Category Archives: All posts

All post’s, no matter the main category, listed from most recent to oldest

Guest Post: Suburban Bees

It is always nice to find other beekeepers and homesteaders in the burbs’. Here is another great story from the opposite coast!

thekitchensgarden

Greetings from Northern California! As I write, the rain is pouring down, a real boon for our drought-stricken area. Looking outside, I can see the plants in our raised beds looking a little limp, and our chickens huddled miserably in the dry corner of their run. I can’t see any honeybees at all, though, and that’s because they are snugly huddled together in the middle of their hive, between bars full of honey!

I enjoy reading Cecilia’s blog so much, for many reasons, but I think the thing I find most fascinating is the larger scale of her operation. Cecilia has many barns, pastures, and animals, spread across acreage. Heavens, she even has to zipline across a creek to reach some of them! (Ok, maybe not yet.) Reading about the size of the Farmy delights me.

Here at Poppy Corners Urban Farm, space is at a premium. Four of us…

View original post 855 more words

Prayer from Nehemiah

When I do bible studies or hear a sermon I am always intrigued by the  prayers of the person in the study or sermon.  I believe prayer will and does change the world, especially in the first chapter of Nehemiah as he finds out about the  sorry state of affairs in Jerusalem.

Nehemiah 1 (KJV)

The words of Nehemiah the son of Hachaliah. And it came to pass in the month Chisleu, in the twentieth year, as I was in Shushan the palace,

That Hanani, one of my brethren, came, he and certain men of Judah; and I asked them concerning the Jews that had escaped, which were left of the captivity, and concerning Jerusalem.

And they said unto me, The remnant that are left of the captivity there in the province are in great affliction and reproach: the wall of Jerusalem also is broken down, and the gates thereof are burned with fire.

And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven,

And said, I beseech thee, O Lord God of heaven, the great and terrible God, that keepeth covenant and mercy for them that love him and observe his commandments:

Let thine ear now be attentive, and thine eyes open, that thou mayest hear the prayer of thy servant, which I pray before thee now, day and night, for the children of Israel thy servants, and confess the sins of the children of Israel, which we have sinned against thee: both I and my father’s house have sinned.

We have dealt very corruptly against thee, and have not kept the commandments, nor the statutes, nor the judgments, which thou commandedst thy servant Moses.

Remember, I beseech thee, the word that thou commandedst thy servant Moses, saying, If ye transgress, I will scatter you abroad among the nations:

But if ye turn unto me, and keep my commandments, and do them; though there were of you cast out unto the uttermost part of the heaven, yet will I gather them from thence, and will bring them unto the place that I have chosen to set my name there.

10 Now these are thy servants and thy people, whom thou hast redeemed by thy great power, and by thy strong hand.

11 O Lord, I beseech thee, let now thine ear be attentive to the prayer of thy servant, and to the prayer of thy servants, who desire to fear thy name: and prosper, I pray thee, thy servant this day, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man. For I was the king’s cupbearer.

Verse 4 gives us the five step progression that Nehemiah took because of the horrific circumstances of Jerusalem:

Nehemiah 1:4  And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven,

1) sat
2) wept
3) mourned
4) fasted
5) prayed

For “certain days” he continued to do this, until he had response from God as to what he should do. Nehemiah, a faithful follower, knew that whatever the circumstance nothing could be accomplished without first petitioning God.

Nehemiah knew this prayer needed to “change the world” because of the state of Jerusalem. It needed to be a powerful prayer that he was sure would be heard and answered.

Because of grief, he mournfully prays (Nehemiah 1:4)
Because of hope, he worshipfully asks (Nehemiah 1:5)
Because of sin, he humbly confesses (Nehemiah 1:6-7)
Because of belief, he persistently intercedes (Nehemiah 1:8-11)

Nehemiah cleared any obstacles to God’s ears in verse’s 4-7, building up to verse 11 “beseeching” God to open His ears and here the prayer of His servant.

