Monday, August 2, 2010

putting her up on blocks

I am going to be parking this weblog for a while, removing the battery, draining the oil, taking off the tires and putting her up on blocks.

As time permits, I will be writing on my Anglican Christian faith over at the River Thames Beach Party. For agrarian interests, I have been invited by my talented wife to join her website, Granny Miller's Homestead Garden and Pantry. I am looking forward to this because I originally started this journal back in 2008 because she did not like me hacking into the old Granny Miller blog. I guess if we live together and farm together, we can maybe manage to share cyberspace. I am also excited about this because non topical agrarian information that I write about(Such as building a sheep feeder or moving a pole building) is better presented in a website than a blog format. Any information here will remain.

Thanks for reading and God Bless you!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Another great Sermon from Father Robert Hart.

Along with my own pastor, the sermons of Father Robert Hart over at the Continuum are becoming a regular favorite. Father Hart leans "high church" in certain respects and my parish leans "low church", but the Gospel is being proclaimed with all its startling implications in both places. I believe this proclamation remains so consistent because of commitment to the traditional Books of Common Prayer. The prayer book is not just something we use to be "traditional" or "English"; we use it because by ordering Scripture readings around thoughtful prayers it lets us better understand truths about man and God that are consistent from Genesis to Revelation.

"Our Book of Common Prayer does not flatter us, and does not lie to us. Some people have decided that religion is a self-help program. Be warned; if your idea of the Christian life is some sort of self-improvement program, you are in grave danger of missing the whole point". Read it all here.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Asking The Right Questions

From the blog of Dr Uwe Simon Netto. He is one of the few theologians that is asking such questions. For the church to prepare for unpleasant reality is not a violation of the two Kingdoms. In times of disaster, act of mercy are more necessary, but can only be enacted by those who prepared.

"But then how is the Church to react in the event of terrorist attacks with nuclear or biological devices; how will it function when the supplies of food and energy are disrupted, and when communications have broken down? How will it respond to severe persecution perhaps even in America and Western Europe? How will it minister to its faithful when they are cut off from their sanctuaries, and when pastors have lost contact to their scattered flocks?

Are these unthinkable scenarios? It would be foolish to assume that they were – even in the United States. Take the word of a septuagenarian for this, a man who has spent his childhood in a country that used to be the most civilized in the world and was reduced to an antechamber of hell almost overnight".read the rest............

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Wisdom from Father Robert Hart

This gem of a sermon ties together the tables of the law,our inability to save ourselves, and the importance of real charity as an act towards neighbor as a person, not abstract humanity. Here is an excerpt:

"The Law is weak, because of the sinful condition into which each of us was born, and so the Law cannot provide the grace to love God. We have no power to love God, which love is manifested if we obey His commandments. Without the grace of God made known by Jesus Christ in all his saving acts, and without the grace given to us by the Holy Spirit within us, we have no power to love God".

As a student of history, I like this part too:

"The righteous man considers the life of his beast. But, the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel" says the Book of Proverbs (12:10). Utopian ideologues since the French Revolution, such as Marx and his followers, spoke lofty words about what was best for mankind. It reminds me of one of Charles Schultz’s Peanuts cartoons. Linus tells his sister Lucy that he wants to be a doctor, a great doctor. She tells him 'you cannot be a great doctor. You know why? Because a doctor must love mankind. You don’t love mankind.' Linus, stunned, retorts 'I do love mankind…It’s people I can’t stand!' The ideologues have always loved mankind; and they have made many people suffer for it. They have offered millions of innocent victims to some idea of 'the greatest good for the greatest number,' and all of that Satanic propaganda about what is best for humanity. Crowds enjoying the spectacle of heads being cut off in Paris, Communists dictating who should live, who should die, and who must go to the camps, and, indeed, the Nazis destroying millions in order to advance human evolution to the state of perfection, believed they were lovers of mankind, saviors of that abstract and impersonal thing called 'humanity.'"...................Read the rest here

Look around you, who is your neighbor?

