"Good intentions will always be pleaded for every assumption of authority ... the Constitution was made to guard against the dangers of good intentions. There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters." - Noah Webster

"There is no worse tyranny than forcing a man to pay for what he does not want just because you think it would be good for him."
-- Robert A. Heinlein

Friday, April 29, 2011

Hard Rain

I wish I had captured a screen shot of the weather radar from Wednesday night.  We had family and friends calling us to see if we were all right, and at the time they called it wasn't even raining, even though the radar said it should have been.  There were tornadoes moving rapidly from the southwest in our direction.  It wasn't until about midnight that torrential rains like I hadn't experienced since living in Florida came crashing down on us.

Praise God that nothing else came crashing down with it.

I am always in awe of the power of water and gravity together.  We can get a lot of rain up here on this mountain, but it usually comes down at a rate that merely creates a nuisance in high volume.  Early Thursday morning it came down in enough volume to move hundreds of pounds of gravel many feet.

The pictures can only do it slight justice, since, without stereoscopic vision, you can't see how much of the gravel is heaped up down at the end where it is spilling over into the grass.  It took me many trips with a wheelbarrow to move it back up the hill and dump it into the washout areas. I'm still not done, and it's Friday morning.

The deepest part of this gully was more than 12 inches deep. I actually wish I had gotten out of bed and taken the flashlight out to try to see how much water was flowing past the house to move that much gravel. Many of the large pieces of granite you see in this picture are nearly two inches wide or long.

Along the steps where the Japanese iris are, it has been washed out to a depth of nine to twelve inches and what little amount of gravel was there got washed nearly forty feet down to the chicken coups.  For this to have been the only "damage" that we suffered makes me feel mighty blessed.  The good thing about where we are located is that we are to the east of the biggest mountain in Georgia, Brasstown Bald.  Twyla and I went up there recently.  You talk about a strong woman.  In spite of having Fibromyalgia and Lupus, she climbed the path from the parking area to the observation tower.  That's six tenths of a mile horizontally and about a thousand feet vertically.  Even I was sore the next day.

Historical marker at the top of the trail, just outside the observation tower.
The reason this makes our location so special is that it puts on the leeward or sheltered side of this big mountain.  We are actually kind of nested in the curve of a horseshoe shaped ridge of mountains.  So a weather system that comes rushing at us from the southwest has to slam into Brasstown Bald and the entire ridge before it can hit us.

You can't see our house from the observation deck, but you can see part of the Bald Mountain Park that is at the entrance to where we live.

Home is actually somewhere below that label in the picture.  Our house is at 2600 feet elevation and where we are standing on the observation deck taking that picture is about 4,800 feet.  And while the distance as the crow flies is just over 2.2 miles from there to the house, the shortest driving distance is 16.7 miles.

Someday soon, I might take my little GPS unit and try hiking a straight line from our house up to Brasstown Bald.  Can't say whether or not I'd be successful, since I don't know what obstacles might be between here and there.  I'm hoping to one day find a wild sassafrass sapling that I could transplant in our yard.  That's some of the best tasting tea you'll ever have and it's medicinal to boot.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Tater Talk

Like, you know, totally tuber-lar, dude!

Whaddya mean, half-baked idea?!

We like the spuds at the Ben-David farm.  We could have some potatoes prepared some way with at least one meal a day and we've been known to have them twice a day.  I like all kinds of potatoes.  Russet, small whites, Yukon gold, etc.  Twyla needs to stick to the red variety because they have about half the starch in contrast to the white kind.

While it probably seems imperceptible to most people, when you eat anything containing a lot of starch, it starts turning to sugar in your mouth.  This is because of an enzyme in your saliva called alpha amylase.  It begins breaking down the starch into the components maltose and dextrin.  Sorry for digressing like that, but I just love science.

Because ground space is limited, we want to get the most out of what we have.  Twyla found more info on the web about gardening by the foot, and while the straw bales work great for a lot of stuff, it's not the best method for taters.  It was a four hour ordeal the other day preparing the bed for the asparagus and all I did was dig out about 8 to 10 cubic feet of clay and granite.  I had already done about 10 cubic feet in the same area last fall.  It's back-breaking work. Anything I can do to avoid turning soil is a good thing.

The great thing about potatoes is the way they grow that makes them easy to manipulate.  If you just stick them in the ground, even with rich soil and let the leaves and stems grow naturally, you just have to hope they'll produce a lot of taters in the ground.  But you don't have to settle for that.  While some plants don't like to have their stems covered beyond a certain level, potatoes will just strive to grow up through whatever falls on them.  By taking advantage of this fact, and the fact that potatoes don't mind some lightly decomposing plant matter, you can really increase your yield.

I had disassembled the temporary chick run that we used when the chickens were little and was just about to take apart the last section when Twyla showed me the pictures for growing taters in containers.  That's when I realized what I needed to do.  We still have truckloads of decomposing leaves and pine straw in our yard and the neighbors yards.  So I set out this cage near the storage shed  where it should get a decent amount of sunlight.  I found an area under the dogwoods with a couple of wheelbarrow loads of good, rich topsoil.  I laid about a four inch layer of this mix in the cage and set about a dozen red seed potatoes in it.  It looks like this:

That's a four foot long drywall square for perspective.  The cage measures about 30" wide by about seven feet long and it's two feet tall.  That's a Gala apple tree in the foreground.  As the leaves and stems of the plants sprout up, I will just add more leaves and old compost at a rate of about a half inch to a couple of inches at a time.  Based on what Twyla has looked up on the web, we could have that whole cage full of about two hundred pounds of taters by the fall.  The seed spuds that I put in there are spaced about a foot apart, sort of in two rows, if you could call them that.  They are about six inches from the edge of the wire. You'll be able to see them better when the plant tops come up.

One of the reasons this technique works so well is that the plants don't have to work very hard against the weight or compactedness of regular soil to produce the tubers.  Far more nutrients and a high nitrogen content is in a mostly compost medium.  Tubers don't have to compete so much for the nutrients.  At the end of the growing season, all I'll have to do to get to my spuds is unfasten the corner of the fencing and pull it apart to get to the spuds.

I'll have to write myself a reminder to take pictures at the various stages, so at the end of the growing season my readers will be able to see the whole process and how high the yield is by using this method.

My other chores today included fixing a tire, planting some more zucchini seedlings, and butchering four chickens.  The three smallest hens and one rooster.  The hens were laying really small eggs and Twyla and I were very tired of that temporary coop.  It had to go.  The other hens got distributed to the other movable coops.

I'm working on the post about Yeshua's death and resurrection.  Stay tuned.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Former KGB Agent Explains

Not that there are enough people who will understand this or ever get to hear this from the source, but here is a former KGB agent from the former Soviet Union who defected to the U.S. explaining the plan.

The point that gets me the most is when he talks about the "true believers" in socialism who absolutely refuse to see the evil results of their ideology until a boot comes crushing down on their skull.  I hear such people calling Mark Levin's show on a regular basis.  These are the people that we conservatives refer to as the drones or the "tin-foil hat brigade."

Watch the whole thing.  It is very much worth your time.   Hat tip to Moonbattery.com for supplying the video.

Paul’s Letter To The Romans: Part 2

To start at the beginning, click here.

Paul spends most of chapter five explaining the monumental accomplishment of Messiah suffering death and being raised again as the ultimate offering to atone for sin.  The idea of ritualistic sacrifice was nothing new to the Romans or the Greeks or any of the people inside or outside of Israel.  What was so amazing and foreign a concept to all of them, was the idea that one man could be the perfect and only necessary sacrifice for the transgressions of the whole world and for all time.  We are several centuries, which might as well be an eternity,  from having such a concept deeply ingrained in our way of life.  Therefore, I can say with confidence that what Paul was saying in chapter five had a much greater, and even a different impact on the hearers in Rome than it does on a modern western person.

