Thursday, March 08, 2018


I took advantage of spring break at my tech college to go backpacking with son Thomas along the Chattooga River in the Ellicott Rock Wilderness Area of South Carolina.
In a word, the trip was: miserable! Oh yes, we had a great time, and we are glad we went, but still, it was miserable.
We entered the forest in the rain. Of course finding dry wood was a challenge, but we did it. It took all we could to start a fire and keep it going. Then it got coooooold! It was 25 F overnight the first night. In the morning not a single coal was left from our fire. (I usually don't do winter camping, but it was in the 70's just last week!)
And as we ate oat meal and hard boiled eggs for breakfast, it started snowing!

Our campsite viewing down river

We then hike 12 or 13 miles to come back to a even colder (but dryer) campsite. While making the fire was easier, the wind chilled faster than the fire could warm.
But the sights were out of this world.

Arriving at camp
A view from the camp upriver.
Recording the high (and lows) of the trip.

A view of the river
Another view of my better side as we headed out this morning

Oremus pro invicem!

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

That little green thing ...

is corn breaking the surface. (The green sprout, the other things are just weed debris.) Spring is here, and while all of next years wood is not yet in the shed, tilling and planting is starting to swing into full gear.

Oremus pro invicem!

Monday, February 26, 2018

Boys to Men

I spent the weekend in NC at St. Josephs Farm where Jason Craig gave a serious of talks on rites of passage and specifically what the father's role is in moving a boy into manhood-how can he help/how can he hinder.
We (son Thomas and I) had a great time and learned a lot. We actually went up to demonstrate for the group how to slaughter, cook and eat a pig. (They already knew the last part.) The rest was extra. Both were great!

I met a great group of 30 men who came up from Birmingham for the weekend.

Oremus pro invicem!

Monday, February 05, 2018

Winter work

We are about 1/2 way to a secure and warm 2018-2019 winter. Here is some of our work from today. (Yes, we usually use a chainsaw - I highly recommend the Echo CS440 which I have used for 14 years, but this tree got stuck and needed a little axe work.)

We are fortunate to have neighbors who always seem to have some hardwoods they want taken away. We have felled over a dozen trees of various sizes since the first week in January.

Oremus pro invicem!

Friday, February 02, 2018

The Courtship of Miles Standish

being read now!

I always liked Henry Wadsworth Longfellow dating back to a 4th grade field trip to his home. It was also in 4th grade when I memorized "The Arrow and the Song."

I haven't read poetry in years, but decided to reacquaint myself. After the Courtship, I think I might try "Song of Hiawatha."

Also check out another new blog The Intentional Imagineer.

Finally, wrote (or actually revised and updated) an article for New Catholic Land Movement. A version of this originally appeared in 2012 on Front Porch Republic. Enjoy it if you can!
Oremus pro invicem!

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

New Man

I left at 6:30 AM for my teaching job last Thursday with a tiny tickle in my throat. I arrived home at 9:00 PM with a 101 degree fever and all kinds of aches and pains. I pretty much stayed in bed for the next 72 hours, and have now emerged a new man (I hope).

Of course this was only possible with a Mrs. Curley who held everything and everyone together over the weekend. I was not the only one feeling poorly.

My theory in getting over sickness (if you can't just ignore it) is to stay in bed until you can't stand it anymore. At that point, you should be cured.

Oremus pro invicem!

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

God or Nothing

I have been reading this interview (God or Nothing, Ignatius Press) with Cardinal Sarah off and on for a few months now. I am finally getting close to the finish.

After this, I think Cardinal Sarah's book on silence should be on my list. A couple of passages I found this weekend on which I would like to report:

Here are some possibly comforting lines Cardinal Sarah quotes from St. Therese of Lisieux:

Listen, this is how great your confidence should be! It should make you believe purgatory is not made for you but only for the souls that failed to recognize God's merciful love or who doubted its power to purify. With those who strive to respond to this love, Jesus is 'blind' and 'does not count' [their sins], or rather, in order to purify them, he counts only on this fire of charity that 'covers all faults' and, especially, on the fruits of his perpetual Sacrifice. Yes, despite your little infidelities, you can hope to go straight to heaven, because the good Lord desires it even more than you do, and he will surely give you what you have hoped to receive of his Mercy. Your confidence and your resignation are what he will reward; his justice, which knows your frailty has been divinely arranged so as to achieve this. As you rely on this assurance, just make sure even more that he does not lose any love!

