Saturday, July 31, 2010

Stretching fence

7/31/10 Saturday
Worked till it was too dark to see, as I usually seem to do. It was a hot day yesterday so had to come in at 3:30 for a reprieve. Stayed in till about 7:00 when I went back out. Worked on these tomato plants all day and didn’t even get a third of them done. This is just slow tedious work as I prune and cut back the plants, along with untangling them from each other.

Dave is coming over at 9:30 or so to help me stretch some fencing over the posts that have been up for so long. It’s greatly needed and appreciated help. Especially after the dogs raided the lone watermelon I had growing.

I have a headache this morning. There have been lots of headaches lately. There was a bad slowdown, I think yesterday but it could have been the day before, don’t really remember when. Don’t have time to let it slow me down so I’ll push through.

Cherie fixed some eggs so I’ve had breakfast and three cups of coffee and am ready to go. Time to get out there and moving. Have to till or hoe down the weeds where we are stretching the fence.

This morning's sabbath scripture is from Mathew chapter 12.34 For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart. 35 "The good man brings out of his good treasure what is good ; and the evil man brings out of his evil treasure what is evil. 36 "But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment. 37 "For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned."
Last night's sunset

Friday, July 30, 2010

Bees are becoming aggressive

7/30/10 Friday
The bees under our house have become more aggressive. A few weeks ago I saw an angry seeming hoard of bees buzzing in a cloud where they go in and out from under the house. Now I wonder if a different swarm of bees invaded and took the hive over. Cherie got stung two nights ago while in the house. We never found the bee but the stinger was in her arm so we know it was one. Don’t normally find bees in the house these days though there was a time they were finding their way in a lot. Yesterday, as I walked past where they go in and out from, a bee stung me. I’ve noticed that they bump at me more, a practice I read about while researching Africanized bees. We had been contemplating a technique where we lure the hive out from under the house into a regular honey bee hive where we could harvest the honey but I think that won’t happen now. If the feral bees are Africanized then there is nothing desirable there and in fact they have become dangerous. So I’ll buy some foggers and poison them like we did the previous four swarms. We never had the money to buy a bee hive to use to lure them out with so it’s the way it has to be. Always frustrating to not have the resources needed for basic improvements around here.

This morning I’ll focus on pruning and training tomato plants. It’s something I should have been doing all along but like so much it got neglected while I attended other needs. I pull weeds while caterpillars devour my crops. It’s one or the other. They are making lots of tomatoes now that we had some rain and it got a little cooler. Fall is looking better when it comes to what we are growing. But I’m under the gun to plant more seeds and install irrigation on top of keeping up with weeds. It’s a one man show that requires two or three people. There’s money waiting to be made here, but it requires work and resources to happen. Farming can be, and is a lucrative business but all businesses require basic resources to thrive. So I’ll keep pushing to get to where I know we can be and little by little, or perhaps with a giant leap, we will get there. The giant leap will come when we find those with resources who will partner with us to grow this enterprise. Ultimately it’s in God’s hands.

That’s it. I’m still debating with myself going to Fort Stockton for the Kairos prison ministry tonight. There’s so much that needs doing here. This tears at me, my desire to help and minister to others versus our needs at home. We would leave for Fort Stockton at 7:00 or 7:30 in the evening and by that time of the day I’m pretty worn. Actually by then I’m on my second wind and am usually back out working after resting and eating dinner but am certainly pretty stinky from sweating and working all day. If I go to Fort Stockton I would need to quit early and clean up. So there is quite a conflict here, do I neglect what needs doing on the farm so I can attend Kairos? I still haven’t decided. Will go out and work and think about it as I do.
Last nights sunset, another view as it's the same sunset as the first picture.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Want to do everything, but can't

This morning's bird picture.

7/28/10 Wednesday
When the headache cleared yesterday I went to work. Kept at it till it was too dark to see. Had a Kairos meeting yesterday with the committee that I guess I’m on. We discussed ways to recruit new members for the ministry and I explained once again the potentials of having a blog dedicated to that. It appears that I will become the “writer” for this group, in effect reporting on the goings on with the goal of raising public awareness and participation in it.

I suggested we create a newsletter for our Kairos group, something to help us all keep up with what’s going on. I made the point that I am out of the loop, and the only way I find out about things is an occasional email from Dave. Evidently there had been someone who produced a newsletter but he had moved on to other parts so that stopped. The objection came up about the expense and inconvenience of stamps and envelops when it came to newsletters so I stated that my thought was to do this exclusively online. “Is there anyone in our Kairos who doesn’t have a computer and go online?” I asked to make the point. No one seemed to be aware of anyone who didn’t have access to the internet.

Many of our members are older and may not be terribly active online. I’m not young and certainly am technically challenged but found myself explaining the possibilities and power of the internet to them. I’m thinking a facebook page for our Kairos group would be good as well. The requirement in all of this is for people to talk with me, to let me know what’s happening so I could write about it. Many of these people talk to each other all the time on the phone and in person to keep up but being the new guy who lives in Stanton I’m out of the loop and get no calls. The potential issue though will be my ability to keep up and do all of this. I plan on creating the blog today but I plan on doing things every day that I don’t accomplish. I have the skills and ability to do a lot of things, I’m just can’t do everything I want to do because I want to do everything I see. When I had my companies I had the ability to accomplish so much by having and directing employees to perform a wide variety of duties. Right now it’s just me and I guess I need to remind myself of that. There is a day coming as we grow the farm that the resources will increase and with it the ability to accomplish our goals.

3:45 – I am so worn out. Came in an hour ago, or maybe two. Not sure anymore. Been working steadily. Went through two of the T shirts I wrap around my head to absorb sweat, they got so soaked sweat still ran down into my eyes. We got an oil check so I splurged and ate a hamburger at the drug store in Stanton. Laid down in front of the fan with a large ice tea to cool off as I went online with the laptop. Fell asleep while reading facebook pages. Still having to fight keeping my eyes open as I write this.

There’s supposed to be a 60% chance of rain today but I don’t see it. Sure would be nice and a lot of what I’m doing is with the hope we get some rain. Tana gave us two large packages of red poppy seeds she had. I looked them up online and they are the same red poppies that the VFW used during their fundraising. They don’t generally use them anymore because the petals fall off so quickly after they are picked. The reason they were used is that these flowers grow wild all over Europe and are known for growing in battlefields and places where soldiers were buried. They are considered an invasive weed in many places and reseed themselves quickly. I need something that acts as a ground cover and these may be ideal. Besides a field of bright red flowers would look better than the sticker grass and other weeds.

I need to run to Midland and pick up some dog food that Janie is giving to us as well as buy cat food. Just want to go to sleep instead. Took a pain pill. It would be nice if I could take some of the herbal medicine that is legal in fifteen states now. It helps the pain and paralysis a lot. When I get tired my right leg doesn’t work very well, making it awkward to move. I fell down twice while mowing the weeds.

