Macon County Chronicle

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Spring Into Action

I have onions on my mind, with potatoes close behind. Three boxes of Copra, and one each of Candy and Patterson, get sorted first. About 20% are too small for the field, so they go into a bed to get bigger before transplanting. The rest are awaiting proper field conditions. A box of leeks also wants to get planted.

In our rotations, onions follow potatoes. Two fields get chisel plowed as soon as soil can be worked in the spring. On the first pass I run lengthwise, and then soon afterwards it gets cross plowed. A field for the other spring vegetables gets the same treatment.

The chisel plow needs new points. A wire brush cleans the bolt threads to make their removal easier. The lower one comes off first because it’s more worn. I position myself and have to use my legs to break it loose. Oil helps.

When the bolt spins, a crowbar is used to pry the shoe tight. Plow bolts have no head to hold, so pressure is kept on their square shoulders inside the shoe. I wish I had a third hand. Eventually new shoes relieve the dull shoe blues.

Now I can really plow deeply. I am watering the crop this summer by opening up the soil now so that the spring rains soak into the humus. Soil surface management will follow to keep that moisture available for later. This is the key to farming without irrigations.

The potato field was composted and rough plowed last fall, I level the land by chisel plowing lengthwise. More compost will be put on this virgin field before I cross plow it deeply.

A light drizzle threatened to halt progress, but then stopped for just enough time to let me finish. Despite great odds, things do get d one on the farm. I stir up some horn manure and barrel compost and fling it on the freshly worked soil to help enliven the microbial activity which will later supply nutrients to the crops.

Rain comes that evening, so planting is delayed. This gives me time to make sure the farmall cranks up. I also noticed a tree fell and took down the fence, so maybe that will get mended before the cows notice it. They are paying close attention to their nine new calves and the last of the hay rolls. Their messy feeding spot will soon be piled to make next year’s compost.

It’s mid-March and nothing is planted. But the train has started to roll. Most of the gardens are busy growing cover crops of wheat or crimson clovers and are best left alone until the end of April. Cold frames are being prepared for an early April sowing of tomato, pepper and eggplant seeds, and a sweet potato bed will soon be created.

Spring is in the air. Daffodils, also called buttercups, have been blooming since January, and dryland fish are considering jumping above the forest floor. We are patiently preparing ourselves and our land to spring into action.

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About Our Children

Some children in a family found that their misconduct finally caught up with them.  And their father was mad at them.  The children at night prayed about their relationship to their father.  Then the next morning they put this sign on their parents’ bedroom door:  “Be kind to your children, and they will be kind to you. Yours truly, God.”

 

                                                ______________________

 

            Children, like canoes, are more easily controlled if paddled from the rear.

 

 

About The Congregation

 

            I wanted to share with my readers the following article from John Smith.  It is good advice for members of any local congregation,

“Ponder Your Feet??”

                                                            by John Smith

            Proverbs 4:26 says to us, “Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established”.  God is warning us to take a look at what we are doing and where we are headed.  Ephesians 5:15-16 states “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.”  It is God’s will that we always consider our spiritual condition and make correction where needed so that we can glorify Him.  If correction is needed…let us make it and get busy in the Lord.  We do no know what tomorrow holds for us!  There is much work to be done in His kingdom and in the local work.  What work you say?

v    Attend all of the services of the church faithfully.

v    Set aside some time each day for personal Bible study.

v    Teaching the lost the plan of Salvation.

v    Teach a Bible class.

v    Leading songs in worship.

v    Visit the sick and needy—there are many opportunities to assist those who are elderly and/or those who are in need.

v    Greet and visit our visitors who come into our assembly.  Some are hearing the Word of God and seeing Christians for the first time when they visit our worship services.  Let us make them feel welcome.

v    Support the work of the church—we need Christians who will shoulder the load and seek out what needs to be done and do it.

 

If we are going to be useful to God, we are going to have to “Ponder” our paths that our feet are taking us and make corrections if needed.  We must all be looking for opportunities for us to better serve our Lord as we ponder our feet!

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Gardening

I love thinking about land use and talking about gardening. It would be a laugh to say I’m taking these things more seriously, but I am getting paid to do them, now. The dire stresses on our society, health and environment from corporate food systems compel me to help start small organic farms and share my 40 years of ridiculously stupid gardening mistakes, and here is how I go about it.

After sniffing the air and glancing around a new farm, I sit down and interview the landowners. They are the most important part of land use. I save walking the farm for later, but first I need to get to know them and what they want.

I may ask “Why a re you incarnated on earth now?” in an effort to draw out a mission statement. Before I can help them achieve their dream, they have to verbalize it. We will discuss the belief systems they rely on for their decision-making, so the base care values that will dictate land use surface.

Specific goals become apparent as we work our way to a vision of the land ten years from now. A list is formed of likes and dislikes, which will help us keep their quality of life in mind. Finally we picture the other people involved, their present and future resources, and what they want to produce from the land. Now lets walk.

The land has been used for many centuries. Native Americans ringed unproductive tees, so the Eastern Hardwood Forest contained mostly mast-producing species like oak, chestnut and beech. They also cleared land for crops. European settlers cut down the forests and made pastures for livestock and much more cropland. Thinking about land use has been going on for a long time.

