Thursday, November 17, 2011

Pearls of wisdom from Daniel

(prayer at lunch time)

Oh Lord, thank you for our food, thank you I'll have a good time at Friday school tomorrow, and thank you Miklali have a good time at school, Jesus name, Amen.

Other tidbits you may not know:

I told him I needed to fix a screw on his bunk bed so he wouldn't bump his head on it.

He said, "yeah it would make a hole"

Me: "and all your brains would run out. You would have to visit the wizard of OZ to get more braines."

D: "No, I could go to the Dr. to get more brains. That is what I would do, go to the Dr. cuz that is what you do, go to the Dr. to get more brains.

On cooking animals:

"When turkeys get fat we eat them! Just like when cows get fat we eat them! When they get fat we put them in the trailer, and cut off their legs and put them in the pan and cook them!"

.....hope you learned something today.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Not looking back and looking forward

Working on a lesson, thoughts? B.E.

Dealing with the past is a big part of what being a Christian is about. Repentance is knowing what your past was and making the conscious effort to not be that way anymore. Changing our past behaviors and attitudes.

(Mark 7:20-21 What comes out of a person is what defiles him. 21For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, 22coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. 23All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”)

Or even ending unhealthy relationships that are not beneficial to our Christian progress. Making the conscious effort to be forgiving, that means forgetting the past. Forgetting mistakes people have made. Being patient means we don't worry how many times we have to deal with the same issue over and over.

This lesson revolves around the words of Jesus in Luke 9 where he compares the Christian to a person putting their hand to the plow. Lets read the whole context here verses 57-62. We always have to think about the context so we can think logically about scripture, not just emotionally how we “feel” about it.

57As they were going along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” 58And Jesus said to him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” 59To another he said, Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” 60And Jesus said to him, Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” 61Yet another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” 62Jesus said to him,No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” (emphasis mine)

What do we see here? We see individuals that were probably very honest and sincere disciples of Christ, but were NOT FULLY COMMITTED. We could say they wanted to be Christians, but couldn't let go of their "baggage" first.

When He found out they were not fully committed, why did Jesus use the illustration of the plowman? What is the sin of looking back? Often times we say that the person that is looking back is looking wistfully at their sinful past they enjoyed. We always mention Lot's wife and speculate that she was sorry to leave Soddom and Gomorrah, That could be the case.

When my Granddad was teaching me how to run a cultivator years ago, we set up the equipment where the cultivator would run very straight with the tractor. We took all the slack out of the linkage and hitch, and even put in little spacers to keep it really tight. That way, where you drove the tractor you had confidence the cultivator would track right where you expected it would. We did that so we didn't have to look back so often to check where the cultivator was tracking. Once we had the cultivator set, and all the slop and sway taken out I would put a piece of black tape on the hood of the tractor I could line up with a row of crop. All I had to do was concentrate on keeping that mark lined up. If I got to looking around at the neighbors, or watching traffic, or LOOKING BACK I would bobble and knock the crop down. It would cause a blank spot called “cultivator blight.”

Isn't that the illustration Jesus was using? Again I ask what is the sin of looking back to the past? I'll say it in my plain way of saying things. Almost like Yogi Berra, IF YOU ARE LOOKING BACK YOU AREN”T LOOKING FORWARD! You can't do both at the same time.

Let's think about a couple examples contrasted in the Bible of one person that looked forward, and one that looked back, and how they are portrayed.


Joseph had a pretty good life. He was his Father's favorite. He was spoiled, and got special gifts. He didn't have to go and shepherd the flock, but he had the fun of being the “informant”. He was sent to check on his brothers, and tattle on them when they were misbehaving. Don't you think he had a pretty good life before his brothers turned against him?

We know how it all came crashing down, and he went from the top of his family's little world to the point of almost being murdered. Can you imagine the hate and disgusting things his brothers said to him? He even had to do a couple stints in the Egyptian prison. He was falsely accused by Potiphar's wife. He was forgotten by the cup-bearer. Along the way he had a choice to make. He could either hold a grudge against his brothers because of all the evil things that happened to him and decide to live just for himself, or he could forgive and try to save them with the power he had.

Do you think it was an easy decision? Do you think it took some effort? I can't imagine him being like a friendly Australian, “Eh, no worries mate.” He had many years (20+) to let it fester and grow in his mind. But what did he do? He had a "mind to work" and realized he could do better looking ahead. God would not have forced him to do the things he did, he had to make that conscious determined effort to leave the past behind. Especially when his brothers came to him for help. He could have come up with all kinds of vicious revenge, and even have them tortured and killed. He showed his brothers that multiple times with the tricks he played on them. Thankfully we have the wonderful account of forgiving and forgetting, and the lineage of Israel was preserved because of the good character Joseph had.

