—Romaine Tenney—
A Vermont Farm Love Story

Dateline: 12 February 2016 AD

Romaine Tenney

The importance of personal property rights, and the loss of property rights have been a recent theme in this blog. In researching the subject I came across the story of Romaine Tenney, a farmer in Vermont, whose property rights and way of life were in the way of "progress." 

The Law told Romain Tenney he had to leave his home and his land. But he would not. 

In the minds of some, Romaine Tenney's noncompliance would make him a criminal, deserving of punishment. After all, the Law is always right and it must always be followed. No laws should ever be disobeyed. That's what some people think.

A 2013 Yankee magazine story about Romaine Tenney begins...

In the summer of 1964, Romaine Tenney was a bachelor farmer. He milked 25 cows by hand on his farm in Ascutney, Vermont. He had no electricity in his house, used no gas-powered machinery. He cut his firewood with an axe and a saw; cut his hay with workhorses. He didn’t own a tractor or drive a car. When he went to the nearby big town of Claremont, across the river in New Hampshire, he’d walk the six miles–except that he probably never walked all the way. People always picked him up. Everyone knew Romaine. With his long beard, felt hat, and overalls, he was a familiar sight. Romaine enjoyed visiting on these rides, and all his neighbors liked him. His farm was right on the major road between Ascutney and Claremont; the road hugged his cow barn, and neighbors would often stop to chat. He rose late and worked late into the night. “You could drive by at midnight and there he would be in his barn, fixing some harnesses or just puttering about,” said Deputy Sheriff Robert Gale. It was as if Romaine held the office of Bachelor Farmer in town.

I encourage you to read the rest of the story at this link: Eminent Domain in Ascutney Vermont: "I Will Not Leave"

It's actually a love story. You'll realize that after you have read it.


P.S. Be sure to check out the comments at the end of the Yankee article.

—Universal Basic Income—
A Look Into America's Future?

Dateline: 11 February 2016

If you have not yet heard of Universal Basic Income, you really need to understand this. Crazy as it first sounds, this economic scheme is being seriously considered and tested in other countries. The short video above is an introduction to Universal Basic Income.

I'm persuaded that some sort of Universal Basic Income is ahead for America. We are, after all, a socialist nation. Social Security is obviously a Socialist program. Universal health care is a Socialist program. Hillary Clinton can't explain the difference between a Democrat and a Socialist. An avowed Socialist (with the appropriate initials of B.S.) is running for President of this country. And his Socialist agenda is appealing to a lot of young people.

Too many Americans have accepted the concept of Government providing for their needs (and too many Americans actually do depend on government for their needs)  for Universal Basic Income to NOT become a reality in this country.

I'm persuaded that it will be ushered in by impending financial crisis. That is, after all, how revolutionary social change is most easily implemented.

 This Article in The Telegraph Today indicates that the global financial crisis now unfolding could "destroy capitalism as we know it."  Further down in the article the author writes, in response to the possible financial crisis....

"Central banks, in desperation, would embrace the purest form of money-printing: they would start giving consumers actual cash to spend, temporarily turbo-charging demand while destroying any remaining respect for the idea that money needs to be earned."

Give everyone in the nation money to spend—a regular stipend even—and that will spur the economy, bringing financial prosperity to the nation. That's the basic idea. It could actually work.... for awhile. 

But, of course, it would eventually fail. All these utopian schemes only last for a season before they utterly fall apart.

What is amazing to me about this idea of a Universal Basic Income is that it dovetails perfectly with the ongoing development of Technocracy and a technocratic economic system, as I wrote about In This Blog Post.

Universal Basic Income payments could easily be distributed to everyone via debit cards. The debit cards could be based on allocated carbon-based energy credits. This is difficult to comprehend because we are all used to an economic system based on capitalism and cash money. But the replacement of what we have always known has been in the works for a long time.

The following quote comes from Patrick M. Wood's excellent book Technocracy Rising. The Technocracy Study Course he refers to was written in the 1930's by two intellectual visionaries (one of which was M. King Hubbert)...