Most forests are whatever is left after several removals of eh best lumber. I observe the prevalent plant growth and not non-native invasives running amok. I usually explain how to rid the woods of poison ivy, which is by cutting the hairy vines off of the trees. Possible woodland crops are Shiitake Mushrooms, or herbs like ginseng, golden seal and black cohosh.

Most pastures are under grazed, an unusual concept for many new owners of land. Soils are formed from grass plants being grazed and then resting without grazing. Too much of either destroys the soils productive capacity. Of the farm has cleared land, it needs cattle. Their proper management supplies the fertility necessary for the whole farm.

Most garden spots are compacted, and now we discuss soil tilthe. Again, it is the grass plants that create good tilthe, it cannot be done by tillage. We till in a way that destroys the tilthe as little as possible. A rototiller is the worst, and most common, implement. I much prefer plowing slowly for preserving soil structure.

As we study the plants, nutrient deficiencies become noticeable. Remineralization will likely be required, so we look for sources of lime, rock phosphate, granite meal and other rock dusts. I’m a fan of kelp and I love compost. Manure, leaf mold, rotten wood chips and old hay can be found and used to improve the biology on the farm through composting.

I often recommend utilizing the neighbors’ cattle, tractor and organic matter. Let them run their livestock on your land, and manage hay fields, in return for some old manure and plowing your garden. A few baskets of tomatoes later on will sweeten the deal.

We’ll have to fence out deer, and think about other varmints. Looking at slope, aspects and sunshine, we’ll pick spots for an orchard, berries, vegetables, flowers and cold frames. After considering bees, chickens and larger livestock, I’ll try to talk them out of horses. Markets, machinery, buildings, labor and management may not be as fun as gardening, but it would have behooved me to think about them long before I did. I want to shorten the long learning curve (and wrong turns) I’ve traveled on.

I follow up with more thoughts in a week or two, and continue to help when needed. Introducing them to books, people and organizations, I try to draw them into the circle of new age, old time farmers who are changing the way we look at food and land use.

Gardening is fun to teach, because people really want to learn about it. They ask a lot of questions as I discuss minerals, tillage and biology. Varieties, mulching, weeding, insects and many other topics and techniques get covered. By building up our soil humus, we’ve grown 5 to 8 acres of vegetables with no irrigation for decades, and I love sharing and learning with others.

This year the classes will begin on Sunday, April 21, between 1 and 4 pm. We’ll hold them at Green Door Gourmet, which is on River Road, off of Charlotte Pike, exit 201 from I-40, west of Nashville. We also take interns on our farm in Red Boiling Springs, for a few days up to a few years.

Let’s fill up Middle Tennessee with organic and biodynamic farms and gardens for better health, meaningful work, and a clean environment. Although becoming a “local food” town, Nashvillians probably get less than 2% of their diet from local organic farms, we are on the right track and still have a long way to go.

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“…We Need Help. Amen.”

A Baptist preacher prayed this brief invocation at the Texas legislature on January 11, 1989:  “Our father please read our lips.  We need help.  Amen.”

            All kinds of statements are made in these times to describe the current mess coming out of D.C.  However, few of them actually describe the colossal mess the Liberal Democrats and Country Club Republicans have created for us while spending tax dollars like sowing wheat or oats.  Just last week we learned that the liberals in D.C. have included in the budget a million dollars for a study of which foods to eat on Mars so as to insure that those who make it there will not become sick.  Hey, Mars is uninhabited.  All the little green men live in D.C. and work at the White House.  God, “we need help.  Amen.”

            At a college job fair, a man bumped into one of his school’s guidance counselors.  I can’t seem to find a career that intrigues me,” he said.  “What are your interests?”  He asked.  “I like to take things apart,” the man said, “but I hate putting them back together.”

            “Son,” replied the advisor, “you ought to consider politics.”

            Well, from D.C. to the capital in each state, it seems that most of the politicians have this in common:  they like to tear things apart.  The administration in Tennessee’s capital seems to be bent on taking things apart—fixing things that aren’t broken.  The 87 adult education programs in our state have recently been reduced to less than 50.  Macon County has been thrown in with big Sumner County; in spite of the fact Macon’s adult education has been a great success with countless adults getting their GED degree.  Now, and how dumb, the same wrecking crew is working to do away with our fifteenth judicial district, forcing citizens of this district to travel countless miles to other towns for justice issues.  How stupid!  It isn’t broken; therefore, it doesn’t need fixing.  Neither are the adult education programs in Tennessee including Macon.  God, “we need help.  Amen.”

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What Do You Do When Your World Is Turned Upside Down?

It happens, doesn’t it?  The best of people have their world turned upside down.  One of my favorite biblical passages is also very sad, yet real: “Man that is born of a woman is of few days and full of trouble” (Job 14:1).  Every day, all across the world, people are having their world turned upside down.  It may be a devastating storm, an accidental or premature death, an act of violence, or other countless things.  We all have this in common:  they turn our lives upside down.

            Over the past two years, I have been involved in events which have turned my life upside down.  First, our grandson was injured seriously in a wreck, leaving him paralyzed and perhaps unable to walk for life; then my wife had five bypasses, both resulting in multiple economic and emotional problems.  But by the grace of God we have survived.

