Sunday, June 11, 2006

Un-Intended Absence

My mind has been mush for at least the past couple months. I think it’s been from the longer days and being outside more and just being plain tired when I settle down in the evenings. Plus we restructured our trash route and I’ve been getting used to the new routine. I don’t do well with change.

So suffice it to say it has been difficult to translate my thoughts to this computer key board via my two fingers. Yes I confess, I am a two fingered typer. I’m not saying I have just two fingers, mind you. I still have all the ten digits that I came into the world with. But, every word you see here on this blog came to be by using just one finger on each hand. Back in Junior High I learned how to type the right way but, that skill has long been forgotten. Every now and then I will try to type on the key board using all my fingers like you are supposed to but, I only wind up slowing down and making alot more mistakes. I actually surprise myself at how fast I can type with two fingers.

As usual life isn’t going necessarily as expected or wanted this season. As I go about each day just taking care of everything and running our little trash business, I’ve been in deep thought about the tension between the ever encroaching modern civilization and trying to live a more simple life. The modern influence is spreading the globe like a wild fire so it seems. As hard as we try to separate and insulate ourselves from it all it is near to impossible to come away from it entirely. The world is getting smaller and smaller through the advent of global and instantaneous communication. Globalism is the mantra of our present day. Idea’s and trends be they good or bad in today’s world can travel the globe like in no other time in history.

Just last week my family was driving across Wisconsin to accompany a friend to a Christian camp which he is working at this summer and they came across a sight to behold. It was this Amish buggy tied to a lamp post in a Wal-Mart parking lot. They watched from a distance as the couple carried their bags to their trusty mode of transportation and climbed on board for the ride home. Wow! What a culture clash! This photo shows the exact thing that’s been on my mind these past months. I just wish they could have gotten a different angle on the picture to show the Wal-Mart sign in the background. But I’m glad they at least got this shot because it illustrates perfectly what I’m talking about.

The pressures to partake in this present “consumer” ( there’s that word again) culture are enormous. The temptation to buy what you need, easily and at a discounted price regardless of the moral implications is beyond compare. I think of how many local business’ I watched close their doors after “Super” Wal-Mart opened up in Rhinelander. Not to mention all the things that are going on behind the scenes regarding Wal-Mart’s business practices with the way it goes about obtaining their “discounted” merchandise. Once again we see yet another example of the destructive consequences of rampant materialism and greed. In time I believe this type of business practice will degenerate our society, not build it up. We might pay for things cheaply now, but we will pass on the cost to our children later on I’m afraid.

For me I feel this constant tension between how I feel we should live verses how we are actually living. With our have it now society we are not looking to the long term consequences of our lifestyles. Naturally we want to buy cheap and maximize our the buying power of our hard earned dollars. But, at what price? The real costs are hidden.

I suppose this topic is a reoccurring theme on this blog of mine but, it is something that’s on my mind a lot while living here in this place. It seems I am always pondering these things as I try to be totally honest with God and myself in all my endeavors. I always think of the philosophy behind what ever I am doing. I always wonder if what I am doing is a worthy thing to spend my time and energy on during these short days that I am here on this earth. Time is so fleeting. Does my life honor God? Is what I’m doing pleasing to Him? How does all this count from an eternal perspective?

It is very important to me that my life counts for something. I want to live for a higher purpose than simply living for my own personal gratification. This desire runs in stark contrast to the message the world is telling us. The whole agrarian lifestyle runs in stark contrast to the whole worldly way of things. I guess what I struggle with is undoing a life time worth of bad idea’s that have been ingrained into my head just about from birth. I mean really deep down I’m still a city kid trying to live in the country.

It’s not easy to totally change a way of thinking that has been with you your entire life. Whether we like it or not we are a product of the society we grow up in with all it’s unspoken rules and customs. The struggle I find myself in really is in the attempt to deprogram myself from years and years of unbiblical brainwashing that the culture at large has imposed upon me. I say imposed because there was truly a conscious effort on the part of government institutions via the public school system to mold in me in way that would fit in with their economy. I was a part of the whole mass production of suitable workers scheme of which I flat out rejected even as a young child. I was in the “first grade” when I realized that was a boat I did not want to be in. But, unfortunately what choice does a first grader have. I faked sick as much as I possibly could get away with, but I new a few really rebellious kids who actually played hooky. Of course they were labeled as being bad kids and were always in trouble. The fact of the matter was, that as much as the school tried, they just couldn’t get them to fit the mold.

I see this tension and confusion with the system even in families who try to do what’s best for their children and home school them. Just about every family including us that I’ve seen, when they start home schooling they try to have little reproductions of the public school model. Still trying to public school, only at home. Most that I see eventually lighten up and develop a style that fits their own personal needs and circumstances. That to me is the best way to go. After all we hope for something better for our kids. Why adhere to a model that is only designed to make them conform to a system that we disagree with anyway. But, that’s how deep the brainwashing has gone. We don’t know any different. Only what we have been taught.

That is the struggle I see in all of this. From home schooling to homesteading. There is most definitely a tension. A clash of two worlds. There has to be an undoing in our way of thinking that the culture at large, the whole ungodly system has ingrained into each and every one of us.
Whew! Now that I got all that down with the system stuff off my chest I feel a little better. My brain doesn’t feel as mushy as when I sat down at this computer monitor.

Not much new to tell as far as life on the farm. We did lose one of those cute little lambs that I mentioned previously on another post. It was the little whitish colored one. Apparently it had some digestive problems and wasn’t processing the formula. We went back to the breeder to get a replacement and wound up getting another lamb as well. So now we have 3 lambs happily grazing away on all this years lush green grass. This is an excellent grass year here.

