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37-Year-Old Male Seeking Homestead Companion  RSS feed

 
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Hey permie singles! I'm a 37-year-old, Christian guy here who would love to be able to share this 24 acres that I have here in the Missouri Ozarks. I work remotely as a web developer, but I'm looking to transition into being more self-sufficient and caring of the people around me. So far I've been learning some gardening and beekeeping. I recently even got some ducks. It'd be great to get to know other singles who share similar goals in life.
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pollinator
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Location: Colville, WA Zone 5b
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Hi Nathan! Too bad you’re so far away, I’m in WA. I have to say I am completely in love... 😍😍😍 with those wood Chips! 😂 I cannot get any dropped off here for the life of me, even when I offer to pay. You’re a lucky man!
 
Nathan May
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I’m laughing out loud here, Bethany!! 😂😂 I was excited to get those wood chips from the electric company’s contractor. I couldn’t believe they kept bringing them. I look forward to putting them to good use. Did you need me to plant you anything? I can name it after you and cover it with gobs of wood chips. 🙂 How are things there in WA?
 
Bethany Dutch
pollinator
Posts: 249
Location: Colville, WA Zone 5b
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I’m completely jealous! Lol just post lots of pics and i’ll live vicariously through you! 😉 I actually am probably going to just get my own chipper next year. I have 20 acres of mostly woods so plenty of things to chip up plus goats and rabbits making me lots of spoiled hay and poop... so I’m sure i’lll be ok eventually. Out here? We’re having a heat wave, something like 110 all week but after that it will go down and I think done with extreme heat. You guys get a lot of heat out there, don’t you? We normally have hot summers but not THIS hot.
 
Nathan May
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Now I'm the one to be jealous. I wish I had more woods. It sounds like you will have plenty of material for your chipper when you get it. I got a small chipper from Harbor Freight. It does small branches, but I wish I had a bigger chipper.

I hope your heat wave is over soon! It's been a really dry year here, but it really hasn't been super hot overall. I really can't complain about any of the weather here after having lived in Texas.

What kinds of goats and rabbits do you like the best? I recently got some ducks. They will sure create the poop also. Haha
 
Posts: 68
Location: SW Ohio
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How's it going? I have a hard time finding other christian permies, especially of the single dude variety!
It looks like trees take to your land pretty well despite how few of them are there, I'll bet if you start a few saplings and seeds in a few years you can have your own little forest.
 
Nathan May
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Hey Sarah. Thank you for replying. It's going pretty well here. I'm not really sure how many Christian permies there are out there, and I'm certainly a newbie permie. I am motivated by many of the permaculture principles though, and I think that most of them fit well in a Christian worldview. While we may just be passing through a world that is fraught with problems, it is still God's world. Loving God and loving neighbor come about by taking care of the lives and the surroundings we've been given (as best as we're able which will never be perfect). I think some amazingly-gifted people have developed these permaculture principles which go a long way towards helping us be caring and loving people. I believe that the motivation to truly love doesn't just come from wanting to solve problems though. I believe that it more-deeply comes from a wellspring of life in the soul which can only come from knowing the One who created it all. Phew...perhaps I got too deep there! Haha

I am thankful to have all of these great trees around the house. I like your idea! There are trees all around, but most of my property is fields (It makes for some great views though!). My neighbor has cows on the fields at the moment, but I'm looking forward to fencing some of it off and planting some things. I've been planting a lot in the yard surrounding the house, but I picked a bad year to do it (drought!).

How did you get into permaculture? How are things in Ohio?
 