            Senior citizens have had their world turned upside down by the Obama Administration—first, their insurance and now their Social Security is being threatened.  Did you know that if senior’s today have their social security taken away that 51.4% of seniors in Kentucky will be living in poverty, while 54.8% in Tennessee will be living in poverty.  When FDR pushed the Social Security Act through congress, it was his aim for it to be a retirement fund and to be paid in during the working years of a person’s life, not to be squandered by liberal politicians in the future.  Four billion dollars wasted on golf trips and vacations in over five years, and now the elderly are being threatened by the same people who have wasted America’s wealth.  The only answer is to be found in the grace of God.  We must not give in to the ruthless and corrupt politicians of today, but stand our ground and seek guidance and help from God who has the power to undo the liberals, the radical Muslims, and the drones which some in DC are using to threaten Americans. 

            Paul and other apostles turned the world upside down with the gospel—that was the right way, and that is the way we must pursue, and not be overcome by those who are trying to turn our world upside down in an effort to overcome us.  These people want to turn us upside down to control us.  Let’s be Christians and stand our ground for righteousness.  I’ll never give in to the conspiracy for the radical Muslims to take over America and make it an Islamic State governed by Islamic Laws.  I’ll never give in to the doctrine that Islam is as good as Christianity, and that their founder is as good as Jesus Christ.  The fact is, and it doesn’t frighten me to write this, Christianity is the only religion of Devine authority.  All the others have their origin in the twisted minds of men seeking power.

            The Judgment will reveal the truth.

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Chapter I

After gratefully appreciating the hosts of this lecture series, the first thing Steiner makes clear is that no one should talk about agriculture unless they have a sound basis in it, and really know what it means to grow grain, potatoes or beats. He includes the social aspects, the organizational aspects, and the economic principles.

The social aspects of agriculture are mentioned first, and echo Tolstoy’s observation that the people involved are of the utmost importance. Society in rural areas develops out of families. Everyone knows each other and their peculiar talents, habits, and personalities. This allows for an equitable distribution of work and goods because it is all on such a small, community-based scale.

Agriculture and civilization grew up together and remain inseperable. In several passages, Steiner describes himself as a peasant, and honors the wit, observational skills and instinct of country people. He goes so far as to credit his education more from this than the extensive academic training he consquently acquired.

Recent history suggests that when peasants move to cities, the practical intelligence they bring with them creates an economic boom for that country, lasting approximately two generations. We saw this in Europe during the industrial revolution, later in America and now in Asia. Education removed from agriculture loses its sound basis.

How a rural society takes care of itself remains best left to those who are farming there. Humbleness, compassion and practical sense become ingrained in one who cares for land, plants and animals. Not that something can’t be learned from urban environments, but social aspects are generally kinder in the country, and best left up to them.

The same is true or organizational aspects of a farm. It seems obvious that those who are in constant touch with the land should be the ones who know what to do. Again, insights gained from the synergy of city talent (with roots inevitably in farming) can be gleaned through by farm organizers, who can use what they need.

But it lowers quality, happiness and health for non-farmers to organize farms. The detrimental effects of agribusiness demonstrate this quite clearly. Organizing for short term profit rather than long term sustainability creates disorganization on farms.

Look at the word organize, and you can find organic. Life arises through organization. Who will best organize a farm so it consistently yields high quality crops and remains able to do so with a minimum of inputs? The farmer will.

The economic principles in farming also need to remain in the hands of the growers. They are the ones who know how much it costs to grow it again. Too much interference by middlemen, marketers, and giant corporations is always paid for by those practicing agriculture.

Supply and demand create price fluctuations that don’t reflect the costs of production. First and foremost this must be covered. Farming need not be gambling. Once the farmer is fairly compensated, then and only then should others concern themselves with the price of farm products.

Steiner affinity with Goethe surfaces when he mentions influences coming from the entire universe affecting what people erroneously consider to be self-contained entities. A pre-requisite to understanding the biodynamic method is the realization that all things in nature are interconnected. Instinctual knowledge reflects their truth, and science seems to be coming around.

For example, the rare English Bluebell is now known to acquire 15 different species of fungi to be present in the soil for it to grow. Some of these fungi stretch out for miles underground. Construction at a distance of five miles from the patch cuts off the fungal hyphae and kills the English Bluebells.

The inter workings of nature are the study of farmers, centuries of observation have led to crop and animal rotations, the proper utilization of the various species and the secrets of manuring. The introduction ends with more pouring out of gratitude and the notion that the instincts farmers had were quite specific and reliable. They were part of the interrelationship in nature.

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Barefoot Farmer’s Long Hungry Creek Farm

It was 20 years ago today, the newspaper gave me the new name. I write about my compost pile, but I’m guaranteed to raise a smile. So may I introduce to you the farm you’ve known for all these years, Barefoot Farmer’s Long Hungry Creek Farm.

We get by with a little help from our friends. The farm runs on love, from my best friends who work here with me, to all the helpful neighbors, eager apprentices and appreciative customers. Would you believe in our farm at first sight? Yes, I’m certain that it happens all the time.

Picture yourself on a farm in a garden with berries and trees and vegetable crops. Beautiful flowers of yellow and green towering over your head must be a row of sunflowers. Newspaper columns appear every week waiting to take you away, into a world of organic living and caring for the landscape.

It’s getting better all the time. Our soils are getting better with gentle tillage, remineralization and biodynamic compost. I’ve learned how to improve the soil tilthe and humus, raising the sugar content of the crops so that insects and diseases don’t bother them.

