Monday, December 11, 2006

Introducing Tater, and a few Acres

I received one gift in particular for my birthday that was quite surprising. Meet my '84 Chevy Silverado, Tater. After a good bath he looks better than the picture shows. Tater proudly claims the famous Mater from Cars as his first cousin, twice removed.

This is a picture of the ten acres we're clearing and possibly moving onto. It needs a lot of work and has a lot of potential; it will be a little while before it supports chickens. The treeline on the left and the road on the right form the borders. Esposa, taking the picture, is standing on the near border.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

A Belated Response

It was requested some time ago that I share my own thoughts and feelings on my initiation into manhood, and late is usually better than never, so now I'll attempt to describe them.

Several people who either don't know me as well as they think, or do and just choose to ignore my faults, have made me flattering and very exaggerated compliments, told me how wonderful I am, etc. I thank them all for their kindness and meanwhile keep reading my charges that mention pride, in order to keep myself from actually believing them.

I had no idea that anything unusual would be going on the Sunday of my birthday except for some general remarks the day before. Then Sunday afternoon when my family started decorating, and put out a pitcher of grape juice (my favorite), I knew that it would be something special.

Still, when I discovered for certain during the ceremony that my father saw fit to initiate me into manhood, with all the responsibilities that attend to such an honor, I was somewhat dazed for the rest of the evening. (That may also have been an effect from receiving a Browning .270 rifle, I'm not sure.) That is certainly the best description of my feelings- dazed.

At any rate, I'll remember the event for the rest of my life. It was very special to me that the Christian men around me took time to come and present me with charges filled with the wisdom that comes from God alone- that wisdom that the world can never attain. I will certainly do my best to walk on the road that all these charges clearly point to, that narrowest of roads that leads to eternal life and a legacy left behind for future generations.


Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The charge and blessing of a modern day knight.

Below is the charge that I brought before my son at his rite of passage into manhood ceremony along with a breif transcript of how the event took place. I do this knowing that there may be some that stumble upon this that will not agree with the content or even the idea of such an event. If you find yourself questioning or offended at anything here or I need to clarify, please let me know and I will do my best to explain further in more detail. It's time we expect men to be real men..

The charge of the father to his son:
My son, you have heard the counsel of real men today, heed their advice.
As these men here, by the grace of the almighty God, I have done the best that I’ve known to raise you. I have failed at times, but I have given you my best. Your grandfather has given me his best. He passed to me this virtue of manhood and today we wish to pass this formally to you. This virtue is not an inalienable right. It is not something that comes to a youth because of attaining a certain age. Manhood comes upon a man when he realizes it is time to begin to live as his own man, accepting the burden of leadership and of responsibility, developing his character, his reputation, realizing he will be the product of his own decisions whether choosing good or evil. We have gathered here to pass onto you the mantle of manhood.
My son, along with this virtue comes the legacy of the Wolfe family. We are men, called to fear the Lord, serve Him, and seek His glory above our own. We are men who endeavor, as elect members of the Church through the blood of the Holy Son, Jesus Christ and by the grace of God the Holy Father to live righteously with honor and integrity according to the Holy Scriptures and wise guidance of the Holy Spirit. We are men, who having done all to stand, will stand therefore, ready to offer our best for the war for our King. You are becoming a man in an age of moral decadence. The world will mock you, hate you, and may even persecute you. It will require of you spiritual, moral and emotional fortitude, it will require honor, strength of character and a sound mind. Do as Colossians 2:8 tells us “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.”
My son, this war is not only against flesh and blood but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. You today are becoming what the men in this room have experienced already; you are becoming a target for Satan to destroy. He will focus his attack on your image and authority because they are God ordained. He will attack your values, your integrity, your wife, and even your children. He will desire to remove you from a close relationship with your Savior and make you ineffectual in your family, your church and the culture you are called to impact. “Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day.”
There are many responsibilities that come with being a man. My son, as a man you have the responsibility to be a protector. The scriptures are clear that man has a duty, a responsibility to protect the weak; the widow, the orphan, the poor, the destitute, your wife and your children. In over 6000 years of history men have ordinarily accepted the responsibility to protect the weak. Chivalrous men on the HMS Birkenhead and the Titanic gave their lives for this biblical principle. In the last few generations emasculate men and the confused women of the feminist movement have attempted to blur the roles so distinct in scripture. The fallen world in which we live would lead us to believe that there is nothing different between man and woman. That is a lie. Men are protectors and if God has ordained you a wife and children, you are to be the sole protector of family. This protection is not only physical but also spiritual. Women are called the weaker vessel in scripture, this not only refers to physical strength but scripture also teaches that women can be susceptible to spiritual deception. This deception can be through a lust for knowledge, a compulsion to teach others, a desire to have authority over men, or through a naturally emotional and compassionate nature that can be taken advantage of by evil men. Women who expose themselves to false doctrine outside of biblical male leadership subject themselves to deception. Understand, it is not our duty to point out these certain inherit weaknesses in our wives; it is our duty to protect them from this deception. Your children, you are to protect, nurture and train in the admonition of the Lord. You are to protect your children from the harmful influences that will face their generation. You should plan to school your children, teach your children the truths of scripture, and about the glory and grace of God. But remember this; in order to protect you must be willing to take the blows of the attacker.
My son, as a man you have the responsibility to be a provider. The current culture of America has also attempted to blur the roles between man and woman when it comes to providing for the family. The majority of history has always held the man responsible for provision. Many men today abdicate this role for the love of wealth and a selfish ambition that leads them not only to allow their wives to work but to push them to work. I think you see the faulty thinking leading to this and I feel confident you will give your wife industrious duties that support and nurture the home, the children, and the God ordained purposes for family. You are also called to provide your wife her special needs. You are to love her as Christ loved the church, dwell with her with understanding, nurture her, and provide her refuge from the hostile world. This provision is not only physical but also spiritual. You must be the spiritual leader of your family. You must wash your wife with the water of the Word, raise your children up in the training and admonition of the Lord. No one will provide for your family what you can provide. But remember this; in order to provide you must be willing to do without.
My son, as a man you have the responsibility to be a leader. God has delegated to man alone certain authority over creation. We are called to multiply and fill the earth. God sees children as a blessing, like arrows in the hand of a mighty warrior. May God bless you with many children. We are to have dominion over the earth, to be responsible, to be resourceful and to impact this world with the glory of God as he empowers us to use resources to grow His kingdom. Biblical leadership requires some essential element. It requires a biblical worldview. You must study to show yourself approved, a workman rightly dividing the word of truth, that you may not be ashamed, know God’s heart. It requires a Godly character. Faithfulness – you must be committed and faithful to your King. Honor – be a man that is honorable. Honor those God has given you, honor the Church and Honor your King always. Self-discipline – the mind is willing but the flesh is weak, you must overcome your flesh and serve God alone. Self-confidence – you must find your self-confidence in God, not only within yourself. Valor – fight for what is right with all humility under the power given you by the Holy Spirit. You’re in a battle for the souls of men, fight to win them to the loyalty of the King. Integrity – you must be personally accountable to do right before God, even when there is no one around to witness your actions. Most in your generation will not stand in integrity and character when times get tough. Real men stand when others falter. Real men make and carry out difficult decisions when others standby in passivity and watch. Reject passivity. Vision – you must be a visionary, a man who sees beyond tomorrow, to cast a vision for multi-generational faithfulness to our Lord and Savior.
Phil Lancaster in Patriarch magazine said this, “What is needed today is nothing less than a return to patriarchy, a society led by strong, godly men. We need family leaders who will also become leaders in the churches and throughout every institution in the nation. Such men must also learn to see beyond today, to see themselves as just the beginning of what will be many generations who will be mighty in the land. Each man should aim to be the founder of a dynasty for God.” But remember this; in order to lead you must first be a servant.
My son, there are many responsibilities of a man. But to those of us who He has called to be His children, He gave a promise. He will never leave us or forsake us. It is the Father who calls us, the Spirit who enables us and Christ who promises His presence and His strength.
Many ceremonies are usually preceded by an ordeal, a temporary trial to test the individual of his worthiness to be accepted into an order. Here, there is no temporary ordeal; the ordeal of life is not a one time challenge, but a lifelong battle against the flesh. But remember this; always take heart we have been given the victory through Christ.

