Thursday, November 12, 2015

[Video Post] Tiny House: Math Works

See how it's coming along!
(correction: I said geometry, it should be trigonometry:

"Trigonometry is about triangles, relation between their sides, opposite angles etc. sine, cosine and tangent are few of the trigonometric functions. Geometry is a broader term dealing with points, lines, surfaces, shapes etc." ref. google)

Any suggestions? Let me know your thoughts.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Tiny House Update: Math Works

I just have to say, construction is a real-life expression of logic:

If a is true and b is true, then c must be true as well.

If this board is square and level, and this board was measured correctly, then this should fit perfectly!

I calculated the dimensions of the first common rafter for my tiny house on graph paper yesterday. Then today I set up the ridge beam and measured out the dimensions for the rafters. 

I was pretty excited that it fit so nicely!

Gotta like that fit!

Marking off where the beam should meet the posts. 

Setting up the beam with only one person. Screwed some braces to hold once side until I climbed up and lifted the other side.

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

To Grow Your Mind

Wrapping your mind around a project can be difficult when you're new to something. But growing your mental abilities before you encounter a difficult job makes it easier to get started.

For example, if I walk into a messy room and don't think about cleaning up in an orderly way, the job can easily feel overwhelming. But if I gaze around the room first, and identify the main things that are out of place before I begin to act, then the problem gets narrowed down to one manageable task at a time.

I am convinced the process of thinking through a task is made easier by reading books, and especially learning concepts. To think conceptually puts your thinking on a higher plane than simply taking a job at face value.

The way I came to love thinking conceptually was by memorizing the Westminster Shorter Catechism. No conceptual thinking or meditating can rise higher than when we rest our thoughts on God Who made all things, and receive an understanding of His ultimate plan for history by knowing His Word.

From the starting point of the fear of God, all other fields of knowledge can come easier to our minds because they fit into the overarching canopy of God's revelation; in His Word and works.

The book, "The Art of Explanation" illustrated this fact by saying that in order to make it easier to understand the tree, you need to start by talking about the forest. In the same way, all the different bodies of knowledge are very difficult to piece together if you don't first start with God.

In the book "Mathematics Is God Silent" the author quotes a book on Johannes Kepler the famous scientist, saying that to Kepler, the study of the world was essentially an act of worship to the God who created it.

Thinking conceptually, in the form of mathematics, biology, geometry, language form, etc. is very really the thinking of God's thoughts after Him, as Rushdoony said.

Today, as I worked in the barn building a stanchion frame, the beauty of everything turning out square and level made me realize that my love of thinking conceptually about God, bore fruit in His making me handle the square and level with accuracy. A 3' x 3' slab of OSB slid into place like a cabinet door! I couldn't take credit for it. And the more I work from day to day with the fear of God in my mind, the more fruit I know will be seen in ways only He knows right now.

For this I am thankful and will praise God.

Please take this as an encouragement you to grow your mind by reading books and thinking conceptually.

Uploaded from mobile. Blame Samsung for errors.

Friday, October 30, 2015

OPEN C GUITAR TUNING -- Blessed Assurance

Thanks to Thomas Pederson for teaching me the open C guitar tuning. Enjoy!

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Tiny House: Concept to Creation

It’s the most fun I’ve had creating something ever!

Dad used to tell us someday we’d be making things out of the real legos, and this is exactly that.

I enjoy thinking conceptually and creating things from my imagination. Often times I'll scratch out a schematic for something I’d enjoy making if I had the chance.

Maybe a template for a barn, or a diagram of a future barnyard.

As I’m standing there with my pen and paper towel in the barn, sometimes my drawings seem as real in my mind as if I had actually spent the time creating it.

Well, this project is actually becoming a reality!

Last spring I borrowed dad’s framing book and kept it on the barn shelf. Once or twice a day I flipped through the chapters and illustrations, gradually making my way through the book.

From tricks of the trade, to engineering principles and wood types, I enjoyed getting a feel for what goes into planning and creating a floor plan and elevation for a house.