The Older Brother in the account of the Prodigal son.

I think this is one of the most deep and educational parables Jesus told. It covers so many different lessons about human nature. And illustrates human behavior vividly. It shows how poor stewardship leads to hardship. It shows how jealousy and envy affects a persons character. It shows what a truely repentant heart looks. And it shows how God's forgiveness works, and how it should be reflected through us and our relationships.

When the younger son came back, what was the Older Brother only concerned with? His own “good deeds”. He never neglected his father, and had been faithful serving him. He was looking back at all the good things he had done, upset he had been “cheated” out of a reward he thought he deserved, and couldn't turn his head around and be glad his younger brother had been “saved”.

The lesson here is when we are concentrating looking forward in our Christian walk, we won't have the time or energy to dwell in the past. Just like driving that tractor cultivating, if I fully concentrated on the task at hand, and my goal -keeping the tractor on the “mark” I did a better job and reached my goal of getting the crop cultivated while minimizing collateral damage.

What did Paul say about looking ahead? Something like, “more than that, I count all wrongs to keep track, in view of the surpassing value of my deeds, knowing my Lord Jesus Christ, for whom I have suffered greatly, and count them valuable that I may look better than my neighbor before Christ.”

Wait a minute!!!, those are my words. That is what we want to say, to make ourselves feel better about keeping a tally of the wrongs committed against us. Let's read GODS WORD: Philippians 3:8 and following:

8Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9and be found in him ...........But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15Let those of us who are mature think this way,

If we keep our eyes affixed on our goal, Christ Jesus, we won't drag down our brothers with us in our pit of the past. Press on to the goal and DON'T LOOK BACK.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Look what blew in from the Land of OZ.

Of course just like in the movie, Daniel kept loosing part of his straw over THERE, and a piece over THERE, oh it was horrible!.

We did our trick or treat early this year. A church over in Clovis had a "Trunk or Treat" on Saturday night. They had a soup supper, and a few activities for the kids, then they got to go around the parking lot and get candy. Boy did they get the candy! Mikali's little Dorthy basket was completely full when we put Daniel's with it. It worked out so much better than staying out late on Monday and having to get up early to get Mikali off to school.

We had SNOW on Thursday. I actually got a taste of the white stuff Wednesday morning in Colorado up there trucking. I guess it followed me home. About 2-3 inches of heavy sloppy snow. We showed .60-.75" of much needed moisture. It ought to really help the wheat out. We need that about every week for 3 months to build up some subsoil moisture.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

I love being right, but not about this.

Couple blog posts back I mentioned something about another 1930s drought. We had a little preview the other day, my mom took some pictures as a "duster" came through. It is only going to get worse as the winter and spring winds come in.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Still working at it

I have not abandoned the corral project. But between wheat sowing, and harvests, and the hot weather earlier, the progress has been pretty slow. Besides the fact it looks like we are not going to have any cattle on wheat this winter. So I'm not terribly motivated to finish it.

We did get some showers last week that are going to help with the wheat coming up. Most of the wheat is up and looking good. The last couple fields I planted the moisture was marginal, and the rain did help.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Sowing and harvesting

About 3 weeks ago we got a good rain and I decided to go ahead and plant wheat. I don't know how it is going to do because it is only wet on the top foot or so, and dry all the rest of the way to China. Anyway, since we did not have any summer crop everything got sowed to wheat. I was a crazy wheat sowing monkey for about a week straight.

Then I immediately started in helping my neighbor with corn harvest. So these have been my rides every day for a week:
Pretty nice trucks...... The only complaint is they are Kenworths, and apparently they have an ape on the engineering staff. For a good 20 years they have designed them where all your important switches are a good 12" out of reach! Very annoying.
I can't believe with all the emphasis on ergonomics they are still designing them that way. Anyway rant over. Nice trucks, like I said. As much of a slave driver as Pat is, good thing I have a team driver to take over when I get tired.

By the way he had a birthday the other day.

Everything is fueled up, greased up, and warmed up, ready to go!
Shelling that corn. Yields are really disappointing. Too hot and windy all summer.

Giving Brandon a job now. Thank goodness corn is not as itchy as milo.

