Nineteen years ago I self-published 100 copies of Anyone Can Build a Tub-Style Mechanical Chicken Plucker at a local quick-print shop. Three years earlier, I had experienced nearly-complete financial loss and consequent personal depression with the failure of a newsletter venture. It was, without any doubt, the lowest point of my life. My enthusiasm for making money as a writer was gone.
But, in time, the entrepreneurial urge returned. Those first 100 copies of the plucker plan book amounted to a very modest financial investment (less than $1,000). Creating the book took a lot of hours but it was relatively easy. Selling it was the hard part. How do you sell a homemade, photocopied book?
I was part of a Yahoo poultry discussion group back then and offered to send a copy of my humble new plan book with an invoice to anyone. I told them that I would trust them to pay me after they received the book.
The first person to request a copy was a man in Australia. I mailed the book right out, with the invoice. The guy never paid me. And I’ve never forgotten it.
The good news is that other people in that Yahoo group took me up on my offer and they all paid me. In fact, I’ve shipped goods before getting paid several times since then and I have always been paid. There are plenty of psychopathic people among us, but precious few of them raise chickens, or live a down-to-earth lifestyle. That’s my theory anyway.
In due time, thanks in large part to the internet, word got out that my plucker plans were worthwhile. Long story short, I ended up selling a LOT of chicken plucker books (the book still sells pretty well) and more products followed. That book allowed me to achieve a long-held dream (since I was 16 years old) of having my own home-based mail order business. It’s a good story, and I am thankful to God for the measure of success I have experienced.
Along with the growth of my business came a lot of paperwork. I have kept an invoice copy of every sale, along with the usual mass of other business receipts. The accumulated boxes of papers since 2002 have become a bother. So I decided to get all the paperwork from 2002 to 2015 out of my life. Here is the pile…
And here is the just-lit pile. Notice the gasoline fuse…
Those boxes of paper represented 14 years of focused effort and countless hours of work. Most of the work was accomplished while holding down a state prison job (I left the State job in 2013). My capacity for work and my ability to accomplish things was far more then than it is now.
I saved one invoice from all those years. It is the invoice for the first plucker book I sold—to the guy from Australia who never paid me (pictured below).
This morning I woke up with a desire to read Theodore Roosevelt’s The Man in the Arena speech. I found the 2-minute YouTube clip above. Roosevelt communicated brilliantly and powerfully with the words in that clip, and the RedFrost Motivation production does it great justice. Emotion wells up in me when I listen to that.
Roosevelt knew from long experience what it was to be the Man in the arena. He was 52 when he gave the speech. He had experienced exhilarating victories and crushing defeats in his life.
Roosevelt’s words apply to our time, and to the Lawful Resistance Movement that I blogged about earlier this year (HERE). I am not a cynic. I love underdog fighters who step into the arena to battle for truth and justice.
Yesterday a friend sent me the clip below of Tammy Bruce on Fox news. I don’t watch Fox news. I never heard of Tammy Bruce. She is in the Arena. She sums up the situation in America very eloquently.
I’ve heard that Tucker Carlson writes his own copy for every show. That’s impressive. Does Tammy Bruce do the same? Whoever wrote her words in this clip is a master of communication.
The bottom line here is that America-as-we-once-knew-it is now in The Arena, and it is an epic slugfest.
Back in the early 1980’s I invented a board game. I named it after Karen Kingsley, a friend of my wife’s at Alfred State College. Kingsley was a fast-paced, dice-rolling, semi-strategic war game. Two kingdoms met in battle. One was victorious. I contacted Parker Brothers and Milton Bradley. I had high hopes. They weren’t interested.
Now, some 40 years later, I have created a new game. It is a game for men. I call it Flying Tires. It’s a post-industrial takeoff on the pre-industrial man’s game of horseshoes.
I reckon the game of throwing horseshoes started with agrarian men getting together and having a good time throwing old horseshoes at a stake in the distance. Horseshoes was a very popular game for many years. It’s still played, of course, but the popularity of the game has declined considerably. I think it’s time for a new man’s game. Thus, Flying Tires.
I won’t be contacting any game companies this time. I’m sure they wouldn’t be interested anyway. They wouldn’t be interested because it’s nigh unto impossible to monetize Flying Tires. It doesn’t require any factory-made or store bought stuff. A couple old tires, a couple nails, and an already-owned pair of “lucky gloves” is all you need.