The Technocracy Study Course also called for money to be replaced by Energy Certificates which would be issued to all citizens at the start of each new energy accounting period. These certificates could be spent for goods and services during the defined period but would expire just as a new allotment for the next period would be sent. Thus, the accumulation of private wealth would not be possible. Neither Scott or Hubbert viewed private property or accumulated wealth as allowable in a Technocracy. After all, it was capitalism that caused all the trouble in the first place, and the accumulation of wealth due to ownership of private property was the primary culprit. In a Technocracy, then, all property, resources and the means of production would be held in a public trust for the benefit of all. They reasoned that since all needs for work, leisure and health were to be so abundantly met, people would willingly trade private property for the utopian dream.

That paragraph should bring every thinking person to pause, while considering two remarkable things. First, it was written some 80 years ago—long before the computer tracking technology to properly implement the idea was in anyone's mind. 

Second, and more importantly, in order for this Technocracy to work, private property rights must yield to the public trust, for the benefit of all. 

Private property and property rights are fundamental to freedom and prosperity. The protection of private property and property rights are the Constitutional birthright of all Americans. But they are disappearing very quickly in this country. They are being lost because of widespread apathy,  ignorance, naive trust in government, foolish dependency on government, and fealty to socialist principles.

We are on the threshold of epic economic and social change.

Income Taxes
To Compost

Dateline: 8 February 2016 AD

I accomplished something this year that I've never been able to do before. I got all my income tax numbers together in January, and to my accountant the first week of February. In the past, I've crammed to get everything together by the first of April. I'm getting much better at the bookkeeping thing.

I made less money with my Planet Whizbang business last year than the year before. Based on last month's sales (along with the economic news I've been reading), I think 2016 may be even less prosperous. But it's not a crisis. We can live just fine on less. And if I make less, I pay the government less. I like that part.


(click picture for enlarged view)

Meanwhile, over in Nigeria, the Capsfeed company is making and selling chicken pluckers, as you can see in the above picture. But they are not Whizbang chicken pluckers. They are Capsfeed pluckers. The only difference being the name. The bumper sticker is a hoot. I sell a sticker exactly like that, but with "Whizbang" in place of the word, "Capsfeed."

I've given Capsfeed permission to be the "official" distributor of Whizbang/Capsfeed poultry pluckers on the continent of Africa. I don't make any money on the sale of the pluckers, but I hope they do. And I hope my Whizbang plucker design can be a big help to a lot of small-farm enterprises over there.


I neglected to mention last October that this blog was honored as a Best 250 Prepper Website. That was kind of a surprise. The Deliberate Agrarian is #175 on the list, right between Practical Preppers and Last One Alive.

I'm not sure this blog can be rightly labeled as a pepper website (I think it defies a single label). Nevertheless, The Deliberate Agrarian is honored to be recognized for something. 

If you go to the link, you'll find this blog is in the company of other neat websites like, Survival Punk, The Prepared Ninja, Survive The Apocalypse, Geek Prepper, Pampered PrepperPrepper Chimp, Total Survivor Dad and...... Tattooed Homestead.


Marlene and I used to eat out once a week at Panera, which is far and away my favorite "fast food" eatery. But since my son and his wife (Jimmy & Bekah) started The Glenside Diner in our hometown last month, we are now making it a point to eat there once a week.

Actually, Marlene eats there more often than me (she's much more social than I am). Marlene has even made a couple of cakes for the diner. One was a carrot cake (my favorite), which sold fast and got rave reviews.

The picture above was one of my Glenside Diner meals last month. It is a Rachel "melt," with broccoli salad. Very good.

For those who donated to Jimmy & Bekah's "diner dream" in December, or other readers who took an interest in the project, I can report that the new Glenside Diner is doing well. These winter months are typically slower than the summer months, but new people are coming to the diner and I'm hearing good things.


(click picture for a larger view)

The Glenside Diner closes at 2:00 every day (except Fridays when they are open till 8:00). So, I have figured out that if I go to lunch at the diner around 1:00, or shortly thereafter, the place will not be too busy. That's when I snapped the picture above.