My Virtual Bible Study this month is in the book of James, discussing trials and temptations. This prayer pattern from Nehemiah is a perfect fit to properly prepare oneself and God’s ears for answered prayer.

 

Aquaponics-Grow bed maintenance

I had to make some changes in the greenhouse this winter which gave me the opportunity to take a closer look at my grow beds. The grow beds had a high concentration of fish solids making it difficult to maintain clean water and a proper ph balance.

These tanks have been in operation for over 3 years so I guess that’s not bad considering how lax I have been cleaning the swirl filters, which removes 80% of the fish solids. Note the mud like substance in the photos as well as the algae buildup in certain areas of the grow bed.

20160419_135643 20160419_135648 20160419_135704 20160419_135708 20160419_135723

The only real option I had was to remove the grow media and rinse it through strainers to remove as much of the solids as I could before returning it to the grow bed.

20160419_140031 20160419_140053_001 20160419_140101 20160419_140524 20160921_123639 20160921_123642 20160921_123647

Hopefully I will never let it get that bad again, but I know my fish and plants appreciated the clean out.

 

 

 

Priorities & the Chicken Coop 2.0

When tragedy strikes your life as it did ours last August with the death of our son, priorities immediately need a re-grouping. Some projects or goals just seem to lose the “importance factor” that they once had. Our chicken coop, although way behind schedule, was not a project that could be dumped as we had new hatchlings ready to inhabit the expansive new home and run.

Below is a video of the project to about 80% complete.

New Coop 2.0 2016 from Stephen Luckett on Vimeo.

Here are a few pictures of the completed yard and moving the hens from the old coop to join the new family of hens.

We only finished one side of the run, but as the weather breaks in the next few weeks, we will get out and build the other side of the run. With a double run system, we can always keep one side growing in fresh fodder. Hopefully this will keep our hens happy and laying eggs for us on a regular basis.

Just one little note, be very careful if you are going to have two roosters in an enclosed area. You could wake up to this!

 

Neither rooster died, but you could not tell it from the amount of blood all over the coop.

Although our priorities have changed and we are not as intent on our homesteading life, I intend to keep writing about our life here in suburbia. As a follower of Christ, God put man in charge of the gardens and the soil that abundance may grow to sustain our earthly life. We will do, as instructed by Him, including maintaining our greenhouse, aquaponic gardens, and apiary.

Genesis 2:15 “And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. ”

I have always considered myself a Christian, being raised in the Baptist Church, but I have lost sight of what it means to be a true follower. His expectations are simple of me: Love Him, walk away from sin,  and grow His Kingdom. These are now my priorities, sustaining life on this world while building up my treasures in Heaven. (Matthew 6:20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal)

 

Why no answer

man_praying_before_the_crossI have heard many times from others and even asked a few times why God does not seem to answer my prayers. Our belief is that God answers ALL prayers, we just may not be getting the answer we want or in the way we want. God will answer all prayers submitted properly with a humble heart. This I truly believe, but I did learn today that there are six barriers which could prevent God from hearing, or at least answering our prayers.

Selfishness: Are we asking for things purely for self interest? James 4:3 (NASB)  You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.

Ignoring the Law of God: Are we asking for something that is contradictory to the law of God? Are you truly trying to live your life within God’s law forsaking earthly desires? Proverbs 28:9 (NASB) He who turns away his ear from listening to the law,
Even his prayer is an abomination.

Unforgiving Heart: Is there something or someone in our heart that we have not truly forgiven?  Mark 11:25 (NASB)25 Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions.

Discord with family: Are we treating our wife/husband (family) with the kindness and honor they deserve? Have we done or said something that may still be weighing heavy on our or their mind? 1 Peter 3:7-9 (NASB) You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit; not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing.