How does a guy tell the world about his new game? It’s a whole lot easier than it used to be. YouTube is my launch vehicle…
As an American citizen I know full well that the easiest path in life is to believe and do everything the government tells me to believe and do. It takes much more effort to question, research and employ critical thinking about any official government narrative. But I’m here to tell you that questioning all government narratives is more American than baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and Chevrolet. Questioning authority is, I dare say, fundamental to the American ideal as embodied by this nations founders.
A current case in point is the government’s push for widespread COVID vaccination….
All agencies of the American government are currently asserting that the mRNA vaccinations are completely safe, and that all Americans must take the jab. The newest push is for school-age children to be vaccinated.
I’ve personally questioned the safety of the mRNA vaccinations for a long time, but I’ve been on the fence about blogging about the issue. My hesitancy, however, vaporized after listening to this weekend’s War Room interviews with Dr. Robert W. Malone and Bobby Kennedy Jr.
If you don’t know already, Dr. Malone invented mRNA vaccine technology. He is a firm believer in the world-changing benefits of mRNA vaccine technology. He and his wife (also a virologist) have taken the mRNA vaccine. BUT Dr. Malone does not agree with the government push to compel all American adults to get the vaccine, and he is totally opposed to vaccinating school-age children.
Dr. Malone is opposed to this government effort because the current mRNA vaccines are totally experimental, they have not been adequately tested for safety (long term and short term), and there is alarming data coming out about adverse health effects being experienced by people who have received the experimental vaccinations. These adverse effects include, but are not limited to, blood clots, paralysis, cardiac events, and death.
Dr. Malone asserts that the current government effort to get 70% of the population vaccinated in order to achieve “herd immunity” is a fallacy. There is no data to support herd immunity from widespread vaccinations.
Dr. Malone is equally concerned about the fact that there is widespread censorship by news media and social media of anyone (like himself) who questions the safety of the experimental gene therapy vaccinations. He is alarmed that people who have experienced adverse reactions to the vaccine are also being systematically censored. Even more alarming is the fact that most virologists and other medical experts are self censoring; they are not publicly expressing their professional concerns because to do so would jeopardize their careers and income. In short, he says that we can never get to the truth about the safety of this vaccine if we can’t have open discussion and access to all pertinent data.
In his War Room interviews Dr. Malone mentions The Platonic Noble Lie as the unrelenting force driving the government vaccination narrative. The Platonic Noble Lie is deliberately lying to mislead people for “the greater good.” This is justified by elites in the government because they see themselves as more intelligent (or better informed) than the general population. The greater good is, of course, not necessarily any one person’s individual good. That is beside the point.
My main desire with this blog post is to introduce you to Dr. Robert Malone, inventor of the mRNA technology and to explain some of the reasons he is opposed to the widespread vaccination of all Americans (especially children) with the current untested, experimental mRNA vaccines that are being pushed by the government. There is MUCH more to be concerned about with this vaccine.
The single best interview/discussion I’ve heard with Dr. Malone is At This Link. The photo at the top of this post is a screen shot from that interview. It is a condensed one-hour interview that was censored by YouTube shortly after it aired. Judge for yourself if those 3 men are well-informed truth tellers, or “conspiracy theorists.”
A few weeks ago I heard a pastor tell his congregation that he considered it his patriotic duty to get the COVID vaccination. That’s his opinion and he’s entitled to it. I don’t question any thinking adult’s decision to get the mRNA vaccination. What I question, and totally reject, is my government using its considerable power to censor pertinent data and opinions that do not fit their official narrative in an effort to compel all Americans to subject their bodies to the big experiment.
Such questioning and rejecting is my patriotic duty.
Marlene and I went on our annual Route 90 yard sale safari today. It’s a long tradition. We used to take our 3 young sons and hit the sales. They learned the value of buying things second-hand, and two of them are avid grown-up “pickers.”
Unfortunately, we don’t all go as a family any more. Only my middle son, Robert, made it to the sales this year, and he drove his own vehicle. We rendezvoused for lunch in the afternoon at a small town diner and compared stories about our finds.
Robert found some great old tools. Among other things, I got a 9 volume set of Captain Underpants books, a signed photograph of J. Edgar Hoover, some Starrett machinist tools, and a vintage pair of unused, Made-in-USA, natural rubber pac boots. Marlene found treasures of her own, like books, and clothes, and fabric. More and more, she’s looking for things to have for visiting grandchildren as they get older.
