Monday, December 26, 2011

Blessings . . .

Here on the preseration we observe "Christmas" very quietly. This year, it was nestled into the week of Hanukkah, so there was a bit more to contend with in town as we shopped for Hanukkah, but I digress.Yesterday I was blessed to bake a spice cake while listening to Handel's Messiah and wrapping the last of the Hanukkah gifts. Tonight is the last official night of Hanukkah, but due to demands outside of our control, we're going to enjoy a belated celebration with my daughter and her family later this week. Since Hanukkah isn't one of the "official High Holy Days" I hope G-d doesn't mind us stretching it from 8 days into 2 weeks, just this once! Back to blessings. I've been sort of keeping a mental list of things I really enjoy or appreciate and today seems a good day to mention a few of the small things in life that I simply take for granted. I believe this thinking is essential to being satisfied and probably a very pivotal perspective in embracing the preservation lifestyle. Today the first of the new year's herd arrived. He seems pretty lively and his mama seems to be a good mama, so for that I'm grateful and feel quite blessed. Since he's the first this year, he belongs to G-d and G-d hasn't yet told me what He wants me to do with him. Since we've lived here, I've enjoyed being able to help others get their herds started or established with the first fruits of our herd, so I'm excited about it. The mama is already a promised gift to a young couple establishing their lives in a simpler and less dependent manner, and knowing them is also a blessing . . . When I think of it, one blessing just leads me to think of another blessing. I love it! I've been blessed to enjoy the early mornings reading my Bible and devotions and already be starting my work day as the sun is rising. Big blessing! In my writings, I've mentioned the usual blessings like yummy goodness from the garden, better health than was forecasted years ago, wonderful grandchildren, a beautiful daughter and a buddy-in-law that's about to become my son-in-law. I have to share, though, I'm really enjoying some of the small unmentioned blessings and one of them recently just makes me so aware of how truly and abundantly I'm blessed. Now as you read this, you may be thinking . . . what???? But let me finish. I'm blessed to have more than one pillow. Considering the situations of homelessness and poverty, I've recently realized just what a luxury extra pillows are. I love the feeling of laying my head down on a cold pillow. I just like the feel of it, always have. When I was a very small child, I'd put my pillow on the tile floor when I went to bed, just to get it cool. Oh, and hardwood floors worked just as well, when we moved. Now, as an adult I rotate pillows. I always have one under my head and one on the floor. It may sound quirky, but so many of us are comforted by some pillowy soft something at night and for me, it's a cold, cold pillow. Having more than one pillow keeps that maintained. When I hear someone refer to their financial status as "comfortable," the first thing that runs through my mind, is 'they can afford' extra pillows.
. . . and he took of the stones of that place, and put them for his pillows, and lay down in that place to sleep. Torah of Holy Scripture

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Naming the Animals

We people of the preservation take Scripture pretty literally, when it comes to personal obedience. I'm not talking about judging others, I'm talking personal obedience and responsibility. It brings me great delight to remember the passage early in Genesis in which G-d had Adam name all the animals. I believe G-d's people are still responsible for that task and I love it! Now, I do have to admit, some of our chickens, the ones heading for the pot and skillet, don't get names, but everything else on the place does. Our burro is Azalea, our dogs are Mordechai, Hank & Babe, The goats are quite numerous, so I won't mention them all, but they all do have names and they know their names. This morning I went out to do chores and I always make sure everyone is accounted for. They have their regular routine, and I fit into that, so anything out of the ordinary is noticeable. With it being winter now, often they are either tucked into one of their houses or munching hay on the far side of the bale, so when I can't see someone, I don't presume the worst, but I do follow up. This morning I couldn't find Stella. She's one of the milkers, so she's pretty sociable and dependable. I went to the gate and called her name. I called again and it was so funny. From the back side of the bale, she peeked over and looked at me, as if to say, "I heard you the first time, but I had to climb up here for you to see me. Now, what's the problem?" I love that Stella. I also noticed in another pen, one of our pygmies that's due pretty quick was not visible when I first made my rounds, but I didn't hear any sounds out of the ordinary, so I opened chicken houses and finished my rounds and came back. I called her name, and I heard this muffled response. I thought, she might be in one of the houses . . . but no, when I called again she came to the front of a well eaten out bale of hay, and looked at me as if to say, "This better be important!" She had literally "buried" buried herself in the eaten out pocket of that bale and had been tucked completely out of sight. It's interesting to watch G-d's creatures and be privileged to be a part in the care of them. They have their names and they know their names.
And out of the ground YHWH G-d formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. Torah of Holy Scripture

