Saturday, August 29, 2015


Chris Tollefsen has a new piece up at Public Discourse entitled In the Cave: How Automation Changes the Way We Interact with Our World.

Of course being a semi-Luddite (not that Dr. Tollefsen is endorsing Ludditism - you should read the article to get his views) this is a topic close to my heart.
When I did a lot of woodworking in days past, I would always master a technique or task with hand tools before I tried it with (or even bought) the corresponding power tool. This helped me understand the work I was doing better. I don't decry all power tools, but the understanding helps the craftsman be better craftsman with either types of tool.
Likewise as a adjunct science instructor, I daily see how calculators have dumbed the student. I think using calculators are fine. They are a tool to help speed calculations. However, I see many students who can't do the calculations (even simple +, -, x, /) by hand. They don't understand the operations. Here they are in college taking Physics and don't have a clue about the distributive property. 
I ran into something similar this week teaching a Physics lab. The data was to be graphed and the experimental value for g to be gleamed from the slope of the two graphs. Those who knew how to use EXCEL were okay. They knew that they just plug in data points and the computer would spit out a plot, a best fit line, and a slope. The few who didn't know or have access to EXCEL were worried. None of them really understand graphs and the significance of the slopes to the data.
I could go on an show how pre-automation farmers were NEVER overweight. Farms were smaller then, and each could only feed a small amount of the population-so efficiency is up with today's big-Ag. But we have lost more than thin farmers. We have lost a sense of sharing, responsibility, smallness, shared dependence, and much more.
But most importantly I would decry how automation has and is destroying our culture and communities.

In effect automation has allowed us to spend more of our time making and spending money-but not working, living, and doing things together.

Some may argue that these are choices we make-true to some extent, but not entirely, and not fairly.

This automation economy is set up so that if you want to survive in anything but squalor, you must have certain things and maintain them. This acquiring and maintenance occupies an inordinate amount of time over what we really need for a life of simple comfort.

The more things are done FOR us instead of BY us, the less we actually are capable of doing for ourselves. We didn't move to the homestead to be some kind of survivalists or "preppers". We really wanted a fuller life and a place where our children (and us) could learn to do some things for themselves, which in the past were "just taken care of".

So raising, slaughtering and butchering our own meat takes some time, but it is enjoyable and a social event. And the results are more satisfying in taste, health, and again in social time. It may not be efficient, but it is FULL.

Group singing-entertaining ourselves with friends is more satisfying than BEING entertained. However, it takes more effort-and that is the rub.

Not all these examples may fall under "automation", but they are close. Much more to write about, but my totally non-automated homestead is calling for me!

Oremus pro invicem!


Saturday, August 22, 2015

Saying farewell for now ...

(Farewell, that is, to son Matthew at Holy Trinity Seminary at University of Dallas.)

Oremus pro invicem!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

To the Victors ....

On our way back from Texas (dropping Matthew at Holy Trinity Seminary at UD) we stopped at Vicksburg, MS. The campaign to take Vicksburg lasted almost 2 months. There is a National Military Park at the site of the battle. There are numerous (and I mean numerous) memorials for every Union regiment and company which took part in the battle. There are NO Confederate memorials in the park. All the casualties there were Americans.

The remains of the Union metal-clad Cairo is at the park and was very interesting.

Oremus pro invicem!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Another couple goodreads ...

From Anthony Esolen on reform and renewal of the culture:

Build new schools, reform old schools, and abandon irreformable ones.  Are your children attending the sub-pagan schools? Get them the hell out of there. What are you waiting for? It’s not as if the sub-pagan schools actually teach children English grammar and give them facility with numbers and make them familiar with the lands and rivers and seas of our world, let alone introduce them to the great works of western civilization. If your children are in the sub-pagan schools, it will require almost a miracle of God to keep them from becoming sub-pagan themselves. They too will learn to worship the three-poisoned god of our times, self, sex, State. Take for granted that everything in their classes will be sexuality and politics; even in science classes. Shakespeare? Sexuality and politics and nothing else. Get them out. Begin, if necessary, with one room and one teacher and ten children. Begin.
Read the rest here .
And read JRR Tolkien in a letter to his son on marriage here.
Oremus pro invicem!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

New Heifer

Our heifer freshened yesterday. She had a heifer. Our older Jersey (light cow in pic) is due to freshen in a few months.

