Better is….

Got together yesterday with a few friends to catch up and talk about life.

Lots of coffee….lots of laughs…

Wife made a no-bake, blueberry cream cheese pie.

Wish you were here.¬† ūüôā

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Here are a couple of things that I shared…

A week ago, I stumbled across some  words written by an old fool at the end of his life:

“Better is a handful with quietness than two fists full and trouble with it.”

I’ve said something similar myself, probably started saying it about the time we started having children. ūüôā

I would say:¬†¬†“Peace and quiet is entirely under-rated.”¬†

Second quote (by the same guy) I have been chewing on:

Remember: The duller the ax the harder the work…”

We heated with wood growing up. On those rare times when I picked up an ax¬†instead of a chainsaw, I quickly realized a dull ax was worthless….

I was watching a class online  recently on how to build a timber-framed structure.  The first  thing  covered  was tool care, and keeping your chisel sharp, both literally and  figuratively.

Wow.¬† That was deep.¬† I’ve been thinking about what that means ever since.

(ie. how to keep my life “sharp”.)

I am a carpenter and nobody has ever taught me how to sharpen a chisel.   Ever.

In all fairness to me,¬† with the kind of work I do, (framing, siding, roofing, concrete)¬† I don’t use chisels all that often, but on those rare occasions when I need one, i usually end up buying a new one.

So I’ve¬† been on a mission the past week to learn how to sharpen my chisels.

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A friend of ours  recently updated us about  her son. Son  lives on the east coast.   Both he and his wife have great paying stress filled jobs.  Just had a new baby, (that makes 3)  Son recently decided to go back to school to finish his degree, (while still working full-time.)   Made me stressed just hearing about their lives..  I know her son just a little.  Good guy.  I like him.

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Dad is 86.¬† Didn’t stop farming until just 2 years ago.¬† Worked full-time as a general contractor into his late 70’s. One of his few regrets was working too much while the kids (myself included) were growing up.¬† We never saw him except on weekends.¬†Then my mom was diagnosed with colon cancer in her mid 40’s.¬† I had moved out of the house and gotten married by this time. There was definitely a shift in¬† dad’s priorities after that.¬† He started taking each of us kids out on our birthday’s for breakfast.

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It’s all about balance.¬† Finding the balance between work, money, bills, wants, desires, relationships, life…

In my late 20’s as I was chasing my own mechanical rabbits around the track, I came across two quotes that stopped me dead in my tracks…“If you make it to the top of the company ladder, but loose your family in the process, you are a fool.”¬† and , “If you are a hero to others, yet strangers to your own children, you are a fool.”¬†

I’ve written about that season elsewhere on the blog so I won‘t repeat it right now.

 

The fifteen or so of you that regularly interact with me here are in a very real sense my on-line family.¬† I appreciate each and every one of you!¬† If you’re a somewhat regular reader that has never made a peep, I would love to hear from you..even if you just say, “I’m here.” ūüôā

Anyway, this is what has been on my mind the past week.

How about you?

Take care. DM

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Of Grit and Bone 11/13/18

About the title…

Read this first

Much to be thankful for.

The Honeybees

Where do I start?

I took the lid off the hive yesterday to finish insulating the top and return two frames of honey I’d thought about keeping for myself until I remembered they were in the hive when I treated for mites back in September.¬† The temperature¬† yesterday was in the mid 20’s so I assumed the bees would be huddled down in the bowels of the hive trying to stay warm.

Nope.

Hundreds of robust looking honeybees milling around the top frames on the hive. I find it fascinating and¬† exhilarating to be able to approach a bee colony with tens of thousands of bees and work with them.¬† ¬†I freely admit being a “new bee” when it comes to raising bees.¬† The learning curve is crazy steep.¬† I still feel like I really don’t have a clue.¬† Fortunately for me,¬† there are two new local bee keepers who have been willing to share with me their experiences, and the Internet.

