Saturday, February 26, 2011

The World Will Come to See You Burn

Quotes from chapters 35-36 of 'You Can Farm' by Joel Salatin.

You almost have to hit people over the head with a two-by-four in order to get their attention. You may feel like I've done that some in this book. Well, I'd rather be a bit offensive and have you get the message than be wishy-washy and have you continue to be the same person you've always been. A passionate message changes people.

To have an animated countenance, a spring to your step and a zest for sharing your nuggets of truth is not a but the prerequisite for effective speaking and writing. If you're on fire, the world will come to see you burn. Some of the most moving presentations I've ever heard have not used good grammar or fluent articulation; they come from the heart. Yes, style is great, but a "fire in the belly" is far more important.

You will not convince everyone. Do not take a negative response personally. No matter what you do, many, many folks will never agree with you. That's fine. It's their privilege. The greatest communicator of all time was crucified - don't ever forget that.

Many people hate to begin taking a message anywhere because they fear being rebuffed. Look, that's just part of life. Your message is not to those who will not hear, but to those who will. Thank the ones who tell you early they're not interested. That just lets you leave them sooner and go on to the next person who may be interested.

Just be content to move people one little step at a time. Many a preacher burned out because he set out to set the world of fire and found that the best he could get was a slow burn. Be glad for the slow burn.

In being zealous, I open up my heart more easily to the pain of rejection. When I share my deep soul-passion with a listener, I make myself vulnerable. This passage is an encouragement that to continue to be true to God and myself I must continue to share these things with you.

Thursday, February 24, 2011


Here she is, Miss Opal the Jersey, the soon-to-be newest member of Shiloh Knoll Farm :)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Things that make me tick

Actually, I'm doing my bi-annual read-through of Joel Salatin's 'You Can Farm' and doing one of the exercises he recommends for expanding your vision and encouraging innovation for your farm business.

I would dearly love to bounce ideas off a fellow small-farmer who is successful. Walk the land, point out problems and possibilities I have not thought of. Where's a mentor when you need one? :) The problem with diving headfirst into dairying like I have is that you are not free to intern for six months at Polyface in Virginia. :bangs head on desk:

"We must view ourselves as earth stewards, not cattle farmers, grain farmers or vegetable producers. The whole mentality of viewing ourselves as species-specific practitioners destroys the holistic mindset that sees the farm and, indeed, our whole lives, as being a non-compartmentalized whole. We must stop this mental divorce and appreciate that as farmers or would-be farmers we are caretakers first and foremost. Within that context, we will find things at which we excel, and things on which we may want to concentrate. Just because you have a proficiency to grow vegetables does not mean you know nothing about livestock or pasture management. Nature is diverse, and it is a whole. Let's be done with compartmentalized thinking. ~ You Can Farm"

I am a land steward, with an affinity for dairy farming.

Many states do not allow farmers to make use of what I believe to be one of the most financially lucrative farming business: raw milk dairying, selling direct to consumer. With five cows in this region of Portlandia, you can easily gross $50,000 a year on 5 acres of prime pasture, with a net earning of around $25,000 if you become established in the niche market which is rapidly growing.

...Here's a few things that make me tick, and that I either am currently raising or would love to raise on a farm...

Cow's milk
Goat's milk
Beeswax candles
Ready-to-lay hens
Heifers for families wanting a milk cow

...Brainstorming exercise for how to improve current set-up and realization of above dreams...

MiG renovations: better water set-up, shelter, more portable inner fencing

Business renovations: sell calves instead of raising, purchase parlor dishwasher, barn extension/renovation for winter cow housing/hay/biomass storage, establishing herd shares and co-op purchasing, implement proper compost spreading/regular foliar feeding of pastures, stockpiling carbon from sources like wood chips from road crews.

Advertising: website, business card, regular farm tours, 'milking' experience/lessons for homeschool groups/families.

Let's see... divide myself in half, grow an extra arm or two, and this list is a distinct possibility!

