If you could name the most important thing you could do for your teenage children to give them a leg up and an edge in this world, what would it be? Ensure them a college education? Enroll them in team sports? Make them take music lessons?
Off The Grid Radio
Released: January 7, 2011
Brian: Ladies and gentlemen, once again, welcome back to Off the Grid News. I’m Brian Brawdy. As always, with my good friend and co-host, Mr. Bill Heid. Bill, how’s your day going?
Bill: It’s going great, Brian. It’s going great. We’re excited to have the guest that we have on today. It’s the new year, as it were, so it’s time to set some goals. I thought to get off the grid, let’s go to some people that instead of just talk about it – getting off the grid … it’s easy to make an abstraction, right? Where you just talk about ‘this,’ we put our goals in. But then we want to talk to some people that actually paved the way and actually did something.
Brian: I know I don’t often say this, and I want to say it and then I want to get into it real quick so I don’t offend our guest, but I’ve got to tell you, Bill, he makes my skin crawl. And before I do that – Lance, don’t hang up on us [laughs] – I want to tell you why. Ever since I was little and I was swarmed by yellowjackets, I am deathly allergic to bees. So when I joke about my skin crawling when Bill goes, “hey, I’m going to talk to a beekeeper.” My heart started to race and my pulse started to kick in.
Bill: Just talking about it …
Brian: Just talking about it, yeah. I’ve got to watch for bees.
Bill: You look like you’re swelling up right now.
Brian: I’m looking at his website going “beekeepers … gotta keep the hives near this …” Ugh. But let’s do this. Our guest today is Mr. Lance Seppi. Just 23 years old, Bill – all that knowledge packed into a 23-year-old brain. Absolutely amazing to me. He is the third of seven, home-educated children. Maybe that’s how he got to be as bright as he is.
Bill: That’s probably one of the reasons.
Brian: Home education. I just dig that. Lance and his brothers started keeping bees just eight years ago. His passions are the study of history, world view, education, and he loves speaking to churches, and I suspect other organizations, whenever he gets the opportunity. We’re talking today to Mr. Lance Seppi. Lance, how are you sir?
Lance: It’s an honor to be with you gentlemen, Bill and Brian.
Brian: Thanks for not hanging up when I said “he makes my skin crawl,” but that’s a true story. I was a little boy, Lance, I should tell you. I was playing in a neighbor’s backyard. I had a plastic putter for a golfing thing and I hit a crabapple into a hole. Ran over and the only vision I have left, Lance, is the crabapple levitated right in front of me. I actually, Bill, I bent over to pick it up and I actually saw it raise up. That would have been my first warning that the yellowjackets en masse had pushed up out of that nest. I was stung over 700 times. Had to take me to the hospital and everything else and it almost 86ed me. I don’t have a good relationship with bees, Lance, so why don’t you go ahead and …
Bill: You weren’t wearing your bee suit.
Brian: I wasn’t wearing … [laughs]
Bill: If you had the one that you’re wearing today on then, you’d be much better. You would have been OK.
Brian: I’m a little … what’s the guy, Howie Mandel? That doesn’t like to shake people’s hands because he has that fear. Mine is absolutely of bees. If a bee comes in the room, Lance, you’ll know because you’ll hear me go screaming out through the door.
Bill: And Lance, I have to say that Brian came in here today – I’ve never seen anyone wear a bee suit in 32 degree weather, but Brian certainly looks dapper in it. But before we actually get into the bees, let’s go back to the beginning a little bit, and tell us about your family. What I like about this story is that you’re doing this as a family. You have this vision as a family. You want to pick up about what your family’s particular vision is with respect to this whole off the grid idea?
