Monday, December 13, 2010
Corban's Year In Review
We have now lived here in Monett, MO for just over a year. Each of us have written our own 'year in review' ... I'll start with Corban's and post another one soon.
This year has been a very exciting time in our lives. I have learned both spiritual and physical things here. What I will talk about first is work.
This past year I have done all sorts of different kinds of work. Along with different kinds of work comes learning how to drive different kinds of vehicles. The first thing I drove is a tractor. David, our pastor, had a 100 gallon tank that sprayed on the back of the tractor that I filled up with water. As I drove, David sprayed out fires where they were not supposed to be burning. Another time I drove a tractor was when Tylor, David V. , and I were picking onions for some Mennonite man (Hector); when we were done picking onions in one spot, I moved the tractor with the trailer to another spot.
I have driven skid loaders too – the first time I drove one was when Joe Yoder was cutting up a tree in his forest. While Joe was cutting with the chainsaw, Tylor and I filled the skid loader bucket with the cut wood. When the bucket was full, I drove the skid loader back to the house and dumped it. The second time I drove a skid loader was when we were visiting Elson Miller from our old church. He needed his skid loader moved from his house to the work site, so I drove it there. I had to drive through town, on the highway and then on a country road – less than 5 miles altogether. I’ll tell more about this job later.
I have driven a lot of different riding lawn mowers too. The first time was when Marcus Rohrer needed his lawn mowed … so I mowed it :). I’ve helped mow several lawns since then.
Four wheelers are the things I have driven the most though. One time David needed a four wheeler moved from a field to the barn; I followed his truck for about a mile. Another time I used the four wheeler to spray weeds in a field. We stopped to pick berries and the four wheeler did not turn back on. We found out the battery was dead because the sprayer motor used it all up. We use the four wheeler a lot when working.
A few more things I have driven are an automatic truck when helping David and also a motorcycle at Marcus’ house. He thought it would be good for me to learn how to drive it since it’s a cheap way to get around in poor countries. The easiest thing I’ve driven is a golf cart at Joe Yoder’s house; he bought this instead of a four wheeler to check on his brother’s cattle because he thought it would be nice to let his grandchildren drive it around too. For younger children, it’s much safer and easier to drive than a four wheeler.
Over the past year I have learned a lot about making and wiring pole barns. Last September we took a few week trip to Omaha, Iowa and Minnesota. Whenever we go ‘back home’ we try to stay at least a few days with Elson and Ellen Miller from our old church in Griswold, Iowa. This last time we stayed, Elson and Leon Zook were just starting a new job of building a pole barn; Tylor and I were able to help a few days. First we leveled the ground where the pole barn was going to be. Then we used an auger to drill holes where we wanted the poles to be. Each hole was about 5ft. deep. After that we dropped flat cement blocks into the bottom of every hole. When we were done with that, we put the poles into every hole and then we filled the hole with dirt and packed it in around the poles. Then we connected all the poles with 2x6 boards and put the trusses on. It took a lot of nailing! Next we put the plywood on the trusses to form the roof top and then tin on the roof and sides. Mom did not know that a skid loader could extend so high up in the air! It held a lot of plywood and made work easier.
About a month ago Joe Yoder needed help wiring a pole barn and Tylor was not available so I got to go in his place. The job was further away from the church than Joe’s house, so I just stayed the night at Joe’s (I had a nice time with him and his wife Fanny). I learned and helped with a lot. The first thing we did was strung wires from the house, underground, to the pole barn. The owners started the trench before we got there, but Joe and I fixed it up a little more. This underground wiring was then used to wire the whole barn. We used some of it to put a small light fixture outside by the door. Inside we used it to wire 3-slot receptacles on the walls, light fixtures on the ceiling and one 250 volt receptacle for the owner’s welder. We also put a 250 volt receptacle outside on the owner’s house for his camper. I like this kind of work and hope to do more.
