Thursday, July 31, 2008

Apparently It Effects The Economy Too...

Apparently weird weather isn't the only thing caused by our nation's sin. I read a great article by Chuck Colson today about the banking crisis, and he hits the nail right on the head.

Here is an excerpt:

So where are we after years of unrestrained greed on Wall Street, coupled with a lack of prudence on the part of individual lenders and borrowers? Well, the U.S. economy is, to put it mildly, shaken, as is the world economy. Second, due to the unscrupulous behavior of a few, the Fed, the SEC, and Congress are ready to step in and regulate the markets more than ever.

I guess I could say, “I told you so.” For months I have argued on “BreakPoint” that the cause of the market meltdown was moral failure. Free markets—capitalism itself—can thrive only when corporations and individuals exercise moral restraint. When those restraints fail, government regulation is sure to follow; which, in turn, makes free markets less efficient, and certainly less free.

Moral restraint, you see, requires a set of morals—beliefs that some things are right, and some things wrong. To put it more simply, moral restraint requires a biblical worldview.  (This is my favorite part. - J)

President Bush has often said he gave up drinking when Christ came into his life. Well, Wall Street and the greedy mortgage brokers might invite Christ in to help them recover their own morality.

- Chuck Colson

Until we realize that God is always right and anything that disagrees with Him is always wrong, we will continue to have messes like this and even bigger ones. God's laws were put in place because the Creator of all things knows what works and what doesn't. When we disobey God's Word (the Bible) we set in motion the negative consequences that are the guaranteed result of that disobedience. God in His love for us put His law in place to protect us from the consequences of sin just like a loving father would tell his child not to touch a hot stove.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Here's Looking At You

Proximate galaxies that look like a pair of glowering eyes.It is a little unnerving when you look through the telescope and see someone looking back!

Cal Does It Again

In our self-obsessed, entitlement age, politicians send the message that if you're breathing you should expect a government check. Few want to hear a message about personal responsibility and accountability. The Obama disciples want to hear more about what government will do for them, not what they can do for themselves in a free country that offers opportunity to those who will seize it. They want to punish "the rich," who they used to want to emulate, but now just envy. And so those few who are already paying more than half the taxes are told they aren't paying enough.

- Cal Thomas (from his op/ed piece at

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Summer Booty

A basket of fruit and vegetables from the garden with canned tomatoes and squash behind.
Hi folks! Here is some of the "booty" from the garden. Shame on you for thinking it would be something else!

A conjoined summer squash.If you look at the picture closely (you can click on the picture for a larger view) you will see straight neck summer squash, ruby queen corn, cantaloupe, a few purplehull peas, tomatoes, silver queen corn, and bell peppers. You can also see the tomatoes and squash we have canned so far. Unfortunately the green garden peas didn't make it into the picture. They are in freezer cartons in the deep freeze. (Did you notice the double squash next to the silver queen corn?)

The garden is doing very well. We have harvested almost all of the ruby queen corn today, and my first harvest of the bell peppers netted about 20 really nice peppers. We are getting abundant tomatoes, and they are really beginning to get some size to them.

Immature Purplehull PeasI picked the first purplehull peas today. Picking them when they are really coming in is going to be a challenge. I planted them a little too close together. Next year I think that I'll allow more space and I may string them too to keep them from crossing up so much. They are a mass of peas now. There is no semblance of where the rows are. Does anyone have a machete that I can borrow?

I have gotten a couple ears of silver queen corn too. It will be ready en masse in a couple weeks. I think that it is time to indoctrinate my niece and nephew to the wonderful summertime tradition of the corn silking....

And we got the first cantaloupes today! We are currently waging a war with the field rats that have discovered that they are full of seeds. They don't seem to care much for the melon, they just want the seeds. If the little beggars would wait, I'd give them all the seeds they could manage, but they had to do it the hard way.

I thought that the garden peas were done, but it looks like they are putting on some new growth. I had planned to pull them up, but I think that I'll hold off for a week to see what they do.

