OUTSET! #2: Boring Grass to Verdant, Lush, Abundant Homestead


Time to take steps in that direction. The trend the last couple of years has been to try strange(ish) gardening techniques without smashing success.

We did a massive wood core bed that only sort of worked. The next year we aggressively interplanted along a trellis in a mulched area with a super easy irrigation system. If things got a little dry I would turn on the irrigation and soak the bologna out of it, only to have a significant rain soon thereafter turn it into a hidden lake.

So, we like to dream big, talk big, and, well, keep learning.

Here’s my latest attempt at applying permaculture wisdom to the homestead. First I built and used a bunyip to determine contour of our garden site. Contour is the line you get when you stay at exactly the same elevation.

Next I am putting down wood along that contour line. Then I’m hauling top soil out of the woods to make raised beds on contour. I hope to add some bone meal after I get that.

I’m hoping the beds will do both do a terrific job of catching runoff as well as the raised aspect of the beds helping to buffer when there is an overabundance of moisture.

My local Transfer Station has large mounds of free wood chips, and usually they will load them for you free of charge. I want to use them as mulch in the beds and on the paths between beds. Now to find that super economical tandem truck service…


OUTSET #1: Voluntarily into Death and Dying

Note: Sorry folks. I must’ve failed to get this post scheduled. I have been “deeply” contemplating the future of this blog.

This particular beginning comes in part from discomfort. I’m uncomfortable with sitting in my little realm of reasonably have-it-together-and-self-sufficient friends and acquaintances doing not a whit to help those who are hell bound.

No longer having Hands of Christ within easy reach, I began looking for an opportunity. As the good youth of today are prone to doing, I began by asking Google. Google said, “You could volunteer with Hospice.”


Well, I like sitting around talking to people. This could work. Rachel was supportive if it would be something we could do as a family, which sounds pretty valid to me.

I called a local hospice and a lady took my info. I wait. Nothing happens.  I pray asking that if this is the thing we should do, that it would happen. Brandi calls. We schedule a meeting at our house.

The evening dawns cold and icy. Brandi manages to navigate the rural leg of the journey. She is impressed with how “rural” we are.

We talk, sign forms, talk. She’s wowed that we move to Texas just for a church. She is pumped, we are fairly pumped. Rachel likes her. The process has begun. We have parts of a fat manual to read before our next orientation-type meeting.

It looks like we will be taking the kids in with us to nursing homes for starters and paying little visits. Respite visits are an option if we continue to get into the Hospice scene.

Will this be self-inflicted abysmally boring visitation or a terrific opportunity?

Its the OUTSET!



I’m a starter. I like to start something new. Preferably something unconventional.

Then, I start something else called “losing interest”.

This can lead to one of those greatest strength turns into greatest weakness scenarios.

So, my intent is to spend a lot of the rest of my life starting things.

Some things I will quickly learn are junk. Others I will persist in for a season. Others I will get off the ground and quickly turn over to people who can be the long term parents.

However, there are some things in my life that are themes. I expect I will continue to start new things that orbit around these themes.

In the meantime I will try to be persistent in my current endeavors to give me the opportunity to start new things in the future.

And now I am introducing a new blog post series called (insert drum-roll) OUTSET.

OUTSET is going to record things I’m doing for the first time. Its cheers to innovation, trying without knowing the outcome, and generally being human by doing fresh stuff.

Hopefully you will be inspired to try a few new things yourself;  and if not, at least derive some amusement from my struggle.

OUTSET #1 is scheduled to explode into the blogosphere on Wednesday at 5:00 P.M. CST!





She Belongs, We Belong


Belonging is very powerful. Its something we need. Its that sense that no matter what, I’m always a part of this group.

My sister belonged to my family. She belonged to me, and us. We belonged to her. There was never a question of whether at some point we would kick Anja out. We had no fear that she would reject us.

She belonged, and we belonged.

Well, then she was taken.

And the fact that at once comforts and hurts is that she still belongs in our family and we still belong to her.

This parting is so final and so temporary.

We cry.

We and she belong.


The Present State


What do you do when you see evil? What do you do when you experience a barrage of ungodliness?

What if you don’t even like what you see when you introspect.

What if you evangelize without result?

What if the supposed Christians in your life don’t act like Jesus?

Then you should read this verse:

 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

There’s only two things we need to know to be encouraged.

1. The Light is shining.

2. The darkness hasn’t overcome it.


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