After going through the book I felt I had a handle on the basic framing principles. I then started making a series of rough sketches on graph paper using a pencil (so it was easy to reconfigure) and set to work putting my learning to practice.

I have to say, the plans have morphed into newer and newer revisions as I went along.

Youtube videos and small cabin design websites helped me get a feel for what was possible, and for what fit my tastes.

I like simplicity, and I liked small compact designs, but I didn’t need it to rest on a trailer. With that in mind, I created a design a bit larger than some tiny houses that were shown. More like a small cabin.

The floorplan is simple. It’s 12’x20’ outside dimensions. There's a small porch, dining/living area, kitchenette, office and shower/bathroom on the main level. Then a bedroom and storage area in a loft that spans about half the ceiling.

Before deciding to build something myself, I shopped around for available pre-built options. None of the affordable options really caught my eye, and I would end up with something very basic and constructed out of 2x4s. I wanted something winterizable and custom built for me. That's why I started designing and building it myself.

I have now finished about three walls. Two are fastened in place, supported by braces, and the third is framed and almost complete.

I wrapped up my tools and put them under a tarp last night in case of rain, and plan to get them out today to finish the third wall and start on the fourth.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Butchering Laying Hens

In from the field for a moment...

Dad tested the temperature from the scalder with his finger, only to retract and say the water was electrified! A few breaker flips later, a thorough troubleshooting session was complete and Dad figured out the upper heating element was dysfunctional.

The elevator called earlier today saying the hog grain was ready, so Dad is now on his way to pick up the grain and a new heating element. Four dead chickens are in the tin cones as I write and I'm waiting for the remaining element to finish heating up to 148 degrees.

Signing off -


Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The Inspiration Of A Sword

I came across this draft of an email as I was browsing the file today. It was written after I rode horseback in makeshift period garb for Andrew's academy promotional. Thought I'd share it with you since I was thinking of it.


Knights in shining armor are inspiring. I think every boy (and man?) gets a thrill in seeing the clash of steel against an enemy in a close combat situation. For many of us though, swords and armor have a special spiritual significance when we remember the Bible depicts the power of the Word as the "two edged sword" of the Holy Spirit that pierces the soul of man (Hebrews 4:12). Also, we remember our God is King, the King of kings, and the Ruler of the universe. Under Him and in Him by the fact of His saving us from our sin, He is our leader Who leads us into battle, subduing Satan under our feet (Romans 16:20). History will be complete one day, “...when [Christ] hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. For [Christ] must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.” (1 Corinthians 15:24-26). The Christian life is a warrior’s conflict, even more serious and dangerous than the depicted horror of evil in The Lord of the Rings. But our battle is real and happens every day. It casts deep and lasting ramifications in time and history regardless of what we believe about it. But Christians don’t have to worry. Our God is the “Lord of Hosts.” He is victorious over all people, nations, ideas and whatever else. This makes me excited about swords, knights, kings and the triumph of good over evil. It is true! It’s inspiring to fight the good fight of faith. To swing the sword of the Spirit for our Master. Doesn't it inspire you too?


Saturday, May 09, 2015

My New Project: Building a Tiny House


I am excited about a new project I'm starting. With a long standing inspiration from Dad, I've decided to start building a tiny house!

You might wonder what a tiny house is. A tiny house is basically a small cabin that has all the workings of a full house, only a tiny version. Many people are building tiny houses on trailers to allow mobility. While I don't intend to put mine on a trailer, I am building it with portability in mind.

There are a bunch of great websites from people catching on to the tiny house idea. is a good one I came across. The concept is that you don't really need a huge amount of space to operate. Staying small is economical for a beginner, and just the basics will do in most cases.

An inspiring young man documented his tiny house story on his website here:

I'll plan to share a few pictures now and then and show you how it goes as I learn what I'm doing.

 The beams are notched to tie the floor platform together and help keep things together when being moved.

The beams have a 48" space between them for mounting a panel underneath to support the floor insulation.

Setting the joists in place was like building with Lincoln logs. They fit very nicely.