The okra is over my head now. I was out spraying it today and it was like being in the jungle. It has finally started to bloom, so I should be getting okra soon. Perhaps I'll pickle some.

Fordhook Lima BeansI have never seen the fordhook lima beans so full of bloom. I do believe that I am going to have my hands full when it comes to picking time - and that time is quickly approaching. The plants are full of bean pods and they are beginning to fill out. I do not look forward to standing on my head to pick them!

I guess my brother really did pick off a lot of blooms when he was a kid!

Which reminds me. He has been up to his old tricks again. Our surveillance cameras have provided us with all of the evidence that we needed.

Chris Eller picking blossoms off of the Fordhook Lima Beans

When he was down visiting, my brother took some really interesting pictures of the garden. I never knew he was such a good photographer. You can see them at his Flickr site.

This is all for now. I have many more updates to give, but they will have to wait for another time!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Good Grief!

Unbelievable. It has been over a week since I last posted - AGAIN. I am so sorry about that. I have been quite busy lately. My web design opportunities have been increasing and that takes more time. My garden is also requiring more and more time. I really wish that God had given us more than 24 hours a day (and the ability to run for more hours along with the increase.) An extra 8 hours would be great. Especially if you could still get by on 6-8 hours of sleep. I'll do my best to get you caught up in the next couple of days.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Sad News

Dixie's Coffee Roasters LogoUnfortunately, the StillWaters Jazz Band will not be able to perform at this weekend's Farmers' Day celebration (July 19, 2008) in China Grove.

One of the band members had a medical situation come up in their family.

We are all really disappointed to not be able to play for everyone this weekend. Hopefully, we will be able to play for you all again very soon.

Come on out and enjoy the festivities anyway. It should be a great time. And while you are there, don't forget to get some refreshment at Dixie's - the coolest shop on Main Street!

Happy Bastille Day...

I am so glad that the American Revolution didn't go the way the French one did.

Sorry I haven't posted much lately. I have had lots of fires to put out... in fact, I nearly had a literal fire today.

I was out mowing and started seeing smoke. Well, when I stopped there was a black and ominously smoking patch of grass on the mower deck. I scraped out as much as I could and called it a day. That's the last thing I need!

How would you explain that one at the pearly gates? "How did you die?"

"Well, my lawn mower caught fire..."

I can just see it now.

Things are getting pretty busy around and I just haven't had a lot of spare time to write. It is a shame because I have a lot of things that I would like to say, just not a lot of time in which to say them. Most of the stuff I want to write about will take me a while to say just the right way and will require a little research. I will do my best to get you caught up on my various threads of activity.

The garden is still doing well. The garden peas are about done it looks like. I need to pick them tomorrow. I won't go into too much about that right now because I want to do a full garden post this week, so I'll keep you in suspense for a bit.

I am also starting to get busy doing web design. I have a couple things that are pressing right now. Unfortunately, that takes precedence over blogging. Still it looks like my self-education has begun to pay off.

I have also begun to work with the youth at my church to put together a youth praise band. We had our first rehearsal last night and they did very well. We managed to get through "Take My Life" and it sounded about good enough for them to lead the congregation. We also started on "Every Step I Take." We didn't get all the kinks worked out, but I think that next week we'll probably have that one conquered too. I'm really impressed by the talent in this little country church.

Well, I suppose that is about all I will tackle for tonight. Hope all is well for you, and I'll be writing again soon!

Untitled Hymn (Come To Jesus)

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Died On The Fourth Of July

A Very Young Jesse HelmsI was saddened to learn this morning that Jesse Helms died yesterday, July 4, 2008. Yahoo! News ran a no-gloss story about him this morning. It seems appropriate that he would die on our nation's birthday. Some truly great American statesmen (including John Adams and Thomas Jefferson) have died on the anniversary of our freedom. Jesse Helms was certainly worthy of this title and the honor of dying on the 4th of July.

Jesse Helms was the only other American politician that I know that was as maligned and hated as much as George W. Bush. I think that is because both of them had something in common: they both believed in standing up for what they believed was right and in the best interest of their constituency and frankly didn't care who it offended.