But even after spending that much effort on explaining that God made it possible by sending His Shekinah into the body of a man in order to become such a perfect sacrifice that it could atone for all sin for all time, Paul asks the rhetorical question that begins chapter six: Do we continue sinning [violating Torah] in order to show how much greater the grace is than the offense against Torah?

He makes the point that we should be dead to sin. Just as when a Gentile in the past converted to Judaism and was circumcised and baptized into a new life of following Torah, the believer in Messiah became baptized into a new level of spirituality that empowered the believer to keep and obey Torah as never before.

Paul makes the statement in 6:14 that “sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law, but under grace.”   I have seen people purposefully sinning in ways that were obvious even to unbelievers, by just citing that second phrase in the verse.  “I’m not under the law,” they would say, “I’m under grace.”  This is an evil perversion of Paul’s message.  This is why the apostle Peter wrote in his second letter near the end of the letter that Paul wrote about these things that were “hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction.”  (2 Peter 3:16)

No doubt some Christians will cite Paul’s example of  marriage in chapter seven as the reason for not obeying Torah, but is that the right way to think of this passage?  First of all, the wording makes it clear that Paul is talking specifically to the Jews in Rome, rather as an aside.  He does this to illustrate the point that as lifelong Jews who saw themselves married to the Torah, they needed to now see themselves as betrothed to the real bridegroom; Messiah.  You can see this illustration in its proper perspective as long as you keep in mind the words of the Messiah Himself in Matthew 5:17-20.

In an effort to keep the reader from misunderstanding, Paul clarifies in 7:7 that the Law is not sin.  Rather, the Law shows us what sin is where we might not have been aware of it without the Law as a teacher.  In 7:12 Paul further states that “the Law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good.”  He goes on to explain that the flesh is powerfully inclined toward evil, so much so, in fact, that we cannot fully obey the Law [Torah] through our own human effort alone.  So, now we are all the way into chapter seven and Paul has repeatedly asked the rhetorical question, “Is the Law the problem?”  Answer: No, sin is the problem, and the Law is there to teach us about sin.

Perhaps one could be confused when coming to chapter eight and verse two.  This is a good place to make a point about the problem of translation.  In the NASB version, the translators do us the favor of distinguishing between the two types of law that Paul speaks of in Romans, and they do this by capitalizing “Law” when it refers to Torah and they don’t capitalize “law” when it refers to a general rule.

We must understand the difference here.  Ever since the Septuagint translation of the Hebrew Scriptures into Greek, Torah has been understood as “The Law of Moses.”  Torah does not actually directly translate as “law.”  Torah actually means “teaching.”  But the translators knew that using the word “teaching” would have meant a great loss of importance for the word.  They knew that the Greek mind, with its polytheistic religious understanding of God’s who were capricious and fallible as human beings, and interpret the word “teaching” as being more like a suggestion.  There was and is no singularly good word in Greek or English, or perhaps any other language that explains Torah.  Torah can be as simple as it needs to be so that all can obey it and more complex and deep than any scholar can ever hope to study it.

When Paul talks about the “law of sin and of death” in 8:2, he’s talking about a law as in the laws of physics.  In this case, “For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.”   If you want to indulge in sin, the result is that you will pay the consequences.  The fact that Yeshua came and made the ultimate sacrifice to save us from the consequences of sin does not make the law obsolete.  If you get a ticket for running a stop sign and I step up in court and pay your fine, that does not make the stop sign disappear from the corner where you failed to stop.  And if you go out and get caught running that same stop sign, you are going to find yourself right back in front of the judge.

Paul continues in 8:3 & 4 to explain that since Messiah came to be the perfect offering for sin, we believers are empowered “in order that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, . . .”  This statement stands in direct opposition to any idea that Paul has claimed that the Law is obsolete.  On the contrary, he is saying that we can now obey and keep the Torah in a fuller and better way than it has ever been kept before, because the Holy Spirit will help us to “not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.”

The rest of chapter eight is reinforcing the idea that God chooses us who believe and orders our steps and that nothing we endure is in vain.  God will not leave us nor forsake us.

In chapter nine Paul begins by grieving for his fellow Jews who are not yet believers.  He lists the benefits of being the rightful heirs to the Kingdom of God.  If the Torah (the Law) is not something good and to be treasured, why is it in the list?  Why does Paul not simply cite the covenant and the promises as the reward?  Why does he also include the Law and Temple service?  Wouldn’t that seem odd several decades after the death and resurrection of Messiah?  If the Holy Spirit is directing Paul to write these things, why wouldn’t the Holy Spirit know to dismiss this keeping of the Law and Temple service as being obsolete?  Could it be that when God kept using those words in Torah about this stuff being “forever” and “always,” He actually meant it?

And lest anyone should try to misunderstand or twist Paul’s meaning by saying that all that stuff is just for the Jews, he goes on to point out that being born of the flesh to some bloodline is not what is important.  Those who believe in the God of Abraham and His Messiah are the true children of the promise.  The flesh counts for nothing.  He further elaborates on this theme by citing the prophet Hosea.

“I will call those who were not My people, My people, . . .”

Read the whole passage.  The idea is that Gentiles who believe and are called by God can now participate in His Kingdom, being called sons of God.  But did Daddy change the rules of the house?  I don’t see any evidence of that.  Gentiles can be adopted as sons of God and begin obeying Torah.  Paul calls it “pursuing righteousness.”   Paul says that the Gentiles have now obtained that righteousness by  pursuing it in faith by believing in Messiah.  The Jews [who don’t believe in Messiah] cannot obtain that righteousness because they insist  on pursuing it by their own effort in the flesh.

Chapter ten and verse four has a statement that I’m sure has been twisted by those who would like to think that Torah is no longer in effect.

“For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.”

No doubt someone will read that and think, “end of the law” so there you go, the Law is done.  We don’t have to worry about it any more.  Well, only if you take that verse out of context and forget everything else Paul has said up to this point in Romans and ignore what the Master said in Matthew 5:17-19.  By taking all of Scripture in whole and in context, I can paraphrase Romans 10:4 by saying it this way:

The Messiah is the end goal and fulfillment of the Torah for everyone who puts their trust in Him.

It takes several more words to make it clear, but the meaning is the same and it does not violate the rule of non-contradiction when interpreting Scripture.  Let me give you another example.  Let’s say Boeing came out with an advertisement that said, “The new  777 Dreamliner is the end in comfort, speed, and fuel efficiency for transoceanic air travel.”  Would you think that all international air travel had stopped?  Would you think that they were telling you that from now on, if you wanted to fly to other parts of the world it would have to be on slow, uncomfortable cattle cars disguised as jet planes? Or would you rightly take that to mean they believed that they had reached the epitome of design in that class?

Near the end of chapter ten, Paul reveals something important.  The Gentiles who could now be grafted in by faith and called to the obedience of Torah would create jealousy and anger in the hearts of Jews.  True believers would have real joy in keeping the Torah and thus make the Jews crazy with jealousy.  Jews don’t really see mainstream “Christianity” as anything to get upset about, except for the pogroms carried out in the past in the name of the church.  Jews see nearly all of “Christianity” as a completely different religion that has hijacked parts of the Old Testament and following a false messiah, who is proven false according to Deuteronomy 13.  The God of Abraham and Moses warned them that anyone who came along with miracles, but told them to depart from Torah was worthy of death.

