Friday, April 22, 2016

Prepping Garden Soil


Went out today and loaded a couple wheelbarrows of composted manure and transported it 300 yards uphill to my mini garden bed. There's got to be a better arrangement for the cows in relation to the garden (think permaculture, here...)!

This small garden plot is one I've kept up with minimal labor over the past four years. I'm using Steve Solomon's technique; one wheelbarrow, one spade, one rake, and one hoe. By spacing plants apart more than normal, there's less need for supplemental water. There have been good to excellent yields each year so far, and I haven't watered once! I aim to keep it up as long as I can.

As I'm in the small little garden patch, its easy to think its tiny and insignificant compared to what could be done on a large scale. That's true, but I find I enjoy doing it for other reasons. It's not so much the harvest I care about, it's the experience of seeing the union of heaven and earth at work.

What I mean, is that by the fact of Jesus victory over sin, the earth and the elect of man which were alienated from God at the fall, are brought back into harmony by the redemption of Christ. The soil and plants are allowed to continue to bear fruit for man because God looks upon the earth through the work of Jesus and sees it cleansed from the effects of sin. Jesus has bought it all back from the curse, and though it now "groans and travails," it is (like we are) waiting expectantly for the renewal of the heavens and the earth at the end of time.

It's kind of funny then, the more I spend time in the garden the more I enjoy gardening as a philosophical and theological meditation period. :)


Thursday, April 21, 2016

Cows This Evening

Quick photo on the way to milk!

Monday, March 14, 2016

The Cabin So Far

First layer in place

Dad helped me tack down the tarpaper on the cabin today. We're supposed to get a half inch of rain tonight, so getting that first layer in place is important. I don't think we've had rain yet this spring, only snow. 

Friday, March 11, 2016

Studebaker Solo

Here's a tune I learned from Kenny Smith's Acutab instructional DVD. Hadn't played it in a while, but really enjoyed getting back into it. Enjoy!

Saturday, March 05, 2016

Tiny House: Interior Framing

Progress may be slow, but it's always exciting for me. A quick review of interior partitions I'm puttng in the 12' x 20' tiny house.

Sunny Morning

A great day to be alive! The spring weather we've been having makes me motivated to jumpstart some spring projects -- like fencing and barn mud management.

David said a year ago we had -50 temps, but today we have 30+ degrees! I'll take that.

Lily, a Jersey calf we had in the house is now stationed in the barn. I moved her out this morning.

Dad is off on a Grand Forks delivery today, so its just Mom, David and I at home. Andrew is filming a wedding about five hours north of us in Canada.

Hope you have a great weekend!

A Moment of Milk

The last bottle thudded into the cooler and I dropped the lid into place. Raising myself from a bent over position I reached for the handle of the sliding glass door on the cooler and maneuvered it open. Packing milk for the next morning's delivery had left one sole bottle, partially filled with creamy whole milk, sitting in the glass-front cooler awaiting my thirsty gaze.

A well-practiced flip of the cap and the bottle was traveling to my lips, soon coating my taste buds in a soothing delicious white fluid. Pure milk, nothing added, nothing taken away. Oh the joy of the thought! This thought. A thought you may well benefit to enjoy with me. The fruit of earth's riches. A bounty of heaven! The union of divine blessing on mere temporal creation -- in short -- God's promised daily bread that, whether asked for specifically or not, Jesus has imparted by grace to me.

That pure milk, coming from the healthy udders of cows I cared for since they were born, produced by cattle stimulated by solar energy converted into grasses, cut, dried and stowed away for winter's feeding. Milk, the fluid portion of which, mined from below the crust of earth, was drawn from reservoirs of filtered ocean water carried by clouds onto the mainland of America.

This thought, with others like it, raced through my head as I swallowed down the remaining milk and replaced the lid, turning back to my task at hand. Oh the glory of the riches of God ministered in this simple part of my day!

Friday, February 05, 2016

Thoughts On Thought and How God Wants Us To Think

From a battered, torn, folded manuscript scribbled on in the barn by Peter in July 2015. All errors are my own. Read at your own risk.

Thoughts On Thought and How God Wants Us To Think

A Christian is not simply a person carrying around a certain set of propositions that he believes are true. It is partly that, but thinking like a Christian involves knowing God and lovingly speaking on His behalf.

People today seem to have a different mode of thinking than people did back in Bible days. If you look at the children of Israel in Egypt and the pagan nations of Canaan, you notice a common fear of "the gods" by the pagans, or "The Lord God" of Israel, right? This fear someone higher than man is something that seems to have been bred out of us in modern days.