I also bought a couple of local Methodist church community cookbooks from the 1960s (50-cents each). Along with Eva Reynolds’s Raisin Pie recipe and Mrs. Ellis Donald’s Tuna Roll-Ups recipe (and many other family favorites) there was a recipe for “preserving children” and a recipe for “preserving husbands.” These are “recipes” well worth having and sharing. So I am sharing them with you here…
How To Preserve A Husband
Be careful in your selection. Do not choose too young, and take only such varieties as have been reared in a good moral atmosphere.
When once decided upon and selected, let that part remain forever settled, and give your entire thought to preparation for domestic use.
Even poor varieties may be made sweet, tender, and good by garnishing them with patience, well-sweetened with smiles, and flavored with kisses. Then wrap well in a mantle of charity. Keep warm with a steady fire of domestic devotion and serve with the fruits of constant devotion and the milk of human kindness.
When thus prepared, they will keep for years.
(We hope this gets desired results, which is to help women who have ’em, to keep ’em, and those who don’t have ’em, to get ’em, and keep ’em well preserved.)
How To Preserve Children
Take half a dozen children and mix in 2 or 3 dogs. When well blended, pour mixture into a large grassy field. Sprinkle heavily with violets and buttercups. Cover with a blue sky and bake slowly in a moderate sun. When well-browned, remove them to a sparkling brook and cool.
Yes, they are old-fashioned recipes, but I think they can be as dependable and good these days as they were half a century ago.
God almighty is perfectly capable of managing the hyper-complexity of His created order. But I don’t believe the central bank of the United States (the Federal Reserve) is capable of managing the economic hyper-complexity of their creation.
Economics is, after all, not an exact science. It’s a lot of theory and competing ideas. These days, the centralized powers that attempt to manage the American economy are experimenting in a very big way. They have taken the country into a grand, uncharted, theoretical economic experiment.
With that in mind, the recent Frontline documentary above is surprisingly well done and well worth watching. It’s all about our economic past, and our economic future.
The interviews with different economic “experts” are revealing. Like, for example, the insightful quote by Richard W. Fisher, President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas..
“It’s almost like alchemy. You can create money out of thin air if you’re the central bank.”
Near the end of the Frontline documentary another Federal Reserve Fisher (Peter R. Fisher) honestly sums up the economic situation that America now finds itself in…
“I think the odds are now… very high that we will look at this as an epic mistake and one of the greatest financial calamities of all time.”
Well, he ought to know, right?
And the thing we can all know for sure is that those at “The Fed” who manage the American economy will continue to experiment in an effort to “fix” the broken situation they have created. And those fixes will generate new problems, requiring more fixing.
On the financial horizon is a talked-about new experiment: Government-issued debit cards for all Americans. The Federal Reserve will put “free” dollars into every card and we will have a window of time in which to spend the money. This will goose the economy and bring prosperity to everyone.
I have mentioned Steve Bannon and his daily War Room broadcast here before. I feel compelled to mention him and his program again after listening to This July 16 Episode. That show is powerful. Bannon, and the people he interviews are the “tip of the spear” in resisting the Marxist takeover of America.
The show begins with a clip of Rachel Maddow on MSNBC discrediting the seriousness of Arizona’s forensic audit of the 2020 election results. As that audit is starting to provide evidence of fraud, Maddow is calling for “direct action” against the nationwide movement to find out the truth about election results in every state in America.
It isn’t just the presidential race that is in question. There are congressional races in question. And it isn’t just Democrats that may have participated in the fraud. There are plenty of establishment Republicans too!
Maddow’s “direct action” is a call for intimidation of anyone associated with the movement to determine the true results of the 2020 election. America saw “direct action” last year when Antifa and other Marxist organizations rioted and burned cities. Maddow says that such direct action is needed to “provide incentives for people to act differently.” We all know what that means.
The movement to get forensic audits of evidently-corrupt elections in several key states is moving ahead, against fierce opposition. It will not stop, especially as evidences of significant fraud are starting to be exposed, as in now happening in Arizona (and Georgia). An enormous constitutional crisis looms, as does widespread Marxist-directed riots and the intimidation of any American (including judges, jurors, and honest politicians) who speaks up about the corruption.