Of course, relying on these lines may lead to complacency and presumption.
And from Pope Paul VI's "smoke of Satan" homily, comes the following:
Science exists to give us truths that do not separate from God, but make us seek him all the more and celebrate him with greater intensity ....

Pope Paul VI goes on to comment on how this purpose has been turned on its head.
It is good to reflect once more as an instructor in Physics what the purpose is of what I teach.
Oremus pro invicem!

Monday, January 22, 2018

And I highly recommend ....

Is your phone a tool or a weapon? Not just because it is written by someone I know very well, but because it is worth contemplating and then acting upon.

Oremus pro invicem!

One man's weed ....

.... is another man's meal.
Around here, pigweed is a scourge. Supposedly imported with turkey litter for fertilizer from somewhere, it now infests many a field during the growing season. It is prolific and aggressive. A garden or an acre of peanuts can be overgrown with pigweeds in a matter of days if you are not vigilant.
A perennial, you can't just plow it under. You need to hand pick it and move it. Some farmers used to use pesticides to rid their fields of it, but it has become resistant.
We have fought the pigweed in our small gardens (seeds carried from neighboring fields) and more intensively when we leased several acres to grow peanuts or sorghum.
A few years ago we were helping cut down some trees at the Missionaries of the Poor house in North Carolina, when I noticed they were growing pigweed in their garden on purpose!
Sure enough, Amaranth is grown for food around the world. Here's more proof from my own pantry.

We actually have fed pigweed removed from the garden to our pigs, and they eat it up. But I don't think I will be growing it for our consumption any time soon....

Oremus pro invicem!

Thursday, January 18, 2018

A book recommendation

I finished Out of the Ashes the other day. Regular readers here know I am huge fan of Anthony Esolen. Perhaps my coolness to the current effort has more to do with what I need rather than what Mr. Esolen has to offer.
As always he writes very well. His writing is always a delight to read. However, at times (in Out of the Ashes) he seemed to have so much to say that he didn't know how to say it briefly, so uses examples that don't clearly cover the problem.
And this is another problem. The book is subtitled "Rebuilding American Culture", but Mr. Esolen spends so much time defining the problems, he neglects how to rebuild, other than 'don't continue the problem.'
Perhaps this was it for me. I read for enjoyment and to learn; the enjoyment was there, but in this case, I thoroughly know the problems already. I have been struggling in my own way to rebuild culture at least in my family and among my friends. I wanted a different perspective.
However, I DO recommend the book. This is not meant to be a negative review, just that my personal expectations were not met - I am sure Mr. Esolen did not write the book to satisfy me. But take a look, for example: 

The progressives of old had a clear idea of what they thought would bring about their earthly paradise: the dictatorship of the proletariat, the emancipation of women, the elimination of monarchy and its replacement with democracy, universal education, and so on. None of their nostrums has delivered on its promise, and some have had the perverse effect of rotting away the foundation upon which their suppositions of beneficence were based. So it is that democratic machinery without the soul of democracy has produced a far more intrusive and liberty-crushing state than anything that the proudest monarch could have imagined-or wished, since such a constant political preoccupation would have left no time for boar hunting or chasing women. So it is that universal schooling has not brought Milton to the millions, but rather has taken Milton away from the brightest and replaced him with "young adult" junk. So it is that women have been emancipated from the freedom of the home and chained to salaried work and lives of relative loneliness.

 Oremus pro invicem!

Friday, January 12, 2018

Two Christmas presents ...

Here are two of my favorite Christmas presents:

 From my youngest daughter.

And, from Mrs. Curley (some quotes to come...):

Finally, in an act of total vanity, I present a picture I came across of my self from a student ID in 1986 when I was in graduate school. Never looked as good again...
Oremus pro invicem!