I’m fixing a hole where the cows get out and stop my mind from wondering. Where did they go? Agriculture requires cattle, and I’ve been chasing mine around for forty years. They are teaching me about rotational grazing. The realization that ruminants excrete more fertilizers than their own crops require gave rise to the domestication of animals and the dawn of civilization.

They’re leaving home after living together for so many years. This log cabin has been the home of my family, and a bunch of friends. Most recently, I’ve been blessed to have two young grandchildren staying here with me and helping with the chores. We are all leaving this home, and four other families from our neighborhood are leaving their homes, too.

For the benefit of the chicken fight there have been shows at night several times. From the benefits in Nashville to out gatherings at the Armour Hotel, donations and support have poured in. the common threat has brought a diverse group of people together. As one of the community members said “The chickens came and families had to move, but we have made lifelong friendships. We won!”

We are talking about the space between us all and the people who hide themselves behind a wall of illusion. Lots of people are realizing the environmental and economic disaster that the corporate control of food has caused, but many are still unaware. In our local history, gardens and small farms created a culture around meals that also generated income and caring for the land. Healthy farms won’t want CAFO’s, gas fracking and other menaces threatening Tennessee.

Doing the garden, digging the weeds, who could ask for more? Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I’m 64. Farming requires long-term thinking. We make decisions based on what will be happening on our farm twenty years later, not by sacrificing the future for short-term profit.

Lovely Rita by the creek, give us a wink and make me think of you. Hundreds of students and thousands of visitors make their way to the Long Hungry Creek. Many have fallen in love here and consequently we’ve had several weddings. Farms are for people, protecting nature and building a future.

Nothing to do to save the farm put your arms down. Going to work, got weeds to pull, it’s a hoedown. I’m going o move into the old Purcell house on Heady Ridge, after we fix it up. I will live again on the big farm and have my good mornings near the chickens, pigs and cows. As for the 40,000 chickens 450 feet from where I live now, the Tysons executives were certainly correct when they told me, “It will stink.”

We’re Barefoot Farmer’s Long Hungry Creek Farm, we’re sorry but it’s time to go. We’d like to thank you once again. The tremendous empathy and compassion you all have given me in the last two successful years has touched my heart. It has given me the strength, courage and hope to continue to work for a healthy agriculture throughout Middle Tennessee.

I read the news today, oh boy, about a lucky man who had a farm. And though the news was rather sad, I just had to laugh, I saw the photograph. A giant CAFO dwarfed Tennessee’s most famous gardens, with three hundred acres where it could have gone. I’d love to turn you on to homegrown, organic produce, an d help you learn to grow your own, without the Beatles.

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Being Poor Lead to Brad Copas’ Death

You may not agree and you may become angry with my take on the death of this 22 year old friend of mine who died recently, but I am not alone in my viewpoint.  However, your opposition won’t move me one iota and you wouldn’t like my rebuttal.  In fact, not wishing to be mean, you might be embarrassed by it.  I know whereof I write. 

            Though Brad had only a grave side service, it was not without friends—especially young friends.  Many of the young men and young women he graduated with from R.B.S. High were there to say goodbye to Brad.  They came from Tennessee Tech—young women and young men, hugging each other, remembering how Brad made them laugh and how he reached out to them and helped them in various ways.  Some even gave up a days work to be at the service for him.  Something, more than all the sadness of the day touched my heart, and that was when our paralyzed grandson, Allen, rolled his wheelchair up to Brad’s casket, with tears running down his cheeks, and laid his hand on Brads cold hand.  Brad came to our house numerous times and lifted Allen into his truck.  Allen and the other young men, when they could, shared their money with Brad and he was grateful. 

            Brad didn’t have a father to go fishing with him or to watch him play football, but he had a lot of friends rooting for him. 

            Our family always found him to be a good hearted young man who had at times only a platform rocker for a bed, for his mother was poor too; but a very hard worker.  Some of us didn’t really know how much Brad suffered until recently.  But whatever people did for him, he was thankful.  We had him at our house for Thanksgiving and I’ll not forget that after the meal he went into the living room and said to my wife, “Thanks for allowing me to be a part of your family today.”  Several members of our family along with others in our community gave him money from time to time but I am sickened that we didn’t do more for him. 

            Brad was sick and the medical attention he received was not enough.  When he was younger, I have learned, that he was told by a doctor that he needed surgery but it never happened.

            Brad died the way he lived the most of his life—poor.  In fact, the last year or two of his life he was homeless in Red Boiling, staying wherever he could.  There was no money to bury him, but several helped and though the burial was minimal, he was lovingly buried by some who cared.  Any person wishing to help complete the payment on his funeral expenses or help erect a small monument in his memory should make checks payable to either Anderson & Son Funeral Home in R.B.S. or Lafayette Monument Company. 

            Brad didn’t always make the best decisions, but he knew how to do something some who sit in the pews three times a week haven’t learned how to do—care for people.  Maybe some need to pay better attention to what the preacher says, and go out and practice what they heard in the assembly.  Some apparently find it easier to care for the well-to-do then those whose lives are filled with poverty and struggles.  A little message for all—that was not how Jesus operated.

While you’re on your way to the meeting house, and your religion never really goes beyond the meeting house, turn to Acts 10:38 and read where the Bible says “Jesus went about doing good.”  We need to follow His example.

            Brad, friend, you didn’t die in vain, for some have been made to realize what a sorry example of Christianity they have been.  May we not be a Priest or Levite, but a Good Samaritan.