Lance: Yes. Thank you so much. It’s a joy to be with you guys. Your story there about the bees stinging you – it reminded me of when we were out knocking our nuts and the yellowjackets came flying at us so we got stung right above the eyes, so we had our eyes swollen shut for a few days. But that was yellowjackets. But yes, to be a beekeeper these days is such a joy. And to work together is a great opportunity. We have 2000 hives today. We started out with four hives. But how did this great vision begin? Well it began with my parents. When they first got married, they were both public school teachers. They were non-government – non-NEA … anyway, so what we have is, dad got married and they purposed to read together, to think together, to think as a team. My dad is a visionary and my mom is persevering. We lived in a 1100 square foot home in Pixley. It was a small home. We wanted to buy a house. We looked around and we just could not find a good house to buy. So mom said let’s build our own house. Dad thought that was a great idea. So they bought this land out in the country, here in California, in the San Joaquin Valley. It’s 10 acres. Mom drew up the blueprints, dad built the foundation and then slowly but surely … when we first started, we started with one wall – a contractor showed us how to do it. Then we went from there on. So we were always working together. I would carry the boards and then Regina or mom would cut them, then dad would nail them in place. Even from the very beginning, we were all working together. It was just so exciting.
Bill: But Lance – let me interrupt you. Even before the beginning of your family, your dad obviously – and I’m bringing this up – I interrupted you for a reason – I think it’s important for everybody to realize, your dad found someone that would be a good partner for him. I think that’s too easily breezed by, by most folks. The Bible says “unless two agree, maybe they shouldn’t be walking together.” I think it’s a pretty important thing that we be “walking together” because if we’re going to do these big projects, we’ve got to agree, as the Bible says, we’ve got to be in agreement on the vision or there’s going to be divisiveness. Even Lincoln spoke about a house divided against itself. Could you have built that house if you were in a warring environment where your mom and dad had different visions? It just wouldn’t have been possible.
Lance: Exactly. We would have family devotions or when my mom and dad would get up in the morning they would read together. So they were thinking together. We would read Rushdoony and we’d read these great books. When you’re reading these great books and reading the Bible together, and dad would constantly see “reproduce, multiply and fill the earth,” and it finally got to him after five months “let’s have a child. How mature are we going to get? Let’s have children. Children are a blessing.” Today it’s sad. We have a culture of debt that children are looked at as a curse, but to have tons of drywall and have big houses and to be drowning in debt – that is called a blessing today. But our true blessings are children.
Bill: You make another great point. Another great point. To have a McMansion empty, with a big car, that you owe a huge amount of money on, is considered to be the epitome of American culture. So your parents are positing something very different and something that’s, probably because of necessity, going to come back into vogue and is coming back into vogue right now. How do we take care of these little things? How do we take care of the small things and let it build up by itself?
Lance: Exactly. And as soon as they started homeschooling us we heard about Raymond and Dorothy Moore on Focus on the Family. One thing about Raymond and Dorothy Moore is they taught “teach your children to go after tools rather than go after toys.” We want to raise adults, not children. Mom and dad would constantly teach us to buy tools. I remember when we were cleaning the floors and mom said, “Lance, let’s get a mop bucket.” And when mom was getting the mop bucket I was like, “mom, can I buy the mop bucket?” It was $75. I treasured that. I would push it around because it my tool. Or they taught us to invest – when I was sweeping the floors at the house – we bought a dry vac. Mom was buying it, I said “mom, could I buy that?” Mom taught us constantly to invest in tools. It’s a great blessing. Another person was Sam Blumenfeld. He did Alpha-Phonics. He wrote the book “Al-pha-Phonics.” He was another major person in our family who my parents – when I was little they went to hear him speak and he changed our lives. He was a Birch speaker here in Visalia. They went to hear him speak and mom said “why aren’t our preachers today in our churches speaking like this man?” He was taking history and showing God’s providential acts through history. It was beautiful. Just those people, literally, changed our lives. But one thing about our business, just recently I called a trucker and said “can you come pick up a semi-load of honey? We have 60 drums.” He said “it’s going to be four to five weeks.”
Bill: Hey Lance, could I interrupt for just a second? Because I want to pick up on that … but we’re about 30 seconds to a hard break for a commercial. So hold on to that story. I want to listen in on you and Bill discussing a little more about the home education and also what you were just referencing with the truck. We’re going to go ahead and be back here right after a very short break to Off the Grid News – the radio version of offthegridnews.com.