At this point the ceremony went like this:

My son, do you accept the responsibility and sacrifice that is required to join the ranks of true biblical manhood? (He answered correctly)

This stole represents the yoke of manhood that you are to bear on your shoulders, by the symbols of the cross, remember from where your strength comes.

Kneel before me.

Hebrews 4:12 “For the Word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

The sword is used in the dubbing of the knight. We will use it to dub today Bret, a modern day knight of the King. I will then equip him with a sword that is far better for our warfare, the Geneva Bible that many of our spiritual fathers died to bring to us. Let us ask blessing on our candidate.

The Blessing:
Grant, we pray, O Lord, our prayers, and see fit to bless with the hand of your servant this sword with which this young servant desires to be girt, to the end that he may be a defender of the Church, of widows, of orphans, and of all the servants of God, against the cruelty of godless heathens, and that he may be the terror and dread of his enemies. O Lord, omnipotent father, eternal God, who alone establish and lawfully rule the order of all things: who to put down the malice of reprobates and to defend justice have permitted men on earth the use of the sword, and have willed to institute a chivalric order of man for the protection of your people and means for the conversion of the elect: and who said by way of the blessed John to the soldiers who came to him in the desert that they should do violence to no man, but be content with their pay: we humbly pray that, just as you granted to your child David the power to vanquish Goliath, so grant, through your heavenly bounty, to this your servant, who comes a new recruit to put his neck under the yoke of manhood, the power and valor to defend the faith and justice, increase him in faith, hope, charity, humility, perseverance, obedience, good patience, the fear as well as the love of God and direct him lawfully in all things, so that he will never injure anyone unjustly with this sword, and so that, just as he is raised from an inferior station to the new honor of manhood, so, putting off the young man with his deeds, he will put on the new man, to fear you and render you just worship, to avoid the society of the wicked, to pour out his charity upon his neighbor, to obey the scriptures lawfully in all things, and to fulfill his office justly at all times. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."

(Raise the sword) Let it be known this day that the men of this room will stand behind you. We covenant together to pray for you and to hold you accountable to the highest standards of biblical manhood.

In remembrance of the duties required (strike right shoulder)
In remembrance of your lineage and King (strike left shoulder)
Be thou a good knight (strike head)

Rise, Sir Bret and take your sword. Let this sword be to you a reminder of this ceremony. Let it be your weapon to slay your Kings enemies and win your Kings elect.

In the presence of the boys and men in this room and almighty God, by whose grace we are saved, be thou a true man of valor.

Thus begins the story of Sir Bret, knight of the Almighty King.

Monday, November 20, 2006

The call to Biblical manhood.

Well this weekend has proved to be a very meaningful one. My eldest son Bret is now 16 (as of 6:50 last night) and is now a man of his own. While still under the leadership of dad and under the loving authority of mom, he is a man. As most will already know who reads this post, we had a right of passage / Biblical manhood ceremony yesterday evening. Not a big formal thing but it was a big meaningful thing to me and Bret has told me it was for him also. All the men attending and some that were not able to attend had written a charge for Bret with great advice about the challenges and responsibilities of manhood. It was amazing to me that with everyone involved, each man had a different and very important aspect of manhood to talk about. I think the Lord blessed the evening and the men with the right words to say, so that together it was a very broad challenge to the young man. Thanks to all the men who contributed effort and time to this experience for Bret (Greg, Dennis, Danny, Spencer, Pastor Liddle and my Dad and all the boys in attendance who added to the occasion well with a few uplifting letters to Bret). It will be a lifelong memory for all of us. After the charge was a blessing and a 'knighting' ceremony where the yoke of manhood was placed on his shoulders and he was equipped with a sword (of the Geneva type - Heb. 4:12). I've attached some pictures of the ceremony for you. I will post my charge to Bret and the blessing we prayed over him tomorrow. Although, there were many better words shared. If you can talk Bret into sharing what he learned from the men, I know he'd be glad to let you in on some of the charges from others.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Where's Sherlock?

Sorry for the lack of blogging. Stonewall has been AWOL. Sherlock's lost somewhere. And Mi Esposa es muy bueno at writing but muy busy as well. Anyway I wanted to let everyone that was worried about me being away from home so long know that I'm actually back from England now since the last post (nearly a month ago).
Lately the men of the family have been attending a hunter's education course together and learning about the responsibilities that go along with hunting. It's been informative and interesting. There really is a lot going on behind the scenes to make sure the wildlife in Alabama is taken care of properly. The big test is coming up to get the certificate and then it's off to the store (not Wal-mart by the way) for hunting licenses. It been fun to spend time with the boys together in the class and it's been well worth the time for me. I look forward to spending more time in the woods soon.
Anyway, check back every now and again. There are some things coming up that will be posted soon, with birthdays, holidays and all that. Who knows, someone may even find Sherlock out there somewhere?

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

England in the fall..

There's a nice park to take a stroll in around the town here. Leaves are turning now just like back home. It's quite cool in the evenings, but the walk was very relaxing. I only got a few pics, here are a few more. Things are going well, the weather has been very good until today with rain moving in. The trip has been a lot of fun and very interesting, but I'm ready to get home to the family too. We've had a discussion about homeschooling, that was fun to talk about with them here. I'll have to share more about the conversations later. It's hard to find a "gospel" church here, as they call it. I mentioned Spurgeon in a conversaton but didn't seem to get a big response about him... It's an interesting culture. I look forward to sharing more with family and friends later on. FYI: The fish and chips are excellent..
This will probably be the last post I'll be able to get in, so I'll share the rest at home with all of you.
See you soon,

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

A few pictures from England.