Jesse Helms in enlisted US Navy uniformIt turns out that there are a lot of people who really don't like it when you tell them the truth. I guess Jesus Christ found this out too. Not that Jesse or Dubya are or were perfect - far from it. I never liked Jesse's racist tendencies. But no one would question that these men stood for what they believed. (Whether you like what they believed or not.) Perhaps the good news is that there are a lot of people who DO like people who have some character and some spine.

I decided to post the headline picture today because Jesse Helms had so many really bad pictures published throughout his lifetime. I guess a pretty big part of that came from journalists who hated him (this was nearly universal it seemed) and picked the worst, most unflattering picture they could to run with stories about him.

Governor Ronald Reagan, Dot Helms, and Senator Jesse HelmsI had the opportunity to meet Jesse when I was in High School. I wish I had a picture. I was honored to receive a nomination to West Point from Senator Helms back in the late 80s. It was then that I began to respect him more and more as a sharp-minded conservative. I began to take a greater interest in politics, and noticed how he voted. I cannot recall a single time that I checked that Senator Helms had not voted in a way that was pleasing to me. Both he and Ronald Reagan influenced my political thought significantly. They will always be my two favorite politicians. Dubya comes in a close third. It is just sad to me that two of them have died, and one is very close to the end of his political career.

Bono and Senator Jesse HelmsPerhaps one of the most shocking things that happened during Jesse's tenure in office was his meeting and befriending of U2 lead singer Bono. It caught even his (probably both Bono's and Senator Helms') fans totally off guard. It was this friendship that caused Senator Helms to soften the stances that he had taken on a few issues. And in a way, I think that it shows that there was far more to this man than the media allowed us to learn. I believe and hope that history will vindicate him one day.

As far as I am concerned, Jesse Helms will be missed sorely. He was one of the pillars in American society that made me believe that everything wasn't so bad - that there was still hope. Ronald Regan was another. Even though they weren't actively involved in American politics it was comforting to know that they were still there. Now both are gone, and that makes me wonder if anyone will step up to take the mantle that they have left behind.

Thursday, July 03, 2008


Jonathan Eller's garden 7_1_08Here are some pictures from the garden from earlier this week. I didn't get out to the garden today. I'm sure that I'll be shocked at what has transpired since I called it a day yesterday afternoon.

From this angle you can see the cantaloupe in the foreground with the purplehulls in the rows just above. The purplehulls have really taken off this week and have grown so much that you can't really see the ground between the rows. I am expecting them to start blooming any day now.

Green tomatoes on the vine.The tomatoes are really starting to get larger. They have been getting a little more attention lately. Dad and I decided that they were looking a little too spindly and not quite healthy and green enough.

They have been getting more water, fertilizer, Calcinit Tropicote® and extra cultivation. They have also gotten a fresh spraying of Sevin® as well to keep the aphids from making the leaves curl up. They seem to be responding quickly.

Wando green peas nearly ready for harvestThe green peas are just about ready to pick. I hadn't even noticed the pods on the plants when my dad asked if I had seen the peas. I looked, and lo and behold, there were some on there that were nearly ready to pick! You'll almost certainly have to expand the picture to be able to see them.

I very well may be picking some tomorrow. We'll have to see how many are ready and decide if I think that they will get a little bigger.

Sweet bell pepperThe sweet bell peppers are really starting to grow too. I was very surprised to find one this big on the plant. The last ones I had noticed were about dime sized.

The plants are still much shorter than I think they should probably be, but I don't guess it matters as long as they are producing. They will certainly benefit from the additional water being given to the tomatoes. They also got a fresh dose of fertilizer this week.

Yellow straight neck squash ripeningI also have my first squash ready to harvest. I took this picture on Tuesday and left these on to give them a chance to get up to "grocery store" size. They should be ready tomorrow.

They are also beginning to show some improvement thanks to an increase in their water ration.

Jonathan Eller standing next to his corn plantsI showed some pictures of the corn the other day and I am really enjoying watching its development too. The corn is now WAY over my head.