Giving credit to personal sin: Are we living in sin yet making excuses for it creating a ideology that the sin is ok, or it is not that bad. Sin is sin in God’s eyes. Psalm 66:18 (NASB) 18 If I regard wickedness in my heart, The Lord will not hear;

Doubting or lack of Faith: Be confident in our petition that God is God and has all ability to grant that which we seek. James 1:6-7 (NASB)But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord,

Many times when you are having a conversation with a brother or sister in Christ, specifically about prayer, Mark 11:24 will inevitably be cited.

Mark 11:24 (NASB) 24 Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you.

I, of course, would never disagree with it, but as with any biblical instruction, one must look for the corroborating scripture and ensure that all instruction is followed, not just a verse out of context. Mark 11:24 seems to allow for any prayer to be answered as we want it, but does not take into account the petitioners motive, law of God, unforgiving heart, discord, personal sin, or doubt. Without taking care of these 6 barriers before prayer, how can one be sure that God will even hear?

Eliminating these 6 barriers and petitioning with pure humility before God will better insure that ones prayers will be heard. God’s answer to prayer is another entire post, as yes I believe He answers EVERY prayer, maybe just not to our earthly satisfaction, but at least with better prayer we can insure that our prayers will be heard.

 

The Art of BEEing: picky eaters

Bees will always keep you guessing, but it is good they always know what they want/need!

rurikia

Given the lack of “natural” forage in the desert since the end of the spring wildflower bloom (aside from a very brief rebloom after a surprise inch of rain fell in early autumn), I’ve been having to feed since early summer. For the first part of the summer 1:1 sugar water was the magic mix, then when the main heat of the season broke they abruptly stopped accepting it, which I figured was probably due to them having found the flowers in my neighbors’ irrigated gardens that had come out of heat-induced dormancy, so to help reduce the number of ants which were drawn to the sugar in the hive I pulled the feeder and the bees seemed to get on fine. With the onset of what passes for winter in the high desert (short overnight dips to as low as 20 F, highs in the 50’s – 60’s) I…

View original post 460 more words

Maybe I Should Have Gone Bigger

When we first built our greenhouse on the side of our house a few years ago, I thought this is more than enough room for what we will ever do in here. Wow, was I wrong!

Putting in the three 300 gallon fish tanks, with the grow beds, gutter garden, and potted plants seemed to be about perfect, but this year when an opportunity presented itself to acquire some 4 to 5 year old citrus trees, I took it. I now have a total of 6 citrus trees which must be protected from our mid-Atlantic winters.

Lemons, limes, mangoes, and banana trees have made a home in our greenhouse. To make room I had to eliminate one fish tank and build a step-platform to hold the trees. I still have 2 fish tanks which is more than adequate to keep my grow beds alive. Here are a few pictures of our overcrowding.

 

 

 

The Foul Weather Christian

As football season comes to a close, many teams, although not moving into good playoff position still have an ardent base of fans. These fans will never bet against their team, even when having a poor performance year. Others may say they are fans, but truly are only fans when the team is having a great year. These are traditionally called the fair-weather fans-true followers in the beginning, but feign true loyalty if the season turns south. Christianity has these fans as well, but they are called foul weather Christians.

What is a foul weather Christian? This is the believer who during great times, times of god-calms-childsuccess, times of lesser strife revel in their own accomplishment. Yet, as the tables turn and strife rises, failures multiply, and life turns bitter, these people turn to, or back to, God as their redeemer from hard times.

The newly born-again Christian has a great feeling of redemption. They know the feeling of forgiveness and understand the teaching from 1 Thessalonians 5:18 ” Give thanks in every circumstance, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” Unfortunately, too many new converts think that one time of salvation will absolutely and permanently affix them to their daily, everlasting walk with Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.

As they move back into the world, their world of family, friends, work, and recreation, slowly they are pulled back into their secular life. They make excuses to themselves about not making it to church this Sunday or missing Bible study this week because they were too tired from the day. Whatever the excuse, without constant replenishment of the soul, they will find it easier to make excuses, further distancing themselves from their daily walk.