Things are going well here in the UK. I slept well on the first night away which is unusual, but considering that I'd had 5 hours sleep within the last three day I guess the body was ready to shut down. After work I was trying to stay awake for as long as I could before getting to bed so I took a walk around the small town here and took a few pictures. These are of an old church (St. Matthews)an Anglican church. I actually found out it is a new one, it was built in 1827..

Driving on the wrong side of the road is nerve-racking.. Take a look at the view from the car.

It'll take a while getting used to going around a blind left hand curve on the wrong side of the road! It'll make you flinch when you see the other cars rounding the curve in front of you!

Hope to find time to take more pictures for you soon. Check back.

Stonewall signing off from the UK.

P.S. There was a plumbing problem back at the home front, but thanks to the Lowe's all is well again! Thanks Greg. You saved the day..

Monday, October 23, 2006

I'm in merry ole England!

Hey I watched the sunset at 9:00pm est and watched the sunrise 5 hours later! I did get a hour or so nap between. I was thinking that Mr. Potato head was just getting out of bed by this time and the suns already up here. I've only got a minute, I'll blog more tonight (with pics). This was my first time to fly business first class. HEY, there's a BIG difference here, recliners for seats, and "would you like lobster on your salad sir!!" WELL YEAH! I like first class! I've got pictures of the engineering manager here that picked me up driving on the wrong side of the road, It's gonna take a while to get used to that! shifting the stick shift with your left hand? lots of neat things to talk about.

Talk later.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Tour de Farm

If any devoted readers are still taking the time to look at our long-neglected blog, we hope to start catching up now.

Saturday we went to tour a farm about two hours away, which sells chicken, turkey, beef, lamb, and pork. All the animals are based on pasture and moved periodically to a fresh area. The methods used at this farm are very similar to Joel Salatin's, the Virginia farmer who helped pioneer the sustainable agriculture movement.

The owner was very knowledgeable on his subject- farming- and I learned quite a bit. It was nice to find that he allows homeschoolers to come and help process his birds, as well as having a homeschool daycamp.

The entire farm was quite diverse, with multiple species sharing an area to benefit each other in natural symbiosis. Chickens keep pigs clean of lice, as well as sanitizing the pasture after the cows. Cows keep the grass clipped to a comfortable level for chickens in return, while pigs provide protection, to a degree, for the chickens. A Great Pyrenees (dog) was kept with the turkeys, which are roaming birds, to protect them from aerial predators. Although the dog couldn't catch a hawk, all animals dislike and avoid dogs, including hawks and buzzards.

The owner is very commited to honesty and quality. He had three healthy looking cows that had gotten sick. We never could have guessed that they had been sick, but the owner was selling them at the sale barn instead of to customers due to the fact. He also never sells a bird whose intestinal tract breaks during processing.

The trip was very informative and gave me some new ideas. I'm looking forward to being able to farm myself, hopefully before very long.


Tuesday, September 26, 2006

On the rooftops of Helena...

Last Tuesday I had a fun time spent on the roof. On Wednesday we left on a trip while Stonewall was in Mexico, and I didn't have time to blog it. After that, my dear sister was dreadfully sick and spent some time in the hospital. Now, however, life's back to normal and I can blog this.

I made a kite out of nothing but paper, broomstraws, and fourteen pieces of tape. The wind was light so I took it up on the roof to try it out. It is a very light and interesting kite, but it still wouldn't fly. Broomstraw kites are almost as fun to build as they are to fly, so I may be writing further about them later.

Since my kite wouldn't fly, and since the weather at roof altitude was so nice, I hated to come down. So, I decided to pass my time musically.
Quite an original idea, don't you think?

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Food for Thought

Here's something to chew on for a little while concerning government.

"As a system of peaceful cooperation under the division of labor, the market economy could not work without an institution warranting to its members protection against domestic gangsters and external foes. Violent aggression can be thwarted only by armed resistance and repression. Society needs an apparatus of defense, a state, a government, a police power. Its undisturbed functioning must be safeguarded by continuous preparedness to repel aggressors. But then a new danger springs up. How keep under control the men entrusted with the handling of the government apparatus lest they turn their weapons against those whom they were expected to serve? The main political problem is how to prevent the rulers from becoming despots and enslaving the citizenry."
- Ludwig von Mises

"Some writers have so confounded society with government, as to leave little or no distinction between them; whereas they are not only different, but have different origins. Society is produced by our wants, and government by our wickedness; the former promotes our happiness positively by uniting our affections, the latter negatively by restraing our vices. The one encourages intercourse, the other creates distinctions. The first is a patron, the last a punisher.

Society in every state is a blessing, but government even in its best state is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one; for when we suffer, or are exposed to the same miseries by a government, which we might expect in a country without government, our calamity is heightened by reflecting that we furnish the means by which we suffer. Government, like dress, is the badge of lost innocence; the palaces of kings are built on the ruins of the bowers of paradise. For were the impulses of conscience clear, uniform, and irresistibly obeyed, man would need no other lawgiver; but that not being the case, he finds it necessary to surrender up a part of his property to furnish means for the protection of the rest; and this he is induced to do by the same prudence which in every other case advises him out of two evils to choose the least. Wherefore, security being the true design and end of government, it unanswerably follows that whatever form thereof appears most likely to ensure it to us, with the least expence and greatest benefit, is preferable to all others."
-Thomas Paine, in Common Sense

" For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil."
Romans 13:3-4


Thursday, September 07, 2006

Free Reading

After having our piano lessons cancelled at late notice (a relief to me since my violin has consumed more of my musical capacity lately), we made a trip to one of my favorite places- the library. I checked out a few books before we left to run some more errands. At one location a sweet older lady knocked on my window. She said her great-grandson wouldn't read and asked me if I liked reading. Since I was reading at the moment and had a pile of ten books in my lap, I saw no way out but to admit, "Yes Ma'am."

Which is true. Here is a picture of the free reading I have at the moment. It may lead you to the same conclusion as it did this lady. From top to bottom,you see The Complete Sherlock Holmes in two volumes, The American Constitution: For and Against (compares Federalist and Anti-Federalist papers), Prisoners of the Sea, St.Bartholomews Eve, The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, Common Sense, and The Federalist Papers.


Saturday, September 02, 2006


Smokestack and I recently found three "pet" spiders at our house. Unlike most people, we like them. It's really neat to throw a grasshopper in the web, then watch the spider run to it, wrap it up and bite it. Then they leave it alone, letting the poison take effect, before coming back for a meal. It's really fascinating.

