Beauty In The Garden
On The Last Day of July

Dateline: 31 July 2015

(click pictures for larger views)

I think most everyone who grows a tall sunflower takes a picture of it.  The one above is nearly as tall as the 8ft-high Whizbang T-post trellis span behind it. Other sunflower stalks are well above the trellis. The volunteer dill is nearly as high as the sunflower blossom.

And, likewise, everyone likes to share pictures of their grandchildren. Futureman is visiting for two weeks. He will be the ring-bearer in his Uncle Robert's wedding tomorrow.

Onion beds in the foreground.

Tomatoes and pole beans on T-post trellis spans, in the background.

Four-Day Carrot Failure
A Parsnip Bed Update

Dateline: 29 July 2015

Not everything I plant in my garden is a success!

After last year’s successful Four-Day Carrots gardening experiment, I decided to repeat the process this year. But instead of getting the carrot bed planted on July 6th, it was July 11 before I got around to making the tri-plantings. And since I didn’t have any vermiculite to put over the pinches of planted seed, I used peat moss. Then, I got sidetracked with the demands of life and forgot to lift the shade discs until nine days after planting!

By then, the seedlings had emerged and grown long and leggy, trying to get to sunlight from under the shade discs. To make matters worse, instead of raising the shade discs for a day or two over the newly-emerged seedlings, I completely removed them. The hot summer sun baked the seedlings and most of them died, as you can see in the picture above.

It was a powerfully discouraging outcome, and I set to making it right ASAP.

I re-cultivated each tri-planting, replanted some seeds, and covered with fine vermiculite (the best thing I know of to cover a planted seed with). At four days, I checked under the shade discs and there were no seedlings showing. The next morning (July 26), they were showing. Five-Day carrots. Good enough. I raised the shade discs and this is what the bed looked like as of last night.

So I’m back on track with the carrots, and need to get another bed started. 

The two tri-planted beds of carrots from last year provided us with a steady supply of carrots for many months. In fact, believe it or not, one year after planting, we still had a few carrots in the fridge, and they were still perfectly good.

In case you're wondering, they are the Bolero variety. Excellent storage carrots!


In other garden news, you may recall my 11-Day Parsnips post from May of this year.  I was pretty excited to have parsnip seedlings emerge only 11 days after planting under shade discs. Then I showed My Parsnip Bed in June.  The parsnips were off to a great start. Well, here is the same bed now, in July...

Herrick's parsnip bed in July
(Kennebeck potatoes to the left)

And Me

Dateline: 24 July 2015

This blog is self-described as “one man’s ruminations about faith, family and livin’ the good life.” What you are about to read is something of a divergence from my usual agrarian discussions, but it fits perfectly within the stated focus of this blog.


Last month’s U.S. Supreme Court decision in favor of homosexual marriage was a cultural bombshell, to say the least.  The ramifications of the court’s actions will be wide ranging and harsh. Those who once claimed victimhood and oppression will now become the oppressors, and they will pursue their victims with a vengeance.

Homosexual activists are brutal people. If you doubt it, and if you have the stomach for it, simply read the comments of homosexual activists at one of their online discussion groups. Or, if you have the backbone, simply disagree with their activism. Then you’ll find out.

Back in 2011 the elected clerk in a small town near me refused to issue a marriage license to a homosexual couple. When she did not issue the license, based on her religious beliefs about the sin of homosexuality, the activist forces focused their harassing foul language and threats at her. It was intense. 

She was up for reelection. The activists put their own candidate on the ballot. There was a debate at Wells College between the clerk and her gay-backed challenger. I went to the debate  along with a few friends. It was civil. She held her own. I was impressed.

A few days later, I created a web site/blog for the woman. I mailed a post card to every registered voter in the town, letting them know about the web site. A friend helped me with the cost of the mailing. You can see the web site At This Link.

Rose Belforti won that election (and she is still the town clerk). She would have won it even without my web site, but she was thankful for what I did. When the powerfully intimidating forces of homosexual activism are focused on you, you are thankful for anyone who will stand by your side.


Forget all this talk about how homosexuals love each other and should be able to get married. Homosexuality isn’t about love. It’s about perverted sex. It’s about sin. 

At first, the activists wanted civil unions. Then they wanted marriage. Marriage was instituted by God. The activists want to sanctify their sin by taking marriage for themselves. 

The activists should be ashamed of themselves, but they have no shame. Only pride.

The definition of marriage was clear for centuries. But not any more. What is the definition now? 


I don’t believe homosexual activism is all about equal rights. I believe a great deal of it is about having access to children in order to indoctrinate them into a perverted, self-destructive lifestyle.