I’ve worked with wood a lot this past year. Most of the families at our church have wood burning stoves, so I’ve had to help split wood at several different places. Usually I split with a maul, however I’m still not that fast at it. I have also used hydraulic wood splitters … David calls them ‘sissy splitters’ and says they are ‘for girls’. Since they are so expensive, he says you might as well use a gas furnace instead of buying a wood splitter. He also says it takes just as much time to use the wood splitter as it does to just split the wood manually. He was able to put this theory to the test … one time a bunch of us boys and men worked together to get a few trailers full of wood for the church furnace. Wilbur Graybill brought his hydraulic wood splitter and David brought his maul. They were all talking about who could do it faster, so they decided to race: David by himself with his maul and a group of older boys working together with the hydraulic wood splitter. It seemed that David went about the same rate as the boys did. I thought if everyone had their own maul, more wood would have been split than if they used the wood splitter by itself. We hauled the wood to the church and stacked it all in the back. Tylor and I are responsible for carrying the wood inside and keeping the large furnace going. We all really like the wood heat.
One of my favorite things to do is ride horses. Some of the boys here (the Hammens) use horses when working with their cattle and one day Tylor and I got to help them. We rode for less than a mile to a pasture of cattle – we had to go into the pasture, woods and all, find the cattle and count them. Another time I helped them herd 12 horses from their pasture to the barn so we could do some work. When we first came here, we got to ride from the Hammen’s house to the Clayton’s house (about 3 ½ miles I think) for fellowship supper. Since that was the first time I really rode a horse, I felt like I was going to fall off! But then I got used to it and felt comfortable to go faster. It was a beautiful ride.
I already mentioned that I helped herd and count cows, but I’ve also done other work with cows too. One time I helped the Hammen boys milk about 100 cows with electronic milkers. The cows belong to their grandpa who is also David’s dad. The thing I have done the most so far with cows though is feed them hay. While David drives I pick up the round hay bails with the hay bail lifter on the back of his truck. When David drives to the spot where he wants the hay bail to be set down, we cut the bail strings and the truck rolls it out; I have to keep lowering the lifter as the truck drives and rolls the bail out until it’s all on the ground. If there’s a hill, sometimes we just cut it and let it roll down.
One time my family helped the Clayton family pick eggs. They have 2 large chicken houses that they gather eggs from twice a day. Each chicken house has 2 long conveyor belts the length of the barn. The hens have houses above these belts and their eggs fall onto them. The belts then bring the eggs into a room that’s on one side of the barn. Here is where we pick them up and put them onto trays that hold about 250 eggs each. The trays are then put on racks and stored inside a giant refrigerator. I think they get about 30 trays in each house each time they gather, but I could be wrong. The Clayton’s give free eggs to each church family every week.
While I have helped with cattle, horses, chickens and more, I have worked with goats with most. Nearly every time I go to Wilbur’s house and sometimes at Marcus’ house, I get to help milk the goats. At first I hardly could get any milk out, but now I think I do a pretty good job. One time my grandpa came down from Nebraska. We went to Wilbur’s house and Wilbur talked grandpa into trying to milk a goat. I didn’t get to see him try, but I heard that he only did one squirt … the milk landed on his pants/legs and he gave up. At least now grandpa can say he’s milked a goat!
Last fall Tylor and I did some kind of work I never thought I would do – we helped David burn fields. The first time we helped, the fire got out of control and caught the forest on fire. One boy was burned on his face, but he’s all right now. We called the fire department and we all worked together to spray it out. David said it burned about 10 acres of forest altogether. We found out the next time that blowers work better than sprayers, so now we use blowers instead of sprayers – they keep the fire going, keep it on the right track and keep it from getting out of control. Once when we were burning a field it caught a forest on fire again, so we made a boundary line with the blowers and the stray fire went out. The blowers are so powerful they blow a lot of the brush away so the fire has no fuel.
Another job I do a lot of in the winter is pick up rocks from the hill sides where the roller can’t get to – there are a lot of rocks here in Missouri and the larger ones can harm the trucks and tractors if they are not removed or smashed into the ground. First Tylor and I throw or roll the rocks from the top of the hill to the bottom, and then we load them into the tractor bucket. This is not a very exciting job, so we like to make games out of it :). After that Tylor drives the tractor and I drive the four-wheeler to the place we dump the rocks at. Since the four wheeler goes faster, I will stop to pick up some rocks along the road and then catch up with Tylor. We take the rocks to the woods and dump them into tree stump holes. I like working out in the fields with all the birds and cows. The cows will sit there and watch us work; sometimes we hear them ‘mooing’ to each other from all sorts of fields near and far away.
