An unworthy Deacon, named for the brother of God: James, striving to "work out his salvation with fear and trembling" within the Tradition (paradosis) of the Eastern Orthodox Faith. It is a strange and marvelous journey, and I am accompanied by the fourfold fruit of my fecundity. My wife, the Matushka or Diaconissa Sophia, is my beloved partner in the pursuit of Theosis, and she ranks me in every way.
So we continue to be busy around the little farm. We are just about back to the point of trying to get the cabin finished. The goats are pretty much set. Over the long weekend I put up a much needed gutter along the front of the barn and am now directing this water to a "holding tank" (i.e. a extra garbage can we had) in order to store it to water our garden and perhaps make up batches of "manure tea." The little kid "Butter" is a joy to watch, she loves to run and jump and frolic and is just about the cutest darned thing you could imagine. I've seen her do near complete back flips!
The chickens are altering the landscape (hmmm...see we ALL affect our environment) and so I've been considering how to prevent their digging from allowing predators to make their way under the fencing. Tent stakes of some sort would have worked and so I decided to try and fabricate them from some abandoned old brackets whose original purpose is an utter mystery to me. They work exceptionally well and have saved me a heavy laden trip to the dump.
Also the previous owners left us a hefty quantity of old plywood. I cut them into planks and used them for siding on the front of the barn - they look okay as is and after a coat of some discarded paint from somewhere it will be just dandy. Additionally an old and large existing gate (slightly bent) was used at the front of the goat pen, again saving us from having to pay and it will allow us vehicular access to the wood shed.
One of the primary goals one should be shooting for in order to be more self-dependent is to get out of debt. It does seem an impossible task to be completely out of debt, but it is certainly a goal one should be constantly aiming for. Too many of our actions in life is pre-determined by who we owe money to. Truly we are far too dependent on STUFF and not enough dependent on ourselves.
With this in mind we have decided to not only shrink our overall pool of automobiles, but at the same time to enlarge a vehicle. Sounds odd eh? Well the van is going bye bye and in its place will be a 1984 Chevy Suburban 6.2L Diesel. It appears mechanically sound, will seat 9 (recall we take up 6 seats by ourselves), is in fairly decent shape but not so much that I'll ever worry about spilled drinks or crumbs, and will actually get better gas mileage than our van (believe it or not). This "trade down" (which will also include the Trooper going bye bye) will leave us with a fair amount of cash on hand and will allow us to get one more item of debt off our back. Bio-diesel? Maybe, we'll see because I've not looked into it at all. With diesel prices as they are right now (they do tend to fluctuate more) we'll actually be saving a lot initially.
I'll get some pics of the beast once we pick it up on Thursday. By the way, anyone need a 1999 Dodge Grand Caravan? Or a 1995 Isuzu Trooper 4x4?
So much of what we are doing lately has involved simplifying and (as the post title suggests) reducing and reusing. I'm rather proud (Lord forgive me) for the ingenuity that has gone into saving us money, time, and resources in building various things around this farm. Additionally we no longer buy milk or eggs (this alone spells out less trips to the store which ALWAYS result in spending more than planned), we have more demand for our eggs than we can provide and those funds are feeding the birds and some, the garden is growing, and the weather is becoming more and more like summer. Life is good...simple and good.
It's fitting that Green is the color of Pentecost. For the Sunday service, Fr. C demonstrated a Russian tradition in which green leaves are laid all over the floor of the nave. How true to life this is, for all around us we can see life exploding, we are all but inundated with green and I feel so much more in touch with that. It's no grand spiritual revelation - at least not for me - but there is a something in the liturgical cycle and associated traditions that is just more real to me.
I liken it to those instances when involved in a particular work of music and you suddenly REALLY sense it more deeply than before...the intimate details, perhaps a particular line for a particular instrument...maybe like hearing in 3d and opposed to 2d?
Not that it's making me a more holy person. Just more observant.
For yesterday's service at St. Nicholas in Seattle, the floor was covered in hay. Very aromatic; I was wondering how many people there had any allergies. It would have been amplified alot by the closed in building & packed warm bodies. It was a joy to go to St. Nicholas and be in communion there. Not every day a litany petition (for the union of the Church) comes to pass before your eyes. See the website of St. N's for a photo of all the clery who celebrated. Celebrated in and out of the altar. Fr. Christopher is front and center. -- Bob K.