Finished for today.

"Unless the Lord build the house, they labor in vain who build it." Psalm 127:1

Stay tuned!


Thursday, April 09, 2015

Jonathan's Trip Home

Hi again!

We had such a blessed time with Jonathan home over the last week. He traveled to the farm from where he lives in Georgia a week ago Tuesday, and spent until this past Monday.

David, who surprised him on his birthday the week before, secretly arranged them to sit next to each other on the five-hour-plus flight home.

It's funny how time can pass, but when we're all together again, things seem like they are as they always had been -- always lots of fun.

I'd like to recap a bit of Jonathan's trip with pictures:

We celebrated a late birthday party for Jonathan the first full day he was here. A favorite casserole dish with REAL chicken + ice cream, chocolate sauce, and brownies for dessert.

Opening a few gifts at the table (to be used later -- you'll see).

Took a series of family photos on Sunday after church. Wonderful family to be a part of! Especially thankful since we hadn't spent time as a complete family for over a year and a half.

Us four brothers. 

Jonathan's gift of a tennis racket and a few balls came in handy on Monday. Jonathan taught us the rules and we played at Tommy Turtle park in Bottineau.  It was fun... even without a net.

My tennis pose.

Jonathan was great! (sorry for the eyes closed shot...)

David learned tennis in Georgia last week, so he had more practice than Andrew and I.

Andrew sent this one out of the court! ...kinda

With only two rackets, the other brothers retrieved balls and tossed them to the server.

"Brothers + Photoshop = Movie Poster" is how Andrew described this one. 


We had taken the photo below photo back in 2002 on our trip to the east coast, and someone had the idea we should replicate it while together again. So...

...we did! At Pride Dairy's old fashioned ice cream parlor in Bottineau. Photo credit to Dad. And thanks Jonathan for the ice cream!


As always, Jonathan jumped right into doing things for us back home, Among other things he installed the first round of insulation paneling on the rafters upstairs. He had (a little bit of) help from David.

Jonathan also passed along his expertise at reloading to me. We filled a few dozen cases of .40 for plinking, and peppered tin cans Monday morning. Every round cycled beautifully.

It's about half the cost to reload as it is to purchase most ammunition. That's if you mold your own bullets, anyway.

Couldn't let the week slip without a few jam sessions! The best brother time ever seems to come when you're creating joyful sounds together. 

Jonathan took to his wings Tuesday afternoon, and landed in Georgia late that evening. We sure miss him, but know God is working His great plan out through Jonathan's calling in Georgia.

Now it's us and the piggies, and a busy season ahead. 

Come again soon, Jonathan!

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Monday, March 30, 2015

The Good Of Our Neighbor


Another article for you.

Whether it's "green" environmentalist farmers, or conventional or "industrial" farmers, our farm has a unique relationship to them both. We can be friends and learn from each other -- here's why:

The Good Of Our Neighbor

Peter Bartlett February 7, 2015

If I were to tell you that Bartlett Farms is an organization dedicated to saving nature from destruction and pollution by man, what would you think? Would you associate us with some environmental organization with an agenda to confine people to “human settlements” and depopulate the planet?

Or what if If I told you that Bartlett Farms is all about pumping the most production out of every animal, plant and person on our farm. What would come to mind? Possibly some concentrated animal feeding operation using robots and computers to manipulate and automate everything.

Well, I’m glad to say we do not operate under either of those two skewed perspectives. Yes, that’s right. They are both skewed. Our philosophy is a Christian philosophy and encompasses the driving force behind each of those ideologies, yet is subject to a greater governing rule of thought which is the law of God.

No human being can derive a motivation to do anything apart from perverting something God has created and revealed in the world. This is because the creation itself is a revelation of God. It means there is always some common ground that we as Christians share with those of differing philosophic perspectives in our experience.