During the end of tomato season, Tylor and I got to go pick tomatoes for Hector, a man who has several acres of tomatoes, onions and green peppers and sells to the local stores. He paid us 10 cents per pound; the finished weight of what I picked was 390lb, so I made about $40. He gave mom several sacks of tomatoes, green peppers and onions … and I got to help mom process the tomatoes for canning.
Tylor and I had to plant grass twice now. First the ground was leveled by either David or someone else, and then we took the bigger rocks out and smoothed out the land a little more. We spread grass seed with a seed spreader and then spread straw over the seeds to trap the heat and moisture in. The last thing we did was water it.
One final thing I’d like to share about work here in Missouri is picking up black walnuts. Al and Robin Brumley wanted me to pick their walnuts up because the walnuts hurt the mower. So I went there several days for a few weeks. Al took me twice to get the walnuts hulled at the farm center, and both times I had275 pounds of hulled walnuts. They paid $11 per 100 pounds, so I got about $60 altogether. It was tedious work going back and forth around the same area, but I’m thankful I got to help someone and got paid at the same time! Well, I guess that’s enough talk about work!
There are many things we get to do outside here in Missouri. A neat thing I got to do a few times late last summer is go frog gigging. The first time we went out at about 10pm at night with a group of about 30 boys and men. We walked around about 8 cow ponds with flashlights and gigs. When I saw a frog I would shine the light into its eyes to blind it. I then speared it with the gig. We gigged till about 12:30a.m. We brought the frogs to the Hammen’s house, clubbed them, cut the legs off and then skinned the legs. We went one other time with just a few of us and that was better because it was not so crowded and noisy. We froze the leg meat to use at a later time. When grandpa was here, we all met at the Hammen’s house and ate fried frog legs with supper. They were a lot better than I thought they’d be … kind of like a mix between fish and chicken.
I have also fished here some too. There is a Mennonite man by Joe’s house in La Russell who let us fish in his three small lakes. We had a small boat one time that we borrowed, but mostly we fished while standing in the water. Sometimes it was about shoulder high! I caught bass, crappie, and bluegill.
This year we have had the most successful garden ever. We have 5 – 4’x8’ garden beds in the church parking lot. 3 of them were there already, I made one more and David V. made one too. In the spring garden we planted beets, lettuce and spinach. For the summer we planted tomatoes and bell peppers (we had tomatoes, zucchini and green peppers also planted in a larger garden at Wilbur’s house). In the fall we planted beets, spinach, lettuce, green beans and kale. I made green houses to keep our plants warmer and they are still living right now. We have been very thankful for all this free food! [Mom’s note, Corban did most of the work … he’s the ‘green thumb’ of the family]
At Wilbur and Joanna’s house, we (Wilbur’s sons Hans and Arthur and I) have been building a tree house. It is about 12 feet high, 8 feet tall, 8 feet long and 4 ½ feet wide. We have a 20 foot tall fire pole coming from it too. Recently we built a wooden ladder to replace the rope one I made earlier. The rope one was too hard for some people to get up.
This year I have been baptized. Following Christ is not just about saying “I believe,” you have to also strive (Luke 13:2424 Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.)
It’s not easy either.
Last Sunday David preached about how God does not call you to quit – how quitting is like being a traitor and forsaking Christ. What he means is if the time gets tuff (and it will), can the Lord still depend on you to be faithful?
For all of you that do not believe in Christ, just stop and think! What are you living for? What is your purpose in life? What if God is really true? There is a judgment day coming whether you agree or not. (Matthew 13:41-43, 47-50, 25:31-46) But if you repent and follow Christ (which includes obeying His commandments … many are in Matthew chapters 5, 6 and 7) you will be a part of His kingdom. (Mark 8:34)
Love, Corban M. Ekstedt
Matthew 13: 41 The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; 42 And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear... 47 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind: 48 Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away. 49 So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, 50 And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
Matthew 25: 31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: 32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth [his] sheep from the goats: 33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. 34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: 36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. 37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed [thee]? or thirsty, and gave [thee] drink? 38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took [thee] in? or naked, and clothed [thee]? 39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? 40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done [it] unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done [it] unto me. 41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: 42 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: 43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. 44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? 45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did [it] not to one of the least of these, ye did [it] not to me. 46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
Mark 8: 34 And when he had called the people [unto him] with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.