Saturday, May 29, 2010

Weeding Duty Take 2

Take 2 of weeding was not particularly successful. James replaced the dead saplings, but due to his goat milking duty, by the time he finished replanting, it was too hot for Q to stand it. He just cried while I attempted to weed. It was time to call it quits.

Dad did go out (God bless him) and weeded an entire row. Just one row consumed nearly an hour of his time.

We will conquer the grass, so we will be back bright and early Monday morning.

Until next time, remember: This is not paradise. It's Purgatory Ranch. (If it were paradise, this wouldn't be the current state of James' shovel.)

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Weeding Duty

After a several-week hiatus from visiting the land, James and I took our children out to weed potatoes before a house-hunting expedition.

When you see this, do you keep going, or turn back?
James opted to gun the motor and forge ahead. It's a good thing too, as we had to cross that to reach the potatoes. No, we didn't get stuck. Our neighbor across the way would have laughed to pull us out for a second time since we bought the land.

The potatoes-cum-compost are rocking. They are over 12" high, meaning we need to hill them the next time out. Of course, the weeds are keeping pace. I weeded three rows of the potatoes-sin-compost, although I didn't weed in between the rows. I determined that the potatoes don't need competition, but I'm not about to weed my walking paths (yet). Considering that we thought maybe none of the potatoes were going to make it, this is a beautiful sight.

There are also 6 garlic stalks, so we may be able to harvest some garlic as well by the end of the summer.

We took a tree-inspection tour. The first 300 feet had no dead trees, but after that, we found about 15. Given the inexperience that accompanied tree planting, a 15% mortality rate is excellent. We still have some lilacs in a barrel in our yard in town, and next time we go out, we should take it with us.

Our neighbor across the way thought we were out early for city folk (8:30 am is not early with three small children) and brought us some sugar-packed cereal for the girls that he had received with his newspaper this morning. James visited with him for a while, and I continued weeding. I like the satisfaction of seeing the piles of grass trampled in my wake.

Until next time, remember: This is not paradise. It's Purgatory Ranch.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Momento Mori, Tempus Fugit

The current plans for the Purgatory Ranch are in Limbo. I am sure someday some one with a contrarian love of Wendell Berry will live on Purgatory Ranch working out their salvation in fear and trembling. Please pray that God gives us the grace to see and do His will in all of this.

Even so, there is some hope.

1. The zoning commission (may God grant them wisdom and many years) is ancient compared to our children, whom we hope to live for a long time…on purgatory Ranch. Their decision is not permanent by any stretch of the imagination. As C.S. Lewis wrote, there is deeper magic:

“It means,” said Aslan, “that though the Witch knew the Deep Magic, there is a magic deeper still which she did not know. Her knowledge only goes back to the dawn of time. But if she could have looked a little further back, into the stillness and darkness before Time dawned, she would have read there a different incantation. She would have known that when a willing victim who had committed no treachery was killed in a traitor’s stead, the Table would crack and Death itself would start working backwards.”

2. I still think that it is God’s will that our families opt out of modern agricultural system which belongs in the culture of death’s camp. We must keep in mind that such a secession requires sacrifice and patience. Government subsidy does not count as charity. That truth scans well…against hell.

3. There are homes, ranging from in poor shape to move in ready, but on (smaller) acreages near purgatory ranch. Moreover, we ( K and J) have great Realtor. I will let D. talk about his chances in regard to a new local.

4. Summer is upon us soon. I plan on hiking on Purgatory Ranch this week end.

Through great struggle comes great insight.

Hope by George Watts

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


Some time after these events, God put Abraham to the test. He called to him, "Abraham!" "Ready!" he replied. Then God said: "Take your son Isaac, your only one, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah. There you shall offer him up as a holocaust on a height that I will point out to you."

Early the next morning Abraham saddled his donkey, took with him his son Isaac, and two of his servants as well, and with the wood that he had cut for the holocaust, set out for the place of which God had told him. On the third day Abraham got sight of the place from afar.

Then he said to his servants: "Both of you stay here with the donkey, while the boy and I go on over yonder. We will worship and then come back to you." Thereupon Abraham took the wood for the holocaust and laid it on his son Isaac's shoulders, while he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two walked on together, Isaac spoke to his father Abraham.

