The Deliberate Agrarian Blogazine
September 2012

Dateline: 30 September 2012

Life After Wheat

First, as a followup to last month’s Deliberate Agrarian blogazine, wherein I discussed modern, industrialized, dwarf wheat (as opposed to ancient wheat), and told you that I had stopped eating modern wheat, because I was concerned that it is not good for a body, I can tell you that, now, after over five weeks without wheat in my diet, I feel healthier than I’ve felt in years.

I haven’t lost any weight to speak of, but that’s beside the point. The great thing about this no-wheat lifestyle is that I have more energy, which means I am getting more work done in a day, and I’m feeling a whole lot better at the end of the day. I’m not leaping tall buildings in a single bound, yet, but compared to when wheat products were a big part of my diet, I feel super.
But, yes, I miss those most delightful of wheat carbs.... homemade bread and Ritz crackers. 

Me & Pistol Pete

Telling you that I feel great after forswearing modern wheat products brings Pete Maravich to mind. "Pistol Pete" Maravich was, without a doubt, one of the greatest basketball players of all time (that's what I've read).

I was never good at basketball, or any sport for that matter. I was not into sports in school. I'm not a watcher or an avid fan of any sports or sports teams (I didn't see any of the last Olympic games). So I almost never mention sports or sports personalities on this blog.

But I have recently watched some of the Pete Maravich YouTube videos, and I watched the Pistol Pete movie several years ago, and I've listened to Pete Maravich's Christian Testimony. So Pete Maravich is a person who has captured my interest. I'm especially intrigued by his last words...

In 1988, during a game of basketball with some friends, the 40-year-old, retired basketball phenom was asked how he felt. He said, “I feel great,” and then he dropped dead of a heart attack. “I feel great,” were Pete Maravich's last words.

Pete Maravich was a blessed man to feel great right to the end, and to then be taken so quickly and easily. That’s what I think.

It turns out that Pete had an undiagnosed heart abnormality from birth, and this is where Pete Maravich and I have something in common. I myself have a heart murmur. A heart murmur is defined as “an abnormal sound heard through a stethoscope over the region of the heart.” I’ve had it since I was a kid. 

Doctors used to listen to my chest for a long time. The last time I had a physical examination I was 18 years old and going off to school in Vermont. As usual, the doctor listened to my heart for some time before asking, “Do you know you have a heart murmur?”  I asked, “What’s a heart murmur?” He told me it was a leaky valve.

So maybe I’ll go like Pete, feeling great one second, and gone the next—just like that. That sure would be nice. I’m in no hurry to leave, mind you, but going in such a way would certainly be my preference. A man starts thinking more and more of how his end will come when he crosses the half-century mark in his life.

It was a s sun like that.

One thing I am anxiously looking forward to is my upcoming change of jobs. Four months remain before the planned escape from my factory job in the city to freedom—freedom from the drudgery of a sedentary, wage-slave job. The end is near, so to speak. It will be a dream come true, and a prayer answered.

Which brings me to a subtle and amazing event that happened in my life this past month. Many people would dismiss it as coincidence. But those who believe in the total sovereignty of God (as I do) don’t really believe in chance or coincidence....

I was driving to my job one morning. I typically pray during my morning travel time. The roads are mostly empty (until I get near the city) and praying is better than anything the radio has to offer. Anyway, I was driving down the road and praying and I remember thanking God for giving a measure of success to my home business because, in so doing, He has provided a way for me to leave my factory job and still provide for my family.

I remember saying something like, “Lord, I’m only a short way from leaving, and I think I can see light at the end of the tunnel.” 

Immediately after saying that I glanced in my rearview mirror and did a double-take. What I saw astonished me.

The road was empty and straight behind me. On either side, branching over the road, were tall trees. It looked like I had driven through a tunnel. And at the end of the road, at the end of the tree tunnel, way behind me, perfectly framed by road underneath and trees all around, the morning sun stood as a shining golden orb in the sky. It was clearly and unmistakably a light at the end of a tunnel.

