Life after the Fire

It’s been five months and four days since the fire and the support and concern have been amazing. The insurance process has been finalized. Our flooring company had the best coverage and perhaps that has been helpful in getting my main income back up and running. We will add the tools and equipment as needed over the next 18 months, as we have 2 years to fulfill our replacement purchases with each of the two companies. I haven’t figured out how to replenish my wood working shop, but that’s less of a concern at this point without the shop and shed space anyhow. The tree service will be suspended at this point, with a minimal hope for a chipper I can use on the farm.

On a plus side, much of my welding equipment was insured through the flooring company and I’ve purchased those tools and have made portable welding tables to fabricate needed equipment, and who can only guess what else for the farm and business. This being portable on casters allows me to roll out the cutting and welding tables onto the driveway to do fabrication and repair. I guess I’ll have to be a fair weather welder.

The sawmill is intact as well and has been, and will be, utilized to cut as much lumber as I can for the reconstruction. Shelving was made for the garage and basement for the temporary base for TMT Integrity Flooring. This approach and the use of the garage allows me to keep overhead low and re-allocate that time and or money  to other current and  future reconstruction efforts.

Then there was the personal insurance… A rider of only 10% of the house insurance for other structures and 11 years of improvements to those structures, without a review or increase in coverage left the building coverage short…to say the least. This was our first largest short coming…85% of its reconstruction cost. The content insurance was good, but also 30% short. With all that said and the mental anguish of loosing everything that gave me the ability to do what I do…I’m slowly redefining myself and my direction, which turns out to be not so different…, just in a different place or state.

I’ve had more time to connect with friends and to be fidgety, and my nails can’t keep up with the bitting as we worked through the insurance and wait to remedy some land issues that approach and encroach other property…Yikes. I could play a dirty card here, but positive negotiations with neighbors are in the works to resolve this and the county says they’re willing to work with us, hence the delay in getting the needed permit to rebuild. This will also give me the desired results, with and for, future rejuvenative farming objectives. We went through the process of obtaining a “Conditional Use Permit” to run our business from our farm…who knew I even needed that…so cumbersome.

This new senario also creates a very different financial picture for us. One that brings out the best in my creativity if you know what I mean. With a healthy long term outlook, it should keep me creatively motivated. It will involve making, building, fabricating, and time…, lots of time, to get where I want to go, but then that’s perhaps a life with purPose…? Still a few hurdles, we’re patiently waiting, wish me and my family well….Thank you!

Thank you for your questions and concern. Please feel free to elaborate on this or ask questions. This is the best frame of mind I have been in since the fire. This, as some of you may know from your own personal experience, has caused an enormous amount of stress in our household, but maybe that goes without saying. I speak for my house and thank you for your genuine concern and support, emotionally, financially , and prayerfully.

From here I will be adding pictures and posts of things we’re working on. If you’re interested, please join in on the ongoing adventure of “life”….Hope to see you soon.

Food Choice

What do you believe?  What do you support? What do you eat? What if buying certain foods undermined your beliefs and supported things you opposed? This is a broad topic and I’m at a loss for words. All a can say is we need to look at this from a holistic view as opposed to a reductionist view.

Let’s start with this…why is there such a nutrition gap in modern medicine. Why do auto manufactures know that certain cars need synthetic oil and premium gas to perform better and the medical industry seems to only have a pill or surgery for our chronic conditions or health concerns. Are we having discussions about the food we digest? Oh, shoot, where do I go from here… The way the soil is being stripped of its organic matter…, or, how about… the way the animals are subjected to a mechanical life and a diet that is killing them at almost the same speed as we process them into food…, not to mention the tremendous waste to accomplish this…more reductionist thinking. Each solution industry comes up with create the next problem

How about the packaging of our industrial foods…The chemical Bisphenol A (BPA) lines many of the canned foods and clear plastic bottles which some studies have linked to reproductive abnormalities and a heightened risk of breast and prostate cancers, diabetes, and heart disease. Health care issues with our country, we’re not catering to health care…, as Dr. T Colin Campbell stated in his book co authored by Howard Jacobson, We don’t have a health care system, we have a disease care system. Eating is much fun, almost like an addictive drug. How much of what we eat is out of pure pleasure and adds nothing of nutritional value or perhaps is reaping havoc on our bodies one bit at a time. After noticing chronic pains accumulating over the past several years in combination with reading 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker, I did the diet portion of the book. I picked 10 foods though ( sorry Jen, couldn’t do 7, I burn too many caleries each day and many of my aging friends think I’m “sooo0” thin already, thats only because I’m the same as I was in high school and most of them have expanded)  Back to the point. These were all whole foods… non processed. I made it through dinner group and Super Bowl by bringing my own food. I’ve continued the diet, slowly expanding my choices one at a time paying attention to any reaction to my body and on par have felt a great deal better. Let’s be clear, I’ve had no debilitating issues nor has any of this slowed me down, just attempting to aline my beliefs, health and money, where it counts.