Keep in mind as we continue this study, or go back and read the gospels and remember that the religious leaders could never successfully accuse Yeshua of violating Torah or advocating that anyone violate Torah.

Part three is found at On Romans & Olive Trees.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Gardening Progress

Hard to believe it was almost a month ago when I put the first tomato plants in the straw bales.  In the pic below you can see them under the screen that was there in case we needed to cover them quickly for frost protection.  Those are marigolds at the edge.  They compliment the tomatoes.  Insects that like tomatoes don't like marigolds.  Plus, they will just make the garden look prettier.

It's amazing how fast and almost imperceptibly the plants can grow.  The temps have dipped into the high thirties, and it can frost as late as May where we are, but for some reason I'm not worried about it.  We've got butterflies galore and the hummingbirds are back.  We have at least two pair and possibly three feeding in the back yard.  But here are the tomatoes as of today.

The tomatoes all have blossoms and are looking very healthy.  I keep gathering leaves from my own and the neighbor's yards to add to the walkways and the compost bins.  We eat fresh salad every day from four varieties: Head lettuce, Romaine, leaf lettuce, sorrel.  I also collect some sheep sorrel to go in there as well.

I also planted three varieties of bell pepper.  California Wonder, Red bell, and yellow bell.  But I confirmed with another farmer that I trust that pretty much all common bell pepper turns red if you just let it ripen all the way.  It's only the yellow and purple varieties that have been raised to give those specific colors when ripe.

That's red cabbage in the upper left.  I have three more like it elsewhere.  That's head lettuce to the right.  Those are pepper plants in the foreground.  The lettuce and cabbage got planted in the remains of last year's straw bales which were about 80% composted.  I raked them into piled rows and planted the cool weather veggies in them weeks before we set out the new bales.  The black you see at the top is a bed of soil with spinach on top of four straw bales.  Out of the pic to the left I planted radishes and nasturtium.

Planting in straw bales makes for nearly weed free gardening and high yield.  But if you are very serious about high yield, you will still need to check your plants every two or three days for suckers.  For the benefit of you newbies, suckers are not some kind of insect or pest.  They are unwanted growth on the plant itself.  I wish I could have gotten the focus better, but here is how you recognize suckers.

A sucker will occur in the joint of the plant where a leaf branch comes off the main stem of the vine.  Here is one just below a fruit stem that has blossoms on it.  You simply want to pinch that little sucker right out of there.  The reason they are called suckers is because they suck energy away from the fruit production, trying to spread the vine elsewhere.  As I stated in the post on grapes, plants will try to propagate themselves both asexually and sexually.  If you were to let a tomato vine run along the ground, it would put out roots wherever it touched the ground and keep spreading.

By pinching off the suckers, you cut off the plant hormone that signals for the plant to keep doing that, and instead signal the plant that it would be better to produce fruit with seed.

Little Bitty Suckers

I try to check for these little suckers every other day if possible and pinch them out while quite small.  The more you do it and get used to knowing what to look for, the easier it gets.

Sometimes, you will get suckers at the base of the plant.  They might even grow up looking like a smaller, separate plant.  Cut that thing out of there.  It will just pull more energy out of the plant that could go toward producing more fruit.  It usually won't produce more fruit itself, being shaded by the larger part of the plant.

While at the feed store the other day, I found out they had a few asparagus plants left, and I couldn't resist.  So along with buying some red seed potatoes, I got a four pack of asparagus and planted them yesterday as well.  I dug down really deep, about 16 inches and about a foot wide.  Then I went and scraped up a bunch of top soil from beneath the dogwoods and the other trees to fill the hole.

My little asparagus beds
They don't look like much in the photo, but a lot of work went into amending that soil to make it very rich.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Exponentially Wrong

The piece I'm about to fisk can be found here.  I'm only going to deal with the first two paragraphs, because that's all I need.  When you start with an incredibly flawed premise, your conclusions can only be madness.

Read the piece below and see if you recognize the error before I deal with it.

When we practice the privileges granted to us by our governing documents, in this case, the Bill of Rights and bearing arms, we enter into an implicit agreement with the Union to recognize and act according to the State's rules and regulations for the use and ownership of arms. And as we agree to those rules, so does the government agree to act responsibly on behalf of our collective well-being.
In this manner, our relationship with our nation mirrors our relationship with our parents; both our parents and our nation raise us; both provide for our welfare; both teach us values and ethics; both act on our behalf for our well-being. And thus should we regard our nation; as a parental figure to be a moral example, an ideal to respect and to obey. For, if the dynamics of our relationship with our parents are mirrored functionally by the dynamics of our relationship with our country, so too should the convictions and loyalties that characterize the former persist in the latter.

Let me just start with the words before the first comma.  Privileges?   Where did you get such an idea Mr. Lelonek?  Our founding documents don't even mention privileges.  It speaks of inalienable rights that come from God.  It speaks of the purpose of a righteous government being to secure and protect those rights and never abrogate them.  Therefore, we don't enter into any agreement whatsoever to agree to any rules the State might make in direct violation of our God-given rights.

Has the government violated the Constitution by passing laws that infringe on our rights?  Oh yes.  We have an outlaw government.  This is pretty much beyond any question for those of us who have read history and understand it.

It is bad enough that this condition exists today, but for someone to come along and try to interpret it 180 degrees out of phase is infuriating.

To read the records of the founding fathers as they argued and hammered out the Constitution, as well as from reading both the Federalist Papers and the Anti-Federalist Papers, an intelligent human being understands that the founders understood government in all forms to be a necessary evil that must be chained down and guarded to keep it from doing the very things that you advocate in that tripe you call an opinion.  The Constitution was written to be the very set of chains that restrained government from being anything other than a servant to the people as sovereign individuals and the sovereign States who agreed to create the Federal government.

It was never intended for the government to see to any collective well being.  Any idea of a collective was diametrically opposite the goals of the founders.  Government was meant to stay the hell out of the way of individuals pursuing their own well being and happiness so long as they respected everyone else's rights to do the same.

To  draw an analogy to parenting in regard to government is outrageous.  I don't have enough words of contempt for such an idea.  Such is the language of totalitarian communist states such as North Korea, or Cuba.  Free people understand that human beings are flawed.  We understand that getting elected to office or being appointed to positions or getting hired as a bureaucrat does not bestow some super human understanding or intelligence for making better decisions in directing other people's lives.

In a more sensible time, it was understood that when a person reached the age to vote and be a responsible citizen, they would be capable of being a parent, not needing one.  It is not the job of government to provide me with welfare or anything else.  Even more important, it is not the job of government to take part of my life and liberty in the form of the fruit of my labor and my time in order to provide things for other people.

If you are genuinely ignorant of the true meaning of the founding documents, Mr. Lelonek, I suggest you get schooled on the matter.  If you can't comprehend the writings of the men who composed those documents over 200 years ago, then I suggest some courses at Hillsdale College in Michigan.  They specialize in teaching exactly what the founders were trying to and did accomplish and exactly why.

If you really do know the history and the meaning of the founding documents, then you are a most egregious liar and you would make the most perfect example of someone who deserves to be stripped naked, slathered with tar and dusted with feathers.  Then you need to be dropped off in one of the countries that attempts to govern according to the concepts that you espouse.
There are plenty of such places.  Please take as many other child-like folks with you who don't have the grown-up thinking and maturity to handle freedom and live in any of the countries with nanny-state government.

