Monthly Archives: August 2012

The Politics of Hunger, and Saving the Constitution

Throughout history, there has been ONE thing that will get people to revolt. One thing that pushes them to a Revolution. That is:


They won’t fight if their freedoms are stripped from them, if they are well fed. Because instinctively, they do not feel threatened until they are hungry. When they fear where the next meal will come from, they will mobilize to war.

This is why, right now, the unemployed are NOT calling for revolution, but people who depend upon natural foods for their health ARE. Because one group is being BOUGHT OFF, and lulled into a sense of false security by Obama’s largesse with Food Stamps. The other is being threatened with the loss of their required foods – they feel threatened with hunger.

Obama fully knows this psychological reality. This is why he is so free with food stamps. So those who are ON food stamps are now dependent upon them. THEY fear that they WILL BE hungry if they lose them. They are an easy target for socialists who cry that a conservative government will take them away. Being dependent upon the government makes you easily manipulated by the government, through fear, and the Obama camp well knows it, and is taking full advantage of it (this is also why his administration is strangling people’s ability to grow their own food and to cooperate with their neighbors to supply each other).

As long as this situation remains unchanged, we have an entire sector of society which feels threatened at the thought of LOSING food stamps. They are voting with their stomachs. We CANNOT restore the Constitution as long as such a high percentage of society lives in fear and is voting with such a warped set of priorities. They will never WANT the independence that the Constitution gives them, because that independence REMOVES the safety net they feel they need.

I have been VERY reluctant to support Romney. I am Mormon. I am grounded in the same religion he professes. This does not make me want to vote for him just to have “a Mormon President”, any more than I would vote for someone based on their skin color. His politics are not my politics. I came to the conclusion that I had NO CHOICE but to vote for him, because he was the ONLY OPTION that offered ANY HOPE AT ALL.

Perhaps he would not keep his word. Perhaps he would repeal Obamacare and replace it with something worse – I would have felt better if he had just left it with “Repeal”, because we have NO NEED to “replace”. Many things make me VERY UNEASY about him as a candidate. But at least there is THE CHANCE that we will see another free election if he is elected. There is NO HOPE of that if Obama is elected. Romney has limits. Obama has none – there is no limit to the degree of depravity to which he will stoop, no limit to his dishonesty and corruption, no limit to how much power he will usurp. He has shown himself capable of any degree of abuse of power.

I finally have one thing on which I can say with assurance, I fully support Romney in regards to. He has presented a plan for creating jobs, by opening up Energy Development. Execution is simple – the government just needs to GET OUT OF THE WAY.

We were presented with this as a solid plan for reversing the Recession over four years ago at a Technology Summit that we attended. We knew then that it was truth. That if the government simply got out of the way of Energy Development, that it would accomplish many things:

  • The creation of jobs
  • Lowering of energy costs
  • Decreased dependence on foreign oil
  • Decreased volatility from outside market influences
  • Increasing independence in our nation, both personally and nationally
  • Increased stewardship in our own resources
  • A return of national patriotism as we have things to feel good about
  • Laying the groundwork for decades of returned prosperity

Obama has done the opposite. He has obstructed, bound, and chained us, and much of that has been through energy. His “energy incentives” went to companies that went bankrupt – poured down the drain and evaporated into nothing. The energy we depend upon was strung up and castrated.

We need this. This ONE THING is enough to turn things around sufficiently that we will have MORE CHOICES at the next election cycle. We can’t win it all this time. But we can live to fight another day.

Our nation cannot survive even another two years under Obama. It cannot because HE WILL NOT LET IT. Destroying it is the goal. It is meant. It is deliberate.

On other things I value – returning independence to small farms, reducing red tape for small business owners, restoring rights to parents, reducing government entitlements, and getting rid of Unconstitutional mandates and decisionmakers. There’s no telling whether Romney will make any progress on them. I hope that he will.

I do know that under Obama, those things WILL GET WORSE – it is a certainty. If they get no better under Romney, then that is grudgingly better than having them get worse. Will I accept that as the best we can do? Absolutely not. But the uncertainty of lack of progress is FAR BETTER than the CERTAINTY of rapid deterioration.

I am still not happy with my choices this election. But I am reconciled to them, and I no longer feel like I am hanging my hope on an invisible peg. I have found something solid on which to hang it. Just one thing. But maybe that one thing will be enough to STOP the cascade failure, even if it cannot turn it around fully. It may be just enough to stem the fear of hunger, so that people can vote with a clear head.

I will vote for Romney – not with full confidence. But with hope that it will be just enough.

UPDATE: Our book Life from the Garden: Grow Your Own Food Anywhere is available in print through, or in PDF format from our Firelight Heritage Farm Books website.