The Norm

So Pete Seeger summed it up beutifuly in “Little Boxes” a song written by Malvina Reynolds in 1962, which became a hit for her friend Pete Seeger in 1963.

The song is a political satire about the development of suburbia and associated conformist middle-class attitudes. It refers to suburban tract housing as “little boxes” of different colors “all made out of ticky-tacky“, and which “all look just the same.” “Ticky-tacky” is a reference to the shoddy material used in the construction of housing of that time.   

Do we ever, as a populous, ever step back and question these “considered norms”. Its been said of the education system, that it is out dated, and doing our children a disservice. Designed for the industrial age, influenced by industrialist, such as Henry Ford, they set out to train, “discipline the populous”, to conform to the factory. A worker that was disciplined to start and stop each day at a prescribed time with a series of bells at each break dictated by the system. 

For CEOs, creativity is now the most important leadership quality for success in business, outweighing even integrity and global thinking, according to a new study by IBM. The study is the largest known sample of one-on-one CEO interviews, with over 1,500 corporate heads and public sector leaders across 60 nations and 33 industries polled on what drives them in managing their companies in today’s world.

Creativity is being lost in the quest for conformity in our education system. This clip from Newsweek sums it up …

Like intelligence tests, Torrance’s test—a 90-minute series of discrete tasks, administered by a psychologist—has been taken by millions worldwide in 50 languages. Yet there is one crucial difference between IQ ( intelligence quotien) and CQ (creative intelligence) scores. With intelligence, there is a phenomenon called the Flynn effect—each generation, scores go up about 10 points. Enriched environments are making kids smarter. With creativity, a reverse trend has just been identified and is being reported for the first time here: American creativity scores are falling.

Is there anything we can do as parents, communities, or governments for that matter sense they have the upper hand in how we deliver our education to our children. Thats a loaded question worth exploring as we freely hand over our ability to be free thinking individuals. 

Along the way, remember to ask lots of questions and cross reference what your learning and never be spoon fed. 

Happy Learning!

 

 

A Prayer

It seems that much of this dialog makes the average person and myself uncomfortable and I feel it in your presence all too often. Those that know me should also know that these are not new thoughts and feelings for me. They are some of the underlining conflicts (reference past and future blogs) I experience as I try to carve out a life in an areana that often contradicts my morals. I dont watch TV, take very little if any medication, recycle/compost just about everything I’m able to, rarely will be seen drinking from plastic/styrofoam(doesn’t that melt with a hot beverage?) and this is the first year we’ve run our AC more then 3 days just to name a few.

This heightened awareness (for lack of a better term) feels like a curse at times. Do we as individuals give any weight to our choices and conduct.

If you were the Almighty God and you were looking down on your creation, earth in particular,…how would you feel. As Christians we’re taught to do good deeds and that our salvation is based on a relationship with Christ, yet seem to be exempt when it comes to truly caring for the earth that sustains us. Much of this is what we were bought up in and assume as long as everybody behaves and participates in this fashion, it’s ok.

What if our salvation and survival were also based on, respect for all living things, right down to the micro organisims in the soil. The Greek word hamartia (ἁμαρτία) is usually translated as sin in the New Testament. In Classical Greek, it means “to miss the mark” or “to miss the target” . As Christians and the greater population…, we might be missing the mark.

As Christians perhaps we are teaching our kids the wonderful messages of Christ…, but leaving out this untaught respect for all living things…., we disrespect the greatest gift of all… Life on this planet! Life OF this planet as we know it. I know most of you won’t get it…another plastic bottle, a bigger car, a bigger house, a two hour comute to work, excesive water use, more industrial farming, and better living through chemicals… Some call these blessings.

Tasch (page 155) poses the question, “Is economic growth making the world better or worse?” He goes on to say it is tempting to scoff an immediate, “Well, of corse, it is making the world better!”

But the truth, at this historic juncture, has become double-edged.

Is it true China is building a new coal-fired power plant each week? That heart disease is exploding among the Chinese population because of fast food and smoking?Are we on our way to a one-billion car, rainforest-less planet? Would the United States be socially and enviromentally better off with no small farmers and the vast majority of its food imported from countries where it can be produced less expensively? Does continued media consolidation lead to higher quality, more diverse programing? Is the world better off if all the peasants leave the country side to drink coke and get jobs making shower curtains for export to the United States? Has the general sense of well being In America gone up over the past few decades in tandem with the overall rise of the GDP? Is it a welcome sign of progress that so many Main Streets in so many rural towns are littered with abandoned store fronts? Is it a sign of cultural health that there are more malls than high schools in this country?

