Monday, March 31, 2008

Divine Mercy Sunday

Yesterday our holy hour at the parish was between 5:00 and 6:00. It was a beautiful service with wonderful music (O Salutaris Hostia, Tantum Ergo at Benediction, and Holy God we Praise Thy Name at the end.) We had time for prayer and a homily as well as the Divine Mercy Chaplet.

Father processed around the Church with the Blessed Sacrament-escorted by candles before Benediction.

I was glad we went. I have a special intention I am praying for, but perhaps hadn't been spending much time in the asking. Yesterday gave me that opporutnity. It was a fitting way to end a wonderful weekend.

Oremus pro invicem!

Square Dance!

The weather report Friday night had ran in the wee morning hours, stopping by morning, and resuming at around 8:00 PM-perfect for our outdoor square dance; but it was not to be. The morning weather had rain starting around 4:00-just at the start of our festivities....but we were not to be discouraged.

With many people gathered by 3:30 we prayed the Divine Mercy Chaplet. Then just as we started to set up, the rain started.

But we had plans for every contingency. Quickly, the young men followed Mrs. Curley's directions to clear the den (which has been operating as a temporary bedroom for daughters while my aunt is visiting) and to clear the living room/dining room area of major furniture and line the walls with chairs and benches. With that done, some games were started in the den, and we had the square dance-one square (or group) at a time in the living room/dining room area with many onlookers. It was tight quarters so I cautioned everyone (especially the young gentlemen) to be especially gentle in their swinging. I'd call a couple dances and then the couples would switch out with others. Surprisingly it worked wonderfully. We were very worried about bad weather because our place is pretty small. By the end of the day some 70 souls had been in and out.

The dances (not in this order-due to the weather situation:

1. “Gal from Arkansas”- Orange Blossom Special

2. “Patty Cake Polka”- Buffalo Gals

3. “Take a Peek”- Cannonball Rag

4. “Shoot the Owl”- Avalanche

5. “Couple Dance” Sailing to Hawaii

6. “Texas Star”- One Dime Blues

7. “Red River Valley” – Red River Valley

8. “Virginia Reel” – Irish Washerwoman

9. “Wabash Cannonball” – Wabash Cannonball

After dinner, the weather had cleared so we held the Virginia Reel with one group of about 20+ couples. (I stopped calling for a moment to sashay and reel with Mrs. Curley.) Later we had a few more dances outside and then some boys built a fire.

It was a great day-I think most had fun. I didn't get to do much visiting with friends, cause I was busy calling the dances, but still I got the feeling it was success.

But what really made it a success was that it was a family gathering. Folks of all ages from a baby not even 6 months old to several men and women of much wisdom and experience (i.e. older than I). This was not a gathering or a dance exclusively for the teens (although that had been one of the original motivations), it was a family event. Sure, more of the dancing was done by the younger folks, but many joined in throughout the day. Families prayed together, danced, ate, and (hopefully) had fun. Yes, friends of like ages separated a bit and talked and played games with each other, as did the adults, but we came together at times too.

As a child and as a teen, it is good to see your parents interact with their friends and with your friends. As a parent, it is good to see your children interact with their friends and with your friends. Both sometimes see each other in new lights.

We are fortunate to have the opportunity for gatherings like this with good people fairly frequently-this weekend was not unique-only the particulars were unique.

A lot of people made Saturday a success-God bless them!

Oremus pro invicem!

Friday, March 28, 2008

I cut my first CD!

Heh! Heh! Number one son and I collaborated on Red River Valley-he playing backup in a guitar duet with himself and I played the melody on my harmonica. With more time we could probably do better-but this will do the trick. We needed RRV for the square dance tomorrow.

The sound card on my computer is not working. I can't write to CD's on my other computer-but can record. So we recorded, mixed, etc. and then emailed the file to my other computer to burn the CD. I wish I knew how to link to it here.

Lots of work to do today. We still need The Irish Washerwoman-but I can't play that. So I think I am going to have to buy a download.

Oremus pro invicem!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Quote

On the way home from Mass this morning my son (after asking me if I would really run for president in '012) said:

Dad, you gotta run for president; the country needs you. Those bungling, city folks will mess up the country for sure.

He also told me that he would have no trouble raising a couple million dollars for me to start the campaign; but he said that I really didn't need that much. When I settled on $120,000 to start, (for an RV to transverse the country with the family plus some to pay gas and bills), he told me I didn't need that much either. He knows at least two people who would lend us their RV for a couple years.

He's serious ....

Oremus pro invicem!

What am I reading?

My visiting Aunt (having just decided to extend her stay her for about a week) passed on to me an interesting collection of short stories by Jeffrey Archer. The inspiration for them came from stories and prisoners he met while he was in prison himself. The stories are entertaining, but I am not sure they would be called literary classics, nor do they have any profound meaning-unless it is that people want justice on this earth and are willing to break the law to get the financial justice (they think) they deserve when it doesn't come their way naturally and legally. Ah well-enjoyable.