[0:10:05 – 0:14:20 break]
Brian: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome back to Off the Grid News – the radio version of offthegrid-news.com. Today, as always, with Mr. Bill Heid. Our guest is Lance Seppi – 23-year-old, the third of seven home-educated children. Lance, before I toss it to Bill, I just wanted to mention quickly that there was an article at the end of last year in a magazine that I read that said that the most important thing you can do for an adolescent or a teenage brain, is teach it to work. We have an entire generation of fourth graders that don’t know how to tie their shoes. An entire generation of sixth graders that couldn’t figure out how to get into the house if the door was unlocked if you paid them. So I was fascinated by you saying that your parents didn’t want you to buy toys, they wanted you to buy tools. Whether they work for the National Institutes of Health, or they’re psychiatrists or psychologists, I think they’re doing better than some of the doctors, because they encouraged working, not playing. Teaching you to fend for yourself. That was terribly inspiring to me when I heard you say that.
Lance: It is. And to be raised in a home with such vision. My parents gave us long-term vision, to look to the future with confidence. God controls the future and God wants his people to be mighty on the earth. So to teach your children – you just raised the idea of young people not growing up. I listened to Kevin Swanson, he was quoting Newsweek. Newsweek magazine in 2008, in March, said 70 percent of young men are not grown up by 30 years of age. That’s seven out of 10. So we have a culture of complete children where we’re not raising adults. It is causing a crisis in our economy.
Brian: I love that tagline, Bill. I’ve got to tell you – that his parents said “we don’t raise kids, we want to raise adults.” It’s amazing.
Bill: Without a doubt.
Brian: I love that. It’s my new favorite quote of the day.
Bill: You know, Christmas is over, but what happened during Christmas? Our country’s in debt, our individuals are in debt. We’re all in debt and yet we fight on Black Friday, through Black Friday, through Christmas Eve, over cheap, plastic goods that our kids throw away the second after they open the next package. They throw that thing away. It’s discarded. Now, granted, they’ll play with it again, but I’m just saying, to teach children the value of tools, the value of capitalizing themselves – I just think it is an amazing thing, just to see it. And if you’re a kid, you don’t really know the difference between getting a snow shovel and a Nintendo, unless someone really tells you, because you’re going to treasure that snow shovel.
Brian: Just like Lance treasured his bucket.
Brian: His mop bucket, I believe you said?
Lance: That’s right.
Bill: Hey, Lance, I’m thinking of that Steve Martin movie, “The Jerk,” where he loved his bucket, so when you said that, I apologize, but Steve Martin leaning on his cleaning stuff came to mind when you said that. But we do really appreciate that perspective. I think it’s such an off the grid perspective.
Lance: Well, I appreciate being with you guys. This is great.
Bill: Tell the story, a little bit, about what you just mentioned what you were dealing with – a trucker and you’ve built this business. Tell the story about the trucker and then let’s go back and talk about how you built this thing up from the ground.
Lance: Sure. This trucker says “I’m going to be there 8:00 o’clock tomorrow morning.” I had about eight barrels left to go and I had eight more barrels in the sump. We quit what we were doing – we were out putting in queens. We ran home, we ate breakfast. We went out there, worked all day. And the beautiful thing – we have this set-up, it’s an extractor set-up – Dinah and Regina were scratching the frames, because they go through the end capper and whatever caps get missed they scratch them. Then I was loading the uncapper. So you put the frames through the conveyor and they go through. Then Victor, he’s unloading the extra, and Jodavid’s stacking the frame. The beauty of a family working together. You don’t beat workers. You don’t beat hired help because you’ve got your brothers and sisters right there at your side. You can laugh, you can enjoy each other. It was just so exciting. Well that truck came the next morning at 8:00 o’clock and, of course, I had everybody up at 4:00 in the morning. We got the lights on because it was still dark. We hustled around. Dad was putting lids on the barrels – he’s very good at that. You have to put the barrel lid all the way around and get it locked down. Jodavid was moving things around. Dinah was scratching the frames and Victor. I was putting the frames through. Well that truck backed in here at 8:00 o’clock in the morning. At 8:00 o’clock it’s like “wow! It’s here already.” So we hustled. Victor got the barrels, started loading the truck up. Jodavid was still filling the barrels. Dad was putting the lids on the barrels. Mom was writing the labels with Melody. And mom was putting the labels on the barrels. Regina and Dinah were hustling to extract more honey to fill the last barrel. As soon as that truck was ready to leave, we had our last barrel ready to go. It was only possible because of the family. The God-blessed vision of the family is wonderful.