Actually, I have a bad head cold, my back is hurting (thanks for the dose of humility, God, I'm falling apart), and it's snowing outside, otherwise I'd get out there and start tackling the handwritten chore list of spring preparations. There is just so much to be done, and I'm only 3 years into the 5-7 year learning curve where my farming projects will not be profitable enough to earn a decent salary, so I can't pay my siblings to help as I would wish. I have to keep telling myself the experience I am gaining is invaluable.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Soy Controversy

A brief synopsis after reading 'The Whole Soy Story' by Kaayla T. Daniel

Soy marketers claim that their product prevents cancer; is a safe and heart-healthy alternative to animal products; is economical, land-preserving, and the solution to world hunger; and any anti-nutrients/contamination is not enough to cause people to question its use in infant formula, soy milk, breads, margarine, and energy drinks/bars/meal re-placers. When asked for their reasoning behind the push for people to consume large quantities of soy products and the inclusion of soy bi-products in a majority of prepared food items and supplements, proponents of “the yellow jewel” claim that inclusion of large amounts of tofu and soy in Asian diets is the reason those cultures see fewer incidents of certain types of cancer. In reality, there is reasonable doubt that the quantity and quality of soy products Chinese and Japanese people consume is what we have been led to believe. Ancient use of the plant was mainly as a green-manure crop, or whole beans fermented with fish for over a year and used to flavor soups and other dishes in small quantities next to rice and vegetables. Rarely was it used in the fresh forms of soy milk, flour, tofu or byproducts like hydrolyzed vegetable protein, as Asians did not prefer the taste, smell or unruly behavior of soy in its mature and unfermented form.

The main problem behind soy, however, can't be wholly placed on the plant itself: it is the overuse, abuse, and genetic manipulation by the food industry. It's like eating bananas – a banana or two per day is not going to kill you, in fact it may be good for you, but put a genetically modified banana as a main ingredient in your breakfast cereal, dehydrated banana carb powder in your energy drink, a meat-replacer banana main course at dinner, and banana-flour bars for desert, and very quickly you will feel the results of iron-deficiency anemia and a buildup of certain pesticides and toxins found on bananas because of their cultivation. Any substance in excess has potential to cause harm. Human development and regeneration depend on an immense variety of minerals, vitamins, enzymes, phytochemicals, macronutrients and the interactions thereof. No one food except breast milk contains all the nutrients necessary to sustain life for years without later consequences, yet even that food has been partly replaced by fortified soy milk infant formula. Recent developments show formula makers scrambling to add more and more substances to their mixes as children raised on formula develop deficiency and toxicity symptoms.

A major argument put forth to the public is that women who eat soy products and take soy isoflavone supplements have a lower risk of breast cancer. However, even if this were to be found true, are the far more numerous cases of soy-caused thyroid imbalances, cancer of the GI tract and pancreas, allergies, and reproductive impairment worth a slightly lowered risk of contracting breast cancer? In addition to phytochemicals that interfere with normal hormonal signals, unfermented soy products contain phytates, oxalates, goitrogens, lectins and protease inhibitors: plant components possibly helpful in small quantities, but major anti-nutrients and cytotoxins in excess. With all the research being done on ways soy helps the human race, shouldn't warnings be raised about it's potential risks? Then again, the very assumption that soy is a healthy alternative to animal products is a shaky foundation that needs to be propped up by as many positive articles in medical journals as possible.

Butter, milk, cheese, meat, eggs began to fall into disfavor around the same time as the soy oil industry really took off. Since animal products were seen to cause heart problems in otherwise healthy individuals, a ready-made solution presented itself: why not use the soy protein left over from soy oil production to create a healthier, vegetarian, animal-protein replacer in the form of soy milk, soy burgers, and margarine? The problem is, human omnivores misplaced their hope in the soybean instead of supporting responsible land-management and pastured animals that are not only a source of complete protein, but are also filled with nutrients such as omega-3's, highly absorb-able forms of minerals such as iron and calcium, vitamins B12 (not found naturally in plants), etc.: all without needing to be fortified. It doesn't make sense that an industry would spend billions in researching how to make a non-dairy milk, when the raw cows and goats milk available to us is already complete and irreducibly complex, created by a God who knows and cares for His people.