I don’t have this all figured out, but do long for a life with more simplicity, not absent of hard work. To beable instill this unspoke bigger picture in the hearts and minds of my children. A bigger picture that goes beyond the bottom line, the growth rate of a business or this country, the consumerism that has shaped us as a people…As far as my children…we’ll see how that turns out. Just like our personal relationship with our creator…we all have free will.

I pray for your acknowledgment in these matters and welcome even your smallest acts of participation. For me this has been a life long journey and it would be more enjoyable with you by my side.

Remember, the biggest fear of Americans isn’t terrorism…it’s inconvenience.

Tasch, Woody. Inquiries into the Nature of Slow Money: Investing as If Food, Farms, and Fertility Mattered. White River Junction, VT: Chelsea Green Pub., 2010. Print.

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch

Plastic has taken us into the future and has made many things possible and more convenient. All that convenience comes with a price though. First discovered in 1997 By Charles Moore, a conglomerate of plastic floating in the ocean that has grown to twice the size of France…Thats 0ver 424,000 square miles in size. Described more as a soup type arangement that reaches 10 meters below the waters surface.

The world’s navies and commercial shipping fleets make a significant contribution, he discovered, throwing some 639,000 plastic containers overboard every day, along with their other litter.

Worldwide, according to the United Nations Environment Programme, plastic is killing a million seabirds a year, and 100,000 marine mammals and turtles. It kills by entanglement, most commonly in discarded synthetic fishing lines and nets. It kills by choking throats and gullets and clogging up digestive tracts, leading to fatal constipation. Bottle caps, pocket combs, cigarette lighters, tampon applicators, cottonbud shafts, toothbrushes, toys, syringes and plastic shopping bags are routinely found in the stomachs of dead seabirds and turtles.

Should we care about this, or do we wait to feel the effects directly. Do we wait for the goverments to take action and implement yet another regulation. Do we have faith in God that this is part of the plan.

Or can we start with tiny steps to not use or minimize plastic bottles, styrofoam cups and plates, ect. Choose paper at the grocery store or betty yet, bring your own bag. I was at a graduation party this summer and was delighted that the young lady had bought used plates (real) and jars for pennies on the dollar and set up dish wash stations for the guests to clean their dishes, thereby elimination disposable dish ware. WHAT A GREAT IDEA! Fun as well! Great job Nicolette!

Remember to think outside the box like Nicolette, group think is killing us….

Have a wood day!

Water

Water is one of the key ingrediants of life, yet we give it very little respect. Here’s the first page of a few with neat facts about water.

United States
Environmental Protection Office of Water Agency 4601

WATER TRIVIA FACTS

  1. How much water does it take to process a quarter pound of hamburger?

    Approximately one gallon.

  2. How much water does it take to make four new tires?

    2,072 gallons

EPA 810-F-95-001 April 1995

  1. What is the total amount of water used to manufacture a new car, including new tires?

    39,090 gallons per car

  2. How many households use private wells for their water supply?

    17,000,000 households

  3. Water is the only substance found on earth naturally in the three forms.

    True (solid, liquid, and gas)

  4. Does water regulate the earth’s temperature? Yes (it is a natural insulator)

  5. How long can a person live without food?

    More than a month

    How long can a person live without water?

    Approximately one week, depending upon conditions.

  6. How much water must a person consume per day to maintain health?

    2.5 quarts from all sources (i.e., water, food)

  7. How much water does a birch tree give off per day in evaporation?

    70 gallons

  8. How much water does an acre of corn give off per day in evaporation?

    4,000 gallons

  9. How many miles of pipeline and aqueducts are in the US and Canada?

    Approximately one million miles, or enough to circle the earth 40 times

  10. What were the first water pipes made from in the US?

    Fire charred bored logs

  11. How much water is used to flush a toilet?

    2-7 gallons

  12. How much water is used in the average five-minute shower?

    25-50 gallons

  13. How much water is used to brush your teeth?

    2 gallons

  14. How much water is used on the average for an automatic dishwasher?

9-12 gallons 

Did you know that synthetic fertilizers contribute to dead zones in the ocean. see below from Wikipedia.

Dead zones are hypoxic (low-oxygen) areas in the world’s oceans and large lakes, caused by “excessive nutrient pollution from human activities coupled with other factors that deplete the oxygen required to support most marine life in bottom and near-bottom. 

Some of these were as small as a square kilometre (0.4 mi²), but the largest dead zone covered 70,000 square kilometres (27,000 mi²). A 2008 study counted 405 dead zones worldwide.[3][4]

For more info see link.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dead_zone_(ecology)

What steps can you take to conserve and not take water for granted.