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Remodel

I have been on this current¬† project for 3 months. Should finish up tomorrow unless the home owner wants our help on insulating or trimming. Other than some help issues and a very rainy¬† fall, it has been a treat to work on this project. 90% of the time it doesn’t feel like “work.”¬† I love what I do and I don’t take that for granted.¬† We¬†took a 1120 square foot ranch, and turned it into a 2000 plus square foot home.¬† Added a 3 stall garage, and new 4 seasons room.

Want to say something about work and attitude.

We stopped by my aunt’s this past Saturday for lunch.¬† She mentioned in passing her son (my cousin) is planning on retiring after the first of the year. He is 4 years younger than I.¬† He’s worked in a factory setting for 30 + years.¬† Great union benefits.¬† ¬† I heard that and found myself battling feelings of failure.¬† ¬†That is not the first time this has happened.¬† Rather than just be stuck in those negative, energy sucking thoughts, I decided to tell some friends that we get together with on a regular basis about it.¬† Just as I’d suspected. Every last one of them (5) confessed to battling similar thoughts at one time or another.

“So what do I do about it?” I asked????

Be thankful.  (And they proceeded to list off a plethora of things in my life I do have to be thankful for.)   Just admitting those feelings of comparison and inferiority out loud to another human being, (and in this case to 5 people) then being thankful for a host of things removed the sting.

It really did.

Here are a few before and after pics of my current project…

Original house:

Back of house:

 

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Finances

In 2014 I wrote a series of posts on the financial stress I was feeling.

I sometimes think it word pictures in case you haven’t noticed. ūüôā

The word picture I had at the time in my mind was this….

I felt like I was flying a loaded 747 and we 15 to 20 feet off the surface of the ocean.  Yes I was still in the air, but the waves were licking @ the wings, the weight of financial stress was nonstop and I was getting tired. Credit card debt, car loan, medical bills..etc.

Then we  stumbled across a book on personal finances that was a God-send.

Here’s a portion of the chart I put on the wall in front of my desk:

 

The chart showed where we were currently,as well as where I wanted to head.

Flash forward to today.

Our financial situation has¬† changed.¬† Same job, same basic income….

Credit card is paid off.  Car loan is paid off.  Medical bills are currently all paid off and there is a surplus in the medical checkbook.  (Although that could  change in a heartbeat).

Today there are two  different word pictures in my head.

First, the one with the airplane… We have created distance between those waves¬† and our plane.¬† Today we are at 10,000 feet and climbing.

The second word picture in my head is that of a beehive.

Imagine that ūüôā

I feel like a bee going into winter with multiple frames of honey stored up.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++

Well, I guess I need to wrap it up.¬† If you’re reading this post, I would love to hear from you as well.¬† ¬†If nothing else, tell me three things you have to be thankful for.

Later!  DM

 

Of Grit and Bone September 13, 2018

About the title, read this if you’re curious.

6:39 AM. Sun is just coming up.

Normally, about this time, our resident tomcat Barron¬† comes to the front door and starts scratching.¬† He wants two things.¬† First, a snuggle.¬† He’s the only cat on the property, and since he and Libby (our Labrador) do not like each other, we are Barron’s only family.¬† ¬† I found him a couple of years ago , in the median strip of a 4 lane highway about 2 miles from here.¬† ¬†He was a half-grown kitten at the time.¬† If I’d not stopped to rescue him, he would have been run over.

Which means he owes me his very life blood.¬† ūüôā

(Remember that scene from the Star Wars series? That creature with the big floppy ears)

Second thing he wants is to get fed.  If I leave his food dish out over night, sure as heck, a raccoon or opossum will find it.

Here are some of the issues currently in the mix:

My Dad,  New remodel at work, the Rat Invasion, The apple crop.

