Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Rogation Day Prayer

These are the rogation days, and the prayer book collect is thus:

ALMIGHTY God, Lord of heaven and earth; We beseech thee to pour forth thy blessing upon this land, and to give us a fruitful season; that we, constantly receiving thy bounty, may evermore give thanks unto thee in thy holy Church; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Right now this is a most personal prayer for me. Our orchard has partly come into bloom due to last weeks warm weather and there is danger of frost tonight. A bad frost will mean few or no apples this year.

However, we do not live on apples alone. The cool weather and rain has helped the strawberries and raspberries we transplanted. Until the rain the other day things were a little dry. The cooler weather is easier on the Cows (No flies and no need bother the girls with fly spray). The grass is growing well for hay and pasture. The Lord will provide.

Guns and Bibles

Maybe our guns and religion in small town Pennsylvania is not such a bad thing.............in spite of the recent Obama comments. Thanks to the folks at Stand Firm in Faith for publishing the story.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Sort of Purebred Sheep

Yesterday, we turned the sheep our for the first time this Spring. This was a little later than usual, but they stayed on the pasture until December last Year. When My lovely wife returned from her travels, she remarked what a unremarkable bunch of lambs we had this year. Unfortunately, I had to agree. They are not really crummy, but they are just not nice examples of the breed.

We used to have a much bigger flock of sheep-about 60-70 ewes. Some were registered, some were grades of definitive type, and some were crossbreds. Over the years we had Shropshires, Finnsheep, A Border Leicester, a couple of Highland Blackface crosses, Grade Suffolks, Lincolns and grade Cotswolds, and many Cheviots. Over the last few years, nearly every Ewe was exposed to a Cheviot Buck, and the flock evolved from mostly black face or broken faced ewes to grade cheviots.

Five years ago, We sold all our sheep after I had a viral infection of the heart. The Winter before last, I returned to full health and we decided to get a few real nice purebred sheep. We decided again on Cheviots, which are very pretty, and normally pretty maintenance free. The downside of the breed is slow growth on the lambs to reach market size. We decided if we were only going to keep a few to keep them registered and breed for good type. I have one non-Cheviot Pet Ewe, a Suffolk named Big Girl.

We went to an honest local breeder, and bought registered ewe lambs. We went to a well established local breeding stock sale and bought a good registered young ram.
Hence the problem. We are seeing black spots, pink noses, and wool on the head between the ears. All of these are major faults in the Cheviot Breed-in some cases actually rendering them disqualified to be registered. I spoke to the breeder of the ewes about this. They had the same problem this year.

Because the show ring emphasizes height and size, some Cheviot breeders are slipping a little Montadale into their programs. The Montadale is a breed created though a cross of Cheviot and Columbia. WE are seeing the Colombia breeding in the pink noses, and wooly head. I have nothing against either Columbias or Montadales, but I would rather not see them in our little Cheviot breeding program.

There is a lot of dishonesty in the big time sheep show circuit, but eventually, the genes will tell the truth about an animal's origin. This is a bit of a disappointment, but not a disaster for us. We have three choices:

1. Try a different registered ram in the hope the genes "nick" better with our ewes.
2. Try the same cross again and hope for the best.
3. Take the best of our "MontaCheviot" ram lambs and use him on some ewes, and breed for performance, thereby saving money on registration.

I think we will probably end up choosing number three. Sometimes you just need to ride the horse the direction he wants to go.

Thursday, April 17, 2008


When the seasons change, I often re-read parts of an Elizabethan Agrarian Poem by Thomas Tusser- 100 Points of Husbandry. You can find the whole poem on several websites, but the Book Lost Country Life by Dorothy Hartley includes many amplifications for the modern reader. I recommend it to anyone who wants to learn how our European ancestors maintained their household economies. Here is some Tusser:

A hundreth good pointes, of good husbandry,
maintaineth good household, with huswifry.
Housekeeping and husbandry, if it be good:
must love one another, as cousins in blood.
The wife too, must husband as well as the man:
or farewell thy husbandry, doe what thou can.

Each month is a chapter on the farming year. This is from March

In Marche and in Aprill, from morning to night:
in sowing and setting, good huswiues delight.
To hoe in their garden or some other plot:
to trim up their house, and to furnish their pot

Right now my good huswife is still away, so I am preparing for the sowing and setting. This time of year a 24 hour workday would be a good start From "morning to night" does not seem like enough. There are fences to fix, gardens to till, sheep to shear, manure to haul, and a small patch of corn ground to plow up. There is still time for pleasure though, and seeing the heifers on grass is a real pleasure to me. My wife always delight in the flowers. I am not much for flowers, but I like daffodils, due to their association with Celtic Saint David. I built the stone wall about ten years ago. It is 35 feet of wall and needed a tremendous amount of stone. I enjoyed it, but don't know if I have another wall in me or not.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Anglican Friends of Issues Etc

A big thank you to the folks at Radio Free Wittenberg and Wittenberg Media for beginning the work of uploading issues etc archives. I am listening and grateful.

There are obviously conflicts within LCMS that I will not weigh in on. Everyone knows my own faith tradition is pretty much a mess right now. There is an interesting and insightful comparison of the respective "issues" on this site.

For right now, I have added a link list I call "Anglican Friends of Issues Etc"-sites of orthodox/reformed Anglicans who are blogging about the demise of this great show. If there are others, please let me know. I would also encourage other Non-Lutherans to do the same, so we can have "Presbyterian Friends of Issues etc", and more. If the old show could morph into something new, this could help those of us who are not part of the Wittenberg trail keep up with changes, as well as support Pastor Wilken and Mr. Schwarz.

Please also consider donating to meet the material needs of these good men as well.

St. Paul Lutheran Church
Box 247,
Hamel IL 62046
Mark it Wilken/Schwarz Fund

Batching It

My lovely wife has gone to help take care of our new grandchild, so for the next 21 days I am batching it. I miss her. I like being married. We have our differences, but we have been married a long time, and I truly believe we each make more of the other. I believe she was a gift from God to me and I treasure her for love, counsel, and friendship.

On the farm, I am a good lifter of heavy objects. I do most of the routine livestock chores, especially in bad weather. I cut the firewood. I am good at cobbling together the numerous homestead projects. I do the taxes. She is the better gardener by far. She is a much better nurse of small sick living things. She also makes the house a place of beauty and warmth.
One of our differences is that she is really neat and tidy, a classic hausfrau. While my last name is German, my ancesters have been interbreeding with the English, Scots Irish and probably a few Indians for at least nine generations. The orderly Teutonic genes are pretty well gone, replaced mostly by what my wife calls "dirty English".
The neat housekeepers in my family are somewhat exceptional.

Towards self improvement,and a better marriage, I am fighting these genes. The two photos are days one and two from "the kitchen sink cam". Let's see if I can make the next days better. In my defense, it was a lovely day to spray dormant oil in our orchard.