All posts by Derek

Garden Late Summer 2022

With several days of rain and wet weather from late summer thunderstorms, the plants in our garden “explode” in their growth.  Sure I have been hand watering them every now and then, but several days of rain achieve much much more than my small watering can.

All around the world, this summer has been plagued by drought and heat wave that seriously hampered crop production.  Even the UN and the powers that be have warned the public repeatedly that food shortage is coming very soon.  On top of that, the war in Ukraine has disrupted the global supply of energy and subsequently the fertilizer production.  With higher prices and drought, farmers are either not growing or having to cut back on production.

I have read that a farmer cannot harvest his crop because he cannot afford the hydro bill for refrigeration, he can only watch his crop lay waste in the fields.

It reminds me that it is the Lord who gives rain to the earth so that it can bring forth food for us and the animals to eat.  Could this be His judgement on mankind who are rebelling against His word and His son Jesus Christ?

At any rate, I thank God that he sent some rain to our little garden.

Spinach in the new garden beds.
Beets in the new garden beds.
The zucchinis are finally giving fruits.
Swiss Chard
Green beans – Provider variety.
This is sugar baby watermelon.
Sweet potato plants.
Look how big the mama squash have become!
The cucumbers did not grow well this year.  I only got 1 cuke from each plant, versus 3 or 4  previously.
My 2 youngest helpers in the garden.  I sincerely wish every child in every family can learn and try to grow his/her own food.

Garden Mid Summer 2022

Now that we are well into summer, I have gained more knowledge about the new garden.

First of all, certain areas of the garden do not get any sunlight until 10 a.m. in the morning, so I should plant cool season veggies in that area.

Secondly, the soil is pretty sandy so nutrients would drain more easily after watering or rainfall.  To rectify this I need to add more compost and organic fertilizer.

Thirdly, there are a lot of ants on my property.  I need to use diatomaceous earth and “borex+sugar” combo to control their population.

Because of a new construction, a large pile of soil was dumped at the back and my children have been diligently helping me in building new garden beds.  Now I am 45 years old, I honestly cannot do too much shovelings any more.  Thank you so much kids!

 

Each bed is about 4 ft wide and 20 ft long, with a 20 inch path in between.  My children did a really good job in forming the soil.
As you can see, the garden is surrounded by tall trees, but certain area can still get 6-8 hours of sunlight.
I am covering the path with woodchips and the new beds with sheep/straw manure.
My son planted 3 new blueberry plants
I asked my daughter to build a water barrel stand close to the garden so that we don’t have to walk all the way back to the house to get water.
The tomato plants are doing well.  This year I tried the string trellis method.
This is sweet mama squash starting to spread everywhere.

Electric Fence

After building the Mobile Sheep Shed, the next step is to setup the electric fence for better pasture management.  We sub-divide the 2 acre pasture into 4 smaller lots, using electric wire and step-in post.  This year, I upgraded the charger into a “all-in-one” unit by Parmak.

It is always a good idea to use a more powerful (more joule/energy output) unit that one can afford.  This unit does not come with any lead wire so I have to make my own.  Also, a  ground rod placed 3 feet away from the charger is a must for any electric fence system.

This is the all-in-one energizer unit with built-in solar panel and battery.
Electric wire and step-in posts. Looking from above, the electric fences would form a “+” shape.  We place the mobile sheep shed close to the intersection of the “+”.

Mobile Sheep Shed

Our sheep and goats need a shelter on the pasture so we have to build a new one.  Since it is our intention to subdivide the pasture into smaller sections using movable electric fence, I thought that I should make a mobile shed, much like the chicken tractor.

Size of shed is 7.5″ x 10″.  First we built the four walls.  Using 2x4s only.
All the walls connected.  Next we would put leftover steel panels as roof and sidings.  We would also put 4 lawn mower wheels to help us move the shed around.
The front of the finish product.
The back of the shed.

A New Beginning

Readers, I apologize that I have not been posting any updates since we moved to our new property in fall 2021.  There were many things to do and adjust.  As you know, it is hard to pick up something after you have stopped for a long while.  But spring is here and I am hoping to resume our country/farm journey on our little blog.