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Ignorance and Greed—Twin Enemies of Democracy

Democracy will not self-destruct.  Its staying-power will not weaken.  It is some of the ingrates who have been blessed by it who will bring about its demise.  Ignorant and greedy citizens who have been fortunate enough to live in this great nation have cast their votes against the continuance of democracy, out of loyalty to some ignorant cause, while putting their parasitical hands in the pockets of Uncle Sam.  Whether they know it or not, they are the enemies of America.  Those of us who believe in the Constitution are not the enemies of democracy.  No, it is those whose minds are clouded with ignorance and whose hearts are filled with greed—standing by with open hands, hoping the liberal politicians will fill their hands with loaves and fishes and take over the job of running their lives while they take another bath in self-induced ignorance.

            A classic example of the uninformed took place recently in Macon County Tennessee when there were those who criticized a billboard “52 West By-Pass” which told nothing but the historical truth.  Yes Virginia, there was a man, wicked I might add, who did live and who did start World War II, whose name was Adolph Hitler, and did declare that to first take over a nation, the citizens thereof must first be disarmed.  He did that all over Europe.  Whether it is a hand gun, bow and arrow, or my little sling shot which my father made for me when I was 12 years old—it is mine and I have the Constitutional right to have it, and all the bleeding heart Democrats and “scary-cat” Country Club Republicans “ain’t” getting it.  It is not those who stand for the Constitution that is causing the trouble, but those who are willingly ignorant of the horrors of living in a nation which has lost its freedom.

            It is alleged that those who criticized the correct statement on the billboard did so trying to avoid controversy, hogwash!  Haven’t they heard?  We are already in the midst of the biggest controversy since World War II.  The cemeteries throughout Macon County Tennessee and America are filled with the graves of young men and women who proudly and willingly put down Adolph Hitler and his wicked and ignorant followers whose ambition was to rule and conquer the world.  What a controversy!  But thanks be to the men and women in the military who were not afraid of a dictator and his wicked zealots and put down those who wanted to rob the world of freedom.  And to all who believe they are creating a new order, and will ride rough shod over America’s citizens, while creating a new constitution, forget it, because countless millions of us love freedom too much to roll over and play dead.  And to the Liberal Democrats and Country Club Republicans, consider moving to Iran.  None of you fit in here.  We will not allow you to destroy our America.  God is too strong and we will pray to him often.  God Bless America!

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So You Think You Can Fool God?

 

            I read of two service station attendants in a town in Michigan who refused to hand over the cash to an intoxicated robber.  When they didn’t, the robber threatened to call the police.  They still refused, so the robber called the police and was arrested.

            Then there was this pair of robbers in Michigan who entered a record store, waving their revolvers in the air.  One yelled, “Nobody moves!”  His partner moved, so…he shot him.  “I was a little nervous,” he was quoted as saying.

            Trying to hide secrets from God is even more foolish than the two illustrations above.  All things are open to Him (Hebrews 4:13).  Everything we do is open to God.  Do you think you are smart enough to pull the wool over God’s eyes?  If so, you are a fool.  Don’t believe for a single second that you will get away with sin.

            We can’t hide our actions from God.

            However, God loves us and wants to forgive us.  Though we can’t hide from God, we can confess our sins to Him and they will be erased by His forgiveness.  This of course applies to the erring Christians.  Christians must be faithful by walking in the light (I Jno 1:7).  If we’ve become Christians in the past, but stopped walking in the light, we can repent of ours sins and confess them and pray for God’s forgiveness, and then He will forgive.  I can’t erase your sins and you can’t erase my sins, but our God can.

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An Ordinary Member?

An Ordinary Member?

“Just an ordinary member of the church,” I heard him say, but you always find him present, even on a rainy day.

He has a hearty handshake for the stranger in the aisle,

And a friend who is in trouble will find sunshine in his smile.

When the Sunday sermon helps him, he tells the preacher so, and when in need of comfort, he lets the elders know; He always gives so freely and tries to do his share, in the ordinary tasks for which others have no care.

His talents are not many, but his love for God is true; His prayers are not in public, but he prays for me and you.

“An ordinary member”?- I think that I would say,

“He’s an extra-ordinary member in a humble sort of way!”

-Author Unknown

The Most Dangerous Sin

Both the Old Testament and the New Testament warns of the danger of neglect. In fact, the sin of negligence is one of the most dangerous. Sin is divided into sins of Commission and sins of omission. Most members become upset concerning sins of Commission but seem never become alarmed with sins of omission.

  1. Neglect is dangerous because it requires no effort. It takes no effort to avoid the needy, visit the sick, to attend Bible Study- all three of which must be classified as sins of omission.
  2. Neglect is dangerous because it is the root of other sins. 
  3. Neglect is dangerous because it is contrary to the purpose of the Gospel.
  4. It is also dangerous because negligent people will be lost.
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Gardens

Beautiful and extremely productive gardens have graced that land around my cabin for the past 16 years. They have been well documented on the Volunteer Gardener program, so many people who hadn’t been able to visit still got to enjoy them. These gardens, open to the public, are where my students learn, and where old gardeners come to learn new ideas.

Since this is the last garden I’ll get to grow here, and since it is December, let’s look at what is still growing out there. A market garden, or truck patch as it used to be called, gets replanted in late summer with fall vegetables and cover crops. We don’t want to leave the land bare, but whenever possible to always have food available.

