Sunday, February 19, 2006

Surviving the Cold

After yesterday mornings low temperatures I was anxious to see how the critters fared during the night. All was well. Today however one rooster is looking like his wattles got bit pretty good by the cold. We'll be keeping an eye on him.

I am always amazed at how well the ducks and geese fare in the cold. We use tubs for water which all the poultry share and the ducks and geese usually pick one to bathe in. Temperatures are considerably warmer inside the green house but, even so, that's got to be a cold bath. They seem happy as could be, splashing and dunking themselves in the chilly water. Sometimes they go out of the green house late at night when the moon is bright,
seemly enjoying wandering about the snow covered yard dusting themselves in the powdery white. They visit with each other quacking and honking under the moon light.

Chickens on the other hand aren't near as hardy as the water fowl in winter. Their combs and wattles turn black on the ends. Those frost bitten spots wither away in time. That usually happens with the ones that have larger combs and wattles. Once they shrink down closer to the body they then do much better. The chickens that have small combs and wattles do the best. We have an aracauna rooster which lost the ends of some toes last winter but, he is no worse the wear and is still going strong. Even without the toes he is near the top of the pecking order.

My Siberian Husky Apollo, does very well in the cold, he seldom goes in his dog house except for the coldest times and if I am out so is he, looking for a walk or treat. I like to have him pull me while I'm on my cross-country ski's.

Being Stretched

The past 3 or 4 months for me have been filled with lots of new possibilities and has been a time of intense soul searching. Last Fall we were looking into expanding our trash business which would require an amount of money to have to borrow. Our criteria was going to be that if we couldn't do it with out mortgaging the farm then we wouldn't do it. We found a bank who would loan us money based on our word and consistent track record. So all I had to do was find the right equipment for the right amounts. The search even took us on a fast trip to Iowa. But, still didn't find exactly what we were after.

Then all in one week I was approached by two different individuals who wanted to sell me their business'. One was exactly the same type of business that we already do and the other was slightly different but, in the same field. So that took us in a different direction at that time, as we had to look into all the ins and outs of buying a business. We had to ask, how much is it worth? We had to look at their profit and loss schedules and so forth. Lots of things to consider and lots of money involved. Again we were committed to not mortgaging the farm. If we couldn't do that then we weren't going to do it.

It was a very tempting thought though, because we would almost certainly get the money if we put up the farm. And the cash flow would have helped us out tremendously. So after many weeks of investigation and soul searching we came to the conclusion that on one of them we definitely weren't interested. The second one, the one exactly the same as our current business, we were interested in. I offered the fellow half what he was asking. That was the only way I could see doing it without taking out a mortgage. Turned out, he wouldn't negotiate because he had someone else who would give him his full amount if we didn't want it. So I told him to go for it. As far as I know the other person is going to buy it. Doesn't hurt my feelings in the least bit.

We had kind of put out a fleece with our criteria of not mortgaging the farm and we felt good about not buying either of the business'. Not that it wasn't tempting. Like I mentioned the cash flow would have been tremendous and not struggling anymore financially seemed mighty attractive.

This was a whole new experience for me personally and it has been a time where I have been being stretched. Wheeling and dealing does not come naturally in the least bit. And I had to do a lot of praying and thinking about my convictions. I had to determine if this was going to put me smack dab back into the rat race or not. If it was, even if the money would have been better, I didn't want to get into it.

Still, we are at a point were we have to get better equipment to take care of our business. At our current rate of growth by July, I figure we won't be able to handle it with the one ton truck we have been using. We have been doing the trash route for over 5 years now and every year has been better than the last. In 2005 we did 21% more business than we did in 2004. Once we got to a certain point it began to increase substantially. One of our customers who roots us on all the time said, it takes 5 years for a business to get off the ground.

So now we are kind of back to square one. I have to regear myself to get back to the previous equipment search all the while prayerfully considering if it is the right thing to do. There is so much we want to do with the farm and still wonder if the trash route is the right direction to go. It gives us a consistent income but does take away from my time at home. One thought has been to expand it enough that I could hire someone to run the route freeing me up to take care of other things. Still there is a lot of responsibility with hiring help as well. The main goal would be to fund our farm endeavors. Yet, if homesteading takes outside funding is that the right thing?

Doing this web logging has also been a time of stretching for me. It requires me to have to really think hard about what I believe and what my values are before I put it down for the whole world to see. I've done lots of journaling over the years but, this is entirely new for me. Although there are many kindred spirits, people still see things from different perspectives and I want to be sensitive to that also. Like my take on the end times. I took it for granted that most folks had the same outlook on it as I do, but come to find out there are other perspectives. The lenses we look at life through, gives us quite different viewpoints indeed. Like me having a premillenial view of the last days makes me look at all this NAIS stuff entirely different than someone who holds to a post millennial position I would imagine. It all depends on perspective. On what angle we are coming from.