We are still in the process of planting our garden. We like the Elliot Coleman “don’t worry be happy” approach to gardening so we tend to keep planting stuff throughout the season.

My Dad and I are doing some more experimenting with slip form stone masonry. We are attempting to finish a project that we started back in 2004. We didn’t touch it at all last year so it feels good to get back at it this year. When I find the time I’ll try to post some pictures of the project. As it is right now I’ve spent too much time on this post and I’d better get going before the day is completely gone.

I hope all is well with all my blogging friends out there.
God bless and may your gardens and vines be abundantly overflowing.

Until Next Time


Blogger Peggy said...

Have enjoyed reading your blog!

4:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi there!!

Glad you are back after your lil vacation from the keyboard---resting those 2 fingers no doubt.......

I certainly know how you feel with the continual tug-of-war that these 2 very different ways of life have on my head and heart.

I'm getting to the point that I detest going into a store. I do have to admit that I still enjoy shopping for shop and homestead tools but we hope to start our own little 'homestead garden center and general store. I picture offering garden plants, nursery stock, produce and berries at the garden center and then offer homesteadning tools and supplies to anyone interested as well.

Our little town is getting a Wal Mart and even my homesteading friends are looking forward to the "lower prices".

My biggest moral battle is with buying petroleum products. I feel a strong sense of personal guilt for the evil that is being done to support our 'easy motoring' way of life.

Guess it was my turn to rant.

Glad to see you again1 May God guide and direct your steps always!

Your friend,

8:01 PM  
Blogger Lynn Bartlett said...

Hi Russ,
As Steve mentioned, our town of 2,000 is getting a Wal-Mart Super Center. I feel badly, as the 2 locally owned grocery stores will most certainly go out of business. There is so much fighting going on between the local business people and others who state, "You can't stop progress." The local newspaper has editorals every week where one person pits himself against another. Last week the mayor himself blasted one of the business owners! I know we would shop there, because there is nowhere else to shop. The Wal-Mart will be located directly across the street from Pamida, and that will be out of business as soon as Wal-Mart opens. I thought we were moving to the sticks, but it looks like "progress" is moving up to meet us.

10:06 PM  
Blogger RL said...

Hi Peggy,

Hey Steven,
It's nice to know you can relate.

There is a lady down the road from us who started a store similar to the one you describe. She calls it Lynn Ann's Path To Nature. Obviously her name is Lynn Ann. Her husband does landscaping work and she offers alot of yard type plants and trees. It is becoming a big hit in the area.

For me, I don't think I’d go as far as to say I feel personal guilt about using petroleum products but, I do feel a sense of responsibility and have a strong desire to see an alternative fuel developed that would not be so destructive. I think I tend to pass the blame onto the powers that be, who do have the means to create an alternative system. I believe they could do it if they really wanted. I think it boils down to the money, power and politics.

Feel free to drop by and "rant" any time you like my friend.

The more I hear about the business practices of Wal-Mart the more I dislike going there. This year I have been making a conscious effort to make more purchases at one of the local stores who has still survived in spite of the big corporate giant down the road. Actually I find it is much nicer going to the small store since I don't have to walk for miles like I do in the giant "Super" Wal-Mart. Especially if I just have a few items to pick up.

It's a tough call though, when it is so much cheaper buying "Sam’s Choice".

Glad to hear from you all.

7:30 PM  
Blogger Emily said...

“For me I feel this constant tension between how I feel we should live verses how we are actually living.”

Oh, this really speaks to my heart, Russ. There’s an internal tug of war - as Steven put it - for me every time I need to go shopping. The small businesses that I would prefer to frequent are continually going under because they can’t compete with the big boys so what else can we do when it comes to buying essentials? All the more reason to become as self-sufficient as possible and network with others who have goods or services we can pay for or barter. People don’t seem to want to do that (bartering) these days, though. At least in these parts. Just give me the cold hard cash. ~sigh~

You’re so correct in stating that we have been brainwashed. We accept the UNacceptable as our role model and go on to emulate it rather than establishing our own methods fashioned upon our personal needs. What about direction from the Holy Spirit? I see a lot of fear among the homeschoolers I know. They set their standards according to the dictates of modern society. Not to condemn them because it's not so much their fault as the way they've been programmed. Speaking of deprogramming, one of the homeschooling sites I visit offers a course for parents called a Season of Re-Education that assists them in developing a new mindset about teaching their children that is in total opposition to that to which they were exposed in government school. I think that is a necessity because the brainwashing is just so cancerous, it can take years to overcome.

Well, just want to tell you to keep on ranting. You are on the right track. It’s good to see you back, communicating digitally, as it were. Pun intended. ;^D May the Lord bless you as you seek to walk in His way.

8:21 PM  
Blogger RL said...

Thanks Emily,
Boy I wish we would have known about "Season of Re-Education" when our kids were little. But, as it went they settled into something less like government education. Now it seems there are alot more folks with experience at teaching their kids at home than there were then. Alot more good advice and moral support to be found out there.

I would have replied to your comment sooner but, Blogger didn't register that there was another one.

Take Care and God Bless you and yours.


9:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Patrick Klaybor checking in. Thank you for your comments. I would like to add a couple of comments. First of all, although most vegetable oil systems have two tanks, I use a one tank system and mix the proper amount of fuel thinners with the vegetable oil depending on the temperature. I can do this because of the B series Cummins diesel design.
Secondly, my work concerning earth friendly technologies is a direct result of my Christian upbringing and continuing Bible study. Suggested reading: Earthkeeping, a book expounding on the biblical lesson of stewardship.
Peace and all good, Patrick

11:18 AM  

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