Friday, December 16, 2011

Tribal Unrest

Once in awhile, the peace of the preservation is disturbed by what I call, tribal unrest. That's when nearly everyone insists that they have the correct insight, peace from G-d, proper direction, yata, yata . . . except one hold out, who often becomes the designated problem. Oh, it can get rather tense, but as I have come to know, when the rest of the world is in agreement, chances are the single hold out knows something that has not yet been revealed to the others. Now, as the one that is usually the odd duck in these situations, I'm finding it's better to ask some questions, refuse to let anyone put any words in my mouth, and simply pray, even if I don't hear anything to begin with. I at least receive peace that I can stand where I am until I do hear something, which is very heart warming when the tribe is at odds. Eventually, eyes are opened, ears are in tune and the truth is revealed. Although the truth is always the best way to go, sometimes it's difficult to accept, and yet we must, if we are to leave the legacy of the preservation to the next generation.
That the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children: That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of G-d, but keep his commandments: a Psalm of Holy Scripture

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

When It's All Said and Done

The Kingdom of heaven does not base it's economy on American dollars, which is good, since American dollars aren't even worth much here in America, but rather heaven's currency is time and G-d is very service and goods oriented . . . From Genesis through the Revelation, we can read about G-d making things and everything HE makes is good, but HE's also a service provider and being in HIS image, we have the potential to provide goods and service. Unlike the American economy that separates goods and services, G-d apportions talents in HIS people to be able to provide and appreciate both. I will say after our recent endeavor, I also have a true appreciation for the fact that G-d factored in teaching the next generation. I'm no spring chicken, so clearly Daddy's not either.
I've been working through the math as to actually how to compare the time it took to process 2 deer, the end results, product and service vs. the hours worked to make enough money to purchase that much red meat and make Daddy proud. I can tell you, I couldn't begin to compete financially with most folks, but then again, not that many people can do what I do when it comes to wild game and simple living. It's interesting how earning money to provide for family is well and good, but how limiting that can truly be, whereas, in the deer processing, I immediately saw that I was doing something I couldn't do any other way. When Daddy called to tell me he'd gotten two deer the first two hours of hunting season, I could hear the tribal pride in his voice and the fact that "we" needed to make plans to do up the deer. Now, he would never have called me to pitch in on paying to have the deer processed, but in this situation, I can actually provide a service to him, save him some money, put meat in our freezer, jointly provide sustenance for the next two generations, and honor the fifth commandment, all in one event!
I couldn't do that with money, and Daddy would never ask me for money, anyway. So, as it is with what has become our tradition, I took a closer look this last time and beyond all the things I listed in the previous paragraph. Considering the price of beef, we managed to end up with about 130 pounds of boneless red meat for three households to enjoy. I have steaks, lean ground meat, fajita, stir fry, and delicious tenderloin, also known as Filet Mignon. I'm not sure what deer tags cost in Kansas, but I believe they are less than $20.00, wait, I'll just Google and be back. I can't tell you for sure, but something about age and land ownership, blah, blah, blah. So it may be that tax paying land owners can hunt their own place. Anyway, I didn't see anything over $20.00, so we'll figure it at that. Say there is $40.00 combined cost for the tax and conservation folks. Still, that's less than about thirty cents a pound. We do have to figure in the hours, though. We take breaks, but from skinning to final packaging, we average about 2-3 hours per deer, that's cleaning, cutting, grinding, packaging, and labeled. Let's figure high and say $40.00 plus 6 hours for 130 pounds of meat. I'm sure Daddy has made some awesome money per hour, but I don't think I've ever earned in day what would buy that much meat. Keep in mind, I have a freezer full of steaks along with the ground meat, but we'll figure just the price of lean grind. In dollars and time, I would have had to have been making $32.50 an hour, just to buy that much lean hamburger, and let us not forget in this figuring, I'll be grilling steaks and enjoying Filet Mignon for the same price as hamburger. Now figure in the "organic" factor and the price of steaks.
It really is just a different way to figure earnings in regard to time goods and service; and it's a simple efficient way to do it. Not to mention making Daddy happy and obeying G-d . . . priceless.
There is nothing better for a man, than that he should eat and drink, and that he should make his soul enjoy good in his labour. This also I saw, that it was from the hand of G-d. Ecclesiastes