Sarah Koster
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Hi Nathan.
No problem whatsoever with the depth, I gladly go as deep as I can fathom. Sometimes I get to the point where it's murky but that's when I'm the most free to identify assumptions that I have about life, reality, myself and God that might not be true, and challenge them.
I agree with you that many aspects of permaculture fit very well into a christian worldview, and I feel that many of those principles can remedy harmful cultural norms which the church has stopped challenging, which are clearly contrary to scripture. I feel that scripture clearly designates human beings as caretakers and stewards of the land, and that barrenness of the land and loss of biodiversity are named as signs of error on the part of human beings in, for example, Isaiah. I would much rather invest my toil into nurturing people, animals and land than to invest my toil in a company that destroys them all for the sake money. I have never been able to accept the western concept of ownership as legitimate, nor have I ever succeeded in convincing anyone to abandon their own sense of entitlement or lack thereof. I am, however, more than willing to use the extant system to my advantage when it comes to securing property for my own use, since doing so would protect the land and its value to future generations.

How I got into permaculture... I think I just migrated that way without realizing it. Even as a child I could recognize that calling certain plants weeds and treating them as a nuisance, even attractive and useful plants, was silly. I loved bugs and trees and worms and toads and birds and everything that is alive except mosquitos and ticks.

I'm not really done writing, but people in the house are being really noisy so I'm gonna have to finish later. Very much enjoyed reading your last post.
 
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Nathan May
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Sarah Koster wrote:Hi Nathan.
No problem whatsoever with the depth, I gladly go as deep as I can fathom. Sometimes I get to the point where it's murky but that's when I'm the most free to identify assumptions that I have about life, reality, myself and God that might not be true, and challenge them.
I agree with you that many aspects of permaculture fit very well into a christian worldview, and I feel that many of those principles can remedy harmful cultural norms which the church has stopped challenging, which are clearly contrary to scripture. I feel that scripture clearly designates human beings as caretakers and stewards of the land, and that barrenness of the land and loss of biodiversity are named as signs of error on the part of human beings in, for example, Isaiah. I would much rather invest my toil into nurturing people, animals and land than to invest my toil in a company that destroys them all for the sake money. I have never been able to accept the western concept of ownership as legitimate, nor have I ever succeeded in convincing anyone to abandon their own sense of entitlement or lack thereof. I am, however, more than willing to use the extant system to my advantage when it comes to securing property for my own use, since doing so would protect the land and its value to future generations.

How I got into permaculture... I think I just migrated that way without realizing it. Even as a child I could recognize that calling certain plants weeds and treating them as a nuisance, even attractive and useful plants, was silly. I loved bugs and trees and worms and toads and birds and everything that is alive except mosquitos and ticks.

I'm not really done writing, but people in the house are being really noisy so I'm gonna have to finish later. Very much enjoyed reading your last post.



Thank you for your thoughtful response, Sarah. I enjoyed reading your post as well. Obviously, we both have a great passion for wanting to live a more "wholesome" and agrarian lifestyle. It is a beautiful thing that definitely draws us closer to the majesty of the One who created it, and it is ultimately necessary for our survival in this short life. One thing that I try my best not to do is to apply the fears and pseudo-political-religiosity of today to those who were experiencing life thousands of years ago. Back when the world began and soon thereafter, the Bible doesn't mention humans having a lot of concern for the Earth. After the fall of Adam and Eve, there really isn't a lot of mention at all about living the most purpose-filed and world-saving life through thoughtful and caring agriculture. They just did what they had to do to survive. Adam and Even were the only ones who were told to tend the Garden of Eden, and this was a gift without hardship because it was before the curse.

Fast forward to Jesus who was the 2nd Adam (representative of all humanity). If agriculture were so important to sustained life and God's plan for redemption, you'd think the perfect God-man would have been a gardener instead of a carpenter.

I see a lot more talk in the Bible about how humanity and the world are cursed and about how there is deliverance from it into a family and an existence that will not pass away. Redemption of humanity and the world are in the works, but it happens by God's hand and is existent on more than just a physical level. Thankfully we are a part of that and have been given conviction to love another and to be good stewards of that which we have been given. Caring for the land is a great way to do that, but companies are also a great way that God's provision is poured out. Ownership doesn't seem too bad to me, because we have to have and use things in order to accomplish what we set out to do. And, of course, we don't get to keep those things for a very long time, because our lives are but a short breath. The Bible places the blame and the target squarely on the sin and the evil in our own hearts. Whether it be from owners of large companies, government entities, homesteading families, or small farms, evil and destruction are going to come out in one form or another. Thankfully, love driven by the truth and the perfect example of love is what conquers. It drives out the fear of worldwide destruction and of other humans ruining it for everyone else. It gives great hope for today, tomorrow, and eternity. I'd rather carry that hope through love and deed than perpetuate doom and gloom. You know?