Unfortunately, the biggest of our three arachnids decided to stretch a web across the back door. Having neglected to inform Stonewall of this fact, he accidentally dropped in for a visit, and neither web nor spider now exist.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Joel Salatin

Here it is! The narration for which so many people have such wonderful expectations; and who, having read this, will say, “That was it?!” I have now written my narration of Joel Salatin’s talks at Vision Forum’s Entrepreneurial Bootcamp, which dealt with general business principles as well as sustainable agriculture. I have chosen to limit myself to the farming part, because that is Mr. Salatin’s area of expertise and is certainly enough information for one post.

Joel Salatin (Sall’-uh-tin) is a Christian libertarian capitalist environmentalist who farms 100 open acres in Swoope, Virginia, which is located in the Shenandoah Valley. He has developed several farming models which have proved highly successful, profitable, and sustainable including Salad Bar Beef, Pastured Poultry, Pigaerator Pork, Eggmobile Eggs, and forage-based rabbits. He is now developing a Ewego to raise lambs, which then will finish their growth in a Lamborghini. His farm supports four full-time white collar salaries.

Sustainable Agriculture is a method of agriculture which builds the fertility in the soil and increases the production as time passes, both through the addition of organic material and careful husbandry. Most conventional agricultural practices today destroy the complex webs of organisms in the soil and require large amounts of fertilizers and pesticides because the soil has been killed. Thus the scientists are only one step ahead of disease and pests with their deadly chemicals (remember, the suffix -cide means death), and the plants must rely on artificial fertilizer for nutrients because there aren’t any in the soil.

The meat-raising industry today is a horror. The meat isn’t nutritious; it’s unhealthy and, in some cases, dangerous. The conditions animals are raised under won’t allow anything nutritious. Most grocery stores now have drugstores- notice a connection? Not to mention the fact that it is extremely unprofitable to build a $250,000 chicken house that returns about $10,000 a year and has to be rebuilt in 25 years- and that isn’t an imaginary situation. A short description directly from Mr. Salatin describes the conditions in a laying hen confinement house:

“I once walked into an egg layer house. Here were three tiers of cages as far as the eye could see. The cages were 14 inches by 22 inches. Inside were 8 chickens. They didn’t even have enough room to sit down. They just milled around the cages all the time. No nest. They just squatted and dropped the egg on the slanted wire mesh cage bottom and the egg rolled down onto a conveyor belt. The birds were debeaked so they wouldn’t cannibalize and most cages had at least one dead bird in some stage of decay. Finally, after the other birds walked over the carcass long enough, the decomposed carcass fell through the wire floor and went out with the manure.”

It doesn’t take much to see that something is wrong with such a model. Mr. Salatin’s models try to recreate in farming the habits of an animal, or similar animal, in the wild. It works off of the assumption that no one can do better than God, which is certainly true. With these models, a chicken can be a chicken, a cow a cow, etc.

Also, he calves in the spring, when deer are fawning, instead of trying to get an earlier start in winter when the weather is colder. The weight gain is the same in the end. He never builds silos (bankruptcy tubes) to fatten cows in winter because he fattens his calves on pasture in spring and summer, and then sells them in the fall, only keeping the breeding cows. Winter is the natural off-season for herbivores, and they don’t eat as much. Since they aren’t designed to eat much in winter they don’t gain weight very well at that time, tending to just want to maintain status quo.

By adding plenty of carbon to the manure in winter or in composting, and by moving the animals across the ground in the warmer months ammonia is prevented from vaporizing, which simply means that it doesn’t smell bad. The result is an aromatically pleasing farm. Have you ever smelled the sweet aroma of compost? If something smells bad, something is being done wrong.

Most of the profitability from a farm like this is from direct marketing. By selling retail you can control your own prices. Wholesale prices for farm produce vary widely at different times, but retail prices are comparatively steady. By selling retail at honest prices, you can avoid price swings (except for inflation, but that isn’t really a problem here, and it’s a long story anyway.)

Pasturing chickens allows them to move daily off of the soiled patch of the day before onto a clean, fresh “salad bar”. This keeps parasites and disease away. Portable pens allow a confined area on which they can graze, get water, and feed (chickens can only get 35% of their diet on grass). The result is a chicken high in Omega fatty acids and vitamins, and low in saturated fat, that tastes better than anything bought at the local supermarket.

The rabbit, pig, and lamb are all raised in a healthy way as well. Rabbits are fed plenty of forage, pigs are rotated every 20 or 30 days to a new area, and lambs are pastured. All of this operates on grass and, in the case of pigs, other natural vegetation. That’s why there is a magazine called The Stockman Grass Farmer- it’s simply a profitable, healthy way to do things.

This method of farming is also family friendly. Children can be integrated into all of the operations. There aren’t any dangerous chemicals or equipment (when used reasonably). A child could eat the compost, in reasonable amounts, and it wouldn’t hurt him. When a farm is developed, along with its direct-market clientele, later generations can continue with it and build it up to higher productivity than their parents and grandparents ever achieved.

A farm following these models is profitable, family-friendly, aesthetically and aromatically pleasing, a beautiful example of working in symbiosis with Creation, and it’s fun. That about sums it all up.


Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The Alamo

Below is a narration on the battle of the Alamo by Smokestack. We hope you enjoy it!

Texans were rebelling against Santa Anna, the president of Mexico. Houston sent Colonel Travis to hold Santa Anna back long enough for him to gather an army. Travis had 100 hundred men, many different states, with him. Many were from different countries in Europe.

The Alamo is in San Antonio Texas, and is the place that Travis stationed his men. They worked and made the old Spanish mission into a fort. They constructed walls and placed batteries of cannon. They also gathered weapons, filled the powder rooms, stored food......and waited.

One day it was reported that Santa Anna's army was seen marching towards the Alamo. Travis sent men to their posts, but Santa Anna did not attack. The next few days were spent at their posts, until , at last, the Mexicans attacked. The courage of the Texans, however, was too strong for the Mexicans, and they forced them to retreat.

Jim Bowie was shot, and could not walk, so he lay in his bed for the remainder of the battle. Davy Crockett was guarding a long wall that his men had built. They were the best men fighting at the Alamo. Travis sent out messengers asking aid, but none could arrive in time.

Then, Santa Anna ordered "Charge and capture, no matter how many be the losses." [Ed. Note: Those aren't his exact words. He spoke Spanish.] The whole Mexican army attacked the Alamo. Travis was brave, and was one of the first to die. Though they knew it must come, death had no hold on them. Davy Crockett, the famous King of the Frontier, lay dead with 11 dead Mexicans around him. Bowie was found dead in his infirmary bed, and had resisted to the last, having killed the men who first tried to kill him in his bed. The bodies of the men who died at the Alamo were burned.

Later, Houston crushed "Santy Anny", as he was called, going into battle with the cry "Remember the Alamo!". Thus, the massacre at the Alamo was revenged.