When I hear of homosexual curriculums in the government schools, it makes my blood boil. Homosexual activists are now invited into the schools! Those who do this sort of activism are wolves after prey. 


I could have been a homosexual. The influence was there in my young, impressionable years. When I have written in the past that getting out of suburbia (moving into a rural setting) in my teenage years was the best thing that ever happened to me, it has multiple meanings. 

Predatory homosexual child abusers live amongst us. They know that young boys go through a period of sexual vulnerability, when they are easily seduced.

When the media and government schools continually celebrate homosexuality, they serve as co-conspirators to prepare and deliver innocent children into the hands of the sexual predator wolves.


I have three grown sons. When they were young, they did not go to sleep-overs. Never. I wouldn’t allow it. I was adamant that none of them would go to sleep-overs until they were well into their teens. Nothing good ever came from a sleep-over. That was my experience.

Marlene didn’t understand. The mothers who called her, asking if one of our young sons could come for a sleep-over didn’t understand. “What do I tell them?” Marlene would ask me. "Tell them Herrick doesn’t allow sleep-overs." Period. And that’s what she did.

We never left our young children in the care of anyone except my parents or Marlene’s parents. 

Though I was a Boy Scout as a kid, I did not direct my sons into Scouts.

We did not hand our children over to the government school to be indoctrinated. They were home schooled (one son went to a Christian school for two years).

Overprotective? Call it what you will. I call it being a responsible parent. 

Listen to the testimonies of men who have come out of the homosexual lifestyle. A large percentage of them were sexually abused when they were young. The percentage is even higher among lesbians.

The predators are all around us. They don't look like wolves. They are usually nice, smiling, helpful people on the outside, but their hearts are given to wickedness. It isn’t about love. It’s about the sexual gratification of the predators.


The supreme court homosexual marriage decision last month was just another victory for the predators. Now they are armed with new legislative force to go after any adult who isn’t on board with their predations; who sees through their veneer of respectability; who understands their wickedness.

Primarily, they will pursue the Christians among us who assert that homosexuality is a morally reprehensible sin.

It has already started, of course. The activists are rabid God haters. They have reprobate minds. Since they can not strike at God, they will use the force of law as a weapon to punish any Christian or Christian organization that believes what God says about homosexuality, anyone who refuses to endorse or enable the homosexual juggernaut.

We are about to see the rise of homo-tyranny, which is just another word for persecution.


I was upset with the Supreme Court decision. I decided that I would do something about it. I felt strongly that I should start a web site called HomoTyranny Tracker.

The objective of the web site would be to aggregate internet news stories every day (sort of like The Drudge Report does). Every story would be about an incident of homo-tyranny. I bought the domain,

I established the web site exactly seven days after the Supreme Court decision. It was my objective from the start to get the site set up and post to it for a couple of weeks, without telling anyone about it. Then I would evaluate the idea and see if I should proceed, before letting the world know. 

But I only operated the site for five days, and stopped. I realized that I just don’t have the time needed to devote to the project. 

But I still like the idea. Somebody needs to chronicle the rise of homo-tyranny.


The web site is unfinished. I intended to have sidebar links to a couple of YouTube videos made by people who have come out of the homosexual lifestyle. Like This One.

Contrary to modern cultural brainwashing, I don’t believe that people are born as homosexuals. People are born with a sin nature; with a proclivity to do sinful things. 

When people who are inclined by nature to do sinful things, pursue those things, they find there is a degree of pleasure in them. But the pleasure is fleeting. And so often, they are caught in the snare.


Homosexuality is what I would call a “bear-trap sin.” When a person gives themselves over to the sin, it latches onto them and doesn’t let go. You can point out the bear trap, and they will deny it’s existence. Or they will insist that it is something they like.

But most men who are snared in the bear-trap of sodomy are tortured souls; they are miserable. What was once fun and exciting and pleasurable becomes a living hell. That is the frequent testimony of many who have repented of their homosexuality.


A common refrain among many homosexuals (when they are being honest) is expressed with anger and exasperation: “Do you think I want to be like this!?” 

Well, of course not. Nobody in their right mind, if presented with the ugly truth about homosexuality, would want anything to do with it.


There are, as you know, lots of so-called Christian churches that condone homosexuality. And more will join them in the days ahead. I dare say, most so-called Christian churches will bow their knees to their homosexual liege, pledging fealty to whom allegiance and service is expected…. or else. 

Those who fear God more than man, who dare to point to homosexuality and declare it sinful, will be a minority. But those who fear God and honor His law have always been a minority.