Please note the red walls. Pam Baker, a reader of this blog, was 100% right on when she advised us that the diner walls needed to be painted red. Many people have commented about how much they like the new color. Several have asked exactly what paint and color it is because they want to use the same color in their home.

If you look closely, you'll also see a frame on the wall to the left of the door. It contains a thank you to those who so kindly gave to the GoFundMe "diner dream" campaign, along with all the names of those who contributed.

Above the door, there is a plaque that says, "Count Your Blessings."


Our town has a voting machine just like this one. But we can't use it anymore. Now we have to use  a paper ballot and feed it into a computerized machine that reminds me of a paper shredder. I liked the old voting machine better.

November last, I was reelected for the 5th time to my town board (some call it a town council). It was my intention to not run again for the position after 16 years. 

I made the decision not to run again back in 2012 after having to deal with a lot of anger and some withering verbal abuse from people in my town (including a couple of fellow board members) because I opposed hydrofracking. I was the lightening rod for ire.  I think I may have had a mild case of PTSD when the whole episode came to a close. :-)

I decided that I would tough out the remaining three years and then move on to other things (non-political things). But come last year I was told there was no one else in town that wants the job. Would I please run to fill out the term of another board member who moved to Florida? I caved in. Two more years....

NY State has a 2% budget cap in effect for municipalities. Many towns around us are having trouble staying under the cap every year. My town doesn't have that problem. Our budget increases have been below 2% for all my years on the board.

So, in discussing this at the last board meeting, I asked our Town Supervisor (who has put our budget together for longer than I've been there) why it is that other towns are crying the blues and having so many problems keeping their budget under the 2% cap. His answer: "Because they spend too d__n much money!"

I am pleased to report that our town board is the lowest paid board in the county (out of 32 municipalities). One of my perennial contributions to the budget process is to make it clear that I don't think we should be giving ourselves a raise, and that being the lowest paid board in the county should be a badge of honor. I haven't gotten any real resistance to the concept. The "job" pays $800 a year.


I got an English lesson with this book edit.
(click to see larger view)

January and February are the slowest mail-order months of the year for my Planet Whizbang business. It's a good time to get caught up with different projects. Like, for example, making the edit changes to my Planet Whizbang Idea Book For Gardeners

I paid someone a year ago to go through the book and find all my mistakes. Well, every single page has red pencil editing marks on it! 

The edits are minor, but they are many, and I've been dreading the process of fixing them all. But I'm on it, and I'm almost done. 

Once the fixes are all made, I will be offering the book in PDF format, at a reduced price. I don't think I'll be doing a paperback reprinting of the book until next year.


It was just a few days ago that I blogged here about David The Good and how he was such a prolific garden writer and movie maker. I didn't realize then that he was producing an hour-long movie based on his best selling book, Compost Everything. Check out the movie trailer above. I'm looking forward to this movie!


If God Wanted Us
To Have A Pond...

Dateline: 7 February 2016 AD

The conventional wisdom when you buy a piece of rural land is to spend a year or so getting to know the land before you build on it or make any improvements. Well, We bought our 16 acres of field and woods in June of 2012 and last fall (three years after the purchase) we decided how best to fix the extremely wet lower section of the field.

The picture below shows the problem. Springs on our neighbor's property flow onto our field. You can clearly see the springs in the ariel view. For as long as anyone remembers, the water from the springs has been directed through 4" drain pipes onto our land (the red arrow shows where the drain tiles are) and down to an open ditch behind the house. From there it flows into a stream in the woods.

(click picture for larger view)

But the drains have repeatedly plugged up over the years. When they get plugged, the water bubbles up to the surface and spreads out over the field, making is too wet to drive on or grow anything. Fixing the drains has always been a big mess in the past because the volume of water coming out of those springs is considerable. When we bought the property, the drains were plugged up.

I decided the best solution to this problem was to eliminate the drain tiles and just dig an open ditch from my property line to the ditch behind the house. It would be a simple, permanent fix, and if done properly, I could be a pleasant feature of the land. 

Last fall the wet area was as dry as we've seen it. Perfect for getting the job done.