I'm flattered that my posts are so well appreciated. Before I begin this one, however, please let me remind you that I don't have a spirit of "I am (nearly) sixteen! I am the fount of all wisdom- hear me speak!" My father could tell these things infinitely better, but he must work and go to meetings and such while I, after I have finished school, have some spare time to sit around and blog.

My previous posts have talked about wealth some and how it can build inside a family that lives so as to benefit the next generation. Now I intend to go a little deeper lest you think that I'm a heartless diehard capitalist that wants to squeeze every penny he can get out of the business deals he makes. I hope there aren't many such misers.

At the Bootcamp, Mr. Phillips discussed how many modern Christians believe that to be poor is to be holy. This is an illusion that is easily countered by reading scripture. Deuteronomy 6 and 7 are good chapters in dealing with this. Those that serve God with their lives will be blessed. They'll have problems and failures, sure, but God blesses those that seek his glory.

There are only a certain amount of resources in the world. Other than mining gold and silver, wealth cannot really be created. Money can be earned, but you can't print a billion dollar bills and be rich- it must be backed by gold or it will simply cause inflation. Therefore, wealth must be earned that already exists (unless, again, you mine gold, but most people don't do that).

If the Christian community shuns wealth and chooses to live in poverty in order to be holy, who else will get the resources? The world will! If the secular communtiy controls the resources, they'll simply use it to do what they are doing with it now- they'll make Godless movies, back Godless politicians and use it for worldly things in general. If the Christians control those resources (particularly Christians with a vision), then they will be used to glorify God and impact the culture in a Godly way.

Therefore, since it is God who gives resources to control, it is not wrong for us to seek wealth. It isn't money that is the root of all evil. Money is morally neutral; it is the love of that money that is evil. The purpose of seeking the wealth is to live debt-free and to allow later generations to live debt-free. Being out from under the bondage of debt creates more freedom. The borrower is the servant of the lender.

Scripture says that it is hard for a rich man to get to heaven, but the Bible does not say that it is hard for a man going to heaven to get rich. Of course greed is a sin and wealth can be a temptation that produces greed. I refer to resources gained which will be used to glorify God, not to please selfish love of lucre. Samuel's sons fell into this sin, and it's a sad story in 1 Samuel 8.

If the Lord should see fit to bless me with wealth, I wouldn't consider myself a sinner-that's absolutely ridiculous! Isn't it neat how just about any subject can be traced back to the issue of God's sovereignty? However, if I sought that wealth for love of gain, I'm sinning- just like Samuel's sons. It's a matter of why I seek it- for God's glory or my gain- and then if God blesses me with that wealth, how I use it.


Monday, August 21, 2006

Application of a Vision

Since my last post told the importance of having a vision and the blessings which it brings, this time I will get a little more personal and talk a little about my vision up until the time that I marry. I hope that this will serve three purposes:

1) It will allow me to collect my own thoughts further,
2) It may help others understand more about the subject, and
3) When I tell some of these things to my extended family, I can print this and give it to them as explanation after we've helped them off the floor and unhooked the defibrillator.

So, here it goes. The path I have chosen to take is very unfrequented among young men. VERY unfrequented- I could probably walk the whole way without meeting anyone on the same route. This is because I, first, don't plan on going to college and second, I plan to farm (more on that later.)

College is certainly thought of extremely highly nowdays. I've discussed with my parents how people will either think that I'm dumb or that I'm wasting my intelligence (wouldn't that be a flattering opinion?). However, I think the wisest way to think about college is how we think of most things. If it looks like it will be beneficial, then invest in it; but it is a waste of alot of time and money to go to college simply to "go with the flow" if it doesn't seem to be beneficial. Therefore, I have decided to invest the time and money in building a business and beginning a family instead of going to college.

The way my credits fall out, I will finish everything except for history and literature in 11th grade. That pretty much means that I'll finish everything in 11th grade because I'll be doing history and literature my entire life. You've heard the story about Mr. Phillips' father sending him hundreds of pages of material to read every day? It'll be nearly the same with me. Leaders must be readers!

Anyway, that last year will be spent in studying things that will benefit my business endeavors for my entire life- from soil science to business math, or whatever else seems profitable. That should give my business a great boost so that I'm earning a good income to allow me to marry a few years before the median age. This is part of my vision. I'll be able to raise many children to glorify God and impact the culture.

If you didn't already know, you now know that I intend to farm. However, I don't intend to be a farmer. I will be an entrepreneur. If it's God's will for me to become a billionaire through my business endeavors outside farming, that's fine with me; but, Deus volentem, I will still farm.

It's more than wanting to make money. Using Joel Salatin's methods I think that you really could become rich farming; however, I want to farm to produce clean, healthy food in a family friendly, environmentally friendly way. The truth is that I love animals, I love the countryside, and I believe that an office of lush grass and tall oaks, rolling hills and streams is better than any other I know of. Let me know if you've found a better.

Another reason I choose to farm is that it is very family friendly. What better place to be raised than a farm like I envision? I know it will take alot of hard work and sacrifice, but I believe it's worth it to be home with my wife and children 24/7, and to breath clean air and eat clean food. As I age the farm can be passed over to one of my sons- or more than one, who knows what the Lord has in store?

In all this I am not referring to the traditional modern farm of fecal-particulate factory confinement houses or dangerous manure lagoons. Read Joel Salatin's books if you really want to see what I see. I hope to be a part of breaking the D-student, tobacco spittin', trip over the transmission in the front yard farmer stereotype. I enjoy art and classical music very much. In short, I think the farmer stereotype alienates city people and country folks. I'd love to play piano while a cow is contentedly chewing her cud not far outside the window. Most people would think the phrase "cultured farmer" is an oxymoron.

Well, there it is. I've spilled it out, and it's really helped me see how my plan looks on paper (well, a computer screen, anyway). I hope that seeing how I have, with much help from my parents, taken the principles of multi-generational vision and applied them to my immediate future will help you to see more of the big picture.

Of course, all of this planning must be subject to the fact that it may not be God's will. Man proposes, God disposes; if the things in my plan are not his will, I don't want them. There is certainly much to learn still. I know an infinitesimal amount compared to all I need to know, but I'm learning more every day.


Friday, August 18, 2006

Eternal Blessings from a Vision

After reading my father's essay on the purpose of a vision, I thought that I should add my comments- after all, I'm part of the second generation. I am extremely grateful to the Lord for blessing me with parents who see the value of a vision and have passed their insight to me. I believe that a vision is an extremely important part of a Christian family.

At the Bootcamp, Mr. Botkin talked further of his 200-year plan. He made several points of how the plan is beneficial- which I think the following summarizes: The 200-year plan guides the patriarch in making decisions in raising his children, allows later generations to see their place in the plan and to work further towards its goals, and allows several generations of Christians to impact the culture by cooperating in effort over centuries.