 
Sarah Koster
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J- this thread is the wrong place for your question.

Nathan,
Thanks! I do tend to peddle in gloom too much, it's a learned behavior as my dad literally walks around the house saying, "Doom, doom dooom. We're all doomed." He thinks this is funny. Doctrinally speaking I'm well aware of the hope and the good and salvation for all of creation through Christ, but on the emotional end it's been quite the challenge.
I didn't mean to imply that agriculture has anything to do with salvation, if you got that impression. The fact that the Hebrews were largely nomadic shepherds kind of attests to that. There's always been conflict between nomadic herdsmen and stationary, grain-oriented farmers. The necessity of tilling came with the curse, but with Christ the curse is broken.
I would like to get back to your enthusiastic emphasis on love-- this is absolutely the most important thing. Honestly I have had a transient lifestyle for much of my adult life, and with it experienced a lot of abuse which has left me feeling not quite myself. I am interested neither in repeating this cycle, nor in making myself feel like crap over it. I am, however, interested in healing and growing and overcoming my grotesquely oversensitive conscience. (If I see a worm on the sidewalk, and I don't move it to the dirt, I might keep thinking about it for a few days, wishing I had helped the worm.) I would like to re-learn how to love people, as I've crawled into my little snail shell for safety and am having trouble finding my way back out.
I also didn't mean to imply that all companies and all industry are inherently evil and doom-hastening. However, the economic model which necessitates constant growth in order for common people to meet their basic needs, is flawed. It incentivizes over-consumption, over-exploitation and over-production at the same time as it artificially creates demand by holding back certain resources and conditioning people to consume and depend on services and quantities of goods that do not improve their quality of life.
Ideally I fantasize about using absolutely no electricity, not because I'm afraid that the greenhouse gases will ruin the weather and kill everybody, but because I think petroleum products are gross and dirty. Practically I would very much like to have a freezer full of durian at my constant disposal for the rest of my life.
I'm thinking that my own studies have been much more focused on the events leading up to the captivity than yours, there are a few books where God deals with human behavior on a nationwide scale specifically. Probably I have a fascination with the Isaiah-->Ezra (the priest Ezra, not the "book of ezra" that's being circulated which I don't trust whatsoever) series of events because I originally found it disturbing. In these books the events unfolding are attributed, not to an individual's sin, but to the collective behavior of the Hebrew nations as a whole. Isaiah actually does describe desertification as being the result of sin.
The flip side is that with a simple change of behavior, we can do a LOT of good. Nature prettymuch fixes itself, once we stop doing horrible things to it. The Ohio which was almost completely deforested 100 or so years ago, today is covered with trees. The nature preserve that was devastated by a tornado 20 years ago, looks like a mature forest now. There aren't any toads by my house anymore, since the township bought the spawning grounds and turned it into a "park" by cutting down tons of trees and messing up the wetland, but a 40 minute walk away there's a temporary pond in an abandoned parking lot that's full of toad tadpoles.
Anyway... not really looking for someone who agrees with me on everything (neither of us would learn anything!) so much as someone who shares the same goals and convictions of heart. That way we can work together effectively and not undermine one another. Someone with whom I can be candid and show my whole self to-- and not have to hide the parts I hide from church people, and not have to hide the parts I tuck away from permie people. (Last church I was at, they kept trying to get me to "get a job that uses my degree" even though I would hate that! As if that's what I needed to live a fulfilling life and to please God. Sheesh. Not to mention my degree is almost entirely useless on its own.) So basically... someone to call home.
 
Nathan May
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Sarah Koster wrote:J- this thread is the wrong place for your question.