Let them tell you what is safe to drive, eat, and talk about.  Let them dictate to you what lightbulbs to use, whether or not you can pack your child's lunch for school, who you can associate with, how much money you should be allowed to make.  Go ahead, there's nothing stopping you.

We grown-ups who have worked hard and made good choices would like to be left alone.  We know how to handle sharp objects and things that go bang.  We've even been known to create fire on a regular basis and cook our own food.  Lot's of us actually can do math at levels high enough to balance multiple checking accounts.

Take you and your immature friends and find yourself a parent style government someplace else.  Leave us alone.

Hat tip to Joe Huffman.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

"It Needs To Stop"

In the following story there is a really big lie being told.  Can any of you spot the big lie?

 class of kindergarten students were just sitting down in a cafeteria at Betsy Ross Elementary School when a loaded pistol tumbled out of the pocket of a six-year-old boy and discharged, injuring him and two other children, school officials said.
The children’s injuries were not life threatening and they were taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital, while a team of school counsellors tried to calm the traumatised pupils and frantic parents rushed to the school in central Houston to pick up their children.
Police said it remained unclear how the boy obtained the weapon, or who owns it. Only one shot was fired.
School officials said the boy who took the gun to school suffered an injury to his leg that may have been caused by a bullet. The other two children, a boy and a girl, both five, appeared to have been hit by flying debris or shrapnel. None was identified.
The shooting happened at about 10.35am on Monday as the kinder pupils were taking their seats in the cafeteria and some older children were filing in, chief elementary schools officer for the Houston Independent School District, Sam Sarabia said.
He said the gun fell from the boy’s pocket as he sat down to eat. 
Jarneshia Broussard, 5, said she was sitting at the same table as the boy who brought the gun.
‘’I knew it was a gun because a gun goes ‘pow’,’’ Jarneshia told a local newspaper. ‘’I got really scared.’’
The girl’s grandmother, Moneek Burleson, said: ‘’This is a serious problem and it needs to stop.’’ 
Unless you actually know something about firearms, you might accept what this story says.  Anyone who knows anything about firearms knows that this story is erroneous.  In order for the handgun in this story to have discharged by falling to the floor, it would have had to have been deliberately modified by an expert gunsmith to do so.  Pistols of either revolver or semi-automatic type manufactured since about 1900 have one, two or as many as three passive safety devices which make it impossible to cause a round in the chamber to be discharged unless the trigger is deliberately pulled.

The story doesn't tell us the make or model of the pistol, but it doesn't matter.  I dare you to go to any gun store that has a staff of knowledgeable people and ask them to demonstrate how any make or model of pistol can discharge by being dropped, banged with a hammer, slammed against a wall, or whatever.  Go ahead.

Even among "cheap" handguns that get made fun of on gun forums, such guns are still manufactured with the knowledge that if a gun was made that could be made to discharge accidentally as described in the story, the manufacturer would be sued out of existence faster than it took for me to write this post.  The story is just sensational crap.

If you think you know how the gun could have discharged without the kid pulling the trigger, tell me in the comments or email me directly:  moses5768@yahoo.com

The primary safety in handling all firearms works every time it is tried:

Keep your booger hook off the bang switch.

What needs to stop is irresponsible parents.  What needs to stop is parents not knowing what their kids are doing and what they can get their hands on.

What needs to stop is demonizing inanimate objects instead of bad behavior.

What needs to stop is irresponsible reporting by idiots who don't know and don't care to know the facts.

What needs to stop is otherwise intelligent people giving any credence to the numbskulls who report such fraud as news.

Growing Grapes

Here at the Ben-David farm, we are trying to grow as much variety as we can.  We have added grapes to our collection of plants.  I was at the local feed store and they had two little vines in one gallon pots that barely had buds on the stems.  One was a Concord and the other a Fredonia.  The Fredonia, since many have probably not heard of it, is also a "red" variety.

Concord Grape Vine

You may not know this, but prior to Prohibition (the banning of all beverage alcohol in the United States during the 1920s) there was a large and thriving grape growing industry in the State of Georgia.  Grapes don't need really rich soil, but they hate having their feet wet and so the clay and sandy soils just need some minimum amendment for grapes to grow well.  Planting on the easily found slopes in Northern Georgia also insures that needed drainage.  As with any plant or animal that gets overly cultivated for certain qualities, susceptibility for some diseases can creep in over time.  While I've seen wild Muscadine grapes growing up pine and tulip poplar trees in the Piedmont area, the other varieties would never tolerate such conditions.

Grapes seem to have been created by God to teach us that desirable fruit requires regular care and attention.  At least more so than many other plants.  Gardens that are unattended teach us that what God said in Genesis proves to be true over and over again.  Probably the hardest thing for novice gardeners to get used to is how much pruning is necessary for good results.  Most people look at a two or three year old grapevine that hasn't been pruned yet, and think that all of that tangled web of vines splaying out in all directions simply means more fruit to come, yet nothing could be further from the truth.  Watching a vine dresser prune back a grapevine in early spring would have most people thinking, "Holy cow! He's practically chopping it all down!"

Tiny Concorde grapes on my new vine

Millennia of experience in cultivating grapes has proven which techniques work and which don't and the things that worked from before the Messiah was walking the earth still hold true today.  Pruning is absolutely necessary to get the best production of grapes.  This is because many plants propagate in two ways.  They either propagate sexually by producing seed that can then be scattered away from the mother plant, or they propagate asexually by putting out runners or rhizomes to sprout elsewhere.  Strawberries, potatoes, and asparagus are  good examples of this.

To some gardeners, grapes are far easier to start by rooting a cutting from a vine than trying to grow from seed.  In order to grow from seed, you would have to keep the seeds in some slightly moist, but not wet potting soil, then keep them in the fridge for about three months.  Grape seeds need a period of cold, but not freezing in order to germinate.  It's like the opposite problem of trying to germinate peppers.  I don't care how green of a thumb you have, if you don't have a way to keep pepper seeds in potting soil at above 70° F for a couple of weeks, you are not going to sprout any peppers.
A stock photo of  grapes

Back to the pruning thing.  There are some really bad videos on how to prune grapes and there are some really good ones.  If you are really interested, you can find them on the web.  The important thing is detail.  It's the guy who tells you what the terms are.  Knowing the difference between the vine and the canes and the suckers.  How do you recognize powdery mildew?  Can you tell the difference between one and two year old canes?

Example of a higher support system
One of the things I will have to do in the coming year is build a support system for my grapes.  The vines need to be supported up well above ground because grapes are very susceptible to fungus infections if they don't get adequate air circulation.  You want all that luscious fruit to be able to hang down.  Speaking of which, I never recalled seeing any kind of flowers, but I already have tiny grapes on the Concord vine, as you can see in the second pic above.

We have a neighbor across the street with a rather large and lengthy grapevine.  Last year, she got several gallons of grapes off of it.  She doesn't do anything with the vine otherwise.  It doesn't get a lot of sun, given its location with all the trees around.  The ground it shares with lots of other vegetation and weeds.  Yet it produces that quantity of grapes.  Makes me think of the potential of my two little vines if I'm willing to put some effort into it; and I intend to.  I think I would like my vines to be trained up so that the grapes will hang at about five feet above the ground.  As my vines grow, they will form a beautiful natural border between the front yard/garden and the driveway.  I'll keep experimenting to find out which plants can grow beneath them and compliment them.  Some plants actually are beneficial to other plants when grown side by side.  Such is called "companion gardening."  Another cool thing about grapes is that the leaves are edible.  At the end of the harvest time, you can pick the best grape leaves and can them or stuff them by rolling stuff into them like a burrito.  You might also like to search the internet for information on the benefits of grape seed extract.