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Appleseed Rifle Clinics 2010

I shamefully am only now posting the schedule of Appleseed events to be held here at our farm. You can see the schedule at my other weblog:Timothy Murphy Memorial Designated Appleseed Range. I hope all readers consider availing themselves of this opportunity to both learn to shoot and learn more about our Nation's origins.
There are many more shoots across the nation as well. See our main website at

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Gun Owners of America Political Victory Fund Endorses Sam Rohrer

This blog is not normally a "political" blog. However, Sam Rohrer has been a leader in the freedom and liberty movement. What follows is full text of the endorsement from the Best Second Amendment Organization there is: Gun Owners of America If you live in Pennsylvania, please consider supporting this fine man to be our next governor.

Dear Friend of the Second Amendment:

Gun Owners of America Political Victory Fund is proud to endorse Sam Rohrer for Governor of Pennsylvania.

In a time when politicians in Washington have abused and grossly exceeded their constitutional limits, people at the state level are looking for fighters who are not afraid to rein in the federal government and place it back under the constraints of the U.S. Constitution.

State Representative Sam Rohrer is a long-time leader in the battle against federal intrusion, especially when it concerns the right to keep and bear arms.

Representative Rohrer stood up for gun owners and states' rights with legislation to repeal the 2005 Real ID Act, a law that would have compromised the privacy of gun owners.

"I am deeply concerned about how the rights of law-abiding gun owners will be impacted by the implementation of the REAL ID Act," said Rohrer. "The Second Amendment clearly states that our right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed upon. Thus, it is safe to say that Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and the rest of our nation's Founding Fathers would not even consider carrying around a biometric, REAL ID card that would allow the federal government to instantly track their activities and whereabouts.

"Make no mistake about it, REAL ID holds the unmatched potential to violate our Second Amendment liberty as we know it," Rohrer continued. "Whether you're actually buying a firearm or purchasing shells or bullets for hunting, recreational target shooting or self-defense makes no difference. The store will scan your REAL ID card, and your purchase could be permanently registered in the federal government's national driver's license registry. In essence, the federal government could also have the ability to limit the amount of guns and ammunition you're allowed to purchase or own."

Rep. Rohrer also authored and introduced the Tenth Amendment Resolution, which calls for aggressive opposition to the size and growth of federal programs, regulations and mandates from Washington D.C.

"Before there was ever a federal government, there were sovereign individual states. The Constitution very, very clearly recognizes that we are a Republic," said Rohrer.

In Harrisburg, Representative Rohrer has stood up and supported every pro-Second Amendment bill that came up in the State House, including:

* Castle Doctrine legislation, which strengthens existing laws dealing with the use of lethal force for the purpose of self-defense;

* Legislation to allow individuals with a valid Pennsylvania license to carry a firearm to purchase additional guns without the cumbersome, expensive and redundant requirements of subsequent background checks through the Pennsylvania Instant Check System (PICS).

* Legislation that enables law-abiding individuals who can demonstrate evidence of imminent danger to themselves or a member of their family to receive a 90-day temporary emergency license to carry a firearm, allowing sufficient time to apply for a regular license to carry a firearm and undergo the potential 45-day waiting period for a license to carry under current state law; and,

* Legislation calling for Pennsylvania law enforcement agencies, specifically the state police, to discontinue its database of legal handgun purchases. Those records include personal information about gun owners, such as mailing addresses and Social Security numbers. The bill also sets a third-degree felony penalty and a fine up to $5 million for maintaining an illegal gun registry or database.

"Gun owners across this Commonwealth are justifiably outraged any time they are mandated by government to endure a loss of Constitutional freedom and personal security," said Rohrer at a 2007 rally.

"When government is not properly enforcing the laws that already exist to curtail violent crime, it is nothing short of tyranny in the first degree to place additional restrictions on law-abiding citizens whose only desire is to defend their lives, their loved ones and their property."

As a legislator, Rep. Rohrer has stayed true to his personal commitment to the Second Amendment. "My goal as governor," said Rohrer at a recent town hall meeting, "would not be to get guns off the streets, but to get criminals off the streets."

Gun Owners of America is a proud supporter of Sam Rohrer for Governor, and encourages all Pennsylvania gun owners and sportsmen to vote for Sam Rohrer in the May 18 Republican primary.