The July 16 show I linked above is a classic War Room episode. Bannon’s guest host is Eric Prince, a former Navy Seal who has done some amazing things in his life (he reminds me of Teddy Roosevelt) . That man knows what he’s talking about. Prince reveals information about the American military exploits in the Middle East, and opines on the current unreadiness of America’s military, especially the Navy.
Jack Prosobiec (pictured below, on the right, not backing down when confronted with “direct action” by an Antifa gangster ), is a regular guest on Bannon’s War Room. He is also on the War Room episode linked above. Prosobiec is a former Naval officer who speaks fluent Mandarin. His insights into current political events and military issues are always cogent.
Jack Prosobiec, Eric Prince, and Steve Bannon all believe that the American military has lost the competence to achieve victory, and they explain why. This may well become a concern when (not if) China makes its move to take Taiwan. Among other things, Taiwan makes most of the semiconductor chips that America needs.
Also on the War Room episode linked above is Noor BinLaden. I have blogged about Noor BinLaden in the past (Click Here to Read). Noor is an American patriot, and she isn’t even an American.
I don’t know of any other broadcast that is doing what Steve Bannon is doing with his guests and interviews to tell the story of what is really happening with the fight to save America from Marxist takeover. The battle is raging. Fox News doesn’t cover it. Ironically, as Bannon says, MSNBC and Rachel Maddow are covering it better than others. She regularly responds to what Bannon is reporting in an effort to mock and discredit any patriotic Marxist opposition. But, again, as Steve Bannon often says, “We have the receipts, and we’re not backing off.” By “receipts” he means evidence, facts, data… The truth will come out.
My three sons and I communicate with each other to some degree pretty much every day with a group chat on our phones. Today, my oldest son, who makes his living as a truck driver, sent this message to our group…
“Delivered to an Amish farm today. Had a boy probably around 10 unload me with a forklift, and a little girl under 6 helped me push the pallets to the tail.”
Those two children (who were barefoot) are typical Amish children. They are an integral part of a traditional-style family economy. Their lives revolve around family, work, and church. They are given serious responsibilities, and they grow up into capable, mature adults long before average modern children.
The concept of teen-age adolescence, a span of years characterized by excess leisure, unproductive pursuits, selfishness, foolishness, purposelessness, vain amusements, and so much nonsense, is a historical aberration; it is a purely modern construct.
It is amazing to me that the Amish have managed to preserve their deliberate, contra-mundum way of life into the 21st century. I believe their children, the future of their families, and the communities they live in are all the better for it.
I used to have a personal page on Facebook. Actually, I still do, but I removed all content (years of it) and went black on January 6 of this year. I no longer wanted to feed the mind-control Beast that is censoring free speech and cancelling people who questioned any “official story” put forth by Marxist enemies of the American Republic.
I cancelled my Twitter account (which I never used) back in January. I have an Instagram account but do not post anything there. I created an account on Gab years ago, but have done nothing with it. I set up an Parler account but wasn’t comfortable with the format.
On July 1st (12 days ago) the new social media platform, GETTR, was launched. It is a free speech platform described as a cross between Twitter and Facebook. I set up an account. The platform is simple and I feel like it might be a good place for me.
When I had a Facebook page, I limited my “friends” to people in my family and friends in my community. With my GETTR page, anyone who wants to “follow” me can do so.
GETTR will be a place where I post all kinds of things that are of interest to me, and they may be of interest to you. I’ll share a wide variety of quotes, videos, and links that I like. This Heavenstretch blog will continue to be the place where I post longer, more thoughtful things.
I invite you to come visit GETTR, and my personal page at this link: Herrick Kimball
P.S. In time, if GETTR proves to be the good fit that I think it will be, I’ll completely remove my now-empty personal Facebook page. I’ll also move my Whizbang Gardening and Planet Whizbang Facebook pages.
In 2015, and for several years after, my blog writings were focused primarily on introducing and casting a vision for the Christian-agrarian worldview. I titled my blog, The Deliberate Agrarian. The name embraced my conscious decision to think and live a life as contrary to the ungodly techno-industrial expectations as much as possible.
