Since Jesus Is Lord, Then. . .

March 17, 2010

Since Jesus is Lord, then. . .
I am not, and you are not. . .and “they” are not. You know who “they” are, right? “They” are the anonymous authorities. “They” tell us not to drink milk or coffee, eat eggs or beef. Even bread is on their hit list. If only Jesus had been aware of this prohibition!

“They” are also in some churches. These masked authority bandits often steer the direction of the church. Elders and preachers, how many times have we been told we can’t do something because “they” wouldn’t like it?

Just to be clear, “they” are not weaker brothers. Weaker brothers are followers to a fault. “They” are power-hungry controllers. “They” operate behind the scenes. “They” do not like to openly discuss the scriptural appropriateness of a matter. “They” insist on their way or there will be trouble.

Elders, we need to wrest control out of the hands of this group of people. If “they” want their opinions heard “they” must speak in the open, not whisper their concerns in the ear of one person who promises anonymity.

Unrestrained, these manipulators poison the Body, often bringing it to a standstill. It is not what God intended.

Elders, be men of integrity. Fulfill your roles. Lead the church by following the Lord, not these shadowy usurpers.

Cajun Ron’s Place and Gumbo

February 1, 2010

We had lunch today at the Cajun Connection by Utica, IL.  Oh man, can Ron cook.   If you’re ever up by Starved Rock I highly recommend Ron’s Bubba Shrimp and Amy’s bread pudding.

You should keep in mind that he’s only open Thursday-Sunday.  For more info check the website.

One of the standard appetizers that comes with the meals is an amazing gumbo. He told me it was included in a newly released recipe book they were selling. Frankly, I doubt if anyone could make it as well as Ron, but I’ll probably take a stab at it sometime.

If you would like to try, here’s the recipe:
Chicken & Sausage Gumbo

1 chicken
1 lb smoked sausage or Andouille
1 cup chopped onion
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 cup green onion tops
1 cup roux
Cajun seasoning to taste
4 chicken bouillon cubes

Cut up chicken, cook in 2 quarts water seasoned with salt & pepper. Cool and debone chicken.  Strain broth. In large heavy stock pot, heat roux and add vegetables, except onion tops.  Stir and cook for 2-3 minutes.  Add hot broth, bouillon cubes and enough hot water to equal 3 quarts.  Bring to boil and cook for about 20 minutes or so.  Add sausage and cook on medium heat for another 15-20 minutes.  Add chicken and simmer. Before serving, add onion tops.  Serve over hot rice.
Cajun Seasoning Mix
Combine all ingredients in small bowl:
2 T salt
1 t onion powder
1/2 t black pepper
1 T paprika
1 t ground red pepper
1/2 t dried thyme leaves
1 1/2 t garlic powder
1/2 t white pepper
1/2 t dried oregano leaves
Cook 1 part flour with 1 part cooking oil in cast iron skillet, stirring constantly until flour is dark brown.

Real World Grain Marketing

January 26, 2010

Most of the grain marketing information out there has this Utopian view of the process.  It’s not real world.  This one is perhaps too real world.  Read on!

My Corn Marketing Strategy

(Author unknown)

The first thing I always did was listen to the radio market reports.  Then I would check the DTN report.  They were always extreme opposites.  So I checked the market newsletter I subscribed to.  It took a position exactly in the middle.  They wanted me to buy and sell several contracts so I’d be covered both ways. . .sort of a lose, lose situation.  Anyway, by late morning I was always confused and usually decided to fall back on my emergency plan. . .I did nothing.  Many of you are familiar with this plan, but I’m going to lay out all the details for you here, just in case.

April (before planting): Corn is at $2.00 a bushel and way too cheap to sell.

May (after planting): Corn is at $2.50.  This is still too cheap, but I’m thinking.

September (pre-harvest): Corn is at $3.00 a bushel.  This is a really good price, but corn seems to be on the way up.  Common sense tells me to ride out the upswing.

November (post harvest): Corn is at $3.50 a bushel.  Great price!  See what I mean about an upswing.  It’s not finished yet, so I’d be an idiot to sell out now.

December (bill paying time): Corn has stabilized at $3.50 a bushel.  A lot of bills coming due, so some people have to sell corn.   I have won the argument with my banker and I’m keeping the corn.  My idiot neighbor, on the other hand, sold half of his crop!  Can you believe that?!  In an up market!

January: Corn jumps to $5.00 a bushel!  Neighbor is avoiding me.  Banker is begging me to sell, But I know a hot run when I see one.

February: Corn goes to $6.00 a bushel.  Nobody is going to take advantage of me.  My near term target is $7.00.

March: Corn goes to $7.00 a bushel.  All of the experts are calling for $10.00 corn.  I’ve got storage costs and the wife is talking about Hawaii, so I’m waiting it out.

April (pre-plant): Corn drops to $5.00.  All experts still see $10.00 corn by summer.  I’m going to wait, both on last year’s corn and this coming year’s.  Should cash in both ways.

May (post plant): Corn drops to $3.50.  Another correction.  Maybe we won’t see $10.00 corn, but I can do pretty good at $5.00.  Idiot neighbor sells the rest of his old crop, and contracts ½ of his new crop.  What a stooge!

June: Corn drops to $3.00.  This thing is going the wrong way, but most of the experts still think it will rebound to $4.00.  I’ve waited this long, I hate to sell out for $3.00.

July: Corn drops to $2.50.  Not good, not good.  This is only break even.  I almost have to wait for a seasonal upswing, or maybe a drought scare.

August: Corn is at $2.00 a bushel.  I know that’s terrible, but the banker, seed corn dealer, fertilizer dealer, and the elevator all need paid.  I’m going to have to dump all of it for $2.00 a bushel.

September: Idiot neighbor drives in with his new four wheel drive pickup.  Maybe I can sell him some tickets to Hawaii.

October: I sell my new crop for $2.00 a bushel, happy to get that before it goes to $1.50.

November: Corn jumps to $3.50.

A Farmer’s Thoughts on Thanksgiving

November 26, 2009

Farmers are thanking God for the blessings of working the land, abundant crops and the fact that most harvests have been far drier than this one. The unusually difficult situations give us a much greater appreciation for the usual and the normal.

Many folks consider farmers little more than rednecks with tractors. Perhaps the thought has a grain of truth to it. Farming naturally has earthy qualities that rub off on it’s participants. Farming is challenging, dirty, unpredictable, physical, mental, bloody, and stinky. . .and I like it. Tilling, planting, and harvesting, watching the sun and moon come up and go down, seeing all the stars from the tractor seat as you slowly bounce across a field, watching the weather systems move through, knowing it’s going to rain by the way it feels or even by the way it smells, digging up seeds to see how they’re germinating, scouring the fields to see if we can “row” the first plants coming through. . .all these things and so many more connect farmers to the earth and it’s Creator like no other occupation. To even call it an occupation seems so secular. It is a way of life.
May this holiday season find you overflowing with gratitude to our great God and all that He has done for us!