Thursday, December 14, 2006

1st Year !

This month marks one full year since we’ve had this here blog going and what a year it’s been. Actually I’ve just barely scratched the surface of all the things I wanted to talk about here. The first few months I hit the ground running with pretty consistent postings, then once spring got here I kind of dropped the ball and still haven’t quite gotten back up to speed. I found that through the summer with the long days and lots to do out side, blogging got put on the back burner.

Though many of our goals did not get met this year we still had a full one nonetheless. We got a late start on our garden and despite our neglect it came through and we were blessed with an abundant harvest. My dad and I got to do some more work on our slip-form stone masonry project and though we aren’t quite finished yet we are a lot closer to being done than we were at the beginning of the year. Maybe 07 will be our big year.

Maybe we can even get the pond dug out.
I think I touched briefly in a past post about this particular project. My dad and I are building a dam with stone and mortar retaining walls were we can drive across. We jokingly call it the dam bridge project. I had intended on doing a post just about that but, here it is December already. Perhaps I’ll make a post about it soon now that I have more time to get back to blogging.

It’s been quite a blessing to have found all the terrific agrarian folks out there, though spread out all around the country are brought together by the technology of computers and the internet. It is said that this is the information age but, with the advent of web logging it is also a time of gathering for folks of like mind and similar interests. I suppose the main thing exchanged is indeed information but, it is also a place for encouragement and mutual edification.

A few months back I had finally bought some Joel Salatin books from Cumberland Books and have been enjoying those. I like how Salatin interjects a lot of philosophy into his writings. It takes a strong philosophy to go against the flow and step out and do something different than the mainstream society. Without philosophical moorings you can easily be swept back along by the culture at large with all it‘s worldly trappings and influence.

I knew we weren’t doing our poultry right by keeping them in the same place all the time but, after reading Salatins books I REALLY know it now. We’ve had our poultry in the same spot for years now and it is a perfect example of what NOT to do. The ground is all packed down and the health and vitality of our flock just isn’t what it could be if we moved them around regularly. We have another hoop house that we’ve never put up yet and I want to make it into one that can be moved around from place to place and do Salatins pastured poultry model. Though I don’t imagine we’ll ever be raising thousands of birds like he does.

This has truly been a year of soul searching for me. We’ve been working hard trying to get our business to run right but, I am ever coming to the realization that what I really want to do is spend more time here at the farm. If we keep on in the trash business hiring a driver is going to have to be a main priority because frankly I’m spending just too much time away from where I want and need to be.

Recently we bought a real garbage truck. A 6 yard compactor with a recycling area. It’s way better than using a pickup truck but, we’re having to work the bugs out of it. The truck has a lot of miles on it and the transmission already went out after using it just one month. But, we got the truck for a very reasonable amount and even with having to rebuild the tranny we are still doing alright. Right now as it stands I think we could make a few bucks on it if we were to sell it.
Once we get the new truck up and operating in regards to making the route more efficient we can then concentrate on getting a driver. That has to be the main objective. For over 6 years now I’ve been the only one. No vacations or sick days allowed. Not the kind of life I envisioned before we moved to the farm.

No, it’s going to have to be a team effort. Obviously it will take a big chunk of the profits to pay for some help but, in the end I think it will work out to the good financially. Two or three get a better return for their labor than someone working by themselves. That’s a biblical concept by the way.

In recent months I have seriously considered quitting the business or trying to sell it but, at least for now we feel like we should keep it going. It connects us with the community in a way that we never would be otherwise. Kelli and I were really encouraged after having raised our rates. We raised the rates in order to afford the payments on better equipment, but we feared we would lose a substantial number of customers. To date we only lost two and one of them may come back later anyway. And not only did we not lose many customers but, we got all kinds of positive comments and pats on the back telling us what a good job we we’ve been doing. People have been very supportive and have shared in our excitement of us finally getting a more suitable truck. We were extremely touched by how everyone has encouraged us and have rallied around us. God must still have a plan.

I would like to look ahead to the coming new year, make our plans and say we are going to do this or that, but I’m going to try real hard to refrain. It seems every time I try to set goals and predict what we are going to do, plans have a way of being changed. It seems I really can’t predict much of anything. In my last post I said it looked like we were surely going to have a white Christmas. Well wouldn’t you know that I have to eat my words yet again. We had a warm up, and some rain, and as of today, most of our snow has vanished. I’m not even going to try and guess whether or not we will have snow for Christmas. A profit I am not that’s for sure.