Freedom Plus Responsibility Equals Independence #liberty

I believe that one of the reasons so few people prize Liberty anymore is because they do not know what it is. They equate Liberty with “getting what they want without working for it” instead of “the freedom to choose to prosper without the help or permission of anyone else”.

There is a huge difference between the two concepts. We saw a BBC production on the Titanic recently. In it a maid said, “So in America everyone eats from porcelain and drinks from crystal?” The immigrant she was speaking to replied, “No, but in America there is at least the hope that they might.”. (This may be slightly misquoted, but the essence is there – I was unable to find an exact quote.)

Early immigrants understood that if you wanted to “eat from porcelain”, you had to work to do so. What they wanted was the OPPORTUNITY.

They did not want someone to hand them a finished product. They knew that if someone did that, it would be someone ELSE’S idea of what they needed, not THEIR idea. When you are restricted to accepting what someone else thinks you need, you are not free, you are a slave.

The more the government does for us, the fewer choices we have. If the government provides housing for us, then we have to accept their idea of what we need. Take a look at Low Income Housing, and see if it is all you want for the rest of your life.

If the government provides food for us, then we must accept what they deem is appropriate for our food, and we must accept the amount of food that they deem appropriate. Food stamp recipients receive the amount the government dictates, and can only spend it on things the government specifies for it.

If the government provides healthcare, then we must accept them dictating what conditions can be treated, how they can be treated, and even who is eligible for treatment. We have surrendered our right to choose what we prefer, by giving someone else the responsibility of providing it.

You cannot have true Freedom without Responsibility. You must be willing to take responsibility for your own:

  • Housing
  • Food
  • Healthcare
  • State of Wellbeing (not being “offended” by what others say)
  • Relation with your Neighbors (not asking for laws to forbid them doing things you do not like)
  • Employment
  • Children’s Education
  • Phone Bill
  • Product safety – we use common sense rather than expecting the government to make sure it is all safe.
  • Community and charitable giving.
  • And yes, even things such as Disability, Retirement, Insurance and other “safety nets” that we think we cannot do without.

If you want true freedom, you have to step up and do the work. When someone else provides for you, whether it is the government or someone else, THEY decide, you do not. If you go to a Soup Kitchen for a meal, they will hand you a meal. You don’t get to decide what you’ll have for dinner that night, they decide that. Any help you receive from anyone is based on their determination of your needs, not your own.

The early immigrants had had enough of that. Someone else had made the decisions for them long enough. How sad for their posterity, that they are so willing to give it all away, for the hope of the ease of having someone else do the work so they don’t have to.

The real irony of it all is, that as soon as you are enslaved, you realize that not only is the government making the choices for you, YOU are still having to do the work. Eventually, the money runs out. When it does, the eligibility standards tighten and tighten, and pretty soon everyone is impoverished, and everyone is slaving for the government, to feed the fat hog that takes its portion from the top before anything is disbursed to the starving masses.

Equality never meant that everyone had the same things. All it meant is that anyone who chose to work had the same potential of having more, and of deciding for themselves what they did with what they earned.

It did not then, nor does it now mean Equal THINGS.

It just means Equal CHOICE, and Equal RESPONSIBILITY.

When we have the Freedom to choose, and the Responsibility for our own life, then we are truly a free people. If we do not understand that, we will never comprehend the value of Liberty.

Stacking on the Farm #farmblog

Stacking refers to using space in multiple ways, for multiple purposes. For example, letting your chickens do cleanup in the greenhouse, using the gardens for winter pasture for the pigs, etc. It also refers to using the same space for multiple purposes all at one time. This is where we can get really creative, primarily by mimicking nature.

One of the concepts that seems to be ingrained from commercial agriculture is that you raise cows in a cow barn, chickens in a chicken coop or house, ducks in a duck pen with a duck house and duck pond, geese in a field with a pond and a goose house, etc. There is little sharing of space – each item being in an environment created specifically for mass management of the largest possible numbers of one particular thing in a very small space.

Another erroneous idea that we have picked up from commercial ag is that you must not share space between species, because it encourages the spread of disease. This is in fact, not true. Overcrowding encourages disease. Overuse of antibiotics encourages disease. Feeding on industrial waste encourages disease. Putting pigeons and chickens, or chickens and quail in near proximity does not encourage disease.

Ok, so what do we mean by mimicking nature in how this is done? Nature grows more in less space with no input from man. She’s got something good going on. Instead of trying to rewrite the rules, we out to be simply managing a natural system well. All natural things operate under a single rule that holds, no matter what. If we an abide by that rule, everything gets MUCH simpler!