WAKE UP BOB!!!! Just drifted off again. It’s already after 4:00 now. Need to make sure I drink a lot of water as I sweated a few gallons as I worked. Can’t remember what I did but know I worked hard. Think I’ll call Cherie and ask what kind of cat food I’m supposed to get.

First thing Cherie said is “Boy, you sound whipped”. No question that I’m tired then if Cherie can hear it in my voice. We decided to meet for dinner after she gets off work. There’s more I need to do around here. Perhaps after we eat and I rest a bit I’ll get a second wind. I usually do and go back at things till it gets dark. By then I’m pooped so odds are I won’t get much done on the business plan research or creating the blog for Kairos prison ministry.

Here’s a question for you oil people. What is this rig for? It looks like one of those drilling rigs used for drilling the relatively shallow wells for water. It’s set up across the street where they just drilled an oil well last month. Are they drilling for water? I keep seeing these announcements in the Martin County paper regarding salt water injection wells and they always give coordinates that mean nothing to me, don’t have a clue where they are. My concern is our ground water, that is already a mess and got that way in just the last few years.

Monday, July 26, 2010

What's behind smiling faces?

Today's bird picture. We thought there were only three baby birds in this nest. Come to find out there are four. It's already crowded so we worry that one will eventually fall or get pushed out. This is the way of nature, life can be cruel and the concept of "fair" doesn't exist in the wild.

7/26/10 Monday
It’s the start of another week. There is always more to do than one man can do but I’m used to that. Time and God will help me find the means to accomplish the goals we have. I am motivated by many things, the love I have for Cherie and the desire to create a life for her being way up there on the list. Another motivation I have is the knowledge of the low esteem some have for us. I love to prove their concept of who I am wrong. But ultimately I desire to create that which will change lives, provide the jobs, help, and assistance some need to pick themselves up in life. It will be a legacy that keeps giving long after I am gone. I was recently told, in an indirect way, that we had no need for a legacy and in that the teller revealed their heart and the true value they placed on us. There is a disdain there, an air of “We’re better than you are and thus deserve more than you do". It was sad to hear, broke our hearts.
Love these cannas, or whatever they're called. Grow no matter what and attract hummingbirds too.

But I refuse to be discouraged. I will press on towards the goal, confident that my life has a purpose and that I was raised from the dead for a reason. If I achieve these goals will I gloat and throw it in others' faces? I hope not for then I would be just as hypocritical as they are, I would become the very thing that is so distasteful to me. My prayer is that I will show mercy and grace and work to help those who judge, and in their heart despise, to become better people.

Was talking to our friend, who visited the farm yesterday, about the plaque I so often display on this blog. She’s seen it and when I quoted the creed written thereon “Money and things will vanish in a flash. What has true lasting value is the lives you touch”, she shook her head in enthusiastic agreement. So that is my motivation. The bible says “Whatever you do in word or deed, do all to the glory of God”. I am no longer interested in simply filling my pockets or acquiring possessions. Been there and done that years ago before the coma. I’ve had money, prestige, and all that comes with it. In fact these things contributed to my destruction.

This was the car. Was flung out the back window as it rolled end over end
You may get tired of hearing it but I’ll say it again, my life is a gift. I was pronounced dead at the scene of the car wreck (still listed as a fatality in Oklahoma) and then was like a baby, having to have my diapers changed and spoon fed. I was taught once again how to talk and walk and then wandered homeless for almost two years as my brain struggled to repair itself. What was important to me no longer matters. Oh, it wasn’t an epiphany as in a sudden realization or change. This took years to evolve, a slow retraining of thought so to speak. Finding Cherie twenty years after our divorce, and having life restored to us, is an integral part of this change in how I view the world. So here’s the scripture of the day, from my favorite chapter of the bible, Mathew chapter 6, which contains the Lord’s prayer along with so much else.
Just a couple of weeks ago this was all weed free. We've only lost 3 of the Afghan pines so far.

Mathew 6.19 "Do not store up for yourselves wealth here on earth, where moths and rust destroy, and burglars break in and steal. 20 Instead, store up for yourselves wealth in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and burglars do not break in or steal. 21 For where your wealth is, there your heart will be also.

I may not have all I once did, and in fact don’t have much at all and the government says that our level of income places us at the poverty level, but I am one of the richest people on earth. I have life and my wife. Everything is paid for from the home, land, to our vehicles so by many standards in the world we are wildly wealthy. I’ve seen true poverty so what the government standards are, are really irrelevant. We are blessed in so many ways. There is a roof over our heads, food in the cupboard, and we have found a few friends, whom we can trust. The last, friends we can trust, is the most valuable of them all.

There’s work to do. I came in to fix some eggs and sat down with this computer to quickly check email and ended up writing all this. Be blessed folks, think about what is really important and if needed make changes accordingly. Love life and live a life you can be proud of.

Frustration comes in many ways. There was one single watermelon that managed to grow in the garden. I took a picture and posted it just a few days ago. It was almost ripe but I decided to give it a few more days. Gretchen and Ben, but most likely Gretchen, broke into it and ate it all. Pissed me right off. I’ve put up fence posts and have the fencing ready to go but am unable to stretch the fence by myself. It’s been sitting here ready to go for over two months now. One of the guys from the halfway house helped me fence in where the tomatoes are back when we could afford the help. We really need to finish this. Ben was laying right on top of the peas that were just coming up, crushing them. He seems to very much enjoy laying on the beds I’ve made for the plants. They did this all before, not just laying on the plants but digging nice little places in them to lay in. So fences are important and till they get put up it will be difficult.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Not what you do but why you do it

7/23/10 Friday
Getting out to work as quick as I can. The Tramadol pills seem to leave a metallic taste in my mouth. Not happy with them but will at least give it an honest try. Hard to believe it’s Friday, feels like Tuesday. Still debating going to Fort Stockton. There’s so much that needs doing here but touching the lives of others is important. It’s better to give than take care of yourself. I’ll probably go. It’s the sacrifice that gives value to what you do. Reminds me of when Jesus was watching those who were giving their donations at the temple. This is found in Mark 12.41 And He sat down opposite the treasury, and began observing how the people were putting money into the treasury ; and many rich people were putting in large sums. 42 A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which amount to a cent. 43 Calling His disciples to Him, He said to them, "Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the contributors to the treasury ; 44 for they all put in out of their surplus, but she, out of her poverty, put in all she owned, all she had to live on."

As always, it’s the heart, the truth about what you do that’s important. Not what you do but why and the level of sacrifice reveals how important it really is to you. I know some who put their lives on the line for what they believe. One of them, Ron Charles, will be coming to Midland next month and we so look forward to seeing him and his wife.

Time to work.

By the way, my computer had or has a Trojan that is sending emails out through my bobcarver2 address for Viagra. Still trying to get it removed but I'm still getting emails from myself, which indicates the problem still exists.

