Monday, October 27, 2008

Stories for Monday

Friday night we had rain and some gusts. One gust took down a tree in the goat pen and opened a hole in the fence. I had known the tree needed to come down eventually (along with two others), but hadn't gotten around to it. We put up a temporary patch in the rain and then spent Saturday taking down trees and patching fences.

The whole family worked together on the project. Some keeping herd on the goats, as there were some open fencing areas; some patching fences; and some playing lumberjack. Not to toot my own horn (but yes really) I am getting pretty good at placing trees. Two trees had to come down through a narrow passage. One was pretty easy, but the other was far off and at an angle. But we did it!


A few days ago, Mr. Culbreath had a video up of a small farmer and his wife talking about the difficulties of the family farm, especially as it relates to government regulation. I was reading Storey's Guide to Raising Pigs by Kelly Klober (He has a new book out called Dirt Hog which could be my next buy as it relates specifically to what we are trying to do here.) this weekend the following:

There are some of us who share a fairly common sentiment that family farmers should be freer to directly process and sell their own production. They can't however because of red tape. This figure may sound a bit high, but I would say that a farmer should be allowed to process and direct market the pork output from up to 500 head of hogs per year. (Note, this would be the output of about 20-25 sows-not an unreasonable amount for the small farmer-JC) ...

In a direct selling situation, you as the producer have even more of a responsibility for quality control than if you were answerable to a whole phalanx of tax-and-license-fee-financed inspectors. You have to look the end consumers of your product and know that your success comes from their satisfaction and that alone. Two quality cured hams will now often bring as much or more than an entire butcher hog on the hoof-but family farmers are now largely cut off from this market, which was once their traditional domain, through a series of nitpicking rules that do not always prove effective in guarding public health or food quality.

This last sentence is very true. Even with all our current regulations you periodically hear of food poisoning at restaurants, slaughterhouse scandals, tainted produce, etc. All these involve Big Ag. Why not let the "market" regulate the family farmer. His business is all local. He sells bad product, he will be out business in a skinny minute (as Mrs. Curley would say.)


We were watching Fiddler on the Roof the other night (again). It's not my favorite musical by far, but some things really strike a chord-and I like the father's ongoing conversation with God which is the primary movement of the story. But I digress. My pastor was telling me that the origins of the baldachinum (a canopy over the altar) had something to do with marriage-and then I remembered from watching Fiddler on the Roof-the young Jewish couple placed a good deal of importance in being married under the canopy. My pastor told me that the Eucharist was part of the marriage feast of Heaven, and thus the origin of the symbolism of the canopy and the veil on the tabernacle. Thinking of the Eucharist as the consummation of the marriage between Christ, the bridegroom and the Church, it is easier to see why non-Catholics wouldn't be welcome to receive Holy Communion.


Thanks to all who responded to the appeal for Mini-Catechisms for the prison chaplain in Texas. (See here)


Finally, I offer an "oh so true" quote which should appear on TS' Spanning the Globe feature-but won't:

All sin is, by its very nature, irrational and inexplicable and fascinating in that sense. Yet I’m familiar with my sins, or at least a subset of them, and so they aren’t all that surprising. But show me my neighbor’s sin, something I would never commit, and I’m shocked! - TS

That's it for Monday....Oremus pro invicem!

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