Provide the conditions that the animal, plant, fungus, fish, etc, naturally thrives in, and they will generally thrive with minimal interference from you.

There is tremendous power in this. It is the key to sustainability on a small polyculture farm. It is the key to financial success. It is the key to being able to have enough hours in the day to get it all done. And it is the key to using space wisely.

Let’s start with ducks. Ducks are good for eggs, meat, feathers, garden cleanup, bug control, and sometimes they make great incubators. Ducks require water. While a child’s swimming pool will do the job, a pond is much better, because it can contain plants that the ducks eat, which reduces your food bill. Duckweed is cheaper than meatbird feed by a long shot.

Once you have a pond, you can also raise crayfish, freshwater shrimp, fish, and aquatic plants for animal feed. A pond will foster some insect growth, which your ducks will also happily gobble, and your fish will eat them too. Your ducks WILL eat some of the young fish, but they won’t eat them all, and you’ll have enough for you and the ducks too.

Duck manure helps the aquatic plants grow, and will even help bottom feeders survive. You’ll have to trap turtles (there’s a market for fresh turtle, by the way), and control some predators, but you can set up a small micro-ecosystem where each element is used for production, where you simply act as a catalyst to encourage it, rather than trying to manage every element yourself.

You can get the benefits of some of this same concept by using greenhouses in conjunction with farming fresh fish or freshwater shrimp. If you bring animals into that as well, and add mushrooms to the mix, you have even more benefit from a small space.

This isn’t meant to tell you all the ways you can do this. It is just meant to get you thinking beyond the simplistic “I’m going to raise chickens so I can have eggs.” type mentality that commercial ag has conditioned us to think within. If you are going to raise chickens, then what else can you do because you now have chickens? Can you also raise worms or Black Soldier Fly larvae for chicken food, which will feed on partially composted chicken litter, and which will produce finished compost for the garden? Can you raise mushrooms in your compost pile, where they will help compost the chicken litter so it is ready for the garden?

In the wild, there is an amazing complicated synergy that is created that lets nature do her wondrous work. If we think about that when we go about setting up to raise animals and crops, we come out with something that reduces the amount of work involved, and increases the range of crops we can produce, in a way that is completely in harmony with nature.

When you are faced with needing a solution, ask yourself how Nature solves that problem in the wild. The answer to that will usually lead you to a simple and effective option that you can implement in one way or another, so that your farm can do something truly miraculous.

This Old Blog

Someone told me this morning that they were impressed that my blog is as old as it is, that not many who started in 2006 are still going. And here all this time I’ve been thinking I was a latecomer to the game, and that my blog was relatively young! I guess that speaks volumes about the transitory nature of the web.

Blogging was many years old by the time I gave in and started a blog. I didn’t want to. But I finally felt that I owed it to my clients to see what kind of value I could discover in it. One of the principle values has been a place where I can link everything that I do together, write about the things I feel like writing about, without it having to be about a specific topic. Unlike my websites, where everything is targeted to a specific audience. The blog is just me. It brings value to my business in linking all the parts of me together in one spot – where I can list every website I own, regardless of relevancy.

I think about two years into it is the first time I went back over the posts to see what I could reuse elsewhere. The first time I was astonished at how much I had written in that amount of time, and the first time I realized how long I’d been doing it. I’ve done that again, a couple of times, each time shocked at how old it really is when I stop to count the years. YEARS. In some ways, it only feels like months.

I am LDS (look it up at if you don’t know what that means). As such, I have a Patriarchal Blessing. It counsels me to “keep a record of your life’s work” for my posterity. My journals are dusty, and I haven’t put pen to paper for writing in more than a decade. I was pregnant with Adriene (now 18) when our family got our first computer (a gift from Kevin’s father). From then on, typing was easier than writing (well, once I learned to type…). Much of my life has been recorded in correspondence, and now, in my online presences, which are many.

I don’t know if that constitutes obedience to that personal counsel or not. There is much that has not been recorded – it is too sacred for public display. Many things I do not WANT my posterity reading after I’m gone. Many things I do want them to know. More, I think, than they can gain from these snippets of life interwoven with instructional materials.

If my blog is old, does that make me an old blogger? It had better not! I still have too much to do to be old. Today, I have a book to complete, which means I had better not invest all of my creative energy on this post. I need to save some for the chapter on Horse Mushrooms.

Grow a Garden!

Gardening doesn't have to be that hard! No matter where you live, no matter how difficult your circumstances, you CAN grow a successful garden.

Life from the Garden: Grow Your Own Food Anywhere Practical and low cost options for container gardening, sprouting, small yards, edible landscaping, winter gardening, shady yards, and help for people who are getting started too late. Plenty of tips to simplify, save on work and expense.