Please visit to learn more about this race.


Tim Macy

Paid for by Larry Pratt. Not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Wisdom from Gillis Harp

Great book review discussing the problems of Randian Objectivism, from the Senior Warden of my church, and my friend, Gillis Harp:

"Dispensing with God can leave one with either an all-powerful state, or the all-powerful self". You can read the rest here

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Wisdom From Canon Tallis

"Those who strike out at the faith and practice of the prayer book are also striking out at the very dignity and freedom of every man. One of the doctrines of the framers of the American Constitution and government was that we receive our rights, not from government but from God. And that is a doctrine which they learned both from the Bible, the Authorized Version, and from the Book of Common Prayer".

Read it all Here.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

What is wrong with America in One minute or Less

On occasion, I see an observation that succinctly states everything that is wrong with American Society and Culture today.

Here it is in less than 25 words, from Protestant Pontifications

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Is the party over?

Interesting thoughts from Caleb Steagall, the Kansas farmer-lawyer.
The Tea Parties seem to have become the focal point for a three way battle of ideas between forces epitomized by Glenn Beck, Newt Gingreich, and Alex Jones, none of whom I find particularly appealing. I have heard precious little from any of them that could be regarded as conservative in either ideas or demeanor.

Now, only someone from the DC ruling class or a fool would not think there was not something radically wrong with our country. However, if we are to restore "conservative values" should we not at least act like conservatives? Should we not also identify something worth conserving as a starting point?

I recently wrote to my English friend that I think the most radically conservative act we could do was go home to tend our gardens and homes and visit our neighbors. He thought that statement would meet with Jane Austin's approval, which pleased me to no end.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Fear and Media

I recently finished reading Neil Postman's Amusing Ourselves to Death, based upon a recommendation by my friend T. David Gordon. Though the examples are dated, the thesis stands the test of time well. The book can be purchased new from Cumberland Books.

Among the observations are that mass television media trivializes the significant, and by its nature as a medium, cannot do otherwise. I love the Internet as a way allow more ideas to be heard. However, most Internet news is just as trivial, but just in greater quantity.

Perhaps more important, I also believe that 24 hour assaults of online news are probably as harmful as some of the more widely acknowledged harmful things to be found on the seedier side of the web. The web provides an endless supply of disturbing news and adds ways to share one's sense of terror or disgust through email and forums. The daily commute reinforces this with talk radio, which is fed in part by the web. TV news is now 24/7, and contains so much data that scroll bars are necessary to augment the talking head.

I have been a member of a couple of political activist type forums. On these, I notice a cycle of fear and outrage, neither of which are healthy and neither of which will necessarily solve anything. (Ultimately, our political problems our cultural and spiritual, which is the subject for another post)

To offer some solace, I highly commend this essay by the Reverend Franklin Sanders. It is so good, I keep a printed copy in my office as an antidote to what might show up in my email box.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Food Inc, An Agrarian Movie Review Part Two

Much of Food, inc, created a climate of fear about the nations' food safety, and I do not dispute many of these facts. However, not adequately addressed by the film was how fragile the food system really is. Last week, my 77 year old mother made her weekly trip from our farm to her favorite discount grocery store. She was mildly surprised to find them closed. On the door, a sign was posted that they would reopen after they could re-stock. As she peered in the windows, she confirmed that the shelves were indeed bare. Apparently, the Winter storms had prevented the supply trucks from making it.

I am struck that if a relatively minor stress such as a snowstorm in the northwest Pa. snow belt can close a national chain store, the American food system failed. My grandfather was a country store keeper. His store was only 1 miles from where I am writing this, and was one of two stores once within easy walking distance of our farm. My mother reminisced to me about the many times our road used to be closed from heavy snow. Her father or one of her brothers would actually live at the store in times of bad weather, in case a customer needed something. She summed up the situation pretty adeptly, “You know, I did not really need anything because I always stock up, but I think we were a lot better off when we had all them country stores around”. The scariest thing about the centralization depicted in Food, inc, is not necessarily the dangers of the food, it lies in whether the system can reliably supply any food at all.