My Christian-agrarian worldview was and is deep rooted. It came together in my teen years. But it wasn’t until later in life, when I came across the writings of Howard Douglas King (HDK), that I began to identify as a Christian-agrarian. I wrote about Howard King and posted links to some of his foundational Christian-agrarian essays back in 2009 at This Blog Post (they are essential reading for anyone interested in Christian-agrarianism, and all the links still work on that web page).
Mr. King once had a web site where he posted his thought-provoking writings, but it has been gone for many years. That is, however, no longer the case. Howard Douglas King is back, and I am delighted to announce that his new web site contains not only some of his older essays but some newer ones as well. His new web site is here… The Old Paths.
Not all of Howard Kings writings are Christian-agrarian. Many are more theological, and some recent essays are political. There is much to read and consider at The Old Paths. If you are new to Howard King’s writings, you might want to begin your journey of discovery with his essay titled, The Biblical Basis of Christian Agrarianism. Here is a quote from that essay:
G. T. Wrench, in his book, “The Restoration of the Peasantry” documents the history of Roman agriculture, and shows that mighty Rome could not sustain its agricultural output because the productive lands passed out of the hands of the farmers into the hands of urban moneylenders and thence to the effete aristocracy. Thus, the lands were only an additional source of income to the owners, and not their very lives. They were neglected or else exploited, and soon lost their fertility. Rome relied in the end on North Africa to feed its millions. This is not the only cause of the decline of Rome, but it is one that few are aware of today. We are on a similar course, with multinational corporations and bankers owning most of the productive soil in America, rather than freehold farmers.
The biggest problem with the family is that it is a system of personal relationships. It is a unit whose members tend to take a special interest in each other, to be loyal to each other, to provide for each other. Ideally, in a technological society, each person must have only one loyalty — to his own temporal interests. That way, he can be precisely controlled without resorting to force. He will infallibly pursue what he perceives to be in his best interests, and that perception will be infallibly predetermined by the technocrats who control the schools and the mass media.
It is bad enough that the family has been pushed to the brink of destruction. One effect of this has been the complete detachment of many individuals from families, and the effective replacement of the family as the fundamental unit of society by the isolated individual. The church suffers from the presence of people who have been torn away from the support of committed relationships, who do not know how and/or are unwilling to commit to anyone. Work, the mortgage and the car payment are often their primary commitments. Church and especially the community life are way down the list. In addition, these atomistic individuals, lacking the support structures that should be supplied by committed relationships are often emotionally damaged and unstable.
I don’t know of any other contemporary thinker and writer who is so insightfully and compellingly revealing the fundamental wickedness of modern industrial civilization as is Howard Douglas King. I not only invite you to read his essays, Ichallenge you to do so.
P.S. I have found that The Old Paths is best viewed on a desktop computer, not a phone.
Few things in life are more pleasing to the sensibilities of agrarians than to eat food that they have grown, harvested, and prepared with their own hands, preferably on their own land. … The act of providing one’s own food is an acknowledgement and acceptance of the Divine order. It is an expression of obedience. It is the realization of freedom.
Herrick Kimball, 2006
Those sentences are in the first paragraph of Chapter 12 of my book, Writings of a Deliberate Agrarian. The title of the chapter is, A Summer Evening’s Meal. The meal in the photo above was one that Marlene and I enjoyed on our back patio this afternoon.
Those fresh peas and potato chunks in cream are an early-summer favorite of ours. Marlene picked the peas from my Minibed garden this morning…
The steak came from a local Mennonite family. We have purchased 1/4 of a cow from them every year for several years. We also purchase part of a hog from them each year.
We raise our own chickens for meat, and I processed 24 of them last week. They were beautiful meaty birds. Well… maybe beautiful isn’t the right word. But they were definitely heavy and it’s a good feeling to see the many packages of meat in our freezer. Those 24 chickens will translate into meat for at least 100 meals. Then there is Marlene’s beloved chicken stock. She canned more than 20 quarts of it.
This morning I made a YouTube video of my Minibed experimental garden. The Minibed system is now into it’s 5th season of testing and evaluating. I couldn’t be more pleased with the idea…
I like to call my Minibed garden a “Quality of Life Garden.” Once established, it is not overwhelming to maintain. It is productive through the growing season. And it is profoundly satisfying to walk out into a neat, orderly garden to harvest fresh food for healthy meals.