A vision also allows a family to better equip their children to impact the culture, and allows them to better equip their children, ad infinitum ( that is, until Christ returns.) Thus, the resources in that family grow, and are used in God-honoring ways. Please don't think I'm endorsing wealth for wealth's sake alone- the goal is to glorify God, and to impact the culture for Christ, with the resources God has given for your family to control.

My Dad made an important point recently. We were talking about Matthew 6:33. "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you." He said that you don't seek the kingdom of God so that all these things shall be added to you- then you're merely seeking the things. You must seek God's glory first, and God will bless you.

When one generation lives below their means to equip the next generation, and then that generation does the same, I think God will bless that family- if they are doing this for his glory. My own father has a vision for which he is willing to sacrifice, and I am willing to do the same for my children. When my father makes that sacrifice, I certainly think that he should deserve that I care for him in his old age, instead of sending him to a nursing home- and I will. I hope my children do so for me.

I'm certainly still learning alot about the importance of having a vision, and the rewards of it. In this post I have simply quoted the wisdom of men whom I greatly respect. I hope someday to have a better understanding of these things, and learning important things such as this is definitely a part of my vision!


Guess Who?

Here is a picture of Sherlock getting his book signed by someone he greatly admires. Can you guess who? Hint- He is supposed to be working on a narration of this man's talk, right Sherlock? ~Stonewall's Esposa

A Multi-Generational Vision

I am not a good narrator and have so many thoughts in my mind to try to flesh out to words that it gets frustrating at times, not to mention my grammar and spelling shortcomings, so I appologize to all english teachers and the ones that tried so hard to "learn" me english. I am working on this but it's not easy after my public school education and an inherited southern country sentence structure. So you homeschoolers take this as evidence, your studies in english and grammar are important.
I do want to share an insight that I gained from the men at the EB (entrepreneurial bootcamp). I have been focused on a multi-generational vision for several years, or so I thought, but these men by God's grace really brought a lot of the puzzle pieces together for me. I've shared this with my family and we will be working toward accomplishing this vision that is God centered and is the pattern found in scripture. The most direct and wonderful passage of scripture that deals with this is Deuteronomy chapter 6 and 7. These chapters show many things about how God expects His people to act, how he is set to bless them beyond measure, and how those that oppose him will be destroyed. It is abundantly clear that a multi-generational vision is the vision God desires for His chosen people. We are to diligently teach our children and grandchildren who God is, what God has done, and what God requires. (This is RC Sproul Jr's 3G's.) Notice the clear contrast between the chosen and the pagan nations. (Also notice WHY God chose them in Chapter 6.) Notice the abundance of blessing for His chosen, "blessed above all peoples", this is a God given dominion and the success is only the result of obedience to God. Our Savior taught us this same concept, "Seek ye first the kingom of God..." We're not destined to be the poor and destitute, just to be seen as having to rely on God for a crumb here and there. He is the provider of all things for those who love him and obey his commands, he will richly bless with abundance... WAIT a minute let's not get into a health and wealth preachy sermon here, remember, God's blessing is only to those who truly love him with all their heart, soul and strength. Do you? Is His glory your goal? Another quote from RC "if your goals aren't the Bible's goals you won't succeed".
Ok, but what about the vision? For one, I must sacrifice my comforts for the next generation, so they can be free from the bondage of debt, free from the wage slave mentality, free to do God's will and work in their generation. So then what about the young men and little lady God has entrusted to me? They must be ready to take this vision to their kids and sacrifice for their generation also, to continue being God's instruments, to love Him, obey Him, and if there is a child down the line that decides he doesn't believe this vision, who rejects God and His commands, then I think it's clear, he get's no help from the family financially to go off on his own. If the family legacy is one founded upon God's glory and exalting the name of Jesus Christ and you reject this, then you are choosing your own path apart from the family. This needs to be taught to all children, obedience is required, not an option. You are either for God 100% or against God. A family that is focused on the glory of God will strive to use the resources God has provided to further glorify God, not fund unrighteous activity. So young men and women, how does this affect your future? At an early age you must think about how you are going to provide for your wife or support your husband, support your children, how to be free of debt, how to continue the vision of dominion for the glory of God. Study the Bible, pray and as Mr. Pent would say "work, work, work". It's much better to start now than when your older and having to rearrange things and catchup.
I must act upon these ideals if the multi-generational vision is to be cast in my family. I need goals, milestones, and plans to make my family situation one that glorifies God. Always with great anticipation of the plans that God has for us. Striving always to be an example of His grace, mercy, and blessing while living a life that points to His glory and when asked about why I live the way I do, always ready to share with those who need to know of the savior and about how He has redeemed me and brought me into the eternal family.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Missing Comments: Found!

Stonewall and Sherlock created this blog late one night, two days before we left for Texas. Their goal was to get the blog up and running before we left -- just the basics, so that we could journal our trip. They didn't have all the "kinks" worked out (and still haven't), but Sherlock did just figure out how to get to the comments that were sent during our trip. He has now posted them to the blog. Yeah!! We so much enjoyed reading them and wish we could have read and answered them while we were gone. However, we are glad to get to read them now and plan on answering the ones requesting narrations --Sherlock's narration on Joel Salatin is in the works, so stay tuned. Blogging on a trip was an interesting experience. Not only was it neat to think that our friends and family could keep up with us (if they so desired), but it was a great family journal for me to print and put in our scrapbook. You know, technology has its benefits! (Speaking of technology, Isaac Botkin had a great discussion on technologythat Smokestack enjoyed) Of course, it was hard to keep up with blogging since it was such a BUSY vacation. So, as a type of "field trip" report, we will be blogging over the next week, or so, our narrations, ideas, thoughts, etc. of what we learned from the places we saw and especially the conference. I think this will continue our great educational experience and fit right in with our "official" school starting Monday, Lord willing. ~Stonewall's Esposa

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Five Sardines in a Can: Day Eleven

After heading out Monday morning from "The Hitchin’ Post", we continued our trip back home until we came to Vicksburg, Mississippi. You probably know that this was an important place during the War of Northern Aggression, as it controlled a long stretch of the Mississippi river.

Led by General Grant, the Federals besieged the town known as the “American Gibraltar” because of its highly defensible position. A long fight ensued between Grant and General Pembrandt, the Confederate General at Vicksburg. The Confederates were reduced to eating mule meat and pea-bread- a delicacy composed of pea mash and corn meal, as hard as a rock on the outside and mushy on the inside. Vicksburg finally had to surrender on July 3rd, 1863, as it had received no help.

The Illinois Monument
We toured the entire battlefield, which is a national park, listening to a CD tour. There was a monument to every state which had soldiers fight in the battle, which includes Alabama. Illinois had the most impressive monument in the Park, a large building modeled after the Pantheon in Rome. If you stomped in this building it sounded like a cannon. (More Pictures will be posted later.)