I always say there are more things I want to do here than I have lifetime to do it in. But, I guess you just keep chipping away at it and over time maybe your dream will look just a little bit like what you envisioned. However, my convictions have not changed much at all. I still feel that God is calling people out of Babylon you might say. Folks of all walks of life seem to sense that something about this modern world just isn’t right. We’ve come a long, long way from our roots and are finding that whole corporate industrial complex just isn’t enough to satisfy the deep yearnings of the soul. That is, to be close to nature. To live a slower paced life. To spend the short time we have on this earth doing something productive and meaningful. For most folks you just can’t find that kind of life in the 9 to 5 work a day lifestyle.

Well, as we keep plugging away, trying to stay out of the worldly system I’ll try to keep making it back to this computer screen periodically and let you all know how it’s going and how it’s been going. Come to think of it there’s still a lot more stories I have yet to share with you about our lives here in the great North Woods of Wisconsin. We’ve been here long enough to just about get our kids raised. Our youngest is already 15 years old. And our middle child is soon to be married. Wow! Tell you the truth I’m not really sure I can keep up with it all on this here blog but, I reckon I’ll try. It’ll be fun.

Oh, and if I don’t’ get a chance to make another post before we turn the calendar. May you all have a very Merry Christmas and a safe and Happy New Year!

Until Next Time


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Russ!

Good to hear from you again!

I for one, appreciate hearing about your trials and perserverance thru it all. Come what may.........

May the Lord continue to bless you and your family thru this coming year!

We have about 4 inches of light snow here so it does look like winter. The temps this past week have been unusually mild. Supposed to get colder over the weekend.

My woodpile and pantry still look really impressive so it doesn't much matter if winter gets serious or not.

Let your light shine!

8:57 PM  
Blogger Patti said...

I do enjoy your posts! Happy aniversery!!!

9:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Russ!
Has it been a year already??!! I remember when you first came on board, had a good feeling about it and it sure proved out right!!
No snow here yet, but I'm sure someday we'll be hit. Looking forward to your next year blogging!
God Bless

8:17 PM  
Blogger RL said...

Hey Steven,
Thanks! Glad to hear that you are well stocked for the winter!

Our weather forecast is calling for 5 to 8 inches of snow for tonight so we might have a white Christmas after all. My family and I love having snow for the Holidays. Puts us in the Christmas spirit I guess.

Thanks for the comment! Very encouraging!

Howdy Tom,
Yep, time sure flies doesn't it? I have greatly appreciated your comments, not to mention having thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog as well. I'm glad you decided to keep it going.


10:22 AM  
Blogger Walter Jeffries said...

Very impressive stonework! Keep on keeping....

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

in Vermont

5:53 PM  
Blogger RL said...

Hey Walter,
Thanks for the comment!
One of these days I'll get around to making a post about our project.


11:34 PM  
Blogger Emily said...

Hi Russ! I wanted to stop by and wish you and your family a blessed and happy new year. Interesting that you should speak of not making plans for the coming year. I have learned a hard lesson, and I hope never again to rush ahead heedlessly with my own plans without seeking the Lord's guidance and blessing. Let's pray that we all seek Him and His kingdom first, and that He will lead us with wisdom and grace!

8:43 PM  
Blogger RL said...

Hi Emily,
I suppose the hard lesson's are the ones that we learn the most from. If I had a nickle for all the hard lesson's, well I guess I'd have alot of nickles. :)

Sometimes it seems I keep going over the same old lesson's.
I'm pretty thick headed sometimes. Good thing the Lord has lots of patience.

Amen to seeking Him and His Kingdom first and to being led by His wisdom and grace!

God Bless


11:47 PM  
Blogger Herrick Kimball said...

Hi Russ,

Well here's a belated happy first year of blogging congratulations!

I greatly appreciate your perspective. Unfortunately I don't visit fellow agrarian blogs in a timely way (thus the late congrats), but I do eventually get around and catch up on the reading.

I am impressed with the slipform work you posted pictures of. That is something I have always wanted to do. Perhaps you can write about it sometime in your second year?

Sincere best wishes!!

5:28 PM  

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