I tell my kids-you want justice? Get to Heaven-you'll get it there. (Although note that the actual getting to Heaven involves more mercy than justice.)

Next up ... jumping ahead of books I am already reading or are in the pile to read ... is All Creatures Great and Small. This one is loaned to me by my sister. I remember seeing my grandfather reading this book and ads for the Public Television dramatization when I was a kid. I also remember thinking how boring that has to be. Now my perspective has changed. I can't wait to get into it.

While I haven't started reading it yet, I took a peek. Just listen to this opening salvo:

They didn't say anything about this in the books, I thought ... I lay face down on the cobbled floor in a pool of nameless muck, my arm deep inside a straining cow, my feet scrabbling for a toe hold between the stones.

("scrabbling" -what a word !).

(Oh, and by the way-I have reopened post comments at least for a try. )

Oremus pro invicem!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Proud Papa!

I mentioned this before... but the pictures finally appeared in the local paper, so I reproduce them here.

Doings ...

I was working at a remote location yesterday and thus didn't check in much-it has become a Tuesday routine these past few weeks. I am working diligently on a seminar-one of those things I absolutely hate to attend myself-but which pays well when you are the one preparing and teaching them. And to be honest-mine isn't about "Team building" or "Leadership" or general "Motivation"-several of which I was forced to attend, and none of which I got much out of. I am teaching something about navigating and using patents in the corporate (or a particular corporate) environment: part lecture part practical tools. I am hoping it will be of practical use to the students.

Between the deadline on the seminar and book deadlines (not to mention book orders) I find myself pretty busy these days.

And then I remember that we are hosting a square dance (at which I am the eager, but uninspired caller) this weekend. I am behind in getting ready to call some of the more unfamiliar dances. And, my son (on guitar) and myself (on harmonica) need to record Red River Valley for one of the dances. We are hoping we can record it to the computer so we can make sound better than it is-and put it on CD. (I'm not sure if we need special software for this or if the standard stuff which comes with the computer will work). Our efforts to tape it on cassette were not too encouraging. Now we are scrounging for the microphone we know is around, but not in the usual places...

I still have planting to do (we covered our peach tree two nights ago as it got down to 30 F! Didn't want to lose another season of peaches as we did last year.) I planted one row each of beets, turnips, and radishes and several rows of spinach and carrots on Good Friday. But I have much ground to till yet and more planting. I am putting potatoes in the old pig pen as I hear they like fresh muck.

I did no office work starting on Holy Thursday and didn't get back to work til yesterday. The world didn't take a break for the Triduum however.

I am certainly not complaining-lots of work is infinitely better than none. But all this going on could limit the pearls I endow everyone with several times a day.

Blessed be God! He is risen! ... Oremus pro invicem!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

I must be quick today... It was a wonderful Easter. The Triduum was moving at times. This was the first year in my life that I didn't go to Mass Easter morning, (the whole family-for the first time together-hearing the Easter Vigil). Sunday morning was a bit confusing-it took a while to get used to-not being at Mass. (We may do both next year.)

The kids (with friends) had their annual Passion Play on Holy Saturday-nice job-pictures to follow ... someday.

We had good friends over on Sunday and really celebrated.

I need to go, but leave with this thought via TS

In general, every time you feel in God's creatures something pleasing and attractive, do not let your attention be arrested by them alone, but, passing them by, transfer your thought to God and say: 'O my God, if Thy creations are so full of beauty, delight and joy, how infinitely more full of beauty, delight and joy art thou thyself, Creator of all!' - Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain

He is Risen!!!! ... Oremus pro invicem!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

We finally finished the new pig pen this week. We moved them yesterday-using peanuts. A friend had recommended peanuts-and boy do they work.

The new pen is bigger-almost double the size. This one is made with cow panels as the hog panels never came in. This is fine. We dug a trench and buried about 8 inches of panel to discourage digging out.

This morning I leveled and tilled the old pig pen. I am going to plant potatoes there and maybe a couple other things to try. I also tilled the first section of the spring garden this morning. I think spinach (and of course radishes-just so we know we can grow something) will go in there.

Tomorrow I will do some planting-and of course some praying.

Today we have a large and joyous supper in the mid-afternoon to celebrate the institution of the Holy Eucharist. This evening we will go to the Mass of the Last Supper. My four boys are serving along with a couple other boys. I have to get to the Church early to help the sacristan set-up.

I hope you all have a meditative and blessed Triduum and a joyous Easter.

Oremus pro invicem!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Chicken Tractor-revisited

Maybe I should be writing about more holy things this week-but yesterday I was working with my other hat on and came across something of interest here.

As some (dedicated, long-time readers) may remember, we made and used a chicken tractor for some time here on our small holding. The original is no longer with us, and maybe it is time to make another one-but I digress.