Before I build the support system, I will have to decide if I want to keep it natural or make it easy; the choice being all wood, or steel post and wire.  I'm leaning toward the natural, even though it means replacing parts as they rot away.  I know it means some more work, but some things are worth the effort.

It's the third day of Pesach (Passover).  We had another storm last night and since I ripped up the carpet in the hall and hall bathroom and installed a new vinyl tile floor, Twyla decided she wanted the hallway painted to change the look.  I got all the walls primed white yesterday, so today I will be getting the finish coat of paint on the wall.  The Artist known as Twyla will have a fresh canvas to ponder for a while.


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

And You're OK With That?

"God told the Israelites to destroy all traces of these false religious practices from among them. He said if they did not, they would be ensnared and destroyed by them. God was right! Somehow these things have made their way into the Church and the lives of Christians.  What does this all have to do with Easter?
Well, another set of local Babylonian names included Tummuz and Ishtar. These are Assyrian names for Nimrod and Semiramus.  Does the name Ishtar sound like Easter? Well it should. It is the same. The death and "resurrection" of these false gods was celebrated annually in the spring. The celebration included coloring eggs, an ancient symbol of fertility. The ancients even hid eggs for children to find. Rabbits, known for their prolific reproduction, also became part of the pagan celebration."  -- Resurrection Sunday and the Babylonian Connection; By Errol Hale

"The term 'Easter' is not of Christian origin.  It is another form of Astarte, one of the titles of the Chaldean (Babylonian) goddess.... the pagan festival of 'Easter'... was introduced into the apostate Western religion, as part of the attempt to adapt pagan festivals to Christianity"  - Vine's Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (1985, p. 192, "Easter").

Easter - "In Babylonia Ishtar was identified with Venus. Like Venus,  Ishtar was the goddess of erotic love and fertility. Her chief seat of worship was Uruk (Erech), where prostitution was practiced in her name and she was served with immoral rites by bands of men and women."
- The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, 1979, Volume 1, pages 319-320


I had pondered for days about what I might post on during passover.  I wanted to be upbeat and positive.  Actually, I feel pretty good and my mood is happy.  Maybe that's why I can and should post this information right now.

A trip into town brings with it the confrontation of many things Easter.  I look back over my life, and I am appalled that for so long I was deceived.  Worse than that, I grieve over the years I spent purposefully deluding myself into another, even worse lie, that it was about what meaning "I" gave something.  Well, well, well.  Wasn't I just full of myself.  God forgive me.

Twyla and I remind each other on a regular basis that we all suffer from ignorance of some sort.  God will not hold us accountable for not knowing about some truth to which we have never been exposed.  However, once we've been informed and given a chance to investigate, pleading ignorance, or worse yet, willfully disobeying God is going to cost us.  I pray that people wake up from that before it is too late.

I am sure beyond sure that the Creator wants to commune with the only creature that He created in His own image, yet it is in our nature to be rebellious.  Even those who claim allegiance to the God of the Bible, still look for ways to have what they want in spite of the commands.  We cause ourselves to become separated and distant from the God who loves us when we choose to let "things" come between us.  Why do we insist on thinking that a Holy God will bless us while we do the very things that He tells us not to?

Then there is the laziness factor.  Some of us discover that there are things that the "Church" does and teaches that just flat out don't agree with Scripture, and we just let it slide, or ride, or glide.  We don't want to rock the boat.  After all, it's just a little thing, right?  What does it matter in the big scheme of things?  And please, please, please let's not get bogged down in that dreaded legalism.  Now there is a concept I can't seem to find explicitly stated in Scripture.  The fact is that false ideas, false doctrine and false practice can become so ingrained in groups and organizations and it's just easier to go along to get along.  In the spiritual world there are seldom immediate consequences for our actions.  God often lets things go on for hundreds of years without doing or saying anything and so people get lulled into a sense of "it must not be that important."  Then the clock runs out and we are suddenly shocked when the consequences do hit, and then like little children we scream, "It's not fair!  I didn't know!"

It is difficult to feel isolated for taking a stand.  Choosing to seek after God and obedience to His Word can make for feelings of loneliness.  I am far more blessed than many others in that I have a wife who truly seeks after God as I do and there is very little we disagree on.  I think this stems from our commitment to surrender to what the Word actually says as opposed to what we want it to say.  We have each other to lean on when it seems that we are the only ones swimming upstream.  And we sometimes stop and ask, "Are we crazy?  Could it be that we aren't understanding this right?"

Do I have all the answers?  Not if I lived to be a thousand years old.  But I know that I know what I know.  When I was younger, I was satisfied with searching only until I found the answer that satisfied me.  As I have matured and the longing in my soul to know God more has increased, I've discovered that approach just doesn't work any more.  Now it is a matter of asking, "What is the truth whether I like it or not?"  and "How can I be sure that this is true?  Have I exhausted all the possibilities?"  "What is in my human, fallible nature, that could make me buy into a lie and miss the truth?"

There is probably no greater influence on human behavior than the desire for approval from other humans.  This is why Yeshua told His disciples that they would have to be willing to hate even the immediate members of their families when it came to choosing between Himself and the world.

"He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me, and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me."  -- Matthew 10:37,38

I used to think I could just take that as hyperbole, but the closer I get to God the more I find myself having to choose.  Do I want the approval of men or the approval of God?  Sometimes you can have both, and it's great when that happens, but that keeps proving more and more to be the exception rather than the rule.

I heard the pastor of Passion For Truth Ministries teaching about the idolotrous, blasphemous pagan roots of Easter and Christmas.  He heard this one phrase repeated over and over in response to the truth that he was exposing.  God forgive me that I once probably used these same words or something very close in effect.

"But that's not what it means to me."

Wow.  What an arrogant, rebellious and blasphemous response.  It isn't about me.  Where do I get off deciding that I get to assign the meaning to something in the public domain?  If you really think that works, get yourself a Nazi swastika tee shirt and wear it around town, and when people start jeering you or asking you what you think you are doing, just explain to them that it means something else to you.  If you are white, take a little trip into a predominantly black neighborhood and start greeting people with "Hey Nigger, what's up?"  and if you survive the first beating, try explaining that you meant it the way Chris Rock or Fiddy Cent means it.  Let me know how that works out for you.

If you want to argue back that it's not just you, but the whole "Church" that gives Easter its meaning, I must ask you this:  Since when did the church start dictating to God what the meaning of anything is?  Is that our standard?  The people who make up the body can now democratically decide what everything means?  I guess that would explain why we have a thousand denominations and nobody can agree on this Christianity stuff.  Somewhere along the line we got the idea that following God was a democratic process.

Father, help me to take You at Your Word.  Help me to live out ALL of Your Word and not try to bend it to my own agenda.  Help me to recognize the chametz (leaven) that seeks to creep in and permeate the bread of life.

Chag Sameach (Happy Holiday)  Passover began this Monday, the 18th at sundown.  Many blessings to all of you who celebrate God's appointed feasts according to His calendar.


Saturday, April 16, 2011

Paul’s Letter To The Romans

This epistle, written by a Rabbi and devout follower of the Torah, is probably the most abused book of the New Testament by those who call themselves Christians.  This is because they either cannot or simply refuse to see all of Scripture as a whole.  To elaborate further; they have no problem interpreting the full meaning of one text in complete contradiction to other clear texts.

