Thursday, March 29, 2007

Joel Salatin on Forgiveness

Sunday, March 25, 2007

The Robins Are Back!

In the Northwood’s it’s officially spring time when the robins return. Most of our snow is gone and this weekend we spent some time getting a field ready for our sheep to be moved to from their winter home. What I mean by getting a field ready is that we strung some extra strands of electric fencing to help keep out stray dogs and coyotes. Plus we’ve decided to get a llama since we’ve heard that they make good guard animals.

We’re very happy with the Shetland sheep that we got last year. These are the babies all grown up that we had running around the house.

In the photo above the larger dark one is not a Shetland, it is a Navajo-Churro sheep that was given to us in a trade a couple years back.

And in this picture below is a Muscovy duck that's inside our green house. Notice the hole in the plastic? Our daughter Shalea, who took all these pictures had no idea at that moment that the hole was torn in such a shape as to frame the duck perfectly! What luck!

Friday, March 23, 2007

Kindred Spirits

I just wanted to mention that we posted another blog on our links list at the right side bar. Its Darkwood Farm, a family that is planning a move to the country in NE sometime within the next year. They'll be living on 83 acres in a 1925 farm house. If you would, drop by to give them a hello and word of encouragement. Also I'm sure they'd appreciate your prayers as it's always a big step doing something like this.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Signs Of The Times

Practically my whole life I’ve been waiting and watching for the second coming of Jesus Christ. Sure, people have been looking to that for the past two thousand years right? What makes these times any different someone might ask? I believe there are many things that sets these times apart from the past 20 century’s. I do not intend to sit down here and list everything but, I would like to touch on a few things that even a casual observer would be hard pressed to deny.

The 20th century brought to the world, unprecedented change. Never before in history has there ever been such an explosion of industry, commerce, communication and travel. And in the more recent decades a refining of the whole ever expanding technological apparatus. With the widespread assimilation of information via computers and the world wide web knowledge is surely being increased in these last days.

My grandparents who were born in the early 1900’s remembered seeing their first automobile, first plane etc. And myself being in my 40’s remember a lot of firsts as well such as things in the technological area’s. Like this thing called a computer that I’m sitting in front of right at this very moment. My generation has seen reel to reel tape players, record players, 8 tracks and cassettes all the way to CD’s and MP3 players. Notice all these things are in the realm of communication and the spreading of information. The dawning of the information age.

We often hear how technological breakthroughs are growing exponentially, measured in months rather than in years and decades. A new age really is upon us. I regularly sit in amazement as I watch all the various kinds of vehicular machines traveling to and fro in an ever constant flow almost as if it were some kind of living organism. But, most of us where born into this, the old ones who remember “the good ole days” are passing away and this modern world seems normal. I’m glad that I grew up in close proximity to my grandparents and their brothers and sisters and I remember the stories of what life was like in days gone by. It keeps me constantly aware that, the times, they’re a changing.

As the sophistication of travel and communications grows our world is growing ever smaller. In a positive light this is good in that the gospel of Jesus Christ can go literally to the ends of the earth . On the down side with everything getting more and more globalized evil too can be spread to the utter most ends as well.

Quite some time ago, we were in a small Wisconsin town that many would say was way out in the middle of no where. We were still living in IL at the time and were astonished to see a group of youths sauntering down the sidewalks in the small rural community all dressed up like inner city gang members complete with that angry, challenging look on their faces like their big city counterparts. I wondered, where in the world did they get the idea to be like that? It was pretty obvious, they got it from the mass media. The music they listen to and from television, where else? Or, possibly someone traveled to a city and saw it or moved there from a city but, I would imagine the media plays the biggest role by far. This is just one of the down sides to the shrinking of our world through travel and mass communication.

Never before have we been faced with the kinds of changes that we are seeing in these last days. I’ve always been kind of a technology buff, reading about all the breakthroughs in science and industry. But, the past ten years it seems some kind of Pandora’s box has been opened. Combine that with the loss of respect for all things holy and we are seeing things come to reality that were only imagined in science fiction, suspense and horror stories. Mankind is heading down a slippery slope into an abyss of the bizarre and the unnatural. For instance in the realm of genetics, human beings are tampering with the very building blocks of life like it was some kind of box of tinker toys for them to manipulate and play with, resulting in real life Frankensteinish results. Jim V makes mention of this type of thing on his March 7th post at Northern Farmer about a news article of genetically blending human proteins with rice. The people who are dabbling in these things have lost touch with what is right and wrong. For them there are no moral absolutes. The moral fabric of our society, in every arena, is crumbling down around us.

When we moved to our farm in Wisconsin, I felt freer than I ever have in my life. Finally I was in a place were I had some elbow room and I could breath. We were somewhat insulated from all the trappings of the world. Then came NAIS. The world system caught up with us. And not only that, at about the same time one of our neighbors allowed Cellular One to put up a 3 hundred foot cell tower that looms over our back 40. We had up till then one of the most beautiful sunset horizons that we’ve ever seen. In the winter it’s not so bad with the sun setting much farther south. But in the summer there’s that ugly tower right in the way. However it is the NAIS that disturbs me the most.