The image didn’t last long. As I kept driving, and headed up a hill, the sun climbed above the trees.

I can’t help but think that God orchestrated that picture for me. It remains in my mind, and I marvel at the thought of it.

Wheat Berry 
Chewing Gum

I have told you that I ate no modern wheat last month and that’s true. But I did consume some of my small stash of ancient einkorn wheat in the form of “homemade” wheat berry chewing gum.

It's been decades since I even thought of wheat berry chewing gum, and it was a nice re-discovery. I’m not a chewer of store-bought gum, but wheat berry gum is another story. It’s fun gum, and a lot better than anything you’ll find in a store.  If you’ve never tried it, get yourself some berries (kernels) and follow the directions at This Link

Chewing wheat berries into gum takes a little practice to master. I keep the berries in between my lower lip and gum, and chew them, a few at a time, with my front teeth until the gluten gum forms. It takes time. If you chew with your back teeth at the start, the tendency is to swallow before you get the gum.

Give it a try and let me know how it works for you. 

Miracles From Agriculture

Kire in Macedonia occasionally sends me links to YouTube movies that he thinks I’ll appreciate. Such was the case with the 1960 U.S. Department of Industrialized Agriculture propaganda flick above. It begins with the narrator saying...

“Today, agriculture is going far beyond nature to produce new miracles for an even better, more abundant life.”

Later the narrator proclaims:

“One of the most remarkable food miracles is the story of chicken, a triumph of research on the farm and in the marketing system. Once something special for Sunday dinner, chicken, inspected and graded, is now thrifty every day. Yes, in one generation people of this country have doubled their consumption of poultry.”
My ears really perked up with this comment:
“Scientists have fixed the glutens in flour so that industry cooks can make your favorite bake-and-serve products.”

This movie is an example of the arrogance of the industrial mindset. The working of miracles is something that God does, not scientists and marketing experts, as the movie says.

And to assert that scientists “fixed” wheat flour implies that wheat as God created it was not good enough. This brings to mind a paragraph in my book, Writings of a Deliberate Agrarian:

“This fare of the industrial providers is food foolishness. These people, these companies, these forces, exalt themselves and their fake products, boldly proclaiming that their creations are better than the unadulterated bounty created and provided by the Sovereign God of all creation. What gall!”

An Awesome
 Garden Digging Tool

Kire in Macedonia also sent me the above YouTube movie. It shows a garden digging tool from Russia (I think). I tried to figure out how to order one of those things but couldn’t surmount the language barrier.

Somebody needs to import that tool to the US or make an American version!

"Classic American"
Clothespin Update
Classic American clothespin prototypes (all rejects)

In December of 2002 the Penley Clothespin company in West Paris, Maine shut down its wooden clothespin manufacturing factory. Five years later, National Clothes Pin Company of Montpelier, Vermont, shut down their manufacturing operation and sold the machinery for scrap. That was the end of American-made clothespins.

But, as many of you already know, I am on a one-man mission to bring back American-made clothespins. 

My goal is not to have a centralized clothespin factory with a thousand employees. It is, instead, to encourage a thousand people across America to craft “Classic American” clothespins and have their own small clothespin-making businesses. It is a decentralized dream of a nationwide “guild” of home-based clothespin crafters, and shared success. Oh, and I’ll make and sell Classic American clothespins too.

With that in mind I spent a great deal of time fine-tuning my Classic American clothespin design this past month. You wouldn’t think it would be hard to design a clothespin, but there is a lot to it. The good news is that I think I’ve finally got a clothespin design that I’m pleased with. I will be making more clothespins in October to ensure that the design is just right.

I hope to have made more progress towards the goal next month. Stay tuned.

A Quote From The 
Maine Farmer’s Almanac
Cities, and even suburbs (extensions of cities), have always been a "rude atmosphere" for raising children.