Bill: It’s not often that children, young people, have the opportunity – today I often talk about the division of labor. I think we have to pull the camera back and look at the division of labor is definitely a blessing for us. We go into restaurants. We can grab a quick bite to eat. We can have a tooth pulled by a knowledgeable dentist, we can have our appendix taken out, whatever it might be. So there’s many blessings. But you can’t outsource everything in life and I think one of the blessings that I hear you saying from that last story – one of the blessings comes from a time long ago in this country when children worked alongside their parents – their mother and their father, and you did do these projects as a cohesive unit. It produced a different type of individual than the division of labor does. I’m not blaming anybody. If you have a job and you work someplace, we can’t all do what the Seppis have done. I’m just saying, I believe in my heart of hearts that you have a more organic unit. As you were saying, Lance, when you do these things as a family. I started a business; the business that we have right now, I started that business on Thanksgiving Day in front of the television with my kids. We were watching the Macy’s Day Parade and we were putting together – we did a program on how to jump higher. We made a video on how to jump higher, because we love basketball, and we started that program. My kids could tell you that we all boxed the stuff. And our story is exactly like yours, with the truck pulling up. I was working another job, because nothing springs full blown, right? I had to work another job in order to do this, in order to finally get off that roller coaster. So we’re all working hard together, putting all these VHS tapes in these packages and these cassette tapes back in the day. Then when we were done, just the feeling of getting done. All the customers had their packages and we had them all ready to be dropped off to the post office on Friday after Thanksgiving. What’s that feeling like, when you get all the honey in the barrels and the guy takes it away? You sit back …
Lance: And then we walked in and Melody had the meal on. It was like “wow!”
Bill: It’s a dream.
Lance: Yeah. The thing that’s so neat was, here’s Jodavid, he’s 13 years old, and he’s doing a man’s work. We go set hives in almond pollination, because out here in California we have a multi-billion – there’s a huge, billion dollar industry in almond pollination here in California. Jodavid, he’s 13, I can say “Jo, here’s 160 hives” – we just drove in with our trucks – “there’s a ribbon over there. Every 21 trees, set two pallets down.” Then I can go around and do something else and Jodavid, 13, he’s running over there and setting two pallets down, three pallets here, goes down to the end of the orchard, sets the others. It is wonderful to teach your children to love tools. The other thing was, we didn’t just say “there’s the forklift,” ride around and joyride on it. No. The forklift was a tool. So he loved to work because he loved the idea of using it.
Brian: I tell you, Lance, we’re going to go ahead and run to a quick commercial break. When we come back, I love the idea of forklift as a tool. Ladies and gentlemen, Off the Grid News. Here today with, as always, Mr. Bill Heid, and Lance Seppi. Stick around.
[0:23:02 – 0:27:22 break]
Brian: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome back. We’re here today with Mr. Bill Heid, as always, Brian Brawdy, along with Mr. Lance Seppi. He’s 23 years old. The third of seven home-educated children. lance and his brother started keeping bees about eight years ago and it is – honest to goodness, I didn’t think of the cliché, Bill – I was going to say it’s buzzing – the business is just buzzing. Sorry about that, Lance. He studies history, world view, education and loves speaking in churches whenever he gets the opportunity. Good thing, Lance, because you’re a fairly, I would say, intelligent, articulate guy. I’m sure you know how to keep ‘em in the seats, if you know what I mean.