I’ve been a little discouraged with homesteading since then. It’s kind of taken the wind out of my sails. It’s such an obnoxious intrusion into our lives and shows us that nothing in this life is truly secure. It can all be taken away at anytime. At the same time the tax burden in our area has gotten worse with each passing year. We own this property free and clear yet the taxes cost over $500 per month. Can you believe that? Shows you who really owns the property. If you don’t pay it they’ll take it away and give it someone else. We’re just renters that’s all.

The signs of the times are all around us. Every facet of life is changing and at a rapid pace. Almost faster than we can even keep up with. Especially since 911. Since September 11, 2001 our world has forever changed and it has set in motion a series of actions and events that are hard to fully comprehend. America is no longer the nation we grew up learning about in school books. The checks and balances that made us free and secure have been made null and void. Maybe the majority aren’t feeling the effects just yet but, give it time. The ground work is being laid for totalitarian control. NAIS is apart of it too. NAIS is a totalitarian system.

Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought they’d go after the food supply first. But, what’s all the fuss, someone might ask? It’s all in the name of food safety, the government and it’s advocates tells us, but those of us who are working hard to be self sustaining understand how diabolical it really is. We’re independent, freedom loving people and this to us looks like yet another thing that is keeping us shackled to the system. However it won’t stop with the food supply, this will spread to everything.

Since finding out about NAIS, I’ve been looking into the ever growing field of RFID technology and the implications are staggering. These people want to chip and track everyone. Period! And why not, the potential for profits are enormous. They want to tag everything, animals, people and every manufactured item. RFID manufacturers are competing at a feverish pace for preeminence in this field. The stakes are exceedingly high. A financial windfall awaits the winners. Right now implantable RFID chips are about the size of a grain of rice. It’s OK for animals but, can’t imagine a lot of people wanting to except something like that under their skin. But, recently I’ve heard of new developments where they’ve miniaturized RFID’s to the point where it can go on like ink. Everyone’s getting tattoos these days so something like that, I can see being excepted .

There’s a lot of talk amongst the agrarian bloggers about the greedy agricultural corporate giants trying to take over with all their genetically modified food, but it is all way bigger than that. You have to do some digging, but when you do, you begin to connect the dots. There’s 911, the war on terror, Afghanistan, Iraq, a possible war with Iran. We may not yet have heard the last of North Korea. Remember the axis of evil? Then there’s the Patriot Act and all the resolutions being passed left and right turning America into a virtual police state in the waiting. Some pretty scary stuff folks!

And we’re willingly going along with it all. After all there is the terror threat, right? The government must be doing an A one job since we haven’t had anymore attacks since 911, right? Who cares about freedom, just so we keep getting that weekly paycheck. Just so we keep up our lifestyles.

The signs of the times are upon us. The New World Order has made a giant step forward since the 2001. The web is buzzing with conspiracy theories and there is talk that even this freedom that we have of freely exchanging thoughts and idea’s is going to come under tight control. Someday in the not too distant future freedom loving people may be considered terrorists. Criticizing the government might put you on a watch list.

Back before I even knew how to turn on a computer I was very suspicious of them and this thing called the internet. Back then most called it the web or world wide web. I thought then and I still do that the internet is definitely more like a web. A web is something that traps. A spider uses it to catch it’s prey. Just like most of technology there’s a down side. I always believed computers were the thing that were going to help usher in the Mark of the Beast system, to make it possible. And by the looks of it, things are right on track.

Recently I’ve been hearing about biometrics being integrated into computers so that you’d have to scan your finger before logging on or going online. Better to identify you with! Last year my brother in-law who lives in IL called us to tell us about a popular food store chain that is now using biometric scanners to identify people. I looked online at the food stores website and sure enough there it was in all it’s glory being touted as the next best thing to make things more convenient. No more need to hassle with credit cards. Just scan your finger and they’d automatically deduct the payment from your checking account! Whew! It’s here folks.

I reckon if it gets to where we’ll have to mind what we say here on this thing then we’ll be unplugging it. But, for right now I’ll keep speaking my heart as best I can and try to use this machine for good. Mountain Fire Keeper recently made several thought provoking posts regarding money which I think ties in with an end times discussion and what our position should be in these coming days. At some point Christians are going to have to make a decision. Who are we going to serve, God or money?

I think we have a little time left to get our hearts and heads right. To get right with God and to strengthen our relationship with the Lord. To get our relationships with each other right. To become proficient at our homesteading skills and our ability to survive apart from the system, so that we might have something to offer others who are in need.