In the course of my work yesterday, I found US Patent No. 2,474,932 on a "Portable Chicken House and Yard". Below are some of the drawings for this early chicken tractor.

Here is the claim:

Having thus described the invention, what is claimed is:

In a portable chicken house and yard, a house, an enclosure extending from said house and defining a yard, wheeled members extending downwardly from the house and enclosure and supporting same for movement from one location to another, guards extending along marginal portions of the house and enclosure and pivoted at their upper edges for swinging movement downwardly and outwardly from raised position under the house and within the enclosure to lowered position for use with the wheeled members disposed externally of the guards, and means for releasably securing the guards in lowered position.

Now back to Holy Week ... Oremus pro invicem!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Pig Pen

We spent some time yesterday putting up the new pig pen. We didn't finish, but are more than halfway there. The gate and their new house are the main tasks to finish. It is about twice as big as their present pen.

I haven't cleaned the pen in a couple days. When we move the pigs, I plan to spread the remaining muck and then till it into the soil. Then I will plant potatoes and that pen for the next little piggies.

Oremus pro invicem!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Reported elsewhere...

... but worth repeating as we hunker down to pray this Holy Week-from our Holy Father:

At the end of this solemn celebration, in which we have meditated on the Passion of Christ, I want to call to mind the late lamented Archbishop of Mossul of the Chaldeans, Paulos Farah Rahho, tragically deceased a few days ago. His beautiful witness of faith in Christ, the Church and his people, which despite many threats he never wanted to abandon, presses me to raise a strong and concerned cry: enough of these massacres, enough with the violence, enough with hatred in Iraq! And I raise at the same time an appeal to the people of Iraq, which for five years is bearing the consequences of a war which has provoked the upheaval of civil and social life: beloved Iraqi people, raise up your heads and let you be, in the first place, reconstructors of your national life. Let there be reconciliations, forgiveness, justice and respect in common life between tribes, ethnic and religious groups, the solid way of peace in the name of God.

Oremus pro invicem!

Holy Week

Here's the obligatory "light posting" warning. I figure that after Tuesday-things will be pretty sparse here if not before. Requiem Press pretty much goes inactive from Holy Thursday til after Easter Monday. I might do some stuff-if someone really wants something quickly-but generally I try to do a bit more reading and prayer.

It is a busy week, and hopefully a prayerful week. If something really exciting happens, I'll post. But I hope there's no one to read it-we all have better things to do ...

Oremus pro invicem!

Sunday, March 16, 2008


At least one tornado touched down on our road Saturday evening-about 5 miles from our house. No one was injured, but there was some damage. We saw multiple trees up-rooted and many trees severed at the same height. From the damage-there wasn't always a clear swath of damage-it looked like the twister was popping up and down over a two-mile stretch. We saw a big trampoline twisted and thrown on the other side of the road. A piece of tin roofing off a garage was also twisted and thrown. Fortunately, most damage appeared away from houses-but not all.

We had a strong storm on Saturday afternoon, but didn't think much more of it til when were driving to Mass Sunday morning and saw the damage.

The news outlets concentrated on the bigger twisters-one of which touched down at the other end of our (Kershaw) county; it did more damage than ours. I am not even sure our twister was acknowledged-but strong winds alone don't account for what we saw.

We stopped at one house on the way home from Church where the owners were clearing a tree off their house-they had one on the house and a big old oak tree down-almost in the road.

We ran home and changed our clothes, then the boys and I went back and spent the day clearing the tree by the road for them. I have a small chain saw which was doing pretty well, but then another friend of the owner stopped by with a huge Husqvarna. That saw made quick work of that oak.

We thank God we were spared.

Oremus pro invicem!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

St. Joseph's Feast

....and we will celebrate a little St. Patrick's Day too! It is supposed to rain most of the day, so our outside work (of which there is much) will be put on hold for a couple days. We'll do a few inside chores and then maybe have our own little talent show. My aunt, who is visiting is a very willing participant.

Mrs. Curley is a little under the weather, but we hope she and I can do the "Who's on First" routine. One of my son's is singing Danny Boy with my harmonica accompaniment. The rest I don't know yet.

No Guinness for me this year-but soon....

We need to move our pigs, they have used (dug) up most their current pen. I have been waiting for hog panels to arrive at our local feed store-but I don't think I can wait any longer. I am going with the taller cow panels-which may be for the best anyhow. If we get goats, we will probably want to keep them out of the pig pen-and the hog panels won't do it.

Happy Feast Day!-St. Joseph & St. Patrick-pray for us!

Oremus pro inviem!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Theology on Tap

Annunciations had a post yesterday on the Bishop of Birmingham (formerly Bishop of Charleston, SC) give a talk in a bar. This reminded me of the first time I heard Bishop Baker-also in a bar in Columbia, SC at a "Theology on Tap" event.

Bishop Baker had not been long Bishop of our diocese. It was 8:00 at night, he was on his way back to Charleston from the upstate. His mother was in town from Ohio to help him celebrate his ? anniversary of being a priest. Yet he stopped in Columbia to address a gathering of young people in a bar.