I’ve had select verses of Romans quoted to me in order to make a case that “Christians” don’t need to keep the Torah or The Law.  Early in my years as a baby Christian I bought those arguments.  But as I have matured in my studies and thinking, I see just how childish that way of thinking is.  Please don’t compound the error by quoting Jesus as saying we have to come to Him as little children.  It seems obvious to me now that Paul himself got tired of having that verse from the gospels quoted to him inappropriately and thus felt the need to tell the congregations that it was time to grow up.  Yes, you must come to Messiah with the faith and trust of a little child, but you don’t stay a child.  Only the immature hold on to simplistic ways of thinking.  If you want to want to truly know God and learn His ways, you have to put effort into it.

Let’s try putting some effort into reading, ah, correction . . .  Let’s put some effort into studying Paul’s letter to the Romans with the idea that all other Scripture must be understood to NOT be in contradiction with the message that Paul is trying to get across to his audience.

Three things need to be firmly in our minds as we read the words penned by Paul under the direction of the Holy Spirit.  First is the conviction that Messiah did NOT come to start a new religious movement as He clearly stated in Matthew 5:17-19.  Torah is now and shall be in effect even if heaven and earth were to pass away.  Also see Luke 16:17.

Secondly, that Paul’s whole purpose in going to the Temple under the direction of the Apostles who carried the authority of the Master and the elders of the congregation at Jerusalem, was to put an end to the rumor that he was teaching that it was no longer necessary to keep the Torah.  Do not confuse Paul’s teaching about the improper understanding of circumcision as being necessary for salvation with the keeping of Torah.  In fact, Paul’s purpose of writing this letter to the Romans was to explain how grace and faith precede and are requisite to obedience to Torah.

Thirdly, Paul was very outspoken about being a righteous Pharisee, his understanding and obedience to the Law, and how important it was in spite of the human incapacity to fully live out the law.

I will not quote every single verse, because if you are serious about understanding this message properly, I would assume that you will have a Bible open to the text in question.  I welcome the challenge of those who would seek to prove that I may be trying to read into the text that which I am trying to argue, versus drawing out that which God Himself wants us to understand.  If you have a question about my exegesis, by all means, make it known.

In addition, there is no getting around the importance of good language translation.  I will use the New American Standard version because it has the most respect among those who take scholarship seriously.  No English language translation is perfect.  You could read plenty of scholarly explanations on why this is true.  The NASB tries to remain as close to the intended meaning of the original language, but there are many cases where further digging is required to understand.  Translators have to walk a fine line between selecting the closest corresponding words and not “adding” anything for clarification.  This is where the serious student of the Bible has to be willing to use the concordance and delve into the lexicon to study the full meanings of the words from the original language and all their possible meanings.

With all that said, let’s get started.

Paul introduces himself as an apostle, or “one who is sent” as having authority.  He makes clear that the gospel that he is authorized to spread comes from the Scriptures; the Law and the Prophets and that the Messiah that it speaks of comes duly through the line of David.  Whether you are a Jew living in Rome, or a Gentile of Roman origin, he makes it clear that we are talking about the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  Then Paul says something interesting that I’ve never heard expounded on.  He says he has received apostleship to “bring about the obedience of faith among all the Gentiles.”    Why not simply say to “bring about the faith of the Gentiles”?  Hmm?  What does Paul mean by “obedience of faith?”

Paul spends several lines lauding the believers in Rome and specifically for their faith.  So, what is the purpose of the letter?  Just to laud them about their faith?  I don’t think so.  It’s a long letter.  Sixteen chapters worth, although chapter and verse divisions were not added until much later, and we don’t even know if Paul was fully aware that what he was writing at the time would become canonized into Scripture.

Most of chapter one and into chapter two, Paul explains that because man was created in the image of God, as explained in the beginning of Genesis, man instinctively knows that there is right and wrong and that man has to deliberately sear his own conscience against the knowledge of God in order to do evil.  His point seems to be that, no matter what your background in life, you know that there is some kind of standard of righteousness.

In 2:13, Paul makes this statement: “for not the hearers of the Law [Torah] are just before God, but the doers of the Law [Torah] will be justified.”    Whoa.  Wait a minute.   How can that statement be in there?    Is Paul schizophrenic?  He was just talking about faith a while ago.  But here, he makes a point that there are Gentiles who seek after God and instinctively do many of the  things that Torah requires.  He also makes the point that Jews who know the Law have “the embodiment of knowledge and of the truth.”  This is why Paul makes the point that Jews will be judged by the Law when they stand before God, while Gentiles who never had the opportunity to hear the Torah will be judged by their consciences.  In verse 23 Paul speaks directly to the Jews by asking them if it is not true that they dishonor God by breaking His Law?  He then answers it by saying that God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of Jews disobeying the Torah.

Question:  Why would Paul make this point to the Jews in Rome if Torah was no longer in effect since Messiah had come?

Interestingly enough, Paul is backed up in this lesson by the Apostle James, the half-brother of the Master in James' epistle.  James remained in Jerusalem and his letter was directed to mostly Jewish believers.  He made it clear that talking about faith is nothing but garbage if you have no works, no "fruit" to back it up.  Don't be just hearers of the Word but DOERS of the Word.  What Word?  Torah.

This same Apostle Paul who fought against those who tried to make circumcision a prerequisite for salvation then makes this interesting statement in verse 25:  “For indeed circumcision is of value, if you practice the Law; but if you are a transgressor of the Law, your circumcision has become uncircumcision.”
Think carefully on this for a moment.  Not only does Paul not say that circumcision is no longer valid, but he acknowledges that it has value as long as we understand it as being greatly inferior to keeping Torah as the Messiah taught it.  In verse 26 through 29 he further emphasizes that keeping Torah practically proves circumcision in the heart. Note that he does not say, "Circumcision is for those who keep the Law, and we don't need to keep the Law any longer."  I would be correct in paraphrasing Paul by saying, "Don't think that being circumcised in the flesh is some kind of substitute for keeping Torah."

But then Paul turns to the Jews and makes it clear that if they think that they can follow the Law perfectly enough to be justified apart from having faith in the Messiah, then they have missed the point.  The main point being that putting one’s complete trust in the Messiah and relying on the Holy Spirit to help us carry out the keeping of God’s commandments is what faith is all about.  Then Paul concludes the thought at the end of chapter three with this emphatic statement that should shut the mouths of those who think that believers don’t need to keep Torah:  “Do we then nullify the Law through faith? May it never be! On the contrary, we establish the Law.”

That’s a pretty strong statement.  If you are a non-believing critic of the Bible and Christianity, that’s about all the evidence you need right there to say that the Bible contradicts itself, that all you Christians don’t know what you are talking about, etc.  It’s only logical to ask the question: How can Christians claim to believe in the Jewish Messiah who lived His life never violating Torah, declared the Torah to be eternal and unchanging, and then live their lives as if Torah doesn’t apply to them?  Are Paul and Jesus crazy, or is it the modern Christian who is failing to understand the message?

The Jews that Paul was addressing in this letter to Rome were not completely ignorant of this concept of justification by faith, because Paul uses the ultimate patriarch Abraham to make his case.  Even though Abraham had learned Torah at the feet of Noah,* he was still an imperfect man, just as Noah was.  However, God declares Abraham righteous not based on Abraham’s ability to keep Torah, but rather on Abraham’s faith that God would carry out His covenant through a future Messiah.  Paul explains this in a little more depth in the third chapter of Galatians.