Lance: Well, God has given me a great passion for the Word of God and teaching history. What I love to do is bring history alive to the audience. So if we have a picture of George Washington praying, to bring that alive, of what the men went through at Valley Forge. Or, like you said on the Thanksgiving thing, you said “it’s the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of almighty God. And to obey his will.” So I like to bring out history and bring application to our lives today.
Bill: Let me jump in here. You were talking about young people and I think another social criticism that I would throw at our culture, myself included, is that children aren’t taught to work until they’re in their 20s, in their 30s. I’m thinking, we probably have a mutual friend – did you ever get a chance to meet Otto Scott?
Lance: Yes, I did!
Bill: You know, Otto left his home – I think they were living in Caracas at the time – Otto left his home when he was probably 14 years old, joined the merchant marines and started working. He’s one of the smartest guys I’ve ever heard speak. I’ve read his books, used to read the Compass Newsletter a long time. While we were talking, I was thinking at 16 years old, I think it was Peyton Randolph, was the king’s attorney in Virginia. So, come on! We don’t have to wait. The only reason we wait till we’re 18 to get out of high school – do you know this, Brian? The only reason we’re 18 years old when we get out in the working world – not Lance, he’s more typical of how the world has worked historically – but during the New Deal, FDR and his shameless gang of hoodlums didn’t want to see any more people enter the working world. So they said, you’ve got to go to school until you’re 18 years old. That’s why we all go to school till we’re 18 years old. That’s the only stinking reason we go to school, is because of the New Deal. We’re out of the New Deal. Let’s graduate when we can.
Brian: Unbelievable. I didn’t know that.
Bill: Yeah. People were going out west during the frontier days when they were 16 years old, with a couple of pistols and making their way. It was a rough world. And today we’re babied.
Brian: I would agree. That’s why I think a lot of times I take flak for the way I am with Parker and Paige, where I make them grab their own gear. If they drop it? They pick it up. They want something? Great.
Bill: That’s their gear to get.
Brian: That’s their gear to get, exactly. Their gear to keep near … you know where Parker leaves his coat? Doesn’t matter. He’s out of the truck. I don’t care how cold it is, you leave your gear behind, not my problem pal. And he’s what, 10? He just turned 10 last year – end of last year. So I’m digging hearing this from Lance. I’m not sure Parker and Paige will be, after I get a chance to get back … I’m going to learn some more from Lance about …
Bill: You’re going to buy them tools.
Brian: I’m going to buy them tools.
Bill: You’re going to buy some tools for their next birthday.
Brian: Absolutely. At least a Black & Decker power belt.
Bill: Try to get them tuned into that world a little more than just endless gratification.
Brian: And not just that, Bill, but especially at Off the Grid – and I’m very thankful to have learned a lot of this from you – I’m not always going to be around. I want Parker and Paige to be able to survive without me. I want them to go “yeah, that looks like a tough challenge … get behind me, I’ll square my shoulders, and I’ll make it work.” That’s why I do it. I’m sure, Lance, you would probably concur with the way Bill – you should see Bill and his family, here in Thompson, Illinois. It’s really quite inspiring.
Bill: I’d like to think that they could pick up the same way – if I get hit by a truck – maybe we will get hit by a truck …
Brian: The way we drive …
Bill: But Lance is blessed because I think if his parents get hit by a truck, or whatever would happen, certainly there would be sadness but what he inherited is working through them. It’s not just this work ethic but a world view of which a work ethic is part. Wouldn’t you agree with that, Lance?
Lance: That’s absolutely right. World views – all societies have a world view. A world view often has a law view. With the Muslims you have Sharia law. With the humanists you have the Humanist law. And with the Marxists, you have the Communist Manifesto. So all world views have a law view. With our view, as Christians, we have God’s Law as our law view, and that’s right – exactly. You have to have a long-term vision to be able to pass it on to future generations, to your children and to their children and their children’s children. Because if you don’t – if you don’t have a view of the future? You don’t have a view of the present. It’s tragic.
