What is a "tiehacker"?

"Tiehacker" is a term originating in the Ozark hills of southern Missouri. It referred to a class of people from WAY back in the hills that made a living cutting trees into ties for the railroad. I first heard the term from my wife shortly after we married. I had been working outside all day and was dirty and stinky. She had learned it from her father, and thought it just meant "a bum". Never having heard it before, I looked it up. Although I am not really a bum, I thought it was interesting, and I do have a life-long love affair going with the Ozark hills, so ... there you have it!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

This year's garden is planted!

A friend posted this to my Facebook page recently, and I couldn't resist sharing it.
Ya see, I was raised right by my father. One is to root for two baseball teams. First and foremost, for our beloved Cardinals. Second, for whoever is playing the Cubs. Hee hee!

I did it! I did it! Finally got a garden in!

I have this really bad habit of dreaming of a big project, and then when I am unable to get it off the ground, just letting go completely.

Well, this year I resisted the urge to think about a big garden, and wind up with nothing. I went with a small garden, a test garden if you want to call it that. A little over four foot square.

I knew I wanted a raised bed rather than ground level, for two reasons. It is easier on my chronically aching back. And, my yard soil is so bad, mostly clay, typical of the Saint Louis area.

So, day before yesterday, I picked a spot near the house that gets a fair amount of sun. The existing plant life needed to go; I didn't want the grass and weeds to work their way up through the new layer of soil and causing problems. So, I thought, briefly, of getting out the hoe and shovel and digging all the grass and weeds out, down to bare dirt. Then I realized that wasn't necessary. The grass had recently been mowed and was still fairly short. Covering it with cardboard would kill it yet still allow for water to drain through.

I had a large corrugated cardboard box that was ready to be recycled, so I opened it up flat, and it was just the right size. I laid it flat on top of the grass, and poked a few holes in it to facilitate drainage and allow earthworms to work their way up into the raised bed. Next, I needed to make the sides of the bed. I didn't have any 2"x8" lumber around, but I did have some concrete blocks. So I used those instead.

Daisy, of course, has to supervise my efforts.

You notice that the cardboard extends past the end of the bed. I'm going to leave it like that. If this works out, I plan on extending it to a full 4'x8' bed next year, and so the cardboard will already be in place.

I had a couple of 40-lb bags of topsoil handy, so I dumped those in. There was also a big bucket of potting mix salvaged from various planters that only had dead things in them. (The Debster's thumb is even browner than mine.) That got tossed in, after I cleaned out the old roots and stuff. Finally, I added three two-cubic foot bags of garden soil mix from the local big-box hardware store. That filled everything up just right. I raked it smooth and called it a day.

Yesterday morning, when I got home from my midnight shift job, I saw the dirt had been dug in and messed up sometime during the night. I'm fairly sure one of our dogs did the deed, although the Debster said that it wasn't them. She said she let them out once or twice during the night (Stempy's meds make him go often and a lot), and she didn't see them go to the dirt. But I know my dogs, and I know that the Debster didn't have a good view of the planting bed from her vantage point near the back door. Not to mention it was a dark night with poor visibility. So who knows?

Anyway, yesterday morning, the Debster had a dentist appointment and Stempy had a vet appointment. On the way home, we stopped and picked up some plants. I got busy.

All told, in this small-ish bed, I have two tomato plants, four Romaine lettuces, a zucchini, a green bell pepper, a cucumber, half a dozen spinach plants, a couple dozen red onion sets, three sweet basil plants, two rosemary, and a clump of onion chives. There is room for more. I will probably add garlic chives and some more onion sets this weekend. (We eat a LOT of onions!)

If I can figure a way to keep the pesky rabbits away from my little garden, we should be able to harvest a little produce later this year. And this fall, if everything goes right, I'll replace the blocks with a 4'x8' wooden box, and add more topsoil to fill it up. The blocks will probably then go into a firepit that I'm kinda sorta planning. But that's for another post later on.

Well, that's enough for today. As always, thanks for reading, and please feel free to share this with anyone that you think might be even remotely interested!