Paul then goes further in explaining the reasoning that not only he, but all the elders in Jerusalem used to declare that circumcision was not a prerequisite for salvation.  God had declared  Abraham justified many years before requiring circumcision as a sign in the flesh.  Therefore, the circumcision couldn’t be confused with being something that justified Abraham.  It was as if God specifically waited 13 years after presenting Abraham with the Gospel and declaring him justified, for the express purpose of making sure that a “work of the flesh” could not be construed to be something that even remotely aided in making one justified.

So, up through chapter four, we get this explanation by Paul that we need to understand the hierarchy of the Kingdom of God.  The same Apostle who would later be arrested and sent to Rome under guard, and who bragged about the fact that he was zealous for keeping the Torah, is the same man who is explaining to the believers in Rome that circumcision cannot and will not save you.  But Paul is also the same man who is telling us that we do not nullify the Torah.  Is there a contradiction here?  No.  We do not keep Torah in order to be saved.  We keep Torah because Yeshua the Messiah said, “If you love me, you will keep My commandments.”  Another way to look at it is to think of His words to the prostitute: “Neither do I condemn you; now go, and sin no more.”

Remember at the beginning of this post, when I pondered that phrase, "obedience of faith?"  Is it not beginning to make sense that obedience comes from faith?  You don't get faith from being obedient.  Rather, you can become obedient by having faith.  Paul's purpose in writing to the congregation in Rome was to explain this.  He wasn't writing to tell them that it was okay to ignore or deny Torah.  His purpose was to explain that obedience to Torah comes from placing one's trust in Messiah.

*This is explained in the book of Jasher.  While not canonized as Scripture itself, Jasher is referred to as being authoritative by Scripture in Joshua 10:13; 2 Samuel 1:18; and 2 Timothy 3:8.

To move on to part two, you can click on this link.

Friday, April 15, 2011

No Surprise Here

I've known this for over fifteen years, but it's nice to have someone with the expertise and the curriculum vitae to prove it.

Hat tip to Moonbattery.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Rights? Not According To The FDA

If you somehow thought that you lived in a free country (meaning the United States of America), you've got another thing coming.  The Federal Food and Drug Administration would like to disabuse you of the notion that you can decide what food you would like to ingest.

And doesn't it seem ironic when the "progressives" of the Democrat party tell everyone that there is a right to medical care while at the same time the FDA is saying, "there is no generalized right to bodily and physical health."   Somebody got some 'splainin' to do.

Learn more:http://www.naturalnews.com/031934_FDA_food_freedom.html#ixzz1JGgweONY

That's right.  The bureaucrats at the FDA think that all that stuff in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution about the purpose of government being about protecting the God-given rights of the people is really just a bunch of crap.  They are your superiors and they'll tell you what you can eat.

Don't believe it?  Go read this article.  If you can find any evidence that it's a hoax, let me know.  Make sure you read the contents of Senate bill 510 that passed earlier this year as well.

Isn't that the kind of "Hope and Change" you can believe in?

What Part Of BROKE Don't You Understand?

You could go look at this site.

Or you can watch this video:

If you need more of a graphic representation, I borrowed the following images from here.

Here is what $10,000 looks like; a stack of one hundred $100 bills.

Next, you can see what a million dollars looks like.

To keep that in perspective, if you could spend a thousand dollars a day, it would take you about two years and nine months to spend it.  If your household budget is $3,000 per month, it would take you about 28 years to spend it.

Next graphic shows what 100 million dollars looks like.  Now you need a forklift.

Now, a Billion dollars is 1000 times one million:  $1,000,000,000  and the graphic below lets you see what it looks like.

I don't know what you could think to spend it on, but you could spend $1,000,000 a day and it would take you 2 years and nine months to work your way through this amount.

So what does $1 TRILLION look like?  $1,000,000,000,000 is one million times one million.

Take out just 190 of those double stacked pallets.  Thats not quite two rows. That represents the 38 billion that Congress compromised on cutting from the budget.  That means we will continue to go into staggering debt.  So here's a graphic that might help you wrap your brain around the problem.

This is what we get for believing that it's okay for government to take from the productive people of society and give it to the non-productive.

If you haven't started making plans for what you are going to do when this house of cards comes tumbling down, then you are way, WAY behind.

Sunday, April 10, 2011


I really like asparagus.  I'm sure there are many people who don't like it.  Of course, there is no accounting for taste.  I have to say that it is very cool being married to someone who shares almost all the same likes and dislikes for food.  We both like spicy, though I'm sure I can tolerate it hotter than Twyla.  Neither of us like okra very much, but there are some recipes that make it more tolerable.  It doesn't matter that I was raised in the South either.

Since I'm on the subject and in case you ever have to win a contest on trivia about me, I can't stand licorice.  Not even a hint of the stuff.  I don't particularly like pears unless I'm really hungry.

I don't think there is a cruciferous veggie that I don't like.  I really like broccoli.  Same with Brussel sprouts.  Fresh dark cabbage leaves out of the garden are monumentally better than the light colored heads from the supermarket.  I don't mind collard greens, but I prefer mustard and turnip greens.  Fresh spinach out of my own garden is a delight.

Last fall I planted the root crowns for asparagus.  Twyla ordered a bundle from a seed company and I think there were five or six in the package.  I dug deep trenches in a semi-shady spot in the front and planted them.  During the winter when the chickens were free ranging, I had to chase them out of those trenches a couple of times.  I guess the chickens just take advantage of going after loose soil to scratch in.

This spring, Twyla bought a couple of year old asparagus plants in pots and planted them at each end of one of the trenches.  I guess she wanted a head start on some asparagus.  This is my first time trying to grow asparagus and I always wish I had more information and pictures than I can ever get.  So, in case there is someone else who wants to know, this post is for you.

It makes sense that it is least expensive to start asparagus from root crowns.  Sorry that I didn't take any pictures when I got them, but all they really look like are some dead, dried up root tangles.  There's one little knot about the size of your thumb and then a bunch of roots about six to nine inches long.  If you didn't know what it was from the label, you couldn't identify it.  You plant these in a deep trench (12" or more) about a foot apart, about 2" deep.  You want well amended soil with lots of organic matter, and the purpose of the trench is to be able to keep piling on the organic matter as they grow.  I hope to eventually dig out all the clay and rocky soil from around those trenches over the next few years to encourage wide spreading of the crop.

The one year, head-start plants freshly planted look like what you see in the first picture.  The plant is about four inches wide and about six inches tall.

Yeah, if you've never seen it before, you're probably thinking, "That doesn't look anything like the stuff in the store."    That's right.  The plant has to be into the third year before it starts putting up those familiar spears like you see in the produce section or what you get out of a can.  This plant is quite an investment for us.  Have you priced asparagus in the store lately?

Like I said, I really like the stuff.  But we haven't bought any in a long time.  The budget says that it is a luxury.  So I will put a lot of effort into successfully growing this stuff to have an ongoing supply in the future.

What does the plant look like if you are growing it from the little crowns?  The picture below is what sprouted recently from two of the crowns I planted last September.

Next summer, this little guy should look a lot more like the first picture, and hopefully be even bigger, if I heap on the composted organic matter and guard it well.  Then the summer after that I should be dining on some tender and delicious spears with some butter or my own Hollandaise sauce.

I've always had problems with the scientists who do taxonomy.  I don't agree with them on several points, and I even wrote a paper showing evidence that proves they come up with species where none exist, but rather adaptations make a species look like it is new or different. On that note, I don't understand why they once classified asparagus as belonging to the lily family.  Huh?  I think it belongs in its own class.

It produces bell shaped flowers and small red berries (kind of like holly) that are poisonous to humans.  Interesting.  Just like rhubarb leaves are poisonous, but the stalks are delicious.  I planted a bunch of that this year as well.