"God made the first garden while Cain’s red hands built the first city. Alas the day, that ever Cain’s coquetting mother found it so pleasant to hold the memorable conversation with the gentleman of fascinating address and sibilant accent from a subterranean metropolis. But for that men might live in gardens still, and not feel constrained to shut themselves up, on two sides with brick and one with stone, enveloped all the while in an atmosphere which a rude analysis finds composed of dust, smoke and many well defined and several savory odors. Yet men acquire a morbid taste for city life, and finally, regard the country almost with dislike. A similar unhealthy state of feeling is that of the convict who, released after a long term of imprisonment, would return of his own accord to the gloom of his dungeon."

My Garlic Powder Resources
Are Now Available 
on e-Junkie
I once made and sold garlic powder. It was a nice little home business.

I have finally succeeded in getting my Garlic Powder Profits Report back in print as a downloadable pdf file. I now offer three inexpensive downloadable pdf files at the Planet Whizbang “store” at

Figuring out how to make this information available online was a major hurdle for me because I’m a computer ignoramus. E-Junkie certainly makes it easy and inexpensive to do. They charge a flat rate of five bucks a month for hosting your pdf file and taking care of the transactions. Payments are made directly into my PayPal account. It’s downright simple, and it seems to be working just fine.

If you know how to do something that other people want to learn, or you develop a plan to make something that people will want to know about, I suggest that you compile the information into a pdf file and sell it through e-Junkie. For an example of what I mean, check out my $1.50 photo tutorial that shows how I turn garlic bulbs into garlic powder. The information in that tutorial was on this blog for several years and I "repackaged" it for e-Junkie.

Something New 
From Planet Whizbang

The new Planet Whizbang mystery product will be revealed next month.

I was hoping to unveil a new Planet Whizbang product for gardeners this month, but it’s not quite ready for release. I would categorize it as a tool. It is smaller than a bread box. Very  low-tech. Very useful. 

This new product was inspired by Steve Solomon’s excellent book, Gardening When It Counts. I looked long and hard to see if someone else has already come up with this product idea and was surprised that I couldn’t find it. My version will be made exceptionally well and should last a lifetime (a contra-industrial concept for sure). 

As for what it does, well, it helps you be a better, more successful gardener! That’s all I can say for now.  

I tested this new product in my garden this year and was so pleased that I determined to get it into production so it is available in time to be utilized by gardeners across America (and around the world) before the 2013 growing season. I hope I can get a seed catalog or two to offer it in their 2014 catalog.

If you’re on the Planet Whizbang e-mail list, you will be among the first to know what this mystery tool is, how it works, and where you can get one (or two or three).
The Intelligent Gardener:
By: Steve Solomon

I haven’t read Steve Solomon’s newest book, The Intelligent Gardener: Growing Nutrient Dense Food, because it hasn’t been published yet. But I’ve pre-purchased a copy and am looking forward to what the author of my favorite gardening book has to say about this important subject of growing nutrient-dense food.

I suspect that he will elaborate on what he’s written in the past about the need to remineralize garden soil in order to grow more nutritious food. He will probably talk about his Complete Organic Fertilizer, which includes numerous rock powders. I further expect that Solomon will explain why organically-grown food is, in many instances, no more nutritious than food grown by industrial farming methods. And, believe it or not, sometimes industrial food is actually more nutritious than organically-grown food.

This subject of nutrient density in food is critically important and you will be hearing more about it. I’ve already written two chapters for my upcoming book, The Planet Whizbang Idea Book For Gardeners, that present ideas and information about growing food with high nutrient density.

A Useful Tool 
For Gardeners

Refractometer and heirloom tomato (photo link)

With the subject of growing nutrient-dense food in mind, I bought myself a refractometer. You can get one of these simple instruments for around $50 and use it to test the nutritional density of the food you grow in your home garden, your market garden, or that you buy from a farmer's market. 

I'll save any further comments about the refractometer for my book, and the book's blog after it is published (next spring). But, for now, I just want to say that this is a tool and a subject that you might want to research online. A refractometer will be utilized more and more by health-conscious gardeners and consumers in the years ahead.