Here I am waiting on two other trucks, the only time so far this season. It is like a ghost town at the elevator due to the short crop.

Usually it is a circus and you may spend an hour at the elevator unloading. Not this time. Just pull right in and dump that gold.
Has to go down before it can go up?

Ahh, the best part of the day. Here comes the chuck wagon!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Another 1930s style drought?

It probably wasn't a good idea, but I read the book "The Worst Hard Time" by Timothy Egan. It is a book about the folks that lived through the Dustbowl and some of the reasons it happened. So I got on a kick wanting to know more about it, and we rented a couple DVDs from Netflix about the Dustbowl, and now I am worried. Texas also went through a very similar drought in the 1950s too, but the economy was much stronger so it wasn't quite so epic. Either way I am starting to believe we are about 18 months or so into another very similar dry period. We have had hotter and drier weather than any other period since we have been keeping records for this part of the world. If we don't get significant moisture before the end of this calendar year, it is very unlikely we will get 'caught up' for a long time. We just don't get much moisture in the winter, so it will be NEXT spring before we have a better chance of getting back to 'normal'.

Lake Meridith north of Amarillo is the same as completely dry. (.01% of capacity)
We have only had 2-3" of rain in the last 12 months.
All time record high temps have been set all over the plains.
Most consecutive, most total days records set for +100 temps.
Trees that have been around for 60 years are dying, in spite of being watered.
Not ONE acre of dryland cotton will be harvested on the High Plains. And very very little in the costal bend region. (If any, not sure)

On another note, I wanted to remind or tell everybody that I am going to try to do a better job posting audio of Bill's lessons on our church podcast website. A couple of you mentioned that you thought Bill did a good job, and you can download mp3 files of his lessons on Podbean Might be good to listen to on the way to work or whatever.

I apologize for the terrible audio quality, but I am going to try to tap into our PA system and get a more dynamic recording. And I am really bad about remembering to shuffle the digital recorder back and forth each week, upload on the computer, edit, then post, but I pinky swear to be more consistent. Let me know if you are listening too.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Bible Camp (recap)

This was our 4th year to help at Black Mesa Bible Camp. It is in Kenton, OK. Waaay up in the NW corner of Oklahoma. Over at the end of that sticky out part they call the Panhandle, or "No Man's Land." Not in the humid part. Not over East. Not in the forest. Not where it rains a lot. I just explained this because nobody knows where Kenton is. They always start off saying something like, "oh, it must be really humid there." NO it is a desert! Even before I heard about BMBC, I knew where Black Mesa was. And from that I could make a pretty good guess what the weather was like. I'm not going to go into much details about the camp because my huge readership already has heard me talk about it. I just thought I would share some photos.

Friendly helpful staff and counselors. The guy on the left looks a lot like Dawson. Did double takes all week. Tall guy in the middle is a clown. Always cracking jokes. You can see by his expression he has something funny planned. Guy on right knows how to cook meat like nobody's business. Very good cook.
This is the "Mesa Monster" most years some counselors get the kids all worked up telling them stories about the Mesa Monster. They have others go around the cabins and make noises and scratch around on the walls, etc. This is at night, and this year we (other staff) were standing out there acting like we were looking at and talking about something in the trees. One guy drove his car over and turned the lights on like he was trying to spotlight. You would be surprised how many of these kids fall for it. Any way, I took this picture of the monster and was showing it to the kids the next day. It is fun, but we have to be pretty careful, because like I said some of them really are gullible. And do get really scared. It is a hoot none the less.
Mess hall and chapel.
Kid's "Cabins" They do have a little air conditioner, but are still pretty stuffy.

Our "cabin" on the left. Thanks Papaw. Pulled by the big white "goat". I had my class there on the right in the folding chairs. It was in the shade in the mornings when we had class.

Real Man's Grill! 8 burners, two tanks. About 1,049,45,684,783,473,763,739,568 BTU when you get thirty burgers on there dripping grease.
This is a few miles away from camp actually across the line in Colorado. Can you figure out why they call it "Indian Rock"?

The rest of these photos are just some random pictures around camp.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Making slow progress, Corrals Part 3

It is still very hot, so I have been working on the corral project a little most mornings then doing other stuff in the afternoons. Since there has been no rain, I suppose there is no hurry about getting the pens ready. I won't be buying cattle for a few more months I think.