Nathan,
Thanks! I do tend to peddle in gloom too much, it's a learned behavior as my dad literally walks around the house saying, "Doom, doom dooom. We're all doomed." He thinks this is funny. Doctrinally speaking I'm well aware of the hope and the good and salvation for all of creation through Christ, but on the emotional end it's been quite the challenge.
I didn't mean to imply that agriculture has anything to do with salvation, if you got that impression. The fact that the Hebrews were largely nomadic shepherds kind of attests to that. There's always been conflict between nomadic herdsmen and stationary, grain-oriented farmers. The necessity of tilling came with the curse, but with Christ the curse is broken.
I would like to get back to your enthusiastic emphasis on love-- this is absolutely the most important thing. Honestly I have had a transient lifestyle for much of my adult life, and with it experienced a lot of abuse which has left me feeling not quite myself. I am interested neither in repeating this cycle, nor in making myself feel like crap over it. I am, however, interested in healing and growing and overcoming my grotesquely oversensitive conscience. (If I see a worm on the sidewalk, and I don't move it to the dirt, I might keep thinking about it for a few days, wishing I had helped the worm.) I would like to re-learn how to love people, as I've crawled into my little snail shell for safety and am having trouble finding my way back out.
I also didn't mean to imply that all companies and all industry are inherently evil and doom-hastening. However, the economic model which necessitates constant growth in order for common people to meet their basic needs, is flawed. It incentivizes over-consumption, over-exploitation and over-production at the same time as it artificially creates demand by holding back certain resources and conditioning people to consume and depend on services and quantities of goods that do not improve their quality of life.
Ideally I fantasize about using absolutely no electricity, not because I'm afraid that the greenhouse gases will ruin the weather and kill everybody, but because I think petroleum products are gross and dirty. Practically I would very much like to have a freezer full of durian at my constant disposal for the rest of my life.
I'm thinking that my own studies have been much more focused on the events leading up to the captivity than yours, there are a few books where God deals with human behavior on a nationwide scale specifically. Probably I have a fascination with the Isaiah-->Ezra (the priest Ezra, not the "book of ezra" that's being circulated which I don't trust whatsoever) series of events because I originally found it disturbing. In these books the events unfolding are attributed, not to an individual's sin, but to the collective behavior of the Hebrew nations as a whole. Isaiah actually does describe desertification as being the result of sin.
The flip side is that with a simple change of behavior, we can do a LOT of good. Nature prettymuch fixes itself, once we stop doing horrible things to it. The Ohio which was almost completely deforested 100 or so years ago, today is covered with trees. The nature preserve that was devastated by a tornado 20 years ago, looks like a mature forest now. There aren't any toads by my house anymore, since the township bought the spawning grounds and turned it into a "park" by cutting down tons of trees and messing up the wetland, but a 40 minute walk away there's a temporary pond in an abandoned parking lot that's full of toad tadpoles.
Anyway... not really looking for someone who agrees with me on everything (neither of us would learn anything!) so much as someone who shares the same goals and convictions of heart. That way we can work together effectively and not undermine one another. Someone with whom I can be candid and show my whole self to-- and not have to hide the parts I hide from church people, and not have to hide the parts I tuck away from permie people. (Last church I was at, they kept trying to get me to "get a job that uses my degree" even though I would hate that! As if that's what I needed to live a fulfilling life and to please God. Sheesh. Not to mention my degree is almost entirely useless on its own.) So basically... someone to call home.



Hi Sarah. I greatly admire your candidness, and I couldn't agree more with everything you said here. I do think that fallen humanity goes far to bring destruction where it need not be had. Thankfully, redemption and restoration can be found in both the natural world and the spiritual world, and I'm thankful that people are doing their best to push back the fall as much as they are able. It sounds like you are doing your part to do just that as well.

I love the historical aspect that you brought into your comments here. Your candidness reflects the candidness that is found in the Bible as well. The Bible doesn't mince words.