I’ll start with my dad.¬† Dad is 86.¬† Until a week ago, he was still driving.¬† Mom and him would go out daily for lunch. They moved to town in May, after 50 plus years on the farm.¬† Last Tuesday I got a call from my sister in the morning.¬† Dad had fallen and was en route to the hospital.¬† ¬†Pretty sure he’d broken his leg. (He did)¬† Quite a bad break.¬† Doctor told my dad and sister (who is a¬† nurse) before going into surgery, there was a very real chance he might never be able to walk again.¬† Surgery went better than expected.¬† He will be able to walk, (will probably have a limp) but considering the alternative, that was very good news.¬† My mom, was already scheduled for hip surgery before all of this happened.¬† Looks like the two of them will both be using walkers in the near future.¬† They are so thankful to be surrounded by a large network of extended family. That’s the sort of thing you don’t think about when you’re in your 20’s or 30’s, healthy, and living La-Vita Loca. (Living the crazy life.)

It has been so touching, humbling, encouraging, energizing, and inspiring to watch how different ones have stepped  forward to use their individual talents to help out.  One sister is a nurse. She spent the first several nights with dad @ the hospital.  Another sister, has the gift of administration.  Between the two of them, they have coordinated  all of the communication between the various health care entities, rehab,  scheduling who is available to drive when and where.

Wife and I have been  staying overnight with mom, helping drive her to her various appointments, etc.

You may have already seen this action photo of the crew who helped move them in May:

Several of you  have come to mind recently.  (Marilyn, Val, and Di to be specific)  All of you have had to say good-by to your mom within the past couple of years, and that thought has  energized me to make the most of the time with both of my parents.

¬† ¬† Work.¬†I am in the middle of a large remodel.¬† It has been a mixed bag.¬† House is situated out in the middle of 40 acres of timber.¬† Yesterday we could hear the walnuts falling.¬† It continues to keep me physically fit, and it pays the bills. I get to work with my son on the project. He scheduled his work load to be available to help. Considering, I started taking him to work with me about the time he was 5…he is a gift to have on the crew. On the negative side of the ledger, we’ve just finished¬† enduring almost 2 weeks of nonstop rain.¬† Financially that cost me in rental equipment, and lost productivity.¬† I saw some yellow fungus¬† starting to grow on the side of house Monday.¬† ¬†One of my new co-workers decided to not show up the day we set roof trusses (between rain showers, over the existing house)¬† That ticked me off.¬† His phone has been surgically¬† attached to his hand so I know he could see me calling to find out where he was.¬† ¬†He didn’t answer.¬† That proverb about a faithful man…who can find?¬† Yep, they are getting harder and harder to find.

The rat invasion

Normally I equate rats with an active farmstead with grain and fresh feed supplies..(we don’t have either)¬† Well, when I got on my lawnmower 3 weeks ago,¬† 4 large healthy rats came tumbling out of the mower deck.¬† We have a lawnmower with a 6 foot deck.(the mower is in¬† front rather than underneath.)

Creep-ed  me out.

Two of them were as large as squirrels.  I  had noticed half a dozen holes around the perimeter of our red barn (rat activity) but never gave it any thought until that day.  As I looked around the basement of the barn, I could see multiple spots where the rats had dug tunnels right up through the concrete floor.  The thing is, the barn is less than 100 feet from our 110 year old farmhouse with a limestone foundation.  Come winter, the last thing I want is for that horde to send some scouts over to our house.   So, I bought a 9 pound pail of rat bait.  It was gone in 3 days. Bought a second. Same thing.  Talked to Dave @ the store, he recommended the more expensive stuff. I am on my 3rd 9 pound pail of super-duper, heavy-duty rat bait.  At $50 plus dollars a pail, the novelty has worn off. (and one feeding is supposed to kill them)

There is definitely a life lesson in all of this for me.

And finally the Apple crop.

Another Japanese Beetle invasion decimated 80% of our Gingergold and Honey Crisp apple crop this season.¬† Each female beetle can lay up to 60 eggs in the fall.¬† Last season, I thought..it couldn’t get any worse.

Well, it did.

Japanese Beetles on a Ginger gold apple

(I think they look like Christmas tree ornaments.)

Japanese beetles on peaches 2018

We did manage to save 2 bushel of peaches. Bartered for some peach wine, and peach pies from the neighbors.