10:35 – Had to come in. Wrapped up some wire that had once belonged to old fencing I took down, in order to get it out of the way. Then walked around seeing all that must be done and faced the confusion of deciding which task to tackle first. Have another bad headache in addition to the back pain that the Tramadol isn’t touching. Called the VA and talked to one of the nurses at the answer questions area I was sent to. She took down my number saying the doctor would call back. No call as of yet. Not happy, have work to do, and am about to chuck this Tramadol. Want to go back to taking the hydrocodone I have left but worry about drug interactions and stuff. Will call the VA again to see if I can get some sound advice.

The nurse said I could take the Hydrocodone without worrying about a drug interaction so that’s good news. That and an aspirin for the headache, and a little prayer for pain, and hopefully I’m good to go. There’s so much to do, I hate this inconvenient pain that gets in the way.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The doctor said

7/22/10 Thursday
Today I went to the VA, where I met my new doctor. Doctors there evidently come and go quite a bit for when I asked her if she would stay for a while she said she didn’t know. So I have to “train” a new doctor. By training I mean that I have learned that I must often educate doctors about traumatic brain injuries and the issues that come with them. She was telling me all kinds of things so I had to let her know that it all needs to be written down because I wouldn’t remember most of it five minutes after I left. Actually it’s not that bad any more but the practices I’ve learned and been taught to compensate for the effects of TBI I need to maintain.

I explained my concern regarding the pain medication, that each pill contains 500 milligrams of acetaminophen (Tylenol) which the FDA has issued a warning on regarding it’s deleterious effects on the liver. She prescribed Tramadol instead. The doctor asked me if I’d taken it before and I didn’t remember so said “No”. When I came home Cherie told me that they had prescribed to me when we lived in Toledo. Oh well. Evidently it didn’t work well then so odds are it won’t now either. No biggie, I’ll give it a try. Went online to read up on the stuff and don’t like what I see. It’s not an opiate but is strongly addictive like an opiate is, only worse. With the hydrocodone I sometimes go a day or two without because I only take it as needed. As needed happens more with me working on the farm during the season. The withdrawal from it, which would only happen if I took more than I do, only lasts 3 days. However with the Tramadol withdrawal is more severe and lasts seven days or more. That’s not cool, not at all.
The Bermuda grass is growing. We will have a lawn, eventually, for the first time ever.

The doc was concerned about my blood pressure, which she said was borderline. I informed her that I no longer take any medication, with the exception of pain meds, and that the blood pressure medicine was prescribed for the purpose of reducing my migraines. So she prescribed me a blood pressure machine and I’m to take my pressure daily and keep a log, which I’m to show the nurse a month from now. Whoopee. They had me go to the lab where I gave them three vials of blood and a urine sample. It’ll be interesting to see what they learn from all that. I’m not worried. If my blood pressure is a problem I’ll exercise more and eat better. Not at all interested in taking any more drugs. “It’s probably a lot of work for those in medical coding to keep track of all the ailments.”
This is some of our broccoli. It's a shame that while I work on one thing another gets neglected. The leaves on this broccoli are totally gone, eaten by caterpillars while I worked elsewhere, totally unaware.

So I didn’t get any farm work done today. Met with our Big Spring friend after the VA. She’s a sweetheart we met online who is approximately my age and knows people I used to know so is helping me recover old memories. We didn’t talk about that at all this time. She gave copies of the business concept paper I wrote about the vision we have for the farm to people she knows. There is a definite interest and that is heartening. I’ve always said that there are no accidents in our life and I don’t think meeting her is one either. Time will tell, as it always does. It was a pleasant time. She will be coming out to the farm Sunday to look around and get a better idea of things and spend some time with Cherie as well.

So that’s what’s happinin now. Tomorrow is Friday and I’m not sure if there’s something on the calendar for me to do. If not it’s working on the farm, where there is forever things to do. I’m thinking that Saturday I’ll be going to Fort Stockton with the Kairos prison ministry. I so wanted to spend more time down there but it hasn’t happened. Part of that’s my fault but part of it lies with my inability to drive down and the lack of communication with others who do drive so I could catch a ride. It often seems that the good I want to do is impeded by…circumstances? Life? Something always seems to be in the way.

The barn swallows who nest on the light outside the kitchen door evidently had three chicks. There might be four but I only saw three. Took about a dozen pictures to get three that came out not all blurry. The mom and dad weren’t happy with me holding the camera up there but they got over it. So here’s a picture. Fuzzy little things. Always enjoy life and it’s cycles as represented here.

Good night folks. It’ll be dark in half an hour so I’ll go out and see if I can accomplish anything.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Believing a lie

7/21/10 Wednesday
I went and looked at the air unit at the diner. There are no cheap or easy fixes for it. The units I picked up at the landfill all have replaceable bearings but this one doesn’t, at least not anything easy to do. It’s old and rusted out so needs to be replaced. She said she would call her landlord about it and get back to me. Evidently he’s been promising to replace it for some time and has done nothing. I told her that I would do the work for him thinking that the reason he has done nothing is he’s busy doing something else. I gave her the hourly rate I would charge him, $20 bucks an hour for that kind of work is a steal. She’ll get back with me but they need to do something. It’s too hot inside that little diner with the grill tops and stuff going to not have air running.

So that’s all done and it’s already 11:00. At least there are lots of clouds out so that helps keep things a little cooler. I think I’ll fix me a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch, unless there’s something else in the fridge I can find.

Here’s a question for you. What do you do when you know someone lies to you? It’s not like a big lie, more a little white lie to feign ignorance and perhaps avoid something. But it’s a lie none the less. I decided not to confront it like I used to do. It’s not the first time I saw this with the individual. So I’ve made note of it and know that I can’t trust the person’s word anymore. What bothers me is that it’s another person who talks about God and is all kinds of concerned about their image, but I know who the father of lies is, the god of this world, and understand the power of deceit. That often is most damaging when the one you are deceiving is yourself. The nature of deceit is that the one being deceived is totally unaware of it, believing that the lie is the truth.
Click to enlarge

So here’s a scripture for today, found in Galatians chapter 6.1 Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness ; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted. 2 Bear one another's burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ. 3 For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. 4 But each one must examine his own work, and then he will have reason for boasting in regard to himself alone, and not in regard to another. 5 For each one will bear his own load. 6 The one who is taught the word is to share all good things with the one who teaches him. 7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked ; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. 8 For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.

However this is going to be hard to practice as I don’t want to confront the person involved, at least not now. So I will wait and perhaps an appropriate time will come.

Perhaps yesterday took more out of me than I thought. Get tired pretty quickly and have one of those bad headaches. Might not be related to yesterday at all. It’s just not very convenient. I’m a little slow on top of things. Tried to watch TV but the sound just grates through my head like a jackhammer. Will take some aspirin. The pain pills don’t touch these and besides that I already took my allowance, one every four hours. It’s bright out and that doesn’t help. I’ll wear my sunglasses. There’s too much to do to sit inside so I’ll push through. Need to prune the tomato plants and that’s easier on the head than swinging a hoe at tree sized weeds so will focus on that task. I sure look forward to the time we can afford some help out here. It will make a night and day difference.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Been thinking about people

11:40 – The air conditioner is done and working well. I looked at my watch and thought it said 12:30 so was frustrated it took so long. I was an hour off but in my mind still think I should have the dogs washed and air conditioner fixed by 10:00. At least I’m consistent in my expectations for myself. Always think I can do a job quicker than reality later slaps me in the face with. Oh well. Don’t suppose I’ll ever get used to that.

