Friday, October 15, 2021

Not Wanting Things

The moment comes when suddenly you find you do really want anything any more.  It is rather a shocking feeling, because due to the natural state of being a human or from an inherent sense of covetousness, there always seems to be (at least for me) something that I always want to have.

Part of it derives from the fact, I suppose, that from a young age we always seem to have things we want.  We have holidays that things come on - Christmas, birthdays - and especially when we are small children, that is pretty much when things come.  So we begin to associate those days with getting things and so we look forward to those days or months in advance (how many years did I spend pouring through the Sears catalogue right when it came, looking for Christmas ideas?).  

Then, when we first start earning money, we find out that we can buy our own things. And so begins the life long pursuit of things.  The economy runs on us purchasing things, and so we are actively encouraged (the fancy word for it is "marketing") to not only think getting more things is nice, but that it is an imperative.  This, we are told, is how we measure our success in life and show that we are "doing it right".  Happy people, so "marketing" tells us, have things - and so should we.  And if we cannot have those things, we should spend our time eagerly wanting them and spending time dream about them (and watching marketing, of course).

Until that moment comes when we find we really do not "want" anything anymore.

There will always be needs, of course:  no matter how many times I darn my socks I will eventually need new ones and sports shoes simply do not last forever.  Things at the house need to be replaced, as do parts on my car.  Maybe in another world these do not qualify as "needs"; in our modern world, they tend to.

But the rest?  There suddenly seems to be no desire.

Oh, if pushed to the wall I suppose I could find something.  But that is only if I am thinking about it a great deal or there is something which, although not a necessity, is something which would make life more pleasant or easier.  But now,  only if I am really thinking about it.  For the most part, I find I am not thinking about such things as all.

It would be a problem, of course, if thousands or even millions of people suddenly found they no longer wanted things with the same intensity.   Imagine the complete rewiring of our economic system if this were to be case. 

Or put another way, imagine if someone created a consumer goods based economic system, and over time no-one showed up.

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Snack Time With M and P


In lieu of the post I should have written, I present for your entertainment snack time with M and P:

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

The Coming Of Autumn And Centering

We have had rain twice in the last week.   Autumn seems to be upon us.

The temperatures are dropping into "normal" Autumnal variations, which here actually means pretty pleasant weather - before the cold starts migrating in and stays.

Autumn this year feels compressed to me.  It is practically already the middle of October - that is a mere 2.5 months left in the year. Halloween in three weeks, Thanksgiving in 1.5 months, and Christmas in 2.5 months In this time I have three 1 week trips to The Ranch, two short planned personal trips, Thanksgiving, and Christmas/Christmas Break.  And what is left of the work year to "complete" everything that is to be done.

If I get my Fall garden planted this year between now and the time it gets too cold, I will feel like I have made actually progress.

This year feels incomplete to me - or rather perhaps, I feel incomplete.

I am more and more taken by the fact that I feel strung out between places and lives.  I am here in New Home. I am in Old Home. We (The Ravishing Mrs. TB and I) are working to manage our own lives and plans here, while my sister and I are working to manage my parents situation and estate at The Ranch in Old Home. In both locations, I am working through a job which a some level seems always in flux, as much due to the nature of the business as it seems to be due to the fact things I am working on seem to keep going back "to development". 

I am everywhere - and strangely, I am nowhere.

In a way, perhaps, this is the essence of Autumn:  The point at which Nature just gives up and decides to pack it all in.  The season is done for the year, the growing and flying about and activity is done.  Leaves fall, rains come, season turns cold, and everything gets an enforced rest and readjustment.

Perhaps that is what I need right now, this shedding of leaves to remove externalities and the flush of cold chill the sap and snap me into where I actually am - or perhaps, where I should actually be.

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Of Yogurt And Independent Thought

 One of the greatest things lessons I have learned over the years on independence and thinking independently is simply the practice of learning to do things for myself.

My biggest example for this is yogurt.

For the last two years (except when traveling), I have not purchased yogurt.  I have made my own.  Yogurt is just about the most easy dairy product to make and takes about two days:  one to heat the milk and inoculate and let it set, one day to drain off the whey.  Although my kitchen scale does not go high enough, my estimation is that a gallon of milk will get me about 1 to 1.5 lbs of yogurt.  That will last me for about a week, at which time I will get a new gallon of milk and heat it and introduce some of the culture from the previous yogurt into this one (such culture will acidify over time, so I do have to start with new starter culture every now and again).

To a lesser (much lesser extent) I can do this with other dairy products like cheese (but my friend, Rain, is an actual master.  Her, you should follow).  And one can make the argument that on the whole, I am probably not saving a great deal of money - for yogurt, I think I save a little.