I’ll conclude this blog post with the final paragraph of A Summer Evening’s Meal. When I wrote that essay (17 years ago) all three of our sons were still at home. We had a busy and productive little 1.5 acre homestead. Now they are all grown up and have families of their own. It’s a whole lot quieter around here at meal times. But we still enjoy our homegrown meals, and this paragraph still applies…
It was a simple meal. It was a good meal. It was the kind of meal that I love to eat with my family on a summer evening. It was nothing special but it was everything special, if you know what I mean
The economist, John Maynard Keynes, famously observed, “By a continuing process of inflation, government can confiscate, secretly and unobserved, an important part of the wealth of their citizens,” and that is what has been going on in America for generations. But if the rate of inflation is maintained below a certain level, few people notice or care. The sheep get accustomed to being shorn. It is, however, a different story when inflation gets out of hand, and obvious… when the flame thrower of hyper-inflation gets fired up.
The subject of inflation has been one of the most recurring themes in my 16 years of blogging. I am angry about the immorality of inflationary theft. And I have long been expecting inflation to spike, possibly leading to hyperinflation. We are now seeing the spike.
Back in March of this year, in my blog post titled, The Force Majeure is With Us, I reported that the company where I purchase the poultry shrink bags I sell (PoultryShrinkBags.com) raised their prices 5%. Then, just yesterday, I received notice that the bag prices are going up another 7%. Here is a quote from the notice…
“We continue to experience unprecedented inflation as well as continued increases in all areas of the business, including increases in raw materials and transportation costs. Throughout this challenging time, we have been working closely with our supply chain partners to mitigate the economic impact to our customers. However, despite our ongoing productivity actions, we have not been able to fully offset these cost headwinds, particularly on our flexible packaging products.”
At this point, I will be very surprised if the various spikes of significant inflation we’re now seeing throughout the economy do not ignite the flamethrower of hyperinflationary destruction.
If you have a business, you can pace inflation. Which is to say, you raise your prices as your costs go up. I raised my bag prices 5% across the board in March. I will shortly raise them another 7%. But sales are down this year already, and another 7% price increase won’t make them any higher. The good news is that I’m still able to get the bags.
Over the years, with history and the specter of hyperinflation in mind, I have positioned myself to survive a coming hyperinflationary economic collapse…
I have lived without much of what the modern world has tried to influence me to have. I built my own home and never had a bank mortgage. I have been loathe to take on any debt, and have paid it off as quickly as possible when it was needed. I have acquired rural land and the tools & skills to provide much of my own food and heat. I have developed a home-based business so I’m not dependent on an employer.
But no man is an island. I harbor no illusions about what may lie ahead. Everyone loses with hyperinflation. Life savings are lost. Freedoms are lost. Lives are lost. I hope it doesn’t get that bad.
And this brings me to Ralph Borsodi…
Back in 2017 I wrote an 11-part series about the economist, Ralph Borsodi, and the book pictured above. Borsodi was wrong in his 1948 prediction of destructive inflation coming to America, but I think he was spot-on with his preparedness advice. If you would like to learn about Ralph Borsodi and his inflationary preparedness ideas, here are links to the 11 blog posts.
Note: Borsodi’s actual advice for inflation survival begins in Part 6, and you can click on all photo excerpts from the book to see a larger (easier to read) view.
There is little time in my schedule for blogging these days, but I never miss the daily War Room Broadcasts with Steve Bannon. There is so much substance in his commentary and in the numerous guest interviews he has on his show every day. Yesterday’s show was a special about the crisis of masculinity in America, which is a subject that I’ve been attuned to for a long time.
If you have read my early Deliberate Agrarian writings, you know I did not raise my sons to be helpless boy-men, and to have a victim mentality. Intentionally focused, rural homestead life and home schooling allowed my wife and I to raise boys that are now resilient, disciplined, accountable, responsible and capable men.
If you share my concerns about the lack of masculinity in out time, I encourage you to watch this Part 1 episode of Bannon’s War Room. Jack Prosobic and Pastor Arthur Pawlowski in particular are spot on with their comments. I thank God for men like this.
I started writing my first blog, The Deliberate Agrarian, back on June 18, 2005, and one of my recurring themes over the past 16 years has been small-scale entrepreneurship. I’m always particularly impressed with younger people who put the time and effort into learning new skills, who are imaginative and creative, and who start their own businesses (they remind me of myself).