Bill: It’s tragic, I think – I think it was Vladimir Ilyich Lenin that says “he who controls the present, con-trols the past.” And what he meant by that was, if you can control the present you can write the history books. And whoever writes the history books controls the future. So the axiom real quick was, control the present, then you control the past, so you control the future. Lenin was a smart … one thing we’ve got to do – Lance, you probably agree with this – we’ve got to give credit to wise people. Now, he was wise and evil, but let’s give him credit. I don’t see too many church people that understand that.
Lance: That’s true. I was reading a book recently, it’s called “Revolution Via Education,” by Blumenfeld and I’m constantly seeing these social engineers, these purposeful, dominion-oriented social engineers. People that want to engineer our future and these people, they have a view of the future. And we as Christians would be very wise to study them and realize – these guys are constantly talking about “how can we do this? How can we do that? How can we make things better?” Toward a socialist and Marxist utopian dream. You’re right. They do. And we’d be very wise to study them.
Bill: Your parents probably also, not only once we know what these world views are, we can articulate them. We can break them down. We can find out what views pose contrast or are enemies to the world views that we have, that attack the world, because you can’t have … we don’t live in a multiverse, we live in a universe, so we have to have an ultimate. Guys like you and I that study Apologetics, we realize that there’s an ultimate. Something’s always ultimate in any society. You just alluded to that idea.
Lance: Yeah. Melody came to my room the other day. She said “Lance” – she was laughing, she said “do you know what the word ‘university’ means? One truth.”
Bill: Exactly. And in our world, we really play around with the idea that there are multiple truths, but at the end of the day, that’s not – only one thing can be ultimate, and whatever that ultimacy is gets protected by that culture’s laws. And also gets inculcated to that culture’s children via their education system. Again, most Christians don’t understand that that’s what’s going on. Most people that go to Tea Party rallies want to put their kids in a public school where they’re taught systematically that there is no God. As a matter of fact, it’s against the law to teach that there is a God, their god. They think that that won’t have any affect. Well, I believe that will have an effect and I think that you would concur, would you not, that they’re teaching a law system in school.
Lance: Absolutely they’re teaching a law system. And that law system is that man is the center of all things, the measure of all things. Man is worshipped. That’s the Humanists’ dream. They take God out and of course there’s always a vacuum, and they fill it with man. Man is going to bring in …
Bill: And occasionally, Lance, you get a few guys that actually learn that lesson that “I’m my own ultimacy” and they learn that lesson in school – most don’t, most really aren’t consistent with the world view that they’re taught – but once in a while, you get people that learn that lesson and you’ve got a Columbine. You’ve got crazy people like Jean-Paul Sartre’s to say “if I’m God, and my neighbor is God, then my neighbor must be the devil. My neighbor must be my enemy.” So the two can’t coexist at the same time. But Brian’s going to go to a break in a little bit and when we come back I want to talk about defending the faith, defending the world view that we’re talking about, and making sure that we cover the bee story.
Brian: I cover the bee story. Yeah, we’ve been thinking, Bill, we’ve got four segments, how is this going to go? Time has flown by. And Lance, just so you can prepare a little bit, I’ve been researching on the internet while we’ve been discussing. All the time in the news now about that bees are an endangered species, that they’re being threatened here and there. I want to make sure that we also have an opportunity for you to answer that as well. Ladies and gentlemen, as Mr. Heid said, we’re going to run to a quick commercial break. Gotta pay the bills. Gotta keep the lights on. We’ll be back, right after these words.
[0:37:03 – 0:41:25 break]
Brian: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome back, once again, to Off the Grid News. I’ve got to tell our producer, Jeremy, that thing went off and it startled me. I thought it was a shotgun blast. I go “Bill – tuck, duck and roll. Get under the table. Get under the table.” Hey, before I turn it back over, I want to introduce our guest for the final segment. Been with us the whole show, Bill, as you know – Mr. Lance Seppi. The third of seven, home-educated children. And Lance, I just want to throw this in, I told you about a childhood experience I had with the bees. But I also want to tell you – you’ve made me think a lot about my grandfather. So I opened it by saying you make my skin crawl, because I’m allergic to bees, but you’ve also inspired me. One of the very first, if not the first, Bible quote my grandfather ever taught me – and I’m embarrassed to say I don’t know where in the Bible it is, you and Bill probably know – but for me, the quote in and of itself was that “And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.” I always took that to mean, Lance, that it wasn’t stature like people were impressed with how smart he was. He increased in wisdom and physical stature. So he worked his mind and his body, and that’s what left him in favor of both God and man, the heavens and the dirt, the divinity and regular folks. And as I listen to you speak, you remind me of my pop, so I thank you very much for that. And before we get too much further, I also want to talk a little more about the bees, as we teased in the break, are they in the situation that they’re in?