What to do with all this wealth?

Oremus pro invicem!

Friday, July 03, 2015

I have been reading ...

The Shadow of His Wings by Fr. Gereon Goldman, OFM. It is a fast moving and inspirational read.

At one point, Fr. Gereon is in a prisoner of war camp and observes:

And who is praying? An inquiry revealed that hardly five percent would admit that they prayed; those who prayed did so from force of habit, and their prayers were mostly the prayers of children. For most of the men, prayer was a burden or merely a habit; in any case, it was an unpleasant thing, and for a man and a soldier it was considered an embarrassing occupation.

And isn't this the case and a fundamental problem of our society?
Fr. Gereon goes on:
That this (prayer) is not merely something for women and children, but that first and foremost it is for the man, the head of the family ..... (emphasis added)
And isn't this the fundamental solution to the problems and "innovations" we are seeing in our society?
I was reminded today of Thomas Jefferson's statement:
“Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
It is my contention that we are now "any other." Men must lead; lead their own prayer lives; lead their family in their prayer life; and thus lead the country to God.
Oremus pro invicem!

Thursday, July 02, 2015

I tell you, Dr. Anthony Esolen can write; and of course it isn't just style. What he writes always has substance, clearly articulated. Try this: 

Most lately, in Obergefell v. Hodges, Kennedy has insisted that “the opportunity to marry is integral to human dignity,” and that “excluding gay and lesbian couples from marriage demeans the dignity of these couples.” ...
Suppose the man whom women leave cold takes up residence with another man. Well, across the street live a middle-aged man and his autistic brother. They love one another, and will be together till death parts them. But theirs is not a marriage. It is a good thing, but we do them no injustice to say that they are not married, regardless of how deep their love is, or how pleasant they are to their neighbors, or how nicely they trim their flower garden.
What distinguishes the love of the brothers from the love of the homosexual man and his friend? Is it that the latter perform acts of sodomy, while the former do not? Is the membrum virile then the instrument that delivers that dignity which warms the cockles of Kennedy’s heart? Let us think about this for a moment. What does the sodomy add? Why should we value sodomy as such? Why should we value it so highly that for its sake we will overturn millennia of human experience, the social structure of our civilization, and the last tottering guardrails against judicial supremacy?
Read the whole thing here.
Oremus pro invicem!

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

I feel rich

Yesterday we got up early to beat the heat and slaughtered a hog. A big hog, but not as big as the one on my sidebar. This morning we got up early and butchered said hog. We have been pork poor for a couple months (which is another story.)
Now with a freezer full of pork, I feel suddenly rich!
(We were tempted to butcher the hog inside because Mrs. Curley is away, but reason prevailed and we butchered outside in the early morning light.)
Deo Gratias!

Update: Ham and bacon curing.
Oremus pro invicem!

Monday, June 29, 2015


 Behold, the time is coming, nay, has already come, when you are to be scattered, each of you taking his own path, and to leave me alone. And yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me.  I have said this to you, so that in me you may find peace. In the world, you will only find tribulation; but take courage, I have overcome the world. John 16:32-33

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Make your children see this one ....

... and it is good to see with your spouse too.  Make Way for Tomorrow

We borrowed it from the library the other day, and (in my Dad's words) it is "a drippy movie"-that is no one will have dry eyes after this one.

The review to which I linked says of marriage:

Our lives appear to us as a story: a story that we tell ourselves about our past, act out in the present and script for ourselves into the future. To share one’s life with someone, then, is to embark on a daring creative venture in shared storytelling. To marry is to say: Let us make of our two lives one story, a story that I will tell to you and you will tell to me. Telling and retelling that story — reminiscing about shared experiences, especially the happy or funny ones — is one of the secrets of happy couples ...