Been thinking a lot about people we know as I work. I’ll have to put my thoughts in the private journal, the one that will probably never be published though a lot of it will end up in one of the books I’m writing. One of those will be fictional though, based on the realities we have experienced. Don’t know if I mentioned it but I was contacted by a publishing house regarding writing a book. That one will be the auto biography. I hope to be able to write all good things regarding what we’ve experienced here but in order for that to happen some people will need to change. There are lots of good endings to our story, though it’s too early to talk about the end. Regardless I will tell the truth, as I try to always do anyways. The truth for some is wonderful but for others something to be feared. I always marvel at the “Christians” who run and hide, endeavor to cover up their thoughts and actions, for with God there are no secrets. Not even what you think is hidden from Him. 1 Corinthians 4.5 says “He will bring to light9 what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men's hearts.”

In Mathew chapter six, where you can also find the Lord’s prayer, we are instructed to do our deeds in secret. Mathew 6.3 “But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” So there are no secrets with God, however in that chapter Jesus is clear about those who go around doing good things so that everyone can see it and calls them hypocrites. This is the balance that we should strive to achieve. When it all comes down to it hypocrisy is putting forth that false image, hiding what is not flattering and making a show of the good things you do. It’s not what you do, but why you do it that’s important and it’s the motives of the heart that God will expose.

I know I’m getting preachy but…well, I say these things with the hope of helping others for we will all face God and we will all answer to Him. Now John 3.16 is the bible verse most of us are the most familiar with. It says "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

It’s important to read all of a scripture, not just pull out the part you like. At verse nineteen it goes on to say 19 “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.” So this is why I marvel at the church goers who seek to hide their deeds from those around. What is more important, what people think of you or what God KNOWS about you? I try to live in a way that is pleasing to God and know that I often don’t do very good at it, but I try. I know that when I fail that God will forgive me, but only if I ask and ask right.

Anyway, I’ll be writing more than one book but the autobiography is the first one. Here’s a question for a few of you, “How do you want it to end? What would you like it to say about you?”

Not just hard, WAY hard water

7/20/10 Tuesday
First thing on the list is to finish rebuilding the evaporative air conditioner. I had presumed the reason it wasn’t cooling air was due to the high humidity, and while that is a fact upon closer inspection I discovered the tubes that transfer water had once again plugged up. This is nothing new and I’ve cleaned them out before as best I could. Our water is not just hard water, it’s way hard water. When lawn sprinklers and even water hose attachments plug up with mineral deposits after a short period of use you know the water is hard. So I had to go buy a kit to replace all the tubing and already spent a couple of hours carefully scraping and chipping mineral deposits off the pump, which I just replaced last year. Cherie and I have lived in front of the fans all week. It doesn’t get to me much as I’m working outside all the time but it’s been hard on Cherie, who spends her work day in air conditioning. When we get a few extra dollars I’ll buy a window air conditioner. The biggest problem will be getting electricity to it as there are no plugs on the outside wall.

Today I’ll go to Midland and do my laundry. It’s going to be a tight couple of weeks as we’ve had several expenses to pay out on. I’ll poop scoop at our friends house and check on the cabinet repair job I did but haven’t followed up on. I think that going to Midland will not happen till later in the day as there is plenty that needs doing here on the farm and I want to catch it early in the day before it gets too hot.

Giving the dogs a tick bath is high on the to do list as well. As expensive as Frontline is it still doesn't seem to do well against the ticks. Rascal and Trixie will stand still for the bath but Gretchen and Ben are another matter. I'll have to spray them with the Adams spray we have that seems to work.

Cherie is doing better now. The depression comes in waves and she is working on forgiving the people who unwittingly hurt her so bad. There’s more to that but I’ve learned to keep my mouth shut. When the time’s appropriate I might write about the whole situation, or I might not. I’ll take Cherie’s advice on that one.

That’s it. There’s work to do and it ain’t getting done while I sit here and write. See ya next time.

Came in to take my ten o’clock pain pill. 1 every four hours, took first at 6:00 this morning. Woke up hurting as I often do. I just got done washing Trixie and Rascal. Bending over each one of them for over ten minutes each as I scrubbed the shampoo in as per the instructions was excruciating, but it has to be done. Looking at the clock I can tell I spent way more than ten minutes each on them. You don’t know how many ticks are on them till you wet them down and start scrubbing in the shampoo. When they are wet you can see the ticks easier through the thick fur and as I work the shampoo in with my fingers I can feel them easily. My fingers are trained to detect ticks or anything else in their fur now. We constantly find ticks as we pet them. Cherie tells me we just put the frontline on them two weeks ago and you are not supposed to apply it more than once a month.

Ben and Gretchen have disappeared, as they regularly do, so I’m unable to spray them down. Guess I’ll go work on the air conditioner now. Hard to believe it’s already after ten. Time flies when there’s lots to do.

I remembered yesterday that there had been a pipeline break on our land last year and they had come out and dug it up to repair. It’s a pipe that runs from our oil well towards the highway. Now I wonder if that’s responsible for the big increase of salt in our well water. We really need to pursue that. Several people told me that they would get me the number and address of the railroad commission, who’s responsible for that, but none of them have. It’s a constant frustration for me to keep forgetting what I need to do and to consistently not follow through on things. Just read an article concerning a veteran who sustained a traumatic brain injury in Iraq five years ago where he expresses the same frustration. Then there is always the constant flow of people who can’t seem to comprehend this. They look at me and talk with me and are unable to detect these issues so presume I’m fine. That’s why they call it the “Unseen illness”. I’ve built companies despite multiple TBI’s and was able to do it because I could hire people to compensate for the problems that come with it. That came up at the USDA meeting when I was asked what made me think I could accomplish the business plan when I had a hard time with day to day tasks. I told them I would hire people to help but that didn’t seem to get through, get past the preconceived notions of what it takes to be successful. I’ll make it with or without their help, but it would sure be easier with it.

Break time’s over. Gotta go

Monday, July 19, 2010

The daily struggle continues

It continues, the daily struggle against all that would hinder us and keep us from achieving our goals. If you believe in God you must understand there is a devil. With that in mind I must ask “How much of this is a spiritual battle?” There are forces at work against us, just as there is an unseen hand that has done wonderful things that defy logical explanation. So I pray, pray that God help us overcome these difficulties and whatever it is that is against us. I know there are people who actively work to hinder what we do, who use the power of the tongue to poison the minds of those we come in contact with. I also see the greed and selfishness that overcomes otherwise good people so that the good they wish to do actually is to our detriment.