Our environmentalist friends corrupt the fact that God created man’s environment to be stewarded well by man, idolizing the world and denying the personal God who made it. They bow to a cosmic law that pervades nature, but fail to see the person Who is the source and personality of that law. Their desire is to worship a being, but the being who inhabits the world of their imagination is none other than their own person. They cannot bow to a personal God and law outside of themselves, because this would incur guilt for sin against Him, and this is something unregenerate man is too proud to admit.

Industrialists do a similar thing when they take the tools of efficiency and orchestrate them according to the mind and will of man as the center of the universe. Their desire is to impose their autonomy onto the world around them and do without God. It starts in the mind and works its way into the motivations and purposes of their business. What may begin as a creative innovation, is transferred to the belief in an altogether new reality. Once men believe they have initiated an altogether new reality and advanced society to a new level, there creeps in a denying of God’s creation order, and God’s judgement inevitably follows.

An example of this can be seen in the development of modern medicine. Once science claimed a treatment of disease based on a belief that man has comprehensive knowledge of his environment, universities set aside any reference to a divine first cause and their cures were developed and sold as true cures. These cures soon proved ineffective and newer more sophisticated remedies replace them, only to be replaced again and again.

Conformity to God’s standard of conduct is the only thing that can and will “work” for man in the world because he is created by God. Unbelievers unknowingly conform themselves to God’s law when they practice biblical stewardship, though it is only partially done and unwillingly. We may learn many things from them because of this, but we must always steer clear of the perversions that always accompany their teaching.

Bartlett Farms, as a God-fearing business, is working from a vantage point that realizes the needs of all men and the world at large. This is because we have been brought to submit to a divine law outside of man that ultimately provides what man and the world needs in Christ. The differing ideologies that our neighbors hold, although fundamentally opposed to our starting point, have some valid concerns that they bring to the table. We recognize and respect them as our neighbors and seek to bring their concerns into compliance with the pure standard which their ideologies have corrupted. Then we can work for the answer in terms of the one and only standard of God’s word in Scripture.


"The Defence of the Faith" by Cornelius Van Til
Chalcedon Apologetics Module, by Michael Butler, listen here

Saturday, March 21, 2015

A Mom and a Business Lady

Good morning -

Just had to comment on how thankful I am for Mom's dedication to helping our family business.

Last week she tuned into the MoneyWise radio program and absorbed a fascinating interview with Anne, from Auntie Anne's Pretzels. Auntie Anne's is the world's largest soft pretzel franchise, with outlets in malls and major airports around the world. Anne is a strong Christian and started her company as a way to give to others. The company logo is a pretzel with a halo representing an angel.

Now just this morning I came across this book sitting in the milk room:

Mom bought herself Anne's story of growing Auntie Anne's. The book tells her story of growing the business from a stand at a local farmer's market, to a world company -- giving credit to God in it all. Besides this book, Mom also bought Dad Joel Salatin's new book, "Fields of Farmers" on managing internships and employees. Dad is already plowing through it and sharing insights with us (like how you don't want to be the first employer of a college graduate).

Mom proves herself over and over to be dedicated to the details, and is always watching out for us as we take risks -- pointing out things the rest of us couldn't see.

Now Mom and Dad are on their way to Grand Forks, delivering fresh milk to our growing customer base there. Dad drops Mom off for shopping, then goes over to the drop location to meet the customers.

You're a great example, Mom! We couldn't do it without you.


Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Doing some welding


The weather's been extremely nice and working outside is great! Last night David commented on how you go outside and breathe and the air is full and refreshing, rather than brisk and chilly on your lungs.

Today I helped David get started on welding a mount for his debris loader. It'll be a square tubing frame that swings around the side of his box truck to allow the truck box to be unloaded when the back is full.

 We needed to cut two angles to match the diagonal cross member to the main L shaped frame. To do it right, David and I spent some time using our Algebra to calculate the sin and cos of the triangle. I remembered most of it, but got stumped because the calculator would not allow an inverse function.

Dad solved the problem with me and we spent some time going through trigonometry tables proving the math behind the calculator.
Used the cutting torch and arc welder to cut and tack the first part of the frame together.