My neighbor is a farmer who has heavy equipment and knows how to use it. I called him about digging a ditch. He came over and we walked the land, looking the situation over. I explained to him that an enormous amount of water normally flows over the land. Now was a perfect time to get the job done, before the fall rains came.

As we were walking and looking at the lay of the land he said that it would make for a nice pond location. Marlene and I liked the idea of a pond but didn't think it would be something we could afford. 

My neighbor then said he could put a 1/3 acre pond in for $3,500. I looked at Marlene and knew what she was thinking. I don't think it took me more than 5 seconds to tell my neighbor that we could afford that, and we would love to have a pond.

We were excited about the prospect of a pond. In the ariel view above, you can see  my neighbor's pond. That pond was the source of a lot of fun for my kids when they were growing up. The picture at the top of this blog post is my son James jumping off the dock of that pond.

I loved the idea of a pond because it would be a reservoir of water that I could tap into and gravity-feed to a frost-proof hydrant in a future garden area I have planned for the lower portion of the field.

So the heavy equipment came in. A bulldozer pushed the top soil off the pond area. Then my neighbor left the project to focus on harvesting his 100 acres of buckwheat. He had equipment problems with getting the crop in. More than a week went by. The rains held off, but they would surely be coming. We were getting a little nervous, knowing how much water normally ran over the land. I had told my neighbor it was a LOT of water. 

Finally, he got back to the pond with the trackhoe below. Everything was going to come together. What a relief.

Our house is located past the woods, out of sight, in the upper right corner of the ariel view above. I could hear the heavy equipment getting to work. And then, a short while later, my neighbor drove into my driveway. He got out of his truck and told me he had some bad news. Oh? What kind of bad news?...

The picture above shows the bad news. It's solid rock, around 5' down. Actually, it's not solid. It's shale. It's full of cracks and fissures. 

I wondered what our options were. My neighbor said he could still dig the pond and berm it up. It wouldn't be as deep as he would like to see it, and it might not hold water. Besides that, he was concerned about the scanty clay later under the soil. The clay was necessary to build a good pond. He figured he would have to dig more clay off a larger section of land, and that would cost more. So it was up to me to decide whether or not to proceed. The pond project was on hold.

This was a total shock to Marlene and I, and a huge disappointment. We had visions of a nice farm pond and family activities around the pond. It never occurred to us that there would be rock like that down there. It never occurred to our neighbor either, and he does all kinds of digging around here. There are numerous farm ponds around us.

I did some internet research on ponds, and shale, and sealing with clay, or using a liner. Nothing was a clear and compelling solution to our problem. Everything was more money. I finally decided that the best course of action would be to fill it all in and get the open ditch dug, before the fall rains came.

I figured that if God wanted us to have a pond, He would not have put a rock down there like that. 

I told my neighbor what I decided and that we needed to really get that ditch dug because it was surely going to rain soon. A couple days went by.... and the rains came. Then my neighbor showed up to dig the ditch. But it was much too wet.

Some days after the rain, he managed to get most of the top soil spread back over the pond area, but he said there was too much water to dig the ditch.

So, our plans to improve our land in 2015 were a total failure. The land and the water problem is now actually worse now than it was before we commenced to make our improvements. Without the established sod in the field, it is a giant mud hole. Very discouraging.

(click for larger view)

With all the water, and no heavy equipment to dig a ditch, I decided to just hand-dig a shallow ditch down through the field, hoping to channel much of the water flows coming up out of the ground in so many places. And that's what I did.

That simple little ditch made a huge difference. It is channeling a LOT of water in a steady stream. Were it an open ditch, as I had wanted to have, it would be a nice babbling brook. And wet sections of field on either side could be tiled into the ditch. Hopefully, next year we can get this done!

This next picture shows where my little ditch/stream empties into the open ditch behind the house.

This next picture is a view of the stream that the ditch leads to. The stream is fed in large part by springs about a mile away. When it rains, the stream swells (like in this picture), but it flows to some degree all the time. Only once, in the decades we've lived here, have I seen the stream totally dry. 

In retrospect, that shale bed in the field was totally unexpected, but not a total surprise. The picture below shows a section of shale bank in the stream that is along the field. 

