Domination is not destruction.

The earth was given to Man to dominate:

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

So God created man in his own image,
    in the image of God he created him;
    male and female he created them.

 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”Genesis 1:26-28)

A quote from this interview with Kelly Ware, a permaculture practitioner and Christian, caught my attention:

“We were put on earth as stewards, to take care of the garden, and our domination thing, that we’re able to, you know, dominate is that we make the choices for things.  We say this plant goes, this plant stays, this earth works needs to happen.  So I really think that in terms of empowering ourselves to do earth works, because you’re changing a lot of things, but we’ve been given that right, to dominate and through that job that we were designed to do, which is steward creation.

According to Merriam Webster, domination means:

  1. supremacy or preeminence over another
  2. exercise of mastery or ruling power
  3. exercise of preponderant, governing, or controlling influence

Notice one thing that the word dominate does not mean: destroy.

Many conservatives seem to believe that domination and destruction are synonymous.  Ann Coulter writes:

The ethic of conservation is the explicit abnegation of man’s dominion over the Earth. The lower species are here for our use.  God said so: Go forth, be fruitful, multiply, and rape the planet — it’s yours. That’s our job: drilling, mining and stripping.

Is this truly what God says in the Bible?  Let us check:

The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. (Genesis 2:15)

It is Man’s job to dominate and subdue the earth not by raping and destroying it but rather by working and keeping it.  The reason for working and keeping the earth isn’t because the earth is an object worthy of spiritual adoration, as environmentalists and some permaculture practitioners believe, but rather because God gave it to us for sustenance and human flourishing:

And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. (Genesis 1:29)

Environmentalists, who are nearly all liberals, frequently fantasize about the elimination of humans from the earth due to the mistaken belief that the earth would be “better off” without us.  They see Man’s domination of the earth as inherently sinful (I use the word sinful to describe their religious-like beliefs because liberalism is their religion and is as authoritarian in its moral prescriptions as any other religion or political orientation).

Some secular permaculturists share the opinion that Man’s domination of the earth is Bad, bad, bad! but others do not, as this quote demonstrates:

Societies and their inhabitant are the reason that ecosystems (such as the Amazon Rainforest) are abundant in bio-diversity and life. In Permaculture it is constantly reinforced that human disturbance leads to environmental degradation; however, new evidence strongly concludes that without human disturbance, eco-systems would not be as thriving if humans were out of the picture.

In addition to the earth, Woman was also given to be under Man’s dominion:

Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” (Genesis 2:18)

Women, kindly read that verse again.  For whom were we created?  For him.  And to whom were we given?

And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. (Genesis 2:22)

Woman was given to Man to be under his dominion, not so that he can destroy her but so that he can cultivate a helper for his work of having dominion over the earth. This is where feminists, like environmentalists, get it wrong. They correctly perceive that some men are using their God-given dominion to destroy rather than cultivate their women, and they decide that Man’s domination itself is the problem, when in fact sin (destruction) is the problem.

We moderns see the word domination used in the man/woman context almost solely in the sense of sexually perverse role plays, but this is not what Christians should understand it to mean, not even when the context is the marital act.  Rather, the godly husband takes dominion over his wife and cultivates her to better fulfill her role as his helper in his domination (cultivation) of the earth.

Pastor Doug Wilson explained this well in something he wrote a few years ago:

A man penetrates, conquers, colonizes, plants. A woman receives, surrenders, accepts.  This is of course offensive to all egalitarians, and so our culture has rebelled against the concept of authority and submission in marriage. This means that we have sought to suppress the concepts of authority and submission as they relate to the marriage bed.

People lost their minds when he wrote this, with Christian feminist Rachel Held Evans writing:

It’s not about sex. It’s not about church leadership. It’s not about roles. It’s not about the Bible.

It’s about power.

It’s about whether or not patriarchy—man’s rule over woman—really represents God’s ideal for the world. 

And I believe, with every bone in my body, that patriarchy is a result of sin. I believe that followers of Jesus are to be champions of equality, and that it is our calling…

But a man conquering a woman does not implicitly mean he destroys her.  A man who conquers his wife in the sense that Pastor Wilson means is cultivating a family.  His dominion leads to flourishing rather than destruction.

Although it is pagan in spiritual orientation, I love the blog Bealtine Cottage, a site written by a woman in Ireland who bought a derelict cottage on some old agricultural land that was badly damaged by conventional farming practices and transformed it using permaculture gardening techniques into a gorgeous food forest.  Her stories and photos are fascinating.  However, the authoress Ms.O’Neill has misunderstood what domination of the earth and Woman by Man means.  She writes:

“As this era of masculine dominance comes to an end and a feminine understanding of life’s wholeness is included, we are beginning to experience a different world in which physical, mental, and spiritual well-being are interdependent.”

