The Deliberate Agrarian Blogazine
December 2012

Dateline: 31 December 2012

A view of woods & stream on the new land we bought in 2012

Well there goes another year. It was a memorable year because my first grandchild was born, and the fulfillment of my long-held vision for land (without going into debt) became a reality. My Planet Whizbang home business has also grown and, in less than a month, I will finally leave my wage-slave job to work at the home business full time. That will be something pretty special for me.

I love this machine!

And 2012 was the year I bought myself a snowblower. I've never owned or even used a snowblower before, and I never thought I'd buy one, but my aging back  and a second driveway to clear (on the new property) has brought me to this point. 

I bought the snowblower in early November, back when the weather was nice and everyone was wondering if we might have another winter like last year, in which the snow barely made a showing.

But that question has been answered. It has snowed a LOT here and I actually enjoy "shoveling" with a 30" wide snowblower.

The only problem I faced was getting it from my home to the new place down the road where we have a doublewide trailer packed with Planet Whizbang inventory. But I solved the problem with that sled you see in the picture above. It doesn't look like much but it gets "Mr. Ahriens" down and back very nicely.

My People

Kate Towle, My Great Grandmother

I was looking through some old pictures this past month and came across the one above showing my great grandmother Kate Towle, of Fort Fairfield, Maine. The picture was taken in 1964 by my grandmother Kimball (Kate’s daughter). My grandmother wrote on the back: “This is rug Mother made for me.”

My grandmother Philbrick (on the other side of the family) was also from Fort Fairfield, and she crafted beautiful braided rugs too. The rugs were made from woolen material that was salvaged from old clothing. I recall my grandmother Philbrick braiding fabric that had been cut to an even width and sewn into long rolls.

I don’t think I have ever known anyone besides my grandmothers to make braided rugs. Marlene and I have often thought we would like to try it. Have any of you reading this made a braided rug?

The Hiram Towle, Sr. Family of Fort Fairfield, Maine (1932): Front row- Kathryn, Hiram, Jr., Kate, Hiram Sr., Clara, John. Middle row- Donald, Helen, Mary, Ruth, Everett. Back row- Arthur, Charles

The picture above (click to enlarge) shows Kate (32 years younger than in the previous picture) seated next to her husband, Hiram Towle.  Hiram and Kate were married in 1907 and they had 11 children. My grandmother (Mary) was the oldest of the bunch. Hiram was a potato farmer and their farm was on the Hoyt Road. Everyone in that picture is now deceased, except my great aunt Clara.

Looking into the young faces of my kinfolk, in a picture taken 80 years ago, is kind of odd. I remember many of those people. It leaves me with a poignant and melancholy feeling. Life is so very short.

The First Time 
The N.Y. Times 
Wrote About Me 

This picture from  the Grassroots Project in Vermont, 1976-77, was probably taken by Ruth Biro. I wrote on the back: "Gordon (from the Times), Dawn, Tilda, & Beth."

Back in the fall of 1976 I was enrolled in "The Grassroots Project" at the Sterling School (now Sterling College) in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. It was a life-changing year for me in many ways. One of the funny things that happened that year was a reporter from the NY Times came to the school for a week to gather information for an article. That wasn’t so funny, but what he wrote—about me—was kind of funny, primarily because it was completely untrue.

Here is what the article said:

Herrick C. Kimball, a recent product of Choate, is equally enthusiastic. He likes the way the faculty shifts quickly from theory into practice. “I learned more about botany in one day here,” he says, “than in a whole year at Choate.”

I am not a product of Choate, and I never said what I was quoted as saying in the article. But my classmate, Harry Miller, was a product of Choate and he said those words. The mixup apparently came because Harry’s real name was Andy. And the reporter was apparently given a list of the names of the students in the program. When he went looking for “Harry” in the names, he assumed that Harry was Herrick. But Harry was actually Andy (I’ve never been called Harry).

Harry (or Andy) was the one who told me about the article when it came out, and he was a little miffed that I got quoted in the NY Times instead of him. 

All of this was in my mind when I recently came across the old picture above. I wondered if I could find the original Times article. All I knew was the reporter’s first name. After about ten minutes of searching I found the web site of Gordon Sander, and there was the article: The Subject is the Land and the Sky and Yourself.

The internet is truly amazing!

P.S. How I came by that picture is kind of interesting. I had no camera back then. But a friend who did showed me the school’s darkroom one day. There was exposed film hanging all over the place. The film contained pictures that he and some other students had taken. My friend showed me how to use the film and the equipment in the room to develop my own pictures using photographic paper. I ended up buying a package of the paper and spent an afternoon developing pictures from the film. That was the first and last time I ever did that. 

Now we have digital cameras, darkrooms are pretty much a thing of the past, and I’ve become an old-timer.