But that is not really the point.

As one provides for one's self in any aspect - yogurt or vegetables or car repair or sewing - one is doing something much more valuable than just providing a product: one is training the mind.

The mind is being trained to think and act for itself in its own provision, rather than constantly having to go to an outside source to provide for it.  One realizes that one can do things:  I can make yogurt or cheese or darn socks or make something out of leather, something that is useful and productive.  Will I necessarily save money?  No.  It will at best be a wash and at worst cost me more.

But in doing these things, I realize a truth.  I can provide for myself.  And as I learn to provide for myself, I find that I am learning to think for myself.  My first reaction is not "Where will I find this?" or "Who will do this for me?"  It is "How do I do this?" or "How do I find out how to do this?"  I am looking to myself to do the thing or get the information, not relying on someone to provide it for me or tell me what to do.

In a way, I think this is why Our Political And Social Betters disparage the concepts of doing for ourselves and really only encourage those sorts of things that make us look to them as the fount of all supply and wisdom.  To do for ourselves is to remove their power, and to remove their power is to make them obsolete.

Want to start someone down the route to independent thought and self determination?  Teach them to make yogurt.

Monday, October 11, 2021

2021 Summer Garden: The Final Count

 This weekend I pulled out most of the Summer Garden.  This is the last view:

As you might remember from here, here, and here, a big difference this year was the use of ollas, stoppered clay pots in the ground that act as a slow release watering system (again, hat tip to Leigh at Five Acres and A Dream for introducing them to me).  Other notes to be included this year is we had an exceptionally wet Spring and somewhat wet Summer (for us, anyway).

So how did it go?

1)  The ollas actually worked very well overall. I would say especially in the early part of the growing season, the ollas helped to sustain the seedlings in a way that just watering did not.

2) There were some issues I found in inconsistent plugging of the holes in the bottom.  Some went days without needed a refill, some went less than a day.  From what Leigh said, she and Dan seal the bottom with a thin layer of concrete.  That might make a lot of sense and is something I will have to fix.

3) A lot of what you see there is sweet potato vines.  I need to find a better way to trellis/manage these as doing a later planting was impossible for anything.

4)  While the ollas were useful as a sustaining water source, things really did do better with a 10-12 minute daily soaking.  As you can see from the picture above, I "engineered" a solution, but will need to think about something a little more elegant.

5)  Yield?  Six Tomatoes (I never have gotten that many tomatoes in 12 years of living here), three corn ears (again, a victory of sorts - although this was before I started daily watering.  I think I could have done better with it), a reasonably good yield of Black Eyed peas (and miserable yields of all other beans - I do not know why I bother anymore.  And the sweet potatoes below, of course:

Next year one thing I will need to change is to just go to warm weather vegetables all the way in.  Also, trellising and shading would delightful pluses.

One of the reasons the garden was pulled out this weekend was a suggestion by Leigh to back calculate 10 hours of sun to determine planting.  Although we do get a lot of sun here all year, this was the most reasonable time.  So I will start replanting this week for Autumn.

Overall I was quite pleased with this Summer's outcome.  This is in a lot of ways the most successful garden I have grown.  I think with some tweaks I can do even better.

Sunday, October 10, 2021

A Primary Calling


I respect MacArthur's biblical scholarship - it really is first class, and arguably he would (along with the late R.C. Sproul) would be my standard against which I would measure late 20th Century pastoral teaching (his knowledge of New Testament Greek sets him far above most others) - even as I sometimes deplore his lack of tact.  

But that said, this statement struck me as powerful, especially given yesterday's post and frame of mind.

To be clear (and I have followed MacArthur for over 20 years), he is very consistent on this point.  He has not been one to discuss or monitor national or international trends of social or political import.  He has always brought the conversation around to the Church as witness in a dead and dying world.

It seems such a different message now from some much of what passes for church, does it not?  But I think MacArthur would say (of course, I am not speaking for him) that all of that can come from a people that are redeemed.  Otherwise, one is merely continuing to make repairs on a structure that is continuing to fall apart - and people can do all the "right" things in life and still be condemned in the afterlife.

The other thing that strikes me is the phrase "the lost and condemned world in which you live".  Not a phrase one hears at all any more.  The world systems are just flawed and can be repaired, not lost and condemned.

Believing that a society is flawed and can be repaired is a hallmark of utopianism.  Believing that a society is lost and condemned would completely change the focus for the larger Church in how the interacted with it.

Be the light that cannot be hidden under the basket, understanding that as a light our primary job is not to  make the house better or cleaner but rather to show the fact that it is falling apart, and that there is a ultimately a way to make it better.  But it will require something more than minor fixes.