There is the depression that comes on like a flood so I must think it too has spiritual roots. I can be feeling great and walk outside to have feelings of despair and hopelessness wash over me with such force that I want to give up and just turn around and come back in. And I watch Cherie fighting this same thing. She will tackle a task such as designing and printing flyers for the widow with enthusiasm and joy but when it comes to something connected to the farm and this house it’s quite a different matter. Cherie remarked to me the other day how she can be doing great and feel energetic till the moment she comes home. Then the depression and even physical tiredness sets in. So I’m beginning to think that there is more to this than meets the eye, that it’s a spiritual thing.

So the key then is for us to have faith, to believe in our heart the scripture that says “If God be for us, who can be against us” and “I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me”. In this regard I have failed Cherie for it is my responsibility to lead in spiritual matters, to dedicate time to pray and study the bible with Cherie. In many ways I must be her strength, someone she can lean on and depend on to hold her up and support her. It is an area I am lacking in currently.

I’ve been out mowing and pulling weeds all morning, and it seems like I just touched the surface. This area is where our onions are, plus some collard greens that surprisingly showed up. They’d been planted along with a whole lot of stuff but none of it ever came up due to the well water poisoning the seeds. One day, after the rains, I was out there with Sam showing him where to hoe and we saw them growing. They weren’t growing on the hills I planted them but evidently the seeds had washed off so these were growing in the walkways.

Despite having a whole T shirt tied on my head I had sweat running into my eyes and on my glasses. The T shirt is soaked through so much I could wring a bucketful out of it. Hard to believe it’s already noon. There’s so much to do, there’s always so much to do.

There is a day coming when we will have the resources we need to work this farm. I’ll be able to afford and support the help we so desperately need, and with that help comes the increased ability to make this a profitable working farm. Till then I struggle forward as best I can. If every door we come to seems like it’s slammed in our face it doesn’t matter. That’s because we trust in God and there is nothing that can stand in His way, nothing God can’t overcome and deal with. Those who wish to take advantage of us must face God. Right now I’m sure someone reading this is snickering at my blind belief, laughing at the naiveté I and all Christians like me, am displaying. All I can say is “watch and see what God can do”.

So pray for us and specifically pray for my wife, that she can overcome this depression that is attacking her.

Part of the daily struggle right now is fighting the ticks that infest the dogs. We put hundreds of dollars worth of Frontline on them but it seems to do little good. Bought some more tick shampoo and I’ll wash them again today. Unfortunately I’m unable to wash Gretchen and Ben, the outside dogs, for they won’t stand still for it. I’ll spray them with the Adams tick spray we have. That will help.

Took my second pain pill and think I’ll run to Stanton, where I’ll pick up mail and if Carols is open buy some tacos for lunch. Then it’s back to work.

Another hot day

There are always those who lie in wait to take advantage should you wander into their net

7/19/10 Monday
It will be another hot day and there is no rain in the forecast. Cherie is fighting depression again and I am at a loss for what to do. I love her dearly and have worked hard to make her smile, but it’s been hard after she learned of what someone else said, coupled with other things that came to light. So pray for her please.

I spent a lot of time yesterday repairing more damage the gophers did to the drip irrigation system. Not good. I’ll try to blow their tunnels with oxygen and propane like I saw on you tube. Gophers have caused more damage and trouble than any other pest we’ve seen. Poison doesn’t always seem to work and bothers me to use. If a poisoned gopher comes to the surface there’s the possibility that one of our dogs will eat it and thus become poisoned or even one of the hawks that constantly comb the area looking for a meal.

I will be attacking weeds, the never ending fight I can’t seem to get ahead on. If I could get crops to grow like weeds I’d be a rich man. Plus I plan on focusing some time working on the lawn and flower garden, with the hope that it will help brighten Cherie’s day.

That’s it for now. Don’t feel like writing much, more worried than anything and there is always work to do.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Just a little hope goes a long way

The water wagon loaded with jugs of rainwater. They didn't go far, only three rows barely wet.

7/18/10 Sunday
Yesterday was a good day. Cherie has been feeling real down ever since she became aware of what someone said, and the reduced value they placed on us because of it. The statement had to do with our inability to have children. It cut Cherie deeply, way down to a core going all the way back to our first marriage and the hopes all, or at least most, couples have of creating a family. This is a hope that is now unattainable to us, though I did have the privilege of raising two boys from early childhood to adult that came with the second wife.

Not only did this get her down but created an anger that brewed inside till she released it as I sought to ease the pain. She didn’t release it at me, just vented all the hurt and pain. It was good for her to get it out.

Here's the sink and cabinet to be replaced.

Cherie had found a faucet that was on sale for $28 bucks at Home Depot and mentioned it to me. I made it important to take her there, deciding that the price was very affordable. It looks amazingly sharp and was mixed in with other faucets by the same maker that were $75 to $100 dollars. Quite a deal. As I looked for something to fix the storm door, that had torn itself off the hinges, Cherie went looking at other stuff. She came back excited and showed me a sink and cabinet that would fit the faucet well. This is all for the bathroom, which is a nasty decrepit room that has tile falling off the wall and all kinds of other problems that come with age and poor workmanship. The price of the cabinet was $68 dollars but for twenty more we could get one a little nicer and a few inches wider. I’d earned a few dollars helping a friend and knew this would go a long way in helping Cherie feel better by replacing what she is embarrassed to have anyone else see, so decided to get it.
The bathtub that is also on it's last legs. I can only run hot water, so must wait till it cools off before I get in. That and because there is no shower contributes to the "Stink" issue I posted about yesterday.

Come to find out the cabinet was damaged. I noticed the box was deeply dinged so insisted on inspecting the contents before purchasing it. It was the last one of the type and when we discovered the kick plate was broken asked for a manager. When the clerk learned who was on duty that day she grimaced, stating that he was a hard ass and seldom gave discounts. She described the damage on the phone and he cut the price almost in half. Cool, that was a big blessing, and enhanced Cherie’s happiness as she loves getting a deal.
Talk about hard water, just look at the mineral deposits on the bathtub faucet. There are some we know who express their sense of superiority, though I doubt they even realize it, that would see this as proof they are better than we are. We inherited this farm and are fixing it up as God provides, and have learned to be content with what we are blessed with. And we are grateful every day, though some days that's hard to do.

There’s only one problem now. I have to put it in. That requires dealing with very old plumbing, which is scary. One turn with a wrench and the whole pipe could rupture. What makes it harder is that I can’t crawl under the house to fix something because we still have a bee hive down there full of feral honey bees. There’s no way I’m crawling down there with that very real danger to face. I don’t know if there is a water shut off to the house anywhere. What we do is turn it off at the well so there is no water anywhere. So much of this place is still a mystery and my grandfather did a lot of…uh…southern engineering and just enough to get by. Eventually I plan on expanding the whole bathroom so it’s bigger than a closet. That requires building a wall and tearing the existing one down. Not a big problem but the potential issue is what condition the floor is in. I suspect that parts of it will need to be replaced but that will have to wait till there’s some money to spend. It would be nice to have a shower and a tub that runs more than just the hot water. (the cold water faucet no longer works due to mineral deposit buildups)

But just the hope, seeing the light and knowing that we possess a new faucet and sink brightened Cherie’s day. Well worth any amount of money I could spend. I’ll tear off the rest of the tile, that’s falling off anyway, and start preparing for the replacement.