A limited and patriarchal interpretation of the Creator, has given us a male figure, with the female as subservient.

Dominance of Nature and continuous war has ensued…

It is clear from the Bible that God gave the earth and Woman to Man not to destroy but rather to cultivate, as we saw in Genesis 2:15.  It isn’t that male domination destroys the earth or women; it is that after the fall, men sometimes use their God-given right to dominate the earth for destructive purposes, rather than using their domination of the earth and their women to cultivate a flourishing garden and thriving families.  The solution isn’t to reject the order of creation that God intended, that of loving domination by Man, but rather for men to teach one another (something women absolutely cannot do) to use their God-given right of dominion to cultivate rather than destroy and then insist that it be so.

Part of the chaff of modernity is the belief that humans having dominion (domination) over the earth and Man having dominion (domination) over Woman is inherently destructive.  This is not true.  Only sinful behavior is destructive.  Godly dominion does not destroy; rather, it cultivates so that all which is under dominion flourishes.

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University of Texas at Austin can help you with your “problematic” thoughts.

Still no internet here other than my phone, but someone mentioned the article below on Twitter and I found it interesting enough to share.

It’s good to know that with all the serious issues in the world, university researchers are spending our tax dollars on trying to solve the really important problems:

“We might be able to use this method to reduce other preexisting, yet undesired, thoughts and beliefs.”

I wonder who shall decide what constitutes “undesired” thoughts or beliefs that need reducing in others?

Even if you consider yourself a left wing liberal progressive, this little gem of sciency-goodness should cast a chill over your warm summer evening.

Technical difficulties; please stand by.

Our internet went down several days ago and the satellite tech guy won’t be here until Sunday. Since I don’t blog at work, don’t have time to go to the library after work to blog, and hate composing posts on my phone, there will be a brief intermission.  Check back Sunday evening or early next week when I hope to be able to have a new post up.

Have a pleasant weekend, and maybe go plant something edible in place of that useless lawn you’re sick of mowing anyway! 🙂

Environmentally-friendly pond maintenance.

(Note to any regular readers: This post may not be of much interest to you unless you have a pond.  I’m posting it as a personal journal for keeping track of what I’m learning about pond care, and I’m making it public for the benefit of those folks who type things like “algae in my pond” into Google and end up here looking for information.  

In this post I will mention specific companies and products by name; I received no compensation either in the form of money or free products from anyone.  I have no affiliation with any company and only mention these products because they are the ones I am using; all product reviews expressed are my own, true opinions.)

We have a large earthen pond on the property that we bought last year.  The pond is figure-eight shaped, about a third of an acre and six feet deep, and has diffusers in both “eights”:

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It is stocked with  Hybrid Bluegill, Largemouth Bass, Channel Catfish, Black Crappie, and Yellow Perch.  It is also home to a large number of crayfish and frogs, plus a couple of turtles.

When we moved here in September of 2014, we had literally zero experience with or knowledge about caring for a stocked earthen pond.  One of the best sources of information we’ve found is Stoney Creek Fisheries in Grant, Michigan, which is also a major pond equipment supplier.  Grant is easily a three hour drive from where we live, so we don’t go there often, but they are very nice about taking phone calls and providing information.

When spring came, three things happened with our pond that concerned us: a lot of emergent weeds came up, the water turned cloudy with noticeable green algae build-up around the edges and mats of floating algae in the middle, and a strange smell almost like ammonia began to emanate from the pond on warm days.  The water got so cloudy that we could hardly see the fish when they rose to the surface to be fed, as in this video:

The first thing we did is dye the pond with one gallon of Aquashade by dumping a half-gallon over each diffuser (pro tip: um, wear gloves if you don’t want your hands stained blue for the rest of the week – ask me how I learned this one 🙂 ).  Pond dye is not a dangerous chemical; it is on the order of food coloring, and you can still eat the fish that come from a dyed pond.  The purpose of dying the pond is to control algae and plant growth; the dyes are made up of blue and yellow colorants that absorb specific wavelengths of sunlight and prevent algae and plants from being able to engage in photosynthesis.  Next time we dye the pond, in about a month, we will use only 1/2 a gallon.

The second thing we did was investigate what to do about the weeds.  Manual removal with a rake is the best way if you don’t want to use chemicals, but this pond had been let go somewhat by the previous owner and manual removal was proving impossible (trust me, I spent many hours in the sun with a pond rake, pulling out weeds and muck until my shoulders ached).  We realized that, despite our strong preference for organic maintenance, we were going to have to use a fish-safe herbicide to get some of the emergent plants under control.