I am profoundly grateful that at least one of those small country stores remains in our community. In fact, it was the source of those naughty GMO corn chips I recently enjoyed. I do a lot of business there because I like the owner and want to keep such a store handy. The store tends to specialize in tasty, rather than healthy. I find it no sacrifice at all to patronize it for those things we do not grow or make ourselves.

In doing so, there is a certain risk, GMO's being among them. I recognize this, having lived my life in a community that produces more food than it consumes. In general, I believe that when the consumer becomes an abstraction to the farmer or the manufacturer, danger is more likely to lurk in dinner. The area behind the store is a dairy cow pasture.
When those girls get too old to produce much milk, they get sold at the stockyards as “breakers, boners, shells, or thins”. They become meat for burgers, canned meats, and I suspect some become the pepperoni on one of the store's homemade pizzas. I am not sure what happens in between the stage of cow and pizza, but I take the risk, thanking God for the life of the animal, and my neighbor who made the food. I also cannot help but wonders why the old girls' travels are so necessary. There were old Italian people in the mining communities and bigger towns near here who used to make their own pepperoni. Could somebody take a local cow, butcher in here, spice it up and sell it back to the store? At some point, the so-called economy of scale must begin to dissipate;especially if the law did not prevent this activity.

Perhaps the most grievous shortcoming of Food, inc. was in its portrait of the American farmer. He is shown as another victim, like the consumers. The real story is far different. In spite of small numbers, the American corn belt farmer exerts enormous control on public policy related to food. This control began in the Twentieth Century era of mechanization. The corn belt supplied the feed for the nations' horses. In addition to supplying farm power, horses were common in American cities for milk delivery, rag pickers, and beer wagons. These nags were fueled on Iowa corn. By the end of the Second World War, there was a sort of mini crisis in the corn belt. The market was disappearing, Farm organizations went to the land grant colleges and set the researchers to work finding new uses for their main crop. The initial results were re-grading of beef carcasses to favor corn fattening. Sheep Breeding was changed as well, increasing size to create an animal that thrives on a high grain diet. Here is an English Suffolk Sheep, which is pretty much what a Suffolk looked like in America around 1950.

Here is an American Suffolk sheep of today.

After livestock, the land grant colleges began fiddling with new uses for Corn. Corn became used for starch, sweeteners, latex paint, and disposable diapers. We are now a culture as dependent upon corn as the Plains Indians were upon the Buffalo.

The Corn Belt also is responsible for the truly bizarre system of farm subsidies. The subsidies were a work of a very strange and powerful coalition of urban Democrats and farm state Republicans. The former supported farm subsidies for the latter in exchange for such programs as food stamps in the inner cities. Thus, we have now reached the very strange circumstance where we are paying an Iowa farmer handsomely to grow a product that is made into unhealthy food we then buy for poor single moms in big cities.

The changes in farm culture wrought by this are as disastrous as the decline in the American City. The idea of the farm as the center of family food production has disappeared. While most farmers around here are excellent mechanics and equipment operators, they have forgotten as many basic households skills as the rest of us. I actually know of several dairy farmers that buy their milk in the store. Agrarian writer and historian Alan Carlson once wrote that a successful local farmer brought his son to see Carlsons large garden so the boy could learn where food came from!

The American food system has become a kind of bizarro world. Food, Inc. raised the right questions, but offered only conventional answers, many of which created the system. A food system so truly counterproductive is doomed. One real answer to replace the system may lie in backyards and kitchens across America. I myself am looking forward to the day when I can enjoy local pepperoni at my favorite store.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Food, Inc.: An Agrarian Movie Review (Part One)

Because I have been involved in the raising and selling of food,a couple of people have asked me my opinion about the movie Food,inc, which is now available from Netflix as a streaming video. I watched the movie recently, or most of it. I got bored once and left it stream for a few minutes and got annoyed once and left again. At the same time, I have been reading some excellent posts by Pastor Douglas Wilson on food, which can be accessed at his site.

I do not dispute many of the facts in the Movie. A few big multinational corporations have a stranglehold on large parts of the food system. I enjoy the fact that the film scared those large companies enough that they feel the need to spend money responding. I believe that genetic modification of food is genuinely dangerous to human and animal health.