He read the Gospel story of "the rich young man who went away sad" when Christ called him; and then Bishop Baker challenged the young people there (the unmarried ones) to consider a call-especially to religious life. He said that the health of the Church is measured by the numbers of young people who are willing to give up all to spend their lives praying for the Church.

I remember at the time thinking that if I had still been single, Bishop Baker's plea would have been motivation enough for me to call the Carthusians in Vermont the next day.

Every time I heard Bishop Baker speak to young people, he spoke about vocations.

We pray, through the intercession of Our Lady of Joyful Hope, for another good and holy bishop for our diocese.

Oremus pro invicem!

First up this morning is an article appearing on Catholic Exchange this morning by sometimes Requiem Press author (an all the time my youngest sister) Agnes Penny on writing letters (to the editor) as an apostolate:

At the end of the Gospel of Mark, Christ exhorts us to "Go into the whole world and preach the gospel to every creature" (Mark 16:15). However, many of us do not know how to do this. We simply don't know where to start. Some of us may be homebound and see few people outside our own families; others work and socialize with a great range of people but don't know how to bring up the subject of religion or morality tactfully.

But there is one apostolate that just about anyone can participate in — anyone capable of writing a letter.

This works-they publish your letter more often than not. In all my years writing letters to editors, only twice were they not published. I believe the two different publications (one secular and one Catholic, but having a extreme slant) were so ideological that they wouldn't allow a well-argued rebuttal to their articles-because they seldom appeared by anyone.

For the few short years I lived in Milford, MA I wrote so often, it was almost a weekly column in the local paper. It has been some years since I have written such letters-partly because I don't read much print news anymore.

In any case, read the rest.

Oremus pro invicem!

Running it again

(This post appeared briefly last week-but then I removed it.... It appeared yesterday at Catholic Exchange , and I have reposted it here.)

Every March the best Catholic blogs are recognized via Catholic Blog Awards. There are several categories of excellence. Blogs are nominated by readers at the end of February, and the voting takes place in early March-right now in fact. (You can see who’s been nominated and vote at Catholic Blog Awards .)

Personally, I am surprised that I wasn't nominated for a Catholic Blog Award. However, I will be realistic-let's see how many categories for which I should have been nominated.

A few I am clearly not qualified for: I'm not clergy. I am not a group. I've been at this for 3.5 years, so my blog is not new (although I keep the material fresh). My template is a standard one-so I guess my blog design doesn’t compete for the best.

Let's see, that leaves us with Best Apologetics Blog?-Okay, really iffy at best.

Inside News?-hardly. (unless you consider what's happening in our kitchen inside news.)

Political/Social Commentary? Well, this is starting to be a possibility; after all, I am running for president in '012. However, if I look at the past year, I must honestly say, my political commentary was not a dominant feature. Social commentary is more my thing. But I guess that only fits half the bill.

Funniest? I guess this depends on whether you are laughing with me or at me!

Spiritual?-only if you consider that my blog makes people pray that they don't become more like me.

Okay now we are getting down to the categories where I can really compete: Informative and Insightful: come on, who doesn't want to know how to set a railing in concrete in the dark incorrectly? And how about how to keep dogs out of your chicken pen (oh yeh, maybe it was how to let them in). And insightful...I can pick out as good a quote to post as the next guy, AND I am insightful enough (usually) to let the quote speak for itself without adding my two cents. (For if my 2 cents were worth it, people would be quoting me.)

Smartest? Well, what can I say? I tell my kids that I know practically everything. If that's true (and it must be, because I know practically everything) then my blog must be one of the smartest, as it is written by a guy who knows practically everything. (See how smart my circular logic is?-just proves my point.)

Now the last three categories I reeeeeeally qualify for. Best Catholic Blog by an Individual-I am Catholic. I am an Individual. Therefore I at least should have received a nomination. Obviously competition is steep on this one as there are many individual Catholics out there with blogs. There’s no real quality criterion for winning this one other than the vague notion of "Best". So, while I certainly should be in the running, I will concede to let the smaller "individuals" compete for this one. I have bigger fish to fry.

Best written? All I can say is that I enjoy reading my own blog more than anyone else's. Since I am a good judge of writing (after all, I work as an editor for a “large” publishing house) this really should sew it up.

Finally we come to the granddaddy of them all....Best Overall Catholic Blog. I guess the real criteria here is giving the complete package. Look, I let you know when blogging will be light. I give previews of what's ahead. I tell you what I'm reading. I tell you how many eggs we get on a daily basis (practically). I give you details of my Saturday chores. I post pictures just because I can. I plug my business. I let you all know every time I post something to one of my other neglected blogs. I even let you know the day I start working on my taxes. I occasionally quote Scripture and writings from saints. I occasionally write things that embarrass my wife. I whine about how there is no political party for me. AND I am running for president in '012. Do I need to go on?