In spite of the rats, the beetles, the no-shows at work, and the rain,¬† I have a remarkably flippant, detached attitude most of the time.¬† I can trace it right back to a book my dad gave me when I was 14.¬† He said to me, “Junior, you need to read this book.”¬† ¬†

I did.

Norman Vincent Peal’s book, The Power of Positive Thinking.

It changed the trajectory of my life.

Not saying I’m on my game 100% of the time…but can’t imagine what life would feel like to just focus on the nasty.

+++++++++++++++++++++

Well, time for me to wrap it up.

Bus leaves in 45 minutes. DM

 

Aspirations

Got a call this morning from a guy named Dave.¬† ¬†Dave sells post and beam construction houses and is looking for a local crew to sub out part of a project.¬† Before coming to Iowa, he was in the military jumping out of air planes.¬† After that he worked¬† for a spell building million dollar log homes in Colorado.¬† Spent some time living off the grid out west.¬† Finally settled down and started a family.¬† Now he’s in Iowa.¬† His body is shot.¬† Got my name from the guy I’d gotten honey bees from last year.

I was telling my crew about the conversation at break.

Jason made the comment he’d love to start general contracting¬† larger projects.

I told him my aspiration, is to learn the art of consistently growing large onions. (I still haven’t figured it out.)

Learn how to consistently grow large onions and get a few laying hens. (again) ūüėČ

Ones that lay large brown eggs.

Nothing like stepping outside in the morning before heading to work, heading over to the chicken house for breakfast.¬† ¬†Eggs¬†that are still warm.¬† Chop up a large onion,¬† saute in butter.¬† Maybe¬† cook up a little bacon or ham,¬† Couple of eggs over easy....and coffee….dark roast.

Now that is a thing of beauty. ūüôā

.

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Fell into my life calling quite by accident. Been doing it for 40 plus years.¬† Intended to go to college after a working for a year for my dad.¬† At the end of that first year, I realized I loved construction. I loved what I was doing, and if I stayed with it long enough, it held out the possibility of making a decent income.¬† I love working with my hands.¬† Love using applied math to calculate roof pitches, stairs stringers,¬† estimates, etc.¬† ¬†I stick framed a¬† high-end¬† house roof¬† back in the 1990’s that had 27 hips and valley’s.¬† Two story, 12/ 12 pitch.¬† Yep.¬† Been there done that.¬† General contracted enough houses (5) to get that out of my system too.¬† I can give you several reasons why I would never/ ever general contract a house again. Sub out parts of it, absolutely. General the whole thing.¬† Nada.

I’m all about stress management.

Love it when the phone doesn’t ring.

 

+++++++++++++++++++++++++

 

Came across the following  30 years ago and it continues to inform my choices:

“It is vain that you rise up early and go late to bed, eating the bread of anxious toil…for the Lord gives to his beloved sleep (or gives to his beloved in his sleep”)

(A Jewish scripture.  Psalm 127:2)

I’ve written on this topic multiple times. Here’s a link if you’re interested.

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If you were having coffee with me today,  how would you  answer that question on goals and aspirations (currently)?

I’m genuinely interested. DM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hacked

My dear friend Chris (who occasionally reads this blog…Hi Chris!) gave me the ultimate compliment yesterday…he noticed “zen like” qualities in my life.¬† I looked up the word Zen¬† just to see what he might¬† be seeing….

Webster defines¬†¬†zen as¬†:¬†a state of calm attentiveness in which one’s actions are guided by intuition rather than by conscious effort.¬†¬†

A short story of¬† my Zen like reaction to having been recently hacked….

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Wife received a call three weeks ago from our credit card company.¬† Someone had¬† switched our mailing address to Florida, was that us? The representative on the phone said,¬† I (DM)¬† needed to get back to them. (I was taking @ nap at the time).¬† The number they left did not correspond to the number on the back of our credit card, so I called the one on our credit card instead…it is really hard to know who to trust anymore… Was the call, a scam itself?¬†

When I finally got through to customer service,  I could not answer enough of the security questions to their satisfaction..(questions like, when I did I open the card?  What were the last several transactions and amounts, etc?)

