Like a Watered Garden

If you offer your food to the hungry
   and satisfy the needs of the afflicted,
then your light shall rise in the darkness
   and your gloom be like the noonday.
The Lord will guide you continually,
   and satisfy your needs in parched places,
   and make your bones strong;
and you shall be like a watered garden,
   like a spring of water,
   whose waters never fail. 

From Isaiah 58

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Happy Earth Day

God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good.  Genesis 1:31 

The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it.  Psalm 24:1
 

Isn’t it enough for you to keep the best of the pastures for yourselves? Must you also trample down the rest? Isn’t it enough for you to drink clear water for yourselves? Must you also muddy the rest with your feet? Ezekiel 34:19

Creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.  Romans 8: 21 

I am making everything new.  Revelation 21: 5
 
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Eating Well

On Thursday Cherie and I attended the Critical Issues conference put on by the North Carolina Council of Churches in Winston-Salem.  This year the conference was titled “Eating Well:  For Ourselves, For our Neighbors, For our Planet” and addressed the social justice implications of what we eat and how it is grown. 

I enjoyed having the chance to meet Fred Bahnson and get a copy of his new book Making Peace With the Land.  It was also a privilege to be able to talk with Gail O’Day, dean of the Wake Forest Divinity School, about the food and faith curriculum they’ll be rolling out this Fall.

But probably what I enjoyed most about the event was the chance to spend a day with hundreds of people, mostly pastors, committed to creation care, stewardship and putting churches and faith-based groups at the forefront of the local food movement.  It was exciting to learn about so many community gardens up and going all over North Carolina thanks to hundreds of congregations that have embraced the truth that respecting and caring for creation honors the Creator.

May it ever remain so.

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It’s Always Something

On the farm, it seems that there is always something unexpected happening.  Often things break down at inconvenient times.  Or an animal does something it shouldn’t.  Or the weather goes crazy.  It’s always something.

These days we’re spending a lot of time dealing with Kelly and her kids.  Kelly is 4 years old, one of our second generation nannies.  She’s a good goat and a good mama.

A couple of weeks ago her milk bag filled out, indicating she’d be kidding soon.  But day after day passed with no kids.  Meanwhile, her milk bag continued to swell.  By the time she finally kidded, a few days ago, her bag was so large it was nearly dragging the ground and the kids were unable to nurse.  Well, they could nurse if they could figure out where the milk comes from, but while baby goats are born with the knowledge that food will come from beneath their mothers, their instincts are to look up for the source and they just can’t find it when it’s so low to the ground.  And her teats were swollen so large that they couldn’t even get their mouths around them.

Sigh.  So we began bottle-feeding the twins, a male and female named Heeza and Sheeza.  Meanwhile poor Kelly seemed about to burst and  was terribly uncomfortable, as well as being at risk for mastitis.  We got her off the pasture and put her on a low energy diet to try to dry her off fast, milking her down as best we could.

Meanwhile, Cherie was persistent in trying to teach the kids to nurse.  Heeza is a big energetic kid who fights any attempt to push him toward what he needs.  He’s never caught on and probably never will.  But Sheeza, thanks to Cherie’s efforts, has figured it out now and is nursing.  So as of now it appears we’ll be able to put Kelly back on pasture, even though we’ll still have to bottle-feed Heeza.

And I wonder what today will bring.

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Norms

I watched Brene Brown’s Ted talk, linked on Jay Voorhees’ blog Only Wonder Understands.  Near the end she cites a study done at Boston College.  Researchers studied societal expectations in the US of what women and men need to do to conform to societal norms. 

The leading answers for women: 

  • Be nice,
  • Be thin,
  • Be modest and
  • use all available resources for appearance.

 The leading answers for men: 

  • Always show emotional control,
  • put work first in life (primacy of work),
  • pursue status and
  • violence

You can view the talk here:  http://onlywonder.com/2012/03/21/now-watch-this/

Of course if we seriously thought that question through we could’ve arrived at those answers, even without the benefit of any academic study.  Our experiences and what we see around us in the world confirm those truths.

May the day soon arrive when our worth and value is determined by what really matters, not what doesn’t.  May we be the people we were intended to be, not the people a broken culture tells us to be.

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Shaving and other things

Cherie makes lots of the things we use around the house that we used to buy in wasteful plastic containers and which were filled with harmful chemicals.

She makes our toothpaste, laundry detergent, deodorant, dishwashing detergent and other things.  She also finds sources for more sustainably packaged and produced things, like soap and shampoo bars.  I love the fact that we waste very little plastic around here and that we use products that are better for us and the environment, while helping small businesses and artisans.

My favorite is the shaving brush and shaving soap she bought me.  I’ve been using the soap for quite a while now and by looking at it I can’t tell that I’ve used any.  It’s going to last a long time.  All the men in America should be shaving this way.  Unfortunately the advertising industry convinced an earlier generation of us that modern men should use shaving cream from a can (making us sexier and more handsome, of course).  I’d love to see us all return to a more sensible way of shaving.  In any event, and for what it’s worth, I highly recommend the old-fashioned way of shaving.

These little changes around the house seem major at first, but within a few days they become the norm.  Now it would seem strange to me to pour shampoo out of a plastic bottle, rather than shampoo with a bar.  It would seem odd to squeeze toothpaste out of a disposable tube, rather than scoop it out of a reusable jar.  And it would definitely seem wasteful and silly to spray shaving cream out of a can, rather than lathering a bar of shaving soap with my brush.

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The tools of the past

I’ve picked up a lot of arrowheads and other points around here over the years.  Here’s a sample.

The white ones are made from white flint, a type of quartz common on our farm and the source of it’s name. 

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