I think the Catholic Blog Awards people need to add a new category to the nominations for next year so that ALL Catholic bloggers get a chance. Here it is: The Best Catholic Blog written by a transplanted Northerner living in the South, with seven kids, a wife, two dogs, 28 chickens (when the dogs aren't attacking the chickens), 3 pigs, 2 cats, and 3 dead cars in the driveway, who likes to read, write and get nominated for a Catholic Blog Award.

Go Vote!

Oremus pro invicem!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

The cow we were contemplated was bought from under us (come to find out the cow was pregnant als0). So I went to see some milk goats today after Mass. I'm not sure yet. They were nubians and looked great. And while we are probably more set up for goats here, the number of goats to equal one cow in milk makes the proposition possibly more complicated-and probably just as expensive.


Fr. John O'Holohan celebrates his 85th birthday today! Happy Birthday Father!

Oremus pro invicem!


My "Catholic Blogs Award" post of a few days ago (now gone but to be reposted tonight) appeared on CatholicExchange this morning. I usually don't write too much humor (at least on purpose), and maybe I should retire from it permanently... Here is one of the comments the article generated at CE:

What an incredible waste of my reading time. That is a few minutes of my life that I will never get back. This article was neither informative or humorous. I hope to never see his work here again.

Ouch, again!

It's not too late ...

to get a copy of The Story of Our Lady of Victory in time for a special child's Easter basket! Single copies mail first class with no additional shipping charges. Get your copy here .

Oremus pro invicem!

The Rest

of the stuff I made for Christmas...

The first is a foot-stool for Mrs. Curley made of pallet wood. It is mostly poplar, but it turns out the wood I selected for one of the legs is oak. I didn't know till I started to shape it with a hand plane. The top (not so visible here) is left with plane marks-this makes it look "rustic". The sides are mortised into the legs. It is stained with Minwax' "Special Walnut". Then I got lazy. Instead of a varnish, I used a clear paint in a can. It dries faster in an unheated garage. My youngest son helped me throughout this construction.

The next is a rosary box for my Mom. It is bigger than the one made for my God-child last fall because it was designed to hold several rosaries which my Mom keeps on a table in front of her statue of the Blessed Virgin in her living room. The box is oak with Cherry keys (maybe they're mahogany-I can't recall).

So, there you go.

From the small holding in Bethune...Oremus pro invicem!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Heard yesterday on the road

The good news from NPR: Burglaries are down (a 30-year downward trend) because a) everyone already has everything (TVs, video games, etc) and you can't get rid of them unless they are new in a box; and b) people don't have cash in the house anymore with debit cards and credit cards (you can fence diamonds, but they take too long to look for.)

The scary news: Eliot Spitzer wasn't caught because they were investigating a prostitution ring and found him-they were investigating him and found the prostitution ring. So what?, you say.

Here's the deal: Before 9/11, financial transactions over $10K raised a flag and were looked at, if not investigated. Since 9/11 software has been developed (ironically implemented at the behest of Mr. Spitzer as AG) that looks at the details of every financial transaction. Transactions between certain people (in this case, people of power) or in patterns, or in targeted amounts or targeted recipients, get flagged.

This is fine I guess when the "right" people are running the software. But what happens when the "wrong" people are?

Oremus pro invicem!

Here's the bookcase I made for my youngest for Christmas. Note the "bead board" effect on the sides-done with a handplane. I think it came out nicely. It is all of whiteboard (pine) and some pallet wood for the stringers across the back. You can't see it, but the shelves are dadoed into the sides.

And below is "the girl"-obviously Mrs. Curley's "helper" in the kitchen!

Oremus pro invicem!


If you are like me, you've heard people say on more than occasion something like, "My vote doesn't count anyway." or "I don't have a say in the government." And truly, most people can't identify with the politicians who run for highest office. Another comment often heard, "There are no good choices again this year."

In small is still beautiful, Joseph Pearce comments on the progressive centralization of government:

When the politics of scale apply there is little option for individuals but to delegate many of their democratic functions to larger institutions. In short, democracy becomes subject to the theory of progressive centralization. Individuals delegate their democratic functions to a local council; the local council delegates its functions to a county council; the county council delegates its functions to a state government; the state government delegates to the national government....

Think, how many times in recent years do you hear state governors and legislatures complaining about "unfunded mandates"-things required by the federal government with no money given and no say in the matter. Right now you have several states rebelling against the federal government's "Real ID" program where the feds are telling the states how to issue driver's licenses-but the states will back down in the end.

More from Pearce:

Indeed, to what extent will the individual be able to influence a world government? ... Seen in this light, the theory of progressive centralization, in the relation to democracy, the practice of progressive usurpation. World government usurps the functions of continental unions; continental unions usurp the functions of national governments; .... and county councils usurp the functions of local councils. ..... People will have a vote even if they don't have a voice.