This National ID thing has got me thinking a lot too. Gives me a sick feeling in my gut. I want to fight it and I'm doing more to inform people about this than I ever have on any other topic in my life. I think it is going to be bad for all of us, even people who have no interest in growing their own food. We all have to eat. And that's where they'll get us.

Recently, I was contacted by a man who was reading this blog. He is from a group called Twelve Tribes. He and his wife want to come see us. Kind of puts you on guard when a total stranger from the internet wants to come for a visit. He sent me some pictures and some website links that tell what they are all about. They are a group that believes in completely denying yourself and taking up your cross and following Christ. They believe in Christian community. They believe in loving their neighbor. They are trying to get back to be like the first century church in the book of Acts. So far I'm saying, right on. But, then you look a little closer and it seems they are pretty exclusive in their beliefs. Like they are the only ones that are true believers. Seems they are saying that pretty much no one since the days of the first century church have there been true Christians. That is until now. Now that their little group has come into existence about 30 or so years ago.

So at that point it's starting to look like a cult to me. Actually the first impression was that it was a cult, then after looking at all the first century church stuff it seemed like, well maybe they weren't. I'm no biblical scholar by any means, but something seems to be not right with them. I'm not positive if they are being that inclusive or not but, it seems like they are. The cult alarms ringing in my head. Although the couple that contacted us seem real nice, we don't really want to get mixed up with a group like that, so I don't imagine were going to extend an invitation.

So these past months I've had tons of stuff to think about. Everything from business to faith and everything else in between, not to mention an on going family crisis that has taken up much of our attention. I can hardly believe I've found as much time as I have to do all this web logging. The family crisis has settled down for the time being but, I'm not holding my breath.

I'm still enjoying reading all these agrarian blogs. This truly is the information age. One of these days I'm going to see if I can print out some of the blogs so that I can read them without sitting in front of this bloomin computer screen. Can't be good for the eyes. Actually there is lead in the glass to help protect us from the radiation. I learned that from having the trash route. It's an issue getting rid of old monitors because of the lead.

Steven of Mountain Fire Keeper blog said he was already starting seeds. Sounds like a good thing to think about this week. Maybe I'll go plant something.

Until Next Time


Blogger Emily said...

Looks like I'm one of those who disagrees with your pre-mil position but I won't hold it against you. ;^D
Just want to encourage you, Russ, to keep seeking the Lord and His will as you make the decisions that will impact your family's future. My husband owns his own business as well; he's a commercial painter, and has to make difficult judgments on an ongoing basis. A couple of promises that to hold fast to:

"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." - Matthew 6:33

"If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him." - James 1:5

May Christ be glorified in your life!

3:21 PM  
Blogger RL said...


Thanks so much for the encouragement.

I'm pretty sure there is a verse in the bible that says something like this, "as iron sharpens iron so one man sharpens another". This agrarian blogging community does just that. Even if we don't all have exactly the same theology it's still an edifying and encouraging place to find common ground.

Those are some great verses by the way.

Your Brother In Christ,

9:29 PM  
Blogger Scott Holtzman said...


Enjoyed catching up on you blog, been off "tending the irons" myself as of late.
I checked out the info on the 12 T's, seemed a tad bit 'sketchy' to me too.......sure like their fancy multimedia presentation though......
internet makes for a great source for researching things.........

All the best with the business, as I like what Herrick said about the little Italian Farmers wisdom "Little by slow, little by slow..."

I always say when 'stretched' about things, "Growing Pains are Good!"

Keeps the mental outlook positive.

3:08 AM  
Blogger RL said...

Thanks for the input Scott.

About "12 T's", at face value they seem like an alright group but, the further you dig into it the more like a cult they seem. Complete with charismatic leader, who they regard as some kind of prophet, if I understand correctly.

Hows those eggs coming along?


4:50 PM  
Blogger David Derush said...

I am the man who "put Russ on guard" by contacting him and suggesting a visit.
People who are so satisfied with their spirtual status quo, that they won't take risks to find something better...such people don't deserve to find anything better than what they now have.

To have a real context to love one another just as Jesus loved His disciples...and to live as one with others, in the kind of unity Jesus has with the me, that was worth everything to find...and I was willing to gladly risk all to find it.

But most people would rather just survive. And you know what? That is about all they will do.

It would have been nice to visit you, Russ. Too bad you are too complacent and too timid to take the risk.


9:47 PM  
Blogger Praxaluh said...

Greetings :-)

And it is too bad that David Derush ends here as simply a false accuser.

Ironically, he talks about "Jesus loved His disciples.....the kind of unity Jesus has with the Father..." yet folks know that the Twelve Tribes actually attack the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.

They placed a reference to bogus 'authorities' that equate the name of Jesus with the name of zeus, and even when they reluctantly agreed that it was bogus, they still have the reference on web-sites and literature, to deceive their members, (who use a hybrid hodge-podge that is not a name in any language), and the unwary.

Beware of those who come with a smile, and yet attack the name of our Messiah, given in the New Testament scriptures, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Thanks :-)

Colossians 3:17
And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

Steven Avery

4:57 PM  

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