My Wife The Stonemason
Marlene's stone-walled flower bed (click the picture to see an enlarged view)
Our new land has an abundance of stones. There are piles of them along the edge of the woods. They have been picked from the field for more than a century, and there are plenty still in the field. Before I die, I'd love to build a section of stone wall with those stones. Building a stone wall is something I've wanted to do for a very long time. But my wife, Marlene, has plans for those stones too.

This last month I showed Marlene how to drive our little tractor (Leland). She took 12A (Leland's wagon) up along the woods, gathered stones, and made the stone-lined garden bed shown above. I wish I had a "before" picture to show you. Just picture the big round rock on the left corner next to the post, and a mass of weeds.

My aspirations for building a stone wall are much more ambitious (I want to build a real stone wall), but they are just aspirations. Marlene's little stone wall is a reality. She's right pleased with it, and so am I. 

A neighbor stopped by and commented to me that I had done a nice job with the garden bed by the mailbox (she knew what it looked like before). I informed her that Marlene did that all by herself.  

It's beautiful, Marlene, just like you are.  



That's all for now. See y'all here next month.

Before Joel, There Was Louis

Dateline: 21 September 2012

Joel Salatin

Most people reading this blog have heard of Joel Salatin. He is probably the most famous farmer in America, if not the world. Joel is popular because the books he has written, and the farm he operates espouse many counter-industrial agricultural practices. More than that, Joel Salatin is a successful counter-industrial farmer. People from all over flock to Polyface Farm to meet Joel, see his operation, and learn from his approach to farming.

The current popularity of Joel Salatin and his farm came to mind when I read a very unusual book review (which follows) by E.B. White of Louis Bromfield’s book, Malabar Farm (published in 1945). Bromfield was the most famous counter-industrial farmer of his day. People from all over the world flocked to Bromfield’s Malabar Farm to see what he was doing and learn about his methods.

Louis Bromfield

Both Bromfield and Salatin started with severely impoverished farms and did a remarkable job of bringing them back to fertility and production. And I’m sure that they shared common methods in their farming. But as I read various internet stories about Bromfield, I realized that he and Joel were very different people.

Louis Bromfield was a financially successful novelist and screenwriter, who was friends with a lot of famous people before taking up farming. Joel started out as a simple dirt farmer, went into writing about farming and, one would assume, has done well financially at it. Bromfield was, as I understand it, a dour man, while Salatin is ebullient. Bromfield was not the best of fathers to his three daughters, but Joel’s approach to farming is family-centered (his book, Family Friendly Farming, is, in  my opinion, one of his best). Joel is a self-described "Christian-libertarian-environmentalist-capitalist-lunatic-Farmer." I’ll bet Mr. Bromfield would not have described himself as such.

Nevertheless, the two men, Bromfield and Salatin, share a common place in American history as the preeminent voice of their day for alternative agriculture. 

E. B. White’s book review, as follows, is a clever and entertaining  glimpse into Louis Bromfield’s story—a story that was once well known but is now little known and largely forgotten.

Louis Bromfield and one of his Boxers

Book Review of
Louis Bromfield's 
"Malabar Farm"
By: E.B. White

Malabar Farm is the farm for me,
It's got what it takes, to a large degree:
Beauty, alfalfa, constant movement,
And a terrible rash of soil improvement.
Far from orthodox in its tillage,
Populous as many a village,
Stuff being planted and stuff being written,
Fields growing lush that were once unfitten,
Bromfield land, whether low or high land,
Has more going on that Coney Island.