I don’t carry that sort of stuff around in my short-term memory..heck, I have trouble remembering our kids birthdays sometimes… ūüôā

Ron the older man on the other end of the customer service line with a gravelly voice, apologized but said, I would need to physically go into our local bank.

Went the next morning…

Discovered that not only had someone successfully changed our address, they had also apparently gained access to our on-line banking with full access to a lot of stuff.

At one point, there were three bankers in the room, trying to figure out some detail..one of them looked at me and said, “How many bankers does it take to fix this?¬† (I like her attitude)

Three hours later, I left the bank…Their security division put a freeze (then closure) on all of our banking connected with them.¬† We were encouraged to start over with new accounts, new card, yada, yada…

So that was still in the process of getting straightened out yesterday when I went out to get the mail…

++++++++++++++++++

In the mail, we received a bank/ credit card statement… as I looked it over, I noticed¬† there was a $25 rush fee, and the last four digits of a new number at the top of the page..

I picked up the phone, called customer service, again,¬† explained why I was calling…and then a light bulb went on.

A new card had been issued the same day I was @ the bank, and they had put a rush on it…SENDING IT TO THE ADDRESS IN FLORIDA¬† of the hacker…PLUS dinging me $25 for¬† the privilege of doing so.

“They sent the “F”ing¬† new credit card to the address of the hackers.”¬†

It came out of my mouth before I could stop it.

I have to be honest.¬† It felt good.¬† I used to cuss like a sailor…that dirty habit, has all but become dormant…but not completely.

There is a time to get angry in a zen sort of way.

That’s my story young grasshopper.

++++++++++++++++++++++

Any of you old enough to remember David Carradine and  the TV series Kung Fu?

 

 

 

Quoting Harry Potter

The other day I was reading through a comment thread on a garden forum.¬† Out of the blue, someone quoted a verse from the Bible to back up what they were saying. (It felt out of context/ and¬† just a wee bit off putting)¬† Next person weighed in and said to them, “You might as well¬† quote a line out of Harry Potter…it has the same effect….”¬†¬†

Yea, I thought to myself, this is the world in which we live….and if a person decides to get into a discussion on the Internet,¬† (which I never do, except here in the blog-o-sphere among those of you I know)¬† ¬†you need to choose your words wisely.

Unless I live in a bubble,¬† and only talk with those in my bubble, I am constantly interacting with people from¬† wide and diverse viewpoints on every issue under the sun….. They are called “World views.”¬† Everybody has one…from the homeless guy living under a bridge in Portland, to the Queen of England.¬† From the ISIS fighter in Syria to the organic farmer just down the road from me.¬† Each of us looks at life through the lens of our world view.¬† It helps me make sense of what I see, how I interact with others, how I live my life.

I have always found that fascinating….

(This is stirring¬† up a whole bunch of random bunny trails in my head right now/¬† but I need to stay focused, because I really do have something¬† I am leading up to…)

It has to do with the Amish farmer I have written about twice before… here¬†and then here.

Thursday of last week I got a check in the mail from the Amish Farmer.¬† Two months late/ but a check never the less.¬† There was a $5 tip and a note attached, hoping he could come back for more apples in the fall….(I thought to myself..we shall see.)¬† ¬†Anyway,¬† instead of doing what I normally do and cash the check at my bank, something told me to stop by his bank…just in case.

Well, I happened to know the lady in the drive-up window, so I asked her¬† to verify that he did in fact have enough money to cash the check…

30 seconds later…….

Nope.

He had sent me a rubber check.

I was told by someone who knew, this Amish man typically got paid on Fridays, so to give him the benefit of the doubt, I tried again on Saturday.

Nope.

Still no good.

I decided yesterday to return the check with a letter.¬† Wanted to share that letter here in its entirety, along with some background into why I said what I said.¬† I reference the Bible in my letter. In his worldview and in mine, the Bible is a reference point.¬† A source of common authority ( In theory at least.)¬† To his ears¬† I am not just quoting Harry Potter.¬† ūüėČ

**************************

1/4/2018

Dear ***,

Enclosed is your check for $25 that the bank would not cash.  I tried twice, and both times I was told there was insufficient funds.   Life is too short to deal with this, so I am returning the check to you.

