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March 28: Thoughts on ‘working your land.’

Proverbs 28:19 He who works his land will have abundant food, but the one who chases fantasies will have his fill of poverty.

“T.A.N.S.T.A.A.F.L.”    There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.  If you think someone in Nigeria is, out of the goodness of their heart, going to share their 10 million dollar inheritance with you, you’d better wake up and smell the coffee.

Sadly, I often see poor people spending their milk money buying a handful of lottery tickets.  That’s what today’s verse calls “chasing fantasies.”

If you don’t believe that, study the statistics on lotteries and games of chance.  The deck is stacked.

Life doesn’t normally hand us free lunches.  God’s plan, which is always best, is for us to go out and work for it.  To slowly “work our land.”

March is the time of year even sensible folks plant a garden in Louisiana.  I’ve got potatoes, corn, and beans bravely popping their heads up, looking around for any sign of the infamous “Easter cool snap.”

I’ve strung my electric fence so the deer will have to expend energy jumping it to eat my garden.  I’ve also got a radio (in a nearby dog house) playing country music* to ward off the deer.

DeDe says it’s really nice of me to supply music for the deer while they eat my corn.

Gardening teaches a person patience.  It takes planning, foresight, and work to put in a garden and keep it going.  You must work your land to have abundant food.

Most of our twenty acres is planted in pines—a mixture of slash, loblolly, and some longleaf. They’re eleven years old and will need thinning in the next year or so.  It’ll be the first small return on our investment of our tree farm.

As the saying goes,  “The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago.  The second best is today.”

A forest doesn’t happen over night.  It takes time.  You plant and wait. You baby your forest.  Bushogging around the trees, trying to eliminate the competing tallow trees, plowing fire lanes to protect from wildfires.

That’s the lesson from “working our land.”   It’s slow but steady growth.   Very different from waiting for “our ship to come in” laden with sudden riches.

Iles Tree Farm 2009

Working our land—i.e. using what we have—beats the heck out of chasing fantasies.

You see, there just ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.

Solomon said that in Proverbs 28:19.

Well, maybe not word for word, but that’s the gist of the verse.

*My unscientific study shows that deer prefer country music while destroying your garden.  Their second favorite is Zydeco/Cajun music.  The preference of raccoons when the corn ripens is either classical or talk radio.

 

 

About Curt Iles

I write to have influence and impact through well-told stories of my Louisiana and African sojourn.

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