After doing a lot of research, the product we chose was called Shore-Klear, which as far as I can understand is just a formulation of Round Up (glyphosate).  According to the State, water in ponds treated with Shore-Klear is safe for swimming, safe for animals to drink, and does not harm the fish.  To be extra cautious, my husband only treated half the pond, waited 48 hours, and then treated the other half of the pond so that wildlife and fish could move away from the treated areas. About a week later, some of the weeds are turning brown and dying and some are not.  Possible reasons the product isn’t working great are user error (did we apply enough and in the right way) and a heavy weed infestation requiring multiple treatments to eliminate.  We will spray again in another week and see how it does.

The next issue was the algae.  The pond dye will help prevent algae growth but is not sufficient to eradicate a full algal bloom such as we had.  The product we were sold by a local pond supplies business was Hydrothol 191.  After researching this product carefully, we returned it to the store.  We felt that this product, though not as dangerous to the environment as copper-based algaecides, still had too much risk for harming the fish, frogs, and other wildlife in our pond.  Our bedroom window overlooks the pond and the frogs sing us to sleep every night; harming them would be unacceptable.

I spent hours online researching other products and finally selected GreenClean Pro (sodium carbonate peroxyhydrate). The USDA’s National Organic Standards Board lists this chemical as acceptable for use in the farming of organically-produced food crops.  It does not harm fish, amphibians, or plants (unless you spill the undiluted dry product on the plants, in which case it can cause burns on them).  If you look at the chemical name, you will realize that this is simply dried, undiluted hydrogen peroxide, the same as what you buy in the brown bottle at the store (only that is much-diluted).

My husband wore protective gear while applying it in order to avoid burns, but the minute it hits the water, it dilutes and thus does not harm wildlife.  In order to not inadvertently burn frogs or turtles with undiluted product, my husband treated the pond in thirds and started out by running a rake around the area he was going to treat to encourage wildlife and fish to disperse.

Here is some algae prior to application:

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Here is that same algae shortly (like an hour) after application:image

The product foams just like hydrogen peroxide does when you use it at home.  We used a skimmer net to remove large dead clumps of algae.  What we couldn’t get will settle to the bottom.  Notice the difference in water clarity two days after using GreenClean Pro – you can see lots of adorable catfish clear as can be:

We are very satisfied with this product; if environmentally-friendly pond maintenance is important to you, we highly recommend GreenClean Pro algaecide based on the results we’ve seen so far.

The next step will be dealing with the muck on the bottom of the pond, which is composed of organic material such as leaves, dead plants, dead algae, fish poo, and so on.  The muck can build up very thick and smells yucky.  A beneficial bacteria solution is used to digest the muck and improve water clarity; this gets rid of the ammonia smell we were noticing, which is generated by decaying material in the pond.  We are using Pond Vive and Sludge Remover Pellets for this purpose, which we will apply later today.  We decided to wait several days after applying the algaecide just in case it could possibly harm the beneficial bacteria.  The gentleman from Stoney Creek told me that the bacteria in Pond Vive can digest 5-10 inches of muck per season!  But we’ll see if the product actually lives up to that claim or not; I’ll report back in September on the state of our muck. 🙂

So, if you’ve clicked on any of the links above, you may have glanced at the price for these products.  Horrifying, no?  Would you like to know the grand total for what we spent on pond chemicals and solutions for this season?

$ 1,100.

Like I said, horrifying.  The pond came with the property, and it is a really neat feature.  We love the frogs, we love feeding the fish and will probably eventually even eat some of the fish.  The kids kayak on the pond nearly every day, and it supports a lot of biodiversity on our property.  And the price to put in a pond like this runs easily $10,000, so we wouldn’t consider filling it in. But I’m not sure we would have chosen to put one in ourselves, given the cost of maintaining them.  Of course, if your pond isn’t near your house, you might not have to maintain it quite as much, since any pond odors won’t bother you, but ours is maybe 50 yards from our house.

If you have any experience with ponds or any questions for me about ours, let me know in the comments.  I hope this informational is helpful!

Working and gardening and worn out.

I had planned to write a post this evening, my few dear readers, I really had, but instead I’m going to go sit on the balcony with a glass of wine.  Well, actually, I’m going to go do the dishes and then sit on the balcony, since my husband is complaining about the state of the kitchen.  Hey buddy, I worked a full day for money and then cooked your dinner…wait, where was I?  Oh yes, wine.  And dishes.