We left Vicksburg later than expected and arrived safely at home without incident around 11:00. We thank all of you who were praying for us during our trip, and we can’t wait to talk!

Five Sardines in a Can: Day Ten --"On the road again"

Now we will play Catch-Up... After the church service, which was a great time of worship through hymns and preaching of the word, we said good bye to the conference and San Antonio. We decided to take a different route home. We went north through Austin--the capitol of Texas. Then on through Waco, Dallas and made it to an RV park about 30 miles from the Louisian border about 11:00 that night. Not much excitement, but we enjoyed seeing more landscape and cities of Texas. Here are a few more pictures of our day:

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Sunday in San Antonio

We are shortly headed to the Sunday service at the convention center, meeting with the Boerne Christian Assembly (Doug Phillips fellowship) here and with several of the speakers. Scott Brown is preaching this morning, so we are looking forward to hearing the sermon. We've had a great time listening and learning from Mr. Pent, Joel Salatin, Doug, Scott, Mr. Botkin, and several other speakers. We've got a lot to take home and think about and implement as the Lord leads. It's exciting to hear from all the people that have a Christ centered world view and love to take dominion for His glory.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Bootcamp: Day 2

Yesterday was our first full day of entrepreneurial bootcamp. It lasted from 8:30 in the morning and was over around 9:15 last night. Although it was a long day, there really is not enough time in a day to learn all these new principles. We are all saying we could spend months and even years with some of these men and just soak up their wisdom.

We have enjoyed all the speakers we have heard so far. These men know business, but most importantly, they know scripture and how to apply it to entrepreneurialship. We have to hurry off now for another full day. Sherlock is excited about getting to hear Joel Salatin today!!

~Stonewall's Esposa

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Bootcamp: Day 1

Well, the conference /bootcamp went really well tonight. If tonight is any indication, it should be a very educational, uplifting, God glorifying, convicting and challenging (to our thinking) few days. Doug Phillips did an extrordinary job giving the "big picture" talk of entrepreneurship and its relation to scripture and the Christian family. As in other areas, Christians have either given over their thinking to the world's ways or to the other extreme, having adapted beliefs of trying to be so seperate from the world's ways that they have just given their dominion mandate away, which is just as unscriptural. Our job is "Sola Scriptura" (turning to scripture, not the world) in discerning these truths. As we turn to God in all our thinking and realize we are just stewards of what he chooses to give us, only then will we be able to fulfill the callings he has for us. Oh, so much to learn...... We are constantly having to reprogram our minds with truth---God's truth! There was so much more than this tonight, but we will just have to loan you the cds because it was too much to describe. We'll have a full set from the conference to share. It lasted a couple of hours, but only brushed the surface on issues that could take weeks!

This is the Tower of the Americas. It is located in Hemisphere Park right next to the Gonzales Convention Center. It can be seen from all over the city and is beautiful at night.

Below, is the convention center.

Oh, and Mr Botkin is doing the 21 characteristics of the 21st century leader again. Maybe he will be able to get to the points more in depth this time.?.

Bootcamp begins tonight!!

Well, we are on our way to the Vision Forum's Entrepreneurial Bootcamp this afternoon. We will register and browse through the vendor hall, hopefully catching up with some friends and making new! There will be one talk tonight by Doug Phillips, which I am sure will be very inspiring and make us anticipate all the speakers to come! We will be having late nights and early mornings, but we will try to blog as we can.

~Stonewall's Esposa

Five Sardines in a Can: Day Six

We're a little behind on our blogging. Yesterday was day six of our trip. First we went to Central Market, a supermarket, to buy a few things. Instead of being a quick, uninteresting shopping trip, it was more like a sightseeing Tour De Food. This Market had more food in it than I could eat in ten years. There were hundreds of types of cheese in all shapes and sizes, even a chunk of Parmesan that I would have trouble lifting myself. The bakery was filled with breads, bagels, cookies, danishes, and cakes. There were organic fruits and vegetables, organic bread, organic flour- just about organic everything. They had a section full of hot prepared foods, and you could smell it anywhere in the store. Their meat section had more types of cuts and meat than I knew existed. It was an amazing experience.

After shopping, we went to a nearby park and ate lunch. We saw some pretty doves and ducks here. One duck was sitting on a nest of eggs, and we managed to get her picture.

After lunch we went to Mission San Jose, an old Spanish mission from the early 1700's. The Spanish used these to expand their empire in New Spain, and to help hold the territory that they gained. The Franciscans who lived in the missions converted the native Indians to Catholicism. The Indians also helped construct the missions, which are beautiful examples of architecture. The Alamo was a mission along with a chain of four others, the best preserved of which is San Jose.


Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Five Sardines in a Can: Day Five

Yesterday was day five of our trip- it's already halfway over! We called yesterday our Mexican culture day, because we spent most of it in the Mexican Market Square. This is an indoor/outdoor market with vendors selling sombreros, cowboy hats, T-shirts, and an enormous variety of other products. The atmosphere is very bright and colorful, and the mariachi music completed the Mexican feel. Stonewall said that the shops were just like those in Mexico.

We ate lunch at Mi Tierra Cafe and Bakery. They have absolutely wonderful enchiladas. It had the Mexican brightness and color just as the market did. After eating, we made our purchases and went to the San Fernando cathedral.

The San Fernando Cathedral is a working cathedral with an enormous, elaborate sanctuary, bookstore, and cafe. Just inside the far left door in the picture is Davy Crockett's grave. This isn't actually the grave of Crockett in particular. After the battle of the Alamo, all of the dead were burned. Someone took remains from this funeral pyre and buried them under the altar of the Cathedral. Therefore, we don't know exactly whose tomb it is, but it's dedicated to all of the heroes of the Alamo.


Tuesday, August 08, 2006

God's Glorious Canvas.

There are several observations that I have made since the start of our trip.
1. God has created a beautiful world and within that world has created such variety that we could never tire of looking at it. Pictures can never do it justice but here's a view to try anyway.

This is the sunset over the rolling hills near Uvalde (east of San Antone)

2. Families that travel together and get along (most of the time) make an impression on people. Before leaving many asked if we were taking our kids all the way out there in the same car, together?, "boy your brave" they would joke. You know this is what God has rewarded us with. Children. The actors in the gunfight was very friendly and eager to talk with us. One of the older guys seemed always ready to talk with us and shake hands and get a five or two from little H. When we told him we were a homeschool family he was so approving and commended us for taking on the task. Many comments from the folks about our beautiful family. Here's a shot with us taking a stroll down mainstreet.