I need to tell you a story.

A few years ago now, I heard about an Amish family moving into the area, with possibly more families to follow.  I thought to myself, neat.   I would love to meet them. My background is German.  My dad still speaks low German.  I grew up on a small dairy farm, plus I am a Christian, been a Christian since I was 22 years old.

So even though I am not Amish, I felt there were many things I share in common with an Amish person.¬† This past June we had a bad hail storm. Really did a number on our apple crop.¬† I decided to turn a heartache into a blessing.¬† Instead of marketing damaged apples,¬† we decided to share them with others, (that whole “do unto others what you would have done unto you” thing.)¬†¬†¬† Your family just happened to be the first family that approached me, after we had made that decision.¬† Make no mistake, I could have advertised #2 apples on Craigslist, or our orchard page on Facebook¬†but I chose not to.

So I was excited when you  approached me about getting some free apples.   I was a little taken back by your comment, that you were not going to share my phone # with your Amish friends until you had gotten all of the apples that you wanted.

First impressions are so important.

The second thing that seemed a little “off “ was as we walked to my  apple wood stash (You’d asked if we might have any apple wood for smoking?)   It felt like you were trying to get as much apple wood as you could for the least amount of money…I sensed you thought you were dealing with a naive, simpleton…

Trust me I am not.  It did irk me just a little, after giving you hundreds of dollars worth of free apples, that  you were still trying to dicker with me. 

We talked about $20 for 1/3 of the pile of wood..and you would leave the money on the mantle of my shop in case I wasn’t around…simple as that.  (Couple of years before, I was selling my apple wood to a sports bar in *** for $1 a pound..  I made over $1000 that year, when my work was slow, and I needed $ to pay my bills)  So that apple wood pile for me was money in the bank…My contact @ the bar no longer worked there, and I wasn’t sure the new owners would remember me and buy the wood..which was why I thought, what the heck, if this Amish farmer needs a little apple wood, why not….

Skipping ahead to early  December, you called to say you were coming the next day to pick up the apple wood.  I happened to be in the house doing book work the day you stopped, so when I went out to the shop later that day to get my $20 I was honestly taken back, you had not left the money, nor a note, nor called me to let me know  you hadn’t left the $20, which is why I called you and asked about the $. 

You said  “$20 may not seem like a lot of money to me, but it was to you.  Things were a little tight right then, but you assured me the next time you went to town, you would stop by and pay. “  

 I said, I felt the same way…$20 is a lot of money.  I asked you how long that might be…a  couple weeks?  You assured me, it would be two weeks or before.  Well,  a month went by and no $20.    I was starting to get agitated with you. 

It really has nothing to do with the money. 

Heck, I gave you several hundred dollars of apples, (not to mention the apple wood) if it were about the money,  I would have charged you for the apples way back when you first stopped.  I was upset by your lack of integrity.    I thought to myself, this Amish man I am dealing with is leaving a bad taste in my mouth.  I can’t believe they (the Amish) are all this sneaky and selfish.

Rather than continue to stew on it, I sent you an invoice a month after you got the wood.

We went to a program at our local library early  January about the Amish lifestyle.  I was tempted to tell my story about your dealings with me, but decided not to..

it would not have been right.  I did learn however about how your churches are structured..how there are deacons and bishops that oversee 25 to 30 families in an area. I decided to attempt to find out the name of the bishop or deacon in your area and bring my situation before  him.

In Matthew 18:15-17 it says:

‚ÄúIf your brother wrongs you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, then tell it to the church….‚ÄĚ (the goal here is reconciliation/ conflict resolution)

So, ***, I tried talking to you one on one..followed up with an invoice in the mail.…then took it to the next level, and brought it before your deacon.   I talked with *** your deacon  a couple of weeks ago.  He assured me he would be talking to you)…

So here I sit with a worthless check,  and I’m thinking to myself… boy would I  love to come to one of your church meetings,  stand before the assembly, and tell my story about  brother ***  who is leaving a not so good impression with some of the people in the area.  As an Amish man and even more importantly as a professing Christian.