Sharing the same goals and convictions is a beautiful thing. It is a rare thing to see people working together under shared goals and convictions, and I certainly seek to find that type of symbiotism.

I also understand the reticence that comes from being hurt by others. Even though it is inevitable that we toughen up as a result of our experiences, I sometimes feel like I'm one of those flowers that closes up when it gets touched. I don't want to lose that sensitivity that flows from compassion, and it sounds like you don't either. I admire you for staying the course and for living a life of humble conviction.
 
Sarah Koster
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So... about the ducks.
I used to have two ducks, named Tender and Delicious. I didn't know about raccoons back then... their lives were brief and exciting. So much joy from a kiddie pool full of minnows.
I'm hoping you don't have an unrealistic idea of my merits, I'm probably a bit of a rapscallion by churchy standards what with my hitch-hiking ways. I have learned that my ideals are not something I can live up to and am trying to adjust those ideals (and my threshold for guilt over failing) more to what God asks of me rather than trying to live up to the fairytale hero paradigm in my mind.
Do you have the experience of people misquoting scripture to try and discourage you from farming? I'm not sure why people do that here.

 
Nathan May
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Sarah Koster wrote:So... about the ducks.
I used to have two ducks, named Tender and Delicious. I didn't know about raccoons back then... their lives were brief and exciting. So much joy from a kiddie pool full of minnows.
I'm hoping you don't have an unrealistic idea of my merits, I'm probably a bit of a rapscallion by churchy standards what with my hitch-hiking ways. I have learned that my ideals are not something I can live up to and am trying to adjust those ideals (and my threshold for guilt over failing) more to what God asks of me rather than trying to live up to the fairytale hero paradigm in my mind.
Do you have the experience of people misquoting scripture to try and discourage you from farming? I'm not sure why people do that here.



Hey Sarah. Those are hilarious names for ducks. Evidently they were prophetic as well! Poor ducks.

I like what you have to say about not living up to our own ideals. I think everyone should admit that about themselves since we tend to build these frameworks of belief that we can never quite live up to. It's almost like we need intervention and redemption from a Being more powerful than us in order to see the light. :)

I haven't had people try and discourage me just yet. If I absconded from a lot of other responsibilities I have in life, I imagine I might attract some intervention from loved ones. Why do people try and discourage you?
 
Sarah Koster
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I think that a lot of time people are offering unsolicited "advice" because they care, but don't realize they are reinforcing the problem rather than helping to find a solution. Basically, some of my relatives and friends at church would tend to pressure me to "get a job" when I didn't have one, and to "get a 'real' job" when I had one, or to "get a job that uses my degree" which is actually not a practical degree or one that is useful on its own, other than for qualifying me for jobs that just require ANY four year degree period. They see my problem as my not conforming to the social norm, which is largely a construct rather than a real thing. No, friend, I can't translate because I'm not fluent even though I have a four year degree in the language, but I gotta say if I WAS fluent I still wouldn't want to translate, thanks. They assume that because their work is fulfilling to them and lucrative, that the solution to my problem is for me to have a fulfilling lucrative career, even though we both suffer from depression and they're not actually happy even though they have what they're suggesting I need to be happy. Even though lucre isn't fulfilling to me. It's silly, really. They have the idea that somewhere out there, a perfect job which uses all my abilities and makes me feel good about myself is just waiting to throw money at me. It's pure fantasy. This job does not exist. It would not make me happy, if it did.

I guess people meet someone, draw conclusions about "who" that person is, and try to impose their sense of that other person's self onto the person. This kind of treatment really undermined my sense of self, because I was pretty emotionally vulnerable and confused at the time. People think if someone is talented, that they should be passionate about what they're talented at. But it isn't always so. Sometimes a person is only passionate about things they're really really bad at. Sometimes a person is only passionate about things that aren't marketable or interesting to businesses. And sometimes a person has such a wide variety of interests that they find it really really really difficult to invest themself in just one.

