Monday, October 16, 2017


We only have one sow left. We sold our last other two in the spring. A few years ago we selected the best gilt from our best boar and sow and raised her to be our remaining sow. She has done well - not our biggest star in the past 10 years - but okay. She usually averages 10-12 pigs per litter, and loses few.

"Polly" had her fall litter this weekend: 5 pigs.

Of course, the low number is likely "Thor's" fault (the boar). We've had him 2 years. I have to say, I think his two predecessors, Red and Tarzan, were better boars.

In any event, may be its a blessing. For the first time, I had trouble selling off the spring litters. (We had two.) I have 7 pigs left from those litters, and I have no need for so many. These guys are getting pretty big, and yet I have 2-300 pound pigs from last winter's litter to put in the freezer. I am just waiting for the weather to cool.
Oremus pro invicem!

Thursday, October 05, 2017


Right now I am reading (actual books) two books. One is My Antonia by Willa Cather which a friend of mine was amazed I hadn’t read before. I am some 50 pages into it, and so far so good.

I am also reading Reading Don’t Fix No Chevys: Literacy in the Lives of Young Men, which I won as a door prize at the Adjunct faculty conference at the tech school where I “instruct”. Basically it is a study of why high school boys – well, the title gives the purpose. I have multiple interests regarding the education of young men and am hoping I gain some insight – however, my hopes are tempered by the source of the information.  

But of course I am always listening to something in my long commutes 3 days a week. One of my favorite listens (as reported here before) are audio books by Louis L’Amour. My son forwarded an article about him from a website called The Art of Manliness. A couple of L’Amour quotes stood out.

First: The idea of education has been so tied to schools, universities, and professors that many assume there is no other way, but education is available to anyone within reach of a library.”

Of course this observation based on the premise (more prevalent in the past than today) that education is not a utilitarian pursuit of employment. Colleges and universities are often (but not always) in the business of job training as opposed to education. I can truly say I have learned more about just about everything from my own reading habits than I ever learned in school,/college the exceptions being in math/calculus and some areas of science.

The second quote I also find very true:

A book is less important for what it says than for what it makes you think.”

Some may my following observation is a bit strange, but one reason I enjoy many John Grisham novels (surely light fare) is that they really make me think about things-plight of peoples, relations, state of law etc. Obviously there are books written to make one think-and I read those. But often I find light fiction does the same.

Oremus pro invicem!

Sunday, October 01, 2017

Two Pictures

Usually I walk in the late afternoon. But yesterday I started my walk just before sunset.

First, as I was passing my hogs, I was struck by the "3 generations", the boar being in the foreground. 2 hogs from last years litter next, and if strain your eyes, you can see this years litter in the background. The picture isn't that good as it is from my cellphone.

The next picture, just around the corner from the hogs is even less clear, but the color that did come through is beautiful.

Oremus pro invicem!

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Late summer harvest

Been very busy with all sorts of things, including planting the fall garden. But we are still getting produce from the summer garden. Many things are finished, but banana peppers, green peppers, egg plant and pumpkins are still going strong.

(I don't know why my phone took these in black and white!)

Additionally we harvested our peanuts today. It took 3.5 of us about 4 hours to dig and stack them. A better crop than last year, even though we planted less.
The peanuts remain on their bush, stacked as pictured for about 2 weeks to dry. Then we separate the peanuts from the hay. We will give the hay to the pigs as we are temporarily without a milk cow who generally gets the hay.
Oremus pro invicem!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Of Statues, Monuments, and Flags

The Chestonian principle:

In the matter of reforming things, as distinct from deforming them, there is one plain and simple principle; a principle which will probably be called a paradox. There exists in such a case a certain institution or law; let us say, for the sake of simplicity, a fence or gate erected across a road. The more modern type of reformer goes gaily up to it and says, “I don’t see the use of this; let us clear it away.” To which the more intelligent type of reformer will do well to answer: “If you don’t see the use of it, I certainly won’t let you clear it away. Go away and think. Then, when you can come back and tell me that you do see the use of it, I may allow you to destroy it. - G.K. Chesterton

When deciding about removing flags, monuments, statues, etc. I think it is wise to first consider the Chestonian principle - by the community that "owns" the statue/monument.
Quick thought: I don't think many people in America would object to Russian citizens toppling statues of Lenin when the Soviet Union collapsed.
A local (county, university, town, state) population should decide why they honored X (substitute the name of any Confederate General, flag, monument, public figure) on their public grounds in the first place. If they decide that this person/symbol no longer represents their values or the community and want to remove it, then they have that right.
However, outsiders like Nancy Pelosi or Donald Trump or myself should have no demands in the matter.
A member of Congress from California has no standing in agitating for the removal of Robert E. Lee from any venue but from Federal property or in her own local district on public land (as a private citizen in the latter case.)
In this era of so-called "self-identification", isn't it ironic that local communities are being pressured to conform their identity to political correctness?
The argument that Confederate Generals are traitors and should not be honored is misleading. The issue of the legality of succession was decided by the War Between the States. Before the Civil War, various states (including Northern states) had discussed succession and not considered it a treasonous proposition, but an option. It is not the equivalent of putting up a statue of John Wilkes Booth or Benedict Arnold!
On the other hand, those who say we are trying to change history when we remove monuments, are also wrong. We are only re-evaluating who we honor from our history.
There is much complexity to these issues which also depend on the type of monument and its venue.
For example, a memorial for soldiers who died in the Civil War is not so much a statement on the war itself (as the Vietnam Memorial is not) as a remembrance of family and friends who died. After all while most of the Confederate officers may have owned slaves, many, if not most, non-officer soldiers did not.
The Confederate flag may have a different legacy. It is a powerful symbol that many have used has a symbol of white supremacy both recently and also when they began to be raised on Southern states capital buildings in the 1960's. There would seem to be much more justification for their removals.
Individual Confederate Generals/Officers monuments may sometimes lay somewhere in-between the two examples noted above. Many of these men may have been honored for attributes other than, or in addition to, their leadership roles in the Confederacy.
However, in each case the local community should make thoughtful decisions.
We need to pray for peace in this country (an in our own souls.)
On this Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary .... Oremus pro invicem!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017