It is not love to tell a person in bondage to the sin of homosexuality (or any other sin) that Jesus loves them just the way they are.

Love sees the bear trap for what it is, tells its victim the truth, and offers to help get it off.

When Jesus walked this earth, he hung out with sinful people, but he never condoned their sin. He called them to repentance. Repentance is the act of turning away from sin. "Go, and sin no more," he said to the woman at the well, who was caught in adultery.


Make no mistake about it, I'm angry at the homosexual agenda, the activists who promote it, and the child sexual abusers who use it to their advantage. But don't mistake my anger as hatred of homosexuals. On the contrary, I have a great deal of compassion for anyone who is trapped in a lifestyle of sin. 


Christians who care about this issue of homosexuality and the homosexual agenda— who understand that it is an all-out cultural attack on their children and their grandchildren— need to understand the reality of homosexuality and how to properly relate to those who are in the bear trap of this sin.

With that in mind, one of the best YouTube discussions I've listened to is Homosexuality Part 1: A Discussion Between Pastor Steve Berger and Dr. David Kyle Foster

I know nothing about Pastor Berger and his denominational beliefs, but when it comes to his understandings about homosexuality and the church's response to homosexuals, I think he is right on. Dr. Foster is a former homosexual who heads up Mastering Life Ministries and is the producer of an excellent documentary, Such Were Some Of You.

I am thankful for Dr. Foster's ministry, helping to set homosexuals free from the bondage of their sin, and I have donated money to it.

Those links are, of course, also recommended for anyone who is in the "Gay Christian" movement. In fact, if you consider yourself a gay Christian and are reading this, I dare you to check out those links.


Part of the Homosexuality Part 1 discussion (linked above) is about the matter of judging. There seems to be some confusion in the church when it comes to Christians judging other people and other people's actions. This confusion even cropped up in my own church after a sermon a few weeks ago.

Pastor Steve Berger makes it clear that there are two kinds of judgement in the Bible. One is judgement that condemns, and the other is judgement that discerns between right and wrong, based on God's law (the Bible). Only God has a right to judge with condemnation. Christians are called to judge with righteousness and compassion.


In the YouTube clip Homosexuality Part 2, Pastor Steve Berger and Dr. Foster discuss, among other things, how people become homosexuals. It is an insightful discussion that every Christian parent and grandparent, who cares about the future of their young ones can learn a lot from.


Well, my ruminations on this topic have been long. If you have read this far, I thank you. And I sincerely hope that you will check out the links I've provided.

The Coming Pension Crisis
(And What You Can Do About It)

Dateline: 15 July 2015

A pension is defined as “a regular payment made during a person’s retirement from an investment fund to which that person or their employer has contributed during their working life.” 

Pensions are a relatively modern construct; they have not existed for most of recorded history. Pensions were created in an era of financial expansion and prosperity. That era is coming to a close. It is not coming to a close someday—it is coming to a close right now, in these days we are currently living in.

Pension promises made in the former era of prosperity can not and will not be paid in full. If they are paid at all, the payments will, in one way or another, be reduced.  

If you are putting your future hopes in the promises of a government or private pension plan (including Social Security), you need to listen to The Coming Era of Pension Poverty (click the link). That discussion between Gordon T. Long and Charles Hugh Smith is a sobering reality check.


Two years ago I left a state government job. If I had invested at least 20 years of my life in the job, it would have paid me a pension equal to 40% of my yearly salary. If I stayed more than 20 years, and worked a lot of overtime in the last years, the pension would have paid a lot more. You’ve probably read about the high pension incomes that many retired government employees are making, and that future retirees expect to make.

Some of my co-workers thought I was foolish to turn my back on the future pension income and financial security that is "guaranteed" to government retirees.

But, knowing what I’ve known about the end of the modern era of financial expansion and prosperity, and knowing a little bit about history, I never put much faith in government pension promises.

Maybe I’m totally off base with this. Maybe someday I’ll regret not “doing my time” in the system, and not taking full advantage of the government pension. But, in light of what I believe is a more likely financial reality, I developed a different plan for “retirement.”

If you have concerns about the reliability of the pension schemes you are depending on for your future income (especially after listening to The Coming Era of Pension Poverty), here are my recommendations for contra-industrial “retirement planning”….

1.  Put your hope and trust more in the wisdom and promises of God (and the abilities God has given you) and less in the wisdom and promises of human institutions.

2.  Don’t ever plan on retiring from hands-on financial productivity. 

3.  Start a home business that you can retire into. 

The wisdom of starting a home business to operate in my retirement years came to me by way of an article by Gary North that I read some 16 years ago. It explained the unsustainable future of Social Security (and pension expectations). That article really resonated with me. I already had entrepreneurial inclinations, but Gary North’s article gave me a whole different perspective on long-term home business planning as a way of retirement planning.