Such brave, bold, and enterprising young people are becoming more of a rarity in our culture. That’s the way it looks to me. It is, after all, a whole lot easier to not be brave, bold and enterprising.
And that brings me to Cody Hahn (pictured above, with his girlfriend, Rhianna). I have recently learned about Cody and his upstart business, Crossroads Leather Company.
Cody does leatherwork of all kinds, and one of his special interests is putting new leather covers on Bibles. This next picture shows the typical Bible of a person who actually reads and studies their Bible over the course of many years.
The next three photos show a Bible that Cody has recovered. You might say it has been born again…
After seeing Cody’s Facebook page I asked him more about himself and how he happened to start doing this kind of work. I’ll let Cody take it from here. This is an exact excerpt from his e-mail reply…
As for your questions, and details pertaining to them, here goes……I had already been doing various forms of leather craft before, as a hobby, working on men’s and women’s leather belts, dog collars, moccasins, simple leather shoes, etc. My mother had a 1994 Nelson NKJV wide margin bible that was her go-to work and study bible, with all her notes in it, but the bonded leather cover had been deteriorated and broken down for years and years, and she had kept it inside some sort of fabric sleeve she had made for it, kind of like people do for textbooks. Well, then the binding began taking more wear and tear over time, developed loose stitching, etc, and just got more and more beat up. So she was originally going to do her best to strip down and recover the bible herself, because of not being able to afford sending it off someone to have done (it is expensive, that’s the thing), and she put together a few little tools and supplies and such, and even eventually found an old leather jacket at a thrift store that she was going to try to cut the cover from, and then she bought a small piece of lambskin on eBay, to make the leather liners from. Well, after a great deal of time gearing up for that, and trying to figure out how to go about it, she grew pretty frustrated with it and disheartened, and suggested that if I wanted to take it over as a project, I could, as I already had the hobby level experience working with some leather projects anyway. So, take it over I did, and finish it I did. It ain’t perfect, it’s got a lot of flaws, but it turned out alright, it is flexible, it looks and feels nice, and it’s totally functional, and she uses it daily, and even for not being done that “right”, it’s her go-to workhorse bible, and honestly, even though I’m biased I guess, it seems as though it will go for years.
Then as for how else I learned, I received a good deal of guidance from a couple of bible rebinders, one in particular. So that, and a lot of trial and error and note-taking and keeping track of variables and how something turned out versus how I was trying to get it to turn out.
I’ve been recovering bibles, old or new, for about a year and a half or so.
I also make simple but solid leather belts for work, casual, and everyday wear, using Italian brass buckles (don’t have anything for Italian brass, other than it is a non-China option, until I can ever find a good US option, surprise surprise, there aren’t many…..I just am doing what I can at the moment to distance my products and work from the junk spewing out of that country). These belts are typically made from either vegetable tanned tooling leather (I cut the straps from an entire half of a cow), or from bridle leather, or English bridle leather, or heavy harness leather, depending on stock on hand, type of belt, or what a customer desires. The main two ways I attach the buckles are by hand-sewing the buckle and keeper in place, or by setting copper or brass saddler’s rivets to secure these components in place. Both are strong, and both offer a different look.
I have made some bridle leather dog collars, and will be making more in the future as time allows.
And I’m about to begin working on some leather thong sandals, that while uni-sex in nature, will probably appeal a bit more to women, just due to fashion, except for the male ultra runner or hiker or such here and there. They will be very simple and bare-bones in nature (and even then, good grief, it costs so much to make anything, and so hard to have it come out at price points that both make me an “okay” wage per hour of labor, but still allow enough customers to purchase them…….the struggle), and will feature a single sole of thick vegetable tanned sole leather, treated with two heavy coats of olive oil to begin life with, and a leather thong/lace that will secure the sandal to and around the foot/ankle/achilles tendon. In the future, if it proves worthwhile, I may consider cementing a thin rubber outsole material to the bottom of the leather soles, and trimming and sanding to shape, for the increased wear resistance, and see if it can still wind up at a price that enough people will go for them, but for now, leather only. I just wanted to try to offer a simple form of footwear, even if only mostly the women are interested (I have plans for men’s shoes, lace-up work boots, athletic shoes, etc down the road, but it’s a LOT of time and money-intensive pattern work and trial and error, and can’t be approached too lightly, because the mistakes are too costly, horrendously so often) that would allow people a non-China option of sandals, and a non-synthetic option, at least what directly touches the foot, for hopefully a healthier pair of footwear, better breathability and less sweat and clamminess, less odor and smell (due to better breathability and less sweaty nature of veg tanned, not chrome tanned, leather), and an attractive enough look. Plus, the main thing with these sandals is not all this, but the fact that they will be built around a pair of sole tracings that the buyer mails to me, so that I can literally build them to the sole outline of the owner’s feet, something that isn’t possible with factory sandals from China. I am now in the experimenting stage with a willing and patient girlfriend and cousin, haha, of whom I am grateful for, plus they are getting at least one free pair of sandals made to their very own feet.