Saturday, March 07, 2015

Christian Thinking at 40,000 Feet

Good morning!

Midair on my flight to Denver last week, I was enjoying the view so much I pulled out my pen and wrote the first draft of this article. I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

Christian Thinking At 40,000 Feet

Peter Bartlett, February 26, 2015

For me, flying is not just another means of transportation to get me from point A to point B. Flying is richer than that. It is a personal experience of God’s wisdom and covenant faithfulness to His church. I'd like to explain three reasons for saying this:

  1. Flying demonstrates the recreativity of man made in God’s image.And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness:” (Genesis 1:26). A human being is really the closest representation of God Himself that exists in the created order. Embodied in man is the features of God and man’s actions glorify God because of their likeness to His on a creaturely level. Flying takes into account centuries of human thoughtfulness, scientific study, experiment and application, all which have been necessary building blocks in the course history to bring glory to God. When I sit in the seat of a plane, I sit atop a pinnacle of human inventiveness which mirrors God’s creativeness.

  1. Flying through space is the experience of God’s temporal substance. Acts 17:24 says, “The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth…” I believe in the biblical doctrine of creation. There was once nothing but God. Then God made all things material and spiritual by His word. By His word all things consist, both in the heavenly realm and earthly physical world (Col 1:16-17). All things emanate from the eternal Godhead and counsel of the Trinity. To fly, therefore, is traversing a region of space sustained by God. It is experiencing the substance of God’s revelation of Himself to man by His works. Men combine elements of the physical world to propel them through space, achieving their desired ends and ultimately carrying forward the predestined course of human history. So to fly, is to whiz around this terrestrial ball like a kid on a rollercoaster, taking in the scenery from a different angle.

  1. The predictability and challenges of flying are established by virtue of God’s covenant word to His church. Genesis 8:22 says, “While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night, shall not cease.” To encounter unchanging laws of science is to verify the words of God’s promise in Genesis 8. His word alone is the reason for consistency in nature. No external, co-eternal abstract laws exist to complement the being of God. He Himself, by His word manifested through the Spirit’s operation, ordains and personally upholds the foundations of flight and aviation for the sake of perfecting His church in time. God “hath put all things under [Christ’s] feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,” (Eph 1:22). For me to fly, then, is to rest in the arms of my God who keeps me safe according to His promise, and I can trust He will see me to my destination if that is what is best for me.

The enjoying of God is found anywhere we as Christians submit our world and life view to God’s testimony in Scripture. When believing what it says by faith in the One who spoke it, we will enjoy meeting God in His works. Flying is just one of many ways that we can glorify and enjoy God -- there are so many more.

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Spring Break from the Farm


Just returned home yesterday from an extended weekend off the farm. Thursday I took a flight to Atlanta to visit Jonathan and enjoy meeting new friends and explore that part of the country.

So many great experiences...

A few pictures:

 Exiting the plane from Minot in Denver on my way down.

Hiking Blood Mountain in northern GA. 

A big old pine near the top of the first rise. See the opposing hills in the background? Massive! 

Jonathan in one of the company pickups. I had a chance to meet his boss and coworkers at the office of Place Services Inc. on Friday.

Meanwhile the family kept track of the farm. The newest calf stayed in a stall in the house for convenient checking and feeding.

Went out to visit the Skelly's farm on Monday. Nice to see a more rural part of GA.

Had the pleasure of showing Rose how to behave for a rider. Went from flighty to relaxed after the lunging exercise (pictured).

Tire went flat near Macon, GA.

The Nees are a wonderful family from Jonathan's church. They invited us over for dinner and fellowship on Sunday. Thanks so much!

Evan is an inspiring guitarist. Had a great conversation about guitars and styles after fellowship dinner at Chalcedon. 

Fun bunch of people to visit with after the evening church service. (Photo courtesy of Mrs. Boles).

Jonathan shuttled me through Atlanta traffic to the airport Tuesday morning.

It's always great to spend quality time with Jonathan. He's my favorite older brother. Thanks to the family for taking my place for almost a week!

All for now,