"Father!" he said. "Yes, son," he replied. Isaac continued, "Here are the fire and the wood, but where is the sheep for the holocaust?" "Son," Abraham answered, "God himself will provide the sheep for the holocaust." Then the two continued going forward. When they came to the place of which God had told him, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it.

Next he tied up his son Isaac, and put him on top of the wood on the altar. Then he reached out and took the knife to slaughter his son. But the LORD'S messenger called to him from heaven, "Abraham, Abraham!" "Yes, Lord," he answered. "Do not lay your hand on the boy," said the messenger. "Do not do the least thing to him. I know now how devoted you are to God, since you did not withhold from me your own beloved son."

As Abraham looked about, he spied a ram caught by its horns in the thicket. So he went and took the ram and offered it up as a holocaust in place of his son. Abraham named the site Yahweh-yireh; hence people now say, "On the mountain the LORD will see."

Again the LORD'S messenger called to Abraham from heaven and said: "I swear by myself, declares the LORD, that because you acted as you did in not withholding from me your beloved son, I will bless you abundantly and make your descendants as countless as the stars of the sky and the sands of the seashore; your descendants shall take possession of the gates of their enemies, and in your descendants all the nations of the earth shall find blessing--all this because you obeyed my command.''

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

PR vs. The Bureaucrats

This evening, the cruel gauntlet of Bureaucracy smote the collective soul of Purgatory Ranch a mighty blow.

To spare the technical details, PR is not large enough in Nanny County to build two domiciles. It needs to be rezoned and replatted. This evening, in a glorious 5-0 vote, the Planning Board of Nanny County denied our rezoning request. This is a separate procedure from the replatting request which hasn't been made yet. The rezoning was denied on account of the replatting. Assuredly, if they were considering our platting, they would have denied it based on our rezoning. Confused? Yeah.

Here's what I was reminded: don't ever tell anyone with the government any more than the bare minimum to extricate from their grubby clutches what you and you loved one's need to thrive/survive.

We are back to the drawing table. All bets are off, or on as the case may be. Additional purchasing, conniving, and /or groveling may be in order.

As James remarked, following our bitter denial, evidently God wanted us to tweak our plans. After fuming on the drive home, I have accepted this as true. Fiat! I am now eagerly anticipating the dawning moment when the purpose of this obstacle shall be revealed.

Despite the technocratic rebuff, the trees and potatoes continue to grow, and someone someday shall live in Purgatory. Ranch, that is...


Monday, May 3, 2010

This Side of the Eschaton

Yes, Eschaton is a word.

Some wonder at the name of the Land: Purgatory Ranch.

“Wonder is the feeling of a philosopher;
and philosophy begins in wonder” (Plato)

The name is a reminder that nothing, even our ranch, this side of the Eschaton is paradise. Human sin is pervasive and the world, which came to be through him, did not know him.

I believe the naming of the conversation went something like this;

Dan: *complains about some character flaw which will lead to more time in purgatory. * (For the record: it was either about cursing or laziness, which are both flaws that may be at the same time poetic and enjoyable contextually and out of mixed company)

James: *Pointing to land starting with the freshly tilled potato patch* “This is a great place to work off some of that purgatory time”

K: How about Purgatory Ranch?

Dan and James: Gasp

Dan: M, what about Purgatory Ranch?

M: * About 100 yards away with the elder girls, shows two thumbs up*

Purgatory is a Catholic belief, based on Scripture that because nothing unclean can enter Heaven those who die in union with Christ but without perfect contrition must be purged on the temporal consequences of and attachment to sin. “Time” in Purgatory can be worked off here on Earth through prayer and penance.

Ergo, Ora et Lobora!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Visit to the Land

Today we visited the ranch again. James pointed out what a difference a load of compost made, as the potatoes to which he had a chance to add compost were sprouting much more than those without compost. I did find a few garlic sprouts peeking through the grass, but there are plenty of weeds to pull before I reach the garlic.

A drive to Six Penny Pond was made, but James was disappointed as the skunk refused to appear.