You might just try a glass.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Photo Memory

"It's a dangerous business, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to." --J.R.R Tolkien

Clear Head

"The end of all things is near.
Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray.

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.

Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.

Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms.

If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen"

~1 Peter 4:7-11~

Verse 7: The end is truly near, and there is no strength in me to do what needs to be done to prepare the world for the coming of His Kingdom. I fail every single time I try to do good on my own. What a proud sinner I am. I do not seek Him in prayer as I should, therefore fear rules how I act. I see relationships crumble because of my doing, because I do not clear my schedule and exercise self-control by daily prayer. My focus is on me, myself and I because I don't praise God for what He has done, and don't lift up my family, friends and nation in their times of need. A lack of prayer impacts how you talk to others.

"Love covers a multitude of sins..." Haven't you found this to be true? Our Lord must be deeply saddened by how many friendships have been strained or broken in just the past month. He's told us how to prevent this from happening, why don't we listen?

"Your statutes are my heritage forever;
they are the joy of my heart.
My heart is set on keeping your decress
to the very end."
~Psalm 119:111-112~

Why won't I do what God's Word says, instead of just hearing it and going about my life? His Word is my life, my heritage, my joy.

Yesterday my family spent the day at our good friends' house. Their open hospitality to us and others seems to be what Paul is talking about in verse 9. But I think my friend showed an even deeper application of that verse when she noticed a new girl at church and made her welcome, inviting her to sit next to her, even when it may not have been comfortable to do so. I was humbled to see this.

Verses 10-11: God gave me the gift of prophecy to use to edify my church family. That is not a bad thing. What is wrong is how I have abused that gift, speaking my own words in whatever way I choose. As a friend told me yesterday, often it is God's will for those of us with the gift of prophecy not to speak. When will I learn to wait on God? I get the feeling that wisdom spouted at the wrong time with the wrong heart motive is no better than foolishness.

"A prudent man keeps his knowledge to himself,
but the heart of fools blurts out folly."

~Proverbs 12:23~

Bitterness, envy, and strife about words to no avail are still being argued today... God is not pleased. The answers to all of the questions are so simple... love God, and love others more than yourself.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Taxes Reveal the Best and Worst in People

Do you believe in paying taxes?

I don't.

But I do believe in obeying the law of the land unless it's unscriptural, so that means right now I'm going through files of receipts and ledgers.

Which brings me to the main purpose of this blog post...

Meet my wonderful mom

Doing taxes has taught me that I am dangerously undetailed... We're talking majorly, infinitely, unreservedly undetailed.

I just about gave my mom a heart attack when she asked after the meticulous sales receipts that took her two days to write last summer... "oh, that receipt book. I probably threw it out, why do we need a record of how many chickens we sold?..."

Then I proceeded to try and piece together my music earnings for the year... major fail. Um. Did you realize your online bank account only keeps a record of past deposits for about 6 months? I'm just sayin' you might want to keep that in the back of your mind.

Also, I guess keeping really accurate checking account records isn't enough, on top of that you've got to have a savings account record book... sheesh. Do these people realize it's okay to live and breath, eat and die in this world without writing it down in a ledger??? You have to keep record of gas mileage, separate ledgers for music and farm expenses/earnings, figure out whether that clothing item is a tax write-off because you wore it to such-and-such a function, use checks instead of cash to buy items where you don't get a receipt and so your deposit statement matches you monthly earnings record...

It's enough to drive one insane...

Here's kudos to my amazing mother. She sat down and personally went through all of my farm receipts, milk records, and charts, trying to make sense of it all. Whether or not she succeeded, I did learn to appreciate her attention to detail.

We're so different

which is kind of nice.

She is the most consistent homeschool teacher I know of. Obviously she has experience keeping tax records for my dad's business. She's also got the gift of mercy. God bless her, don't we all appreciate it.

I feel so good now that I'm figuring out how to keep self-employment records, though. My ledger is up to date for the start of 2011, and I'm being as be-a-utifully detailed as you could wish!