like my life as well! I would watch it :-D

Great update Herrick.

Anonymous said...

I like the show, too.
Looking for new chicken art.
God Bless your fam'ly.

How's that for haiku? =)

C. in Texas

Wasatch Wife said...

LOL! Love it!! It would be a must see! ;D Thanks so much for sharing!

bluesun said...

I really like your new logo. We planted beets for the first time this year and... yum. I never knew the greens were so good!

Anonymous said...

show sounds great! we so enjoy your monthly updates!

Do you have any good recommendations for bush-type tomato plant that do well.


Herrick Kimball said...

Sorry but I have no recommendation for the bush tomatoes. I have trouble growing good tomatoes. I didn't used to have any trouble but I think that having my garden in the same space for 20+ years has affected my ability to grow a premium garden. That's the drawback with a small plot of land——no ability to leave the garden section fallow. I need more land.

Well, that's a fine example of haiku poetry! Thanks. Jax Hamlin, chicken artist, has been busy helping me make Whizbang chicken plucker parts this summer. He much prefers chicken art, but I need him. If he survives this plucking season, he will be drawing chickens again later this year. :-)

And thanks to you others for your comments here.

Re: My boys and their exploits.... I saw Joel Salatin recently talking about his farm operation. He was saying something about running his animal raising operation so as to allow his chickens to fully express their "chickenness," and the pigs their "pigness," and the cows their "cowness."

This made me think that when you raise boys in the country, they have an opportunity to fully express their "boyness."

Salatins animals are happy, healthy and wholesome as a result, and I believe this holds true for country-raised boys.

I dare say (and I've said this before) boys were made from the country life and the country life was made for boys. You don't get the same results in a suburban or urban environment.

Tari said...

love your blog. glad to here other teenage sons with high powered rifles shooting groundhogs! My husband and I would love to purchase your whizbang cider grinder plans but we have no paypal account. Can we e-mail you? I will add you to my blog list. Love the Winslow Homer prints.

Tari said...

Well I found the on-line catalog. Us 53 year old auditory people need a little time to navigate the web. First cukes are ready in the garden so I'll be making brined kosher dills today.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Kimball
I am a country raised redneck man, who was once like your boys. I see the benefit to raising our children in a Christian and Country setting. Your post this month made me smile that some other boys are running around touting guns, and playing in the mud.

As the middle boy of three I truly relate to your boys. They are very lucky.

Good job

RL said...

It would be fitting if the real inventor of granola bars got his own sitcom!

foutfolk said...


The logo is great. Did you design it? I like the subheading motto as well. For my Etsy store I have "Make Something Creative . . . " as the motto/subheading. Having one creates a finished feel to the overall design.

Business cards/banners/car magnet are really inexpensive on Vista Prints. I just recently bought a outdoor, large banner with my logo and put it on my barn.

The sitcom idea is a funny one. I am sure the episodes would be eventful!

On the poetry contest . . . I am willing to offer an art product from my store as one of the prizes for your contest. Let me know if this would be helpful to you.


Herrick Kimball said...

Good of you to post here Tari and Anonymous.

You made me laugh. `

I designed the logo concept and made my own version of it, then I hired a graphic designer to make it more graphically pleasing.

I'll check out Vista Prints.

I'd like to see the banner on your barn. Myself, I'm looking for a barn. I think my logo will look especially good on a barn.

As for an art product from your store as a prize in the Agrarian Haiku contest, that's a fine idea. It would help us both.

I will list it as the fourth prize in the adult category. If you can send (or direct me to) a picture and description of what you would like to provide as the prize, I will get it posted there this weekend....along with quite a few new haiku submissions that I have yet to list.


Dani said...

Hi Herrick

Brand new visitor to your site - love it.

I became a follower on your "Whizbang Bicycle Rim T-Post Trellis" page (which is empty :-) ) so that I would know when you posted to it. Now I see the photo and get the idea - very good. Question though, when the trellis is full of beans / peas / cucumbers, would the wind not get it? Might be an idea to add two extra stakes at the inside edge of the bicycle rims for added support?

Also, with your garlic powder, do you add anything else (e.g. salt) and do you require power (electricity) to grind the dried chips of garlic? If yes, do you think it would be possible to grind them by hand?


Herrick Kimball said...

Hi Dani,

The bicycle rim t-post trellis is remarkably sturdy. i don't think any additional support is necessary. The T-posts used are not the stamped steel kind, they are the heavy-duty ones that will last for a lot of years.
I'm very pleased with the supports so far and hope to have full online instructions and kits available sometime this winter.

Yesterday, on the way home from church, I passed a house with three bicycles in the front yard and a "FREE" sign on them. I couldn't pass that up. The bicycles are in rough shape but the spoked rims are perfect for t-post trellis towers. So I'll have three more in my garden next year. The're easy to put up and it's a lot of fun to watch the vines grow up the strings.

The garlic powder I make is nothing but garlic. No salt added, but someone could do that if they wanted to. Yes, making it requires electricity (check out the "Everything Garlic" link in the archives section on the right side of this page for a garlic-powder-making photo tutorial).

It's nice of you to post here.

Best wishes,

Herrick Kimball