I discovered something else that I didn't know yesterday when I was spraying the corn... bees work corn. I had always heard that corn was pollinated by the wind, so I went along spraying it to keep the bugs and worms out of it.

Closeup photo of blossoms on Ruby Queen corn tasselsHowever, about halfway through the first row I noticed bees up on the tassels. There are tiny little flowers on the tassels that the bees were working.

I felt terrible when I realized that I had probably killed a few bees in my ignorance. (I used to be a beekeeper, and those little gals have a special place in my heart. Hopefully they noticed that something was amiss and avoided the tainted blossoms.)

It would seem that harvest season has begun. It would be wonderful if it turned out to be a metaphor for something that God is doing both in my life and in this region.


Rocks along the edge of Jonathan Eller's gardenAs I promised earlier, here is a picture of the garden with all of the stones that I had hoed up and raked to the edge. (You'll probably have to click on the photo to be able to see it.)

Granted, this really doesn't look like much to the untrained eye. I will tell you that the "wall" ran along this side of the garden and across the far end.

Yesterday I began the arduous task of removing these rocks with the help (thankfully) of my dad, who came up with a very clever method that helped to make the job more efficient. I didn't quite get finished - I had to quit early to get ready for praise band practice last night at church.

However, I did manage to get approximately 2/3 of the rocks up.

Rocks in the bed of a Dodge Dakota pickup truck.Would you like to see how many there were? I thought that you would. Here you go...

That was enough weight to make the truck bottom out when I drove through an intersection last night. Just so you can get a feel, the truck is a Dodge Dakota and the stones are piled to over half the height of the tailgate and extend all the way to the back of the wheel wells. The rocks between the wheel wells are gravel-sized.

A big pile of rocksAs I have looked at this, I don't think that there are QUITE as many as I took away on the first load, but it is plenty!

This time when I unloaded the rocks I began to grade them a little bit. I separated them into Small Medium and Large. I wish I had thought about doing that the first time. It would have made my building project much easier. (I am planning to build a stone wall around a raised bed for growing some blueberries.)

This project isn't quite finished. I still have a row of rocks about 45 feet long to get up. I'll be glad to have this chore complete! By the way, does anyone know a geologist or gemologist in the NC Piedmont? I have found some interesting rocks that I would like to have identified.... It would be a shame to put a priceless gemstone into a retaining wall!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Got Mud?

Joshua Dellinger on his dirtbike, starting the race in Denver, NC on June 29, 2008I attended my first dirtbike race this past Sunday. I have to say that it was absolutely nothing like I imagined it would be.

When I arrived at the track I was greeted by someone who gave me a liability waiver to sign and charged me the $5 to get in. I thought a liability waiver for a spectator was a little odd, but I'll get to that in a bit.

First of all I did not expect all that many people to be there. I could not believe how many people were at this race. It was only the grace of God that led me to the people that I was trying to meet and a parking space.

Joshua Dellinger on his dirtbike, starting the race in Denver, NC on June 29, 2008Secondly, I really thought that the race course would be much more viewable and much more secure. As it was you could only see a few feet of the course and the only way to go to different vantage points was to literally walk ON the track while the race was going on. Yes, you read that correctly. People were actually allowed to walk on the course while the race was taking place. You had to get out of the way when the riders were coming by.

Is it just me or does this sound like a fatality just waiting to happen? In fact, I saw a toddler nearly run down (accidentally) by some racers that were trying to go around a pile up. In the place where I was standing to take the main picture the track narrowed to a rut about 10 inches wide with spectators less than 20 inches from the racers themselves. This was common all along the course. Add to that the fact that the track was slick with mud and there were numerous inexperienced riders out racing. Doesn't sound very safe to you? Me either! Now I understand the waiver.

Josh Dellinger racing dirtbikes in Denver, NCUnfortunately for my nephew the muddiness of the course pretty well ruined it for him. He hates riding in mud. I can't say that I can blame him. I was pretty sick of the stuff too by the time the race was over. I was wearing my fair share. Fortunately, as far as I know there were no major injuries this weekend. My guess is that some guardian angels are going to have some words with a few folk one of these days!