Horseradish, spearmint and nettle are in the first perennial beds, opposite the lettuce filling up the cold frames. The barn still hosts baskets of pumpkins, which have been picked through to now just be special treats for the hogs. The hanging garlic and onions need to go inside for winter storage.

Bok Choy is the white-ribbed, dark green leafed, oriental cabbage in the first beds behind the barn. Along with the Chinese Cabbage, also called Napa, these vegetables can weigh up to five pounds each. Soups, slaws, stirfries and sauerkraut are but a few ways our customers enjoy these cabbages, which resist the worms way better than their European counterparts.

The two kinds of parsley are curly and Italian Flat-Leaf. I like the curly best, but most people like the Italian. Parsley is very good for you.

Swiss Chard is a member of the beet family. The dark skinny leaves offer a good alteration to the other greens, which are mostly in the brassica, or cabbage family. Chard has a finer texture, and doesn’t have that hint of sulfur that cabbages have.

Many of our visitors seem surprised to see celery growing here. What a wonderful plant, it’s sweet, crisp stalks bursting with flavor. We set out a thousand in the spring. After a few harvests of the outer stalks, we leave them alone during summer, only to really get production in the fall as the weather cools down.

Bloomsdale Long Standing Spinach was sown August 29th, a little later than the time most fall greens are sown. The thin cotyledon leaves are hard to spot, but not so the dark green, savoyed leaves we love in our salads or slightly cooked. I planted another spinach row in late October for a March and April harvest.

A bed of sprouting broccoli is now giving us delicious heads. Nearby, two rows of parsnips are ready to dig.

A little dill still fills our weekly baskets. Arugula, Mizuna, tat soi and mei qing are unusual vegetables that continue to produce. Collards and mustard are more common, and we grow plenty of them.

By far our biggest plantings in the fall are kale, turnips and daikons. We’ve been saving seed from the flat leaf kale for 25 years or so. We also grow curly kale and Red Russian kale.

Turnips come in many colors. Scarlet Ohno, White Egg, Gold Ball and Purple Top supply red, white, yellow, and purple turnips. Radishes too, are colorful. We have red China Rose, White Daikons, Long Black Spanish, and my favorite, a green one with a bright red, sunburst color flesh. It is called Watermelon Radish, Misota red, or Red Meat, depending on where you buy the seed. Rutabagas are a yellow-fleshed root similar to turnips.

The rest is in cover crops of wheat and vetch, along with a field of barley. I guess I’ll sow these gardens back into hay crops after the winter kills back the greens. The soil is great, and will stay great in grass. Maybe I’ll get to garden here again, someday.

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Appreciating Macon County

 

            There are those in Macon County who seem to be unable to appreciate the good about our county.  We are growing faster than any rural county in Middle Tennessee, but many fail to appreciate our excellent quality of life.  Some want to dismantle the good and substitute for it that which is inferior.

            Lafayette continues to grow at a rapid rate and can truly boast of numerous quality amenities. 

            Our county would have been nothing if it had not been for Tri-County and North Central.  Both are ahead of the times and are the envy of many rural areas.

            An excellent small hospital, a great ambulance service, and Air Evac have made us more secure and saved lives.

            The two nursing homes and the two assisted living facilities are some of the best in the entire area.

            Though we prefer not to think of funeral homes, but must at times, Anderson & Son and Alexander are owned and operated by some great people.  In RBS, we love and appreciate Wayne Anderson and his wife LeAnn.

            It is unreal how much the Nestle Water Plant has contributed to the welfare of Macon County.  We owe a debt of gratitude to John Cook for his vision and work in recruiting this company.

            The shopping area in Lafayette has brought in thousands and thousands of tax dollars in recent years.

            And I’m not boasting, but stating the fact, there is no better school system in the area than in Macon County.  The majority of administrators and teachers are excellent and work hard.  Some of our students go to top notch colleges and universities.  From RBS, which I know best, students from last year’s graduating class are enrolled at Auburn, Memphis State, and Tennessee Tech.

            And I dare anyone to find better banks anywhere than Macon Bank and Citizens Bank—both have enhanced Macon’s economy.  It was a great day, several years ago, when Bill Green and Charlie Darnell took over the reigns of these two banks.

            Consider also how the young farmers of Macon County have made agriculture a vital part of our economy.  You fellows have my admiration and best wishes.     

Oh yes, thanks to Twenty/Twenty of RBS for the beautiful signs entering the town.

            And thanks to the school in RBS for your recent achievements, we are proud of the RBS School and all the other schools beginning with the excellent school at Westside

And thanks to the Macon County law enforcement officers in Lafayette and RBS who continually put themselves in harm’s way to protect our citizens and this great county.

            All of us, including the Westside community, Lafayette, and RBS must cooperate and work toward a more superior county.  We must be unified and we must develop leaders who are capable of keeping up with our progress.

            One more thing, but even most importantly—don’t forget how Christianity has shaped our county into a better place to live.        

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A Nation That Has Forgotten God

 

            Evolution teaches people to deny God.  We have become a nation that has forgotten God.

            1.  We have murdered 30 million unborn babies in the last 20 years.  We call it abortion; the Bible calls it murder.

            2.  The Bible says that homosexuality is contrary to nature and God (Romans 1:27).  We call it gay or alternate lifestyle—the Bible calls in an abomination.