The previous owner did not plant any garden, so we have to start from scratch.  There is, however, a silver lining (somewhat).  Our property has a lot more trees than our previous home so there is no lack of dead branches which can be turned into wood chips.

Have you ever seen utility crew cutting down branches and using a big machine to turn an entire tree into wood chips within 10 seconds?  Well, that is not what I have.

I purchased a 4″ wood chipper from TMG Industrial. I spent quite some time in research and finally plunged a good sum of money into this chipper.  “You get what you paid for” is a true saying in most cases.  From what I gathered, many small chippers under $1000 are only good for a season or 2.

Now I could elect to rent a commercial 12″ chipper but that would cost me $500 per day (ouch!)The tiny chipper did not disappoint me though and as long as I feed it with branches under 3″ in diameter, it keeps churning out fresh wood chips!

 

 

 

This will be our new garden.
The last thing we did before winter after the move was to plan some garlic.
We planted 50 asparagus crowns  2 days ago and one of them has already sent a shoot up!
 

New seedlings of tomato, zucchini, cucumber, squash and watermelon waiting to be planted in ground after Victoria Day.

Potatoes.
This is my new 4″ wood chipper.  Most woodchips you see in the garden came from this tiny workhorse (some from a tree company).
These are some of the dead branches waiting to be turned into woodchips.  It is an arduous task to cut down, pile and trim these branches so that they can fee properly into the wood chipper.

Garden Mid Summer 2021

It is a hot summer with high humidity this year. I have been busy working on our new home and property. It is difficult to leave a property that we have lived on for 15 years. All of our children grew up on this piece of land and I have spent so much time and effort in building up the garden, fruit tress, vines,fences, sheds and what not.

I pray that the next owner would benefit and take good care of this land.

 

I made a mistake this year of growing the cabbages too close to each other.
But some of them turn out alright.  I love savoy cabbage.  Comparing to green cabbage, they are less prone to split.
My 3 apple trees that I have grown for years.
This is Pristine apple tree which I planted in 2007.  It did not give any blossoms (so no fruits) for 10 years!

I once wanted to chop it down and replace it with another variety,  I am glad I did not give in.  Since 2018, it has been bearing good crops of apples each year.

Pristine is an early mature apple and read to pick in August.

I think I have over 400 apples from the single Pristine apple tree this year.

About 40% were dropped prematurely, but they were not wasted: the chickens love pecking at the apples.

This is Somerset grape that I planted in 2014.  It is a table grape variety.

I am going to miss my grape vines and fruit trees.

Every time I prune my vines, it reminds me of the teaching from Jesus Christ in the Book of John.

“For any branch that does not bear fruit, God would cut it down.  For any branch that does bear fruit, God would prune it so that it would bear more fruits.” (paraphrasing)

One can certainly learn some gardening tips from the Great Gardener in Heaven.

Garden in 2021 Spring

We had a surprise cold and wet snow morning on May 28 and the snap killed some of the beans, cucumbers, sweet potatoes and tomatoes seedlings already planted in the garden.  Usually it is pretty safe to transplant after Victoria Day, but nobody can control the weather and thus it reminds me that all of us, Christians or not, depend everything on God and Jesus Christ for his mercy and grace:

That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.  (Matthew 5:45)
Garlic is growing tall already.
Apple trees in their full blossom.
Salad greens growing in the mini greenhouse since April.
Chickens on pasture again.  They sure look happier.

Civil Disobedience of a Brave Edmonton Pastor (Now in JAIL) and His Wonderful Sermon on Romans 13

(Source from Rebel News)

In Alberta, religious services are limited to 15 per cent of a building’s fire code capacity. The restrictions on attendance are meant to mitigate COVID case counts, even though the numbers have plummeted and hospitalizations are down to less than half of what they were a month ago.

When GraceLife refused to turn away congregants to meet the arbitrary 15 per cent rule, and when the church did not force congregants to wear masks, it was put under weekly surveillance by local police and Alberta Health Services inspectors.