And lastly, when I can get to it, I am going to be putting together and offering some buffalo calfskin leather wallets, probably both bi-fold and tri-fold.
That isn’t all I would plan to do, but it’s what I will mess with for now, and it’s plenty, haha.
Well, let me tell you, that response brought a big smile to my face. Cody has an honest and endearing way of communicating with the written word. Do you get the sense that he is excited and passionate about what he is doing? He followed up with another e-mail shortly after the one above…
So I recover old/used AND new bibles, whether the owner provides me with the textblock (a personal used one, or a new one they want recovered more to their liking), or I myself procure one for them. I typically prepare goatskin covers for these bibles, though I have used other leathers, and will, but I’ve been on a lot of goatskin lately. The liners are most often a thin, soft lambskin, but the leather liners could also be goatskin, sheepskin, or calfskin. I install new head/tail bands at top and bottom of the spine (little decorative pieces you see, but might not have ever noticed). And I install anywhere from 1 to as many as 10 (for extra cost) satin place marker ribbons, depending on width of the spine and what it will sensibly allow for, and I offer these in either a narrower 1/4″ that most people are used to from the factory, or a little bit wider 3/8″. I’ve messed with anything from black, to brown, to red, to blues, to green, to purple for the cover colors, and others, but more and more, I’m actually growing a bit disenchanted with the wilder, weirder, more “modern” color schemes, and find myself personally being more drawn to blacks, browns, reds, burgundys, tans, and even certain dark/deep blues (closer to indigo is better) etc, rather than the more flashy and often garish colors we see a lot of now.
Now as for repairs, I do them, yes, to the degree I am able. I have dampened and ironed flat dog eared pages. I have ironed bent/folded edges. I have resewn binding to a degree, to the best of my current ability. And I have even very carefully applied thin, nearly transparent, acid-free archival book repair tape in order to mend certain rips and tears in the pages. But, it does all cost, and it often involves a surprising amount of time and labor to repair what many people would consider “minor” repairs, and they are often dismayed at the cost of the actual bookblock repairs. I completely understand, as it can be bad, but it’s just one of those things that takes so much time and careful, tedious work, that there isn’t really a way around it, and I have actually lost money time and again getting caught up on the book block repairs, as opposed to the more leather work side of things. The sweet spot, I have found, is recovering a brand new text block that needs no repairs, or recovering a solid textblock for someone, that mostly just needs a facelift and new decked out cover and liners, but has been cared for and handled (you would be surprised at the CONDITION of some people’s bibles, it’s as if they let them fly around in a pickup truck during heavy stop and go traffic with much brake slamming and forward motion of objects in the vehicle……) in such a way that it doesn’t require much repair to the pages and binding itself. Needless to say, I am always glad when the bookblock does not require major repair.
Anyway, hopefully that gives you enough of a run down of the basics of what in the world is going on in this type of work, haha.
Yes, Cody, it was a good and enjoyable introduction to what you are doing. With your e-mail replies, you have unwittingly written most of this blog post! I sure do appreciate knowing about you and your business.
I hope those of you reading this blog have found this story as positive and encouraging as I have. Here’s a young man with a lot of initiative, working hard to learn a useful skill and build a business. Cody isn’t the only younger generation person doing this sort of thing, but he is one of the few, and I admire him greatly for it.
I’ll close out this blog post with one last picture. This is one of Cody’s handcrafted belts (with the Italian brass buckle). Wouldn’t you love to have a belt with that kind of quality? It would also make a great gift for someone. Stop on over to Cody Hahn’s Facebook page if you’re interested (he doesn’t have a web site yet). If you can’t find a way to contact him, send me an e-mail: Herrick@PlanetWhizbang.com