            3.  The United States uses more grain to make alcohol than to make bread.  For every dollar collected for alcohol taxes, it costs $11.64 to only try to repair the damage done by drinking. 

            4.  The Bible speaks of drunkenness.  We call it alcoholism, sickness, or disease.  The Bible calls it sin.

            5.  Crime in our country costs taxpayers 2 billion dollars per year—53% of all crime is caused by alcohol drink.

                                    From the Voice of Truth, Volume 27

                                    By Kenneth McClain           

                                    Thanks to Mr. McClain for his sobering truths—Jimmy Cook

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Liberal Democrat’s Attack on Christianity

The religious freedom granted by the Constitution is continually under attack by the liberal democrats.  Prayers have been removed from school walls.  Countless school districts have been sued for not complying with anti-Christian rules.  Obama stopped the National Day of prayer.  Obama and his followers leave out the term “under God” when they say the “Pledge of Allegiance.”  The grinning monkey does too; Biden that is, but did he did not leave it out prior to Obama?  Nope!  But forgive him, for he knows no better.

            I don’t appreciate any politician attacking my religion—Christianity and I don’t intend to stand by and allow it to happen; that is, without a rebuttal.

            The liberal Democrats are killing the Democrat party.

            And all who vote to give Obama four more years are voting against both their children and grandchildren.  America cannot stand four more years of what she has experienced.

            Obama cannot bring down America unless we allow him to do it.  If this country falls, it will be our fault. 

GOD BLESS AMERICA!

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Southeast Biodynamic Association

The Southeast Biodynamic Association was formed after our first annual conference in 1987. Realizing the value of shared experiences and observations, we agreed to gather together regularly, we think we are celebrating our silver anniversary, but our accounting may be off. Harvey Lisle called us the rebels, and insisted we hold our own conference. He had been involved with biodynamics since 1950, and was referring to the independent nature of Hugh Lovel, Hugh Courtney and me, who all lived in the south. Harvey’s own open-mindedness, mirth and spirituality certainly guided our group, and he never missed a conference and the opportunity to spring forth new ideas. Hugh Lovel hosted the first nine conferences in Blairsville, Georgia. Each year Hugh Courtney would focus on one of the nine preparations and we learned hands on how to make them. There were other lectures and workshops, and we did not shy away from controversial subjects. Waldorf teachers, Anthroposophical doctors and many other students of Rudolf Steiner kept a lively flow of conversations going. From the very start we agreed on one thing, we had to be on a farm eating our own food. We understand that the bridge between thinking and activity required proper nutrition. It would do no good to offer education without biodynamic farm and food to feel the difference and inspire commitment. Every August I loaded up the pickup truck with melons tomatoes and whatever else Hugh didn’t grow, and made the trip to Georgia. Everything from the breads and beans to the meat and diary was grown on our farms, and the meals were stellar. A festival atmosphere was created, mimicking the words used in the agriculture course regarding their conference. Children playing added to the merriment, and the music and bonfires and eventually a talent show all became as important as the lectures, and the food kept getting better as our soils improved. Forming our association on the last day of our first conference, we agreed on a few principals. The Southeast Biodynamic Association was open to all and required no dues. The conference fee of $100 (which is still the same 25 years later) would be waived if need be. You become a member by attending the party. We organized it using ideas gained from the three-fold social order. On the one hand, free reign was given to spiritual ideas with no strings attached. To do this we use no money, no staff, no newsletter and no rules. On the other hand we promote biodynamics through economics, by creating profitable, model farms. For example, by our farm being Demeter certified for 12 years, the word biodynamic appeared on grocery store shelves all over Tennessee. The many interns from our farms also spread the word, and several now have their own farms and gardens and apprenticeship programs. By 1995 we are hosting the conferences here in Red Boiling Springs. Our association accepts no grants or money, with one exception. The National Biodynamic Association helps us to bring in a lecturer most years. In 2005 we hosted the National Conference, and many folks commented that it was special to be on a farm rather than at a hotel. So here were are 25 years later, celebrating our 25th Southeast Biodynamic Conference. But I think it’d actually our 26th. Were lucky we don’t have accounting to deal with. The word conference has been changed to celebration, and the 150 attending members will no doubt do their best to add to t he festivities. The feeling we have as we go into our 25th (or is it 26th?) year is more of a family reunion. For more info about the conference this weekend can be found at barefootfarmer.com

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“The Way of Man”

“O Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps” (Jeremiah 10:23). Human life is a “way,” a journey, a pilgrimage. But man’s own judgment is not a safe rule to follow. We need guidance from above. We must recognize the governing power of God. No man has the actually power to govern his own life. The problem of today is man’s attempt to live apart from God and his guidance. The politicians in D.C. want us all to live by their guidance and not what God says. For example, preachers are now being threatened, that if on October 7 they preach against homosexuality, of being arrested and the church where they preach of losing its tax exemption on their contributions. You see, there is a movement across the nation for all preachers to denounce homosexuality as a sin on October 7, and the administration in Washington is warning what will happen if and when they do. It is a Constitutional right to preach the Bible, and Romans chapter 1 is part of the Bible that declares homosexuality to be a sin. So what this boils down to is who are we going to listen to, God or the Democrats? It was during the Johnson Administration that this law was passed by the Democrats denying preachers the right to denounce certain sins claiming it to be political and not religious. I’m going to listen to God, not man. What about you? Politicians and their followers can murder babies, encourage same sex marriage, and sell guns to Mexico, which were used to kill Americans and get by with it, but the judgment isn’t being held today, it will come later, and they will not escape. The eleventh commandment is this: “Thou shalt not get away with it.” God Bless America

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Master Gardeners

I love the people involved in the Master Gardeners Program.  Their curiosity has led them to take courses in horticulture from State University professors, and to help out in community gardening projects. I’ve lectured to master gardeners in many of Middle Tennessee.