Bill: Well, let me – thanks, Brian – let me jump in and say, Lance you could probably appreciate one of the axioms – one of the biblical axioms – that we have at Solutions from Science, is never to despise small beginnings.
Bill: I think when we talk about starting from nothing, you can literally start – you can’t start with nothing, because you have to have the vision. And you have to have the ability and the desire to work. But if you can grant those things, you can literally start with the thoughts. And it sounds to me like that’s how your parents started. It sounds to me like you guys started with four hives? You had to have the idea of never despising small beginnings because you were willing to start out small.
Lance: The thing was, Bill, I started out – once a week we’d go mow my grandma’s lawn – Victor – we’d get the weed whacker and the mower and we’d go out there and we’d mow for about three hours. It was a three-quarter of an acre. So we were learning how to work. We were sweating. We were working hard. So we had saved up a few thousand dollars. We bought our first bee hives. We got our first four packages. Went down to the post office and got them. That night the whole family was out there and we were out there working. We were tapping the last bit of bees out of the box. Then eventually got so big that – we wanted to grow – dad’s like “we’ve got to grow faster. We’ve got to get to 100 then 400 then 1000 then 2000.” We were constantly investing and my parents were doing everything they could. They were putting half of dad’s income into the business, so we were constantly trying to build it up as fast as we could and working hard and being diligent. That’s basically how we did it. But because we had a family working together, we were able to pull it off. Today we run 2000 hives. We just put it all back in. We constantly reinvest it.
Bill: Let’s stop for a second because sometimes, again, you bring up some brilliant, really heavy points, and it sounds so easy to sail right past them. Your dad could not have invested in this business with income from outside if he was in debt up to you know where.
Bill: So listen, step one is – we go back to Romans and we realize are we going to put ourselves in debt to such an extent that we become such an existentialist paying off our immediate debts that we have no vision for the future?
Brian: We’re trapped.
Bill: We’re trapped, Brian says. You can’t have a vision of the future if you’re in debt.
Lance: Exactly. And the thing was, when we built our own home, it took us seven years. It was a long process. We were already buying our own materials and building the house, so we weren’t going into debt there. When we got into bees, we constantly put money in. The thing was, it didn’t happen all at once. We were out there sometimes late nights, up till 1:00 and 2:00 in the morning, trudging through the field. There was rain and we were carrying the hives by hand. We didn’t have a forklift for a few years, not till 2005. When we finally got that forklift – actually, it was 2006 – when we finally got it, it was like “wow!” because those long nights – they’re tough. Carrying the hives across the field … anyway, we finally got the forklift, and that changed everything. Now we’ve got a big truck and we can move hives into almonds. But what makes it possible is doing things for yourself. We put in this metal building. Mom saved herself a tremendous amount of money by being her own person in charge and bringing in a cement crew and not having someone else do it. You don’t have that person who’s $50,000 just to pay them as the general contractor to contract the different things.
Brian: Lance, could I interrupt real quick? When you said contractor it made this jump back in my mind. One of the things that I was so impressed with is you said you had a contractor come in to teach you how to build the first wall. So you’re still looking for the wise man. Am I correct? Did you not say that? That he taught you how to build the first wall but then you replicated what you had learned in the building of the rest of the house. Is that so?
Lance: Exactly. Exactly.