Maybe because of piling bills from this paycheck to weekend lifestyle (Yes, a lot of people can no longer say paycheck to paycheck, but only make enough to get through the pay weekend) they choose to work a lot of overtime. Maybe all that extra overtime allowed for a new car, or they were recognized for their extra work and promoted to a higher position with a huge salary increase. This salary increase gave them the opportunity to buy a new house, better toys for the kids, a big diamond for the wife, a new boat: life is good, they have achieved a great level of success in their own eyes.

They take credit for their hard work and perseverance which allowed them to achieve this new standard of lifestyle. They are excited with the changes and happy for the new life and what is to come next. By this time, they have forgotten about their commitment of their soul. They have thanked Him less and less each day for the great blessings, maybe not even acknowledging He had anything to do with their great fortune.

A new position and increased pay also come with an increase in responsibility. Maybe the new expectation will be a 50-60 hour week on salary versus the 40 hours of hourly pay. This new position could have them responsible for not only personal production but that of their employees or team members. The larger the charge, the many more challenges which will need to be addressed.

The challenges seem overwhelming as they move forward, mistakes are made and attitudes change. Some who may have once been friends turn away because somehow they were treated unfairly. Struggles cause friction, causing lower production, which ends this newly promoted person in the manager’s office having a discussion of poor work performance. They really cannot explain what happened, they did not see it coming, but probation with an improvement plan seems to be the best option.

Meanwhile at home, the family has settled in well to the new lifestyle. The new house, the new cars, the vacation home, all the newest, highest rated hi-tech kids games, phones, and computers. There are plans for a family vacation to Hawaii this year, what an awesome life!

Coming home from a disastrous day, only to sit at the desk looking over the bills and check book, once again, they need to find a way to stretch the paycheck beyond the weekend. It is this still time, sitting alone in front of the bills that they realize, “I have strayed from God, and this is my penance for falling away from my walk with Him”. So times have gotten tough, they need to survive the foul weather; gather the family back to church, back to Bible study, and daily prayer. He will see us this this storm. Foul weather Christians many times will repeat this cycle, never seeing the irony of their ways.

I guess one could equate this to the college student who only calls home when in trouble or needs more money. Parents want to hear from their student when things are going right too. They love to hear about the accomplishment. How many parents have the opportunity to hear a sincere “Thank you”.

Our Father wants to be in every part of our life-The great times and the strife. The only thing I can say is since I thank and praise Him daily, when the turmoil starts in my life, it is so much easier to deal with. It actually seems that the turmoil passes more quickly and the great times return more abundantly.

1 Thessalonians 5:17-18 ”17 Pray without ceasing  18 Give thanks in every circumstance, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

The Lord is my Shepherd
The Pastor my sheepdog
The Shepherd chose me for His herd
And charged the sheepdog tend with ”The Word” 

Being imperfect, straying no guarantee
Going astray will mean a hobbling for me.
Hobbled in love at the Shepherd’s hand,
The sheepdog will care for and restore to the band.

 Learning through strife
Means growing this life
With the guidance of the sheepdog
Ever closer to the Shepherd. 

Copyright 2016

Stephen D Luckett

 

 

Love this electric Bill!

Aug Bill Negative

I actually loved opening this bill! That is a first since …….well…..FOREVER! I was always nervous about my bills before but since we installed solar-Oh well, I am a happy camper!

If you have not thought about going solar for whatever reason-Maybe you should re-think!

  • No installation fees
  • No upfront cost
  • No maintenance fees or repair costs for 20 years
  • Own website to monitor output of system
  • No hassle paperwork-everything done by email/phone until installation
  • Reliable, professional service.
  • Opportunity to put money back in your pocket with free Solar Rewards referral Program.

See how easy it is for yourself with NO COST OR OBLIGATION

Solar.SaveGreenGoingGreen.net