The extension agent opened up the meeting. They were planning a field trip to Lexington to visit the labs where diseases are identified. The information in the Master Gardeners educational material stems from research on chemicals in agriculture, funded by chemical companies.

Apparently the “Volunteer Gardener” TV show gets aired in Kentucky because they all knew me. I started out by asking for questions, and was still trying to answer them three hours later. These folks came to learn.

I explain botany, microbiology and chemistry in simple examples from the garden. How a plant grows and its interaction with microbes and nutrients is a fascinating subject. Illuminating the causes for phenomenon experienced in their own gardens was deeply satisfying for all of us.

Many took notes. One lady claimed afterward to have five pages of them. These folks were craving information on how to garden organically. There seems to be much confusion about chemicals, and concern over their safety. They said a field trip to my farm would e much more to their liking.

Soil structure differs widely, depending on how we treat our ground. I can feel soil and  tell how it will grow plants. When it’s soft and silky, colloidal and crumbly, and not stuck together in clods and clumps, plants will thrive.

We stepped outside to look at the four by four gardens enclosed in boards and mulched in between by wood chips. The soil was weary from chemical use, packed and crusty, dry and lifeless. I had to look elsewhere to show them what I was talking about.

Underneath a nearby fence I dug out a clump of grass. Here we would see the beginnings of soil remediation. It was latticed with roots and had bugs and worms, but I could tell chemicals had been used.

It’s a shame, but understandable, that chemical companies fund agriculture education.  They make incredible amounts of money in return for their investment. It’s an honor to be able to teach a more natural approach to gardening, and a hopeful sign that people are so eager to learn and pursue it. The extension agent agreed with much of my talk, gave me a hat and made me an honorary extension agent for the University of Kentcky. But don’t tell Monsanto.

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Our Certain World

            Many walk in a world of uncertainty because they are afflicted with Forrest Gump’s attitude: “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get.”  While we live in an uncertain world, but for the Christian it is also certain, for God is on His throne: “Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth!”  (Revelation 19:6).

            Every morning when Christians get up they can know that God is on His throne.  Sometimes we behave as though God has vacated His throne.  It appears to us as though evil is controlling God’s world.

            Things were not good for the apostle John when he wrote the Book of Revelation.  In fact, he was a prisoner of Rome.  He had been exiled to the Island of Patmos because he refused to say, “Caesar is on the throne;” instead he said, “God is on the throne.”

            Some D.C. politician isn’t on the throne.  God is on the throne, and we can count on Him, for He is a high-performance God.  Though we live in a world of many uncertain things, there are certain things we can depend on, and the greatest certainty of all is the fact that God is on His throne, and the final decision as to what will happen to this world is in His hands.

            In the month of November, Americans will decide on righteousness or unrighteousness.  We need to turn to God for help, as we shoulder our responsibility to help get this nation back on track, for right now it is a run-a-way train, traveling on a broken track.

            We cannot afford four more years of the same.  God is on His throne and we must pray to Him for help.

            God Bless America!

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Seven French Fries, But Hold the Hamburger

The lavishly dressed wives of D.C. politicians have decided that the children and youth of America are too fat and they intend to do something about it.  Apparently, some of them haven’t looked into the mirror lately.  It doesn’t bother them when their husband’s pilots crank up the government planes and away they go on a spending spree, including $200 steaks and $100 cocktails, and all at the expense of the American taxpayer, while the poor little children of our nation eat their seven French fries.  That’s right, the do-good liberals of D.C. have exerted enough influence over the federal powers that be to hand down to the school systems of American a daily menu that is robbing our children of food and sending them home hungry.  And when they have hamburgers on the menu they can’t have French fries.  They have to be on separate menus.  Fries, but not with hamburger, and there can be no more than seven fries.  Suppose a compassionate cook were to place 10 fries on a child’s plate, what would be her punishment—10 days in BI without pay?

            I doubt if the President’s family dines without the traditional hamburger and fries.  Keep it up do-gooders, all liberal Democrats, and ya’ll will make Republicans out of America’s children.

            We know being fat isn’t good for us but, the last time I checked, we are living in America.  So living in America we have the freedom to eat what we want and as much as we can hold.  I’m not trying to promote bad eating habits, but I don’t like the direction our country is going—A King, and the rest of us peasants.

            Sorry, ladies and gentlemen, but I “ain’t” cooperating.

            Michelle and all the other ladies in D.C. need to come and visit the Upper Cumberland’s poor school children and watch them eat breakfast on a Monday morning after having gone a weekend without food.

            By the way, you Country Club Republicans who have jello in your back bones are no better than the liberal Democrats who have ruined this country and are on the way to destroying it; you should call the hand of the these menu changers.

            These people are an oxymoron—eating the best of foods while America’s children go hungry.  Our government has authorized food stamps for Mexico; but put our children on a low calorie diet—too low.

            Please be advised that the local school system didn’t plan these menus.  No, they were hatched in D.C. 

            God Bless America!

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