Few of the small people would not agree with Joseph Pearce's assessment. The cry of the American War for Independence was "No taxation without representation!" Isn't that the situation today?

So where do we go?

I am not calling for a reformation of our Constitution. (The Swiss Canton system, though, does have its attractions.) We have a Constitution. First we should examine it and the powers and functions granted by it-and at the very least try to follow our own Constitution.

Now to get from where we are back to the Constitution we are supposed to be governed by, is a topic of deeper details-and this is a general principle post. But this would be a priority of a Curley administration.

Oremus pro invicem!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

First Principles

From Jeff Culbreath

The most shameful element of our cultural decline is our continued toleration for abortion. Even with the developments of modern technology, in which the humanity of the unborn child can be known beyond any doubt, the child in the womb remains shamefully unprotected in the United States. It is impossible to tolerate abortion without hardening our hearts and becoming indifferent to the value of human life, and indeed that is what we see happening all over this great land. It is time to end legal abortion in the United States of America - once and for all. My administration will explore every legal means of so doing. Until that is accomplished we will implement an all-out propaganda war against abortion in every department, every agency, and every venue at our disposal. This will include a generous budget for advertisements on television, radio, and billboards across the nation. State and local governments and schools will be heavily incentivized to do the same.

I can't say it much better. Note here what has been missing from the efforts of our "pro-life" presidents: an effort to change hearts.

If you truly recognize the evil of abortion, then you have to be tireless in your efforts to eradicate it. Some say a president can't do much to outlaw abortion-maybe he is somewhat limited in direct action (although I am not sure all direct actions have been explored), but there is plenty to do indirectly-and it starts with personnel

A president has to be surrounded by people who share his beliefs and world view, at least in a general way. If a culture of life is to permeate an administration, it has to be there everywhere: from the oval office to the pentagon, to the FDA, to the Department of Education, to the Surgeon General, to the NSA, etc. We can't compartmentalize our administration, just like we can't limit our contact with God to Sundays (St Paul's exhortation is to pray always.)

The culture of life needs to inform our economic policy (economies as if people matter), our immigration policies, our military policies, our foreign aid-well you get the picture. Too often, we have had pro-life rhetoric in one sector and utilitarian policies everywhere else.

A Curley administration would examine not only policies, but governmental structures to see how they reflect a culture of life.

Specifics will come later, right now I am just laying out broad principles. Next: self-government.

Oremus pro invicem!

Monday, March 10, 2008

How about a cow?

We were offered a Jersey cow this weekend at a pretty good price. She just calved, but is "out one quarter"-so would only give about 5 gallons a day. It is tempting. We would have all the milk we wanted, plus butter and cheese, plus maybe some for the pigs. At the price of milk (we drink between 2-3 gallons a day), the purchase price would be returned in no time.

Of course there is a dairy equipment expense, and we would have to construct some time of barn. There is the problem of food (especially in the winter), but we could perhaps grow alfalfa this year; we haven't planted yet.

We have about 2 acres-rule of thumb is one acre of grazing per cow. Our front yard (the football and baseball field) could easily be enclosed with a few stands of barbed wire for part of the year (then we could play real cow-pasture football), and we have an enclosed old goat pen-the pigs only take up a corner of it.

I think we'll take a look.

Oremus pro invicem!

I should be writing something serious: about the "campaign", threats to homeschooling, etc., etc. but I just can't get the muse going this morning. I have at least three 1/2 finished posts-unusual for me. One is a comment on the Mass I saw somewhere, one is "First Principles" on the campaign, one is a continuation of "The Ways of God for Fathers". I guess the tank is empty this morning.


Congratulate me! I have a new niece this morning (or last night) born in snowed-in Ohio.


Catholic Exchange has a Russell Shaw column up this morning. He is commenting on the "Religion in America" study which came out two weeks ago, and what the bishops should do about it:

Second, instead of continuing to lower the bar for being a Catholic (as we've done for the last several decades), raise it higher by once again emphasizing that to be a Catholic is an immense privilege involving huge obligations and huge payoffs for success.


Okay, and there is some pure vanity. Just to prove my son can't yet catch me from behind, I post these pics from our Turkey bowl last November. (And no he didn't catch me!)

Oremus pro invicem!

Friday, March 07, 2008

Didn't think I would get to post again today as I was going to head right to the airport after this mornings' doings. But there is flight delay, so I have a few moments.

We picked up four rolls of film today-going back to Thanksgiving. So get ready, over the next few days I will be posting pictures.

The first is one of the most recent: our pigs. I think we had them less than a week when this was taken.

The house (which they will out grow soon) is a refurbished dog house (new roof, partial new floor and joists, new wall, and new paint job.)

The hog panels were mostly installed by my oldest son with some help. I made the gate which is at the far left of the picture.

Oremus pro invicem!

It's First Friday!

I love First Fridays. We go to Mass, then have a small breakfast in the Church Hall. Last month and again this month, I am giving square dance lessons in preparation for our big square dance after Easter here at the homestead.