When someone talks about the weather, we don't usually credit it first of all to personal forces, right? Why is that? Is it because science has eliminated the need for God? No. It is only the common unbelieving frame of thought that we have caught in our age. Dr. Cornelius Van Til stresses the change that happened at the time of Immanuel Kant in modern philosophy. Kant wasn't the first to think this way, but his ideology caught on in popular philosophy.

For me, it helps to follow trains of thought back in history to see where they developed from and who is behind it. Van Til does just that in his books. Taking insights from "A Defense of the Faith," "The Case for Calvinism," and "A Christian Theory of Knowledge," Van Til has showed me how post-Kantian thought is drawing upon the same non-Christian method as Aristotle and Satan. Aristotle is known for his logical method, and was an early greek thinker. Aristotle's method of explaining God and the world drew upon two concepts that he assumed were eternal. This may be hard to grasp, but it's worth a try. Read on and give it some thought!

Basically, for Aristotle there are two abstract concepts; forms and contingencies. These concepts had existed forever and weren't necessarily created by God. The first was the concept of form. Pure form. Once you have heard the second you may be able to see where this is going. For now, just think of form all by itself.

The second concept Aristotle needed in his method was contingency. Pure contingency. Taking pure form and adding pure contingency, you get the possibility of what Van Til called, "brute fact." This may take time to sink in, but it is worth understanding so you can avoid the sin of thinking this as much as possible.

So with the possibility of brute fact, there was then the possibility of eternally existing principles which could be equally true for God and equally true for man. The way Van Til said it, "That which holds a finite man imperfectly, is one and the same with that which holds an infinite God perfectly." In other words, there was a blank space of abstract no man's land, where you could, as it were, pencil in God, and pencil in man. There was an environment surrounding God and man with certain laws that each may appeal to. This is where the ground gets shaky. Because of this no man's land that encompasses both God and man, the laws of that tract of land, such as logic, were eternally co-existing with God. God did not necessarily create the laws of logic, he has co-existed with logic as a little god beside Him. Logic then, was identical for God and man. And with logic being identical, then all knowledge too was identical for God and man, and man was lifted up into oneness of being with God.

This lifting up of man to be one with God in knowledge, means that he must also be a god, since you cannot separate knowledge from being. This train of thought leads right into Plato's scale of being, and fits into Roman Catholic theology and Armenianism.

Do you follow me? I know it is hard to grasp, especially for us living in times where modern post-Kantian philosophy is normal.

True Christianity denies all other gods and receives the personal revelation of God in scripture as the only special communication to man by God. There is no brute facts in God's world. No pure forms or contingencies. The world is beaming forth the personal Word of God. Nature speaks God's praise because it is in Him, of Him, and through Him. There isn't any truth that stands abstractly apart from personal covenantal communication. When we know the Truth, we are knowing Jesus Who is the Truth.

I hope you don't gloss over this and I'd encourage you to crack open a philosophy book by Van Til and start drinking in a dose of medicine for a mind that is infected with popular sin. The reward for a transformed sight and view of the world is worth it. It is not less than what God has commanded by our being born again and renewed in His image.

All for now,


Friday, January 29, 2016

Using Milk to Tenderize Beef


I'm excited. We fried up our first Jersey steaks tonight. Those bull calves just jumped a lot in my estimation.

But we didn't just do steaks the "normal" way. We did an experiment.

Dad has a keen sense of what texture, taste and properties he wants to experience in the food that he sells to others. And he cares enough to dig into the processes that contribute to raising that food as well.

When a customer told Dad they learned that milk can tenderize beef, Dad knew this was something we had to try.

So we did.

This afternoon I grabbed our trusty kitchen guide to grass-fed cooking, Shannon Hayes' Grass-fed Gourmet cookbook, and flipped to a recipe for bison sirloin steak (pg 42).

Since Jersey beef is naturally lean, I thought it made sense to try a bison recipe. Cooking times might be longer. On top of the breed difference, the fact that the steer was harvested at a younger than prime size (700lb) could also make a difference.

Using the simple ingredients of basil, coarse salt, pepper, and olive oil, I slathered the first T-bone steak and rubbed in the seasonings.

Then I took the other steak out of the fridge. It was about 16 hours ago that I submerged the T-bone's twin from the package in a baking pan of creamy raw Jersey milk.

The milk dipped steak held the seasonings well, so I only rubbed in the mixture and prepared it just like the other steak.

As the recipe said to do, I let them sit for a bit. Then, drying them off, I seared them for 3 minutes per side on the stove in a bare skillet.

Mistake #1. Don't sear in a bare stainless skillet! The house looked like a chimney and smoke curled everywhere.

After the searing, both steaks were set on a baking sheet to slowly cook for a couple hours while I went out to milk.

Long story short, here's the response:

Written November 2015