Ever Seen Baby Corn Before?

A 'baby' ear of cornI grew up in the country around such things, but never saw the beginning of an ear of corn before yesterday.

I'm not exactly sure why this is. It is either that I wasn't curious enough to try to find out, or I just wasn't around at the right time in the process. Either way, I thought I'd share this with you just in case you would also like to know.

Here is the thing that just amazes me with this garden thing: the stuff happens so dang fast! I mean one day you're out working and notice that something is starting to change a little bit and then BOOM! All of a sudden it has happened. It is so easy to miss the miracle if you don't see it pretty regularly.

In the picture above you can see the very beginning of an ear of corn. (Coming out right between the stalk and the leaf.) This began just days after the tassels began to show up at the top of the corn.

Red Ruby Queen corn silkWhat is really cool is that it doesn't stay like this very long. Within a day or two BAM! You already have silk! Isn't that the coolest?!

Now this picture is from my Ruby Queen corn. Something you will notice about this is that instead of having white or golden colored silk this corn has red silk!

That isn't all. It also has red pollen on the tassels too. You'll probably have to click on the picture below to enlarge it so that you can see the color on the tassel.

Red pollen on Ruby Queen corn tasselsI don't know. Maybe I am easily impressed, but I just think this is one of the coolest things that I have witnessed.

It is a lot of fun to actually see this stuff happening instead of showing up after all of the amazing bits have already taken place and it is time to start working.

If you have never grown anything from a seed you should really do it sometime just so that you can watch the miracle take place.

Jonathan Eller being dwarfed by his cornI planted this corn and it was a tiny seed... barely the size of a pencil's eraser. Within seven days it had already popped up through the soil, and now it has grown from that tiny seed to the point that most of it is over 6 feet tall and is beginning to produce fruit!

All of this has transpired in less than two months. According to the seed packet I should be enjoying the corn that I grew myself by the end of July. This just rocks!

Anniversary Of The Battle Of Gettysburg

The Field At Gettysburg, PA
Today is the anniversary of the beginning of the Battle of Gettysburg. This battle was known as the "high water mark of the Confederacy." A good chunk of my family recently visited the battlefield while visiting my brother in Maryland.

I remember my first visit to Gettysburg. Some friends from Lancaster County, PA took me to see it while I was up visiting with them. I guess it was kind of old hat to them, but it was my first visit and I was frankly stunned by it. There is certainly a feeling of the gravity of what took place there.

One of the most shocking things was that the very first place we stopped was the bluff where the NC troops assembled. I was standing in the very place that most of my male ancestors from that generation had stood. Many of them came back much worse for the wear. It was eerie. Perhaps later I will tell more about some of their stories... I'll also try to get some old photos uploaded.

In the meantime you can read more about the battle at the Free Dictionary if you so desire.

Price Reduced!

Green 1971 Buick Skylark 4 Door Front View

The price of that 1971 4-door Buick Skylark my dad is selling has been reduced!
The new price is $2,999.

Green 1971 Buick Skylark 4 Door Right Front Quarter Panel View

Here are some additional pictures of the car. You can click on any of them to see a high resolution picture.

Green 1971 Buick Skylark 4 Door Left Front Quarter Panel View

It's a one-owner car. It was bought new and only has right around 100,000 miles on the original engine.

Green 1971 Buick Skylark 4 Door Right Rear Quarter Panel View

The car has only been in one accident ever and the body damage was very slight. Some repairs have been done.

Green 1971 Buick Skylark 4 Door Left Rear Quarter Panel View

All of the interior is original. Most of the engine is original as well.

Green 1971 Buick Skylark 4 Door Rear View

The car was kept in a garage most of its life.

Green 1971 Buick Skylark 4 Door Engine View
If this is what you are looking for, just leave me a comment with your contact information. I won't publish it, but will get back in touch with you ASAP.