Believe me, if you had told me a year ago I would be calling square dances, I would have laughed and called you crazy. It's fun, but I'm not a natural caller. But I'll get better (we all hope.)


I bought a new thermometer on Wednesday night. After observing the pigs a bit, I thought it possible one may be sick. Looking it up, the book suggested I take the pig's temperature and call the vet if the pig was running a fever.

These pigs don't exactly come up and rub against my legs when I come in the pen. They are still skittish-and I'm supposed to take their temperature?

"The book" said to rub the pig's belly and talk softly while doing it. I guess you have to catch the pig first-and that's the point. If you can't catch the pig, it couldn't be too sick. (The other symptoms were gone by Thursday morning also-so I was saved!!!)


Well there hasn't been too much campaign talk around here lately, but that will change. I have a series of "position" posts in preparation-the first being called: "First Principles".


We have a yard sale on Saturday morning. We were supposed to have this sale last weekend, but couldn't get our act together.

It may rain, (we need it, but it should really wait til the afternoon...). The purpose is really to get rid of stuff, not to make money (that never happens anyway-so even try?). We don't have a GoodWill store nearby to donate it to.

We also sold one of the dead cars in the driveway and an engine which has been rusting on the back of property since before we moved here. Both are still here, but since the gentlemen already paid, I assume he will come back for both.


My aunt is coming this weekend to spend a few weeks, including Easter, with us. We are all excited. I have seen my aunt this past year, but it has been several years for the rest of us.


Finally, we sent out our Spring 2008 catalog yesterday. If you don't get one and want one, email me (see link above the "About Me") or go to the website and fill out the "contact us" form.

From Bethany, the small holding in Bethune .... Oremus pro invicem!

Thursday, March 06, 2008

The Hat

I normally wear a hat when outside. In the summer when around the house, its usually a baseball cap. In colder weather or when leaving the homestead I wear a fedora. Typically my preference is gray and in the style seen here worn by Jimmy Stewart. The quality varies. My latest is crushable, much cheaper but more practical. I liked it so much that I wore it everywhere-even when I took the boys camping. So its worn out. I still wear it working around the homestead, but it is too dirty to wear to Mass. I got it in Charleston, and am hoping to get back there soon to get another.

In the meantime, some time ago a I picked up this mustard (Gulden's) colored hat. I like it okay. I wear it with the visor up, and its in decent condition. It is almost like the one Ed Harris is wearing in the movie Radio (haven't seen the movie, but it was filmed in SC, I think.) But mine is a definite mustard color.

Mrs. Curley hates it. She thinks I wear it to torture her. Interestingly enough, I get comments on the mustard hat (all positive); where I rarely ever got a comment on any other hat I've worn. This drives Mrs. Curley to even more distraction. (Of course, there is no question about whether I seed the comments...)

I have a straw hat I wear sometimes in the summer. I don't think Mrs. Curley particularly likes that one either-but the dislike is not so intense- I'm betting she is looking forward to it this year.

Oremus pro invicem!

(PS-If you notice, a post from yesterday is gone. Don't worry, it will be back with a few touch ups.)

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

A couple weeks ago I mentioned I was getting most of my pig feed from Price's Country Store in Gilbert, SC. He mixes his own feed, which is good for pigs and/or laying hens. In fact Jake Price tells me he sells as much or more for chickens as he does for hogs.

In the past we have bought laying pellets for the chickens, but Jake's feed is ground, not pellets. I bought a bag for the chickens and a couple for the pigs. I keep it in separate bins just to keep track. Usually 50 lbs. of laying pellets lasts 2-3 weeks and sometimes more cause we often mix it with scratch. Well, this first bag lasted one week with the chickens. I was aghast. I asked my sons why they were feeding the chickens so much more. They claimed they weren't, one bucket a day. Well that's the thing. One bucket of ground feed is a whole lot more than one bucket of pellets.

My boys will get to sell the eggs once we are at full production (We should get about 2 dozen a day, right now we are at about 1 dozen a day.) They get to keep the profits minus the feed cost and minus a few dozen for us. 50 lbs a week would doom their profits.

From Bethany, the small holding in Bethune.... Oremus pro invicem!

Monday, March 03, 2008

The first endorsement ...

Mr. Jeff Culbreath has graciously endorsed my candidacy for president in '012. In fact, he has offered his services as speech writer and given us a sample covering life, marriage, war, immigration, trade, and education. (I may need a director for the West Coast, so we'll see.)

The question, of course, is whether Mr. Culbreath's proposed speech mirrors the views of my campaign....Let's just say for now, that I could vote for him!

I don't want to make a joke of it, but you know, I, and a lot of others are fed up with 2-parties which have have less and less difference between them as time goes on. Both parties are, to varying degrees, utilitarian, that is, they view the individual as a tool. Depending on the party, the tool may be for the economy, for social experimentation, for votes, etc. Both parties are for big centralized governmental control-the difference is just in matters of degree and special interest.