Pastor James received a $1,200 fine for violating a public health order, and eventually, when he continued to defy the 15 per cent capacity restriction, an executive order from the chief medical officer of health to close the church was issued.

That piece of paper meant nothing to a congregation and a pastor that are compelled by their faith to gather together to worship every week, and so they’ve continued.

On February 7 2011, Pastor James was arrested in his office for holding services. He was released and the following Sunday, February 14, he again held services while local RCMP waited outside.

However, the police did not arrest Pastor James again last Sunday. Instead they asked him to come and turn himself in on the following business day.

He turned himself in on February 18.


Finally, a brave Christian minster who has the courage to stand up and tell the government that they have overstepped their God ordained boundary in controlling worship services.  I know that some Christians have been citing Romans 13 as biblical proof that we have to obey government regulations.

However, it is clear to me that when God’s commandments are being violated by government authority, Christians are no longer under obligation to  obey human authority.  What is God’s commandment regarding worship?  To gather physically with other believers and worship the Lord together.  No, Zoom meeting cannot replace physical worship.

And what should we do if government forbids us to gather together?  According to Acts 5:29:

"But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men."

During this pandemic, Christians have failed to show the world that we are children of God.  I personally know that many Christians are afraid to attend church because of covid.  However, they have no problem going to Walmart or Costco.  By obeying government and stopping in-person gathering, we are following the world.

(James 4:4) You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

So Christians would ask “What if we catch the virus and are tested positive?”  Again, that is the very reason we need to gather in person:

(James 5:15) Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.

I am pretty sure your elders will not be able to lay hands and pour oil on you during Zoom meeting.

If we read history, during REAL pandemics, the Church remained open and was the social hub for the sick and despair.  Not only were the churches being opened, people were being cared for physically and spiritually.  God’s healing power was manifested when Christians acted differently than the world.

Sadly, most Christians today are too afraid to get sick or die and they forget that death is nothing to be afraid of.  It is actually better to die and be with the Lord in glory.

Of course, I don’t mean I want to be sick and drag my family down.  I would definitely practise good hygiene like washing hands but NOT wearing masks as much as possible.  I would definitely boost up my immune system by taking vitamins C & D and NOT taking vaccines.

Anyway, please pray for Pastor James Coates and watch his last sermon before he went to jail.  It is one of the best sermons I have heard regarding authority of government and church:

Civil Disobedience of a Brave Toronto Restaurant Owner

Last year, there was a Toronto barbecue restaurant owner who purposely engaged in civil disobedience.  He recently released a news statement that I think it is worthwhile for one to watch.  What he said are plain common sense, yet as I said before, the government does have a dark agenda to impose unlawful and unconstitutional lockdowns (lookup Great Reset).  The lockdowns are against our Canadian Charter.  The government’s own health statistics do not support any pandemic situation with more than 95-99% of “resolved” (meaning recovered from covid) cases.

That means in every 100 positive cases (remember 50% change of false positive AND a positive case does not mean having symptoms), 95 to 99 of people will be healthy again.  Wow!!  What kind of “pandemic” is that?

My aged father is very afraid of covid, but I don’t blame him because most people blindly listen to major media who are simply mouthpiece of the government.  Our freedom is being stripped away in front of our eyes.

Homeschooling Testimony – Part II

The following is Odelia’s testimony.  You can read Tiffany’s testimony here.


Hello,

My name is Odelia. I am eighteen years old, almost nineteen. I have been homeschooled from K-12, and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Communications in 2020. Here is my story.

My father and mother taught me how to think, read, and write, beginning from when I was just a young child. From there, I could teach myself anything. And once I knew how to do that, I could learn anything I wanted to. And to some extent, that’s exactly what I did!

From age seven to age seventeen, I worked through mathematics, science, history, and English, as well as several other courses that were more or less “electives,” such as horse-riding, Chinese, and art. The Bible and my study of it, either together as a family or by myself, was (and still is) a huge part of my education. I learned how to read by reading the Bible; how to write by copying the Bible; how to memorize things by putting Bible verses to memory; how to apply what I learned by doing what the Bible says, as much as I could; and how to speak in front of others, by being part of our family’s daily Bible devotions.