We went to church at the little place down the road today. We like it, it’s close and there are only maybe twenty people there today. It will grow I’m sure. There’s work to do so that’s all the writing I’ll do for now. God bless y’all and have a great day.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

If I stink, it's your problem! (how I used to think)

7/15/10 Thursday
11:00 – Been out planting, or at least that’s what I went outside to do. No seeds have actually made it into the ground yet. I untangled the drip hose that was rolled up in order for me to till the areas to be planted. Then I started laying the hose out but had to cut up some more coat hangers to make wire hold downs to keep the hose from blowing away. I looked at the seeds to be planted last night and discovered many of them will require trellises. That means I need to till and prepare beds over where I built the T-frames for this purpose. Some of the other seeds must wait till later in the year to be planted so they were put aside. I picked out four or five seeds to plant in the area already prepared. Reading the instructions on the back of the package I see the suggestion that the seeds be soaked for one or two hours before planting to insure or enhance germination. They are soaking now. While they soak I’ll go to work on the trellis area. I’m planting okra, garden peas, bush beans, and maybe some squashes. There are carrot seeds that interest me but I must re read what they require. It would be nice if I could remember what I’ve read and studied before, every year, but hasn’t happened yet.
This was a 7 foot tall weed with a 2+ inch thick stalk at the base. No wonder I break hoes. Almost went and got the axe or chain saw to get it.

Came in to take my 11:00 pain pill so that’s done. I’ll post this and get back out there. Will need to come in and clean up before to long for the meeting in Big Spring. Don’t want to go there all nasty and soaked with sweat. Cherie’s doing a good job of teaching me about little social things like that. My personal inclination is “I’m a farmer so if I stink that’s the way it is. If you don’t like it that’s your problem”. But I’m learning to be considerate of my public appearance and of what others think. Not terribly convenient but I suppose it makes life easier.

That’s it. There’s always work to do and the day is shortened by my need to run to Big Spring. While there I need to remember to stop at the VA and get a new ID card. Still haven’t gotten the new driver’s license yet. That should arrive in the mail next week. You watch, as soon as I get all this stuff replaced I’ll find the wallet. I wonder how much money is in it? Don’t have a clue and can’t remember, but I know money was tight so doubt there’s very much in it. What I miss the most is the piece of paper that had all the phone numbers in it. Can’t replace that.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Another snake

There are many snakes in life. Rattlesnakes usually announce their presence, as this one did when Rascal ran past it. The dangerous snakes are the ones that don't do that, the ones that hide in the grass and disguise their intent.

7/14/10 Wednesday
Another Wednesday. Some call it hump day cause it’s halfway through a five day workweek. I don’t have a five day nine to five job so every day is hump day I suppose. Everyday I get up and overcome whatever difficulties arise and every day I work as much and as long as I am able to. Every day we put our trust in God. We trust Him to protect and guide in this often times wicked world from those who would take advantage of us or who strive to keep us from achieving our goals. This isn’t paranoia, it’s a reality we have been forced to face more often than we’d like.

Yesterday I was forced to kill another rattlesnake. Hate doing it but we can’t have them around the house where they could kill the dogs or bit us. I think that’s only the third one this year. Cherie killed one by herself a few weeks back. It was small, a baby that had not yet developed rattles but a rattlesnake none the less with well developed fangs that can inject venom.

It’s going to be another hot and humid day and the humidity is forecast to continue for days. I don’t mind the heat too much but the humidity is nasty. If it was dry like it normally is out here in the desert then the evaporative air conditioner would cool the air effectively. Unfortunately it doesn’t work well at all with high humidity so the house isn’t cooled off and we spend most of our time in front of fans, which are placed strategically in every room.

The blackeyed peas I planted last week have come up. I planted more yesterday and still have much more to get in the ground. The soil has lost most of it’s moisture and is dusty dry on the surface now. I had to run the tiller back over where I’d tilled just a couple of days ago to break up the crustiness that develops when it dries. Today I plan on planting the various seeds that Cherie picked out. Plus I need to prune the tomato plants and run wire through the T-frames I built months ago in order to begin guiding the plants to grow vertically.

Here's a lone carrot I found as I was tilling to prepare for summer plantings. It was at the end of a row I had planted in the spring, the sole survivor of a hundred seeds. It's small, which tells me the seed germinated long after it was planted, probably after a rare rain. We're grateful for everything we get, no matter how small

So there’s plenty to do, as there always is at Westbrook Farms. In addition to work on the farm I now need to start working on developing a blog for the Kairos prison ministry I’m involved in. Met with other members of the group yesterday where we discussed ways to recruit more people to get involved. With my background in marketing and experience blogging I am well equipped to contribute in this way. When I explained just how potentially powerful a well designed blog would be they got excited about the concept. Another thing I’ll be doing is helping them develop a media package designed to promote the Kairos ministry and hopefully get some air time on local TV stations. I guess I’m the media director for the ministry now and that includes creating media releases for newspapers, radio, and television, in addition to internet venues. It’s exciting for me to take this on, and a mark of how far I’ve come in my recovery from the brain injury. Hopefully I’ll fulfill others expectations and do well.

Nuff said. There’s heat to beat and work to do so time to get outside while it’s still cool, relatively speaking.

Monday, July 12, 2010

There's work to do (Always)

7/12/10 Monday
No time to do a lot of writing this morning. There’s work to do and a busy day scheduled. The rain has stopped and the ground is quickly drying up so I’m under the gun to get seeds in the ground. I know there are still tons of weeds that need to be tackled but If I don’t plant seeds there is no hope of late summer/fall crops. The people who judge us based on how deplorable things look can go to…well I need to control those thoughts and not let it get to me. We try hard and do the best we can. I’d like to see some of those who talk keep up with me. Doubt many of them would despite not enduring the pain and fatigue I daily overcome. The hard part is the mental one, forgetting what I need to do and getting distracted so my original task remains undone while I work on something else I saw.

Anyway, time to get to work. It’s still only in the 70’s though will soon reach the ninety degree mark. There are a few phone calls on my written schedule to make so I will get them out of the way and get out there.

Spent 4 hours at the friends house. They left without letting me know so the last hour was spent sitting around wondering where they went and what to do. It was hot so I was soaked with sweat. It took a lot out of me. Wanted to go to work here on the farm but I have no energy left. Am physically weak so odds are I need to replenish electrolytes and certainly need water. I’m also in a real crappy mood. Dogs got yelled at more than once. Not a good end for the day. There’s work to do and I’m not up to doing it. Tomorrow I meet with Dave and Ken with the Kairos ministry. That’s right in the middle of the day so will once again keep me from getting things done.