My dislike of the film is a profound disagreement with every one of the "solutions" offered, which included (1)more regulations and inspections,(2)Joel Salatin, and(3) consumers demanding more organic food choices.

There was a very telling statistic at one point in the film that alluded to the decline in USDA inspections. I have a suspicion that this decline is due in part to a decline in facilities to inspect. Twenty years ago, there was a small slaughterhouse and meat cutter 4 miles from here. Thirty years ago, there were 3 slaughterhouses in the same radius. At least one went out of business rather than spend the money and annoyance in keeping up with ever changing regulations. These regulations were not a necessary guarantee for the safety and health of meat. The only guarantee of that is the honor of the butcher.

I once sold a lamb to a man from Lebanon. He arrived on a July day to kill and cut it up on the farm. July is not normal Pennsylvania butchering season, due to the warm weather. He used a sharp knife and cut the lamb's throat. After it bled out, I hoisted with a crane from the tractor. He cut it up in about 40 minutes. Some parts would be eaten raw as "kibbi nayeef", definately not USDA approved cooking. He worked carefully and quickly without any of the stainless steel surfaces, cooling or other paraphernalia required for USDA slaughter. The meat was safe and clean. It had to be, as his family depended on it.

The local meat cutters once knew their customers nearly as intimately as that man. If they made anyone sick, they actually had to face his family. Most were also craftsmen, and took pride in what they did. Many of the increased regulations were developed by the revolving door corporate agribusiness/government officials. Whther by purpose or design, the effect of the regulations was to drive out the local option.

I have never met Joel Salatin. I did read several of his books. The first ones I read were borrowed from a farmer who adopted many of his approaches and lost his farm. Mr. Salatin is a bright guy and has developed some interesting innovations.I find most compelling his book and earlier essay "Everything I Want To Do Is Illegal" which touches on the point above and was NOT adequately addressed in the movie. As compelling a character as he is, his particular location and circumstances are not automatically transferable to every region of the country. They work great for farmers within a couple hours of drive a very large and wealthy metro area. Mr. Salatin is also an entrepreneurial huckster (I use this term with genuine affection), and I suspect his promotion of books, videos, paid farm tours, and speaking engagement fees helps make the mortgage. My wife once correctly remarked that he is a modern version of Frank Perdue (another likeable huckster).

Finally, consumers making demands to Walmart or Whole Foods is not a long term solution to the nation's food safety problems. The revolving door corporate government bureaucrats of the emerging servile state have the ability to control the definitions and parameters of "safe". For example,the definition of "organic", is now a legal term, and changes with the needs of business. Advertising can also create powerful subliminal messages, which the movie began with. Beyond this legal/regulatory/sales talk jungle, it is also no real assurance of safety or "cruelty free food". Some large feed lots have adopted the revolutionary humane handling systems of Dr. Temple Grandin (as a means of economic self interest). Some of the cruelest, most genuinely wicked livestock handlers I have ever seen are family scale Amish farmers.

The idea of "consumer action" strikes at the heart of the flaw in Food, Inc. The consumer is by necessity a victim. He must buy what he wants to eat. He has chosen freedom from toil in exchange for control of his own food safety. The lower the consumer's skill level; the greater the victimhood. Increasingly in American society dinner means food that has already been cooked, or made as ready to cook as possible. Every step in the chain from the cow to the hamburger, or the grain of wheat to the noodle in the Hamburger Helper package increase the danger through complexity of development. The consumer can only avoid this by becoming a producer. This does not mean that everyone need raise all their own food. Production can start in the kitchen (learning to actually cook, rather than "heat and eat"), move to the pantry (learning to can,freeze,dry and otherwise preserve), then the garden. For some, it might then move to the barnyard, even if the barnyard is only three chickens and a meat rabbit pen in a suburban backyard. While this takes skills and represents hard work, it is also satisfying. Were this to happen, it would also solve many dangers to the food system by reducing the systems current complexity.

Part Two will follow soon, unless I have a heart attack from the GMO corn chips and cheese whiz I ate tonight.