A Man Called Peter

I watched the 1955 movie, A Man Called Peter, a few days ago. It is about the life of the Presbyterian minister, Peter Marshall. It is based on the book of the same title written by Peter Marshall’s wife, Catherine. Somewhere packed away I have a copy of the book, signed by Catherine, that I picked up from a past bookhunting expedition. I think I’ll have to read it because I enjoyed the movie. It was something of a blockbuster back in ’55 (three years before I was born). I know my mother was a big admirer of Marshall, probably from seeing the movie. If you have an opportunity to see A Man Called Peter, I recommend it. One thing for sure—they don’t make movies like that anymore.

Peter Marshall 
On Womanhood

Peter Marshall died of a heart attack in January of 1949 . He was only 46 years old. In November of 1949 Catherine published a book of her deceased husband’s sermons. Mr. Jones Meet The Master was an instant best seller. 

There is a chapter in the book titled “Keepers of the Springs” which I found particularly interesting. It is about Christianity, and womanhood, and the importance of godly mothers. Here are some excerpts from that chapter.

“[God] ushered woman into a new place in human relations. He accorded her a new dignity and crowned her with a new glory, so that wherever the Christian evangel has gone for nineteen centuries, the daughters of Mary have been respected, revered, remembered and loved, for men have recognized that womanhood is a sacred and noble thing, that women are finer clay.... are in touch with the angels of God and have the noblest function that life affords.”

“It remained for the twentieth century, in the name of progress, in the name of tolerance, in the name of broadmindedness, in the name of freedom, to pull her down from her throne and try to make her like a man. She wanted equality. For nineteen hundred years she had not been equal—she had been superior. But now, they said, she wanted equality, and in order to obtain it, she had to step down.”

“No nation has ever made any progress in a downward direction. No people ever became great by lowering their standards. No people ever became good by adopting a looser morality. It is not progress when the moral tone is lower than it was. It is not progress when purity is not as sweet. It is not progress when womanhood has lost its fragrance. Whatever else it is, it is not progress!”

“The modern challenge to motherhood is the eternal challenge—that of being godly women. The very phrase sounds strange in our ears. We never hear it now. We hear of every other kind of women—beautiful woman, smart women, sophisticated women, career woman, talented woman, divorced women, but so seldom do we hear of a godly woman—or a godly man, either, for that matter.”

“The world has enough women who know how to be smart, It needs women who are willing to be simple. The world has enough women who know how to be brilliant. It needs some who will be brave. The world has enough women who are popular. It needs more who are pure. We need women, and men too, who would rather be morally right than socially correct.”

Social Commentary

if you happened to miss my mid-month commentary about the Sandy Hook shootings, you can Read it Here

Another commentary on that sad event that I recommend is, Where Does The Blame Lie?. That essay, written by my friend Ron Woodburn, contains the congressional testimony of Darrell Scott, the father of Rachel Joy Scott, who was killed in the Columbine High School shooting in 1999. Mr. Scott does NOT lay the blame for his daughter’s death on guns or the NRA.

Even if you don’t take the time to read Ron’s essay, you should still click the link above to look at the picture he has posted with the essay. The unusual picture is a profound essay and commentary in itself.

Standing Stone Honey

Ronald Woodburn, of Standing Stone Honey products, Locke, New York

Ron Woodburn (mentioned above) is a young man of exemplary Christian character. I’ve been blessed to know him, and his whole family. Ron has also been a beekeeper for several years. He works a full time job in the city and in his spare time he is building a home-based business around the honey that his bees make for him. In other words, he’s an agrarian entrepreneur. That’s something I have a lot of respect for, especially in younger folks (which, from my perspective, is anyone under thirty).

With all of that in mind, please take a moment and stop by Ron Woodburn’s web site, Standing Stone Honey Products. Check out what he has to offer. Ron's business and his products reflect his personal integrity. You can buy from him with complete confidence. ‘Nuff said.


That's it for this month. 
Here's wishing you all a blessed year in 2013!


Phillip said...

I really enjoy your blog, but I have one question, if guns weren't to blame for the killings at Columbine, Sandy Hook and other mass killings in the US, who was? I don't buy the answer, "guns don't kill, people do."

Herrick Kimball said...

Hi Phillip,

Thanks for posting here.

I have a few guns and I've never known one of them to shoot at anything of their own accord. It takes a person to pull the trigger.

The man in Rochester who recently shot the firemen was convicted for killing his grandmother with a hammer in 1980. The hammer didn't kill her. The man killed her, using a hammer. Same principle.

When someone drives drunk and kills someone, is the car responsible? Or the alcohol the person drank? I don't think so. If that was the case, then we should look at eliminating sales of alcohol.

Or maybe the politicians could have a beer buyback program.

There is an enormous logical disconnect that must take place in a person's mind to think that people are not responsible for mass murders, and that guns are, instead, responsible.