The trusty ol' Lincoln portable welder, yes that is hand crank. You start it like a model T Ford. Believe it or not, being a 1940s model, it actually starts pretty easy and runs good as long as you have fresh gas in it. Very good welder. A person new to welding would learn quickly using this particular style. It is DC instead of AC so the arc is much more stable and easy to start/hold. These old welders bring good money. I have seen a few on Craigslist that are in good shape bring $4000. This one might be worth half that, but I bet it didn't cost $500 new 60 years ago.
The "war wagon". It is handy to have all the welding supplies in a trailer and I can leave it at the house and not have to haul it around in my pickup. (I did not paint the wheels red)

I hope it looks like I have done a lot, it feels like I should have more done. Slow tedious work for sure. I'm glad my wages are cheap.

I weld these premade clips on the posts to hold the cable. We use cable for cattle pens because you can buy used cable out of the oil patch for el cheapo. Not as good a pen as all pipe would be, but about 10% the cost. Most smaller cattle respect it, and will stay in if you keep it tight. I wouldn't want to keep bison or bulls in with it. Crazy cows would probably go right through too.

The main event. I found a nice used squeeze chute. It needs paint, but other than that it is in perfect working condition. New this particular model would cost roughly $2500.

Mikali is ready for her shots and branding.

We are going up to Black Mesa Bible Camp next week. I think it is supposed to cool off some next week. And I think they have had some showers up there so I am expecting it to be nice.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Corrals, part 2

I have been making slow progress on the corrals. The post-hole digger I was using digs a 9" hole, which requires lots of cement to fill it back in. Two bags of quickcrete at least, at $4 a bag. $8 a post. With something like 80 posts to set that would the one.........borrow 10............ uh... A LOT of concrete. I knew this before I started so I ordered a 3" auger that would be almost the same size as the posts. I had to make an adapter to fit it to the old digger, and it works great. Now the hole is about 1/2" bigger than the post, and I use masonry mix to set the post. I can probably set a dozen posts with one bag of masonry mix.
Once I get the hole dug, I have to vacuum out the loose dry dirt.
Drop the post in, a little cement mix, add some water.

Yes these posts are angled. This is the working chute "lead up" and the sloped sides help keep the cattle from turning back. Cattle generally put their heads down when they turn and keeping the sides tight against their sides helps prevent that.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Do it yourself corrals, some assembly required....

...batteries not included, plus T,T, and L, may be closer than it appears, professional stunt persons do not attempt this at home.

I am building a small set of corrals to work cattle. Two pens, a crowding tub, a load out and squeeze chute. I have been designing it on paper for several weeks now, and have finally decided on the plan. Now to the hard hot part. I will build it out of pipe and cables and I think "C" purlins. I will try to update as I get more done so you can see what I am talking about. I hope it is something I get to use and build onto through the years. Right now as dry as it is I may not get to do all the welding right away. I do have water nearby, so I may spray the ground all around where it will be wet to help not set the world on fire. I hope to have it done by the middle of July, working mostly in the mornings when it is cool.
The four wheeler is sitting where the "crowding tub" will be. A crowding tub is basically a 1/4 of a circle, where the gate can sweep and crowd the cattle towards the working chute. The gate should have some sort of automatic holding mechanism where they can't push it back open and escape. And you can keep it up tight against them where they have no other choice but to go through the chute. The small rebar posts in the picture are to mark where all the pipe will go, so I can see how it is laid out.

I managed to get 3 posts set in concrete this afternoon in the 100 degree heat.
The best, post-hole, digger, EVER! If you have ever used PTO diggers, and have never used a Continental brand digger like this you have never experienced Posthole Digger Bliss. This thing is pretty old, but I wouldn't take $5000 to trade to a Tractor Supply Company cheapy digger. These dig straight, right through the hardest ground, and automatically stop at a preset depth. Sadly the company doesn't make them anymore, so if you have one you take care of it and don't let the neighbors borrow it.

Nice and straight, can't straighten it after the concrete is set.

35- 30' joints of 2 3/8 "drill stem". When the oil industry wears it out and they don't feel it is safe to use anymore, the cattle industry turns it into corrals. The shorter pieces are 8' sections of 2 7/8 and it is heavy, about 10# per foot.

It is still very hot and dry. I have no summer crops planted due to no rain. We have about 2-3 weeks left to plant milo, but I am thinking we are going to miss that. I will plan to plant some haygrazer later in the summer, but otherwise it may all go to wheat next fall.
BEEP BEEP BEEP, I stand corrected, you can still get a newer much fancier digger made by the same company.