Giving up progress to make progress

There are different ways to consider progress and success.

3 years ago I was debt-free, had enough savings to live comfortably for about 6 months, and was giving away approximately 1/4 of my income to charity. I worked out regularly, could bench press 405 for 2 reps, and could run a mile in 6 minutes 10 seconds (I never was able to break the 6 minute mark). I also wrote regularly, with some of the writing being posted here.

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Monthly Project and Purchase Roundup: August

My first project completed in August was mulching the trees and lilacs I planted earlier in the summer, and putting ashes around the spruces. 2 of the 10 spruces died, but thankfully it was the ones at either end of the line, so they are all still evenly spaced. At St. Vincent’s, I found a well-built older, wooden child-size rocking chair, which I bought for my son at a cost of $12.

On my list of major purchases to make for quite awhile has been some sort of pantry for my wife’s kitchen. I found an old entertainment center on the side of the road, and it has become our new pantry. I spent $7 on a bottle of Old English scratch cover, and $50 on two galvanized steel buckets that each hold 50lbs of flour and fit nicely in the bottom of the pantry. While I was at the hardware store for the buckets, I also bought a flyswatter for $2 and a new dustpan for $8.

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Monthly Project and Purchase Roundup: July

The simplest project I completed this month was to mount my .22 caliber pellet rifle above the door from the kitchen to the back porch. This was in order to make it handy for shooting rabbits that have been decimating my tomato plants. I went to Ace Hardware and bought 2 brass coat/hat hooks for a total of $10, and mounted them above the door. This has made it much easier to grab the pellet rifle when there is a rabbit in the garden.

Another project had to do with the chickens. We were steadily losing chickens–always during the day–with no sign of what was taking them. I bought some light plastic netting at True Value for a total of $55 and covered the entire pen. A few days later, I saw a black cat outside the pen, apparently foiled by the netting. I shot it with the pellet gun, and we haven’t lost a chicken since.

When I originally fenced the chicken pen, I used free welded wire fencing given to me by a friend that had moved. But at the chickens have grown, the space became insufficient, and too-heavy traffic meant that the grass was being destroyed. So when

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Advice on buying your first deer rifle

This is a blog designed to help men–particularly young men–live a life of Godly masculinity. It is not a “survivalist” blog. It is not a “gun” blog. In the past, I’ve tread lightly around these topics to avoid derailing the conversation. So, while comments are welcome per usual on this post, before commenting please ensure … Read more…

Frugal Friday: How to start

Brandon asks:

For those of us who were born and raised in the soft, squishy suburban cesspool of careerism and consumerism, this ‘return to the land’ idea can be very overwhelming. We have been since birth in a state of perpetual infancy, mentally conditioned to see the state, corporation, and grocery store as our manager and provider. Many of us graduated college and are barely scraping buy, with poor job prospects. Buying rural land seems as far away as becoming a millionaire. So, a change of mindset is needed. Advice to those of us on how to reorient our mind out of the dependent, learned helpless mentality toward a more pioneering spirit would be helpful. Strategies toward this end would also be good. Some of us would just like to know where to start.

First, stop eating out.

If you don’t have a crock-pot, buy one. Throw meat, beans (dry), vegetables, and some seasonings in it in the morning with some water, and have a hot meal waiting for you when you get home. If you eat boxed cereal for breakfast,

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Read: Everything That Remains by Joshua Fields Milburn

I purchased this book with the hope that it would be a good “sharing book” to introduce people to minimalism. Because this book never takes the tenets of minimalism to their obvious conclusions outside of personal life–conclusions about government spending, for example–it is a good introductory book for the person who is currently trying to buy his happiness both with his own dollars and with the dollars of the taxpayer at large.

The conversational device employed seems more than a little contrived in places, but other than that the book is a quick and enjoyable read. The author uses a semi-autobiography to show how minimalism gave both himself and his best friend freedom from debt, freedom from jobs that controlled them, and freedom to pursue the things they are truly passionate about.

This book is not a “how-to” guide, although it does mention enough ideas and techniques for the reader to implement minimalism in his own life. Rather, it is a “why-to” manual that focuses more on benefits and advantages than on specific implementation protocols. Probably the most valuable aspect of the book from a sharing perspective it that it stresses how the author and his friend found increasing happiness tied to decreasing possessions. The most common question I get when explaining that I practice minimalism is “are you ever happy?” Those who are seeking to purchase happiness are keenly aware that it doesn’t work, and will key in on the author’s experience finding happiness.

All in all, it’s not the most practical book on minimalism I’ve read, but it is what I was hoping it would be: A good introductory book to give to the person who is far from minimalism.