If you read the Anti-Federalist papers, you can see some of their warnings have come to pass. They predicted that a strong central government (arguably needed in 1789) would give more and more power to itself. (For instance, the stronger the central government, the more likely a standing army, the more likely wars.) Of course, a strict return to the Constitution itself would solve most of our political problems.

I feel compelled to layout what I think are general principles for true self-government. Some of these principles are not necessarily applicable only to the representative republic which our Constitution provided for. Thus, I probably won't be too specific. I am not an economist or an expert on international affairs, etc. I doubt anything I say will be new, just saying it again. I will look to experts in their fields to flesh out the proposals to make them work in the framework the Constitution provides.

A warning: I am probably a bit of a radical in some areas.

The platform will probably evolve as people offer their ideas that may be better than mine. I know forums for this type of discussion have been formed in the past-much better forums than this. I hope there is more to come.

(I am also hoping that it may be safe to open up my comment boxes again, which I shall do this week.)

Oremus pro invicem!

Tour of Bethune

Sunday we did a driving tour of our town. A bunch of stuff has gone on here over the years. We met at the Women's Club and were given a short introduction and a map with commentary. Since the tour was not getting underway until 4:00, we decided to do the tour ourselves (all the sites were seen from the road as they are on privately owned property now.)

Of course we saw the old post office near Tiller's Ferry and the Big Springs, which I mentioned a few weeks ago. We didn't know that within a hundred yards or so of where we sometimes go fishing at the (Big)Lynches River, Sherman's 15th corps encamped and tried to cross, but were initially repelled by Butler's cavalry-there were minor casualties on both sides.

With 3-4 miles of our own house-on our road-was the Lynchwood Plantation (this area was called Lynchwood until the railroad went through-across Farmer Bethune's property-when it was renamed). The Marquis de Lafayette spent the night at the Lynchwood Plantation in 1825 on his way to Camden, SC. (By the way, some of the late William F. Buckley's family reside in Camden, SC. When we have occasionally gone to Mass at Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Camden, we have seen Masses being offered for William Buckley Sr. listed in the bulletin.)

The Red Oak Plantation (or what's left of it) is beside the Lynchwood Plantation. In February 1865, Sherman's 17th corps encamped at the Red Oak, the mansion being the commander's headquarters. The mansion was burned upon their departure. Only one room survives.

On the way home in the car, my boys were crowing, "Now we know Bethune is even more important than we thought."

Oremus pro invicem!

This just in ...

On Saturday ...

The winter edition of CMQ. I haven't read too much yet, but did read an interesting take on how to solve the healthcare crisis in America by Michael Greaney of Center for Economic and Social Justice. Not sure what I think of Mr. Greaney's idea. There are a couple terms I need better definition on before I buy in or out.

And Eric Scheske (The Daily Eudemon) recommends 20 books to make you a smart Catholic. I have read 5 of them and perused one more. So I must be 25% there to being smart.


It was a reading weekend also. I finally finished Living the Good Life by Scott and Helen Nearing. I picked up (again) Swords Around the Cross (nine years war in Ireland), but also picked up Embryo-A Defense of Human Life.

I am not too far in, but am liking what I read so far. The authors are talking about the differences between embryo science (how and what), embryo technology (what is possible), and embryo ethics (what should we do). Here is some reasoning, reminiscent of some of John Henry Newman's writings:

For, it is not uncommon to hear embryo researchers and their supporters claim that only science should have a say in what science does, and that ethics, religion and politics have no business in the concerns of science.....

It is true that moral philosophy cannot say what the embryo is. Nor does moral philosophy have anything to say about what can be done with an embryo. These are matters of the way the world is, and moral philosophy is concerned with what we ought to do, or refrain from doing. But by the same taken, science, which is concerned with what is the case, has nothing to say about what we ought to do, even in the domain of science.


Mrs. Curley is devouring a book that my Mom sent me to read: Left to Tell. I fell asleep as she was finishing it up last night. It must be good. I haven't read it yet myself-but it is in the on-deck circle.

Oremus pro invicem!

Saturday, March 01, 2008


A few main tasks today-taking longer than expected. Oldest son extended our outside dog's pen so she has some room to run around. Second oldest son spent much of the day salvaging the wood from an old box spring and taking nails out of some crate would we aquired.

Myself, with various helpers, made railing for our side stairs using some of this salvage crate wood. I secured a cross beam with through tenons-inspired by a recent book given me about making mission-style furnature. We set it in concrete after dinner in the dark. Busy and tiring day. Using a handplane to smooth rough sawn wood is a real workout.

Update: Never set something in concrete in the dark! I didn't set the back end of the railing deep enough, and it slants, further, it threw my though tenon (not yet wedged) out of flush. I didn't notice til I was leaving for Mass on Sunday morning.

Oremus pro invicem!