4.  Pursue a quality of life and lifestyle that is not high-income dependent. Live well below your means. Avoid debt like the plague. Dream simple.

5.  Spend your time and invest your financial resources in developing and nurturing the often ignored intangible assets of deep-rooted, close family relationships, local-church relationships, and community relationships. Such intangible assets are worth far more than the trappings of material success and a lot of money in the bank, especially later in life.

6.  Establish a productive homestead on a small section of land. Learn skills of self reliance, and establish habits of self reliance that you can pursue into your older years.


As always, I welcome your insights and comments.

How To Eat A Raspberry
With Muddy Hands

Dateline: 3 July 2015

Just starting to ripen

I think it has rained here to some degree every day for a whole month. The local news says we had three times more rain in June than usual, and that it was the wettest month for us in recorded history.

But today the sun is shining and no rain is expected. 

So I ventured into my garden. The soil is saturated but the plants are healthy. Pea pods are full, Baby zucchini’s are being born. New potatoes are forming in their hills. We have been eating beets (and beet greens!), kale, snow peas, and other greens every day. The spinach bed is finally going to seed. We are sorry to see it happen.

 As soon as possible, after all this rain, the open areas of soil (like in my onion beds) will need to be cultivated. Cultivation destroys pre-emergent weed seedlings, of course, but it also allows oxygen into the soil. 

The old agricultural writings frequently advised that garden soil be stirred after a rain because the sun’s drying action on rain-soaked soil creates a crust, and the crust prevents oxygen from getting down into the soil.

Oxygen is necessary for optimal health of not only plants but of humans too. Slow, deep breathing is something that helps to oxygenate our bodies, and many people routinely deep breath as part of a healthy lifestyle. Do a Google search. You might want to try it. But I digress.

Timing is everything when it comes to garden cultivation. 

There is a period in time, after a rain, and before the soil is too dry, when it is nicely moist, but not wet, and the earth can be cultivated with ease, and pleasure. So I’m waiting for that time.

In the meantime, with timing in mind, right after a rain is the ideal time to hand-pull any weeds that have gotten ahead of me. I pick them into a bucket, with lots of soil on their roots, and dump them in my compost pile. These weeds have extracted  minerals from the ground and packed them into their bodies. They will make fine compost.

And that explains how my hands were muddy this morning when I discovered that the raspberries on my well-tended canes are beginning to ripen. I could have gone in the house to wash my hands, but that really isn’t necessary….

To eat a raspberry with muddy hands, you simply grasp the stem the desired berry is on, pull it towards your mouth, inspect briefly for insects (blow them off if they are present), bite into the berry lightly, and pull it off the cane, into your mouth.

It’s a simple, naturally intuitive technique. I’m sure you could have figured it out for yourself, eh?


In other news, I am, as noted in my previous blog post, dealing with continued heavy demands on my time. The volume of Planet Whizbang business is making it hard to do much besides Planet Whizbang business. Speaking of which, I sent ten Whizbang Plucker “shebang” packages to Nigeria last week. Northern Africa is an expanding economy, or so I’ve heard. And they are just discovering the Whizbang Plucker. I haven't decided if that will be a blessing or a bummer for me.

Every day I focus on the “critical path,” a term and concept I adhered to back in my days as a remodeling contractor. Defining and staying on the critical path is key to getting things accomplished in an efficient, timely manner. It's an industrial-world concept that I can't seem to shake. 

The critical path is a tyrant when business orders come, as they are now, in a big, months-long wave. It doesn’t allow for blogging or gardening, or much else. A son’s wedding is coming in a few weeks, Futureman will be here for a visit again soon. Fifty Cornish-X chicks are due to arrive an a matter of days.

And in the midst of all this business, current events have compelled me to start another blog/web site. It is not agrarian. It has a  socio-political focus. I will announce it here soon, if it continues to come together. Some readers will find it of interest. Most will probably not. Hopefully, a few will feel compelled to help me with it. We’ll see.

At this very moment, however, the critical path is screaming at me... Get on course! Get to work!

I have miles to go before I sleep, as Robert Frost might put it— and miles to go before I sleep.  

But, I'll have you know, my raspberry patch is on the way to my workshop. I may tarry a few short, sweet moments there, before I get get on "the path.”  And, even though my hands are now clean (clean fingers are necessary for typing a blog post), I think I will still eat some raspberries as if my hands were muddy. It’s a whole lot more fun…..