Cherie rearranged the bedroom so the tv no longer sits on the tall dresser. Now we can only get two stations, the Christian one and channel two. Fox is no longer there. There goes that. Doesn’t help the mood any. Fox had some of the few shows that I could stand to watch. Ok, Fox comes in now after Cherie put tin foil on the antenna and fiddled with it.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The heat is back


7/11/10 Sunday
The heat is back. It was nice for a while when the high’s were only in the 80’s, despite the 90 + % humidity. We went to church this morning and enjoyed fellowshipping with our many friends there. After we went to visit some other friends and were surprised with a barbeque rib cookout. We discussed some issues they are helping us with and I’ll go back over there tomorrow to do some work for them. Unfortunately that took up the cool of the day and there is lots to do so when we came home I went straight to work. Didn’t last as long out there as I thought I would so came in to sit in front of the fan and cool off. It’s 6:00 now so should start cooling off soon. It will be a late day again as I work to get as much done. I told our friend that I wouldn’t come over till later as I plan on getting as much done as I can around the farm during the cool of the day.

After, same area minus weeds.

9:00 – I’m done for the day. Worn out again. As much as I would prefer to be planting seeds I’m forced to spend time fighting weeds. Been mowing them for days now and have barely scratched the surface. You can see in the first picture how high the weeds are. Many of them are five foot tall now and got that way in just three or so weeks. There are areas that were cleared to the ground with a hoe twelve days ago and the weeds are back, already a foot high. That’s the rain. Desert weeds are geared to go for broke anytime it rains and, boy do they go.

I spent four hours mowing these weeds down. Now I know that because I just mowed them they will grow back right away so the next step is to break out the tiller and till what’s left under. The reason I mowed is to catch the clippings with the grass catcher in the mower. These clippings will become compost in the raised beds I never was able to finish. The front end loader died before I could move dirt back into them and I was never able to get the sixteen remaining railroad ties needed to finish building them because of whomever convinced the old man I was out to take advantage of him. May God deal with them. So I’ll pile clippings there as high as I can and next year it will be some good fertile soil.

Cherie went through seeds and picked out some for me to plant. That’s a big help for me. As much as I need to keep up with weeds I am also pressed to plant seeds. We hope to have a fall crop due to the rain fall we’ve been blessed with but the ground is drying out quick. It’s a damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation. Weeds need to be removed from where I need to plant for sure. One of the comments we received at the USDA meeting was an observance of the weeds and with that the question came up regarding my ability to keep up with the work. Frankly I can’t by myself and explained that if we can create an income we can afford to pay for the help we need. Meantime I do the best I can with what I’ve got, and all I’ve got right now is me. Not much to look at and a little disabled but I keep on plugging.
This was just a few small spots of grass a few weeks ago.

We’ve got a few spots where some of the tens of thousands of Bermuda grass seed actually germinated. It looks real good and I had to mow it. The grass on the side of the house I wasn’t sure about because I didn’t have an eye to be able to tell what kind of grass it was, so I left it alone hoping it was the Bermuda I planted there. It wasn’t. Don’t know what it is but it’s nasty looking stuff so I’ll have to till it all under and plant Bermuda again. I’ll take some of the Bermuda that came up in other places and transplant it Once it takes root it’s proven to do quite well and spread rapidly. Eventually we will have a yard.

With all the rain there have been lots of mushrooms come up. This bad boy is as big as my hand. In Michigan we had morel mushrooms come up. I knew someone who pointed them out to me so knew what they were and picked them to eat. Not even going to think about that here. Too many mushrooms will kill you in a heartbeat. But I can enjoy the pale beauty of them and wonder at how quick they come up.

I’m tired and plan on getting up with the sun to get as much done as I can. See ya when next I can.

Friday, July 09, 2010


7/9/10 Friday
The meeting with the USDA people hit Cherie harder than I thought. “I hate this place” she exclaimed as she broke down. “It’s like it was a big joke” she said as I tried to console her. I’ve admired Cherie for her strength, for the burden she took on when she remarried me despite the severe effects of the brain injury. I admire the fortitude displayed when we moved here to a house with no hot water, heat, or much of anything else. She endured the rejection and isolation we experienced at the church we attended for over a year until we found the love and fellowship we needed in Midland. We lived on my disability check for the first few years a meager life, eating a lot of peanut butter and jelly along with whatever else we could scrape up. She hung in there, she has stayed at my side, we are in love if nothing else. As Cherie cried she said that me and her job were the only bright spots she had. It breaks my heart to see her pain but it was good to hear that I was the bright spot in her life.

So what can I do? I love Cherie with all my heart and it is for her I wish to build this farm into a thriving business, in order to provide a life for her and also with the hope of gaining acceptance and a measure of prestige. But it’s been a struggle, there’s no doubt about that. I’ve been a one man show fighting through the effects of the brain injury and pain to accomplish the little that has succeeded. My reaching out for help has met with little success. We been blessed by many who have donated needed items but as far as accessing government programs and serious level business resources my efforts have to date done little. So I sit on seventy five acres of land that I don’t have the tools or resources to develop. The USDA guys said we qualified for payments on our acres through a government program that was similar to the CRP program, only we could lease it out for grazing or do other things with the land, except grow vegetables. But that is just meager subsistence money. I have land that can be farmed and developed. Why would I want to just sit on it and barely exist? I don’t understand that whole attitude. Am I regarded as some kind of low life who has no ability or worth, someone who should just be relegated to a bare just getting by existence?

I’m upset, and my words reflect that. I won’t quit. But I love Cherie. I want to make her happy and secure. In my mind the path for that is through this farm, it’s a resource that has yet to be developed. I’ve perceived that some think I’m chasing a pipe dream, perhaps even think I’m a fool for daring to dream of better things. Perhaps I am. But the alternative, to dare not to dream, to resign myself to subsisting and just existing, is not acceptable to me. There is that spirit deep within that says not only “I will survive” but “I WILL OVERCOME, I WILL SUCCEED”. I made it past the survival mode after I woke from the coma. I wasn’t expected to live and did, I wasn’t expected to ever be able to walk and talk, and I do both well now though I have a limp and sometimes say things I shouldn’t. Should I worry about what others think? I know the answer is No but what people think hurts. What people think also becomes another obstacle that must be overcome for their attitudes precipitate actions that cause problems. Whomever convinced the old man that I was only there to take advantage of him caused much harm, which could well have been their intent. I know that if a community came together to help someone great things can happen but also that the opposite is true. Jesus did fantastic things everywhere he went but when he went to His hometown the bible says in Mathew 13:58 And He did not do many miracles there because of their unbelief. So even Jesus was hampered by the attitude of those around Him. As a sales trainer I used to teach the power of a positive attitude, of a “Can Do” mentality. It’s just hard to maintain in the face of all this.

Just talked to the widow we help. Other peoples problems sure help make yours seem smaller. I want to help others but have a hard time helping myself. Doesn’t matter, I will still do what I can for others when I am able.

