It’s been a crazy week with the holiday and all, but I did manage to get my scanner up and scanned all of my summer paintings. You can find a few of my favorites here:
“After reading the blogs of several others who share our passions for an self-reliant, agrarian, Spirit-filled life we felt it was high time to put our journey into a blog.”
We’re still self-reliant, still Spirit-filled, but not so much agrarian at this point. We raised our fair number of chickens and rabbits and grew multiple gardens and have decided now to change lifestyles again (for the short term at least).
“I’m Jon, just shy of 26, and I’m married to my high school love, Nicole, who’s not too much younger. We’ve been blessed with three beautiful daughters, L 4, B 2, and K 6 weeks. While they take up most of our time we hope to occasionally find time to post on here.”
I’m now just shy of 32, still married, and we’ve added two sons to our horde.
“I developed a love for the outdoors in my days in Scouts. During those days I dreamed of being a chef and owning a restaurant. My love for the outdoors was not considered “profitable” so it was placed in the “hobbies” category of my life. I started college fully intent on a degree in business management. Once I discovered the short-sightedness of my classmates and after taking dendrology as an elective (who does that?) Providence, and prodding from Nicole, led me to a new career path in forestry. Land management combined my love of the outdoors with my desire to control my surroundings. That and I was making an impact on the world that lasts far longer than the next quarter.”
I still love the outdoors, but I’ve veered off from my land management job and went in to full time wildland firefighting. I just completed my first season with the Forest Service on the North Kaibab National Forest. And with my prodding and her own gumption Nicole has also started looking for work as a wildland firefighter.
“Upon graduation, I, the young idealist, went to work for state government in a state 4 states to the south of my roots. The outdoors became my office, I was at the bottom of the totem pole, and all that mattered was pushing out next year’s timber sales. So much for long term thinking and being my own boss. Pine plantations were a foreign outdoors to me, so my love was replaced with a semi-apathy.”
After staring at these plantations for nine years I finally got enough fireline days under my belt to switch careers.
“Youthful ambition can lead to a dangerous disappointment when reality replaces its idealism. In my shock I settled down into the normal American lifestyle. I was already married, with one child, and a career, so I took the next plunge and bought a house. We took on a mortgage with gusto (and a little help from the government), a car payment, and a few credit card debts. We ate hamburger helper, store-baked bread, and far more fast-food than any small country could handle. I went to my job, 8-5, Monday to Friday. After work, there was four hours with the now two children and one very frazzled wife, some tv, a bit of internet, bed, and repeat. Thus was our modern American life.”
I’m still an idealist, I couldn’t escape that! However, I wrote that paragraph as a bit of a condemnation of that lifestyle, and in my agrarian days I was definitely a cage-stage snob. As an Ancap I cannot condemn people who choose that life, there is a place for them in the world. Personally, I can’t do it. It’s just not for me.
“Now, about 80% of that is still true. I still have my mortgage, my car payment, my credit card debt; I still spend the vast majority of my time away from my family, and we still eat far more fast-food than we should. But something changed in the last year or so. A desire to avoid the materialist debt trap of my fellow countrymen developed. The desire to be my own employer reared its head again. A new idealism took form in my mind.”
See? Still an idealist! Unfortunately, even idealism can’t save one from the inevitable debts that come with a low salary and a large family. While we escaped the materialism that led to deeper debt, we are still trapped in a mortgage and we still have the credit card debt, though it’s getting smaller and not larger. While in those days I was completely opposed to debt I now see times and places where debt can be necessary. Debt should be leveraged for productivity, not simply short term gratification. Our modern use of credit cards and fractional reserve banking is NOT a good example of good debt.
“Back in college I invited my wife on a class tour that would have far more of an effect on me than I ever imagined. My Forest Operations class routinely visited logging sites to teach us about the various methods of logging. This time is was horse-logging. I figured she like horses, so why not invite her. The impact was not known then, but this tour would plant a seed that would only germinate after several seasons of scarification. I plotted in my head the path to a horse-logger career: I would graduate and while she finished up her last year of school I would take the apprenticeship and learn the trade, then we would face the great unknown, hand-in-hand. God had other ideas.
Two weeks after the tour she woke me up with the news that we were expecting our first child. ”
Now we have five and we are jumping into another unknown, this time the life of a seasonal firefighter and full time travel in an RV.
“My mind quickly changed gears, I would not go the unknown route, I would take the safe route. I would do the standard “get a degree, get a career, buy a house, settle for security” route. Only after two years of taking this route would I realize the liberty I had sacrificed. I was now tied to a house, tied to my debts, fully reliant on others for my subsistence, and at the whim of any financial disaster brought about by the embrace of Keynesian economics.”