3. People out here in open country like talking with people and taking time to get to know you. For one, Smokestack was wearing a t-shirt from the horse ministries show we saw in Cullman. A guy from Louisiana and his son was among about 6 or 7 families at Alamo village and he lived nextdoor to the guy that was the horse whisperer in the show. Amazing. We met a WWII veteran. Mrs. W got in a conversation with a lady about how the government is too controlling over children and taking the responsibilities away from families (she was on the receiving end of this for a change too!) The actors in the show was talking with us and giving us suggestions for getting to see the Rio Grande. It was just fun to talk with people who liked talking with you.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Five Sardines in a Can: Day 4

We left the campsite this morning and headed West to Alamo Village, the Alamo replica and Old West town that John Wayne constructed for his film "The Alamo". It was a long ride, but definitely worth it. When we began to get out of civilization, the countryside took on a real Texas look, like you'd imagine it- complete with cacti, deer, vultures, and jackrabbits. We drove by ranch after ranch for miles without seeing any sign of civilization but fences.

Alamo Village was a really neat place. It had everything that an Old West town should- a jail, marshall's office, bank, hotel and more. Every couple of hours three talented actors would put on a hilarious gunfight skit. We spent most of the day walking around looking at all the buildings here, as well as the beautiful view. We saw several jackrabbits. Smokestack tried chasing one (which he at first mistaked for a kangaroo), but it was slightly too fast for him. He named it Jumpin' Jack.
The Rio Grande and Mexico

After leaving the Village, we drove a little farther and saw the Rio Grande and looked across it to Mexico. Then we headed back to the camper through 120 more miles of ranch land. A beautiful sunset and an enormous rainbow provided a perfect closing for the day.


Sunday, August 06, 2006

Five Sardines in a Can: Day Three.

Today we took a trip to downtown San Antonio to see the Alamo and the Riverwalk area. Here are a few pics for you.

Home away from home and a view of the Alamo.

Riverwalk view.

We took time to walk around the downtown area. The Alamo was good, it had a few more buildings on the grounds that were neat to learn about. While looking at a model of the battle of the Alamo with H, with the huge numbers of the "bad guys" as H would say and only a few inside the Alamo, she stated out of the blue"you know what I learned, God willed that some would die." Interesting to hear what they're learning that we don't realize. We saw an open air preacher too. That was neat. Thanks to all for your prayers so far, We're having a great time and hope your sabbath day went well.

Five Sardines in a Can: Day Two

We arrived safe in San Antonio last night at 11:30. Due to some technical difficulties with our wireless connection, we couldn't blog anything until now. We had a little adventure on the way, right as we were passing out of Houston. The hydraulic jack on the front of the Airstream dropped down and hit the road every time we went over a bump, and before we could stop on the narrow shoulder ( sandwiched between a concrete wall and the 70-mile per hour traffic) the jack had bent backwards about 20 degrees. Stonewall got out and tried hammering it straight so he could roll it back up into its housing, but only succeeded in flattening the pipe. So he turned it around and said that any more bumps would hopefully straighten it.

The problem with that is that once you leave Houston there are no dips on the Interstate. It's as flat as a pancake and straight as an arrow. If you tied the steering wheel in place and pressed coast, you probably wouldn't have a problem for miles. Anyway, we ended up searching around for a bump. When we found it, I exited the vehicle and guided Stonewall as he rammed the ground with our crooked pipe. No results- it's still crooked. We thank all of you who were praying for us during our predicament.

Everything is big in Texas. Even grasshoppers. This little guy was three inches long. We found him right across the Lousiana border, in Orange, Texas. The star of Texas (and our little star) both shined in Texas yesterday.
I have to stop writing now or the rest of the family will leave for the Alamo without me.


Saturday, August 05, 2006

Five Sardines in a Can: Day One

A journey of epic proprtions, spanning 1800 miles and four states. Over mountains and rivers, through lush valleys, across dangerous marshes and dry desert plains. A family of five leaves their possessions (most of them) behind and heads west to Texas in... a 1974 Airstream? Stonewall and Sherlock present "Five Sardines in a Can".
Our trip has gone well so far. We arrived in Hattiesburg, Mississippi at 11 o'clock last night. We learned two things about Hattiesburg :
1) It is a happening place. It's normal for all of the motels to be booked.
2) Dandy Dan owns most of the gas stations.
We're about to leave for San Antonio, and will post another blog this evening with pictures. Right now the camera accessories are packed in the camper.
~ Sherlock

Friday, August 04, 2006

If it ain't Broke...

D-day minus one.
The huge "baked potato", as called by some of the neighborhood kids who were drawn to it like a bug to a bug zapper last night, that is parked in our driveway was the focus of my efforts in preparation for our trip to San Antonio. A vintage 1974 Airstream International travel trailer! The real deal, original electrical, plumbing and all! After replacing a FEW lights, addressing a FEW water leaks and a FEW issues with the electrical system I decided that this was going to be a very interesting trip to blog. The 30 year old valves in the water system aren't what they used to be, and the fuse block and central control panel looks like the reject parts from Apollo 8. I started the evening in good spirits and ended it at 2:30am kinda delerious. Wal-mart at 12:30am is no place for a person to be. I went through the checkout line with various plumbing and electrical tapes, putties, seal, gaskets, wires, screws, washers, got strange looks from the register clerk and I was thinking I bet I have a friend that's got all of these things in his garage. In any case, what was this for?? Let me tell you. After fixing all the leaks (and being the engineer I am) I was told the bathtub didn't work, BUT they did not tell me WHY, OK. So of course I just go over and turn the knob slightly.. very slightly.. and there was water coming out of the spout, sorta, not a good flow, something was wrong but I can probably fix...whooosh...then the valve that the knob was attached to come shooting out of the pipe and water was spraying everywhere, just so happened that my son "smokestack" (as he's decided to be called) was there and rushed to turn the water off as I was being drowned in my attempt to push the valve back into the pipe against the water pressure with one hand while trying to open the sink faucet (which was the the one leak free plumbing device) beside me with my other elbow to relieve pressure. We did manage to get the water off and I very quickly engineered a fix by tying wire over the valve so it can't fly out. So far it looks to be not working just fine.. So, it is indeed broke and I'm not going to fix it even though it goes against all engineering thought processes. Oh and the electrical.. I have to remove the battery and charge it from my truck if were going to use it, it doesn't want to charge in the trailer as it's supposed to, luckily the 120v electrical system works fine which controls air and plug ins. The fridge - it will not work and I don't have a clue why. Looks like we'll be taking the coolers. I did manage to light the 30 year old gas stove (brave huh). It works fine. Oh the toilet, it works, just make sure you know where that little hand held wash hose is before stepping on that pedal under the seat, because if you don't you might get sprayed right in the face.. What fun! Lord PLEASE watch over us on this trip!
Don't get me wrong, I'm thankful to be able to use the "Airscream" (air is the key) and I eagerly look forward to the trip. I'm ready to spend some time together with my loving wife and the children God has blessed me with. I'll work on pics for you the next chance I get. I've been a little tied up so far.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Welcome to the blogspot of 5 pilgrims in a tin can headed for Texas.