I'm sure this does not change your mind on the matter. On the right side of this blog I have a quote from Stark Young that applies....

"It is not necessary to make men, foolish or serious, agree with me, no matter what the principle is. They may have different faculties."

Best wishes,

Herrick Kimball

the canned quilter said...

Great post as always and wishing you and yours a safe,healthy and prosperous 2013 from Hickery Holler Farm.

Anonymous said...

I had better post right now before I forget! Yes I have made a small braided rug , there are excellent ideas on You tube showing how , it is very rythmic once you get comfortable ,The best ideas I found were to use large safety pins to pin the rug together as you sew it after braidng as there is play in the pins( that is GOOD) and you probably will get a more flat laying rug if you braid it on a flat table or the floor. .Also I used plastic belt buckles on the 6 inches or so of the braid to keep them rolled .sliding them along as I went. And none of this makes any sense of course until you are DOING it!LOL And on a more somber note Phillip could look up the Bath School Tradgedy in Michigan 1927 if he would like to ask if it was guns that kill. My Grandparents had photos ,But I got rid of them. I read each biography on every little child. Makes very interresting reading. Karen Jones

SharonR said...

My husband's grandma made braided rugs. We weren't blessed to inherit one, but we did get several of her crocheted rugs. It's just as you said here - she used old woolen clothing mostly. Although I tried, it was getting too expensive to keep it up. We didn't have the wool clothes as they did then. My husband didn't understand the need to use wool. He would bring me leftover upholstery from aircraft jobs. I tried, but it just didn't have the forgiveness that wool did. Grandma told me how she did it and how the turning of the curves had to be pulled just right to avoid cupping of the rug. Looks like your great grandmother knew that, too. Her rug looks just like Grandma Smith's. She was born in 1997, to compare with the age of your great grandmother. I was also born in '58.

Anonymous said...

So good to hear from you again. A month is a long time, but well worth the wait as always. Congratulations on moving to your own enterprise. I hope it will be more successful than you could possibly hope. Best wishes for 2013.

Anonymous said...

I thought you might be interested in this. It is kind of like Webb's boom theory but based on limited gains in productivity instead of limited resources. It also points to a future of little to no economic growth.

There is summary here:


Anonymous said...

A warning about the links above. He is pretty harsh when describing rural agrarian life, but I think the perspective that economic growth is over is interesting.


Herrick Kimball said...


I just read the summary , and then printed the whole report for a closer reading later. It is a very interesting and pertinent analysis and I appreciate you letting me know about it!

Ray said...

Congratulations as you look forward to your "new" life. I know you will enjoy it so much and you have sure earned it.

kentuckyagrarianwannabe said...

Congratulations Herrick on exiting the prison system, I guess your getting out early due to good behavior lol. I sold my business December 27 and to am looking forward to getting moved down to my farm full time. I still have two years of part time consulting to do for the new owners however which means it won't be as quickly as I like but I can see the light at he end of the tunnel. Best of luck in your new endeavors and God bless!

Anonymous said...

I'll watch "A Man Called Peter". It's on Netflix streaming service. I really like the quotes on Women and Mothers. I'm also forwarding the info to my brother who is a "rock-ribbed Presbyterian" (as he likes to remind me). We have our disagreements - I'm a confessional Lutheran (WELS) so there are a few doctrinal issues.
Thanks and regards,

Unknown said...

Hi Herrick. How can I obtain a copy of the wire and wood veggie tote? Happiness and health, Johhny

Herrick Kimball said...


Plans for making the tote will be in "The Planet Whizbang Idea Book For Gardeners" which I am currently working to complete, and hope to have in print in April.

Thanks for asking.

NadineisthatU said...

I love a sled and a snow blower, and I congratulate you. I could not operate even that with the damage to my nerves.
I have been with someone when she received the news that her son had been accidentally shot by his friend, we were roomates in a training seminar; a friend, a country emergency room doctor, was accidentally killed by his son when he took a day off to see what his son was learning to love, and a great friend accidentally shot and killed his brother. These were all thoughtful, careful people. Caring has to exist in all directions for all those involved, bystander or perpetrator, or devastated.

ebeth said...

I am really glad that you are going out on your own with your own business. I have some questions for you about your wheel hoe, but your email doesn't seem to be working. I hope you can get it fixed!

Take care!

Herrick Kimball said...


My e-mail should be working. I get a LOT of e-mail every day. Try again......


Maple Leaf said...

My wife makes braided rugs from blue jeans. She uses clothes-pins to hold the braid from unravelling and then stitches it together. She gets the jeans for free from thrift stores since they throw away the holey ones. Like your blog, just ran across it tonight looking for chicken plucking ideas. Nice to see other people out there getting back to the fundamentals. I left corporate America to be a farmer and small business owner three years ago and it was the best thing I ever did.