Realizing that Keynesian economics were a lie led me on my path to anarcho-capitalism. I took an odd route to get there though. I started reading blogs like the North Country Farmer (https://northcountryfarmer.wordpress.com/) and the Deliberate Agrarian (http://thedeliberateagrarian.blogspot.com/). I began to think of agrarianism, self-sufficiency, and individualism as the highest ideals.
I read Locke, Smith, Hobbes, Mill, and John Talyor Gatto. All of these philosophers and thinkers got me thinking capitalist thoughts, and my neocon mind became more minarchist. At one point I began reading Gary North and Rushdoony and became a Reconstructionist Theonomist, this was very close to agrarianism and made a ton of sense to me.
In my late 20’s I was introduced to Tom Woods, Fredric Bastiat, and the Non-Aggression Principle. I learned about Mises and Austrian Economics and found that while all of my previous positions on economics were reasonable, none of them were completely consistent. I had to abandon pure agrarianism and pure individualism because they weren’t completely capitalist. Theonomy was a blatant violation of the NAP. Minarchism was completely inconsistent with the NAP. I became an Anarch0-capitalist in the mold of Tom Woods and others.
“The dream to be a horse-logger came back to life, and along with it a desire to do for ourselves all that we are able. We started cooking from scratch, planted a garden, bought chickens, read more about off-grid living than anyone should, and a variety of other things. There are still debts to be paid, skills to be learned, character to be developed, and tons of logistics to figure. Thus, we are somewhere in the middle of our transformation from suburbanite consumer to rural producer.”
And now we are in the transformation from rural producer to on-the-road producer. Some time around 2013 I decided that I wanted to fight fires full time instead of staring at pine trees full time. This would mean six months a year working away from home. Given our dedication to parenting and keeping a more family-centered economy we decided that the only way to have both a full time fire career and a family would be to take the family on the road. So our plan became “buy an old bus, make it an RV, and follow my career wherever it goes”.
This year were finally able to get the job, but the RV part wasn’t so easy. We ended up with a 27′ travel trailer instead. Five months later we have learned much and decided this is a good short term solution. Long-term we still want the Skoolie. If we ever go back to rural production it won’t be in FL. Our current desire is to find property in the Idaho Redoubt and build a self-sufficient homestead. But for now the call of the open road beckons.
“This is our story of the rest of that journey, if God wills it.”
This is a continuation of that journey, but this is a little different. Not only will this blog have biographical posts, it will have opinions and commentary. And Nicole is not much of a writer so this one will be all me.
As the good folks at Monty Python like to say “Get on with it!”
Welcome to Drip Torch Press, a prescribed fire for the conventional world.
I am Jon, and I am far too complicated for my own good. I always seem to find myself on the contrarian side of all Facebook debates, with both sides hating me. This blog is my attempt to catalog my various unconventional views, and maybe some of my more conventional views. You’ll probably find you agree with me on more topics than either of us would believe.
Much of this blog will be about the two most taboo topics known to American culture: Politics and Religion. Most of it will be about parenting, marriage, minimalism, travel, painting, art, photography, and just about everything else. I will also use this platform to shamelessly promote my other Drip Torch project: Drip Torch Studio, http://www.artpal.com/driptorchstudio .
Politically, I grew up a strong neo-conservative. I come from a staunch Republican background. My childhood was spent stuffing mailboxes for various campaigns with my father and attending fundraiser picnics and the like. I voted for Bush the first time I voted, then voted for him again four years later. Then I voted McCain and Romney before deciding that voting is violence. Throughout my 20’s I listened to Rush Limbaugh, Neal Boortz, and Sean Hannity every day. I was always sure that big government could solve all our social problems if we just had the right leaders in office. In my late 20’s I was introduced to authors like Ayn Rand and philosphers like John Stuart Mill and Fredric Bastiat. I have slowly become more and more of an Anarcho-Capitalist (AnCap) and have renounced my belief in coercive government. In some of my posts I hope to pick apart old letters I wrote in college to real and fictional newspaper editors.
Religiously I grew up a Presbyterian. I agree with pretty much the entire Westminster Confession of Faith (as much as I’ve read, I’m getting there!) and hold to the Doctrines of Grace and the Solas. This may mean nothing to some of you, don’t worry, I’ll explain it later. I’m also Amil and paedobaptist for anyone who cares. Given the number of FB debates I have had on these subjects, there will definitely be some posts on them. Reformed doctrine itself may not be overly controversial or unconventional, but many of my other thoughts on semi-religious topics might be.
My interests outside of politics and religion include painting and art in general, relationships, homesteading, gardening and farming, woodworking (though my skills are lacking), music, my children, firefighting, forestry, pipes, cigars, and vaping, cheap Scotch, beer, cheaper wine, and so many more things I wouldn’t know where to start. This blog will take a shotgun approach at these things, hitting everything at least once.