No-waste tree planting

Sorry for letting multiple days go by between posts but gardening season preparations are in full swing right during a very busy time of year for me at work!

This past weekend I planted fifty evergreen seedlings – 10 Norway Spruce, 10 Douglas Firs, 10 White Firs, 5 Ponderosa Pines, 10 Loblolly Pines, and 5 White Pines – in bare spots in our woods where I’ve cut down the evil, invasive Autumn Olive monster shrubs.  I thought I would show you the planting method I used. Continue reading


I was raised vegetarian but about four years ago I started eating meat. The problem was I had no idea how to prepare it, so I spent some time watching videos about how to prepare various kinds of meat.  At one point I bought a whole fryer chicken to cut up and bake with lemon juice, olive oil and garlic, but first I watched a video on how to properly cut apart the whole bird into wings, thighs, drumsticks, breasts, and so on.  The video was just some country guy in his mid to late 50s on YouTube, and while he was demonstrating how to cut the bird apart, he noted, “‘Course, when I was young, we didn’t go down to Walmart and buy us a bird.  We jes’ went out and got ourselves a ‘yard bird’. That’s what we called chickens ’cause they was jes’ out in the yard.  So you’d go on out and get yourself a yard bird if you wanted fried chicken.”

That sounds pretty straightforward but stop and think for a moment – would you know how to just walk outside, catch, kill, butcher, pluck, clean, and fry a chicken right now in time for dinner?  If you are like most modern helpless people, including me, you would not.  When and why did we become so helpless? Continue reading

Home gardening for town children, 1919.

“A garden for every child, every child in a garden.”

—–The motto of the United States School Garden Army

Michigan State University has preserved a large number of primary sources from the United States School Garden Army:

At the advent of World War I, the Bureau of Education within the Department of the Interior, with funding from the War Department, created the United States School Garden Army (USSGA) to boost the concept as well as morale. […] To support this program a series of documents were written and distributed.  Among these were at least 15 USSGA Manuals and Guides, and 17 School Home-Garden Circulars. The target audience was urban and suburban boys and girls, ages 9 through 15, and their teachers. The subjects covered growing vegetables from seed, growing flowers, building hotbeds and coldframes, organic matter and soil health, regional guides and others. As well as primary sources of gardening information from 1919, these guides are still applicable to the teachers, parents and young gardeners of today.

From an archived pamphlet (I’ve transcribed the text of the pamphlet below and highlighted a few particularly interesting sentences):

United States School Garden Army
Department of the Interior
Bureau of Education, Washington

Home Gardening for Town Children

Leaflet 1, November 1, 1919

by P.P. Claxton
Commissioner of Education

Continue reading

What is the “extreme right”? What are “liberals”? This is why all political discussions sound like teenage gossip.

As I was writing yesterday’s post, I was reminded yet again that I do not have the necessary words to say what I want to say about politics and culture.  The problem is that these words – left, right, conservative, progressive, liberal, leftist, traditionalist – don’t seem to have precise meanings and instead are used in any given situation to denote the speaker’s or writer’s affiliation with or opposition to some particular group of people.

I was reading through a CNN article while drinking my morning coffee today and thought of this problem again Continue reading

Conservatives should stop pretending there is such a thing as “freedom of speech.”

By the end of my sophomore year at University of Michigan, I had become a dyed-in-the-wool left-wing liberal politically-correct Ann Arborite.  I lived in a student co-op and that summer a young man moved in who had a buzz cut, got up at 5:00 a.m. to run five to ten miles in army boots and who held extremely right-wing views.  One day during a conversation with him, he told me and another young woman in the co-op, a lesbian feminist, that in the physical world women were not men’s equal.  He calmly stated that men were stronger and smarter and had the obligation to protect and provide for their women and that women should hush up, go home, and have babies because they’d be happier that way anyway.

We had the typical liberal response of becoming slightly emotionally unhinged in the face of his calm non-PC opinions. He never yelled or called us names, but we didn’t return that same courtesy to him.  We railed against him to no avail – he refused to change his opinion and it flipped us out –  and I later complained to another young man named Jared, a pony-tailed guitar-playing bisexual with strongly libertarian beliefs, who rocked my world by saying, “Well, he has a right to that opinion and to say it.  If you don’t like it, debate him or remove yourself from his presence.”

“B-but he shouldn’t be allowed to say those things!” I protested.  I expected Jared to back me up, since I knew we held similar liberal political beliefs.

“You think he should be censored?  That’s messed up,” he declared. Continue reading

Redeeming the dirt.

Much to do and so little time…blogging unfortunately is low on the priority list at the moment, but I’ll write a post as soon as I can.

The good news is that my mother-in-law has bought a home here in the same little town where we live and where my husband’s aunt lives.  We are very pleased that she will be near us; she is, after all, 79 years old and we feel better being able to check in on her even though she is entirely healthy and independent, plus we just like being around her.  Having lost her husband (my husband’s father) last year has been hard on her and the move is a bit anxiety-provoking since she and my father-in-law lived in their home in Dearborn for 40 years.  Philip and I do appreciate any prayers for a smooth transition that you offer up on her behalf.

Now I will leave you with some reading I have found interesting recently:

Redeeming the Dirt – Encouraging Born Again Farmers to Pursue God-glorifying Agriculture:

On this blog I hope to help us consider in more detail exactly how God calls us to be obedient in our farming. I want to see Born Again Farmers around the world begin a journey of seeking to glorify God though their farms. I want to see the whole Church rise up and take back agriculture for the Kingdom of God by not only farming, but also by being willing to support Godly farming. I believe this will result in not only the spread of the Gospel of Christ, but also in the most successful farms the world has ever known. Let’s redeem the dirt!

Search a few pages into the archives for some really interesting reading.

Going batty.

One of my early memories is of a time when I was around three years old and a bat got into the old house we were living in while my father was at work doing third shift.  My terrified mother, who was only 20 years old at the time, called the police.  I remember my mother hiding in a corner with me while the two officers ran around the house with a broom and a blanket; they finally caught it with the blanket and whacked it to death with the broom.

When our eldest daughter was in third grade, her teacher did a unit on bats.  The teacher really liked bats, which rubbed off on our daughter, who became an amateur bat PR person and conservationist. One day she came home sobbing because her best friend, who was not in Bat Teacher’s class, unthinkingly said that she didn’t like bats, they were icky and scary and had diseases.

“They *hic* aren’t icky, Mom,” our girl cried. “Th-there good.  They eat bugs.  They don’t try to bite people. They’re…*sob*…misunderstood!  Bats are good!”

Yes, she was a sensitive child. Continue reading