Twyla makes the most delicious rhubarb pie.  I'm looking forward to it.

Until next post . . .     Shalom.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Best Statement #3 for 2011

From our man at OneCosmos

"The genuine problems that confront man are by no means "solved" by the left, just systematically ignored and obliterated, to man's eternal detriment. In the ideal world of the left, it would be against the law to even talk about the real problem(s); hence, political correctness, which is simply totalitarianism by other means. "

And none of that political correctness is going to go away until the whole mess of a system collapses.  Of course,  for those of us paying attention, we see it coming soon.

Pursuing Knowledge

Perhaps because there is so much stuff, or garbage, in the world that passes for knowledge, there seem to be many churches in the breathless "charismatic" wing that eschew good scholarship for feelings and for things that can neither be measured for their quality or abundance.  I've been in far too many congregations that avoid scholarship like it's leprosy.

The dumbing down of the modern western world has been going on for decades now.  It used to be fairly subtle because it had to be.  Today, people are so devoid of real knowledge that the vast majority of people not only don't know what to believe, they just don't care.  This is a problem that stems directly from language being hijacked by evil forces.  Whether we care to admit it or not, propaganda is just as important in warfare as bullets or bombs.  The Vietnam war is the most perfect modern example of that.

We live in a world where "science" is now an abused word. The vast majority of people not directly associated with a scientific field don't understand it at all.  It used to be that science was the pursuit of truth.  This is no longer the case.  Today the only time truth wins out in regard to scientific inquiry is if enough hard data gangs up on and beats the living snot out of some guy with a theory.  And the problem there is; if nobody is there to see it happen, did it happen?  Other than reality forcing its way into the mind of some "researcher," stuff that gets referred to as science is really just somebody's agenda being touted with select supporting data.  Any data that doesn't support the story line of the "researcher" get dismissed.  Data that seem to support the idea being pushed get enhanced or worse.

Again, I lament the fact that there was a time when debate was a cherished tool in education.  Back when education meant teaching students not what to think, but rather, HOW to think.  How do you recognize a false premise?  How do you recognize when someone is making a bad argument by sticking two premises together that have nothing to do with each other?  How many adults, let alone children have ever heard of the word syllogism?  What is even worse is that we now have people with graduate degrees in some scientific fields who have graduated without the benefit of being educated in logical thought processes.  If they are in the hard sciences, they may experience the truth of the process in the results, but they would be hard pressed to explain or describe the process.

Another problem is specialization.  So many fields of science are highly specialized. Most people have no idea what a big problem this creates.  Without truly great thinkers to connect the dots, much of scientific knowledge is never put to its best possible use.  The flip side of that coin is the fact that scientists in a particular field can specialize into oblivion, meaning that there is no real value to their research and any knowledge gained is superfluous.  No, I don't buy into the idea that knowledge for knowledge's sake is sufficient.  And yes, let me burst your bubble: There IS such a thing as a stupid question.

Specialization in the world of science has also created the problem of not daring to question.  An ear, nose, and throat specialist will not question the diagnosis of a gynecologist even when common sense might suggest that something isn't quite right.  Meanwhile at the other end of the specialization spectrum we have the broad title of "scientist."  The way this gets abused is when a report comes out telling the world that "Ten thousand scientists have signed on to a resolution calling for reduction in global green house gases," or some such rot.  With some investigation we find out that  among the ten thousand "scientists" a handful have degrees in some hard sciences such as astrophysics or biology, but have no formal training in meteorology or climatology. All the rest are trained in the soft sciences such as sociology, anthropology, psychology, etc.  Some of them might even simply have advanced degrees in theology.

The vast masses of people who've never been educated beyond high school level, which in the past twenty years means they are barely literate in functioning, have no clue where to begin in questioning what is and is not scientific.  Which means that if the media tells them that "scientists say that if we don't reduce carbon emmissions to X levels by Y time, the planet will suffer catastrophic results," the people will just accept that crap because, well, "scientists" said so.

One of the biggest myths ever perpetrated on the world is the idea that scientists always pursue truth without allowing any other agenda to influence them.  Scientists are fallible human beings with emotions.  They want to be liked as much as anyone.  They also want to get paid and live comfortable lives.  And scientists will believe what they want to believe, even in spite of evidence, just like people without advanced degrees. This is true to the Nth degree when it comes to evolution.

There have been millions of scientists in the world since Sir Isaac Newton, but how many of them have ever stood out?  How many have ever become household names?  Bet you can't name more than three.  I'm sure Einstein comes to mind.  Why?  Because his pronouncements radically transformed the world of physics.  He was lucky enough that his discoveries made so much sense in explaining the physical world and were also provable.  But more importantly, his ideas did not gore anybody's sacred cows.  Had his ideas been too radical compared to the prevailing "accepted" theories, who knows how long it might have taken before his theories caught on.

For those who really pursue truth, it can be extremely lonely out on the edge of the frontier.  Not only is it lonely, it can be downright dangerous.  It was dangerous for the founding fathers to stand up to Great Britain in their day.  It's dangerous today to stand up and say to the ignorant masses in this country that there is no magic ATM behind the capitol building in Washington DC pumping out billions of dollars for us to keep going the way we are going.  It's dangerous to stand up to the union goons who have landed their "secure" jobs in government who believe that the people out there working in the real world should have to struggle to pay their big salaries and benefits.

It's not easy to stand up in a congregation of Christians and say, "You know what?  You just aren't getting this right."

Many times, my lovely wife and I have lamented that we wish we didn't know everything we know now.  It's no fun at all not having anyone to worship and fellowship with because the vast majority of people who call themselves Christians just want to believe what they want to believe and not learn anything more.  I can relate to how lonely the prophets must have been when God gave them a message that made them seem like nothing but doom and gloom party crashers compared to all of their contemporaries who were speaking nothing but positive and pleasant things.

Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus The Christ) said that the end times (ahchereet hayameem) would be like the days of Noah.  Noah had many months to build the ark and preach to the people.  He tried to get them to turn from their wicked ways, but in the end, only he and his sons and their wives escaped.  According to the book of Jasher, about 700,000 people perished in the flood.  (The Bible itself refers to the book of Jasher as being authoritative, and so far, I have found nothing in it that contradicts Scripture.)  This tells me, along with much of Scripture that there are going to be many, many people surprised in the end to find out they weren't really saved at all.

Ever since I became saved and was subsequently disillusioned about the hoaxes of evolution, leaders who are still touted as heroes, and doctrinal heresies in the Church, I have made it my mission to always question.  Question everything.  "Is this really true?"  "Am I willing to suffer the slings and arrows of being called extreme because I won't go along with everybody else?"  "Am I deceiving myself?"  "HOW do I know this is true?"
"Am I willing to give up eternal bliss in the future in order to be liked and popular in this life?"

The vast majority of people simply will not tolerate any challenges to the conventional and accepted tradition in the churches.  "Don't confuse me with the facts, my mind is made up!"

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

A Better Example

A few days ago, I posted this piece.  Someone commented and left a link that showed it seemed to be a hoax.

Okay, so why weren't there some people in the audience who would be willing to do more than just smirk?  Why did they show that girl the respect of letting her waste everybody's time by presenting that rubbish?  Why didn't someone stop her as soon as she got to the idiocy and say, "We're sorry to have to be the ones to tell you this, but you need some serious help."  Hmmm?

I'll tell you why.  Because for a long time now, we've been showing a lot of deference for such lunacy.  And to prove my point, here is a segment from a broadcast that shows the kinds of things that EarthFirst types believe and do.