—Lavoy Finnicum—
In His Own Words

Dateline: 6 February 2016

In 1787, Thomas Jefferson famously wrote...

"The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants; it is its natural manure."

Today, people who cherish the Constitution of the United States, and the rule of law, as laid out in that Constitution, are considered dangerous extremists. Lavoy Finnicum, the Oregon rancher in the above video, is such an example.

Prior to being killed by agents of the US government in a preplanned ambush on a lonely rural road, Mr. Finnicum had never had so much as a traffic ticket. 

I have read online comments by Americans who are glad that the government employed an enormous amount of money, manpower and military force to kill Mr. Finnicum. 

I think it behoves all rational Americans to understand what Lavoy Finnicum believed in, was willing to die for, and ultimately did die for. Before you swallow the mainstream media's story about this man, take 1/2 hour of your time and listen to him tell his story in that video.  I think you will be surprised.

There are a couple more quotes that come to my mind here. This first one is for those who think Lavoy Finnicum was a law breaker who deserved what he got.
"No man can put a chain about the ankle of his fellow man without at last finding the other end fastened about his own neck."  —Frederick Douglass

In other words, if you are all in favor of Lavoy's long-held property rights being taken away by an unlawful bureaucracy, don't be surprised when your own property rights are taken away. 

And this quote is something to really think about...

"If you don't believe in something enough to die for it, you're not really living."  —Unknown

Grow Or Die
(A Book Review)

Dateline: 5 February 2016 AD

"In this book, David "The Good" delivers solid, serious, practical, eclectic gardening advice with a slightly zany (and pleasant to read) flair. Anyone new to gardening should own "Grow or Die." And, at the other end of the spectrum, anyone who has gardened for decades (like myself), will thoroughly enjoy this book."

That's the short, sweet and to-the-point book review I left today on Amazon for David Goodman's newest gardening book. I looked up the definition of two words as I was writing that review...

zany: amusingly unconventional. 

eclectic: Selecting or employing individual elements from a variety of sources, systems, or styles: 

Yup. Those words are appropriate, and the book really is a good read. I'll be getting the paperback version when it comes out (soon, I'm told). The book is also available in audio version which, I'm sure, is a top notch production (based on another gardening audio presentation of his that I've listened to).

If you are not yet familiar with David The Good, he is the most prolific garden writer, blogger and YouTuber I know. I should say, "eclectic" YouTuber—he films a wide range of subjects. 

Here are links to David's online resources...

Amazon's "David The Good" Page

David's Blog/Web Site (The Survival Gardener)

David's YouTube Channel (161 videos, thus far)

Definitely Check out
(zany, eclectic, informative)

(in the midst of his food forest, I presume)

Pa Mac's New Movie

Dateline: 4 February 2016 AD

Pa Mac and his dog

I had an opportunity to watch Pa Mac's new movie over the last two nights. The movie is Volume 1 of The Farm Hand's Companion Show. It is over two hours long and tells the story of how Pa Mac built himself a barn (with workshop), but it's not your typical modern barn. It's a barn like Pa Mac's grandfather (the original Pa Mac) would have built back in his day.  This YouTube Clip gives you an idea what the movie is about.

Personally, I was involved in the construction of quite a few pole barns in my younger years. The pole barns I built were made with pressure treated poles and lumber bought from a lumber yard. But Pa Mac built his barn using wood from trees on his land. He milled all his own lumber for framing and siding using a chainsaw. In other words, he did it the hard way. But the amazing thing is that he did something that few men do in this day and age— he built his own barn, with his own hands, using trees from his own land. And it's a truly fine barn.

Pa Mac is clearly a man of many talents, some of which are only hinted at in the movie. I'm referring to old-time talents. But Pa Mac also has the modern technical skills to create a very professional movie. I can imagine that the production time put into making this movie must have come close to the many hours it took to build the barn.

As I was watching the movie, I jotted down words that came to mind about it. Here they are (in no particular order)...

Great Music!

One odd feature of this movie is that it is a silent film; you don't hear PaMac say a single word. There are subtitles. The concept works remarkably well.