One of my favorite genres to listen to in my travels are westerns. They have enough adventure to keep me awake, but generally not too stressful. You know the outcome. Zane Grey, Max Brand, Louis L'Amour - these are the mainstays.
I am just finishing up the strangest one I have ever listened to. Here's the background: Successful middleweight boxer suddenly develops a heart condition in the middle of a fight. Realizing he can no longer exert himself for long periods, he plays poker, takes up a revolver and heads West.
He has all kinds of adventures, but must escape from pursuers by walking (no running), must take a nap in the middle of a conflict after hitting his foe, and generally walks around unscathed despite the handicap.
It is just the strangest Western I have ever read - but there are only so many plots, right?

Oremus pro invicem! 

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Manhood and consumerism

Mr. Jason Craig has penned an interesting article over at Those Catholic Men concerning manhood and consumerism. Here are some of the key ideas:

…we no longer are measured by the skill of our craft but by our ability to purchase the craftsmanship of another, and, in fact, we valued the ability to purchase over the ability to make. 


The worst outcome of the trend toward specialization is that giant companies gobble up market share (for the sake of money, not the things made) and controls the production and delivery of the goods we need.  Being unable to “compete” with them through doing or making or doing it ourselves, a man is reduced to, as Berry puts it, “the negativity of his complaint.”[4]  He is a consumer and can only complain about the products he consumes – he cannot change his status as a consumer or actually change the product.  In other words, because you can’t do anything for yourself, the only power you have is to leave negative feedback about a product.  Just think about the sad “power” of leaving feedback on Amazon.  That’s all we have.  And that’s sad.

One conclusion:

Men consume because they cannot do and what they do they do to consume.  They can’t cultivate the world around them to fit their needs, but can only try to purchase themselves out of boredom and stress and hunger.  The anxiety of modern man then is reasonable.  He is helpless and at the mercy of those that sell, control, or hand out his sustenance.  Servility comes naturally with a sense of anxiety – for good reason.
Freedom, both economic and spiritual have many facets.

Oremus pro invicem!

Saturday, August 05, 2017

Varmints and Cantaloupes

So we have been growing these (not soccer balls):

But every morning one or more is half eaten. So son Thomas puts a honeybun in the raccoon trap and catches this:

We reload the trap tonight in case there is a family....

Oremus pro invicem!

Monday, July 24, 2017

Augustine or Aquinas?

From Those Catholic Men :

Due to the fact that so many young people seem more drawn to questions regarding happiness and personal fulfillment, he noted that he often orients his talks in this direction. In other words, perhaps one could say that such an approach to teaching is an attempt to be more Augustinian (happiness-based) than Thomistic (truth-based).

Without commenting on the entire article quoted, (in fact I didn't read it all-these lines got me thinking and I never got back to it) some obvious questions come to (my) mind:
1. Is Augustine more about happiness than truth?
2. Is Aquinas more about truth than happiness?
3. Are truth and happiness so inter-related that it doesn't matter?
I am presently reading God or Nothing an interview with Cardinal Sarah. Cardinal Sarah contends (I am paraphrasing) that Christianity is not a set of (moral) norms, but an encounter with a person, Jesus Christ. Moral laws are more of a consequence than a prerequisite of Christianity. In other words, the encounter with the Son of Man calls us to follow him, which then makes us want to live a certain way. This seems (to me) very Augustinian, if the premise above is true.
However, doesn't Aquinas explore who is God and the Trinity? And doesn't this truth of the nature of the Trinity helps us make an authentic encounter with and learn how to follow Jesus?
I once knew an atheist who was one of the most moral men I knew. He believed living a moral life was the only way to have an orderly society.
Now, many would argue that equating Aquinas with "the Law" in not the same as saying Aquinas is 'truth-based" (as opposed to "happiness-based"). I would agree; but still there is a perception, but (I would argue) a perception from ignorance of Aquinas.
Oremus pro invicem! 

Friday, July 21, 2017


We rented a cabin at Oconee State Park in Mountain Rest, SC last weekend. A neighbor kept a watch on the animals. We have seldom if ever gone all gone away for more than 24 hours in the last few years - but that is part of homesteading.

Oconee State Park brings in a bluegrass group and has a square dance in their barn every Friday night in the summer. It was absolutely great. Lots of people. We learned some dances we will incorporate into our annual square dance here.

Saturday and Sunday we meant to spend looking at waterfalls, but we didn't get to many because of the strong thunder storms that kept popping up.

We also were limited to which ones we could hike to because a 2 year old boy is staying with us right now.

Be we had fun and saw some beautiful waterfalls. The pictured one is at Cove Station Falls.
We also walked through Stumphouse Tunnel. Before the war between the states, a railroad line connecting Charleston, SC to Cincinnati, OH was planned. But Stumphouse Mountain got in the way. Irish immigrants, working from both sides with pick, shovel, and sledge started carving out the tunnel. They lived in a village on top of the mountain. A Fr. O'Connell founded St. Patrick Catholic Church for the workers and their families. The first shot is approaching the tunnel (which provided a cold breeze). The second is obviously in the tunnel.

While we were away Mrs. Curley's aunt, Karen Stanley passed away in Florida. May her soul and all the souls of the faithful departed, rest in peace!
Oremus pro invicem!