As myself and my family go about our daily lives these are some of the things I think about. I look at the times we’re living in and ponder the implications. I believe there are very dark days ahead just before the coming of the Lord. It is the time of His return that I look forward to. When Jesus comes back he’ll crush the New World Order and put everything to rights. The earth will finally be at peace. “... they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree..." A truly authentic agricultural world.

Until Next Time

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Living By Faith

It’s funny how God will move a person in the direction that he wants them to go. I think he wires a person with certain talents and natural abilities. Much of what we are, in those respects are inborn. Some kids sing and hum while they go about their days playing. Others draw or build things. Most play make believe in some form or fashion. It doesn’t have to be taught, they just do it. Natural talent usually just emerges if given half the chance.

I think God moves us by the things we are attracted to and the things we like to do. I was around 9 or 10 when I first experienced what life was like far, far beyond the sidewalks and highways. We went and visited cousins who had moved to Arkansas to live off the land. We road Mustangs, shot lily pads with 45 revolvers and explored the woods and creeks in that country paradise over 30 years ago. I was hooked from that moment on.

That moment in my childhood set me on a life long pursuit. I just love to be out where I can breath. To be surrounded by natural things. Still, I can almost smell the country air from all those years ago back on that visit to Arkansas.

When we ignore our natural God given inclinations then we rob ourselves of something very dear. When we suppress it too long pretty soon it just becomes buried in our subconscious. Something we used to long for but now has only become a haunting memory. It’s like spiritual gifts that need to be exercised before they can be fully developed. For it to bear fruit up to it’s fullest potential.

For me our pursuit to find land out in the country was a direct answer to the call placed in my heart by the Lord. In that respect I honestly believe we were called to move to this place. We had spent years and had driven thousands of miles searching for property. This is the place that finally came together for us.

God is a God of miracles. All of life is a miracle if you think about it. The fact that you and me even exist is miraculous. But, stuff happens and we often forget to ponder the reality of that. Sometimes I have to make a conscious effort to remember. Especially when we get caught up with the worry’s and concerns of worldly things. The ravens come and steal away the joy of being.

I’m sure we worried more than a few friends and family when we packed it up and moved to Wisconsin without anything here waiting for us (as far as a “job” goes) or even really knowing anybody. But, we believe in miracles. We believe that if we step out in faith then whatever happens we couldn’t be any better off because we are at the very center of Gods will.

I often think about the missionary Jim Elliot and his companions who were martyred deep in the jungles of Ecuador. They took a leap of faith, trusted God. They determined not to defend themselves if they were attacked by the tribal people and it cost them their lives. Most people would see their deaths as a complete disaster, a crying shame. And it was a terrible thing. But, God had a higher purpose and through their deaths was paved they way for many to come to salvation.

When those missionaries went into the jungles to witness to the tribal people I don’t imagine they expected to die. They new there were risks to be sure but I don’t think they went in with the belief that they were going to be martyred. I guess the point I’m getting at is, when we step out in faith the outcome won’t always be what we pictured. Or what everyone else pictured for that matter. People come up with all kinds of expectations but, Gods ways are so much higher than our own. You cannot define success by the worlds standards. If you do that then you will often be disappointed. To live by faith is that you trust God through it all, through the thick and the thin, through the plenty and the lean.

One of the things we felt God was leading us to do was to build a log cabin were we could put up our guests so they’d have a nice and comfortable place to stay. We wanted to provide a getaway for people who needed to come away from the rat race or whatever they needed. It was our conviction that we put that before our own comfort since we were still living in the garage (and still are by the way). As we were in the process of building it our pastor at the time told us of a conversation he had with a local Christian leader. He was telling the man about our project and he said “Oh, they’ll loose their shirts doing that”. I realized that our pastor hadn’t really caught on to the vision we had and or didn’t believe in God the way we did, so I don’t imagine he passed on good information. Nevertheless, what was he saying anyway? He let us know that this respected leader thought we’d “loose our shirts“! They were looking at it from a purely worldly perspective. Not even considering that perhaps we were attempting to live by faith and to live at the very center of Gods will.

Well I can tell you we all still have our shirts and in fact have a quite a few. In fact if you saw the piles of clothes we have on laundry day you’d say that we were doing quite we’ll. The log cabin was indeed built and it stands serving just as we originally imagined. There is a picture of it on the right side bar. One of these days I hope to make a post about the building of it.

We don’t know were God is going to take it. Our daughter Brie and her fiancé’ Scott are considering staying in it for awhile after they are married, until they figure out what they want to do. If God wants to use it to help them, then that too is fine by us. The cabin has been a blessing to scores of folks these past years and will continue into the foreseeable future.

We have many hopes and dreams for our lives here at this place. Things we believe God wants us to do. It may not always turn out like we imagine but, God is leading it nonetheless. There have been many tests along the way to be sure. Like when it doesn’t go like we think do we still trust Him?

Worldly standards of success don’t matter. It is living at the center of Gods will that counts.

Until Next Time