28 February 2018

Family Around The Evaporator

Boiling At The End
Of The Day

First Boil

Finally, I get the sap boiling.

Starting The Boil

This is where the real fun starts.

Straining The Sap
And Filling The Evaporator

More progress as I work towards getting my first maple boil of the season underway.

My Evaporator Pan & Firebox

We've had the custom-made evaporator pan for nearly 20 years. For a firebox, we started with a 55-gallon metal drum. Then we really improved our system with this new (to us) firebox with a firebrick lining.

My Sugar Shack

There's nothing fancy or shiny-new about our backyard maple syrup operation. But it gets the job done.

Big Shoes To Fill

As you probably already know, two giants in the world of Protestant Christianity have died this year. Billy Graham and R.C. Sproul were both powerful influences in my life. This needs to be acknowledged.

It was through the preaching of Billy Graham that I became aware of who Jesus Christ really was, and that I needed him as my Savior. 

The year was 1971. I was 13 years old. I heard the amazing story by watching a Billy Graham Crusade on my family's television. It was, of course, a black & white, with fuzzy reception (the antenna had to be adjusted just right to get the best picture).

Amazingly, 47 years later, that Billy Graham sermon can be watched again. Here is the link: Who Was Jesus-Chicago 1971 

It's worth noting that I did not become a follower of Billy Graham as a result of hearing him preach. I became a follower of Christ. There are many people in this world who consider themselves to be Christian, but they are not followers of Christ. There is a significant difference.

But Billy Graham has always been a special person to me.

And then, in more recent times (like, for the past 15 years, or so) it has been RC Sproul of Ligonier Ministries who greatly influenced my life and Christian walk. 

While Billy introduced me to Christ, it was RC Sproul who taught and fed me on the Word of God like I had never been fed before. R.C. went beyond giving milk to babes; he delivered the "strong meat" of scripture (as mentioned in the book of Hebrews). 

For me, with a Baptist foundation, and a foray into pentecostalism, hearing RC Sproul's full-bodied depth of Biblical exegesis, was like a drowning man being brought to the surface of the water. 

R.C introduced me to the concept of progressive sanctification, which is, I dare say, the primary message for Believers in the New Testament. I do not remember hearing this message before I heard it from R.C Sproul.

Besides that, the depths of my own depravity, contrasted against the grace and mercy of God became so much clearer to me (and central to my Christian walk) through the preaching and teaching of R.C. 

Hardly a day goes by that I do not listen to RC Sproul's teaching through his daily internet radio program, which is online at Ligonier Ministries, or can be heard on RefNet internet radio.

So it is that I am thankful to God for raising up men like Billy Graham and RC Sproul. Their gain, in death, is this world's loss. 

P.S. Billy Graham and R.C. Sproul both had solid, and long marriages. And neither was ever, to my knowledge, associated with financial or sexual scandals. They were not perfect men, of course, but they were godly men—true stalwarts of the faith they espoused.

27 February 2018

Sap Bucket Pings

This is a welcome sound of the season. If you have never experienced the sap bucket ping, here you go.

If this video is not showing in your browser, here is the YouTube link: Sap Bucket Pings

Maple Season Begins

We have only one gallon of homemade maple syrup left from last year. It's time to make more, and we are starting today.

Note: It appears that some web browsers are not letting the YouTube embed code show. Safari does, Chrome does not. This is a new problem to me and I'm not sure how to deal with it yet. Here is the link to the YouTube clip above, in case it is not working for you: Maple Season Begins

Black Toothpaste

Charcoal has definite health benefits, and I think toothpaste with activated charcoal makes a lot of sense. My wife bought a tube of this hello brand of black toothpaste a couple weeks ago and I've become a big fan of the product. 
"directions: apply to your fav bristles and brush like a boss. look in the mirror, dig your black teeth and take a selfie. fyi, black paste may be messy so please spit responsibly. smile often."
Yes, there is a novelty aspect to this product, but I do think my teeth are brighter and my breath is fresher after using this toothpaste.

Here's a link to the web site: Hello Activated Charcoal Toothpaste

Here's more copy from the back of the tube:
"free from artificial sweeteners, artificial flavors, dyes, fluoride, sls/sulfates, microbeads, parabens, triclosan, dairy, and gluten. #brushhappy"
It appears that this product is also free from all capitalization. What's with that?

26 February 2018

My Uncle Tom
Was A Real Hero

Uncle Tom, after the shootout.

Tom McCrea married my mother's sister, Dorothy. Uncle Tom was a Maine State Trooper. When I was seven years old, Uncle Tom was nearly killed by a crazed gunman on a rampage. I remember my mother telling me about it at the time. 

In my young mind I imagined Uncle Tom had a big smile on his face during the whole shootout, because Uncle Tom always had a big smile. Uncle Tom was a cool guy.

But I never knew all the details, and I never knew the remarkable "rest of the story" until I read this recent newspaper article by Nick McCrea: My Grandfather Won A Shootout, Then Befriended The Man Who Tried To Kill Him

It's the story of a shooting with a great ending.

The Deliberate Agrarian
Returns To Blogging

In August of 2016 I brought my blog, The Deliberate Agrarian to a close. I had written it for 11 years. That blog achieved a measure of popularity that, frankly, I was uncomfortable with. It was time to move on. 

I started another blog called Upland, and wrote that for awhile. Then I left that to focus on a YouTube video blog titled This Agrarian Life. I also started a personal Facebook page to connect with family and local friends. But none of those formats really suite me like The Deliberate Agrarian did. So I'm back.

Rather than restart the old DA blog, I am creating this new version. The primary difference will be brevity. While the original Deliberate Agrarian blog often had long, thoughtful posts, this 2.0 version will not have long posts. My intention is to post short (but still thoughtful) ruminations on a broader range of topics. 

I envision this as a sort-of Facebook page in it's brevity, but without all the silliness and time-wasting distractions of Facebook (I've grown to loathe Facebook for the time I've wasted there). 

Well, that's the plan. We'll see how it goes.

I invite you to join me on this new journey. You can sign up to get e-mail notices of new blog posts over on the right column.

Return Of
The Deliberate Agrarian

Dateline: 26 February 2018

I've resisted this idea long enough. 
Stay tuned...