When I was fifteen, my family came across Lumerit, formerly CollegePlus!. Lumerit provided me with the opportunity to earn a degree from home at a cheaper price, and in less time. (At the end, the costs of all the fees and courses together wasn’t really any less than the total tuition costs of universities in Ontario, but we didn’t have to pay for anything other than the textbooks, admission/graduation fees, and the course tuition fees.) I first enrolled into a degree track that would culminate in a B.A. in English, then switched half-way to Communications.

When I was working with Lumerit and taking courses through their platform, I took twenty-three courses in one year. This was possible only because a) my parents paid for the Unlimited Plan, which allowed the student to study as many courses (from those that Lumerit offered through their platform) as he/she could or wants to in one year; b) my parents were patient with me, and allowed me to “go all out” and do as many courses as I could, and finally; c) I stressed myself out and pushed really hard. I would recommend unlimited plans for confident, fast, and experienced (at least with online courses) students who want to finish college in the least amount of time. Looking back, though, it might have been better to have started with a five-course or eight-course bundle.

Those twenty-three courses I did in one year (I ended up using twenty-two of them on my final transcript) earned me enough credits for two years, which meant that I had cut off one year of studying for my degree. (Usually, a Bachelor’s would take four years: I finished mine in three.)

After this, I took the AP Language and Composition exam, which went for university credits for English. Then, I transferred to a “real” university, and took a bunch of courses from that university until I earned the required number of credits to get a degree. Then I applied for graduation, and I was done! 

I am thankful that I have had the opportunity to learn at home and get a degree online. Though there were things I did not like and would want to have changed about my schooling journey—I didn’t like having to use the computer for long hours each day, I didn’t enjoy having to work with secular textbooks and ideas in university and to have to use them as if they were right or acceptable, and I did push myself too hard and ended up hurting my physical health during that time—overall, it was a wonderful and enlightening journey.

Now, I am a writer and teacher.

I’m not sure how I should end this narrative, so I would close with a few thoughts on education versus schooling, and what has been most useful to me as I was “schooled.”

First, pursue an education, not just schooling. Learn (and teach yourself/others) to think, read and write. Learn to teach yourself, and learn things. Learn to be hardworking, diligent, and teachable (humble). Most of the time, time spent doing “bookwork” isn’t as productive or useful as time spent actually exploring the world with our feet, hands and eyes, learning about history and science by reading real books and primary documents from people who really lived during those times, and actually doing something about what is being learned about.

Also, one never graduates. Learning never stops. I don’t plan on getting another degree (though I did earn a Diploma in Applied Nutrition, in late 2020, to become a Certified Holistic Nutritionist) but that doesn’t mean I stop educating myself or learning and doing something new every day. Learning is a life-long endeavor—learning is living. Life is not something you put on hold for “schooling,” or something that comes after schooling. Learning should be about life and how God wants us to live it, knowing what to do with what we know and have, and doing what God has called us to do.

One last thing I would like to point out is, that it is crucial to get a firm foundation in the Bible, especially if you plan on going to university or college. Become Biblically literate. Understand what worldviews are, how they work, what different worldviews are based on, and why it all matters. Much of what is taught in school and universities are not Biblical or God-honoring. The school I went promoted itself as a faith-based university, but they used textbooks and course materials that were not based on the Bible, but were based on man’s twisted ideas of right and wrong, and things like that. I am glad that my mother and father taught me to study the Bible, to trust it, and to obey it. I’m glad that I did so. I also learned about worldviews, how to counter bad arguments, and how to identify bad ideas. You need that solid foundation if you want to stay strong and steadfast in the faith during and after getting a degree from a university. The battle of ideas is real, and the devil has a lot of tricks and wiles, some that are really subtle, and hard to catch and defend one’s self from.

I think that’s all I have to share: if you have any questions or comments, feel free ask me!

God bless, Odelia