Soon I will tell you what I think about my year of going back to work full time, but not tonight.  Instead I will tell you why I have been too busy to write proper posts.

We are attempting to make this garden, you see.  When I was young, we had an enormous garden that supplied all our family’s fruit and vegetables for the entire year, and I had romantic thoughts about replicating that.

The deer have been enjoying my efforts.  As have the rabbits who yesterday evening ate all my basil plants down to the stems.  Anyone have a good recipe for wild rabbit stew?  So long as it doesn’t call for fresh basil…

My husband, who also works full time, has been doing an amazing job of building a ten-foot tall fence around the raised beds I’ve been creating out of cinder blocks:

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You might not be able to see it in the above photo, but he is using plastic mesh netting attached to ten-foot landscape timbers he cemented in.  He also built the enormous door in the front of the photo.  But that isn’t all!  He’s also been trenching it down several feet to keep digging critters out:

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And I’ve been hauling and placing cinder blocks, lining the bottom of the beds with cardboard to keep weeds down, and filling the beds with soil:

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Remember the winter dreams I had about creating tile mosaics on the cinder blocks? Ha ha.

 

So far I’ve planted blackberries, strawberries, a variety of herbs, zucchini, summer squash, beets, and melon.

In my mind, I compose witty social commentary posts at regular intervals, but I compose these posts while performing back-breaking labor in the evening sun after putting in a full day for my employer.  That is why the posts stay in my head and never make it to your eyes.

But now I’m going to go load the dishwasher, pour the wine, and sit out in the cool evening air under the stars while listening to the bullfrogs around the pond. And soon…very soon…I will write a proper post.  But not tonight.

Happy Memorial Day to you and yours!

On women’s role in preparedness.

Fern, of Thoughts from Frank and Fern, wrote a good post recently about Women and Survival.  She writes one particularly important point:

The most important thing a woman can acquire that will increase her chance of survivability in a disaster, economic collapse, societal collapse, martial law, or any other situation that would involve a question of survival, is a good man. A man that will not only protect and care for her, but a man that will teach her how to protect herself and her family.

 

If you read my current quiet little blog or if you used to read one of my old, larger blogs, you already know that I believe the purpose of Woman is to be a helper and companion to Man, so I liked that Fern wrote this:

[…] Now, with that said, you also don’t want to be a burden and always expect someone else to protect you or take the lids off of jars for you.

Learning how to protect our homes and families while our husbands are away or busy is an important skill to acquire.  In addition to that, knowing how to help provide food for our families, both in times of peace and times of trouble, is also a valuable skill for women:

If you are able, grow a garden this summer. A very serious, productive garden. Preserve as much of it as you can.

The other thing women can do is teach the family’s children useful skills.  I’ve been busy with getting a very large garden in, but yesterday when one of our daughters expressed an interest in having her own garden, I took her right off to the store and let her pick out the plants.  She wanted some pretty flowers, but I also instructed her in choosing food plants for her little plot: she has two rhubarb plants, four basil plants, and a peppermint plant along with her flowers:

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Go read the rest of Fern’s post, as I think it is instructive for women.

 

The gift of wild food plants.

And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. (Genesis 1:29)

Wandering around on our property recently, I found a little patch of asparagus growing wild, probably one of the old heirloom varieties like Mary Washington, a gift from a bird whose droppings planted the seeds.  I weeded around it and put a marker down:

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I love asparagus, but everyone else in my family hates it, so I didn’t plan to put in an asparagus bed since everything I’ve read online about growing it makes it seem like a fussy plant that requires constant weeding and mulching.  So it’s funny that as I wandered around our property, I found even more asparagus growing wild!  Here’s one that popped up behind a tree and is already beginning to flower:

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We’ve also got no end of wild strawberries everywhere:

imageI’ve decided to mark off a few sections to let the wild strawberries spread in that we’ll only mow at the end of the summer.  It’s also time to start hunting morel mushrooms in the boggy section of our woods.  Wild strawberries, wild asparagus, and morel mushrooms are three things that grow very well all by themselves in Michigan.  Finding them growing on our property is quite thrilling and takes me back to childhood, when less of our state was covered in subdivisions filled with Chem-lawns.

Now if only I could find a few Sassafras trees growing on our land, my trip down memory lane back to childhood would be complete!  I remember spending hours playing in the woods and fields of West Michigan with my friends as a child, picking Sassafras leaves and sucking on the stems, and I now find even the smell of Sassafras to be evocative.  I think I shall try to find a nursery that sells them if I can, for what could be nicer than hot Sassafras tea by the fire next winter?