God bless!
Ron, and the Debster

Friday, April 3, 2015

Love, sex, and marriage

The following is a post I wrote on Facebook the other day:
Heb 13:4 ESV "Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous."
Physical intimacy between a husband and his wife is a wonderful gift from God Himself, the "glue" that holds a marriage together (Gen 2:24), and the means by which He chose to bring children into this world. As such it is, in a real sense, a sacred thing.
God has made Himself quite clear on this subject.
Physical intimacy between a married man and a woman not his wife is ADULTERY, a SIN.
Physical intimacy between a married woman and a man not her husband is ADULTERY, a SIN.
Physical intimacy between unmarried man and an unmarried woman is FORNICATION, a SIN.
Physical intimacy between a man and another man is an UNNATURAL ACT, a SIN.
Physical intimacy between a woman and another woman is an UNNATURAL ACT, a SIN.
Physical intimacy between a human and an animal is an ABOMINATION, a SIN.
Jesus also made clear (Matt 5:28) that not just the physical act of (sinful) intimacy is wrong, but even mentally contemplating it is as much as sin as the act itself. As a married man, I don't have to actually be intimate with another woman to be guilty of adultery, all I would have to do is to "look on a woman to lust after her".
Do I look for a return to a hypocritical prudery? No, of course not. Do I think that we should make a crime out of all forms of sexual immorality? No. As a freedom-loving American, I recognize, and even cherish, the legal right for any individual to act in any way (s)he sees fit, provided no one else is coerced into it or physically injured by it.
I have many friends and relatives that live in immoral heterosexual relationships, and several that are practicing homosexuals. I love them all, unconditionally. They all, I think, know what I think and feel about this, and with a few exceptions are willing to accept me as I do them. (A few are not so kind, but oh well. I love them anyway, even though they don't believe that.)
I am not naive. Both of my parents had been married and divorced before they got together. And just to add a little more spice to it, I was born on their wedding night. (Talk about a buzzkill on a honeymoon!) Doesn't mean I think less of them. Anyone who knows me at all knows that I practically worshiped them, especially my father.
Some fifty years or so ago, the so-called "sexual revolution" tore our society to shreds. Lifelong monogamy is out. Serial marriage is in; just the other night the entertainer Jennifer Lopez, on American Idol [what a telling name that is!], joked about how many men to whom she has been married. A television show now almost must have a homosexual character to be truly successful. And now, I understand, one very popular daytime drama (soap opera), unveiled a major character as a transgender woman-that-used-to-be-a-man. Who knows what will be showing up in mainstream "entertainment" in the coming years and decades? I sure don't.
Once upon a time, the homosexual lobby pressed for toleration, to be allowed to act as they wanted. That was granted. Now, however, they are going much further, demanding not only toleration but celebration. And they are winning.
It is almost amusing to watch as people fall all over themselves to cater to them. Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, went on the offensive against the recent Indiana Restoration of Freedom of Religion Act, saying they won't do business in a state that "discriminates" like that. Yet Apple aggressively pursues business in Saudi Arabia, where homosexuals not only don't get wedding cakes, they get EXECUTED. (O Hypocrisy, thy logo is a partially eaten apple!) President Obama, who a few years ago as a state senator in Illinois, voted FOR a virtually identical law in that state, has condemned Indiana's law. Can anyone say flip-flop?
I am not perfect. Never have been. Never will be as long as I inhabit this body that came equipped with a well-functioning sinful nature. (These days, that's just about the only thing that still works perfectly LOL!) It is only by the grace of God that I will not have to suffer His wrath and His judgement for the sins that I have committed, and they are many and varied, believe me.
But Jesus, the Son of God, came into this world to save sinners like me. He was born of a virgin, lived a perfectly sin-free life for some 33 years. He trained as a carpenter under his human step-father, then ministered to thousands for about three years. He gathered a small group of loyal followers, but was executed by the Roman government at the behest of the religious leaders because He had the audacity to claim to be the Son of God, and equal with God. But that grave couldn't even hold Him a whole weekend! On the third day, a Sunday, He rose from the dead and burst free from the tomb! (Much of the world will be celebrating the anniversary of that event this weekend, as a matter of fact.) He conquered sin and death, and even now sits in heaven waiting for the day that His Father sends Him back to earth to collect His followers. He bestows repentance, forgiveness, eternal life and eternal joy to all who believe in Him and trust in Him alone for salvation. He will save forever all whom He calls.
Do you hear Him calling you? If so, don't wait to respond. Take the plunge! It may seem scary at first, I know it did to me, but the rewards sure make up for it! And the greatest is this: God is now my Father, and Jesus is my beloved Savior, and no greater joy can be found than that!