Preparation

Let’s talk about the preparation of food for a moment. Do you ever think about th condition of the kitchen in any given restaurant? Complete strangers preparing our food. We really need to feel that all is appropriate back there. That their hair is tied back, that they washed their hands after the bathroom, that the griddles and kettles have been cleaned and maintained. That the food and condiments haven’t been in the fridge to long, and that the chicken was cooked long enough.

Well, how about the production of our food. Wouldn’t you want to know the practices used to produce, rise and grow our food? Any negative or positive affects from that process.The chemicals used to grow and clean those foods and collateral damage associated with these practices? Where did all those ingredients come from? How in God’s name did they come up with all those unpronounceable words in the list of ingredients?

Are you not at least curious? I mean we put these products in our body on a daily bases. We’re more concerned about the quality of the gas we use in our sports cars then the food we ingest.

I listened to my sister talk about food concerns for a number of years until she died in 2008, giving the same disinterested response so many people have shared with me. My mother was chronically ill for the last 6 years of her life and died in 2006. Both of cancer. I know of at least 11 people that have died of brain cancer since then.

Have you made a link between some things you consume and and side affects? I”m curious!!!! Please share  with me.

For me this isn’t as much about the ills of the industial food system as much as it is about doing the right thing. Thats the focus of our farm, Creekwood Acres, a system that heals the soil and produces the best food possible with balance, peace, and harmony.

Soil

Did you know there are billions to hundreds of billions of soil microorganisms in a mere handful of a typical, garden soil. That single handful might well contain thousands of different species of bacteria (most of whom have yet to be classified), hundreds of different species of fungi and protozoa, dozens of different species of nematodes plus a goodly assortment of various mites and other microarthropods. Almost all of these countless soil organisms are not only beneficial, but essential to the life giving properties of soil.

In the production of food it’s been said, if you get the organic matter in soil right, everything else takes care of itself. It could be said the the soil is a universe of its own, working miracles that sustain all other life. When we use synthetic fertilizers, we change the balance of these microorganisms upsetting the balance needed to grow our grasses, plants and crops.

Synthetic fertilizers can dramatically diminish the nutritional value of foods. Synthetic fertilizers also diminish the natural disease fighting and pest fighting mechanisms of plants. To solve this problem more and varied chemicals are used like pesticides, fungicides and herbicides. We end up with foods that are lacking in viable nutrition (USDA studies show reductions in nutrients for 30 to 70 % in the last 40 years plus they are loaded with residue forms of dangerous chemicals.

http://www.grist.org/article/2010-02-23-new-research-synthetic-nitrogen-destroys-soil-carbon-undermines-/

Organically grown food cost more but is worth the extra for its long term health benefits.

Adding organic matter that has come from composting can be very healthy and life supporting and sustainable. So think twice before you spray chemicles or use synthetic fertilizers.

GMO

Genetically Modified Organism.

Genetically modified food has been around for about the last 2 decades. Some sources conservatively estimate that 60% of more of processed food s available in the United States contain GM ingredients, because most processed foods contain corn and/or soy products. GMO is a process that takes a genetic component of one thing and combines it with another to give the combined a knew trait. Something that can’t happen in nature. Should we question natures (God if you like) approach to its management or the human race? The biggest producer of these GMO, Monsanto and Syngenta, bring their own research to the government body overseeing their products.

Here’s where FAITH comes into play. The FDA does not do any independent review, yet contrary to other studies revealing health concerns, they (FDA) give their stamp of approval. Those are our tax dollars supporting the very demise of our environment and personal health, yet with their stamp of approval we can sleep at night. Wake up people, thats exactly what they want us to do through this whole process…..SLEEP.

The other factor reared its powerful head when The Oregon initiative was soundly defeated. Measure 27, a mandatory labeling law was declined in 2002. Monsanto took the financial lead against Measure 27 with contributions totaling $1,480,000 followed by Dupont with $634,000. Other contributors included Biotech companies Syngentra, Dow agroscience, BASF and Bayer Crop Science plus the Grocery Manufacturers of America (a trade organization), PepsiCo, General Millsand Nestly USA contributed $900,000.

It all comes down to money. If GMOs fail, shareholders in Monsanto, Bayer, Syngentra and other companies will see their investments plummet. According to Yahoo! Finance, more then 80 percent of Monsanto’s stock is held by institutional holders such as Vanguard and funds such as Davis, Fidelity and T. Rowe Price. If GMOs don’t benefit the farmers that use them, and if they don’t benefit the customers who eat them unknowingly, who gains from GMOs?

Stockbrokers. And you, if you have investments that own stock Monsanto and other Biotech companies. Another example of blind faith where we invest in the market to help support another failing practice so we can retire one day. Hopefully we’re not all too chronically sick or dead to enjoy that retirement.

To get involved or learn more go to www.nongmoproject.org