As soon as I walked outside it started raining. Wasn’t a hard rain, just a light sprinkle. I looked at all that needs to be done and found myself once again fighting depression. It’s too muddy to do a lot of things. As long as it’s just a light sprinkle I’ll stay out there working. The words of that meeting keep echoing in my head, particularly the question asked about what made me think I could do any of this stuff we dreamed about for our future if I had a hard time keeping up with what I had to do now. With God’s help I can do amazing things. There is a scripture that says “I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me” that comes to mind. I think I’ll go online and look it up.

I so enjoy having internet access now. I use a site called that has great bible study tools. The scripture is in Philippians chapter 4 and when I read the whole thing it brings comfort. Let me share it with you. The first part is one I know well.

6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

This verse is a principle I try to practice, though often not successfully. It is important as Christians, and for everyone else for that matter, to take care what we feed our minds. It’s just like the computer adage, “Garbage in, garbage out”. You are what you feed yourself and I don’t care who you are, if you stay in filth you will get dirty, both inside and out.

8 Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things

And there is the scripture that started this

11. I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. 12 I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. 13 I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.

Does this make everything better? No. It just gives me strength and helps me to choose to trust God.

Breaks over, time to get out in the rain and work. Doesn’t matter if I get wet from the rain as I generally get soaking wet from sweat in a few minutes anyway.

The miscreants are back. They’ve stayed close for a few days, to our great relief, but went exploring again last night. As is often the case there is evidence of trouble they flirted with. Ben looks ok but Gretchen’s back leg is bloody and swollen. At first Gretchen was the only one I found despite calling but when I came back to the house later Ben was there.

I think I’ll focus a lot of energy working around the house to make things look nice for Cherie. I’ll mow the weeds we call a lawn after pulling the big ones and fix things up in her flower beds. Hope that helps put a smile on her face. It needs doing badly anyway as I’ve neglected that as I struggle to prepare beds and plant seeds. Can’t do it all but sure wish I could.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

I could rule the world, with the right equipment

7/8/10 Thursday
Spent three hours meeting with USDA folks. Discussed what we would like to do versus what we are able to do. These are the guys who have their fingers on all the programs the government offers to help people like us. At the end there was nothing there. The advice I got was to keep on doing what I’ve been doing. That and to make friends locally. We would love to make friends locally, tried with no success. There’s all kinds of beginning farmer programs but we don’t seem to qualify, despite being beginning farmers. Lots of the programs require matching funds and previous experience. We don’t have any funds to match and no agricultural experience. So help is out there but we can’t seem to get any. Did I just miss what was being said? Or did I simply not understand it?

Been beating my head against the wall for five years now. No wonder depression is something I must fight all the time. I was asked about my physical ability to do things, it was a “what makes you think you can handle more if you’re working at your limit now” kind of question. I explained that what I do now was physical labor with few tools and that if I had the right equipment my capabilities would be expanded a hundredfold. We talked of the dream I have for the place and all agreed that it was a very possible and doable vision, wonderful was a word used. We discussed basic things like raising goats for milk, growing alfalfa, drip irrigation, water quality issues, even putting in an RV park campground. But when I said “All these things are good, but what I need is the resources to accomplish them. How can I get the resources?”. There seemed to be no answer to that. There are millions of dollars worth of resources out there but obtaining them is tough. Everyone agreed there was great opportunity sitting on our seventy five acres but no one presented a clear plan on how to tap into it. Wine grapes is a great option but it costs eleven thousand dollars an acre to develop and then it takes years before you begin to see a return on that investment. That’s just like putting in an apple orchard. You must invest in the trees and then wait five years before the investment begins to produce. “What can I do next year?” I asked several times, but got no answer. I can grow alfalfa but have no equipment and need to install irrigation.

Cherie’s frustration was evident on her face when we left. She said “I wasted half a day so I’m going back to work”. I felt really bad. She took off of work to be there by my side, to help me keep up with what was going on. It’s not done, I need to come up with a plan but it’s clear we need to find others who can partner with us. I had planned on that anyway but it’s been made more evident.

I fixed a pot of coffee. We had a hard rain while this was going on but now the sun has come out. That means it will be a muggy day. The humidity was 93% this morning. Have to fight off the depression that wants to overwhelm me. This whole thing was a disappointment. But can’t quit, that’s not in me. I have a dream damn it and it’s a good one. So I’ll keep pushing on no matter what others think. If nothing else I’ll grow some vegetables.
This seeder didn't come with the different templates designed for a variety of seed types, but I do the best I can with what I've got.

Yesterday I remembered the seeder I had bought at an estate sale a year or so ago and dug it out. Had to put tape on the holes and cut it out to make them the right size for blackeyed peas in order to make it work. It still puts two or three peas in a hole sometimes but I can do in sixty seconds what it took twenty minutes to do before. I’ll just weed out the extra plants later. It’s a simple hand pushed seeder but that illustrates the difference the right piece of equipment makes. Sixty seconds versus twenty minutes. I could rule the world with the right equipment, or at least do some serious farming.
Here's a picture of a barn swallow that built it's nest on the light in our veranda just outside the kitchen door.

Listening to a Bible study on GLC. It’s on the story of Daniel in the lions den where the king, Nebuchadnezzar, was talked into making a law that demanded death for anyone worshipping a god other than the ones of Persia. Because Daniel was caught worshipping the God of Israel the king was forced to enforce his own law. We all know how the story goes, that God prevented the lions from harming Daniel despite being in the lions den overnight. As I listen to this I realize that I shouldn’t be so demoralized by our meeting with the USDA guys today. If my vision for this farm is something God wants, it will happen no matter how many obstacles are in the way. If it’s not then I don’t want it to happen anyway. What I also know is that anything that God wants the devil will do his best to block and destroy.

This is the spiritual battle that goes on constantly, the battle of good against evil. For those who don’t have the belief in God we do, this is a laughable or even ludicrous concept. I’ve read many comments on a wide variety of news stories online where people are eager to express their disdain, or worse, of Christianity in any form. I understand this well, and at one time shared in that disbelief. I also understand well the history of the Christian church and what has been done in the name of religion over the centuries. But I know that true Christianity is about love, not the emotional type of feeling many call love but to choose for the highest good of others even at personal loss. It’s humbling yourself and swallowing pride. It’s turning the other cheek. When those who call themselves Christian act otherwise those who look for reasons to despise God are quick to latch onto it. We all mess up, no matter how good you are. I know I do all the time. That’s where forgiveness comes in and is so important.

We had a big blast of rain that blew through about an hour ago. It poured down pretty heavily. All of my rain barrels have been full for some time now. Too bad I don’t have more. Would love to build a cistern to catch the rain with. Have plans from the internet on how to construct one. It’s pretty muddy so I’m wondering if the seeder will work well. Don’t know but plan on going out and finding out now. If it doesn’t there’s plenty of other things to do and I have only two hours of daylight left so time’s awastin.