I turn 60 years old this coming week.  I have learned to pick my battles.  Life is too short.    I suspect this is not the first time you have done this sort of thing, and will probably not be the last, unless God turns the lights on.

Please do not call or stop next Fall to ask about free apples.

 

Sincerely,

++++++++++++++++++++++

So we shall see.

My whole point in sharing this sliver of my life with those of you that care to read along, is this…There is more to loving my neighbor as myself than just warm fuzzies.¬† There is a place for confrontation.¬† Feels an awful lot like parenting older kids if you ask me.¬† ūüôā

Later! DM

It’s not about the money

This is part two of my dealings with an Amish Farmer.

(Make sure you read part one to get the big picture) ūüėČ

I got a call from my Amish farmer friend the first of December letting me know he would stop the next morning to pick up some apple wood.

I went over the details again.

You are going to take 1/3 of the pile of wood.¬† If I’m not home when you stop, just stick the $20 bill in the shop on the mantle.”

“Yes.¬† I will.”

Well, he did stop the next day.  I happened to be in the house doing book work and saw him pull in and leave.  Few hours later I went out to the shop to get the money.

I could not find it, so I called and left a message on his phone.  Thirty minutes later, he called back.  I asked him about the money?

There was a pause on the other end of the phone..”Well, I am a little short of cash right now.¬† Twenty dollars may not seem like a lot of money..but I will get it to you the next time I come to town.”

Me: “When do you think that would be?¬† Within a few weeks?”

Amish farmer : “Oh, yes.¬† Within a couple of weeks....”

Well, 4 weeks went by and I never heard from him.¬† Decided to send him a gentle¬† reminder with some of my apple orchard stationary…Reminded him it had been a month, and it was past due.

By now, I was starting to battle a low-grade bad attitude.  It was not about the money.  It had to do with integrity.   His word. Feeling like I was being played for a fool.

Keep in mind, I do have a market for apple wood…just have not aggressively pursued it this Winter.¬† I was getting $1 a pound for it @ a local bar.¬† Sold over $1000 worth a couple of winters ago.

My desire to be a good neighbor to this new community of Amish was starting to go south.

I was wrestling with thoughts like, “Am I being petty?¬† ¬†Is $20 worth all of the mental vexation I was expending on it?”

Problem was I couldn’t shake it. (The vexation)

There was a program @ our local library last month about the Amish. (Within the past 5 years, over 40 Amish families have moved into our area.)

One of the things I learned was that over every 25 to 30 families there are either deacons or a bishop who takes care of the day today issues of the congregation.¬† I decided last week I was¬† not going to just write off the $20, rather I was going to make an effort to contact the local Bishop (or Deacon) and tell my story.¬† If he blew me off, then I would let it go…but not until.

Last night I sent a Facebook message to a lady I know who drives for the Amish.¬† Since the Amish do not own cars, they hire out local people when they need a ride somewhere further than they can take their horses.¬† When I told her what I was thinking, she absolutely encouraged me to get a hold of the current Deacon, gave me his name and number…

This morning he returned my call.

He asked me what I wanted? I told him I had a 30 second story, and was looking for his input.

When I finished  the first thing he said, was there were two or three  people he knew that have pulled stuff like that before, then asked me his name.

I told him.

He said, “He was at the top of my list.¬† This was probably the 6th time he had gotten a phone call about this man…If it wasn’t wood, it was hay, if it wasn’t hay, it was something else…”

We talked a couple of more minutes.¬† He thanked me more than once, and said,¬†¬†“It isn’t¬†about the money.”

“I want to know about this sort of thing.¬† Thank you for calling.”

My vexation was 100% gone.

He took my name and address and said he would make sure I got my money.

 

View from the orchard floor