Lance: And then he said “I’m going on a trip.” So we were like “OK, now we’ve got to build it.” That was just the beginning. It’s a 3400 square foot home, so it’s big. Yeah, it took us a long time. But, quickly, we built this warehouse and mom was the general contractor. Mom was the one that got the cement crew. So she didn’t have to pay someone else to do it. Then we got two estimates to put the wiring from the house to the building and they wanted $9000 or $13000 – there were two different estimates. Mom thought “we can do this ourselves.” So Victor gets the trencher out there and trenched the thing, and within a few weeks we had it done. So you’re constantly saving money when you do it yourself, and that’s the great thing about individual gifts in this business. Victor’s our mechanic – changes the oil, he can adjust the brakes in the truck, the trailer. He’s constantly keeping things going there.
Bill: I think we need to send a film crew down to your place and have Brian and Jeremy go through your little operation, because I think it would be ultra inspiring to people. I had a notion before I came up with that. I thought that would be a good idea. It’d be a lot of fun for you guys.
Brian: I think we should get him in a tour bus. I could use that education and maybe they could work on my … I think that would be great.
Bill: I think Lance should come here and work for us. Anyway, I was thinking you have all these attacks these days, especially from the Administration that we have in now. They’re from our pal Gerald Celentes’ white shoe boys. What typically happens is you send your child off to college and they’re taught that capitalism is an abomination. The Humanists teach about sin too. One of their sins is capital-ism. But I want to tell everybody, capitalism is just the story that you just heard. Capitalism is these guys working and pulling honey around at night and sweating. That’s human capital. Then, gee, the arch crime of the century – you get a forklift so you don’t break your back.
Lance: Right. Technology is a tool to advance God’s kingdom. It’s wonderful to have tools. Another thing is the iPod. We’re out there working these 10-hour days sometimes, and we’re constantly learning, all day long, so when we get back at home we sit down around the dinner table and we’re all so excited to tell something we learned about what’s going on in the news or different things. The iPod is what keeps us going. It really is exciting.
Bill: So you’re family table, I bet when you guys sit back down together at night, as a family, as a company, you have your company meetings – you’re sitting around, but I bet you have a very robust conversation with your family.
Lance: Oh, it is. It is. We’ll be talking about different issues and someone will say one thing, or a devo-tion – we’ll be reading the Bible and someone will say one thing and then another … because our days are so full of learning. Just the other day, I was out working the bees and Dinah was laughing. I said “Dinah, what are you doing?” She was listening to something on the iPod. You’re constantly learning God’s word, learning from preachers we love listening to pastors teach you the bible and expound on scripture. We love listening to Rushdoony and Gary Demar’s show and Apologetics and Bahnsen and Doug Phillips … Kevin Swanson … these guys are constantly teaching us, like we’re being mentored by them. It makes our days very exciting.
Bill: And each day you build up and that becomes a piece of mortar and a foundational piece. Those days turn into weeks and those weeks years. And the weeks turn into a life well lived. Then, if you’re like Brian and I – I know you’re much younger, but you never stop doing that. I’ve got to turn it back over to Brian because we’re getting ready to wind down again, Lance. You’ve been great.
Brian: Alright, Lance, here’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to have you back. This hour – we’re always nice to guests, saying “oh, the hour flew by, very informative.” Lance, this has been great and unfortunately we’ve got about 45 seconds left before we’ve got to go. So let me mention this. If you want to see what a beautiful family as well, you can check out Lance and his family on Facebook. Do as I’ve done, link into them. It’s Seppifamily on Facebook. Lance, thank you so very much for hanging out with us. It’s really been very inspiring. Thank you.
Lance: Well, thank you so much. It’s been a joy to be with you guys. God bless you guys.
Bill: Thanks Lance.
Brian: Alright, ladies and gentlemen, as always, thank you so very much for listening to Off the Grid Radio – the off the grid radio version of offthegridnews.com. Please be sure to email us with questions, comments, critiques at [email protected]??. We’ll also link to Lance’s family’s website from there as well. You can also find us on Facebook at facebook.com/solutionsfromscience and you can follow us at Twitter @offgridnews. Thank you so very much. Happy New Year. We’re fired up to having you back with us again the next time.