I think this film would be particularly good for younger boys and teens because it promotes the ideas of down-to-earth resourcefulness, creativity, and hard work. To see one man craft his own barn with basic tools, using trees from his own land, is a lesson well worth introducing the younger generation (at some point, I hope to watch this movie with my grandson). 

But don't get the idea that this movie is just for kids. I'm 58 years old and, frankly, I think this first film project of Pa Mac's is better than 99.9% of the movies put out by Hollywood!

If you are not yet familiar with Pa Mac, I encourage you to check out Pa's web site: The Farm Hand's Companion. And if you haven't seen any of Pa Mac's YouTube videos, be sure to check them out too: Pa Mac on YouTube.

Pa Mac's Handcrafted Barn and Workshop


Dateline: 2 February 2016 AD

It was just about exactly two years ago that I reviewed Anna Hess's book, Trailersteading here. My review morphed into a rant on the subject of trailers and people who live in them. If you have not read that blog, I recommend it to you: Trailersteading: A Book Review And A Rant.

I'm mentioning this book again because it has just been updated and republished, and is now available in paperback. Here's the Amazon link: Trailersteading

I really like Trailersteading because it's all about saving money (a LOT of money) on housing, and not going into debt, or not going deep into debt for a long period of time. 

The fact is, a great many Americans live in housing that is well beyond their means. They submit to debt slavery for decades, and pay an amazing amount of money in the form of interest to banks for the mortgage money they borrow (and, as I've discussed previously, those banks don't toil, and sweat and sacrifice for the money they lend, like you will to do to pay it back). 

As far as I'm concerned, having a long-term mortgage is fiscal foolishness, especially in the times we now live in. Mortgages presuppose that the future will be like the present, that the person who gets the mortgage will always have work and a steady income. But, as we all know, life doesn't always play out that way. 

I think a home should be a place where a family can have a measure of security and stability. If your home is mortgaged to a bank and dependent on you earning a steady income to pay the mortgage, you don't have security and stability. This is common sense, right?

Trailersteading is one viable solution to the affordable home conundrum. But the problem is, of course, that most Americans are too proud to live in an inexpensive old trailer. They'd rather be a slave to debt so they don't appear to be as poor as they really are. 

The fact is, if you want to have an inexpensive home, preferably on a section of rural land (which I explain the wisdom of HERE), in order to live a more secure and self reliant lifestyle, a used trailer makes a lot of sense. Then, with the money you save (part of which would be all that money you would otherwise be paying in interest to a bank) you can someday build the home of your dreams. In other words, trailersteading can be pursued as a wise first step in a long-range plan. 

That said, Trailersteading is a book of hope and solutions. I see it as a book that should be on every thoughtful agrarian's bookshelf—if not for yourself, than to lend to someone who could benefit from the practical perspective. 

If you go to Amazon, check out the "Look Inside The Book" feature. That'll give you a much better idea what Trailersteading is all about.

Dan Grubbs
Stewardculture Magazine
Christian Farm & Homestead Radio

Dateline: 1 February 2016 AD

Issue #5 of Stewardculture magazine
(it's free online)

I listen to Scott Terry's weekly Blogtalk radio show, Christian Farm & Homestead. Scott describes his show as "the voice of the covenantal agrarian resistance." In many ways, Scott's show is a voice crying in the wilderness. By which I mean that his opinions and views about life and faith are profoundly out of step with the opinions and views of modern mainstream culture. 

So, it's no wonder that I enjoy the show (and I even help to sponsor it). 

Today I listened to last Friday's show, which was an interview with Dan Grubbs, editor of Stewardculture Magazine. If you are of the Christian-agrarian persuasion, you'll find it to be a good interview. There was a discussion of Permaculture from a Christian perspective that is worth understanding. Then the conversation migrated into other things, like whether or not it is biblically ethical to till the soil. That was kind of a surprise topic.

If you are a Christian who is interested in responsible stewardship of the earth I think you'll find the interview interesting and thought provoking.

The same goes with pretty much every interview Scott has done. You can get to them all at this link: Christian Farm & Homestead Radio

P.S. I blogged HERE about Stewardculture magazine last October.