This year we are experimenting with square foot gardening. Last year’s garden was a success and this year we wanted a higher yield. Our hope is to maximize our small lot (5500 sq ft) with this method and also grow a larger variety of food. We dismantled one of the raised beds that we built last year. They would have probably made it another season, but the wood was too thin we wanted stronger beds that would last for the next few years without intervention. This year’s new beds are constructed from 2×6 boards with 2×4 corner bracing (I later discovered that I did not need to 2×4 bracing if I alternated the boards in spiral formation). We were over zealous and started our seedlings way too early, back in February. We were clearly hopeful and suffering from spring fever. Most of them died. So we restarted with direct sowing into our beds and a few store bought seedlings.
We read in a blog somewhere that even when you have gardened for twenty years, you have only really done it twenty times. That puts a lot into perspective. This being our second time gardening, we know we are taking some risks. But homesteading is not without its risks. Three of our beds have hoop houses (aka hooped 1/2″ PVC pipe) that will be covered with 3.5mm plastic sheeting to keep them warm on any cold nights early in the season. As the seedlings mature and the days and nights grow warmer we can remove the plastic. Year two and we are excited to see what we get this year!
In case you have not heard there is a new currency on the block. The blockchain (or public) ledger is a technology that has allowed us to exchange currency or make transactions with transparency, while reserving the right to share our identity. The blockchain is a global public ledger. We can see all of the transactions on Blockchain.info. But what does this mean in terms of financial freedom? The most popular currency, called Bitcoin is easy to exchange, easy to obtain and accepted more and more everyday.
Men we have work to do on ourselves. When we became a home educating family I had expectations. I envisioned well adjusted children and a clean hone and warm meals. I saw the plethora of text books my wife was buying and thought we were just going to be awesome. Off to work I went. Then when I came home reality showed up for a conversation.I quickly learned that the kids would not always be on their best behaviour, our house would always be clean just because my wife was home and a hot meal didn’t always make it to the table. There were still nights of take-out and I was pitching in to do the laundry and clean, yada yada yada. We were living our new lives which didn’t look drastically different from the old lives of both mother and father working. Further more I expected my wife to be instantly happy. She was out of the workforce and a previously toxic social environment. She was home all day with the freedom to travel. What was better than that? Apparently a lot. Continue reading “An Open Letter to Home Schooling Dads”→
I am deeply concerned for parents who are not educated in the realm of the digital age. These parents are often lead by their children and introduced to new technologies through them. As parents we want to trust our children but that doesn’t mean that we should trust their discernment. As a Christian father I try to steer my children clear of things that are contrary to the gospel. That is a difficult task as it requires me to stay engaged in culture and on the other side of the coin I want to disengage and get all Charles Ingles. I have an obligation to lead them well and so I have to make some difficult and counter-cultural decisions. Continue reading “Safe Digital Education”→
Do you remember what it was like when a parent or a teacher read a book aloud to you? It was magical and gripping. We have allow television, movies and countless other forms of distraction rob us of this amazing gift that we can give to each other. I still like books being read to me by my wife. She can read anything to me and I love to listen. There is something about the voice of another reading to you that is warm and comforting. Well maybe just for me. I love reading a great story book that allows me to see within my mind the pages unfold and the story blossom. Think back to some of your favorite books that your parents of teachers read to you as a child. When was the last time that you read them yourself? I encourage you to go to your local library and find those books that you remember to be so entrancing and find a young person to read to. Heck read it aloud to yourself and simply remember the magic. Reading it fundamental. I used to make fun of that campaign. Today thirty years later I laugh at my younger self who was oh so foolish. Reading is fundamental and we need to read to ourselves and each other. Share the magic that someone once shared with you.
Are we afraid to be alone with ourselves? Are we afraid of our own thoughts? Wicked and broken, sad and longing, perhaps hopeful? Why is it that we so desperately need to be distracted with movies and shows, apps and games and sometimes even other people? I have not watched TV in three days. Actually the television has been off in our home for that long (with the exception of a video game today) and it has allowed such clarity. The best analogy I can come up with is the difference between a great night sleep and a hangover. Continue reading “Are We Afraid to Not be Distracted?”→
For a long time there has been this desire in my heart to live life without a television in our home. We have experimented with living by candle light and growing our own food and hanging clothes to dry. My most recent experiment has been with two sleeps. All of these endeavors have been a drive toward an intentional and more meaningful life on this planet. Television serves as a distraction to the world we live in. Every program is story about someone else’s life. Perhaps a life that we wish we had or a life we are thankful we do not know to be reality. We are still distracted by it. There is a far off glazed glare that we develop seconds after we turn it on and engage our eyes. We tune out and effectively turn off our brains trading our fact for some silked tongued magic. As my wife and I have discussed the idea of our lives without television we have become more and more used to the idea. Then this morning she said to the children, “let’s not watch TV today.” Continue reading “Experiencing Life without Television”→
When I was a kid every classroom had a hand cranked pencil sharpener. We were not even allowed to use pens. Even the house I grew up in had one. We used pencils for everything. I recently discovered that these tools still exist and are actively manufactured. I had to have one. For the low price of $12, this is a welcomed addition to our high effort lifestyle. This sharpener doesn’t need batteries and does an excellent job with just a few cranks of the handle. You’ll get consistently sharpen pencils over and over again.
This morning I had the opportunity to hang laundry on the line in the cool October air. With my back to the sun I watched the vapor of my breath dance in the sunlight. Everything about this moment was peaceful, wonderful and calm. In this moment I remember that I wanted this to be a part of my daily existence. I am currently on vacation from my daily desk job which has afforded me this opportunity. Yet there are others that have transitioned to their homesteads as their daily way of life. Part of my mind calls them lucky another part remembers the stories of hardship that I have read about these families in their transitions. Yet I still feel in this moment watching the vapor a desire to be on the homestead in this place hanging laundry or building a piece of furniture or tending a garden. I am greatly longing for this movement to a new way of life and it is all encompassed in this moment as I watch the vapor of my breath dance in the sunlight.
This week, taking advantage of some much needed time away from the office I decided to take a trip to the consignment shop where I found two wooden candle wall sconce for just under $8. But why candle sconce? Because I think they are cool and after experimenting with candle and oil lamp light last winter I believe them to be an investment.