When Bromfield went to Pleasant Valley
The soil was as hard as a bowling alley;
He sprinkled lime and he seeded clover,
And when it came up he turned it over.
From far and wide folks came to view
The things that a writing man will do.
The more he'd fertilize the fields
The more impressive were his yields,
And every time fields grew fitter
Bromfield would add another critter,
The critter would add manure despite 'im,
And so it went ad infinitum.
It proves that a novelist on his toes
Can make a valley bloom like a rose

Malabar Farm is the farm for me,
A place of unbridled activity.
A farm is always in some kind of tizzy
But Bromfield's farm is really busy.
Strangers arriving by every train,
Bromfield terracing against the rain,
Catamounts crying, mowers mowing,
Guest rooms full to overflowing.
Boxers in every room of the house,
Cows being milked to Brahms and Strauss.
Kids arriving by van and pung,
Bromfield up to his eyes in dung,
Sailors, trumpeters, mystics, actors,
All of them wanting to drive the tractors,
All of them eager to husk the corn,
Some of them sipping their drinks till morn;
Bulls in the bull pen, bulls on the loose,
Everyone bottling vegetable juice,
Play producers jousting the bards,
Boxers fighting with Saint Bernards,
Boxers fooling with auto brakes, 
Runaway cars at the bottom of lakes,
Broomfield diving to save the Boxers,
Moving vans full of bobby-soxers,
People coming and people going,
Everything fertile, everything growing, 
Fish in the ponds other fish seducing, 
Thrashing around and reproducing, 
Whole place teeming with men and pets,
Field mice nesting in radio sets,
Cats in the manger, rats in the nooks,
Publishers scanning the sky for books,
Harvested royalties, harvested grain, 
Broomfield scanning the sky for rain,
Broomfield’s system proving reliable,
Soil getting rich and deep and friable,
Broomfield phoning, Broomfield haying,
Broomfield watching mulch decaying, 
Women folks busy shelling peas, 
Guinea fowl up in catalpa trees.
Oh, Broomfield’s valley is plenty pleasant—
Quail and rabbit, Boxers, pheasant.
Almost every Malabar day
Sees birth and growth, sees death, decay;
Summer ending, leaves a-falling,
Lecture dates, long-distance calling.

Malabar Farm is the farm for me,
It’s the proving ground of vivacity.
A soil that’s worn out, poor, or lazy
Drives L. Bromfield almost crazy;
Whether it’s raining or whether it’s pouring,
Bromfield’s busy with soil restoring;
From the Hog Lot Field to the Lower Bottom
The things a soil should have, he’s got ‘em;
Foe of timothy, friend of clover, 
Bromfield gives it a going over,
Adds some cobalt, adds some boron.
Not enough? He puts some more on.
Never anything too much trouble,
Almost everything paying double:
Nice fat calves being sold to the sharper,
Nice fat checks coming in from Harper.
Most men cut and cure their hay,
Bromfield cuts it and leaves it lay;
Whenever he gets impatient for rain
He turns his steers in to standing grain; 
Whenever he gets in the least depressed
He sees that another field gets dressed;
He never dusts and he never sprays,
His soil holds water for days and days,
And now when a garden piece is hoed
You’ll find neither bug nor nematode,
You’ll find how the good earth holds the rain.
Up at the house you’ll find Joan Fontaine.

Malabar Farm is the farm for me,
It’s the greenest place in the whole countree,
It builds its soil with stuff organic,
It’s the nearest thing to a planned panic.
Broomfield mows by any old light,
The sun in the morning and the moon at night;
Most tireless of all our writing men,
He sometimes mows until half past ten;
With a solid program of good trash mulch
He stops the gully and he stops the gulch.
I think the world might well have a look
at Louis Bromfield’s latest book;
A man doesn't have to be omniscient
To see that he's right—our soil's deficient.
We've robbed and plundered this lovely earth
Of elements of immeasurable worth,
And darned few men have applied their talents
Harder than Louis to restore the balance;
And though his husbandry's far from quiet
Bromfield had the guts to try it.
A book like his is a very great boon,
And what he's done, I'd like to be doon. 


That last word, "doon," kind of threw me when I first read it. Then I realized that it was a play on doin' or doing. E.B. White was a writer-farmer too. I've written about him Here and Here