The end result... I pushed myself waaaay too hard trying to "do the right thing" and ended up doing all the wrong things. I made money but I lost it because it meant nothing to me and mean people took advantage. I felt like I was dying, of boredom and world-weariness. I started to lose my faith because they were telling me that, what God had made special about me, was a problem that needed to be demolished. I started to attribute other people's criticisms of me to God, as if nothing I ever did would ever be good enough. As if I would never be good enough.
I think that this is actually a pretty common experience, and an emotional experience that most people probably go through in one form or another.
So if you want advice for how to live by growing things... you need to ask people who live by growing things. People aren't going to tell you how to do what you want to do, unless they think what you want to do is legitimate and have understanding of it. Otherwise they're just going to tell you to do what they themselves do, even if it's contrary to your purposes and harmful. Because they can't fathom the concept of their daily habit not being right for everyone. Because it never occurs to them that they might not know best. Because it's an insult to them for anyone to even suggest that anything they think or do or say might be "wrong"-- it's totally taboo to tell someone they're wrong nowadays, isn't it?
As far as responsibilities, I think the only ones we really ever have are to see to our own needs and those of our dependents, and not to trespass on others. I don't really feel I have a responsibility to, say, have an Iphone and keep it in service, but I imagine that many people just think of this as a bill/obligation. Maybe I am just irresponsible? Poorly adjusted, to be sure. But I'm not sure I'd want to do what's necessary to "adjust" to common standards. I am pretty sure my soul would die.
Sorry for being vague, wordy and long-winded.

I found this page about what things grow well in the Ozarks, I dunno if you have seen it. It mentions pawpaw and persimmon so I'm pretty stoked about it. Very relevant in deciding which fruit trees to plant so they don't get all moldy and rotten.
Fruit Trees, Bushes and Vines for Natural Growing in the Ozarks
 
Nathan May
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Thank you, Sarah, for posting such thoughtful and candid replies. They are a breath of fresh air, for sure. You have a lot of impeccable logic and common sense in my view. I'm putting this one in my quote book:

People think if someone is talented, that they should be passionate about what they're talented at. But it isn't always so. Sometimes a person is only passionate about things they're really really bad at. Sometimes a person is only passionate about things that aren't marketable or interesting to businesses. And sometimes a person has such a wide variety of interests that they find it really really really difficult to invest themself in just one.



At this point, I kind of feel like I'm using the systems to get to a point where I'm less reliant on them. It feels kind of like indentured servitude. I'm not really sure what life looks like when you have a piece of property and a home paid for, but I'm hoping to find out. Then, I'm hoping to really take on the challenge of living in a different way. Until then, I'm doing my best to learn what to do when I get there.

I do think that our productivity and our work is one of the primary ways that God gives us to love on our neighbor. Whether it is man-made or nature-made produce, we have the opportunity to bring mutual benefits. How you go about that is between you and God. Certainly Jesus wasn't very conventional in the way he went about doing the most important work. Most would consider him a vagabond today, I would think. Of course, he drew the ire of the societal structure as well (and still does).

I don't think that many people can be as honest with themselves as you can. It may bring with it a certain level of tortured discovery, but I think you will be better for having gone on the more-difficult path.

Thank you for sharing with me the link about things to grow here! I have planted a couple of pawpaws, but they are growing quite slowly. I would love to have some persimmon trees as well. I will bookmark this.
 
Sarah Koster
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I think that as long as you are moving in the right direction, approaching the way of life you would ideally like to attain, you're doing a good job. It takes many years for the results of a shift in culture and attitudes to show, the task at hand is not to complete the shift, but to initiate it. People are really rigid once they've become adults, for the mostpart. Not very many are able to change their values. So giving children the opportunity to compare values and discern what is better, and convincing adults that there are better ways to attain to their existing values, might be the best we can do. And the best way to do that is do what we feel is right/feel driven to do as well as we can with what resources are available to us, and to enjoy doing it. I think you will know the word "ensample" which is not in common use.
 
Nathan May
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That sounds like a good way to approach it. All we can do is exemplify values and convictions. Hopefully the benefits and the resulting care will result in a change of inclinations.
 
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